An Illinois couple was arrested and charged with locking their 10-year-old daughter in a basement because they believed she was actually “possessed by a demon.”
Randy and Katherine Swopes, who are being held on child endangerment and unlawful restraint charges, are accused of forcing their daughter into terrible living conditions all because of their religious myths. Authorities only found the girl after an anonymous call clued them in, according to WGN News.
Police discovered the girl in the basement living in “poor conditions.”
Investigators said they believe in the last year, the girl was locked in the basement at night, forced to use a training toilet, and made to shower from a bucket. Investigators said she had little contact with any other member of the family.
The parents told police they believed she was possessed by a “demon.”
The child and her siblings, ages 7, 13 and 15, were taken into protective custody.
I’m glad this girl is safe, and that her siblings have been removed from their parents’ house, but this type of thing happens far more often than you’d think. Religion is frequently used as an excuse to torture people, including their children, even if that means withholding medical care from them in lieu of prayer.
Last year, for example, we covered the story of a California woman who was arrested for attempted homicide after she stripped her 11-year-old daughter naked, shoved sand in her eyes and mouth, and choked her to try and “[remove] the demons” from her. The mom was ultimately found not guilty.
There’s also the famous story of the Turpins, also from California (WTF, CA?), who held their 13 children captive. Some of the kids were bound with chains and padlocks, yet the parents were, of course, considered a “good Christian family.”
In this case, we don’t have much more information. We do know, however, that Randy Swopes is currently listed on a state registry for murderers and violent offenders against youth. He has been registering properly, so authorities already knew he was capable of similar behavior.
The Swopes are currently in custody and unable to hurt anyone. Randi is being held on a $750,000 bond; Katherine, a $150,000 bond. Their next court date is at the end of the month.