A 22-year-old autistic woman from Louisiana was padlocked in a shed and then in a backyard cage for 10 months and was forced to eat her mother’s ashes from a cereal bowl, according to a federal indictment handed down Thursday, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.
Five members of an Amite, Louisiana, family also were accused of shooting the woman with a BB gun, covering her with contents of the family’s septic tank and forcing her to make sexual advances to several men, according to court documents.
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A six-count indictment charges Raylaine Knope, 42, her husband, Terry J. Knope Jr., 45, and their children, Jody Lambert, 23, and Taylor Knope, 20, in a “forced labor’ conspiracy. A fifth family member, Bridget Lambert, 21, was charged separately on Monday.
The indictments accused the five family members of abusing the woman, who was a relative, from August 2015 until June 2016, according to court documents released by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The woman came under the care of Raylaine Knope when her mother died on Aug. 12, 2015, WDSU reported.
The family also withheld the victim's Social Security benefits and forced her to perform house work and yard work with no compensation, the Times-Picayune reported.
According to court records, the five family members threatened the woman with violence and death. Abuse also included beatings, holding a gun to the woman’s head, putting her hand in a flame and holding her underwater in a hot tub, according to the indictment.
It was Raylaine Knope who forced the victim to pour her mother's ashes from an urn into a cereal bowl with milk and then eat the mixture with a spoon, the Times-Picayune reported.
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