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Cops: Couple held disabled woman, cashed checks

Two people have been arrested and accused of kidnapping, starving and beating a disabled New York woman. Police say they held the woman for more than a year and stole her Social Security checks. WNBC-TV's Brynn Gingras reports.

Two people have been arrested and accused of kidnapping, starving and beating a disabled woman in a Queens home for more than a year, police say.

Police found the 58-year-old victim inside the Rockaway Park home last Thursday, after her niece in Pennsylvania became concerned she hadn't heard from her in months.

The victim was found locked in an empty room that could only be opened from the outside,  huddled on the floor, bleeding from the head and malnourished, authorities said.

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She was taken to a hospital with broken ribs, a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder and other injuries.

Authorities said Patrick Donovan, 42, and Mae Washington, 63, repeatedly beat the victim with their fists and with a cane, locked her in a room and sometimes bound her with tape.

She was also forced to clean up after their dog and multiple cats, even though she is partially paralyzed on the left side of her body, authorities said. 

The couple also stole her Social Security checks and cashed them, authorities said.

"I'm devastated," the victim's niece, Deborah Patton, told NBC New York in a phone interview. "I can't believe a human being could treat another human being like that."

The victim had been living with the couple since January 2011, when she was approached by them while at an assisted living facility, the Queens prosecutor's office said. They convinced her to rent space with them to save money.

The victim is now recovering in the hospital.

Washington and Donovan have been charged with kidnapping, assault and endangering the welfare of a disabled person. This was their second arrest this month; they were previously arrested for burglarizing their neighbor.

The two remain jailed with no bond. If convicted, they face up to 25 years in prison. They're expected to return to court in April.

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