When police first discovered the basement of Linda Ann Weston in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia in 2011, they were horrified. They found a mentally disabled person chained to a furnace, three other adults hiding under filthy blankets and rags, and found no food or water. Signs of abuse were everywhere, and when police went to the apartment upstairs, they found starved and neglected children who begged not to be taken away for fear of punishment. It was so bad some officers became sick to their stomachs. As the story of what Linda Weston did to these individuals slowly came out, many more people would start to feel sickened too.
Weston kidnapped several people and held them against their will for financial gain in the 2000s. The Linda Ann Weston abuse case also became known as the "Philadelphia Dungeon Kidnapping" and the "Basement of Horrors." While some kidnapping cases are similar to this incident, the details of this particular Tacony torture dungeon paint Linda Ann Weston as nothing short of a monster. Be warned, this article contains details of neglect, incest, and violence. It will leave you wondering how someone could do this to other human beings.
The Victims Were Starved And Forced To Drink Urine In A Basement
Weston was living in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia when she began terrorizing people in her basement. She would abduct or trick people into coming to her home, where she would hold them against their will. In fact, she colluded with her family members to detain her victims.
When this "Basement of Tortures" was first discovered in 2011, there were four adult victims. Two were found hiding under a blanket, one was found in an old sleeping bag, and one was chained to a radiator; all of them showing signs of abuse and neglect. Some of them seemed to have been there for months. More details quickly came out, as victims told horror stories of being beaten, shot with pellet guns, starved, and even being forced to drink their own urine in order to stay alive.
They did this all while being kept in a small basement of an apartment building, and would have likely remained there if it was not for the apartment manager. He noticed bowls of water, and assumed someone was keeping a pet in the no-pets-allowed complex. But when he unlocked the basement door, he found not only two small dogs, but four very frightened adults in a cramped basement barely big enough for them to lie down. As more details emerged, things just got worse.
She Targeted Mentally Disabled People
One of the more distressing parts of this case is that her victims tended to be mentally disabled. The Weston family did this for several reasons. First, disabled people were easier to control and more trusting. They could be lured in off street corners with promises of friendship or romantic involvement. Once captive, they were less likely to escape or get the help they so desperately needed. The main reason, however, was they got funding from the government. This meant the more people they held captive, the more checks they could cash in place of the disabled victims. The four initial victims found in the basement of the apartment building all had various disabilities, and their checks were being used as Weston's income.
Eight Children Were Held Captive
After the four were released from the horrible basement conditions, more victims were discovered in the actual apartment building, many of them much younger. Police eventually took eight children and teens into custody, all of them showing signs of abuse and neglect at the hands of Weston and her family. The youngest of these children was two years old, but was so emaciated it looked like an infant. Some of these children were kidnapped, and had been missing for weeks or even years.
Some Victims Were Family Members
One of the most horrifying things police discovered was that at least one of the victims was a family member of Weston. When Weston's mother died, some of her brothers and sisters moved in with Weston because they needed extra care. She abused them instead. Those siblings told horror stories of sexual torture, incest, drugging, and starvation. One even referred to her as evil when interviewed.
When the basement of horrors was uncovered, one victim was a girl by the name of Tamara Breeden. She was Weston's niece and was kidnapped over 10 years prior. She had the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, showed signs of scarring, and spoke of being shot with a pellet gun and being forced to drink her own urine for years. When asked what had happened to her, she said, "She was just crazy. I was sad and crying." Police say her level of abuse is one of the worst they have ever seen.