Couple sentenced for abuse of daughter with Down Syndrome
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:00 AM
A Carroll County judge sentenced a couple Monday for abusing, neglecting and exploiting their adult daughter who has Down Syndrome.
Carroll County Circuit Judge Stephen L. Bates sentenced Billy Ray Mertz, 46, to 10 years in prison as part of a plea agreement for the charges of knowingly abusing and neglecting an adult and knowingly exploiting an adult resulting in a total loss of more than $300, both Class C felonies.
Under the plea agreement, Billy Ray Mertz will not receive credit his time spent on home incarceration.
Bates sentenced Robin Michelle Mertz, 34, to five years on the same charges as her husband. She will serve 180 days in jail without work release before serving the rest of the sentence on probation, per her plea agreement.
The couple was arrested in September after tips led state police and Adult Protective Services to investigate allegations that the couple had neglected and starved their adult daughter.
An investigation led Kentucky State Police to believe that the woman had been locked in two rooms of the house - including an upstairs bedroom and a basement bedroom closed off by boards screwed into the door frame - for extended periods of time without food.
The investigation also found the couple had been using supplemental money meant to be used for the woman's care for other household expenses over the years.
The woman was removed from the Mertz home in August, prior to the couple's arrest in September.
According to court documents, the woman had weighed 189 pounds when she first came to live with the couple in 2009, but weighed only 86 pounds when she was removed from the home in August.
Investigators also found the couple failed to take the woman to follow-up doctor visits or provide other recommended medical treatment, court documents said.
Billy and Robin Mertz each pleaded guilty to the felony charges in January.