Crime & Courts

Elderly Midlands man bound and battered before dying, son and daughter-in-law charged

Donald Ralph Chewning and Kathy Laine Chewning
Donald Ralph Chewning and Kathy Laine Chewning

An elderly Midlands man was bound and battered before dying, and his son and daughter-in-law have been arrested by SLED and charged in the death.

Donald Ralph Chewning, 51, and Kathy Laine Chewning, 48, have been charged with Abuse or Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult Resulting in Death in in connection to Donald’s father – James Boyd Chewning, according to an affidavit.

The charge is a felony which carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, according SLED agent Thom Berry, who said James Chewning was believed to be in his late 70s.

The affidavit says Donald and Kathy Chewning knowingly and willfully abused and neglected Donald’s father, who lived in their home. That abuse included James Chewning being battered, restrained to a bed with zip ties. Rags and duct tape were used to cover the father’s mouth and eyes.

An official cause of death hasn’t been determined by the Saluda County Coroner’s Office.

Donald and Kathy Chewning were booked at the Saluda Detention Center and will be prosecuted by the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

The case was investigated by SLED at the request of the Saluda Police Department. SLED has a Vulnerable Adult Investigations unit.