Billy Ray Mertz
Billy Ray Mertz
Two Carrollton, Ky., residents pleaded not guilty Thursday after police arrested them on allegations they neglected and starved their 23-year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome.

State police said Billy Ray Mertz, 46, and Robin Michelle Mertz, 34, locked their daughter in rooms for extended periods of time without food. The two were arrested on warrants for abusing or neglecting an adult, a Class C felony.

Carroll County Circuit Court Clerk Laman Stark said both pleaded not-guilty to the charges during an arraignment hearing.

Kentucky State Police said the woman had been locked in two rooms of the house by her father and stepmother.

Police believe the woman had been kept in an upstairs bathroom for weeks at a time and in a basement bedroom that was closed off by screwing boards into the wall in front of the door.

The woman weighed 189 pounds when she first came to live with the Mertz family in April 2009, according to a release from state police, but weighed only 86 pounds when she was removed from the home on Aug. 20.

Adult Protective Services discovered the abuse after a tip in August, Kentucky State Police Public Information Officer Brad Arterburn said. The woman was removed from the Mertz home after Adult Protective Services and state police went to the residence to follow up on the report.

Police served warrants for Ray Mertz and Robin Mertz on Wednesday, and they were lodged in the Carroll County Detention Center.

Ray Mertz remains lodged at the detention center on a $25,000 cash bond.

Robin Mertz was released on a $25,000 surety bond Thursday, Carroll County Detention Center Jailer Michael Humphrey said, but the person who provided Robin Mertz's bond decided they didn't want media attention from the case and retracted their bond. She was taken back into custody at the jail hours after her release Thursday afternoon.

She remains lodged in the Carroll County Detention Center on a $25,000 surety bond.

The victim is currently in foster care with Adult Protective Services after being removed from the home in August.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Dave Roberts is leading an ongoing investigation into the case.