Helen Wells

helen wells
Helen Wells, born c. 1979, was sexually abused by her father, Robert George Wells, starting at age three and ending only when she left home at age 24. Her mother knew about the abuse and did nothing. Helen’s brothers were not abused. Helen was homeschooled and stated “I never went to school. I was homeschooled and I was kept out of school for the purpose of concealing the crime. So I did correspondence to grade six and then no schooling after that. So I am self-educated.”

Helen first reported the abuse in 2004. In 2008, Robert Wells pleaded guilty to 33 charges including indecent treatment of a child and incest. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Date: 2008
Kandanga, Noosa, Tewantin and Cooroy in Queensland, Australia Continue reading

Ariel Winter, and 1 sibling

ariel winter and shanelle gray
Child actress Ariel Winter (born Ariel Winter Workman, right), age 14, was abused by her mother, Chrisoula “Chrystal” Workman. Ariel’s older sister Shanelle Workman Gray (age 34, left) was also abused; she was removed from her mother’s care 20 years previously and placed in foster care. The girls’ brother, Jimmy Workman, was not abused. Ariel was homeschooled starting in second grade, including by private tutors and in online classes.

Court papers filed by Gray described “ongoing physical abuse (slapping, hitting, pushing) and emotional abuse (vile name-calling, personal insults about minor and minor’s weight, attempts to ‘sexualize’ minor, deprivation of food, etc.) for an extended period of time.” Ariel’s coworkers observed that Workman would only “allow her daughter to eat egg whites and raw vegetables.”

Ariel was removed from her mother’s care and placed with Gray in late 2012. The guardianship became permanent in 2014. No charges have been filed against Workman.

Date: October 3, 2012
Los Angeles, California Continue reading

Georgia and Patterson Inman

georgia and patterson inman
Twins Georgia Noel Lahi Inman and Walker Patterson Inman III (called ‘Patterson’), born in 1997 to Walker Patterson Inman Jr.—the heir to the Doris Duke fortune—and his fourth wife Daisha Inman (nee Aunday), were starved, imprisoned, and physically abused by their father and stepmother Daralee Inman (nee Steinhausen), as well as by several other caregivers.

Walker Inman was awarded custody of the twins in 2000 after his divorce from Daisha Inman, and he married Daralee in 2001. The abuse of the twins began almost immediately—they suffered from serious speech delays and did not know how to hold a pencil at age 4. They were homeschooled after second grade. “‘Home schooling,’ however, turned out to be little more than a revolving cast of tutors with no teaching experience.” In Wyoming, the twins were locked into their room at night and forced to relieve themselves in the corner. In South Carolina, they were kept locked in a feces-covered basement. Daralee hit Georgia with a baseball bat and pushed Patterson down the stairs. Walker punched Georgia in the face. A caregiver scalded them in the bathtub. They were repeatedly endangered by Walker and Daralee, who were both drug addicts—while high on drugs, Daralee crashed into a tree with the twins in the car; Walker detonated a tear-gas grenade in the house and forced the twins to play Russian Roulette. When they were rescued at age 12, both children were seriously underweight. The abuse was reported to child services at least four times, but Walker Inman’s money and connections allowed him to avoid consequences. When nannies noticed the abuse, they were immediately fired.

The children were rescued from the abuse after their father’s death in February 2010 from a drug overdose. Though Daralee attempted to keep the children, Daisha Inman eventually was able to gain custody of them in August 2010 by bringing “a court order, a fleet of police cars and two ambulances” to their Wyoming home. The children spent three months in a psychiatric facility before going to live with Daisha. Daralee has not been charged, although South Carolina’s Department of Social Services determined in April 2011 that she had abused the children.

Date: August 2010
Grover, Wyoming and Georgetown, South Carolina Continue reading

2 Children by Barbara Dean Baldwin and Tommy Lee Baldwin

Two boys, ages 10 and 9, were imprisoned and starved by their great-aunt Barbara Dean Baldwin and her husband Tommy Lee Baldwin. The boys were forced to live in a hot, windowless garage and were not allowed into the house to use the toilet or bathe. They were punished for making errors in their school work “by being denied food, sometimes for several days.” They “ate garbage and dog food and were sometimes punished by kneeling on a concrete floor with their arms raised over their heads.”

The Baldwins gained custody of the boys in September 1998 when their mother was imprisoned on a drug charge. The boys were removed from the Baldwins’ care for two months that year for being made to sleep in the garage, but they were later returned to the Baldwins. In October 2000 and September 2001 CPS investigated neglect reports but did not find evidence to substantiate them. The boys were eventually removed from school to be homeschooled.

The Baldwins were each charged with four counts of felony injury to a child by omission. Barbara Baldwin was sentenced to 40 years in prison and Tommy Baldwin was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Date: August 8, 2002
Houston, Texas Continue reading

2 children of Sandra and Jeffrey Weller, and 4 siblings

sandra and jeffrey weller
16-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, were beaten, imprisoned, and starved by their adoptive mother Sandra Weller and their stepfather Jeffrey Weller. The twins were pulled out of school to be homeschooled after school officials reported suspicions of abuse. Despite the abuse, the twins “participated weekly in home-school social events outside the home,” according to the Wellers’ lawyer.

The twins were originally adopted by Sandra Weller and her previous husband in California around 1997 and stated that they had been abused as long as they could remember. The Wellers locked them in a bedroom with one mattress, no electricity, and newspapers covering the windows. They were released once a day to eat canned vegetables. Because they were starving, they stole food from the locked refrigerator and pantry whenever they could; when the Wellers caught them, they were beaten with a heavy board. The girl, who was bald from malnutrition when they were found, took the brunt of the abuse and was also strangled and punched in the face. The twins were not permitted to talk to or touch the other members of the family. The other four children in the home—two boys aged 14 and 12 from Jeffrey Weller’s earlier marriage to Tina Toth (who had lived there since June 2011), a 10-year-old boy from Sandra Weller’s earlier marriage to Tim Graf, and the Wellers’ 4-year-old son—were also physically and emotionally abused, especially when they tried to sneak food to the twins.

