A 46-year-old woman and her 43-year-old husband were arrested this week on suspicion of abusing and torturing their teenage niece over the course of a decade.
Arrest records show Latricia Crawley was taken into custody on Oct. 25 on charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect with great bodily harm, while her husband, Benjamin Lockett, was arrested for child abuse without great bodily harm.
According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 25, the victim contacted her online teacher for help and asked the instructor to send police to her home on Northwest 79th Terrace.
Margate Police officers arrived at the residence and the victim reportedly told police Lockett got angry at her because he suspected she ate some candy, so he allegedly punched her and caused her to hit her head on a desk.
The victim sustained a large cut to her forehead and other swelling. She was taken to Broward Health Coral Springs, where officers and medical personnel “observed evidence of significant long-term trauma” on her body, including scars that looked like ligature marks, scar tissue, insect bite marks, bruising, and malnutrition.
A detective spoke with the victim, who said she has been in Lockett and Crawley’s custody since 2014. Since then, the couple allegedly “willfully and maliciously tortured the victim, unlawfully caged the victim in two different closets, and have willfully abused the victim in manners that have caused permanent disfigurement.”
The affidavit says when the victim was 11, Lockett allegedly kicked her in the chin, which caused a permanent scar. In another instance, Crawley allegedly oiled the victim’s knees when she was 13 years old and “forced the victim to kneel on rice for several hours at a time, for several days in a row.”
Her knees became permanently disfigured. In 2021, Crawley reportedly struck the girl’s toes with a hammer.
When the victim was 14 years old in 2022, Crawley and Lockett allegedly tied the girl to various objects with a nylon rope. After that, Crawley allegedly threw boiling water at her.
According to the affidavit, Lockett and Crawley reportedly locked the girl in a closet, bound her with zip ties, and left her with a bucket to use as a toilet. Sometimes, Crawley allegedly poured cold water on the victim “just to see her wake up.” Crawley also allegedly taped the victim’s eyes shut and waterboarded her.
The detective wrote that the victim had clear signs of starvation and malnutrition, which the victim reportedly confirmed by saying Crawley starved her as a form of punishment. Crawley allegedly asked police if she could release custody of the victim.
The affidavit says the victim has been placed into Child Protective Services custody. Both Lockett and Crawley have been bonded out of Broward County Jail.