Paul Crawley, WXIA
LITHIA SPRINGS, GA -- It began with an anonymous tip about possible drug sales, but what Douglas County Sheriff investigators found at a home on N. County Line Road shocked them.
They said they found meth and drug paraphernalia, but much worse.
"It was probably, I would say, the top three of the most horrible situations that I've seen as far as homes and kids being in these situations," Investigator Trent Wilson told 11 Alive News on Friday.
When they raided the home last Monday, he and other officers also found 22 animals, including cats, dogs, lizards and fish.
They also found 100 cell phones, 20 to 40 possibly stolen flash drives with people's identity information on them, and three small children, ages 2, 7 and 9.
All of it in what was described as a house crammed with trash and filth.
"Looked like they might have been hoarders and just putting stuff wherever they could," Wilson said.
But their worst discovery was a 93-year-old woman, apparently suffering from Alzheimer's, who'd been kept locked in a bedroom for as long as 6 months.
"In order for her to get out to get to the bathroom, get water, whatever, they would have to unlock the door and let her out or give her what she needed," Wilson said.
Investigators arrested the elderly woman's daughter, 61-year-old Ida Elizabeth McNeill and her daughter, 33-year-old Meridith Onata McNeill and charged both with elderly abuse, cruelty to children and drug possession.
Also arrested on the last two charges was 32-year-old Mark Darrell Gunby.
Wilson said the home, which was rented by Meridith McNeill, had a security camera system hooked up to a monitor in her bedroom.
Her 3 young children and her grandmother have been taken into protective custody by DFCS and Adult Protection Services.
More than 20 pets were taken to the Douglas County Animal Shelter.
Wilson said other charges are possible since the investigation continues.
Ida and Meridith McNeill remain in jail under $71,000 bond each.
Gunby is also in jail under a $37,000 bond.