PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New disturbing details emerged as police continued their investigation into the horrific discovery of the four malnourished, mentally incapacitated adults being held captive in a basement in Northeast Philadelphia.
Police say 10 people were taken into custody on Tuesday — including six children ranging in age from 2 to 19 — in connection with their case against Linda Weston and her two accomplices, Gregory Thomas and Eddie Wright.
Capt. Jack McGinnis with the Philadelphia Police Department explained, “We found out there were a number of juveniles involved in this that had traveled with them from Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Florida.”
Of the six children, one has been identified as Weston’s niece who was reported missing in 2009.
“She appears to be severely malnourished and looks like she’s probably been beaten over a large portion of her life,” Capt. McGinnis said.
Police say it doesn’t appear the children were held captive in the sub-basement, but several were found malnourished and more tests are needed to figure out who their parents are.
Two of them, however, could belong to one of Weston’s victims, Tamara Breeden.
“That’s a possibility. We’ve had some information through some interviews the two of them may be. I don’t want to say they are until we found out,” Capt. McGinnis added.
Weston, Thomas and Wright were arrested Saturday night for their involvement in the kidnapping and are facing charges of criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, criminal trespass, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and related offenses.
Four adults — three men and one woman — were found locked in a room, suffering from malnutrition in a Tacony home Saturday afternoon.
Officials say the adults, three of whom were identified as Tamara Breeden, Derwin McLemire, and Herbert Knowles, were found locked inside a room in the basement of a home in the 4700 block of Longshore Avenue, in the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia.
The victims were there for a little over a week, but their ordeal started several years ago. Police say the victims were transported from Texas to Florida and then finally confined to the basement in Northeast Philadelphia.
“What we believe is that the female suspect (Weston) was taking the mentally challenged adults that have learning disabilities and physical disabilities, we believe she was using their SSI checks and basically taking their money. It’s just really baffling that another human being could treat people this way,” said Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey added this is a very sad story where more victims are probably out there yet to be identified. At the time of her arrest, Weston was found with at least 50 identification cards and documents.
According to court documents, Weston was found guilty in 1984 for murdering her sister’s boyfriend by locking him in a closet and refusing to feed him for two months. Weston was released after serving eight years.
“This time, maybe the justice system will put her away for a long, long time because she doesn’t deserve to be out here at all,” Commissioner Ramsey said.
As of Tuesday night, no one else was charged with a crime but police say more charges are likely as their investigation is still in its infancy.
Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3
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