Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The family of a mentally ill woman kept her locked up for 18 years, according to Italian police

From One News (New Zealand); see also the Associated Press

A 47-year-old mentally ill Italian woman was locked up in a room by family members for 18 years, Italian police said after freeing the woman on Friday.

The woman was found in a crumbling room with "indescribable" sanitary conditions, police in the southern Italian town of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, near Naples, said.

The woman was apparently locked up 18 years ago after giving birth to a son out of wedlock.

She has been admitted to the psychiatric ward of a Naples hospital while her mother, brother and sister were arrested on charges of mistreatment and sequestration, the Ansa news agency reported.

The woman's son, a student, was found to be living with her relatives, but has not been charged, the news agency said.

Police are investigating whether the woman's mental illness began before or after her period of captivity, it said.

(Thanks to Hymes over at Charlottesville Prejudice for the link)