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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Sheriff: 5 kept autistic woman outside, planned prostitution

Sheriff: 5 kept autistic woman outside, planned prostitution

AMITE, La. (AP) — Two men and three women are accused of keeping an autistic 22-year-old woman outdoors with a kennel-like crate as her only shelter and planning to use her as a prostitute, a Louisiana sheriff said Thursday.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said in a statement that investigators searched the house June 30 after receiving a report of a woman in a cage. They found the woman wandering around the back yard, with her only shelter a big kennel-like crate draped with a blue tarp, Edwards' news release said.

Investigators said the woman appeared malnourished, was covered with insect bites, and often was locked into the cage at night to keep her from wandering away, according to the statement.

Investigators learned later that the five planned to prostitute the woman, sheriff's spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto said. She said Terry Knope, 43; Raylaine Knope, 40; Taylor Knope, 18; Jody Lambert, 21; and Bridget Lambert, 19, were arrested on charges of human trafficking and cruelty to the infirm.

They could not be reached for comment because none had a listed phone number. An online jail roster did not show their names, and it was not known if any of them had an attorney.

The woman was turned over to the state Department of Health and Hospitals' protective services, and four children living in the house were turned over to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, Panepinto said.

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