Affidavit: Women were waterboarded, beaten in home

BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — Three people have been charged for things that happened inside a Burnet house described by the police chief as “torture.”

“We could tell there were some horrific assaults going on in that house,” said Chief Paul Nelson.

An arrest warrant provided new details about the alleged torture of two women that included waterboarding, two-hour long beatings, and forced sex.

One of the women, 29-year-old Rebecca Schaller, was found dead inside the home on January 28. When officers responded to the home at 715 Pierce, they said none of the eight adults or six children at the home seemed concerned Rebecca was lying dead on a bedroom couch.

Charlotte Arms, Thomas Simon, Walker Shapland
Charlotte Arms, Thomas Simon, Walker Shapland

Through the course of the investigation into Schaller’s death, they spoke with her sister who also lived at the home. The sister gave police a statement about the torture she and Schaller endured over the last year and even longer.

Charlotte Arms and Walker Shapland are both charged with aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping in the case. According to the sister’s statement to police, Arms and Shapland would abuse the two sisters, using waterboarding and a paddle to beat them while they were tied to a bed.

Schaller’s sister told police Arms is their aunt by marriage and they moved in with her after being removed from their mother and being placed in foster care at a young age.

The affidavit says Schaller was once punished by being forced to have sex with her husband, Thomas Simon, in front of everyone in the household. Simon has also been arrested for aggravated assault after admitting to police he punched his wife during a fight prior to her death.

An autopsy report showed Rebecca has a one-inch deep cut on her upper chest along with two black eyes and a rib fracture. Her liver was deeply infected and her spleen was “mushy and abnormal.” Several old scars and bruises lead the doctor to believe Rebecca likely suffered abuse.

Neighbors say they would often hear screaming and yelling coming from the home, however, there is no indication either woman ever reached out for help.

“Seeing it through the investigation, you could see they were definitely brainwashed,” said Nelson. “It has definitely been going on a while. What these ladies have been through is very horrific.”

Nelson says they are awaiting the medical examiner’s report on a cause of death for Schaller. Depending on the results, murder charges could be filed.

Schaller’s sister has been taken to a safe place along with her children while Child Protective Services is investigating the safety of the other children in the home.

As of now, there have been no signs the children suffered abuse.

The police investigation is also trying to determine the ages and relationships between everyone who was living in the home.

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