Kenosha woman found chained in filth; relatives charged
January 5, 2010 11:07 AM | UPDATED STORY
A former Chicago woman and her son have been charged after Kenosha police found the woman's 38-year-old daughter--who has the intellectual capacity of a child--at the family home disfigured from neglect, covered in her own excrement and chained to a weight bench.
Sally M. Adams, 56, and her son, Ernest Claiborne, 34, were arrested in their home in the 1300 block of 69th Street in Kenosha on Saturday. Police went there after the father of Adams' grandson complained to authorities that Adams had barred him from seeing his 2-year-old son since September and that Adams' own daughter might be neglected and chained to furniture in a filthy house, according to criminal complaints filed Monday.
Adams and Claiborne both face charges of felony false imprisonment, abuse of a person at risk and reckless endangerment in connection to their alleged treatment of the woman who is Adams' daughter and Claiborne's sister. Claiborne also faces a misdemeanor child neglect charge related to his treatment of the 2-year-old.
According to criminal complaints, the defendants both told police that the allegedly abused woman has the mental capacity of a 5-year-old.
Adams and Claiborne were both being held in Kenosha County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail, according to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.
A Kenosha police officer went to Adams' and Claiborne's home about 4:45 p.m. Saturday in response to the child-abuse complaint from the boy's father. A 13-year-old boy answered the door, and Claiborne allowed the officer to come in to check on the boy's well-being, according to the complaints.
Inside, the officer found a home in "complete disarray" with "an odor of urine and faces so strong he nearly vomited," according to the complaints.
The officer found the 2-year-old boy in a small, dark bedroom, strapped in a car seat on top of a mattress. There was no food in the house suitable for the boy, the complaints said.
In the dining room, the officer found Adams' 38-year-old daughter lying on the floor and chained by her left ankle to a weight bench. The woman, who was shivering and wearing only a T-shirt, was covered in urine and feces, lying next to a similarly rank blanket, police said.
The woman, who was unable to communicate with police, weighed between 60 and 70 pounds, according to the complaints. She could not straighten her legs, stand or walk.
Claiborne told officers he didn't know where the key to the chain on the woman's leg was, and said she had been chained to the weight bench because she otherwise would leave the house and get lost, police said.
The 13-year-old who answered the door told police he had known Adams and Claiborne about 3 years, and that she had chained that whole time. He said she was only unchained "once in a while" to be cleaned, the complaints state.
In a later police interview, Claiborne claimed he had been planning on taking a nap about 4 p.m. Saturday, and that his sister had been chained because his mother had gone shopping.
He said he had not taken her to the bathroom or fed her Saturday.
Claiborne explained he had put the 2-year-old in the car seat so the boy would not disturb him as he napped.
Kenosha Fire Rescue had to cut the chain to free the woman. When she was being taken to Kenosha Hospital, police found she had ligature marks on her ankle, as well as 10 to 15 marks on her back, according to the complaints.
In statements to police after she returned to her home and as she was taken to the police station, Adams denied knowing who had chained up her daughter, but echoed her son's statement that her daughter was intellectually disabled and would run off if not chained.
Adams told police her daughter could use the bathroom herself "if she remembers," and could feed herself and talk. But she said she gave her over-the-counter sleeping pills to keep her from leaving the house, the complaints state.
The father of the boy told police that between 1999 and 2006, when Adams and her daughter lived in Chicago, he frequently visited their home and saw the daughter walking and using the bathroom, the complaints state.
Adams had in the past locked the doors to keep her daughter from leaving home, but the father told police he had only heard second-hand before Saturday about the daughter being chained up.
Adams and Claiborne were scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Jan. 12 in Kenosha County Circuit Court before Judge Carl Greco.
Defendant: Sally M. Adams
( Kenosha, Wis., Police Department photo / January 5, 2010 )
Defendant: Ernest Claiborne
(Kenosha, Wis., Police Department photo / January 5, 2010)
Defendant: Sally M. Adams( Kenosha, Wis., Police Department photo / January 5, 2010 )
Defendant: Ernest Claiborne(Kenosha, Wis., Police Department photo / January 5, 2010)
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