When a mother of a Louisiana woman with autism died in 2015, five of her relatives took her in. Unfortunately, the 22 year old suffered horrific abuse at the hands of the said family members.
The relatives who threatened, abused and forced her to eat her mother's ashes were indicted this week by a federal grand jury in New Orleans, officials said.
The autistic woman was reportedly locked in a six by eight chicken cage, which was built out of wire and tarp and did not have running water or electricity. It only had a mattress, some personal belongings and a five-gallon bucket to be used as a toilet.
Among other alleged crimes, the family starved the victim until she did housework, stole over $8,000 in SSI benefits and regularly assaulted her.
They also subjected her to a sex trafficking scheme, beat her with a hammer, made her eat dog feces, burned her with cigarette, forced her to take drugs, made her perform sexual acts in exchange for food and water, and subjected her to verbal abuse, including threats that she would be killed if she tried to escape.
The family watched and laughed as they made the vulnerable woman eat her own recently cremated mother’s ashes mixed with milk.
The horrific abuse endured by the woman came to light after the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office received a complaint that people living there kept a woman locked in a cage.
On Thursday, five members of the Knope family, Raylaine Knope, 42, Terry J. Knope II, 45, Jody Lambert, 23, Taylor Knope, 20, and Bridget Lambert, 21, were charged in a federal court.
Prosecutors also charged Terry Knope II Raylaine Knope with attempted sex trafficking. Terry Knope was charged with a hate crime as well, because he called the victims a "retard" who "deserved to die," after shooting her with a pellet gun at close range.
He also became the beneficiary of the victim's benefits soon after her mother died.
According to court documents, the abuse began about a day after the death of the victim’s mother.
All five of her assailants are now in custody, according to court documents.
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