Parents Sentenced as Paralyzed Daughter Melds Into Family Couch

Parents Sentenced as Paralyzed Daughter Melds Into Family Couch

On Wednesday, a mother and father from Louisiana were sentenced to 20 years in prison for abandoning their crippled adult daughter to the point where she “melted” into the family’s couch.

The 36-year-old Lacey Ellen Fletcher was immobile. She was completely dependent on her parents’ care and attention as she suffered from “locked-in” syndrome, a condition that left her almost paralyzed.

Lacey Fletcher was discovered dead on January 3, 2022, slumped into a 1960s-style couch at her home in Slaughter, a little village of less than 100 people about 40 minutes southwest of Baton Rouge.

She was thin, covered in excrement, and had several ulcers all over her body. Sam D’Aquilla, the district attorney for East and West Feliciana Parish, claims that for several years, she sat on the couch and discharged herself, leaving a hole the size of a human being.

Sheila and Clay Fletcher, both 66, said they loved their daughter “to death” in a statement released by their then-defense attorney in early February, following their no contest manslaughter plea.

After the plea, which was formally applied during their sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked for the maximum punishment. According to Baton Rouge-based CBS affiliate WAFB, both parents received terms of 40 years in jail, with 20 years of that time suspended.

After being freed from prison, the pair will also have to complete five years of supervised probation.

“You know, you wouldn’t treat your animals like that,”the prosecutor said to the television network on Wednesday. “If you had a horse that was in the stall behind your house, and you go back there and the flesh is just gone from its body, and you can see bones exposed … I mean, you wouldn’t even treat your animal like that.”

According to parish coroner Dr. Ewell Dewitt Bickham III, the woman hadn’t seen a physician in two decades. When she passed away, her weight was only 96 pounds, and she had COVID-19.

The woman’s parents were charged with their daughter’s murder last summer—for the second time.

“The question on everybody’s mind is, how could they be caretakers living in the house with her and have her get in a condition like that?” In late April 2022, D’Aquilla told the New Orleans metro area newspaper “It’s cruelty to the infirm. We can’t just let it sit.”

It took several months for the inquiry into Lacey Fletcher’s death to conclude. However, the district attorney was determined to file charges by the end. Her parents received a formal indictment in early May 2022 on allegations of second-degree murder.

Due to improper wording in the charging paperwork, the judge dismissed the initial indictment; this was a swiftly corrected procedural matter.

The coroner concluded that one of Lacey Fletcher’s causes of death was starvation. Bickham added that although her mother discovered her dead, it’s likely that she passed away two or three days before.

According to investigators, the woman’s body gradually rubbed the hole through the cushion and upholstery. Urine and excrement filled the hole.

According to D’Aquilla’s office, the victim’s face, chest, and abdomen had feces pushed into them, and her hair was so matted and knotted that maggots were living there.

“Opened the door, walked into the house, there was a stench, an odor, feces, fecal material, urine, you couldn’t hold your breath,” Bickham previously stated to WAFB. “The father was completely emotionless. The mother’s head was lying down on, between her legs. She was weeping a little bit.”