A family in Louisiana held an autistic relative captive for nearly 11 months in a backyard cage and subjected her to shocking abuse, including forcing her to eat her mother’s cremated remains mixed with milk, federal authorities allege.
Department of Justice officials announced Thursday that a federal grand jury in New Orleans returned a six-count human trafficking and hate crime indictment in connection with the vile and twisted abuse sustained by the 22-year-old woman — identified only as D.P. — in Amite.
Details of the depraved allegations were outlined in an indictment obtained by the Times-Picayune, including accusations that the five family members shot the woman with a BB gun and covered her “from head to toe” in feces and urine.
Federal prosecutors also allege the woman’s relatives forced her to eat her mother’s ashes from a cereal bowl after mixing them with milk and to take meth and prescription painkillers under the threat of being reported to police if she stopped obeying the family’s orders to work at the home without getting paid.
Taylor KnopeTangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Offi
The abuse, according to the indictment, began in August 2015, one day after the victim’s brother died, and continued through June 2016. The family members charged in connection with the allegations were identified as Raylaine Knope, 42; Terry Knope II, 45; Jody Lambert, 23; Taylor Knope, 20; and 21-year-old Bridget Lambert, who was charged separately for allegedly taking part in the forced-labor conspiracy.
It’s unclear how the victim is related to the suspects, who moved from a home in Kentwood they shared with the woman’s late mother to a mobile home in Amite in August 2015, according to the Times-Picayune.
Federal prosecutors also allege the family took extreme measures to make sure the woman didn’t try to escape, including regular death threats and holding her captive in a cage with no electricity or running water. They also forced her to make sexual advances to several men as part of a sex trafficking scheme, according to the indictment.
Jody LambertTangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Offi
During one alleged incident, prosecutors said Terry Knope and Jody Lambert dumped a bucket of human waste onto the woman, leaving her entire body covered. She then began screaming as Jody Lambert laughed, according to the indictment.
The woman’s relatives were arrested in June 2016 after police received calls about a caged woman in the area, the Times-Picayune reports.