Special Reports

Residents are moved from group home in Paint Lick

State officials have moved residents from a group home in Paint Lick in Garrard County, where an intellectually disabled resident was strangled in June, Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesman Jill Midkiff said.

Midkiff said Tennessee-based Community Ties of America, which operates the home in Paint Lick and two homes in Waco, has notified the Cabinet for Health and Family Services "that it no longer intends to offer residential services in Kentucky.''

That means that the two homes in Waco also will close, said Midkiff.

"Although there were no incidences at either of these homes, both located in Waco, Ky., the Cabinet is working to find alternative placements for these individuals," Midkiff said.

The group homes for the mentally retarded and others with intellectual disabilities house no more than three people at a time, Midkiff said.

Officials at the corporate office of Community Ties in Brentwood, Tenn., did not return two phone calls seeking comment Monday.

Last month, a judge dismissed a murder charge against Chester Watkins, 32, an intellectually disabled resident of the Paint Lick home, after state police said they had turned up new evidence in the June 12 death of Shawn K. Akridge, 35.

Watkins had been charged after a group home employee reported seeing Watkins choking Akridge. The staff member pulled Watkins off the victim, an arrest report said.

The staff member called for an ambulance and performed CPR on Akridge, but Akridge was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Berea Hospital. Police have said the case will go to a Garrard County grand jury for possible indictment and that there could be a new suspect. The next grand jury meets July 20.

A Web site for Community Ties of America said it is "dedicated to the development of a compassionate, comprehensive, community-based approach to serving people with special health care needs."

The Paint Lick group home was considered a private provider of services, but it received state and federal funding, Midkiff has said.

The Richmond Register newspaper reported that state reports, obtained through an open-records request, showed that residents acted violently in at least nine cases since the Paint Lick home opened in August 2010, according to The Associated Press.

One resident was taken to the hospital April 19 after being hit in the jaw by another resident, according to a staff member's report. Another resident was taken to the hospital Jan. 19 with a cut on his head that required three staples. A staff report said there were varying accounts of how that injury occurred, according to AP.

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