Kentucky State Police have arrested a Carroll County couple on charges of neglecting their disabled adult daughter for four years, including depriving her of food.
Bill Ray Mertz, 46, the victim's biological father, and the stepmother, Robin Mertz, 34, both of Carrollton, are being held in the Carroll County Detention Center, according to Kentucky State Police at Campbellsburg.
Their 23-year-old daughter, who has Down Syndrome, is in the custody of Adult Protection Services, troopers said.
According to state police, Bill and Robin Mertz allegedly kept the daughter in an upstairs bedroom for weeks at a time. They also allegedly held her in a basement bedroom that was closed off with boards screwed into the wall to prevent the door from opening.
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Troopers "learned that the victim was deprived of food while she was locked in the rooms," according to a police press release.
Troopers said the daughter weighed about 189 pounds when she came to live with the Mertz family in April 2009. She weighed only 86 pounds when she was removed from the residence after investigators went to the Mertz home on Aug. 20 and uncovered the situation, police said.
Trooper Brad Arterburn, information officer at the Campbellsburg KSP post, said authorities went to the scene after Adult Protective Services in Scott County received a telephone tip about the case.
Police conducted an investigation before arresting Billy Ray and Robin Mertz Wednesday afternoon, he said.
"From what I gather from the trooper who is working the case, they had three or four other kids living there, and this was not happening to them," Arterburn said. "It was just this girl. Basically, they said this was what they thought they had to do to handle her since she has this disability."