4 Mentally Ill Adults Found Chained in Philly Basement

3 charged, including woman who previously starved man to death
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2011 11:13 AM CDT
4 Mentally Ill Adults Found Chained in Philly Basement
A police vehicle is parked in front of an apartment building Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Philadelphia. Police say four mentally disabled adults were chained in the sub-basement of the building.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Three people have been charged with kidnapping and other offenses after four mentally challenged adults were found chained and starving in the sub-basement of a Philadelphia apartment building. The building's landlord discovered the prisoners on Saturday, lying in their own filth in a 10-by-15-foot room, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. All were malnourished and looked like "they did not know what world they were living [in]," he says. "It was terrible. Something I never expected to see in my life."

The alleged kidnappers arrived in the apartment around Oct. 3, but police said they’ve had the victims for much longer—they reportedly lived in Texas then spent 18 months in West Palm Beach before being driven to Philly; it's unclear if they were imprisoned during that entire time, reports the Inquirer. Their scheme appears to have been to collect the captives’ Social Security checks. The gang’s alleged ringleader, Linda Ann Weston, 51, previously served eight years in prison for starving a man to death in her closet. Her daughter and son live in the building where the three men and woman, ages 29 to 41, were found. (Read more Philadelphia stories.)

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