Lacey Fletcher’s story: Her horrifying death detailed

Lacey Fletcher endured a horrific final few years – the autistic woman lived in a couch crater filled with excrement and urine. The evidence suggests that her parents, Clay and Sheila Fletcher, neglected Fletcher, leaving her to rot away on a couch in their home. 

Parish coroner Dr. Ewell Bickham said Lacey died from ‘severe medical neglect, which led to malnutrition, acute starvation, immobility, acute ulcer formation, osteomyelitis, which is bone infection, which led finally to sepsis.’ 

Nobody outside the Fletcher residence had seen Lacey for 15 years. “The thing that strikes me is that as Lacey hadn’t been seen for so long, what was to stop the Fletchers simply taking her body out at night and burying it in their backyard,” DA Sam D’Aquilla told the Daily Mail. “No one would have known.”

Lacey Fletcher suffered from social anxiety and severe autism

Lacey Fletcher’s parents reportedly told police officers that she had developed some type of Asperger’s syndrome as a teenager. Dr. Bickham confirmed that Lacey suffered from severe autism and social anxiety. 

Despite knowing that Lacey needed medical attention, Clay and Sheila cut off access to specialists who could help Lacey. Dr. Bickham said Lacey was 16 the last time she saw a physician. 

The Daily Mail obtained photos from DA D’Aquilla showing the malnourished Lacey buried in a deep hole created by lying for years on the sofa. The images showed Lacey’s face covered in red blotches, her body and hair covered in excrement, and maggots crawling in her hair. 

Lacey weighed 96 pounds when discovered. Lying on the couch for 12 years had eaten away the flesh in her buttocks and caused the disappearance of skin from various body sections and the formation of ulcers on the underside of her body. 

“The question on everybody’s mind is, how could they be caretakers living in the house with her and have her get in a condition like that?” D’Aquilla told “It’s cruelty to the infirm. We can’t just let it sit.”

The photos obtained by the Daily Mail show Lacey’s parents had the resources to take care of their only child, but for an indiscernible reason, they refused to do so. 

Clay and Sheila insisted that Lacey decided never to leave the couch and to relieve herself there. Sheila said she cleaned Lacey’s sores, and Lacey never complained about them.

The coroner denied that Lacey had Locked-in Syndrome

Some reports suggested that Lacey Fletcher suffered from Locked-In Syndrome. The condition causes paralysis of voluntary muscles, but the patients often retain cognitive abilities and consciousness. People with Locked-In Syndrome are bedridden and entirely dependent on caregivers. 

Dr. Bickham told the Daily Mail that, to his knowledge, Lacey didn’t suffer from the rare neurological condition:

“I don’t know where that term came from or what source it came from. In all my years as a practicing physician I have never heard of that term. The only diagnoses that I know she did have was first, social anxiety, severe autism and that’s it. Those are her only two diagnoses.”

DA D’Aquilla said he would fight to secure second-degree murder convictions

 “When I was presenting the case and showed the pictures and gave the timeline the expressions of the grand jury was utter shock,” DA D’Aquilla told the Daily Mail. “There was complete silence. Some jurors were gasping in horror. Some were staring in disbelief.”

Dr. Bickham told WRBZ that Lacey’s case was the most horrible he’d ever seen. “I couldn’t eat for a week, and I cried for a week,” he said. The coroner told the Daily Mail that the grand jury proceedings were emotional for him as he had to relive the traumatic experience. 

The grand jury indicted Sheila and Clay Fletcher on second-degree murder charges. Lacey’s parents were arrested and released on bond as the state doesn’t believe they are flight risks. 

DA D’Aquilla said he would fight to secure second-degree murder convictions despite expected attempts by the defense to reduce the charges to manslaughter. “The Fletchers subjected Lacey to this for 20 years,” D’Aquilla said. “They need to serve at least that time.”

The DA said he has a little compassion for the parents as they lost their daughter but sees their convictions as necessary. He told

“I think we have to send a message. You need to take care of your people better than you do your animals. I just want people to recognize, if you have a situation like that you have to take action.”

Clay and Sheila have declined requests to speak to the media, preferring to release statements through their attorney, Steven Moore. He told WBRZ:

“They don’t want to relive the pain of losing a child through the media. They have been through a lot of heartache over the years. Anyone who had lost a child knows what it’s like.”

Spread the love