Regina Bennett, 46, has been charged with terroristic threats, simple assault, public drunkenness, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and related offenses, after a drunken fight with a neighbor led police to discover that a disabled 36-year-old woman was being held captive in her Philadelphia basement, reports Philly.com.
The woman was found in “unsuitable” conditions, with sores over her body, according to investigators.
Though neighbors claimed that a child lived there, authorities did not find evidence of that when they searched the home.
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Investigators have been unable to determine Bennett’s relationship to the victim, according to Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman.
“I haven’t seen anything that stated what their relationship was or whether she was the caretaker,” Little said.
Bennett is facing a dozen charges, including aggravated assault, kidnapping for ransom and neglect of care.
Yolanda Cropper, who lives across the street from Bennett, said her neighbor showed two very different sides.
“When you see her, she’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If she’s not drinking, she’s quiet, very withdrawn,” Cropper said. She added that Bennett had expressed prejudice against those who are not African-American like she is.
Despite only living on the block a few months, Bennett had numerous run-ins with neighbors, according to Cropper. She said that three weeks ago, Bennett cursed out a neighbor after the woman said hello to her. During this weekend’s altercation with the neighbor, Bennett was visibly intoxicated, Cropper said.
“[Those] people don’t bother nobody,” she said of the other neighbor in the dispute.
Cropper said Bennett, known on the block as “Queen,” has a grandson who visits on the weekends and plays outside. She said she had never seen the unidentified woman discovered in the basement.
“She was small . . . she did not look like a 36-year-old woman,” Cropper said of the woman.
A woman identified as Phyllis, who claimed to be Bennett’s cousin, told reporters Saturday that Bennett cared for the woman who police discovered in the house.
“When she was in her care, she took care of her like she was her own flesh-and-blood child. Her room was neat and clean; she went to her programs and fed her. That’s all I know,” she told 6ABC.
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Bennett is currently in custody, while the unidentified woman is being treated and observed at a local hospital.