Exclusive: Family recalls living with 'dungeon' suspect
PHILADELPHIA - October 20, 2011 (WPVI) -- A mentally challenged man chained to a basement boiler. A disabled woman with her teeth knocked out. A malnourished niece with burn marks and pellet gun wounds. A two-year-old child the weight of an infant.
These are the some of the victims emerging as police investigate a ring that allegedly took in the downtrodden and disabled for their Social Security checks, then held them captive in wretched conditions, without enough to eat or drink.
On Wednesday evening, the brothers, sisters, and other relatives of alleged ringleader Linda Weston called it an historic reunion when they agreed to get together for the first time in years for an Action News interview.
"So many years we haven't been together at all, about 20 years," one sister said.
They described a home of incest, drugs, and evil.
Their mother died when they were just young children and soon Linda Weston took over the household.
"We used to get beatings all of the time, we used to have clean up the house, scrub the walls," another sister said.
They say she would beat and force family members to have sex with one another for the purpose of having babies to collect government checks.
"She would force my younger brothers and sisters to have sex; she would have sex with my other brothers and sisters," a brother told Action News earlier in the day. "She said, 'look, make them have babies, we can get more money.' It could be a brother or sister in her care."
One sister tells Action News when she was 11, Linda forced her to go out on the streets and seek out older men to have sex with for money.
One brother said Linda would kidnap his relatives and move them from place to place around the city. She also preyed on the mentally challenged.
Four were found inside a dark subbasement dungeon in Tacony Saturday, launching a case that seemingly has no end.
The brother says he saw more than one mentally handicapped adult sexually abused.
Police believe one of the mentally challenged victims found last weekend fathered at least two children as her alleged captors moved across the country from Texas to Florida back to here.
Police say DNA tests will have to be conducted to unravel the web of names and missing people Linda Weston may be linked.
"By calling her evil is speaking nice of her," the brother said.
They told a story of Weston keeping people under the stairs.
One day, Linda Ann Weston's siblings received a strange call from one of Weston's own sons, Eddie, saying he had been drugged by his mother.
"She tied her own son up and put him in the basement," a sister of Linda said.
"He called me, he said, 'I need to get out of here, she got me a little drugged and there're people down here,'" a brother of Linda said.
One of Weston's brothers would then go to the house to find out what was going on when suddenly, a lady came up from the basement.
"There was a girl. She must have been about 40 years of age, we were standing in [Linda] Ann's kitchen, she came up to the top of the steps and she said, 'Mom, can I eat?' And Linda turned around and smacked her in the head with something and said, 'Get back down the steps, get back down the steps'. Then two days later, they were gone," a brother said.
The siblings say they called police to alert them and they did go to the house.
"They say they could not get inside the house. If no one comes to the door, nobody answers the door, they don't hear anything, and they're not going to do anything," a sister said.
The siblings say trying to escape her wretched wrath would prove difficult because among other things, she would spike their Kool-Aid and other drinks with powerful narcotics to make them lose control. "And you never get out, you never get out, once you're in, you never get out," a brother said.
The family says they were in fear of their sister.
"We were beyond terrified. We knew what she was capable of doing, so we never challenged any of it," a brother said.
Weston was tried and convicted in the 1981 killing of Bernardo Ramos.
"She grabbed the hammer, and he turned to leave out, and she whacked him in the back of the head; first, it missed him and hit him in the shoulder and she hit him again and she told us 'get back,'" the brother said.
Weston locked Ramos in a closet until he starved to death.
Her brother was only 10 at the time. He says he watched as Weston placed bags around the body, put it in a shopping cart, and ordered him and a sibling to dispose it.
"She told me and my brother, 'get dressed, roll it down the street, the first time you see an old house, dump it.' So we were scared," the brother said.
Then as adults, Linda would allegedly kidnap one of her sister's daughters, Beatrice, when she was just 8 years old.
Now at age 19, Beatrice and six children were liberated by police Tuesday.
Authorities say she had been terribly beaten and abused and now is in a medical facility.
The mother hopes she is reunited with Beatrice soon.
Action News tried to reaching Linda Weston's attorney to no avail.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, human trafficking, tacony, kidnapping, florida, missing children, missing person, crime
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