Warning! Explicit images included in this blog post.
Isn’t she a pretty young girl? This is Sylvia Likens – 1965. She was 16 . . . when she was repeatedly tortured and then killed by Gertrude Baniszewski, a woman Sylvia was staying with while her parents, carnival workers, were out of town.
Sylvia was a sweet girl but Gertrude, who was poor and had many children of her own, blamed Sylvia for bogus acts. Gertrude evidently needed an outlet for her stress an anger, and Sylvia Likens was nearby.
Gertrude’s teen daughter, Paula, told her mother lies about Sylvia – making things even worse. Gertrude called Sylvia a prostitute and a slut and even “branded” her belly with a hot pin (along with the help of Richard Dean Hobbs, a neighbor teen).
Richard D Hobbs
Gertrude encouraged her own children and neighborhood kids to go to the basement, where Sylvia was bound, and abuse her with kicks, punches, and cigarette burns. The teens would even untie Sylvia and throw her against the basement wall or practice Judo on her. She was also repeatedly made to climb the basement steps, where she was then pushed down them.
Sylvia was soon unable to control her bladder or bowels and was left in her filth.
The poor girl only lasted a few months before dying of malnutrition and blunt trauma to the head. Gertrude had the kids dress the naked girl before the police arrived.
The house where Gertrude did her evil deeds is shown below:
We should never forget little Sylvia Likens and what was done to her. Evil does exist, and Gertrude Baniszewski was filled with it.
(An informative movie about Sylvia’s story is called An American Crime and can be viewed on Amazon Video.)