Lacey Ellen Fletcher, from Slaughter, Louisiana, led an extraordinary life that deviated significantly from the norm. Lacey’s life revolved around a couch within the confines of her parents’ home, as she had severe autism and was possibly suffering from a condition known as locked-in syndrome.
She remained in an unchanging state for about 12 years, her prolonged immobility causing her body to gradually merge with the couch. Sheila and Clay Fletcher, both 64, dedicated themselves to Lacey’s well-being as her primary caregivers.
Lacey Fletcher’s life was turned upside down when her body was discovered in a distressing state within her parents’ home. The 36-year-old woman, who had autism, had been found partially naked, seated upright, and partially immersed in a cavity within the couch for an extended period of 12 years.
During a closed session, a collection of disturbing images, including the one described above, was presented to a recently convened grand jury. Lacey’s anguish was revealed in unimaginable detail by these photographs, as she had vanished from public view approximately 15 years before. Lacey, who lived with autism, was discovered nearly buried in the couch, with her upper body exposed and immersed in a depression, while surrounded by her own waste, a truly harrowing and tragic circumstance.
Lacey was discovered slouched and leaning to the left, her right arm draped across the upper part of her extremely thin body near her neck. She was naked except for a small blue patterned t-shirt pulled up on her chest, exposing her breasts. Her eyes were wide open and locked on something. Her mouth was also open, revealing her entire set of front teeth.
Lacey’s face was covered in large, inflamed red patches that indicated distress and discomfort. Excrement was smeared all over her body, including her hair, and was even found inside her ears. The room had a foul odor that reminded me of a latrine, and Lacey’s body had become infested with maggots. Her malnourished body weighed less than 100 pounds, emphasizing the extent of her physical deterioration.
The presentation of the photographs had such an impact on the grand jury that medical personnel were prepared and available to assist the 12 panel members. The images rendered those in the courtroom speechless, with some jurors gasping in horror and others staring in disbelief.
Lacey died as a result of severe medical neglect, according to the coroner, Dr. Ewell Bickham. This neglect resulted in chronic malnutrition, acute starvation, immobility, the development of acute ulcers, osteomyelitis (a bone infection), and ultimately, sepsis.
Lacey’s parents were charged with second-degree mur*der after her body was discovered.
The grand jury was shown compelling evidence, including explicit photographs of Lacey’s deteriorating physical condition and deplorable living conditions. These images were so revolting that medical personnel were on standby to provide assistance while they were being viewed.
The Fletchers were released after posting a $300,000 bond each.
In an unexpected turn of events, District Judge Kathryn Jones dismissed the mur*der charges against Lacey’s parents, Clay and Sheila Fletcher. The judge justified his decision by citing a technicality in the wording of the indictment. As a result, the trial, which had been scheduled for June 2023, was no longer necessary.
A grand jury in Clinton, Louisiana, indicted the parents in May 2022 on charges of second-degree mur*der, to which they pleaded not guilty in July 2022.
Despite the dismissal of the charges, District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla intends to re-present the case to a different grand jury on June 19. His goal is to file new charges against the parents and have the case tried by the end of the year.
According to reports, Lacey’s parents were not present when she died because they were out of town. They claimed Lacey had refused to leave the house and had never expressed dissatisfaction with her decision to remain at home. Lacey would relieve herself on the couch or a nearby towel, according to the couple, and Sheila would regularly clean her daughter’s sores.