Her vaginal cavity was almost swollen shut, although an examination of the canal determined that her hymen was still intact, discrediting Gertrude's assertions Likens had been three months pregnant, a prostitute, and promiscuous. At the time of this boarding agreement, Gertrude assured Lester she would care for his daughters until his return as if they were her own children. " Stating that "not a shred of evidence" had been produced indicating any defendant was suffering from a form of mental illness, New again requested the death penalty for each defendant, stating to the jury: "The issue here is not about the electric chair, or a hospital, but about law and order.  Occasionally, she was tied to the railing of the basement stairs with her feet barely touching the ground.. Gertrude tortured the girl to death, but she didn’t act alone.  Marie added that although all five defendants had repeatedly physically and mentally tormented Likens, she had most often witnessed her mother and sister committing these acts[n 10] before her mother had forced Likens to live in the basement where the abuse had further escalated and she had ultimately died. The last occasion Lester and Elizabeth visited their daughters was in late-August. Her severely mutilated body led authorities to initially believe that it was the work of an "anonymous madman".In her death throes, Likens bit through her lips, partially severing each of them. News. Contemporary law in Indiana presumed children beneath the age of 15 at the time of offense to be incapable of any. The wounds themselves varied in location, nature, severity, and the actual stage of healing.  Both the shock she had primarily suffered due to the severe and prolonged damage inflicted to her skin and subcutaneous tissues, plus the severe malnutrition, were listed as contributory factors to her death. Holding aloft a portrait of Likens taken before July 1965, Wessner added: "I wish she were here today, with eyes as in this picture—full of hope and anticipation. Jump to navigation Jump to search. After about eight years behind bars, Paula was released and she moved to Iowa where she changed her name and became a teacher’s aide.  The school made no further investigations in relation to Likens' welfare. For the first two weeks at the Baniszewski’s, Sylvia and her sister were treated kindly enough, though Gertrude’s oldest daughter, 17-year-old Paula Baniszewski, seemed to butt heads with Sylvia often. A 1965 radio interview with one of the neighborhood boys who beat Sylvia. Cause of death was determined to be brain swelling, internal hemorrhaging of the brain and shock induced by Sylvia's extensive skin damage. She had four siblings, an older set of twins, Dianna and Daniel, and a younger set of twins, Jenny and Benny. to rouse her, then, panicking, instructed Richard Hobbs to call the police from a nearby payphone. We'll never know the pain and suffering that Sylvia endured ... the best evidence of that was the picture of her lips—lips that were bitten into shreds! Sylvia Likens Zodiac Sign is Capricorn, Ethnicity White & religion Not Available.. Sylvia Likens Net Worth 2018. As each defendant except Richard Hobbs remained impassive, Wessner recounted the continuous mistreatment Likens had endured before her death, emphasizing that at no point had Likens either provoked any of the defendants, or received any medical care beyond occasionally having margarine rubbed into scalded sections of her face and body. , Two days later, Richard Hobbs testified in his own defense, describing how Gertrude had called Likens to the kitchen on October 23 and stated to her: "You have branded my children so now I'm going to brand you." Throughout his adult life, Hubbard was repeatedly imprisoned for various criminal offenses, on one occasion being charged with the 1977 murders of two young men, although largely due to the fact the chief witnesses to testify at his trial had been a convicted criminal acquaintance of Hubbard's who admitted to having been in his company at the time of the murders, he was acquitted of this charge. “Damn old Gertrude died! Gertrude claimed to the nurse that Likens had run away from her home the previous week and that she was unaware of her actual whereabouts, adding that Likens was "out of control" and that her open sores were a result of Likens' refusal to maintain decent personal hygiene. Likens thought Gertrude was kidding with her and said, "Yeah, it sure is getting big. Riley Mattox. Sylvia Likens died Oct. 26, 1965. She did this because she was upset with the household singling her out for similar accusations. It looks like you're going to have a baby." One immediate neighbor of the Baniszewskis would later inform police she had heard the desperate commotion and that she had identified the source as emanating from the basement of 3850 East New York Street, but that as the noise had suddenly ceased at approximately 3:00 a.m., she decided not to inform police about the disturbance. The site where 3850 East New York Street once stood is now a church parking lot.  