PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A tip led police to rescue a deaf, mute man from a locked basement where he had been kept for months while his captor spent his Social Security checks, authorities said Thursday.
William Richardson, 63, told police he was hungry and had been punched, beaten and threatened during four months in the dark basement, police Capt. Larry Nodiff said.
"Your heart goes out to him," Nodiff said Thursday.
Suspect Dwayne Young is being held on $1 million bail, charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, forgery and other crimes.
Police armed with a search warrant rescued Richardson on Sunday while Young was out. Later that day, Young, 56, showed up at a local police station after learning the home had been searched. He soon found himself under arrest.
By then, police had gotten Richardson dinner and beverages after he told an interpreter that he had stomach pains caused by his hunger.
The case echoes one that came to light in November, when a Philadelphia landlord found four mentally challenged adults locked in his basement boiler room. The emaciated, scarred victims had been on the move with their captors from Philadelphia to Texas, Florida and Virginia for years. A paroled killer, her daughter, her boyfriend and a street preacher are charged with kidnapping the long-missing men and women for their Social Security checks.
In both cases, the victims' families had reported them missing.
Police had gone to Young's house soon after Richardson went missing in April, based on information they received from family and friends. They searched the house to no avail, Nodiff said. It's unclear whether they tried again before another tip led them to Sunday's rescue.
Young's common-law wife, who also had received disability checks, died in late March. Young abducted Richardson in April after giving him a ride home from his job, police said.
A medical examiner confirmed to detectives this week that the common-law wife, Stephanie Richardson, had died of natural causes at age 60.
Police initially thought she was related to William Richardson, but that's apparently not the case. Still, Young may have known the victim through her.
Young is due in court Sept. 18 for a preliminary hearing. The Philadelphia public defender's office, which represents him, does not comment on cases. His prior record includes arrests on burglary, drug and child endangerment charges.
Police said they wonder if Young got his latest idea from the high-profile November case.
"It would be sad, wouldn't it?" Nodiff said. "There were no chains in the basement. But still, … for the better part of four months, he (Richardson) was kept hostage for financial gain by this animal."