The abuse came to light when the girl passed a note to her therapist and the police were notified. The Wellers were originally charged with five counts of second-degree assault and two counts of unlawful imprisonment. They were eventually convicted in 2013 of “three counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful imprisonment, second-degree assault, and four counts of third-degree assault causing bodily harm. Jeffrey Weller was also found guilty of strangulation of the girl twin” and on several counts of abusing his other four children. The Wellers were each sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Date: October 7, 2011
Vancouver, Washington Continue reading

4 Daughters of Kenneth Yaw and Rita Starceski

kenneth yaw and rita starceski
Four girls—15-year-old twins Kelly and Colleen, Michaela (age 13), and Bridget (age 11)—were imprisoned and deprived of food by their father, Dr. Kenneth Yaw. The girls’ stepmother Rita Starceski knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. The girls were homeschooled.

Yaw and his first wife, Maureen, had 10 children, including one other girl (Kate, age 26) and five boys. The family originally lived in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, where Yaw worked as an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the children attended school. After Maureen’s death in 2001 from breast cancer, Yaw married Starceski in 2003 and “withdrew the children from activities and frequently changed homes and schools…A few of the older children left home before they turned 18 and were cut off from financial support.”

In 2007, the family moved to Las Cruces, NM where the children “were schooled at home and isolated. For such infractions as failing to clean up after the family dog, the girls later told police, they were sent to the garage and allowed out only to use the bathroom.” After the three older girls stole money in 2008 with the intent to purchase clothing and enroll in public school, Yaw imprisoned them in an unfurnished trailer across town with little food from June until August.

The abuse came to light after “Dr. Yaw got into an argument with a neighbor in the trailer park Aug. 5 and called police, who discovered the girls’ living situation and arrested the doctor and his wife.” Yaw and Starceski were each charged with six counts of felony child abuse. They were also later charged with child neglect by social services lawyers in Chautauqua County, New York.

Date: August 7, 2008
Las Cruces, New Mexico Continue reading

Children of Samuel Thomas Patrick and Debra Lynn Patrick

samuel thomas patrick
Samuel Thomas Patrick fathered 9 children with his sister, Debra Lynn Patrick (pictured), and 4 grandchildren with his adolescent daughters. All 13 children were homebirthed and homeschooled.

The abuse came to light when workers at the cemetery where Samuel and Debra’s 8-month-old son Joshua had been buried in 1990 discovered that his coffin had been replaced by an empty styrofoam container. Police found Joshua’s coffin in the Patricks’ house, where it had been for 12 years. Samuel Patrick was charged with one count of incest and the children were placed with child services

Date: February 26, 2002
Moore Haven, Florida Continue reading

2 daughters of Johann and Kimery Jorg

Two girls, ages 13 and 11, were abused by their adoptive parents, Johann and Kimery Jorg. Both girls were made to sleep outside using a bucket for a bathroom, and they were not allowed to wear clothes. They were forced to run barefoot in the heat for hours and beaten with a wooden paddle as punishment for supposed “lying and stealing”. The older girl’s hair was also shaved off as punishment. They were systematically deprived of food; the older girl weighed only 60 lbs. when they were rescued and she had to be hospitalized. The Jorgs’ other two adopted children, girls ages 8 and 7, were not abused. The children were homeschooled.

The abuse came to light when the Jorgs went to Southwest Behavioral Health Services to seek help with the oldest girl’s “deviant” behavior. They informed the workers of how they had been disciplining their daughters, and the workers called child protective services. The Jorgs maintained that the punishments were in the girls’ best interest and were intended to “train” them. The Jorgs were each charged with four counts of child abuse.

Date: May 30, 2014
Location: Peoria, Arizona Continue reading

2 boys by Barbara and Tommy Baldwin

From 1998 to 2002, Barbara and Tommy Baldwin cared for their two grand-nephews. They were forced to live in the garage and had their food restricted to the extent that they began eating dog food and garbage. The boys had originally attended school, but Barbara restricted their food intake and sent them without lunch and they began taking food from their classmates. Barbara subsequently withdrew the boys from school and began homeschooling them. When they did not complete their schoolwork to her satisfaction, she would deny them food or force them to kneel with their hands over their heads for long periods of time. Social workers found the boys when responding to an abuse tip in 2002. By this time, the two boys, then 9 and 10, had been nearly starved to death.

Date: August, 2002
Missouri City, Texas Continue reading

Brandon Clutter


Homeschooling mother Jaime Clutter was suffering from postpartum depression when she took her two children, Brandon, 10, and Katelyn, 6 months, outside on foot one morning in March, underdressed for the cold weather. All three were found drowned in a nearby creek, suffering from hypothermia. Investigators found no signs of a struggle and ruled the deaths were an accident.

Date: March 13, 2013
Location: New Albany, Indiana Continue reading

Donovan McKee


11-year-old Donovan McKee was beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend, Anthony Lee Bush, over a period of nine hours while his mother, Cynthia McKee, was at work. Bush began beating Donovan because the boy refused to vacuum the floor. Bush was charged with homicide and child endangerment. Donovan’s body showed evidence of injuries from previous abuse. Bush had also previously physically abused McKee. Donovan was homeschooled through an online cyber charter program, which Mary Carrasco, the director of a child advocacy center, said may have helped hide his injuries.

Date: February 12, 2012
Location: Knoxville, Pennsylvania Continue reading

Dozens of children by Dwight “Malachi” York

Dwight York

Dwight “Malachi” York’s was arrested in 2002 and convicted in 2004 of child molestation in what was the largest prosecution of child molestation by a single individual in U.S. history. York was the leader of a quasi-religious cult, United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, and moved his 100 or so followers from Brooklyn, New York, to a rural property in Putnam County, Georgia, in 1993, where he separated children from parents to be home-schooled. Girls as young as 8 were instructed that sex with York was normal activity. York abused dozens of girls and is now serving a 135-year prison sentence.

