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
Location: Marinwood, California
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