Sundance Review: An American Crime

January 21, 2007

Before the screening started the director of An American Crime, Tommy O'Haver, gave a brief introduction and stated that we need to "submit to this journey", turn off the right side of our brains, and try to feel the same spirit that the cast and crew felt that drew them to work on the film. Interestingly, An American Crime wasn't as twisted and skewed as O'Haver made it seem after giving that speech, but is rather a straightforward period drama about a harrowing experience that young Sylvia Likens goes through.

An American Crime

Set in 1965 in Indianapolis, An American Crime tells the story of Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener) who becomes the caretaker of two young children, Jennie (Hayley McFarland) and Sylvia Likens (Ellen Page) in addition to her own five offspring, including a baby. Gertrude is a deranged mother who protects her own children more than anyone else and becomes convinced that Sylvia is spreading lies about one of her daughters and locks her in the basement where she is tortured and beaten by her, her children, and their friends. It's a shocking and harrowing tale that even sounds unentertaining from the start.

An American Crime is one of the most twisted and deranged films involving a family to hit the big screen. It's a harrowing, chilling experience that silences the entire theater; a crime drama of perfect style and scripting, but with some troubles in its form and final execution. Keener delivers a spellbinding, vile performance of never-ending cruelty, yet stills seems too nice in some scenes and wicked in the next. As always, Ellen Page is incredible, even if her character is four years younger than her real age (19) and most of her performance involves lying still and being beaten. The biggest question running through my mind was would anyone actually want to go out and see this? Honestly, probably not. Although a fairly well-made film that maybe horror fans could appreciate, it doesn't deliver on a mainstream level.

An American Crime

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Funny how they talk about this movie as though they did it out of the kindness of their hearts like it's some kind of public service message... When in fact they waited untill they had an audiance of people that go to movies like, Saw and Hostel.... My guess is they have only one thing in mind and that is to reep huge profits for the "Hollywood gluttons" to line their deep pockets with... If this film was in fact made for the benefit of helping abused children then everyone involved should "NOT" recieve a dime of profit but instead give the money to a charitable organization ... To me it's no different then trying to attract people to an incident in the same sick way Gertrude did in trying to make something like this intertaining for people with little or no intellect and bad judgement...

Carmel IN on Mar 5, 2007


Hello my mother was good friends with Sylvia Likens and I would like to know where we could see this movie I know my mom would like to . I personally have always been very interested about the Likens story

stacybundren on May 17, 2007


Stacy, I do not know where you can find this, but i do know it comes out August 17th.

Tristan Jarred on Aug 7, 2007


I understand the movie is now set for release on August 31st due to some distributor issues. I'm glad the movie was made. It's about time! The make movies about the murders of OJ Simpson's wife and her friend; they make movies about the Klutter Family massacre in Kansas so why not Sylvia Likens? I've grown up knowing about this horror here in Indianapolis. I'm just glad now days that family members, neighbors, and strangers (In most cases) would not stand for this kind of abuse. It wouldn't have gone on that long before someone was hauled off to jail. What's really sad is, it only took that vile, sick, deviate Gertrude and her evil brood 3 months to kill Sylvia. Though this movie won't change anything about what happened, it may make us all realize that all children are at the mercy of grown ups.

Ruth Jeffers on Aug 22, 2007


I was 10 yrs. old when this happened here in Indianapolis. Ofcourse adults wouldn't tell us much but I read the paper everyday after my Dad finished it. It was all we talked about on the bus. We'd end up sort of in a circle in the bus seats and tell everything we'd overheard from listening to the 'grown ups' the night before. It was so terrible. The burning skin from cigarettes, the bottle shoved into her and then broken off, you could hear a pin drop on that bus between the info and the reactions. I know we'll remember Gertrude Banichevski's name forever. I remember when she was released she changed her name and took a bus to Montana or someplace around there. She's probably still alive.

rocky on Aug 24, 2007


I was eight years old when this happened, most people that are around my age remember this tragedy. I do know that Gertrude passed away in 1990 and Jenn passed in 2004. Sylvia will always be remembered, I just wish that someone could have helped her.

Mitzi Rogers on Aug 30, 2007


Ironically, one of Gertrude's nephews is the high school principal of a large Christian school in Indianapolis. If students knew this they would be frightened of what might be in his genes.

Ron on Sep 1, 2007


where can i get this movie??????????????????????? has anyone read the girl next door if so what other book are there i have also read the basement.

stacy on Sep 2, 2007


Please let me know where I can see this movie.

John Mellencamp on Sep 8, 2007


John,,, I hear there having problems with the release of this movie... Steve Hostetter

steve hostetter on Sep 11, 2007


Gertrude used to babysit my sister and myself. Can anyone tell me when this movie is coming out please call 317-420-9369.

Caleb Baker on Sep 12, 2007


Caleb Baker,,,, Where did Gertrude live at the time she watched you...? The death house on New York?

SMHostetter on Sep 15, 2007


i want the movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stacybundren on Sep 15, 2007


Where can I see this movie or buy this movie?

Where can I see this movie or buy this movie on Oct 13, 2007


#9- Are you John Cougar Mellencamp, the singer?

Kevin on Dec 5, 2007


He should change his name back to Cougar and start doing rock and roll again...

Steve H. on Dec 6, 2007


i seen the girl next door and IM still waiting paciently for An Amwerican Crime.. ME personally and obsessed with sylvia I want and need closure, if i'll ever get it

stacy on Dec 13, 2007


caleb baker #11 I would ove to talk to you, me and a friend are writing a book about sylvia please email me please thank you

stacy on Dec 15, 2007


In life, we as a society failed Sylvia. For that, we should be ashamed. Let's not make that mistake in death for her.

Kevin on Dec 15, 2007


kevin, is that intended for me or what??????? I didnt fail her i wasn't even born I'm just trying to let indiana not forget her. I think its great I Love Sylvia. Ihate GERTRUDE. who are you to judge???

stacybundren on Dec 19, 2007


^^^^Not you. It's a general statement that is sadly true of our society.

Kevin on Dec 24, 2007


yes it is very sad and i think indiana has forgotten how they fail so many children i also think indiana has poor system. they give yah more time for drugs than they do murder???????????? sorry i thught you was refering to me writing a book

stacy on Dec 26, 2007


the movie don't come out till 2010

Mike on Jan 6, 2008


There is another movie called, "Jack Ketchum's a girl next door" about the same story very graphic and made me ill to my stomache for two day.s and cant sleep that good anymore, the movie affected me bad, just as the story has about this poor girl. What I find is tragic also is the fact that gertrude only did 20 yrs, and the kids did only 18 month stint in juvenile hall. Indiana should be ashamed of itself.

Mike on Jan 6, 2008


I live in Indiana,,,, Indiana is a Republican state ran by women for women... Hence is why a person like Gertrude can even have custody of children...

SMHostetter on Jan 6, 2008


I hate gertrude, and those teens that helped do that I hope they live a torturous life.Anybody doing this kind of stuff, shoudl forfit there right to be on the streets forever.She was such a beautiful girl and these maggots destroyed that.If I ever met these teens in real life I would slap the hell out of them. BURN IN HELL GERTRUDE, you sicko

MikeM on Jan 6, 2008


YOu can google info about this movie it said it isn't due out till 2010, I don't know why. It's made already,must be having problems releasing it,it is horrifying, what that girl had to go through, I am just sick to my stomache about what those freaks did to Sylvia Likens.This is the kind of story that makes me embarrassed to be an american.Gertrude only spent 20 yrs in prison, (she should have gotten the death penalty) and the teens should still be locked up. That is what would happen today if that happened.

Michael on Jan 6, 2008


The theatrical release date of this movie is 12/31/2010. Why are they releasing it so late.

tony on Jan 6, 2008


#23-#28 have any of you read by sanction of a victim by patte wheat???????????? i just finished it and it is based alot on sylvia but i dont know if written about her?????????????? anybody have any info about sylvia??????????? where is the web site that says 2010???????????

stacy on Jan 8, 2008


When is the movie comming out? I saw on one site it said Augest 19th, but I've heard March and even May ... and then dvd in october? so when ?

carrie on Jan 24, 2008


Stacy, you say you're writing a book ... I certainly hope you have a good editor in mind who has unlimited time and the patience of a saint. Your overuse of question marks, absolute lack of capitalizaton and other 'quirks' don't really reveal any talent to speak of. The 'death house' was bought and rehabbed, and there are plans to turn it into a shelter for homeless women aged 18-24. However, it's also had trouble keeping an owner, so this information might be outdated. Additionally, there is a monument to Sylvia downtown, but I've no idea where ... logically, it would be on the 'death house' property, but I can't say whether or not that is true. If you do indeed live in Indiana, go take a look at the house sometime. Also, I read somewhere that this is actually planned to be released in America in June of 2008, with the DVD release scheduled for October. As for Sylvia herself, may she rest in peace.

Good Grief on Jan 25, 2008


The Sylvia Likens Memorial is in Willard Park, at State St. and E. Washington St, on Indy's east side. The house at 3850 E. New York is currently boarded up and vacant, probably for sale. The house two doors down, where R.Hobbs lived is currently empty and for rent. As far as I know, the only one who may still alive is Paula B., somewhere in Iowa. Hubbard died within the last couple years. Johnny B. is now John Blake, and supposedly a preacher.

Trader E on Jan 25, 2008


For those, like me, obsessed with this story and her tragedy: In memory of Sylvia Likens, a place for those who mourn Sylvia to meet and discuss her story.

Trader E on Jan 25, 2008


I worked for Lester Likens ,once when I was 14 and again at age 15 when the Marion County Fair came to town... I worked on a rig called a rope ladder .... Was a prize game and the object was to climb to the top and honk a horn to win a huge stuffed animal... I ran away from home w/ a friend at age 16 to join up with Lester at Crown Point IN.. Right away Lester wanted to know if our parents knew where we were... We told him no they did not.. Lester right away took us to his trailer and made us call our parents to let them know we were alive and well and traveling with the carnival... I can remember going into the trailer his wife was there and she was talking to Lester in a whisper voice telling him she didn't want anymore bad happening in the family... I also remember seeing a large pink trunk which I found out later held memories of Sylvia.. I always thought Lester was a good man, I know my parents thanked him.. The whole time I knew Lester I knew he had something terrible happen to his daughter (Sylvia) but I never made the connection untill many years later... As I said I was only 16 the same age as Sylvia when she died... Lester told me once that I reminded him of someone ... I asked him who and he said someone that is gone now but was very dear to him... I noticed that Lester's character in the movie is drinking beer and portrays him as kind of a drunk.. Lester may have drank in those days I don't know but in the time I knew Lester (1975-77) I never seen Lester drink... never. And I seen Lester many times... The friend I had ran away with stole 50 cents from Lester's rig for a pack of smokes... Lester found out and fired us both.. When I begged for my job he said no he said go home and go back to school ,get into sports maybe but you have no future here.. Lester knew the hardships of being a carnie, with little pay and long hours.. Well, I went home and back to school ... I completed Vocational technical school for building trades, I wrestled winning 17 lost one tied one... I ran track and got my highschool letter.. I graduated HS and went on to be a house carpenter (framer) and a large format photographer... Looking back, I truely think Lester saved my life by leading me in the right direction.. I had a lot of respect for Lester and so his opinion mean't something... I hope this movie don't exagerate and put Lester in a bad light ..! He doesn't deserve it..! I know God bless you Lester I will never forget you..!

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 25, 2008


I forgot to describe Lester ... He never gave an impression he had money.Lester was a short heavy set man but he moved fast.. Always seemed busy.. You always knew Lester was coming long before you seen him.. Lester had an exposed key ring hooked to his beltloop... This ring had 40 or so keys so with the fast movement and ringing of the keys , there was Lester... I also forgot to mention that it seemed like everyone really liked Lester,,, He was very likable. Lester had three stands (rigs) when I knew him,,, The crane: turn a crank to manuver a minature crane to pick up a toy, The rope ladder : Two ropes joined together by metal rungs tapering at both ends to single cable ... Object is to climb to top and ring a buzzer without using knees or elbows to balance.. The third stand : Object was to place a quarter on a color and turn a large wheel with a ball on it...The ball lands in your color you win.. Now I don't know if Lester owned this stand but he did run it because he had me work it..

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 25, 2008


Oh, and Lester had dark hair from what I remember... not red

Stephen Hostetterh on Jan 25, 2008


I am from Indianapolis and I have followed the story of Sylvia since I was 13 yrs old. In 1972, I read the book 'The Indiana Torture Slaying' and since then Sylvia has been forever imprinted on my mind. After I read the book I talked to everyone about this story and everyone had something to tell me. I just couldnt believe something like this could happen. As time went on people didnt talk about Sylvia much but I always wondered what happened to some of the people involved. In 1980, I was married and had a son and I was pregnant with my second child. A friend of mine needed aplace to stay and we let her come to stay with us for awhile. Not that it matters but my friend was a lesbian. She had a lover named Annie Alexander, Annie was a very nice person and she seemed to care about my friend alot. I liked her. Well as time went by Annie seem to be at our house alot and she used my phone alot. I didnt mined. Annie had a sad story about life. She was rasied in foster care and was treated very badly. Before she met my friend she was married but not for long. She married a wealthy man from Carmel, Indiana. He owed car lots in Carmel. Afew days after they were married they were in a car accident. She was a sleep in the car and he was driving, he fell asleep while driving and drove up under a semi and he was decapitated. Like I said a sad life. One day Annie started getting phone calls from the woman prison here in Indianapolis, after a few calls I ask my friend about them and she wouldnt tell me. She told me to ask Annie, so I did. After all she was in my home. I wasnt trying to be mean about it I just wanted to know. Well Annie started crying, Annie ask me if I ever heard of Sylvia Likens and I said yes. I still didnt put two and two together. I ask her what does Sylvia have to do with the womans prison. She told me that where Gertrude Baniszewski is and she is my mom. Annie was Shirley Baniszewski. Annie left my home that day, never to be heard from again.

patti on Feb 11, 2008


I was about 15 years old whe I read the basement. It was by accident that I was reading that book. I was a freshman in high school and I had to do an essay on child abuse. After searching news articals for what seemed like forever. I found one about a 16 year old girl that was tortured in 1965. At the time I lived in the fountin square area however my sister lived on New York street. My mom liked always would ask me how school was going and I told her about my essay. Then she seen the book on my bed and fliped out. Come to find out my mother was friends with Sylvia. She remembered everything that happend. She was told many times that summer that Sylvia had run away. My mother heard the noises comming from inside the house. I always wondered why my mother wouldn't visit my older sister and her 2 grandchildren when they lived on New York. Now I know why. I have been waiting for this movie to come out. I have looked everywhere for information. I have been told several times that it will not be released in the U.S.. If there is anyone that can give me any info on this movie please let me know.

Dorothy on Feb 24, 2008


#27, Dear Michael, I agree totaly with your opinion about giving Gertrude the death penalty. She got off way too easy as did the juveniles. However, I also feel that these things are still happening way too often and people remain unresponsive. No one wants to "get involved". As we read the story, we are all saying to ourselves, "Why didn't anyone help her?" "I certainly would have called authorities." "This is an outrage." There were reasonably numerous people who could have called the proper authorities. Syliva's own sister did not respond to their pleas. The neighbor, for whatever reason, I'm sure I'll never know, stood by and did nothing. Even when an anonymous call was made and a social worker arrived, Gertrude managed to lie her way out of the situation. I saddens me to say that even in today's society much child abuse goes unreported, unnoticed. We hear about it on the news and say, "How did this happen?" "Didn't anyone know?" We've become a nation of careless citizens wanting only to "mind our own business". That is why I have to disagree with your final comment that if it had happened today she would have gotten the death penalty. Probably not. I can tell you would happen if it were today. The bleeding heart liberals would come out in the hundreds demanding Gertrude get proper psychiatric help, (because after all, she probably had a horrible life that led her to do this, poor thing, blah, blah, blah) and the best defense lawyer our tax money can buy. I will pray for Sylvia's innocent soul and for the others like her hoping they did not suffer and die in vain.

Sharon on Apr 6, 2008


In case you don't already know, An American Crime is scheduled to air on Showtime on May 10, 2008 and released on DVD in May or June of the same year. Any other questions, email me:

Dwayne on Apr 15, 2008


i am 16 years old and i swore i would never see this show but now after studying it for an acting class i don't think that i can avoid seeing it... i have cried, been in amazment, and completly aweded by what this poor girl went throug... i'm supposed to write a monolog as if i was Gertrude i don't think i can do it now... for all those that remember keep on remembering and don't forget it what ever you do, please teach your children, my parents avoided talking about this with me and now i am talking about it with everyone possible... as people of Indiana we all need to know our history not just the good but some of the tragic parts, when i mention this to students they are all wondering and we sit around and discusses it and tell what we know...

Kasie on May 20, 2008


This movie is now showing on SHOWTIME.

Jill on May 20, 2008


SMHostetter, thank you for demonstrating that you know jacks--t about gender in its social context. If the state was run by women FOR women it wouldn't allow misogynist pigs to get away with torturing and abusing a young woman, would it? Gertrude Baniszewski and every child involved would have spent the remainder of their lives in cells - at least. By making a story as tragic as this into some sort of ridiculous and fallacious anti-feminist rant you have set a record for just how low male dimwits sink to vent their immature, internalised misogyny! Congratulations, idiot. PS: WORD-FOR-WORD the comment by "Patti" has been posted elsewhere online and thus seems a little dubious. Anyone making s--t up about this abhorent crime is as unconscionable as the scum involved and ought to get their heads fixed.

ANON on May 22, 2008


I just saw the movie An American Crime on showtime and I watched it twice. I live in Louisville, Kentucky south of Indianpolis and Id never heard this story before. I too am interested in knowing what happened with the rest of the bunch including Paula. I would be grateful to correspond with anyone who knows more about this. From what research I've read this movie is 'tame' compared to the horrors that were perpetrated on Sylvia and jenny.

Marshall on May 26, 2008


Marshall, I just finished watching An American Crime also and you are so right about this movie being tame compared to what that poor girl endured before finally, her body and spirit could take no more. I grew up in Indianapolis and was only 9 years old when it happened, but it left such a terrible sadness in my heart and has followed me throughout my entire life. Unfortunately, today it is not uncommon to hear tragic stories of cruelty to children, but in the 60's it was just astounding to hear of such evil. If they really made this movie to make people aware of child abuse, I think they did a great injustice by not documenting more of what Sylvia really had to endure. I realize they can only show so much, but there are ways of leading the viewer into awareness without actually displaying it

Vicki on May 26, 2008


vicki, thanks for the response. I've been trying to research as much about this case as possible online and it's from my research that I've come across the more gory details of the crime against this young girl. I can imagine how shocking it must have been in the 60s. I keep thinking this all happened the year I was born (1966) and shortly before. If anything I think its given me a more heightened sense of awareness to being alert to possible situations around me. I think what was most heart breaking to me is thinking that perhaps this all could have been avoided. I can't imagine letting my children stay with someone I barely knew even though I don't wish to sit in judgement of her parents. Someone on here wrote that Gertrude was once their babysitter. I wonder what that was like? Gertrude was a very ill person. She needed to have been institutionalized. It makes me wonder what kind of childhood she had to be so callous and evil? The most bizarre thing to me was watching them go to church week after week and say grace etc. and then do such heinous things. I would have preferred that they stuck as close to the real details as possible in the movie if for anything as you say to do Sylvia justice.

Marshall on May 27, 2008


Marshall, Have you found the Indy Star archives with the original news articles about this? If not, let me know and I will send you the link. I guess I am not as gracious as you, because I think Sylvia's parents were to blame too. Had they really loved their children, they would not have made this choice. There are always work options. As the great John Lennon once said, "There are no problems, only solutions!" But, here again, the movie didn't really portray the parents accurately either. Just prior to leaving the girls with Gertie, their mom had been arrested for shoplifting. The movie never mentioned that there were other children in the family too. Where were these kids at? Out of all of the books that have been written on this I highly recommend The Indiana Torture Slaying Sylvia Likens' Ordeal and Death for detail and accuracy. I found my copy on Ebay a few years back for just a couple of dollars and it was well worth it. And as far as them going to church saying grace - that doesn't surprise me at all. Many people who claim to be Christians believe that as long as they pray, go to church and ask for forgiveness they can do no wrong. Don't get me wrong - I am a Christian, but unfortunately have met many to claim to be but really aren't. Good luck with your research.

Vicki on May 27, 2008


I watched this movie in its entirety for the first time on monday nite and I havent been able to get this girl's face out of my head ,my heart or my soul. I dont want to be judgemental but part of me blames the parents a big part. Who the hell leaves their kids with someone they dont know and especially to live with them. I guess that was the biggest surprise of all. As far as the person that said they worked for lester likens , the time frame you gave was 10 years after the fact so alot can change in that time frame. Not that it matters. I as well would like to find out what happened to those other sons of b**** that did this to sylvia. It really pissed me off that gertrude got out after 20 years wth happened to life sentence. Shows that the human life is worth nothing to some people and especially the fact it was a child. Good thing Im not God is all I can say. Oh and that b*** paula give me five min in a room with her I would tie her ass up and do some of the same things that were done to sylvia ... I would like to know what happened to her as well. ANy info email

Melissa on May 27, 2008


The last I heard Paula resides in Iowa where she spends her time drinking, collecting welfare, and trying to deal with her kid's meth habit. Stephanie resides in the small town of Floral City Florida and has no immediate plans to torture any children as she has found God again. She chooses to be remembered as the one who 'thought about' saving Sylvia while she was being flipped, tossed, burned, carved on, and tortured to death. Thank God that Coy, John Jr, Gertie and her young lover Richard are all dead, just a few more to go and may it be a slow and painful death with a lot of time to think and reflect. I also hope that everyone involved who is living is exposed to their families and communities, the least that they deserve is to be branded for what they are, child torturing monsters. I also feel that the members of the Indiana parole board who voted Gertie free should be exposed and held accountable for the terrible insult to the justice proccess and the Likens family that they committed. You are missed Sylvia, there will always be a place in the world where you should have been. KK

Kaptain Kebo on Jun 23, 2008


Let's remember Sylvia ...

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 24, 2008


Let's not go out of our way to make more crackheads

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 24, 2008


btw the pictures that I have seen in the newspaper articles lester likens was not a short man and the fact weither he drank or not really doesnt matter. Another thing those commenting about how the movie producer should've stuck to the details...the onlyr eal thing o'haver had to go on was the court transcripts and I think he did a pretty awesome job. Noone really knows what happened except sylvia herself and of course those involved and they sure arent gonna offer more details than what were written in the court transcripts. Nuff said about that.

Melissa on Jun 24, 2008


I'm curious to know just how you can tell the heighth on an individual from a photograph in a newspaper clipping... Also if you knew anything about the Sylvia Likens incedent you'd know why I mentioned the fact that I'd never seen Lester Likens with alcohol.. Thats ok though if you wanna be a sceptic but I have no reason to lie ... I told my story about my experiance with Sylvia's father for Sylvia .. You wanna believe whatever thats fine too

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 25, 2008


Anon,,,, If you were a man living in the state of Indiana and you were fighting for custody of your child because the mother of your child married a convicted child molester... You might understand my point of view... I never did gain custody of my , ( at the time) 6 year old girl because Judge James Payne didn't think my daughter was in danger of being molested.. Instead we were all evaluated by women social workers and all they did was try to white wash the convicted child molester's crime.. The social worker's told us that the 12 year old girl he molested was a run-away and a street person.. So I guess she had it comming.? Ok , your turn to comment

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


PS And so to make a long story short... If the state of Indiana will let a 6 yr. old girl move in with a convicted childmolester then they will welcome all the Gertrude Baniszewski's to have free reign.. Why do I say this..? Because they did !

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


Also I hope you never have to feel the pain & fear I felt and the utter disgust when a social worker ( probably not a mother, I HOPE NOT !) tell me that a 12 yr. old girl deserved to be raped because she was homeless..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


Oh,, also the social worker told me my daughter wasn't the age of girls that the molester liked.. As though to try and ease my mind ... They said that they didn't see my ex staying with him that long..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


hi stephen Its not only the state of indiana but In florida I have gone through almost the same exact thing you did. Ify ou would be interested in chatting please email me at I dont wanna go through the details on here. I am sorry for your experience. The fact that a social worker would say that gives me chills but it doesnt surprise me I have to say. They dont want to do anything to protect children until its too late. They want to see the ultimate proof.. Which is bs . All this stuff that happens to kids just like sylvia could've been prevented if the state would just do their job to the fullest but they wont theya re too worried about offending someone or getting sued. Unfortunately that is the country we live in.. Where the offenders have rights and victims have none.

Melissa on Jun 27, 2008


Hi Melissa,,, I told my experiance with the system for Sylvia.. I think we "all" should expose those that are lenient on child abuse issues... And if I can find the social workers name I will expose her to...! It's all on public record the thing is you never see the public record unless you ask for it..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


Oh , and I also wanna mention that after I lost the court battle I contacted Mike Ahern, a local news man and left a message discribing my situation and he never returned my call..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


How can you trust what the news media says if they will only pick and choose what they feel we need to know..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


For the most part you cant trust what the media says. Well I totally agree with you on exposing people who are supposed to be in charge of trying to help an dinstead they do the most damage yet they want to point the finger at the parent that is trying to get help for the abused child. I was told in a cout of law that I was just a vindictive ex wife which was totally not the case because up until the time of the incident things were going fine. I almost lost cu stody of my daughter becasue I reported the incident to child services and was trying to protect her. I had a judge in my case that was mor concerned with his christmas vacation than he was trying to protect my daughter. My daughter had stated things to a psychologist and we even had proof a handwritten letter from the psychologist the judge looked at me and said this isnt proof I almsot fell out of my chair. Thatj ust goes to show you are better off to take the law in your hands than you are to t rust the judicial system cause it sucks!.... Luckily for my daughter things ahve been fine for the last 3 years thats only cause she is old enough to tell ... And we didnt have real proof so they say... I guarantee if it happens again I wont stop until ig et what I want even if it means going and sitting on the governor's doorsteps in the state of florida.

Melissa on Jun 27, 2008


oh btw in an earlier comment I had made about you not knowing lester likens.. I didnt mean to imply that at all. Sometimes we get so upset and caught up in this whole sylvia case our words dont come out as meant too for that I apologize.... Ever since seeing the movie I have been so obsessed with finding the ones responsible... I dont feel she was done justice paula was allowed to walk free and so was stephanie and that really bothers the crap out of me.Everyone involved should have had life sentences or done more jail time and not have been allowed to be around children period but no they set them free and they are free to do whatever.

Melissa on Jun 27, 2008


Melissa,,, Thats ok I know exactly what you mean and sorry if I snapped at you... You know whats funny is the I first became away of the sylvia Likens case when my sister had the book The Indiana Torture Slaying she was reading for a school project.. I was maybe 12 at that time. When I turned 14 in 1974 I met Lester Likens and worked for him never to once the whole time I knew Lester did I ever connect him with the story in the book my sister did an esa on.. I met Lee and Jeremey Shoemaker and went to school with I never knew they were Sylvia's nephew's... I never made the connection why we walked wide of the Hobb's house on 5th street in Beech Grove when the Hightlburger's and myself delivered papers at 3:00 am.. I never made the connection that Darlieen Mcguire lived at 6th. and Alton in Beech Grove right down the street.. She was the girl that introduced Sylvia to Paula.. I was unaware of all these untill one day I remembered Sylvia but only in the context of that book of my sister's ... Let me just say that when my sister told me all about Sylvia when I was 12 I can remember being horrified by it but being a 12 yr. old boy I quickly forgot.. Anyway,,, when I found the internet I found the information ... Everything that I have recalled is of the best of my ability and I may remember sketchy because I was 14 and I'm now 48 where Lester is conserned.... Let me just ask a question to anyone out there that knows Lester to come forward and let me know if my memory fails me ...

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


no you were fine . I will bet that darlieen wishes she had of never introduced the two. What I find so horrifying about this whole incident is that noone watned to help sylvia.. the neighbors that knew it was going on ... I just cant for the life of me understand it all. I wasnt even born yet when this took place but sine seeing the movie I havent slept good at all there isnt a day that goes by that I dont think of it. I want to expose paula for the bitch that she is she needs to pay for what she did to sylvia. She doesnt deserve any type of life or a moment's peace.

Melissa on Jun 27, 2008


I think the ppl in her family should deffinitly be kept track of yes... Just for safty sake if any..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 27, 2008


I saw the film on Showtime and was intrigued enough to research it on the Internet. I'm from the Chicago area, and had heard Gertrude's name in horrified whispers as a child, but until recently I didn't really know much about it. And while this thread is interesting, and the details of what happened to Sylvia revolting, the editor in me wants to take the other posters to task for the appalling lack of grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation skills that we should all have in place by the time we reach adulthood.

JT on Jun 28, 2008


lmao at what jt said you are kidding me right... A little girl is dead and you are worried about punctuation skills my god what are you the grammar police hehehe.

Melissa on Jun 28, 2008


Melissa,,, You'd have to visit Ill to understand where he's coming from.. Myself, the sht they do to eachother in Chicago it's a wonders they can even be horrified

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 28, 2008


lol ... yeah i know i visited chicago once and never intend on going back. Its a dirty nasty city. I can only imagine, have never heard good things about that city.

Melissa on Jun 28, 2008


I mean the ppl are more less intellectuals ,,,, they are different and they let you know it... NEVER pump gas "ANYWHERE" in Ill and not remember your pump # you are in for serious trouble.. All joking aside I have had good experiances in Chicago and it is a beautiful city especially at night from the lake... I have good memories of my first visit to Ill ... It was to visit my brother that was graduating bootcamp in the US Navy... Needless to say, one heck of a first impression.. I've since been all over the US and Canada shooting large format film and I have found there are dicheads just about everywhere so I shouldn't single out Chicago.. I've taken many shots of Chicago ... I remember shooting at sunrise from around 82nd on the beach and a homeless man chatted for about an hour on the subject of old cameras..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jun 28, 2008


you have been all over sounds like... You are right about that , there are jerks all over the world . I live in florida and I have to say the town I live in used to be such a small friendly town but over time people have gotten into a rush and just arent very courteous anymore. Being from the south you just expect it here but not so. I think mainly cause so many tourists have invaded us lol.. but if it werent for tourists our economy would be worse than what it is in certain parts of fl. Well I know that chicaog is just one part of illinois and Im sure the other parts are really beautiful.

Melissa on Jun 28, 2008


One of the statements most frequently made in connection with this horrible story is that one person could be out of his or her mind and therefore commit a murder but not such a lot of people. It’s decades ago now that I first learnt about Sylvia (by Kate Millett’s book, at a time when I needed to save my pocket money for quite a while so I could pay for it. Too young actually to read this, I do remember terrible nightmares once I had read the first half, and they lasted for months, with my parents none the wiser to what they came from). Anyway, in the meantime I have come to the conclusion that the violence against Sylvia partly stemmed from the very fact that the culprits were so many. It’s a systemical kind of thing. Like bullying in school. Mostly, there IS one main bully, but others, too, who assist him (thereby confirming his power) and after a while, expectations come up: Go on, do this, do that … and people fulfil them because of the power of the group. To prove their worthiness. Or just to avoid being picked upon themselves. Or because it offers one chance to feel not like an underdog but superior. (Ah, the kick of it!!! Not the underdog, oh no, not this time, make the most of it while you can, because here and now, it’s approved, it’s even ordered, and who knows when that opportunity will come back?.)

Kathleen on Jul 8, 2008


God gave us free will to do as we wish... Some wish to just live Some choose the darker road... I think Sylvia and Saint Stephen have much in common... They both died a horrible death and the son thats sit's to the right stood to greet them as they rose to heaven... I think Sylvia was no less then a Maytr and a Saint... Her story is like non other.. Once you know about Sylvia you never forget her

Stephen Hostetterh on Jul 9, 2008


Hi, Stephen, with all due respect but that's just plain silly. Syliva was a person made from flesh and blood with virtues and faults like everybody else and she didn't die for a cause either. You don't d her - or any other abused children - a favour if you turn her into something she wasn't. I'm not sure about free will either. We do have the possibility of a free will, that's right. But haven't you ever done anything you didn't understand yourself?

Kathleen on Jul 11, 2008


Kathleen,, If you look up the meaning of Martyr you'll see that it also means : one word: "victim" Was Sylvia not a victim..? Sylvia lived in the days of black & white TV with only 4 channels if you were lucky.. Sylvia wasn't exposed to the things teens are exposed to these days... Sylvia lived in innocent times,,, I know I was alive at the time.. Sylvia got saved at a local church while she was in the house on NY and just 3 months later she'd be dead...

Stephen Hostetterh on Jul 14, 2008


To answer your last question: Yes, I have done things I didn't understand and it was usually fueled by an alcoholic beverage..

Stephen Hostetterh on Jul 14, 2008


Okay! Under the influence is not what I meant, but how about this: When in company, an individual's ways of action always correspond to those of a person belonging a cultural level clearly below the individual's own. This seems to be true disregarding of the way the cultural level was achieved (by formal education or on the person's own steam). Does that ring a bell? As to innocent times - less flooded by the media, sure, and with a lot less of knowledge, but how about Vietnam? And the violent death of President Kennedy? Both were amply covered in print media and cinema news and TV, thus happening right before young people's and children's eyes. Has there ever been an era that was truly innocent?

Kathleen on Jul 14, 2008


I think that many people are cruel by nature and the only thing they have in their favor is they have time to think about what they do... All the people involved in the death of Sylvia had lots of time to think about what they were doing.. When you ask me , have I ever done anything I didn't understand , It keeps bringing me back to the question,, why didn't Sylvia save herself..? Yes,, your right about Kennedy and Vietnam,, MLK,, and the = rights movement.. These were all trying times but in no way do they come close to todays problems.. People today are very disrespectful , hateful , spiteful , and down right low down... And all is exceptable in the name of GREED ... We pass these values down to our offspring and then we wonder why our children join gangs.. We have a government that teaches us about an attitude of an "eye for an eye" is ok and we need to support this madness.. They send thousands of kids off to war to die and for what ? When will we kill enough people and how many of our children must die ?

Stephen Hostetter on Jul 15, 2008


I'd also like to add.. I think when the ordeal started Sylvia's tormentor's thought if what they were doing was that bad Sylvia would just leave ... When Sylvia didn't leave or try to get help the crowd may have thought she liked her treatment and might have contributed to her prolonged condition.. We do know that close to the end Sylvia did try to escape and this was suspected that she might try is why she was tied up in the basement... What baffles me is that Gertrude was 38 yrs. old with no criminal record and non of these kids had any criminal record either... Why did they all one day decide to become criminals...? Gertrude had many borders along the way and never laid a hand on them... Why Sylvia..? Why

Stephen Hostetter on Jul 16, 2008


Hi, Stephen, these are interesting suggestions you made in your last blog. Millett quoting from the court protocols and these quoting Jenny, I believe, remarks that Johnny and at least one of the younger children (my guess is Randy silly-grin-in-silly-gob Leper) frequently said during the torturing scenes "She likes it". Of course she didn't like it, but this is what children a lot younger use to say when they are "neglecting" their dolls, for example: "She wants it that way". I remember I said that when I was five and my mother said something like "Your doll feels alone because you were playing outside all day" (It had been expensive, I guess). And then, afterwards, many people seem to have said that Sylvia must have had a streak of masochism. Which I don't believe, but, of course, it does lead back to the eternal question: Why didn't she seek help when she could still have done? One thing is, both Sylvia and Jenny as well as the Baniszewski children and the children from the whole neighbourhood were used to physical punishment and thought it normal. the torturing increased only gradually. So when and how would you have determined that this or that now crossed a line? And, then, New remarked upon Jenny's crude speech. It's probably safe to assume that Sylvia was not the eloquent one either. Try to find words about why this is different ... Another thing is that they probably thought no one could help them or would have wanted to. Their parents had problems enough, Diana was in the throes of separation after her marriage had barely begun, the priest and social worker had been and gone, and then, if people hear you scream and they don't act upon that, words won't get them moving either. The gradual increase works as well for Baniszewski and friends, of course. They started because Gertrude encouraged them, with her words and her own behaviour, and then they were addicted and needed more and more of it. (Ever seen kids indulge in bullying at school? The victim's fear is real. That's the kick of it. Ah, to feel superior ... at least once in life!) Gertrude herself must have transferred the anger and fury of a lifetime, 38 years of frustration, to one person because - hell knows why Sylvia, but there she was. The transfer is quite obvious in the pregnancy thing. She knew of course that it was Paula who was pregnant but, for reasons best known to herself, she couldn't let fly at Paula. Afraid to lose her daughter's love, maybe, or afraid Paula would hit her. But with Sylvia she could so she accused her of being pregnant. What do you think?

Kathleen on Jul 21, 2008


Hello Kathleen,, I think evil came in the form of cough syrup to Gertrude... I know that if you drink enough (only 4 ounces) you can experiance a bad trip for a full day..Also causes halucination and severe paranoia Also, they described Gertrude as a haggardy woman ,,sometimes looking young and other times she'd look totally different (elderly) You can whitness it for yourself by veiewing all the photos taken of her... I think all those kids knew Gertrude was messed up ... would be something she couldn't hide on her best day.. But who knows For all those involved to go so long and never break the hold of these hedious ideas ... Not one kid turned away and said," enough".. Sylvia was treated not like a human but an object, a toy , a rag doll... How can one do this for any length of time before realizing the insanity they have become involved in and tell authorities? I agree with what you say about kids on a playground and the "fear is real" is why the victim runs like hell... usually

Stephen Hostetter on Jul 21, 2008


Hi, Stephen, Cough sirup? Maybe, as it may well have been available without a prescription, and if it was cheap ... But wouldn't Erbecker have jumped at this line of defence? I know that during the trial G.'s medication was discussed to some extent since her asthma medication had side effects (nervousness, anxiety etc.) so Phenobarbitol was prescribed to mitigate these and Erbecker claimed she had taken a lot of that, so that she was in a trance most of the time. It didn't work because on the one hand the expert witness said that even large doses of Phenobarbital with or without asthma medication would have made her dizzy and tired but not disorientated, and on the other hand her doctor said he had not made out a prescription for her. And then, even if she had had one from another doctor, she still would have had to pay for the medication, which she couldn't have. I agree completely about Gertrude's photos. It's hard to believe that they always show the same woman. The half profile that Millett rightly describes as "ghostlike" must have been made at the time of her arrest, then there is that one made during the trial where her head is thrown back a bit and where I always see the potential of a beauty. and if one looks at the one where she is side by side with Richard Hobbs one is completely perplexed to see that this was actually a young woman. (And by the way, did you ever come across the one from 1985? Again, you can recognize her but only if you have taken a good long look. Skilfully applied make up (with beautiful eyes, I have to say it), well dressed, a lot healthier than with 38, and if not looking younger than her age certainly not older. Would she even have reached that age out of prison?) Only, I don't quite now what you are getting at. Are you saying her looks reflect her state and prove how changeable that was? Young looking when she had gotten her cough stuff and old when she lacked it? It is true that she looks worst in the "ghostlike" one and better in the ones made at the trial because then she had filled up a bit and got her asthma stuff when she needed it (got lots of it, to judge by her behaviour). In the one with Johnny, though, she looks more like his gran than like his mum, so it doesn't work across the board. I agree about the neighbourhood children being aware that she was messed-up, maybe with the exception of Richard Hobbs who Dean maintains had a crush on her that turned him blind. As to her own children ... do you realize something like that about your own parents? Especially if the parents are divorced and you don't have anyone to compare with? Stephanie perhaps, but Paula was as just as messed up as her mother was, or worse. Johnny seems not to have had a grasp on anything, though, and the others were just too young. And of course, you are right about the time factor. I can imagine someone being taken away by a wild fury, for whatever reason, and giving in to it - once, twice, and even more often, and I can imagine giving in to the seduction of letting fly - but continuing this for a long time, seeing it getting worse and worse, and not turning away, that' s completely inexplicable. They were never really questioned about it during the trial. That would have been the answers you could really have learnt something valuable from. What did you feel, when you were paddling her, Ms. B.? Did it make you feel better, Johnny? Did you really believe, Paula, that Sylvia was pregnant? Would you like to start it all over with another victim if you could? Was it because Sylvia was so pretty? Did you all think you could go on and on without it ever having consequences for you? And why, Randy Leper, why are you grinning? (I know it's irrational but that one really puts my back up. Sometimes more than all the others.)

Kathleen on Jul 22, 2008


Hello Kathleen,, Yes, cough syrup was over the counter in those days ... Erbecker didn't use it because it couldn't be proven on paper.. Is my guess.. If Gertrude wasn't tripping from it she would have been detoxing from it's absence.. I think Randy Leper smiled to disguise his fear which is considered a normal reaction with some people.. Next time your at a scary movie and something bad happens look around and you'll see this behavior in action... Steve

Stephen Hostetter on Jul 22, 2008


We might also mention the fact the Erbecker was a public defender in this case..

Stephen Hostetter on Jul 22, 2008


Hi, Steve, yes, he was a public defender and quite overworked, too. At the same time, very skilled - and terribly vain, don't you think so? In almost every famous case, you have one lawyer or an attorney doing war dances. Of course, if your case is desperate ... You are right about Leper and probably right about this being a common behaviour, but I 've seen a lot of it at some time or other, and I think there's more to it than just fear. Leper behaved like this each time he had to admit to something. Grinning, rolling his eyes upwards - that's mocking. And there is something behind it I don't care for. Have a nice day, Kathleen

Kathleen on Jul 23, 2008


Hi Kathleen,, Yes I agree ,, Erbecker was over worked but was still an effective lawyer for his client... He kept her from getting the electric chair.. I think Leper was an immature kid and may have enjoyed the attention... The fear factor played a part but maybe not as much as his diranged mind.. I wonder what Randy has been up to...? He's someone you never hear about... Did he get God too?

Stephen Hostetter on Jul 23, 2008


Hi, Steve, the bit I know about post-Banishewski-trial Randy is from net blogs by people from Indianapolis. They don't say anything about him, too, finding God, on the contrary, Sylvias death somehow seems to have caught up with him. While he didn't have more problems with the law as Hubbard did, he had a hard time in the town - couldn't keep a job for more than a few days, couldn't find a partner, couldn't even keep an appartment without soon getting thrown out and was generally disliked in Indianapolis. Some bloggers hinted that people indeed couldn't stomach his behaviour in court. I guess, one doesn't hear so much about him because it was finally decided not to charge him so he was like any other person with rights to their privacy etc. I know there was that motion that his intelligence be tested because someone was afraid about his validity as witness. I don't think anything ever came of it, but these doubts may have been the reason for any idea of charging him being dropped.

Kathleen on Jul 23, 2008


Anon, I don't believe GB and the kids were misogynists. GB was pure evil, plain and simple. The kids just followed her cue, possibly with an evil side in them also. GB did not treat Paula or any of the other girls nearly as badly as she did Syvia. What was striking was the lack of a mature male figure in that household. That may have possibly made the difference between life and death for Sylvia. Kevin

Kevin on Sep 2, 2008


I just recently discovered that this film was made, although I have long been aware of "The Basement", even having at one time spoken with Kate Millett herself about the subject. My husband is the youngest of Gertrude's children, Dennis Lee Wright Jr., the son she had with Dennis Wright before he abandoned her. He grew up in Anderson IN with a different name and not knowing about his past, other than the fact that his birth mother was a murderer. He only discovered the story once he became an adult. After several years of extreme ups and downs, he now knows he is manic depressive - bi-polar, and it is almost certain that Gertrude also had the same disease. I am not condoning what happened, by ANY stretch of the imagination, but bipolar disorder is a very puzzling disease. It is just a shame that so many lives were destroyed - of course Sylvia herself, but no one mentions the younger children that really could not be held culpable. What ever happened to Dennis Lee Wright, my husband's birth father? It is always said that he abandoned Gertrude, but has no one ever heard anything on his whereabouts?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Sep 4, 2008


Hi, Kathe, thanks so much for contributing this. The possibility of a disease in G. has, of course, always been discussed, off and on, and I DID reckon, it was true. it HAD to be something yclothymical. Now we know, and that helps a lot, actually it's a relief, though I could not explain why, not really. I 'd like to know, though - answer only if this is not too intrusive - if your husband had heard of Ms. Baniszewski before he found out that she - and not that anonymous "murderer" was his mother, and how he found out. (There ARE triggers, right?) I'd love some elucidation on bipolar disorder in itself, too, and its treatment. It can't have been easy for you and your husband, and I wish you all the best.

Kathleen on Sep 8, 2008


Kathleen: Thanks very much for your kind comments. No, my husband had not heard of Gertrude Baniszewski before he discovered the truth. When he was 20 years old he was in a very bad motorcylce accident and at that time asked his adopted mother for the truth, and she gave him limited information. We didn't search out more until many years later, after we were married and our son was born. By that time, Gertrude had already died. My husband was unable to ever read either "The Basement" or "Indiana Torture Slayings", but I relayed portions of it to him as he could handle it. He did not discover he was bipolar until he entered rehab for drinking. Strangely enough, I come from a family myself with bipolar disorder, both my mother and grandfather were manic-depressive, but yet I could not see it in my own husband. Yes, usually there is a trigger - and most times bipolar people "self-medicate" with alcohol and drugs. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Unfortunately, sometimes the prescription drugs are worse than the disease itself; and causes many side effects that also disrupt ones life. I'd like to say that everything has gone peachy since then for my husband, but not so much. He is a tortured soul, and even though he was just an infant at the time of what happened to poor Sylvia, he feels the blame. He remembers his time at the orphanage, which was where he went right after the crime was commited, and he was only there only for a few months before being place in a foster home, so actually his memory goes almost to when it all happened, which is more than a little eerie.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Sep 8, 2008


Kathe,, I myself am a greatful recovering alcoholic since 1987.. I know what alcohol can do to me and ppl around me... When I was an active drinker I was very unpredictable, very depressed, lonely and always down..Alcohol is not medication I was arrested for a DWI in 1987 and sent to the city lock-up in the City County Building.. In that lock-up I asked God for this monkey to be removed and I would do something in return.. To make a long story short I left that building a new man without any desire to drink alcohol or to be drunk.. I feel all I had to do was to believe in something greater then me that was within me and then a miracle would take place.. I drank heavy for 15+ yrs. My aunt was married to a Tim Wright and his brother's name is Cliff Wright of Cliff Wright construction.. You might try and call Cliff (in yellow pages) and ask him if he has a brother named Denis, I often wondered myself.... It wouldn't surprise me because I have many ties to Sylvia for whatever reason I can't explain .. Kind Regards Steve

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 10, 2008


Kathe: this sounds as if bipolar disorder can have many faces. Not just because you didn’t recognize it. If your husband was first diagnosed when in treatment for something connected but in itself, dif-ferent, well, it could just as well have gone undetected for a while longer. I also get the impression that treatment is mainly or even entirely medication, i. e. chemistry. Since it’s caused by a chemical imbalance, that is alright, but what strikes me as very disturbing is that so many people with disor-ders supposedly based on physical disfunction have biographies that would be amply enough to cause psychical problems. (I’ve done some research on Jürgen Bartsch, and many of the medical experts agree he was born with a sadistical inclination. Maybe - but the childhood he had just bog-gles your mind.) The image your comments evoke is actually heartbreaking: a child just 1 year old – if I remember this right – in an orphanage, completely confused, probably scared, too, and trying to understand why such a violent change has taken place in his life. And some children in that kind of situation end up believing THEY did something wrong and are being punished. And some go on from there punishing themselves. By means of a disorder? Why not? And you are right, that thing about the memory IS eerie. Especially because, despite his then so young age, these must be memo-ries linked to language. Since he can put them into words, right? So there must be memories of the other kind, too, which one cannot describe but which go back even further. Could feeling the blame, as you say he does – when in no way, but in absolutely no way, he could be for anything in this whole sad story – have something to do with that? It must be hard, very hard, for him and for you, and think you have been very brave. And, Steve: this is getting strange. First, there is your connection to Lester and Betty, then your connection to the Shoemaker’s boys and the Hobbs’ house (did his father move after his wife’s death?) and now this – and a lot of it, if I get you right, happening to you without your making the connection at the time. What is this with you and Sylvia? Or is it just because you grew up so close by? Write about it. A book, I mean, you were there in this place, at that time and you knew the at-mosphere – do something about it. Looks as if you were meant to, anyway.

