VESTABURG, Pa. (KDKA) – A Washington County woman accused of keeping her sister in a cage will be held for court.
Leona Biser, 51, of Vestaburg, appeared before a judge Friday morning.
She’s accused of locking her sister in a wooden cage with a dirty mattress and little-to-no medical care.
Investigators say Biser kept her sister in a “man-made cell” that sat in the living room of their home on Sixth Street in Vestaburg.
While on her way into a Washington County courtroom on Friday, Biser briefly commented when asked about the accusations against her.
“No, I didn’t,” Biser told reporters when asked if she kept her sister in a cage.
Officials responded to the home in November 2019 and found 53-year-old Loretta Lancaster in the cage kneeling alongside a baby’s bottle and the dirty mattress.
The authorities said they found dog feces on the kitchen floor and in the living room.
The home had no running water, and Lancaster was not receiving her prescribed medication.
Lancaster was transported to the hospital, suffering from a urinary tract infection and rhabdomyolysis.
Doctors told police her body was covered in wounds and warts.
Officials say Lancaster’s condition has improved while at Monongahela Valley Hospital. She’s regained some mobility and she is working with a speech therapist.
KDKA spoke to a nephew who lives nearby.
He said didn’t know anything about what was happening, but he feels his aunt didn’t want to put her sister in an assisted living facility for fear she would be neglected because of her significant health issues.
Biser has been charged with abuse of a dependent person, unlawful restraint and several other charges.
Following Friday’s preliminary hearing, the Attorney General’s Office spoke about the importance of reporting these types of neglect cases.
“The whole point of this prosecution is when the vulnerable among us are neglected, and no one is going to act including their own family members then the Attorney General’s Office will,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte said.