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Nye County deputies, sergeant on leave in ‘misconduct’ probe

Updated December 6, 2018 - 6:10 am

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office said two of its deputies and a sergeant were placed on administrative leave after police were twice called to a home where two people were forcibly held in filthy conditions, but they did not help the pair.

For about three months, James Thatcher, 28, with the help of his girlfriend and their child’s nanny, kept his 52-year-old mother and 34-year-old brother locked away and tied to a blood-stained mattress inside his Pahrump apartment, police said Nov. 19. In those three months, officers were called to the apartment twice but did nothing to help the victims, the sheriff’s office said.

“On both occasions, deputies responded and the victims of this case were left in those circumstances,” according to a sheriff’s office release posted Tuesday evening on Facebook.

It appeared that the officers who responded to the home had seen the mother and son, as they were placed on administrative leave “pending the results of an internal affairs investigation of misconduct from their previous encounters with those victims,” the sheriff’s office said.

The two deputies and the sergeant were placed on administrative leave on Nov. 18, the sheriff’s office said.

The mother and son, who are both mentally disabled, had been cut off from access to their monthly Social Security income and were kept in a bedroom and were only allowed to leave for bathroom breaks, according to an arrest report. Detectives found checkbooks in the home belonging to the pair filled with signed blank checks.

The two were handcuffed and bound to a mattress inside the room. Thatcher admitted to strapping them to the mattress and binding his mother’s wrists and ankles together, the report said.

When the mother and son were found Nov. 16, the woman still had rope wrapped around her wrists and ankles. Both victims “had a foul odor” and were possibly suffering from dehydration, the report said.

The two had found a way to remove the sliding portion of the room’s window and escaped when the suspects were not at home. They then flagged down a neighbor to call for help, the report said.

Thatcher and his girlfriend, 30-year-old Chelsea Demille, face charges of first-degree kidnapping, false imprisonment and elder abuse, the sheriff’s office said. The nanny, 19-year-old Sandra Wombles, also faces false imprisonment and elder abuse charges.

Further information about the officers placed on leave was not immediately available Wednesday.

“The sheriff’s office is prohibited by law from discussing personnel matters, and no further information is available for release at this time,” according to Tuesday’s release.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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