Teen held for years in Ill. home knew her captor socially, police say
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. - A St. Louis teenager held captive in a house for more than three years before escaping with a relative's help initially went there voluntarily but wasn't allowed to leave when she wanted to go home, police in Illinois said Friday.
Washington Park Police Chief David Clark said the 19-year-old St. Louis woman bolted from the home Monday and told investigators her time in captivity included almost daily beatings and sexual assaults. One of those attacks resulted in a now-2-year-old boy rescued when a police SWAT team raided the home Thursday and arrested a 25-year-old man and his mother, Clark said.
No charges have been filed in the case. Clark wouldn't publicly identify the suspect, his mother or the teenager, citing the ongoing investigation.
He said investigators planned to have the child's DNA tested to determine whether the alleged captor is the father.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, the county's top prosecutor, told The Associated Press on Friday that conditions in the home were "definitely deplorable."
Initial evidence suggests that "some of the details are consistent with what the young lady is saying, and I think there's something to it." he said. "We're still trying to figure out what the heck is going on."
Clark said the teenager met the man socially "through someone else when they were partying, and a relationship built," eventually leading to her visit of his home about the time she was reported missing.
"When she (soon) decided to go back to her parents, he wouldn't allow it," Clark said.
He said the man's mother helped detain the young woman and helped falsify medical records when she bore her son in the first year of her captivity. The teen told investigators the man and his mother coerced her into using a false name when giving birth to conceal that she was under-aged, Clark said.
Police say the young woman told them she repeatedly tried to escape the house, which is on Washington Park's busiest street, but her captor chased her down and forced her back to the home at gunpoint.
Washington Park is a village of 4,200 people on the edge of East St. Louis in one of Illinois' poorest regions.
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