Gianna and Samantha Rucki

gianna samantha rucki
Samantha Rucki (right, b. 1998) and Gianna Rucki (left, b. 1999) ran away from their Lakeville, Minnesota home on April 19, 2013 during a custody dispute. Their mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, then abducted them and took them to White Horse Ranch in Herman, Minnesota, where they were hidden by an underground network of family court critics until their rescue in November 2015. While being hidden, the girls were homeschooled and denied medical care.

Grazzini-Rucki divorced the girls’ father, David Rucki, in May 2011 and was granted full custody of their five children. In September 2011, a judge vacated the divorce due to evidence that Grazzini-Rucki had committed fraud. In late 2012, both parents were barred from contacting the children after a psychologist reported that Grazzini-Rucki had brainwashed the children and alienated them from their father, whom Grazzini-Rucki accused of abusing the girls. Shortly after the girls’ disappearance, they gave a televised interview where they stated that they did not want to live with their father as they were afraid of him. David Rucki was granted full custody of the children in November 2013, after the court found no evidence of abuse.

While the girls were being hidden at the ranch, Grazzini-Rucki denied any knowledge of their whereabouts as she and her boyfriend traveled to various locations around the world. She was eventually arrested in Florida on October 18, 2015 and charged with three counts of felony deprivation of parental rights. While investigating the girls’ disappearance, police searched the home of DeDe Evavold, a political aide of Michelle MacDonald (Grazzini-Rucki’s attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2014). There they found evidence which led them to White Horse Ranch, where they were serving a search warrant when they discovered the girls.

Date: November 18, 2015
Herman, Minnesota Continue reading

16 Children of Jonathan and Allison Schumm

Five children between the ages of 5 and 16 were physically abused by Jonathan Robert Schumm and Allison Nicole Schumm. Jonathan Schumm was a Topeka Councilman, Allison Schumm blogged extensively about their lives, and the Schumms had received an Angels in Adoption award in 2013. They had 4 biological children and 10 adopted children (two sibling groups of 5, adopted in 2008 and 2013), and were fostering 2 additional children when they were arrested. The Schumms’ biological children were homeschooled, and the adopted children were removed from public schools to be homeschooled as soon as their adoptions were finalized.

According to court documents, a 12-year-old child was tortured or beaten by the Schumms, and 4 others were also physically abused, in October 2015. The family had been previously investigated by child protective services in 2013 during their second adoption proceedings after a child’s foster family reported bruising on him and abuse of the other children. In her blog, Allison Schumm describes placing her other children with a relative during the CPS investigation so that they could not be questioned. The reports were ruled unfounded. Schumm also describes forcing some of the adopted children (younger than 10 years) to carry heavy burdens across the yard as punishment.

Jonathan Schumm was charged with one count of aggravated battery or child abuse for the 12-year-old and four counts of child endangerment for the other children. Allison Schumm was charged with the same crimes, though as an accomplice. The children were removed from their home by child protective services.

Note: Edited for correction. The first group of children was placed with the Schumms in 2006 but the adoption was not finalized until 2008.

Date: November 19, 2015
Topeka, Kansas Continue reading

4 Children of John Paul and Danielle Woolley

Four children, boys ages 8, 4, and 2, and a 5-year-old girl, were imprisoned, starved, and neglected by their parents, John Paul and Danielle Woolley, and their grandparents Gordon Mark and Barbara Jo Woolley. The children were homeschooled, but had never received any medical care or any kind of education.

The children were kept in a locked room in a house covered in feces. When they were found, all four were “non-verbal with poor hygiene and varying degrees of malnutrition and dehydration.” The children were not toilet trained and were unable to eat normal foods. The oldest boy was reportedly autistic.

The abuse was discovered after authorities received an anonymous tip and went to the home to investigate. The children were hospitalized and John Paul’s 29-year-old brother, who had special needs, was also taken into protective custody. Animal control removed a number of cats from the home. All four of the Woolleys were charged with felony neglect.

Date: October 19, 2015
Clinton, Indiana Continue reading

Jacob Davidoff

Jacob Davidoff
Jacob Davidoff, age 17, was shot to death by his mother, Dianne Michelle Davidoff. Jacob had health problems which prevented him from attending school, so he was homeschooled.

Davidoff had a history of mental illness and serious financial problems; she and Jacob were in the process of moving out of their foreclosed home when she shot him. Davidoff was charged with murder.

Date: September 24, 2015
Gresham, Oregon Continue reading

Girl by Rob and Marie Johnson

rob and marie johnson
A girl (b. 1994) was sexually abused and beaten by her mother’s cousin, Robert Johnson, and his wife Marie Johnson, from the time she was 13 until she ran away from their home at age 18. The girl was homeschooled by the Johnsons, whose four biological sons were not abused.

The girl went to live with the Johnsons after her mother died in 2007. The sexual abuse began within days and continued at least twice a week until the girl’s grandmother helped her escape in 2012. The Johnsons taught Sunday School and used Old Testament passages to justify their actions. Rob Johnson forced the girl to call him ‘master’ and wear a ring to show she ‘belonged’ to him, telling her that “having sex with him and Marie made her part of the family.” Marie beat the girl if she refused the couple’s sexual demands.

The abuse came to light when the girl, inspired by support from other abuse survivors, decided to report it to police in August 2015. The Johnsons were charged with sexual assault of a child.

Date: August 11, 2015
Port St. Lucie, Florida Continue reading

7 Children of David and April Bever

bever family
Daniel (age 12), Christopher (7), and Victoria Bever (5) were stabbed to death, allegedly by their older brothers, Robert (age 18) and Michael Bever (age 16). The children’s parents, David and April Bever, were also killed, and their sister Crystal (age 13) was injured but survived. Their 2-year-old sister Autumn was not harmed. The children were “home schooled and kept on a tight leash.”