The same day, Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. each received sentences of 2-to-21 years, to be served in the Indiana Reformatory. , Richard Hobbs, Coy Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. each served less than two years in the Indiana Reformatory before being granted parole on February 27, 1968. , In his eulogy, the Reverend Gibson stated: "We all have our time (of passing), but we won't suffer like our little sister suffered during the last days of her life. Sylvia Likens is a Student, who was born on 3 January, 1949 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. , George Rice began his closing argument by decrying the fact Paula and the other defendants had been tried jointly. Both initially viewed Gertrude as an ideal caregiver for the Likens sisters and both had visited the Baniszewski residence on two occasions when the girls had been under Gertrude's care. The injuries discovered upon and around Likens' fingernails would later be described as most likely having been inflicted via her "desperate scratching motions" at the trial of her tormentors and murderers. She managed to get out the front door before Gertrude caught her. Courtesy of Pachecomar at Flickr. , Following his 1968 release from the Indiana Reformatory, Coy Hubbard remained in Indiana, and never attempted to change his name. In the years between his release from the Indiana Reformatory and his death, he is known to have suffered at least one nervous breakdown. Taken back to Lebanon, she was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery on October 29, 1965. Jenny then left Sylvia in the basement to perform gardening chores for neighbors in the hope of earning spending money. , Initially, Gertrude denied any involvement in Likens' death, although by October 27 she had confessed to having known "the kids"—particularly her daughter Paula and Coy Hubbard—had physically and emotionally abused Likens, stating that "Paula did most of the damage", and that "Coy Hubbard did a lot of the beating". This is "Sylvia Likens Autopsy Photos - WOW.com - Image Results" by Trixie Terrell on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them. , James Nedder began his closing argument in defense of Richard Hobbs by referring to the loss of Likens, stating: "She had a right to live. " Weeping, Likens replied, "I guess there's nothing I can do. Gertrude, however, refused Dianna entrance to her property, stating that she had "[received] permission" from their parents not to allow either girl to see her. These experts testified that all three were mentally competent to stand trial. Mark Oliver is a writer, teacher, and father whose work has appeared on The Onion's StarWipe, Yahoo, and Cracked, and can be found on his, The Haymarket Riot And The Bomb That Changed The Labor Movement Forever, 9 History-Making Photos Of The Moon's Proverbial Dark Side, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. Mar 5, 2014 - Explore Pamela Tibbetts's board "Sylvia Likens 'graphic content'" on Pinterest. All were charged with having repeatedly struck, beaten, kicked, and otherwise inflicting a culmination of fatal injuries to Sylvia Likens with premeditated malice. This dedication was attended by several hundred people, including members of the Likens family. Your front tooth was knocked out when you were seven." (Find A Grave) Sylvia’s father Lester Cecil Likens (left) and Betty Likens (right). Taken back to Lebanon, she was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery on October 29, 1965. , Following her 1985 release from prison, Gertrude Baniszewski relocated to Iowa. Her vaginal cavity was nearly s… , On another occasion, Paula beat Likens about the face with such force that she broke her own wrist, having primarily focused her blows upon Likens' teeth and eyes. ", Due to the increase in the frequency and brutality of the torture and mistreatment she was subjected to, Likens gradually became incontinent. Likens was then given toast to eat but was unable to consume the food due to her extreme state of dehydration. Members of both groups initiated a sidewalk picket campaign. Comfort was a word she had never heard of but pain stuck to her like a leech. Sylvia was so weak from her injuries she could not have possibly gotten too far. ", Gertrude Baniszewski eventually forbade Likens from attending school after she confessed to having stolen a gym suit from the school, after Gertrude had refused to purchase the clothing for her. Likens' gray casket remained open throughout the ceremony, with a portrait of her taken prior to July 1965 adorning her coffin. The autopsy of Likens’ body revealed she had suffered in excess of 150 separate wounds across her entire body in addition to being extremely emaciated at the time of her death. All of her fingernails were also broken backwards and most of the skin's outer layer peeled off. Did you ever punish or strike Sylvia Marie Likens? An autopsy revealed over 150 separate strikes against her body. In what Hobbs would later insist were "short, light" etchings, he continued to brand the text into Likens' abdomen as she clenched her teeth and moaned. Though a frail woman, Gertrude used a heavy paddle and thick, leather belt from one of her husband’s who had been a cop. Sylvia’s parents were both carnival workers and were therefore on the road more often than not. During her testimony, Jenny stated the abuse her sister and, to a much lesser degree, she herself had endured began approximately two weeks after they had begun to live in the Baniszewski household, and that as