Kathleen on Sep 11, 2008


Kathleen,, Yes I agree very strange indeed ... I remember one day I was walking down the alley behind the Hobbs house on my way home from my buddies.. I noticed Mr.Hobbs sitting on a chair behind his garage cleaning fish, I stopped to have a look inside his bucket full of keepers.. We chatted for a short time but I can't remember the conversation. I can't remember what was said but it seems like he mentioned his being alone except for his sons and how they liked fishing... I wish I could remember more My very first encounter with a connection to Sylvia would have been the very yr. she died My brother and I was trailing on my stingray bicycle and was just down the street from home on Alton + 6th Ave. in Beech Grove.. The policeman that pulled us over was going to write use a ticket for trailing which was against the law... He informed us we would have to attend traffic school and to walk the bike home.. My brother and I ran home crying while my mother came to the doorway of our home to see what happened.. When we told her what had happened she looked at the ticket to read the officer's name and with much difficulty she finally made out J. Baniszewski... This happened in the spring of 1965 , I was 5 and my brother 4... we got the ticket right accross the street from the Mcguire home where I now think Darlene Mcguire lived although I could be wrong about that I'm 99% sure I'm correct.. maybe related to if not Yeah,, pretty bizzare

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 11, 2008


Also,,, I know the story gets even more bizzare... I was also very good friends with Barb Sanders family, the social worker that went to the death house while Sylvia was there... I was friends with her sons Mike, Homer, and her daughter Debbie... They lived in a double on north 5th. Ave. Hobbs lived on south 5th. Ave. Anyway,, Mike had problems ,, kind of like mental issues he said brought on by the Likens incident He would even get violent yelling obsenities at his mother.. I would try my best to help calm him down by telling him his mother was a good person and she would have stopped the madness in a minute if she could have known... It was Homer Sanders that was one of my best friends in school ,,, we attended many a rock concert together .. The Sanders family moved closer to the inner city and I never seen them again

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 11, 2008


I'd like to say more about this family.. Homer sen. the father was a trash hauler at the time not making killer money in fact just making ends meet.. Barbara I suppose got benefits with the social worker job ... Big Homer as I called him was a big man strong as an ox and he loved kids.. I was his buddy I always got the impression.. I never felt unwanted there they truely loved their kids and all their friends.. Barbara wasn't the greatest of house keepers and the double they lived in on 5th. has a creepy resemblance to the death house on New York st.. I liked Debbie we kissed a few times but nothing serious I was just a freshman in HS or around then which would have been 76 The timeline when I talked to Mr. Hobbs would have been when I was 9 in 69 so Ricky would have been in the house at the time... If my memory serves me well I can remember seeing Ricky with thick rimmed glasses walking in the backyard on occassions..I used the alley a lot as kids did

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 11, 2008


Kathleen: Yes, bipolar disorder is really tragic for the people who have it and their families. And I agree, what happened to my husband is truly heartbreaking. Last night he commented that God must have put him here to pay for the sins of his family. I tried to tell him that God would not do such a thing, and that he must have had a different reason. He also mentioned that he has a strange feeling that of all of his half-siblings, he feels a connection to Marie somehow, and thinks that perhaps she tended to him more than the others. However, he does not want to try to find her - he thinks that probably none of the kids liked him much because he did not have the same father, and it must have made it more tight financially once he was born, so the others probably resented him. He was taken in as a foster child by the family that would end up adopting him. His adopted mother also had some serious issues and was abusive to him. She would tell him he was a very bad evil boy who would end up like his real mother (for things like stealing cookies) and that they could always "send him back" at any time. "What did my real mom do?", he would ask. And she would scream back "I'm your real mom now". So he quit asking, but it didn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that she was probably a murderer or she wouldn't be in the penitentiary for life. At some point, in high school, one of his adopted sisters outed him as the murderer's son (however he did not know, and still didn't know who his "real" mom was") and he was basically ostracized. He has spent his life as a loner who is very mistrusting of everyone. Steve: I've picked up the phone maybe three times now to try to call Cliff Wright, but I chicken out every time. My husband isn't aware that I am putting comments on this blog (and I don't think he would be very happy about it either), and I'm a bit afraid of opening up this can of worms if this is indeed the brother of my husband's birth father. My husband often says that he so relates to Sylvia and he is haunted by her face, while his birth family are people he just doesn't get at all. I agree with Kathleen that it is very strange all of your connections to the Likens, Hobbs, etc. - even the incident when you and your brother got the ticket from John B. Do you know what happened to him, by the way?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Sep 11, 2008


Kathe, your husband’s story is even more disturbing than I thought. I have no idea how adoption or foster families policy was at the time in the US, but I should have thought these families were carefully picked, with a view to how stable and warmhearted and empathic the parents are and so on. Especially where children with a traumatic background were concerned. Your husband’s foster/adoptive mother seems to have been so unstable herself – I’m trying to put that kindly – as to be absolutely unfit to be a foster mother let alone adopt a child. As to what he said about Marie – you know, your comments were on my mind yesterday evening and I thought that if he wanted to contact some members of his biological family, Marie and/or Stephanie were the best options. Then, today, I read you quoting him about Marie. This is a decision one can only take for oneself, though, and for no one else. Not even for a spouse - and I can understand you couldn’t get your nerve up to phone a possible uncle. I don’t think there is a reason to suppose his biological siblings didn’t want him, though. Because up to the moment the mistreating was well on its way and partly beyond that time, the Baniszewskis , among each other, seem to have been a family whose members loved each other like in any other family. Remember, when Shirley was in the witness box, how she and Paula and Gertrude cried at seeing each other again? And how Stephanie said, she loved her mother and Paula? There is no reason to believe this love did not extend to the smallest one. And indeed, Marie seems to have taken care of her little brother quite frequently. There is one part in the “Basement” where Millett quotes her directly, again in the witness box: “I was holding him on my lap” or something; after that, Millett comments somewhat cynical on “this charming family picture” and she says that Marie seemed often to mix up truth and fantasy but if she was not holding him then, she must have done it other occasions, or else it wouldn’t have come to her mind. This idea of feeling unwanted is certainly real, but it looks as if it related either to the adoptive family or to the time in the orphanage (see what I wrote before). But if he talks about the Baniszewskis (I got the impression that this happens frequently, correct me if I’m wrong) they seem to be on his mind. Stephen, should you ever take up my suggestion and write your own book about Sylvia, one chapter of it could be titled “Stumbling into Leftovers”. Somehow, the most fascinating is that you were not looking for it at all, you didn’t even know there was something to know, but the leftovers from Sylvia’s life seem to have pursued you anyway. It reads as if inner Indianapolis were a small village where you can’t help running into some persons again and again. Well, I’m not familiar with Indianapolis’ geography – for instance, I first thought Beech Grove was a suburb, but it must be rather central - but I get the impression that all these people lived and continued to live just around the corner from each other. Which, in itself, is a bit strange. At the time of the murder, Rickie’s family lived on Dennis Street, right? If 4 years later they were on south 5th. Ave, they must have moved house, for many reasons maybe, as their own family history was sad enough, but if I wanted to get away from haunting memories, I’d move as far away as I could. I hadn’t realized, either, that your contact with the Hobbs’ family took place so early – that is, in that small time window following Rickie’s release from the prison and before his death at so young an age. I know that you are not too sure about having seen Ricky – the glasses are a clue but the brothers may have been just as shortsighted – but if it was him, this means his Dad at least took him back in and since his Dad talked to you about “his boys” (that includes Ricky, doesn’t it?) and how they liked fishing, well, maybe Rickie had at least some good times. I always felt that he got into something that wasn’t in himself at all at all.

Kathleen on Sep 12, 2008


Kathe,, I don't even know if he's still alive,,, maybe hard telling Kathleen,, Beech Grove is a suburb of sorts ,, it has it's own mayor and police hence John B. as a Beech Grove policeman.. Beech Grove,, in case no one knows is birthplace to the famous actor Steve Mcqueen which I was named after.. While we're on the subject of Steve's I couldn't help but notice Sylvia is buried next to several ppl with the last names Stevens and Stevenson... BTW,,, Ricky lived 2-3 doors down from the death house on Denny st. at time of crime and no he didn't seem like the torturing type

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 12, 2008


Kathe,,, I don't think Sylvia would want another wasted life in her honor.. Dennis Jr. must try to find a way to be happy...

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 12, 2008


Kathleen,,, The thought of a book and the title you mentioned is an awesome idea and your right I probably should tell my story in book form... It would take many years to research and write a book especially for someone like me... I'm still inspired by the idea,,,,who knows

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 12, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I completely agree with you that it is a travesty that the state did not do their due diligence with respect to my husband's placement in foster care and eventual adoption. My husband's adopted mother had taken in several foster children over the years, perhaps primarily for the money that the state provided. She also had six biological children, all much older than my husband. His adopted father didn't want any more children when they took him in; and made no bones about saying so either, so my husband never felt wanted or a real part of the family. They were complete religious fanatics, that didn't believe in Christmas (Christ wasn't really born on Dec. 25 - that was chosen to replace a pagan holiday - so it was a sin to celebrate), mixed dancing or swimming (male and female) and the like. The home did not even have a television. The social worker did demand that they buy a tv, because "we were going to be on the moon soon". His adopted siblings were extremely happy to get a television, though. He was finally legally adopted in 1971 at the age of 7, which must have coincided with Gertrude's second trial. He was always introduced as the "adopted" brother or son. Not hard to understand why he left home at 18 and then spent many years estranged until the pending birth of our son in 1992. At that time they made an effort to try to welcome him back. He even took our son back to Indiana in 1994 for a visit (I could not go), but it ended very badly and my husband came home much earlier than expected. He has never gone back since. Both adopted parents are now deceased, and none of his adopted siblings have contacted him since. The only blood relative that he has ever known is our son. As far as Marie, yes I remember the comments in Kate Millett's book; and yes, I think it was something about holding baby Denny (as he was called) at the time that some of the abuse was happening. I need to go back and reread these books as it has been many years now. Talking about the Baniszewski's has gone in waves, obviously resurging recently due to his knowledge of "An American Crime", which he has decided he just cannot watch. I found it interesting that of all of the characters in the film, the people's names who were changed were my husband's and his father's (Why baby Kenny instead of baby Denny and Andy instead of Dennis?). And Steve, I agree with Kathleen that you probably should write a book. It does seems as though it was meant for you to do so. And I wholeheartedly agree with you that my husband needs to find a way to be happy; and that Sylvia would not want another life wasted. He hopes to set up a foundation or something in Sylvia's honor someday, and maybe that will give him the feeling of accomplishment that he so needs. While he has done many things for a living over the years, the last 10 or so he has been so disabled mentally that he has been unable to work. That is a frustrating place for a man in his 30's - 40's (he is now 44). He also has been a heavy smoker (like Gertrude, strangely enough) and now has COPD and asthma as well.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Sep 12, 2008


Kathe,, That is great..! A foundation in Sylvia 's honor she would be pleased.....

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 12, 2008


Hi Kathe and hi, Steve, Kathe, I guess, the names in the film were changed to protect both of them because they were neither guilty nor charged (well, of course not, what with?) so in the film they were symbolized rather than impersonated. As a film company they could be sued for a lot of money if they made a mistake there, so, to be on the safe side … I agree completely that a foundation in Sylvia’s honour would be a great thing. You haven’t said yet who’d be the persons to benefit – those with bipolar disorder or abused children? I guess, if people knew who set up the whole thing the impact could be enormous, but then, goodbye privacy. But there’ s one other thing I’ve been wanting to ask you almost from the beginning. Do you have something or someone to support YOU? I mean, a group for family members of people with bipolar disorder maybe or a strain-processing therapy for yourself or just one special person - anyway, a space where you do not have to be the strong one. Of course life is very hard for your husband but I don’t think it’s much easier for you and I believe you are under considerable pressure almost all the time and could do with a break now and then. As to the adoption procedure – may I at least assume that it has been altered since then? Because I still don’t get the logic of it. If someone is truly religious they should have a concept of sin, and if taking in a child for money and then make him feel unwanted doesn’t qualify as a sin, I don’t know what would. There’s another aspect I find quite confusing but maybe that’s just because I’m not familiar with US law at all (by the way, is this federal or state?) If a woman is in prison for life – is she forced to give young children up for adoption? It’s clear they’d have to be placed somewhere, and if there is no relation to take them in it would have to be either an orphanage or a foster family, but could the mother, at least in theory, keep custody? I’m asking this, too, because your husband was adopted rather late and the time at which he was gives room to some interesting questions. And Steve, what do you mean, especially for s.o. like you? I agree, research WOULD take years, and writing – well, a writer is never as happy with his own work as he thought he’d be and you are not likely to be different. But it isn’t as if you couldn’t handle language. I like the way you can evoke an atmosphere (e. g.. the social worker and her family. With Millett and Dean she was just s.o. who might have been Sylvia’s last chance but who failed to find out what was happening. They didn’t blame her but she remained someone anonymous. You make her a living woman on whom this sad case had consequences.). Same goes for the others you describe. One more question, even if it seems a bit silly: Mr. Hobbs and the boy with the thick glasses (Ricky or one of his brothers): Did you like them? Young children, as you were then, are often quite easy about liking or disliking, they rely on a tummy feeling and usually it’s Yes or No. Well?

Kathleen on Sep 17, 2008


Hello Kathleen,,, It's quite fun sometimes to sit and think back at your life ,, so I think of the good times mostly .. I was really blessed to have so many good people around me ,, but then I guess maybe I planned it that way.. I surrounded myself with good people and it led me all through Sylvia's family ..! Why.? I may never know why.. Your question about the Hobb's boy isn't silly at all.. I may have thought the boy I seen seemed a bit troubled ... He sat in the backyard swing a lot by himself.. If anything I had a soft spot for him if he seemed a tad weird, I was just that way.. But at the time I really don't remember connecting him to Sylvia... More then likely I heard the story about " a girl " Sylvia is not a common name and difficult for a kid to remember .. I learned about(or at least first heard the name) Sylvia in 1974 at the age of 14... At the time I was going to the Hightlberger's down the street from the Hobbs' I was in 4-6 th grade which would have been 1968-1972.. I honestly can't say how I might have reacted If I'd known the full story of Sylvia and known Ricky (the guy in the thick rimmed glasses) had done what he'd done.. I doubt that I would have passed it off as just a mean streak even though at that young age we all seemed to possess one ... I think in those days about the worst story with mean boys might involve a cat but never a human being.. I wish I could remember more about Ricky but theres probably nothing more to say other then he was a basket case and kept to himself... Mr. Hobbs seemed very normal

Stephen Hostetter on Sep 17, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I work in business and legal affairs at Warner Bros., so I know the legal implications, but since both names are out in the public record, I think the liability was low. I just thought it was amusing. I imagine that Denny would want the foundation to be set up for abused children. You're right, if it was known who set it up, the impact could be great. I'm not sure that Denny would want the publicity for him though, but bringing awareness to the issue of abused children is another matter. Thank you for asking whether I have a support group or something; I am often told by friends that they don't know how I keep it all together. I don't think that I mentioned that our son is autistic - very high functioning and we have great hopes for him - but that also adds another layer to the dynamic. As far as the adoption procedure, the way I understand it is that Denny was not legally adopted until 1971 because Gertrude had not relinquished her parental rights until then. I think that it coincided with the second trial, and she finally said "just take him". At least that's what his adoptive mother told him - I guess that may or may not be true. Not everything she told him about his background was true. Sometimes it was her "spin" on things. And I agree with you on the religious issue. I have found that sometimes people that claim to be the most religious can be really the worst offenders of what I thought God and religion are all about.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Sep 17, 2008


Hi, Kathe, You sure do have a lot on your plate, I can only repeat what your friends say, I can’t imagine how you manage. I am glad, though, that your son is so highly functioning. Are we talking Asperger’s or has his schooling so far been so effective? The youngest son of a good friend is autistic (mainly speech development problems). As they live in another country, I don’t see him that often so I no-tice every small progress and I know that my colleagues in special pedagogics have done wonders for him. He is in an integrative school and has his own teacher for the whole of a school day . Not only he has been speaking for a long time now, he even is growing out that phase of saying exactly what he thinks. That did cause problems for a while. Of course, one needn’t be autistic to do this and it might not sound so wrong but with an autistic person this is not about being franc or outspo-ken but about making yourself vulnerable in a way – well, you will know this better than I do. Ac-tually, I’m quite sure that people who meet him for the first time would take some hours, or longer, to notice he is a bit different from his peers. As to the adoption, this is much what I thought. It looks as if up to the second trial – the verdict, I guess – Gertrude had hopes of getting out of prison, if not at once then after a manageable amount of time, and taking Dennis jr. back, not relinquishing her rights until she knew it wouldn’t happen that way. Whatever his adoptive mother said about it, this means Gertrude didn’t give him up until she felt she had too. If one keeps in mind that she couldn’t know who her youngest child was with, this is a much more motherly decision than a refusal to have him adopted would have been, and it must have caused her a lot of pain. People who see her as the devil in person – there are plenty on this blog and worse on others – will not like this but I never got the impression that she was such a bad mother. I know that either Shirley or Marie once said in an interview they had been afraid of her – well, yes, I guess so, it has often been stated that in this place and time all the children were used to physical punishment and what with the pressure she was under AND her own very likely disorder, she was bound to let fly now and then. Add to this that either daughter would have felt the blame and would have wished to find an excuse for herself. Still, I firmly believe what I always believed – that she loved all her children in the same way most mothers do. Hi, Stephen, thanks for answering my questions, that was sweet. Is a basket case someone quiet and remote? (English, as you’ll have noticed, is not my mother tongue.) It does make you wonder, how a man like Mr. Hobbs, an unobtrusive man as you say, handled this kind of thing, first realizing that his son had been part of a crime, and such an appalling one, then making headlines, then being photo-graphed himself, people staring at him in the street – and then the trial, and the verdict. Your com-ments suggest, though, that he had forgiven him – something Ricky himself probably never did. And if up to the time you were 14 you had not heard of the case, it can’t have been the subject for everybody to talk about any longer, although this was neighbourhood, more or less. Unless people didn’t talk to you about this because you were a boy? Because of the embarrassment, I mean – I remember one woman on another blog saying she grew up in the vicinity and “had known about this all her life”, and there are Milletts comments about one of Sylvia’s former classmates and how she felt ASHAMED, of all things … By the way, I was quite surprised, too, that Sylvia is not a common name at your place,. I know and knew a lot of Sylvias and would rather have thought Jen-nifer and Diana to be rare names, at the time of their birth, that is, not today. Have a nice weekend, both of you, and take care.

Kathleen on Sep 19, 2008


Hi Kathleen: Our son is a junior in high school and is mainstreamed for a bulk of his school day. He does have some special ed classes still though. He is extremely bright, but his main issue is socialization. He has never been comfortable with his peers. He has always enjoyed the company of adults over children. He was diagnosed while in day care prior to 3 years old, but it was still pretty new to people back in 1995. Now there are so many more autistic children and many more people are aware of the condition. But back then, I didn't even know what it was. Of course, I had heard of it, but I really didn't know anything. We have been extremely lucky though, because our son is able to express feelings and give us affection, something that some autistic children cannot do, so we do feel we have been blessed. He is an amazing person and we have exremely high hopes for him. I guess we'll never really understand why what happened happened to this family; but I do think that on some level, Gertrude did love all of her children. And I've seen posters on other blogs talk about how Marie and Stephanie, and I assume others, were afraid of their mother.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Sep 22, 2008


Kathe, Is your son actually autistic or does he have Asperger's? The autistic are generally unable to attend regular school. I have a relative who has Asperger's, which they actually refer to as highly functioning autism. He's a nice guy and very smart, but a bit socially awkward. He is almost like the Rain Man. To everyone: Does anyone know anything about John Baniszewski, Sr? He is someone we never hear about. While he was made out to be a deadbeat dad in the movie and on some blogs, he did take in Stephanie after the murder trial. I know this from the Indiana Torture Slaying book. Furthermore, I also read in The Indiana Torture slaying that old Gertie was quite selfish: despite living in a rathole house with nary enough food for the kids, she bought herself a fashionable furniture set as the kids slept in one room on a ratty old mattress. I also saw on a blog, from someone who must have known the family, that JB Sr. always paid his child support. Also, why were the other children (besides Stephanie) placed in foster care despite having a dad that was around?

ross on Sep 24, 2008


Hi Ross: My son is autistic, but high on the spectrum. They didn't diagnose it as Asperger's, but he is now mainstreamed for about 4 classes per day. He has "Rain Man" tendencies as well, in fact his name is Dustin and I call him Dustman. From what I understand about John B. Sr., he was not in arrears in his child support, however he had to prove he had made payments before he was able to get his kids back and it took several years to round up all of the receipts, etc. And yes, I also understand that Gertrude had a bedroom suite while there weren't enough mattresses for all of the kids in the house.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 6, 2008


Hello ,,,, I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with the new bedroom suite ,,,, Then you have to nail down a bedroom location which I am afraid the movie is spot on by portraying her on the couch as her bed. Besides,, she's is holding a kid hostage and was well aware of it,, which she indeed proves in the end.. The couch position in the livingroom would give her clear sight of the basement door and the upstairs door and the backdoor...

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 6, 2008


and of course the frontdoor

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 6, 2008


Stephen, this detailed information makes me assume that you have seen a floorplan of the ground floor, either of E. New York 3850 itself or of corresponding houses. If so, could you provide that somewhere - or just describe it? I always got the impression that from the front door you'd walk right into the kitchen. The couch G. slept on later - because she was unwell with asthma and the stairs were getting to much if she wanted to lie down during the day, I believe. Or was that just the reason she gave?

Kathleen on Oct 13, 2008


Sorry - I meant, that couch was in the living room, or so I thought? Millett says somewhere that in that trial Marie maintained that Shirley had been "in there" to give G. a kiss during the branding. Anyway, I'd love to get some information about inside because I do find it confusing.

Kathleen on Oct 13, 2008


Hello Kathleen,,, I have been in the house several times... Walking through the door facing New York st. you find yourself in the livingroom and facing the up-stairs steps and a small closet to it's right.. To the left is a entry door consisiting of two pillars flanked by bookshelves and to the left is a fake fireplace on the wall.. Through the pillars you enter the diningroom and keep right you enter the kitchen.. As you enter the kitchen the basement door is on the right.. As you turn around and enter the livingroom and head up stairs there is a landing half way up ... Up-stairs you'll find three bedrooms and one bathroom w/ no tub... As you reach the top of steps your facing a bedroom and if you look left you see another bedroom and If you turn your head far to the right looking behind your position you will see a bedroom with blue walls and painted on clouds... This is where the police found Sylvia.. So, recap,,,, Your standing at top of strps facing south,,, one bedroom to right, one directly in front and one to the right and behind you with the bathroom directly to your right... The basement steps go like this... You enter by stepping down to a landing then you must turn left then down a couple steps to another landing,,then you must turn right and then it's a straight shot down 7 or so steps with a crude rail down both sides... " all original" according to crime scene photos. At the very bottom of the steps there is a small landing between the steps and the basement east wall..This landing sits right on the floor and is just simple construction of 2x4's on end decked in with 1/2" CDX plywood.. Each block in the basement walls has the name Davis block Co. printed on them... The ceiling apears to have had a hardboard nailed up to the floor joist but has all been torn down leaving just the tattltale nails used to hold it up.. As you turn to the left you will see a brick chimney flew painted with bright red,blue, and black paint. Next to it is a gas pipe that is no longer hooked up and it is bent in the middle with much of the paint rubbed off where the bend is... There is some old plumbing on the east wall where a sink had been ,,, above that is a sealed up window with a PBR beer can on sill plate... If you are standing on the bottom landing and look to the right you'll see the opening to the crawl space which goes under the rest of the house... There is a nail on the bottom of the stair rail with burn marks in the shape of an hourglass or the shape of a 3 turned in both directions... I did notice slice marks in the wood at the bottom of the steps that could have been made with a shovel or sharp knife.. Above the last step there is a dirty hand print on a dropped part of the ceiling as though someone was trying to stop themselves from falling... The whole time I was there I got the impression this was a crime scene that was very in tact considering it happened so many years ago.. Nothing has been done to remove anything

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 13, 2008


Hello, Stephen, thank you ever so much, this was clear and very helpful. When you say nothing has been done to remove these leftovers – well, possible leftovers, one doesn’t know for sure - you mostly refer to the basement, right? I looked at the house (outside) once on one of these satellite maps where you can move up and down and left and right, and it must have been newly done up then. I remember I thought that it didn’t look nearly as ugly as on the photos of the time and could, in fact, be quite a nice house. If one didn’t know about its history, that is. Later I saw some footage someone had put on the internet and there it looked quite derelict again. I understand, too, that the town (as the owner, I guess?) tried to put it to different uses over the years, but nobody stayed in for long, so something must have been done about the rooms on the ground and first floor on different occasions. I wonder why this did not include the basement. Or really I don’t. What I mean is, reading your description everybody would imagine that handprint to be Sylvia’s, and as to the nail with the burn and the slice marks in the steps … Oh God. Well, I don’t believe in ghosts nor that houses ever are really haunted. What I believe, though, is that if something evolving strong emotions happened in a place something lingers in the atmosphere that can be felt, more or less clearly, and this is where all these ghost stories come from. Maybe the people who used to live there didn’t feel much like going down. What did you feel like, being in there? (And WHEN were you there, as a young boy or as a grown-up?) There’s one more question, though, this is a double house, right? So the part with the porch facing Dennys Street had nothing to do with the Baniszewskis? Would that have been where the Vermillions lived, or was that the very small house on the other side? (Again, I saw that on this map, online. That one looked a lot worse and was boarded up). Kathe, are you well? It’s been a while since we read you on this blog. I hope you just have a lot to do and nothing else is wrong. Greetings to all!

Kathleen on Oct 14, 2008


Hello Kathleen,,, The death house is boarded up as it is right now ... The house sits on the corner of Denny and New York st. The New York side ( both sides have a porch ) is the door entrance to 3850 which would be where the Silvia was.. The front of the house faces Denny st. and is the entrance to where the Vermillions lived.. This part is the part of the house with a crawl space under the house... As far as the hand print goes,, I think It's Sylvia's ... I was able to get a match by comparing the photo of Sylvia 's hands ( back cover of The Indiana Torture Slaying ) there is a crime scene photo of the torso and hands of Sylvia... Try to remember ,,, the house sat empty for 15 years (after 1965)and when it was rented out finally it didn't stay rented long by any one person... I was told by a former renter and she said the house was very creepy and she and her children wouldn't be there much longer.. The house right next door ,, on New York side has been torn down just this early spring... How did I feel while I was in the basement..?? Umm well ,,, I'm in the construction business and I generally look at a house with critiqual eyes .... While I was in the basement I must say I had a very paranoid feeling bordering on fear,,, I couldn't think of the house like a regular house because I was there for different reasons.. I couldn't stay there for any length of time without thinking about the crime and I can't see someone living there knowing the history.. I personally don't think the house is haunted by Sylvia's ghost but it may be haunted by something maybe just the memory I'm not sure.. As far as traffic of people going to the basement ,,, I don't think there has been much since 1965 Also I can tell you from my experiance as a remodeler and someone that has poured over crime scene photos ,,, this basement is in very original condition ,,, original steps and railing,, plaster on walls going down stairwell,, basement floor still exposed concrete,, floorjoist have slice marks from sharp object resembling a shovel blade,, the burn marks on handrail,, everything matches the crime scene photos from 1965... I was able to match certin marks on the handrail to the same marks in the crime scene photo ,, I have taken photos myself and everything matches up 100%.. The hand print is speculation but it matches up quite well to the crime scene photo as I mentioned.

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 14, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I am still lurking and yes, quite busy. Actually, I found the board at imdb also, and when perusing there noticed some posts regarding wondering about the whereabouts of the children, etc. I piped in and before you know it I received a private message from someone who could put me in touch with Stephanie and/or Marie. Again, I had not told my husband and I was nervous because I thought he would be extremely upset with me because, after all, this is his private life. I usually never post on boards, but I guess I felt compelled to for some reason, both here and on that board. This person had information not only about Denny's birth family (and it was also confirmed that he was indeed loved very much by his siblings) but he also had information on Denny's birth father, Dennis Lee Wright. Apparently, he was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam (he didn't vanish, as has been reported, he was drafted) and he also had something called Huntington's Disease. He passed away in 1974 or 1975. The Napalm probably exacerbated the Huntington's. I had never heard of it before. It is an incurable degenerative brain disorder that is a little like Parkinsons, a little like Alzheimers, with crazy mixed in. You can live 10-30 years with it, but then you die of complications related to the disease, such as pneumonia or complications from a fall, etc. (Denny has chronic pneumonia, he has had it once a year for the last 8 years, and even had it twice one year.) A person with Huntington's has a 50/50 chance of passing it to his child. Dennis Lee Wright was an identical twin, and he also had two other siblings, another brother and a sister, and all four of them had Huntington's, which they inherited from their father, who inherited it from his father. So that means that Denny has a 50/50 chance of having Huntington's and now that I look at everything, I am almost sure that he does have it. And then of course, if he does, then there is a 50/50 chance that our son will have it as well. While this is obviously quite sobering news, it may also answer many of the questions I have had over the years about my husband's mental and physical well-being. In other words, it explains a lot. On the positive side though, I was connected to both Stephanie and Marie, and they were able to tell me interesting information about my husband as a baby and provide pictures that of course, he had never seen (I was able to confirm who I was by providing Denny's birth date, which was written on one picture of him at 2 days old). Denny was correct all along; Marie was the one who tended to him the most, and the last one to hold him before he was placed in foster care from Guardian House. Now I had all this information, about his birth family and his health history, and I knew I had to fess up to my husband about what I was doing online. I guess to say that our world has been turned upside down is an understatement. Denny has not yet spoken to either Stephanie or Marie, except with me as the conduit, but he did send a letter to Marie and Marie has sent one to him. Stephanie is working on one now, but she wanted to let Marie be the first since obviously Denny and Marie were very close. We are trying to take it slow for everyone because this is just so emotional, and there is so much to understand. Denny said this morning that he feels like he is going to wake up and this will all be a dream. I am trying to be there for him and help him through all of this. And I truly believe that all of this is happening for a reason, and that ultimately, it is part of God's plan.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 14, 2008


Hello Kathe,,,, Your son wouldn't have a 50/50 chance ... The chance degrades over generations Fantastic to hear about Denny and what has so far transpired... I hope everything goes well.

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 14, 2008


Kathe: I'm glad to hear about you putting these pieces together, and hope that your husband takes it well. Did you talk to Stephanie or Marie at all about other things: such as life since 1965, growing up with Gertrude, etc.? I understand you have their confidence in mind, and don't want to get into specifics, but do you think you could give us some general info without getting too specific? Oh, and do you know what ever happened to JB Sr.?

Ross on Oct 14, 2008


Hi Ross: Yes, I have spoken with both Stephanie and Marie about many things, including life since 1965. All of the children had very hard lives; Stephanie fared the best as she was sent to live with family members. But the others - Marie, Shirley and James - were all in foster care and were treated very badly. Although their names were changed, everyone knew who they really were, and their foster families mistreated them, much the same as my husband's adopted family did to him. Stephanie and Marie both told me that Denny was very much loved by all of his siblings, and through the years they had often wondered about Denny and how his life was going, if he married, had children, etc. There were several false reports about where Denny was throughout the years, so I'm sure they were a bit skeptical when here I came, but once I confirmed who I was by providing Denny's birth date, we started exchanging photos and any doubts they may have had vanished. I have found both Stephanie and Marie to be genuine and caring women and they have welcomed me into their hearts. They had been praying over the years for God to bring their baby Denny back to them if and when He found it best. Regarding JB Sr., they told me that he passed away a few years ago, after a long illness (I'm sorry but I don't remember now what - but I'll find out again). There is some discord in the family among the siblings and Stephanie and Marie were kept away from JB Srs. funeral and I think there are still some ill feelings there. Stephanie seems to be one in the family who still finds something good to find in all of her siblings, and she says she loves them all. She loved both of her parents. She even found a way to forgive Gertrude. Marie is more hardened to life, I believe, and I don't think has quite made that leap. Stephanie has also told Shirley that they found Denny, but I haven't spoken to her yet. We're trying to take this slow, and not get emotionally overloaded. No word on anything about Paula or Jim knowing anything about Denny. I would imagine that since Shirley knows, that Paula must now too. I now have a different view of most of the kids now that I've heard some stories of how they treated Denny - even Paula. who would tailor words to songs for Denny, such as the Superman theme (it's Super Baby! able to leap from a crib in a single bound...) and the Lone Ranger theme. Strangely enough, Denny has always had a "thing" for Superman, which he passed down to our son (who is currently a Superman-everything "freak" - Smallville is currently his fave tv show). As a teen, Den resembled a young Christopher Reeve and when he wore glasses was referred to as Clark Kent. By saying that I have a different view of the kids now doesn't mean that I condoned what happened at all, but I think hearing some of the things I was told gives some insight as to how it could happen. I'll just say that all of these children had very hard lives, before and after 1965.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 14, 2008


Kathe, these are stunning and breathtaking news – actually, I sit here with my heart pounding. I really hope that this development will do good to Dennis jr.. Maybe it’s already good for him to know that his first family did love him – at least it will take away this feeling of never having been wanted, and maybe it’s even good to know that what happened in his foster/adoptive family was nothing to do with him but that many of his siblings share these sad experiences. (What does that tell us about foster and adoptive families, though? I do believe it’s different now, that is, I know it is, mostly, but. still, I know some adopted daughters and I know some adoptive mothers – kind and caring women – but I‘ve yet to hear of an adopted daughter who became an adoptive mother). I’m glad to read that Marie and Stephanie are kind women. If anything can stop Denny identifying solely with Sylvia as the victim and concentrating on the blame and help him to see things more in perspective instead, then it’s this new contact. It really looks as if up to the time Sylvia and Jenny arrived and – well, whatever triggered this, the Baniszewskis were not much different from any other family. I wish to you and your family all the strength you will need for the next weeks and I’ll keep thinking of you, as most on this blog will, I’m sure. Maybe our goods wishes will bring you luck! As to the confusing thing about Huntington’s chorea - does that mean that the bipolar disorder diagnosis is off or is this something to add to it? Actually, I know a family where the father had Huntington’s and passed it on to one of his daughters, and I wonder how you can be so sure that your husband has it. There are a lot of physical symptoms (jerks, twists, like seizures, both in the body and in the face muscles), they develop first and increase quickly once they started and although the disease is very rare they are usually not mistaken for something else (other than the cognitive and behavioural ones, THEY could mean anything). Also, there is something else: in a woman, it is sure to begin before her menopause, so once she has reached that age, she’s out of the woods even if one of her parents had it. I’ not sure if that goes for men, too but there is a test to see if one has it or not, and there’s even another one to show if you might get it (You need blood samples of relatives for this one, however). Thinking of you, Kathleen

Kathleen on Oct 15, 2008


Forgot to ask you something, Kathe - you said once you had spoken to Kate Millett. Did she find you or did you find her? I take it this was long after "The Basement" came out? Greetings!

Kathleen on Oct 15, 2008


While it is interesting to find out about the Baniszweski children's lives, it is really difficult to feel anything other than apathy for how hard their lives turned out to be. Karma has a funny way of working out. Poster #49 seemed to have inside information on where Paula is and how she lives her life. In my opinion her whereabouts should be made public as she was the most culpable of them all. There should be no peace nor rest for her. It is sad that Dennis Jr. had such a terrible time, after all, he was just a baby and deserved to be placed with a family who would have been able to keep him in a loving way. Hopefully he finds peace.

Kai on Oct 15, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I very much appreciate your kind words and thoughts for myself and my family. As for thinking that Denny probably does have Huntington's, I say this because many of the symptoms seem to be what he is experiencing. I've read that every case is different. I know about the genetic test, and we are scheduled to see a neurologist next week to discuss everything. One thing that Stephanie told me about Dennis Sr. was that he had an anger management problem, and he would explode and then he would be standing there looking confused as if he did not know what had happened or how he had gotten to that place. That sounds eerily similar to how my husband acts at times. Bipolar disorder may just be another thing he has, or maybe he started to have the emotional disturbances, etc. associated with Huntington's when he was diagnosed as bipolar. But I am thinking that bipolar disorder is just another ailment he may have, as from speaking with Stephanie there are some relatives in the family that have been diagnosed bipolar. Denny does also have some of the symptoms like loss of coordination, slurred speech (at times), jaw clenching, muscle contractions, etc. You're right; the cognitive and behavioral ones could mean anything, so I'm trying not to make too many assumptions without solid facts. But Denny proclaims himself "a knower" and believes that he must be dying. I am very nervous about the test and implications from the test such as possible discrimination for insurance. I did not know about women showing symptoms prior to menopause - I don't think there is a similar marker for men. I found Kate Millett back in the 90's when we first found out about both "The Basement" and "The Indiana Torture Slayings". At the time Denny was mostly concerned about finding out about his family health history as he was starting to have emotional problems and was continually being asked by health providers about his parents, etc. I called her on the telephone, told her who I was, and we spoke for a while. And to Kai: Thank you for acknowledging that my husband was only a baby and that he deserved a better life. I don't know about karma working out; I think my husband has had more than his share of grief and sadness in his life that he did not bring on himself. However, he does feel guilt for this travesty because this was his birth family. And I truly understand how people are and can be apathetic about the other children, at least the older ones. I don't really get how you can say that karma should get the younger ones though; if you had a mom like Gertrude telling you to do horrible things and you thought you would get her wrath if you didn't, do you know that you would take the high road? And keep in mind, I have never ever condoned what happened in the slightest. I really don't know about poster #49 having inside information about Paula and her kids; as I mentioned I haven't had any contact with Paula, only Stephanie and Marie, and we really haven't talked about Paula except as to how she reacted with Denny. But thank you for your kind words for my husband. I too hope he finds peace.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 15, 2008


Kathe, I was speaking of the children who were older when I said Karma works out, obviously a baby can't help what goes on around them. As for Stephanie, she was eleven, and Marie was 9 or 10 if I am not mistaken, not babies and certainly old enough to know right from wrong. In fact, I grew up in a home with a lot of abuse, which is neither here nor there, BUT as in most homes where abuse occurs there were a couple of us who seemed to draw the worst of it, and I can tell you this much we did our utmost to protect one another and keep one another from harm to the very best of our ability and it was no different if we had another child with us that was not our actual sibling and I can say this because, believe it or not, my sick parents actually took in foster kids for the money. I do not consider that to be special or even extraordinary, it seems natural. We were afraid of our parents also, but we didn't lose our humanity or our ability to distinguish right from wrong. (Granted, though our parents were abusive, including some sexual abuse, no one was burned or hurt to the degree Sylvia was, but there were some really disturbing things that went on, for instance my father would try to make us all hit each other with a belt if one of us did "something wrong", we always refused and got beat harder by him. At four years of age my brother was confined to a room in the basement to "learn not to be a (expletive)" and had to use a five gallon bucket to use for a bathroom.) The point is that there are choices and when you are 11 you have a choice. Those kids went to school, had contact with the outside world, they all had countless chances to do the right thing yet chose not to. So, yes, I feel they deserve what life turned out to be for them, exempting the baby. There are no excuses for the rest of them, none. That is not to say that repentance is not good, or that people can turn their lives around, but sometimes things happen that are just so bad you must just have to try to live around it but I don't know that you can ever make up for it or truly even change the kind of character that allowed you to do such things in the first place. Paula and John certainly fall into that category, as for the younger ones? i don't know, but their choices say more than any excuses they can come up with.

Kai on Oct 15, 2008


Kai: I am so sorry that you and your siblings were subjected to that type of abuse. I myself did not grow up in an abusive household, although my mother was also quite mentally unbalanced (also manic depressive/bipolar) and therefore not really there for me, and as an only child, I was forced to become self-sufficient early in life. It was not easy for me though - my mother tried to commit suicide several times, once driving the family car off the side of the freeway and several times taking multiple pills timed for when I would come home from school so I would get to find her with her eyes rolled back and have to call the paramedics to revive her. I was mostly talking about the very young ones such as Shirley and James, but obviously the system felt that only Paula and John Jr. should do time for what happened. Marie was never charged with anything. Stephanie's charges were dropped after some information was provided by some people, including Diana Likens for one I think, that was never made public. I in no way profess to be an expert on any of these facts nor am I trying to make any excuses for any of the participants in this heinous act. But of course, I look at it as this terrible occurance that destroyed an entire family for generations to come. And it is tragic for everyone concerned. And while I certainly understand your feelings about what they did and didn't deserve, I don't feel that I have any right to judge anyone. That is for God to do, not me.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 15, 2008


Kathe, I’ll think of you next week and have included you in my prayers, hoping that the consulting at the neurologist will turn out positive results. You know I’m still in doubt about Huntington’s. This man I told you about was of the kind who avoid doctors as long as they can and when he finally went it was because of something entirely different, after an acci-dent. I remember his wife told my mother at the time the doctor (our own general practitio-ner, nothing specialised) sent him on to a colleague at once but was not at all in doubt about the nature of the disease. And that was a long time ago. He is still alive, by the way, the wife died, and only since then he’s clearly going downhill.

Kathleen on Oct 16, 2008


I meant, of course, positive for you not positive in the sense that - you know what I mean! Sorry - sometimes it's quite obvious English is not my mother tongue.

Kathleen on Oct 16, 2008


As I watched this movie, I became painfully aware of my own past. I relate to Sylvia Liken's story in a deeply emotional way, but it gave me strength to "get through" the first draft of my own story of having ADHD while being tossed around the foster care system. "Points of Departure," its title, is also a true story. You can review it @ - feel free to comment on it by email: My hope is that the foster care system will become more accountable. Peter

Peter on Oct 16, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I hope you are right about the Huntington's. I very much appreciate your thoughts and prayers, so thank you. I'll let you know what happens. Today I received a picture of Dennis Sr. from the person who connected me with Stephanie. This is the first time I've seen a picture of Denny's dad. It is his high school picture when he was a Junior. I can totally see the resemblance - the eyes, mouth, ears and hs widow's peak are all his dad's! Stephanie said that all the Wrights were very good looking. While Denny's dad had passed away many years ago, the other siblings are still alive (w/Huntington's) so I'm curious as to what Dennis Sr.'s twin looked like through the years. Also strangely enough, since the pic of Dennis Sr. was from his high school yearbook, I went over to and saw that Clifford Wright (I'm guessing this is the Clifford Wright that Steve mentioned as maybe being related) also attended that school (class of 1965), so perhaps he is indeed related. Maybe I will get the nerve to call his construction company after all... I don't think he is a sibling but perhaps a cousin or something... Have a nice weekend everyone.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 17, 2008


Hi Kathe,,, Thats funny you mentioned the all the Wrights being goodlooking... My mother's sister was married to Clffards brother Tim Wright... Tim Wright was a pretty goodlooking man and my aunt was a former Miss Indiana runner-up.. For a while I ran around with a Richard and Raymond Wright,, they lived on N. 8th. st. in Beech Grove .. I'm like Cathleen,,, I think it's great Dennis is trying to get back to his family.. I think everyone needs their families especially in these times of troubles.. Maybe some day Stephanie and Marie can come out and talk openly about how they feel ... It might help them to talk about it and at the same time help others to understand how it happened...

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 17, 2008


Hi Steve: Dennis Sr.'s identical twin's name is Richard. I wonder if he is the same Richard Wright you mentioned. I had not heard of Raymond, but this is getting wild how intertwined everyone is. Dennis and Richard had two other siblings, a sister named Debbie and now I've forgotten the other brother's name, I know that both Stephanie and Marie at one time (long before I found it) had been posting on the imdb board, and I think also Paula and Jim did at times (although I don't think either Paula or Jim identified themselves), but looking at the posts it appears that many posters were very unkind to them and they left and deleted all of their posts. That's why at first when I went there I remarked that I had wished I had found the board prior to them leaving it. It was a fluke (or an act of God) that there were still posters over there who could point me in the right direction. And I agree with you and Kathleen - we all need our familes in times of trouble. We have been quite alone for a while and sometimes feel like an island upon ourselves. I have often wondered and worried about the future and what it may hold for my son, who may never be self-sufficient enough to be on his own. I myself am an only child, my father is deceased and my mother in a retirement home and not all there mentally, and with no other family and then Den not being close to his adopted family I thought there would be no one for my son once we are gone. Perhaps all of this is happening for a reason - well, many reasons, really - to understand what is happening to Denny, to bring closure to all of the questions of his past and reunite him with family that truly has loved him all along, and to provide emotional support to our son in his future.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 20, 2008


Kathe, this hope for your son - and your husband, of course - is much more important than any enlightening about why and how things happened in connection with Sylvia. I say this although I do agree with Stephen when he says that maybe Marie and Stephanie can help others to understand - that is, of course, the one hope we have in order to avoid it happening again; the extent of the violence in the Likens case may well be extraordinary but violence drected towards children and teenagers, sadly, is not and we need to fully understand the mechanisms. But these new contacts offer new chances and hopes to three persons connected with this tragic case but completely and utterly innocent - which might have happened sooner if the posters on the board you mentioned and on other boards had not been so unkind and judging. It really should teach us to think twice before we press a button. Try not to think about what people say or might say with regard to your husbands siblings - think about you and your family. I'll guess we'll hear from you. Until then, Greetings! And, hi Stephen, I don't have to say anything, do I? "Leftovers" all around you, AGAIN - as if you were meant to be a kind of connecting instance or a memory keeper or a clue-giver. (Or an author. I'll keep at it.)

Kathleen on Oct 20, 2008


Thanks to everyone for their comments, particularly Kathe, Kathleen, and Steve. I have been fascinated, in fact, almost obsessed with this case since watching American Crime. Since posting questions, I have pretty much sat back and watched Steve, Kathe, and Kathleen shed light on some of the issues surrounding this case. When I watched the movie, and then did further research into the case, I was outraged by what happened and felt a sense for the need of vengeance and retribution against Gertrude and the family involved. This is natural human nature. However, the more I look into things, and read from this board, the more I feel level headed about things and look at it more as a complex matter. We had an obviously mentally ill mother, whom had great weight and influence over her kids; all living in close quarters together in squalor, etc. Yeah, it does not justify anything that happened to Sylvia, but when I really think about it, it starts to mitigate it. While I intially thought of rage, and horror, and how much I generally hate bullies and child predators, etc.; I now think of how all around sad the situation is. Kathe's husbands life without a sense of identity; the obvious punishment via social stigma all the Baniszewski kids faced, etc. While I really wanted to see any of the kids over 10 burn (Johnny, Stephanie, Paula, Coy, Richard, etc) for what they did to Sylvia, I now think I am happy for the fact that the ones who did have a second chance at life made good on it. Johnny in an interview admitted he got off easy, took responsibility for his hideous actions, and commented on the Jonesboro case. From what I know, Stephanie teaches in a Christian school in FL and has had a completely normal life since. Marie, Jimmy, Shirley, etc. I just feel very sorry for, as they were too young to know any better, did not have any real moral culpability for what happened, yet obviously paid a very serious price in guilt by association. This is such a horrible thing, and as someone said, ruined several families for generations and generations. I have it set to have notifications on her via e-mail register with my e-mail account, and look forward to any further comments. Thanks again to the contributors - whenever I click on the link, I am very happy to learn something new. Kathe, in particular, I hope your husband finds some comfort and closure.

Ross on Oct 20, 2008


Hello, Ross, thanks for including me among the posters „shedding light“, but actually I’m neither involved as Kathe nor much in the knowledge as Stephen. I’m much more like you, someone who found out about the case and felt compelled to find out more. It was not the film that set me off,– I’ve yet to see it but am not sure at all if I want to – but reading the Millett book at an impressionable age (some time in the late 80s). Since then, information accumulated, of course, and although some things I found out changed my perception of details, but one thing I said about 20 years ago I still say today: “Sylvia was a victim, and in some way Gertrude was, too.” It’s difficult not to reduce someone to their actions, and am-bivalent thinking seems the rarest thing at all. Greetings

Kathleen on Oct 23, 2008


Hello,,,, I haven't seen the movie, just the trailer... I have read the book The Indiana Torture Slaying front to back without putting it down... My sister told me I wouldn't want to stop reading so I should pick a time when I had a few hours free.. Truthfully,,, It's the only book I've ever read... My thing has been magazine and never front to back ,, just kind of a reference thing... I don't know if I can watch the movie but I have not had an oppertunity as of yet.. Kathreen,,Ross I have just very limited knowlege and more questions then answers at this point. I'm curious to know the fine details like: Someone to tell me if I'm right or wrong,,, I think Gertrude thought in her own mind that she was right in all her actions hence is why ppl "not involved" were allowed to see Sylvia.. If Gertrude had thought she was in the wrong she would have never let that happen for fear she'd be turned in.. Also you could say that this re-enforced her denial ... Somehow Gertrude convinced everyone she was doing the right thing including herself ,,, untill enter Social worker,, Preist,, and confession note... The three signs of pure guilt..

