Linda Weston and her sister, Vicky, went to court for a child custody hearing to decide the fate of Vicky’s daughter, Beatrice. The troubled past of the two individuals didn’t factor into the judge’s decision, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Vicky was recovering from a head injury when the custody battle occurred, and had trusted her sister to take care of her child. Linda was convicted in 1984 of starving a man to death, a crime for which she served four years and something that her sister didn’t mind, the newspaper reported.

The granting of custody to the two women led to a bizarre kidnapping case in which Linda was arrested following police finding her with four mentally disabled adults locked in a basement.

Police then found Beatrice hiding, as she was malnourished and bore scars from burns, beatings and other torture.

The Inquirer reported that when Linda and Vicky went to court in 2003 to get custody of Beatrice, the previous murder conviction was not mentioned. This lack of investigation led to the horrific state in which the child was found.

CBS News reported that Linda was keeping the mentally disabled adults as part of a social security scheme, and her daughter was simply neglected.

Often times men are denied custody for merely having a minor offense on their record or because of unsubstantiated claims of abuse from their former spouse.

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