By CNN Staff
(CNN) — A mentally disabled woman and her child were held in an Ohio apartment for two years, forced to perform manual labor and threatened with dogs and snakes to keep them compliant, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The people accused of holding the woman and child captive in the Ashland, Ohio, apartment collected the woman’s government benefits and beat her in order to get painkillers for themselves, federal prosecutors announced. All three have been charged with forced labor, with one of them facing an additional count of tampering with a witness.
The apartment was home to “numerous” pit bulls and reptiles, including pythons and a poisonous coral snake, which the woman’s captors used to keep her in line, prosecutors said. The situation was discovered in October when the woman was arrested for trying to steal a candy bar and asked to be taken to jail, the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland said in a statement detailing the allegations.