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 In June 2012 Raashanai was withdrawn from school to be homeschooled.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

Justin Carlos, and 6 siblings

julie and mark carlos
Justin Gerard Carlos, age 14, was starved and medically neglected by his parents, Mark S. Carlos and Julie L. Carlos. Justin died of pneumonia and sepsis complicated by malnutrition; when he died he was emaciated, covered with bedsores, and showed signs of traumatic brain injury. Justin’s 16-year-old brother was also medically neglected during a similar illness. Justin and his six siblings (Shannon; Michael, 22; Therese, 19; Matthew, 16; Colette, 12; and Maura, 11) were all homeschooled and “cut off from the world”; police reported that they “all appeared thin and not properly cared for…with messy hair and disheveled clothes.”

Michael Carlos called 911 when Justin lost consciousness. He and Matthew were taken to the hospital while the two youngest girls were taken into social services’ custody. The Carloses pleaded not guilty to “negligent cruelty and risk of injury to a minor”. Prosecutions are still ongoing.

Date: May 2, 2013
Norwich, Connecticut Continue reading

Girl by Leonard Pratt

leonard pratt
A 16-year-old girl was raped daily by her stepfather, karate instructor Leonard Pratt, who sometimes filmed the assaults. The abuse started when she was 13, about two weeks after her mother, Lorena Pratt, married him in April 2001. Lorena Pratt was emotionally abused by her husband and did not know about the girl’s sexual abuse. Pratt repeatedly forced the girl to miss school so that he could assault her; after she failed ninth grade, she was homeschooled.

Social services received six reports of abuse, including one from the girl’s biological father, but the girl always denied the allegations out of fear of her stepfather. Social services had also received reports of Pratt abusing his biological children, but they could not find evidence to substantiate them.

In September 2003, the girl fatally shot her father in the head while he slept. She was “charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon”; however, “a grand jury decided not to indict” her and she was removed to the custody of her biological father.

Date: September 23, 2003
Elgin, Texas Continue reading

9 children of Peter Lucas Moses Jr.

peter lucas moses
Nine children ages 8 and under were abused by their father, Peter Lucas Moses Jr., and his three wives Vania Rae Sisk (second from left), Lavada Quinzetta Harris (far right), and Larhonda Renee Smith (second from right). Four of the children were Sisk’s and five were Harris’. The children were homeschooled and home-churched in the cult-like Black Hebrews church.

In October 2010, Moses murdered Sisk’s 4-year-old son Jadon Higganbothan—the only one of the children who was not biologically his. In December 2010, Moses ordered Sisk to murder Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, another of his wives, because she could not have children. In February 2011, another of Moses’ wives (who was not publicly identified) escaped and reported the murders to the police. She also reported witnessing “horrific” abuse of the children. Moses and his family immediately fled the state to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Teller County social services found them and removed the children February 23.

Moses and his wives then moved back to Durham, North Carolina, where he was arrested on unrelated charges until the police could find evidence of the murders. They finally located Higganbothan’s and McKoy’s remains in June 2011 and charged Moses with first-degree murder. His wives were also charged. Moses pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty; as a result, he was not tried, so the specific nature of the abuse of the other children was never made public. However, neighbors reported that the children were “rarely seen” and, according to police, they were required to call their father “Lord” and were afraid of him, fearing that he would do to them “what he did to Jadon”.

Moses was sentenced to life in prison. Sisk was sentenced to 30 years, Smith to 24, and Harris to 12.

Date: February 23, 2011
Durham, North Carolina Continue reading

16 children of Richard Jay Swank

richard jay swank
Sixteen children were physically abused and deprived of food by their father, Richard Jay Swank. The fourth child, a boy born around 1985, was Swank’s scapegoat; he was tortured, imprisoned, and sexually abused for 18 years. The children’s mother, Monita Swank, was “also a victim of physical abuse and possibly spousal rape [and] was not aware of the sexual abuse of her son.” After school officials repeatedly called social services about the children’s bruises, Swank pulled them from school to homeschool them around 1992, although “there were no books or worksheets” and little instruction actually took place. Swank’s daughter Melissa (b. 1982) was put in charge of caring for the younger children; by the time she was 18, she only knew basic addition and subtraction.

