A Louisiana couple has been re-indicted on murder charges after their daughter’s body was found “melted” into their family couch, where she had been sitting for up to 12 years. Sheila and Clay Fletcher were initially arrested in January 2022 after their 36-year-old daughter, Lacey Ellen Fletcher, was discovered dead on the home’s couch, covered in urine and feces, and weighing less than 100 pounds.
The couple was later indicted on charges of second-degree murder in the shocking case of neglect. However, the charges were tossed over technical matters, and the Fletchers were rearrested on June 19 and again indicted by a grand jury on murder charges.
District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla stated that they would ensure justice for Lacey and that caregivers would be charged for neglecting or abusing a person in their care. The suspects’ lead lawyer, Steven Moore, earlier told the judge that the DA’s office presented indictment papers that contained six differences from the ones filed in the official record. D’Aquilla also told reporters that the defense team raised two other reasons to quash the indictment — no specific intent and no signing by the foreperson. The judge reportedly denied those two.
When Lacey was found in her family’s Slaughter home, she was stuck inside a waste-filled crater in the couch, with the local medical examiner describing her as having “melted” into the piece of furniture. She was covered in maggots and sores, had ulcers on her underside, and fecal matter on her face, chest, and abdomen. Her parents have maintained their innocence, claiming Lacey was “of sound mind” and refused to leave the living room, where they said they brought her meals and set up a toilet.
Authorities said the woman was diagnosed with social anxiety and had a history of severe Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder, which leaves people with maladjusted social skills. Lacey may have sat in her own filth for about 12 years, the coroner said. She weighed a skeletal 96 pounds and also tested positive for COVID-19 after she was found.
She also reportedly suffered from locked-in syndrome, a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles, except for the eyes.
The Fletchers have been out on bond and are expected to be tried later this year.