PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On North 23rd Street in North Philadelphia, neighbors never suspected anything.
“I’ve been here for six years,” says Derette Ray, “and never, ever did I hear of anything like that.”
But police say a 20-year-old woman was held hostage and tortured. Police say Tamara Rhoades, 24, and Michael Rhoades, 34, lured the victim here from Pittsburgh two years ago in an online chat room. For a time, police say everyone lived here peacefully. But they say problems over the last few weeks escalated on Feb. 18th, when the suspects beat the victim, doused her in lighter fluid, and lit her on fire. Then, they made a Facebook video, forcing the victim to confess.
“I hurt myself and nobody did anything to me,” the victim says in the video. “Everything that’s happened to me I brought upon myself.”
After she put herself out, police say the suspects bought her a bus ticket and put her on a Greyhound back to Pittsburgh. In the video, the victim has bruises and burns on her face. A male voice in the background tells her to keep going.
“Talk about what you did and why we’re asking you to leave,” says the male voice.
“I started causing poblems with the family and I threatened the kids of the family,” says the victim.
The victim called police when she got back to Pittsburgh. Officers searched the house and arrested Steven Mills, 22, and a 14-year-old girl, in addition to Tamara and Michael Rhoades. Police also found another victim in the apartment who had bruises to her face and fractures. Police say she too was lured here in an online chat room.
The suspects face charges including attempted murder, false imprisonment and more. Police are still searching electronic evidence like computers and cell phones to find out if there were any more victims.
The preliminary hearing for the victims is scheduled for May 9.