Stoni Blair and Stephen Berry

stoni blair and stephen berry
Stoni Ann Blair (b. 2000) and Stephen Gage Berry (b. 2004) were murdered by their mother, Mitchelle Blair. The children, along with their older sister (b. 1998) and younger brother (b. 2007), were homeschooled.

Blair told police she caught Stephen sexually assaulting his brother in August 2012 and that she then scalded him to death. She allegedly then found Stoni sexually assaulting the younger brother in May 2013. She starved and tortured Stoni for a week before strangling her to death. The children’s bodies were placed in a freezer inside the home, where they were discovered in March 2015 by an eviction crew. Blair was charged with child abuse.

Date: March 24, 2015
Detroit, Michigan Continue reading

K.B. by Robert Sanders

robert sanders
A 13-year-old girl known as K.B. was sexually abused by her stepfather, Robert E. Sanders. Sanders forced her to agree to a “covenant” where he assaulted her in exchange for giving her “rewards” such as being allowed to attend social events at church. The girl and her siblings were homeschooled due to the family’s religious convictions.

Sanders, a New Jersey correctional officer, married the girl’s mother, J.S., in 2002. The abuse began in 2009 when K.B. was 11 and continued until she told her mother about it in March 2010. Sanders was arrested shortly thereafter. He was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Date: March 8, 2010
Quinton Township, New Jersey Continue reading

Christi and Bobby Baskin

christie and bobby baskin
Katharine Christine “Christi” Baskin (b. 1980) and Robert Maple “Bobby” Baskin (b. 1981) were abducted from their Murfreesboro, Tennessee home by their grandparents, Marvin L. Maple and Sandra K. Maple, on March 1, 1989. The Maples had been granted temporary custody of the children by Tennessee officials while charges of Satanic ritual abuse against their parents, Mark and Debbie Baskin, were investigated. After the charges were determined to be unfounded, the Maples refused to return the children and escaped to California, where they homeschooled the children to avoid detection. The Maples, who went by the aliases of John and Frances Bunting, also changed the children’s names to Jennifer and Jonathan Bunting.

The children were discovered twenty years later after Marvin Maple, unhappy with how he was represented in a newspaper article commemorating the kidnapping, confessed to a friend, who reported him to the police. Maple was originally charged with kidnapping but arranged a plea deal to plead to custodial interference and receive only four years of probation. Sandra Maple had died in March 2006.

Date: February 2, 2009
San Jose, California Continue reading

4 Children of David and ReJeana Moss

david and rejeana moss
Two girls, ages 11 and 13, and a mentally disabled 17-year-old boy were imprisoned, starved, and physically and sexually abused by their adoptive parents, David V. Moss and ReJeana Moss. Their 9-year-old adopted brother was not abused. The children were homeschooled.

The children were adopted around 2004, but the abuse did not begin until 2011 shortly after the Mosses’ two biological sons, who also report being abused, left the home. The three older adopted children were kept locked in their rooms with a bucket for a bathroom. The windows were boarded up and they were not given enough to eat. They were beaten so frequently with a paddle that it had bloodstains on it. The two girls were also sexually abused by David Moss.

The abuse came to light in August 2013, when the two girls managed to escape from their room, took their parents’ car, and crashed it. They reported the abuse to the police during the investigation of the crash, and the four children were removed from the home in September 2013. The Mosses were indicted on several counts including kidnapping, assault, child endangerment, and sexual battery.

Date: August 26, 2013
Dorset Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio Continue reading

6 Children of John and Carolyn Caminiti

Six children—four boys (CM, b. 1993; JC, b. 1995; LK, b. 1998; and KD, b. 2005) and two girls (RJ, b. 2000; and TR, b. 2007)—were abused by their father, John Caminiti (right). Their mother, Carolyn Caminiti, was both a victim and a perpetrator of the abuse. All six children had been homeschooled since the Caminitis moved to Wisconsin from Michigan in 2005 to join the Aleitheia Bible Church. ABC, which is led by John’s brother Phil Caminiti (left), teaches strict corporal punishment of its children.