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 23, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I think what Ross means is that you have made many thoughtful, relevant and level-headed statements regarding the case, and perhaps you have helped some people realize that it is all much more complex than what it may seem like at first glance. Naturally, to hear about a crime as horrific as this, one at first can only see that the perpetrators are bad and evil. It takes a more detailed thinking process to be able to see that everyone has different facets to their mind and that when pushed in unimaginable situations some people may unfortunately cross lines that they would have never crossed. Some can only see things in black and white, instead of the many various shades of gray that they inevitably are. I, in particular, have greatly appreciated your comments about the case, and specifically your compassion for my husband and what he has experienced. Perhaps it is easier to have compassion for Denny as he was just a baby, but except for Gertrude, they were all just children. And obviously Gertrude was a very ill woman. To fill you in, Denny did go to the neurologist this week and now has to have an EEG and an MRI, and his psychiatrist has to give the okay for the blood test if Denny can handle getting positive results for Huntington's if that is what it is. So at least the process is started. And when we came back from the doctor, Denny was ready to talk to Marie, and I called her and put him on the phone with her. They talked for about two hours and it was a wonderful thing. I personally felt a deep sense of purpose knowing that I am helping reunite family members who were torn apart in the worst of circumstances. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel responsible for it all - I realize that God has been guiding me to put in action what is obviously His plan. And Ross, I also thank you for your kind wishes for Denny to find comfort and closure.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 23, 2008


Kathe, I just wanted to thank you for posting about your husband. In reading all the stories about the Sylvia Likens murder, it never mentions what happened to Denis. That's always kind of bugged me for some reason.. I've always wondered how life turned out for him and have even felt a wave of sympathy for him, probably more so then the rest of the children. Even though he was to young to remember any of it, no child, especially an infant, deserves to be apart of such unspeakable acts. I wish him nothing but peace and happiness for the rest of his life.

Rebbeca Wilkins on Oct 23, 2008


I wonder how much Stephanie and Marie remember ,,, sure would be nice if they could shed more light on issues... I'd like to know how often Gertrude would drink cough syrup and about how much at a time and about when she started drinking the stuff? I'd also like to know where Gertrude slept.. Was the conditions exagerated ( number of spoons forks) in house.. Was the hardwood floors exposed or carpeted in livingroom and dinningroom areas...? Was there a TV or radio in the house and how did Gertrude pass her time ,,, any hobbies like knitting,, reading,, did you take the news paper..? How often did their father visit them durring their time in the summer of 1965,, and did their father ever see or know Sylvia Likens or her family..? Was there a police dog in the basement while Sylvia was there..? Where did Ricky Hobbs practice his branding technique ( on the handrail just under the nail that held the police belt)..? Discribe the nail and it's exact location.. As you open the basement door you are facing a plaster wall,,, discribe the bottom and how it got that way... Where did Sylvia sleep when she was in the basement and was she tied to an orange colored gas pipe next to the chimney ..? Did Sylvia die in the basement or in the eagle claw tub in bathroom..? Was there a 1960's style PBR beer bottle in a window sill ...? Was there paint on the brick chimney in the basement..? Was the basement steps and railing white washed ( painted white ) I'd also like to know how "normal" things were before Sylvia came ... Did you think your mother was crazy..? Were you scared of her ..? Did Gertrude beat on you kids..? If so how badly...? Why did your father bring the police belt to Gertrude right at the time Sylvia was there..? Why not before ,, long before..? Why did your father bring to the home a police dog (also around the time when Sylvia was there)..? Can you shed some light on your father's reaction to this case and did he ever give his opinion .. Is your father still alive and where abouts does he live.. It wouldn't be 9th. st. would it..? Would like to see the expression on his face when you asked him if he remembers giving to little boys a ticket for bicycle trailing on south 6th. Ave. and Alton in 1965..

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 24, 2008


Don't get me wrong,,, he was doing his job and it's good to know that the police are watching out for your kids wellfare when you can't always yourself... I just wish that mentality was used to save Sylvia

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 24, 2008


Stephen: Wow; that's a lot of questions! I'd like to know the answers to many of the questions you pose as well, but at this point I do not feel comfortable enough to directly ask them all of this. So far I have just been letting them discuss what they want to about everything and everyone. Regarding John B. Sr., he passed away a few years ago of a stroke. There was some discord in the family and both Marie and Stephanie were kept away from the funeral; and from what I understand there is still much resentment there. I'm not sure about the police dog; but one picture sent to me was of all of the siblings and a shepherd named Fritz. It was taken when Stephanie graduated from 8th grade which would have been when my husband was only 2 weeks old or so (May 1964). This was long before Sylvia came to the Baniszewski household. I have not heard of any other dog. One thing both Stephanie and Marie have said is that much of the information out there, even in transcripts, is not true. They have not delineated what was true and what was not yet, and I have not pressed. I do think that the conditions were poor but I am not sure that it was quite as bad as it was portrayed. Stephanie told me that her mother was not drinking and on drugs as it has been reported either. The one real "vice" she had was that she enjoyed playing bingo, and often used the grocery money to do so. When she was married to John B., she would go out and tell the kids not to tell their dad that she was going to play bingo. Of course, he found out, and he told her he did not mind but that she had to earn her own money to gamble, and not use their grocery money. That is when she started cleaning houses, etc She loved movies and wanted to be an actress, and could be very dramatic, and probably played it to the hilt in court. They always knew that something was wrong with her. I think she could be both kind and cruel; and they were afraid of the cruel mother. I think that for the most part, their lives were "normal" before all of this happened. From the pictures that I have been sent, there were trips and holidays and they all appear to just be a normal family, even close. And Rebbeca: It is heartwarming to know that so many people have sympathized for my husband and I am glad to be able to provide information about him for those that have wondered what happened in his life after October 1965. He keeps being amazed that anyone thinks about him at all.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 24, 2008


Hello Kathe, Kathleen,,, Sorry I didn't mean to be so graphic when asking questions like that but I feel thats the only way I'd know for sure if I was talking to someone that was there... Not that I don't trust Kathe it's not that.. I'd just do that line of questioning so I myself would know 100% that the person I was talking with would be the real deal.. Tomorrow is the 26th of Oct.. remember Sylvia kind regards

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 25, 2008


Hello, Kathe: thanks a lot for filling me in. It's good that things are getting started. I was a bit astonished to read that your husband had to obtain his psychiatrists OK to have the blood test (not so much because of his own situation, it's more a general thing, like a patient's right to decide for himself, and if a psychiatrist refused to consent and the patient still wanted to ... ). On the other hand it means that you are not left alone and someone is providing support, for you both. And that reminds me! Your comments about what I've said on this blog were very kind but while your husband certainly has all my compassion and deserves it, too, I know that he at least has you. But you? While I'm sure that you are quite the tower of strength we all know that no one can be that strong 24 hours a day and 7 days a week - hence my question before if you had a support group or someone who could permit yourself to be weak once in a while. Even if were just to keep strong for your family - try to think of yourself once in a while, okay? And I'm so glad to read that your husband spoke to Marie and that it went so well! It must have been quite the overwhelming moment for her, too - come to think of it, probably even more than for him. Because she was old enough then to clearly remember her baby brother and certainly for decades had no hopes of having contact with him again! If I imagine myself in this situation - I think I'd have spent the whole two hours crying or trying to find something to say. None of this is a question, by the way. This is something that has been bugging me since I first heard of the new contact. I hope I manage to put this halfway right: What I mean is, the Likens case has been discussed on this blog and on others for quite a while and basically this is a good thing (like I said before, about needing to understand so there won't be any more Sylvias) so I think it should go on. That means that many questions are being asked and being answered or at least answers are being attempted and a lot of it is speculation or guessing - couldn't be otherwise. On the other hand, for you and your family the situation is changed now and this must have priority because there is more at stake than just our interest in the case. You said that Marie and Stephanie and maybe others too had been bitten away on other blogs, and I'm a bit afraid they might look in on this blog and get frightened or worse, get the wrong impression and it might spoil things between your family and theirs. I'm sure no one on this blog expects you to clear things up for us or to act as an intermediary, and when questions are being asked, see it as an invitation to the discussion and not as anything more. I don't know if I made myself clear. It's just that I would like to put some minds at ease - yours of course, but I don't think you need to be put at ease so much - but everyone's in your family (now extending! Try to enjoy it!) Greetings

Kathleen on Oct 25, 2008


I would just like for Steph to admit that her mother never once showed any remourse for her actions, and until the day she died felt victimized herself for the 17 years of bingo she missed out on. And as far as Steph forgiving her mother? how can she even forgive herself for at the age of 15 (not 11, as stated in a previous post) witnessing another human not just being beat up and picked on, but carved on, burned, branded, forced to eat poop, and starved to death without drawing the line and doing something about it. 15 years old is a young adult by 1965 standards, she was not a helpless kid. Paula and Steph being allowed to live full lives while Sylvia died such a painful death is exactly the reason I am an athiest. God?..................your fired.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


By the way, tommorrow is the 26th, think Paula, Steph and the gang have any plans to torture any kids to death?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


Kaptain Kebo, As quoted by one of my favorite philosophers, Mr. Miyagi: "There are no bad students, only bad teachers. Teacher say, student do". Stephanie wasn't a helpless kid, but she still was just a kid doing what her mother told her to do. Where exactly have you learned your morals from? Your parents. Or whoever it was that raised you. You're parents are your foundation on learning right from wrong why things are right and why things are wrong. A child does what they are told to do. The only person there is to blame in this crime is Gertrude, and she herself wasn't in her right mind due to being very sick and fucked up on all those medications. And that's on top of being dirt poor and trying to sustain 7 kids plus 2 on top of them? Clearly it was a disaster waiting to happen! This doesn't in anyway justify what happened to poor Sylvia, but hating the children for what they did is not only close minded and immoral, but childish.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 25, 2008


In addition, blaming God (be there is one or isn't) for Sylvia's death is not only childish, but extremely ignorant. As human beings, we have the freedom of making our own conscious choices and actions, and we do that because we're not mindless robots. If there is a God, he had very, very little to do with the death of Sylvia. The children may not be dead, but their lives are far from full and pleasant. Even to this day they have to live with the ridicule and hatred of society on an every day basis, constantly being reminded on how they tortured Sylvia. That to me is a fate worse then death.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 25, 2008


Rebecca, First off, being dirt poor is no excuse for forcing a child to drink urine and to be branded with a hot metal hook, nor is being on medication or having a bunch of kids. If this were the case about thirty percent of the planet would be on the brink of child torture/murder. Alao, there is a certain level of insanity/intensity that when it occurs (putting cigarettes out on and forcing someone to eat shit) will trigger a mechanism within a person to do what is right thing and overide their fucked up mom and get a second opinion, or get help. This is not the result of morals instilled within us by our parents but survival instincts we are born with. For you to refer to Paula (who is as much to blame as Gertie, as is Coy and Richard and to some extent Stessi) as a helpless child is beyond childish. I believe that you are sick Rebecca and somehow derive some pleasure out of the fact that the B's all got away with this crap. I know that at 15 yrs. old I never would have allowed this to happen, not because of my folks mad parenting skills but because I am of the human species and was born with instincts. Paula and Steph can rot in hell with Gertie, Coy, Richard and John Jr. But until they die they deserve to be constantly reminded of how they tortured Sylvia, and if you call that a fate worse than death I suggest you take a look at Sylvia's autopsy photos and re-think that one.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


By the way, you stated 'to this day' tha B kids/torturers/murderers are ridiculed on a daily basis. Just a reminder Rebecca, 'to this day' Sylia has to be dead, no grandkids, no kids, no life.......dead.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


LMFAO!! Wow. That has to be the most closed minded, black and white thinking I've come across in a LONG time! Did you even stop to actually let my words penetrate that thick skull of yours, or was it too difficult a task to handle? Never the less, I'll answer you piece by piece to avoid confusion. "Rebecca, First off, being dirt poor is no excuse for forcing a child to drink urine and to be branded with a hot metal hook, nor is being on medication or having a bunch of kids. If this were the case about thirty percent of the planet would be on the brink of child torture/murder." You've lived a pretty sheltered life, haven't you? Sylvia's murder isn't the first to of happened in this fashion, and it sure as fuck won't be the last. Go read some and you'll see just what i'm talking about. There is a LOT more to it then just being dirt poor, sweetheart. Poverty is a very highly stressful thing for any individual to endure. It's extremely taxing on the mind and body, and can drag ANYONE down with it. Most individuals are able to cope with poverty, if they don't fall into a deep depression. But Gertie was never a very mentally stabled individual to begin with. She never should of agreed to take in Sylvia and Jenny, and those other kids should of gone into foster homes long before Sylvia came along. You know who I blame more then anyone else in this matter? Sylvia's parents. "Alao, there is a certain level of insanity/intensity that when it occurs (putting cigarettes out on and forcing someone to eat shit) will trigger a mechanism within a person to do what is right thing and overide their fucked up mom and get a second opinion, or get help." lol There's that black and white thinking that I "adore" about you. Let's stop for a second and step outside of our thick spoiled brat minds, shall we? Little Billy is 2 years old and loves his parents just as much as any child does. He looks to his mother and father to teach him the ways of the world because they are all he knows. One day little Billy is drinking a soda and spills it. His mother comes up and beats him senseless and tells him that she's doing it to "teach him a lesson" on being careful. This continues everytime Billy does something "careless". When little Billy is 5, his little sister, who's 2, knocks something over. Because Billy's mom has drilled it in his head to be the "responsible older sibling", what does he do? He goes over and hits his sister to teach her a lesson on being careful. This has to be the right thing, because it's what his mother did to him. Besides, mama seems pleased with this. She's sitting over on the couch smiling and telling him "good boy". Now it's only a matter of time before billy starts doing this to younger children at school, and because mom and dad never taught him how to control his anger, his "lesson teaching" only get's more and more violent and twisted by the day. But it's okay, because mommy says it is. One day he shoves a kid down a flight of stairs for back talking to him and he ends up in a juvenile detention, the end. Now is this Billy's fault? To some degree. He made that conscious decision, no one else. But he did it because that's what his mother taught him to be right. In his world, everything is ass backwards. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Can you imagine looking back on your life and finding out that everything you were taught was wrong? It's a pretty scary concept, but one that many children end up facing later in life, usually after they've committed some horrid crime. Think this is wrong? Go brush up on your child psychology. "This is not the result of morals instilled within us by our parents but survival instincts we are born with." You want to talk about human instincts? Let's talk about that disgusting primitive urge that lays within us all that involves inflicting pain on those weaker then us. We all have it, it's there, and if you deny having never in your life felt it, even just a small inclination of it, then you're a liar. Humans love power, and they love to feel powerful. Fortunately most people are mentally stable enough to either ignore this urge all together or control it. That's the beauty of being human, is having the gift of REASON because we were TAUGHT at a young age that inflicting pain on others is WRONG! Take all that away and what happens? You're no different then the animals. "For you to refer to Paula (who is as much to blame as Gertie, as is Coy and Richard and to some extent Stessi) as a helpless child is beyond childish." Uh, first off, I was talking about Stephanie, because that's you you first referred to. And I'm pretty sure I said "Stephanie wasn't a helpless kid, but she still was just a kid doing what her mother told her to do" meaning while Stephanie (or Paula) were far from innocent children, they WERE STILL CHILDREN. Children doing as their mother told them to because they thought they were teaching Sylvia a lesson. End of story, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I don't know if the whole children do as they're taught thing has sunk into you're head yet, but that's exactly what happened here. And if you can't sit back and understand that or even TRY to understand that, then you're the one that's beyond childish. "I believe that you are sick Rebecca and somehow derive some pleasure out of the fact that the B's all got away with this crap." AWWW!! That's so cute! I pissed you off! Let me're 20, right? I remember having that same naive ego about how the world works too! Don't worry, you'll grow out of that someday. But first would you like to explain to me how it is I'm sick? Because I see a situation for EXACTLY how it was? Because looking at a situation from the point of view of those that caused it doesn't automatically make you side with them. What happened to Sylvia never should of happened, and I feel a great sympathy for her family and friends. I think Gertie got what was coming to her when she was locked away and only wish she could have been in prison longer. BUT I can see how it happened, and not by automatically jumping to the "THAT WOMEN AND THOSE KIDS ARE PURE EVIL END OF STORY" excuse. No one is born evil. Something brings it on, and if you're not mentally strong enough to fight it, then it get's worse and worse overtime until it spirals out of control. I'm sure Gertie had her moments when she was a good person as well as a good mother, even if only for a minute. The entire thing is horribly sad. "I know that at 15 yrs. old I never would have allowed this to happen, not because of my folks mad parenting skills but because I am of the human species and was born with instincts." lol I'm pretty sure I already answered this. Again, a child's morale can be warped if not brought up the right way. Child psychology, etc. "Paula and Steph can rot in hell with Gertie, Coy, Richard and John Jr. " And you say I take pleasure in other people's pain? "But until they die they deserve to be constantly reminded of how they tortured Sylvia" I agree "and if you call that a fate worse than death I suggest you take a look at Sylvia's autopsy photos and re-think that one." Sylvia will never have to experience pain again. Go through your life without a soul to offer love and forgiveness and see if it's worth living.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 25, 2008


"By the way, you stated 'to this day' tha B kids/torturers/murderers are ridiculed on a daily basis. Just a reminder Rebecca, 'to this day' Sylia has to be dead, no grandkids, no kids, no life…….dead." Well, you're a smart cookie, aren't ya?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 25, 2008


You are obviously Steph or somebody close to the Baniscewski/Blake torture clan. You stated how rough their (your) lives have been, why don't you just fess up to who you are and what your connection is and I will do the same. Steph (you) was old enough to blow Coy Hubbard and smoke cigarettes, you could have, and should have saved Sylvia. Stop making excuses for yourself under a fake name. You were/are pathetic scum and should be in jail.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


ROTFLMFAO!! This is the BEST comment you've left as of yet! You've got NO defense what so ever so you simply try to make yourself look smart by accusing me of being Stephanie. AHHAHAHAHA!!!!! Please! PLEASE keep posting!! My boyfriend and I are laughing our asses off at you!!

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 25, 2008


How do you know that their lives have been rough since the crime? How do you know that they are ridiculed? They have changed there names and moved to other States. You seem to know who you are defending. Does your boyfriend also support you in forgiving people for murder?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


It's great that on the eve of Sylvias murder date you and your boyfriend can "LYAO" while defending the very people responsible for her death, not 4 yr. old kids, they were PEOPLE, I don't give a shit if they lived in a dumpster, A GIRL WAS BEING BRANDED AND TORTURED, tell somebody, save her fucking you fucking liberal moron rationalizing sympathetic pukebrain fucks

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 25, 2008


Do some research! There have been interviews and reports given by the children about how their lives have been since the murders. You don't need to know their new names to find them! My boyfriend supports me in not being a narrow minded twit and being able to look at something from a different prospective.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


You still don't get it, do you? And pukebrain fucks? What are you, 10?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


More fantasy? I challenge you to produce the location of ANY reports or interviews the kids have given about their lives since they killed Sylvia....ANY, with the exception of 1 dead John Jr. NOBODY has given reports....interviews? reports? who? you are so full of shit. Yeah, Paula talks to the press all the time. If you can't be honest about your sources go away.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


By the way, I am 11, going on 12.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


"Yeah, Paula talks to the press all the time." You just answered part of your own question, dumbass. And you CHALLENGE me!? ROFL!! You should change your name from Kaptain Kebo to Kaptain Bebo... as in Bebo the clown!

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


"By the way, I am 11, going on 12." Not hard to believe. Isn't it past your bedtime?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


Paula has not spoken to the press, I know these things. Stop lying, yes, to avoid confusion I CHALLENGE YOU. Or did she give a secret interview that nobody knows about except you and your boyfriend when you are trying to manufacture legit sources for all the bullshit you have been spewing about everyboy's 'rough lives'. You know nothing about anybodys lives and certainly not thru any 'reports and interviews' (with the possible exception of that b.s. that John Jr. was spewing some years back. Rebecca, are you aware that Gertie NEVER felt any remourse for Sylvias death?..............."do some research, get the f outaa here" interviews and reports on how their lives have been since they killed Sylvia, you are a blatant liar, they do not exist.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


And you're a fucking idiot! 😀 What a crazy world we live in! It's 2:30AM, I'm tired, and i'm not going to go digging through old websites to recap on the interviews. You wanna find them? Get off your lazy ass and look them up on google. .....What the hell is foutaa?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


LIAR, they do not exist. probably a good time to get tired and go to sleep, liar. It is just your sensitive nature to assume that the lives of Paula and Stessi have been rough and then try to back it up with fantasy bullshit. liar "recap on the interviews" what interviews????

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


GO. LOOK. THEM. UP. ON. GOOGLE. Go look them up on google! It's NOT a hard concept! Type in their names! You'll come up with all kinds of info.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


Geez Becca i'm all googled out. Lots of info but none of the 'reports and interviews about their lives since they killed Sylvia' you spoke of. Are you sure you weren't just kidding about these 'reports and interviews' Becca???? which leads to, how do you know anything about Paula and Stessi's lives since they left East New York St.??

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


Maybe when you are not so tired you can elaborate on what they said they're lives have been like since 1965. I'm sure that I am not the only one who would appreciate that, since you and your boyfriend have a 'special' google that links to non-existant interviews and 'LOL' reports. Go to bed Becca, and remember this, lying just leads to more lies and then pretty soon you are backed into a corner (like now) but really, be more honest with your boyfriend then you are with people on the internet or your relationship will go nowhere, as he will not be able to trust you any more than I can, all because you lied to me, you seem to be reasonably intelligent and should not have to resort to lying about anything. Goodight Becca maybe someday you will all be happy together at the big bingo game in the sky

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


Uhhh, except I'm not lying. I just spent like 20 minutes looking for them and can't seem to find them either. Oh well. They were there at one point. I'll look again in the morning. "but really, be more honest with your boyfriend then you are with people on the internet or your relationship will go nowhere, as he will not be able to trust you any more than I can, all because you lied to me" What are you Doctor Phil? I've been living with my boyfriend for 5 years now. I'm pretty sure I don't need some random person from the internet (who knows NOTHING about myself, my boyfriend, or our relationship) telling me how to keep my relationship intact. "maybe someday you will all be happy together at the big bingo game in the sky" I hate bingo.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


Hi, Stephen, hi Kathe, hi Rebecca and many others on this blog ... Hello to you on this day of a sad memory. Stephen, I hadn't realized that your questions had that special aim - anyway, I know and knew you did not intend to put Kathe under pressure, just was concerned that it might look like this to minds necessarily more vulnerable than they would be otherwise... and in a situation so new one takes some time to adjust to it. But what has been happening on this blog - and today of all days? Kaptain Kebo, I know you from other blogs - you have never been so rude and so enraged at actually I don`t know who or what and you are too intelligent to act like this. What has Rebecca done to provoke you? We have been discussing politely on this blog up to now, even when we agreed to disagree, and we'd like to keep it this way. Greetings to all!

Kathleen on Oct 26, 2008


And by the way, Rebecca, I' m impressed at the patience and levelheadedness you kept throughout this tiring and upsetting dialogue. I would have given up.

Kathleen on Oct 26, 2008


I would like to address Kebo,, When you first posted here I was under the impression that you just heard about Sylvia and because of that I considered your comments normal.. The first thing we ask ourselves is how can God let this thing happen ,,,why..? My belief is that God knows all of our destiny,, God knew Sylvia's mission long before she was even born.. If God is the father to all mankind there are lessons to be learned... Your earthly father wants you to learn because he loves you too.. If God were to intervein the lession would be lost... His love is to great to let that happen.. I want to believe that in the end of Sylvia's life God took Sylvia away from her tormentors and delivered her from evil ... It's a lot like the story of Saint Stephen ,, the first Christian Maytre after Jesus... They stoned Stephen in a unusual and cruel manner by bashing his teeth out before they stoned him to death... As they crushed his teeth he looked up into the heavens and seen Jesus on the right hand of God ,, he wasn't sitting he was standing with his arms stretched out to except Stephen into the kingdom of God... God could have stopped this too but where would the lession be,,, lost.. I think even if you don't believe in God once you learn about Sylvia you walk away believeing in something ... It may not be so much God your forced to think about but could very well be his opposite... I am a father to a daughter myself and my natural reaction at first is to be judgemental and not very understanding... My goal now is to try to understand as to NOT waste this oppertunity for a lession and to try to keep her memory alive.. Captin Kebo ,,, now that you know about Sylvia there is hope for you because now you believe in something greater then yourself ,,, not that you can explain it but that you are forced to think on a deeper level.. It's a lot like a man drinking alcohol in large quanities all his life and one day he stops ... You might want to explain that in simple terms but the man that stopped drinking sees it in a whole different way.. Sometimes you have to walk into the mouth of the beast to know thats not were you belong. That man that quit drinking had to have a revelation and had to " with all his heart" ask for a miracle.. The man has been sober now since 1987 only by the grace of God which is his higher power.. He is now a large format landscape photographer and feels compelled to celebrate life which could very well be God's true intention for his destiny

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 26, 2008


"Uhhh, except I'm not lying. I just spent like 20 minutes looking for them and can't seem to find them either. Oh well. They were there at one point." LOL What bullshit. I guess this is what KK was talking about when he said lies lead to more lies. The fact of the matter is that these "children" were old enough to know right from wrong no matter what their mother taught them. They are directly responsible for the horrible death of Sylvia Likens. Why do you so vigorously defend them? What is your connection to these people?

scorpio on Oct 26, 2008


"The fact of the matter is that these "children" were old enough to know right from wrong no matter what their mother taught them." In-fucking-correct, sir! 😀 You think a kid just LEARNS automatically how to be a good person? Take some early childcare courses and learn just how fragile a child's mind is! A kid doesn't go through their entire life being taught that beating the shit out of people is perfectly okay, and then hit a certain age where they suddenly realize it's wrong. Sorry, the world doesn't work that way and neither does the human mind.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


rebecca - By the time a "child" is 15 years old they have had many outside influences, not just their parents. You honestly believe that the only way a person learns that violence is wrong is through their parents? Society (friends, school, church, etc.) also play a part in showing a person right from wrong. Your "but she didn't know any better!" excuse doesn't hold water.

scorpio on Oct 26, 2008


Who went through their entire life being taught that beating the shit out of someone was ok? are we discussing the same case? I was talking about the Sylvia Likens murder. The fact is Rebecca, is that beating the shit out of people was not consistant with Gerties behavior pattern. Only when Sylvia came along and percieved a proposed threat to Gerties obsession with one 14 year old Richard Hobbs did she become violent. Yes, spankings were common in the 1960's, but I grew up in the 60's and even though I was spanked as punishment, that in no way gave me the illusion that putting cigarettes out on people and carving profanities with a heated needle was anything other than a fucked up emergency, in need of help. My parents never taught me that setting fire to a gasoline drenched dog was wrong either, but somehow just by being a sane person I knew by age 15 that it would be wrong, and would have stopped anybody who attempted it. Steph was part of this type of behavior for 2 or 3 months. Stop defending her, and Paula too, they were/are criminals of the worst kind. Have your boyfriend judo flip you down the stairs a few times and put out 100 cigarettes on your stomach, then get back to me about how rough life has been for Steph and Paula.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


You know what? I've repeated myself over and over and over again and NOTHING I've said seems to be sinking in. I'll say it one more time and then I'm done with the argument, because I'm obviously arguing with kids....that or very, very under developed adults. A parent is like God in the eyes of a child. Even at the age of 16, you're brain is still growing and developing (and yes, that includes back in 1965). Yes, you do learn from society, but it's your PARENTS that build that foundation of what's right and wrong. I can tell you right now that I've learned more from my mother about life and what's right and wrong then society EVER could have taught me! In closing, all I have to say about the Baniszewski children learning from society is this: "A twelve-year-old girl named Judy Duke described some of the goings-on to her mother while Mrs. Duke was washing dishes. "They were beating and kicking Sylvia something terrible," the girl reported. "Oh, well, they're just punishing her, aren't they?" Mrs. Duke asked rhetorically." "The two neighbors sat around a table and drank coffee while kids yelled at each other and baby Dennis fussed and cried. Vermillion noticed a slim, pretty but timid and nervous- looking girl who had a black eye. "That's Sylvia," sighed Gertrude. Paula Baniszewski added, "I gave her the black eye." Just before making this boast, however, Paula filled a glass with hot water and threw it at Sylvia. Understandably, Phyllis Vermillion decided to look elsewhere for a babysitter. Less understandably, she did not report what she had seen and heard to the authorities. Early in October, Vermillion paid another social call to the large family next door. Again she saw Sylvia, who looked dazed, even zombified, and who had another black eye plus a swollen lip. "I beat her up," Paula readily volunteered. Later, Paula began hitting the listless girl with a belt. Again Phyllis Vermillion left the house without believing she had seen something the police ought to know about. If a supposedly normal, responsible adult could not recognize these actions as criminal, why should anyone expect an untutored teenager like Sylvia to be able to do so?" "One neighbor heard and saw the beatings, but turned away and told his wife "I think it's best we not get involved" Yeah, that sounds like a AWESOME neighborhood to instill some good strong morals into America's youth! Oh wait, maybe not. Sorry, you fail!

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


Kaptain Kebo, the FACT IS that you know NOTHING about the lives of these children and what life was like growing up in their household, nor do you know anything about children PERIOD!! You were raised differently then them, taught differently then them. These kids were so underdeveloped learning wise, it's not even funny! So stop fucking pretending you know what it was like to be in their shoes, because you clearly have NO idea what you're talking about!

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


Rebecca - You never did answer my questions regarding your vehement defense of these murderers or what your connection is to them. Your anecdote proves nothing other than there are others to blame for Sylvia's death. Your assertion that a 16 year-old wouldn't have the capacity to understand extreme violence is wrong unless their parents told them so is simply absurd. Stephanie knew what was going on was wrong. She chose not to tell for a number of reasons. Not knowing torture is wrong was not one of them.

scorpio on Oct 26, 2008


These 'underdeveloped' kids went to school, had jobs, got pregnant. You have a way of underestimating just how horrific this crime was. Stop defending these monsters because 'mommy' was all that they knew. I want to state that I do not have anything but sympathy for Marie and the younger kids, and do not hold anyone accountably through 'guilt by association' . You are obviously a relative or a very sick person Rebecca. It is because of people with your exact mentality that Gertie, John Jr., Coy, Richard, Paula, Steph were all 'forgiven' and allowed to walk free (and committ more crimes against people in some cases). Rebecca, you are an insult to every child who has ever been abused, and to the entire justice system. I hope you can staighten yourself out.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


"I hope you can staighten yourself out." And I hope you can finally make it past the 8th grade! 🙂

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008


!5 year olds are culpable for their behavior. Period. They didn't grow up in a cave with no exposure to the outside world. They had the capacity to have friends, and to have loving relationships in their own family so obviously they knew that what they were seeing and doing was wrong.

Kai on Oct 26, 2008


Kaptain Kebo: If you don't mind me asking, what is your connection to the incident? In all honesty, I post on this blog and frequently read it to learn more about the case. Rebecca, in fairness, it does sound as though you have some connection. I'm not saying this to bicker, just saying it to show things from my perspective. Let's try to keep things civil. We had a nice dialogue going for a while here.

Ross on Oct 26, 2008

185 "Anonymous 11:29 PM EST I too am late writing my comments. I am the juvenile staff officer that cared for John, Coy, and the rest of the boys. I talked to the boys about the case, and they were actually bragging about their part, especially John. I asked John why, and he said it was fun and he would do it again. Their stories have burned in my mind for years. To this day, I still have tears over that sweet little girl. The good Lord will see that justice is done." "Jason M Cutler 4:24 AM EST really, strange...a couple of months ago i wrote about this case on my film blog, mainly addressing my conflict with it being turned into a film...tonight i received an angry comment from someone claiming to be the child of coy hubbard...i dont know if it's real, but keep an eye out just in case J. Cutler" " I'm glad to hear of Coy Hubbard's passing!! I hope that his wife is miserable, just for being with him for 17 years. And, the last I heard, Stephanie Baniszewski is currently living in the small town of Floral City Florida where she reaches at The New Testament Christian Academy, she chooses to forget all the time she was entertained by the beating and burning Sylvia by her boyfriend Coy, or the final bath she gave Sylvia's dead body before the police were called, or lying through her teeth on the stand to protect her sick mother and siblings/friends. She now hides behind her 'love for baby jesus' and lives a free, happy life. (with no regrets, because God forgave her)."

Kai on Oct 26, 2008


Paula is in Bedford, Iowa

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


Where did you find this information?

Kai on Oct 26, 2008


Didn't have to find it, I already knew.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 26, 2008


Ok ,, Ok ,, we know we have a divided room here,, can we move on please..? Are you ppl the compassion police ..? Jesus christ man I feel like I'm watching that loose change video ..

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 26, 2008


Do you know anything else about her? I hope she's miserable.

Kai on Oct 26, 2008


Hello,,, These kids decended into evil doings by all accounts this has been acknowleged... These kids were monsters as many many kids have the potential to be ,,, these kids were heavily enfluenced as kids this age 11-16 can be.. This is obvious when you consider the number of kids involved ( inside and outside the family ).. The violence inflicted on Sylvia started as punishment and esculated slowly mind you... Now you have these mean little bastards ,, as kids can be,, going along with the program because you have a mother telling them (in so many words) spare the rod and spoil the child.. Which was the mentality of that era and in many cases still is.. At the point at which things were spiraling down fast it was Stephanie that told Sylvia to leave for her life... Sylvia did not.. Now it gets to the point when the kids are talking about why sylvia won't leave,, she won't tell her parents about the burns,, the beatings, being shoved down the basement steps, and all the other hidious things they done.. Why does she refuse to save herself ..? She must be guilty of what she has been accused of (in their minds).. It has already been astablished that the family had been brainwashed ... So then it is not hard to assume that Sylvia herself and Jenny had to have been brainwashed as well (which they proved in court).. Gertrude knew she had to start with Paula ,, she had to break Paula , being the oldest(most looked up to) which is usually the most level headed... She worked on her till she snapped and her will was broke It's the "power of suggestion" and lack of control.. Also,, I think they all looked up to Paula untill they feared her.. I think the fear factor ran wild

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 27, 2008


By the way the breaking of the will started with Gertrude beating Sylvia and Jenny on a regular basis. It was Gertrude ,, "the sick woman" bat left then right.. And by God you kids had better listen to me!

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 27, 2008


I think all this happened by the couldn'ts in Gertrue's life.. She couldn't provide for all the kids she couldn't stop having,, she couldn't have a lasting relationship ,, she couldn't control her drinking,,she couldn't stop fantisizing about these young boys,, and we know she couldn't play bingo,, and finally she just couldn't stop thinking about Sylvia.. It was all the failures in Gertrude's life that led to this .. she is a "victum" of her own doing I think in my own mind that when money got tight Gertrude turned to cough syrup for a cheap high and it consumed the already miserable person she had become..

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 27, 2008


Wow; I can't believe what's been going on here. I certainly did not mean to incite such hatred, etc. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions; we are just expressing ours here, but as Kathleen mentioned several posts up, we have all been discussing politely. I, like Stephen, have noticed Kaptain Kebo on other blogs and while some of his comments ring similarly, they were never so hostile previously. I certainly understand the outrage that people feel about this case, but it is not necessary to attack the posters that may have sympathetic feelings for some of the people involved. One can get across their opinions without attacking others. I think I've said it before, there is no black and white here but many shades of gray, and it is much more complex than it appears at first. Perhaps some people, like KK, can only see things in b&w. I have appreciated the level headed comments regarding this case made by Kathleen, Stephen and Rebecca. Stephen, by the way, do you doubt I am really married to baby Denny? Of course, I have no reason to lie to anyone. I wanted to prove it when I was being connected to Stephanie, because over the years there were false reports of where and who baby Dennis was. I was able to prove it by providing his birth date, which was written on the back of a picture that Stephanie had of Denny when he was just 2 days old. Once I provided that, they knew I was who I said I was. Denny has his first birth certificate with his original name and the name of his birth parents, Gertrude (it listed Wright as the last name) and Dennis Lee Wright. I could certainly send you a copy somehow to confirm that if you want. I knew that identifying myself on this blog could lead to horrible things said to myself and my husband. Some people are so narrow-minded that they believe that even the baby should be blamed. I've seen comments on other blogs hoping that even the children of those involved should be hounded for the rest of their lives. That is just sad. And Kaptain Kebo, I'd like to address you about something. You said you wanted Stephanie to admit that she never showed any remorse, and how could she forgive herself. She did actually try to save Sylvia. What is not known and was never in any publication, is that Stephanie actually had epilepsy and was having "time losses" when she had seizures. The phenobarbitol that Gertrude is reported taking was actually Stephanie's. Gertrude did not tell Stephanie that she had epilepsy, so she didn't know why whe was taking the phenobarbitol - I forgot what they told her it was for. In any event, Stephanie was not that aware of what was going on. She was Sylvia's friend. She told Sylvia to tell her if anything got real bad, and Sylvia never did. The week before she died, Stephanie tried calling the authorities twice. Once they came when she was in a seizure so she was not even aware they had come; the other time Gertrude interceded. I actually feel bad providing this information on this blog because Stephanie herself told me this, and I have not seen it anywhere else. I believe her. I have seen those mocking her Christianity saying that she didn't find Christ until after Sylvia died. But Stephanie told me she always attended church. It was Gertrude who did not attend church. And Marie told me it was she that tried to help Sylvia escape, and that Paula beat her pretty badly for that. They were all scared of Paula; she was like Gertrude's extended hand. Apparently, Gertrude and Paula were alone with Sylvia a lot of the time, which is never mentioned, when the rest of the kids were at school, so who knows what they were doing then. And unfortunately, my husband was there too for this to be in his subconscious (sp?), to haunt him in his adult life.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 27, 2008


Hello Kathe,,, I believe you and I have stated so.. The reason I asked those questions was to ease my own mind You just never know on the net and I have no information to cross check what anyone says.. All I know is what I know... I will say that everytime you post you make me a little more convenced of your connections so please don't stop posting ..! This blog needs your imput also I find you a very interesting person

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 27, 2008


Again, here we go making excuses for people. Steph told Sylvia to 'tell her if things got really bad 'and she never told her. It reminds me of the scene in 'Walk Hard, The Dewey Cox Story' where Nate say's "Gee Dewey, I'm cut in half pretty bad". Maybe when Sylvia's level of pain reached the point where she could only mutter and moan, that was the hint to do something. Remember, Sylvia may have been Stephs friend, but Coy was Stephs Boyfriend. Sorry to rain on everyones parade but the fact is Steph is a liar and should have been convicted as an accomplice to murder. Paula should still be locked up.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 27, 2008


By our teen years we have the faculties to recognize when somebody is in extreme pain and physical distress. "Hey Sylvia, tell me when the cigarette burns hurt, they look infected".............please. I cannot endure any more of this. Showing compassion to the killers in an effort to get closer to them is wrong. I trust that if Jeffery Dahmer were still alive you all would be sympathizing with him.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 27, 2008


Listen, Kaptain Kebo, I've already many times said I am NOT making excuses for anyone. But what about the kids telling many adults about the situation and it was ignored do you just not get? The police came twice that week; and were sent away when Gertrude interceded. I don't believe that Stephanie is a liar. The case against her was dropped largely due to witness testimony, primarily Sylvia's own sister Diana, and the information was sealed. The reason the case was dropped was because they didn't have a case. And while I am no fan of Paula, by any means, according to the state of Indiana, she paid her debt to society. Who made you judge and jury? I know I'm not.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 27, 2008


Hi, Stephen, in post 138 you raised a question I kept wanting to go back to, only then there were first Kathe’s exciting news and everything became I a bit hectic. Here goes: In a way you must be right, Gertrude must in some way have deluded herself that she was doing the right thing. All the more since Phyllis Vermillion had seen the state Sylvia was in, wit-nessed Paula’s behaviour and neither said or done anything. So Gertrude may well have felt safe and right for a while and only the visits of the priest and the nurse and the very fact that some ominous person – Diana? Ms. Duke? Surely not the Vermillion woman? - had called authorities about a child with open sores may have warned her off - not only might other people see her treatment of Sylvia with different eyes but what she had done might get her into trouble. But for several reasons it doesn’t quite fit: If she really thought she was doing the right thing, this point of view would have been re-flected in her behaviour towards the other children. It’s true Marie and Shirley said they had been afraid of her and I’m sure they really were and had reasons to be. They must have been objected to physical punishment but not as much as to make it visible by wounds, scars, black eyes etc. Then, if she thought Sylvia had to be punished, why invent reasons instead of saying what Sylvia had done to make her so mad? To Phyllis Vermillion she said: “That’s Sylvia. She’s pregnant, she hasn’t had a period for so and so many weeks.” That was not true and she knew it wasn’t. There is a problem about the timing, too. The priest came twice, and the first time was on September 15th, if I remember right; that was when she told him about all the sins Sylvia allegedly had committed. The priest came back once more, either shortly before the nurse (Barbara, right?) visited, or right after. They both got the same lie: It was true about the sores but Sylvia had run away and good riddance etc. etc. (Maybe that was the moment the idea about the “gang of boys” lie, if not about the letter, first came to her mind). Any-way, at the time of the nurse’s visit Sylvia was already banished to the basement. If the priest’s second visit took place before the nurse came, the very fact that he didn’t give up that easily may of course have scared Gertrude enough for her to hide Sylvia right after, only it doesn’t seem likely - the priest was downright naïf or at least overworked, which is why she had been handling him successfully before. So why she would have panicked when he turned up again? If, on the other hand, his second visit took place after the nurse came, there is a gap of a few weeks between cause and reaction, so to say, which goes completely unexplained. All of this leads me to believe that Gertrude may have told herself and her children she was fulfilling a duty in “teaching Sylvia a lesson” so that she could live with herself but in some part of her mind she knew all along she was committing both a crime and a sin and was unable to help it. Her mental disorder had entered a florid phase. Kathe has confirmed that bipolar disorder is subject to triggers and in this case the trigger may have been Paula’s pregnancy. You can see why this would have unbalanced her mind. At best Paula would have to lead more or less her own life, children, poverty, lack of education, instead of achieving something better than herself which is what all parents want for their children. Then, Paula could not hope to get any help, financially or otherwise, from the father of the child. And she would have to rely on Gertrude to help her raise the child when she didn’t have enough money as it was and had her hands already full and was so sick and so tired. Apart from, again, that time and that place. Remember that Stephanie’s lawyer said in Gertrude’s trial he was sure that Stephanie was a virgin? Things like that mattered, strange as this seems today. It looks as if her rage at the pregnancy was genuine. Only she could not act it out with Paula. Maybe she was afraid she’d lose Paula’s love, maybe she was afraid that Paula would have it out with her if she let fly (Millett has it that in 1965, John jr. spent some time with his Dad at the beginning of the summer, before Stephanie went, in order to be disciplined because Gertrude couldn’t handle him any longer. By the way, that’s supposed to be the reason for John sr. leaving the famous police belt at Gertrude’s.) and maybe there was no reason one could have put into words at all but for some reason she had to transfer her rage (together with it’s cause) from Paula to Sylvia. Sick as this doubtlessly is, it’s transparent and, as many delusions distorted minds come up with, has its own inner logic. And the fact that Gertrude couldn’t help herself gets quite obvious when you reconsider Sylvias last days. From the state Sylvia was in Gertrude concluded that the dance might be about to end hence the letter and the normal bath and stuff, and on the Sunday or the Monday she had Sylvia on a kitchen chair and tried to feed her milk and something to eat. Sylvia couldn’t manage to grasp the glass and couldn’t swallow a thing and Gertrude, albeit she must have known this was dangerous couldn’t stop herself from throwing her off the chair – before she propped her up on it again. There are more clues, mostly in Dean. What do you think?

Kathleen on Oct 27, 2008


Well said, Kathe 🙂

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 27, 2008


Hi, Kathe, I'm so glad you were not scared off by what goes on here now! Stephanie having epilepsy actually fits, I do remember reading she had fainting spells and somewhere in "The Basement" Millett has Gertrude worrying they might indicate a brain tumor - this is what they came from or it's just what Stephanie was told she had. Since your very first post I thought that if more of her children had inherited Gertrude's disposition Paula was an obvious and I can see why Marie was scared. While it's marvellous to have a pattern forming and missing links appearing, please keep in mind what I said in post 144 - I completely agree with Stephen that we need your input here but you don't have any obligation to anybody. Be kind to yourself, o.k.?

Kathleen on Oct 27, 2008


Just wanted to say that myself and a couple of others are the 'minorities' on this forum, and yes when it comes to torturing other humans I am the first to admit that I pretty much am of the 'Black and White' mentality. I don't have any compassion or tolerance for people turning perpetrators into victims. But I must sat that many of you have some amazing insight into this crime and are very intelligent in how you communicate. Stephen's 'couldn't' theory is absolutely amazing and pretty much sums it up as far as any explanation goes. Kathleen has made some wonderful observations as well. And Kathe, your story is amazing, I wish you and your husband the best of health and good fortune as he truly is a victim of this crime and is fortunate to have somebody as supportive and wise as you in his life at this time. I do not want to further disrupt this forum by repeating my negative banter about people getting off easy and all arouind lack of remourse, so I will shut up and continue to read what you guys have to say as it is much more interesting.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 27, 2008


First off, Ross, I know I'm a bit late for this, but wanted to reply to you anyways. No, I'm not related in any way to the Baniszewski, nor do I know any of them personally (I wasn't even alive when this took place). Why am I defending them so greatly? I'm not, actually, that's the thing. A lot of what I said seems to of "gone in one ear and out the other" or overlooked greatly and continues to be overlooked, hence my frustration. The children all chose their actions in assaulting Sylvia, and as a result they should of dealt with the consequences. And they did, and they still are. Fact is, you can't commit a murder so heinous and twisted, regardless what age you are, and live out the rest of your life accepted by the world. History never forgets and neither do people. As Kathe has stated, even poor Dennis has been ridiculed and outcasted by society for what's happened, and he was just a baby! Aside from simply being a baby in the same house, he had NOTHING to do with the murder! It has absolutely nothing to do with personally knowing the murderers, but everything to do with simply having common sense. I consider myself to be a very strong person. I speak up for what I believe in, regardless of who I'm up against and how many people hate me for it. I really could care less what people think of me or what they say. However, I know if I had to go through life being faced with a world that hated me so much for something I did as a dumb kid, I don't know if I'd want to live. It's the same for all humans. We need that love and compassion. Without it, we're nothing. And let me just say, human emotions can hurt just as badly as having someone kick you down stairs or carving "I'm a prostitute and proud of it" into your stomach. It's the reason so many people with depression commit suicide. Now maybe Paula and Stephanie can see what it was like for Sylvia to live in a place where everyone hated her and there was no love. Only difference is Sylvia will never again feel pain. Stephanie and Paula will have to live with it for the rest of their lives. Irony works in funny ways. Few of you claim that Stephanie and Paula should have "known better" based solely on their age, but I don't see you attacking any of the other children that were involved, seemingly because they were so young. You know what? I knew not to beat the shit out of people when I was 4. Marie and the other kids (many of them kids that weren't even part of the family) were just as involved as the older teens. Age plays absolutely no part in this, but rather the morals instilled in us and the adults who guide us. You people seem to think that my reasoning of defense is that the children did what they did simply because their mother didn't tell them it's wrong, period. That's NOT my point and you've twisted my words around completely. It's the little lessons we learn as children which stem into much greater things. "Don't pull kitty's tail" is what teaches us to respect animals and not "douse a dog with gasoline and light them on fire" , just as "You need to share" doesn't lead us to being overly greedy and "No, I'm not buying you that toy" doesn't lead to us being spoiled little brats who think we can get everything we want later in life. GERTRUDE was the "responsible" adult here, and what went from punishing Sylvia harshly (paddles, etc) escalated into more severe circumstances, and eventually her torture. Gertrude sat back and did nothing, and even encouraged it. To Paula "Stand up for yourself and fight your own battles" when Sylvia supposedly went around school telling everyone Paula was a prostitute. Judging by Gertrude's own warped personality, was probably something the kid's heard all their lives. I'm not "standing up" for murderers or in any way trying to justify what's been done. But I see another side to the story that's been over looked greatly or just not seen by many people. I say this not because I knew any of the Baniszewski children, but because I know children period. I've been working in early childcare education for the better of 10 years now. I've witnessed children that are fairly "messed up" who if only had been raised differently would of been completely different people. Dennis, from what Kathe tells us, has turned into a strong, intelligent individual, with a good heart, yet had he grown up with his birth mother, he'd probably of been no different then the other children (scary thought, I'm sure Kathe). I believe if life had been any different for Paula, Stephanie, John, and the rest of them, they would of turned out as decent human beings, and Sylvia would still be alive today.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 27, 2008


Hello,,, Kathleen,, yes I believe that was Mrs. Duke that called them yes the young Duke girl came home one day while her mother was washing dishes and told her of her concern for Sylvia.. It was Phillis Vermillion that "almost" called the police when the noise comming from the basement next door went a little too long.. I think it was Paula that said Sylvia was pregnant when she introduced her to Phillis Vermillion.. Then I believe Paula went on to brag about her giving Sylvia a black eye.. Yes , the nurse was Barbara and she was sent in regards to the Duke phone call ,I believe. I think the preist visited once and it was Dianna Shoemaker that visited once aswell ,, Sylvia's married sister and she was threatened by Gertrude with calling the police if she didn't go away.. The lie Gertrude made up was that Sylvia's parents didn't want her and Sylvia together.. Sylvia was confined to the basement already when the nurse arrived and the preist was after the nurse .. I know ppl with bi-polar disorder,, some in denial about it and others take their medication .. Yeah I know first hand how they go off ... That could explain a lot of Gertrude's uncontrollable rage. I also think that bi-polar ppl set themselves up for an attack by being real confronting.. Also you must factor in the fact that Gertrude herself was abused and extended that to Sylvia.. I think by the time they started to be concerned about Sylvia's condition it was to late which caused even more rage.. When you look back you see everything fits like clock-work,,, ppl playing agains't other people, not only the ones "involved" but the ones that won't get involved.. Non of which could have been planned, I mean how do you plan for people to look the other way that aren't involved ..

