House of Horrors: Walt

A House of Horrors
News agencies report, “Police found four mentally challenged adults, a female and three males, emaciated, bruised and held captive inside a boiler room the size of a bedroom. Officials say it was the handyman for the apartment building who discovered the adults living in deplorable conditions.”

“Investigators suspect the abuse went far beyond the sub-basement — They brought in eight children and four adults,” a reporter says. “Police now believe three of the four victims may have been held for as long as six years; the suspects pocketing their Social Security earnings.”

Linda Weston, 51, along with her boyfriend, Gregory Thomas, 47, and Eddie Wright, 50, are charged with kidnapping, assault, false imprisonment and other counts. Weston’s daughter has also been charged for allegedly imprisoning a relative in the same apartment building.

One of the victims, Tamara Breeden, tells reporters that Weston is the one responsible. “She hit me with a bat in her hand and all this was all bleeding and everything,” she says, indicating her head. “And she did this to me too.” Tamara lifts her upper lip, showing missing teeth. “Linda Weston hit me with a bat.”

Police say the investigation that began in Pennsylvania now stretches to Virginia, Texas and Florida. In 2008, a woman in Virginia was found dead. It is believed that she was held by the three suspects, while they stole her Social Security earnings. And sources say before the victims were allegedly imprisoned in Philadelphia, they were kept in the attic of a home in Texas, where Tamara Breeden says she gave birth to a baby girl. She says she also gave birth to a baby boy after they moved to a home in Florida.

[AD]Sources allege that Linda was forcing these mentally handicapped people to have sex, essentially breeding them as a means of Social Security fraud.

News reports say, “The sources indicate there are no records [Tamara Breeden] received any medical or hospital care during either pregnancy or birth. The alleged ring leader, Linda Weston, police say, is suspected of changing the names of both of Breeden’s children in order to receive financial benefits.”

Police say their top priorities in this growing investigation are getting proper care for Tamara’s two children and finding any other victims still missing.Joining Dr. Phil via satellite from Philadelphia, in front of the “house of horrors,” is CBS 3 Eyewitness News reporter Walt Hunter.

Walt says the preliminary mental competency hearing for the suspects took place that morning. “It does appear at this point that one of the suspects, the main suspect, the alleged ringleader, Linda Weston, most likely will have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation; two male alleged accomplices, perhaps not. Everything is going to be moving forward now to a preliminary hearing date in December. Dr. Phil, that is when the prosecution will take the majority of their evidence, put it out publicly and attempt to have these three, and a fourth suspect also, held for trial and hoping to get the judicial system moving forward,” he says. “The day after the arrest, Dr. Phil, the Philadelphia Daily News here ran a one-word headline with Weston’s picture on the front page. It read simply ‘Monster’ and there are very few people right now in this city knowing what they know that would disagree with that headline.”

Dr. Phil asks, “Do we have any idea how long they had been there, and how did this go down from the beginning?”

Walt says police believe the victims were being held in the 15 by 15 room for about two-and-a-half weeks. It was a dog bowl that a janitor noticed and investigated. “When he brought down a flashlight, he looked into their faces, saw the victims that had been in the basement and immediately called police,” he says.

Dr. Phil notes that the victims had allegedly been missing for a number of years. “Was there any family looking for these people? Were they registered as missing anywhere? Had these people just fallen through the cracks? How do four people just go off the radar and nobody says anything?” he asks.

“Lots of holes in the safety net here, Dr. Phil,” Walt says. “Lots of holes.”

Dr. Phil asks, “Was she or was she not spending eight years in prison previously for keeping someone captive in a very similar fashion and starving him to death?”

“Convicted, Dr. Phil, of slowly and agonizingly starving to death for two months the boyfriend of her sister,” he says. “Both she and her sister did terms for murder before Weston was paroled. She violated that parole several times, according to court records, but was never put back behind bars, so sooner or later; she’s back on the street.

[AD]"Keep in mind, that while this man was being slowly and agonizingly murdered in this closet by Weston and her sister, children tried to go help him. They tried to slip food under the door to the dying man, and when one of them was caught, according to an account in a local newspaper, Weston broke her sibling’s toes as a penalty for doing that, and then when the man finally died, one of the siblings was tasked with taking the body out and disposing of it. That was the beginning of the horrors, and there are horrors that continue right through this day, and there are horrors that we don’t even know about yet,” Walt says.