Date: May 2002
Location: Eatonton, Georgia Continue reading

Four Children of M.A.H. and R.J.H.

M.A.H. and R.J.H. were the biological parents of A.J.H., age 10, and the adoptive parents of P.P.H., T.S.H., and N.M.H., ages 8, 7, and 5. They homeschooled all four children. In October 2012, M.A.H. took P.P.H. to the emergency room, concerned that he had vomited blood. Even though he was 8 years old, P.P.H. weighed only 34 pounds, only five pounds more than he had at age 2. The doctors found that P.P.H. exhibited classic signs of malnutrition and starvation. Further tests found brain volume loss and revealed that P.P.H.’s bone age was six years and six months. M.A.H. claimed P.P.H.’s food issues “stemmed from his desire to control situations and to gain attention.” M.A.H. had not taken P.P.H. to the doctor since he had been placed with them at age 2, stating that she did not believe in medical doctors. P.P.H. was transferred to Mayo Clinic, where doctors expressed concern about P.P.H.’s safety in M.A.H.’s custody as there was no sign that he had any medical condition that could have caused his malnutrition. P.P.H. was released to foster care after one month at Mayo. In foster care, P.P.H. exhibited no sign of food issues, and his foster mother said he showed no sign of manipulative or controlling behavior. By January, P.P.H. had gained nearly twenty pounds. Physchologists found that M.A.H. and R.J.H. showed no sign of attachment to P.P.H. but did show empathy for their other three children. A.J.H., T.S.H., and N.M.H. blamed P.P.H. for their temporary stay in foster care, accusing him of lying and stealing. The court terminated M.A.H. and R.J.H.’s parental rights to P.P.H. and found the other three children in need of protection or services.

Date: October 2012
Location: Minnesota Continue reading

10 children of Sharon and Reed Leonard

sharon and reed leonard house

Sharon Leonard struck her ten adopted children with a paddle or other objects, including a plastic pipe, a metal rod and a snow-removal brush. The children told investigators that Sharon had threatened to kill a couple of the boys. They also reported that six of them had been made to stay outside the Leonards’ home from time to time and to sleep in calf huts and the detached box trailer of a truck. The children were adopted from Ethiopia and China. Four of the Ethiopian children were siblings adopted together, and the other three were obtained through disrupted adoptions. One of the three children from China was also obtained through a disruption. The children were homeschooled through a virtual charter school, and their abuse was discovered when one of the children reported it to a teacher. Sharon and and her husband Reed were charged with misdemeanor child endangerment, and Sharon was also charged with felony child abuse, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor.

Date: September 18, 2010
Neosho, Missouri

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7 Children of Thomas Halbesleben and Jessica Halbesleben

In 2005, police following up on a report found Thomas and Jessica Halbesleben’s seven children alone in an unsanitary home, several suffering from medical neglect. The children, who ranged in age from 1 to 13, had experienced years of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. Halbesleben claimed to be homeschooling, but the children were ignorant of basic math and spelling. The court found that Jessica Halbesleben had removed her children from school to prevent teachers from reporting the abuse that was occurring in the home, and that the extra time at home had exacerbated the sexual abuse, including incest between the siblings. The Halbeslebens were convicted of several counts of felony injury to a child. Thomas Halbesleben had previously been convicted of felony child endangerment in 1998, but Idaho law does not prevent convicted child abusers from homeschooling.

Date: June 2005
 Eagle, Idaho Continue reading

Hannah Davenport

Hannah Davenport
Hannah Davenport, age 6, died of malnutrition and dehydration after her caregivers failed to give her proper treatment for her medical condition. Hannah had a birth defect known as ectopic anus and required a special diet of soft food and frequent doctor visits, which her mother Karen Davenport (later Karen Chandler) and grandmother Linda Walsham failed to provide. Hannah and her two brothers were homeschooled.

Hannah’s parents had divorced in 2003 leaving Karen with full custody of their three children. Hannah’s father Leonard Davenport urged his ex-wife to take Hannah to the hospital after he saw her emaciated appearance about two weeks before her death, but Karen refused. Hannah weighed 27 lbs. at the time of her death.

Karen Davenport and Linda Walsham were charged in February 2005 with one count each of voluntary manslaughter. In spring 2007, the county prosecutor’s successor upped the charges to one count each of second-degree murder. In 2009 the charges against Walsham were dropped due to lack of evidence and the charge against Davenport was changed to voluntary manslaughter. Davenport was eventually found guilty in 2010 of second-degree voluntary manslaughter and was fined $5,000, avoiding jail time.

Date: January 29, 2005
Location: Anderson, Missouri Continue reading

10 children of Jack and Kathy Stratton

jack stratton
Jack and Kathy Stratton’s ten children–Spencer (17), Isaiah (15), Solomon (11), Tanna (10), Rachel (8), Simon (6), Michelle (5), Maria (4), Stephanie (3), and Leah (1)–were removed from their home by social services due to neglect. The children lacked adequate food and medical care–the Strattons practiced homebirth and never took their children to see a doctor. All the children were homeschooled.

In 2002 the Strattons’ parental rights were terminated due to their failure to fulfill any of the state’s conditions for the return of their children. They continued to wage a legal battle with the state until 2013, even after Jack Stratton’s death in 2011.

Date: January 30, 2001
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina Continue reading

Lance Planck

Lance Planck, age 6, died from untreated meningitis after his parents, William and Sarah Planck, failed to seek medical treatment for him. He was also found to be malnourished when he died. The Plancks’ religious beliefs were opposed to medical care: they practiced homebirth, believed doctors were agents of the devil, and did not have their children vaccinated. Three of the children were also blind from medical neglect. The Plancks homeschooled Lance and his ten siblings.

