Family Kept 22-Year-Old Autistic Woman in Cage

A 22-year-old woman with autism was found by authorities locked in a 6-by-8-foot chicken wire cage and was forced to eat dog feces and her mother’s ashes.


Terry Knope, 45, Raylaine Knope, 42, Terry’s daughter, Jody Lambert, 23, and Raylaine’s son, Taylor Knope, 20, were arrested, and charged in New Orleans federal court for their roles in the “forced labor” conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The courts refer to the woman held captive as D.P. The abuse started after her mother’s death in 2015 when she moved into the family’s mobile home in Amite, La.

D.P. is related to Raylaine Knope, according to court records. Raylaine kept $8,800 of her Social Security payments and confiscated her state-issued ID, cellphone and laptop, according to WVUE.

“As the conspiracy progressed, during the spring of 2016 and up until June 30, 2016, the defendants physically restrained D.P. by locking her in a backyard cage to maintain control over her, and to prevent her from escaping,” the indictment reads.

D.P. was given a mattress to sleep on in the outdoor cage that the family made, and did not have running water or electricity. It only had a five-gallon bucket for a toilet.

The couple kept her there in order to “maintain control over her and to prevent her from escaping,” prosecutors alleged.

D.P.’s nourishment was based on how satisfied they were with her performance with her yard and housework. Her punishment for underperformance would include getting hit with a wood board and being choked and kicked, which was married with getting canned goods thrown at her.

When she got wounded, in lieu of bringing her to a doctor, they used glue to close a deep fracture because they were afraid someone would find out they were abusing her.

D.P. was verbally abused, as well. She was called a “retard” who “deserved to die,” while being shot with a BB gun. Terry once had his daughter hold her arm down while he burned her with a cigarette lighter.

Another time, he hit her hand with a hammer fracturing multiple bones. For entertainment, they made her simulate sex acts with a jalapeno pepper and made her remove her clothing to entice men.

When they got bored with this, they held her head underwater in a bathtub and other times dumped buckets of urine and feces on her.

The family was indicted on multiple counts, including conspiring to obtain forced labor and using force and threats of force to interfere with federal fair Housing Act rights. Raylaine and Terry Knope are also charged with one count of attempted sex trafficking of the victim.

D.P is now in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Health’s Adult Protective Services.

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