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 27, 2008


Something we might consider before we condemn all of those that didn't say anything .... Marie,Stephanie,etc. If you are to do this with a clear mind you must consider that Jenny Likens did not come forward .. Would your comments still be accurate if you were to consider Jenny L. ?

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Good thinking, Stephen! Especially as most of the excuses found for Jenny apply just as well to Stephanie and her younger siblings, plus one more Jenny did not have: G. was their mother and they loved her.

Kathleen on Oct 29, 2008


Sorry, but that's pathetic. And ignorant.

Kai on Oct 29, 2008


Kai,, Be that as it may obviously they must have seen different in a court of law

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Yeah, the courts are never wrong. Ask O.J.

Kai on Oct 29, 2008


Kai, could you be a bit clearer? Ignorant in reference to what? Pathetic in which aspect?

Kathleen on Oct 29, 2008


Lets keep in mind people that the population of Indiana happens to statistically be one of the lowest I.Q. states in our Country. In Santa Claus we trust.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


And Jenny Liken's excuse?.............Fear.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


KK,,, Funny as that may seem,,, if it wasn't for Indianapolis you wouldn't be driving a car...

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


And lets not forget that while the entire B clan was lying through their teeth and following Mom's script it was Jenny who pulled the cop aside and told the truth.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Ok,, then if Jenny can be frightened then why can't the others...?

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


The cop was out the door when brave little Jenny pulled him aside and said "get me the fuck out of here", proving that she was in great fear for her welfare. If Jenny had not turned them in it is likely that she would be dead now and the B's would never have been caught, which means most of you people would be on another forum right now defending Ted Bundy or Tex Watson. I know I said I was finished here but I have less patience for people turning victims into perpetrators than I do for turing perpetrators into victims, when confronted with such ignorance I must speak up.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


They were family members, she was not. She saw what THEY did to her sister. If they were all frightened for their lives why is Jenny the only one to step forward with the truth? I cannot believe that you would even suggest that Steph and Paula were ever in fear for their lives for a moment, Jenny had every reason to be, they did not.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Then the question comes down to why didn't Jenny take the arm of a teacher,, or her sister,,, or another policeman,,or the nurse,, or the preist,, the same questions you ask of the others.. When Jenny came forward was after the fact,, to late

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Kaptain Kebo is right here. Gertrude pretty much told Jenny that if she mentioned Sylvia's situation to anyone, Jenny would receive the same treatment.

Ross on Oct 29, 2008


And Indianapois invented the car? I was not aware of that, in fact I did not know that a city could invent anything. And if not for Jenny's bravery, Paula and Stessi would be living with a dark secret to this day and you would have nobody to defend.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Paula was frightened??? you are hilarious

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Hey Kai, do not let these liberals get you down. Any level headed person can see just how far they must reach to defend these monsters.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


And thanks for the clarity Ross. What you said is documented. Gertie threatening her kids with the same treatment was never mentioned or documented.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


By the way, Jenny made her break when she felt safe to do it. She said, "GET ME OUT OF HERE and I will tell you everything", proving that she was in GREAT fear for her life. Yes, shoulda, coulda, woulda, but we are not dealing with mental giants here. Be it to late she spoke up when a cop was there and she felt safe in doing so.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008



Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


The truth may be that this is all a product of serious abuse and it can make monsters out of the nicest of ppl.. why? they don't know just theories Also, I'd like to say all I mean't was that you can't look at this case as a whole without considering Jenny into your final equation...

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


We're "liberals" now? LMFAO!!!

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Also ,, I think it's pretty low to come in here talking down Hoosiers' just because your having a hard time answering questions straight forward.. And also when you talk down Hoosiers' you talk down Sylvia as well

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


If not liberals, certainly 'bleeding hearts' or 'excuse makers'.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


What makes me liberal..? The fact that I'm trying to think this is something bigger then just a bunch of stupid hayseed dipshits..?

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Get out of here. How can you suggest that Paula and Steph were in fear when they had no reason to believe that their mother would ever turn on them the way she did Sylvia. Jenny had every reason to believe that she was next. And what questions have I not answered straightforward? As far as 'Hoosiers' go, I shouldn't generalize but after living in 7 States I can say that after 6 months in Indiana I had to run for my life. I could not endure one more conversation about 'bad assesd pickups' or 'hunting' or 'getting fucked up and kicking ass'. I would like to point out that you also have been critical towards the State and how they dealt with your daughter as well. Releasing a little girl into the hands of a known pedofile stating that he liked them a little older than her? Having said that, I am aware of some pockets of Indiana that are very cool, like Bloomington, and Madison, lotta cool little College towns. Stay south of I-70 and you are o.k., if you want to witness some real children of the corn type shit head north (Fort Wayne, South Bend, Angola) . Do not forget Stephen that I was also quick to acknowledge that some of your statements regarding the Likens murder have been amazingly accurate and insightful, some even bordering on genius. So yes, their are exeptions but overall it is a pretty fucked up State. What question did I not answer straightforward?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


I'm glad people here get to see the kind of person that would elect a president that would distroy a once fine nation

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


I have no problems saying I am liberal-minded. It's not a four letter word. I don't know about the others, but that really has nothing to do with my thinking about this case. Sorry, but I know that Stephanie and Marie and the other children all feared Gertrude. Maybe not specifically for their lives, but Gertrude was the master manipulator and often used blackmail, even with her children. Stephanie told me that when Gertrude divorced John B. the second time, the kids wanted to go with their father, naturally. But Gertrude blackmailed Stephanie and said "I will tell the court that your father molested her. Stephanie countered back "and I'll tell the court that he didn't" to which Gertrude said "Then I'll say that your father molested both Marie and Shirley". Gertrude always had something else to use as blackmail. It is quite clear that we will not be of the same mind here; and the best we can do is agree to disagree. However, it is ridiculous to assert that if Jenny had not told previously that the Baniszewski's would not be "caught". They obviously were not fleeing. I'm quite sure the facts would have come out regardless.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


Not sure where you are going with that?????

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


KK, do you mean me?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


Is this the same Stephanie that you stated ultimately forgave her mother?? and the 'Not sure where you are going with that' was directed at a political comment regarding the presidential election.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


By the way, I will not be voting for your 'boy' or Mcain, so lets stick to the script and save politics for another forum

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Kaptain Kebo, obviously you know it's the same Stephanie. Why is that an issue if she ultimately forgave her mother? I think that has to do with her Christian beliefs. Isn't that what Chistianity preaches after all?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


KK, that's a pretty racist comment calling Obama "boy", especially for one that asserts that Indiana is backward. But I do agree that politics are not the topic here.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


I'm glad people here get to see the kind of person that would elect a president that would distroy a once fine nation Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008 This is a textbook example of somebody's inability to answer a question straightforward.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


That had nothing to do with his race, it had to do with his age, maybe you are the racist.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


By the way, Christaianity is based on bullshit and lies, only the gullible or people in need of forgiveness swallow.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Kaptain Kebo: OK, if you say so. Would you have called Teddy Roosevelt "boy"? He was actually younger than Obama when he became president. Or Ulysses S. Grant? Same thing. Why because I didn't assume you meant age when you clearly put quotes around the word boy does that make me racist? Of course, you are entitled to your opinions about Christianity. By the way, I'm not a Christian myself. I was raised with both Jewish and Chistian teachings (as my parents were of different faiths) however my beliefs are really neither. I just know that we are merely specs of dust in the universe and could not possibly really know everything.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


Let's leave your imaginary super hero out of this and stick to logic. I promise to not bring up Santa Claus.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


What imaginary superhero?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


Sorry, but if Steph forgives anybody that was involved in how that girl was slowly tortured and killed right before her eyes (which you stated she did forgive), then she is grasping towards christianity because no logical person could witness someone being burned, beaten and branded and ever find and ounce of understanding or forgiveness within themselves. If she did not have her imaginary superhero to cling onto she would be dubbed as crazy or insane. Guess what? Paula should still be in jail......end of story, next?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Steph's imaginary superhero

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


I do respect you for defending your husbands sisters Kathe. Some people would just make an off handed remark assuming that I am voting for a certain candidate and then run away. All out of bullets?? I've got logic for miles, in fact while others fall into the trenches of defeat I am just getting warmed up. By the way, maybe you can set Rebecca straight on just how rough Steph and Paula's lives have (not) been. Does Steph have kids? Sylvia didn't have the chance.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Steph clinging to her imaginary superhero is just her way of skirting the real issues.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Kathe, you said it perfectly. I'm not religious in the least bit, but I don't out right claim that there is nothing out there. I'm an agnostic. I don't know what to believe, because I know that as a human, there is no way I know everything there is to know about life or the world, or the universe. Humans aren't as intelligent as they seem to think...smug and arrogant, but far from the intelligent know it alls they like to portray themselves as. Fact of the matter is, NO ONE knows for sure whether or not there is a higher power. Prove it. PROVE that there isn't a God. Physically fucking prove it. You can't. Just like you can't prove there is one. Only a naive idiot would claim to know for absolute certain that we're all there is to life. Of course, then again lol...

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


I spoke of christianity, which clearly defines god as a 'guy who was magic' not a higher power. Rebecca, you are the idiot.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


By the way Rebecca, did you manage to locate those post murder interviews the B kids have given regarding their lives since the crime?........didn't think so, you are also a liar, so stay out of this.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


I also believe in a higher power, and it has nothing to do with a bearded 'magic guy'. Sylvia looks down on you in shame Rebecca. It is easy for Steph to forgive her boyfriend, mother, sister, Richard, etc. Steph does not have to look in the mirror every morning and see "I am a prostitute, and proud of it" carved into her stomach.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Does it hurt to be so unreceptive, Kaptain Kebo? Don't worry, that should change as soon as you turn 16 years old 😉

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


By the way, off topic, what the fuck is a 'hoosier'? I have traveled every state extensively and Indiana is the only one that I am aware of where the occupants have assigned themselves a goofy title.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


That Gertrude is a master manipulator is obvious. Here are my thoughts of the psychological power play she made in this situation: she had a fat, unattractive, insecure, and very angry daughter in Paula. Due to her insecurity, she allowed herself to essentially be a piece of tail for married, older men since boys her own age ignored her. She experienced rejection by these men, who ultimately decided on their wives over porky little Paula. This drove rage inside of her. Gertrude, also, had major emotional health and impulse control issues. Kathe's contention that she had untreated bipolar disorder seems quite plausible. She knew the feeling of rejection by men, and felt burning anger inside of her with no outlet. Gertrude also reveled in any attention she got from the opposite sex. When Sylvia came along, Sylvia threatened this. Gertrude really began to hate Sylvia, who was by all accounts a very attractive girl. Gertrude then manipulated Paula to channel Paula's inner hatred and anger towards Sylvia, making up lies about Sylvia insulting Paula, etc. The fact that Paula was around Sylvia's age, and was a slovenly, unattractive girl while Sylvia turned a lot of eyes did not help the situation. Gertrude nurtured and nurtured the animosity of Paula by Sylvia, and then began to encourage the ensuing cruelty shown by Paula as an outlet for both of them. Gertrude really didn't have the physical wherewithal to do what was done to Sylvia. She was a sickly woman of 5'6" and 100 lbs. That's skeletal - my girlfriend is 5'6" and 128, and quite thin. Paula, however, was 5'4" and 180, so she could be Gertie's main enforcer. Once Gertie got Paula, and then brainwashed the other kids, they would fall into line. As far as Jenny goes, I think it is sick and wrong to blame her for not speaking up sooner. Here was a 14 or 15 year old girl, completely out of her element, living with a family of violent brutes, no doubt fearing for her personal safety and/or life. She had witnessed, as Kathe has said, Gertrude manipulate other adults. Her fear was that if she said something, Gertie would simply dismiss the allegations, saying "oh, you know, kids and their vivid imaginations." "Yeah, Gertie, your probably right. Well, just thought I'd ask. Bye." And vuola! As soon as the door closed, Jenny would join her sister in the basement, as promised by Gertie; and the torture would most likely escalate due to Gertie's control issues and having her sense of control being violated. While I am disgusted by the B's behavior, no doubt, I cannot see this in as simple terms as Kaptain Kebo has. Sure, they deserved to be punished more than they have been, and they all got off easy, particularly Gertrude. However, the scary thing is that all of us have the demons the Baniszewski kids have inside of them. All of us have the capability. This is a scary fact of the human condition. Various periods in history and various pyschological experiments (the Milligram electric shock experiment at Yale) have proven over and over how depraved normal people can be given various circumstances. Basically, from my perspective, if the kids would have been incarcerated for life, I certainly would not be complaining or clammoring for their release. However, such was not the case. I believe in the redemption of humanity to some extent, and if they have lived their lives without incident since, or even if they have made decent contributions to humanity, I can accept that. With the exception of Paula and Coy Hubbard, I think many of these kids could be reformed given their age and the circumstances.

Ross on Oct 29, 2008


Cut it with the age bit you fucking brainless moron, YOU SOUND LIKE A KID every time you do that. Are you all out of logic and have to resort to bullshit?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Oh, Kaptain Kebo - you mentioned you had a connection to the incident. Do you mind telling us what that is?

Ross on Oct 29, 2008


"I am an athiest." atheism the absolute denial of the existence of God, gods, or higher power. — atheist, n. — atheistic, adj. So now not only are you a dumbass, but you're a hypocrite too?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Someday I will, when I can no longer endure listening to 'hoosiers' stating that Jenny should have done something sooner, and that Sylvia should have TOLD Steph that the burning/branding was getting pretty bad. Ross, can I ask you, do you find forgiveness for Gertie and the gang in your christian heart? as has Steph?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


"Are you all out of logic and have to resort to bullshit?" Just following your example. Only difference is in your case there never was logic. Just pure 100% BS.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Wow, an athiest?? You just moved up a notch in my book!!! (that puts you at minus 4)

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


"Paula and Steph being allowed to live full lives while Sylvia died such a painful death is exactly the reason I am an athiest. " Post 146, As quoted by you, Daniel San! 😀

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


I believe that post # 256 is the most intellient synopsis of this case that I have seen. Ross, you are a genius and your post sums it all up. Their really is nowhere to go from there...Genius, Thank you!! And Becca, I used the term athiest loosely, I do believe that there are things we cannot understand but do not buy into your christianity 'magic guy' bullshit. Christians like you want to treat people like shit, just as the B's did, and at the end of the day you repent and all is forgiven, BULLSHIT, if you are gonna talk it.......WALK IT. Don't kid yourself into thinking that some imaginary guy who is responsible for everything approves of you treating people like shit.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


UUUHHHHHH I'm NOT a Christian, buddy! I'm pretty sure I stated above that I'm an agnostic, which means I don't have a religion, but I can't exclude the possibility of there being a God. Just because I don't make it a hobby jump down the throats of Christians (or anyone who doesn't think like you) like you do, does NOT mean I am one.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Becca, post #256 is the closest thing to reality that you will ever know about this case, and because I didn't write it maybe you can allow yourself to study it and learn something. My 'GOD' is Ross!! Thanks again for your insight and for not trying to shift this to an election forum as previous posters have. Damn you are smart........brilliant post, in the midst of us throwing personal jabs at each other you can chime in with a major insightful dose of reality regarding the actual case. And if it takes for 'God' for Steph to sleep at night so be it, I suppose it is better than drugs.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Finally something we agree on, KK. I think Ross' assessment in post #256 sums it all up too, especially the part saying that all of us have these demons inside of them and have such capability. By the way, I'm not a "hoosier" - just married to one. I really would like to know your connection to the case. It does take some courage to speak up to say how you are connected; I certainly did not know if I would be booed off the forum or not, but I took a chance and for the most part I think people have treated me with much respect and understanding. Maybe it's just easier to "forgive" baby Denny, who did nothing, but you'd be surprised how people feel just the fact that he has Gertrude's genes that he must be just as evil. I'm quite sure that is why my husband's adopted mother started her reign of terror on Denny. I know she was "beating the devil" out of him "for his own good".... sound familiar?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 29, 2008


" Becca, post #256 is the closest thing to reality that you will ever know about this case, and because I didn't write it maybe you can allow yourself to study it and learn something. " Oh okay.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Cut it with the age bit you fucking brainless moron, YOU SOUND LIKE A KID every time you do that. Are you all out of logic and have to resort to bullshit? KK By the way, this post was directed at Rebecca for calling me a sixth grader again, NOT ross's post before it. And I agree with Ross, Paula and Coy were the closest to being legal adults and of all the kids are certainly mostly to blame

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


My father grew up in Long Beach, CA. where he met and dated Sylvia in the spring/summer of 1965. He never wanted her to go back to Indiana and hoped that someday she would return. As you know, she never had that opportunity.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


He could never understand how this could happen to such a lovely person, and to this day he has to leave the room if the topic comes up. I think he still loves her.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


KK,, People from Indiana are just like any you'll find.. I've been all over the US and Canada myself and I see no reason why this couldn't happen in any town.. I would say you have a tendency to prejudge considering your limited knowlege of both the Likens case and Hoosier's in general...

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


I have a limited knowledge of 'hoosiers?' When confronted with hoosier mentality I must say that you were a wimp. MY child would NEVER be released to live with a convicted sexual predater, regardless of what a 'hoosier' case worker, or a 'hoosier' judge said. I would take my child and leave the State (or country) and request a jury trial if ever caught. Some things cannot just be 'left in the hands of God Stephen.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


What does it say on the 'hoosier' licsense plates?? Please elaborate on my limited knowledge of 'hoosiers'? that implies that they are different while in the same paragraph you state that 'hoosiers' are just like everyone else.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Please, I am not blaming the State of Indiana for the death of Sylvia. I have blamed their justice system for being far to leniant on the killers, just as you have expressed outrage towards the Indiana justice system, so stop taking it personally just because you are a proud 'hoosier'. I do know this, Sylvia was much happier in California than in Indiana and could have stayed, she returned to Indy with her family because she felt an overwhelming obligation to her younger sister.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Also, I could tell you more personal things about Sylvias plans, hopes and dreams than you will ever learn by hanging out on web forums, so don't ever suggest that my knowledge of her is any more limited than yours or any other crime 'groupies'. In the Easter Bunny We people are a joke.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


You don't do Sylvia a God damned bit of service ,,, let me tell you something smartass ... It's not how smart you are that counts it's what kind of a person you are .. End of story

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


You don't do Sylvia a God damned bit of service ,,, let me tell you something smartass … It's not how smart you are that counts it's what kind of a person you are .. Wow, there's a 'staightforward' answer to a question. Especially immediately after stating that I am not as smart as you are concering this crime or 'hoosiers'.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


I am a good person, I will stand up for what is right, you can just let God drive. And while a child is being abused after you could have stopped it, I am sure that they will take great comfort in knowing that you left everything in the hands of God, because "he had a plan, and their is a lesson to be learned" Sorry, but you are

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


You're fucking delusional, Kaptain Kebo. Absolutely out of your God damn mind. Does your anti-God complex bother you this badly in the real world?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


PS... A Hoosier is simply a person born or lives in IN .. Like many famous names you may have heard like oh ,,, Will Gere,, John Melloncamp,, James Dean,, Red Skelton,, Tony Hulman,, The Jackson 5,, Oprah,, Gene Straton Porter,, Abe Lincoln in Sainta Claus Indiana by the way,, Forest Tucker,, Claud Akins,,Steve Mcqueen,,Phil Harris,,Jane Pauly,, Dave Letterman,, Majiorie Main,, Dick The Bruiser,,(westler)..Ernie Pyle,, Guss Grissm,,Madam Walker,,Benjimen Harrison,, Dussenburg assembly,, Stutz bearcat assembly,, Alison's makers of Tank transmissions assembly plant,, Ford Motors English plant,, Decker cabs assembly plant,, But then you have,, Charles Manson,, Jim Jones,, Steven Judy,, Gertrude,, John Dillinger,, The Speedway Bomber Bret Kimberlan,, By the way it was a Hoosier that invented the process of crackling gasoline.. not to mention Indy being race capital of the world.. My grandfather welded steel on the launchpads at cape canaveral FL. he fell 100' and lived only to die of cancer at age 56 He was a master welder and one of only 200+ they picked from the whole state.. My father was a #3 clean up crew at Ford Motor Co. and all his children started succesful construction companies..

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Not to forget,,,, GM and General Electric over on Shadeland,, and last but not least,,,, the largest childrens museum in the world...

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Also, as a collector of antique musical instruments I can add that the Conn musical instrument company in Elkhart produced beautiful instruments, many of which were engraved by hand, and The Leedy Drum Company was founded in Indianapolis only to move to Elkhart when purchased by Conn. in the 30's. Camco Drum Company got it's start in South Bend. And for you Rock fans, Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin (Guns and Roses) are both from Indiana. And Rebecca, you are retarded.........did you find those interviews yet??

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Oh yeah, let's not forget the lengendary SLIPPERY NOODLE, one of the oldest Live Blues clubs in the country. At one time in my life I fell in love with a Hoosier and actually cashed in all of my chips and moved there. I can't explain the bad vibe I got there as I do love Ohio and Kentucky, I am not a huge fan of Indiana or Michigan but that is just opinion, I certainly do not hold all hoosiers accountable for the Likens murder.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Please come up with a new insult, please, because by your definition just about everyone who has responded to you is a retard. Thanks.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


I already told you I couldn't find them. But what does it matter, I'm a liar, remember? 🙂

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Hey Rebecca, It's obvious to everyone that you have a crush on me.....why don't you just admit it?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


I think it's pathetic and ignorant to compare Jenny to anyone in that family. She watched people come in and out of that house, see the condition Sylvia was in and do nothing and yet she was supposed to speak out under the clear threat of getting the same treatment as Sylvia? What I see on this board is mixture of compassion and morbid curiosity which is completely normal because of the horrifying story and what seems to be a miscarriage of justice because of the light sentences and absence of any sentence at all in a few cases. All of us, me included, wanted to know more about these people because it is mind bending to think they may have gone on to live "normal" lives. I think some mystery is added because of the name changes, which only fuel the feeling that they are trying to escape not just a prying public, but to an extent; themselves. There is a feeling that they should not be allowed to do this because of the feelings of horror and revulsion we have about their actions. Is this right? Wrong? Who's to say? I think that if there were knowledge that there had been some sort of real effort to repent or do something with their lives that perhaps could show that they were striving to make amends to humanity, like dedicating their lives to work with victims of abuse or something in that vein, that people may at least look at the young Stephanie differently. But saying she became a Christian? That is an insult to one's intelligence. So what? True regret, true repentance is a life dedicated to making right a wrong when it comes to something so heinous. Changing one's name and becoming a Christian doesn't show anything more than cowardice in my opinion. I think it is nice that baby Dennis' wife has posted and filled in gaps for we curious posters, but the mad rush to excuse the actions of the Baniszewski clan with these pseudo psychological "excuses" is sickening and smacks of a groupie like mentality in order to keep sucking the marrow from the bones of her in-laws family story. Sick shit happens. It happened to Sylvia and to Jenny, albeit in a completely psychological way, and most of us will ever understand it because despite what I have read by some poster on here, we DO NOT all have the capability to do the things that were done to Sylvia which is why it is so captivating and why it is easy to reject that there is any sort of absolution for anyone involved and impossible for most of us to excuse. But to even utter that Jenny is culpable in any way is ignorant and does not deserve contemplation of any kind. No worries K.K. No one is getting me down.

Kai on Oct 29, 2008


"Hey Rebecca, It's obvious to everyone that you have a crush on me…..why don't you just admit it?" Is that the best you can do?

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Rebecca and Kebo sitting in tree a-r-g-u-i-n-g

scorpio on Oct 29, 2008


true regret, true repentance is a life dedicated to making right a wrong when it comes to something so heinous. Changing one's name and becoming a Christian doesn't show anything more than cowardice in my opinion. Absolute to my ears, Thank you Kai. I am emberassed to have fallen into the trap of personal insults and lame jabs on this thread and it is so impressive to me that people like you and Ross can refrain from that behavior and post such intelligent threads. As soon as I saw posts like "if Jenny was afraid why, can't Paula be afraid?" and "God had a plan for Sylvia so we could learn a lesson" (bad plan god) or "Jenny is just as guity as the B's" I should have realized that this is like attempting to discuss algebra with german shepards and backed off. Anyway thank you again for your insight, it is the occasional thread like yours that has made all of this bickering worth it.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


All I said was that they were = partners in their level of fear ,,, maybe you should read the book and stop making a fool out of yourself

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 29, 2008


Why don't you read court transcripts and look at autopsy photos and stop making a fool out of yourself.................."GOD had a plan so we could learn a lesson"??? are you fucking kidding me? I have a few photos of Sylvia in California that you will NEVER see in any book.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 29, 2008


Argument and disputes aside, Kaptain you have a link to Sylvia's autopsy photos? I'm not trying to start anything this time, I'm genuinely curious.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 29, 2008


Stephen, You left out the Cummins company south east of Indianapolis. This is coming from a Buckeye (Ohio boy). Kaptain Kebo, Thank you for answering the question I posed. From reading the book, it was said that Sylvia "got under the covers" with a boy in California. Even in the movie, it said that Sylvia had a thing with a boy in California, which Gertie threw back in her face. Kai, I dispute the fact that we do not all have the capability in us. It has been proven time and time again, that under the right circumstances, apparently normal humans have engaged in completely indescribable depravity. Apparently normal people participated in atrocities in Nazi Germany, getting swept up in the wave of German nationalism and the norms propagated that these depraved acts were acceptable, in fact honorable, to God and Country. The same can be said for Soviet Russia. Stanley Milligram's experiment on what humans are willing to do to other humans under the guise of authority is most pertinent to the Baniszewski situation. In the Milligram expirement, normal people selectedcx at random off the streets of New Haven, Connecticut were put in a room, and told to shock people behind a wall. They could not see them but could hear them. Each time, despite hearing fake screams coming from the other room, escalated the shock level upon being ordered. Even once the screams stopped meaning the person apparently lost consciousness or died, the majority of the test subjects continued to shock the fake victim. These were all normal people, and the experiment was conducted precisely to prove what humans were capable of when they thought they were following protocol, and not subject to personal accountability for their actions. As I said, my take on the situation is a bit nuanced. If the B kids were incarcerated and left to rot for their entire lives, my heart most certainly would not bleed for them. While all of us have it in us, they actually crossed the line. However, the fact that they caught a break from society and for the most part, realized their wrongs and did not reoffend, makes me less angry. However, that does not extend to Gertrude, Coy, and Paula. These individuals seem like genuine psychopaths, and need to be locked away not only for punishment, but for the protection of society. For me, the others were at too impressionable of ages to make that determination solidly. While Kathe asserts plausibly that Gertie had bipolar disorder, I would say she also had a psycopathic personality, as did Coy and Paula. This is demonstrated by their callous and remorseless attitude towards their actions that cause suffering to others, the fact they show an inability to bond in a human fashion, resorting instead to viewing other people as objects to be manipulated, etc. This makes sense with Coy, as he was incarcerated for several other violent crimes besides this horrific thing.

Ross on Oct 29, 2008


My Dad left California in 1968 and moved to Seattle, then to Phoenix in 1975 when he divorced my mother. After retiring in 2000 he moved back to long Beach and is now living 4 blocks from the church where he met Sylvia and Jenny. He has shown me the park where they would spend their days eating potato chips and drinking soda while Jenny and my aunt would play in the grass. He also told me that they would look for bottles up and down the beach to exchange for the deposits. When showing me the supermarket where he had his first job he got teary eyed while telling me that his girl would sit for hours next to the pay-phone out front waiting for him to get off work. I became aware of his connection to Sylvia when I was 12 years old and found a copy of 'The Indiana torture slaying' in a box in our garage and found 3 three pictures tucked into it, one of Sylvia standing next to a bicycle, one of Sylvia and my dad dressed for church, and another of Sylvia, Jenny, my aunt (who I recognized in the picture) and another girl who my dad said was their next door neighbor until her dad was transfered, they were all dressed up. My father took the book and would not let me read it until I was 15, by then, I had done my research at the libarary (this was pre-internet) behind his back. I never let on that I had already read the book 3 or 4 times by then. The reason I get so angry at the people who witnessed this and did nothing about it is that that 40 years after the fact my dad feels guilt because he did not want her to go back to Indiana and I don't think he forgives himself to this day for letting her, so how could anyone who actually witnessed what happened to her forgive anybody?? he told me that she planned on returning and even wrote him letters, unfortunately my mother threw them out years later. I have never seen the movie.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


I had a day off in Indy in 1999 and went to the courthouse where the entire trial transcripts, police reports, autopsy photos (copies, not originals) and even a psycological examination report on Gertie was available to read, all public domain. For 10 cents a page I was able to make copies of everything I wanted, unfortunately the copy machine at the courthouse would not produce a decent copy of copies of the black and white photos, this is probably for the best as it has been 9 years and I still feel damaged by what I saw, I am haunted by them just thinking about it now, her eyes were wide open and they had drawn black lines over her breasts and private areas on the copies. I kind of wish that I had never seen them, some things should not ever be etched into your brain as these have been in mine for 9 years. I did not sleep a wink for 2 days after that, and that was from seeing blurry copies of black and white photos, I do not know how Steph could witness the etching that her mother and Richard Hobbs did to Sylvia and go on to forgive them as those pictures will always haunt my mind and while I type my words of rage to all the idiots who write this off as a groovy plan by 'god' to teach us all a lesson, all I can see is her dead face, arms, legs, closeups of her ears and back, and the horrible 3 on her chest. I AM FINISHED HERE.................GOODBYE

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


KK: You might have said all this about your Dad’s connection to Sylvia before; we could have met your wild rage with a different view. Maybe you could be so kind and elaborate on the reason for his feeling guilty about letting her go – was there anything he could have done about her parents taking her back to Indiana or is this a less defined thing? Also I get the impression he may have learnt of her fate by the news – which would be shattering to any one no matter what their situation is otherwise. This may not be of much help to you or to him but I would like to point out that before July 1965 Sylvia basically was a happy girl and your Dad obviously was part of what made her so.

Kathleen on Oct 30, 2008


KK: it seems I first jumped and then thought - I see now how the feeling of guilt came about and should have known right from the beginning. Sorry.

Kathleen on Oct 30, 2008


To everybody: When I said that the same reasons for silence that were found for Jenny applied to Stephanie and her younger siblings – I did not include Paula because she’s the one I know least about and I don’t want to say anything about her until I’ m sure of what I say – I meant that they all shared the feeling of fear. Not necessarily fear for their life. Not even a fear defined any how. With a child under 12 the thinking would rather go like this: “If I tell, Mummy will beat me really bad, like she does with Sylvia and maybe she won’t be able to stop herself until I really hurt and maybe she’ll never stop and maybe I will never be allowed to see Daddy again or I won’t get anything to eat or … or ….or” . Also: “If Mommy finds out it was me who told she’ll have Paula beat me up really bad and Paula enjoys beating you can see how she does with Sylvia” or even: “If I tell Mommy will go to prison and Daddy’s not here and I will have to go to an orphanage and it will all be because I blabbered and the others will hate me forever”. I’ m not pretending I know what they thought, I’ m just giving examples. Also, I think when Marie finally tried to help Sylvia she must have acted in spite of some of her fears – and that was a brave thing to do for some-one of her age - but still she was only 11 and may not even have had a concept of what death actually means but simply acted out of compassion. I believe that none of them had realized that Sylvia was dying except herself – not even Jenny who had been told she would. And I NEVER said that Jenny was guilty! She was like Sylvia had been – it will be over if we just hold on for a while longer. Until it was too late.

Kathleen on Oct 30, 2008


Ross,, Yes Cummins Diesel,, I know the Buckeye state very well indeed ... Many fine folks there I might add.. In fact I just got back from Fort Recovery,, I was there to photograph the source of the Wabash river... Seems there are no photographs anywhere on the net.. KK,, My whole goal is to just try to understand the minds of everyone involved in this story... I never once at any time even mentioned Paula, and I mentioned the others only in reference.. Ever since you started in pointing fingers ,, putting ppl down, ppl you never even met..! You have done nothing, and I repeat nothing for the memory of Sylvia Likens... We can't help it you feel guilty for being alive maybe in your next life you will reincarnate as a frog at least then you'll have a voice to go with that fake name

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 30, 2008


Kathleen,, Kathe,, Rebecca,, Let's try to keep our productive conversations going in spite of the attention hogs that like to disrupt and agitate... It's only obvious the way they have contorted everything we have said to fit their scenerios .. The one that really got me was using OJ simpson as an example of how the Indiana justice system is unfair.. Ok,, OJ was tried in California wasn't he..? If I'm not correct they did find probable cause for evidence tampering... ?

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 30, 2008


Ethical nature. That's really what you are talking about. 65% of participants did press the button in Stanley Milgram's experiment, which leaves 35% who did not. These percentages did not change in subsequent testing performed by others, one including a puppy (actually shocked, unlike the Milgram experiment where there was no actual shocking) which caused some participants to openly weep but nonetheless they pressed the button. Again, 40% of the participants refused to shock the subject. So if you want to widely interpret that you can arguably say a majority of people have the ethical nature that can allow atrocities to occur. But you are still left with the 35-40%, which is no small number, of those who have the opposite ethical nature. Perhaps these are the kind of people who risked their lives in Nazi Germany to hide Jewish citizens, to create underground groups who spirited them to safety, or like Oscar Schindler used other means to fight the machine of hate and conformity. So, that said, I still contend that you cannot say we ALL have it within us, but concede that 60-65% do. Apparently 100% of the Baniszewski's did and found like minded or ethically-impaired people like themselves to mentally and physically torture Sylvia Likens.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


Your posts have been among the least productive on here.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


My reference to O.J. was not an indictment of the Indiana courts it was to the idea that justice is always served. You are really grasping for insult on that one.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


Kai,,, It was Kaptin Kabo that made that statement about OJ... So you and KK are one in the same..?

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 30, 2008


Whose posts are you referring to, Kai?

Kathleen on Oct 30, 2008


No. Read back, it was me who made the O.J. statement.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


"So you and KK are one in the same..?" You know, I was really starting to wonder this... Their arguments all seem to be based on the same dense, warped logic.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 30, 2008


Kathleen, I was referring to Stephen's, and now Rebecca's hostile posts. Stephen and Rebecca resort to name calling and childish posts the moment they are challenged on ANYTHING they post and yet accuse others of being "attention hogs" and agitators, when in fact there are no posters on here as prolific in these tactics than the two of them. I am not K.K. But I'm not surprised that the level of their posts has bottomed to that.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


Kai, when I first starting writing here, it was because I did a search on Dennis Lee Wright Jr. and discovered someone here actually knew him personally. I replied to this board to thank that person for insighting everyone on the where abouts of baby Dennis as it's something that has always bothered me. In reading that person's reply, I also found a post written by Kaptain Kebo that was so smug, and so ignorant that I had to reply. When I first replied to him/her/it, I was nothing but level headed, polite, and courteous. I don't try to justify shit, I just try to look at things from a different prospective and try to understand WHY something so sick and disgusting could of happened instead of automatically jumping to the excuse "BECAUSE THEY'RE EVIL". KK was the one who flew off the handle with the hostile name calling ("fucking liberal moron rationalizing sympathetic PUKEBRAIN fucks" was a real win) and ABSURD accusations (Me being Stephanie, and having a crush on them lol). I countered every argument and "challenge" he/she/it had with logic and intelligence up until the point it got to where there was just no point in trying to have a rational debate with them anymore because it was like arguing with a 6 year old. That was when my posts started getting insulting and pointless, because there's just no point in even trying anymore. In fact, I drop the argument. It's a wonder why I even stuck it out for this long.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 30, 2008


Well, you just attacked me as being "warped" and "dense" and accused me of being K.K. And Stephan accused me of being K.K. and dragged me into his vitriolic dialog because I disagreed with him. When I pointed it out it was I who used the O.J. example, rather than going back and checking his own memory he simply accused me of being someone other than who I am. There doesn't seem to be a healthy sense of discussion on here, as soon as someone hears something they don't like it resorts to name calling and insults. Considering the subject and that we all have far more in common in our feelings about it than not, it's pretty shameful that rather than having a spirited and passionate debate about all the components a couple of posters ruin it by being childish.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


Stephen, I agree with you. There is one other question I kept forgetting to ask: you have described Lester Likens quite thoroughly but you hardly said anything about his wife. Your posts concerning Lester somehow give the impression that the tragedy left Lester stronger than he was before, but Betty weaker. Also, we know that their marriage did not survive Sylvias fate - or that is what I assume as it's a common thing to happen. I realize you didn't know Betty as well as Lester but surely you remember something about her? Greetings!

Kathleen on Oct 30, 2008


She was like Sylvia had been – it will be over if we just hold on for a while longer. Until it was too late. Very good observation by Kathleen as to what was going on in Jenny's mind during this madness, Thanks Kathleen! This is the kind of post that has helped me to gain insight into how this happened. I have learned a lot from yourself, Kai, Ross and Kathe.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


Rebecca, I flew off the handle after your very first two replies to my post stating that Gertie never accepted guilt or showed remourse in which you used the words 'ignorant' and 'childish' to describe me. You and Stephen were obviously in a panic that I was going to scare off your new connection to the B's (Kathe) by showing anything less than compassion and understanding to them. I find your feeding frenzy to Kathe to be very transparent, and the list of questions was just stupid, like she was really going to run to Steph and ask "was there a beer bottle in the window?, where was the couch?, what color was the carpet?, where does Dad live now, 9th St.?".......absolute rubbish. Lets consider the source though, a grown man that claims he has only read one book in his entire life, (you guessed it, Indiana torture slaying) other than that just thumbed through a few magazines.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


"You and Stephen were obviously in a panic that I was going to scare off your new connection to the B's (Kathe) by showing anything less than compassion and understanding to them." You make so many assumptions about shit, that right there is your problem. Kathe seems like a fairly strong person. I'm sure she doesn't need our help to defend her views or opinions. "I find your feeding frenzy to Kathe to be very transparent" ....What the hell are you talking? "Feeding frenzy"? I thanked her for answering a question that has been plaguing my mind ever since I heard about the Sylvia Likens case, period. After my initial reply to her, I wasn't even planning on sticking around, until I scrolled down and read your post. As I stated above, I don't even understand why I've been wasting so much time here.

Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 30, 2008


Is it possible (even for a hoosier) to read only one book in your entire life?? NOTHING has ever interested you enough to pick up a book?? (other than this particular crime?)

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


Couple of things... First, I am not defending my husband's sisters. I have repeatedly said that I do not excuse or condone anything. In fact, I do not claim to know everything either. I have just been relaying information as I receive it, and as I know it (with respect to my husband himself). Second, I don't expect everyone to be compassionate and understanding with my husband's sisters either. This is such a sensitive subject, with so many branches of the story, that it is highly unlikely that we could all come to the same consensus. But I won't be scared off. I am glad that I have been able to answer some questions for those who have asked. I think it is a shame that some of the responses back and forth have gotten out of control, but again, that just proves how sensitive the subject truly is. I would like to think that we can rise above the fray and continue to make intelligent comments. Now a couple of responses to various comments: "While Kathe asserts plausibly that Gertie had bipolar disorder, I would say she also had a psycopathic personality, as did Coy and Paula." Ross: I totally agree with you there. Some of this was probably hormonal with respect to Gertrude (her miscarriage earlier in that Spring) and Paula (in her pregnancy). "true regret, true repentance is a life dedicated to making right a wrong when it comes to something so heinous. Changing one's name and becoming a Christian doesn't show anything more than cowardice in my opinion." Kai (and KK who responded to that post): I don't know how you could possibly know that none of the participants DIDN'T have true regret and repentence. FYI, in the case of Stephanie (which was the context in which the Christianity issue was raised), it didn't happen in that order (Sylvia's death then becoming a Christian then changing last name). Stephanie was ALWAYS a Christian. Didn't happen AFTER Sylvia's death. How could you possibly know that she did not dedicate her life to something good? And also, why shouldn't the family have changed their name? You do realize that the name Baniszewski was also the last name of their DAD, the police officer who had no part in the crime but would be forever connected, right? Are you calling John B. Sr. a coward because he changed his name? Since he was pretty much forced (how many Baniszewsis could there be?), it only makes sense that his children would also have to change their name for continuity. Also KK, I have a question for you. You mentioned that your dad didn't want Sylvia to go back to Indiana and that she didn't have to but that she felt a responsibility to her little sister. Why couldn't both Sylvia and Jenny have stayed in Long Beach? Obviously, it is such a shame that they were not able to stay there. What was the reason that they both went to Indiana then instead of staying in California? I am so sorry that your dad has felt such guilt about that; but as a teen himself, I'm sure there was nothing he could do so he shouldn't blame himself. Easier said than done, though, I know. Rebecca, wow -I didn't realize what brought you to this board in the first place was the fact that I had been posting here. I did the search through google myself and there was a blog where someone had taken my posts and strung them together with a response asking if I was holier than thou (they thought I was John B's wife, I guess). A little creepy, I must say. Especially since I don't use a fake name.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 30, 2008


My Post: "I think some mystery is added because of the name changes, which only fuel the feeling that they are trying to escape not just a prying public, but to an extent; themselves. There is a feeling that they should not be allowed to do this because of the feelings of horror and revulsion we have about their actions. Is this right? Wrong? Who's to say? I think that if there were knowledge that there had been some sort of real effort to repent or do something with their lives that perhaps could show that they were striving to make amends to humanity, like dedicating their lives to work with victims of abuse or something in that vein, that people may at least look at the young Stephanie differently. But saying she became a Christian? That is an insult to one's intelligence. So what? True regret, true repentance is a life dedicated to making right a wrong when it comes to something so heinous. Changing one's name and becoming a Christian doesn't show anything more than cowardice in my opinion." Kathe's Post: "Kai (and KK who responded to that post): I don't know how you could possibly know that none of the participants DIDN'T have true regret and repentence. FYI, in the case of Stephanie (which was the context in which the Christianity issue was raised), it didn't happen in that order (Sylvia's death then becoming a Christian then changing last name). Stephanie was ALWAYS a Christian. Didn't happen AFTER Sylvia's death. How could you possibly know that she did not dedicate her life to something good? And also, why shouldn't the family have changed their name? You do realize that the name Baniszewski was also the last name of their DAD, the police officer who had no part in the crime but would be forever connected, right? Are you calling John B. Sr. a coward because he changed his name? Since he was pretty much forced (how many Baniszewsis could there be?), it only makes sense that his children would also have to change their name for continuity." Okay, this is a perfect example of someone not REALLY reading what a post ACTUALLY says. I never said I knew that there wasn't any true regret and repentance, in fact, I said nothing close to that. I didn't say she didn't dedicate her life to anything good. I didn't say they shouldn't have changed their names. I simply said, well, never mind, you can read it for yourselves. But it would be nice if Kathe would actually read a post and spend a moment to extract the actual verbage and meaning before firing off a reply that in no way reflects anything that was said. In fact, what I said was so twisted it almost sounds as though Kathe is responding to another post altogether. Which is ironic considering in one of her previous post she condemned others for attacking people for their opinions.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


April 26, 1998 THE YOUNG AND DEADLY JOHN BLAKE WAS 12 AND A KILLER IN 1965. RELEASED THREE YEARS LATER, HE SAW HIS LIFE TURN AROUND. HE TALKS OF HIS CRIME TO SHOW JUVENILES CAN CHANGE. by NICOLLE GEHR When Millersville resident John Blake picks up a newspaper or turns on the news and learns about children committing horrible crimes, it takes him back more than 30 years to his dark days in Indianapolis, Ind. Blake is a murderer, convicted in one of the most bizarre and sadistic crimes the state of Indiana has ever seen. In 1965, Blake, then a "confused and angry" 12-year-old boy, participated in the drawn-out murder of a teen-age girl. Today, he admits his guilt, and acknowledges that his sentence - three years in a state penitentiary - was too light. Yet Blake, now a deacon, church volunteer and the father of three, said that God turned his life around. And he believes that other troubled youths who commit adult crimes - like the teen-age boys in Jonesboro, Ark., who shot and killed four classmates and a teacher earlier this month, and the Edinboro teen who killed his teacher and wounded three others Friday - should not be abandoned, but embraced and given hope. In the summer of 1965, John Baniszewski Jr. (he later changed his last name) was living in Indianapolis with his six siblings and his mother, Gertrude Baniszewski, 37. His parents divorced when he was 9. The youngest child in the family, Dennis, 1 1/2, was fathered by another man, Dennis Wright. "The whole situation tore the family up," Blake said, his eyes distant. "My mom was a very selfish, very self-centered woman. My dad though, he was a very caring, average guy, but back then, custody always went to the mother." Blake said his mother used drugs, abused alcohol and had sex with Wright in front of him and his brothers and sisters. Blake guessed his mother moved the family eight times - all to poor areas of Indianapolis. Sick with asthma and bronchitis, his mother didn't work. The family relied on John Baniszewski Sr.'s child-support checks, and when that didn't make ends meet, Blake and his siblings often stole or begged for food. The family also sold its furniture for money from time to time. "She became a mean, hateful woman," Blake said of his mother. "Us kids grew to dislike her. My mom would make me go down to the drugstore to get her illegal prescriptions from a certain pharmacist. She was addicted. "Us kids talked about killing the other man (Wright), so our parents could get back together. But we knew we couldn't do that. It was just talk." But violent talk became more than that. That summer, Wright was sent to Germany with the U.S. Army. Blake admits he had lots of behavioral problems, which is why he believes his mother sent him to live with his father, who still lives in Indiana. In July, to make money, Blake's mother took in two teen-age boarders - 15- and 16-year-old sisters - Jennie and Sylvia Likens. Their parents operated a food concession stand that followed the circus. Jennie had polio. The parents only had known Mrs. Baniszewski for a few days before leaving the girls in her care. One day that summer, Blake came home to visit his family. He saw that his older sister, Paula, 17, had her wrist in a cast. She had gotten into an argument with Sylvia Likens. "I'm not sure how to explain it," Blake said. "I felt like nobody cared about our condition as a family or about me. My anger built up." Blake moved back with his mom and siblings in a shabby rental house. It was then that the slow, torturous killing of Sylvia Likens began. "We abused the 16-year-old," Blake said without saying her name. " ... I hate to even say some of the things we did. Anything abusive or torturous was done." Sylvia was only allowed crackers and water. Newspaper clippings from Indianapolis report that she was repeatedly pushed and thrown down the basement stairs by many of the Baniszewski children - even the young ones - and their mother. But it wasn't just the Baniszewskis who abused the fearful girl. Her sister, Jennie, later told police she was forced to hit Sylvia. She was too scared to tell anyone of the abuse. "Finally, it all took its toll, and after two weeks of intense torture the girl passed away," Blake said, his stare blank. She was killed Oct. 26, 1965. According to newspaper clippings, her body was found by police after Blake and one of his sisters dragged her upstairs and attempted to resuscitate her. Newspapers reported that Sylvia was tortured because she spread rumors at the local high school that two of the Baniszewski girls were prostitutes. But Blake said he helped kill the girl in part because he was so full of rage about his family and his life. "It all built up and just exploded," he said. Blake, his mother, his sister Paula, Hobbs, and another neighbor, Coy Hubbard, 15, were arrested. Stephanie Baniszewski, 15, was tried in a separate trial. The younger children - Marie, 11, Shirley, 10, James, 8 and toddler Dennis - were not charged, although the girls admitted at the trial of joining in the abuse of Sylvia. Blake was charged with first-degree murder - the youngest person ever to be charged with the crime in Indiana. At the trial, Gertrude Baniszewski was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. She served 20 years and died of cancer after her release. Paula, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, which was later reduced to manslaughter, was sentenced to life in prison, escaped once and was recaptured, and served eight years. They were the first mother and daughter inmates at the Indiana Women's Prison. Blake, found guilty of manslaughter, was sentenced to two to 21 years in the Indiana State Reformatory, an adult male penitentiary. Hobbs and Hubbard received the same sentence. The three were released on parole after three years. "I knew I deserved any punishment they would give me. A more severe punishment would have been just. I certainly did know what I was doing. I was too blinded by my anger to know about the results and consequences," Blake said, shaking his head. While in prison, Blake was sent to a minimum-security work camp. He worked with 18-to-21-year-olds. Blake believes he was sent there because officials didn't know what to do with him. Even after Blake hospitalized another inmate at the work camp in what he calls "a prank," he was not sent back to prison. The smallest infraction at work camp would normally land an inmate back in the penitentiary, Blake said. "My age had a lot to do with this. They treated me as an adult, but reacted to me like a kid. There were no standards for me." Granted parole a few days before his 15th birthday, Blake changed his last name. He said prison officials advised him to do so, because the name Baniszewski was so recognizable. He moved in with his dad, who remarried "the kind of mom a mom should be." His siblings were in foster homes for awhile until his father got custody. Blake went back to school in Indianapolis. Blake attributes the crime to three things: "I think a lot of it had to do with a lack of a proper family life. Also, human life was so cheap to us. And there was a lack of God in the picture. We had no sense of right or wrong." It was two months after he had been out of prison that Blake said he changed his life after finding God. "I was still angry, confused and still felt like no one cared about me," he said. "Prison did not make a change in me. There's no rehabilitation there. My world was still bizarre." One day after school, Blake was approached by a young man who invited him to Sunday school. With nothing else to do, Blake agreed and showed up at church the next Sunday. "I didn't have peace in my life, but I could recognize it." He said he found that peace through God. "I got down on my knees, and I gave my heart to the Lord. And even before I got up, I knew that my life would never be the same," Blake said, breaking into tears and sobs for the first time in the interview. "After 30 years, it still moves me." Blake began witnessing and became involved in church activities. He revealed his identity to the church. "They didn't treat me any different. I dealt with my remorse and guilt. I finally had peace and joy. I began speaking in other churches and schools ... about my experiences." Blake attended two Bible colleges. One summer, he did missionary work and built houses for the needy in Mississippi. He met his wife of 24 years, Lois, a native of Washington Boro, at the second school in Ohio. "She knew my background, because I didn't make no bones about it," he said. He has served as a camp pastor. He's worked with senior citizens and people with handicaps. He is the father of three children. Blake and his wife are both deacons at New Life Assembly of God in Lancaster. He serves as head of the men's ministry group that "helps men become better fathers, better husbands." He also leads the church's version of Cub Scouts to mentor young boys. "The people that know me, know about it," he said. He talks about writing a book "about my experiences, that in spite of tragedy, you can turn your life around." He also said there is a chance he may return to Indianapolis this fall to speak at the church where he was saved and at area schools. Blake has no clear-cut answers to how harshly the two boys accused of gunning down four classmates and a teacher at a rural middle school in Jonesboro, Ark., should be punished. Part of the reason he is speaking out is to tell people that there can be a future for youngsters who commit adult crimes. He said he is proof of that. "There is hope. There is purpose. You don't have to deal with anger like this. That's what I'd tell them. But as a civilized society, we can't tolerate this. I would say some punishment has to be exerted. When you do adult things, you must face the consequences as an adult. But at the same time, there is the possibility for hope and direction there. I would love the opportunity to go down there and talk to those boys." The congregation at New Life Assembly of God seems to have accepted Blake, said Pastor Larry Greineder. "He's spoken about it in Sunday School," Greineder said. "He shares his testimony with the congregation. He never really tried to hide it." Blake also teaches Sunday School. "He's a very active member, a real part of our congregation. He made a mistake in life, and the Lord has forgiven him, and we here accept that. I think he still feels bad, but I think the Lord is really using him now to bring healing to those in similar situations." Disabled by complications from diabetes, Blake now walks with a cane or walker. The illness has dimmed his eyesight. Now on disability because of his illness, Blake worked as a truck driver, a Realtor and a self-employed landscaper. "When much has been given, much is required," he said. "That's why I feel a need to do this. I'm the first one to acknowledge that I was underpunished. That's why I think my responsibility is so great. "I want to convey that there is hope. No, not everybody that grows up with problems will have the problems that we had. I know a lot of mercy and grace was given to me."