Swank was a substitute teacher, public school psychologist, and published author. He referred to the child who was his main victim as an “abomination” and abused him beginning around age 4. Swank forced the boy to spend every day standing in a corner, and the boy was forced to sleep handcuffed to various objects or imprisoned in a box at night. The boy was only allowed to eat table scraps and was not allowed to interact with the other children. Swank constantly beat the boy with a variety of objects and often knocked him unconscious. At one point he broke the boy’s nose, permanently injuring him, and did not seek medical attention for him. Swank also frequently tortured the boy by attaching vice grips to his genitals. When the boy was 10, his father began raping him twice a week.

As each of the children reached the age of 18, they left home and joined the military to escape. In 2005, Joshua Swank (b. 1980) died of an accidental overdose; his father “collected $500,000 on [his] Army life insurance policy and bought a sports car.” The Swanks divorced around this time and Monita took custody of the seven children who remained at home. These events prompted Melissa to persuade her little brother, Swank’s main victim, to report the abuse to the police. He did so in March 2009.

Swank was found guilty of 11 counts of sexual abuse and one count of physical abuse. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Date: March 12, 2009
Victorville, California Continue reading

15 children of Bill and Debbie Rettew

bill rettew
Fifteen adopted special-needs children of Bill and Debbie Rettew were physically abused, medically neglected, and denied food as punishment. The Rettews had adopted at least nine other special-needs children over the years in addition to their biological daughter Deborah Autumn Rettew (age 24) and Debbie’s biological son from an earlier marriage, Wilbur Beddingfield (age 32). All the children were privately adopted. The Rettews were conservative Christians and homeschooled all their children but one.

The Rettews first came to the attention of social services in November 1998 when one of their adolescent adopted children ran away from home and refused to return, citing physical abuse by Bill Rettew. The court ordered an evaluation of the Rettew children in June 2000; when the evaluation panel returned its review in November 2001, the children were removed. Some of the adult children who no longer lived with the Rettews reported being “slammed into walls, whipped with a belt, and thrown down stairs.” They “did not have their own toothbrushes, [and] were bathed only once a week.” The food storage area was kept locked—when they were rescued, “the children had voracious appetites and commented on the availability of food in the new home”. One of the girls told the authorities that “she was a surrogate mother, waking up at 5 a.m. to feed and clothe the other children.” The children did not receive adequate medical, dental, and mental health care.

In February 2002, as part of a deal to get some of their children back, the Rettews agreed to a court order that found that “they physically and educationally neglected their 15 children.” The court ordered that most of the children be enrolled in public or private school, that they be allowed ample socialization time as decided by the in-home therapy team, and that they be provided with any medical care or therapy advised by social services. At least three of the children asked that they not be returned to the Rettews; it is not clear how many eventually returned.

Date: November 8, 2001
Greer, Greenville County, South Carolina Continue reading

Child of Recardo and Therian Wimbush

recardo and therian wimbush
Recardo Wimbush Jr., at age 13 the oldest of Recardo Sr. and Therian Wimbush’s ten children, was locked in a lightless basement room for almost two years with only a bucket for a toilet. His siblings were not abused. All 10 children were homeschooled; however, Recardo Jr. had not received any instruction since he was locked in the basement.

The Wimbushes claimed that the boy had been imprisoned for running away and molesting his younger siblings; however, the boy reported that he was being punished for lying and stealing a DVD. Although the Wimbushes were highly educated—Recardo Sr. had played football for Georgia Tech and later finished his degree; Therian was former military had a degree in mechanical engineering—they were also members of a strict religious movement called the Way of Yah, which forbids members to celebrate holidays.

The abuse came to light when an anonymous tip brought social services to the Wimbushes’ home. The Wimbushes were charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment.

Date: June 16, 2014
Buford, Georgia Continue reading

Son of Daniel Ballard

A 14-year-old boy was medically neglected and deprived of food by his father, Daniel Ballard, who claimed to be homeschooling him. However, when the boy was rescued, he could reportedly only read “at a fourth-grade level and struggle[d] with basic arithmetic”.

Ballard and the boy’s mother, Kalyn Loe, had lived with the boy in Ohio until they split in 2002. Both had custody of the boy; however, he lived with his mother in Phoenix, Arizona until age 10 when she sent him to New Orleans, Louisiana for a short visit with Ballard in summer 2005. Ballard apparently used the confusion caused by Hurricane Katrina a few months later to abduct the boy, whom he did not allow to contact his mother for four more years. Father and son moved frequently, living in several apartments and RVs and once an abandoned building. Ballard did not take the boy to a doctor during this time: when he was rescued, the boy had several untreated broken bones which had healed improperly and a severe foot infection. The boy also had welts on his back and patches of missing hair. He weighed 60 lbs. when he was found in a feces-filled RV which had no food and no running water.

