In a news story that’s making waves around the world, a fourth person has been arrested for her connection to a scheme in which four mentally disabled adults were locked in a squalid basement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while their captors cashed their Social Security Disability checks.
On Wednesday authorities arrested a 32-year-old woman who is believed to be the daughter of the alleged ringleader, a 51-year-old convicted murder who was convicted in the starvation death of a man nearly 30 years ago.
The victims, weak and malnourished, were discovered by a landlord on Saturday after he heard dogs barking. The door to the basement was chained shut, but the landlord got in and, according to the Associated Press, he lifted a pile of blankets and found several pairs of eyes looking back at him. He also found a male chained to a boiler.
The victims include a 41-year-old North Carolina man, a 40-year-old Virginia man, a 29-year-old woman, and a 31-year-old man, both from Philadelphia.
On Tuesday police also took 10 young adults and juveniles (aged 2 – 19) into custody from the house and put them into protective custody. The 19-year-old was found malnourished and with signs of abuse. Authorities believe that many of the young people are related to the ringleader and her family members. They are doing DNA tests and obtaining birth certificates to determine if there’s any relation.
The Associated Press reports that the mentally disabled victims may have been imprisoned for years and that police missed several opportunities over the last few years to find these missing people.
How do you think these criminals got away with cashing these people’s Social Security Disability checks for so long?
If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.