“Basement of horrors” indictment brings light to 2008 Norfolk death

A woman was confined to a kitchen cabinet, beaten and starved to death after several years held captive.

In 2008, Maxine Lee was found dead in a Norfolk home. A medical examiner said she died of bacterial meningitis. However a federal indictment released today suggests otherwise.

Related: 

People accused of locking disabled Norfolk man, others in basement charged with murder

The indictment does not list Maxine Lee’s name, but refers to a victim as M.L.

It says M.L. died at the hands of Linda Weston, a woman now charged with keeping mentally handicapped adults chained in a Philadelphia basement. The case was first brought to light in 2011.

Weston had claimed to be Maxine Lee’s caretaker and Norfolk Police found no connection between Weston and Lee’s death.

The indictment says when they met in Philadelphia in 2002, M.L. and Weston had a romantic relationship.

After convincing M.L. to move in with her, Weston soon confined M.L. to the basement.

The indictment says for years, alongside Weston’s other victims, M.L. was repeatedly drugged, given little food and beaten with bats, sticks and hammers.

In 2007, Weston made M.L. pretend to have a mental disability so she could steal M.L.’s social security benefits. The indictment claims M.L. was eventually moved to Killeen, Texas and then Norfolk, where M.L. was kept in a kitchen cabinet under a sink.

After M.L. became sick and died in 2008, the indictment says M.L.’s body was draped with blankets and put in a bedroom to make it look like M.L. died while watching television.

According the indictment, a day after police found Maxine Lee’s body, Weston moved her other victims to Philadelphia, and continued to collect social security benefits from M.L. It says Weston did this even after Virginia officials had ordered her to refund the benefits when they learned M.L. had died.

If convicted, Weston faces life in prison.

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