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


Kai: They changed their name based on their survival instinct. It isn't as though their last name was Smith. By keeping their last name, they could have very likely been targeted with actions that would harm their physical safety. Kathe, I didn't realize John B Sr. changed his name, also. Again, I feel bad for him. Not as bad as I feel for your husband, but close. He never did anything to warrant the shame others actions brought on him. Also, do you know anything about Jimmy Baniszewski? He was never really mentioned in the book or movie.

Ross on Oct 30, 2008


Kathe, I said it before and I will say it again......Your husband is so fortunate to have you in his life. When the first half of somebody's life is so less than perfect it is always great to know that they eventually found happiness and hopefully much of what they missed out on during the first half. Thank you for sharing your (and dennis') story here as you have given me much insight into this horrible tragedy from so many years ago. I do apoligize to you for how heated and disrespectful this forum has become since I jumped on board as I certainly take responsibility for causing much of the aggravation that has been all too present here as of late. The only question I ever had for Steph was does she remember Sylvia ever mentioning my dad? as I know she was not back in Indiana for long before being left with the B's, but I do not want you to ask her because I tried once and she would not reply so I sent her an angry letter (e-mail) condemning her mother and Paula (and to some extent her), so it is better off just left alone.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


What is with this board? It is obvious why they changed their names. Does anybody actually READ the posts or do you skim them not caring if you understand them or not? And then to just shoot off these ridiculous challenges is beyond comprehension.

Kai on Oct 30, 2008


Kai, Thanks so much for locating and posting the John Blake Jr. interview. I have been trying to dig that up for years and could never find it. Awesome contribution!!

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 30, 2008


Kathleen,,, As I may have stated,, my friend and I were runaways but were never reported.. We arrived in Crown Point IN in less then 24 hours after we started our journey.. The first thing Lester asked us was does your parents know where you are..? We both said no. Lester then took us to his motorhome to call our parents to let them know our plans to work for the carnival.. Sylvia's mother was inside the trailer when we entered,, Lester walked by to the kitchen and told her that we were in fact runaways and we were there to work for them... I remember her getting furious till Lester calmed her down ... I remember her saying something to the effect that" there won't be anymore bad things happening to someone elses kids"... Other then this she didn't speak to us directly.. I remember seeing a large pink trunk near the frontdoor where the phone sat.. It was the fall of 1977 I believe or 76.. I know I have said many things about Laster ,, mostly nice because he was respected by most everyone ,,looking back. At the time though I really didn't care much for him the way we were treated.. He told us he didn't have room in his huge employee trailer so we'd both have to make a spot to sleep down by the lake behind the horse corral.. Let's see,,, heres the way the days went... We got up at 6:00 am and reported directly to work. We worked all day with no breaks, if we needed lunch someone went and got it for us , we couldn't leave the rig, as they were called.. We worked all the way around the clock till the fair closed which was 12:00- 1:00 am that left us to get 4 hours of sleep if we could ignor the masses of mosquito bites.. We did this for 7 days a week and got paid a wopping $100.00 cash which only and just bearly paid for the food we had to scruff down.. I figured that if we were to work anymore hours we'd owe him money for over eating.. I must admit,,, my friend and I was getting what we played for by running away and not telling our parents and maybe Lester done all this on purpose so we'd be miserable and want to leave for home. Being older now and looking back I tend to think he did but I don't think I had a clue at the time.. The Carnie life was not for me

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


We both were fired because my friend took 50 cents for a pack of smokes... I took nothing but was considered a risk because I was with Paul. You see,, you can break every minimum wage labor "law" work ppl 19 hours a day and deprive someone of a good nights sleep .. But if an "employee" takes anything without asking that is considered stealing

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


Kai: I'm sorry if you think I took your words out of context. I did read the entire post. You stated "I think that if there were knowledge that there had been some sort of real effort to repent or do something with their lives that perhaps could show that they were striving to make amends to humanity, like dedicating their lives to work with victims of abuse or something in that vein, that people may at least look at the young Stephanie differently. But saying she became a Christian? That is an insult to one's intelligence." I was just saying that this event did not make Stephanie become a Christian. She was always one. No one is trying to insult anyone's intelligence. However, I do not think my "challenges" are ridiculous, as you assert. KK: So far in our discussions, Stephanie has not mentioned your dad. I have wanted to know about that as well though, and if I do get the opportunity to find out from Steph, I will. I won't say where the question came from, so no worries. No need to apologize for the tone of the board either, KK. It is understandable now why you have gotten so heated at times. Ross: We think Jimmy is now with John B. Sr.'s widow back in Indianapolis. He was in NY for some time. Not much has been said about him from either Steph or Marie. As I mentioned previously though, there is some discord in the family and both Steph and Marie were kept from John B. Sr.'s funeral. Jimmy has had troubles over the years (has been agoraphobic; alcoholic) and has lived with family members for many of them, lastly with Steph's daughter. I'm not sure why he isn't in the film, other than for budgetary reasons.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 31, 2008


Capitalism in it's finest hour

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


I can recall my time there ,,, I remember standing there till I thought my legs would collaps but my pain seemed to be soothed when the crowed would arrive.. My job was to run the ropeladder,, a rig down center and on the end of the midway just next to the Cortina Bob... I would demonstrate how a person could climb a ladder made of rope joined at each end by a cable fixed to a come-along at one end and tube piping rising some 15' high on the other... Directly under the ladders there is an inflated cushion to catch ppl when they fall off ,,, which I found out they always will.. It was my younger brother and I that would ride bikes from Beech Grove IN to Wannamaker IN where the Marion Co. fair would be held every aug. I tried to get a job working directly for the fairground at first by my age didn't allow it soooo I lied about my age bringing in my older brothers birth certifigate... To make a long story short Mr. Bill Cerielo didn't buy it.. Not to be detoured from my goal I wondered the midway and came accross this guy right on the turn at the end ,, where your most likely to see the freak shows.. Time period being 1975 arround the same time I learned of Sylvia. Anyway,, I wanna say this guys name was Danny and he was working on a new rig they had just bought called a ropeladder... We talked ,, I might of asked him if he let me work the ladder... I think he might of told me that I needed to learn a few things first and said he'd talk to the boss.. He came back and I think that was when I met Lester but I can't remember.. Also, I think they liked the idea of my brother and I knowing how to and demonstrating to a large crowed that it was so simple 2 kids ,one 13 and one 15 yrs of age can do this.. We got the job no questions asked ,,, I think this Danny was taking full responsibility and it was him that would teech us the ladder.. My brother and I just can't believe we have a job to go to the next day,,, there might of been a stipulation about parents bringing us though I can't remember.. The next day my brother and I awoke and went into work,,, they told us the secret we needed to know to climb the ladder.. It's all in how many times you do it,,, so get on it and keep doing it till you can climb up and honk the horn "twice mind you" then you win a 6' tall very expensive stuffed animal.. By 3:00 pm exaclly my brother and I could in fact climb the ladder and by 6:00 we could both walk up backwards using no hands.. I guess it's a circus trick ,, yeah you just practice and practice and.. Anyway,,, try to imagine being 13 and 15 and having a huge crowed in front of you and all eyes are on you,,, this rig was new to the public,, there were only about a handful in the whole world at that time.. They wanted us back every year and my brother and I came,, hell we would have done it for free. Which brings me to age 16 and my flight to Crown Point

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


I'm not totally sure about the name Danny but when I hear the name I can almost put it with a face. I remember one thing,, this guy had a bad earwax problem and he acknoweged ... I remember that distictly because he pulled a ball of wax out of his ear and showed me... I liked him till then... No I really did like the guy ,,, very funny personality to be quite honest... So,, Don't quote me on the Danny it could of been Jerry,,, or whatever

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


Hello, everybody, Hi, Stephen, thanks a lot, that was clear and lively as usual. Wasn’t it illegal anyway for you to work as Carnies at all? You were minors, I take it (Did you lie about your age?) and if he wanted to teach you a lesson, he certainly managed to get it across. As to one law existing for the employers and another one for employees, well, yes, there’s nothing new under the sun – on the other hand, Lester hardly fits the description of a tycoon and probably was more than struggling himself. Hello Kai, thanks a lot, I can only echoe KK’s words I wanted to read John jr.’s statement for ages and could never find it. Would you happen to know the date of publication and the newspaper? Hi Kathe, would there be anything new about your other worries? I’ve called the daughter of the man I told you about and she couldn’t remember much about the time before things started with her Dad but could give me a clear description of how it all begun with her sis-ter. If these information can be of use to you, let me know. Greetings to all

Kathleen on Oct 31, 2008


I think we started working for nothing in the beginning till we seen ourselves as the primary crowd drawers ... At one time my brother and I had the undivided attention of everyone in the place on a Sat. night... heads disapeared in the darkness trying to get a look and a chance What little money we made was cash In the end we went from experts to kids that can just bearly do it,,, it was the hustle and the money flew.. The impression I got of Lester was,,, he had a new motor home ,, I think all his trailes and he had a few were kept new looking... He had several rigs and was buying more,, hell I don't know he always seemed at the top of his game... He was no Poor Jack amusement co. but he was working on it.. I did see him as a very highly motived person by the way.. No reason at all why he couldn't be as big. I will say that the whole time I was in Crown Point I feel like Lester had many people looking out for us Paul and I.. Paul was 18 I can remember one night "after the show" I found myself heading in the direction of a "party tent" and a kind man tapped me on the shoulder and said you don't belong in there,, you want no part of that... I remember that like it just happened Also I can remember when Lester let me go,,, I begged him for my job several times and he just kept getting more pissed .. I told him he couldn't judge me based on what Paul had done,,, he said yeah,, but I'm goin to anyway... end of story, go home and be a jock and finish school

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


I wonder if Lester ever retired from carnival life or if he kept at it until he died? And also wonder how Betty's life turned out after their split. Those people must have carried some serious guilt with them. Stephen once stated that Lester wore one of those key rings on his belt with a stretch cable and he could always here him coming because 100 keys would be jangling. It is ashame that the filmakers didn't have that kind of reference point so that they could have painted a more accurate portrail of Lester in the film as I have read that their depiction of him (as brief as it probably was) was less than being close to accurate.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 31, 2008


Off topic, their is some great John Dillinger history in Crown Point.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 31, 2008


I remember one time we needed a new angle to draw a crowed in.. We would have my younger brother run down through the midway flapping his arm holding cash... He'd run in front of big musclebound guys with thier girlfreinds telling them he can do it now only to draw then in and fail.. But just bearly fail and it took Greg a long time to just bearly fail.. If you get my drift

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


I do remember Lester telling me that If I were to lose an animal I would be working for free and we should avoid this from happening by any means ... In the early years the landing mat was smaller so attendants like myself would hold the rope and let on ,,umm ppl ... Wait till they get halfway let go of the rope then when they fall they hit an air cushion instead of the hard ground... If by chance you know you have a guy that somehow defies all odds and can get close you were expected to bump the rope as you let off... Let me just say that you might wanna keep in mind the only ones that can do this are the ones working on them... Thats not to say that farmer Joe can't make one of these at home and practice over a few bails of hay

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


KK,, Lester was like a dad to me in a way,,, I'm glad he showed me though love in the end or I'd prolly still be hanging around that damn ropeladder lol

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


One more thing I never mentioned ,,,, my first girlfriend was a girl down the street.. I won't mention her name but her mother was in prison for manslaughter killing her husband ,,, not my gf's dad but one of several men she'd been married to... I guess it be fair to say her mother and Gertrude might have been buddy's I have no clue that's totally speculation ... There were three girls being raised by an ex-stepfather the youngest being my gf

Stephen Hostetter on Oct 31, 2008


Although I knew that Gertie liked to do stiptease dances for neighborhood boys, I did not know until reading John Blakes interview that she also had sex with Mr. Wright in front of her children....WOW, what a piece of trash she was. Wasn't he quite young as well? I think 17 or 20, i'll have to look it up.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 31, 2008


KK; Stephanie says that Dennis Sr. was 6 years older than she was, which would have made him 20 when Denny was born. But she had hooked up with him prior to her second divorce from John B., so he was still probably a teenager then. Marie confirmed for me that what John B. Jr. said; Gertrude did indeed have sex with Dennis Sr. right in front of the kids.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 31, 2008


And yeah, she was a real piece of work.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 31, 2008


It should be noted that William Erbecker was a complete scumbag, possibly as evil as Gertie, and his having all of the kids lie under oath should have gotten him disbarred. I personally hope that he died a slow and painful death. On the other hand, It should be noted that little Marie was a very brave soul (and cute as a button) for finally saying 'enough is enough' and telling the truth in that courtroom.

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 31, 2008


Touche, KK. I have always thought that Marie was extremely brave to finally speak the truth (and even more now that I know her). And definitely cute as a button. That was my exact description of her to my husband, actually, when I brought home to him a picture of her when she was around 16 with her little pageboy haircut and cat glasses.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Oct 31, 2008


Does anybody know if this is Paula?

Kaptain Kebo on Oct 31, 2008


Diamond David Lee Roth : born Oct. 10 1954 in Bloomington IN

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 1, 2008


Yeah, I thought of that after I posted the Guns and Roses guys, I have been friends with the Van Halen camp for years, even slept on Ed's couch.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 1, 2008


KK,, I don't think so... Paula looked Like Gertrude the deep puffy eye sockets ,, high cheekbones,, narrow long chin.. My guess is that she might look just like Gertrude If she hasn't gained to much weight and still even then I think you'd know right off... I could be wrong

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 1, 2008


I'm glad to see David back in the game.. Now Van Hallen can get back to their original sound again

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 1, 2008


Yeah Stephen, it's a tough one. I have looked at the pictures side by side over and over, check it out if you get a chance. She is the exact age, and I once read about a farm in Bedford, Iowa. Plus she states that she is 5'3" with some extra baggage. Certainly does not look as angry as the Paula pic's that we have seen but 43 years can change a person. If it is her, it is not what I would have expected. Thanks for your opinion though, I tend to agree with you. I guess if we knew whether or not Paula is a registered nurse that would help. And yes, hooray for Dave!! I was never a fan of the Sammy years with Van Halen.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 1, 2008


Also, can anybody tell me if 'The Basement' by Kate Millett is an accurate read? I just ordered it but I am leaving town so I will not see it for a few weeks. Just wondering how it compares to John Deans book.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 1, 2008


death house = myspace St.

St. on Nov 2, 2008


Hi to elaborate??

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 2, 2008


I thought some of you might actually be interested in this: The house the Liken's murder took place in still stands to this day, though it's been boarded up for sometime now. A few families lived in it after 1965, but never stayed long (probably due to the overly depressing creep factor), then it was used as a homeless shelter for abused women. It's been sitting vacant ever since.

Rebecca Wilkins on Nov 2, 2008


WOW!! Doesn't that video just make you want to turn back time and save her from the madness that was going on in that house?? looks like it's about ready for demolition. Thank you for the link Rebecca, that was fact I think i'd better watch it again!

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 2, 2008


Finally something we can both agree on, KK. Just by simply watching the video, the house gives off a very deep and powerful sadness to it. You can almost see Sylvia being pushed down those old wooden stairs of that basement, or see Gertrude sitting in the living room in a cloud of cigarette smoke, while the kids are slapping and kicking Sylvia. It's very surreal, even in a video. I can see why no one ever stayed there for very long. I'd like to knock the teeth out of whoever it was that did the spray painting in the upstairs bedrooms.

Rebecca Wilkins on Nov 2, 2008


interesting Hubbard, Coy June 25, 2007 Coy Hubbard 56, Shelbyville, died on Saturday morning, June 23, 2007. He was born in Appalachia, VA on July 7, 1950, the son of Ralph and Virginia Hubbard. He was preceded in death by his father, and son Coy Hubbard, Jr. He will be deeply missed by his wife of 17 years, Patricia (Gorman) Hubbard; mother, Virginia; his children, Tracy (David) Reynolds, Missy (Jeff) Fausnaugh, Jennifer Stephens, Ronald (Natasha) Conley, and Bradley (Kim) Conley; brother, Jerry (Vickie) Hubbard of Springdale, OH; sisters, Freda (Arthur) Hildreth of Houston, TX and Wanda Foster; 17 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, at Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Center – Washington Park East, 10722 E. Washington St., with calling there from 4 p.m. until service. Burial will take place at a later date in Big Stone Gap, VA.

Ross on Nov 2, 2008


patti 1:07 AM EST I am from Indianapolis and I have followed the story of Sylvia since I was 13 yrs old. In 1972, I read the book 'The Indiana Torture Slaying' and since then Sylvia has been forever imprinted on my mind. After I read the book I talked to everyone about this story and everyone had something to tell me. I just couldnt believe something like this could happen. As time went on people didnt talk about Sylvia much but I always wondered what happened to some of the people involved. In 1980, I was married and had a son and I was pregnant with my second child. A friend of mine needed aplace to stay and we let her come to stay with us for awhile. Not that it matters but my friend was a lesbian. She had a lover named Annie Alexander, Annie was a very nice person and she seemed to care about my friend alot. I liked her. Well as time went by Annie seem to be at our house alot and she used my phone alot. I didnt mined. Annie had a sad story about life. She was rasied in foster care and was treated very badly. Before she met my friend she was married but not for long. She married a wealthy man from Carmel, Indiana. He owed car lots in Carmel. Afew days after they were married they were in a car accident. She was a sleep in the car and he was driving, he fell asleep while driving and drove up under a semi and he was decapitated. Like I said a sad life. One day Annie started getting phone calls from the woman prison here in Indianapolis, after a few calls I ask my friend about them and she wouldnt tell me. She told me to ask Annie, so I did. After all she was in my home. I wasnt trying to be mean about it I just wanted to know. Well Annie started crying, Annie ask me if I ever heard of Sylvia Likens and I said yes. I still didnt put two and two together. I ask her what does Sylvia have to do with the womans prison. She told me that where Gertrude Baniszewski is and she is my mom. Annie was Shirley Baniszewski. Annie left my home that day, never to be heard from again.

Ross on Nov 2, 2008


Hi, Kathe and KK, as to Erbecker having been a scumbag, let alone “maybe more evil than Gertrude”, I’m not sure at all I can agree. Alan Dershowitz says in his book “If the devil were tried on earth he would still have the right to the best defence a lawyer could provide.” Which means a lawyer’s concept of honour needs to be different from yours and mine. Most lawyers are skilled liars and have to be; most don’t get caught at it, but then, most lawyers don’t need to put 11 year olds in the witness box, especially not ones with a conscience. That he did so just shows how desperate his case was. All he could hope for was saving his client’s life. The brutality of doing this to Marie I see mostly in her confusion as to what was expected of her. I’ve yet to meet the lawyer who tells his witness “I need you to lie.” What he can say is something like “It wouldn’t look good if we changed our tactics now.” Then he goes on to make suggestions, as “This noise in the night, might that have been someone else? Who might have been up at this time, Paula maybe?” Most grown up people would understand but you can’t do that to a child already under a lot of strain. Marie at her age couldn’t know that most clever lies are those that stretch the truth just by a bit. If you stretch it too far, the lie becomes obvious. Which is exactly what happened. (“That noise in the night was Paula, getting ready for work. In the middle of the night? Yes, our clock sometimes is very wrong.”) When she burst out “O God help me!” it must have been with as much relief as despair, poor thing. And all this for a line of defence that didn’t even work!

Kathleen on Nov 3, 2008


As to Millett’s „The Basement“, KK? Ummmmm … depends on what you want out of it. I love Kate Millett but first, she has remained a naïve woman throughout her life, and second, she can never get away from herself. I should say first, for many people (including me) her book was the first they ever read about the case and it’s responsible for the interest and the fascination it has for at lot of people, so it sure has some qualities. She gives a clear account of what is known of the bare facts and get the dates right which is more than you could say of Denise Noe. Then she goes on to meditations about it. Mostly this is trying to imagine what the people involved were saying to each other and what they were thinking. And here’s the big problem: while she is trying to let them all talk through her mouth the result is just the other way round, Millett is speaking through Sylvia and Gertrude and Paula, sometimes with some good insights, sometimes embarrassingly silly. And some-times it’s wrong to have them speak, that is think in clear words, at all. At one point, she acknowledges the problem herself, admitting that no one would allow herself to name what she is doing “torture” and if one were capable of reflecting about aggression in that way one wouldn’t need to act it out. What’s just great and truly unique is where she describes the perception of the case by the public in all it’s variety. Specially one time when she met a girl from Indianapolis of the same age as Sylvia (Quote: “She was Sylvia or someone from that time and that place who made it”) and interviews her about the young girls’ reac-tions. I’m curious what you’ll think about it after you read it!

Kathleen on Nov 3, 2008


Kaptain Kebo: That is definitely NOT Paula. I read on another site that she was windinmyhair for a while but now it's just windy. I'll see if I can find the link; but it's restricted to her friends only, so you don't see anything really. I'd also like to know what you think about "The Basement" after you read it; Kathleen described it accurately. I did read it before "Indiana Torture Slaying". Hi Kathleen: Not too much to report; although we go for the EEG this Friday (Den missed the first appt, but did make his MRI); then meet with the neurologist the Tuesday after that. Denny has finally spoken with Stephanie now too a couple of times. She gasped when she first heard his voice and said that it was like speaking with a ghost because Denny sounds exactly like his dad, and then she broke into tears. And Ross: I've seen that passage by "Patti" on several sites now, and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. We haven't spoken to Shirley yet, so I'm not sure if any of that is true. No one has mentioned Shirley being a lesbian to me, however I do know she goes by Ann now, which is her middle name.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 3, 2008


Kathleen, I know that my statement about Erbecker was a bit extreme and probably innacurate, and in Kathes defense I think she was agreeing more with what I said about Marie's bravery than my opinion about Erbecker's strategy. Thanks for the insight on the book!

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 3, 2008


Kathe, Thanks for confirming that it is not Paula. Stephen was right, the chin and eyes did not match. I certainly have no intentions of attempting to make contact with her, and certainly do not want to harrass her in any way. I just had heard that she has a page and I was hoping to see a current picture of her.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 3, 2008


And, hi Stephen, WOW, vertigo clearly is none of your problems! Just as well, since you are a builder. I would have puked my heart out - but I don't think there were many women among the clients anyway. But were there girls working as Carnies at all? I don't mean just for Lester, I mean in general. Millett has it that Sylvia was sometimes with her parents when they work but doesn't get very precise to if she just was hanging around or helping them. During the time in California that famous party is supposed to have taken place where Sylvia took up with Daddy Kebo (KK, please do not take this badly, I don't mean to be facetious or callous at all, this is just to point out that Sylvia up to July 65 had a happy and normal teenager's life and your Dad belonged to the persons that made things good for her. And that goes, too, for the time when she missed him, afterwards, as I'm sure she did - many teenage couples are torn apart like this and breaking your heart over the separation is part of what makes us grow into mature persons.) Surely the parents were working when the children had the party.

Kathleen on Nov 3, 2008


Hello Kathleen,,, You know,,, I wanna say that maybe Jenny worked or walked by my rig... I know from years later that she did cash my check at the Mechants Bank on Main St. in Beech Grove.. That I remember very well but didn't know her at the time as Sylvia's sister.. KK,, I am an artist and I'd like to think I can tell a face when I see one.. The photo you posted of the woman may very well be Paula ... I've studied the photo from the pic I have of Paula from the ITS book... I can match an eye ,, the nose is hard to tell because the older photo is over-exposed some but the mouth is almost a perfect match too and the cheek bones are high as well.. She just has a fuller face now.. I think this is her Also I forgot one: Henry Lee Summer

St. on Nov 3, 2008


St. (Stephen)?: I don't think it is her. A reliable poster on the imdb board posted this: "The name on her myspace is now "Windy", it used to be "Windinmyhair" before she set it to private(of course, she never said who she is). I thought that she closed the account, but I see that it IS still up. SHe does say that she's 48 now. SHe had her real age and info before. It's really her. SHe has 3 adult sons and a grandchild. I think that she is a janitor/maintenance/substitute teacher for a school. When it was still set for anyone to see, she said that she had a respect for all living things, considered herself "more spiritual than religious" and had recently shot her first turkey while hunting with one of her sons (this was well over a year ago). SHe had a Boyz 2 Men song as her page song. I think that it was called "Mama"." For one thing, the person listed as Paula from Iowa lists her occupation as an RN (not a janitor.maintenance/substitute teacher), and as far as I know, Paula is NOT an RN. I looked but I couldn't find the post that had the actual link in it anymore. I had looked at it, but it was set to private and had no pics to confirm anything. I'll keep looking though.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 3, 2008


Hello Kathe,, Thank you for that... Sylvia did die in the bedroom NOT the basement according to the book ITS. PS... quote: But when Stephanie began to undress Sylvia for the bath, Gertrude ordered them to dump Sylvia in the tub with her clothes on. "Hurry!" she said. Sylvia managed to groan. " I wish my daddy was here", she moaned faintly. After the bath Ricky and Stephanie dried Sylvia and dressed her in warmer clothes, a sweater and pedal-pushers. They laid her on the mattress in the bedroom. Gertrude followed them into the bedroom,shouting frantically,"Faker! Faker"! She picked up a book and slapped Sylvia hard on the side of the head. Hobbs practically pushed the hysterical Mrs. Wright down the stairs. Shirley brought up some hot tea and asked how Sylvia was doing." Oh, she's alright," Stephanie assured; but she had already suggested to Ricky to call a doctor. Stephanie raised Sylvia's head and brushed the girls hair back; she seemed to revive somewhat. "Oh, take me home, Stephenie," she pleaded. "Oh, take me home, Stephanie." would be Sylvia's last words..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 3, 2008


Rebecca, thanks so much for the link to the video (Stephen, your description was ever so well!) The sadness of it all comes alive again when one looks at it and the footage of the basement had me positively gagging. I wouldn't take the words spraypainted upstairs very serious, though, they may well have been addressed at Gertrude's memory rather than at Sylvia. Like "You branded her and I'll brand you" - probably it's a teenager's prank.

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


Something else: did any of you ever come across a description of Gertrude’s voice? (You know, high/low, clear/throaty, loud/hushed)? Not that it is important. It’s just that I have a thing with voices and think you can’t ever know what a person truly looks like until you’ve heard their voice. (Most striking example: Eva Péron. The impression from silent footage changes instantly once you hear her) There are just a few photos of Gertrude (six, all in all, I believe) and each of them is so different from all the others that one has to look twice to be sure this is really the same person. I still have trouble to imagine her and it would help if I knew how she sounded.

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


Hi Kathleen,, If you type in youtube sylvia you can find film footage of Gertrude being released from prison. She doesn't say anything but you can see more footage of the actual person... The time I went to the death house it was not boarded up and I entered the backdoor... I first yelled, " is anyone home?" then a voice said yes I'm home, it was the sound of a small girl.. It could very well have been coming from another house.. When I was in the basement I felt a hand go up the back of my shirt.. I seen the video where the guys goes through the cracks in the floor of the back porch.. What a way to be introduced to the place Sylvia suffered... I noticed he just about shit all over himself getting up those stairs, but given that he was still a brave soul..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


I know that feeling, the feeling of wanting to get the hell out of there.. In the video you can hear the guy say lets get out of here at the very same spot my cousin said the very same thing..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Stephen, Sweetie .... Halloween is over and I told you I don't believe in ghosts so you can't scare me this way. If a little girl's voice really answered you, it did come from elsewhere and they were trying to make YOU shit all over yourself - and the hand going up your shirt was probably wishful thinking ... or you were scratching yourself. I've seen the footage of Getrude leaving prison (the one with the comments in Spanish, right?) and recognized her from the 1985 photo. She looks properly put out at being filmed (bit scared even, don't you think?) and a lot healthier than on all the pictures from the sixties. Reminds me of someone, too - ageing Marlene Dietrich, maybe. (And you can see that she might have been an attractive woman. Same goes for Paula. Take off that smirk and the overweight and that awful hair style ... ) As to how Gertrude looked when all this happened, it's beyond me - there's just one photo, in ITS, in court with Richard Hobbs at her side, where you can see that this was a young woman. Enjoy election day!

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


Kathleen,, The feeling I had when I had this ,, wind? go up the back of my shirt was a very real thing.. I wouldn't even of mentioned it if it wasn't for my experiance with Lee Shoemaker.. her nephew. Lee would never greet you to your face he would sneek up behind you and run his hand up the back of your shirt... Or he would wack you with a rolled up paper on the back of your knees if you were a girl.. I'm not trying to get any kind of reaction from anyone I'm just telling you my experiance as it happened.. I myself do not believe in ghosts but I do know fully well what I experianced ... Maybe someone that knew Lee Shoemaker can come in and validate what I say is true ,, about Lee anyway..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


One time Lee had one of those long round styrafoam things.. He loved it because he could get girls walking close together and he'd wack them all at the same time...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Stephen, how old was Lee when he got up to this kind of behaviour? Did he do that for a joke or did he intend to be disagreeable?

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


Kathleen,,, Lee was in junior highschool when he did this.. Lee just couldn't like normal things in my opinion ,, he had to have a thrill all the time.. He ended up wanting a thrill from watching fires burn which brought him to the garage he burned down.. This landed him in the home on State street and Pleasent Run pk.wy. I remember I road my bicycle there one time to see where my friend was.. I had other friends in homes for exactly the same thing...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


I'm not totally certin but I think the garage Lee burned down was the garage of Barb Sanders on N.5th st. The social worker that didn't go into and check the house at 3850 NY st.

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


I had three lawyers(not at same time) working at one time to get my daughter back ,,in response to an earlier post

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Go in and check she did, far as I know, she just believed Gertrude more than she should have. Gertrude told her it was true Sylvia had sores all over her body, but hand run away and she didn't know where she was now, then went into her lamento how bad her own health of and how everything was getting too much for her. Ms. Sanders then completed a "once only"-card, meaning a follow-up visit wasn't necessary, and that was that. That might be a motive to burn down her garage if one is Sylvia's nephew - on the other hand, he was too young to remember Sylvia himself, wasn't he? Although you needn't remember her personally to feel your family's pain. Still, I think that was uncalled for - he might as well have harrassed Ms. Vermillion, and the priest, and the Hobbs and the Hubbards. Or turned against his own mother for not getting up against Gertrude.

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


by the way,,, I hope I didn't make Lee look like a bad guy ... he wouldn't have hurt a flea

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Jeremy,, his brother would say, "don't encourage him" but you know kids.

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


I think Lee had problems yes ,, you wouldn't know it but I think he also had a nervous twitch and these big floppy ears...He was definatly a different personality but what he did was all in fun till the burning incident I never once ,,while Lee was in school know about his and Sylvia's connection ... But I seem to remember ,,maybe in Social Studies ,,the topic of Sylvia came up and Mr. Akinson may have known about Jeremy's connection but I did not.. I remember after some things were said Jeremy said that was my Aunt,,,after that all I remember is the room got quiet... The teacher was good at changing the subject I guess That was many years after Lee left in high school... Jeremy was in just about every one of my classes ..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Ok, I was unclear if she'd even went in ,,, she looked around but failed to open the basement door where Sylvia was,, at the time..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Stephen, do you remember what was said about her in this school lesson? And which year that was? And how it came up at all? I can see why the teacher would change the subject - for Jeremy's sake, I mean - but I still think he shouldn't have. These things need to be discussed in the open, and if one can do that in school, all the better. To all: As to Gertrudes having sex with Dennis sr. in front of kids, well, yeah, that’s a downright dirty thing to do but it’s probably more a symptom of her disorder than anything else. I’m not implying that any person with bipolar disorder would act like this and I’m not that informed about bipolar disorder, especially when it goes untreated, but my mother in law suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and that is true a disorder of the cyclothymical kind. (Untreated as well, since she objected and boycotted anything that might have helped her) There was not a thing she could do like any other person would do it and everything she did she had to top with something worse. The strangest part of this – to others, that is - is that there is always an explanation behind it with its own logic. Dennis sr. was closer in age to two of Gertrude’s daughters and she probably felt she needed to assert her claim on him. What I find confusing is, Denise Noe has it that he once put out a cigarette on Sylvia’s neck, I think Dean doesn’t say anything about him being there yet or not and according to Millett he had already left by July 1965 and he and Sylvia never laid eyes upon each other.

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


Thats funny you should ask why Lee didn't rebel agains't these other ppl in his life he might of resented = as well.. I could be way off as far as Lee and Sanders connection but these happened in the same time frame.. myself I was floored to hear Lee burned down a garage but maybe not real surprized at the same time.. I do remember his mom was a knock down gorgeous woman.. ! Seemed a bit high society for living in South Grove

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


That would have been Diana? Then Shoemaker later Nutchel and today something else? On the one photo I saw (with Jenny, we all know that one) I find her striking. Bit strange, how the sisters all looked different, I can't see much likeness among each other. Each was pretty a way all her own.

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


I remember Jeremy looking right at me when he said ,," that was my aunt" almost as if to say ,,, I have something I been meaning to tell you.. 1979 our senior year

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Yes it was Diana ,,, also my daughter's middle name

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


I was unaware Diana remarried

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Dianna Bedwell-Knutson is her name now, and she is said to live in Orange County, California. She's a school bus driver.

Kathleen on Nov 4, 2008


Stephen, I know that you were offended when I made the original remark about Indiana. When I said that it was directed at the fact that the parole board voted to release Gertie and not in reference to anyone on this forum. Having said that I have a confession to make, I live in Arizona which IS documented as maintaining the LOWEST I.Q. rate of any State Nationally. When I read back at some of the posts that I have made I am truly embaressed at some of the statements I have made. I find you and other people on this board to be very interesting and knowledgable regarding the Sylvia Likens ordeal. I think that since I have been told that Hubbard relatives have been defensive on other boards, I myself have looked a little too hard for point/counterpoint situations. By nature I am not such a flame thrower when it comes to burning bridges as I have been on this forum, and again, I regret much of how I have communicated here. For what it is worth, my sincere apologies to anyone on this board that I have offended. (including Rebacca).

Kevin Chatham (KK) on Nov 4, 2008


Hi Kevin,,, Thats ok ,,, as others have mentioned , this is one highly charged subject.. I don't judge you at all. It was just today I was thinking about your situation and how your connected with Sylvia and my situation with how I'm connected ... I came up with the conclussion we have a very strong desire to know every fact.. I thought maybe it was just a morbid curiosity but it is much deeper then that .. In your case you wouldn't have been born if your dad and Sylvia had been a couple and in my case I was surrounded by the after math .... I just need to know my place in this if in fact I even have one... My heart says that Sylvia trys to communicate but only to those that will listen.. I think her message is to just try to know true happiness and live to your full potential.. I often find myself really pushing myself thinking about her suffering knowing if she can go through what she did I can do anything... I hope Sylvia can inspire us to be kind and considerate of eachother we all need eachother as human beings and also to understand the mechanics of abuse so that it doesn't happen...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 4, 2008


Hi, Kathe, I’m really glad about Stephanie’s reaction and even more about its implications. It’s so obvious that she cared for him a great deal, and in all probability she still does, and although he can’t have a memory of Dennis sr., maybe the similarity of their voices will achieve to give him a sense of continuity or of a kind of a bond. All this of course needs to lead up to some change in the way he feels about himself, which is something entirely different, of course, and, I imagine, a reason to fear more disappointments and pain. If everything goes alright, the presence of his sisters in his life can help him but altering his understanding of his own person to something more positive will have to be mostly his own work. Still, one vital step seems to be done and think it took him a lot of courage to talk to Stephanie. I’ll be thinking of you and Dennis jr. on Friday and Tuesday and praying for you both.

Kathleen on Nov 5, 2008


Hi, Kevin, it takes some courage to apologize and everyone who manages has my respect. As to the question if Sylvia mentioned your Dad after returning from California, we know from both ITS and Millett that she must have done - that, I believe, offered Gertrude a reason to allege that Sylvia was pregnant. (I thought that was the reason your Dad felt guilty). What we do not know is if this mentioning was anything as described in either book (Millett, in my opinion, is merely imagining and not at her best in this scene) and if she mentioned him by name or just said "a boy". (It's not likely she had two boyfriends, there, unless they were there a long time, which, I believe, is not the case, so she must meant him.) Still, seen what came of it I believe all the former Baniszewskis might find it painful to remember what exactly she said and she might have been more detailed to other persons. (Maybe Stephanie assumed that and that was the reason for her not answering; she might not have believed in your good intentions) Sylvias older sister is still alive, and from the information on the net she's now called, as I said above, Dianna Bedwell-Knutson, and seems to work in Orange County, California, as a school bus driver. There's Jennys offspring to - the daughter at the time of Jenny's death was Tammy Ford as I'm sure you know already. I hope you get an answer to your question and for it to set your mind at peace.

Kathleen on Nov 5, 2008


Thanks Kathleen, Their really is no question that I need to have answered. I was just curious about any details, but not enough to drag anydody on a trip down memory lane, although in hindsight that is exactly what I did with the e-mail, please understand that in the 27 years since I found the book, etc., we have had only talked about it 3 or 4 times and it has always been upsetting to him, so rather than ask for any details I always changed the subject. Guilt was displayed in the context of "If I would of tried harder to keep her in California", but he is not a naive man so I am sure that he realizes that at 16 years old he was pretty limited as to how much influence he had on her leaving or staying, from what I understand her staying was an option but I do not know the circumstanses other than Jenny apparently did not have the option so Sylvia planned to return to California 'someday' and I kind of wonered if that was something she ever talked about with the B's, but you do add a deeper spin that I had not even thought of. I can tell you this, he did not get laid until the front side of college at age 18. Please know that I realize that we are talking about a teenage romance that lasted 3 to 5 weeks, and if Sylvia's life had not ended the way it did I never would have heard about her through my dad, as I could not tell you the names of anyone else he ever dated, other than my mother, so I am not trying to unravel some family mystery, nor do I feel 'connected' to Sylvia any more than all of us who are aware of her sad short life. My dad is merely how I found out about it. Thanks again for your thoughts about it! And thanks for in a nice way, helping me to realize that what I did was pretty dumb (as obvious as it is now), expecting her to want to recall those memories only to satisfy my curiosity. If I look a little deeper it was my curiosity combined with being in 'punisher' mode, which leads to something else that I have learned on this forum, it is not my place or job to attempt to 'punish' anybody.

Kevin Chatham (KK) on Nov 6, 2008


Hi, Kevin: get me right, I did not imply that your Dad and Sylvia went to bed together - Gertrude did. Although I ‘m quite sure that on a certain level she neither believed it nor cared if it was true or not. It gave her an opportunity to accuse Sylvia of the pregnancy she couldn’t not let herself vent her anger about to Paula. If ever there is a clear example of a transfer in all of it, then it’s this. But suppose, just for the sake of an argument, that they did – nothing wrong in that, is there? And no one’s business except Sylvia’s and your Dad’s. I know it must be hard for him but maybe there is some comfort in the thought that before 1965, she was a reasonably happy girl with a reasonably happy life and part of it was a teenie romance. Not every one who died before their time had that and she wouldn’t have either had it not been for your Dad.

Kathleen on Nov 6, 2008


Kathleen, I totally understand what you were saying. I hope you don't think I was being defensive at all, I was just rambling on about what little I am aware of for anyone who is interested. You are spot on with the 'transfer' statement also.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 6, 2008


Judge Rabb said the evidence reminded him of the D.C. Stephenson case... Stephenson, head of the Klu Klux Klan in it's hayday in indiana in the 1920's, was convicted of mudering a young Indianapolis woman even though he administered no fatal injury to her... There was evidence that he kidnapped her and forced her to submit to sadism and sexual perversion. In despair at not being able to escape, the young woman took poison and died from it. Stephenson was convicted on the theory that his actions induced her to poison herself and the theory that he neglected to seek medical aid for her although he knew her condition.. Stephenie, heartbroken, was joined by her father as she left the courtroom. "But, Daddy,"she sobbed,"I just can't stand to have people think I'd do something like this."

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 9, 2008


Hello, Stephen: care to elucidate where you are going with this? For the life of me, I can’t see what these two topics in your last post have to do with each other. Judge Rabb did indeed refer to the Stephenson case. If I’m not all mistaken, that was because some medi-cal expert had said that none of Sylvia’s injuries in itself could have been deemed the cau-se of death before he pointed out she could well have died of them later than she did. Okay – and where is Stephanie in all this? Because she as well knew of Sylvia’s condition and didn’t seek medical help for her? If that’s where you are heading, we `ve been there, Stephen. First of all, she DID try, read Kathes posts re: epilepsy. Second, it’s one thing to be afraid someone will die and another one to KNOW they will. You can’t, especially not at sixteen and as the culprit’s daughter. Hence the difference between taking the one or the other half-baked, inapproprate measure and going to the police and tell them what your mother and siblings have been doing. I’m not sure at all though, if that IS what you refer to.

Kathleen on Nov 10, 2008


Hello Kathleen,,, Sorry, I must of been sick that day.... I'm just telling you what was on the mind of the judge that heard the case in regards to ALL the children... and of course w/ the exception of little Denny. I've read the book once more and I can not find any reference to any epilepsy ... Not one word in the court transcripts which means there is no mention of it in any police report.. It's just ,,, what Kevin said about the photos... I can't seem to get that picture out of my mind.. And the judge relected his emotions in words ,,,, I'm almost sure he had to be looking at the evidence when he made that statement...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


We know exactly where Sylvia died.. We know exactly what they did to her... We even know how many forks and spoons were in the house... We would definatly know about any epilepsy through other family members during the trial.. I feel it would have been brought up by someone if not by Steph herself.. Her father would have known,, her brother's and sister's ... Why no mention

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


Hi Stephen: What Stephanie told me is that she did NOT know that she had epilepsy until much later. For some reason her parents did not tell her, and she didn't know why. I don't know if Gertrude kept that from John Sr., or if he knew as well (Gertrude apparently lied about many things). As I said before, the phenobarbitol was Stephanie's medicine, not Gertrude's. None of the siblings knew that Stephanie had epilepsy either. She just knew that she fell down a lot, had losses of time, and her family considered her the "strange" one (they called her "Einy" for Einstein, and she said that was not meant in a good way). I don't know what things in the transcripts, books, etc. are not true, but both Stephanie and Marie have told me that much of what was testified was not the truth. There are things under seal with respect to Stephanie's case (that she tried to get the authorities to the house two separate times the week prior to Sylvia's death) and that is why the charges against her were dropped. Facts proved that Stephanie did everything she could to try to stop what was happening.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 10, 2008


Sylvia had cigarette burns that went to the bone,,, she had a massive infection under the left arm. She was skin and bones,, Sylvia had chewed her upper and lower lips completely in to In the last moments of Sylvia's life everyone w/ exception of Gertrude showed rational thinking behavior... You know, lets get help for Sylvia she looks bad.. In fact it looks like we might be in trouble here... Lets get help hurry.! All the sudden Sylvia's condition seems life threatening

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


In the end they showed they could display rational thoughts... They took control of Gertrude and stopped her from beating Sylvia... Also the book explains that Hobbs almost pushed Gertrude down the up-stairs steps... They must of all the sudden lost any fear they had of Gertrude,,, now it turns to survival mode. Same way it happened in the D.C. Stephenson case

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


Does anyone know if the stairs were painted red, white and blue when the B's lived there? If you look at the black and white crime scene photos it appears to have been. Also, I assume that the upstairs wall was not painted blue with the clouds until after they moved.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 10, 2008


Hi to all: Actually, one cannot even be sure that Gertrude fully understand what her doctor meant when he said „epilepsy“ – Millett has her worrying that Stephanies „fainting spells“ might indicate a brain tumor, and indeed an epileptical fit can look exactly as if the patient had fainted. If they did, her siblings wouldn’t know anything about epilepsy, just that Stephanie lost consciousness now and then and following that, was not too clear about things for a while. Nothing usual in a teenager and not even with some grown-ups - and nothing much to tell either. A doctor advising a patient’s mother not to say anything about it to her would even sit well with the early sixties – because some people regarded epilepsy as something to panic about or even to be ashamed of. I remember my cousin in the early 70ies was forbidden contact with a friend who had epilepsy; my aunt and gran were afraid it might be „catching“. So why would the topic have come up at all and who would have told about it? Not Gertrude, for sure. Erbecker would have had to tell her to shut up about not having taken Phenobarbitol. I’ m sure Stephanie’s dad would not been keen to blurt it out either. Gertrude’s children said in court and later on that they had been afraid of her. Hobbs, not. Gertrude herself said that she was „helped“ down the stairs by her children and Hobbs for her own sake because she tended to be hysterical if something happened. In Hobbs’ case, that may have been his true reason, or else it was because they needed to concentrate on what they were doing. She WAS hysterical and was making matters worse. Also, Marie told Kathe, and Kathe kindly told us, how Marie tried to help Sylvia escape and got what-for from Paula afterwards. I’d call that rather brave than rational, because it wasn’t likely to work out but an eleven-year old … I’ve been there before. More in the line of rationale behaviour, on the Sunday or the Monday prior to Sylvia’s death Marie went to Gertrude to say: „Mummy, she looks terrible“ (Millett, direct quote from the trial transcripts) which resultet in Gertrude putting some ointment or other on Sylvia’s legs. Still, no one seems to have believed that Sylvia would die including Gertrude AND Jenny - who had been told. You can call that delusion – part of it certainly was – or lack of foresight. But when they had realized Sylvia WAS dying, later HAD died, there was nothing to believe any more. Just a horrible fact to deal with - and of course their behaviour changed then. I’m not trying to condone anything and I know Kevin’s description of the photos is deeply disturbing, in fact I knew that before because Millett describes them in much the same words and Deans quotes from the trial transcripts are just as clear. But they do not make a difference in what I think and feel about the case and the people involved because the way she looks can’t make things worse or better or in any way different. Greetings!

