The parents of a severely disabled girl who was found dead so she had been ‘fused’ to a sofa for the past 12 months have been arrested for a second time over charges relating to her murder after initial charges linked to a technical fault were dropped.
Sheila and husband Clay Fletcher, each 64, were originally arrested in May 2022 and charged with second-degree murder. Their daughter’s decomposed body was found in January 2022 at their home in Slaughter, Louisiana.
Last month’s decision dismissed the charge, saying prosecutors had improperly used profanity in allegations of elder abuse.
Last week, on June 19, the couple was again charged with murder.
“We will make sure that justice is served for Lacey, and the public knows that caregivers will face charges for neglecting or abusing the person in their care,” District Attorney Sam D’Aquila said in a statement.
They have been released on bail. If convicted, they face life in prison.
Sheila Fletcher and Clay Fletcher, each 64, were arrested again on June 19 and charged a second time with second-degree murder in connection with the death of their daughter, Lacey, 36. The first editions have been canceled in the last month due to technicalities
High school photo of Lacey Ellen Fletcher, 36, taken when she was 16. The coroner believes she spent 12 years behind bars.
Their daughter, who suffered from extreme autism and social anxiety, passed out in feces and sank into the crevice of the sofa, carried by her emaciated body.
She was covered in maggots and sores, had multiple sores on her bottom, and had feces on her face, chest and stomach, authorities said.
She hadn’t left home in 15 years and was in her mom and dad’s otherwise tidy house in the small town of Slaughter.
Prosecutors believe she was horribly abused for 12 years.
East Feliciana Parish Coroner Dr. Evel Bickham stated that the case was very traumatizing and he felt sick for a week.
In the grand jury’s first indictment, in-depth footage of the circumstances in which Lacey was discovered was shown.
Bickham told DailyMail.com that they have been so terrifying and disturbing that medics have been on standby for 12 panellists.
He added pictures from the scene, leaving them in a wordless space.
“When I presented the case and showed the photos and gave the timeline, the expressions of the grand jury were complete shock,” he said.
— As if the clock on the wall stopped moving.
“There was complete silence. Some of the jurors gasped in horror. Some stared in disbelief.
Sheila, 64, walked out of jail last May on the first charge after posting $300,000 bail — just over 24 hours after her arrest.
A mother charged with manslaughter in the death of her autistic daughter, Lacey, was caught leaving the East Feliciana Parish jail.
Sheila refused to answer questions from DailyMail.com as she left on hastily posted bail
Bickham, who was called to the house immediately after Lacey was discovered on January 3, 2022, also told DailyMail.com that the case has been very difficult for him personally, describing Monday’s grand jury proceedings as “a long emotional day”.
He added: “It was very difficult to see these images again and relive this traumatic experience.”
Speaking outside court, following the grand jury’s final 12-month resolution, Bickham revealed Lacey had been indicted for no less than 12 years.
“In terms of evidence, at least 12 years,” he pointed out.
‘It could be faster. At least 12 years old. An awful long time.’
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE
The coroner also revealed a common gruesome explanation for the death.
He said: “The cause of death was gross medical negligence which resulted in chronic malnutrition, acute starvation, immobility, acute ulceration, osteomyelitis, bone infection which ultimately resulted in sepsis.”
The doctor additionally clarified a misunderstanding of Lacey’s exact situation, which was originally described as “on” syndrome.
An in-depth photo of the Lacey leather sofa was combined. The coroner estimated that Lacey had been in that gap in the couch for the previous 12 years
He said, “I don’t know where the term came from or what source it came from. In all my years as a medical practitioner, I’ve never heard of the term.
“The only diagnoses I know she had, first of all, social anxiety disorder, severe autism, and that’s it. Those are just two of her diagnoses.
“The last time she saw a doctor was when she was 16. This picture of her was when she was 16.
Outside the court hearing, D’Aquiglia said Lacey’s death was a “crime against humanity” and added: “I hope this indictment will bring attention to the victims of such crimes.”
“The coroner has a lot of authority, a lot of power. If people don’t want or refuse treatment, go to the coroner’s office, go to the police, check your neighbors, check your friends. If you are a carer, reach out and make sure people are being looked after.
Photo of the two-story house on Tom Drive in Slaughter where Lacey lived with her parents
“This case was so horrific that the coroner and the sheriff’s office initially investigated the case in January and the circumstances in which she was found were simply unbelievable.
“You don’t treat anybody or any animal like that. Something had to be done, and we all came together, we were all on the same platform, and we’re all here now, and we’ve been charged with murder.
The tragedy is much more than a thriller, as Sheila Fletcher worked with the authorities who could have helped her daughter.
She was a police and court clerk in the small, nearby town of Baker, and most recently she was an assistant district attorney in Zacharias, a smaller, larger neighborhood next door.
Mother additionally served on Slaughter’s Council of Alderman, but resigned in January 2022 after 4 years of service.
Clay Fletcher is an officer of the Baton Rouge Civil War Roundtable, a nonprofit whose mission is to “educate and promote appreciation for the sacrifices of all people during the Civil War.”
The couple’s lawyer Steven Moore said in a press release: “They don’t want to go through the pain of losing a child through the media.
“They’ve been through a lot of grief over the years. Anyone who’s lost a child knows what it’s like.
An undated photo of Clay and Sheila Fletcher standing in front of their Christmas tree
Clay Fletcher, pictured with Sheila in an undated photo, is an officer of the Baton Rouge Civil War Roundtable, a nonprofit whose mission is to “educate and promote appreciation for the sacrifices of all people during the Civil War.”
The prosecutor stated that in 2011-2012 In 2008, the Fletchers claimed that Lacey had not been away from home and had not seen a doctor.
He said that dad and mom claimed she could talk to them and apparently never complained.
The Fletchers reportedly said Lacey developed “some degree of Asperger’s syndrome” after ninth grade when she was homeschooled.
In an interview with enforcement, they reportedly emphasized that she had by no means chosen to get off the couch and relieve herself there or on a nearby towel.
Sheila Fletcher stated that she cleaned her daughter’s sores regularly.
“Mommy and Daddy love you so much,” she wrote on Facebook after her death.