Eastern Kentucky Woman Held Against Her Will

A Perry county woman is still recovering after being held captive in a utility closet for four months.

Investigators say 42-year old Donna Hicks is covered in bruises and can't speak.

Police arrested four people and charged them with unlawful imprisonment.

AP Story

By SAMIRA JAFARI
Associated Press Writer

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) - An eastern Kentucky woman is recovering at a hospital after enduring four months of imprisonment by two Appalachian couples who kept her in a utility closet and beat her with belts and extension cords, police said Wednesday.

Donna Hicks, 42, was held against her will and abused by Charlotte Crawford and Billy R. Williams at the couple's home in the Dwarf community, about 15 miles north of Hazard, said Kentucky State Police Detective Dean Craft. Crawford's son, Billy R. Crawford, and daughter-in-law, Penny Ford, who live less than a mile away, also took part in beating and whipping Hicks, Craft said.

The home where the alleged abuse took place was surrounded by nearly a dozen others along a mountain highway on the outskirts of Hazard.

The four suspects, each held at the Hazard jail on a $100,000 cash bond, have denied the allegations. Each has been charged with felony criminal abuse and unlawful imprisonment.

The suspects were appointed public defenders, who were in court and unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

Hicks had lived with the elder couple for about a year, but police say the abuse and imprisonment started in July 2007. Craft said Hicks was kicked and punched, and whipped with belts and extension cords.

Craft said investigators were tipped off on Nov. 11 by an anonymous caller. When police arrived at the home, they found Charlotte Crawford and her son there with Hicks held inside a utility closet.

"She was mentally and physically abused," Craft said. "She was covered in bruises from head to toe."

The bruising revealed that Hicks had been tightly restrained for weeks, he said.

Hicks still is being treated for dehydration and malnutrition, Craft said. He said that her injuries are so severe, she isn't able to speak yet.

Hicks' relationship with the suspects and the living arrangements remained unclear, Craft said.

Charlotte Crawford, 52, Williams, 59, Ford, 30, and Billy Crawford, 24, face a grand jury this month.

Police are still investigating the incident. Hicks' case has also been referred to the Kentucky Department of Protection and Permanency, which seeks to ensure the safety and stability of vulnerable adults.

The state agency declined to comment, citing privacy laws.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Anonymous on Dec 6, 2009 at 08:42 AM
    this is Donna's daughter first of all pics shouldnt be on the internet of her without letting someone know such as me or my brother and for another thing i tried calling and checking on my mom and she told me everything was ok even tho they werent because she was getting beat everytime i called and i didnt know so yes she had family that loved and cared about her and no matter what my mother has done in the past doesnt mean that she deserved that kind of treatment any questions or comments on my comment on here message me in yahoo messenger at wildcats1817@yahoo.com or msn snugglebunny1924@hotmail.com
  • by melissa mullins Location: isom on Jan 10, 2008 at 07:33 PM
    donna is my aunt, my mothers sister i have seen my aunt an she is not in the best condition she still cant speak the only thing i have to say to these people there day will come an they will get theres if anyone would like to see the pics of her go to my myspace kentuckybluebird_22@yahoo.com or melissa mullins thanx to all for thge postive thoughts may god bless you
  • by Carla Location: louisville on Jan 2, 2008 at 03:49 PM
    this women was married to my nefews dad after my sister died. she was crazy then my nefew told me awful stories about her. she need all the prayers she can get. god will be the judge. God rest her sole.
  • by Peggy Location: Ky on Nov 29, 2007 at 01:51 PM
    These people that held this woman hostage sound like a bunch if nuts!I wonder the same as mommy2b-dont this woman have any family that missed her?This is madness.I hope when she is able to talk,she can give detailed accounts and put these crazies away-sounds like they need mental help!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 29, 2007 at 01:48 PM
    sure is a said thing to happend. we never no what goes on in this ugly world we live in. sick people out there. i just hope they get lots of time in prison to think of this.
  • by kay Location: Lexington on Nov 29, 2007 at 01:34 PM
    Why don't we go back to hanging people from the nearest tree or whatever they do to someone do it back to them. Just like the murderers in prison who think it is injustice to kill them but they didn't give their victims any option before taking their lives.
  • by Gene Location: Morehead on Nov 29, 2007 at 08:15 AM
    More people are doing evil things. There isn't as much human compassion. So many haven't any respect or fear of God or the laws to protect us from crazy evil people. Sure hope this poor lady recovers. The four responsible need to be sent to prison.
  • by MOMMY 2 B Location: KY on Nov 28, 2007 at 03:23 PM
    OMG...THIS IS JUST AWFUL. HOW COULD SOMEONE DO SUCH A THING?! I PRAY THAT THIS WOMAN CAN RECOVER FROM THIS. MY HEART TRULY GOES OUT TO HER. DIDN'T SHE HAVE ANY FAMILY? YOU KNOW SOMEONE THAT MAY HAVE MISSED HER OR TRIED TO CONTACT HER?

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