Five charged for keeping autistic woman in outdoor cage
AMITE- Five people have been charged with holding an autistic woman in a cage in 2016.
On June 30, 2016, Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office investigators executed a search warrant at a home on Rushing Lane in Amite after receiving a complaint that the occupants of the home were keeping a 22-year-old woman locked up in a cage in the home.
At the home, investigators located the 22-year-old wandering around the backyard. Investigators say the woman suffers from Autism and was forced to live in a make-shift shelter that consisted of a blue tarp draped over a cage that looked similar to a dog kennel. Investigators say she was often locked in the cage at night in order to keep her from wandering off.
Investigators also say that the woman appeared to be malnourished and suffered several insect bites. A five-gallon bucket was located in the cage where she was forced to defecate and keep her personal belongings in.
Authorities announced the girl may have been kept in the cage as far back as October of that year. Investigators also said the woman's mother had died, and the victim was related to at least some of the suspects arrested in the case.
In addition, four juveniles were removed from the home and placed in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services.
Over the course of the investigation, five people were arrested. Those arrested include Taylor Knope, Jody Lambert, Bridget Lambert, Terry Knope and Raylaine Knope.
Reports show that Raylaine Knope, Terry Knope Jody Lambert and Taylor Knope were indicted on conspiring to obtain forced labor, forced labor, and using force and threats of force to interfere with federal Fair Housing Act rights.
Bridget Lambert was separately charged in a one-count Bill of Information on conspiring to obtain forced labor, which has a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment.