CARROLLTON, Ky. -- A Carroll County, Ky. couple was arrested Wednesday afternoon on allegations they neglected their daughter who has Down Syndrome.
Police said an investigation showed that the victim’s father, Billy Ray Mertz, 46, and step-mother, Robin Mertz, 34, allegedly kept their 23-year-old daughter in an upstairs bathroom for weeks at a time.
The victim was also kept in a basement bedroom that was closed off using boards that were screwed into the wall to keep the door from opening.
During the investigation, police said they learned that the victim was deprived of food while she was locked in the rooms. She reported weighed approximately 189 pounds when she first came to live with the Mertz family in 2009 and weighed only 86 pounds when she was removed from the home, police said.
The victim is currently in foster care with Adult Protective Services, but family members are questioning the validity of the story from police.
A cousin of Billy Ray Mertz, Tiffany McGlennen, said she is shocked and confused at the allegations.
"I just don't think it's true," she said. "I don't believe it."
McGlennan said everything seemed to be normal from the outside of the house. She said she never went inside the house, but did see the victim "once or twice."
Kentucky State Police Trooper, Brad Arterbum, said the couple didn't give police a reason as to why they did what they are accused of.
"They just said that's wher they kept her," he said.
The couple pleaded not guilty to the charges and their bail is set at $25,000 each.