The four youngest children (LK, RJ, KD and TR) were beaten often with a wooden dowel for disobedience. The children were rarely allowed to play with other children or to leave the house. The four oldest children (CM, JC, LK, and RJ) were often confined to their rooms and prevented from eating with the rest of the family as punishment for disobedience and for expressing their feelings. In January 2010, 14-year-old CM was confined to his room for a period of three weeks.

Eight people in the ABC, including Phil and John Caminiti and two of Phil’s adult children, were charged with child abuse of children in the church. John Caminiti was sentenced to one year in prison followed by eight years of probation where he would not be permitted to see his children.

Date: November 19, 2010
Black Earth, Wisconsin Continue reading

14 Children by Roland and Jacques Robidoux

Fourteen children were physically abused and medically neglected in The Body, a cultlike organization controlled by their grandfather, Roland Robidoux, and his son Jacques Robidoux. When they were rescued, the victims included: 4 children of Jacques and Karen Robidoux; 5 children (ages 3 to 10) of Dennis and Michelle (Robidoux) Mingo; 4 daughters of David and Rebecca (Robidoux) Corneau; and 1 infant daughter of Mark and Trinette (Robidoux) Daneau. Three additional children (Jacques’s son Samuel and two of the Corneaus’ children) died before they could be removed from their parents’ custody. All the children were homeschooled.

Roland encouraged sect members “to beat their children with paddles to ‘break their spirit’ and encouraged spanking babies who were just a few months old.” Sect members opposed traditional medicine (including eyeglasses), practiced unassisted homebirths, and never took their children to a doctor. The Corneaus’ two dead children—Jeremiah, born in spring 1999, and an unnamed child born in late 2001—were stillborn due to complications in unassisted homebirths. Samuel Robidoux was 11 months old when he was deliberately starved to death after a religious vision by Michelle Mingo.

The murder came to light in November 1999 when Dennis Mingo fled the sect with his children and reported it to the police. The rest of the children were subsequently removed by social services. Jacques Robidoux was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Karen Robidoux was convicted of assault and sentenced to time served. Michelle Mingo pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and was sentenced to time served. Roland Robidoux was never charged and died of natural causes in 2006.

Date: November 10, 1999
Attleboro, Massachusetts Continue reading

Leonard Cammalleri

Leonard Joseph “Lenny” Cammalleri, b. 1983, was abducted by his father, Leonard Alfred Cammalleri, in April 1984. Cammalleri homeschooled Lenny to avoid detection, preventing him from socializing with other children and closely monitoring his movements outside the home. Cammalleri never took Lenny to a doctor.

Lenny was abducted from the Stamford, Connecticut home of his mother, Candice Hartman, as part of a custody dispute—Cammalleri purportedly believed Lenny was in danger of abuse. He raised him first in Florida and then in the Bronx. The boy was discovered in 1996. Cammalleri was convicted of kidnapping and served 2 years in prison.

Date: September 26, 1996
New York City, New York Continue reading

Son of Tina Graham and Vernon Widner

vernon widner and tina graham widner
A 14-year-old boy was starved, caged, and physically abused by his mother, Tina Louise Graham, and her fiance Vernon D. Widner. The boy was withdrawn from school in January 2011 to be homeschooled, although no education actually took place. The boy’s older minor sister participated in the abuse; it is unclear if she or the boy’s other siblings were also abused.

The boy was beaten with a horsewhip and belt, strangled, fed one meal per day, and locked in a dog kennel several times, once for an entire day. His parents forced him to bathe with extremely hot water and bleach; they also threatened to cut off his genitals and threatened him with a loaded gun.

The abuse came to light in March 2011, when the boy’s repeated attempts to run away from home brought him to the police’s attention. He told them that being unable to escape the abuse by going to school had made it too much to bear. Graham and Widner were charged with multiple felonies including criminal confinement, battery, and neglect of a dependent.

Date: March 2011
Lowell, Indiana Continue reading

9 Children of James and Lucinda Haskin

james lucinda haskins
Nine children, ages 3 to 17, were starved, neglected, and sexually abused by their parents, James E. Haskin Jr. and Lucinda Catherine Haskin. The Haskins claimed to be homeschooling them.

