Florida authorities raided a farm and arrested a “doomsday prepper” couple on physical and sexual abuse charges.
The two female victims say they were abused for years while under the care of Mirko Ceska, 58, and his wife, Regina, 55, the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said Friday in a news release.
“The females described Mr. and Mrs. Ceska as doomsday preppers who had getaway properties located throughout the United States and food rations and weapons stored in the event of a major calamity,” the news release said. “The females stated they had been trained to raise pigs, raise sheep, grow various fruits and vegetables, sheer sheep, utilize a loom, and sew.”
They stated that if they didn’t smile they would be punished, the news release said.
The investigation began July 1 after the women escaped the Ceskas' custody three days earlier, according to the news release. Their identities, ages and relationship to the Ceskas was not disclosed.
The search of the farm Friday in Crawfordvile led to the discovery of large quantities of food rations and other survivalist items, the news release said. Detectives also seized dozens of high quality firearms and many cases of ammunition. Some of the firearms were hidden behind fake walls or a staircase.
The women said they endured various punishments, including having their food withheld, physical beatings where they said Mirko Ceska would hit them with a metal rod and sexual episodes where Mirko Cesko forced sex acts upon them, "some with the support of Regina Ceska," according to the sheriff's office.
The Ceskas were quoted in a 2009 Associated Press article about the over-medication of children in the Florida foster care system, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Saturday. The Ceskas said they had adopted 12-year-old twin girls a year earlier.
The Ceskas, who met then-Gov. Charlie Crist, were critical of the foster care system for medicating children in transitional care, the paper reported.
“The foster people that are taking care of these kids, many of them that we have seen don’t want these kids to have too much to do,” Mirko Ceska told the AP, according to the paper. “So they really put them asleep. They really do.”
Mirko Ceska was charged with sexual battery, sexual assault, abuse and neglect. Regina Ceska was charged with two counts of neglect and two counts of failure to report abuse.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.