5 arrested after autistic woman found living in backyard cage

Posted at 3:46 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 17:46:36-04

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. — Five people have been arrested after Louisiana deputies made a disturbing discovery — a 22-year-old autistic woman living in a backyard cage.

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

When deputies searched the home, they say they found the young woman wandering around the backyard.

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

She was often locked in the cage at night to keep her from wandering off from the property, according to law enforcement.

The woman appeared to be malnourished and had numerous insect bites on her body. There was also a five-gallon bucket in the cage where she was forced to defecate, authorities said. 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 Louisiana Department of Health and the 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.