Entries in Basement (4)


Dungeon Leader Terrorized Own Family, Brother Claims

Linda Weston (L). (Philadelphia Police Dept)(PHILADELPHIA) -- Accused basement dungeon ring-leader Linda Weston terrorized her younger brothers and sisters, forcing them into incest and prostitution, her family said Thursday.

Linda Weston's siblings were still so frightened of her that they spoke only on the condition that their names not be revealed.

"She would force my younger brothers and sisters to have sex. She would have sex with my other brothers and sisters," a brother told ABC News affiliate WPVI. "She said, 'Look, make them have babies, we can get more money.' It could be a brother or sister in her care."

Weston, 51, is charged with being the ring-leader in a kidnapping and illegal imprisonment case for locking four mentally handicapped adults in a basement with no food or bathrooms, beating and torturing a niece of hers whom she kept locked in the closet, and stealing the identities of more than 50 people.

Family members told WPVI that it was the first time they had all been together in over 20 years after breaking free from the control of their sister.

"By calling her evil is speaking nice of her," the brother said.

The family says they did not go to police because they were in fear of their sister.

"We were beyond terrified. We knew what she was capable of doing, so we never challenged any of it," a brother said.

Also charged with the basement dungeon crimes are Weston's daughter Jean McIntire, 39, Weston's boyfriend, Thomas Gregory, 47, and Eddie Wright, 49.

Philadelphia police said they are working to identify other possible victims of Weston's schemes.

They are also investigating whether Weston forced the mentally handicapped victims in the basement to have sex with one another, which produced two children, ages 2 and 5. Police said the 2-year-old was so malnourished it had the appearance of a 6-month-old.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Girl in Dungeon Basement Case Held 10 Years, Tortured by Captors

Philadelphia Police Department(PHILADELPHIA) -- A 19-year-old girl who has been missing for 10 years has been found with open wounds, burn marks, scars and broken bones by police investigating the alleged basement dungeon and kidnapping ring in Philadelphia.

Beatrice Weston, who was taken at the age of 8 by accused dungeon ringleader Linda Weston, is now in a Philadelphia hospital recovering from the ongoing cruelty and torture by her captors, according to Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers. Linda Weston is the girl's aunt, and police said she took her niece after a family feud with her sister, Vicki Weston.

The girl was found two days after police uncovered a basement dungeon in which four mentally handicapped adults were held against their will. Police have arrested and charged Linda Weston, 51, her daughter Jean McIntosh, 32, Weston's boyfriend Thomas Gregory, 47, and Eddie Wright, 49, with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and other related charges.

Police pleaded with media to let the girl heal in privacy at the hospital.

"This girl was beaten, tortured, absolutely the worst thing you can see one person do to another," said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

Evers said Wednesday after finding the girl that he would be happy to see the four prosecuted wherever the punishments would be the harshest.

"We're going to prepare to prosecute this here or, without hyperbole, wherever the prisons are going to be the worst. Federal prisons might be too nice," he said. "I've never seen anything like this before on a living person, that kind of cruelty over and over again. No penalty is too harsh to the people that did this, absolutely no penalty," Evers said.

The lieutenant said the girl's torture in the "house of horrors" included signs of a spoon being heated and then burned into her skin. She had fractured bones that healed over incorrectly, and bones in her ankles showed the effects of being shot repeatedly with something like a pellet gun, he said. There are open wounds on her head, which she had covered with a hood when police found her. She had scars over her face, arms and legs, he said.

Police found Beatrice Weston among a group of 10 children and teens who were located Tuesday after Florida police tipped off Philadelphia cops that there may be more victims and that Weston had been living with at least seven children in her last home in West Palm Beach, Fla..

Police also took six children into protective custody, two of whom were the children of a mentally handicapped couple who were held captive by Weston for years, police said. The children, ages 2 and 5, were severely malnourished. Evers noted that the 2-year-old girl looked like a 6-month-old baby when she was found.

