In the early morning hours of July 10, while meandering about the city, Lockwood encountered Ricky House Jr., a man she had once dated. The 37-year-old offered her a ride to his place in Stewartsville, a small town 25 miles northwest of Evansville where House lived in a mobile home with his 44-year-old girlfriend, Kendra Tooley.
Later that morning, when Lockwood told House that she wanted to return to her apartment, he covered her nose and mouth with a rag soaked in chloroform. When she regained consciousness she found herself naked and tied to a bed. She had also been raped.
Over the next several weeks Lockwood's captors forced her to wear a dog collar with an attached leash. The couple made her do chores that included cleaning and cooking. When House wasn't raping or beating her, she lived in a narrow wooden cage barely large enough for her body.
On July 13, 2014, three days after Lockwood left her apartment in Evansville, her relatives filed a missing person report. The police coordinated a search but came up empty-handed.
While the authorities and volunteers looked for Lockwood, her captor, Ricky House, attempted to impregnate her. He and Kendra wanted a child but Tooley was too old to get pregnant.
Besides not having any children together, House and Tooley were in financial trouble. On Thursday September 4, 2014, Tooley's ex-husband, Ron Higgs, visited the mobile home in Stewartsville. He encountered Lockwood but assumed she was a willing participant in some kind of perverted sex arrangement with Ricky House and Tooley.
On Saturday September 6, the 61-year-old Higgs returned to the mobile home with some money for his ex-spouse. This time Joelle Lockwood told him she was being held against her will since early July during which time she had been raped and beaten.
In an effort to secure Lockwood's freedom, Higgs offered the captors additional money for her release. Ricky House rejected that proposal, and this led to an argument that became physical. Ricky House backed-off, left the room, then returned with a sawed-off shotgun. Ron Higgs grabbed the shotgun and stunned Ricky House with a head-butt. Ricky retreated into a bedroom as Higgs led Joelle Lockwood out of the mobile home.
A Posey County prosecutor charged Ricky House and Kendra Tooley with multiple counts of rape, kidnapping and assault. The judge set House's bond at $500,000 and Tooley's at $150,000. At the arraignment hearing the couple, represented by a pair of public defenders, pleaded not guilty.
Ron Higgs, the man who rescued Joelle Lockwood from her captors, said this to the authorities in charge of the case: "I hope you all have some small cells. That's where they need to spend the rest of their lives, in real small cells."
In September 2015, a Posey County jury, after a one-week trial, found Ricky House guilty of rape, kidnapping and other crimes. The judge sentenced him to 93 years in prison. Kendra Tooley pleaded guilty in July 2016 to rape and two counts of criminal confinement. The judge sentenced her to 25 years in prison. The judge gave Kendra Tooley two years credit for time served.