The deaths were discovered after police responded to a 911 call made by Daniel. Robert and Michael were arrested and Robert was charged with murder. The investigation is ongoing.

Date: July 22, 2015
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Continue reading

Tina Anderson

Tina Anderson was 15 when she was raped twice by Ernest Willis, a friend of her family. When she became pregnant, her mother Christine Dooley and Chuck Phelps, the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church (IFB) in Concord, NH which Tina’s family attended, conspired to hide her from the authorities so that the crime could not be prosecuted. While she was being hidden, Tina was homeschooled.

After Tina reported the rapes to Dooley and Phelps, Phelps alerted the police. However, he immediately arranged for Tina to leave the state and stay with congregants Clovis and Diane Landry in Colorado. The Landrys homeschooled Tina during her pregnancy and for some time afterwards. Tina’s child was given up for adoption. During her senior year Tina was permitted to attend a Christian school as long as she did not tell anyone about what had happened to her. She finally came forward to police in 2010. Willis was found guilty of forcible rape and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Date: October 8, 1997
Westminster, Colorado Continue reading

2 Children of Quincy Hazel and Sabrina Golden-Hazel

quncy hazel and sabrina golden-hazel
A 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were beaten, imprisoned, starved, and denied medical care by their parents, Quincy Hazel and Sabrina Golden-Hazel. Golden-Hazel “told investigators she home school[ed] the children, but police did not find any books in the home.”

The children were kept locked in a closet for days at a time with only a bucket as a bathroom. They were beaten with an extension cord. They were often so hungry they had to eat trash. They had never seen a doctor or dentist and the boy had lost most of his teeth.

The abuse came to light when the boy ran away from home in March 2015. He reported the abuse to police about a month later. The Hazels were charged with child neglect.

Date: April 19, 2015
Riviera Beach, Florida Continue reading

Son of Charlie Mayes

Charlie Mayes
A 16-year-old boy was physically abused by his father, military veteran Charlie Mayes. The boy was forced to carry a heavy stone for miles in hot weather as punishment for failing to do his schoolwork. The boy “had a history of problems at school” and was homeschooled.

The abuse came to light when a pizza delivery driver saw the boy walking with the stone and reported it to the authorities. Mayes was charged with child cruelty.

Date: May 26, 2014
Douglasville, Georgia Continue reading

8 Children of Jondrew Lachaux and Kellie Phillips

lachaux and phillips
A 17-year-old girl was raped and impregnated by her stepfather, Jondrew Lachaux. Lachaux and the girl’s biological mother, Kellie Phillips, then abandoned the girl and her 3-year-old half-sister Bessie Lachaux, who had special needs, for eight months while they took a road trip with their other five children, ages 9, 8, 7, 4, and 1. All the children were homeschooled.

Lachaux and Phillips abandoned their daughters in August 2014 with inadequate amounts of food and medication for Bessie, who had breathing problems. They forbade the older girl from getting outside help. Phillips reportedly did not know that the 17-year-old was pregnant. The girl gave birth at home without assistance and Bessie later died. On hearing of his daughter’s death, Lachaux came home to hide the body and forced the 17-year-old and her 4-month-old child out on the streets.

The abuse came to light when the girl sought shelter at McCarran International Airport. Airport staff noticed that her baby was sick and called the authorities. The baby was hospitalized for malnutrition and dehydration. Lachaux and Phillips were charged with child abuse.

Date: April 1, 2015
North Las Vegas, Nevada Continue reading

Isaiah Torres

isaiah torres
Maurice Isaiah Torres, age 6, who went by Isaiah, was beaten and raped to death by his parents, Mauricio Alejandro Torres and Cathy Lynn Torres. Isaiah, his twin sister, and their 8-year-old sister were homeschooled. Isaiah had been pulled from school following an abuse investigation.

Isaiah had previously been treated at a hospital for chemical burns and he had an improperly healed broken nose. Cathy Torres reported witnessing Mauricio beating Isaiah with his fists, an electrical cord, and a belt. At the time of his death, Isaiah had heavy bruising and lacerations all over his body. His cause of death was “acute peritonitis due to rectal trauma”. The Torreses were charged with murder, rape, and battery.

Date: March 30, 2015
Bella Vista, Arkansas Continue reading

Sarah, Chris, Rebecca, and Daniel Smith

sarah richardson rebecca and daniel smith
Sarah Richardson (b. 1988, left) and her brother Chris Smith (b. 1990, second from left) were physically abused by their stepfather, TV hypnotist Martin Smith, who also subjected Sarah to systematic sexual abuse for a decade. Their mother, child services employee Lianne Smith, knew about the abuse but did nothing. After Sarah reported the abuse to the police and Martin was arrested, Lianne murdered her two younger children (pictured at right), Rebecca (b. 2004) and Daniel (b. 2009), to prevent them from being taken by child services. Lianne homeschooled her children and was a “Regional Advisor for the home education group Education Otherwise.”

Sarah and Chris’s biological father, John Hope, left the family in 1991. Martin Smith moved in with Lianne in 1992 and began beating Sarah and Chris almost immediately. His sexual abuse of Sarah began in May 1995, shortly after the family had moved to a remote area in Cumbria, UK and Lianne had withdrawn her children from school to homeschool them. Though Sarah repeatedly reported the abuse to her mother, Lianne refused to believe her. Not long after Rebecca was born in 2004, Sarah left home to attend university, and Chris was kicked out at age 16. Sarah, afraid that Smith would start abusing Rebecca, contacted police in November 2007 to report the sexual abuse. Martin and Lianne Smith responded by fleeing with Rebecca to Barcelona, Spain, where Lianne later gave birth to Daniel.

In May 2010, Spanish police finally tracked Martin down and arrested him. Lianne fled again with the children to Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain, where she suffocated Rebecca and Daniel and then attempted suicide. Martin Smith was found guilty of rape and hanged himself in prison. Lianne Smith was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Date: May 17, 2010
Cumbria, UK; Barcelona, Spain Continue reading

Victoria Evans, Alloma Gilbert, and Christopher Spry

Victoria Evans (left, b. 1986), Alloma Gilbert (center, b. 1986), and Christopher Spry (right, b. 1989) were tortured, starved, and imprisoned by their adoptive mother, Eunice Spry. All three were homeschooled starting in 1994. Spry’s other children—two older biological daughters; two adopted daughters, Charlotte and Sarah; and others—were not abused.

Spry took Victoria in as a baby, later officially adopting her, while she took in Alloma and Christopher as foster children in 1992. After Spry moved them to an isolated farm in Eckington, Worcestershire, removed them from school, and changed their names, the abuse began in earnest. Spry beat them, strangled them, and prevented them from getting medical care for their injuries. Sometimes she starved them; at other times she forced them to eat cat food, vomit, and feces. She punished them with extreme physical labor and made them sleep in the barn or locked them in the attic for months. When Victoria was injured after a car accident, Spry forced her to remain wheelchair-bound for years despite her recovery. Spry, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, was convinced that Victoria, Alloma, and Christopher were “Devil children”.

The abuse came to light in December 2004 when Victoria reported it to a friend at church, who helped her escape and tell the police. Spry was arrested in February 2005 and convicted of child abuse in 2007. She was released from prison in 2014.

Date: December 2004
Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK Continue reading

Austin, Luke, and Cecilia Riggi

theresa riggi
Twins Augustino “Austin” and Gianluca “Luke” Riggi, age 8, and their 5-year-old sister Cecilia, were murdered by their mother, Theresa Riggi. The children were homeschooled.

The children’s father, Pasquale Riggi, was an oil company employee; the Riggis, though American, had lived in Scotland for 13 years. The children were born through IVF and Theresa was extremely possessive of them, insisting that they wear electronic locator tags. In July 2010 she took them and fled their Skene, Aberdeenshire home as part of a custody dispute. Believing that Pasquale would gain custody of the children, Theresa stabbed each of them eight times, then set the house on fire. She attempted suicide but did not succeed. Initially charged with murder, she was diagnosed with numerous personality disorders and arranged a plea deal to plead guilty to culpable homicide. She was sentenced to 16 years in prison but committed suicide in prison in 2014.

Date: August 4, 2010
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Continue reading

3 Children of Chianna and LaTrecia Hendrix

chianna and latrecia hendrix
A 10-year-old boy, D.E., was starved, imprisoned, physically abused, and deprived of medical care by his biological mother, Chianna Hendrix, and her wife LaTrecia L. Hendrix. LaTrecia Hendrix’s two biological children, girls ages 12 and 5, were not similarly abused. One of the boy’s relatives reported that he had “been in and out of different schools for various behavioral problems for years before being homeschooled.”

D.E. was kept locked in the basement, where investigators found urine and feces in his bed. His younger sister reported that he was often beaten and locked in the basement as punishment for stealing food. When he was found he was covered with bruises and scratches and was hospitalized for malnourishment. The Hendrixes reported that they deliberately did not seek medical care for the boy for two years. Chianna Hendrix ran a home day care and LaTrecia Hendrix was a public school teaching assistant.

The abuse came to light when the boy ran away from home in March 2015 and was found by the police. The Hendrixes were both charged with child abuse.

Date: March 23, 2015
Independence, Missouri Continue reading

Cassandra and Moira B.

Cassandra B. (b. 1998) and Moira B. (b. 2008) were imprisoned and physically abused by their mother, Angel B., and their uncle. Cassandra was homeschooled.

In May 2012, Angel punished 13-year-old Cassandra by forcing her “to sleep outside in a tent when the temperature was 55 degrees. When Cassandra attempted to reenter the house, she was forced back into the tent and her uncle ‘zip tied’ the tent shut. Cassandra escaped, and Angel then turned on a water hose, which Cassandra’s uncle used to spray Cassandra with water. Angel also gave the uncle a rope, which he attempted to tie around Cassandra’s wrists.”

The court found that Cassandra had “severe mental and behavioral health needs” and removed her from Angel’s care. The state maintained legal custody of Moira while Angel maintained physical custody of her younger daughter. However, in September and October 2013, Angel “locked Moira in her bedroom as a form of discipline.” When she then expressed interest in homeschooling Moira, the state prevented her from doing so, stating that it was not in Moira’s best interests.

Date: May 11, 2012
Lancaster County, Nebraska Continue reading

Khyra Ishaq

khyra ishaq
Khyra Ishaq, age 7, was starved to death by her mother, Angela Gordon, and stepfather Junaid Abuhamza. Khyra and her five siblings were homeschooled.

The children were subjected to regular beatings with a cane and punished by being forced to stand outside in the cold. The kitchen was kept locked and the children were starved and forced to vomit. Khyra was withdrawn from school in December 2007 and imprisoned in her bedroom. When she died in May 2008, two of her sisters were also hospitalized for starvation. She weighed only 37 pounds at the time of her death.

Gordon and Abuhamza pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Gordon was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Abuhamza was sentenced to life.

Date: May 17, 2008
Handsworth, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK Continue reading

Stoni Blair and Stephen Berry

stoni blair and stephen berry
Stoni Ann Blair (b. 2000) and Stephen Gage Berry (b. 2004) were murdered by their mother, Mitchelle Blair. The children, along with their older sister (b. 1998) and younger brother (b. 2007), were homeschooled.

Both of the surviving children reported severe physical abuse, including beatings with wooden planks and extension cords. Blair told police she beat and scalded Stephen for two weeks before his death in August 2012. She also told police she starved and tortured Stoni for a week before strangling her to death in May 2013. Blair placed Stephen and Stoni’s bodies in a freezer inside the home, where they were discovered in March 2015 by an eviction crew. Blair was charged with child abuse, torture, and murder.

