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SLAUGHTER, LA – Like a scene out of a horror movie, a Louisiana woman suffering from a rare medical condition was discovered dead, emaciated, covered in feces and literally “melted” into a couch, an apparent victim of extreme neglect that has her parents facing potential murder charges, authorities say.
Lacey Ellen Fletcher, 36, was afflicted with locked-in syndrome – a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the eyes – and was living in the Slaughter, Louisiana home of her parents, Sheila and Clay Fletcher, according to reports.
On the morning of January 3, Sheila called 911 from the family’s Tom Drive home, and responding officers were confronted with a nightmarish scene, accompanied by an equally gut-wrenching stench.
In what officials are calling the worst case of neglect that they have ever seen, District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said Lacey’s parents never moved their daughter from a couch, where the unfortunate paralyzed woman was forced to urinate and defecate in the same spot, possibly for years.
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“The caretakers just let her sit on the couch. She just urinated and used the bathroom on the couch. It was so horrific,” D’Aquilla said. “The question on everybody’s mind is, how could they be caretakers living in the house with her and have her get in a condition like that?”
D’Aquilla announced that he will ask a grand jury on Monday to bring second-degree murder charges against Sheila and Clay Fletcher, in light of the fact that the East Feliciana Parish coroner ruled Lacey’s death a homicide.
The coroner, Dr. Ewell Bickham, noted that Lacey had not been to a doctor in 20 years. When Lacey’s body – which only weighed 96 pounds at the time of her death – was discovered by police, she had “melted” into a hole on the couch she was seated upon, which was filled with feces and urine; her underside was covered with ulcers so severe, Bickham said, that her flesh was “rotten to the bone.”
Authorities say that Lacey’s parents claimed their daughter was “sound intellectually” up until her death.
Steven Moore, an attorney representing Sheila and Clay Fletcher, issued a statement, saying that they were in “pain” over Lacey’s death.
“They don’t want to relive the pain of losing a child through the media,” he said. “They have been through a lot of heartache over the years. Anyone who had lost a child knows what it’s like.”
If charged and convicted of second-degree murder, Sheila and Clay Fletcher face the possibility of life in prison with no parole.
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