Police are trying to identify the rest of the group, including three other young adults and four other children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Missing Girl Linked to Philly Basement Dungeon

ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) -- A Florida teenager who ran away to be with her boyfriend in Philadelphia was found by police investigating a basement dungeon in which four mentally handicapped adults were being imprisoned, according to police.

Benita Rodriguez, 15, was reported missing in July from her West Palm Beach home. She traveled to Philadelphia to be with her boyfriend, Gregory Thomas Jr., whom she met when they were neighbors in Florida, police said.

Police said they are not certain yet whether Rodriguez knew about the alleged kidnapping and imprisonment operation in the Thomas home, but suspect that she may have just been "hanging out."

The teenager was located by police Monday night and her mother was notified, according to ABC News affiliate WPVI.

"I just want to hold her and love her," Juana Rodriguez, the girl's mother, told WPVI. "I can breathe, I can breathe. She's doing good, she's okay."

The age of her boyfriend was not immediately available.

The boyfriend's father, Gregory Thomas, Sr., 47, is accused of having helped to traffic the imprisoned individuals from Florida to Philadelphia with his girlfriend, Linda Weston, 51, the suspected ringleader in the case.

Police have said that Weston and Thomas, with the help of a third man, Eddie Wright, may have stolen the identities and Social Security checks of at least 50 people whose documents they found inside the home where Weston and Thomas were living.

Possible victims include individuals from Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Kansas and Florida, they said.

Police say that Weston, who was previously sentenced to eight years in prison for locking a man in a closet until he died of starvation, may have begun trafficking and stealing identification documents shortly after being released from prison, police said. Authorities expect the investigation to uncover many more victims and a widespread fraud scheme.

The victims that were discovered in the Philadelphia basement have been identified as Herbert Knowles, 40, Tamara Breeden, 29, and Derwin McLemire, 41. A fourth man's name has not been released.

The victims are being treated at Philadelphia hospitals while their families are notified that they have been found, police said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mentally Disabled Adults Found Locked in Basement; Three Charged

Linda Ann Weston, Thomas Gregory and Eddie Wright were arrested for their involvement in kidnapping of four mentally challenged adults. Philadelphia Police Department(PHILADELPHIA) -- Four mentally disabled adults, with the estimated mental capacity of 10-year-olds, were found chained to a boiler in a Philadelphia apartment house basement, reeking of excrement from the bucket they were forced to use, police said Sunday.

Linda Ann Weston, 51, and Thomas Gregory, 47, both of Philadelphia, and Eddie Wright, 49, a homeless man from Texas, all face multiple charges in a case that is also being investigated by police in Texas and Florida.

"Criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, trespassing, kidnapping, simple assault, reckless endangerment of persons, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment," are the initial charges, Philadelphia Police Department spokeswoman Officer Tanya Little said. "As the investigation goes on, there may be more charges added."

Investigators believe the four disabled adults, aged 29, 31, 35 and 41, were transported from Texas, through Florida and then to Philadelphia, Little said.

The four, who appeared to be malnourished while locked in the basement, were examined at Frankford South Hospital for and listed in stable condition.

"They were able to communicate that they do know all parties that were withholding them from the outside world," Little said. "One -- the 31-year-old -- may have been with them for a while. It may be Linda's child. She may just be a caregiver. But he said, 'My mom brought us from Florida to Philadelphia.'"

The investigation is ongoing and a city agency serving the disabled has taken the four adults into its care.

The four, who were believed to have been brought to Philadelphia roughly 10 days ago, were discovered by the owner of the two-story, multi-unit apartment house on Longshore Avenue in northeast Philadelphia.

As the man cleared what he said was an unusual amount of trash from his rental property, he also noticed light bulbs and other basic supplies missing from one of the apartments and the locked basement door, the police spokeswoman said.

"He heard dogs barking and took it upon himself to look further and, to his surprise," Little said, "this is the outcome."

Two adult children of Weston's who lived in the house were not arrested.

"They weren't aware of what was going on," Little said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio