New details emerged yesterday as the complicated case of the four adults found chained to a basement boiler in Tacony continued to unfold, revealing a human trafficking ring reaching across at least four states in which mentally-disabled people were kidnapped and held captive for their social security checks.
“It’s quite possibly one of the most visible signs of man’s inhumanity to man,” Mayor Michael Nutter said. “And I’m sure there’s much more to find out.”
Police arrested a fourth woman, Jean McIntosh, daughter of alleged ringleader Linda Ann Weston, Tuesday night and charged her with the same offenses as those arrested Saturday. The group traveled to Virginia, Texas, Florida and, eventually, Philadelphia to evade suspicion.
Authorities removed six juveniles and three adults from an apartment building Tuesday on the 4700 block of Longshore Avenue. McIntosh’s two children, aged 2 and 5, were taken into custody yesterday, bringing the total number of juveniles to eight.
Police say they are still attempting to unravel the case, but that ensuring the safety of all of the children involved was their first priority.
‘Worst in 40 years’
One adult found Tuesday was Beatrice Weston, 19, Linda Ann Weston’s niece. Linda Ann was given custody of Beatrice when the child was 8 due to her birth mother’s unspecified medical problems and an ongoing family feud.
Beatrice was reported missing in 2009 because a relative saw her “looking skinny” and worried for her health, Ramsey said. Beatrice suffered healed fractures, burn marks, pellet-gun injuries, facial scarring and severe malnutrition.