Developmentally Disabled Woman Was Subjected to Years of Mistreatment, Reports Show

Mary Lou Steff was treated no better than the cows and chickens she was told to tend during the day and sleep next to at night in a rickety Springville barn.

Perhaps worse, according to investigators and relatives of the 66-year-old developmentally disabled woman who want to take custody of her.

For more than a decade, Steff lived under the care of her brother and sister-in-law, who abused and neglected the woman, authorities say.

What happened to her reads like a Charles Dickens novel, although the accounts are contained in county reports.  Her brother and sister-in-law slapped her in the face and denied her breakfast to speed up her morning chores, and when they went away, they locked her out of the farmhouse, forcing her to take refuge in a barn a strong wind might knock down, according to the county report and people who saw what was going on. She was not allowed to bathe, see doctors or have her eyeglasses replaced when they broke.

“Mary Lou was able to share the horrific details of her life but was not able to remember when certain things happened,” according to recently completed investigator’s report to Surrogate Court. Others, including witnesses, have filled in the details.

But Mary Lou’s sister-in-law denied that the disabled woman was neglected or mistreated, and in fact said she was treated well.

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Developmentally Disabled Woman Was Subjected to Years of Mistreatment, Reports Show

14 Responses to “Developmentally Disabled Woman Was Subjected to Years of Mistreatment, Reports Show”

  1. Thelma Says:

    What can possibly be done to prevent family mistreatment?

  2. Thelma Says:

    What can possibly be done to prevent family mistreatment?

  3. Nathan Says:

    This is one of the worst I've read. I hope karma evens up the score.

  4. Nathan Says:

    This is one of the worst I've read. I hope karma evens up the score.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I am sickened about what this family did to one of their own.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I am sickened about what this family did to one of their own.

  7. Mike Says:

    There are no words to describe the horror here.

  8. Mike Says:

    There are no words to describe the horror here.

  9. StandUp Says:

    I'm so sorry for what this poor woman went through, but I am just as glad it's over for her now.

  10. StandUp Says:

    I'm so sorry for what this poor woman went through, but I am just as glad it's over for her now.

  11. Betty Says:

    This is why there's that infamous "place in hell."

  12. Betty Says:

    This is why there's that infamous "place in hell."

  13. Kathleen Says:

    So very sad for this woman! Prayers to her.

  14. Kathleen Says:

    So very sad for this woman! Prayers to her.

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