HORROR photos show the feces-covered couch where a 36-year-old's body was found in a case of alleged neglect that could lead to murder charges for her parents.
New details have emerged about Lacey Ellen Fletcher's medical condition as the coroner estimated that she sat on the couch for 12 years, eventually becoming fused to it.
Police were called to Lacey's Slaughter, Louisiana, on January 3 after her parents called 911 to report that their daughter wasn't breathing, East Feliciana Parish Coroner Dr Ewell Dewitt Bickham III said.
Cops came across a strong stench when they entered the home. They found Lacey sitting in a hole worn into the couch's upholstery and foam padding.
She weighed only 96 pounds.
"The scene was sickening," Dr Bickham told DailyMail.com.
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He said that Lacey was partially naked and covered "from head to toe" in urine, feces, and insect bites.
Lacey reportedly suffered from Locked-in Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that involves complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for those that control movements of the eyes.
Individuals who suffer from the condition are bedridden and completely reliant on caregivers, according to The National Organization for Rare Disorders.
The organization said they remain conscious and awake and cognitive function is usually unaffected.
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The coroner said it appeared that Lacey had not seen a physician in 20 years. She had bed sores that went all the way down to her bone and severe ulcers were found on her underside, Bickham said.
She was also reportedly suffering from bacterial infections and tested positive for Covid.
"The parents were in the kitchen," Bickham said of the day Lacey was found.
"They did not have an explanation."
POSSIBLE MURDER CHARGES
Bickham ruled Lacey's death a homicide, saying: “Her cause of death stems from at least a decade of medical neglect.”
Her parents, Sheila and Clay Fletcher, have not been formally charged with a crime, nor have they been arrested.
A grand jury will hear the case on May 2 and decide whether the parents should face charges, which could include manslaughter, negligent homicide, or second-degree murder.
The second-degree murder charge has a possible penalty of life in prison, according to prosecutors.
"The jurors are storekeepers, farmers – many have never been exposed to this stuff," District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla told Daily Mail.
"So I asked that a medical team be outside the courtroom."
COMMUNITY MEMBERS 'STUNNED'
John Potts, who worked with Lacey's father Clay Fletcher for six years, said he was stunned by the news of Lacey's death.
Clay Fletcher reportedly resigned from his position as president of the Baton Rouge Civil War Roundtable on Tuesday
"Shock… ’cause it doesn’t match with my experience of him," Potts told BRProud.com.
“The details are horrific. There is no doubt about that and I can’t conceive of how something like that can even happen."
Neighbors and friends told the outlet that they were unaware that the couple had a daughter.
Lacey’s mother, Sheila, was said to be on administrative leave from her position as an assistant to the city prosecutor in Zachary.
Lacey was home-schooled since high school when she began to experience severe social anxiety, her parents said in an interview with detectives on January 18.
The Fletchers said that their daughter refused to leave the living room couch.
They claimed to have brought Lacey her meals, saying that she would urinate and defecate in towels or on the floor as she was afraid to leave the couch.
The Fletchers also reportedly claimed that Lacey had not seen a doctor in 10 years because she had not been ill.
D'Aquilla indicated that the couple said Lacey was “of sound mind to make her own type of decisions.”
"You need to take care of your people better than you do your animals," D'Aquilla told reporters.
On Wednesday, lawyer Steven Moore released a statement from Lacey's parents.
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“They don’t want to relive the pain of losing a child through the media. They have been through a lot of heartache over the years. Anyone who had lost a child knows what it’s like.”
The Sun contacted Moore on Friday for further comment from Lacey's parents in response to the neglect allegations.
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