Share story

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A woman and her two children were held captive for more than two years in a Virginia home before escaping when deputies arrived to check on their welfare, authorities said.

The woman, 32, was hospitalized in serious condition with untreated health issues, and her children were staying with family members after also receiving medical attention, The Free Lance-Star reported.

Investigators believe the children, ages 8 and 11, have never attended school, Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Lt. Charles A. Carey said.

Deputies were sent to the home after a caller expressed concern that no one had seen or heard from the family in quite some time, he said.

The woman and her children ran out a side door as deputies spoke with Kariem Ali Muhammad Moore, who had been reluctant to let them inside, the sheriff’s office said.

Lorane James, who lives nearby, said she hadn’t seen anyone go in or out of the house in two years.

“I just about came out of my skin when I found out what was going on right underneath my nose,” James, 85, said.

Moore’s mother told The Washington Post that she hasn’t seen her son in as many as five years.

“It’s a shock. I’m trying to hold up. I can’t get it together,” Harriette Moore told the newspaper . “He was raised correctly. I raised my children to make their own way and become someone in the world.”

Moore, 43 and unemployed, was arrested at the scene Saturday and held without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail on multiple felony counts including abduction and assault. It wasn’t clear if he has a lawyer.

The woman is Moore’s girlfriend and he is believed to be the children’s father, Carey said.