MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Surveillance video shows a group home resident making his way inside a neighbor’s house. Many in the south Miami-Dade County neighborhood said the group home is raising safety concerns.
The video shows a man, who was shaking profusely, knocking on the front door of a home in the area of Southwest 325th Street. Omar Chargui said his wife opened the door because she thought the man was there to deliver a package. It was a group home resident, and he broke into their home.
“My wife starts yelling frantically. I’m coming out of the shower. She barges into the room and says, ‘There is a man! There is a man! A stranger in the house!’ My heart drops,” Chargui said. “All types of images come through my mind. I open the bedroom door. I see the man right there.”
Chargui, a corrections officer, said he decided to grab his weapon. He said he observed the intruder and realized he had mental health issues. The man asked Chargui to call the police. Chargui said he promised to get him help and escorted him to the door.
“He kept on spitting, and then he ran off,” Chargui said.
Chargui said the man was hospitalized under the Baker Act, but days later he was back on the block and in the group home. Chargui later learned that among the group home’s residents were sexual predators and convicted felons.
The group home, which is licensed by state of Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities, is under investigation. A representative from the agency reported four residents live in the group home. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, two of them are registered sex offenders.
Chargui isn’t the only one with a story to tell. Other neighbors of the group home said the residents walk around unsupervised, so parents have decided not to allow their children to play outside. Some of the neighbors said they live in fear.
Tyrome Burton said some neighbors were proactive and distributed and displayed flyers showing the group home’s residents’ background.
“These guys would come around and tear them down, and be mad, and you’d see them come around and look for the flyers,” Burton said. “There are no worries in this neighborhood other than that house.”
No one at the group home talked to Local 10 News. Records show Eartha Mays, who is also known as Eartha Fagan, is the owner/operator of the group home. Mays owns the Angel Heart Support Services company and she is licensed for five group homes.
“I will not be responding to anyone,” Mays wrote in an e-mail.
According to an administrative complaint from 2019, the Florida Department of Children and Families found that Mays committed financial exploitation by improperly using residents’ funds. She reached a settlement in that case. Court records show Mays is facing a lawsuit for wrongful death after a resident at one of her other group homes was found shot to death in 2019.
Miami-Dade’s Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources determined the group home meets the zoning and code requirements.