The body of Lacey Ellen Fletcher was found on January 3, sunken into a hole in the living room couch at the Slaughter home of her parents, Sheila and Clay Fletcher.
Sheila called 911 that morning from the home, where the responding police officers were met with a gruesome scene and a strong stench, District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla told sources.
In what officials said was one of the worst cases of neglect in memory, the East Feliciana Parish coroner ruled Lacey’s horrible death as a homicide, thus leading to a criminal investigation.
“The caretakers just let her sit on the couch. She just urinated and used the bathroom on the couch,” D’Aquilla told sources.
“It was so horrific,” he said, adding that it was unclear when Lacey had last moved from that spot in the house and that it might have been years.
D’Aquilla said that he will ask a grand jury on to bring second-degree murder charges against Lacey’s parents.
Lacey, according to reports, suffered from locked-in syndrome, which is a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles, except the eyes.
The coroner, Dr. Ewell Bickham also told sources that Lacey had not seen a doctor in 20 years.
According to reports, when Lacey was found, her feet were crossed under her, dug deep into a hole she’d worn through the upholstery and foam padding of the couch, which was filled with stool and urine.
D’Aquilla said severe ulcers also covered her underside, which appeared “rotten to the bone”. He said she weighed only 96 pounds and also was infected with COVID-19.
“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?” D’Aquilla said.
The parents’ lawyer, Steven Moore, said in a statement to sources: “They don’t want to relive the pain of losing a child through the media. They have been through a lot of heartache over the years. Anyone who had lost a child knows what it’s like.”
Who was Lacey Ellen Fletcher?
Lacey Ellen Fletcher was a 36-year-old Louisiana woman who suffered from locked-in syndrome and was found dead in her parents’ home, emaciated and covered with faeces and “melted” into the couch she was lying in.
Her mother was a town alderman who resigned from her post in February, while her father is reportedly an officer of the Baton Rouge Civil War Roundtable, which is a nonprofit whose mission is “to educate and foster an appreciation for the sacrifices made by all during the Civil War.”
Lacey’s parents told detectives on January 18, that she was intellectually sound until the end.
D’Aquilla however said she had developed “some degree of Asperger’s syndrome”, which is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum.
Lacey reportedly attended the Brownfields Baptist Academy in Baton Rouge through ninth grade before she entered a home-school program.
She experienced severe social anxiety and met several times with a psychologist over three years.
Her parents had considered getting a commitment order to place her in a medical facility, but it never happened after she balked, D’Aquilla told sources.
Her parents reportedly told investigators that said she had begun eating less in the last fall.
Her mother also told the police that she last saw her daughter alive at 10 p.m. that night and awoke in a chair in the living room only to find her dead.