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Indiana Couple Accused of Locking Woman in Cage

The couple were due in court Monday to face charges of confinement and rape.
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Prosecutors formally charged an Indiana couple on Monday with kidnapping a woman, locking her in a small wooden cage meant for a dog and making her a sex slave for two months.

The couple, Ricky Roy House Jr., 37, and Kendra Tooley, 44, were charged with rape, kidnapping and other counts. A judge set bond at $500,000 for the man and $150,000 for the woman, WFIE, the NBC affiliate in Evansville, reported. Both were returned to jail.

The woman apparently escaped over the weekend with the help of Tooley’s ex-husband, who was visiting the couple’s trailer home and said that the woman privately begged him to get her out.

Court papers provided to NBC News by the county prosecutor, Travis Clowers, laid out in chilling detail the nature of the woman’s alleged confinement, which authorities said began when House spotted the woman on a street and offered her a ride.

The woman told police that she knew the couple, and agreed that night to go to the trailer. But when she got up to leave, she said, House put chloroform over her mouth and nose and knocked her out.

For the next 59 days, prosecutors said, House locked the woman in places throughout the home, including the cage. She was forced to wear a red dog collar and leash, and restrained at times with bungee cords and zip ties, the prosecutors said.

The woman told police that she was repeatedly raped and beaten, and forced to have sex with both House and Tooley. Tooley told police that House was trying to get the woman pregnant “because she was old and unable to have children of her own.”

The ex-husband, Ron Higgs, told police that he promised the woman on Friday that he would get her out. He told WFIE that he even offered to buy her. On Saturday, he said, he had an argument with House and was threatened by House with a sawed-off shotgun.

“She had a T-shirt on, and that’s all,” Higgs told WFIE. “She had like a leather belt, like a dog collar on. Every night, they locked her in there. No food, no water.”

He told the station that he vowed to the woman that he would get her to safety even if he lost his life doing it.

“Everybody’s calling me a hero,” he said. “I’m just a purebred American that believes in freedom.”

WFIE reported that the wife, Tooley, was in tears throughout the bond hearing on Monday. A judge set Oct. 1 as the next court date for both House and Tooley.

Clowers, the prosecutor, said he could not comment on where the woman is now or her condition.

— Erin McClam