Feds charge 3 in Ohio slavery case, forced disabled woman to do manual labor

ASHLAND, OH - Three Ashland residents held a cognitively disabled woman and her child against their will for more than two years and forced the mom to perform manual labor for them, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

The conspiracy included beating the disabled woman and her child, threatening the woman and her child with large snakes, forcing them to sleep in a padlocked room with a large iguana and other actions according to charges filed in the U.S. District Court.

Jodie L. Callahan, 26, Jessica Hunt, 31, and Daniel Brown, 33, were all arrested Tuesday and charged with forced labor. Callahan is charged with an additional count of tampering with a witness.

"These defendants violated the victim's most basic civil right: Freedom, by exploiting her most basic instinct, the protection of her child," said Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of Cleveland FBI office. "The FBI continues to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those individuals who abuse and harm members of our community."

"We are yet again reminded that modern-day slavery exists all around us," said Steven M. Dettlebach, United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "One of our nation's core values is freedom, yet this woman and her child were denied freedom for two years. The victims in this case endured violence, threats, sub-human living conditions and horrific acts."

"The streets are a lot safer with these folks locked up," Ashland Police Chief David Marcelli said. "Cooperation with the FBI and US Attorney's Office was key to the successful arrest of these individual."

Ashland County Prosecutor Ramona Rogers said, "We are pleased to cooperate with the federal authorities, particularly when it provides for more severe punishment for these defendants."

Ashland is located southwest of Cleveland, where three women were found in the home of Ariel Castro on May 6 after nearly 10 years of captivity.

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