Friend Of Victim Whose Nipples Were Cut Off Asks For Public’s Help

"She has a long road of physical recovery ahead”

It’s a disturbing act: cutting off a pregnant woman’s nipples.

“Overwhelming, heart sick, emotionally exhausting,” says Annie Myers, a good friend to the female victim as she recalls finding out the news. “It was just hard to put these things together in our community, and in a lot of ways it is still unbelievable.”

Myers found out on Wednesday that her friend became a victim of domestic violence.

“She has a long road of physical recovery ahead,” she explains. “She has several doctors’ appointments coming up that will inform the full nature of the condition.”

The suspect, 45-year-old Tony Ledbetter is accused of punching, chocking and cutting off Myers’ friend’s nipples last Tuesday.

The victim is pregnant, and Myers says the child is Ledbetter’s.

“They were trying to talk about the best ways to make things work with the baby, and that was really the topic for the conversation where all the horror started.”

Myers’ friend isn’t the only one to go through this type of horror.

For the past couple of weeks, 60 victims have been staying at Children’s Inn every night, which is an emergency shelter for domestic violence victims.

That’s up from the normal 40 victims.

“People don’t realize domestic violence goes on in their community,” says Operations Director Amy Carter.

Carter says since last year, the facility has seen an 8 per cent increase in the amount of adults and children they serve.

“Everywhere to a black eye to a broken arm, to having lost sight in the eye, there’s just so many things that we see that as a community that we should not be okay with,” says Carter.

“I got home from the hospital heartbroken and I just felt powerless, I just felt that there were things I could have done and to be there,” says Myers.

While Myers’ friend is recovering and initial tests show the baby is okay, the powerless feeling drove her to take action — creating a GoFundMe account.

“The first few hours of her time in the hospital cost $20,000,” says Myers. “That wasn’t even a comprehensive picture of the whole time that she spent there.”

Along with medical expenses, Myers says the funds will also go toward relocation and legal fees.

“Sioux Falls is a community of hard working and strong individuals,” says Myers. “As a community, I know that when one of us is suffering we all are suffering. And one of us is suffering and she needs help.”

Myers says a plastic surgeon performed reconstruction surgery right when the victim got to the hospital.

But they are still not sure if she will be able to breastfeed her unborn child.

The suspect, Tony Ledbetter is facing 8 counts of domestic aggravated assault.

For all those who are recovering or in an abusive relationship, Carter encourages anyone to simply reach out to them.

“We can all be involved and sometimes that’s all it takes is that person showing some concern, and that can be the turning point for that person.”