MOUNT VERNON, Ind. >> An Indiana couple who police say abducted a woman in July, assaulted her and held her captive in demeaning conditions that one officer likened to “modernized slavery” were due in court Monday on preliminary charges of rape and criminal confinement.
Posey County prosecutors were expected to file formal charges Monday against 44-year-old Kendra Tooley and 37-year-old Ricky Roy House Jr. in the July 9 abduction of the Evansville woman, Posey County chief deputy sheriff Tom Latham said.
Police were called to a mobile home in rural southwestern Indiana early Sunday after Tooley’s ex-husband, who was visiting the couple, responded to pleas from the 30-year-old victim and freed her. He took her to his Evansville apartment, where she called her mother and police.
The woman told police that Tooley and House sexually assaulted her and forced her to cook and clean for them when she wasn’t locked in a small wooden cage where she was given little food and water.
“It was pretty much modernized slavery in my eyes,” Latham told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
The Associated Press is not identifying the woman because it does not generally name victims of possible sexual assault.
Evansville police Sgt. Jason Cullum said relatives reported the mother of two missing on July 13. He said police had searched for her based on tips about her whereabouts, and the woman’s relatives conducted their own searches.
Cullum said the woman knew House and had accepted a ride from him to the mobile home where he and Tooley lived.
“She went to that address on her own free will, but after she got there she was confined and the allegation is that she was sexually assaulted,” he said.
Latham said Tooley contacted her ex-husband, Ron Higgs of Evansville, late last week asking him for money because she and House, her boyfriend, were having financial difficulties.
Higgs visited their mobile home in Stewartsville, about 25 miles northwest of Evansville, on Friday, but Latham said Higgs initially didn’t realize the woman who was with the couple was being held captive and had been reported missing.
When Higgs returned to the home Saturday, Latham said the woman told him that she was being held captive and had not seen her family since July.
Latham said Higgs offered House additional money if he could take the woman and return her to her family, but House put a shotgun to Higgs’ chin and threatened to kill him.
The two men exchanged heated words before Higgs was able to convince House and Tooley that he would take the woman home and would not alert police, Latham said.
Higgs told WEHT-TV the woman pleaded with him to help her to freedom.
“She says, ‘Please don’t leave here without me.’ I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ She says, ‘I’ve been here for over 60 days and they put me in that cage,'” Higgs told the station.