When Philadelphia police liberated four mentally disabled adults Saturday from the Tacony "dungeon" that became their last stop on a cross-country odyssey of alleged abuse, 19-year-old Beatrice Weston was upstairs.
In a locked closet.
Police said Wednesday that Weston, 19, the niece of the accused mastermind of a kidnapping and social security fraud scheme, remained tucked in an apartment closet at 4724 Longshore Avenue Saturday while police tried to sort out what they found downstairs.
There, officers were trying to determine how four intellectually disabled adults ended up locked in a subbasement, one of them chained to a boiler.
Beatrice Weston was later moved from the closet to another location, avoiding detection. Police found her in Frankford on Wednesday and took her into protective custody, investigators said.
Since that time, police have taken into protective custody eight children who apparently were under the care of Linda Ann Weston, who is being held by police on kidnapping and assault charges, along with two other men. Police are also interviewing at least three other teenagers with ties to the group.
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey Wednesday described horrific abuse suffered by Beatrice Weston, Linda Weston's niece.
Ramsey said he had never seen such signs of abuse on a living person, with signs of pellet gun wounds and burns from a heated spoon. Beatrice Weston has been reported missing since she was 8, said Lt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman.
Beatrice Weston was part of some kind of feud between Linda Ann Weston and Beatrice's mother, Vicky Weston, Evers said.
Police believe two of the eight children taken in by police, a boy and girl ages 5 and 2, were born to Tamara Breeden, one of the four people found locked in the Tacony basement. The children's father is one of the other victims, police said.
Mayor Nutter described the case as an "an incredibly tangled web of horror."
Police described a tense scramble to find and identify the children traveling with Linda Ann Weston after police in West Palm Beach, Fla., alerted them that she had children in her care. Weston left West Palm Beach suddenly in early October and arrived in Philadelphia around Oct. 3, police said.
She was accompanied by two men who were arrested with her on Saturday - Gregory Thomas, described as Linda Ann Weston's boyfriend, and Eddie Wright, a self-described "reverend."
Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or email@example.com.