Kathleen on Nov 10, 2008


The way Sylvia looked to Kevin is the way she looked ... In the right minds of the children she looked this way too.. As I mentioned they did prove this in the end.. Kathleen could you look at these photos and still have an open mind... ? After all a picture is worth a thousand words

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


She was such a pretty girl. It is ashame about Jenny's twin dying alone, the Liken's never really got the 'family' thing down did they? they must have always had so much they wanted to forget about, wanting to leave the past behind and move on. I just got back from Orange County, CA and I found myself looking up at bus drivers to see if one was Diana.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 10, 2008


Stephen, any input on the stairs question? (red, white, and blue?) also, is the clawfoot bathtub still in the upstairs bathroom?

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 10, 2008


KK,,, As to the house and the paint... The crime scene photo is over-exposed ,,, the photographer just simply used the wrong aperture flash combination... Sometimes a crime scene will be photographed with a method called painting with light ... This method is better done under low light conditions.. The shutter of the lens is kept open while the assistant uses a light source beam to cover the scene for better detail... This might be a high contrast version of what I just mentioned but the photo is still over-exposed.. I can almost see the burned loops on the rail (crime scene photo) when I turn up the contrast but really can't get any more info then normal setting.. I think by the looks of it the rail was white washed in 1965... The rest of the paint looks to new.. I believe the paint on the basement block walls are original and the way they looked in 1965.. There is a gas pipe in the center of the room painted orange and is rubbed off where the pipe has a bend... At about 5' up from floor.. I believe there was new flexduct put in and glassblocks put in old window openings.. There was a material nailed to the ceiling at one time ,, I'm thinking they tore it down to run the flexduct.. I did find a shovel mark on the exposed joist near the steps and one on the step rail up-right at bottom of steps. About eye level 6' Landing at bottom of steps is original as is all the steps with exception of maybe some trim on the landing.. The kitchen had no stove,,,"still".. cabinets looked original with the countertop missing The was no furnace,, hotwater heater,,and no tub but sign on floor where an eagle claw tub stood.. There is no one part of the house that is more of a crime scene then another.. The whole house is the crime scene.. The walls in the bedroom where John hung Sylvia from nails.. And the up-stairs steps that Gertrude was rushed down as she thought of more lies.. The clouds on the walls are newer then 1965

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


Stephen, I haven't seen the photos. If I looked at them I 'm sure I'd feel much the way Millett did and I would want a cigarette at once to put some distance between them and myself, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to sleep, I'm sure I couldn't eat. What do you want this to prove, though? Stephanie saw the change in her and tried to help. Marie saw the change in her and tried to help. Gertrude saw the change in her and panicked - hence the allegation that she had run away, the plan to lose her in Jimmy's Wood and the letter. None of them needs to have been afraid of her death, until it had happened. They could have been afraid of a charge of child abuse, by Sylvia's parents or state authority or both, for herself in G.'s case and for their mother in the case of all the children. The state of her body is horrible - however, what I onclude from the facts of the case is no different from before. I'd rather get back to what Erbecker said at the end of the long, long question to the doctor: Do you think someone could do this to a person AND be in their right mind?

Kathleen on Nov 10, 2008


They scalded her in the tub in the bathroom and hung-up like a coat in the closet with the door closed

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 10, 2008


I saw an autopsy picture in the book by John Dean. It was sickening and haunting. I could barely eat for the rest of the day after having seen that. That poor little girl.

Ross on Nov 10, 2008


Stephen, I think we are talking past each other. Who do you mean by they? Gertrude, Paula and Johnny, as well as Coy Hubbard and Ricky Hobbs? Or Stephanie, Mary, Shirley and Jimmy? The first one's were convicted, Stephanie was aquitted, the other ones were not charged. You can, if you like, question the justice achieved by the trial, but there were reasons for the trial's result. I' sure that none of the people involved, no matter if they were found guilty or were guilty in spite of not having been found guilty, ever lead a life comparable to yours or mine (as I lead it now) after the trial. To make a long story short: In general, people do not go against their own family for a victim outside of it and they don't even do it for someone of their own family. Believe me, I know.

Kathleen on Nov 10, 2008


Ross, if you found an autopsy picture in Dean's book, you must have got a different issue from mine. The only "usual" photo in my copy is on the backside, showing her torso with the horrible "3" and the words on her stomach. Bad enough - but I wonder if the issue containing the picture was forbidden at sometime by whichever authority?

Kathleen on Nov 11, 2008


Hi to all, I realise my post Nr. 413, specially at the end, gives a bit of a strange impression. What I wanted to express is not that I have protected an abuser who was a member of my family (or one who wasn’t). I was not in position to protect a soul then. All I wanted to say is that I have had to forgive persons who might have done something because I see now that they couldn’t go against one of their own. In spite of the fact that I was one of their own as well. I do not wish to go there particularly and I did not want to stuff anyone’s mouth with a knock-out argument.

Kathleen on Nov 12, 2008


Hello, Kathe, I hope that in this case no news does not mean bad news? I'll keep thinking of you and your family and wish that things turn out all right, in whatever which way.

Kathleen on Nov 13, 2008


Hi Kathleen: No bad news yet. We met with the neurologist this week and the MRI and other tests so far do not show anything; now we will be sent to UCLA for the genetic testing once Denny's psychiatrist gives the okay. It seems like we should have been able to just go to UCLA for the test to begin with, but alas, this is the process. As always, I very much appreciate your best wishes for myself and my family. You have been very kind to me while I've been posting here. Really, everyone has, no matter what they think about my husband's siblings and the rest of his birth family, and I'm thankful that people recognize that Denny was also a victim. I'm also glad to provide information to the ones that wondered what must have happened to him. I recently found another site about true crime that also has a blog for the Sylvia Likens murder. Sure enough, at the end of the posts is someone who saw my postings on this site and believes that I must be one of the Baniszewskis pretending to be married to baby Denny (that person posted the link to this board). I posted there that I am indeed who I say I am, but there has been no more activity there since my post.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 13, 2008


Hello,,, I have a true story about two men that made choices,,, doesn't have anything to do with Sylvia's case but it is an interesting story non the less... Would anyone care to hear this story..?

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 14, 2008


Ok twist my arm,,, The year was late 50's ... My father and married and moved to Comer ave. in Indianapolis.. Dad took a job with the Indianapolis Star News and managed the delivery section .... One day my dad had to go try to collect a on-going unpaid bill at a church near 15th and central in downtown Indy.. He arrived at the church and started up the steps when a car pulled up behind him and parked in front of the church.. A man got out and confronted my dad.. My father asked the gentelman if he knew anyone that worked in the church that was taking the Star News paper.. The man replied no. Well, my father went back to his office thinking to himself he didn't have a hope in hell collecting the $$ owed so he wrote it off and the church didn't get anymore newspapers.. It wasn't till 1978 would my father think about his encounter at the church and his job at the Indy Star news... One day he turned on the TV and he seen a news reel on Jonestown in Ghiana ... His jaw fell open,, he couldn't believe what he was seeing... He remembered the name of the church, people's temple, and he remembered the man that stepped from the parked car.. It was Jim Jones Two men stand on church steps ,,, one lives for his family and the other lives for himself... After that my dad seemed changed,, he stopped drinking and messing around on my mom.. He took an interest in his kids... I don't know if he seen this meeting as an omen but it affected him profoundly... I believe the church still stands at the same place...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 14, 2008


Hi, Kathe, thanks a lot for your kind words, I appreciate this very much. It seems I have properly annoyed some people on this board, first by stating that Kevin’s description of the autopsy photographs, horrible as they were, did not change my view of the case. Then by maintaining that the Baniszewski children’s rational behaviour on the day of Sylvia’s death did not prove that they could have acted in the same way before and chose not to, but simply that they had – by delusion or by ack of better knowledge – not believed that she would die. Thus, when she had, being faced with a completely different situation which made them – some of them - behave in a completely different way. And again by saying that Stephanie and Marie did what they could but couldn’t be expected to go openly against their mother and sister. Thing is, I know how dysfunctional families work - and how they don’t work. Normal behaviour patterns just cannot be applied. I said before that I do not wish to go down on all this and I won’t, I’ll just say that we were three sisters at home and not once in 20 years we managed to talk to each other about what was going on. It’s hard to imagine that Stephanie and Marie could have sat down by themselves or with some of the others and discussed what was happening., like in: „Mummy will kill Sylvia if this goes on – any ideas what we could do“ or „Paula never was like this before, so how about talking to her first?“ Sounds absurd, right? Because it is. . Something much more important: If the MRI and other tests don’t show anything usual I think this is even good news, at least so far – sounds as if the genetic testing just had the function of further exclusion, just to be sure that Dennis jr. is not affected. There sure has been some progress in the process in recent years. Before, the genetic testing was very difficult because one had to bring lots of blood samples from related persons. In the case of the family I told you about this was a bit of a problem since the daughters of the affected Dad had only just enough family members for it to be possible at all, and these relations had to be first located and then persuaded. The sister I talked to on the phone said it took them ages. By then it was clear, however, that her older sister had Huntingtons, just as with their father, the doctor took one look at her and knew. That was more then 10 years ago, and so far, she seems quite okay most of the time – if she needs help sometimes, it’s more because of her psychic or emotional state, fears and bouts of rage and so on. Also, her younger sister described the onset of the illness in her, and it doesn’t sound anything like your descriptions concerning your husband. She offered to give me the older sister’s phone number and said she wouldn’t have a problem with telling me about it but I think, as long as your husband is not diagnosed as affected, I needn’t take it up. Unless you’d like me to, of course. My next question is pretty personal, I realize that and of course you don’t have to answer this. I just was wondering how your son is dealing with all these exciting novelties in your family? I mean, two aunts he never had contact with, their respective familes, cousins, maybe even second cousins by now … I should think that this were quite confusing to anyone in their teens nonregarding of their own situation. And then I somehow get the impression that the concept of adoption in itself is easier to explain to an adopted child himself than to the child of someone adopted. No idea why, really, just a feeling. I know you said your son had never been comfortable with his peers but Stephanies and Maries children sure a grown-ups now or at least a good deal older than he is – is he interested at all for himself or just on behalf of his Dad or not at all? Greetings, to all.

Kathleen on Nov 14, 2008


They didn't go against Gertrude till they stopped having fun,,, then , they did go against Gertrude.. They did go against Paula,,, they must have thought ,, "what can she do,? she's pregnant.. "

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 14, 2008


I personally believe that Sylvia never did get any attempted help in the final hours. I believe that she was thought to be dead when brought upstairs and the motive was just to clean up her body to draw less suspicion when the Police arrived. The bath was not to attempt to revive her, it was just 'covering tracks', a gesture not intended to help Sylvia but to help themselves. I am currently reading 'The Basement', what a great job Kate Millett did of providing much more insight to the whole situation, certainly a must read for anyone who has read John Dean's book. Also, here is a link to a new Sylvia Likens Discussion Forum, looks like it could be good.......

Kebo on Nov 14, 2008


Hi Stephen - are you talking to me or is this a delusion? Going against Gertrude - I presume you mean Ricky pushing her down the stairs and so on - happened when the unspeakable, unthinkable had become a fact, not before, and I doubt that Stephanie was having fun when she called the police or Marie when she tried to help Sylvia escape. And how did anyone go against Paula? I'm not starting anything - I just don't know, because Paula was not there when Sylvia died, the police was already there by the time she turned up, far as I know there was neither need nor opportunity to go against Paula anyhow. And then, Paula didn't give a shit about being pregnant and exerced her body quite a lot, hitting Sylvia, hitting her siblings and lifting and throwing things. If you want to talk about rational behaviour in the face of trouble, talk about Coy Hubbard. He now, he may well have flared something - why else didn't he show up all Tuesday?

Kathleen on Nov 14, 2008


Paula couldn't very well run after anyone.. Did anyone care where Paula was when Gertrude was rushed downstairs.. She could have been there for all they knew.. I should remind you they lived on a 4 lane oneway street in the heart of the 11th largest city in the US. They went to the largest highschool in the state of Indiana .. They were educated enough... Am I sounding delusional when I say ,,, " OK,run outside to the 4 lane oneway street and flag down a person,,, any person, and say,,, " we have a girl here with her lips falling off her face..! Can we get some help.."?!!

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 14, 2008


It is no secret that the B's intention all the way to the end was to protect their family and somehow cover their tracks. It is ashame that Gertie was never able to take any accountability for her crime right up until the day she died. I wonder how Paula feels about it now? any remourse?

Kebo on Nov 14, 2008


Kebo: Either in this forum or another, someone mentioned something about jailhouse interviews with Gertie. I have been looking all over the internet for them, but have not found any. I don't know why, but I'd like to see/hear her talk. I can tell a lot about someone from vocal patterns/mannerisms etc.

Ross on Nov 14, 2008


I sure would like to have more info on Coy's life and the crimes that he was later charged with.

Kebo on Nov 14, 2008


Hi Ross: I'll look for that article. It is either in articles that I ordered from the Indiana State Library or found online as I know that I gave it to my husband to read; the journalist who wrote the story had interviewed Gertrude and two other inmates. It was not about the Likens case. She was talking about apparent sexual abuse of female inmates by guards. The journalist had not really done all his research, which was obvious to Gertrude at the time of the interview. "You don't know who I am, do you, young man?" Gertrude asked him. He admitted that he did not. After he left the prison, he read up on her and was shocked as to whom he had interviewed.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 14, 2008


Kathleen,,,, You said look deeper into this ,,and I did.. I even went so far as to suggest others do the same.. I don't know,,,,... The longer I look the more I don't understand. I hope that doesn't distance us from chatting.. Kathe,,, I feel like your a God send for Denny... I wish your family well .. Ross,, I have a feeling you'd know. Kevin,,, All I know about Coy is that he died exactly three years after Jenny" to the day"... Also, he looks very familar,,, I know I have seen him somewhere or maybe I met him "unknowingly".. I done a tremendous amount of work in Shelbyville not to mention work all over the city and state over my lifetime.. Coy has distinct features especially in the mouth area "in the courtroom photos" that is.. I thought maybe I remember seeing him at the Hobbs' home but that memory seems to escape me

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 15, 2008


Kevin,, The John Dean account was writen by a man that was there in the courtroom .... These other books you speak of,, were the writers of these other books there or come in after the fact..?

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 15, 2008


Also, I'd like to mention ,,, someone I think it was Kathleen that teachers need to talk about this subect with children in school... I did work for a contractor that went to Tech Highschool,, the last day of the job I remembered to ask him if he'd ever heard of Sylvia Likens that died in 1965... He said no, how would I know her if she died in 65 I was only 5... I said to myself,,,, doy ... Then I said she went to your highschool and she was tortured to death over a three month period by a cops exwife and their children.. He said something like,,,"Oh" Needless to say I haven't done anymore work for the guy and I don't intend to.. gave me the creeps and I had to chace him down for the little $$ owed me

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 15, 2008


Hi, Stephen, no need to worry that much, I don’t think anything could distance us from chatting. What disturbed me a bit was merely how you kept up your line of arguing without ever answering anything I said against it. I have said several times that in the moment when Sylvia was dying or had already died the situation had changed dramatically for all the Baniszewskis. I have said, too, that people do not go against their own families, even against better knowledge. I did not say they should not, I did not say they need not, I just said they don’t. That’s why, as long as Sylvia was still alive Stephanie could delude herself that things were not that bad and there was no need to go against Gertrude respectively an anonymous call or two at the police was all she could get herself to do. Or Marie – I doubt she thought that Sylvia’s death was imminent, her motive in trying to help Sylvia es-cape or in getting Getrude to put ointment on Sylvias legs („Mummy, she looks terrible“) probably was just compassion. Running out to the Street, flagging down anyone and say „We got a girl here with her lips falling off her face“ would result in having to say „My mother did this!“ and yes, Stephen, asking this of anybody, as long as you are capable to tell yourself, no, it’s not as bad as this, sounds delusional. And where Paula’s absence at the time of Sylvias death is concerned, Dean is quoting from trial transcripts from the questionings of the police and their notes. They were already there when she came home and they took note of the exact time of her arrival, her name and her age. The description of her person – „dark hair, big, slovenly appearance“ - was added by Dean himself, I believe. So no one had a reason to do anything against her nor even an opportunity. Hi, KK, as to the accounts of what happened when Sylvia was dying respectively had al-ready died (Kebo, post 422) I’d be careful about believing all that readily what either author says. Where Millett’s description of Sylvia’s last moments – down in the basement and all alone in her version - is concerned, don’t get me wrong, that chapter is Millett at her best, that is where the woman shows what she can do, it’s a damn fine piece of writing, but no more. Millett doesn’t even claim to be doing anything else than imagining and the words are merely there to symbolize feelings. Dean now, it’s true that he was in the courtroom. But more lies (for whatever reason) are told in a courtroom than anywhere else. And the descriptions of what happened at that time are all from the people accused without any other witness, right up to the moment the police arrived. To me, Deans description has something decidedly odd. We all know what the medical experts said about the state so-meone with Sylvia’s injuries would be in. Inertia, extreme slowness or downright lack of reaction, reduced relfexes, incoherence of thought and speech, losses of conscience, lack of emotions, incapability to process images and sounds to perception of what they mean … Jenny said that two days before her death Sylvia tried to say the aphabet and got to D or E but no further, and tried to count to 10 and couldn’t, leaving out several numbers. That sits well with the medical expertises. It’s hard to imagine someone in this state – wor-se two days later - would speak two grammatically correct sentences, one with a conjunc-tive in it („I wish my Daddy were here“), the other one involving recognition of the person bending over her („Take me home, Stephanie“). One has got to remember, Stephanie wanted Sylvia to live. (I don’t think anyone could deny that - even tthose who believe she merely wanted to keep herself out of trouble will accord that she wanted to save her in that moment) And in this kind of situation people tend to hear what they want to hear. Sylvia may have said „Daddy’“ at one point, as this would be one of the words most deeply roo-ted in her brain, and she may either have said „Home“ or uttered a grunt one could take for that word, but about the rest, I’m persuaded Stephanie was deluding herself.

Kathleen on Nov 17, 2008


Hi Kathleen,, I can't really agree with you about kids not going against their parents.. It wouldn't take me long to realize that looking back on my own life.. I grew up with two brothers and a sister I being the third oldest my sis being second oldest.. We all lived in fear of my father. He was an alcoholic and a very unpredictable one at that.. I can remember my mom waiting for him to come home from work and if he was 10 min. late she knew he was at the Grove tavern drinking.. If he came up the front walk staggering "which always happened when he was late coming home" we'd all scatter for the basement to hide till he went upstairs where he slept... I can remember him tearing the house up and thowing ceramic vase at my mother... It didn't seem to take much to set him off at times and other times he would just go straight to bed... One night it was already dark and dad had just came home from work being that he was 12 hours late we knew what he'd been doing... All I can remember is that him and my mom were arguing and he went into the kitchen and came out with a huge butcher knife and started chasing my mom around the front yard... At the time I was only 8-9 yrs old,,, all I could do was run as fast as I could to the police station several blocks away.. The police came and my dad went to jail,, my mom ran next door and the neighbor helped her escape my dad and the knife... I can still hear her screaming bloody murder. This was the daily routeen at my house,,, we were terrorized many times... My day used to whip us with the belt till we turned 12 and then he used his fists to punish with.. Well he punched me many times ... He hit me like he did when he used the belt, with a vengence. One day I can't remember what I had done but he hit me several times and I snapped.... I hit him in the right eye and split it wide open .. They had to rush him to the hospital to get stitches and that was the end of my beatings... If you'd ever met my dad and stood in front of him first thing you'd notice is that he was twice your size... He weighed in at near 465 lbs and was 6' tall to boot.. He could be a scary mother at times and other times he'd be just the greatest guy in the world. You never knew. It took a lot for me to stand up to him but at that moment I couldn't take anymore terrorizm of myself and family... I was drawn to large Catholic families ,, I would often come over every day just to be in a normal family I guess .. Hence is why I went to the Hightlberger's home on S. 5th. Ave. down the street from the Hobbs house... I hated going home,,, I would hang out till their mother would tell Jim to tell me to leave... I stayed for days on end.. Yeah, I know abuse... I've been there and done that.. My father stopped drinking about the time I graduated highschool but my drinking years had just began.. I didin't think for one minute that I'd be like my dad but I was wrong... It took a DWI in 1987 while I was in the city lock-up would I ask for a miracle... I walked out of the jail a free man in more ways then one... I know, thats not the way they do it in AA,,, I'll never be cured but that doesn't mean I have to deny my own feelings about how and why I sobered up.. I stood up to my oldman many times in my mother's and brother's and sister's defence.. Yeah he scared me, till I shrugged it off and beat his ass.. Till I'd had enough. Keep in mind I was a little runt,, small , no muscle tone,, just a young skinny 15 year old .. I might of weighed 100 lbs at the time, if that.. I decked a 465 lb man that worked-out at Hoffmisters gym. I had to, it was the right thing to do at the time,,, and he never layed another hand on any of us again.. Dad and I became best freinds after we both got off the sauce... I helped my mom take care of him when he couldn't walk from bad knees and was dieing of cancer in the frontroom... I listened to him suffer everyday for a year and a half till they came and got him. He was out of his mind in pain and the last thing he done was hit my mom.. He didn't know what he was doing... He died that night in Saint Francis Hospital on Dec.4 2004 I became a father at age 31 to a bouncing baby girl... She has never seen me drink alcohol ... I had to fight to get custody of my daughter because her mom married a convicted child molester ... The courts used my past against me ,, saying I could have a relaps and start drinking any day... I had three lawyers and spent thousands with no luck.. But one thing I wasn't going to let this do was make me drink... I made it here today only by the grace of God and his love for me "which to me" is just self love. You always reflect how you feel about yourself no matter who you are ,,, that is always a constant.

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 17, 2008


I can remember when dad was sick and confined to a chair I spoke about his encounter with Jim Jones to someone online.. I told him what we were discussing and he got shitty.. He said ," Don't tell that story.." ! I said why.? He said, well hell ," because those ppl are still around.. " I said, " don't worry dad I don't think they were all evil... He said, "tell them the Max Bear story instead".. He was a funny man,,, I mean sittin there dieing and worried that the peoples temple is coming to get him..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 17, 2008


Sorry Dad for tellin that story..... ain't like no one knew

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 17, 2008


Hey Stephen: Do you mean Max Baer, the fighter? Max Baer Jr. (Jethro from Bev Hillhillies) was one of my dad's golfing buddies.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 17, 2008


Hey Kathe,,, Max Baer senior,,, the heavy weight camp at the time.. 1940 ish and yes Jethro's dad. hehe Max Baer sr. had a friend in the service and he was from my mom and dad's home town of Worthington in Green County.. Max Baer would come in an old store dad's uncles owned... Every time he came in he had a woman on each arm.. Dad would yell " let me feel your muscle " and Max would pick him up with his bicep. Anytime he seen any old documentory on old fighters and Max came up " he's ears would perk up and he'd grin from ear to ear..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 17, 2008


Hi, Stephen, this a sad story and a moving one. You are aware of, by having conquered the drink, you are part of an élite amounting to 2 %? All these years of new forms of thera-pies being developed, and the percentage of those who stay off it for good has not risen a bit. I should know, as I’m a daughter, a granddaughter and a niece of alcoholics as well as the partner of a dry one. You were right to run to the police station as well as brave. Re-mains to say, you were trying to protect your Mum - not someone outside of the family. By what you say, though, if you say you would have done the same for someone who had come to live with you as a foster child, I guess I would believe you. My experiences are a bit different. I can’t talk about it in that same open way you manage to. All I can say is, at one time when my Dad was hitting me worse than I could remember he had ever done and did not seem able ever to stop, I thought that if my mother wouldn’t do something now she never would. He must have seen that thought on my face because he turned around to face her and said „If you go to the police for her sake, I’ll kill her. In one year or in five or in thirty, I swear I will find her and I will kill her.“ She believed him and at the time I did, too. (A few years after that, there was a situation where he could have killed me and at least SAID he would but then stopped in mid-movement and said he couldn’t do it because he loved me too much). Neither my mother nor one of my sisters could do anything to help me or if they could, they didn’t know they could. And I’m quite sure that many people in this world experienced something similar. Hence my idea that Stephanie and Marie could not be expected to go against their mother and sister.

Kathleen on Nov 18, 2008


Hi Kathleen,,, True, I can't say how I would have been if my parents had loaned me out like that... Left me with virtual strangers... It must of been alarming for both Likens girls and all the B's .. This I think ,, this idea,, maybe the B's thought or had convenced themselves that the Likens family didn't want the girls.. I'm just trying to understand the mindset of the girls and the B's in the very beginning..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 18, 2008


Oh,, and I noticed that your British,,,,,

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 18, 2008


Did they feel abandon and did the rest pick up on that... Could very well have been the pilot light that started the furnace

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 18, 2008


Stephen, I did not mean to imply that The Basement was a 'better' or more factual account, what I meant is that it is a great addition to Indiana torture slaying. John Dean's book is a mandatory 'to the facts' account, and after reading it a number of times over the years I found Kate Millett's book to be fascinating as well. I think that her 'inside Gerties/Sylvia's minds' sequences added a lot of insight, much of what seems to be accurate, but both books are great and I have great respect for John Dean, and you are right, he actually covered the story as it happened.

Kebo on Nov 18, 2008


The Likenses didn’t know it, but Gertrude was a drug addict who had little control over her household. “She was a mean and hateful person,” her son John would say years later. “Insanity reigned at the time.” John expressed amazement that the Likenses would have allowed their daughters to stay in the home he shared in the 3800 block of East New York Street with his mother, 37, and his six siblings who ranged from 18 months to 17 years old. “There was very little furniture in the house,” he said. “Sometimes just one or two spoons to eat with. We would steal clothes from backyard lines and food from neighbors’ gardens.” Although the Baniszewski children lived in sordid dirtniness with only torn mattresses in their bedrooms, Gertrude wasn’t averse to spending money on herself. In addition to using most of the income to feed her prescription drug habit, Gertrude had a lavish, new bedroom set, John said. Within a few weeks of moving into the Baniszewski home, Sylvia Likens had been tortured to death by Gertrude, her oldest daughter, her son John, and two neighbor children. In an escalating 14-day orgy of violence, the children, ranging in age from 8 to 17, subjected Sylvia to barbaric treatment for no other reason than the fact that she presented an easy target. In the early days of her punishment, Sylvia exhibited a small bit of resistance, but that only exacerbated her situation. When she called Paula a whore, the beginning of the end arrived. With a heated needle, the abusers scratched “I’m a prostitute and proud of it” on Sylvia’s abdomen. They then branded the letter “S” on her chest. Eventually, Sylvia stopped resisting. “Fear paralyzed her,” John said in a 1998 interview. “Fear’s a weird thing. We’d become such a bizarre group. A certain mob psychology took over.” John said he liked to hear Sylvia cry, so he burned her with cigarettes. The autopsy on the girl revealed 150 burns on her body. Every few days Paula would immerse Sylvia in scalding water and even rubbed salt in her wounds. It was finally a fractured skull and injuries to her brain that killed Sylvia. The boys were all paroled in early 1968. Paula served about 7 years and was freed in 1973. After serving less than 20 years, Gertrude Baniszewski was paroled in 1985 just in time for Christmas. “I feel like that person was somebody else, not me,” she said in an jailhouse interview. John Baniszewski eventually became a born-again Christian who changed his name and now speaks to young people about the dangers of anger and rage. “I got off too easy,” he said in 1998. The house where Sylvia died became known as something of a haunted house and was sold and resold many times over the years. In a nearby park, a small monument stands in memory of the short life and brutal death of Sylvia Likens.

Ross on Nov 18, 2008


Hi, Stephen, "Oh,, and I noticed that your British,,,,," (Stephen Hostetter on Nov 18, 2008) ????????????????????? Care to elucidate???

Kathleen on Nov 19, 2008


Hi Kathleen,,, Yeah,, I remember you mentioned ,,, I was trying to protect my "mum" instead of mom.

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 19, 2008


Hi Stephen, well observed. Still, only half-right. My family is a pretty mixed bunch of French, Dutch, Irish and German origin. As I grew up in Germany, German and French were my first languages, with bits of Dutch added by my gran. I didn't start to learn proper English until I had learnt to read and write, and it really shows. When I'm tired or under a lot of strain, I make mistakes and people with a fine ear can still detect a French accent when I speak. Greetings!

Kathleen on Nov 19, 2008


I am proofreading and editing a new book coming out. It is being published December 17 and is about Gertrude & Paula's time in prison. It's from the memoirs of a former inmate who served time with them at IWP. There's some incredibly revealing things in this book that absolutely floored me. I'm not allowed to say much more than that about it, but it kind of picks up where Sylvia's story ends (with her death).

Jennifer on Nov 19, 2008


Jennifer, What's the title? I am interested in purchasing it once it comes out.

Ross on Nov 19, 2008


Hi, Kathe, about that article and the interview where Getrude said: „You don’t know who I am, do you, young man?“…. Could you say in which year that was? I do remember the Paula Cooper scandal, but although this was the same prison, it must have been years after Getrude’s release and it was not exactly about sexual abuse, just about sexual relationships between female inmates and male guards. (I think it resulted in law forbidding these relationships, meaning that before (that is, before late 80ies or even early 90ies) such a law did not exist (In part, Kevin is right, there IS something strange about Indiana law). All in all, I don’t believe it was the same case. I’d like to know, though, if an abuse of the women was actually proven or at least creditable. And was Getrude interviewed because she was – supposedly or really - one of the abuse victims or was she present in some function or other (inmates speaker or whatever)?

Kathleen on Nov 20, 2008


Hi, Jennifer, like Ross I'd very much like to know the title and if that's not decided yet, the author's name. Let us know, please.

Kathleen on Nov 20, 2008


Hello,, Is the author of the new book named Reed..? last name

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 20, 2008


No, it is not. I have to ask the author before I can release any new information. I'm going through the final edits right now, as a matter of fact. I'm going to see her this afternoon, so I will ask her what I am and am not allowed to say. But I will update you tonight after our meeting. It's being authored by Gisele Veilleux, who received the manuscript from a former inmate of Gertrude's not too long ago by mail. I was floored when I read her initial draft. Okay, I've got to get this finished, but I will log more tonight. I know Gisele will be excited that people are interested!! There's a video about it she made on YouTube to advertise. Type the title Justice From Within and Sylvia Likens and it should show up.

Jennifer on Nov 20, 2008


Hi, Jennifer, one more question I hope you may answer - the book being authored by Gisele Veilleux, does that mean it will be an e-book?

Kathleen on Nov 21, 2008


I just recently heard about this case and was appalled to hear that all the perpetrators got off so easy. I usually don't post but after seeing this message board full of either delusional people who are sympathetic or the actual perpetrators themselves pretending to be someone else post "poor them" messages I had to reply. Rebecca you need to seriously get a life if you are not stephanie, Marie or one of those crazy fucks from that family. To sit there and lie about interviews they never gave and say it can be searched on google is in of itself fuckin crazy like you are. I mean, seriously, who does that? Who would make up seeing interviews? You must either not be the sharpest tool in the shed or a few sandwiches short of a picnic. The only people besides Sylvia and Jenny I feel sorry for are the children that those crazy fucks were allowed to have. I can't even imagine what people like Paula did to her own children or neighborhood children after being released. Someone who is wired so wrong can never be rehabilitated and should stay behind bars for the rest of their lives if not put to death. Rebecca, to say that they had hard lives is a fuckin joke compared to the hard life they caused for the Likens family. Hard life would be them going through the same shit they put that poor girl through. Paula the fat ugly slut was pregnant and had the gall to accuse Sylvia of being a prostitute. Clearly, it was Paula who was the fat slut. For fucks sake Paula was 17 years old which is old enough to sign a fuckin contract to join the service so don't sit there and sugar coat what she did and say she was a child. If you can shoot a fuckin M16 at 17 and go to war you are dam sure old enough to understand right from wrong and stop the insanity that was going on in that home. Instead Paula (the poor little child of 17) was the main perpetrator. Let me use my intel analyst skills here. Due to my analysis, my assessment is that Rebecca (who is pobably that fat cow Paula) will have the same old boring not so witty comeback of "this poster is 6 years old" Followed by "my ree ree boyfriend and I LMAOROFL"

SoldierGirl on Nov 22, 2008


Whoa...........outta nowhere!!! Soldiergirl, I hope that you hang around long enough to prove that you are not me, Cheers, KK

Kebo on Nov 22, 2008


Rebecca "Yeah, Paula talks to the press all the time." You just answered part of your own question, dumbass. And you CHALLENGE me!? ROFL" That was just classic. You claim to not be a twit but somehow the sarcasm of this totally escapes you. You truly are not the sharpest tool in the shed. I just cannot fathom anyone being that stupid unless they are a ree ree. I hope for your sake you do have the excuse of being a ree ree. I hope you don't have any children and can still get yourself fixed before passing along those genes. Seriously, imagine the product of you and your lmao boyfriend. Please don't do that disservice to a child and the rest of society who will have to pay tax dollars for another ree ree in the world.

SoldierGirl on Nov 22, 2008


Stephen Hostetter "Kathleen,, Kathe,, Rebecca,, Let's try to keep our productive conversations going in spite of the attention hogs that like to disrupt and agitate… It's only obvious the way they have contorted everything we have said to fit their scenerios .. The one that really got me was using OJ simpson as an example of how the Indiana justice system is unfair.. Ok,, OJ was tried in California wasn't he..? If I'm not correct they did find probable cause for evidence tampering… ?" Again wow. That is classic also. Let me explain in barney style to you what the poster who posted OJ as an example meant (and yes it was California for those who have lived under a rock such as stepehen and are unsure of where the OJ case took place). Now I might be going out on a limb here and could possibly be wrong, but I think they meant that just because a court (any court whether its in Indiana, California, New York, Alabama or bum fucked Egypt) doesn't convict does not necessarily mean the person is innocent. I know it's a hard concept to grasp for you there Stephen (seeing as your IQ is 1 point above a potato), but I hope me breaking it down barney style has helped you. If not let me know and if I have the time I can draw you a picture to better illustrate. I now see why you were a landscaper mowing peoples lawns /sigh.

SoldierGirl on Nov 23, 2008


Well,, if it ain't little miss personality.... If the glove doesn't fit ,,, you must aquit.. Hmm a bloody glove in OJ's bushes was about all they had that would stick... I wonder how it shrank,,,, maybe little miss personality knows... Also,, watch your mouth you little twit, it's a sign of extreme ignorance and shows complete disrespect for the person you claim to defend

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 23, 2008


Thats all we need here is another racist... I wonder why no one ever says ,,, "I know Robert Blake killed his wife but got off... Or, I know William Shatner killed his wife but got off.. Or, I know Robert Wagner killed his wife but got off... Oh wait,,,, these are all white guys ... sorry You see SoldierHarold,,,, Evidence is used to explain theory,, just like Einstein had a theory of spacetime and the theory of reletivity... Now ,,, If one part of the "theory" doesn't work then you have to throw out all the rest.. You don't conform your theory to fit into new found evidence to make your theory work... That much I do know and it doesn't take a phd to understand it.. Did I explain that good enough Mr. potato head ...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 23, 2008


Wow, Soldiergirl, I bet you feel REAL badass right now, don't you? Was "ree ree" a word you just recently discovered? I'm going to tell you the same thing I told KK, only in shorter and simpler terms: Grow the fuck up and get a life....or better yet, get a job.

Rebecca on Nov 23, 2008


It does seem that if you are a famous actor you are pretty much granted a 'get out of jail free' card when it comes to wife killing. I did not know about Shatner, gonna have to google that up. It is ashame that Johnny Cochran played the race card, but 'if the shoe fits, wear it', and Robert Blake was a pretty sloppy wife killer also, someone should write a 'Killing your wife for dummies' book!!

Kebo on Nov 23, 2008


Rebecca, I said that I was sorry. I still love you and I want to talk. Hope all is well, Cheers....KK

Kebo on Nov 23, 2008


KK, I check in on this board maybe a couple times a week and skim through most of the posts, so I only just now saw that (and feel like a real asshole lol). Despite how fiery things have gotten with us, I have to admit that I've actually enjoyed our debates, and while I disagree with some of your views, I do respect them and always had. Take care!

Rebecca on Nov 23, 2008


Johnny Cochran didn't play any race card ,,, he just had to show how Lt. Ferhman was a known racist and that Ferhman wanted to get into OJ's ex-wifes pants but was rejected.... It's was important to know who and what kind of person Mark Ferhman was because he was the primary evidence collecter which produced the "bloody glove" that didn't fit... And all those nice "perfect" spots of blood collected .... Cochran went on to prove that there where holes everywhere in the prosecution testimony...

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 23, 2008


Also ,, I don't think you know what it's like being black,,, but ,,, maybe in the next life

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 23, 2008


So Stephen, Are you suggesting that Mark Fuhrman planted the glove as an attempt to 'keep a black man down'?. You surely do not think that somebody else killed Ron and you??

Kebo on Nov 23, 2008


Also,, watch your mouth you little twit, it's a sign of extreme ignorance and shows complete disrespect for the person you claim to defend Let me get this straight. You were a high school drop out that worked at a carnival and later had the big aspirations of mowing peoples lawns and i'm the twit? How about you read previous posts where Rebecca has one hell of a mouth on her and comment on your little ree ree friends mouth. Thats all we need here is another racist… I wonder why no one ever says ,,, "I know Robert Blake killed his wife but got off… Or, I know William Shatner killed his wife but got off.. Or, I know Robert Wagner killed his wife but got off… Oh wait,,,, these are all white guys … sorry I used OJ because that is who the previous poster used and I was explaining his post to you barney style. Again somehow it passed you by yet again. What I would like to know is what makes you think I am white? Can only white people use computers? Are only white people allowed to have the opinion OJ is guilty? You my friend are the racist. Let me guess though, your comeback will be I had a black friend once so I can't possibly be racist. Shut the fuck up and mow my fuckin lawn, but be careful with the weed wacker there retard. Mr. potato head ....umm let me point out the indicator of my name on here, soldiergirl..key word there being girl so if you are gonna make an assumption based on the indicators you would think even a ree ree would guess I'm a female. Based of your name stephen i assume you are male and rebecca is a female. These are not hard indicators to pick up on even for someone with a 5th grade education such as yourself. Wow, Soldiergirl, I bet you feel REAL badass right now, don't you? Was "ree ree" a word you just recently discovered? I'm going to tell you the same thing I told KK, only in shorter and simpler terms: Grow the fuck up and get a life….or better yet, get a job. Unlike you Rebecca who I would assume is a kitchen wench I do have a job and I would venture to say I spend much less time than you in front of a computer for pleasure and eating bon bons. I'm gonna make another assumption here. I bet you top the scale at over 200. No I did not recently discover the word ree ree, but I just recently discovered several ree ree's on this message board. Again Rebecca, who would lie about having seen interviews? You are a pathetic middle aged fat woman with no life. Ferhman...If you are gonna trash talk him at least learn how to spell his fuckin name. It's Fuhrman you ass clown. Enough said. Also ,, I don't think you know what it's like being black,,, but ,,, maybe in the next life You certainly don't know what it is like because from your statement calling me a racist, only a white person would say that. Oh and Rebecca, you only skim these forums once a week but just so happened that once a week was just a few hours after i posted. Likely story, you sit in front of your comp probably over 5 hours a day and then probably have the audacity to blame fast food joints for your obesity. Back to you Stephen. You are obviously 50 plus years old and I would imagine a fat big bellied white man, balding, and you still don't get off your fuckin ass to do something productive. You must be proud having mowed lawns for a living. How many did you mow? Come on now, we all know you kept track. Just curious but is your trailer a double wide? Some people on here I can understand wanting to gather every bit of information about the crazy family and the Likens family due to the fact they have an actual connection to them. Stephen and Rebecca you two are just morbid wanting to know everyone who is involved story going back to the time they were swimming in their dads nutsack. Get a fuckin real job and a real fuckin life. Lose some weight and maybe your boyfriend will finally propose to your fat ass after 5 long fuckin years of getting the milk for free.

SoldierGirl on Nov 23, 2008


Hey SoldierGirl, are you in the Military??

Kebo on Nov 23, 2008


One last thing what is up with using 50 million fuckin commas? Is that the punctuation they taught you in the 5th grade in fuckin Indiana or you just assuming everyone on here has eyesight problems so you have to make sure you put enough commas so they can see them? I wonder why no one ever says ,,, Oh wait,,,, You see SoldierHarold,,,, Now ,,, Those are just examples of one short post you made. Oh, I get it you must have OCD. Like you I didn't quite pick up on the indicators right away. It's 06:30 in the morning and I just finished PT so at least I have an excuse unlike you.

SoldierGirl on Nov 23, 2008


Kebo, Yes I am in the Army.

SoldierGirl on Nov 23, 2008


Hey soldierslut,,, I have a construction company ,,, I don't cut grass ... And it's not my fault you can't get laid with your condition.. KK,,, Good question ,,, do I think OJ did it...? When someone can explain how he did it I will believe it

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 23, 2008


Now I know why we can't find Bin Ladin..... Jesus..

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 23, 2008


Yeah man whats up with that soldier why cant the US army find one man r u a spanker by trade to

monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008


is it that funky monkey rank dank chuky puky pungent yeast got ya down

monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008


Did someone just peel an onion ? Oh shit Osama it's the reereegirl and she's got her stank on what do we do ? run ?

monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008


News bulletin: soldiergirl alias reereegirl has been found today in her northside appartment silent but deadly estranged husband has been questioned and released no further news at this time

monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008


Hey Stephen the fat baldy,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Hey soldierslut,,, I have a construction company ,,, I don't cut grass … And it's not my fault you can't get laid with your condition.. KK,,, Good question ,,, do I think OJ did it…? When someone can explain how he did it I will believe it That is truly funny considering before you talked about doing landscaping and not owning a construction company. So how is the construction company going for you these days with the wonderful housing market? Your company in the red? Also who in their right mind would own a construction company and not be a shareholder of a construction corporation to safeguard oneself? Go take some fuckin business classes asshat. Last time I checked I was married. Yeah and an old fart who is balding and fat does get laid. Riggghhht,,,,,,,, I believe that one. When the fuck did I ask you whether OJ did it or not?????? I don't give a flying fuck if you think he did it or not...... Again it has gone over your head...... I was pointing out what the poster who originally posted the OJ remark meant by it..... Apparently he never replied back to you after your stupid comment cause he saw it was a waste of time to try to explain it to a box of rocks. I see you still haven't taken your meds for the OCD today cause you are still using,,,,,,,,,,,Oh and by the way go to fuckin school and get some edumacation on reading comprehension. hey there spankermonkey (nice name, speaks volumes of you) why don't you go find Osama since it is so easy to do? My advice to you is get of the fuckin computer (surfing porn sites and whacking off) in your parents basement and get a fuckin life and a job so others don't have to pay for your ass in life. Every time I see your name at the top of a post I go FUCK why couldn't your dad have shot that load onto your moms face instead of into her nasty baby box? Stephen is at least midly entertaining sometimes. Like a pet monkey who has the shits or something. One last thing dumb ass, I know its you Rebecca but you made a new name to post under so it wouldn't look like you sit in front of the fuckin comp all day making your poor chair work overtime to support your fat ass.

SoldierGirl on Nov 23, 2008


estranged husband jumps for joy but falls from the second story window to his death last words were beware of the curse the curse of the reereegirl

monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008


hey hey hey. what happened here? For 400+ posts, we had some good times and bad times, some ups and downs and some arguments, but then suddenly, wham, in walks soldier girl and kills everyone. I have enjoyed reading the posts and I like the debates. I don't so much agree with Rebecca and she pissed me off on a couple of occasions, but what's wrong with Steve? And it wasn't like Rebecca pissed me off as I would be if someone had stolen my car, so I didn't feel the need to post on here just to curse her out. She is allowed to think whatever she wants, as much as I might not agree. For the record, we had another "branding" abuse case a few days ago where a mother burned the word "wimp" onto her kids neck, so it's obvious Silvia's problem continues even today in some ways. We can use Silvia's horrible experience on this board to find resolutions to things like this, not use it to kill everyone. As you can tell from the posts, Kathe and Steve and most people I've seen posting on here have opened up a lot and talked about their own lives and sorrows and dysfunctions and things they have suffered. It was getting to a point where this board was being used for people to come in to their own in some small way. The last thing we need is to shut everyone down now. I don't blame anyone for expressing their opinions on here, but we don't need more bloodshed. Let's take the character assassinations and name calling down a notch please. It's just contributing more to the anger and abuse that's already out there and it's destroying instead of creating. thanks

JT on Nov 23, 2008


estranged husband jumps for joy but falls from the second story window to his death last words were beware of the curse the curse of the reereegirl monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008 Wow you are very witty monkeyspanker /sarcasm off. How long did that take you to come up with? A few hours I assume. How cute - Stephen, Rebecca and Monkeyspanker all have a place to high-five each other when they pool their intellectual might and come up with articulate insults like "SoldierHarold" and "soldierslut." My personal favorite was "Mr. potato head ." JT and others, I do apologize for the name calling, but when I see f*ckwads like Stephen, Rebecca and monkeyspanker post their nonsense drivel I can't help but to respond. Rebecca is just a plain moran who makes crap up as she goes along such as the interviews that never existed. Stephen is a middle aged fat white guy that likes to play the racism card which just pisses me off when a white person does it. He talks about how others don't know what it is like being a black man. How in the hell would he know what it is like to be any ethnicity but white? Somehow he thinks it makes him look cool to play the racism card when there isn't even any racism on this board. When I read his posts where he has called several people racists I just go /boggle. Then there is Monkeyspanker who for the most part, his posts are more or less unintelligible and hard to read and figure out what he is trying to say. Maybe if he would put away his gerbil before typing he would make more sense. To Rebecca, Stephen, and Monkeyspanker, If you bark like a dog or whine like a dog I'm going to treat you like a fucking dog. If you don't like it then grow some thicker skin to match your thick skull.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


Monkeyspanker, Forgot to ask you earlier, are you really that fuckin lazy that you can't type out the words are and you? "r u a spanker by trade to" There is nothing I can't stand more than lazy fuckwads who can't type out a three letter word. Maybe you should go to work for Stephens' construction company and type out proposals and bids for him. Would look something like this....we can build ur dream home for only 200k as we r a company that saves u money.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


SoldierGirl ... where does your problem with middle age or 50 + people come from? (Are you going to kill yourself when you get to that age?) And why do you link that age group with overweight? AND with pretending? Puzzling ...