Date: March 24, 2015
Detroit, Michigan Continue reading

K.B. by Robert Sanders

robert sanders
A 13-year-old girl known as K.B. was sexually abused by her stepfather, Robert E. Sanders. Sanders forced her to agree to a “covenant” where he assaulted her in exchange for giving her “rewards” such as being allowed to attend social events at church. The girl and her siblings were homeschooled due to the family’s religious convictions.

Sanders, a New Jersey correctional officer, married the girl’s mother, J.S., in 2002. The abuse began in 2009 when K.B. was 11 and continued until she told her mother about it in March 2010. Sanders was arrested shortly thereafter. He was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Date: March 8, 2010
Quinton Township, New Jersey Continue reading

Christi and Bobby Baskin

christie and bobby baskin
Katharine Christine “Christi” Baskin (b. 1980) and Robert Maple “Bobby” Baskin (b. 1981) were abducted from their Murfreesboro, Tennessee home by their grandparents, Marvin L. Maple and Sandra K. Maple, on March 1, 1989. The Maples had been granted temporary custody of the children by Tennessee officials while charges of Satanic ritual abuse against their parents, Mark and Debbie Baskin, were investigated. After the charges were determined to be unfounded, the Maples refused to return the children and escaped to California, where they homeschooled the children to avoid detection. The Maples, who went by the aliases of John and Frances Bunting, also changed the children’s names to Jennifer and Jonathan Bunting.

The children were discovered twenty years later after Marvin Maple, unhappy with how he was represented in a newspaper article commemorating the kidnapping, confessed to a friend, who reported him to the police. Maple was originally charged with kidnapping but arranged a plea deal to plead to custodial interference and receive only four years of probation. Sandra Maple had died in March 2006.

Date: February 2, 2009
San Jose, California Continue reading

4 Children of David and ReJeana Moss

david and rejeana moss
Two girls, ages 11 and 13, and a mentally disabled 17-year-old boy were imprisoned, starved, and physically and sexually abused by their adoptive parents, David V. Moss and ReJeana Moss. Their 9-year-old adopted brother was not abused. The children were homeschooled.

The children were adopted around 2004, but the abuse did not begin until 2011 shortly after the Mosses’ two biological sons, who also report being abused, left the home. The three older adopted children were kept locked in their rooms with a bucket for a bathroom. The windows were boarded up and they were not given enough to eat. They were beaten so frequently with a paddle that it had bloodstains on it. The two girls were also sexually abused by David Moss.

The abuse came to light in August 2013, when the two girls managed to escape from their room, took their parents’ car, and crashed it. They reported the abuse to the police during the investigation of the crash, and the four children were removed from the home in September 2013. The Mosses were indicted on several counts including kidnapping, assault, child endangerment, and sexual battery.

Date: August 26, 2013
Dorset Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio Continue reading

6 Children of John and Carolyn Caminiti

Six children—four boys (CM, b. 1993; JC, b. 1995; LK, b. 1998; and KD, b. 2005) and two girls (RJ, b. 2000; and TR, b. 2007)—were abused by their father, John Caminiti (right). Their mother, Carolyn Caminiti, was both a victim and a perpetrator of the abuse. All six children had been homeschooled since the Caminitis moved to Wisconsin from Michigan in 2005 to join the Aleitheia Bible Church. ABC, which is led by John’s brother Phil Caminiti (left), teaches strict corporal punishment of its children.

The four youngest children (LK, RJ, KD and TR) were beaten often with a wooden dowel for disobedience. The children were rarely allowed to play with other children or to leave the house. The four oldest children (CM, JC, LK, and RJ) were often confined to their rooms and prevented from eating with the rest of the family as punishment for disobedience and for expressing their feelings. In January 2010, 14-year-old CM was confined to his room for a period of three weeks.

Eight people in the ABC, including Phil and John Caminiti and two of Phil’s adult children, were charged with child abuse of children in the church. John Caminiti was sentenced to one year in prison followed by eight years of probation where he would not be permitted to see his children.

Date: November 19, 2010
Black Earth, Wisconsin Continue reading

14 Children by Roland and Jacques Robidoux

Fourteen children were physically abused and medically neglected in The Body, a cultlike organization controlled by their grandfather, Roland Robidoux, and his son Jacques Robidoux. When they were rescued, the victims included: 4 children of Jacques and Karen Robidoux; 5 children (ages 3 to 10) of Dennis and Michelle (Robidoux) Mingo; 4 daughters of David and Rebecca (Robidoux) Corneau; and 1 infant daughter of Mark and Trinette (Robidoux) Daneau. Three additional children (Jacques’s son Samuel and two of the Corneaus’ children) died before they could be removed from their parents’ custody. All the children were homeschooled.

Roland encouraged sect members “to beat their children with paddles to ‘break their spirit’ and encouraged spanking babies who were just a few months old.” Sect members opposed traditional medicine (including eyeglasses), practiced unassisted homebirths, and never took their children to a doctor. The Corneaus’ two dead children—Jeremiah, born in spring 1999, and an unnamed child born in late 2001—were stillborn due to complications in unassisted homebirths. Samuel Robidoux was 11 months old when he was deliberately starved to death after a religious vision by Michelle Mingo.

The murder came to light in November 1999 when Dennis Mingo fled the sect with his children and reported it to the police. The rest of the children were subsequently removed by social services. Jacques Robidoux was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Karen Robidoux was convicted of assault and sentenced to time served. Michelle Mingo pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and was sentenced to time served. Roland Robidoux was never charged and died of natural causes in 2006.

Date: November 10, 1999
Attleboro, Massachusetts Continue reading

Leonard Cammalleri

Leonard Joseph “Lenny” Cammalleri, b. 1983, was abducted by his father, Leonard Alfred Cammalleri, in April 1984. Cammalleri homeschooled Lenny to avoid detection, preventing him from socializing with other children and closely monitoring his movements outside the home. Cammalleri never took Lenny to a doctor.

