LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- A 61-year-old man and his girlfriend are accused of torturing his sister and locking her in a storage shed in Lancaster.
Elias Abdurahman and his girlfriend, 50-year-old Sara Kebede Tadesse, are accused of locking Abdurahman's 54-year-old sister in a shed behind his home and beating her with a cane.
They are both charged with one count each of false imprisonment by violence, torture, assault with a deadly weapon and dependent adult abuse, along with an allegation that they personally inflicted great bodily injury.
Deputies who were investigating reports of screaming sounds discovered the victim locked in a shed in the 45000 block of East 2nd Street on Sept. 22, the district attorney's office said.
Detectives said when they found the victim, she appeared very frail and malnourished. She was found to have fresh and old wounds on her body. Deputies then arrested Abdurahman and Tadesse.
Prosecutors accused the two of torturing the victim for the purpose of revenge, extortion and for sadistic purposes, according to the criminal complaint.
"I could actually hear a woman, an older woman yelling for help, what sounded like somebody being hit or being forced to be submerged in some type of water," said an area resident, who wished to remain anonymous. "But I couldn't really say for 100 percent. I never physically witnessed it, but I could hear it."
That resident also said she and her husband saw the victim constantly covered in bruises or bandages. When they asked her if she needed help, she refused and said she just got into a car accident.
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Abdurahman was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, but his defense attorney requested the arraignment be postponed until next month. He is now scheduled to enter a plea Oct. 20.
Tadesse has already faced a judge, and her arraignment is slated for Oct. 20 as well.
Both suspects were being held in lieu of $1.1 million bail. If convicted, Abdurahman and Tadesse face a maximum sentence of life in prison.