The Plancks were charged with reckless homicide, manslaughter, and neglect, but the jury deadlocked in their case after the coroner withdrew his finding of homicide during a contested primary race. The county dismissed the charges, including those involving neglect of the surviving children.

Date: November 30, 1995
Location: Alexandria, Indiana Continue reading

M. L. Lloyd III


8-year-old M. L. Lloyd III’s official cause of death was “asphyxia due to neck compression.” His body was covered with bruises indicating a severe beating, and officials were concerned that he may have been dead for several hours before being brought to the hospital. Lloyd’s mother and stepfather, Tonya and Errol Victor, claim that the boy died of a severe asthma attack. According to Tanya, Lloyd confessed to lying the morning of his death, after which she punished him by whipping him with a belt. She then gathered her other sons together and told them they would be sent to military school if their behavior did not improve. She left the room and returned to find an altercation. She claims that Lloyd was fine when she broke up the fight, but that the exertion triggered an asthma attack later that morning, leading to his death.

When Tonya and Errol met and married, both had children from previous marriages: Tonya had five sons and Errol had six sons. The couple went on to have two more sons together. Tonya stayed home to raise the children, and when the boys got in fights at school and exhibited behavior problems she began homeschooling them as she and Errol sought to get their behavior under control. Neighbors reported that Errol was a harsh disciplinarian. None of the children were registered with the state as homeschoolers as required by law.

The Victors were charged in Lloyd’s death, but the trial dragged on for years as the couple maintained their innocence and fired lawyer after lawyer. At one point the Victors fled and were on the run for eight months before being apprehended.

Date: April 1, 2008
Location: Reserve, Louisiana

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Kylie Lavelle


51-year-old Phyllis Oser fatally shot her two grandchildren, Kylie Lavelle, 5, and Landon Lavelle, 5 months, before turning the gun on herself. Family members reported that Oser had struggled with depression and had not sought treatment. Oser’s husband had tried to convince her to put Kylie in school and get a job, but Oser resisted this suggestion. Kylie had lived with her grandparents since she was born. Kylie’s mother, Heidi Oser, had also lived with the family, but moved out around the time Landon was born, taking the baby with her. Kylie was left with her grandparents because Oser was homeschooling her. Kylie’s father, Craig Lavelle, had been seeking joint custody of both children.

Date: January 31, 2010
Location: Hanahan, South Carolina Continue reading

LoReyna Barea


LoReyna died of physical abuse and lack of medical care. Investigators responding to the scene found her covered in cuts and bruises, her body severely dehydrated and underweight to the point of being emaciated. LoReyna’s legal guardians, her aunt and uncle, said they had no idea where her injuries came from and insisted that she was a happy child. Yet the forensic pathologist who conducted the girl’s autopsy told detectives that “There was no doubt in my mind that if she (LoReyna) had been seen by a doctor, she would still be alive.” LoReyna’s aunt and uncle were arrested and charged with child abuse and LoReyna’s four brothers were put in foster care.

LoReyna and her siblings were homeschooled.

A complaint was called in to social services prior to LoReyna’s death, alleging that the girl was being isolated by her guardians and that her behavior was “not normal.” However, this complaint was screened out because it did not allege abuse. A review prompted by several high profile child abuse cases found the screening out of this tip a violation of state law, as the standard is “suspected abuse.”

Date: March 9, 2007
Location: Evans, Colorado

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Milton Baker III


7-year-old Milton Baker III was beaten to death by his mother’s live-in boyfriend, Fred Johnson. Johnson beat Milton regularly over the last year of his life, and his maltreatment of the boy began three years before his death. Over time, Johnson’s beatings broke each of Milton’s ribs. In the end, Johnson shattered Milton’s skull.

Milton did not attend school and was instead homeschooled by Johnson. Milton’s final beating took place when he failed to read all of the words in a children’s book during a reading lesson.

Johnson was convicted of murder. The prosecutor initially pushed for the death penalty but was unable to prove that the murder was planned ahead of time. Milton’s mother, Latina Stallworth, was charged with child endangerment.

Date: August 10, 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio Continue reading

Alexander Perkins and 1 Sibling

Alexander Perkins

Alexander Perkins was 5 years old when he died of encopresis, a bowel disorder that develops as a result of children’s refusal to go to the bathroom. His parents, Leon Chad and Krista Perkins, failed to follow the prescribed treatment, leading to his death in their home. Alexander’s older brother, aged 7, suffered from the same disorder and spent several weeks in the hospital after Alexander’s death. Neither of the boys was potty trained, both were severely malnourished, and the family’s house was filthy and stunk of diarrhea and vomit. The boys’ mother, Krista, had a chronic illness and often did not wake until afternoon. The boys’ bedroom had a lock on the outside and could not be opened from the inside.

Five months before Alexander’s death, the boys’ uncle called in a tip, reporting that the children were wearing diapers, were small for their ages, and were “supposedly” being homeschooled. Social workers made a call to the local elementary school to ensure that the boys were registered to be homeschooled (they were) and then determined that there was “no information available from reporter of abuse and neglect as defined by law.” They neither visited the family nor saw the children.

Alexander’s brother was placed in foster care, where he was quickly potty trained and began to grow and gain weight. Leon Chad and Krista Perkins were not charged in Alexander’s death, partly because of a coroner who sought to block the investigation. Instead, they were given a number of requirements to meet in order to regain custody of Alexander’s brother.

Date: August 7, 2010
Location: Cripple Creek, Colorado Continue reading

2 children of Arthur and Lori Allain

arthur and lori allain
Arthur Thomas “Tommy” Allain, Jr. and Lori Allain starved and imprisoned their foster daughter, age 10, and physically abused her half-brother John Edwards Jr., age 14. The girl also described being sexually assaulted by her foster father and one of the Allains’ six biological children; however, no charges were filed.

