A 14-year-old boy was starved, caged, and physically abused by his mother, Tina Louise Graham, and her fiance Vernon D. Widner. The boy was withdrawn from school in January 2011 to be homeschooled, although no education actually took place. The boy’s older minor sister participated in the abuse; it is unclear if she or the boy’s other siblings were also abused.
The boy was beaten with a horsewhip and belt, strangled, fed one meal per day, and locked in a dog kennel several times, once for an entire day. His parents forced him to bathe with extremely hot water and bleach; they also threatened to cut off his genitals and threatened him with a loaded gun.
The abuse came to light in March 2011, when the boy’s repeated attempts to run away from home brought him to the police’s attention. He told them that being unable to escape the abuse by going to school had made it too much to bear. Graham and Widner were charged with multiple felonies including criminal confinement, battery, and neglect of a dependent.
Date: March 2011
Location: Lowell, Indiana