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Woman is freed from locked shed in Lancaster after year of torture, officials say

Screams alerted deputies last week to a Lancaster home, where they found a malnourished woman bruised and battered and locked inside a storage shed.

Now authorities say the woman’s brother and his girlfriend tortured the woman for nearly a year.

Elias Abdurahman, 61, and Sara Kebede Tadesse, 50, face torture, imprisonment, assault and dependent adult abuse charges, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The couple allegedly used a cane to beat the woman.

The couple’s arraignment was postponed Tuesday and a protective order was issued for the woman. They are set to appear Oct. 20 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The couple are being held on $1.1 million bail.

The Lancaster couple were arrested Sept. 22 and accused of tormenting and locking up the 54-year-old woman for the past year.

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The woman was frail, emaciated and covered in fresh and old wounds when deputies found her Sept. 22 inside the shed in the backyard of a home in the 45000 block of East 2nd Street, the district attorney’s office said. Deputies went to the home after reports of screaming.

It is unclear how long the woman had been held captive inside the shed, said district attorney's spokesman Ricardo Santiago.

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Prosecutors allege the couple tortured the woman for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion and for a sadistic purpose, according to the Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.

A neighbor told KABC-TV that the woman was covered in bruises, but she refused offers of help, saying she was involved in a car accident.

If convicted of the charges, Abdurahman and Tadesse face up to life in state prison.

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Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

8:58 a.m., Sept. 30: This story was updated with information about the couple's court hearing.

This story was orginally published at 9:22 a.m. Tuesday.

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