Lenny was abducted from the Stamford, Connecticut home of his mother, Candice Hartman, as part of a custody dispute—Cammalleri purportedly believed Lenny was in danger of abuse. He raised him first in Florida and then in the Bronx. The boy was discovered in 1996. Cammalleri was convicted of kidnapping and served 2 years in prison.

Date: September 26, 1996
New York City, New York Continue reading

Son of Tina Graham and Vernon Widner

vernon widner and tina graham widner
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
Lowell, Indiana Continue reading

9 Children of James and Lucinda Haskin

james lucinda haskins
Nine children, ages 3 to 17, were starved, neglected, and sexually abused by their parents, James E. Haskin Jr. and Lucinda Catherine Haskin. The Haskins claimed to be homeschooling them.

According to an affidavit, the children were neglected from December 2009 to October 20, 2011. The Haskins “withheld proper food, shelter, clothing, hygiene and education.” Two of the girls were sexually abused by James Haskin, and the 16-year-old girl gave birth to his child in August 2010. Haskin told her the child was born dead and allegedly buried her on his property (the baby’s body was never found). Though the girls told their mother more than ten times about the abuse, she did nothing to prevent it.

The abuse came to light when police learned that the Haskins were associates of Marty Hester, who was arrested October 28, 2011 for aggravated possession of child pornography. James Haskin was found guilty on “nine counts of child neglect and three counts of sexual abuse”; he was sentenced to 245 years in prison. Lucinda Haskin pleaded no contest to similar charges and was found unfit to stand trial.

Date: October 20, 2011
Monroe, Oklahoma Continue reading

3 children of Stanley Lacefield and Cicely Mason

lacefield and mason
A 10-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister were beaten and imprisoned by their stepfather, Stanley A. Lacefield, and their mother, Cicely K. Mason. The couple were also wanted in Arkansas on charges of beating one of Lacefield’s sons in 1998. Their 6-month-old son was not reported to be abused. The children were homeschooled.

The boy was forced to live in a kitchen cupboard while his sister was forced to live in a closet. The boy was scalded, beaten with a hammer and a knotted extension cord, and tortured with other household implements. The abuse came to light in September 1999 when the boy escaped from his prison and was found wandering in the street with a fractured skull and hand and leg injuries. Lacefield and Mason went on the run with the two younger children; they were featured on America’s Most Wanted and were apprehended in Memphis, Tennessee on October 2, 1999. They each pleaded guilty to several felonies. Lacefield was sentenced to 25 years in prison; Mason was sentenced to 8.

Date: September 23, 1999
Dayton, Ohio Continue reading

4 children of Lucinda and Edward Sizemore Sr.

Eddie Sizemore Jr. (age 17) and his three siblings (ages 11, 8, and 4) were imprisoned, deprived of food and water, and neglected by their parents, Lucinda and Edward Sizemore Sr. The children were homebirthed and did not have birth certificates. Eddie attended first grade but was then pulled from school. The other three children never attended school and were incapable of speaking English—they devised their own language to communicate among themselves.

The Sizemores moved to Ohio from Hazard, Kentucky in 1988. In 1996 child services began investigating them, but stopped when the Sizemores claimed to be moving back to Kentucky. The children were not allowed to leave the house because Lucinda Sizemore told them that “if they went outside and people saw them not being in school, she’d get in trouble.” Eddie was made to sleep under only a plastic sheet during the winter. When they were rescued, the younger children could not bathe or dress themselves. One of them had an untreated hernia.

The abuse came to light when Eddie wrote a letter to his aunt begging for her help. He had been afraid to ask for help before due to fear of punishment by his father. The Sizemores were each charged with “four counts of nonsupport of a dependent, a misdemeanor” and sentenced to one year in prison.

Date: January 1999
Dayton, Ohio Continue reading

4 children by Rita and William Meserve

Four children, ages 16, 13, 10, and 8, were tortured by their aunt, Rita Meserve. Their uncle, William Franklin Meserve, did nothing to stop the abuse and in some cases held the children down. The children were homeschooled.

The children came to live in the Meserves’ mobile home in 1994 after their mother died of breast cancer (their father was in prison). The children were repeatedly shot with a staple gun as punishment for failing to complete their chores or schoolwork. The Meserves claimed the children did it to themselves.

The eldest boy alerted police to the abuse in February 1999. The Meserves were found guilty of “25 counts of abuse, including four torture charges” and sentenced to life in prison.

Date: February 1999
San Bernardino, California Continue reading

Pridine Fru

Actress and talk-show host Pridine Fru (right) was imprisoned and physically and sexually abused by her adoptive parents, Joseph (seated) and Evelyn (left) Djoumessi, from the time she was illegally adopted at age 14 until she was rescued at age 17. During this time, she was forced to live in the Djoumessis’ basement and work as their slave, responsible for all housework and childcare. Though the conditions of the adoption—which occurred under a false name and with a fraudulent passport—included sending Pridine to school, the Djoumessis did not do so and instead homeschooled her. However, the only thing they contributed to her education was to check a GED book out from the library.

Pridine was originally adopted in 1996 from the Djoumessis’ native Cameroon under an arrangement with the girl’s parents whereby Pridine would help provide childcare and in exchange the Djoumessis would send her to school. Instead they enslaved her. She was not allowed to use the showers in the house; she was prevented from ever leaving the house by threats and intimidation; she was beaten with a belt, a spoon, and a shoe; and she was raped several times by Joseph Djoumessi. In January 2000, when she learned that the Djoumessis intended to send her back to Cameroon and bring over another girl, she escaped to seek help from her neighbor, who reported the abuse to the police in February.

The Djoumessis were each charged with child abuse, kidnapping, and conspiracy to kidnap, although the two latter charges were later dropped. Both were found guilty of child abuse and sent to prison. Joseph Djoumessi was also found guilty of criminal sexual conduct.

