Parents locked girl in basement because she was ‘possessed by a demon,’ police say

Randy Swopes, 48, and Katherine Swopes, 49, are both charged with child endangerment and unlawful restraint.
Randy Swopes, 48, and Katherine Swopes, 49, are both charged with child endangerment and unlawful restraint. Waukegan Police Department

A neighbor knew something was off with the family in the Chicago suburb, but she couldn’t pinpoint why, according to ABC 7.

Her suspicion was confirmed when an anonymous caller reached out to police Tuesday afternoon, reporting a person possibly being held against their will in the basement of a Waukegan home, the news station said.

Officers searched the basement and found that a 10-year-old girl had been forced to live in a basement, and was locked inside the room at night, since at least January, police said, the Chicago Sun-Times reported

She had “limited access to the outside,” investigators said, according to the Sun-Times. She used a training toilet to go to the bathroom and a bucket to clean herself, police said, according to the newspaper.

The girl’s parents were allegedly the ones keeping her captive, and told police they locked her away because they believed she was “possessed by a demon,” authorities said, the Chicago Daily Herald reported.

Randy Swopes, 48, and his wife, Katherine, 49, were both charged with unlawful restraint and child endangerment, the Daily Herald reported. Their daughter and three other kids, ages 7, 13, and 15, are now in state custody, the newspaper said.

Neighbor Willa Turman told ABC 7 she “knew something was going on” but “couldn’t prove anything.”

More than a decade ago, Randy Swopes was accused of using a needle and thread to sew his son’s buttocks closed in an attempt to treat a fistula — an abnormal connection between two parts inside the body — his son had reportedly developed due to his Crohn’s Disease, according to the Huffington Post.

Swopes got two years of probation after entering a plea agreement in 2012, the publication said.

In 2016, 46 children lost their lives as a result of abuse, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services reported. Incidences of suspected child abuse or neglect should be reported to the DHS by calling 1-800-932-0313.

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