Kathleen on Nov 24, 2008


is it that funky monkey rank dank chuky puky pungent yeast got ya down monkeyspanker on Nov 23, 2008 Comments like this bring me back to this forum again and again. What would the internet do without illiterate philistines like Monkeyspanker the tool? It's fucking beautiful.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


SoldierGirl … where does your problem with middle age or 50 + people come from? (Are you going to kill yourself when you get to that age?) And why do you link that age group with overweight? AND with pretending? Puzzling … Kathleen on Nov 24, 2008 I don't have a problem with middle aged people. I have a problem with Rebecca and Stephen who just happen to be middle aged. Rebecca likes to call every poster who disagrees with her 6 years old, so therefore I'm just pointing out their ages. I don't link that particular age group with being overweight. However, America has an obesity problem and the obese people usually aren't the ones who are active in outdoor activities or going to the gym and lifting weights. The obese in this country are usually the ones who sit in front of a computer all day. Monkeyspanker, on the other hand, is probably a teenager who is obese and living in his parents basement on the computer all dam day. Hell, since i'm stuck in a shithole of a country at the moment for a year is the only reason I even get on message boards because there is nothing else to do really during my free time. If I was back in the states I dam sure wouldn't be posting, but instead I would be out doing real life activities. Like I said before, Stephen is mildly entertaining like a pet monkey who has the shits. If I had a pet monkey here who just happen to have the shits then I probably wouldn't even read the drivel that Stephen spews for its entertainment value. Pretending? If you are asking about Rebecca making up articles of interviews from Stephanie, Marie, and Paula about how they supposedly claimed that their lives were miserable because of the noteriety of this case then yes I guess you can call that pretending. I would just call it a plain stupid lie to try to prove her points which she can't clearly articulate without making crap up. Stephen also claims that the Indiana justice system is never wrong. Yet he claims the family court system in Indiana is all jacked up because he lost custody of his child to a convicted child molester. I personally believe that the Indiana family court system is in tact and working as intended and not giving custody to dolts such as Stephen. Clearly, there was a reason he didn't get custody. He must have been the worst of the two evils. I guess I find it mildly entertaining to make fun of hypocrites like Stephen.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


Hi, Soldier girl, the posts/article ones Rebecca referred to may have been those on the imdb board where some of the Baniszewskis posted before they got bitten off by people who needed to give out shite to them - after that they deleted all their posts from these boards. I know that some months ago there used to be comments on the net (not with imdb) referring to articles with direct quotes from Paula who have disappeared as well. I take it something similar happened there. And far as I can recall, Stephen has never said that the Indiana justice system was never wrong, and certainly not with reference to the Baniszewski trial(s). And whatever Stephen is, hypocrite is most certainly not appliable. As a military person, you sure have some knowledge about conflict de-escalation techniques, or whatever it is you call it in US-English?

Kathleen on Nov 24, 2008


she couldn't make it in the private sector so she joined the camel toe Ftroop she's loves a good foxhole but never call her one shes manly and loves her PBR warm over a sizzling 50+ yr old corpse w/no hair she's a mighty ole gale w/ a trigger finger whistles while she works on the camel toe squad She looks mighty fine from 400 yards in those combatbooties oh don't you love the US money mill

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


stephen is one hell of a feller to bad now that hes 50+ he looks like helen keller but in my book hes the master 50+ near death story teller stephen became catholic when he heard stephen was stoned he said where do i sign bring on the sheba and comfortable ass throne as he sits there looking on his ass starts hurting as he smokes from that 50+ bong he gets pissed when he has to stand sit stand sit but going to catholic church well you'll have that shit hes a fun loving guy with so many interesting stories to tell but if you take his splif he'll smoke you in hell communion is a hastle cause he usually dumps his weed but the chance to see all those fine asses makes him rise like a bull stead stephen dont take this poem the wrong way I too like to now and then smoke a good jay 🙂

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


ross your a man of few words short and sweet like your name the real intellectual that knows how to lay the blame your brain is so massive your head leans to one side hell this 50+ baldy ain't got nothin to hide kathleen is the sweetest pie on the shelf I hope you know but according to soldiergirl your 50+ ass is ready to go Rebecaa she likes to skim over shit but when the reading gets good she can't quit KK came down to earth when he realized he was wrong and when he goes to the beach we can only hope his 50+ ass will stop wearing that thong I'll be back when there is more to say Yall have a wonderful day

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


I quit posting on here because of the hostility towards differing opinions, but I've ben following the discussion for the most part. It's pretty sad that it has degenerated to this degree considering why this board exits. But, I have to say that you all can dish it out, but you can't take it very well. I felt that I posted respectful and insightfully only to be attacked and accused by Stephen of being another poster in which, I thought, really? Are people really that paranoid? Anyway, Soldiergirl comes on and talks to some of you the way you talk to others and Stephen loses his mind. I think everyone needs to remember why this board exists. If you want to mindlessly and immaturely attack people, or one another, why not do everyone, including the memory of Sylvia, a favor and take it somewhere else. Just stop responding to one another, that might be a first step.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


Soldiergirl, "Unlike you Rebecca who I would assume is a kitchen wench I do have a job" Sure you do. /sarcasm "I would venture to say I spend much less time than you in front of a computer" HAHAHAHA!! This is the first time I've been on this forum since I've written that 3 sentence reply to your 5 paragraph swearing blob that was barely legible, and in just one day you managed to shit out 6 more essays of the exact same idiotic ranting drivel. Let me guess, it's okay for you to talk like that because you're in the army, right? "Again Rebecca, who would lie about having seen interviews?" I didn't lie about anything. They were posted on a crime forum some time back, which now seems to be gone (the site and all). They were there though. If you don't believe it (of course you won't lol) then go fuck yourself. I'm sure you're good at it XD "I bet you top the scale at over 200." You seem to be a little obsessed with the fat insults, soldiergirl, just a wee bit. Is that the best you can do is call us fat? Come now, I'd expect someone in the army to come up with something more intelligent then "you're fat and stupid teehee". Or maybe it's because you're so insecure with your own weight problems that you feel the need to project them onto us. Because deep down you feel so bad about your weight that you think calling us fat will make us feel bad to. Well lol just for the record, I'm 25 years old and weigh 130 pounds. Come up with a new insult, because calling me a fat 45 year old with no life is doing nothing but making me laugh...and while you're coming up with a new insult, why don't you do a few sit ups in the process to help burn off that marmalade like stomach of yours; you'll be killing two birds with one stone ;D "If you bark like a dog or whine like a dog I'm going to treat you like a fucking dog. If you don't like it then grow some thicker skin to match your thick skull." Soldiergirl, you're the one that seems to be so passionate and hell bent on getting on here and typing out these long, spastic, insulting swearing hissy fits when everyone else has answered you time and time again with calm, short and to the point responses. I think my reply here is the longest anyone has typed out for you and it's far from the middle-school ramblings you've been doing. Seems to me it's you that needs to grow the thicker skin. Seriously, get off the internet and go back to Iraq where you belong.

Rebecca on Nov 24, 2008


yeah let me guess stephen must be out of sheba

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


Wow; I've been away from the boards for a few days, and it looks like it's been getting a bit crazy over here. Kathleen: I missed your post with the question about the article that Gertrude had given. I think she was being interviewed just as an older, respected inmate - she was not abused. I need to get the article from Denny - it must have been in the ones that I ordered from the Indiana State Library, and he had tucked them away. The other interesting thing in the article was a comment was made about breaking out of the prison, and she remarked "it would be stupid to try to break out', which I found amusing since Paula did break out. I'll find the article and try to get it on here this week. I'm really surprised none of these yahoos accused me of being of the B's; someone did on one board I found. At first by the tone I thought perhaps soldiergirl was the person posting as Angee over there, but guess not. She was more interested in accusing Rebecca of being Paula. I hope we haven't scared off Jennifer the editor regarding the upcoming book from the inmate that served with Gertrude. To all the regular posters here that have been able to intelligently debate our opinions without such obviously immature tactics, I hope to continue our discussions.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 24, 2008



Stephen Hostetter on Nov 24, 2008


Anyway, Soldiergirl comes on and talks to some of you the way you talk to others and Stephen loses his mind. Kai ,,,, how was it I lost my mind ? All I said negative was soldierslut I guess I'm supposed to let these fowl mouth heathen walk all over me a ....?

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 24, 2008


To Stephan: I just reread the posts to make sure I wasn't mistaken. I wasn't. I think soldiergirl is a foulmouthed rage filled person, but some of what she said in her first post I agreed with. She didn't address you in her first post yet you took it upon yourself to provoke her further. What's the point? You attacked me because I *gasp* used OJ as an example of how justice is miscarried, didn't direct it to Indiana, just the justice system in general, just my opinion of a guilty person getting away with murder as most of the Baniszweski's did, and you lit into to me like I killed your dog or something. I was just posting here like everyone else, not insulting anyone, not calling names, and was attacked by you completely unprovoked. And considering you did that to me, I was just pointing out that when SG attacked someone you got upset and called her names. You are not a friendly poster and have no tolerance for people who have different opinions than you. Rather than discussing it civilly you attack, like a few others on here. I don't post much, I found this subject interesting and was shocked at the rudeness. You can disagree without calling names or attacking, and just ignore people who rage and carry on.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


Once again Monkeyspankers posts are unreadable which is no surprise. Get off the porn and go to school so you can learn to write. Rebecca, I like how you put Lol after your sentences to let people know when to laugh since your writing isn't articulate enough. Rebecca you make no sense about me being fat. In the military people are not fat. I have a six pack stomach so it is you with the jelly belly. Like Kai said, it is funny how you all can dish it but not take it. Mrs. White, why don't you quit butting into your husbands past and dragging crap up. Monkeyspanker who talks about not making it in the civillian sector. I was Homeland Security Border Patrol making 90,000 a year. The Army happened to offer 40k bonus, 60k college and a top security clearance in the intel field which equals a 6 figure income in the private sector so it was enticing to join. Too bad your pansy ass could never hack it in the military.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


Kai,,, I may have been a bit thin skinned true but If I said anything personal please excuse me ... It would help if you could quote me since I have no clue what exactly you are refering to. I think it started out with KK switching names and attacking me then you chimed in telling KK that " thats ok KK I think I'll be ok" like you have a close connection to the likens girls then nothing else was said... I got nothing against you personally but If you have something to say say it... I think some of the problem has been myself reading past post and trying to comment without posting a quote.. Anway,,, I hope we can start a new and ignore these few new offensive posters regards

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 24, 2008


This board is so full, if you really want me to I suppose I could go back and find it, but I don't see what purpose it would serve. I was accused of being Kebo also. I don't know. I don't have much more to say about any of it. Really, I just posted on here because I was as haunted by Sylvia's story as I presume everyone else was. I am unsympathetic towards ANY of the Banisweski's excluding the very small children and I am not going to apologize for that. I was just here to discuss, without rancor, the case and the aftermath. I think everyone, or most people feel that justice was not served and though I am unfamiliar with other boards from what I read here, the feeling is universal. Some disagree and feel there are other components to discuss and debate, but, unfortunately, there are a few people who seem to digress to very immature dialog when their opinions are challenged. It does not make it enjoyable to post or discuss, which is why I quit posting. I have NO connection to anyone in this case. None at all. I would really, really like to see Paula outed though. I think she should be exposed. She does not deserve to live in peace. I can start anew, hopefully everyone else can too, including SG.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


Soldiergirl: Why don't YOU quit trying to provoke people for no real apparent reason. I hadn't directed any of my posts to you. I usually just respond to someone's question, so I don't know how that is "butting into my husband's past and dragging crap up." Perhaps you are Angee from the other board after all. Big deal - you're a big tough army chick. Whoopee. No one here cares about your bonus or college fund or the fact that you were homeland security making 90K a year. Talk about dragging irrelavent crap up...

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 24, 2008


I have decided to stop posting here... As Kai mentioned it is pretty much pointless to debate the death of Sylvia Likens.... I have been honest and forthcoming in telling my own personal experiance on the subject of abuse ... I think thats about all we can do in order to achieve any kind of productive goal against child abuse. Everything I have said has been 100% legit ... If you guys wanna help protect children from child abuse please consider talking about your own personal experiance ... I must say that after I talked and got it off my chest I felt much better.. Just maybe it will give a scared and confused child going through the same thing that they might have the courage to break the cycle themselves.. Ok, now it's all up to you guys.. Do the right thing and tell your story Peace

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 24, 2008


"you're a big tough army chick." I wouldn't give her that much credit. I'd say more along the lines of scary butch dyke in the need of some serious anger management.

Rebecca on Nov 24, 2008


"you're a big tough army chick." I wouldn't give her that much credit. I'd say more along the lines of scary butch dyke in the need of some serious anger management Rebecca, you are the butch dyke who still has a boyfriend after 5 years and no ring. How pathetic is that. Also your little quote about go back to Iraq was humorous. Why don't you fuckin do something for your country instead of shoveling food into your mouth. Kathe White, I don't give a flying fuck if you think I'm Angee or whoever. And if you think for 1 minute that the posters on some other message board were really Marie, Paula, and Stephanie, etc.. then you need to fuckin grow up and realize people can be anyone who they want to be anon online. As a matter of fact I highly doubt you are who you say you are. Who would be fuckin stupid enough to use their real name on a message board and say they have a connection to that fucked up family. You just set your autistic kid up for failure if any of his classmates read this crap and see that he is the grandson of Gertrude. Get off the fuckin comp and take care of your kid. Rebecca, Holy shit son, you have got to be the stupidist person I have ever encountered in my life. Sylvia will never have to experience pain again. Go through your life without a soul to offer love and forgiveness and see if it's worth living. Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 25, 2008 Well if its not worth living then why do all the convicted murderers on death row want to get out of prison so badly? At least they still have a life unlike Sylvia. Do some research! There have been interviews and reports given by the children about how their lives have been since the murders. You don't need to know their new names to find them! My boyfriend supports me in not being a narrow minded twit and being able to look at something from a different prospective. Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008 Interviews and reports are not some anonymous people on a message board claiming to be them. "Yeah, Paula talks to the press all the time." You just answered part of your own question, dumbass. And you CHALLENGE me!? ROFL!! You should change your name from Kaptain Kebo to Kaptain Bebo… as in Bebo the clown! Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008 Looks like Rebecca started the name calling back on oct 26, 2008. And you're a fucking idiot! What a crazy world we live in! It's 2:30AM, I'm tired, and i'm not going to go digging through old websites to recap on the interviews. You wanna find them? Get off your lazy ass and look them up on google. …..What the hell is foutaa? Rebecca Wilkins on Oct 26, 2008 Rebecca, Stephen, White and that dipshit Monkeyspanker seem to think they own this message board and are the only ones who can use profanity or call people names to get their point across. When someone else comes along who stoops down to their level they can't handle it. Just like Stephen in so many previous posts has called people racists but when his little crackhead friend makes a towelhead remark he simply says nothing and by being silent condones the racism of Monkeyspanker.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


SoldierGirl: I don't care if you are or aren't Angee. I don't care if you doubt who I say I am. I don't care if you believe that any of the B's ever posted on any boards. You have to be just about the rudest, crassest four-letter slinging jerk I've ever seen post on this board. I don't use profanity; funny you have the nerve to point that out when you can't type a post without being vulgar. Is that the way you represent the US? Nice. I never claim to think I own the message board. I would NEVER stoop to the low level where you apparently live. You wouldn't know the first thing about setting up an autistic child for success or failure. "Get off the comp and take care of your kid" - you are truly ignorant. My kid is in school during the day.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 24, 2008


I am from a long line of Military and, honestly, I can not say one thing against anyone brave and unselfish enough to serve. SG, you are to be honored for the duty you have undertaken to insure things like free speech and the freedom to even have something as freedom based as the internet, but, I implore you to take it down a notch and know that you are better than the angry reactions you are having. I understand the frustration and anger you feel when you read posts where people defend the Baniszewski family. I feel it too. But this is a board dedicated to Sylvia I think and letting yourself get ramped up because of a few attackers is beneath your station. Let them spin. I think your first post was in line with what most people feel. So, I ask you to just ignore the negative and engage in debate, or ideas with the like minded and respectfully exchange ideas and thoughts. Hopefully you don't tel me to ---- off and help the board et back to the purpose for which I believe it was intended.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


sg couldn't fight her way out of a wet paper bag what a waste of US dollars the bitch cant work for respectable ppl w/ that kind of attitude they'd kick her silly ass in the street cant you see shes just a young little potato head and kai you fucking stupid hen pecked little mommys boy you need to go pull your head out of your ass and quit condoning the taking of human life you eye for an eye mentality slip notch chicken shit sg your about as pathetic as they come and I hope you find that 30-06 round you been on a death wish waiting for

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


sg= subhuman

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


tell us something sg just how many races are there in the world in your opinion

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


Okay MS. Lol, it's okay, I know life really sucks for you, it shows. But, you don't have to disgrace yourself like this, really you don't. Get some help, the people in your life will be grateful.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


Towelhead: based on a religious custom of wearing a turban. one that claims that his religion is not uncivilised as it is a perfect excuse to rationalize terrorism and abuse twards women and who ever deemed an infidel to allah this is the context in which towelhead was used now have the army send you school before you keep making a complete fool out of yourself

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


kai oh so its me that needs help huh just explain one thing how in the fuck can you go to war over ideas and beliefs in religion and if you cant answer that maybe its you that needs help

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


Since when does supporting the military have to do with supporting the war?? I think the war in Iraq is a complete lie and a sad waste of human lives. But, my uninformed sad poster, all wars are over ideas and beliefs in religion. And the reason you have your freedoms and the country you live in. Like it or not we are all beneficiary's of war in one way or another.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


Rebecca, Who started the name calling first? Was it not you? You have an impressive ability to go from zero to Tourette's with only a small amount of prodding. I'll address anything you post - you just spew the same stream of second-grade gay jokes. You've been getting your ass kicked all over this forum by everyone that steps up to you - maybe you should take a rest. Monkeyspanker, This is the last time I will even read or address one of your incoherent posts. "tell us something sg just how many races are there in the world in your opinion monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008" First you might just wanna start using the caps button every now and then when starting a sentence. Secondly, you should think twice before calling people towelheads, especially since your only friend on this forum is Stephen, who has made it quite clear he has no tolerance for any racism. Thirdly, you really, really suck at flaming so it's best that you find a new hobby. Kathe Mendelsohn-White, Get a job then while your kid is at school instead of collecting welfare.

SoldierGirl on Nov 24, 2008


kai the vietnamese won the war in vietnam and im still letting freedom ring if this is in fact freedom

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008



Kai on Nov 24, 2008


yeah your in need of help indeed question mark i'll bet your catholic because mommy is catholic and your a war monger because you have been programed and hard wired by your military infested family to believe the media hype brainwashing you have a gangland mentality an eye for an eye which leads to total distruction of mankind and i need help cause i dont understand why your the way you are

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


"Who started the name calling first? Was it not you?" You were/are pathetic scum - Kaptain Kebo post #154. October 25, 2008. That right there was the very first name calling on this forum (all is done and forgiven, Kebo, just trying to make a point <3). I suggest you actually sit down and read what was written here before clacking away madly at your keyboard to the point where you bust off random keys; you're only making yourself look like an even bigger jackass with every word you type. "you just spew the same stream of second-grade gay jokes." Hey atleast it's a few grades higher then your pre-school fat insults 😀 "You've been getting your ass kicked all over this forum by everyone that steps up to you" You keep telling yourself that.

Rebecca on Nov 24, 2008


Okay. Discussion, or lack thereof is over. There is clearly something wrong with you.

Kai on Nov 24, 2008


just keep laying down the example for the youth to follow they damn sure will and the lack of discussion is a reasult of your ignorance

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


sorry man but i have a hard time supporting a war that cant be won we have been looking for one man for going on eight yrs now we have spent trillions of dollars our country has sky rocketing unemployment which has thrown our country near total bankrutcy we have poverty and crime levels on the rise in every major city I'm suppose to support the fact that hundreds if not thousands of our kids are losing their lives and for fucking what? what exaclty have we accomplished besides tearing apart our country and the economy we should support a war even though we are finding it hard to feed our own and maintain a decent lifestyle my message to all the trickle down theory fatass fuckin republicans is take a fucking look outside while you drive to your plush office building get a fucking clue man you are in some serious denial you fuckin ppl make me ill and you can support these fuckin nuts on your chiny chin chin you and your free world support the troops hand me down garbage ill do exacly what i damn sure please and i wont miss a fuckin wink of sleep knowing i went aganst your sick ass wishes

monkeyspanker on Nov 24, 2008


Rebecca, again your post was the first to use profanity to try to get your point across. Why even lie about interviews and articles? When the first person challenged you to link or give the site of the articles you call them a lazy ass. Why? Because they wouldn't indulge in your waste of a time search for something that doesn't exist? Lastly, You have the gall to say Sylvia no longer feels pain while the poor perpetrators have to go through ridicule for the rest of their lives. Monkeyspanker, I'm only responding to you because you had a less of a crackhead friend post for you who at least wrote somewhat readable. You are right, America does suck and you really should consider moving to a better place. I hear Iran takes care of its citizens very well so you might want to consider getting citizenship there. Also don't forget North Korea. Beautiful mountainous country on the Pacific ocean and also great economy with a wonderful leader who I think you would be happy living under. Unfortunately America took out Sadam in Iraq so you wouldn't want to move there anymore. It's a crappy place now with a more democratic government. I think you would fit best under a dictatorship or communism.

SoldierGirl on Nov 25, 2008


Stephen, I hope you didn't mean what you said - that you'd stop posting here? There are other posters beside SoldierGirl and the likes of her and we really need your participation. Couldn't we just act as if they weren't there? Greetings, as always

Kathleen on Nov 25, 2008


Kathe, thanks for answering - it's hard to find the serious posters now, of course, in all this ranting. What I said to Stephen applies to you, too, of course, and to all the others who are interested in a real debate. This board has been valuable to me and made insights and ideas possible I would not have had on my own. I'd be very sad to lose it because of some fools who need to vent their spleen. I really believe we should either ignore them or find another place to discuss, and this is addressed to everybody who wishes to go back on the level we had before. Stephen, I hope you read this at least!

Kathleen on Nov 25, 2008


quite good advice coming from a trigger happy disfuntional security guard that earned just over minimum wage thank you for that hey maybe I'll just go live with the amish a

monkeyspanker on Nov 25, 2008


Hi Kathleen,,, I've racked my brain trying to recall every tiny bit of my memory of my childhood in the hopes that I can remember every aspect that involves anyone that might have been connected to Sylvia.. It's been quite a painful process because it seems the more I think about Sylvia the more depressed I become.. I can almost say with 100% confedence in regards to the Sanders family, the shoemakers, Lester Likens, John Banizweski sr., Darlene Mcguiare,, I have met in person and had relations with. Now, where Ricky Hobbs is concerned my memory only lets me see tiny fragments and are scetchy at best.. It bothers me that I can not find out for sure that Ricky Hobbs lived at 218 south 5th. Last week, and the week before, and the week before that, I have walked down the alley behind the Hobbs house re-tracing my footsteps made at age 7-9 in an attempt to recall the faded memorys. I found that the garage where the man was cleaning fish was next door to the Hobbs house instead of being directly behind the Hobbs house... So it was the next door neighbor cleaning the fish and not Ricky's dad.. Which makes me question every aspect of any memory concerning Ricky.. I swear I can almost see Coy Hubberd standing there in front of Ricky as he sat on the swing looking down at him and then rough housing him trying to de-zombify him.. This could be just a product of a over active imagination.. I know for a fact that a Hobbs family lived there and I wish I knew for a fact that it was Ricky's family.. I used to have my first car worked on by a guy named Herman that lived in the next house north of the Hobbs house but he was elderly and died many yrs ago.. I could have just asked him to confirm my thoughts but I was 20 yrs old at the time and hadn't made the connection to Sylvia and the Hobbs house on 5th ave. I halfway know a person that lives right accross the street w/ the last name Messer, but I only know them through someone else and would feel funny knocking on their door and asking about their neighbors the Hobbs' I almost stopped one day when I seen Mrs. Messer in the yard but didn't.. I could go to the cop station but knowing that bunch they might just lock me up for asking what they might perceive as a weird question. I'm to the point where I have to know for sure I just don't know how to go about it.. BTW,, even with the new posters distracting my thoughts I still feel extremely compelled to share my thoughts .. I certinly don't think of myself as the "main guy" here and the attention I recieve does nothing for my ego.. Quite to the contrary I guess I just have a need to fill the gaps of a faded childhood memory and hopfully I can come to terms with all these connections.. I don't feel like I'm at all inteligent,, I hate to read and can't spell worth a damn I know... So before ppl feel a need to drag me down I've already acknowleged my short commings and limited ability to convey my message ... Best Regards

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 25, 2008


Stephen: Your posts and insight into matters ARE appreciated around here. Don't let some minor disruptions shake you up.

Ross on Nov 25, 2008


I seen a program on the history channel a documentory on the human brain and how it works.. They say that a serial killer processes information differntly as does an artist or a person with esp. They say it's phyisical which means the brains of these ppl are physiclly different which is why they think different.. So according to this ,, everyone involved w/ sylvia's murder had the same physical make-up and brain structure.. As we know this can't be true given the wide range of different ppl involved some related and some not.. Maybe this is where that old saying comes into play,,, birds of a feather flock together .. ?

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 25, 2008


I think it's beyond funny how you can come on here and type out these long childish essays of swear word after swear word and then suddenly turn around and have the audacity to blame me for using mild profanity every now and then through my previous posts - posts that had been made over a month ago and aren't even relevant anymore! Whatever profanity I used on this forum was done out of frustration, unlike you who seems to use it because you think it makes you look "cool". Let me tell you something, SG. The fighting that had occurred before is over and done with. It's been over and done with for a month. Everyone pretty much agreed to disagree and that was the end of it. *You* were the one that came on here, and *you* were the one that started mouthing off at everyone in the most unintelligent, obnoxious, and childish fashion I've yet to see anyone use here, and *you* were the one that disrupted the peace here and stirred up old stupid shit that doesn't even matter anymore. If you came here to make a point, the only point you've made is that you can't handle a debate maturely and that you're an extremely unstable person, and I HIGHLY doubt you're in the military. I think you're just saying that to make yourself look badass. For someone who lives such a busy, meaningful life with so many responsibilities, you're sure on here a lot, and from the looks of things, you're only here to cause drama. You don't believe me about the interviews? That's fine. I understand it's easier to call someone a liar when proof isn't immediately available then it is to actually sit down and think that just maybe it did exist at one point, but was deleted from the web when the website it was on shut down. It's not like that could of been a possibility or anything! 😉 My original intent for coming to this forum was because of Sylvia Likens; I never meant to cause trouble. That seems to be the ONLY purpose your here. So you know what? You say you'll address anything I post, but from here on out everything you type is going to be ignored. Maybe then you'll get bored and find yourself a new hobby.

Rebecca on Nov 25, 2008


SG: I think this will be my last statement to you but I'm sure you'll have what you'll believe to be some witty comeback: I am not, nor have I ever been, on welfare. I have a career in the legal profession and currently work for the largest entertainment company in the world. I don't need to "get a job while my kid is at school". Hi Kathleen: I too have found this board invaluable to me and I intend to ignore those who cannot engage in intelligent discussion with respect for others, regardless of their opinions. Some days it's easier to do than others though. Stephen: I chime in with Kathleen in letting you know that I have appreciated your posts and hope that you intend to stay here. Your experiences and telling of them have been interesting and insightful and help to put us in a different time and place.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 25, 2008


Rebecca, You try to bully people who don't agree with you and then get pissed when someone comes along and uses the same tactics as you. I don't give a flying fuck if you believe I'm in the military. Maybe you should check the IP address and just from what country I'm in it might seem obvious that I am. As far as being on here a lot. Lets see after PT from 0530 to 0630 we get 2 1/2 hours breakfast (takes 5 minutes to eat at the DFAC) At lunch which is from 1100 to 1300 we get two hours. Again lunch takes 5 minutes at the DFAC. After eating I usually spend about 15 minutes checking e-mails and lately this board. That is 45 minutes of computer usage a day during free time, including after dinner. You are on here everyday all and I'm sure jobless. Kathe White, Sure you have a job in the legal field.

SoldierGirl on Nov 25, 2008


Wow, SG, you consume your meals in just 5 minutes? Do you even taste the slop you inhale? You realize that's not very healthy, right? Why don't you take that clever advice you gave Rebecca and look up the IP address I post from, if you can, which would prove where I am. Then you could actually call the company and confirm I'm there, since I use my real name, not some made-up moniker. I have nothing to hide. Now I'm done responding to you.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Nov 25, 2008



Kaptain Kebo on Nov 25, 2008


Hi, Stephen, so glad to see you back! I, and many others, I'm sure, would really have missed you. As to what you call shortcomings etc., these are none. Your insights and comments have been more than intelligent, spelling does not have anything to do with anything and those who call you dumb just show how dumb they are. As to your message about Ricky, believe me, I can understand your need to make sure about him. If the man cleaning fish was a neighbour, that says just that Ricky was not one of the boys loving to go fishing with him but he still may have been the one you saw sitting out there. (If you are very familar with your neighbours, you could do that, couldn't you?) Ricky's looks are so recognizable and I don't think you could be mistaken there. That memory of Coy giving out shite to him because he was so zombified sits so well with what we know of them that I think you must have seen it. Maybe you are mistaken about the place. And maybe not! Unfortunately, I can't think of any other way to find out more - unless you were prepared to tell people you are doing research on the Likens case? You are, after all, and I can't imagine people would object to answering a few polite questions. About "birds of feather", I' not sure at all - to begin with, none of the Baniszewskis & friends were serial killers. They had just the one victim. The one feather thing may work for Gertrude and Paula, because Paula seems likely to have inherited her mother's bipolar condition, so their brains sure worked differently from all the other's - on the other hand, not everybody suffering from this disorder kills others or is even an offender and they are not constantly in a state where their brain works in a different kind of way. The only true psychopathic personality - or sociopathic maybe - in this whole story may have been Coy but I'm not even sure about him. You see, there's a lot more to discuss! Greetings,

Kathleen on Nov 26, 2008


Does anybody have any info regarding Coy's post Sylvia criminal resume? And Stephen, I think your writing style is vey unique and really draws the reader in, somebody else said it but I agree that you could write a very ineresting book.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 26, 2008


Did Coy ever change his name?

Rebecca on Nov 26, 2008


Hello,, Google: Obituaries Hubbard, Coy June 25, 2007 Shelbyville IN I'd put up the link If I knew how... Hope this helps Regards

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 26, 2008


Stephen and Rebecca: See post 356.

Ross on Nov 26, 2008


Hi, everybody, Kebo’s enthusiasm about the Millett book made me read it again after a long time, and that, again, got me thinking about Jenny. It’s really a bit strange about Kate Millett – her view of the case is so much coined by her feministic history that her perception seems downright twisted in part - but where the way girls were brought up in the 60ies really wo-uld offer an explanation she doesn’t really go into it. Everything that applies to the classical socialisation of girls applies to Jenny more than to others. Because of her leg. Or rather, because of the consequences physical impairments like this used to bring about. Girls we-re brought up to be passive, responding, obedient. Sylvia tried to be all this. Jenny was all this, more than Sylvia and more than most other girls of her time and age. For she had always been considered someone’s responsibility, someone who needed to be protected, someone one needed to do things for, and she ended up considering herself as such. She had not been taught to think for herself, nor to ever make a decision for herself or to go out of her way and do something unusual. If Sylvia had told her to talk to a teacher … maybe, then, but I suppose Sylvia would have had to choose even the teacher for her and the time when to do it. As long as nobody told her what to do, she didn’t even know she could do something. Instead, both girls told themselves (and each other perhaps) that this would end if they managed to hold on for a while yet, until their parents came back. Of course, this is all guesswork. Greetings to all, as always

Kathleen on Nov 27, 2008


Hello,,, I agree Kathleen ,,, Jenny's condition played a major roll in the mindset of both Likens girls and coupled with the abdonment feelings tward their parents could only fuel more lack of self confedence. The girls were also at the tender age of transformation, all those bundled up confused feelings we have as we begin to make our way into adulthood. Sylvia has been depicted as a loner very passive and somewhat depressed,confused and unhappy according to the image of her sitting alone on the marry-go-round above.. Could very well be that Sylvia turned those abandon feelings into rebelious and deffiance tward her parents .. She may of decided to weather the storm out of spite as a result I can only imagine being left with strangers in a house like that. All one needs to do is look at the crime scene photo of the bedroom where police found Sylvia to understand the squaller they lived in. Sylvia's dad spent the night there so he knew the place was a wreck,, but that could have been the case with many of the homes in the neighborhood and the Likens family did live in that neighborhood. That could be the reason for his lack of concern in that respect. I know when I worked for Lester he didn't think twice about working me like a slave 16 hour days and then having us sleep by a lake.. We were paid just enough to keep us alive and we were skin and bones and always hungry. We made 14.00 a day and that doesn't buy much food at a carnival and certinly doesn't buy 3 meals even in the 70's I know in his mind that was just the nature of the buisness

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 27, 2008


So I guess I'm supposed to think that maybe the Baniszeski's all lied but while lieing they stayed on the same page..? Or am I to believe that maybe all the testimony wasn't brought out in the courtroom ,,, enough to write a book on..? I might read this book but take it as just another "Kennedy assasination theory" type situation. Is Oliver Stone free ,,? Maybe we can get him to do the new movie,,, he seems to be nieve enough

Stephen Hostetter on Nov 28, 2008


Looks very interesting, I can't wait to read it. $35.00 paperback........ouch, should be some very interesting reading though.

Kaptain Kebo on Nov 28, 2008


Hi, everybody, I agree it's a proud price and I hope it's worth it. Stephen, where do conclude from that the Baniszewski's all lied, and what do you mean about them staying on the same page? I believe my English fails me again - or else did I just miss something? Of course it's all theory - most of it is and remains so, even in Dean and sure in Millett and in everything we say here. Can't helped, that. I think you are spot on with your statement about Lester and Betty being used to squalor so that they didn't have any standards about where you could leave your children and where not. And your theory about the girls feeling abandoned and Sylvia's determination not to complain to them possibly stemming from there sure has something to it. Maybe I'd have wanted to punish my parents for leaving me like this somewhere, if I ever had been in such a situation. As you say, it's hard to imagine, but I can see a young girl developing a "Serves them right" - attitude, or even feeling like "I'll show them what they get for it" and "They'll regret that more than I will". Well, I suppose that last one certainly came true. God, it's all so sad. I sure understand why you sometimes get depressed diving into details like this - I do, too. I found it helps, though, if you end up understanding things you didn't understand before, even if it's a small detail. One feels less depressed afterwards. Many things Kathe could clear up for us had this effect on me. Like an abscess bursting: I could never quite imagine, for example, Sylvia trying to say "hi" back to Marie on that last day and, finding she couldn't, waving her hand instead. Once I knew, though, that Marie had tried to help her escape, I could see why she would, it sits well with both girls, then. Small things like this - once I know, it hurts less. Have a good day, all of you.

Kathleen on Dec 1, 2008


Hello Kathleen, My comments were directed tward the new book coming out ... I just can't imagine with all the gory testimony put forth and small details being left out and in order to do so would mean these were details everyone failed to mention.. Just a little hard for me to imagine but doesn't mean it didn't. I'm no expert but given Sylvia's personality the "serves them right" attitude I think is spot on.. Jenny just played along with her older sister as long as she could thinking Sylvia knows what she is doing I've seen her do it before. Your right, very natural for a girl to rebel agains't her parents especially at her age. Yes, I too think the hand wave to Marie is a real eye opener into her thinking. It sure makes me think that Sylvia didn't blame the young ones ..I can only image Sylvia's state of mind on that last day, she must have been delirious with pain .. Her mind could have easiy reverted back to an earlier less threatening time. On the other hand, she could have known the time was near and her suffering would end very soon and she wanted Marie to remember her in a forgiving way. Sylvia may have thought of Marie as being a lot like herself. Not only did she have her middle name, she was different from the rest .. Marie was an innocent and sweet little girl in the mind of Sylvia and confirmed it with a simple wave. Kathleen, I think your right .. To talk about it and try to understand some of it does help relax my mind somewhat.. As far as your English goes,, I read you loud and ever so clear .. I think you really know how to communicate on a level I can only be in envy of.. Best Regards

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 1, 2008


Stephen, I think in the last two/three days Sylvia was not suffering any longer, not physically at least and certainly not from pain. The medical expert in the trial described the condition of someone with her injuries and in prolonged shock as being characterised by numbness, lack of perception and drained from emotion and the ability to react. Which explains, among others, that shovel action during the last night of her life. She wouldn't have been able to had she been able to feel pain or fear. It doesn't make it less bad, of course, seen how much she suffered before, but sometimes our body shows itself merciful to us. Take care and be kind to yourself,

Kathleen on Dec 1, 2008


I have ordered the book; one thing, Stephen, that is interesting in what you brought up is that both Marie and Stephanie have told me that the truth was not brought out in the trial, and does concur with your question of whether the B's lied but stayed on the same page. They have both indicated as such, although I don't know exactly what was lies and what wasn't at this point. Stephanie has indicated that Gertrude's plans included incriminating John Jr., Coy and Richard, and that much of what was testified that they did they actually didn't do. I'm not sure what to make of all of that, however, I am very intrigued to see what this inmate has to say.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 1, 2008


Hello Kathe, I'll have to read this book just to see when they might of had such an oppertunity converse to contrive a false story.. I'll take it with a grain of salt, I'm just glad the story won't start at the beginning ... I don't think I could read that again.. Best Regards

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 1, 2008


Yeah, I've been trying to figure that out as well. The girls indicate that the story was contrived by Gertrude prior to the police coming, but I'm not sure how they still managed to stick to the script after Marie's confession. Wasn't Shirley's testimony after Marie's?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 1, 2008


I'll have to read the courtroom accounts once more.. I was thinking everyone had to come clean w/ the confession of Marie .. When I get time I'll pick up the book once more and try to sort it out. I just can't imagine Marie confessing with a made up story and the lawyers not being able to pick it apart and exposing the holes. Marie was what 13 ,,? this story jives like a well oiled machine ...hmm Just hard to imagine but I suppose not impossible but maybe Marie started the ball rolling and the others just followed who knows.. Now, if this be the case we must re-think the image of sweet, honest, forthcoming accounts which might of condemed otherwise innocent ppl.

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 1, 2008


also, the testimony has to jive with the evidence which would be Sylvia's condition as reported by the county coriner..

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 1, 2008


bear in mind also that the coroner can tell a timed sequence of events

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 1, 2008


Perhaps Shirley's testimony preceded Marie's testimony. I wasn't saying that I thought Marie was making up her testimony once she broke on the stand. I think that some of what they testified though after that, though, still included some of the fabrications that Gertrude was pushing them to say, and possibly they even believed what those things. And I think they still feared Gertrude, even though by the time of the trial, they were in various foster homes, etc., so there was some incentive to try to stick to her story.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 1, 2008


Hello, everybody, according to Dean, Shirley's testimony took place before Marie's and she was not questioned thoroughly, being even younger than 11 year old Marie. Also, in Dean's description she seems young for her age (10), her behaviour is more what you'd expect in a 7 or 8 year old - many times she was not aware of what her testimony implicated, then this smiling, bouncing, sudden tears ... But all in all, her account just didn't yield much and there wasn’t much others could or had to adapt their own testimony to. Dean makes it quite clear that Marie had been put under a lot of pressure by both Erbecker and Gertrude, and Millett shows how Marie was mixing truth and imagination even after her famous „O God help me!“ but it does not seem likely that the gist of what she said was all lies. She would not only have had to be a skilled liar but a damn good actress, too. And then, the main part of Marie's account in court, especially her breaking down, was about the branding. Paula didn't say anything in court and Johnny didn't; Ricky admitted to the branding for both occasions. Therefore I don't quite see where you are going with "staying on the same page." I can imagine that in Getrude’s eyes the three boys had so much against them already that a conviction was going to happen anyway, it couldn't do them any more harm if they were accused of having done more than they actually did. They were all minors and wouldn't be in for long (which proved to be true), two of them weren't even hers (Gertrude did always imply or say outright: "It was the children, and rather the neighbours children than my own") and maybe Gertrude perceived Johnny as stronger than his sisters. I can even stretch my imagination to Ricky admitting to more than he actually did – out of guilt for what he really had done or even out of some ill-advised gallantry to Getrude – but I don’t think it’s possible for so many accused parties to concert their statements on a large scale. At least not for long, not with everyone having a lawyer of their own and the lawyers sometimes at war with each other and at war with Erbecker all the time. Not with all the medical experts. I took that statement about not all the truth having been brought out at the trial to mean something different: Details, like Stephanie having under Phenobarbitol, Marie having tried to help Sylvia’s escape, things leading up to violence, all the children knowing that Gertrude had something wrong with her … Thing is, I first watched that trailer about the film without sound and when I had the opportunity to watch it with sound, it was no longer available, so maybe I missed something?

Kathleen on Dec 2, 2008


I meant "the trailer about the b o o k , not the film". Sorry!

Kathleen on Dec 2, 2008


OK; that makes sense with Shirley testifying prior to Marie. With respect to Dean's description, I was told that Shirley was a preemie and was always very small for her age so that makes sense that she appeared to be more like a 7 or 8 year old. Kathleen, I'm not sure I understand what you mean about missing something regarding the trailer.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 2, 2008


Hi, Kathe, what I said about the trailer was because of all these comments that the new book would clear up things that were lied about (jointly or not) in the trial. I don't know where that idea comes from and I do not believe that a book based on the time in jail, whatever G. and P. said or did there, could prove the verdicts from the trial completely wrong. Unless the former inmate swore in there that Paula said: "Ricky never even laid hands on Sylvia, the branding was done by my mother" - or anything on that level. The trailer didn't show anything like it, so I thought maybe something was announced by a voice-off. Stephen, I forgot the most important yesterday: Your comment on my English was kind and sweet but there's nothing for you to envy. You certainly have a gift for language, and as I said before, especially when you bring your own experiences into it, time and place come alive for those who read you. I really believe you should write that book!

Kathleen on Dec 3, 2008


Hello everyone,,, Well, I found the movie "An American Crime" finally. I went into Block Busters and asked the clerk and she directed me to a corner of the store you might not expect the movie to be. In the corner of the store way off behind the games.. The movie is not what I had expected.. The Indiana Torture Slaying and An American Crime are about as different as day and night. Of course one is a book and one is a movie but both are supposed to be taken from courtroom testimony.. The movie is very short. Lester is depicted as having a southern accent, maybe to someone living in the far north but I don't remember him having one.. I know, thats trivial. The movie starts out with Paula making friends with Sylvia and her telling Sylvia about her secret, her pregnant condition. One night Sylvia see's a boy being rough with Paula and she blurts out, " stop she's pregnant".! According to the movie that was the three words that started the ball rolling and shortly the whole school would know Paula's condition.. The movie depicts Paula getting her revenge but when the real torture starts she backs away not wanting anything to do with her mothers evil ways.. The smaller children don't back away and seem to take much pleasure in the torture with Gertrude nowhere in sight.. Has anyone seen the movie, An American Crime and what is your opinions about the movie? Myself, I think they left out way to much which in effect changes Dean's accounts 180 degrees. Kathleen,, thank you for your confedence in my writing skills . I'm still giving a book much thought but as of now can't really figure out a place to start ..

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 3, 2008


Stephen ... start with something familiar, a story often told, or an image, a memory, whatever, that touches you personally - your first visit to the house, or the man cleaning fish, or your sister giving that book to you, or just a thought or an idea you think important, anything that gets you going. The first page you write does not have to end up as the first page of your book.

Kathleen on Dec 3, 2008


Do they explain at any place why this crime is supposed to be specifically american?

Kathleen on Dec 3, 2008


My guess is that it is a crime that is unique and has never been repeated anywhere ,, a crime that would involve so many ppl and very few convictions.

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 3, 2008


Hi Kathleen: I guess it will be interesting to see what this new book will supposedly reveal. Stephanie and Marie have both said that a lot of what was said during the trial was not true. I am hesitant to say exactly what they have said to me because I'm afraid it will start up a whole debate, but basically in their indication that Gertrude "set up" John Jr., Coy and Richard, they have also said a few items I have found interesting but have yet to press them much further. They both have said that John Jr. did not do a lot of what it was claimed that he did do (such as hanging Sylvia from a nail with her arms tied behind her back) and Stephanie has said that much of the testimony implicating Coy was not accurate either. Many of the times when he allegedly was there, she said he was not there. I know they both had a great deal of love for John Jr. and they have told us that he was a very good man and that he ended up helping many wayward kids during his time as a lay pastor. Just so you know, at first I was horrified, like many, that one of the Baniszewski children had become a lay pastor and that one had become a schoolteacher. Now, though, I can see why Stephanie is a teacher and she is actually a very smart, sweet and caring person. And both Stephanie and Marie have told me that John Jr. (he was called JB) often talked about Denny and wondered what had happened to him in his life and kept positive for Stephanie and Marie to not forget him and lose hope that they would find him someday. They are both very sad that we did not find them prior to JB's passing, and Denny is sad as well. I'm sure I'll get a bunch of angry people coming back at me about this, so before I do, please know I do understand their feelings. Hi to you too Stephen: What struck me most about An American Crime was that they depicted Paula being Sylvia's friend when actually that was Stephanie and the dream sequence where Paula helps Sylvia escape, when the one who tried to help Sylvia escape was actually Marie. The whole dream sequence didn't work at all in my estimation. I thought that they put Gertrude in too sympathetic of a light, but I get that Tommy O'Haver was trying to show the human element because that's part of what makes this so hard to understand. But I thought that both Catherine Keener and Ellen Page did excellent jobs in their respective roles. I'm not sure why they included the character played by James Franco because in real life, Dennis Wright Sr. was already gone when Sylvia came. They named the character Andy instead of Dennis or Denny (as he was called, which is why my husband was Little Denny or Baby Denny), and then they named the baby Little Kenny, obviously for legal reasons, although both names are used in the book so I'm not convinced that there would really be any liability for the producers. Also they had Richard Hobbs having a crush on Sylvia, when he obviously had the crush on Gertrude herself. What I have read about why they called it An American Crime is that society as a whole was somewhat responsible for what happened to Sylvia because many people saw things and knew what was going on but sat by and let it happen.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 3, 2008


Kathe, this is deeply disturbing. I’m trying to apply both my logical thinking and my professional education to this, but I get the feeling neither will be sufficient. I could understand Gertrude „setting up“ Coy and Richard - „understand“ to be construed as her reasons being transparent and never as tolerable - but John Jr. was her own son. Even if she thought, rightly, that his young age would spare him a long sentence, it still means that she was ready to scarify one child, and when I ask myself who for, the answers are necessarily limited: For her own sake, or for the sake of one child she loved more than John jr., or for the sake of several children she loved all more than him. In view of the fact that since he went along with it or at least let it happen he must have loved her (or them) deeply, all these answers are equally horrible. And it still is very confusing. I take it that s o m e o n e did hang Sylvia from a nail with her hands tied behind her back –unless someone would invent a crime to make the actions that did take place appear a bit milder – but I should think this required some muscle power. I could imagine that the younger children, too childlike yet to understand what they were doing, managed to do this together and I could stretch my imagination to imagine Gertrude in a wild fury working up the necessary strength. After that, it stops, though. If Paula did it, well, she was going to jail anyway, so why cook up the false story up at all – and since it seems to have worked, it’s not possible to see it in the same light as the “gang of boys” letter, product of a sick mind. If, on the other hand, Stephanie was the one or was part of it – Coy, if he loved her so much as she said in court, Coy might, in an ill-advised feeling of chivalry… I had him down as the one true psychopath or sociopath in all this, and I will admit my feeling of dismay has also to do with professional vanity, a bit. Same as with Marie. I was sure, I still am sure, that her breaking down in court was all genuine and that what she said then, was true, at least in the gist. For the life of me, I can’t see an 11 years old with such an acting skill and calculation. Also, I ‘m unable to make out when this decision to set the three boys up could have been made and when there would have been time to get their stories straight. Actually, it turns out that the question Stephen asked is the most appropriate one: How did they manage to remain on the same page? Please get this right, I’ not asking you anything, and wouldn’t want you to feel put under pressure or something. I just wish I could understand, once and for all, how a mind like Gertrude’s works. I think, if I could once, for one hour, see the world through her eyes, then I knew enough to really be of use in my field.

