SLAUGHTER, La. (BRPROUD) — The parents of a woman who died on their couch after what appears to be years of abuse are being charged with second-degree murder.
A grand jury in East Feliciana, Louisiana made the call after looking at the evidence presented to them by the East Feliciana Parish coroner, sheriff, and district attorney.
Sheila and Clay Fletcher were arrested Monday by the East Feliciana Sheriff’s Office.
Lacey Fletcher, 36, was found dead after being left to wither away on the family’s couch for a minimum of 12 years while in the care of her parents, according to investigators. District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said the scene was gruesome.
“This case was so horrific, that the coroner and the sheriff’s office initially investigated this case in January and the conditions that she was found were just unbelievable. I mean, you don’t treat anybody or any animals like that,” said D’Aquilla.
Coroner Dr. Ewell Dewitt Bickham III said Lacey had social anxiety and severe autism. He said her cause of death painted a graphic picture.
“Severe medical neglect which led to chronic malnutrition, acute starvation, immobility, acute ulcer formation, osteomyelitis, which is a bone infection, which led to sepsis,” Dr. Bickham said.
Investigators said she was sunken into a couch that they believed she had been sitting in for years. She was covered in feces and urine and the waste was mashed in her hair and on her chest and maggots crawled on her head, according to officials.
“The last time she saw a physician of any type, or any kind was when she was sixteen years old,” said Bickham.
The team said the charge was a win for justice for Lacey and D’Aquilla hopes this case will be a warning for this type of abuse.
“I hope this indictment brings some spotlight to victims of this kind of crime,” said D’Aquilla.