According to an affidavit, the children were neglected from December 2009 to October 20, 2011. The Haskins “withheld proper food, shelter, clothing, hygiene and education.” Two of the girls were sexually abused by James Haskin, and the 16-year-old girl gave birth to his child in August 2010. Haskin told her the child was born dead and allegedly buried her on his property (the baby’s body was never found). Though the girls told their mother more than ten times about the abuse, she did nothing to prevent it.

The abuse came to light when police learned that the Haskins were associates of Marty Hester, who was arrested October 28, 2011 for aggravated possession of child pornography. James Haskin was found guilty on “nine counts of child neglect and three counts of sexual abuse”; he was sentenced to 245 years in prison. Lucinda Haskin pleaded no contest to similar charges and was found unfit to stand trial.

Date: October 20, 2011
Monroe, Oklahoma Continue reading

3 children of Stanley Lacefield and Cicely Mason

lacefield and mason
A 10-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister were beaten and imprisoned by their stepfather, Stanley A. Lacefield, and their mother, Cicely K. Mason. The couple were also wanted in Arkansas on charges of beating one of Lacefield’s sons in 1998. Their 6-month-old son was not reported to be abused. The children were homeschooled.

The boy was forced to live in a kitchen cupboard while his sister was forced to live in a closet. The boy was scalded, beaten with a hammer and a knotted extension cord, and tortured with other household implements. The abuse came to light in September 1999 when the boy escaped from his prison and was found wandering in the street with a fractured skull and hand and leg injuries. Lacefield and Mason went on the run with the two younger children; they were featured on America’s Most Wanted and were apprehended in Memphis, Tennessee on October 2, 1999. They each pleaded guilty to several felonies. Lacefield was sentenced to 25 years in prison; Mason was sentenced to 8.

Date: September 23, 1999
Dayton, Ohio Continue reading

4 children of Lucinda and Edward Sizemore Sr.

Eddie Sizemore Jr. (age 17) and his three siblings (ages 11, 8, and 4) were imprisoned, deprived of food and water, and neglected by their parents, Lucinda and Edward Sizemore Sr. The children were homebirthed and did not have birth certificates. Eddie attended first grade but was then pulled from school. The other three children never attended school and were incapable of speaking English—they devised their own language to communicate among themselves.

The Sizemores moved to Ohio from Hazard, Kentucky in 1988. In 1996 child services began investigating them, but stopped when the Sizemores claimed to be moving back to Kentucky. The children were not allowed to leave the house because Lucinda Sizemore told them that “if they went outside and people saw them not being in school, she’d get in trouble.” Eddie was made to sleep under only a plastic sheet during the winter. When they were rescued, the younger children could not bathe or dress themselves. One of them had an untreated hernia.

The abuse came to light when Eddie wrote a letter to his aunt begging for her help. He had been afraid to ask for help before due to fear of punishment by his father. The Sizemores were each charged with “four counts of nonsupport of a dependent, a misdemeanor” and sentenced to one year in prison.

Date: January 1999
Dayton, Ohio Continue reading

4 children by Rita and William Meserve

Four children, ages 16, 13, 10, and 8, were tortured by their aunt, Rita Meserve. Their uncle, William Franklin Meserve, did nothing to stop the abuse and in some cases held the children down. The children were homeschooled.

The children came to live in the Meserves’ mobile home in 1994 after their mother died of breast cancer (their father was in prison). The children were repeatedly shot with a staple gun as punishment for failing to complete their chores or schoolwork. The Meserves claimed the children did it to themselves.

The eldest boy alerted police to the abuse in February 1999. The Meserves were found guilty of “25 counts of abuse, including four torture charges” and sentenced to life in prison.

Date: February 1999
San Bernardino, California Continue reading

Pridine Fru

Actress and talk-show host Pridine Fru (right) was imprisoned and physically and sexually abused by her adoptive parents, Joseph (seated) and Evelyn (left) Djoumessi, from the time she was illegally adopted at age 14 until she was rescued at age 17. During this time, she was forced to live in the Djoumessis’ basement and work as their slave, responsible for all housework and childcare. Though the conditions of the adoption—which occurred under a false name and with a fraudulent passport—included sending Pridine to school, the Djoumessis did not do so and instead homeschooled her. However, the only thing they contributed to her education was to check a GED book out from the library.

