2012-03-30 / Top Stories

Two Busted For Kidnapping

Tortured Partially Paralyzed Woman
By Howard Schwach

A Rockaway Park couple was arrested last week and charged with kidnapping a 58-year-old partially paralyzed woman, assuming control over her finances and holding her against her will for more than a year. It is alleged that the victim had been residing at an assisted living facility when one of the defendants, a former neighbor, convinced her to rent a place with them in order to save money.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown identified the defendants as Patrick Donovan, 42, and Mae Washington, 63, both of 112-32 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

The two defendants were arraigned on Saturday, March 24, on a criminal complaint charging them with first-degree kidnapping, first- and second-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.

Brown said, “The defendants are accused of turning the victim’s life into a living nightmare. Once out of the safe and secure environment of her assisted living facility, the victim was allegedly betrayed by the defendants whom she thought she could trust. When a niece of the victim called 911 after being unable to contact her aunt for several months, police found the victim locked in an empty room that could only be opened from the outside, lying huddled on the floor, bleeding from the head and malnourished. Taken to a local hospital, medical personnel discovered she also had multiple broken ribs, a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder and other injuries.”

Brown added that, according to the charges, on the afternoon of March 22, the victim’s niece called 911 because she feared for the safety of her aunt, whom she had been unable to contact for several months, and that when she attempted to contact her aunt by telephone, Donovan and Washington did not permit her aunt to speak to her.

It is alleged that when police responded to the apartment located at 112-32 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Donovan and Washington took the officer to a room locked from the outside, and that when he entered, he observed the victim lying huddled on the floor in a corner of the room, which contained no mattress or bed and had only sheets of fabric covering the windows. In examining the victim, the officer allegedly observed blood on the back of her head and bruising on her arms and legs.

It is additionally alleged that both Donovan and Washington stated that the victim fell off the toilet the night before and did not want to go to the hospital. However, it is alleged, that when the victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital to receive treatment for her injuries, she stated that she had been living with the defendants since January 1, 2011, and that during that time they had repeatedly beaten her with both their fists and a cane, which caused substantial pain, bruising and swelling to her body. The victim also allegedly stated that the defendants repeatedly locked her in her room and refused to allow her to leave, and that on several occasions they would bind her hands and legs with tape and place tape over her mouth.

It is further alleged that Donovan and Washington permitted the victim to leave the apartment only if she was accompanied by at least one of them. It is also alleged that the defendants purchased all of the food and prepared all of the meals for the victim but they did not feed her enough, thereby causing her to lose a substantial amount of weight. Although the victim is partially paralyzed on the left side of her body, it is alleged that the defendants forced her to clean up after their dog and multiple cats.

According to the charges, the victim gave all her income from social security and other sources to Washington, to whom she had given power of attorney over her financial affairs because she feared both her and Donovan, and, also according to charges, both defendants used her income to purchase things for themselves.

Court papers show that, in examining the victim at the hospital, medical personnel discovered that she was undernourished, and had a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm, broken ribs, internal bleeding in her skull and several lacerations and bruises to her arms and legs – injuries that were inconsistent with those that would have been suffered from a fall from a toilet, but which were more consistent with injuries inflicted by a beating. X-rays of the victim also allegedly indicated that she had suffered several fractures in the past that were never properly treated or set and that those injuries would cause her substantial pain.

Finally, it is alleged that while the victim was being held in the apartment by the defendants between January 1, 2011 and March 22, 2012, Washington only took her to a doctor once – and not the victim’s doctor but one Washington chose. The investigation and arrest were handled by the detectives from the 100 Precinct. The defendants, who face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, were ordered held without bail and to return to court on April 5, 2012.

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