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 The girl, who had special needs, was withdrawn from school in 2010 to be homeschooled.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

Aziza Kibibi, and 7 siblings

aziza kibibi
Eight children—seven girls, of whom Aziza Kibibi, b. 1978, was the oldest, and one boy—were physically and sexually abused by their father, Aswad Ayinde, a music producer for The Fugees. The children’s mother, Beverly, knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. The children were all homebirthed and homeschooled, as Ayinde opposed birth certificates and modern medicine.

Ayinde began raping Aziza when she was 8 years old and eventually fathered four children with her, several of whom had a rare genetic disorder due to inbreeding (Aziza and four of her children are pictured above). He also raped four of his other daughters and fathered a child with two of them as part of a plan to create his own “pure blood” race. He starved the children and beat them “using wooden boards and steel-toed boots”. He kept them isolated and forbade them from watching TV.

The abuse came to light for the first time when Aziza’s grandmother alerted the authorities; however, the investigation was unsuccessful. Social services got involved again when Aziza brought her sick child to the hospital; around that time, in 2003, Beverly and Aswad Ayinde separated and the children went to live with their mother. Aziza and her sisters did not decide to press charges until 2006 when they discovered Ayinde had young daughters with other women who were in danger of abuse. Ayinde was sentenced to 90 years in prison for the rapes.

Date: 2006
Paterson, New Jersey Continue reading

2 Children of Kimberly and John Quebe

kimberly and john quebe
Two children, a 15-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, were imprisoned and physically abused by their parents, Kimberly Joy Quebe and John Herman Quebe. The Quebes claimed to be homeschooling, but they did not follow any of the requirements and the children were not at grade level.

The children spent long periods of time with their wrists and ankles tied; the boy spent hours locked in his room. The Quebes also verbally abused their children. The abuse came to light when someone observed the children’s restraint marks at the community pool and called in a tip. The Quebes pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, child abuse, and corporal injury on a child and were sentenced to 12 years in prison. Because there was no trial, more details of the physical abuse were not made public.

Date: July 21, 2008
Anaheim, California Continue reading

Gregory Jean Jr.

gregory jean
Gregory Jean Jr., age 13, was imprisoned, starved, beaten, and forced to work as a maid for four years by his father, Gregory Jean Sr., and his stepmother Samantha Joy Davis. Davis’ biological children were also abused—she “was on probation for cutting her biological son’s tongue with a pair of hot scissors in 2004″—but they were not imprisoned or starved as Gregory was. After Gregory reported the abuse to a school counselor and investigators failed to substantiate the claim, he was withdrawn from school to be homeschooled, which consisted of copying words out of the dictionary.

Gregory first went to visit with Jean and Davis in 2010, but Jean insisted that he stay to avoid having to pay child support payments to Gregory’s biological mother, Lisa Smith. Though Gregory was initially treated well, eventually he was forced to sleep in the garage with a bucket as a toilet and forbidden from celebrating Christmas with the family. When Davis was not pleased with his schoolwork or his labor, she beat him with a stick and deprived him of food.

The abuse finally came to light when Gregory managed to contact Smith, who had reported him missing. After a long search of the house, police finally found him hidden behind a wall. Jean and Davis were each charged with false imprisonment, cruelty to children, and obstruction. Davis’ three teenaged children who lived in the home were also charged with obstruction.

Date: November 29, 2014
Jonesboro, Georgia Continue reading

7 Children of Jeffrey and Danita York

jeffrey york
Seven children—two boys and five girls ranging in age from 3 months to 19 years—were imprisoned and physically and sexually abused for fifteen years by their father, Jeffrey York. At least one of the girls was York’s stepdaughter. The children’s mother, Danita York, was also abused. The children were homeschooled.

York forced his wife and children to dress in 18th-century-style clothing and kept them isolated from the outside world. Between September 1996 and October 1997 he raped one of the girls, who was younger than 13. One of the other girls was imprisoned in “an 8-by-10-foot bedroom for almost a year” and beaten with a hobby horse.

