M. L. Lloyd III

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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

Kylie

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-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

Johnson

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
Location:
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
Location:
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
Location:
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
Location:
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
Location:
Sperry, Oklahoma Continue reading

3 children by Iliana, Rogelio, and Tim Archuleta

archuletas
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
Location:
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
Location:
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
Location:
Conyers, Georgia Continue reading

2 children by Albert and Nancy Cusson

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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
Location:
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
Location:
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
Location:
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

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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

Child

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

smithburgs
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

krafts
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

Wrights

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Boy by Ixchel Maybury

ixchel maybury
Ixchel Maybury sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy that she was homeschooling. The Winslow school system had urged Maybury to complete her homeschooling certification, but she had not done so.

Maybury assaulted the boy five or six times between May 1998 and May 1999 and threatened to kill him if he testified against her. Maybury was homeschooling a number of children at the time the assaults occurred.

She was charged with gross sexual assault and two counts of witness tampering.

Date: August 1999
Location: Winslow, Maine

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Joseph Chaney

cynthia guthrie
Cynthia Guthrie abducted 14-year-old Joseph Chaney from his mobile home in Tennessee and went on the run with him, first to Colorado and then to New Mexico, where she was caught.

Guthrie was a friend of the boy’s mother, Susan Smith, who had asked Guthrie to homeschool her two sons. Guthrie’s sexual abuse of Joseph was first reported to child protective services in July 2002 and investigated. Smith was suspected of neglecting Joseph and his brother, who were removed from her home November 1 and placed in foster homes. Joseph ran away from his foster home on December 1 to go on the run with Guthrie, who was married.

Guthrie was charged with sexual battery by an authority figure and statutory rape.

Date: December 29, 2002
Location: Lebanon, Tennessee

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Lauren Kavanaugh, and 5 siblings

lauren kavanaugh
Lauren Kavanaugh, also known as Lauren Calhoun, was freed at age 8 from a six-year imprisonment in a closet where she was systematically tortured, raped, and starved by her mother and stepfather, Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson. The Atkinsons’ other children, who ranged in age from 22 months to 10 years, were also neglected; they did not know how to use a toothbrush or a fork, or how to wipe themselves after going to the bathroom. There is no evidence any of the children were enrolled in school.

Lauren was discovered when her stepfather revealed her condition to a neighbor, who called the police. The Atkinsons were convicted of felony injury to a child and sentenced to life in prison.

Date: June 11, 2001
Location: Hutchins, Texas

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Jesse and Deonna Briggs

briggs family
Jesse Briggs, age 10, and his sister Deonna, age 7, were murdered by their parents, Thomas and Dawn Briggs, while on vacation in Oregon. The children were poisoned, then their bodies were returned to the family’s Washington home, where Dawn also died of poisoning and Thomas shot himself to death.

The Briggses belonged to the Church of God, a now-defunct millennialist religious cult, and Thomas Briggs suffered from paranoia, depression, and anxiety. The Briggses homeschooled their children.

Date: November 19, 1999
Location: Rochester, Washington; Newport, Oregon

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Shenna Grimm

shenna grimm
Shenna Grimm was 16 in 1998 when her mother and stepfather, Narda and John Goff, inseminated her with a syringe full of John’s sperm. Shenna had been withdrawn from school in fourth grade to be homeschooled, but instead she was forced to work as a servant for the Goffs. John Goff had also repeatedly raped and physically abused her.

Narda Goff was convicted in 2002 of helping John impregnate her daughter and was sentenced to three years in prison. John Goff was convicted in 2002 of rape, sexual battery, and child endangering and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2005 an appeals court overturned the convictions; however, in his retrial in 2006 John was again convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Date: December 1998
Location: Akron, Ohio

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Son of Michael Marshall and Sharon Glass

michael marshall and sharon glass
A 12-year-old boy, the son of Michael Marshall, was starved and imprisoned by his father and his father’s girlfriend, Sharon Glass, reportedly for stealing food. Two other children, Marshall’s 10-year-old daughter and Glass’s 5-year-old son, also lived in the home.

