Originally created 08/25/02

Worker at care facility stabbed



An Evans personal care home resident attacked a staff member at the facility early Saturday, stabbing her twice during an attempted sexual assault, police said.

The victim - a 20-year-old Augusta woman - was stabbed in the stomach by Michael Eskew, 51, about 4:30 a.m. at Chimney Hill, a United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia personal care home in Evans, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

The woman was transported to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Charges will be made pending a competency evaluation, Capt. Morris said. Mr. Eskew was being held at Georgia Regional Hospital in Augusta on Saturday night.

B.J. Reese, a program manager at the Chimney Hill facility, said she could not talk about the situation and would have someone from Atlanta handle all "publicity" Monday.

"I'll refer all contact to the UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) office in Atlanta," she said.

The early morning attack shook neighbors in the Chimney Hill community, just off Washington Road in Evans.

The personal care home is at 650 Chimney Hill Circle and has been there about six months. The home was purchased by the United Cerebral Palsy Association Of Miami Inc. on Dec. 31, according to county tax records.

Such homes are regulated by the Georgia Department of Human Resources' Office of Regulatory Services. But the home is not listed on the office's Web site.

Nearby residents say they've been worried about the home and its residents for a few months. On Saturday evening, they gathered at a home adjacent to the facility to talk about their concerns.

"My kids have been home by themselves all summer, and it terrified me," said Michelle Benefield, who lives next door to the personal care home. "We always make sure the doors are locked now."

Rodney Benefield, Mrs. Benefield's husband, said Mr. Eskew was often in the yard of the home, watering the grass and the flowers.

"Every time I saw him, he asked about Morgan (his 8-year-old daughter)," Mr. Benefield said.

On Friday, Mr. Benefield noticed something different: Mr. Eskew was standing in the front yard of the personal care home, holding a hose, his face flushed

"There wasn't any water coming out," Mr. Benefield said.

Staff Writer Jason B. Smith contributed to this article.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222, or valmac007@hotmail.com.