The abuse came to light when Danita York reported the rapes to the police in 2009. Jeffrey York was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Date: December 2009
Madison Township, Ohio Continue reading

5 Children of Jessica Banks

jessica banks
Five girls, ages 4 to 11, were starved, beaten, and sexually abused by their adoptive mother, Jessica Banks. The girls were removed from public school in 2004 shortly after their adoption. Banks was the pastor of the Word of Life Apostolic Church, a “satanic cult” where the girls were homeschooled.

The children began living with Banks in 2000 after they were removed from their abusive birth family. Banks made them sleep in an unheated room in her garage and wear two layers of diapers under long black dresses. The girls were beaten daily with various objects, forced to eat spoiled food and clean Banks’ house. Banks drugged them with sleeping pills and raped two of them while the others watched.

Banks was arrested after one of the girls, age 6, was found emaciated and bruised on the pavement near the church. Banks was sentenced to life in prison.

Date: June 2005
Moreno Valley, California Continue reading

4 Children of Sylvia and Michael Wenger

michael wenger
Four children—Richard Felsch (right), b. 1988; his twin sisters, b. 1987; and an unrelated boy, b. 1995—were imprisoned and physically and sexually abused by Sylvia and Michael Wenger (left), their adoptive parents. The children were homeschooled. It is unknown whether the Wengers’ biological children were also abused.

Three of the children were placed with the Wengers in 1996 after they were abused in their biological mother’s home. The fourth boy later joined them. At the Wengers’, the children were beaten with boards, “forced to stand in a corner for hours, locked into closets and force-fed for punishment.” The twin girls and the youngest boy were also repeatedly raped by Michael Wenger, who had begun dating his wife Sylvia when she was 14 and he was 21.

The abuse came to light in 2001 when one of the girls escaped and reported it to the authorities. The Wengers served 7 years in prison.

Date: 2001
Chewelah, Washington Continue reading

Children by Tony Alamo

Image: Tony Alamojeanne amy desiree nikki

Six girls—Jeanne Orlando (left), Amy Eddy (second from left), Desiree Kolbek (second from right), Pebbles Rodriguez, Jamie Rodriquez, and Summer Hagan—were taken as child brides and sexually abused by Tony Alamo, a fundamentalist minister and leader of the cultlike Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Jeanne was 15, Amy was 14, Desiree was 8, and Pebbles was 12 when they were first raped by Alamo. A seventh girl, Nicole Farr (right), was 15 when she escaped from Alamo’s compound, having been told she would be his next bride.

Dozens of other children were also sexually, physically, and emotionally abused by the group, which also had branches in Indiana, California, Colorado, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. None of the children in the group received social security numbers or vaccinations. Although Alamo claimed that all the children were homeschooled, their homeschool program was not registered and Anthony Lane, the father of three other children in Alamo’s group (9-year-old Tim, 11-year-old Sarah, and 13-year-old Ashley, whom he had seen married to a 40-year-old man), stated that “They don’t do much schooling though, for someone who claims they home school their kids. I didn’t see a whole lot of kids going to school every day.”

Tony Alamo was arrested and charged with transporting minors across state lines to engage in sex. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison. Many of the parents in his group lost custodial rights to their children.

Date: September 20, 2008
Fouke, Arkansas Continue reading

2 Children of Latisha Lawson

letisha lawson and jezaih king
Two children—Kierra King, born in 2000, and Jeziah King (right), born in 2007—were physically abused by their mother, Latisha Lawson (left). Kierra was homeschooled.

Lawson lived with the children’s father, Lawrence King, until October 2009. After they broke up, she moved in with her friend Natasha Hawkins and Hawkins’ three children. At this time Lawson began homeschooling Kierra and beating her with a belt and extension cords; she also became convinced that Jeziah and the other children were possessed by demons. In November 2009, Lawson forced all five children to undergo an exorcism ritual whereby they had to ingest olive oil and vinegar. When Jeziah refused, Lawson murdered him by suffocating him. She then kept his body in her bed for about a month and continued to leave him unburied for approximately one year. During this time Kierra was sometimes forced to touch his body as punishment.