The abuse began in 2009 when Glass moved in with Marshall. Glass’s ex-husband, Tony Glass, called child protective services 12 times, concerned that the three children were dirty and had head lice. Officials at the boy’s school also called child protective services several times. Welfare officials investigated in the summer of 2010 but could not find enough evidence to substantiate the claims. Following the investigation, the boy was removed from school in August 2010 to be homeschooled. Though Marshall and Glass claimed that he was then enrolled in a private school, there is no evidence for this.

Marshall and Glass first locked the boy in a closet with diapers to relieve himself and ramen noodles to eat. Later, he was locked in a bathroom after his father zip-tied him to the post of a bunk bed for three days and he chewed through the ropes to escape. On Christmas day in 2011 he was let out of the bathroom to watch his siblings open gifts, while he received a stocking full of coal.

The boy was discovered in March 2012 locked in the bathroom by a family friend, who reported it to the police. He weighed 40 pounds.

Marshall pleaded no contest to eight charges of child abuse, torture and false imprisonment and will be sentenced in April 2014. Glass was found guilty on eight counts of aggravated child abuse and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Date: March 15, 2012
Location: Titusville, Florida

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3 children of Eraca Dawn Craig and Christian Jessica Deanda

eraca dawn craig and christian jessica deanda
Three children—an 8-year-old girl and two boys, ages 5 and 3—were abused, imprisoned, and starved by their parents, Eraca Dawn Craig (left) and Christian Jessica Deanda, who were domestic partners. The children were homeschooled.

The girl had been chained to the wall with shackles around her ankles and a collar around her neck, reportedly to keep her from stealing food. All three children were emaciated and had hardly eaten for months. The 3-year-old boy was the biological child of one of the women and the other two children were adopted. The women were arrested March 15 on charges of felony child cruelty and false imprisonment and the children were placed in foster homes. Craig and Deanda were scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 28.

Date: March 15, 2014
Location: Salinas, California

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Luis Frank Moreno

Luis [or Louis] Moreno, who went by Franky, was 5 years old when he was shot and killed by his father, Roland Ramirez Moreno. Moreno also killed his pregnant wife, Maria Burton Moreno, and himself. Franky was homeschooled.

Newspapers reported that the Morenos were a seemingly happy churchgoing family. However, Moreno had allegedly been blacklisted by the leadership of his church, the New Testament Christian Church, for exposing his pastor’s affair. This ostracism may have driven him to the depression which precipitated the murder-suicide.

Date: September 24, 2003
Location: San Antonio, Texas Continue reading

Amanda Bates

Amanda Bates, age 13, died from medical neglect. She had diabetic ketoacidosis, as well as an infection that had turned gangrenous in her genitals and buttocks. Amanda and her 12 siblings were homeschooled.

Her parents, Colleen and Randy Bates, did not graduate from high school. They belong to the General Assembly Church of the First Born and opposed all medical treatment. They were charged with criminally negligent homicide, reckless manslaughter, reckless child abuse resulting in death, and criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death. In a plea deal, they were sentenced to serve 20 years of probation, complete 1,300 hours of community service each, and provide medical treatment for their remaining 12 children.

Date: February 5, 2001
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado Continue reading

Jaelen Edge

Jaelen

13-year-old Jaelen Edge and his sister, 9-year-old Faith Edge, were found dead in a Santa Ana, California, hotel room the day before their mother, Marilyn Edge, was to turn over custody of the two children to their father, Mark Edge. Around a week earlier, a judge had settled the couple’s long custody dispute. Rather than relinquish custody of her children as ordered by the court, Marilyn fled from the family’s home in Georgia for California, where she had lived previously. There she poisoned both children and left them dead. Police arrested Marilyn in a parking lot not far away, where they believe she was attempting to kill herself by wrecking the car. Back in Georgia before this tragedy, Marilyn Edge Marilyn had been homeschooling Jaelen, who was autistic, while Faith attended public school.