Date: February 24, 2000
Farmington Hills, Michigan Continue reading

Raysate Knight

raysate knight
Raysate Chain Knight, age 6, was starved, imprisoned, and beaten to death by her stepfather, Raymond Jefferson, and her mother Connie Knight. Knight’s four other children, girls ages 16, 13, and 8 and a 4-year-old boy, were not abused. Raysate was homeschooled.

Raysate was born addicted to cocaine and removed from her mother’s custody. She lived with her grandmother, aunt and uncle until she was 4 years old and her mother reclaimed her. Knight and Jefferson kept Raysate locked in a urine-soaked closet, fed her less than their other children, burned her with cigarettes, and beat her with thorny branches. When Raysate turned the TV on too loud in September 2001, Jefferson beat her unconscious. Knight and Jefferson did not call an ambulance for fear of the abuse being discovered, and Raysate died as a result of her injuries.

The abuse came to light when Raysate’s body was found dumped in a water-filled ditch. During the six months it took to identify her body, she was known in the media as “Angel Doe”. Her grandmother eventually identified her from a police sketch. Knight and Jefferson were arrested in March 2003 in Lafayette, Louisiana, where they had fled after the murder. Both were found guilty of injury to a child. Knight was sentenced to 50 years in prison and Jefferson was sentenced to life.

Date: September 7, 2001
Houston, Texas Continue reading

Boy by Jennifer Yanke and Stephan Alcox

jennifer yanke and stephan alcox
A 13-year-old boy was neglected and deprived of food by his mother, Jennifer Yanke, and his stepfather Stephan Alcox. The boy had been pulled out of school and was reportedly homeschooling himself.

The boy was left alone in a feces-strewn vacant house for a month while his parents lived in a nearby hotel. The boy slept on an air mattress with only a space heater; he had no running water and little food. The abuse came to light when the boy’s grandmother called the police “after she learned that he was living alone, homeschooling himself and surviving on a diet of cereal and dry pasta.” Yanke and Alcox were both charged with abandoning and endangering a child.

Date: November 19, 2014
Dallas, Texas Continue reading

7 Children of Sonia Kubisak

sonia kubisak
Seven children, ages 7 to 17, were neglected by their mother, Sonia Kubisak, who claimed to be homeschooling them.

In March 2014, Kubisak moved the children to a campsite in Oklahoma, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship in Pennsylvania. Kubisak starved the children and medicated them with cattle wormer and flea treatment. When the children were rescued in August, the campsite was covered with human feces and rotting animal feed.

After they were rescued, the children were diagnosed with “multiple illnesses closely associated with neglect and malnutrition.” Kubisak was charged with seven counts of neglect.

Date: August 1, 2014
Albion, Pushmataha County, Oklahoma Continue reading

Stacy and Jeremy Beckman

stacy and jeremy beckman
Stacy Beckman, age 10, and Jeremy Beckman, age 8, were imprisoned, starved, and physically and sexually abused by their foster parents, Shane and Judy Huxoll. The children had been pulled from school to be homeschooled, which “mostly consisted of crossword puzzles, math problems and learning how to tell time…Every wrong answer resulted in a beating from Shane.”

Stacy and Jeremy were removed from the home of their neglectful birth mother, Cindy Beckman, when Stacy was 4 years old. The Huxolls cared for the children at first, but the situation soon escalated into an abusive one. The Huxolls “kept [Stacy] locked in her bedroom without blankets or clothing, beat her almost daily with a leather belt, kicked her in the face, pulled her hair out and did not feed her for up to 48 hours at a time.” She was also raped by Shane Huxoll. Stacy weighed 51 lbs. when she was rescued.

When Stacy discovered her brother was receiving similar treatment, she escaped from her prison through a hole in the rotted floor. She was found by a neighbor, who called the police. The Huxolls were each charged with child abuse causing serous bodily injury. They made a plea deal and were sentenced to four years in prison.

Date: April 1995
Greeley, Colorado Continue reading

Thomas Elberling

thomas elberling
Thomas Elberling, age 11, was shot to death by his father, Jens Elberling, who then committed suicide. Thomas had been homeschooled for the past two years.

Thomas was recognized internationally as a chess champion and was ranked fifth in his age group in the US. Jens Elberling and Thomas’s mother, Kate Chou, filed for divorce in May 2014 and were fighting for custody of Thomas because they disagreed about his education—Elberling believed Thomas should continue to be homeschooled, while Chou disagreed, “stating in court papers her son had repeatedly asked to attend a public school.” Chou was preparing to enroll Thomas in a public school for the fall when he was murdered.

Date: September 6, 2014
Scotch Plains, New Jersey Continue reading

Granddaughter of Steve and Joetta Sells

steve and joetta sells
A 15-year-old girl was beaten, imprisoned, and nearly starved to death by her grandfather, Steve Sells, his wife Joetta Sells, and Steve’s daughter Crystal Sells. The girl, who had special needs, was withdrawn from school in 2010 to be homeschooled. The girl’s 4-year-old sibling was not reported to be abused.

Steve Sells got custody of the girl and her sibling in 2009 when their biological mother Jannifer Sells abandoned them. The girl was kept in a locked room day and night with only a mattress and a bucket to relieve herself. When she was rescued she weighed 38 pounds, she was covered with feces, and her bones protruded through her skin.

The abuse came to light when Joetta and Crystal Sells found her unresponsive and waited 3 hours before calling an ambulance. Steve, Joetta, and Crystal were each charged with multiple felonies, including neglect of a dependent, criminal confinement, and battery.

Date: December 1, 2014
Anderson, Indiana Continue reading

3 Children of Jaileen Soliman

jaileen soliman
Three children, ages 10, 7 and 1, were neglected and deprived of food by their mother, Jaileen Lorraine Soliman. The two older children had been homeschooled for the past two months after the 7-year-old girl was suspended for a week and Soliman chose to withdraw them both.

