By LYDIA WARREN
PUBLISHED: 10:35 EST, 21 August 2012 | UPDATED: 11:01 EST, 21 August 2012
- Linda Ann Weston awarded custody of her niece Beatrice Weston, then 10, when her mother could no longer care for her
- Aunt ‘locked her in a cupboard, beat her, burned her skin, made her drink her own urine and forced her into prostitution’
- Beatrice, then 19, was found last year when police discovered four mentally disabled adults ‘locked up by her aunt in the basement’
- Beatrice now suing city of Philadelphia for failing to prevent abuse
- Her aunt had served eight years in prison for starving man to death
- City ‘carried out no checks at the home and ignored complaints’
A 20-year-old woman who was beaten and held captive in a cupboard for a decade by her aunt – a convicted killer – is suing the city of Philadelphia for failing to prevent the horrifying ordeal.
Beatrice Weston claims the city failed to properly train its care workers, resulting in her being given to her aunt, who had served eight years behind bars for starving her sister’s boyfriend to death in 1981.
Weston was allegedly beaten with a baseball bat, forced to consume her own urine, held in a tiny closet and prostituted in the 10 years she was in the custody of her aunt, Linda Ann Weston.
The cruel conditions were discovered last October when four mentally-disabled adults were found in the dank, cramped basement of an apartment building where her aunt lived.
Victim: Beatrice Weston is pictured in October after she was rescued from her aunt’s home, where she was allegedly locked up for 10 years. She is now suing the city for failing to prevent the abuse
Accused: She says authorities should not have placed her in the care of her aunt, Linda Weston (pictured) as she had served eight years in prison for starving a man to death in 1981 (mug shot, right)
The elder Weston and three others – including her daughter – were arrested, accused of holding the victims captive in order to claim on their Social Security checks.
The abuse came even though Linda Weston had served eight years in prison after her first victim, Bernardo Ramos, ‘was held captive for an extended period of time, locked in a closet and literally starved to death’, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
Beatrice Weston’s complaint says the city of Philadelphia failed to release information about the aunt’s criminal history in 2002, after her mother said she could not care for her.
Workers failed to carry out home investigations or arrange for health evaluations of Beatrice, according to the lawsuit, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Dank: Weston is also accused of locking up four mentally disabled adults in the basement of her building
Cruel: The victims were found hiding under blankets and chained to walls last October by the landlord
It also names two other defendants, Nefertiti Savoy, a former social worker with the Department of Human Services, and Richard Ames, an attorney who recommended Weston be given to her aunt.
‘Beatrice Weston was forcibly prostituted by Linda Ann Weston and was regularly beaten, starved, and denied medical and dental care, as well as schooling,’ the lawsuit states.
‘During these 10 years, the City of Philadelphia received numerous complaints that Linda Ann Weston was holding children captive in her basement.’
The suit seeks damages for her anguish, payment for her medical and therapy expenses, and compensation for loss of past and future earnings, the Inquirer reported.
‘Jurors are going to have to fix a value on every day, every month, every year that she was imprisoned,’ her attorney Shanin Specter said. ‘There’s no amount of money that’s fair.’
Lair: Police officers show the basement where the four adults were kept so the suspects could take their Social Security checks. Beatrice Weston was locked in a cupboard upstairs
Killer: Linda Weston had been imprisoned for locking up her sister’s boyfriend and starving him to death
Horrifying: Sgt. Joseph Green stands in the basement room where the victims were forced to urinate and bathe in a bucket for 10 days. Beatrice Weston said she was locked up for 10 years
She added that Weston is planning to go to school later this year.
Linda Weston’s attorney told CNN she had not seen the complaint and would likely not be representing her in any civil hearing.
Sick: Beatrice’s cousin Jean McIntosh allegedly taunted her through the cupboard door
She faces a trial in January on charges of kidnapping, assault, conspiracy, false imprisonment and other related counts to holding the four adults captive.
Last January, Beatrice Weston explained she had been held captive since she was 10 and starved, beaten and forced into prostitution by her aunt and cousin, Jean McIntosh.
She said she was locked inside a closet inside an apartment in the same building where the adults were found in the basement. She huddled on the floor under the shelves, she said.
‘I knew it was morning because light came through the window and the crack under the door,’ she said, adding that she was only allowed out once a day. ‘Sometimes I got food, I think once a day.’
She added that her cousin taunted her, saying through the door: ‘Don’t you wish that you was out of that closet taking a hot shower like me?’
When she was found, police noted she had pellet gun wounds and burn marks, suggesting she was scolded with a hot spoon.
‘She is in very, very poor condition,’ Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Ray Evers said at the time. ‘She has lost a lot of weight. She has newer injuries, definitely some older injuries, a lot of scarring.’
The four mentally disabled adults – Edwin Sanabria, Herbert Knowles, Tamara Breeden and Derwin McLemire – were found locked in the room with no food and only a bucket for a toilet and a bath.
Caught: Gregory Thomas, left, and Eddie Wright were also arrested in the Social Security check scheme
Freed: Three of the victims speak out after the horrifying ordeal last October
Their plight was discovered when the building’s landlord, Turgut Gozleveli, came across two dog bowls in the apartment block, even though pets were not allowed.
He asked all the tenants if they had any animals and, when they said no, he searched the basement for pets – but instead came across the starving victims hiding under quilts and chained to the walls.
Police reports noted the pitch-black, 13-by-7 foot space reeked of urine and feces. Rags and tatty were scatted throughout the tiny room, which housed an old boiler.
‘I used the bucket to go to the bathroom. Others used the same bucket,’ Sanabria testified in January. He added that for a bath, they ‘used the same bucket we used to urinate in’.
McIntosh, 32, and Linda Weston, 51, were arrested. Her boyfriend, Gregory Thomas, 47, and Eddie Wright, 50, were also charged with taking Social Security checks. They go on trial in January.