AMITE — The autistic woman who was held captive and forced to live in an outdoor cage in Amite told one of her relatives Tuesday that she made her "life a living hell."
"You took away my freedom. But now you don't have no freedom," the 25-year-old woman told another of her relatives at a sentencing hearing held at the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
The woman had the opportunity during the hearing to confront three of her five relatives, who are accused of subjecting her to a year of physical and emotional abuse from 2015 to 2016.
The hearing was held before 21st Judicial District Judge Doug Hughes.
Raylaine Knope, 42, pleaded no contest in state court to counts of human trafficking, cruelty to the infirm, exploitation of the infirm and second-degree kidnapping.
Terry Knope, 45, pleaded no contest to those same charges, plus an additional count of aggravated battery.
Those pleas came as part of agreements requiring each to serve 33 years in prison. Terry Knope was not officially sentenced Tuesday.
Two adults authorities have described as ringleaders in the abuse of an autistic woman by her relatives in Amite pleaded guilty to federal cha…
Their time in prison on the state counts will run concurrently to the time they will serve on federal charges. Plea agreements entered Monday in federal court in New Orleans say prosecutors and defense attorneys will ask a judge to sentence each to 28 years for their federal crimes.
Raylaine Knope's daughter, 22-year-old Bridget Lambert, was also sentenced Tuesday. Lambert had pleaded no contest to cruelty to the infirm in January. She was sentenced to five years in prison with all but three years suspended for a period of three years probation.
Taylor Knope, 21, and Jody Lambert, 24, have pleaded no contest to state charges but were not sentenced Tuesday.
Tangipahoa deputies began investigating the case in June 2016 after abuse was reported at the home in Amite. Deputies found the woman malnourished, covered in insect bites and terrified that deputies would arrest her for her own mother’s death, according to state court records.
Sheriff Daniel Edwards said at the time the five had threatened to kill the woman if she tried to escape and also marketed her for sex.
The victim and her mother had lived with the family, and after the mother died, the victim came to believe she was responsible for her mother’s death, investigators said. The investigators said she was not responsible.
The physical and psychological abuse of an autistic woman held captive for a year in Tangipahoa Parish included forcing her to eat both dog fe…
The young woman approached the podium with caution Tuesday as she gathered the courage to confront the family members who had subjected her to the horrific abuse. Reading from handwritten notes in a spiral bound notebook, she spoke to each of her abusers individually.
She told Terry Knope she could not forgive him, describing him as "stupid, nasty, hateful (and) wicked."
"You'll pay the consequences for your actions," the woman said.
As for Raylaine Knope who, according to court documents directed much of the abuse, the woman said she was "a monster and evil."
"You said you wouldn't ever get caught. But guess what? You did. Now I can move on with my life and never worry about you hurting me again," the woman said.
The victim in the case is now safe and doing well. The Advocate does not typically name victims of human trafficking.