Pridine was originally adopted in 1996 from the Djoumessis’ native Cameroon under an arrangement with the girl’s parents whereby Pridine would help provide childcare and in exchange the Djoumessis would send her to school. Instead they enslaved her. She was not allowed to use the showers in the house; she was prevented from ever leaving the house by threats and intimidation; she was beaten with a belt, a spoon, and a shoe; and she was raped several times by Joseph Djoumessi. In January 2000, when she learned that the Djoumessis intended to send her back to Cameroon and bring over another girl, she escaped to seek help from her neighbor, who reported the abuse to the police in February.

The Djoumessis were each charged with child abuse, kidnapping, and conspiracy to kidnap, although the two latter charges were later dropped. Both were found guilty of child abuse and sent to prison. Joseph Djoumessi was also found guilty of criminal sexual conduct.

Date: February 24, 2000
Farmington Hills, Michigan Continue reading

Raysate Knight

raysate knight
Raysate Chain Knight, age 6, was starved, imprisoned, and beaten to death by her stepfather, Raymond Jefferson, and her mother Connie Knight. Knight’s four other children, girls ages 16, 13, and 8 and a 4-year-old boy, were not abused. Raysate was homeschooled.

Raysate was born addicted to cocaine and removed from her mother’s custody. She lived with her grandmother, aunt and uncle until she was 4 years old and her mother reclaimed her. Knight and Jefferson kept Raysate locked in a urine-soaked closet, fed her less than their other children, burned her with cigarettes, and beat her with thorny branches. When Raysate turned the TV on too loud in September 2001, Jefferson beat her unconscious. Knight and Jefferson did not call an ambulance for fear of the abuse being discovered, and Raysate died as a result of her injuries.

The abuse came to light when Raysate’s body was found dumped in a water-filled ditch. During the six months it took to identify her body, she was known in the media as “Angel Doe”. Her grandmother eventually identified her from a police sketch. Knight and Jefferson were arrested in March 2003 in Lafayette, Louisiana, where they had fled after the murder. Both were found guilty of injury to a child. Knight was sentenced to 50 years in prison and Jefferson was sentenced to life.

Date: September 7, 2001
Houston, Texas Continue reading

Boy by Jennifer Yanke and Stephan Alcox

jennifer yanke and stephan alcox
A 13-year-old boy was neglected and deprived of food by his mother, Jennifer Yanke, and his stepfather Stephan Alcox. The boy had been pulled out of school and was reportedly homeschooling himself.

The boy was left alone in a feces-strewn vacant house for a month while his parents lived in a nearby hotel. The boy slept on an air mattress with only a space heater; he had no running water and little food. The abuse came to light when the boy’s grandmother called the police “after she learned that he was living alone, homeschooling himself and surviving on a diet of cereal and dry pasta.” Yanke and Alcox were both charged with abandoning and endangering a child.

Date: November 19, 2014
Dallas, Texas Continue reading

7 Children of Sonia Kubisak

sonia kubisak
Seven children, ages 7 to 17, were neglected by their mother, Sonia Kubisak, who claimed to be homeschooling them.

In March 2014, Kubisak moved the children to a campsite in Oklahoma, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship in Pennsylvania. Kubisak starved the children and medicated them with cattle wormer and flea treatment. When the children were rescued in August, the campsite was covered with human feces and rotting animal feed.

After they were rescued, the children were diagnosed with “multiple illnesses closely associated with neglect and malnutrition.” Kubisak was charged with seven counts of neglect.

Date: August 1, 2014
Albion, Pushmataha County, Oklahoma Continue reading

Stacy and Jeremy Beckman

stacy and jeremy beckman
Stacy Beckman, age 10, and Jeremy Beckman, age 8, were imprisoned, starved, and physically and sexually abused by their foster parents, Shane and Judy Huxoll. The children had been pulled from school to be homeschooled, which “mostly consisted of crossword puzzles, math problems and learning how to tell time…Every wrong answer resulted in a beating from Shane.”

