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Woman kept girls locked in home that smelled of ‘rotting flesh’ for years, court docs say

ADAMS COUNTY, Ind. – Police arrested a woman accused of keeping two girls confined in a home for years, failing to educate them, and at times, feed them, WANE-TV reports.

Mary Heller is charged with felony neglect after authorities found two teen girls living in deplorable conditions without food in a home in the 1000 block of Twin Lakes Drive.

Mary Heller (Adams County Jail)

Police first began the investigation into Heller back in January when she called 911 after she was unable to get up from the bathroom floor for “20 hours.” Heller was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital for treatment.

Medics reportedly told police the home smelled like “rotting flesh” and they encountered one of the teens who appeared “skinny and dirty looking.”

Police later served a search warrant in the home and located two girls. One of the girls was from China and the other girl was from Mongolia. The girls told police they were only allowed to go outside to get the newspaper and the mail.

According to court documents obtained by WANE-TV, police found clumps of black hair in most rooms, a broken refrigerator, and “brown-colored smelly stains” on the carpet.

Child Protective Services was called to the home and took over care of the girls.

Police interviewed Heller at the hospital and she apologized for the condition of the home, saying she was too ill to clean. She also admitted to not feeding her daughters.

In an interview with DCS, one of the girls said they were pulled out of school in preschool, but Heller didn’t homeschool them. According to court documents, the girl told DCS that Heller “gave up on us a long time ago.” Heller is currently in the Adams County Jail.