After A Neighbor Heard Screams In The Night, Police Uncovered This Couple’s Disturbing Secret

Image: Mike Kane/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

In a sleepy Washington cul-de-sac, a scream rings out across the summer night. Alarmed, a neighbor calls police to the isolated home where Jon Pomeroy and Rebecca Long live a quiet, private life. But when officers arrive to investigate, they uncover a horrific scene.

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The story began in the 1990s in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Pomeroy married his first wife. Described by his father-in-law, Robert Stokes, as “quiet, and just a little odd,” according to a 2008 article in The Seattle Times, the software engineer was working for the word processing company WordPerfect at the time.

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Soon the couple had relocated to Orem in Utah, where they had a daughter. Two years later, a son followed. But things between Pomeroy and his wife grew difficult and the couple eventually divorced. After the split, the two children went to live with Pomeroy. And even though they wrote letters to their grandfather at first, contact between the two families grew less and less frequent over the years.

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After a time, Pomeroy met Long, a colleague who was also divorced. And soon, the pair became an item. Together, they decided to leave Utah and move almost 900 miles northwest to King County, WA. With Pomeroy’s two children in tow, the family settled into a house close to Lake Marcel, some 40 miles outside of Seattle.

Image: Christine Kipp

Nestled between the small towns of Carnation and Duvall, Pomeroy and Long’s isolated home was set on a quiet cul-de-sac. And, in keeping with their surroundings, they seemed to keep themselves to themselves. “They just stayed inside a lot,” one of their neighbors recalled.

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Image: via Homeschooling’s Invisible Children

However, in August 2008, Pomeroy and Long’s quiet family home became the focus of a national scandal. One night, a neighbor heard chilling screams emanating from the couple’s property. Concerned, they notified Child Protection Services, who sent a police officer to investigate.

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In the house, the officer was shocked to discover a severely malnourished 14-year-old girl. Realizing that she was in immediate need of medical attention, the officer took the teenager straight to Seattle’s Children’s Medical Center. But there, the extent of her horrific ordeal soon became apparent.

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According to police spokesman Sergeant John Urquhart, the detective in charge noted that the case was a low point in his 16-year career. “He’s never seen a case of abuse this bad,” Urquhart confessed. Apparently, the girl was so thin that she looked as if she had escaped from a concentration camp.

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For two weeks, the girl remained in the medical center receiving treatment for her condition. According to doctors, she had become so dehydrated that her saliva glands had stopped working, causing her teeth to rot away. Additionally, she weighed less than 50 pounds and stood at just four feet seven inches tall – more closely resembling a young child than a teenage girl.

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In light of these discoveries, the girl and her 12-year-old brother – who did not exhibit similar signs of abuse – were removed from the home. But as police delved further into what happened, a horrifying tale began to emerge. Apparently, the unnamed victim had been targeted by Long ever since she was a small child.

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Shockingly, the teenager reported a battle to survive on meager rations of toast and a tiny amount of water per day. At one point, she claimed to have grown so thirsty that she resorted to drinking the condensation that had accumulated on the windows. Another time, the desperate young girl reportedly drank water out of the toilet.

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However, the girl claimed that she had been caught. And as punishment, she was allegedly forced to spend her nights on the floor of her stepmother’s bedroom with a bulky piece of furniture stopping her from escaping. At other times, she was kept locked away in another room, forced to live out her days in filthy conditions.

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Allegedly, the teenager was only allowed to shower and brush her teeth under her stepmother’s supervision – apparently to prevent her from sneaking any water to drink. However, the girl claimed that Long often did not want to be inconvenienced, leaving her to wait long periods without her basic hygiene needs being met.

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According to investigators, the girl had not visited a doctor in six years. However, they uncovered evidence that her younger brother had recently received medical attention and that the family’s pets had also received veterinary care. And although Long claimed that the children “do not get germs and do not get sick,” it was clear that Pomeroy’s daughter had been neglected to the point of starvation.

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Shockingly, it wasn’t the first time that Child Protection Services had been made aware of the situation at Long and Pomeroy’s home. Back in 2001, the two children had begun attending Stillwater Elementary School in Carnation. But after three years, they were removed to be taught at home.

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However, the two children still attended one educational program every week. And in 2005, a teacher told the authorities that the girl had been reporting abusive treatment at home. But even though investigators discovered evidence that the allegations were true, neither child was removed from Long and Pomeroy’s care.

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Instead, it’s thought that Long received counseling for her behavior and the case was closed. After that, the children were not seen at school again. “We’ve had no contact, no referrals, calls or complaints since March 2005,” said Thomas Shapley, a spokesman for Washington’s CPS.

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After details of the horrific case emerged, Long claimed to have been engaged in a “power struggle” with the girl and said that the abuse was actually discipline designed to solve her behavioral issues. Meanwhile, Pomeroy admitted that he had been concerned about the situation, but had opted to let the pair work things out between themselves.

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In October 2008, Long and Pomeroy were charged with criminal mistreatment. And a year later, Pomeroy’s daughter submitted a letter to the court detailing the devastating effects of her abuse. “I felt that [Long] was manipulating dad to believe that I was Satan,” she wrote. “That he would believe such a thing was the heartbreaking part to me.” Eventually, both Long and Pomeroy were sentenced to three years and five months behind bars.

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In 2010, the children’s guardian announced plans to sue the state for failing to pick up on the abuse during their 2005 investigation. And the following year, the girl and her brother received a settlement of $4.6 million. Meanwhile, the victim appears to have adjusted remarkably well to normal life. “She’s a vibrant and resilient young lady,” foster father Dwight Thompson told The Seattle Times in 2009.

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