She was held in a cage for 2 months! Unlikely hero who led her to freedom has a harrowing story to tell

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INDIANA (WITI/CNN) -- She was missing for two months -- held captive, living in a cage in a mobile home in Indiana. An unlikely hero is speaking out, after his brave actions helped to lead the woman to freedom.

Joelle Lockwood

Joelle Lockwood

Joelle Lockwood was reported missing on July 9th.

FOX6's sister station, FOX59 in Indianapolis reports Lockwood left a friend's apartment that night. She had reportedly been drinking, and was described as heavily intoxicated.

FOX59 reports while walking on the street, a friend saw Lockwood and offered her a ride. They apparently "used narcotics" at a residence, and then Lockwood's friend dropped her off at another location to see some other friends.

She left that house, and wasn't heard from again until Saturday, September 6th -- when police received a call from her parents, saying she was alive.

FOX59 reports two people have been arrested in the case. They face preliminary charges of rape, kidnapping, criminal confinement and conspiracy to commit rape. They are 37-year-old Ricky Roy House Jr. and 44-year-old Kendra Tooley.

Ricky Roy House Jr. and Kendra Tooley

Ricky Roy House Jr. and Kendra Tooley

Lockwood says House and Tooley offered her a ride on July 9th. She went with them to their mobile home, spending some time there before deciding to leave.

FOX59 reports court documents say House “placed chloroform over her mouth and nose, causing her to lose consciousness.”

Over the course of the next 59 days, FOX59 reports she was bound to a bed and only allowed to go out on three occasions. She was forced to wear a red dog collar with a rope or leash attached to it. She was repeatedly sexually abused, court documents revealed. She was beaten on multiple occasions and wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. She was watched all of the time and forced to stay in a wooden cage built by House.

It was September 4th when Ronald Higgs went to visit Tooley -- his ex-wife.

Ronald Higgs

Ronald Higgs

"She slid over on the couch beside me and said 'I've got a girl back here in a cage.' I said 'you got a girl back here in a cage? What are you talking about?'" Higgs said.

The girl in the cage was Joelle Lockwood.

Higgs says the cage was about two-and-a-half feet tall, stuffed in a room, hidden from plain view.

"No food, no water, nowhere to use the bathroom," Higgs said.

Higgs says when he first saw Lockwood, she was only wearing a T-shirt and a dog collar with a rope tied to it -- apparently being treated as a slave.

"This just isn't adding up. When she cooked all of our meals she said 'can I have something to eat?' They said 'if there's something left, you can have something to eat,'" Higgs said.

Higgs returned to the trailer the following night -- September 5th. That's when he says Lockwood made her plea for 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 said.

It was then that Higgs says he realized Lockwood's fate was in his hands.

"I didn't really know what I could do because I'm nowhere near the man I used to be, but I'm not leaving this house without her. I don't care what I have to do. She's coming home," Higgs said.

Higgs says he initially tried to buy Lockwood's freedom, but he couldn't make a deal. He realized force was the only way -- and it was at that point that he found out the allegedly sinister reason for Lockwood's capture.

"But the whole time during it all they was talking about a baby. 'She's not leaving here until she has the baby. I'm not selling her. You're not taking her. You're not doing nothing.' She told me Ricky was raping her, making her have oral sex. Kendra can't have more children and Ricky doesn't have any children of his home. I hate to say this to the public or even her even hearing it, but I think they were just going to have a baby and we would never see her again," Higgs said.

Higgs says he tried to take Lockwood out of the trailer, but was stopped by House and his shotgun.

"He stuck that shotgun right here under my chin with his finger on the trigger. He said 'I'm going to kill you.' And you'll probably bleep this out, but I said 'if you're going to (expletive) kill me you better do it now or I'm going to take this (expletive) away from you an beat you to death with it,'" Higgs said.

Higgs says House lowered his gun and a fight ensued. Higgs says he was able to head-butt House, and fend him off. But Lockwood wasn't faring as well.

"Joelle was sitting in the floor crying, naked, with Kendra beating on her. Just beat her down to the ground, took her clothes off of her," Higgs said.

Higgs says while House retreated to another room in the trailer, he saw his opportunity to escape with Lockwood. Higgs says he convinced Tooley that if she let Lockwood leave, he wouldn't go to the police.

"I actually think they believed I wasn't going to do anything about it," Higgs said.

Higgs says he left with Lockwood -- taking her to his house. The first thing Lockwood asked for was a shower. After she was cleaned up, she was reunited with her family outside Higgs' home.

"I'm 61 years old and I don't even cry at funerals, but I busted out crying like a baby," Higgs said.

As for the accused, Higgs has a recommendation for a fitting punishment.

"I told the police last night 'I hope you all have some real small cells. That's where they need to spend the rest of their lives, in a real small cell,'" Higgs said.

CLICK HERE for more on this story via FOX59.


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