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Press Release

AG Shapiro Says Washington Co. Woman Who Kept Sister in Cage Facing Charges of Neglect

January 15, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced neglect and false imprisonment charges against a Washington County woman who kept her sister in a wooden cage with only a dirty mattress and little-to-no medical care.

Shapiro says his Office’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations has charged Leona Biser, 51, of Vestaburg, Washington County with neglect of a care dependent person, abuse of a care dependent person, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint, and false imprisonment after agents discovered Biser had kept her sister, Loretta Lancaster, 53, in the man-made cell that sat in the home’s living room.

“This defendant professed to be caring for her sister when, in fact, the home was in deplorable condition, had no running water, and the victim was not getting her prescribed medicines,” AG Shapiro said. “We fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves. And our agents have made sure the victim has received needed care and will no longer have to suffer daily living in a cage.”

After discovering Lancaster, Shapiro said Office of Attorney General agents had her transported to Monongahela Valley Hospital for treatment of a urinary tract infection and Rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle that can be caused by infection.

During her hospital stay, Lancaster’s condition has improved. She has regained some mobility, and is working with a speech therapist.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte of the Office of Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecution Section and Deputy Attorney General Aaron McKendry of the Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Section are prosecuting this case.  All charges discussed are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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