The abuse came to light in September 2009 when a police officer serving an eviction notice found the boy in the RV. Ballard, who had an outstanding warrant in New Mexico for drugs, was charged with cruelty to a juvenile. The boy was sent back to his mother.

Date: September 9, 2009
Toca, Louisiana Continue reading

Children of Martin and Kathleen O’Brien

Six children, ages 9 to 17, were abused by their adoptive parents, Martin and Kathleen O’Brien. Some of the children were homeschooled. The O’Briens’ three biological children (an adult daughter, Diane, and two minor sons) were not abused and were sometimes forced to participate in the abuse.

Four of the children were biological siblings from Russia and two of them were from Guatemala. Following the children’s adoption in 2004, they were subjected to 7 years of abuse, including: being stabbed, sprayed with pepper spray, kicked in the groin, strangled, slapped, forced to stand naked outside in the cold while their family ate dinner inside, deprived of food, imprisoned in a room for days, and forced to kneel for hours on sharp rocks.

The abuse came to light when the children reported it to social services in August 2011. The O’Briens were each charged with 10 counts of felony child abuse as well as several misdemeanors.

Date: August 3, 2011
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Continue reading

Children of Kelleen Murray-Auguste

A 10-year-old boy was starved by his mother, Kelleen Deon Murray-Auguste. One of the boy’s eight siblings, a 9-year-old girl, was also 20 percent below her normal body weight. The children were homeschooled.

When the boy was rescued, he weighed 35 lbs. and was “extremely dirty, filthy, hair was matted”. The abuse came to light when the boy escaped from his home and went begging for food at a neighbor’s house. Murray-Auguste claimed that the boy had lived with his father in Haiti until about a month prior and that he had been delivered to her in his malnourished condition. She reported that she had tried to feed him but he couldn’t eat, and that she did not have the resources to get him medical attention.

Murray-Auguste was arrested on charges of “aggravated child abuse/torture and child neglect causing great harm” and pleaded no contest in August 2008. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Date: June 9, 2007
Port St. Lucie, Florida Continue reading

Antonio Rader

mary rader and deana beighley
Antonio Rader, age 7, was beaten, starved, and tortured by his mother, Mary Rader (right), and her mother and stepfather, Deana (left) and Dennis Beighley. Antonio’s siblings, 11- and 4-year-old sisters and a 9-year-old brother, were not abused, although his brother was underweight. Antonio had attended public school until fall 2013, “at which time his mother enrolled him in a home-based cyberschool.”

Antonio was pulled from school after teachers reported to social services that the boy was always hungry and that Rader had instructed them not to serve him breakfast. Antonio was beaten with belts for stealing food, forbidden from leaving the house, and forced to sleep on the floor in his own urine. He was not allowed to bathe and had life-threatening abscesses in his teeth. He weighed 24 lbs. when he was rescued.

The abuse came to light when Antonio managed to escape from the house and a neighbor saw him and called the authorities. Rader and the Beighleys were each charged with attempted murder, as well as aggravated assault, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Date: June 6, 2014
Greenville, Pennsylvania Continue reading

3 children of Kate Parker

kate parker
Katherine G. “Kate” Parker had 7 biological children (Megan, 21; Adam, 20; Emily, 14; Sarah and David, 11; Isaac, 9; and Joshua, 7) and 2 adopted children (Bethany, 5; and Hannah, 4; adopted from the Ukraine in 2010). Parker medically abused Joshua, Bethany, and Hannah by lying to doctors and inventing or causing illness or injury. The other children also underwent numerous procedures for medical conditions which were not independently diagnosed. Parker’s husband, Charley Parker, was not aware of the abuse. The children were homeschooled.

Joshua (who had spina bifida) and Bethany and Hannah (who both had Down syndrome) all underwent unnecessary surgeries beginning in 2007 as a result of Parker’s abuse. In late 2012, Hannah was “re-homed.” Parker also capitalized on her lies about the children’s illnesses to fraudulently solicit charitable donations online. When Joshua was hospitalized in September 2013, doctors grew suspicious of Parker’s negative response to news that Joshua’s condition was improving. After Parker’s friend notified social services, Parker coached her other children in how to respond to social workers’ questions. The minor children were removed from Parker’s home.