Edwards and his sister were removed from their biological mother Sonya Guntor in 2000. Guntor was a substance abuser and the children had behavioral problems. The state then placed the children with the Allains, who were friends of Guntor. Both Allains had prior criminal convictions. Reports of abuse by the Allains began soon afterwards: five calls came in to the child abuse hotline between September 2001 and September 2002. An investigation by children’s services substantiated the maltreatment reports, but instead of removing the children, children’s services drew up a safety plan with the Allains.

Between January 2001 and May 2004, the Allains kept the girl locked in a bedroom with a double-keyed deadbolt. She only had a bucket to use for a bathroom. The Allains withheld food from her as punishment, claiming that she had an eating disorder that would cause her to vomit. When she was rescued, the girl weighed 29 lbs.

The abuse came to light when her brother John Edwards Jr. ran away from home, having been punched in the chest for giving her food, and reported it to the authorities. At that time, the Allains said, they had been homeschooling her for two years. Both Allains were charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect and sentenced . In 2008, John Jr. filed a civil suit against the Allains.

Date: May 18, 2004
Brooksville, Florida Continue reading

Desirae, Deondra, and Melody Brown

brown family
Desirae (b. 1979, right), Deondra (b. 1980, center), and Melody (b. 1984, left) Brown were sexually abused by their father, Keith Scott Brown, who was also their business manager. The girls were part of the piano chamber ensemble The 5 Browns and were homeschooled, primarily by their father, while their mother Lisa was in charge of their musical training.

The abuse began in Houston, Texas and continued when the family moved to Utah in 1991. The charges stem from abuse of two of the girls which began in late 1990, when they were ages 11, 10, and 6, and continued until late 1992. One of the girls was also abused from March 1997 to March 1998, when they were ages 18, 17, and 13. The judge who presided over the case said that there could have been many more charges.

The abuse came to light when the girls reported it to authorities in late summer 2010 after learning that their father planned to manage child musicians again. In February 2011, Brown accepted a plea deal and the girls announced the abuse publicly. Brown pleaded guilty to sodomy on a child under 14 and two charges of sex abuse of a child. He is now serving 10 years to life in prison. The girls went on to create a foundation for survivors of child sexual abuse.

Date: February 17, 2011time
Utah County, Utah Continue reading

Anna Farmer

james kevin yost and bridget nicole farmer
Anna Nicole Farmer, 12, was tortured, starved, and beaten to death by her stepfather, James Kevin Yost. Her mother, Bridget Nicole Farmer, knew about the abuse and did nothing. Anna was homeschooled and was singled out for abuse—Bridget Farmer’s other three children (ages 9, 8, and 20 mo.) were not abused.

Yost kept Anna locked in her room so that she had to use it as a toilet. Anna was forbidden from speaking with her siblings or her mother. She was not allowed to eat with the family and was forced to eat standing up at the counter, limited to five minutes per meal, and fed only sardines, beets, and kidney beans. Yost punished Anna by forcing her to take cold showers and beating her with a board. He did not allow Bridget to seek medical treatment for Anna’s injuries. There were also signs that Anna had been sexually abused shortly before her death. Anna’s education consisted of accompanying Yost to his work at a flea market and copying verses from the Bible.

Anna’s death was caused by multiple blunt force trauma to her abdomen. The beating that killed her may have been administered up to 48 hours before her death, which occurred during another beating. After killing Anna, Yost went on the run. On his orders, Farmer waited 8 hours to notify authorities that her daughter was dead.

Yost was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Farmer was charged with two counts of injury to a child but took a plea deal to serve 10 years of probation, surrender all her parental rights, and testify against Yost.

Date: December 29, 2003
Pearland, Texas Continue reading

Michaela and Caleb Parker

kimu and blair parker
Kimu (left) and Blair Parker starved and medically neglected their three children, Michaela (age 11), Caleb (age 9), and Zion (age 3). The children were homeschooled.

The Parkers were fundamentalist naturopaths who practiced homebirths and shunned vaccines and medical checkups. The children were fed a vegan diet and the Parkers set time limits for the children’s food consumption, fearing obesity. When their daughter Aaliyah (called Lily, pictured) died at age 3 in 2001 after a series of seizures, police found the death suspicious but declined to prosecute when the Parkers explained that epilepsy ran in the family.

The abuse came to light in 2005 when Zion began to have severe seizures and Kimu took her to the emergency room. When doctors saw her emaciated state, they insisted on examining the other two children and deemed them all malnourished. The children were removed to a foster home where they quickly gained weight despite maintaining their vegan diet—they merely increased their portion size. Both Parkers were convicted on three counts of child abuse. Kimu was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Blair was sentenced to 15.

Date: April 23, 2005
Scottsdale, Arizona Continue reading

6 children of Lora and Aubrey Thomas

laura and aubrey thomas
T.T. (a 15-year-old boy), G.T. (a 14-year-old girl), B.T. (a 14-year-old boy), and E.T. (a 13-year-old girl), were tortured, starved, and sexually abused by their adoptive parents, Lora (or Laura) and Aubrey Thomas, and their older brother Garrett, the Thomases’ biological son. The Thomases also had at least two other older biological children, who did not report being abused.

The Thomases became foster parents to six children in 2001. In 2003, two of the children were removed because they had been abused. The four remaining children were homeschooled.

The Thomases withheld food from the children as punishment. The children were fed bar soap and cayenne pepper and were forced to eat their own vomit if they got sick. They were forced to eat horse manure as punishment for failing to clean the horse pen. They were paddled regularly with a paddle called “Mr. Awesome” and then made to lie in an ice bath to reduce the swelling. They were forced to perform sex acts with Aubrey and perform oral sex on each other in exchange for food. The girls in particular were singled out for abuse and were punished for bed-wetting by having their soiled underwear stuffed into their mouths. Garrett Thomas also forced the children to touch his genitals.