Stacy and Jeremy were removed from the home of their neglectful birth mother, Cindy Beckman, when Stacy was 4 years old. The Huxolls cared for the children at first, but the situation soon escalated into an abusive one. The Huxolls “kept [Stacy] locked in her bedroom without blankets or clothing, beat her almost daily with a leather belt, kicked her in the face, pulled her hair out and did not feed her for up to 48 hours at a time.” She was also raped by Shane Huxoll. Stacy weighed 51 lbs. when she was rescued.

When Stacy discovered her brother was receiving similar treatment, she escaped from her prison through a hole in the rotted floor. She was found by a neighbor, who called the police. The Huxolls were each charged with child abuse causing serous bodily injury. They made a plea deal and were sentenced to four years in prison.

Date: April 1995
Greeley, Colorado Continue reading

Thomas Elberling

thomas elberling
Thomas Elberling, age 11, was shot to death by his father, Jens Elberling, who then committed suicide. Thomas had been homeschooled for the past two years.

Thomas was recognized internationally as a chess champion and was ranked fifth in his age group in the US. Jens Elberling and Thomas’s mother, Kate Chou, filed for divorce in May 2014 and were fighting for custody of Thomas because they disagreed about his education—Elberling believed Thomas should continue to be homeschooled, while Chou disagreed, “stating in court papers her son had repeatedly asked to attend a public school.” Chou was preparing to enroll Thomas in a public school for the fall when he was murdered.

Date: September 6, 2014
Scotch Plains, New Jersey Continue reading

Granddaughter of Steve and Joetta Sells

steve and joetta sells
A 15-year-old girl was beaten, imprisoned, and nearly starved to death by her grandfather, Steve Sells, his wife Joetta Sells, and Steve’s daughter Crystal Sells. The girl, who had special needs, was withdrawn from school in 2010 to be homeschooled. The girl’s 4-year-old sibling was not reported to be abused.

Steve Sells got custody of the girl and her sibling in 2009 when their biological mother Jannifer Sells abandoned them. The girl was kept in a locked room day and night with only a mattress and a bucket to relieve herself. When she was rescued she weighed 38 pounds, she was covered with feces, and her bones protruded through her skin.

The abuse came to light when Joetta and Crystal Sells found her unresponsive and waited 3 hours before calling an ambulance. Steve, Joetta, and Crystal were each charged with multiple felonies, including neglect of a dependent, criminal confinement, and battery.

Date: December 1, 2014
Anderson, Indiana Continue reading

3 Children of Jaileen Soliman

jaileen soliman
Three children, ages 10, 7 and 1, were neglected and deprived of food by their mother, Jaileen Lorraine Soliman. The two older children had been homeschooled for the past two months after the 7-year-old girl was suspended for a week and Soliman chose to withdraw them both.

The children were deprived of meals if they did not do their chores. The home was filled with pet feces and one of the children was covered in insect bites when they were rescued. The abuse came to light when police went to the home in response to a complaint. The children were removed from the home and Soliman was charged with child neglect.

Date: November 14, 2007
Port St. Lucie, Florida Continue reading

Son of Charles Wingate and Sharon Starkey

wingate and starkey
A 13-year-old autistic boy was imprisoned in a filthy home by his parents, Charles E. Wingate and Sharon Starkey. Wingate was a former City Council member and Starkey was an employee at a United Methodist child care facility. The boy was homeschooled online and told police he did not remember ever going outside.

The abuse came to light after a concerned neighbor called the police, who found the boy home alone. He was naked and the house was covered with feces and living and dead rodents. It was immediately condemned by the city. The boy was taken into custody by the state and Wingate and Starkey were charged with child neglect.

