Five people in Amite, Louisiana, have been arrested for human trafficking and cruelty to the infirmed after deputies discovered a 22-year-old woman with autism living in a backyard cage.
Deputies were responding to a complaint filed on June 30 alleging a 22-year-old woman was being held in a cage, according to KTLA sister station WGNO, citing the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies searched the home, they found the young woman wandering around the backyard.
Deputies said she was forced to live in a makeshift shelter – a blue tarp draped over a cage that somewhat resembled a dog kennel.
She was often locked in the cage at night to keep her from wandering off from the property, according to law enforcement.
The woman appeared to be malnourished and had numerous insect bites on her body. There was also a five-gallon bucket in the cage where she was forced to defecate, authorities said. All of her personal belongings were in the cage as well.
The woman and four juveniles were removed from the home and turned over to the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Child and Family Services, respectively.
Those arrested included 18-year-old Taylor Knope, 21-year-old Jody Lambert, 19-year-old Bridget Lambert, 43-year-old Terry Knope and 40-year-old Raylaine Knope.
The investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible, the sheriff’s office says.