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Couple kept young child locked in basement, thought she was “possessed by a demon”

Randy Swopes, 48, and Katherine Swopes, 49, both of Waukegan

Waukegan police arrested the parents of a 10-year-old girl who thought she was possessed by a demon and forced the girl to live in a locked basement in deplorable conditions.

Randy Swopes, 48, and Katherine Swopes, 49, both of Waukegan, were charged with child endangerment and unlawful restraint after being arrested Tuesday.

Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles said that police received an anonymous 911 call at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday to a home in the 200 block of Liberty Street. The caller told police that they believed someone was being held captive in the home’s basement.

Police officers arrived and were able to search the home’s basement. They found a 10-year-old girl who had been forced to live in the basement in “poor conditions,” Chief Walles said.

Investigators believe that in the past year the girl had limited access to the outside and was locked in the basement at night. She was forced to go to the bathroom in a training toilet and had to shower with a bucket.

Police said that the child had “very limited access” to other members of the family. When police arrested the parents, they told officers that the 10-year-old girl was “possessed by a demon.”

Chief Walles said that the 10-year-old girl and her three siblings, ages 7, 13, and 15, have been taken into protective custody by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.

Both of the parents are being held in the Lake County Jail. Randy is being held on a $750,000 bond and Katherine is being held on a $150,000 bond. Both are scheduled to appear in court again on July 31.

Police also said that Randy Swopes is currently registered on the Illinois State Police Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth list after being arrested in 2008 and charged with aggravated battery of a child.


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