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The Unimaginable Suffering and Death of Lacey Fletcher

The story of Lacey Fletcher

By Rare StoriesPublished 10 months ago 3 min read

Lacey Ellen Fletcher, a 36-year-old woman from Slaughter, Louisiana, lived a life that was far from ordinary. Suffering from severe autism and possibly a condition known as locked-in syndrome, Lacey's life was largely confined to a couch in her parents' home.

For an estimated 12 years, she remained in the same position, her body slowly fusing with the couch due to prolonged immobility. Her parents, Sheila and Clay Fletcher, both 64, were her primary caregivers.

The Discovery of Lacey's Body

Lacey Fletcher's body was found partially naked, sitting upright, and partly submerged in a hole in the couch in her parents' home. The 36-year-old autistic woman had not moved from the sofa in her parents' home for 12 years.

The horrific picture above was one of dozens shown to a newly sworn-in grand jury in a sealed session. The photos revealed the unspeakable extent of Lacey's suffering, who vanished from public view about 15 years ago. Lacey, who was autistic, was almost buried up to her shoulders in a couch crater and smothered in her own waste.

She was slumped over on her left side with her right arm across the top half of her emaciated body near her neck. She was naked apart from a small blue patterned t-shirt, which was pulled up on her chest and did not cover her breasts. Her eyes were wide open, staring. Her mouth was also open, revealing what appears to be a full set of front teeth.

The couch where Lacey Fletcher's body was found stuck for 12 years

Her face was covered in large and angry red blotches. Excrement was smeared over almost all her body. It was matted in her hair. It was even inside her ears.

The room was filled with a "latrine-like" smell, and Lacey's body was covered in maggots. Her emaciated body weighed less than 100 pounds.

The images shown to the jury were so horrific and upsetting that medics were on standby for the 12 panel members. The photos left those in the courtroom speechless. Some jurors were gasping in horror. Some were staring in disbelief.

Sheila and Clay Fletcher

The coroner, Dr. Ewell Bickham, stated that the cause of death stemmed from severe medical neglect, which led to chronic malnutrition, acute starvation, immobility, acute ulcer formation, osteomyelitis (bone infection), and finally, sepsis.

Legal Proceedings

Following the discovery of Lacey's body, her parents were charged with second-degree murder.

The evidence presented to the grand jury included graphic images of the living conditions and Lacey's physical state, which were so revolting that medical personnel were on standby when the images were shown.

The Fletcher family were respeced members of their community

The Fletchers were released on a $300,000 bond each.

In a shocking twist, District Judge Kathryn Jones dropped the charges of murder against Lacey's parents, Clay and Sheila Fletcher, citing a technicality in the wording of the indictment. The decision came ahead of the trial that was due to take place in June 2023.

The parents had been charged with second-degree murder by a grand jury in Clinton, Louisiana, in May 2022, and they pleaded not guilty in July 2022.

Lacey Ellen Fletcher

Despite the dropped charges, District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla plans to bring the case back before a different grand jury on June 19. He hopes to have the parents arrested on new charges and aims to bring the case to trial by the end of the year.

The parents were reportedly out of town at the time of Lacey's death. They had claimed that Lacey was unwilling to leave the house and never complained about staying home. The couple said Lacey would relieve herself on the couch or a towel placed nearby, and Sheila would regularly clean her daughter's sores.



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Rare Stories

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

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Comments (4)

Sign in to comment
  • Debra Ivey6 months ago

    New Info.

  • Andrzej Zieliński10 months ago

    Wow, this was hard to read.

  • Pia Chaudhuri10 months ago

    Didn't the Fletcher family have any visitors to their home? Friends, neighbors? How could she just disappear?

  • C.N Smuts10 months ago

    This is barbaric. Second degree murder? Starvation? Neglect? These people deserve the same treatment they gave their daughter.

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