In Corunna, Michigan, on Wednesday, testimony continued on day two in the trial of Candy Lawson, a 44-year-old tattoo artist who is accused of extreme abuse against her physically disabled, 42-year-old sister. Lawson kept her sister locked in a series of closets with minimal food or water, almost no clothing, and no access to a bathroom for a horrifying seven-year stretch, prosecutors say. On Wednesday, a local police officer offered stomach-turning testimony about the condition of Lawson’s Corunna, Michigan, home when investigators went there for a “welfare check” on July 9, according to a report by WJRT TV News.
Before moving with her sister to Michigan about a year ago, Lawson and her sister, Dianna, resided in Franklin County, Kentucky, where Candy Lawson owned a tattoo parlor business, Candy’s Body Art, in Frankfort, according to a WKYT TV report.
When police removed the sister from the horror home, after a handyman tipped them off about her presence there, they were shocked by the conditions in the home, with Corunna Police Chief Nick Chiros describing the “stench” inside the residence as “unreal,” adding that in his 35 years of police work, he had “never seen an adult abuse case of that type,” according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper.
Dianna Lawson, who suffers from “cognitive and physical impairments” — she is reportedly both deaf and mute — weighed only 72 pounds when she was rescued from the home by police.
On Wednesday, the police officer who responded to the 911 call from the handyman who reported the alleged imprisonment of Dianna Lawson testified about what he found — and smelled — when he entered Candy Lawson’s home. In fact, as soon as he entered the residence he was hit with a strong odor of feces and urine, he testified.
Lawson is accused of giving Dianna only a bucket to use to relieve herself in her makeshift prison, a closet that was locked from the outside when police found her.
Corunna is located about 65 miles north of Detroit, Michigan. Dianna Lawson was placed in protective custody after she was hospitalized for about a week, suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition. Candy Lawson is facing charges of unlawful imprisonment and abuse of a vulnerable adult, both of which carry possible 15-year sentences, according to an NBC News report.
Lawson is also charged with embezzlement from a vulnerable adult, a charge that could put her behind bars for another five years, stemming from benefits payments intended for Dianna Lawson that the elder sister allegedly stole.
[Featured Image by Shiawassee County Sheriff Office/AP Images]