Police found the 16-year-old — her head shaved and neck burned with a cigarette — in the basement of an Auburn home in December after receiving reports from informants that the teen needed help.
Authorities learned from the New Jersey teen that she’d been duct-taped to a chair in the cellar, burned with a cigarette, assaulted, and threatened with a machete after being accused of setting up a home invasion.
Christopher Lugo, his sister Krystal Lugo, Yariel Torres-Abee, and Yuleny Ortiz have been arrested and charged in connection with the alleged crimes. Their attorneys either declined to comment or could not be reached despite multiple attempts by Boston.com.
The four suspects, who are between the ages of 19 and 23, are due back in court for a pretrial hearing on Wednesday.
Here’s what we know about the case that has captured national attention as authorities continue to investigate.
The alleged crime and its timeline
Dec. 25, 2017: Christmas Day
Prosecutors say the chain of events began when the 16-year-old was picked up in Leominster on Christmas Day by Krystal Lugo and Ortiz and taken to the house at 10 White Terrace in Auburn, according to MassLive.
The girl had run away from New Jersey, according to the news site.
She told police she was given a Xanax-laced marijuana cigarette on Christmas Day and raped by Christopher Lugo, according to court documents. Police said the girl was told by Christopher Lugo two days later that she’d been given the drugs for that purpose.
Dec. 27, 2017
On the morning of Dec. 27, two armed gunmen forced their way into the home, looking for marijuana they believed was in the house, court documents show. The two men allegedly went directly upstairs and confronted the house’s resident, Christopher Lugo.
Authorities say three gunshots were fired in the home before the two men fled. According to MassLive, Christopher Lugo was pistol-whipped during the home invasion.
Krystal Lugo told police she was in an upstairs bedroom with her child, who is under the age of 2, and was upset that the two of them were in harm’s way.
The 16-year-old girl, Torres-Abee, Ortiz, and additional unidentified people were also in the home at the time, records show.
According to court documents, Krystal Lugo told police the remaining people in the house believed that the 16-year-old had set up the home invasion. It was decided that they would make the girl tell them who the armed men were and confess to being involved, Lugo said.
According to MassLive, prosecutors allege that Krystal Lugo forced the teen to fight outside in the freezing cold without wearing shoes and that Christopher Lugo and Ortiz only stopped the altercation when it caught the attention of the neighbors.
The girl was forced into basement of the house, where she was bound to a chair by duct tape and interrogated by the four suspects and other unknown persons, according to court documents. The 16-year-old told police Krystal Lugo took her cell phone from her and kicked and punched her while she was in the chair, according to court documents. Krystal Lugo also allegedly held the teen while an unknown woman burned a lit cigarette into the 16-year-old’s collar bone.
When a machete was held to the New Jersey girl’s neck by another unknown person, Krystal Lugo allegedly demanded it be pressed closer if she lied.
The 16-year-old told police that Torres-Abee shaved her head.
According to MassLive, the teen told police that all four arrested suspects participated in the assaults and that someone threatened to spray pepper spray in her eyes.
Police reportedly went to the home on Dec. 27 after two confidential informants said a girl in the house needed help, according to the news site. Officers found the 16-year-old in the basement wearing a knit cap.
According to court documents, police recovered duct tape, a bag of human hair, and multiple discarded condoms from the scene.
Officers in court described the basement as a “torture chamber,” according to MassLive, saying the teen was “whimpering” when police arrived.
All four defendants were arrested that day. They were held without bail after being deemed dangerous.
Jan. 9, 2018
Police arrested two men in connection with the home invasion that precipitated the alleged kidnapping and assaults.
On December 27, 2017, APD Officers responded to 10 White Terrace for a report of a sixteen year old female who was being…
Xabiel Feliciano, 22, of Worcester, has been charged with home invasion, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery to intimidate with bodily injury, and a firearms violation with three prior violent crimes or serious drug offenses, according to the Worcester District Attorney’s office.
Ibrahim Burale, 24, of Worcester, is charged with home invasion and assault and battery to intimidate with bodily injury.
The home invasion case is being handled by a special prosecutor, while the Worcester District Attorney’s office prosecutes the alleged victims.
What the defendants are saying
All four defendants were arrested on Dec. 27.
Christopher Lugo, 19, of Auburn, has been charged with kidnapping, drug to confine, and rape. His public defender, Jacqueline Dutton, declined to comment to Boston.com.
During her client’s dangerousness hearing in early January, Dutton argued the 19-year-old’s role in the alleged crimes is “minimal at best” and said no one has said he was in the basement with the victim, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
Krystal Lugo, 23, of Webster, has been charged with kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, and larceny under $250. Her attorney, Sean McGinty, declined to comment to Boston.com.
Torres-Abee, 22, of Southbridge, has been charged with kidnapping and assault and battery. Ortiz, 19, of Auburn, is charged with kidnapping.
Attorneys for Torres-Abee and Ortiz could not be reached for comment.
According to the Telegram & Gazette, Robert Iacovelli, who is representing Torres-Abee, said his client didn’t know the 16-year-old was in the house and said there are “unclear issues” surrounding the teen and Torres-Abee.
Christopher Grady, who is representing Ortiz, says his client was not an active participant and wasn’t in the basement.
Auburn Detective Richard Mills told Boston.com police have identified the other people present at the time and said the investigation remains ongoing.
The detective said the 16-year-old is “still being treated” but has been in contact with her family in Sicklerville, New Jersey.