CLEVELAND -- Three Ohioans are accused of enslaving a mentally disabled young mother and her daughter over two years.
Federal agents and Ashland police said Tuesday that the trio forced the woman to do housework, threatened her and the girl with violence and fed their pets better than the mother and daughter.
Ashland police say they discovered the situation when one suspect accused the mother of child abuse and they went to the apartment where she was allegedly enslaved.
The trio had invited the mother to live with them but it’s not clear how they knew each other before that.
The suspects, Jordie Callahan, Jessica Hunt and Daniel Brown of Ashland, are charged with forced labor. They are being held and no attorneys were listed for them in court records.
The names of the pair found last month have been withheld.
The woman and her child were forced to live in a basement with pit bulls and pythons, according to the charges.
Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said the woman was beaten, threatened and forced into slavery. Some of the threats included telling the woman she would be attacked by the animals.
"These individuals preyed upon a human being with a disability," Dettelbach said. "They treated her worse than the animals in that house."
Court records indicate that a fourth person has been charged.
Officials said the woman managed to free herself last October by stealing a candy bar so she would be arrested.
Information from the Cleveland Plain Dealer was used in this story.