the abuse her sister was forced to endure escalated, Likens had occasionally been unable to produce tears due to her acute state of dehydration. If you go below the death penalty (in your verdicts) in this case, you will lower the value of human life by that much for each defendant. She was just 16 years old and had seen the worst face of torture and her life ended in a painful and restless death. Sylvia Likens was the abandoned child, left to a local family, with her sister, in the hopes of the children living a righteous life. , Lester and Elizabeth's marriage was unstable; they often sold candy, beer, and soda at carnival stands around Indiana throughout the summer, moving frequently, and regularly experiencing severe financial difficulties. Will we shy away from the most diabolical case to ever come before a court or jury? Gertrude then dragged Likens into the basement. , That evening, Likens desperately attempted to alert neighbors by screaming for help and hitting the walls of the basement with a spade. Ultimately though, on May 19, 1966, Gertrude Baniszewski was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. She was born between two sets of fraternal twins: Diana and Danny (two years older), and Jenny and Benny (one year younger, the former disabled by polio). Refraining from acknowledging the catalog of atrocities each had inflicted upon Likens, Bowman repeatedly emphasized his clients' age, stating each was only guilty of assault and battery before seeking a verdict of not guilty for each youth. After this horrific look at the fate of Sylvia Likens, find out about the California parents who kept 13 children shackled to their beds or the gruesome story of the acid bath killer. At the time of her death, Jenny resided in Beech Grove, Indiana. Gertrude Baniszewski initially accused Likens of feigning death. Sylvia was dead by Oct. 26, 1965, from a brain hemorrhage, shock, and malnutrition. Sylvia Likens’ body is carried inside of a closed casket, 1965. Likens, aged 16, was held captive and subjected to increasing levels of child abuse and torture—committed over a period of almost three months—by her caregiver, Gertrude Baniszewski, many of Baniszewski's children, and several other neighborhood children, before ultimately succumbing to her injuries and malnourishment on October 26. Ha ha ha! Sylvia had been out with boys in the woods, she told them, and they’d beaten her to death and carved “I’m a prostitute and proud of it” into her body. Stephanie Serikstad currently lives in Florida. to rouse her, then, panicking, instructed Richard Hobbs to call the police from a nearby payphone. Sylvia would not survive the year.  She also had a fondness for music—in particular the Beatles—and was notably protective of her markedly more timid and insecure younger sister. On October 26, 1965, Sylvia Likens' torture finally came to an end, albeit at the cost of her life. An examination and autopsy of Likens' body revealed numerous burns, bruising, muscle and nerve damage. Jurors who expressed any opposition to the death penalty were excused from duty by Leroy New; any who either worked with children, expressed prejudice against an insanity defense, or repulsion regarding the actual horrific nature of Likens' death, were excused by defense counsels. Paula returned home soon after Jenny. (Pinterest) Betty Likens (left) and Sylvia’s little sister Jennifer Faye Likens (right) (Daily Debbie) Dennis Lee Wright Sr., Gertrude’s second love and the father of her youngest child. The 16-year-old was then locked in the basement without food or access to the bathroom. , The official cause of Likens' death was listed by coroner Dr. Arthur Kebel as a subdural hematoma due to her receiving a severe blow to her right temple. Gertrude could tell too and so she forced Sylvia to write a note in which she told her parents that she’d run away. It was called the most terrible crime ever committed in Indiana, and half a century later, that title still holds. The torture and murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens at the hands of the woman entrusted to care for her stands as one of the most harrowing and unthinkable atrocities in the annals of American crime. Gertrude Baniszewski eventually allowed Likens to sleep upstairs, on the condition that she learned not to wet herself. The Baniszewski kids practiced karate on Sylvia, slammed her into walls and onto the floor. Marie Shelton died of natural causes on June 8, 2017 at the age of 62. Gertrude then switched her conversation to the "evils" of premarital sex before repeatedly kicking Likens in the genitals as Stephanie rallied to Likens' defense, shouting, "She didn't do anything! By 1965, Baniszewski lived alone with her seven children: Paula (17), Stephanie (15), John (12), Marie (11), Shirley (10), James (8), and Dennis Lee Wright Jr. (1). Sylvia Likens died Oct. 26, 1965.  