Monday, September 12, 1977

Palm Reader Held As Widow’s Captor Over Nine Months

A palm readers and her boyfriend were arrested on charges of holding a 37-year-old widow a virtual captive for nine months and robbing her of about $5000 in Social Security payments on the pretext that they would cure her crippled 15-year-old daughter.

They were also accused of assaulting their victim with baseball bats and lighted cigarettes.

According to the story told to the police by Mrs. Maria Nievies, she had gone to Miss Mary Hernandez’s apartment last November in the hope that the latter’s religious powers would cure her daughter. The apartment was adorned with altars and religious statues. Miss H persuaded her to stay with her daughter and son, 16. She said they permitted her to leave the apartment occasionally for errands but warned her to keep silent and threatened harm to the daughter if she did not return. She said they forced her to sign over her monthly Social Security checks. They shaved her head and did not permit her to bathe for months. Last Friday a friend persuaded her that her captors could not help her daughter and so she called police. She was treated for lacerations and bruises.

Excerpt from Emanuel Perlmutter Sept 12, 1977 New York Times

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