The abuse came to light when one of the girls reported it to a counselor in a psychiatric facility where she had been placed. Lora was charged with four counts of felony child abuse and Aubrey was charged with three counts of felony child abuse and one count of enabling child abuse, also a felony. Garrett was charged with child abuse.

Date: October 14, 2011
Sperry, Oklahoma Continue reading

3 children by Iliana, Rogelio, and Tim Archuleta

10-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, and their 8-year-old brother, were tortured, imprisoned, and starved by their adoptive mother, Iliana Archuleta, and her brother-in-law Rogelio Archuleta (center). The children’s adoptive father, Tim Archuleta (right), knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. The Archuletas’ two biological children, a 13-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, lived in the home but were not abused. The Archuletas also operated a day-care facility, though none of their charges were abused. The Archuletas had previously been foster parents to two children who were removed in 2007 due to abuse and neglect.

The three children were placed with the Archuletas in 2008 after being removed from their biological parents for abuse and neglect. They attended public school for the 2008-2009 school year, but one of the children kept missing school and child services worked with them through the rest of 2009. The children began attending school again in spring 2010 and continued through the 2010-2011 school year. After they were formally adopted in spring 2011, they did not return to school for the 2011-2012 school year. Iliana told authorities that she was homeschooling them at her day-care facility. One investigator reported that the Archuletas “would say they were taking them to a charter school or were homeschooling them…That’s all they have to say. They don’t have to prove it.”

The children were forced to bite each others’ toes and ears as punishment and then pour bleach into the open wounds. As a result, the girl was missing part of her ear and the boy had an infected toe which had turned into a serious bone infection. There was a lock on the refrigerator and the children had lanugo and other signs of severe malnourishment. They were forced to eat sticks of butter until they felt full, and forced to eat their vomit if they threw up. The children were also made to sleep upright in their parents’ bathtub with the sliding glass door closed and a bucket to relieve themselves. Iliana periodically made them wear diapers and locked them in her office at the day-care facility.

The abuse came to light when Iliana brought the 8-year-old to the hospital after he had a seizure. Doctors noticed the boy’s injuries and called the authorities. Each of the Archuletas was charged with three felony counts of injury to a child.

Date: October 13, 2012
San Antonio, Texas Continue reading

2 children of Erin and Jennifer Pickel

erin and jennifer pickel
Erin and Jennifer Pickel abused and imprisoned two of their five children, a 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, starting in 2008. There were also two younger children and one child over 18 in the home. All the children were homeschooled.

The children, who were both adopted (the boy in 2005 and the girl in 2006) when the family lived in South Carolina, were periodically locked out of the home and forced to stay in the backyard playhouse, which had no electricity or running water. When they were taken into protective custody they were covered with cuts and bruises.

The abuse came to light when an anonymous tip brought the police to the door. The Pickels were each charged with five counts of felony child abuse and five counts of felony child neglect.

Date: May 29, 2013
Goldsboro, North Carolina Continue reading

3 children of Lev Dzyuba

dzyuba family
Three of Lev Dzyuba’s children, ages 15, 10, and 8, were starved and imprisoned for months by their father and his sisters Alina Dzyuba and Natalia Mellon. The children were adopted from Ukraine in 2012. According to the children’s maternal aunt, their mother Larisa died shortly after the adoption, and they were subsequently homeschooled by Alina and Natalia while their father worked. Larisa’s obituary and family photos indicate that the Dzyubas had four children; it is unknown whether the fourth child was also abused.

The children were rescued after an anonymous tip brought authorities to the house. Dzyuba and his sisters were charged with cruelty to children and false imprisonment.

Date: August 14, 2013
Conyers, Georgia Continue reading

2 children by Albert and Nancy Cusson

A 13-year-old boy was tortured, beaten, and starved by his grandfather, Albert Cusson, and Cusson’s wife Nancy. A 9-year-old girl who lived with the family was also tortured.

The boy was homeschooled. As punishment for poor performance on his schoolwork, he was forced to kneel in a stress position for 10 days straight and was beaten if he moved. The Cussons made him sleep in a bathtub and fed him only protein shakes. The girl had also received this punishment.

The abuse came to light when the boy ran away and reported it to a neighbor. The Cussons were charged with aggravated child abuse.

Date: March 7, 2012
Lakeland, Florida Continue reading

5 children of Sinhue Johnson and Louann Bowers

sinhue johnson and louann bowers
In 1993, 16-year-old Louann Bowers ran away from home, allegedly to be with her uncle, Sinhue Johnson. Together they had five children who were hidden from the world and raised in squalid conditions without electricity or running water. The children, who included Sinhue Johnson Jr., 13, and Quatonnia “Nae” Johnson, 11, did not have birth certificates and never received medical care. Though Johnson and Bowers claimed the children were homeschooled, they never filed any of the required paperwork and the children said their mother’s teaching was “irregular”. The children were discovered after numerous tips to Children’s Services.

Johnson and Bowers were each convicted on five counts of child endangerment.

Date: August 28, 2009
York, Pennsylvania Continue reading

Boy by Christina Thomas and Peggy Starr

christina thomas and peggy starr
Christina Thomas and her mother, Peggy Starr, abused Erin Albin, a developmentally-disabled woman under their care, and abused, starved, and imprisoned Albin’s son between 2006 and 2010. When the boy was rescued at age 6-1/2, he weighed 23 lbs.

The boy was enrolled in preschool in September 2008, and his teachers and paraprofessionals noticed that he was always extremely hungry. Though they were instructed by Thomas to withhold food from him (purportedly because of his allergies and medical conditions), they did not do so. Thomas subsequently withdrew him from school to homeschool him, although there is “no evidence the boy was being home-schooled after leaving New Durham School in December 2009.”