The murder came to light after Lawson had moved out of Hawkins’ home, taking Jeziah’s body with her in a plastic bin. In December 2010, police officers performed a welfare check in Hawkins’ home and Hawkins revealed that Jeziah had been murdered. The police then located Lawson, who confessed. She was found guilty of murder, neglect of a dependent, and battery. She was sentenced to 61 years in prison.

Date: December 20, 2010
Fort Wayne, Indiana Continue reading

28 Children of Kathy and Dan Blackburn

Twenty-eight children adopted from Haiti (ranging in age from infant to 11 years when adopted in 1987), several with special needs, were neglected and physically abused by their parents, Kathy and Dan Blackburn. Several of the girls also reported being sexually abused by Dan Blackburn and, it is suggested, by their older brothers. The children were homeschooled. The Blackburns also had two biological sons (ages 20 and 18 in 1987) who were not abused.

The abuse came to light when some of the girls reported the sexual abuse to Kathy and she filed for divorce. Custody of the children was first awarded to Dan Blackburn but eventually awarded to Kathy Blackburn. Many of the children were subsequently enrolled in public school.

Date: 1995
Shelbyville, Indiana Continue reading

3 Grandchildren of James and Cheri Crawford

cheri and james crawford
Three boys, ages 12, 11, and 8, were tortured by their grandparents, James and Cheri Crawford. The boys had been pulled from school to be homeschooled.

The boys had come to live with their grandparents after their father was murdered and their mother, a drug addict, abandoned them. The boys were starved and forced to eat spoiled food; they often had only a bucket for a bathroom. They were forced to do heavy manual labor and to stand at attention outside for hours at a time. The oldest boy was imprisoned in a trailer for a year and a half and spent most of the time blindfolded, resulting in a forehead scar. The 11-year-old was forced to shock his older brother with a shock collar and also had to sleep outside in a storage shed.

The abuse came to light when a neighbor witnessed Cheri abusing one of the children and called the authorities. Cheri and James Crawford entered Alford pleas and were sentenced to 8 and 7 years in prison, respectively.

Date: July 2009
Hartsville, South Carolina Continue reading

11 Children of Jeremy and Christine Long

jeremy and christine long
Six girls and five boys, ages 10 months to 18 years, were severely neglected by their parents, Jeremy and Christine Long. The children were second-generation homeschoolers—their father, Jeremy Long, had been homeschooled and wanted the same for his children. However, when the children were rescued, they were illiterate and “didn’t know the days of the week, their ABC’s, or even how to spell their own names.” There was no food in the house and the youngest children were malnourished.

The Longs had begun living together when Jeremy was 16 and Christine was 17; their oldest child Miranda was born when they were 18 and 19 respectively. All the children were homebirthed and never received vaccinations or dental care. The Long children spent their lives “without food, water, electricity, heat, education, medical care, bedding or proper clothing and shoes.”

The Longs lost custody of their children and were charged with cruelty to children and failure to educate. Jeremy Long was sentenced to three years in prison; Christine Long did not receive prison time.

Date: July 31, 2008
Hephzibah, Georgia Continue reading

7 Children of Adrienne Bartholomew and James Brothers

Seven children—boys ages 11, 7, 6, 6, 2, and 18 months, and a girl of unknown age—were medically neglected and starved by their parents, Adrienne Bartholomew and James Brothers, and their grandmother Debra Nelson. The children were homeschooled: the 11-year-old attended online school, and the 7-, 6-, and 6-year-old boys had individual education plans whereby they attended the public school one day per week to receive special education services. Five of the children (the 7-year-old, the two 6-year-olds, the 2-year-old, and the 18-month-old) were disabled by a rare genetic disorder that made them unable to retain healthy fat deposits.

Despite the children’s complex medical needs and the presence of the children’s grandmother as an in-home caregiver, the 11-year-old boy was primarily responsible for caring for and feeding his younger siblings while the adults in the home neglected them, bathing them only once a week and cleaning the house only in preparation for social worker visits.

The abuse came to light when the 18-month-old, Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew, died of dehydration and malnourishment and his parents called the police. When the other children were rescued, they were covered in vomit and urine and severely malnourished—one of the 6-year-olds weighed only 23 pounds. Bartholomew, Brothers, and Nelson were each charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, and patient endangerment. Brothers was sentenced to six years in prison while Bartholomew received three.

