A Girl Tortured By Nanny And Neighbor To Death

Sylvia Likens was born on January 3, 1949. She was a US girl in the state of Indiana who was tortured to death by a nanny named Gertrude Baniszewski and her 7 children

1.Brand Baniszewski
2.Stephanie Baniszewski
3.John Baniszewski Jr
4.Marie Baniszewski
5.Shirley Baniszewski
6. James Baniszewski
7.Dennis Lee Wright Jr

Not only the family, young people from the Gertrude family such as Ricky Hobbs, and neighbor Coy Hubbard, and others are also involved in the pressure on this poor girl.


Sylvia's mother and father were circus workers who often traveled to various cities for performances. Finally, they decide to send Sylvia and her sister Jenny to the family of Gertrude Baniszewski, who by chance Gertrude is a widow seeking extra money. They agreed to pay Gertrude for $20 a week.

The torture began when Sylvia's mother and father were late sending a $20 check, which made Gertrude upset. Eventually both of their children were punished by being beaten in the back even though the next day the check was in Gertrude's hands.

In the days that followed, Sylvia was accused by Gertrude's daughter Paula for defaming her as a prostitute at their school, causing Gertrude to believe and let Paula beat Sylvia in front of other siblings.

One day, when Gertrude saw Sylvia back with her boyfriend, Gertrude became emotional. She then tells Sylvia to put a bottle of soda into her own ass and tells John and Coy to take her to the basement until Sylvia finally faints as she is thrown from the top floor.

While in the basement, this poor girl went through some very tragic and cruel days. the Gertrude children often bring their friends into the basement to torture Sylvia by means of sticks, brooms, kicks, and more.

During her confinement, Sylvia was not allowed to go to the toilet. She was told to urinate and shit in her underwear and even to eat and drink was not given until she was forced to drink urine and eat her own shit. Sylvia was also tormented by cigarettes on her body for more than 100 cigarettes. Also, there are many layers of skin that have been peeled off.

But the injury was very unusual on her body is the words written on her stomach that read "I'M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT!" performed by Gertrude's mother and continued by Ricky Hobbs using a heated needle.

A few days before her death, Sylvia tried to escape after she was forced to write a letter that read:

"To Mr. and Mrs. Likens:

I went with a gang of boys in the middle of the night. And they said that they would pay me if I would give them something so I got in the car and they all got what they wanted ... and when they got finished they beat me up and left sores on my face and all over my body .

And they also put on my stomach, I am a prostitute and proud of it.

I have done just about everything that I could do just to make Gertie mad and cause [sic] Gertie more money than she's got. I've tore up a new mattress and peaed [sic] on it. I have also cost Gertie doctor bills that she really can't pay and made Gertie a nervous wreck and all her kids. . . ."

After writing this letter Sylvia tried to escape but failed. The next morning they bathe Sylvia with hot water and that's when Stephanie Hobbs Baniszewski realizes that Sylvia is not breathing. Stephanie tried to give Sylvia CPR (mouth-to-mouth breathing), before realizing it was all in vain

In October of 1965, police in Indianapolis received a call from a man who claimed that a girl had died. The phone comes from a public phone. In a trembling voice, he alerted the police in the form of his home address, “3850 East New York Street”.

Police arrived at a dirty home, and found the body of a 16-year-old skinny girl named Sylvia Marie Likens. Gertrude then points to a letter that Sylvia wrote to protect her from being accused. But Sylvia's sister Jenny whispered to the police "Get me out of here, I'll tell you everything"

This case is considered the most heinous crime ever committed in Indiana. Sylvia passed away on October 25, 1965 with a diagnosis of brain hemorrhage, shock and malnutrition.

Gertrude (36), was charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Gertrude died on June 16, 1990 of lung cancer.


Paula Baniszewski (17), the complainant who was the eldest son of Baniszewski was charged with second-degree murder and sentenced to 7 years in prison. She then changed her name to Paula Pace and became a teacher in Lowa before being fired after her school found out about her past.

Stephanie (15), who also abused Sylvia and tried to give CPR to Sylvia, was not sentenced. She agreed to testify against her own family in court.

John Baniszewski (12) and Coy Hubbard (15) were charged with murder and were both sentenced to 2 years in prison. Both were released in 1968. Coy Hubbard is a neighbor of this nanny's family and Stephanie's lover. Coy also hit and was the one who brought Sylvia into the basement.

Marie Baniszewski (11), Gertrude's fourth child was not sentenced. During the court hearing, she cried and testified that she was forced by her mother to torture Sylvia. She also testified that she was a witness when she saw her mother beating Sylvia.

Shirley Baniszewski (10) and James Baniszewski (8), also involved in the vicious act of torturing Sylvia. No penalties apply.

Richard's disgusting act against Sylvia is tapping Sylvia's skin using a hot needle that says "I am a prostitute and proud of it". He was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Sylvia was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Indiana, United States and her memorial is erected at Memorial, E Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46201, USA

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