Thomas imprisoned Albin’s son in a dog kennel and leashed him to his bed. She punished him for vomiting by placing him into freezing showers and deprived him of medical care for about two years. She starved him and sometimes force-fed him until he vomited. She punished both the boy and Albin if he referred to Albin as his mother. Starr also beat the boy with a spatula, made him sit naked in a snow bank, and put him naked into a stream. Thomas threatened Albin with a knife and withheld food from her, and both Thomas and Starr controlled Albin and manipulated her into abusing her son.

Other members of the household also included Thomas’s husband, her five children, her boyfriend, and her friend Steven Pearson, who reported the abuse to authorities. Though one of the children told social workers that Thomas beat them with a paddle as punishment, Thomas was able to prevent her children from testifying against her.

Court psychologists diagnosed Thomas with a personality disorder. She was found guilty of first-degree assault and sentenced to 10-30 years in prison, which she is serving in a psychiatric unit. Starr was charged with first-degree assault.

Date: 2010
New Durham, New Hampshire Continue reading

4 Children of David and Angela Lore

David and Angela Lore

David and Angela Lore were charged with child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and animal cruelty when it was discovered that they were leaving their four children, ages 7, 9, 14, and 16, home alone while they went to work during the day and that their home contained starving, deceased, and rotting pets. The family’s yard was also filled with mounds of garbage, and the children lacked proper medical attention. These conditions were discovered in March 2011 by detectives with the sheriff’s office when a complaint was lodged alleging that “the children were living in garbage and that starved pets were dying inside the home.” The Department of Social Services had opened an investigation on the family the previous December. David and Angela homeschooled their children, having registered with the state as “Rock Olive Academy.”

Date: March 2011
Location: Salisbury, North Carolina Continue reading

Girl by Raul Ochoa


Raul Ochoa kept a young female relative confined in his home until she escaped at age 27 in August 2012. Ochoa first raped the girl when she was 12, and insisted on homeschooling her and tightly controlling her. According to news reports, “he had the victim help him build a backyard shed where he would rape her on an ongoing basis.” Ochoa was charged with forcible lewd acts on a child and forcible rape.

Date: August 16, 2012
Location: Richmond, California Continue reading

Alexandru Radita


After police entered his home following reports of a deceased youth, 15-year-old Alexandru Radita was found dead in his bed “amidst conditions that police say were horrific.” Alexandru, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age, died of bacterial sepsis resulting from neglect, starvation, and complications resulting from his medical condition. While Alexandru’s death was preventable, police determined that religious beliefs did not play a role. Alexandru was homeschooled, and neighbors said they rarely saw the boy outside. Alexandru’s seven siblings were healthy and well cared for.

Alexandru’s parents, Emil and Rodica Radita, were charged with first degree murder.

Date: May 7, 2013
Location: Calgary, Canada Continue reading

Travis Embrey

Travis Embrey

In May 2004, Robert Lynn Embrey and Bonnie Gail Embrey abducted their grandson, Travis Embrey, and traveled with him from California to Arizona. The couple were Travis’s guardians and fled with him because they objected to allowing the boy court ordered visits with his mother. Travis was recovered in August 2006 at age 11. During his abduction, Travis was homeschooled by his grandparents.

Date: August 2006
Location: Surprise, Arizona Continue reading

Girl by the Jackson family

jackson family
A 16-year-old girl was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by the six Jackson brothers (Eric, 27; Jon, 25; Matthew, 23; Nathaniel, 21; Benjamin, 19; and Aaron, 18) from the time she was 4 until she was 14. Though the girl was not identified, it appears that she was the brothers’ younger sister. The boys’ parents, John and Nita Jackson, knew about the abuse and did nothing to prevent it. All the Jackson children were homeschooled, although “their level of education seemed low. The oldest, Eric, had difficulty writing his name when he spoke to investigators.”

The abuse came to light when the oldest brother Eric confessed to police in December 2012 on the urging of his pastor. The parents subsequently moved the family to Colorado in an unsuccessful attempt to escape prosecution. Each brother was charged with several felonies and the parents were charged with felony child neglect.

Date: December 2012
Location: Hertford, North Carolina Continue reading

Christopher Smithburg

Christopher Smithburg, age 16, was physically abused and starved by his mother, Susan Smithburg. Christopher, his 17-year-old brother, and his 10-year old sister were adopted and homeschooled.

On March 26, Christopher lied to his mother about making toast and was punished by being forced to do 1,500 push-ups. After four hours of push-ups, Christopher could not continue, so Smithburg hit him in the head. The next day, Christopher ran away from home, camping in the woods for six days until authorities found him and he reported the abuse.

Smithburg was charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect.

Date: March 27, 2014
Location: Nolensville, Tennessee Continue reading

Son of David and Pamela Martin

david and pamela martin
A 17-year-old boy was imprisoned in a basement and starved by his father, David L. Martin, and his stepmother, Pamela S. Martin. The boy had lived in the basement since September 2012, when his father pulled him out of school to reportedly homeschool him.

The Martins claimed to have imprisoned the boy for safety reasons when Pamela’s son and grandson moved into the home. According to his parents, the boy had bipolar disorder and ADHD and they were unable to afford his medication. When he was found handcuffed to a pole in a cold basement, the boy weighed only 103 lbs. The abuse was discovered when a neighbor called the child abuse hotline.

The Martins were charged with felonious restraint and child abuse.

Date: February 4, 2013
Location: Kansas City, Missouri Continue reading

GW by Jeffrey “Adam” Kraft and Michele L. Buckner-Kraft

An 8-year-old girl identified as GW was starved, imprisoned, and abused by her uncle, Jeffrey “Adam” Kraft, and his wife, Michele L. Buckner-Kraft, for approximately four years.

