Two “doomsday preppers” are behind bars in Florida after authorities say they held two females against their will, sexually and physically abusing them for years.
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mirko Ceska, 58, and Regina Ceska, 55, Friday at their Crawfordville home after two females told authorities they'd escaped from the couple's farm where they were being held, according to a statement from law enforcement.
The victims described the couple as “doomsday preppers” who had getaway properties located throughout the United States and a massive cache of food and weapons.
The victims, whose ages were not disclosed, were described as being under the custodial responsibility of the Ceskas. They said they were forced to work as farm labor on the property, beginning their day at 5:30 a.m.
“The females stated that they had been trained to raise pigs, raise sheep, grow various fruits and vegetables, sheer sheep, utilize a loom, and sew,” the sheriff’s office said.
The two females also told authorities they were forbidden from having any friends, didn’t have a cell phone and were not allowed to “agree, talk or shake hands with anyone in public.”
When they were in public, the two were instructed to smile and would be punished either with beatings, verbal abuse or have food taken away if they failed to smile.
“The most recent beating was reportedly done ... by Mirko Ceska with a metal rod,” authorities said, noting that the victim still had signs of bruising on her back and arm.
Both victims also told deputies that they were forced into sex acts, sometimes with the encouragement of Regina Ceska.
Investigators, including Sheriff Jared F. Miller, detectives, members of the North Star Multijurisdictional Drug Task Force and special agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a search warrant at the couple’s home on Friday.
During their search, they found large quantities of food rations, survivalist items and dozens of “high-quality firearms,” some of which were hidden behind false walls or a staircase.
Investigators also allegedly recovered a homemade video capturing Mirko Ceska with his face very close to the two victims screaming at them because he believed they had stolen food.
Neighbor Bryan Chatham told local station WCTV the family was “standoffish” and said he rarely saw Regina Ceska or the victims, who he described as the couple’s daughters.
“No that was kind of one thing that caught me that was strange to me: I didn’t even know they had kids, I thought they lived there by themselves,” he said.
Mirko Ceska has been charged with sexual battery, sexual assault, abuse and neglect. Regina Ceska is facing two counts of neglect and two counts of failure to report abuse.
Both are being held at the Wakulla County Jail.
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