Date: November 6, 2012
Vermilion Township, Ohio Continue reading

2 Children of James and Anne Cardona

james and anne cardona
Two girls, ages 5 and 4, were neglected by their parents, James and Anne Cardona. The Cardonas claimed to be homeschooling them.

The 5-year-old had rotten teeth and hair that was matted and filled with lice; the 4-year-old was still in diapers. The girls were severely obese and had difficulty walking: the 5-year-old weighed 158 pounds and the 4-year-old weighed 89. The girls spent most of their days locked up inside the house, which was filled with cockroaches and giant spiders which repeatedly bit them.

The abuse came to light when police responded to a domestic dispute at the Cardonas’ house and encountered the girls. The Cardonas were charged with felony child cruelty and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Date: August 16, 2010
Marietta, Georgia Continue reading

4 Children of John and Margie Cantrell

Four children—Sheryl* (age 16), Harlan* (13), and Callie* (10), along with their 16-year-old uncle—were emotionally and physically abused by their foster parents, John and Margaret “Margie” Cantrell. The children were frequently “homeschooled”—that is, kept home from school as a form of punishment while Margie claimed to be homeschooling them.

The children had been removed from the home of Shauntel Mayo, the mother of three of them, and her boyfriend Jamie Pittman, due to neglect. In 2005 they had been placed with the Cantrells, who had raised more than 30 children including their three biological children. Shortly afterwards, Margie Cantrell went to the authorities with reports that the children had disclosed ritual sexual abuse in a swingers’ club in Mineola, Texas. After 7 people were tried and convicted in the case, in 2008 two of the Cantrells’ former foster children from California came forward to allege sexual abuse by John Cantrell.

The abuse came to light in 2013 when the children’s 21-year-old foster sister, who still lived in the home, reported it to social services, who removed the children from the Cantrells’ home. Sheryl and the 16-year-old boy alleged that she had been slapped, punched, and pulled by the hair and that he had been “spanked with a wooden back scratcher so hard that it had broken.” The children were forced to sleep in an unheated garage and the food pantries were kept locked. The children had not seen a doctor while in the Cantrells’ care. Three other former foster children reported that Margie was controlling and manipulative and would yell at the children and brainwash them into believing stories she made up. These allegations threw the conclusions of the 7 Mineola cases into doubt.

*Not their real names

Date: October 28, 2013
Lake Brenda, Tyler, Texas Continue reading

Benson, Emery, and Zion Strack

Benson (age 14, left), Emery (age 12, center), and Zion Strack (age 11, right) were victims of a murder-suicide committed by their parents, Benjamin and Kristi Strack. The children were homeschooled.

The Stracks suffered from mental illness—one of them had substance abuse problems, and Kristi had severe depression. The children were poisoned by their parents, who then killed themselves. The children knew that they were going to die—Benson left a goodbye note for one of his friends. The Stracks’ bodies were discovered by the children’s older brother, Janson McGee.

Date: September 27, 2014
Springville, Utah Continue reading

Jackie Zudis

jackie zudis
Thi My Lan Nguyen, born c.1967 and later known as Jackie Zudis, was sexually assaulted for decades by her adoptive father, George Joseph England (who used the alias Stephen Arthur Seagoe). He kept her in school until she was a teenager—homeschooling became an option around that time, and England pulled Zudis from school, claiming to be homeschooling.

The abuse came to light when Zudis went to authorities nearly 15 years after she escaped from England. In 2011, England was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Date: May 2005
West Palm Beach, Florida Continue reading

Grayson Bell

grayson bellernest bell and kristen downs
Grayson Bell, age 11, who went by ‘Blayne’, was physically abused by his father, Ernest W. Bell III, and his stepmother Kristen M. Downs. Blayne had been removed from school in 2012 to be homeschooled, although Bell and Downs “never followed the appropriate program nor registered the home schooling with the state for approval.”

The abuse came to light when the boy ran away from home and was reported missing. When he was found, authorities noticed bruises and interviewed the boy. Bell and Downs were charged with physical child abuse and neglect.

