Five arrested after woman with autism found in cage

Five people have been arrested after a 22-year-old woman with autism was found living outside in a cage in Amite, Lousiana.

WGNO reported that the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office arrived at a home when they received a complaint June 30.

At the house, police searched the home and found the woman wandering in the backyard.

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Deputies said the woman was forced to live in a makeshift shelter that was a blue tarp draped over a cage resembling a dog kennel outside. She was forced to defecate in a five-gallon bucket.

Deputies said the victim's personal belongings were also in the cage.

The woman was locked in the cage at night to prevent her from wandering off, police said.

Spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto told The Advocated in a Thursday news release investigators "discovered that the accused conspired to transport the young woman to a specific location with the intention of prostituting her out to multiple male subjects for money." She was malnourished and had numerous insect bites, Panepinto said.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards told WBRZ the woman may have been living in those conditions since October 2015.

The woman and four juveniles were taken from the home and are in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Health's Adult Protective Services and the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services.

Raylaine Knope, 40, Bridget Lambert, 19, Taylor Knope, 18, Jody Lambert, 21, and Terry Knope, 43, have been arrested and charged with human trafficking and cruelty to the infirmed.

Panepinto said the investigation is ongoing and more charges may be to come.