Queens Couple Accused Of Kidnapping/Torturing Disabled Woman; Kept Paralyzed Victim Against Her Will For Over A Year
A Queens couple is charged with kidnapping and torturing a 58-year-old disabled woman they kept against her will for more than a year -- all while beating her, starving her, and stealing her social security checks.
Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown says the couple, Patrick Donovan, 42, and Mae Washington, 63, were former neighbors of the partially paralyzed victim, and convinced her to leave an assisted living facility where she'd been living to come and stay in an apartment the couple owned -- they claimed it would help her "save money."
Well, the victim didn't save a dime -- authorities say the suspects took control of the victim's finances and stole her money.
Brown says the victim has been staying at the couple's apartment since January 1, 2011. She was only discovered when her niece called 9-1-1 on Thursday, saying she was concerned with the welfare of her aunt. When police went to the apartment, at 112-32 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, officers found the victim locked in an empty room that could only be opened from the outside, lying huddled on the floor, bleeding from the head and malnourished. Inside of the locked room, there was no mattress or bed and there were only sheets of fabric covering the windows.
Washington and Donovan told the cops that the head wound was the result of the victim "falling off the toilet" the night before. A visit to a hospital showed the toilet story was probably BS -- and that the head wound was just the tip of the iceberg.
Doctors discovered that in addition to the head wound, the victim was undernourished, and had a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm, broken ribs, internal bleeding in her skull and several lacerations and bruises to her arms and legs - "injuries that were inconsistent with those that would have been suffered from a fall from a toilet but which were more consistent with injuries inflicted by a beating."
After her examination with medical staff, the victim told police that the couple beat her repeatedly with their fists and a cane. She told police the two suspects would often lock her in the room and not let her leave. On several occasions, the victim told police, Washington and Donovan would bind her hands and feet and put tape over her mouth.
Additionally, the victim told police the couple prepared all of her meals, but didn't feed her enough, which caused her to become malnourished.
As if the torture wasn't enough, the suspects allegedly forced the victim -- again, who is partially paralyzed -- to clean up after their dog and "multiple" cats.
Both Donovan and Washington face charges of first-degree kidnapping, first- and second-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. They were ordered held without bail when they were arraigned on Saturday.
If convicted, the defendants are looking at sentences of up to 25 years to life in prison.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.