Date: October 14, 2014
Plain Dealing, Louisiana Continue reading

5 children of Charles and Suzan Sealock

charles and suzan sealock
Three children, a 9-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy, and a 6-year-old boy, were tortured by their adoptive parents, Charles and Suzan Sealock. The Sealocks’ biological child, a 14-year-old boy, and an adopted 3-year-old child were not abused. The children were homeschooled.

The seven-year-old boy was imprisoned in a bathroom for days at a time with only baby food to eat. He was also beaten, pinched and bitten by his parents. The other two children showed similar previous injuries. The abuse came to light when the 7-year-old boy escaped and went to a neighbor for help. The Sealocks were charged with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment.

Date: August 30, 2014
Dandridge, Tennessee Continue reading

5 children of Robert Simons and Mary Tittle

robert simons mary tittle
Five children, ages 7 to 13, were neglected and denied medical care by their parents, Robert H. Simons III and Mary Ella Tittle. The children’s grandmother, Roberta Sauls, knew about the neglect and did nothing. A woman who lived with the family, Leona Patricia Bentler, also knew about the neglect and did nothing. Her 8-year-old daughter was also neglected. Simons and Tittle evaded social services for years, telling officials in Tennessee that they were homeschooling in Pennsylvania, and telling officials in Pennsylvania that they were homeschooling in Tennessee. Although Tittle tried to teach the kids what little she knew, she was not successful and the children could not read or write, did not know their ages or last names, and could not brush their teeth or hold a pencil.

The oldest girl was suffering from advanced kidney disease and an infected rat bite when an anonymous tip brought social services to the door. She recovered after a kidney transplant and the children began to attend school in their foster home. Simons and Tittle were each found guilty on two counts of aggravated child neglect. Simons was sentenced to 18 years in prison; Tittle got 17 years. Charges against Bentler were dropped.

Date: April 22, 2010
Jonesborough, Tennessee Continue reading

Daughter of Kevin and Theresa Carothers

kevin and theresa carothers
A 15-year-old girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her stepfather, Kevin Carothers, and her mother Theresa Carothers, over the course of three years. The girl was homeschooled in online classes. A “witness”, possibly an adult sibling of the girl, also described being sexually assaulted by Kevin Carothers.

Kevin Carothers, a registered sex offender who had been convicted of child sexual abuse in 1997, married Theresa in 2006. Kevin began to assault the girl in summer 2009; in December 2009 both Kevin and Theresa began assaulting the girl together. The abuse came to light when the girl disclosed it to her grandmother, whom the Carotherses lived with. The grandmother then found nude photos of the girl on a camera and called social services.

Kevin Carothers pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child and Theresa Carothers pleaded guilty to assault and attempted sexual assault of a child.

Date: August 17, 2012
Denver, Colorado Continue reading

Katelyn Pendleton

katelyn pendleton
Jamie Leighanna Brooks, age 11 (who later changed her name to Katelyn Colbie Pendleton), was starved, beaten, and scalded by her caregivers, Kizza Monika Lopez and Melonea Feagin. Lopez had pulled Jamie out of school to homeschool her. It is unclear whether Lopez’s other children were abused.

When she was 9, Jamie’s biological mother Velma Hare gave her to Lopez. Lopez and Feagin, her babysitter, whipped Jamie with plastic coat hangers, threw scalding water on her, alternatively starved and force-fed her, and made her sleep in a closet. An anonymous tip brought the authorities to rescue Jamie.

Lopez and Feagin were convicted of child abuse. Lopez was also charged with neglect and sentenced to 20 years in prison; Feagin got 15. Jamie was adopted into the Pendleton family and changed her name to Katelyn.

Date: May 8, 2008
Fort Walton Beach, Florida Continue reading

Children by Timothy and Karen Tolin

tolin parentstolins
Three boys, ages 12, 14, and 19, with severe mental and physical disabilities, along with three disabled adults, were neglected by their adoptive parents, Timothy and Karen “Sue” Tolin. The children were homeschooled.

The 19-year-old was autistic and legally blind and was imprisoned naked in a locked crib. There had been previous social services involvement regarding the children being educationally neglected, but HSLDA had intervened and agreed to perform home visits to monitor the children. These visits were apparently not conducted.

