The living conditions authorities described inside the Lanham apartment were deplorable. There was no running water, and debris and trash filled the apartment and the garage underneath it. Mounds of furniture, clothes and other items were cleared away. As much as 10 tons of trash, including containers of human feces, was reportedly removed.
The family has said that much of what was removed had been collected by Mwasiti Sikyala for sale at flea markets or to export overseas to Congo.
Today, the apartment remains in disrepair.
“She was killed in there,” said Antoine Agobet, 42-year-old brother-in-law to Mwasiti Sikyala, as he pointed to a back bedroom in the apartment, now marred by broken windows and graffiti. “The girl, too.”
Through Mr. Agobet, other family members declined to be interviewed, still stung by initial reports that suggested the adult victims were somehow involved in the drug business or that they lived in filthy conditions.
Gilmer and Mr. Bellard have been housed at the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections since their arrests. Gilmer is in the female offenders’ unit and has been under maximum security sometimes — meaning she is locked in her cell for 23 hours a day.
As recently as April, Mr. Bellard’s defense team filed motions indicating they hope to bar evidence from trial, such as his own statements to law enforcement officials. Defense attorneys wrote in Prince George’s Count Circuit Court filings that Mr. Bellard’s statements to law enforcement were involuntary and made as the “result of unlawful police deception.” Hearings on motions are set for his case in September.
But even as his defense team was preparing its strategy, Mr. Bellard had other ideas about his future. After more than two and a half years housed at the county jail awaiting trial, he attempted suicide.
On April 25, Mr. Bellard was found in the jail’s recreation yard with a bedsheet fashioned around his neck like a noose. Medical staff at the jail attended to him and he was transported to Prince George’s Hospital Center. Since his return to the jail after treatment, Mr. Bellard told staff there that “he will attempt to commit suicide again, as soon as he has a window of opportunity,” court filings state.
He remains on permanent suicide watch in the jail’s medical unit.