A Decatur, Indiana, woman is accused of keeping two girls imprisoned in her filthy home for years, where she neglected to educate and feed them.
WANE reports that Mary Heller was charged with felony neglect after investigators found a 15- and 19-year-old girl in substandard condition. Authorities began an investigation in January, after a Decatur Police detective received a report that the two girls weren’t being fed.
An unnamed woman told police that the teens’ cousin asked her and another woman to check on the girls. She said they found the home’s windows were covered with white paper and the girl who answered the door appeared “very skinny, having a pale looking complexion, greasy long black hair, and her lips were dry and cracked,” according to an affidavit acquired by the station.
The woman took the teens to McDonald’s, where she recalled them having no clue how to order and lacking social skills. She claimed one of the girls said that she doesn’t eat much. They then went to Walmart, where one of the girls said she “always dreamed” of going to the store, the affidavit alleged.
Medics arrived at the residence a day later after Heller called 911 because she spent nearly a day stuck on the bathroom floor. The medics said the home smelled like “rotting flesh,” was littered with boxes, and had stained carpets in most rooms. They recounted one of the girls appearing “skinny and dirty” and refusing to accompany Heller to the hospital. The other girl was reportedly at a friend’s home at the time.
During her hospitalization, Heller allegedly apologized for the home’s deplorable conditions, claiming that she was too sick to clean. Though she admitted to not feeding her daughters, she denied imprisoning them in the home.
Detectives said the older girl was from China and the younger girl was from Mongolia. Child Protective Services took custody of the teens and they were enrolled in a local middle school. One of the victims claimed that Heller took them out of school in preschool and only taught them numbers and their ABCs before she stopped bothering to homeschool them.
“[She] gave up on us a long time ago.”
WANE reported that teachers said the 15-year-old “lacked the basic concept about school,” and could only do very basic math.
[Featured Image: Adams County Jail]