Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Couple Beat And Raped Woman In Their Care, Police Claim
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 16, 2002

GALLATIN, TENNESSEE--Police have few answers as to why Mary H. Letner, 58, was savagely beaten, raped, and then left to die in the freezing cold on the evening of December 7.

Letner's caregivers, Steven L. Budd, 61, and Rebecca M. Budd, 45, were being held Wednesday in the Sumner County Jail each on $100,000 bond.

Neighbors said that the Budds had been caregivers for Letner, who had mental retardation, for the past 15 years, but that the couple had moved into the area just five months ago. State officials confirmed that Letner was not receiving services through the Tennessee Department of Human Services at the time of her death.

Police believe that the Budds beat Letner with a broken broom handle, a plastic pipe and a tire tool, then raped her with the broom handle. The assault apparently took place over a period of several hours. They then forced Letner to sleep on the floor of a utility room, with the door open to the freezing temperatures.

Three children between the ages of 6 and 10 that the Budds were babysitting witnessed the crime, Sheriff's Department Major Don Linzy told the Nashville Tennesseean.

Authorities were not contacted until the next morning, when a neighbor was summoned to try to revive Letner. But Letner had died during the night.

The Budds have a December 18 court date to face charges of second-degree murder.


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.