Parker was arrested on April 1, 2014 for “24 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, four counts of first-degree assault, one count of child abandonment, four counts of computer crime, four counts of identity theft, five counts of witness tampering and one count of recklessly endangering another.”

Date: September 2013
Grants Pass, Oregon Continue reading

2 children of Jessica Botzko and John Westover

john westover and jessica botzko
Two boys, ages 10 and 5, were locked in cages by their parents, Jessica Botzko and John Westover, as punishment for stealing food and whenever Westover was making drugs. The older boy was also sometimes forced to wear a dog’s shock collar; he had previously been “removed from the home in 1998 when Botzko was charged with child endangering.” Westover was wanted on child endangering charges stemming from a report of the family living in a filthy hotel room in Maumee, Ohio in 2004. The older boy had attended school until December 2003 but Botzko then pulled him from school, later telling police she was homeschooling him. “Toledo Public Schools has no record of either boy enrolled in the district or their parents applying for home-schooling.” The family moved frequently to avoid the authorities and the boys were not allowed to leave the house. Westover and Botzko also had a daughter who had died, reportedly of SIDS, several years before.

The abuse came to light in May 2007 when the boys were left alone and escaped to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor alerted police. Westover and Botzko both pleaded no contest to child endangering and were sentenced to four years in prison.

Date: May 1, 2007
Toledo, Ohio Continue reading

Child of August and Jeanine Halbesleben

Tommy Halbesleben, age 10, was starved by his father, August James Halbesleben, and his stepmother Jeanine Marie Halbesleben, from the summer of 1999—when the Halbeslebens began homeschooling him due to “conflicts with his second grade teacher and school officials”—until February 2000. Jeanine had been convicted in 1999 of misdemeanor injury to a child after she hit Tommy’s older brother and ruptured his eardrum.

The Halbeslebens had attended a parenting class where “they were taught that food limitations could be used as a form of discipline.” When Tommy began misbehaving, they limited his food intake to oatmeal, rice, noodles, and beans. The Halbeslebens claimed not to realize their son was starving, believing he was on a healthy diet. After he was rescued, Tommy gained 6 lbs. in the first 24 hours.

The abuse came to light after an anonymous tip brought officials to the Halbeslebens’ home on a welfare check and declared Tommy in immediate danger. The Halbeslebens were convicted of felony injury to a child on November 3, 2000, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Their conviction was overturned in 2003 and they were re-tried. In a plea agreement to avoid further jail time, August Halbesleben “pleaded guilty to two charges of misdemeanor injury to a child and Jeanine Halbesleben pleaded guilty to one felony charge of injury to a child.”

Date: February 2000
Boise, Idaho Continue reading

2 children of Emily Miller

Two boys, ages 10 and 9, were removed from the custody of their adoptive mother, Emily Miller, after the younger boy—who had cerebral palsy—was found tied to a urine-filled bucket in the basement. Clad only in a t-shirt and tied by a dog leash, he had been there for at least a day. The older boy, who had learning disabilities, was apparently unharmed. Both were homeschooled and had been pulled from school.

Miller, a longtime foster and adoptive mother of special-needs children, had previously had two of her children die: in January 1993, her 4-month-old adopted daughter Ieisha Dyson had died of a severe birth defect, and in April 1995 Miller’s 2-year-old adopted son DuJuan Miller had died of supposed SIDS. Earlier in 1999, a baby Miller was fostering was found to have injuries consistent with abuse.

Due to lack of evidence of abuse, Miller was not charged.

Date: November 1, 1999
Detroit, Michigan Continue reading

Daughter of Arletha and Anthony Hopkins

anthony hopkins
The daughter of Arletha Hopkins was repeatedly raped by her stepfather Rev. Anthony Hopkins, a traveling evangelist, starting in 2001 when she was 11 and continuing until she ran away from home at age 19. When Arletha discovered the abuse, Anthony murdered her and forced her daughter to help him hide her body. Anthony continued to rape his stepdaughter and when she escaped in July 2008 she was pregnant with his child. The girl’s seven siblings (six of whom were Anthony’s biological children) were not abused. The girl had been pulled out of school in fifth grade to be homeschooled by Anthony, and he also homeschooled the other children. When he began raping his stepdaughter, he used Bible stories to convince her it was normal.

