Authorities in Texas say a husband and wife are facing decades behind bars for holding an immigrant girl hostage for 16 years while forcing her to serve as a domestic slave.
According to the New York Post, Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure were convicted of several felony counts including forced labor on Thursday prior to sentencing in the crime that dates back to 2000.
As prosecutors described, the couple arranged for the victim to travel from her home in the Republica of Guinea to Southlake, Texas, where she was put to work around the house. She reportedly did not speak English and was not permitted to receive an education during the 16 years she lived in subhuman conditions.
In addition to calling the girl “idiot,” a “dog” and a “slave,” a federal jury heard that the defendants prevented her from seeing a doctor and physically assaulted her.
The couple reportedly raised five biological children in the same home, providing necessities to them that they withheld from the victim.
An investigation into the situation began in 2016 after the girl, aided by concerned neighbors, staged an escape of the residence.
A trial lasted four days and ended with both defendants being escorted into custody. Their defense attorney signaled they plan to appeal the decision.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband released a statement confirming the verdict.
“The defendants preyed on a young and extremely vulnerable girl,” he said. “Their despicable actions included cruelly abusing her, forcing her to work in their home, hidden in plain sight, for years without pay, and robbing her of her childhood.”
The Toures were reportedly also from the Republic of Guinea, but from wealthy and influential families. Reports indicate Mohamed Toure is the son of the African nation’s first president.
[Featured image: Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office]