Date: May 16, 2013
Colorado Springs, Colorado Continue reading

4 Children of Raymond and Ida Thurmond

Four children, ages 14, 13, 12, and 9, were beaten, imprisoned, starved, and medically neglected by their father, Raymond Daniel Thurmond, and their mother, Ida Thurmond. (The two oldest children were Raymond’s from a previous marriage; the 12-year-old was Ida’s from a previous marriage; and the youngest child was their biological child.) Though Ida claimed to be homeschooling the children, investigators found no evidence of this and the children were not registered with their school district. Only the oldest child had ever been to school, and he had been withdrawn in second grade.

The children had been kept imprisoned since August 2005 in a filthy trailer with padlocks on the front door and the bedroom doors. In the three years they were held prisoner, the children were only allowed out of the trailer once. They were beaten with a steel-toed boot and were deprived of food. When they were rescued, they were undernourished and underweight. One of the children had a serious medical condition that had not been treated. Originally police believed Raymond had sexually assaulted Ida, who claimed to have been a prisoner also; however, later evidence led to the finding that Ida was involved in the child abuse.

The abuse came to light when Raymond told Ida he was leaving her for another woman and she took the children to a domestic violence shelter. An employee at the shelter called the police, who arrested Raymond in August 2008. In December 2008, Ida lost custody of all four children, and she was arrested for her part in the abuse in October 2009. Both Raymond and Ida were charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment. Raymond pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served.

Date: August 4, 2008
Lavonia, Georgia Continue reading

Children of Christine Baughman

christine baughman 3
An 11-year-old boy was physically and emotionally abused by his adoptive mother, Christine Evelyn Baughman. The boy’s adoptive father, pediatrician Henry Baughman, has not been charged. The boy and his brother were adopted from Ukraine in 2013. The Baughmans’ four children were homeschooled, according to Christine Baughman’s Pinterest profile.

The abuse, which included beatings with a belt, came to light after an anonymous tip brought child services to the home for a welfare check on November 22. Officials then arranged an interview with the boy, who disclosed the abuse. Baughman was charged with cruelty to children.

Date: November 25, 2014
Ringgold, Georgia Continue reading

Shane Alan Coffman and 5 Siblings

Shane_Coffman2Coffman and Gilson

The body of eight-year-old Shane Alan Coffman was discovered in a freezer in a trailer home in February 1996. His five siblings, ages seven to twelve, were taken into productive custody. All of the children had been abused, and two were so malnourished they had to be hospitalized. Authorities believe Shane died due to excessive discipline at the hands of his mother, Bertha Jean Coffman, and her boyfriend, Donald Lee Gilson, in August 1995. The children had been taken into foster care briefly two years before, but were returned to Coffman after she met certain requirements. Coffman and her children moved into Gilson’s trailer in June 1995.

The pastor at the church where the children had attended Sunday school reported that he had frequently fed the children at church, and that he had called social services with his concerns on several occasions. However, when Coffman moved in with Gilson the children were no longer allowed to attend church. The school district reported that the children had been withdrawn from school off and on, but that at the beginning of the school year the mother had sent a letter reporting her intent to homecshool. “It raised a red flag for us,” the district’s spokesperson admitted. “But we can’t police home-school.”

Gilson admitted in court that he killed Shane by beating him with a board on August 17, 1995. Gilson was given the death penalty and was executed in 2009. Coffman was sentenced to life in prison.

Date: February 18, 1996
Location: Little Axe, Oklahoma Continue reading

10 Children of Dave and Wonda Dixon

dave and wonda dixon
Ten special-needs children—six boys ages 14, 14, 12, 8, 8 and 3; and four girls ages 12, 10, 5 and 5—were physically abused by their adoptive parents, Dave and Wonda Dixon. They were beaten with paddles, switches, and a water hose. The 12-year-old girl was singled out for abuse and was starved and deprived of medical care; her parents urged her siblings to hit her. After teachers reported her emaciated appearance to child services, the Dixons removed her from school to homeschool her.

The abuse came to light when a child services investigator saw the girl in August 2013 and ordered her hospitalization. She weighed 57 lbs. when she was rescued. The Dixons were indicted that October on charges of injury to a child and imprisoned. The children were removed to foster homes.