The Hopkinses originally lived in Whatley, GA, but moved quickly to Jackson, AL where the girl attended school and the first rape occurred. After she was pulled from school the family moved to Mobile, AL, then New Orleans, Louisiana, then back to Mobile where Arletha was murdered December 4, 2004. Arletha’s body was first buried in Jackson, then Anthony forced the girl to help him move her mother’s body to a freezer in their Mobile home, where it remained until 2008. Arletha had given birth to her eighth child on November 21, 2004; Anthony told people that his wife had died in childbirth. She was never reported missing.

The abuse came to light when the girl reported it first to a minister she knew, then to police. Hopkins was found guilty of murder, sodomy, rape, incest and sexual abuse. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Date: December 4, 2004; July 28, 2008
Jackson, Alabama; Mobile, Alabama; Wadley, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana Continue reading

Siblings of Andrew Wells

Andrew Keith Wells, 20, sexually assaulted 8 of his 9 siblings. His parents, Brian and Janelle Wells, knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Andrew Wells had been homeschooled and had only a fifth-grade education, as well as “numerous mental issues.” His younger siblings were all being homeschooled at the time of his arrest.

The abuse came to light when Wells walked into the Burlington police station and confessed to having molested his siblings for the past eight or nine years. He also confessed to possessing a large amount of child pornography.

Brian and Janelle Wells were each charged with two counts of child endangerment and accepted a plea agreement to avoid prison time by agreeing not to contact their minor children for five years in exchange for two years’ probation. Andrew Wells pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, and incest, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Date: February 24, 2014
Burlington, Iowa Continue reading

24 children of Paul and Paula Dunham

Paul Dane Dunham and Paula Lee Dunham had 9 biological children and adopted 15 others, including 8 from the Philippines who were obtained through disrupted adoptions. The other 7 children were obtained from private adoption agencies—the Dunhams were not licensed foster parents in Stearns County where they resided. In 2002, 9 of the children were homeschooled. The 15 children who were still minors in late 2008 were removed by social services due to rampant sexual abuse among the siblings.

In late 2005, two of the adopted children admitted to having consensual sex with each other. The Dunhams responded by segregating the boys from the girls and putting locks and alarms on the doors. Then in September 2007 the Dunhams adopted a teenage boy who had previously sexually abused his sister and was prohibited from having contact with younger girls. More abuse came to light in December 2008 when one of the Dunhams’ children reported sexual abuse to a neighbor.

Two of the Dunhams’ biological children—Eric Lamar Dunham, 20, left, and another son who was a minor tried as an adult—were found guilty of first degree criminal sexual conduct, and one of their adult adopted sons—Romnick Charael Dunham, 20, right—was found not guilty of the same crime after the victim refused to testify. No charges were filed against the Dunhams, who moved to Florida.

Date: December 2008
Sartell, Minnesota and Holdingford, Minnesota Continue reading

Rainbow Lord, and 2 siblings

Yahweh Lord (born c. 1983), Rainbow Lord (born c. 1985), and Angel Lord (born c. 1988) were abused by their father, John Lamont Davis (who also went by “Rajohn Lord”), their mother Carrie Lee Davis, and Faye Alice Potts, who lived with the Davises. “The boys were schooled at home, but not under any official home-schooling program. Potts taught them English and math.” In spring 1991, 6-year-old Rainbow ate a piece of drywall and became sick, perhaps due to a beating. As the Davises’ extreme religious beliefs were opposed to medical care, they did not seek treatment for Rainbow. After he died, they burned his body.

Yahweh and Angel grew up isolated from the outside world. They were starved, beaten with a “rod of correction”, and sometimes chained to their beds. When they were rescued, they did not know how to eat an apple and they were severely underdeveloped, with “wasted muscles that [made] it difficult for them to walk.” The boys were not allowed to speak unless they were reading from the Bible, were not allowed to use the bathroom, and were only allowed to shower under a cold hose every few months. They were never seen by a doctor.

The abuse came to light in October 2000 when Yahweh called 911. After the boys’ rescue, Yahweh changed his name to Jerry and Angel changed his name to Michael. Jerry was diagnosed with schizophrenia and sadly was murdered in 2003 not far from the group home where he was living.