Before GW and her half-sister KN (age 5) came to live with the Krafts in 2008, GW attended kindergarten and was a normal weight for her age, though her birth parents were abusive and she had behavioral problems. After four years with the Krafts, she weighed only 42 lbs. She had not seen a doctor since she came to live with them and was only allowed to take a shower once a month. When police found GW, she was locked inside a trash-filled room that reeked of urine. According to KN, GW spent most of her time locked in her room and KN was not allowed to talk to her. GW was forced to eat in her room while the rest of the family (which also included the Krafts’ 5-month-old daughter EK) ate at the kitchen table. The abuse came to light when someone called the child abuse hotline. The Krafts were charged with first-degree assault and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

When she was found, GW had not attended school since kindergarten, but she told the police that she “was told to read every day.” The Krafts’ longtime friend reported that “he thought Adam intended to homeschool her” when he pulled her from school.

Date: July 5, 2012
Location: Kansas City, Missouri Continue reading

4 children of Juan Carlos Sanchez and Bobbi Sue Pack

sanchez and pack
Three children, girls aged 11 and 9 and an 8-year-old boy, were beaten, imprisoned, and starved by their stepfather, Juan Carlos Sanchez. Their mother Bobbi Sue Pack and grandmother Edwina Luis knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. A fourth child, Sanchez’ two-year-old daughter, was not harmed.

The three older children were homeschooled students at Ohio Virtual Academy. They were beaten with belts and paddles and tied naked to their beds with ropes and chains, sometimes for weeks at a time, only being released to do schoolwork. There were locks on the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets to prevent the children from gaining access to food. The two older girls were also raped several times by their stepfather. The abuse came to light when the oldest girl emailed her online teacher and asked her to call 911.

Sanchez was charged with child endangerment and rape. Pack and Luis were charged with child endangerment.

Date: January 30, 2014
Location: Wheelersburg, Ohio Continue reading

Lindsay Tornambe and Others by Victor A. Barnard

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Lindsay Tornambe’s family moved from Pennsylvania to Minnesota when she was 11 to be closer to the ministry of pastor Victor A. Barnard. Tornambe had already been homeschooled for some time, and she first met Barnard when she was 9. In 2000, when Tornambe was 13, Barnard announced before the congregation that she had been chosen to be “sacrificed to God.” Tornambe’s parents dropped her off at a nearby isolated camp to live with Barnard and his other “maidens.” Barnard regularly sexually assaulted the girls, ages 12 to 24, justifying this by saying that Jesus had had sex with his female followers and Solomon with his concubines. The girls made their own clothing, lived communally, and rarely saw their parents. Those of school age were presumably “homeschooled” by Barnard. Tornambe tried to run away at age 15, but ended up returning because of her fear of “damnation.”

Years later Tornambe left the camp and the religious sect, and at some point the sect moved to Washington state. In early 2014, Tornambe and two other women who had been among Barnard’s “maidens” spoke to authorities about what had happened. Barnard fled arrest and is currently on the run.

Date: July 23, 2000
Location: Finlayson, Minnesota  Continue reading

Homeschoolers as Perpetrators

As the regular follower of HIC may have noticed, we have recently included cases of homeschooled students who have committed homicide or other acts of violence either as homeschooled students or as adults. Our decision to include these cases was based largely on the sheer number of these cases that involved abusive or repressive homeschooling pasts.  Continue reading

8 children of Jamie Marie Hicks and Vernon Courtney Lovell

jamie hicks and vernon lovell
Twin 16-year-old boys were starved, beaten, and tortured by their mother, Jamie Marie Hicks. The abuse was discovered when two of Hicks’ children ran away from home and reported abuse to officials. The children’s stepfather of thirteen years, Vernon Courtney Lovell, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. All the children were homeschooled, and Hicks often talked with her neighbors about her homeschooling practices.

Hicks was charged with aggravated child abuse and Lovell was charged with child neglect.

Date: March 27, 2014
Location: Tampa, Florida Continue reading

Korresha Crawford, and 4 siblings

Korresha Crawford, age 11, was beaten to death by her 17-year-old sister Cylena, who also assaulted their 13-year-old brother Michael. Two other siblings, ages 11 and 9, were unharmed. The children’s father, Lawrence Crawford, was home at the time. Crawford, a Pentecostal minister, homeschooled the children while his wife Sylvia worked two jobs. However, Cylena was frequently left as the primary caregiver for her siblings.

In 2004, Crawford was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Korresha. Cylena, who was admitted to a mental health facility after the assault, was charged with murder and aggravated assault and battery. Sylvia Crawford was charged with neglect.

Date: January 25, 2001
Location: Elgin, South Carolina Continue reading

Child of Melvin Wright Jr. and Denise Wright


Medical personnel responding to an emergency call in early January, 2007, found an emaciated 11-year-old girl. Some reports indicate that the girl weighed under 30 pounds. The girl was taken to the hospital and then sent to live with her grandparents in South Carolina. Medical authorities reported that she will suffer permanent developmental disabilities as the result of severe long-term malnutrition. The girl’s parents, Melvin and Denise Wright, were arrested and charged with starving the girl. They were found guilty of attempted second-degree murder.

This was not the first time Melvin and Denise had come to trial. In 2000, both were convicted of endangering the welfare of a minor in a case involving their daughter. Their daughter was returned to them and they were required to take parenting classes.

The couple homeschooled their daughter out of racial prejudice, but did not follow Hawaii’s homeschool requirements. When asked about this in court, they reported that they did not know that Hawaii had any requirements for homeschoolers. The couple was originally from South Carolina.

Date: January 7, 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

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Aidan Edward Bossingham, and 2 siblings

Jessica Lee Jensen
Aidan Edward Bossingham, age 13, was starved to death by his mother, Jessica Lee Jensen. He weighed 21 pounds when he died. Though Aidan was diagnosed with a human growth hormone deficiency, Jensen refused to give him medication and had not taken him to a doctor since 2008. She treated him differently from his siblings, ages 14 and 7. All three children were homeschooled. The youngest child could not spell her name to an interviewer and was not sure of her age.

Jensen was charged with murder.

Date: January 12, 2014
Location: Kenmare, North Dakota

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