Date: August 21, 2013
Lubbock, Texas Continue reading

4 Children by Daniel Sweetman

daniel sweetman
Four children, including a 9-year-old boy, his 8-year-old sister, and a 10-year-old boy, were sexually abused by their babysitter, Daniel Sweetman, around March 1991. Sweetman was the son of Julius Schacknow, the leader of a new religious movement to which the children’s families belonged. The children in the group had been homeschooled since 1988 on Schacknow’s orders after a teenager had disclosed abuse to one of his teachers.

Sweetman was convicted of sexual abuse and sentenced to a year in prison.

Date: August 28, 1991
Hamden, Connecticut Continue reading

Amber Dawn Lee, and 10 children by Arvin Shreeve

amber dawn lee
Amber Dawn Lee (b. 1971) is one of at least 10 children who were sexually abused by Arvin Shreeve, the leader of a polygamist new religious movement called the Zion Society. Like the other children in the group, Amber was homeschooled, which she states “consisted solely of singing, scripture, and penmanship”.

The abuse came to light when police raided the group’s compound in August 1991 based on Ron Van Drimmelen’s report that Shreeve had sexually abused his 7-year-old son and Kori Christofferson’s report of other sexual abuse of children that was occurring in the group. Shreeve pleaded guilty to sodomy and sex abuse of a child and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, where he later died. Nine other adults in the group, including Sharon Kapp, Jennifer Shreeve, Amy Partridge, and Mark W. Lichfield, were also sentenced to prison time for sex crimes against children.

Date: August 1991
Ogden, Utah Continue reading

Aaron Norman

Aaron Norman, age 10, died of untreated juvenile diabetes after a beating intended to heal him. His parents, Bobbie and Judith Norman, who were members of a new religious movement known as the No-Name Fellowship or Champaign-Urbana Ministries, believed in faith healing and failed to seek medical assistance for him. Aaron was homeschooled.

Bob Norman was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. Several other adults—including Douglas Kleber, founder of the Fellowship, and Jeffrey Siegel, the group’s former pastor—were convicted of criminal mistreatment in conjunction with the case.

Date: December 20, 1987
Mead, Washington Continue reading

Dayna Broussard, and 53 children by Eldridge Broussard

dayna broussard
Dayna Lorrae Broussard, age 8, was beaten to death by four adults—Willie K. Chambers, Brian J. Brinson, Constance Zipporah Jackson and Frederick Paul Doolittle—in the Ecclesia Athletic Association, a new religious movement run by Dayna’s father, Eldridge Broussard Jr. After her death, 53 other children were removed from the compound, showing signs of systematic beating and food deprivation. The children were homeschooled.

Chambers, Brinson, Jackson, and Doolittle were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Broussard, along with three other members of the group, was later indicted for child slavery; Broussard died of natural causes before he could be brought to trial.

Date: October 13, 1988
Sandy, Oregon Continue reading

A.S. and L.S. by Wayne Bent

healed travesser wayne bent
Two girls—A.S., age 16, and L.S., a.k.a. Healed Travesser (pictured), age 14—were sexually abused by Wayne Bent, a.k.a. Michael Travesser (pictured). The girls were the children of John and Elsa Sayer, who were members of the Lord Our Righteousness Church or Strong City, a new religious movement led by Bent, who claimed he was the Messiah. The girls were homeschooled.

John Sayer and his family left the church around August 2006 after Bent told him God had ordered him to sleep with seven virgins, including Sayer’s two daughters. The younger girl later returned to Bent’s compound on her own and was removed by social services along with two other children in April 2008. Bent was found guilty of criminal sexual contact of a minor (committed against the older girl) and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bent was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Date: April 22, 2008
Clayton, New Mexico Continue reading

13 children of Winnfred Wright

winnfred wright
Thirteen children—ranging in age from 8 months to 15 years—were starved, imprisoned, beaten, and medically neglected by their father, Winnfred Wright (left), and his four wives (from left to right) Carol Bremner, Deirdre Wilson, Mary Campbell, and Kali Polk-Matthews. Wright’s fifth wife, Susan Weber, who had left Wright’s cultlike home around 1990, had two additional children with him (one of whom died in infancy). The children were homeschooled.