The Davises and Potts were charged with “two counts each of torture, felony child abuse involving great bodily harm and false imprisonment.” After Rainbow’s remains were discovered, they were also charged with his murder, and John Davis was also charged with raping a “15- or 16-year-old girl in January 1995.” Following these charges, Davis committed suicide in his cell. Carrie Davis pleaded guilty and was sent to a mental institution, and Potts pleaded no contest and was sent to prison.

Date: October 14, 2000
Twentynine Palms, California Continue reading

Son of Christopher and Trina Pope, and 8 siblings

An 8-year-old boy was starved and chained to a bed for a year by his parents, Christopher Shawn Pope and Trina Pope. The boy’s grandmother, Wanda Zavala, knew about the abuse but did nothing because she believed he “was possessed with evil spirits.” The boy’s 7 siblings (ages 10, 9, 6, 4, 3, 20 months and 8 months; Trina Pope was pregnant with her 9th child) were not similarly abused. The boy had previously attended school, “but his father had withdrawn him because of what the father contended were discipline problems and he was being home-schooled.”

The boy was not released even to use the bathroom, and by the time he was found chained to the bed rail the soiled mattress had been removed and he was sleeping on the floor. He also “had some injuries on him,” according to police. The boy weighed 51 lbs. when he was rescued after child services received a tip in April 1999. The other children were not removed until July when the Popes were finally arrested—the police had tried for three months to speak with the other children, but “the parents would not let them speak with police.” Social services had previously been called to the house in May 1997 when the Popes left their children at home to go see a movie.

Christopher and Trina Pope were found guilty of child endangerment and sentenced to 18 months and one year in prison, respectively. Zavala was charged with a misdemeanor.

Date: April 12, 1999
Pasadena, Texas Continue reading

Helen Wells

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

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

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

Ariel Winter, and 1 sibling

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

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

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

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

Georgia and Patterson Inman

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

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

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

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

2 Children by Barbara Dean Baldwin and Tommy Lee Baldwin

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

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

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

Date: August 8, 2002
Houston, Texas Continue reading

2 children of Sandra and Jeffrey Weller, and 4 siblings

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

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

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

Date: October 7, 2011
Vancouver, Washington Continue reading

4 Daughters of Kenneth Yaw and Rita Starceski

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

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

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

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

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

Children of Samuel Thomas Patrick and Debra Lynn Patrick

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

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

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

2 daughters of Johann and Kimery Jorg

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

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

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

2 boys by Barbara and Tommy Baldwin

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

Date: August, 2002
Missouri City, Texas Continue reading

Brandon Clutter


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

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

Donovan McKee


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

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

Dozens of children by Dwight “Malachi” York

Dwight York

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

Date: May 2002
Location: Eatonton, Georgia Continue reading

Four Children of M.A.H. and R.J.H.

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

Date: October 2012
Location: Minnesota Continue reading

10 children of Sharon and Reed Leonard

sharon and reed leonard house

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

Date: September 18, 2010
Neosho, Missouri

Continue reading

7 Children of Thomas Halbesleben and Jessica Halbesleben

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

Date: June 2005
 Eagle, Idaho Continue reading

Hannah Davenport

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

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

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

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

10 children of Jack and Kathy Stratton

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

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

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

Lance Planck

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

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

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

M. L. Lloyd III


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

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

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

Date: April 1, 2008
Location: Reserve, Louisiana

Continue reading

Kylie Lavelle


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

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

LoReyna Barea


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

LoReyna and her siblings were homeschooled.

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

Date: March 9, 2007
Location: Evans, Colorado

Continue reading

Milton Baker III


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

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

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

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

Alexander Perkins and 1 Sibling

Alexander Perkins

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

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

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

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

2 children of Arthur and Lori Allain

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

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

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

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

Date: May 18, 2004
Brooksville, Florida Continue reading

Desirae, Deondra, and Melody Brown

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

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

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

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

Anna Farmer

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

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

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

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

Date: December 29, 2003
Pearland, Texas Continue reading

Michaela and Caleb Parker

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

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

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

Date: April 23, 2005
Scottsdale, Arizona Continue reading

6 children of Lora and Aubrey Thomas

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

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

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

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

Date: October 14, 2011
Sperry, Oklahoma Continue reading

3 children by Iliana, Rogelio, and Tim Archuleta

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

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

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

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

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