A 64-year-old Northwest Baltimore man allegedly was kept tied to his bed for six months by his wife and stepdaughters "to pay him back for all the bad years of marriage he gave her," according to Baltimore police.
The man, Rufus West, was found in what police described as "very poor physical condition" shortly after 9 p.m. Monday on the steps of a house two blocks from his Northwest Baltimore home that had allegedly also served as his prison since March. According to police, West had escaped out a bathroom window after managing to break the ropes that had bound him to a wooden crate used as his bed.
West told police that he was kept alive only so that he could sign his Social Security checks, enabling them to be cashed once a month. He told police he was untied only occasionally so that he could eat and use the bathroom.
West could not be located yesterday for comment.
Police have charged his wife, Helen West, 42, and his 21-year-old stepdaughter, Vidonna Dancier, with assault with intent to commit murder in connection with the incident. The two women were committed to the City Hospital yesterday for psychiatric examination, according to court officials.
Two other stepdaughters, both 17, who had been arrested in connection with the case have been released into the custody of an uncle, police said.
Neighbors said the house was one of the few rented in a neighborhood of home owners. One neighbor said of its occupants, "They haven't been a nuisance in the neighborhood. They go to church and they stary to themselves."
Another neighbor described West as a tall, thin man who last worked as a laborer but who had hurt his back on the job. "I knew I hadn't seen him for sometime," she said.
Baltimore District COurt Judge Solomon Baylor refused yesterday to reduce the $5,000 bail for Mrs. West and her daughter. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 10.