Mercedes Farquharson Accused of Enslaving 3 Girls on North Carolina Farm

Date: 2009-09-01

By Pete Kotz

After living as a fugitive for four years -- first in Spain, then in Bulgaria -- Mercedes Farquharson is back in a North Carolina jail, accused of essentially enslaving three girls on a Monroe, N.C. farm from 2001 to 2005.

Our story begins in London in the 1990s, when the mother of Jasmine and Holly Lloyd had just divorced and was struggling to raise her two daughters. So she allegedly gave the children to Farquharson, who convinced them she was a God-like deity and ordered them to obey her every command.

Though details are still a bit sketchy, they supposedly moved to a North Carolina farm in 2001, where Farquharson is accused of basically treating them as indentured laborers. The kids, along with another adopted girl named Emma, were starved, beaten and held out of school...

"Always screaming, swearing," Jasmine Lloyd told WCNC-TV of Charlotte. "She
used strangling on all three of us."

"She would say, you know, she wishes she could kill us," said Holly.

The slavery came to an abrupt end in 2005, when social services raided the farm after tips from neighbors.

"The house was nasty," said Detective John Young. "It was like the inside of a barn. This woman was working these girls basically 20 hours a day and wouldn't give them proper nourishment or any kind of schooling."

But the next day, Farquharson fled to Spain before she could be arrested. After a British newspaper outed her new whereabouts, she then fled to Bulgaria, where police finally nabbed her in July and extradited her back to the U.S.

She will appear in a Charlotte court Thursday, and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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