A Broward teen turned to her online instructor for help. The girl’s plea landed her guardians in jail — and uncovered nearly a decade of abuse, police say.
Latricia Elizabeth Crawley, 46, and Benjamin Deztuan Lockett, 43, were arrested and charged Wednesday with aggravated child abuse and child neglect with great bodily harm. Margate police responded to the home and found the 15-year-old girl’s head bleeding. Lockett, police say, punched the girl, causing her head to slam into the corner of a desk.
While being treated at a nearby hospital, police noticed “evidence of significant long-term trauma” on the girl’s body, according to a report. She had ligature marks, bruises, scar tissue, bite marks from insects and apparent signs of malnutrition.
The girl detailed to investigators the horror she suffered since 2014, when Crawley and Lockett became her guardians, according to the report. For almost 10 years, they frequently locked her in a closet, sometimes binding her with zip ties. They would force her to sleep there and relieve herself in a bucket.
Crawley, according to the teen, would often pour cold water on her to see her wake up. Both Crawley and Lockett, she said, starved her. Police even reported that the girl’s bones were protruding around her spine.
But police say she broke down as she described one of her gruesome punishments: when her eyes would be taped shut as her head would be dunked into water.
The alleged abuse didn’t stop there. Here’s what else the girl told investigators:
▪ In 2019, when she was 11, Lockett kicked her in the chin, leaving her with a permanent scar that’s still visible today.
▪ In 2021, when she was 13, Crawley oiled her knees and forced her to kneel on rice for several days. She still has scar tissue on her knees.
▪ Again in 2021, Crawley tied the girl down and smashed her toes with a hammer.
▪ In 2022, when she was 14, the couple bound the girl with a nylon rope on multiple occasions, permanently disfiguring her shoulders, wrists and stomach.
▪ Again in 2022, Crawley poured a pot of boiling water over the girl, causing visible scars on her stomach.
The Florida Department of Child and Family Services now has custody of the girl. Lockett is being held at the Broward main jail with his bond set at $25,000. Jail records indicate that Crawley has since bailed out.
To report child abuse or neglect in Florida, call the state’s 24/7 Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or 1-800-96-ABUSE to talk with English, Spanish and Haitian Creole-speaking counselors. For TTY, people can use 711 or call to 1-800-955-8771.