Parents Plead No Contest After Lacey Fletcher Melted Into Couch

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Lacey Fletcher melted into couch
Photo Credit: "Old Couch" by Brandon Giesbrecht is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

A couple pleaded no contest after their disabled daughter, Lacey Fletcher, melted into a couch after being grievously neglected under thier care.

Sheila and Clay Fletcher will not defend themselves after authorities found their daughter deceased in a state of extreme neglect.

The 36-year-old woman’s maggot-covered body had become integrated into the structure of her couch, in a setting that strongly indicated severe dereliction by the caregivers.

Parents arrested after Lacey Fletcher melted into a couch

Sheila and Clay Fletcher faced taken into police custody in January 2022, when Sheila called emergency services to report that Lacy had stopped breathing.

When officer’s arrived their daughter’s remains were situated on a couch in their household, surrounded by disgusting squalor, and displayed signs of prolonged neglect.

She was discovered in a disturbing state, partially clothed and positioned upright in a recess of the sofa.

Her body, which weighed a mere 96 pounds, was in an advanced state of decay with evidence of maggot infestation, significant ulceration, and sustained exposure to fecal matter.

How did Lacey Fletcher melt into a couch?

According to reports, Lacey had been constrained to the couch for an estimated 12 years.

Suffering from conditions such as autism and debilitating social anxiety, Lacey’s care had fallen to her parents.

According to their own account, Lacey would habitually eliminate herself on the couch or adjacent towels, with her mother Sheila claiming to have attended to Lacey’s sores with regularity.

He parents told authorities that in 2011 or 2012, Lacey exhibited an aversion to leaving the residence and expressed no qualms about her circumstances at home.

Officers noted, that the conditions she lived in were in fact, dire. When they arrived on scene, an overpowering odor saturated the room, and the floor beneath the antiquated couch had visibly deteriorated.

The Lacey Fletcher autopsy report haunts coroner

The harsh reality of Lacey’s condition was confirmed by the local coroner, who described her body as having “melted” into the sofa—so extreme was her state, that elements of the couch and waste were found within her digestive system.

The coroner, Dr. Ewell Dewitt Bickham III, ultimately deemed the death a homicide, pointing out that the case stood out as particularly gruesome in his experience.

“I’ve seen some horrible things in my life but nothing like this,” Dr. Bickham remarked, indicating the parents were present in the kitchen at the time of the discovery and lacked an adequate explanation.

The emotional toll was so profound, that Dr. Bickham, found himself struggling to eat and was crying for a week after examining her emaciated body.

The underlying cause of death was attributed to a prolonged period of medical neglect, he told WAFB in a statement.

There was also an assertion from secondary examinations that starvation factored significantly in Lacey’s death.

The coroner took a stand on public awareness, advocating for the use of available social support and mental health resources so that such tragedies are not repeated.

“What happened to Lacey should never happen again,” he said.

Parents face murder charges after Lacey Fletcher melted into couch

Following a grand jury indictment in Clinton, Louisiana, Lacey’s parents faced charges of second-degree murder.

Granted a $300,000 bond each, they initially entered a non-guilty plea in the summer of that year.

Based on the details of the “open-and-shut case,” Feliciana Parish District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said that the defense could not realistically contest the charges.

“We want this case to be a message,” D’Aquilla commented. “We want to stand for the people who can’t speak for themselves, to say this treatment will not be tolerated.”

Despite calls for the immediate detention of the Fletchers, they were allowed to maintain their bond, which remained effective up until February of the subsequent year.

Lawyer makes statements about Lacey Fletcher trial

Defending the couple, attorney Steven Moore admitted the presence of neglect yet was adamant that the Fletcher’s held no malicious intention toward their daughter.

“They were negligent, yes. It is clear they were negligent. They loved her to death — that is the true statement with the Fletcher’s. They loved their daughter to death,” Moore claimed.

The lawyer said that the Fletcher’s “loved their daughter to a fault,” and blamed Lacey’s reported autism for her death.

“Anyone with handicapped children can tell you those things can happen,” he continued. “This is an extreme example of how that happens.”

He said that Sheila came home from work everyday at lunch time to feed and care for her Lacey, and even slept on the couch with her every night.

Moore maintained that his clients were “good people” and “great members” of the local community.

“The things that happened to Lacey are horrible,” he added, noting that the Fletcher’s “are not criminals” and have “never been a danger to the community.”

The prosecutors responsible for pursuing the case against the couple have advocated a 40-year prison term, which is the maximum sentence allowed, citing the egregious nature of the neglect.

The Fletcher’s will be sentenced on March 20.

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