Girl held captive in basement, parents say she was 'possessed by a demon'

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CHICAGO, IL (WBBM-TV) — A girl was held captive in the basement of her family home in the northern Chicago suburb of Waukegan because her parents reportedly believed she was possessed by a demon.

Sources tell WBBM-TV that the 10-year-old girl was forced to use a bucket to bathe and a portable potty-training toilet to use the bathroom. She was locked in the basement of the home in the 200 block of Liberty Street at night, police said.

She was found on Tuesday after authorities said they received an anonymous tip. They were able to get the girl out safely. Authorities believe she was held in these conditions for about a year.

The parents told authorities they believed their daughter needed to be kept separated from the rest of the family. She had limited contact with her three siblings, ages 15, 13 and seven. All the children are now in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The parents, Randy Swopes, 48, and Katherine Swopes, 49, are being held on unlawful restraint and child endangerment charges in Lake County Jail, with the father being held on a $750,000 bond and the mother on a $150,000 bond.

“The conditions were horrific,” Joe Florip of the Waukegan Police Department told WBBM-TV. “According to our patrol division, our criminal investigators and information that was provided to the courts today, the child had been locked in the basement, showering with a bucket. It was just a very terrible sight.”

Officers found the child in the basement in poor conditions.

Randy Swopes is currently registered on the Illinois State Police Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry for a 2008 arrest.

He was also charged with aggravated battery of a child in 2012 after authorities said he used a needle and thread to sew his son’s buttocks shut. Swopes represented himself in court, took a plea, and spent no time in prison.

DCFS is investigating the allegations of abuse and neglect.

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