The children were deprived of meals if they did not do their chores. The home was filled with pet feces and one of the children was covered in insect bites when they were rescued. The abuse came to light when police went to the home in response to a complaint. The children were removed from the home and Soliman was charged with child neglect.

Date: November 14, 2007
Port St. Lucie, Florida Continue reading

Son of Charles Wingate and Sharon Starkey

wingate and starkey
A 13-year-old autistic boy was imprisoned in a filthy home by his parents, Charles E. Wingate and Sharon Starkey. Wingate was a former City Council member and Starkey was an employee at a United Methodist child care facility. The boy was homeschooled online and told police he did not remember ever going outside.

The abuse came to light after a concerned neighbor called the police, who found the boy home alone. He was naked and the house was covered with feces and living and dead rodents. It was immediately condemned by the city. The boy was taken into custody by the state and Wingate and Starkey were charged with child neglect.

Date: May 16, 2013
Colorado Springs, Colorado Continue reading

4 Children of Raymond and Ida Thurmond

Four children, ages 14, 13, 12, and 9, were beaten, imprisoned, starved, and medically neglected by their father, Raymond Daniel Thurmond, and their mother, Ida Thurmond. (The two oldest children were Raymond’s from a previous marriage; the 12-year-old was Ida’s from a previous marriage; and the youngest child was their biological child.) Though Ida claimed to be homeschooling the children, investigators found no evidence of this and the children were not registered with their school district. Only the oldest child had ever been to school, and he had been withdrawn in second grade.

The children had been kept imprisoned since August 2005 in a filthy trailer with padlocks on the front door and the bedroom doors. In the three years they were held prisoner, the children were only allowed out of the trailer once. They were beaten with a steel-toed boot and were deprived of food. When they were rescued, they were undernourished and underweight. One of the children had a serious medical condition that had not been treated. Originally police believed Raymond had sexually assaulted Ida, who claimed to have been a prisoner also; however, later evidence led to the finding that Ida was involved in the child abuse.

The abuse came to light when Raymond told Ida he was leaving her for another woman and she took the children to a domestic violence shelter. An employee at the shelter called the police, who arrested Raymond in August 2008. In December 2008, Ida lost custody of all four children, and she was arrested for her part in the abuse in October 2009. Both Raymond and Ida were charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment. Raymond pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served.

Date: August 4, 2008
Lavonia, Georgia Continue reading

Children of Christine Baughman

christine baughman 3
An 11-year-old boy was physically and emotionally abused by his adoptive mother, Christine Evelyn Baughman. The boy’s adoptive father, pediatrician Henry Baughman, has not been charged. The boy and his brother were adopted from Ukraine in 2013. The Baughmans’ four children were homeschooled, according to Christine Baughman’s Pinterest profile.

The abuse, which included beatings with a belt, came to light after an anonymous tip brought child services to the home for a welfare check on November 22. Officials then arranged an interview with the boy, who disclosed the abuse. Baughman was charged with cruelty to children.

Date: November 25, 2014
Ringgold, Georgia Continue reading

Shane Alan Coffman and 5 Siblings

Shane_Coffman2Coffman and Gilson

The body of eight-year-old Shane Alan Coffman was discovered in a freezer in a trailer home in February 1996. His five siblings, ages seven to twelve, were taken into productive custody. All of the children had been abused, and two were so malnourished they had to be hospitalized. Authorities believe Shane died due to excessive discipline at the hands of his mother, Bertha Jean Coffman, and her boyfriend, Donald Lee Gilson, in August 1995. The children had been taken into foster care briefly two years before, but were returned to Coffman after she met certain requirements. Coffman and her children moved into Gilson’s trailer in June 1995.

The pastor at the church where the children had attended Sunday school reported that he had frequently fed the children at church, and that he had called social services with his concerns on several occasions. However, when Coffman moved in with Gilson the children were no longer allowed to attend church. The school district reported that the children had been withdrawn from school off and on, but that at the beginning of the school year the mother had sent a letter reporting her intent to homecshool. “It raised a red flag for us,” the district’s spokesperson admitted. “But we can’t police home-school.”

Gilson admitted in court that he killed Shane by beating him with a board on August 17, 1995. Gilson was given the death penalty and was executed in 2009. Coffman was sentenced to life in prison.

Date: February 18, 1996
Location: Little Axe, Oklahoma Continue reading

10 Children of Dave and Wonda Dixon

dave and wonda dixon
Ten special-needs children—six boys ages 14, 14, 12, 8, 8 and 3; and four girls ages 12, 10, 5 and 5—were physically abused by their adoptive parents, Dave and Wonda Dixon. They were beaten with paddles, switches, and a water hose. The 12-year-old girl was singled out for abuse and was starved and deprived of medical care; her parents urged her siblings to hit her. After teachers reported her emaciated appearance to child services, the Dixons removed her from school to homeschool her.

The abuse came to light when a child services investigator saw the girl in August 2013 and ordered her hospitalization. She weighed 57 lbs. when she was rescued. The Dixons were indicted that October on charges of injury to a child and imprisoned. The children were removed to foster homes.

Date: August 21, 2013
Lubbock, Texas Continue reading

4 Children by Daniel Sweetman

daniel sweetman
Four children, including a 9-year-old boy, his 8-year-old sister, and a 10-year-old boy, were sexually abused by their babysitter, Daniel Sweetman, around March 1991. Sweetman was the son of Julius Schacknow, the leader of a new religious movement to which the children’s families belonged. The children in the group had been homeschooled since 1988 on Schacknow’s orders after a teenager had disclosed abuse to one of his teachers.

Sweetman was convicted of sexual abuse and sentenced to a year in prison.

