A West Virginia man has been arrested and charged with enslaving and torturing his wife for nearly a decade, forcing her to give birth to two babies-- one of them stillborn-- in shackles and burning her with irons and frying pans.
According to ABC News, police allege 37-year-old Peter Lizon abused his wife Stephanie Lizon, 43, for much of the past decade. The complaint against Lizon alleges that he burned his wife on her back and breasts with irons, frying pans and smashed her foot with a piece of agricultural equipment on their family farm in Leroy.
Lizon also allegedly forced his wife to give birth to two babies while in shackles. One of the babies was stillborn and allegedly buried on the farm. The other has reportedly never received any medical care since being born.
"This appears to go beyond abuse to what I would consider torture," Jackson County Chief Deputy Tony Boggs told ABC News.
Stephanie Lizon escaped from her husband on July 2 when he took her to a rental store a return a tool. She fled into a nearby Zumba dance center where she hid until workers from the Family Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg retrieved her.
A witness described the victim as "gaunt and filthy," covered in scars, bruises and burns. Her feet were "mutilated and swollen" and a scar in the shape of an iron marred her breast. Burns on her back were attributed to a hot frying pan.
Lizon was also allegedly called a "slave" by her Czech-born husband and forced to kneel before him whenever she entered a room.
Shawn Bayliss, Peter Lizon's attorney, told WSAZ-TV that the allegations against his client were false and that Stephanie had a "feeble mind." Bayliss claimed her miscarriage was the result of an all-terrain vehicle accident.
Peter Lizon is being held on $300,000 bond. His preliminary hearing, on a malicious wounding charge, is scheduled for Friday morning in the Jackson County Magistrate Court.