It has been seven years since Tamara Breeden and three other disabled adults were found locked in a Philadelphia basement, but she has not forgotten how her faith sustained her throughout the nearly decade-long experience.
Linda Weston and four others kept the four in a variety of squalid conditions across several states before they were discovered by the Philadelphia Police Department in 2011. The trio gained control over the victims’ Social Security disability checks. When police arrested her, Weston possessed “at least 50 identification cards and documents.”
She recently told NBC Philadelphia of her horrid treatment at Weston’s hands but also told them how she maintained hope during the ordeal. She said, “I kept on praying to Jesus and praying to God, hope I get back home to my family.”
She detailed the pain she suffered. “She hit me with a pistol like, like a gun pistol.” Pointing to her left ear, she told the interviewers that “She hit me with a bat. She messed up my ear right here.”
Breeden, who was the only female among the captives, also gave birth to two children while Weston controlled her.
Authorities believe Weston befriended the four adults, who were all developmentally disabled, and became the chief beneficiary of their Social Security checks. When a landlord discovered the victims, one was chained to a boiler in the basement and another was forced to sleep in a cabinet under a sink. Police said they had never seen such horrific conditions and dubbed it “The Basement of Horrors.”
Police also discovered six children, including the two children born to Breeden, though authorities do not believe they were forced to live in the basement. They also found Weston’s 19-year-old niece who had been reported missing two years earlier. She was malnourished and showed signs of severe abuse.
The five defendants faced over 150 criminal charges. Weston, authorities consider to be the mastermind of the scheme, pled guilty and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
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