A house in Seymour, Connecticut is being called the “house of horrors” after it was discovered that a woman had been kept captive in the home for several years in conditions not suitable for an animal. The Seymour Police couldn’t stay in the room, which served as the woman’s cell for many years, without fleeing periodically to catch their breath from the rancid smell, according to Ct. Post on April 26.
Nancy Gauvin, 56, was a prisoner and she could not escape the horrendous conditions that her 58-year-old brother kept her in. Her bedroom door was locked from the outside and the windows had been boarded up and spray painted black so she could not see out. More than likely they were covered so others could not see in, keeping this very sick secret from the outside world.
A mattress on the floor and a portable toilet in the corner were both covered with feces and urine. These were her only pieces of furniture in the small cold bedroom that was her world. She was cut off from the outside and this one small room was all she knew for the last several years.
On Thursday night, Arthur Gauvin was arrested and his sister Nancy was freed from captivity and taken to a hospital where she remains today. The brother was charged with unlawful restraint, second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons. His bond was set at $125,000 .
The New Haven Register reports that police were tipped off by an anonymous caller. When they went to the house, the stench led them to Nancy’s room. The windows spray painted black on the front of the house, visible from the street, were also an odd sight that gave the cops a hint of something not being right.
The woman had not bathed in a very long time, this was apparent to the officers who first arrived. Nancy was kept captive because her brother feared that he would lose the house to the state.
While being escorted into the police station Arthur Gauvin saw his 26-year-old daughter, Brittany, who was waiting to give police a statement. Gauvin yelled over to his daughter, warning her if she said anything about her aunt’s living conditions then she and her little girl would not have a place to live. This added another charge of tampering with a witness to Gauvin's case.
The daughter was “petrified” and told Officer Lisa Wexler that “Due to his threats I’m scared…I’m petrified.” Brittany Gauvin and her young daughter apparently live in the yellow raised ranch on Eleanor Road where this horrific discovery was made on Thursday night.
It seems that Arthur Gauvin is known as a “bully” to some around town, with his sister Nancy being remembered as a “timid” woman, a “wall flower. “There was no way she would stand up to him,” said Bob Morrow, whose in-laws are neighbors of the Gauvins. He also went to high school with the Gauvins he said. Morrow continued saying:
“Kudos to those cops that came last night and finally did something. Someone should give them commendations.”
The Department of Children and Families was called because of the young daughter of Brittany’s who lives in the home. Through the evening police and firefighters came to the house in hazmat suits and were seen taking garbage bags full of things out of the house. The Connecticut Post reports that it was “unclear if the house was condemned due to the conditions inside.”
The neighbors claim that Arthur Gauvin was running a puppy mill, which added to the deplorable conditions inside the house. Neighbors claim that for years they’ve made reports about the condition of the house, their concerns about Nancy and the puppy mill.
Neighbors saw Nancy Gauvin walk out of her house escorted by a female officer. The neighbors said the once heavy-set woman now looks emaciated. The Deputy Police Chief Paul Satkowski said that Nancy was weak, disheveled, malnourished, frail and thin. She was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital where she was admitted.
One neighbor told the media about the time Nancy showed up at her front door a few years ago and “begged for food.” She said she was starving. She brought her into the kitchen and gave her a meatloaf dinner with some ice cream for dessert. She told Nancy to sit down and eat, but she said that she had to get back and then she left. Then Brittany Gauvin, who is Nancy’s niece, came to the house irate over the food her aunt was given.
She said that Nancy was a diabetic, which is something the neighbor did not believe. When Nancy first came to the door, the neighbor that had lived next door to her for years did not recognize her, she was so thin and weak.
The judge set the bond for $125,000 and imposed a protective order denying Gauvin any contact with his sister or his daughter. He is allowed one visit to the home with the Seymour police to get his belongings. He is also ordered to hand over any firearms in the house.
The house was left to Nancy and her sister Gail when their parents died years ago. When Gail died Arthur moved in with Nancy as his marriage was ending. Then Arthur found Nancy unconscious on the floor one day and not long after that the house was “quick claimed” over to Arthur by Nancy. This was about seven years ago.
Police looked back at their records and the few “well-being checks” that they did after the calls from neighbors, turned out fine. In all cases Nancy was found in good health and the house was not in the condition it was this week when police came through. From the outside the house blends right into the neighborhood, nothing other than the spray painted black windows look out of place.
A 2012 visit had two officers report that they didn’t see any reason to be concerned about the welfare of Nancy. Thursday night’s visit was totally different than any that they’ve done in the past.