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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Carrollton, Ky. couple faces charges of neglecting the husband's disabled daughter, including depriving her of food. Police say the 23-year-old woman, who has Down Syndrome, was locked up for weeks at a time.
The victim's father, 46-year-old Billy Ray Mertz, and step-mother, 34-year-old Robin Mertz, now sit in the Carroll County Detention Center charged with knowingly abusing or neglecting an adult.
Police say 23-year-old Ashley Mertz's dad and step-mom, Billy and Robin Mertz, kept her locked in an upstairs bathroom for weeks--maybe even months at a time--often without food. Police also say she was often kept in a room in the basement.
Police say the couple screwed boards over the door of the room to keep the woman from getting in and out.
Neighbors told us they saw the young woman for about a month when the family first moved in, but they never saw her again--assuming she was either a guest or didn't live there anymore.
Neighbors also told WDRB that they would hear the father yelling at the children often.
Ashley moved into the home in 2009 with her younger brother and sister. Before that, the siblings lived with their mother. It is unknown why they were removed from the mother's home. Neighbors say two other children also live in the home.
Police say none of the other children were subject to similar neglect. Kentucky State Police were unsure if they were taken into foster care or by family when the parents were arrested. The victim has been placed in foster care by Adult Protective Services.
Police say Ashley was 189 pounds when she moved in. When police removed her from the house, she was 86 pounds.
Billy and Robin Mertz pleaded not guilty during their first court appearance Thursday.