Mentally disabled mother, child held captive in Ohio

June 19, 2013 7:07:47 AM PDT
A mentally disabled woman charged with shoplifting a candy bar asked to be jailed because three people "had been mean to her" -- then went on to tell authorities about her time spent in unfathomably cruel servitude, along with her young daughter, at the hands of three people, authorities said Tuesday.

On several occasions, according to an FBI affidavit, the suspects injured her and ordered her to go to an emergency room for pain medication they would then take for themselves.

The 29-year-old woman was forced to do housework under the threat of harm to her and her child by her captors' pet python or pit bulls, authorities allege, and a menagerie of snakes was put in the terrified 5-year-old's face until she cried.

Authorities announced federal charges Tuesday against three people they say invited the woman and her child to live with them in their blue-collar Ashland neighborhood of older two-story houses. Beginning in early 2011, they forced the mother to cooperate with them by threats and physical abuse, authorities said.

The woman and her daughter were freed in October after police investigated an abuse allegation one of the suspects made against her, authorities said, and they are doing well.

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