The Tolins were charged with unlawful imprisonment and vulnerable adult abuse.

Date: October 20, 2014
Paris Township, Michigan Continue reading

Boy by Michael Krause

michael alvin krause
C.H., a 12-year-old boy, was groomed and forced to appear in pornography by Michael Alvin Krause, his homeschool teacher.

Krause befriended the boy’s mother, Misty Hebert, and grandmother Nancy Hunt, claiming that he had been “a Pentecostal preacher and had helped ‘problem teens’ by home-schooling them.” Hebert pulled C.H. from school after he experienced problems and engaged Krause to be C.H.’s homeschool teacher. Eventually C.H. began living with Krause in his trailer, where Krause took nude photos of C.H.

The abuse came to light when Krause took C.H. on a trip to Wisconsin and Hebert was informed by Wisconsin authorities that Krause had previously been investigated for “possession of child pornography and abuse of two other boys,” the 10- and 11-year-old sons of his former roommate Betty Baum. Hebert entered Krause’s trailer and found computers containing nude photos of C.H. and the two other boys. She turned the evidence over to the Texas authorities.

Krause was found guilty of possession of child pornography and indecency with a child sexual contact. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Date: December 8, 2003
Gilchrist, Texas Continue reading

2 children of Brenda Frazier

johnnie and ladonna stilwell
An 11-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl were tortured by their grandparents, LaDonna (right) and Johnny Stilwell, and their mother Brenda Frazier (not pictured), using an electric cattle prod. The boy was also locked in his room with a bucket for a toilet. The children were homeschooled.

The abuse came to light when the boy informed social services about it. The Stilwells and Frazier were charged with and convicted of child abuse. LaDonna Stilwell was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but her sentence was suspended. Johnny Stilwell was sentenced to 20 years of probation. Frazier was sentenced to 15 years of probation.

Date: November 2002
Enid, Oklahoma Continue reading

Children by George Johnston, 4 others

raymond lambert
At least 6 children were ritually sexually assaulted by George Otis Johnston (right, sometimes identified as ‘Johnson’), the pastor of Grandview Valley Baptist Church North, and four elders at its sister church Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church: pastor Raymond Lambert (left), his wife Patty Lambert, and her brothers Paul and Tom Epling. All the children in Grandview Valley compound were homeschooled at the Grand Valley Christian Academy. Some of the abuse occurred while Johnston was tutoring one of the children in algebra.

The abuse came to light in May 2006 when eight members of the commune walked away from the church with no money or physical belongings. One of the women told authorities about abuses that had taken place at the compound. In August 2006, the approximately 20 children who remained at the compound were taken into custody by social services. Johnston and the others were charged with a number of felonies; however, all of the charges were eventually dropped due to witnesses’ being unwilling to testify, the statute of limitations being invoked (some of the abuse had occurred in the 1970s and 1980s), and the victims’ desire to avoid further victimization in court.

Date: August 24, 2006
Granby, Missouri; Pineville, Missouri Continue reading

5 children by Patrick and Sherry Kelley

Five children, girls aged 15, 14, and 6 and boys aged 13 and 11, were burned, beaten, starved, and imprisoned by their adoptive parents, Patrick (center) and Sherry Kelley. Their grandparents, George and Shirley Long, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. After the children were withdrawn from school when the family moved to Big Lake, “the Kelleys soon gave up trying to home school them.”

The children were placed with the Kelleys in 1998 after being removed from their parents, who were substance abusers. They were forced to work outside 20 hours a day. They were beaten with metal pipes and shovels. They were sometimes forced to sleep outside in the Alaska winter with no heat. The younger boy, who now goes by T.J. White (pictured at right), suffered burns over a large part of his body which went untreated; he also lost a finger to frostbite and had his arm broken by a beating. The children were locked in bedrooms and tied to beds; the older boy was chained to a tree and imprisoned in a coffin-like sealed box. They were punished for eating and deprived of food.

