Seth Johnson, and 6 siblings

Seth Johnson, age 7, died of acute pancreatitis and possible sepsis because his parents, Timothy David Johnson and Sarah Nicole Johnson, did not take him to a doctor. Seth’s six siblings, including a 16-year-old brother, were not reported to be abused. Seth was homeschooled.

Seth came to live with the Johnsons as a foster child in 2011. In 2012 the Johnsons adopted him and began homeschooling him. His last medical exam occurred in 2013 and was unremarkable. The Johnsons subsequently claimed that Seth had been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and reactive attachment disorder, but that they had rejected this diagnosis and self-diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. There was no record of any such diagnosis for Seth. According to his parents, several weeks before his death in March 2015, Seth “stopped sleeping, would shake on occasion” and began hurting himself. According to a criminal complaint, when he was found, Seth was underweight and “had bruising on his cheek, forearms, chest, buttocks, and lower abdomen. [He] also had two large lesions on the back of each heel that were consistent with pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers would not typically be present if a child is mobile.” The Johnsons did not take Seth to a doctor, instead treating him with prayer, Neosporin, and “medical honey”. While the Johnsons were out of town for a wedding, Seth’s 16-year-old brother cared for him and reported that “Seth stopped talking and couldn’t get out of bed.” When the Johnsons arrived home, Seth was unresponsive; they still did not take him to a doctor. The next morning he was dead.

The Johnsons were charged with child neglect after a yearlong investigation in which authorities were unable to find evidence of a more serious crime.

Date: March 30, 2015
Plymouth, Minnesota Continue reading

Natalie Finn, and 4 siblings

Natalie Jasmine Finn, age 16, was imprisoned, tortured, and starved to death by her parents, Nicole Marie Finn and Joseph Michael Finn II. Natalie’s 15-year-old brother and 14-year-old sister were also starved, imprisoned, and tortured. An older brother, Alexander Kendal Finn (age 23), and another 15-year-old sibling were not reported to be abused. Natalie was homeschooled.

The Finns divorced in 2011 and were living separately but had joint custody of the children. At least one of the minor children was adopted and Natalie and her sister and brother were reported to have disabilities. Natalie attended an alternative school, Walnut Creek Campus, in the 2014-2015 school year, but was subsequently homeschooled. Natalie often wore the same clothes to school and asked other students for food or money. Once she told a friend she did not have shoes and her feet were blistered. In May 2016, the mother of one of Natalie’s school friends reported to child protective services that Natalie asked her for extra food for herself and her siblings; police went to the home but no one answered the door. Other neighbors reported that they rarely saw the children, and that Natalie had asked them for money, food, and clothes on multiple occasions. According to court documents, Natalie and her siblings were locked in the house and subjected to “unreasonable force, torture or cruelty”.

The abuse came to light when emergency services were dispatched to Natalie’s home after she had a heart attack from starvation. She later died at the hospital. Nicole Finn was charged with first-degree murder; both Finns were also charged with kidnapping, child endangerment, and neglect.

Date: October 24, 2016
West Des Moines, Iowa Continue reading

3 Children of Joshua and Brandi Weyant

Three children (JTW, a 6-year-old boy; SRB, a 5-year-old girl; and HRW, a 4-year-old girl) were imprisoned, starved, and beaten by their adoptive parents, Joshua Ross Weyant and Brandi Jene Weyant. The children were homeschooled. Five other children who lived in the home, including a 17-year-old girl, were not reported to be abused.

JTW and HRW are the biological children of Jess David, who lost custody of them due to her heroin addiction. They went to live with Joshua Weyant because he was dating their mother at the time of their birth. SRB was reportedly not the biological child of either Weyant. Joshua Weyant served one month in prison in 2015 for the rape of a child (an incident which occurred in 2013) and returned to live with the children in March 2016. No one outside the home saw the children after summer 2016. According to the school superintendent, “the Weyants were sent a kindergarten registration packet, but because none of the children were of the legal school age of 8-years-old, they did not have to report the lack of response.” Though Joshua claimed to have completed homeschool paperwork, the school district had no record of this. The children had not been seen by a doctor since May 2014.

Beginning in September 2016, when Brandi Weyant fell ill, the children were kept locked in an unheated bedroom while the Weyants slept in a heated room; when they were rescued, the children had hypothermia. The children were found with “dirt, animal hair, urine, and feces in their clothing” and severe cases of lice. JTW had an eye wound caused by Joshua Weyant throwing him across the room. SRB reported that Brandi Weyant had punched her in the face as punishment for drinking tea. Both JTW and SRB were dangerously underweight and doctors reported that they would have died of starvation within a week if they were not rescued. All three children suffered from refeeding syndrome. HRW was also starved and beaten but her abuse was less severe than that of her siblings; Joshua Weyant reportedly favored her over the other two and investigators found a locked room in their house with numerous photos of her but no photos of other family members. Brandi Weyant told police she had asked her husband to “get rid of the children.”

The abuse came to light when police and social services visited the house in response to a tip. The children were hospitalized and the Weyants were charged with assault, false imprisonment, and child endangerment.

Date: December 16, 2016
Halifax Township, Pennsylvania Continue reading

5 Children of Donell Barron and Rikki Hart

Five children, ages 14, 8, 6, 5, and 4, were starved and neglected by their parents, Donell Barron and Rikki Hart. The children were homeschooled.

According to their website, both Barron and Hart have college degrees and they run investment and healthy eating businesses; Hart works as a birth doula. Based on Barron’s statements to police, he and Hart are most likely members of the sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents reject the US government’s jurisdiction. The family had been evicted twice between 2011 and 2016 from homes in Port St. Lucie, Florida for failure to pay rent. It is unknown whether the children attended school during this time. Since their last eviction in February 2016 the family had been living in motels; however, in October 2016, their money ran out and they began living in their car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The children were fed only bread and salad once a day while the parents appeared well-fed. The children used a bucket for a bathroom and bathed at a local park. They had not seen a doctor in years. When they were rescued, the 14-year-old boy weighed only 50 lbs. (5 lbs. more than the 8-year-old) and his bones were visibly protruding under his skin. He also had untreated high blood pressure.