Date: September 14, 2013
Location: Santa Ana, California Continue reading

Isaac Miller

isaac miller

Isaac Miller, age 14, was shot to death by his stepfather, Randy Keith. Keith also killed Isaac’s mother, Christine Keith, then shot himself. Christine had taken out a restraining order against Keith and had begun divorce proceedings.

Isaac and his three younger stepbrothers were being homeschooled by Christine, who ran a popular homeschooling blog and was active in their local Unitarian Universalist church. The stepbrothers were visiting relatives and were not harmed.

Date: December 5, 2013
Location: Lansing, Michigan Continue reading

Bradley Warren and 2 siblings

Bradley Warren, age 13, was shot to death by his 14-year-old brother, Brandon Keith Warren. Brandon also shot and killed their 19-year-old stepsister Marnie Rose Warren and then shot himself. Both Bradley and Brandon were homeschooled, and Marnie and their older brother Ellis (age 21) had also been homeschooled. The mobile home where they lived was filled with garbage and animal droppings. Bradley and Brandon had been sleeping at a neighbor’s house for about two months as their parents, Nissa Mae Warren and Boyd Kent Warren, tried to clean up the house to prevent removal of the children by social services.

The Warrens had been convicted in 1991 of felony child abuse in Mesa, Arizona, where they lived until 1996. Nissa Mae believed strongly in corporal punishment and neighbors noticed bruises on Marnie’s legs. The Warrens were placed on probation and the children were not removed. The family subsequently moved to North Carolina. After their children’s murder-sucicide, the Warrens were arrested and charged with misdemeanor child abuse and improper storage of a gun.

Date: July 26, 2001
Location: Kenly, North Carolina Continue reading

Mallory Anne Evans

mallory evans

Mallory Evans, age 15, was shot to death by her brother, Jacob Evans. Jake also shot and killed their mother, Jami Evans. Mallory had been homeschooled since January 2010, and Jake had been homeschooled since January 2012.

Jake was charged with capital murder and is currently awaiting trial.

Date: October 4, 2012
Location: Aledo, Texas Continue reading

Trenay Cheire Duchane, and 1 sibling

trenay duchane
Trenay Duchane, age 12, died after being punched to unconsciousness, beaten with an electrical cord and a broomstick, and scalded to death by her stepmother, Reiko Troupe, as punishment for not cleaning her room. Her 9-year-old sister Treshae was also beaten and burned in an attempt to save Trenay. The girls’ father, Jeffrey Duchane Jr., allowed Trenay’s body to remain in their apartment for four days, eventually calling the police because Trenay’s body was beginning to smell.

CPS investigated the Duchanes in summer 2006 when Troupe gave birth to a baby girl who showed signs of drug exposure. The family was being monitored by CPS until November, when they moved away to escape scrutiny. According to Treshae, this is when Duchane and Troupe began to abuse the two girls, beating them with a knotted electrical cord or a fist, burning them with an iron or hot water, and leaving Treshae’s broken arm to heal without treatment. Though both girls were enrolled in school, they were frequently absent and Treshae was dropped from the rolls in April 2007. Trenay showed up twice with a black eye. In both cases, school officials did not investigate or report problems to the authorities. In fear of further observation, however, Troupe decided not to let the girls return to school in the fall, and they were not seen outside of their apartment until November. “I don’t go to school,” Treshae would later tell police. “My mom teaches me at home. She said it was better.”

Both Troupe and Duchane pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse and were sentenced to life in prison.

Date: November 6, 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona Continue reading

Genesis Sims

genesis sims

Genesis Sims, age 7, died from blunt force trauma to the chest. She had been pulled from school to be homeschooled six weeks into the fall semester. Her father, Hanif Sims, had been physically abusing her since at least 2003, and his girlfriend Monique Lynch may also have abused the girl.

