An elderly Russian woman allegedly kept her daughter isolated at home for 26 years in a hovel where the pair shared their lives with cats and survived on pet food.
The shocking incident took place in the village of Arefinsky, in the Vachsky District of western Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, where Nadezhda Bushueva left her house which had no electricity or running water for the first time in almost three decades only after her mother was hospitalised.
Local council leader Vasily Tovarnov said Nadezhda’s mother Tatyana allegedly began keeping her daughter at home when she finished school at the age of 16, not allowing her to work or to continue her studies.
After the mother retired, the pair reportedly started living an extremely secluded lifestyle, with the matriarch rejecting help from social services and other officials.
The daughter said her mother had stopped her from leaving the house at first, and she had then become used to it and did not try to leave of her own accord.
The mother had allegedly stopped her daughter from leaving to protect her from “danger” in the outside world, local media reported.
The daughter went to the council leader’s office after her mother fell ill and was hospitalised when her shocking ordeal was revealed.
Nadezhda said their house was full of rats and cats which quickly die, and the two women reportedly slept in the same bed without moving the decomposing corpses of animals.
The 42-year-old admitted she had not washed since 2006 and in photos her hair can be seen in a large tangled clump at the back of her head, which needed to be cut off, according to local media.
“My life is worse than a cat’s life. Cats have more rights. I don’t even exist anymore. I’m the living dead,” she said.
Mr Tovarnov said “Nadezhda came to my office by herself”.
“We wanted to feed her, we prepared her sandwiches, but she didn’t eat anything. But she is not insane. She said: ‘I need a workplace, I need a passport’,” he said.
The daughter is reportedly afraid to make too many changes in her life, fearing she will not be able to understand how the world works.
Her fear of the outside world even stopped her travelling to the hospital with her mother when she was hospitalised, local media reported.
It is unclear why the mother was hospitalised.
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