EL DORADO COUNTY — An El Dorado County woman is behind bars after being accused of abusing and torturing children she adopted.
One of those children — a 14-year-old — ran away from home in April and revealed years of abuse to deputies.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office took 63-year-old Patricia Taylor, into custody after a weeks-long investigation.
Deputies say she fostered several other children over the years.
Neighbors say they are feeling a mix of shock and relief.
Some people viewed Taylor as a kind woman who liked to keep to herself — while others say something suspicious was going on in the home for decades.
Becky Wooten says she isn’t surprised after learning that one of her long-time neighbors had been arrested for alleged years of child abuse.
“I mean you knew something was off,” she said.
Neighbors say Taylor had been living on Lorrain Street in Shingle Springs for decades. It’s where she housed several foster children — some of whom she adopted.
“I know she had a high school aged boy living there at one time and two other ones,” Wooten said. “And I know that she slowly started to fence that area off and when we were over near there with our horses, and she would come out screaming.”
El Dorado County deputies say four adopted daughters had been living with Taylor at the time of her arrest, all between the ages of 11 and 16.
Taylor faces over a dozen serious charges — including years of child abuse, torture, false imprisonment and sex crimes.
She’s currently booked in the El Dorado County Jail.
“i don’t know how to wrap my head around this. I’m just in shock. We all are,” said neighbor Kim Buchanan.
Other people living in the area, like Buchanan, say news of their neighbor’s arrest left them shaken.
“I really want to be fair about this. I care about the kids… but it’s hard because I’ve known this lady for so long,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan and others say Taylor liked to keep to herself, often staying inside with the blinds pulled down.
The grass outside of Taylor’s home was often left tall and overgrown.
“The kids never really came outside much, and I never talked to them. Everything was kept in there. The place always looked like that… a shamble,” said neighbor Steve Bolton.
Neighbors thought she was helping children in need.
“I thought she was doing wonderful things for these kids and if she’s found guilty, it’s just a complete reverse. Two extremes… from being good to the complete opposite,” Bolton said.
People living in Shingle Springs say, ‘you never really know who your neighbors are,’ and are pledging to keep a more watchful eye to prevent people from being hurt in their community.
“I think this was a good wakeup call that we really need to know what’s going on in our neighborhood,” Wooten stated.
Taylor is being held on close to a $1.5 million bond.
FOX40 spoke with Taylor’s husband who said she’s still booked in jail because they can’t afford to post her bail. He didn’t want to go on camera but says his wife is innocent.
All four adopted children are safe and are in the care of child protective services.