Date: August 28, 1991
Hamden, Connecticut Continue reading

Amber Dawn Lee, and 10 children by Arvin Shreeve

amber dawn lee
Amber Dawn Lee (b. 1971) is one of at least 10 children who were sexually abused by Arvin Shreeve, the leader of a polygamist new religious movement called the Zion Society. Like the other children in the group, Amber was homeschooled, which she states “consisted solely of singing, scripture, and penmanship”.

The abuse came to light when police raided the group’s compound in August 1991 based on Ron Van Drimmelen’s report that Shreeve had sexually abused his 7-year-old son and Kori Christofferson’s report of other sexual abuse of children that was occurring in the group. Shreeve pleaded guilty to sodomy and sex abuse of a child and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, where he later died. Nine other adults in the group, including Sharon Kapp, Jennifer Shreeve, Amy Partridge, and Mark W. Lichfield, were also sentenced to prison time for sex crimes against children.

Date: August 1991
Ogden, Utah Continue reading

Aaron Norman

Aaron Norman, age 10, died of untreated juvenile diabetes after a beating intended to heal him. His parents, Bobbie and Judith Norman, who were members of a new religious movement known as the No-Name Fellowship or Champaign-Urbana Ministries, believed in faith healing and failed to seek medical assistance for him. Aaron was homeschooled.

Bob Norman was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. Several other adults—including Douglas Kleber, founder of the Fellowship, and Jeffrey Siegel, the group’s former pastor—were convicted of criminal mistreatment in conjunction with the case.

Date: December 20, 1987
Mead, Washington Continue reading

Dayna Broussard, and 53 children by Eldridge Broussard

dayna broussard
Dayna Lorrae Broussard, age 8, was beaten to death by four adults—Willie K. Chambers, Brian J. Brinson, Constance Zipporah Jackson and Frederick Paul Doolittle—in the Ecclesia Athletic Association, a new religious movement run by Dayna’s father, Eldridge Broussard Jr. After her death, 53 other children were removed from the compound, showing signs of systematic beating and food deprivation. The children were homeschooled.

Chambers, Brinson, Jackson, and Doolittle were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Broussard, along with three other members of the group, was later indicted for child slavery; Broussard died of natural causes before he could be brought to trial.

Date: October 13, 1988
Sandy, Oregon Continue reading

A.S. and L.S. by Wayne Bent

healed travesser wayne bent
Two girls—A.S., age 16, and L.S., a.k.a. Healed Travesser (pictured), age 14—were sexually abused by Wayne Bent, a.k.a. Michael Travesser (pictured). The girls were the children of John and Elsa Sayer, who were members of the Lord Our Righteousness Church or Strong City, a new religious movement led by Bent, who claimed he was the Messiah. The girls were homeschooled.

John Sayer and his family left the church around August 2006 after Bent told him God had ordered him to sleep with seven virgins, including Sayer’s two daughters. The younger girl later returned to Bent’s compound on her own and was removed by social services along with two other children in April 2008. Bent was found guilty of criminal sexual contact of a minor (committed against the older girl) and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bent was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Date: April 22, 2008
Clayton, New Mexico Continue reading

13 children of Winnfred Wright

winnfred wright
Thirteen children—ranging in age from 8 months to 15 years—were starved, imprisoned, beaten, and medically neglected by their father, Winnfred Wright (left), and his four wives (from left to right) Carol Bremner, Deirdre Wilson, Mary Campbell, and Kali Polk-Matthews. Wright’s fifth wife, Susan Weber, who had left Wright’s cultlike home around 1990, had two additional children with him (one of whom died in infancy). The children were homeschooled.

The children were beaten with a belt, had their mouths covered with tape, and were forced to eat chili peppers as punishment. One girl was “tied to a playpen at night for two weeks as punishment for eating during a fast”. The children were kept to a strict vegetarian diet and many of them had bone deformities due to poor nutrition. They were not permitted to leave the house and the windows were often covered. The children never visited the doctor or dentist and most were found to have rickets when they were rescued.

The abuse came to light in 2001 when 19-month-old Ndigo Campisi-Nyah-Wright died of malnutrition and the women brought him to the emergency room. Authorities then removed the other children from the home. Bremner, who had leukemia, died in state custody, and the charges against Polk-Matthews were dropped. The others pleaded guilty to child endangerment; Wright was sentenced to 16 years in prison, Campbell to 10, and Wilson to 7.

Date: November 13, 2001
Marinwood, California Continue reading

Jessica Crank

jessica crank
Jessica Crank, age 15, died of bone cancer which her mother, Jacqueline Crank, and stepfather Ariel Ben Sherman left untreated. When she died, she had a tumor the size of a basketball. Jessica was homeschooled.

Sherman, who had been convicted of child abuse in Oregon in 1987, was the leader of the Universal Life Church, a cult-like group which practiced faith healing. In February 2002, Sherman and Crank took Jessica to a chiropractor, who urged them to immediately take her to an emergency room. They did not do so. It was not until June 2002 that authorities were successful in getting medical attention for Jessica. She died in September 2002.

Sherman and Crank were convicted of misdemeanor child neglect.

Date: September 15, 2002
Lenoir City, Tennessee Continue reading

3 Boys by Douglas Myers

douglas w myers
Three boys, born in 1983, 1985, and 1986, were sexually abused by Rev. Douglas W. Myers, the minister at Bayside Baptist Church. The boy who was born in 1985 was homeschooled at the church by Myers between seventh and ninth grade (that is, around 1998); it is unknown if the other boys were also homeschooled.

The abuse came to light in 2012 when the boy born in 1983 wrote a letter to police to report it and an investigation turned up the other two victims. At that time, Myers was already in prison for sexually abusing the grandson of a parishioner in Eustis, Florida from July 2005 until his arrest on February 24, 2006. He was sentenced to 15 more years in prison for abusing the three Maryland boys.

Date: 1998
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland Continue reading