Breaking News Emails
Two women who escaped from a North Florida farm belonging to a pair of "doomsday preppers" told police they were held captive and abused for years by the married couple.
Mirko Ceska, 58, and his wife, Regina, 55, were arrested Friday and booked into Wakulla County Jail on serious charges, including sexual battery and abuse, authorities announced Friday.
The couple had “exercised custodial responsibility” for the two individuals, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said, but their exact relationship was not disclosed.
The identities and ages of the individuals were also not disclosed, but a spokesman for the sheriff's office told NBC News, "referring to them as women would be entirely accurate."
The women told police that the couple had “getaway properties” throughout the United States, stocked with food rations and weapons in the event of a major world disaster.
The women escaped the farm in Crawfordville, about 20 miles south of Tallahassee, on June 28. They told police they had been trained to raise livestock, sheer sheep, operate a loom and grow fruits and vegetables on the property.
Their days began at 5:30 a.m. and they were prohibited from leaving the property or communicating with other people. They told police they were "instructed to always look happy" and that if if they didn’t smile, they would get punished.
If they refused orders, the Ceskas would beat them and restrict their food intake, the sheriff’s office said. The most recent beating was carried out by Mirko Ceska with a metal rod, the women said. Detectives noticed marks and bruises on one of the women's back and arm.
Both individuals said Mirko Ceska would force sex acts upon them, at times with the support of his wife, according to police, who allegedly found evidence of an Internet search for “incestuous video” on his cellphone.
During a search of the residence, detectives found large quantities of food rations and survivalist items and seized dozens of high-quality firearms and "many cases of ammunition from throughout the house," the sheriff's office said.
Some of the firearms were hidden behind false walls or a staircase.
Police also recovered a homemade video depicting an altercation between Mirko Ceska and the two women, during which his face was very close to theirs and he screamed that they had stolen food.
Mirko Ceska was charged with sexual battery, sexual assault, abuse, and neglect. Regina Ceska was charged with two counts each of neglect and failure to report abuse. They are both still being held in custody and it is unclear if they have legal representation.