A man and woman have been arrested in Indiana and charged with the kidnapping, imprisonment, rape, and beating of a woman they picked up on the street, authorities say. The couple allegedly kept the woman in a cage for close to two months.
Ricky House Jr. and his girlfriend Kendra Tooley of Stweartsville, Indiana were arrested this week after Tooley’s ex-husband, Ronald Higgs, risked his life to free the 30-year-old captive from the couple’s trailer home.
The woman, Joelle Lockwood, told police that on July 9 she walked out of her Evansville home after a fight with her boyfriend and was found walking on the street by Ricky House, a man with whom she had a casual acquaintance.
House offered the woman a ride, and she accepted. However, the ride ended at House’s trailer home–40 miles away in the small town of Stewartsville.
There, Lockwood says, House and his girlfriend attacked her and used chloroform to render her unconscious. When Lockwood awoke, she found her clothing shredded. She was also fastened to a bed with zip ties and other constraints, wearing a dog collar and a leash.
The couple allegedly held the woman for nearly two months, during which time House repeatedly beat and raped her, according to law enforcement.
Lockwood told police that House intended to make her pregnant because his girlfriend, Tooley, could not conceive.
The woman’s ordeal didn’t end until Tooley invited her ex-husband, 61-year-old Ronald Higgs, over to their trailer home and allegedly bragged to him that they had a woman chained up in the back bedroom.
When a shocked Higgs saw Lockwood held captive, she pleaded with him to help her escape her two-month hell.
Higgs told police that right then and there he became determined not to leave without the young woman and ended up in a fight with House after attempts to buy the woman’s freedom failed.
“I didn’t really know what I could do because I’m nowhere near the man I used to be, but I’m not leaving this house without her. I don’t care what I have to do. She’s coming home,” Higgs told the media.
House allegedly pulled a shotgun on Higgs, but the older man was undaunted.
“He stuck that shotgun right here under my chin with his finger on the trigger. He said, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ I said if you’re going to kill me you better do it now or I’m going to take this away from you an beat you to death with it,” Higgs recalled.
The three ended up in a fistfight that abated when House retreated to another part of the trailer. Higgs then told Tooley that he was going to take Lockwood away, but in an effort to get away clean, he assured the couple that he would not tell police what had happened.
After Lockwood was safe and House and Tooley were apprehended, though, Higgs had one piece of advice for police. “I told the police last night I hope you all have some real small cells. That’s where they need to spend the rest of their lives, in a real small cell,” he said.
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