Local News

Residents oppose group home where man was stabbed

Posted February 7, 2010
Updated February 8, 2010

— Some residents of a Holly Springs neighborhood are voicing concerns after a man was stabbed Saturday at a group home. Homeowners in the Windcrest subdivision say the residents staying at Vagap Health, 229 Apple Drupe Way, are poorly supervised.

Complaints filed against Holly Springs group home Complaints filed against Holly Springs group home

Gregory Henry McClain was arrested Saturday after police said he repeatedly stabbed fellow group-home resident Stephan Abreu. Abreu, 48, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated and released from WakeMed.

McClain, 22, was charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. His arrest has residents living near the group home worried.

“Are we going to be considered a high-crime area now because of one house and because of one group of individuals?” Windcrest homeowner Richard Hughes said Sunday.

Holly Springs police have handled 17 calls for service involving Vagap Health since the home opened last December, Police Capt. Mike Bornes said. The calls included 911 hang-ups, missing person reports and suspicious activity.

Homeowner Shannon Dye and her family said they are even considering moving from the neighborhood because of problems at the group home.

“Last night, my husband did say he wanted to put the house on the market tomorrow,” Dye said.

Vagap Health owner Obi Achumba said the home, which falls under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Health and Human Services, gives people with mental illness a place to stay. He said the residents are supervised.

“The notion that we do not watch them, that we do not supervise them, is completely false,” Achumba said.

However, Achumba argues that the residents are free to leave the home.

“These gentlemen, even though they're patients, they have their rights. They can refuse their meds. They can refuse their food,” he said.

Donald Grantham, who is not affiliated with Vagap Health, owns several juvenile group homes in Raleigh. He said group homes provide a necessary service.

“It's easy to say, well we don't want these people in our communities, in our neighborhoods, and I can understand that. But, at the same time, they have to be somewhere,” said Grantham, with Omega Independent Living Services.

Nevertheless, some homeowners say they don't feel safe.

“It's not that we don't want people with mental illness across the street. We just don't want people with mental illness and criminal backgrounds,” Dye said.

Police have filed multiple complaints with DHHS contending inadequate supervision and management at the group home.

DHHS spokesman Mark Van Sciver told WRAL News on Saturday that the agency received the first complaint about Vagap Health on Jan. 14.

Investigators spent about a week in the home and determined that although there were some issues with supervision, no issue warranted suspending the facility's license. However, DHHS plans to launch another investigation after learning about Saturday's stabbing, Van Sciver said.

Police also confirmed Sunday that one of the residents who recently moved to Vagap Health is a sex offender and needs to update his registration.

Achumba said he did have two residents move in late last week, but wasn't aware of any residents being sex offenders.

McClain remained Sunday in the Wake County jail under a $1.5 million bond. According to state Department of Correction records, he served 10 months in jail last year for assault.  While at Central Prison, McClain received 24 infractions, which included threats and assaults to staff.

McClain first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.


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  • MojoGal Feb 8, 2010

    Turned the TV on late but I think I caught the tail end of a report that this home is being suspended; the owner has a certain amount of time or is losing his license.

  • thought Feb 8, 2010

    I used to be a home manager in a group home in another state. Yes, they can refuse medication or treatment- but it was our job to try to get them to do this. I had rules in the home, just like kids needs rules and structure - so do these people. There needs to be a limit how many in a home, and a 'quiet time' set. I had my clients meet with the neighbors and I had them let me know when things went wrong. I knew what was going on- what I am reading here is not acceptable.
    The home care providers do not make a lot of money- granted at least they have a job right now- but you have to be a dedicated person to do the job. I also know that when I would need assistance from the company I never got it- which is why I left. If the job is so easy here--- let me know where to sign up. I just lost my job and can do this much better than the ones there.

  • meep Feb 8, 2010

    The owner maintains the residents are properly suprervised? He did not know one of them was a sex offender! Get a clue!

  • finesse187 Feb 8, 2010

    I worked in a group home for 5 yrs. and the participants (that's what we called them) were never allowed to roam the neighborhood/streets! They had to be in our sight at all times, some had unsupervised time, an hour, maybe more (all depended on their PCP(person-centered pland), or even time to hold down a job(noone was required to go with them), but never roam the neighborhood! I think the owner is a little confused about this one!! To those who have said that the mentally ill are criminals, not all are criminals, and if there were no group homes then they would roam the streets or put in jail (which they are not equipped to deal with this population) and alot of them would be taken advantage of!! Also if one of the residents is a sex-offender it's in his files (paperwork)and should have came with him from the previous place! He's right they do have the right to refuse medication and food, but not to roam the streets at their free-will!!

  • BraveHeart Feb 8, 2010

    why not build them out in the woods?

  • mjmorton Feb 8, 2010

    according to the N&O, the town of Holly Springs is initiating steps to get this place shut down.


  • Con Amor luvs u regardless Feb 8, 2010

    The man running this group home, is probably only doing it for the time being. Just long enough for they disability checks of the residents, and the state, to pay for his new house in this high sadity neighborhood. One the house is paid for, he closed the "home" or ends his services. He gets a free house out of the deal, and the residents are left to find a new place to reside. If the 'home' is closed, and no longer funded by the state, then how will this man pay for his new house???

  • bill0 Feb 8, 2010

    The bottom line is that people with mental illness have the same rights as everyone else. You can't exclude them from neighborhoods.

    If you want better monitoring and more social programs to help them, then great. Tell your congressman that you want to raise taxes to cover this expense. If you want smaller group homes, tell your congressman to raise taxes to cover that expense. If you want to build more psych hospitals and treatment centers, great, tell your congressman to raise taxes to pay for those. However, very few people are doing that right now. They are burying their heads in the sand and hoping that mentally ill people don't happen to land in "their" neighborhood.

  • JAT Feb 8, 2010

    Rush - that would scare me to death! Weren't you scared to sleep at night?

  • RUSH_2112 Feb 8, 2010

    Back in the 80s in Raleigh, we lived next door to a "Willie M" group home. The residents were drug and crime re-habs. They would wander around outside and often come and knock on our door.