- Associated Press - Saturday, July 13, 2019

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities arrested a Florida couple Friday described by two female victims as “doomsday preppers,” who they say physically and sexually abused them for years.

Wakulla County Sheriff’s officials say Mirko, 58, and Regina, 55, Ceska had custody care of the two unidentified victims for years and forced them to wake up at 5:30 a.m. each day for manual labor, including raising livestock, growing fruits and vegetables, sheering sheep and using a loom. The women said the couple had properties across the country stocked with weapons and food rations in case of a disaster, according to a press release posted on social media by the sheriff’s office.

The women escaped from the Ceskas late last month and went to authorities three days later. The sheriff’s office searched the couple’s home in Crawfordville on Friday, finding large quantities of food rations and other survivalist items. Detectives also seized dozens of high quality firearms and many cases of ammunition, some hidden behind fake walls or a staircase.

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No other details about the women were released, including their age, how they escaped or how they came to be in the car of the Ceskas.

The women said they weren’t allowed to go anywhere, couldn’t have friends, cell phones, or talk to people in public and “were instructed to always look happy. They stated that if they didn’t smile, they would get punished,” according to the release.

The women said they endured various punishments including having their food withheld, physical beating where they said Mirko Ceska would hit them with a metal rod and sexual episodes where Mirko Cesko forced sex acts upon them, “some with the support of Regina Ceska,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Authorities said they also found a video in the home that showed Mirko Ceska screaming at the women and accusing them of stealing food.

Mirko Ceska was charged with sexual battery, sexual assault, abuse and neglect. Regina Ceska was charged with two counts of neglect and two counts of failure to report abuse.

It’s unclear if they had retained attorneys who could comment on the charges.

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