By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Southern Manor co-owner faces elderly neglect charges
Ralph Cowart arrested after June 23 incident in Metter
Cowart / McCullough
Ralph Cowart, left, and Meghan McCullough

The co-owner of Southern Manor Senior Living in Statesboro was charged Tuesday with felony exploitation and intimidation of disabled or elderly adults in connection with a June 23 incident that occurred in Metter.

Capt. Justin Wells with the Candler County Sheriff’s Office said Ralph Cowart was arrested Tuesday along with Meghan McCullough, who is executive director of Southern Manor at Candler Senior Living, of which Cowart recently became a co-owner. Cowart, 37, and McCullough, 36, are both residents of Statesboro.

According to a Candler Sheriff’s Office incident report, Deputy Edwin Aviles was dispatched at 6:52 a.m., Friday, June 23 in response to a report of “an elderly female walking on the railroad tracks.” Aviles said the woman told him she was kicked out of Southern Manor the previous evening and left out all night.

After the woman and her mother were interviewed about the incident, Wells said the Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on June 30 to help determine if charges were warranted.

On Tuesday, Cowart and McCullough were charged with felony neglect to a disabled adult, elder person or resident, felony exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, elder persons and residents, misdemeanor reckless conduct causing harm to or endangering the safety of another and failure to report a case of abuse of disabled adult or elder.

They were booked into the Candler County jail and released on a $10,000 cash/$20,000 property bond set by the Candler magistrate judge, Wells said.

Wells said the GBI is in charge of the investigation and he could not offer any more details or comment further about the incident.

In a release issued Tuesday night, Nelly Miles, director of the GBI’s Office of Public & Governmental Affairs, said the investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Candler County Sheriff’s Office at (912) 685-2568 or the GBI regional investigative office in Statesboro at (912) 871-1121.

“Once the investigation is complete, the case file will be given to the Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” Miles said in the release.

Cowart, who has been co-owner of Southern Manor since 2011, could not be reached for comment on the charges.



Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter