Tacony dungeon victim tells her story

PHILADELPHIA - February 28, 2013

Beatrice Weston has a body covered in scars from being cut and burned.

A dark spot on her forehead, she says, is from being pistol whipped.

The use of fuchsia lipstick hides even more pain.

"She bust my teeth out with a bat," Beatrice said.

According to Beatrice, that "she" is her aunt, Linda Weston.

In 2011, authorities discovered four disabled people in a Tacony basement, allegedly imprisoned by Linda to steal their social security benefits.

Linda Weston and four others have pled not guilty in this federal case.

Authorities also found Beatrice, naked, locked in a tiny closet.

"Before the landlord called the cops, I was in that closet for two weeks," Beatrice said.

Beatrice says her hell began at 10 when Linda was given custody of her.

Her lawyers contend this was city negligence, since Linda had served time for starving a man to death in 1981.

"The judge didn't know that Linda Weston was a convicted murderer because the city didn't check to see if Linda Weston had an arrest record, which they are obligated to do under the law," attorney Shanin Specter said.

In court papers, the city has asked to be removed as a defendant, but admits to not knowing about the 1981 death case.

It also says that Beatrice's injuries were solely caused by Linda Weston.

Beatrice says that includes years of beatings, starvation, and prostitution.

Plus, she says, weeks on end of confinement, often naked, with only a cup or bucket for a toilet.

"She put me in basements, locked me in closets, attics - freezing, all these places were freezing," Beatrice said.

Every day, Beatrice begged God for relief.

But she says after two other hostages allegedly died from the abuse, her own fate seemed certain.

"I thought I was going to die," Beatrice said.

She now deals with flashbacks.

"I cry a lot at nighttime. It helps me calm down," Beatrice said.

Still, Beatrice is in school and in therapy, has a best friend, and goals for her future.

"I want to be a nurse and I want to be happy," Beatrice said.

Experts say that is possible.

"We are an amazing species and we have an amazing ability to overcome and keep on ticking," Dr. Frank Farley of Temple University said.

For inspiration, Beatrice listens to Beyonce's 'I Was Here,' with its lyrics like "I will leave my mark."

In surviving Linda Weston, Beatrice believes she is doing just that.

Copyright © 2024 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.