Two women who escaped from a North Florida farm belonging to “doomsday preppers” told police they had been sexually abused for years and held against their will by the married couple, who were preparing for the apocalypse by hoarding weapons and large quantities of food rations.
The women said they were prisoners of their caretakers, Mirko Ceska, 58, and his wife, Regina, 55, who were arrested Friday and booked into Wakulla County Jail on serious charges, including sexual battery and abuse.
The couple had “exercised custodial responsibility” for the women, but their exact relationship was not disclosed by the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office. The women told police that the couple had “getaway properties” throughout the United States in the event of a major world disaster.
The women, who escaped the farm just south of Tallahassee on June 28, told police they had been trained to raise livestock, sew and operate a loom, and grow fruits and vegetables on the Crawfordville property. Their days began at 5:30 a.m., and they were prohibited from leaving the property or communicating with other people.
“They stated they were not allowed to agree, talk or shake hands with anyone in public; rather, they were instructed to always look happy,” the sheriff’s office stated in a news release Friday. “The[y] stated that if they didn’t smile, they would get punished.”
If they refused orders, the Ceskas would beat them and restrict their food intake, the sheriff’s office said. The most recent beating was carried out by Regina Ceska with a metal rod, the women said. Detectives noticed marks and bruises on one of the women’s back and arm.
Both women told deputies Mirko Ceska would force sex acts upon them, occasionally with the support of his wife.
They came forward to the sheriff’s office on July 1, and on Friday a team of law enforcement agents raided the residence after obtaining a search warrant.
Wakulla County Sheriff Jared F. Miller was joined in the raid by detectives, members of the North Star Multi-jurisdictional Drug Task Force and special agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Detectives found guns hidden behind false walls and a staircase, and they seized “dozens of high quality firearms and many cases of ammunition throughout the house,” the sheriff’s office said. Police also recovered a homemade video depicting an altercation between Mirko Ceska and the women, during which Ceska screamed that they had stolen food while bringing his face very closely to theirs. Detectives also located “a file containing an internet search history for an incestuous video,” according to the sheriff’s office.
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.