A Louisiana sheriff says two men and three women are accused of keeping an autistic woman outdoors with only a kennel-like crate as her shelter and planning to use her as a prostitute.

Tangiaphoa (TAN-jih-puh-HO-uh) Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said in a statement Thursday that investigators searched the house last week after a report of a woman in a cage. He says authorities found the woman in the back yard near the crate draped with a blue tarp.

Investigators say the woman appeared malnourished and often was locked in the crate at night to keep her from wandering away.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto (PAN-uh-PIN-toh) says investigators later learned the five planned to prostitute the woman. She says they were arrested on charges of human trafficking and cruelty to the infirm.