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
Location: Farmington Hills, Michigan
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