The day before she died, Genesis had been forced by Sims to stand in the cold with no shoes as a punishment. On December 10, the 12th birthday of her stepbrother Devon, Genesis wet herself out of fear of her father. Sims made her take a shower, then became enraged when she took too long. He picked Genesis up by the throat and punched her in the chest, causing her heart to fail. Sims and Lynch sat with an unconscious Genesis for two days, deciding not to seek medical care for her because Lynch—who was five months pregnant at the time—had an outstanding arrest warrant in New Jersey and did not want to go to prison. When Sims and Lynch believed Genesis to be dead, they wrapped her in trash bags and buried her in the crawlspace. She may have still been alive when she was buried.

After Genesis’ death, Sims and Lynch told Devon and the neighbors that Genesis had been sent to live with her biological mother in New Jersey. They then moved the family to a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, California, where they lived from March to December 2009 before dropping off Devon and their infant child with relatives. Genesis’ body was found on May 9, 2010 by plumbers working in the Colorado house where she had been buried. Authorities in multiple states searched for Lynch and Sims and finally caught them in July 2010. Both were charged with first-degree murder, but both reached a plea deal and pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. Lynch was sentenced to 27 years in prison and Sims was sentenced to 40.

Date: December 10, 2008
Location: Monument, Colorado Continue reading

Cheyenne Noell Wolf

Cheyenne Wolf

Cheyenne Wolf, age 11, died from an untreated head injury. Her sisters, Sara Elizabeth Wolf (age 16) and Skylar Marlene Wolf, reported that Cheyenne was routinely beaten by their stepmother, Denise Wolf, and tied to a chair and bed. Cheyenne had spina bifida, wore leg braces and was incontinent. She had been withdrawn from school in January 2008 to be homeschooled, while Sara Elizabeth continued to attend public school.

After her death, Cheyenne’s biological father Abel Wolf concealed her body in storage bins and the family carried her remains with them as they moved, first to Montana and then to Oregon. When Sara Elizabeth ran away from home, the Wolfs feared that Cheyenne’s body would be discovered and moved it to the home of Denise Wolf’s brother, who reported it to the police in 2009.

In 2011, Denise and Abel Wolf were convicted of child abuse, child abuse by neglect, and unlawful removal of a dead body. They were both sentenced to life in prison. The Wolfs’ other two daughters became wards of the state.

Date: April 2008
Location: Bokchito, Oklahoma Continue reading

A. O., Granddaughter of Delores O’Brien Heffernan

A. O. was born in 1999 when her mother was in prison. Her grandmother, Delores O’Brien Heffernan, was granted temporary custody and then guardianship. Heffernan’s housing and employment situation were unstable, and A. O. changed schools frequently. In July 2010, Heffernan was arrested in Fairfax, Virginia, for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after she and A. O. were caught shoplifting. A. O. was then 10 years old. Heffernan reported that A. O. was homeschooled, but that she was not registered in a homeschool program as required by law because they were homeless. Further investigation found that A. O. had not been in school or had stable housing since February 2009. A. O. was subsequently placed in foster care. Heffernan sought to disrupt A. O.’s placements, displayed erratic behavior, and refused to take the steps required by social services to regain custody of A. O. After two years, the courts terminated Heffernan’s rights and barred her from contact with A. O. until the girl reached 18.

Date: July 2010
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia Continue reading

Emily Fritts

Mary Fritts kidnapped her 7-year-old daughter, Emily Fritts, from Staunton, Virginia, in August 1994 to avoid allowing her ex-husband visitation rights. The mother and daughter assumed new identities and moved frequently, living in Tennessee, Oregon, Kansas, Alaska, and Montana. Mary also homeschooled Emily. Emily’s father, Rodney Fritts, hired a private investigator and spent nearly half a million dollars searching for his daughter. After Rodney went on The Montel Williams Show in 2002, Mary made the decision to return Emily to her father and surrender herself to authorities in hopes of receiving reduced charges. Emily was 15 when she was reunited with her father. Mary was convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $250.

Date: April 15, 2002
Location: Tennessee, Oregon, Kansas, Alaska, and Montana Continue reading