Although prosecutors did re-submit their case against Stephanie before a grand jury on May 26, 1966, the decision to later prosecute her in a separate trial never materialized. Other next-door neighbors allegedly were aware of how Sylvia was abused. I take full responsibility for whatever happened to Sylvia. This is the most hideous thing Indiana has ever seen and, I hope, will ever see. When she was too exhausted or too weak to discipline the girls herself, Paula stepped in to take her place. A. After which, they all would start to give false statements to the police, directly or indirectly, accusing each other in the murder of Sylvia Likens. Likens jerkingly moved her arms in an apparent attempt to point at the faces of the tormentors she could recognize, making statements such as, "You're... Ricky" and "You're Gertie" before Gertrude tersely shouted, "Shut up! They included burns, muscle damage, nerve damage, a swollen vaginal cavity, fingernails broken backward, and she had reportedly bitten through her lips. The woman [Gertrude] is stark mad!" Paula, who herself was pregnant, accused Sylvia of being with child and mutilated the girl’s genitals. She worked in the prison sewing shop and was known as somewhat of a "den mother" to younger female inmates, becoming known to some within the prison by the nickname "Mom". The same day, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs were also arrested and charged with the same offenses. , Gertrude Baniszewski was defended by William Erbecker; her daughter Paula was defended by George Rice.  The three eldest Baniszewski children, plus Coy Hubbard, were placed in the custody of a nearby juvenile detention center; the younger Baniszewski children and Richard Hobbs were detained at the Indianapolis Children's Guardians Home. Shortly after this Sylvia overheard Gertrude Baniszewski tell her children that she was going to take Sylvia to a forest and leave her there to die.  Duke also testified to one occasion where she witnessed 10-year-old Shirley Baniszewski rip open Likens' blouse, to which Richard Hobbs had made the casual remark, "Everybody's having fun with Sylvia. The couple had two children. Sylvia Likens: Worst case of torture!! She managed to involve an entire neighborhood of kids to help her kill Sylvia, including her own seven children, and even Sylvia’s own little sister Jenny. In response, her mother's attorney, William Erbecker, sneeringly replied, "Including yourself? " On one occasion, in late-August, both girls were beaten approximately 15 times on the back with the aforementioned paddle, after Paula had accused the sisters of eating too much food at a church supper the household children had attended.  Ellis further testified that Likens had been in an acute state of shock for between two and three days prior to her death and that Likens may have been in too advanced a state of shock to offer much resistance to any form of subjected treatment in her final hours, although he emphasized that aside from the extensive swelling around her genitalia, Likens' body bore no evidence of sexual molestation. Jenny was threatened, bullied, and beaten by the Baniszewski’s and neighbor girls alike should she go to the authorities. See more ideas about sylvia likens, crime scene, sylvia. See more ideas about sylvia likens, sylvia, true crime. , Gertrude later taunted Likens by claiming she would never be able to marry due to the words carved on her stomach, stating: "Sylvia, what are you going to do now? Oct 20, 2017 - Explore Mike Jones's board "Sylvia Likens" on Pinterest. In what would be Likens' only act of retaliation, she spread a rumor at Arsenal Technical High School that Stephanie and Paula Baniszewski were prostitutes. Paula Baniszewski was found guilty of second-degree murder, and Hobbs, Hubbard, and John Baniszewski Jr. were found guilty of manslaughter. I thought she was a downtrodden, mean woman. Gertrude Baniszewski, photographed after being granted parole in 1986.  All were charged with causing injury to person and each was subsequently released into the custody of their parents under subpoena to appear as witnesses at the upcoming trial. She visited the property in an attempt to initiate regular contact. Both her older siblings, Diana and Danny, and her younger siblings, Jenny and Benny, were fraternal twins. Comfort was a word she had never heard of but pain stuck to her like a leech. Lester Likens cryptically requested that Baniszewski straighten his daughters out,” when he placed them in her care for $20 a week. Here, Likens was often kept naked, rarely fed, and frequently deprived of water. The abuse was inflicted by not only Gertrude, but the Baniszewski children and neighborhood kids as well. The same day, 13-year-old Judy Duke also testified, admitting to having witnessed Likens once endure salt being rubbed into sores upon her legs until she screamed. , When Gertrude was unable to finish the branding, she instructed one of the neighborhood children present, 14-year-old Richard Dean Hobbs, to finish etching the words into Likens' flesh as she took Jenny to a nearby grocery store. The autopsy backed up everything Jenny told the police: Sylvia Likens had died slowly and painfully over several months.  Approximately two weeks later, Dianna encountered Jenny, by chance, close to 3850 East New York Street and inquired as to Sylvia's welfare. He admitted to having burned Sylvia with matches on several occasions, adding that his mother had repeatedly burned the child with cigarettes. The subdural hematoma was the ultimate blow. Several days later, Gertrude returned to the subject with Likens, telling her, "You're certainly getting big in the stomach, Sylvia. Marie later married. Sylvia Likens: Worst case of torture!!  