A woman was sexually abused, beaten and humiliated while being held captive in a home for at least a week, sheriff's officials said Monday after making six arrests and calling the FBI to investigate it as a possible hate crime.
Those arrested, including a mother and son and a mother and daughter, are white. The victim, a Charleston woman who was being treated at a hospital Monday, is black.
"The things that were done to this woman are just indescribable," Logan County sheriff's Sgt. Sonya Porter said.
Deputies found the 23-year-old victim Saturday after going to the home in Big Creek, about 35 miles southwest of Charleston, to investigate an anonymous tip. One of the suspects, Frankie Brewster, was sitting on the front porch and told deputies she was alone, but moments later the victim limped toward the door, her arms outstretched, saying "help me," the sheriff's department said in a news release.
Besides being sexually assaulted, the victim was stabbed four times in the left leg and beaten, Porter said. Both of her eyes were black and blue. Deputies said the woman's wounds were inflicted at least a week ago.
During her capture, the victim was forced to eat rat and dog feces and drink from the toilet, according to the criminal complaint filed in magistrate court. The woman also was choked with a cable cord and her hair was cut, it alleges.
One of those arrested, Karen Burton, is accused of cutting the woman's ankle with a knife. She used the N-word in telling the woman she was victimized because she is black, according to the criminal complaint.
Deputies say the woman was also doused with hot water while being sexually assaulted.
"We have called the feds," Chief Deputy V.K. Dingess with the Logan County Sheriff's Department said Monday. "They may pick this up as a hate crime."
A call seeking comment from the FBI was not immediately returned Monday.
Connection to suspects unknown
The six suspects were arrested Saturday and Sunday. Deputies were still trying to determine whether the victim knew her assailants and how she came to be at Brewster's home, Porter said.
Frankie Brewster, 49, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and giving false information during a felony investigation. Deputies said she was the woman on the porch.
Her son, Bobby R. Brewster, 24, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony.
Burton, 46, of Chapmanville, is charged with malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony.
Her daughter Alisha Burton, 23, of Chapmanville, and George A. Messer, 27, of Chapmanville, are charged with assault during the commission of a felony and battery.
Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, is charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding.
All six were held Monday in lieu of $100,000 bond each, and all have asked for court-appointed public defenders.