SALT LAKE CITY -- Three suspects held Monday in the death of a disabled woman are accused of beating her, putting a pepper seed in one of her eyes, and wrapping her arms and hands with bandages so she couldn't remove it, authorities said.
Christina Harms, 22, was found dead Friday in her Kearns home, about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City, after a 911 caller reported a possible overdose.
Investigators found Harms' body covered in bruises with marks on her wrists and ankles, Unified police spokesman Justin Hoyal said Monday.
In a closet protected by an alarm system, investigators found a metal bar and ties they believe were used to bind Harms.
"This is a sad, disturbing case," Hoyal said.
Investigators believe the small, oval-shaped pepper seed found under one of Harms' eyelids would have caused a burning sensation, Hoyal said. Hoyal would not say whether it was in her right or left eye.
An official cause of death had not yet been determined, but police believe the abuse was a key factor.
Harm's live-in caregiver and legal guardian, Cassandra Shepard, 27, was arrested Sunday and booked into the Salt Lake County jail for investigation of domestic violence murder and obstruction of justice. Hoyal said Shepard and Harms were apparently friends who had been living together since February 2010.
Harms also had a 2-year-old daughter who is now in state custody, Hoyal said. No other family for Harms had been located.
Dale and Sherri Beckering, a married couple who also lived in Harms' home and provided her care, were arrested Sunday along with Shepard. The couple were held Monday for investigation of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a disabled or elder adult.
No bail had been set for any of the suspects, and no charges had yet been filed.
It was not immediately clear if any of the three had an attorney.
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