The abuse came to light when the children were found by a patrolling officer. Barron and Hart were charged with child neglect.

Date: December 17, 2016
Greenacres, Florida Continue reading

Boy by RCMP officer

A boy (b. 2002) was imprisoned, starved, and physically and sexually abused by his father, an officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his stepmother. The boy’s two siblings were not reported to be abused. The boy was homeschooled.

The boy last attended school in June 2012; his parents began homeschooling him in September 2012, reportedly due to behavior problems. The abuse took place over six months. The Mountie kept the boy chained in the basement, deprived him of food and water, beat him with a stick, and burned him with a barbecue lighter. Some of the punishments were reportedly because the boy did not do his homework. In videos the Mountie made of the abuse, the emaciated boy is tied up while his father taunts him and insists that he “renounce Satan.”

The abuse came to light in February 2013 when the boy escaped and went to a neighbor for help. The Mountie was convicted of assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement, among other charges. His wife was convicted of assault and neglect.

Date: February 2013
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Continue reading

2 Children of Richard and Cynthia Kelly

A boy (b. 2002) was imprisoned, starved, and medically neglected by his adoptive parents, Richard and Cynthia Kelly. His older sister (b. 1997), who was also adopted, was not reported to be abused. The children were homeschooled.

The boy, who was reported to have special needs, was kept locked in the basement by the Kellys for two years (from age 12 to 14), where he was denied food, water, and medical care. Authorities described the isolation as “disciplinary in nature.”

The abuse came to light when the Kellys brought the boy to the hospital. He weighed 55 lbs. and was described as “severely and chronically malnourished, dehydrated, suffering from acute respiratory distress, shock, hypothermia, hypothyroid and close to death.” The Kellys were charged with aggravated child abuse.

Date: November 13, 2016
Helena, Alabama Continue reading

7 Children of Austin and Annie Wiggin

Four girls (Helen, b. 1946; Dorothy ‘Dot’, b. 1949; Betty, b. 1951; and Rachel, b. 1954) and three boys (Rick Tenney; Austin Wiggin III; and Robert Wiggin), were isolated and abused by their father, Austin Wiggin Jr. The girls were homeschooled through “a Chicago mail-order outfit called American Home School.” It is unclear whether the boys were allowed to attend school.

Based on a prophecy made by his mother, Austin Wiggin Jr. pulled his daughters from school and forced them to form a rock band known as The Shaggs. When they were not practicing, they were forced to do calisthenics. Wiggin forbade his daughters from dating and “discouraged most other friendships.” Helen also reported that Wiggin sexually abused her on one occasion. In 1974 (when Helen was 28) she secretly married her boyfriend while continuing to live at home, fearing her father’s reaction. “On the night that she finally screwed up the courage to give him the news, he got out a shotgun and went after her husband. The police joined in and told Helen to choose one man or the other. She left with her husband, and it was months before Austin spoke to her.”

Wiggin died in 1975 and the Shaggs immediately broke up. In 1999, Helen was unable to work due to serious depression; she died in 2006. The other sisters have recently begun to make music together again.

Date: 1975
Fremont, New Hampshire Continue reading

2 Children of Trisha Meyer

Two children, a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, were endangered by their mother, Trisha Meyer. Additional children may have been endangered as well. The children were homeschooled.

Meyer allowed “three tigers, a cougar, a skunk and a fox,” as well as several monkeys, to roam freely in her home with the children. The endangerment came to light on Sept. 26, when police investigating Meyer for theft found the 14-year-old girl at home with the animals. Ordered to appear in court, Meyer instead fled the state with her children and animals. She was later arrested in Pahrump, Nevada on Nov. 7 and her animals were confiscated. Meyer was charged with child endangerment.

Date: November 7, 2016
Cypress, Texas Continue reading

Girl by Robert Wyatt

A girl (b. 2002) was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her pastor, Robert Duane “Bob” Wyatt, who was also her homeschool teacher.

Wyatt, an assistant pastor at Agape Bible Church, began assaulting the girl in 2014, when she was 12. He told her he loved her and planned to leave the country with her when she turned 18. The assaults continued for two years. In July 2016, Wyatt reported the assaults to the head pastor, Darrell Ferguson, and the girl’s adoptive parents, but all three chose not to report the abuse to the authorities in order to protect the church.

The abuse came to light in September 2016 when a parishioner within the church reported it to authorities. Wyatt was arrested and charged with sexual assault.

Date: September 19, 2016
Thornton, Colorado Continue reading

5 Children of the ‘Springs Monster’

Five children (a 16-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy, two younger girls, and a 2-year-old girl) were tortured by their father, dubbed the ‘Springs Monster’. Their mother was also charged with child abuse, although she claimed that she was a victim of her husband. The children were homeschooled.

The children were “shocked with electric wires and burnt with a blow torch.” The 11-year-old boy “was made to stand naked on the porch one night as punishment,” was strung up by the wrists for two days, and was tortured with teargas. The 16-year-old girl was raped by her father. The father did not allow any of the children to receive medical care.

The abuse came to light when the 11-year-old boy escaped from the home and went to the neighbors for help. Before the parents could be arrested, the father beat the boy severely in retaliation for his outcry. The ‘Springs Monster’ was charged with 22 counts including rape and child abuse; his wife was charged with 20 similar counts.

Date: May 23, 2014
Springs, Gauteng province, South Africa Continue reading