The children were beaten with a belt, had their mouths covered with tape, and were forced to eat chili peppers as punishment. One girl was “tied to a playpen at night for two weeks as punishment for eating during a fast”. The children were kept to a strict vegetarian diet and many of them had bone deformities due to poor nutrition. They were not permitted to leave the house and the windows were often covered. The children never visited the doctor or dentist and most were found to have rickets when they were rescued.

The abuse came to light in 2001 when 19-month-old Ndigo Campisi-Nyah-Wright died of malnutrition and the women brought him to the emergency room. Authorities then removed the other children from the home. Bremner, who had leukemia, died in state custody, and the charges against Polk-Matthews were dropped. The others pleaded guilty to child endangerment; Wright was sentenced to 16 years in prison, Campbell to 10, and Wilson to 7.

Date: November 13, 2001
Marinwood, California Continue reading

Jessica Crank

jessica crank
Jessica Crank, age 15, died of bone cancer which her mother, Jacqueline Crank, and stepfather Ariel Ben Sherman left untreated. When she died, she had a tumor the size of a basketball. Jessica was homeschooled.

Sherman, who had been convicted of child abuse in Oregon in 1987, was the leader of the Universal Life Church, a cult-like group which practiced faith healing. In February 2002, Sherman and Crank took Jessica to a chiropractor, who urged them to immediately take her to an emergency room. They did not do so. It was not until June 2002 that authorities were successful in getting medical attention for Jessica. She died in September 2002.

Sherman and Crank were convicted of misdemeanor child neglect.

Date: September 15, 2002
Lenoir City, Tennessee Continue reading

3 Boys by Douglas Myers

douglas w myers
Three boys, born in 1983, 1985, and 1986, were sexually abused by Rev. Douglas W. Myers, the minister at Bayside Baptist Church. The boy who was born in 1985 was homeschooled at the church by Myers between seventh and ninth grade (that is, around 1998); it is unknown if the other boys were also homeschooled.

The abuse came to light in 2012 when the boy born in 1983 wrote a letter to police to report it and an investigation turned up the other two victims. At that time, Myers was already in prison for sexually abusing the grandson of a parishioner in Eustis, Florida from July 2005 until his arrest on February 24, 2006. He was sentenced to 15 more years in prison for abusing the three Maryland boys.

Date: 1998
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland Continue reading

Aziza Kibibi, and 7 siblings

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

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

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

Date: 2006
Paterson, New Jersey Continue reading

2 Children of Kimberly and John Quebe

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

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

Date: July 21, 2008
Anaheim, California Continue reading

Gregory Jean Jr.

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

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

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

Date: November 29, 2014
Jonesboro, Georgia Continue reading

7 Children of Jeffrey and Danita York

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

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

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

Date: December 2009
Madison Township, Ohio Continue reading

5 Children of Jessica Banks

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

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

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

Date: June 2005
Moreno Valley, California Continue reading

4 Children of Sylvia and Michael Wenger

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

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

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

Date: 2001
Chewelah, Washington Continue reading

Children by Tony Alamo

Image: Tony Alamojeanne amy desiree nikki

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

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

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

Date: September 20, 2008
Fouke, Arkansas Continue reading

2 Children of Latisha Lawson

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

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

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

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

28 Children of Kathy and Dan Blackburn

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

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

Date: 1995
Shelbyville, Indiana Continue reading

3 Grandchildren of James and Cheri Crawford

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

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

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

Date: July 2009
Hartsville, South Carolina Continue reading

11 Children of Jeremy and Christine Long

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

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

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

Date: July 31, 2008
Hephzibah, Georgia Continue reading

7 Children of Adrienne Bartholomew and James Brothers

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

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

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

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

2 Children of James and Anne Cardona

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

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

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

Date: August 16, 2010
Marietta, Georgia Continue reading

4 Children of John and Margie Cantrell

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

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

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

*Not their real names

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

Benson, Emery, and Zion Strack

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

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

Date: September 27, 2014
Springville, Utah Continue reading

Jackie Zudis

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

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

Date: May 2005
West Palm Beach, Florida Continue reading