Linda Ann Weston, the ringleader in kidnapping and torturing mentally disabled individuals for her own personal gain, was charged, along with her associates, with 196 criminal charges by a federal grand jury in 2013. The victims were found by the police in the basement of a home in Philadelphia, now known as the Basement of Horror. According to police reports, when they entered the basement they found a mentally ill man chained to a furnace, and three other adults hiding under filthy blankets and rags. They also discovered eight children in Weston’s upstairs apartment. According to police reports, all of the victims were held against their will in order to make money for Weston and her associates. All of the victims showed signs of abuse and neglect at the hand of Weston and her associates.
Linda Ann Weston’s associates included; her daughter, Jean McIntosh, Eddie Wright, and Gregor Thomas. They were all working together to cash government checks intended for the victims. The group approached the victims pretending to be their friends, intimate partners, or mother/father figures in order to gain their trust. After the trust was won then Weston would persuade the victims to make her their legal representative payee. She would then claim the money that was intended for the victims and use it for her own needs. According to reports, from 2001 to 2011, Weston and her associates stole $225, 000 from Social Security checks.
When the police first discovered Weston’s Basement of Horror there were four adult victims being held in captivity: Tamara Breeden, Derwin McLemire, Hebert Knowles, and Edwin Sanabaris. The victims ranged in age from late 20s to early 40s. It was later discovered that Beatrice Weston, Weston’s niece, was also held captive. According to reports, the victims stated that they were beaten, shot with pellet guns, starved, and even forced to drink their own urine. It is also stated that Weston forced her female captives to become pregnant, and give birth, and then she would snatch the children from the women. The youngest child rescued was two years old.
Beatrice Weston, at age 10 years old, was placed with her aunt (Linda Ann Weston) by Human Services in 2002. According to reports Beatrice was mistreated just like the other victims. She was burnt with heated spoons and shot with pellet guns. It was also mentioned that Beatrice was made to prostitute by her aunt.
Weston was later sentenced to life plus 80 years, in September 2015, after admitting to all 196 federal counts against her.