Five arrested after autistic woman found living in cage in backyard

Police arrested five suspects for human trafficking and cruelty to the infirm after allegedly finding a woman with autism living in a backyard cage. (Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office)

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

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

When deputies searched the home they found the autistic woman wandering around the backyard.

According to deputies, the woman was forced to live in a makeshift shelter. It was 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.

Officials say they also found a five-gallon bucket in the cage and that’s where she was forced to defecate. All of her personal belongings were in the cage, too.

The woman and four others 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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