The abuse came to light when George Long called the police after one of the children received a particularly vicious beating. Sherry and Patrick Kelley were each charged with 9 felonies and 34 misdemeanors; in a later plea agreement they Sherry pleaded no contest to assault and criminal nonsupport while Patrick pleaded no contest to child endangerment. In November 2006 they were sentenced to time served. George Long was convicted of assault and sentenced to time served.

Date: July 9, 2004
Big Lake, Wasilla, Alaska Continue reading

Judah Cobble

Judah Cobble, age 12, was repeatedly spanked with a belt by his father, Donald Cobble, a minister at the Christian Teaching and Worship Center. Judah’s teachers reported suspected abuse to social services, who found that there was substantial risk to Judah, who had ADD and “arthrogryposis, a congenital muscle condition which require[d] him to wear braces on his back and legs.” However, Judah’s case was closed shortly thereafter. Donald Cobble then withdrew his son from school to homeschool him. He later sued social services and won.

Date: March 1997
Woburn, Massachusetts Continue reading

Amber Nicklas

amber nicklas
Amber Rose Nicklas, age 13 months, was abducted from her foster parents in Norwalk, California in September 2003 by three of her teenage biological aunts. Though two of the girls were caught, the third managed to escape with Amber, who was missing for seven years. Amber was raised by a loving Romany family in Arizona who did not know she had been abducted—they were told that her drug addict mother had given her up. However, they did not have any identifying paperwork for her, so she could not be enrolled in school. Instead she was homeschooled in the Romany tradition, although when she was found she could not read or write, although she was bilingual in English and Romany (mistakenly identified in several news sources as ‘Romanian’).

She was discovered in 2010 after police received a tip about her whereabouts; she was subsequently returned to her foster parents.

Date: July 14, 2010
Phoenix, Arizona Continue reading

7 children of JoAnn and Michael McGuckin

Seven children—Erina (age 19, right), Kathryn (16), Benjamin (14), Mary (13), James (11), Frederick (9), and Jane (8)—were starved and neglected by their parents, Michael and JoAnn McGuckin (center). All were homeschooled.

Both Michael and JoAnn suffered from mental illness, and the family lived in poverty completely off the grid. The children subsisted mainly on lily pads and pond water; the house was filled with garbage. Erina, the oldest, was primarily responsible for homeschooling the children and caring for her youngest sister. Erina left home in 2000 to join the military but was medically discharged due to complications of long-term malnourishment. Then, in May 2001, Michael McGuckin died of malnourishment after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. These events prompted Erina to report the family. When authorities arrived to remove the children, a five-day standoff ensued.

JoAnn McGuckin was arrested on charges of child injury which were later dismissed. She was reunited with her children in 2002.

Date: May 29, 2001
Sandpoint, Idaho Continue reading

Children of Peter Hansen

peter hansen
A 13-year-old boy was starved and imprisoned in a bathroom by his father, Peter D. Hansen. The boy’s 10-year-old sister was also starved. Both were homeschooled.

After the Hansens were evicted from their home in 2009, they took up residence in their Seventh-Day Adventist church. Hansen kept his children on a strict vegetarian diet with two meals per day. As punishment for disobedience, the boy was repeatedly locked in a cold church bathroom with no light, sometimes for over a week at a time.

The abuse was discovered after a call to the child abuse hotline. The courts did not find enough evidence to convict Hansen for food deprivation, but he was convicted for the imprisonment. He was sentenced to three years in prison but only served 100 days. The children’s mother, who lived with them, was not charged.

Date: November 2009
Springfield, Missouri Continue reading

9 boys by Nathan and Tammy Jessop

nathan jessop
Nine boys, ages 12 to 17, were beaten, starved, and imprisoned by Nathan Jessop. All were current or former members of the FLDS who had been sent by their parents to live with Jessop due to their supposed disobedience; several of the boys did not know what they had done to be sent there and one reported that he had been sent away for exchanging text messages with a girl. Tammy Jessop, one of Nathan’s stepmothers, homeschooled the boys, although “education appeared to stop when the boys were old enough to pursue a GED diploma.”