She has been described as a friendly, confident and lively girl with long, wavy, light brown hair extending below her shoulders, and was known as "Cookie" to her friends.  Jenny Likens and other immediate family members of Likens vehemently protested against any prospect of her release.  Both Hobbs and 10-year-old Shirley Baniszewski then led Likens into the basement where each proceeded to use an anchor bolt in an attempt to burn the letter "S" beneath Likens' left breast, although they applied one section of the loop backwards, and this deep burn scar would resemble the numeral "3". On July 3, their mother was arrested and subsequently jailed for shoplifting. Founded in 2010 in Lebanon, Indiana, and initially named the Boone County Child Advocacy Center, this non-profit organization was renamed in Likens' honor in 2016, with the executive director stating: "The most important thing that we can do is tell kids they are hurt and we are listening. , In response to questioning relating to whether she had physically abused the Likens sisters, Gertrude claimed that although she had "started to spank" Likens on one occasion, she was emotionally unable to finish doing so, and had not hit the child on any further occasions. In response, Gertrude accused Likens of engaging in gluttony before she and Paula choked and bludgeoned her. Paula Baniszewski, who had given birth to a daughter during the trial, was convicted of second-degree murder and was also sentenced to life imprisonment. Her severely mutilated body led authorities to initially believe that it was the work of an "anonymous madman". [n 8], Three weeks prior to the filing of the indictments against the five defendants, Stephanie Baniszewski had been released from custody upon a writ of habeas corpus bond, with her attorney successfully contending the state had insufficient evidence to support any murder or culmination of fatal injuries charges against her. “She’s not responsible,” her defense attorney told the court, “because she’s not all here.”. Each one of [the] five defendants had first and foremost the responsibility to leave Sylvia Likens alone; we had the responsibility to bring all the evidence we could find that could explain this crime. The pair then subjected Likens to a scalding bath to "cleanse her of sin," with Gertrude grabbing Likens' hair and repeatedly banging her head against the bath to revive her when she fainted. Sylvia Likens was thrown down the cellar stairs and locked in, given crackers for food and refused the right to use a bathroom. Gertrude asked Sylvia whether she knew what a tattoo was ... she said: 'You branded my children so now I'm going to brand you.' , By June 1965, Sylvia and Jenny Likens resided with their parents in Indianapolis. Tortured by her caregiver and neighborhood children. In the years prior to her own death, Jenny Likens Wade had repeatedly emphasized no blame should be placed upon either of her parents for placing her and Sylvia in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski; stating all her parents had done was trust Gertrude's promise to actually care for them until their return to Indiana with the traveling carnival. Sylvia, however, soon became the focus of the abuse. [This was] something no one did for young Sylvia.  This ruling further stated that the circumstances regarding the prejudicial atmosphere created during their initial trial, due to the extensive news media publicity surrounding the case, impeded any chance of either appellant receiving a fair trial. He slipped on the wet basement stairs and fell heavily to the floor of the basement to be confronted with the sight of Stephanie crying and cuddling Likens' emaciated and lacerated body. In August of 1965, the vacant house next door to the Baniszewski residence was purchased by a middle-aged couple named Phyllis and Raymond Vermillion. ", Referring to the sentimental closing arguments made by various defense counsels regarding reasoning and motivation for their clients' actions, their attempts to divert responsibility to other defendants or participants, and their clients' collective failure to either help Likens or to notify authorities, New added: "All we hear is whining appeal, anything but blame where the blame belongs." Sylvia was dead by Oct. 26, 1965, from a brain hemorrhage, shock, and malnutrition. The money arrived the following day, but the torture had just begun. , Coy Hubbard and several of his classmates frequently visited the Baniszewski residence to both physically and verbally torment Likens, often collaborating with Baniszewski's children and Gertrude herself. As the persecution of Sylvia worsened, it became increasingly sexual in character.  He died of diabetes in the Lancaster General Hospital on May 19, 2005, at the age of 52. ", On May 16, a court-appointed doctor named Dwight Schuster testified on behalf of the prosecution. (Flickr) (Flickr) Sylvia (left) and her mother Elizabeth “Betty” Likens (nee Grimes) (Ranker) Jenny Likens. , The house at 3850 East New York Street in which Likens was tortured and murdered stood vacant for many years after her death and the arrest of her tormentors. Upon hearing this, Gertrude asked, "Why did you do that, Sylvia?" Somehow, the conversation got around to tattooing. 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