Occuring in Indianapolis, Indiana one of the worst causes of Child murder would happen in that town. Sadly awarded the “Most Sadistic” case ever investigated. Sylvia Likens, age 16, was held captive for over almost 3 months by her caregiver. Her name was Gertrude Baniszewski. Along with Sylvia and many other of Gertrude’s children, (Supposably also along with some of the Neighborhood kids as well,) who suffered less severe injuries around October 26th. Born on January 3rd, 1949, Sylvia Marie Likens was born in Lebanon, India US.
Lester Likens agreed to Gertrude he would pay over $20 a week to take care of his daughters, the weekly payments to take care of the daughters slowley came in slower and slower. To express frustration, Gertrude would beat the young children with a 6.4mm paddle, yelling about how angry she was. Along with statements like, “Well, I took care of you two little bitches for nothing!” Whilst the children were almost bare. Once, the girls were accused of eating too much food at a church supper, causing both of the girls to be beaten about 15 times with the paddle. In the middle of August, Gertrude began to only main her focus on Sylvia rather than the other girls. Gertrude expressed that this was because of blatant jealousy. As the abuse and beatings went on for weeks, and weeks- Gertrude eventually refused to feed the children acceptable food, (such as: food out of the garbage, spoiledrotten food,) On another occasion in late August, resulted in public humiliation- Likens was rumored to have a boyfriend in Long Beach who she meet in the spring (around 1965, her being 16 at the time.) When Gertrude heard about this, she asked Likens if she has “ever done anything with a boy” Likens, not really understanding what she meant- replied, “I guess so” and told Gertrude she went skating with a boy, and went to the park once. She also stated (continuing the conversation) that she had laid under the covers with a boy as well. A few days later, Gertrude struck back on this conversation and told Sylvia, jokingly, “You’re certainly getting bigger in the stomach, it looks like you’re gonna have a baby.” Likens agreed and stated that she is going to go on a diet, Gertrude then informed her about how the other girls told her she “Did something” and would be sure to have a baby. Gertrude kicked Likens in her genitals- Paula (being overweight, 3 months pregnant, and also jealous of Likens apparence,) also participated in kicking Likens over and over again. Knocking her into a chair, and yelling at Likens that she wont be able to fit in a chair.
(Vomit Warning) On another day, Gertrude, Paula and a boy from the Neighborhood, (By the name of Randy Lepper) force fed Likens a hot dog. It was overloaded with condiments (Ketchup, spices, mayo, and mustard) Likens vomited, and was forced to eat her own regurgitation. In school, Likens made a light hearted rumor about about Stephanie and a boy, Stephanie angrily punched Likens as a result to starting the rumor, and cried. Stephanies Boyfriend, Coy Hubbard attacked Likens as well, he slapped her, banged her head on the wall repeatably, and Gertrude beat Likens with the paddle again. On another occasion, Gertrude broke both of Likens wrist, she would lacerate her body with lite cigarettes over 100 times, forced her to shove a empty Coke Bottle in her crouch to “prove what kind of girl she was”, burn her fingers, and kick her over and over again. Several weeks later, Gertrude would make Likens bath in a scalding hot bath to “Cleanse her of sin.” She would also bash her head against the bathtub to revive her when she fainted. A little while after this incident, a boy named Michael Monroe called Arsenal Tech High School. He reported, anonomously that a girl with open sores all over her body was living in the Baniszewski household, he also claimed that she would skip several school days. Police got involved, but Gertrude told them that she was a bad influence on her children and was “out of control” and that was the cause of the open sores. The police decided this was true, and closed the case.
One day, their neighbors (of the Baniszewski family) named, Raymond and Phyllis Vermillion, both visited the Baniszewski household and witnessed the abuse on Likens. They noticed how Likens emotion wasn’t even there. They said she looked “Zombified,” and the Vermillions reported the abuse and mistreatment to authorities. Because of the authoritize knowing about the abuse, Likens became more and more incontinent. She wasn’t allowed access to use the bathroom, and she was threw into the basement and lied up. Likens was barely fed, kept nude, and barely could drink any water. Gertrude would allow neighborhood kids to pay 5 cents to look at Likens body, they would beat, scalp and even burn her, they would rub salt into her open wounds and throw boiling water on her. Days went on and on, with the torture and she became extremely malnourished, one night- Jenny secretly gave Likens a cup of water. Causing her to wet herself, as punishment, Gertrude carved the words “I’m a prostitute and i’m proud.” That night, Sylvia told Jenny “Jenny I know you don’t want me to die, but I’m going to die. I can tell it.” On October 25th, Likens tried to escape the basement, but she failed, And Gertrude force fed her toast and hit her in the face with a curtain rod, making her unconscious and put her back into the basement. In the morning of October 26th, Sylvia was unable to speak anymore, Gertrude tried to feed her a doughnut and milk, when she couldn’t get Likens to eat it- she threw the cup in anger. Likens became delirious and talked to herself, she tried to eat a pear and told Jenny she could feel the looseness in her teeth. Stephanie gave Likens a soapy and warm bath, but before she could finish the bath, Likens had stopped breathing.She tried to give mouth to mouth, but it didn’t work. Gertrude yelled at Likens that we was “faking her own death” Around 5:30pm, Richard Hobbs came back to the Baniszewski house and walked into the basement, He found a sad sight, Stephanie was on the floor crying, while holding Likens dead body. Gertrude proceeded to yell “Faker, Faker!” at Likens dead body. Coy Hubbard, and Richard Hobbs were arrested and charged. Gertrude pleaded Guilty to the Murder and abuse of Likens, and admitted to most of the abuse in detail. Yet, she denied some, said they never happened. All though the autopsy proved that wrong. Gertrude admitted she was using Crack, and judges say they even think Gertrude could have been Psychotic.
As awful and cruel as this case is, I want to share my remorse for Sylvia and everyone else who was injured under Gertrude’s care. Sylvia you did not deserve this, and I hope Gertrude and the other abusers burn in hell, forever.