Some of the boys had been with Jessop since late 2012, when they had lived in Wyoming. In early 2013 they moved to Idaho, where Tammy and two girls, ages 20 and 16, joined them in an adjoining home. One of the boys was Nathan Jessop’s son, age 16; three were his stepsons; and three others were his nephews. The boys were beaten with boards and brooms; pantries were kept locked and the boys were not allowed to eat breakfast unless they woke up by 6 am. The boys were punished by being sent out into the cold without jackets and one of the boys was imprisoned for two days in a furnace room. The boys were also exploited for their labor, being forced to work without pay making furniture for Jessop to sell.

The abuse came to light when one of the boys ran away and reported it to Holding Out Help, a group that assists people leaving polygamous families. The other eight boys were removed from the home by social services. Two of these, brothers, chose to remain in foster care, while the other six were returned to their parents. Jessop pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor injury to a child: one from his imprisonment of the boy in the furnace room, and two from his failure to report to the authorities that both his son and the boy who contacted HOH had run away. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Date: July 10, 2014
Big Piney, Wyoming; Pocatello, Idaho Continue reading

3 children of Pamela Christensen

pamela christensen
Three girls, ages 19, 16, and 12, were physically assaulted by their mother, Pamela Christensen, in an attempt to murder them. Their father, former pastor Vaughn Christensen, was abusive and controlling of his wife and children, and Pamela was seeking a divorce from him when he called her and ordered her to kill the children. All three girls were homeschooled.

After receiving her husband’s message, Pamela Christensen dressed the girls all in white “to meet Jesus” and tried to get them to drink poison. The girls refused and one called the police; Christensen managed to stab two of the girls and herself before authorities arrived. Christensen was charged with three counts of attempted murder.

Date: September 25, 2014
Montgomery, Illinois Continue reading

Raashanai Coley

raashanai coley
Raashanai Coley, age 11 (left), was starved and beaten to death by her mother, Nicholette Lawrence (right). Her stepfather Robert Lawrence, who lived in the home, has not been charged. Raashanai was homeschooled and, according to some reports, autistic. Her two younger half-siblings attended school and were apparently not abused.

Around the time of Raashanai’s 2003 birth in Oregon, Nicholette Lawrence lost custody of her first child, a boy, and pleaded guilty to transporting an underage girl across state lines to engage in prostitution. After child services began investigating Lawrence for exposing Raashanai to her adult business, Lawrence signed over guardianship of Raashanai to her own father and stepmother. Lawrence reclaimed her daughter in 2007 when she moved to Texas with her new husband Robert Lawrence; the family moved to Illinois shortly thereafter. In August 2011 Robert Lawrence was charged with battering Raashanai but he continued to live in the home. In June 2012 Raashanai was withdrawn from school to be homeschooled. The family’s neighbors did not know that Raashanai was living in the home, although they frequently saw her siblings.

Raashanai died September 5 after Nicholette Lawrence struck her in the abdomen on September 3, rupturing her stomach. She did not seek medical attention for her daughter. Raashanai weighed 55 lbs. at the time of her death. Lawrence was charged with first-degree murder and her other children were removed from the home.

Date: September 5, 2014
Waukegan, Illinois Continue reading

Charlie Bothuell V

charlie bothuell
Charlie Bothuell V, age 12, was physically and emotionally abused by his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and his stepmother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell. Dillard-Bothuell also imprisoned Charlie in the basement for eleven days without food. Dillard-Bothuell’s other two children, 4-year-old Charles Luc Bothuell and 10-month-old Lillian Monique Bothuell, were also neglected. Charlie was homeschooled.

Charlie had lived with his father since 2012. Bothuell forced Charlie to complete an extreme daily exercise regimen and beat him regularly with a PVC pipe. When he was rescued, Charlie had a large scar on his chest from the beatings. Dillard-Bothuell also punched Charlie and threatened to kill him. On June 14, as punishment for Charlie’s failure to complete his exercise routine, Dillard-Bothuell forced him to hide behind a barricade in the basement without food or water, threatening to harm him if he came out. The boy’s father reported him missing and police searched for Charlie until he was found in the basement on June 25.

On June 26, Dillard-Bothuell was arrested on an unrelated charge until police could gather enough evidence to file charges of child abuse against the couple. All three children were removed from the home by social services.

Date: June 25, 2014
Detroit, Michigan Continue reading