Autistic woman was reportedly a cage and forced to eat her dead mother axis; 5 the face of federal charges

From left to right: Terry Knope, 45, Bridget Lambert, 21, Taylor Knope, 18, Raylaine Knope, 42 and Jody Lambert, 23, face federal charges.

(Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office)

Five residents of Louisiana face federal charges for allegedly caging and abuse of an autistic woman, two years after they were arrested on state charges in the case.

A federal grand jury indictment detailed the alleged litany of horrors against the 22-year-old victim, who was identified only by her initials. The indictment was made public on Thursday evening.

The woman was allegedly kept in a cage outside the Tangipahoa Parish house where the five suspects lived. Prosecutors said the victim was forced into manual labor, such as bathroom and kitchen cleaning, and subjected to psychological and physical abuse: threats of harm or death if they do not obey; abuse; burned with a cigarette lighter; and having human waste from a septic tank and discharged her. The victim was only fueled after she was finished with her cleaning and work.


One of the suspects is charged with shooting her with a BB gun. At a given moment, according to charging documents, she vomited after being forced to eat the cremated remains of her deceased mother as the defendants laughed. She was allegedly forced to live in a cage made of chicken wire and covered with a tarp. A bucket was in the cage where the woman was told to use as a toilet.

She reportedly was not allowed a phone or a computer, and was forced to take painkillers and methamphetamine.

Two of the suspects, a man and a woman Terry Knope II, 45, and Raylaine Knope, 42, confronted with a forced prostitution charges. The prosecutors said that they plan to force the victim into prostitution. They are also faced with the labor and the housing of the law violations together with Terry Knope’s daughter, Taylor Knope, 20, and Raylaine Knope son of Jan Lambert, 23.

Terry Knope also faced with a hate crime count, which the plaintiffs say that the injuries that he caused the victim were motivated by her disability. He is also charged with the theft of the government — more than $8,700 in Social Security intended for the victim.

All four face possible life sentences.

One of Raylaine Knope daughters, Bridget Lambert, was charged separately in a bill of information with forced labour conspiracy. Prosecutors say that the charges carries a maximum of five years in prison.


All five are in custody, according to court documents. Defense attorneys declined to comment or not respond immediately Friday.

Prosecutors said that the victim is a family member of Raylaine Knope. The victim was found by the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies following a call of a complaint in 2016. The indictment said the victim and her mother lived with the defendant until the mother’s death in 2015.

When the arrests were made, the victim, identified in documents only by her initials, was placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Hospitals protective services.

“The degree of trauma that someone like this continues is probably indescribable,” Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for You can follow her via @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

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