Parents, who did not provide health care to their disabled daughter for 20 years and kept her confined to a couch where she “relieved” herself, resulting in her skin falling off her bones, plead no contest!

The parents of a 36-year-old woman, later identified as Lacey, who suffered a debilitating fate due to severe neglect, have entered a no-contest plea to charges of manslaughter. Initially faced with second-degree murder charges, the mother, later identified as Sheila, and the father, later identified as Clay, both 66, find themselves at the center of a legal and ethical storm after their daughter was found dead under horrific conditions on January 3, 2022.

Lacey, who had autism and was nonverbal, was discovered on a couch, where she had been confined for years, leading to her eventual death from starvation and neglect. The DA disclosed the appalling state in which Lacey was found, highlighting a human-sized hole in the couch filled with fесеѕ and uгinе, indicative of prolonged immobility and neglect. The extent of the neglect was further evidenced by fесеѕ found on the victim’s face, chest, and abdomen, and the presence of maggots in her hair.

Despite the defense attorney’s claim of the parents’ love for their daughter, the prosecution painted a grim picture of Lacey’s life, marked by isolation and an utter lack of care. It was revealed that Lacey had not seen a doctor since she was 16 years old in 2002 and weighed only 96 pounds at the time of her death. This stark contrast between the claim of care and the reality of her living conditions has raised serious questions about the responsibilities and actions of her parents.

Prosecutors are seeking the maximum penalty of 40 years in prison for Sheila and Clay, with the sentencing hearing scheduled for March 20. The case has sparked outrage and disbelief, not only for the unimaginable conditions Lacey endured but also for the missed opportunities to seek help. Authorities expressed disbelief at the inaction of the parents, despite having access to resources that could have improved or even saved Lacey’s life. The DA expressed his shock at the defense’s portrayal of the situation, emphasizing the dire physical state Lacey was in, a clear sign of egregious mistreatment. He highlighted the complete failure of the parents to seek necessary medical and psychological treatment for their daughter, who was incapable of walking or extending her legs due to her condition.

Alfred Duncan

Alfred Duncan is a senior editor at The South Florida Daily, where he oversees our coverage of politics, misinformation, health and economics. Alfred is a former reporter and editor for BuzzFeed News, National Geographic and USA Today.

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