Five arrested in Amite after autistic woman found living in cage in backyard

UPDATE: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said the autistic woman who was forced to live in a cage outside could have been living in those conditions since October 2015. He said the victim’s mother had died and that she was related to some of the people who were arrested, according to WBRZ. He also said the family planned to prostitute the woman.

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AMITE, La. (WGNO) – Five people were arrested after deputies found a 22-year-old autistic woman being forced to live outside in a cage and defecate in a five-gallon bucket.

According to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a complaint on Rushing Lane, where deputies were told that a 22-year-old woman was being locked up in a cage.

When deputies searched the home, they found the 22-year-old autistic woman wandering around the backyard of the home.

Deputies found the woman was forced to live in a makeshift shelter – a blue tarp draped over a cage that somewhat resembled a dog kennel.

Deputies say she was often locked in the cage at night to keep her from wandering off from the property.

The woman appeared to be malnourished and had numerous insect bites on her body.

Deputies say they also found a five-gallon bucket in the cage. That’s where she was forced to defecate. All of her personal belongings were in the cage as well.

The woman and four juveniles were removed from the home and turned over to the state Department of Health and the state Department of Child and Family Services, respectively.

The following people were arrested on charges of human trafficking and cruelty to the infirmed:

  • Raylaine Knope, 40
  • Bridget Lambert, 19
  • Taylor Knope, 18
  • Jody Lambert, 21
  • Terry Knope, 43

The investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible, the sheriff’s office says.

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