Kathleen on Dec 4, 2008


Hello,, I believe that the hanging Sylvia from a nail can't possibly be true.. That is if she actually hung there with her full weight on the nail ... I even looked for that evidence knowing as I was looking that it was either a lie or exagerated.. I'm guessing Sylvia was 100 lbs and no nail would have held that weight for any length of time if it did at all.. Also Sylvia's arms would have shown evidence of rope burns on her arms. Could easily have puddied the hole where the nail was and it could have been a large screw instead of a nail but I doubt it.. I'd be more inclined to believe she was hung from the coat rod in the closet but then she'd still have that brusing around her arms.. The second I read Kathe's comment on that issue I knew I was talking to someone that really knew the facts and Kathe is genuin and I take to heart everything she says to be such.. I wish Stephanie and Marie would write a book ,, I would pay any amount they asked..! And even better yet knowing the money from such sales might go tward a foundation for Sylvia's cause. And also to finally bring to light the full truth of this terrible tragity.

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 4, 2008


Hi, Stephen, what you say sounds logical but then what kind of conclusion is to be drawn from that? John jr. was accused of things he had not done so that - what? I don't understand, I just don't. Who benefitted and which way?

Kathleen on Dec 4, 2008


Hi Kathleen,, Who knows, maybe these kids just reveled in the attention "at the time" as was mentioned by a social worker that made statements to the fact.

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 4, 2008


Hi, Stephen ... I will believe they enjoyed the attention, I'm sure Gertrude did, too, and I can see why. But can you imagine three young boys. 12 and 14 years old, reveling enough in the attention to go to jail for it? And it does not explain what Gertrude (and who knows who of her children) would have aimed at, cooking up such a story if there was no truth at all in it. I must admit I'm more confused now than I have ever been in connection with this case.

Kathleen on Dec 4, 2008


It may be that they thought, "well, I'm going to jail and I might as well just be a smartass and a liar"

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 4, 2008


And Stephanie and Marie?

Kathleen on Dec 4, 2008


I mean't all the males involved ,,, the ones that the social worker said, they seemed to be proud of what they had done,,,, John B. and Ricky Hobbs

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 4, 2008


A social worker said that? In the case of Ricky, that would astonish me a lot, because he seemed to feel remorse during the trial - his head in his hands and so on. John B., well, yes. Still - it would have taken all the others to go along with it and what did they have to gain?

Kathleen on Dec 4, 2008


I think Ricky actually had a mental break down a few years later when he finally came to terms on what he had done.

Rebecca on Dec 4, 2008


sometimes ppl grin and laugh to mask fear natural behavior

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 4, 2008


Kathe, I am very anxious to get your review on the new book! I once read a quote from John Jr. that "Sylvia was in the wrong place at the wrong time", that comment has always stuck with me as it is just such a tragedy that Sylvia turned out to be 'the perfect victim' for Gerties rage and other psychological disorders. Stephen, Kathleen is right, you could write a very compelling book of your experiences, combined with your insight to the crime and people involved, I would certainly put in an advance order. Hope all of you are having a great Holiday Season!!! p.s. Stephen................try to keep it under $34.99

Kebo on Dec 4, 2008


Also, I was always told that people convicted of crimes against children were treated less than favorably in prison, I can't wait to hear how life behind bars was for Gertie. What I have read in the past is that other inmates nicknamed her 'mom' and she was very well liked behind bars, which I believe influenced the parole boards decision to set her free back into society. I would still like to know who voted to release her so that I could send him/her a nice little letter!

Kebo on Dec 4, 2008


Hi Kebo: From all I've read, Gertrude had more opportunities in prison that she ever had in her life outside of prison. She attended school, had "jobs" there (she was the personal assistant of the prison chaplain or something like that), and from all accounts was respected by the other inmates (yes, they called her "Mom"). It is probable that Gertrude was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer while still in prison and that had influence on those who voted for her "early" release.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 4, 2008


Good point Kathe, and cancer treatment is costly so they did save the state a few bucks in the process. Keep me posted when the book arrives! Thanks!

Kebo on Dec 4, 2008


Speaking of reviews on books, Kebo ... your opinion of Millett's "The Basement"?

Kathleen on Dec 5, 2008


Hello Kebo, Good to see your still here and thank you for the kind words.. In light of all the new books maybe I should give it a go,,,, My accounts would have to be drawn out in an attempt to fill the pages but I may be up to it.. Quite possible I could get my daughter to help compile the rough drafts.. I guess I'd first have to let her know my story and the story of Sylvia for which I have told her little. Everything I give her disapears "at her mom's" so I won't give her the book Iniana Torture Slaying

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 5, 2008


I noticed that some of the people posting on the imdb site have noted that they just received their copy of Justice From Within, so I would expect that I will get mine either today or tomorrow. It is around 106 pages, large type, and one reader remarked that he finished it in around an hour. Actually nothing really new there I am told. There are maybe 10-15 quotes from Gertrude. The inmate didn't even know who Gertrude was until years later after her release. She said that Gertrude mostly kept to herself. I will hold judgment until I have read my copy of the book, but it appears that at the high price that this book costs, Gisele Veuilleux is out to make some serious money per book. Obviously the inmate gets a cut, but someone calculated that Gisele is probably making around $23 per book. I'd be willing to bet that if Stephen wrote a book, it would undoubtedly yield more interesting information than what this will. It was not mentioned what was revealed about Paula. I noticed that the only mention of Paula in the trailer for the book was in the title itself. If there is no information with respect to Paula, why is her name even in the title at all?

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 5, 2008


106 pages of large print?....ouch! I do understand that when a book is of limited appeal that the price must be higher to justify the set up and printing costs but at $35.00 it is going to be a tough sell in stores. Kinkos would probably copy 106 pages and put it in binder form for $10.00 or $15.00, anyway I sound like a real cheapskate harping about the price but I will wait for Kathe's review and find a 'used' copy on Also, Kathleen- Thanks for asking about my opinion on Kate Millett's book and as I stated before, I found it to be a very informative and insightful addition to John Dean's book. I have only read it once and was a bit distracted at the time so when I get home (I am in Seattle for another week) I plan on reading it again. I still have never watched 'An American Crime' (which is a bit ironic since I am posting on it's forum right now). For some reason, as much as I am interested in any and all information related to this crime and the parties involved I cannott bring myself to have any desire to see the story acted out in a Hollywood version. Has anybody else NOT watched it?? and if you have I would love to hear any of your insight/opinions!! Thanks!!

Kebo on Dec 5, 2008


Well, I did get my copy over the weekend and I was able to read it in about an hour. It didn't yield much information really. Gisele's client lived in the same "cottage" that Gertrude lived in, but she wasn't in her actual room with her. Gertrude mostly kept to herself. Gisele's client did not know about Sylvia Likens or how she was murdered. So the remarks that Gertrude said must not have made much sense to her at the time really. There are a few interesting quotes from Gertrude and one from Paula. Paula was described as very cold and no one wanted to approach her at all. Gisele and her client have a section at the end where they basically answer the questions that they pose at the beginning (the ones that will supposedly be answered in the book), but it is their opinions, not facts. Things such as they do not believe that Gertrude suffered from a mental illness such as bipolar disorder. Obviously they have absolutely zero qualification to make such claims. I know for a fact that bipolar disorder runs in the family and it is arguable that anyone could do such horrific things and not be mentally ill. I think it was extrememly overpriced for what it was.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 8, 2008


Thanks so much for the review Kathe! sorry that it turned out to be a bit of a dissapointment. I really do wonder what Paula's life turned out like. My religion is 'karma' and I do certainly hope that it has prevailed at some point(s) in her life. If anybody has posted on that Sylvia forum I was wondering if it is working for you because I cannot see my posts, kind of dissapointing so I have given up. Hope you all are having a great Holiday Season!! Cheers.....Kebo

Kaptain Kebo on Dec 8, 2008


Hi Kebo: I am seeing posts on the new Sylvia forum, but I know some people are having trouble seeing their posts, namely Investigator. Have you gone to the moderator? She said something about Investigator accidentally being set to private or something, so don't know if that's the same issue you are having. I have only made a few posts so I do not know if others can see them. I think Investigator still cannot see his posts too. With respect to Justice From Within, the inside back cover lists a site http://justicefromwithin/ for comments. There is a comment there from Gisele regarding the price of the book, and she claims that Amazon will make more than she and her client will make on the book. Welcome to the world of self-publishing it says. She also reminds people that the book is copyrighted material and to not post any of the book anywhere without the permission of the publisher. There's also some person claiming that Mademoiselle Gisele is not a liar and that she did verify the inmate's stint, etc. I am totally a believer in karma too, you know, what comes around, goes around. I don't know much about Paula's life, but I'd like to think that karma will have its say at some point too.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 8, 2008


Hi, everybody, I found the blog about the book mainly because I still hesitate to spend all that money on a book that may not provide anything useful. Now I hesitate even more. I don't doubt that Ms. Veilleux means well but her answers show such a lack of knowledge that I believe she just published too soon. One does not have to know about bipolar disorder running in the family to doubt Getrude's sanity, not if one has read enough about the case, compared it to other cases and then taken some time to process the knowledge acquired. For instance, the fact that Gertrude showed an even temper during the two years Ms. Veilleux's client spent with her does not prove anything with regard to her being bipolar or afflicted with something else - or not. First, prison, just like the army, by giving strict and simple rules to live by, lends a kind of stability to a lot of people they would not have developed otherwise – like a kind of corset. Second, in exchange for her freedom she got something inside she never got outside: acceptance, acknowledgement (“respected older inmate”, being called “Mum” ) and last not least, her notoriety! Third, whatever inclinations to violence she may have had/kept were probably calmed down because they were not provoked by opportunity. The serial killer Jürgen Bartsch, who said in his trial that he had tried for years to control his urge to torture and kill young boys and found that he “could manage to space it out but could never have gone completely without”. After a few years in prison his urge had completely gone – because he never saw a little boy. The example is not so hot because Gertrude was no serial killer but whatever provoked her in Sylvia did not come across her way in prison. Fourth, who said that her bipolar disorder was solely responsible for what she did to Sylvia and permitted to be done to her? As if every person affected by this or another psychical disorder were a killer – and as if anyone had ever maintained they were! It ‘s just one factor among many leading up to it.

Kathleen on Dec 9, 2008


bad Karma won't be experianced in this life,,,,,, It's the ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existance... It comes from the Hinduism and Buddhism religions

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 9, 2008


I posted a couple of comments on Gisele's blog site and she retorted back (2x without me responding inbetween so I must have really upset her) and now I cannot post back without "approval". She feels that I am trashing her book without reading it while my friend dismisses it as another Kennedy Assassination theory (yeah Stephen!). I don't know if her blog is now filtering everyone or just me because I dared to speak my mind. My last post (that does not yet show) was just to say that I actually did read the book or I wouldn't have commented on my opinion of it, and that I didn't trash it. I simply gave my opinion. She wanted people to comment on her book. Be careful of what you wish for! And by the way, Kathleen, I think your post above sums it all up rather nicely. I agree with everything you said.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 9, 2008


I also tried to send Mlle. Veilleux an email as listed on her lulu page for her book, and it also filters (you have to name yourself and state your purpose), so perhaps she's getting a little paranoid.

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 9, 2008


I plan on publishing a book about my time spent on this forum..............$50.00 a copy

kebo on Dec 9, 2008


I'd buy that book, Kebo!

Kathe Mendelsohn-White on Dec 9, 2008


I thought about purchasing the book, but when I went to the site explaining the book, I became quite suspicious of the dubious claims it made. Also, $35.00 is an outrageous amount of money. I'd pay $5. I got the Indiana Torture Slaying at Borders for $7, and this book sounds like far less footnoted or fact based than Dean's. In fact, it sounds like fluff. I think we have an intellectually lazy opportunist on our hands who is attempting to pass of her own conjecture as fact and market it. Kathe, Your story amuses me. It must have been funny to watch her backpedal.

Ross on Dec 9, 2008


Yeah, Kebo, we'd love that! And everybody from this forum get's a signed copy, right? (Come to think of it, make that a dedication).

Kathleen on Dec 10, 2008


Hi, Kathe, thanks for your nice comment on my blog. I looked in on the site for the book after I read about your discussion with Ms. Veilleux. I don’t know which of your words provoked such an anger but angry she is! My impression is here is someone out for the quick dollar. I haven’t read the book yet but the impression I get is something was slapped together in a very short time in order to sell a lot of copies before the movie-inspired mob interest ebbs off completely. Now she and her client are afraid the comments by people who read it will prevent others from buying. (At least you did her a favour when you said the quote from Paula was chilling – I read that and said “’I ‘ll have to get it, after all”. Hope she’ll get around to appreciate it.) Much more important: Anything new on the genetic testing? Mid-November you were going up to UCLA. (I guess, though, it takes some time to get an appointment?) I hope and believe that nothing threatening will be found. Greetings to all,

Kathleen on Dec 10, 2008


By the way, I don't want to sound the absolute snob but the person (Schwindt?) on the other blog who called Ms. Veilleux "Mademoiselle Gisèle" obviously does not speak French. It's okay, though unusual these days, to use Mademoiselle together with the last name, but address a woman as Mademoiselle in connection with her first name would only be done if the lady in question were a high-class prostitute. Which I guess is not the case (I mean the prostitution, not the high class).

Kathleen on Dec 10, 2008


Hi Kathleen: Nothing new on genetic testing for now; it could just be end of year crunch trying to get in. In addition, Denny has been a little more agoraphobic as late so it's been harder to get him out and about. It could be he is subconsciously trying to put it off as long as possible because not knowing is, well, not "knowing", if you know what I mean. Not being European, I didn't know the rules about using Mlle. and a first name either, although I did take French many many years ago. After my back and forth with Ms. Veilleux, I still feel that a more complete story could and hopefully someday will be told, but I do feel she was trying sincerely to tell her client's story. She mentioned that if a regular publisher had picked it up, that it would have been more like $12.99, which would have been reasonable. At the price the book is going for, though, I doubt that a great many books will sell.

Kathe on Dec 15, 2008


Hi, Kathe, I know exactly what you mean, and I think that at least part of me can understand your husband, not wanting to know - at least not soon, and not since there is some reason to bei optimistic. I guess this kind of thing is harder for the respective partner than for the person concerned himself. Did any of you see the photos and articles someone put on the IMDb board? I couldn’t even properly thank him or her, since I can’t post there – the infos they want me to provide before I can are to much for my liking. But they are just great, and for the first time ever I saw a photo of Stephanie as she was then. I guess there aren’t many of these around be-cause she got acquitted but I was curious because everybody describes her differently – except Millett who does not describe her at all. Dean describes her as very pretty, some posters on some board who had seen a photo said she was ugly, then someone answered it was just the sixtie’s hairstyle and unbecoming glasses … Well, I think she was pretty enough, and if I think she looks a lot more mature than her 16 years – I could easily have taken her for a grown-up woman – it may be because of her glasses or because of the situation she was in. Mostly I think her face shows intelligence. What really got to me, though, was a photo that showed Gertrude crying on Erbeckers shoulder. Not so much because of Gertrude but because of him. I had no idea they were close enough for this even to be possible. Hard to explain what I mean … I guess I had him down as strictly pro-fessional and I had not expected for him to be so fatherly – or let’s say protective. Strange how one can chew on small details.

Kathleen on Dec 18, 2008


Hello,, I just found an old song on the CD collection AM Gold.. From 1972 a song by Dr.Hook Sylvia's Mother Listen to it on youtube Regards

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 18, 2008


Where can I see the pics?? I looked on IMDb under 'American Crime'. Thanks for any help!! Happy Holidays!, K

Kaptain Kebo on Dec 18, 2008


Newsflsh!! Stephanie Baniszewski (Blake) has a Classmates page complete with 10 or 11 pics. Very pretty girl! Go to Classmates and search her name. (I cannot figure out how to copy and paste on my new mac)

Kaptain Kebo on Dec 18, 2008


classmates asked where they live to narrow the search .. any idea?

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 18, 2008


Stephen: If you search by using her name there is only one page tht will come up and that is hers. I have seem many of these pics but in their entirety. Some of them were with other siblings, etc. and those parts are cut off, except the last pic at Niagra Falls. Thde one on the right is Paula. I didn't know she had a classmates page though. Interesting.

Kathe on Dec 18, 2008


Kebo: go to, go to the topic list and choose topic "emptying the vaults"(third page on my display, but that may differ), and then just take one after another, there are two or three dates where this person (forgot the name, something complicated) posted photo after photo, many from newspapers, some are just articles. There is another topic called "autopsy photos" - they are not very clear but since seeing them once had this effect on you, I'd skip these.

Kathleen on Dec 19, 2008


Hi, everybody, I 've been to the classmates page and have seen Stephanie (Stephen, you 've got to register first, then it's easy). She's under Baniszewski (Blake). Courageous, I think, because she risks getting hate-mail that way. And she was a very pretty girl indeed - the newspaper one doesn't do her justice at all. Something else: On another blog (the one Kebo gave us some weeks ago) the author says Gertrude got married again after her release from prison. It's the first I ever heard of it and I was completely surprised. Can this be true at all?

Kathleen on Dec 19, 2008


Hi Kathleen: No, Gertrude never remarried. That other blog is having some problems and a poster named investigator responded that she did not marry again (he is the atty who put me in touch with Stephanie in the first place), but for some reason people cannot see those posts. The administrator has been having problems with the site in general I believe. I agree with you that Stephanie was very pretty girl. Sorry for the typos in my previous post; I didn't have my reading glasses at the time.

Kathe on Dec 22, 2008


Hi, Kathe, and everybody else - thought so about the alleged remarriage, it didn't seem likely without word getting round. I won't be back here until after new year's day, so I wish a merry Christmas and a good, healthy, successful and peaceful 2009 to all of you and your families.

Kathleen on Dec 23, 2008


Merry Christmas to all of you!! Thanks for the tip Kathleen, I was a little late and I think some pics have been deleted. I agree that Stephanie is very courageous and I hope that nobody is stupid enough to send her any negative e-mail. I would sure like to see Paula put herself out there as well but I do think that she would get a negative reaction from a lot of people (I know, I used to be one of them). Anyway, Happy New Years to all of you!!

Kaptain Kebo on Dec 25, 2008


And Stephen......I hope that you have been so quiet lately because you have been busy working on that book!! Cheers!

Kaptain Kebo on Dec 25, 2008


wow...i read the entire forum. you seem like good friends. i feel unbelievably sad about sylvia, i wonder how her parents handled the depression after finding out what happened to her. i saved stephen's post about sylvia's last was so sad.i nearly cried."oh,stephanie,come take me home."i feel so sad for the poor little girl. i cant get over the case. i have never read any book about sylvia. i want to read indiana torture slaying. i've asked copies from local bookstores but they dont have any from the philippines by the way. pratically no one here knowsanything about sylvia. i myself have wondered,how was she like?how did her story affect the people of indiana personally? i wish this tragedy had been prevented. we failed sylvia.

Cammie on Dec 27, 2008


Hi Cammie,, you'll find that book at

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 28, 2008


Hi Kebo, Kathleen, Stephen and everyone: I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Kebo, did you register on I just looked and Stephanie's pics are all still there on her profile. There are 10 shots down in Stephanie's Photo Album. I wasn't aware that you had to be a member to see them, as Kathleen says, but that must be the case if you can't see them.

Kathe on Dec 29, 2008


I am registered but am not a paid member, I have no problems with the pics, may need to register but you do not have to join. Stephanie is O.K. with me, I get a good vibe from her pics and I am really glad that she posted them. Happy New Years to everyone!

Kaptain Kebo on Dec 29, 2008


hello stephen thanks i'm just not sure if my parents will allow me to buy that book

Cammie on Dec 29, 2008


I can't get over the Sylvia Likens murder! I can't believe so many people killed her! I wonder how miserable she felt just before she died! AN American Crime did not show half of the tortures the beautiful young girl went through. Do the court scenes really come from the actual transcipts? what especially shocks are the neighbors. do they really want to "just mind their own business" or are they also afraid of gertrude? if they are, can THEY imagine how a sweet child like sylvia must have felt? why didn't they tell?!

Cammie on Dec 29, 2008


Hello everyone, Hi Cammie, If you watch this movie and read the book Indiana Torture Slaying you might come away thinking you just heard of two completly different stories... Myself,, I don't think they read anything to make this film.. Not one thing They took what's called artistic license of the story and made a fictional story based on the true story.. Which is what Oliver Stone did for the movie the Kennedy Assasination so that it would entertain ppl more then the true life facts ,,, which means If they would have stuck to the true there wouldn't be enough content for an entertaining movie.

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 30, 2008


I joined classmates myself in an attempt to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ppl.. I seen Stephanie 's page and asked her to sign my friend page. She accepted I know in my heart that Stephanie done everything she could for Sylvia and that makes her my friend..

Stephen Hostetter on Dec 30, 2008


You people need to get another hobby! -other than Sylvia Likens' tragic death. I've read all 617 posts that have been left, and they've turned from a review page for a small indy film to how everyone is either related to, or was babysat by, or went to school with someone in that house. The Likens family ARE still around and haunted by 1965. To them, it's not, "An American Crime" or The Girl Next Door." These girls were their children, their loved ones! They are haunted by the decisions that were made back then and when they close their eyes at night they see their baby on that matress. All I've been reading here is, "Did she die here or did she die there? , Was she hung on the nail or not? , Did she get hung in the closet or would there be rope burns on the courps? Did O.J. do it or not!? You people make me sick! If you truely want to help children who are suffering today, please either become a court advocate such as C.A.S.A. or go down to social services and volunteer, you are needed. But please don't say that talking about this one case on this one blog is doing Sylvia "Justice"! I mean no disrespect to anyone nor do I mean say that your experiences aren't truthful. I just believe that Sylvia would want people to use their time to fight abuses that are happening today rather than dissect a poorly made movie or a book written by a reporter with an associates degree at the time and believing that all to be "gospel". By the way, Natty Bumppo also penned, "A fable: The Case of a Half-Rotten Apple", and published " A Rug Before My Time: The Memoirs of Pecker the Cat." "Indiana Torture Slayings" had 189 pages, yet there were 10's of thousands of court transcripts in that case. Mr. Bumppo picked and choose what he needed to to complete his interpretation of the facts. That book was not intended to be a case study. I believe he makes that clear at the beginning of the book. Although, I believe he did a great job summing up the horrors at 3850 East New York Street, you cannot find the EXACT truth, ever! There is a few posts that really do upset me unrelated to Sylvia Likens here. Stephen... Don't try to write a book about your experiences. (LOL) First, you question even yourself about if you've met these "people" for sure. Second, even if you did, the stories you told weren't that big of a deal! While Jeremy stood up in class an said "She's my Aunt" is kind of a cool thing for you, it doesn't make for good reading. As far as traveling with Lester, you already stated that he never talked about Sylvia or Jenny. I dated Jackie Gleason's grand-daughter for 7 months, but I can't write an interesting book about Jackie Gleason. Also Stephen, I hate to break it to you but Stephanie damn well knew what was going on in that house! She was 15, dating Coy and was at that house everyday! Nowhere (reputably) does it state that she had chronic "absence" epilepsy nor that Gertrude's phenobarbital was really Stephanie's. It really annoys me that because you found Stephanie (Baniszewski) Blake on "" and became (LOL) FRIENDS - you're her only one on that site by the way!, you know in your heart she's not only innocent of any wrong doing, you go farther and state she did EVERYTHING she could for Sylvia! If that's true, than why did Sylvia die?? Ask your new friend!! Please people, quit waisting so much time analyzing such trivial concerns about this horrific case! There are so many cases going on right now of torture and they need your help. I personally see it everyday and it is as severe as you can take. Read about Dorothy Dixon, Aiyana Gauvin, Baby P., The Kokomo, Indiana child torture case., Shanda Sharer. It's going on as you read this blog. Get up off your asses and save these children, comfort them, and get them away from thier abusers! Use the gift of Sylvia gave us and that is we won't stand for it anymore or keep quiet. And for GODS SAKE don't make "friends" with the accused!!! Oh, by the way, the only thing Dr. Hooks 1972 song, "Sylvia's Mother" has in common with Sylvia Likens is the name Sylvia! Sylvia Avery was Dr. Hooks ex-girlfriend whos mother happened to hate him. She was afraid he was coming over to see her so mom said she was moving. I really can't see what made anyone see the Likens case in that song, not one word.

Tim on Jan 2, 2009


Sylvias Mother: Lyrics, Shel Silverstein performed by Dr.Hook and the medecine show... Dr. Hook is not a person it is the name of the band and if you waited for the credits after the video you would have read this.. Sylvias parents are dead They made a movie about Sylvia Likens Stephanie didn't commit a crime and was friends with Sylvia thats like blaming Sylvia for being friends with the girlfriend of Coy Hubbard

Timmy cant read on Jan 2, 2009


Correction, Syvia's mother was written by Shel Silverstien. Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show was the name of the band, not the songwriter, Dr. Hook was (is) not a person.

Kaptain Kebo on Jan 2, 2009


The motivation for most murders is usually pretty cut and dry, money, sex, revenge, etc. This case is very different and so bizzare in so many ways that it has needed to be discussed and examined in order for myself and others to personally gain an understanding of why and how it happened. I have gained a lot of insight by participating in this discussion. The Liken's have been dead for nearly 20 years along with many other key players in this tragedy. And unfortunately, there is not a whole lot we can do about current situations of torture unless you can provide more information about who is being tortured and where.

Kaptain Kebo on Jan 2, 2009


let me ask you something Tim,, why does it matter that we or I am reminded of Sylvia by this sad song..? why does it matter to you

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 2, 2009


O.K. all , again I appologize if I offended anyone, especially Stephen. I know it sounded that way, but I did not mean to direct anything at you personally an I'm sorry. When I stated that, "the Likens family are still around" and "they see their baby on that mattress", I meant Sylvia's family not necessarily her parents. I realize Betty passed and Lester, the last I heard, was still alive. I could be wrong, and I'm sure someone will again correct me on that. I'm not aware of a movie that they made about the murder of their daughter. I do know that Diana represented the family and publicly condemned O"Haver's movie, by saying, " One persons pain, is another persons gain." K.K., as far as most murders usually being cut and dry, you're right. When it comes child abuse the motivations are less clear. When a mother shakes her 1 month old child to death it's not usually for money, sex, or revenge, it is out of rage. I believe they painted a picture in Sylvia's case that it was a combination of jealousy, addiction, and mob rules. Not as uncommon as it might seem, unfortunately. As far as Stephanie not committing a crime, I guess "Timmy cant read" is right. I know the original murder charges were dropped and she was free to go so she must be innocent. I also know that when Sylvia waved to her as she was laying there with her lips shredded and I'm sure Stephanie thought absoluely nothing out of the ordinary about that. I'm sure that before that day Sylvia was in perfect health and in no way traumatized. She probably should have been honored by the Mayor or something. What a beautiful soul she is. Oh... I didn't realize Dr. Hook wasn't a real Doctor. I didn't know he was a character and that the song was just some sort of story. I was think we should analyze it deeper. However, to Stephen, if you get reminded of Sylvia Likens in that song than you're right and again, I sincerely apologize to you.

Tim on Jan 2, 2009


Tim,, We've all had mixed emotions .. I've said things on this thread I shouldn't have .. My social studies teacher started to talk about the incident and he was silenced, maybe thats what I should do.. Maybe If I don't talk about it it will seem like it didn't happen.. I don't remember how the conversation got on OJ but the way you bring it up it does sound bad.. Had to do with the current legal system from what I recall. I visited Stephanie's page and seen her photos with crumples, as though she had tried to erase herself from her own tormented memory. Somehow she must have found the courage to preserve and post them on the website and overcome her fear of rejection.. That's more then I can say for most on classmates. Bout all you see is no face w/ no story but they paid the $$ . makes one wonder what they are ashamed of. Stephanie lived a pretty uneventful and somewhat normal life up untill the madness that was about to happen shortly after she moved to New York st. In just a few months she would be testifying against her family in a capital murder trial knowing her own mother might get the death penalty.. Stephanie was aquitted because there was proof that she tried to save Sylvia several times.. If ppl wanna view me as soft or just plain stupid then so be it .. As far as John Dean goes,, I've heard that he didn't get it all right but no one can produce any evidence of that..

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 2, 2009


Hi Stephen, I see people are very passionate about the Sylvia story, which is perhaps the one positive that came from her death. When I wrote my original post -# 618, I had just finished reading almost 2 years worth of entries in an hour and a half, or so. My point is, I guess, that it read like a "talk show" discussion when in reality it wasn't that way at all. I got SO frustrated at many of the entries, that by the time I actually wrote my entry, I was irrated and vented. I also noticed that most of my comments seemed aimed at you. That was never my intention at all. Perhaps I should explain my background, a bit. On a weekly basis I go into peoples homes and tear a child out of their mothers arms and take them away for a long time. I also, more often than not, have to allow those same children to return to that same home, eventually. Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't. We don't go alone. There are usually 3 deputies with me and the parents aren't calm about the situation. The deputies go in and phsically and very directly remove the child and pass him or her on to me and I immediately leave the area. You know, not once has a child wanted to go with me. They kick, scream, cry and pull for the very same people that beat them sometimes daily! Go figure! I can walk thru a Walmart store and from time to time pass a child that I know for sure is being severely treated. There are signs and mostly time tested indicators that are quite noticeable and accuate. The way the child stares, stands, walks and talks. That bothers me most, because there's not anything I can do to prevent abuse to that child later that night, because even though they're time tested and accuate signs, they are not legal "proof". You were right on your last post, where you stated, "If I don't talk about it it will seem like it didn't happen." That is very true. That happens all the time. My point was to say please don't stop there. Don't get caught up with the minor details of one beautiful childs death that happened over 43 years ago, move on and help the ones that are dying today. Most of the posts that I've read are from people who care about the welfare of our children deeply, but they have to know that Sylvia Likens case was not the "worst crime in Indiana history.' That was a statement made to a jury by Leroy New. Tortures, such as Svlvia's are often happening somewhere in this country. Some, unbelievably are equal to or worse. As far as Stephanie, I wish her only the best. She was not the adult in that house and was cleared of all responsibility. but if you go to Youtube and type in "Sylvia Likens", scroll to "The shocking murder of Sylvia Marie Likens," when you get 2:33 min. into it and see Sylvia laying on that matress dead, beatened and starved, with the swollen vaginal area and all, it makes me wonder if perhaps there wasn't something more that should have been done.. What would any of you have done, even at 15 y.o.? I reaize that does sound too harsh, but I do wish everyone that was cleared in that murder, only peace and happiness. The courts say so... John Dean did a fine job explaining this case. His facts, I believe, were all intact. Nobody can disprove the facts. The only way I can describe my point with that is as follows. The movie sucked to anyone that read I.T.S. because you can't condense all that information into a 90 min. film. (O'haver might have been able to do a little better than he did!) You can't condense ALL the testimony and facts from that case into 190 pages. Some very important insight has to be left out to move the point of the story to an ending. That said, he wrote an excellent novel and I believe the facts he did enter were accurate.

Tim on Jan 2, 2009


Tim, I understand you point of view and I don't envy your job one bit.. As you stated though, you can do your job and experiance the frustration of the revolving door of the legal system.. If I can't stop the legal system from putting my daughter in a house w/ a convicted childmolester then how will I myself be able to stop child abuse of any kind..? After all it was the legal system that you work for that put her there all because they didn't want her to live with a recovering alcoholic. Everytime I left my daughter after visitation she would cry like hell saying, "daddy please don't leave me here"! I felt like going to the nearest liquor store and getting tanked but I knew If I'd done that my daughter would be fatherless. It's only by the love and grace of God that I am still here and sober today.. If you wanna know, I look at the legal system with the same contempt that I look at Gertrude with.. The legal system looks at it like, well we'll just let it ride and see what happens,, so she's got 7 kids and only 3 spoons and no stove.. You just can't replace that "motherly love" and If she gets with a convicted childmolester, well we'll just see what happens It's easy for ppl like Leroy K. New to say,"well we all failed Sylvia" because they want the public to police and do their job so they can "pass the buck" when their ideas fail.. It's kind of like letting the economy go deep into the shithole and then try doing something to help it while the first lady hires ppl to play with the dog while she goes shopping for expensive antiques to furnish the whitehouse with. Then has the gull to come on national TV and tell it in a documentory on the whitehouse. You know we sit and we talk about how great our american values are and we should be the example for the whole world to follow while we spend trillions of dollars killing ppl for not sharing our beliefs while our own ppl are starving.. I am ashamed and detested I guess I should have went door to door asking the neighbors to call the police if they heard anything out of the ordinary were my daughter was concerned.. Is that how it's done? I say that they should investigate a judge that would be sypathetic to ppl with sex crimes for they may be doing the same horible shit themselves..! We need to start at the top levels of government and remove those that don't have our best interest at heart then we can maybe make a difference in the big picture.

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 3, 2009


Stephen, I do feel for you and your situation with your daughter. Without knowing the particulars of your case, I will say that judges are extremely reluctant to take a child from their mother and their environment. Especially daughters. I did gain custody of my daughter back in 2000, but only because her mother thought that was the best thing for her at the time. In 2006 she decided she wanted her back and filed for change-of-custody. Fortunately, my daughter was older than 14 years and she told the Guardian Ad Litem she wanted to live with me. Otherwise, I'm sure she would have been placed with her mom. Once your daughter turns 14 y.o., you ask her where she would like to live. If she says "you". go get a lawyer to file change-of-custody and ask the court to assign a Guardian Ad Litem for her, if that's what you truely think is in her best interest. 9 chances out of 10 the courts will award the child to the one she wants to go to. There are of course a few other factors which will include, your past relationship with her. Make sure there is one. Also, work with her mom to maintain a relationship with her daughter. After all that should be what you want for your daughter, because it's about her and her relationship with her mother and father, not between the two parents AT ALL! That's the way it should be after all, and sometimes you'll have to eat it.

Tim on Jan 3, 2009


Hello, everybody, back from my holiday today and I hope you all had a good time. As to what Tim said about children wanting to stay with parents who mistreat them - that's something I can fully confirm. There IS a theory about why, too, based on classic psychoanalysis. Not being loved by your parents - or being treated as if you were all wrong, impossible to love - is something you cannot accept. you want to prove to them you are worth loving and you can be the child they want you to be - but for that, you need to stay with them. Maybe that, too, had to do with Sylvia staying with Gertrude when she could have left, I don't know. Sylvia was not her daughter but something unfathomable seems to have gone on between them. Greetings!

Kathleen on Jan 6, 2009


And, Stephen, Tim is right too about your daughter. The time she can be forced to live with her mother is absolutely limited and you will get her back if you keep up your sober life and your relationship with her. By the way, I've seen you with your daughter on the Classmates site and she's a lovely girl. Just don't give up, things won't stay the way they are now and you 've got all the reasons to hope.

Kathleen on Jan 6, 2009


Hi Stephen and Kathleen, I know that with my daughter, it was hurtful when my ex filed for change-of-custody. I couldn't imagine life without her and it really threw a wrench in the routine that had developed with school, sports, friends and stuff like that.. I hated my ex when she first did that, but I have to tell ya after time past, I realized she is my daughters mother and they love each other. I may say that my ex was a bad wife, but she IS a good mother for my girl. I don't agree with everything she teaches or says , but I've learned that my daughter is a well rounded happy child that does love both parents and I guess thats what it's all about.

Tim on Jan 7, 2009


14 years old is the key age as far as courts are concerned!!!!

Tim on Jan 7, 2009


thats just it, the courts are not concerned.. my ex split up with her husband in question after 5 years and went back to live with her parents. my ex got hooked on meth and went missing.. my daughter chose to live where she didn't have rules which was with her grandparents. everytime I got involved they would undo everything and nothing got accomplished I've even turned her grandparents in to child protection for letter my daughter live with her boyfriend at the age of 15.. My daughter now lives with her boyfriend at the age of 17,,, she's not even out of high school.. There is nothing I can do,,, the courts told me that I can have custody of her at the age of 14 yes while in the mean time being exposed to God knows what.. I see my daughter if and when she desides to come around,, which ain't often My ex had a major mental problem and still does compounded by a horrific addiction to meth.. I have many times hoped she'd die and I didn't care how or why... !

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 9, 2009


I met Lisa in early Jan. 1990 and my daughter was born in April 1991... I didn't know exactly how Lisa was till months after we met.. Started off with her being locked up for shop lifting and I her father and I went to bail her out and while in the process her dad tells me this isn't the first time. I had her friends informing me that she had stollen things from them and so on.. I tried to break things off with her after several months and then she informs me that she is pregnant.. We moved in together when my daughter was 3 yrs old. then we lived together for a yr and half.. was something happening every day,, catastrofic crap,, never a dull moment with that wacko..! She was a major slut and when we split up for a week during this time she screwed the mantainance man for the appartments.. She partied just about every night till the early morning hours,,, never knew if she'd come home or not.. She kept beer in the fridge knowing I could have been tempted, she didn't care.. I ended up getting enough and I told her to leave and we split up for good... Thats when she met this guy with the sex crime conviction and they were getting married after knowing eachother for only two weeks.. I learned of this guys conviction through one of Lisa's friends NOT Lisa herself.. Anyway,, they are together for maybe 5 years and then they split... She then gets with this guy she met at my daughter's softball games.. Ends up he was a major crackhead and got her hooked right off.. My daughter lived with them for a while Lisa was being beat on reg by this lunitic.. They moved back with her parents and the addiction got worse,,, I didn't know about the meth problem at this time.. They were at wits end with Lisa and wanted me to step in and be a father as they called it,, then when I did they'd act like I didn't have a right to do so and would undo everything I did ... mental problems ran all through that family..! I eventually gave up I warned the courts that Lisa was no different then that bitch Susan Smith, the one that drown her own kids... They just looked at me with their mouth open like I was nuts or something.. Lisa was and is a manipulating self serving evil no good devil dog and I hope she goes back to prison or just goes away.. Lisa would disapear for several weeks and come back home to her parents and they'd welcome her with open arms then Lisa would steal everything my daughter owned for crack and disapear once more only to be let back in months later.. I try not to speak to them anymore if I can keep from it.. Many hard feelings but you just can't deal with ignorant ppl ... They took my daughter and exposed her to the very worst and didn't give my feelings one bit of concern... I could really care less what happens to that whole family

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 9, 2009


I met Lisa in early Jan. 1990 and my daughter was born in April 1991... I didn't know exactly how Lisa was till months after we met.. Started off with her being locked up for shop lifting and I her father and I went to bail her out and while in the process her dad tells me this isn't the first time. I had her friends informing me that she had stollen things from them and so on.. I tried to break things off with her after several months and then she informs me that she is pregnant.. We moved in together when my daughter was 3 yrs old. then we lived together for a yr and half.. was something happening every day,, catastrofic crap,, never a dull moment with that wacko..! She was a major slut and when we split up for a week during this time she screwed the mantainance man for the appartments.. She partied just about every night till the early morning hours,,, never knew if she'd come home or not.. She kept beer in the fridge knowing I could have been tempted, she didn't care.. I ended up getting enough and I told her to leave and we split up for good... Thats when she met this guy with the sex crime conviction and they were getting married after knowing eachother for only two weeks.. I learned of this guys conviction through one of Lisa's friends NOT Lisa herself.. Anyway,, they are together for maybe 5 years and then they split... She then gets with this guy she met at my daughter's softball games.. Ends up he was a major crackhead and got her hooked right off.. My daughter lived with them for a while Lisa was being beat on reg by this lunitic.. They moved back with her parents and the addiction got worse,,, I didn't know about the meth problem at this time.. They were at wits end with Lisa and wanted me to step in and be a father as they called it,, then when I did they'd act like I didn't have a right to do so and would undo everything I did ... mental problems ran all through that family..! I eventually gave up I warned the courts that Lisa was no different then that bitch Susan Smith, the one that drown her own kids... They just looked at me with their mouth open like I was nuts or something.. Lisa was and is a manipulating self serving evil no good devil dog and I hope she goes back to prison or just goes away.. Lisa would disapear for several weeks and come back home to her parents and they'd welcome her with open arms then Lisa would steal everything my daughter owned for crack and disapear once more only to be let back in months later.. I try not to speak to them anymore if I can keep from it.. Many hard feelings but you just can't deal with ignorant ppl ... They took my daughter and exposed her to the very worst and didn't give my feelings one bit of concern... I could really care less what happens to that whole family they helped make my life a living hell on earth.. My message to the courts and JUDGE JAMES PAYNE is " you are a waste of good tax payers money and you are a disgrace to your profession and a threat to the goodness of mankind..!

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 9, 2009


Wow! Good luck with all that! That sounded like the marrage from hell for sure, but at least you don't have to deal with your ex or her parents anymore, huh!? Just show your daughter love and let her know the doors always open to her. Never bad mouth her mom around her and I'm sure as she matures she'll come to realize how important you are in her life. Again, Wow!!

Tim on Jan 9, 2009


I shouldn't have said that,,, it not her fault she's nuts .. I just get really pissed when I think about everything she's put my daughter and me through.. Theres hope for everyone I hope she gets some

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 10, 2009



Stephen Hostetter on Jan 10, 2009


I was never married to my daughter's mom... Kathleen, nice to see you and thank you for the kind words about Meg

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 10, 2009


Anyone know what happened to the first baby Paula had?

twodazlate on Jan 10, 2009


Hi, Stephen, sure that is a horrible story - looks like your daughter is safer living with her boyfriend than with her mother or her mother's family, unless he's a crackhead, too. Seems to me, all you can do is make her know you are there for her and she will turn to you sooner or later. And if you can, welcome her boyfriend into your family so she won't feel she has to choose between the two of you. She needs to feel and to see she has a place in your life, otherwise she won't claim it. I'll keep thinking of you and hope this new year brings good things to you and Meg.

Kathleen on Jan 12, 2009


twodazlate, I had read somewhere,but cannot remember where, that Paula held out signing the papers to adopt out Baby Gertrude, as she named her. After sometime she did sign the papers, I would imagine after being sentenced for 2nd degree murder, (originally) she didn't have much choice. I haven't heard anything after that, but would like know if the baby even knows who she is, in relationship to this case! I hope she turned out to be a caring, loving and happy woman because that would be the ultimate justice, if the cycle would be broken with her.

Johnny on Jan 13, 2009


Thank you Johnny, I havent seen her mentioned so I wondered..

twodazlate on Jan 13, 2009


I also have wondered about Paula's baby. I hope her adopted parents named her something else besides "Gertrude".

Vickiep-2 on Jan 14, 2009


Hi, everybody, somewhere on this board or somewhere else Kathe said that baby Gertrude was the luckiest of all, having got adopted and being something to do with gynacology - what is the 'English word again, obstetrician? Kathe and Stephen, is everything allright? It' been a while since I read any of you. Greetings!

Kathleen on Jan 15, 2009


Hello Kathleen,,, I'm still here. I stopped having them send a notice to my email and I just check in every month or so... I hope Kathe is doing ok..! Regards

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 15, 2009


I just got tired of every wild bill heacock reading 640 pages of a story and telling me I have no life

Stephen Hostetter on Jan 18, 2009


Stephen, Those people aren't important. I for one love to read your comments and input. You and a few others here have helped me learn so much about this case. I want to hear anything you have to share.

Vickiep-2 on Jan 18, 2009


Stephen, I' agree with Vickiep-2. Don't let other peoples comments determine if you stay here or not. Being that I am the target of your last entry, please don't let that stop you. I did apologize several times to you for my comments, because I thought they seemed aimed specificly at you. that was never my intention. people obviously enjoy your insite, so please continue. Again I'm sorry if I offended you or anyone else.

Tim on Jan 18, 2009


Stephen, I agree, don't let comments of some people get you down. I've told you before that we need your impact here. There have been so many here who could not agree to disagree and you never let them get to you so if you do now, I guess you are depressed at the moment, because of the situation with your daughter or for some other reason. I know I can't help you much there - I'll just tell you that I think about you.

Kathleen on Jan 19, 2009


Stephen, I also agree. As you know I arrived with a pretty 'one sided' attitude towards things and over the months I have learned a lot from you. I also like your posts because you have a very cool writing style which I enjoy! It seems to me that the folks who have time to sit and read our last years worth of conversation may be the ones with no lives.

Kaptain Kebo on Jan 19, 2009


I don't believe I said anywhere that anyone didn't have a life on this site. It only takes an hour or so to read all the posts here, and I wanted to look up what I could about the life and death of Sylvia. I thought I'd read past comments to see what I could learn about the case. That's all. By the time I finished, I was aggravated by the cruel nature of some of the conversations that were going on, that were more about personal attacks than about Sylvia. Even on the anniversary of her death, The only person who even mentioned any acknowlegement about that day was Kathleen. The rest of the 33 post that day were vicious attacks on each other. So I fired off a post that was quite unfair. I apologized for any comments that offened others numerous times and honestly don't know what else I could do. I thought Stephen and I worked thru that original post but I guess thats not the case.

Tim on Jan 19, 2009


Tim, I was not referring to you, just to the last post. I have been to busy to check this forum much lately but what I did read from you was informative and I enjoy reading everyones posts. Also, as you know, much of the negative and personal attacks involved me and another poster. Anyway, somebody at some point said 'get a life' and I did not think that it was you. Hope all is well for everyone! I leave for the Sundance Film Festival in the morning.

Kaptain Kebo on Jan 19, 2009


Thanks Kebo, have a safe trip and I hope all is well, also.

Tim on Jan 19, 2009


hey guys,me again. I just read house of evil, and i swear its VERY DISTURBING has anyone read the basement? is it better or worse than house of evil? i really waNT to read it but I cant find it anywhere.

Cammie on Jan 24, 2009


Hi Cammie, I stongly reccomend The Basement. It is a very interesting read and a nice addition to 'House of Evil'. Like H.O.E. you will find it very disturbing. Keep looking on ebay and amazon, I got a copy on ebay a couple of months ago for $10.00.

Kaptain Kebo on Jan 24, 2009


Hi Kaptain Kebo, ill try. it seems like a very interesting book. id love to read milett's opinion of what sylvia's thoughts were. i'm obssesed with this case.

Cammie on Jan 24, 2009


Greetings to all, Did anybody here ever read or hear that Stephanie was addicted to the phenobarbital and not Gertrude? Someone somewhere else stated that Gertrude's medicine wasn't actually taken by her but was given to Stephanie for an illness that she had, and SHE became addicted. I've never heard that before, but if true I think that would really have changed the opinion of the jury!

Tim on Jan 27, 2009


hey guys! ive got questions-i know jenny wasnt abused as bad as sylvia was, but i was wondering about her situation at the bad did jenny get it? i know at first both girls were abused, but when the mistreatment focuses on sylvia did everyone just forget about jenny?

Cammie on Jan 28, 2009


by the way who here has read about the dorothy dixom murder? its so shocking, it reminds me of sylvia's. i cant believe people can be this bad!!!!the woman had a baby inside her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cammie on Jan 28, 2009


Hi cammie, Yeah, I do know about Dorothy Dixon and it does have many similarities to Sylvia. Other cases that remind you of Sylvia's case are, "The Kokomo, Indiana Torture Case" and The murder of Shanda Sharer.

Tim on Jan 28, 2009


Tim: No, it was not said that Stephanie was addicted to phenobarbitol. The phenobarbitol was prescribed to Stephanie and NOT to Gertrude. Gertrude started taking it shortly prior to Sylvia's death.

Kathe on Jan 28, 2009


Cammie, from what I have read and I am no expert on this crime but it seems that Sylvia alone was pretty much the perfect victim, wrong place/wrong time (as John Jr. put it) and Jenny was not victimized or humiliated as was Sylvia, unless you factor in the torture of seeing your sister being abused constantly. You know how chemistry between people can work. Sylvia's fate was such a tragedy that we still feel sorrow about it 44 years after the fact. Have you seen the 'House footage' on youtube?(I assume that it is still there) Very sad and creepy. Does anyone have any update on Paula?

Kaptain Kebo on Jan 28, 2009


Thanks Kathe, I've been asking around but no one could explain that. That makes sense that Gertude would do something like take her kids meds!

Tim on Jan 28, 2009


thanks kaptain kebo. poor sylvia, i think the reason why she took it all was because of jenny.she didn't want her to get hurt.

Cammie on Jan 29, 2009


tim, i know about Shanda Sharer. i think its absolutely disgusting-the way those teens tortured the little girl, then burned her ALIVE.and to think theyre all getting early paroles.knowing that such monsters are and would be walking among normal society makes me want to move to another planet.

Cammie on Jan 29, 2009


Cammie, I'll go with you. I'll also chip in for gas money.

Tim on Jan 29, 2009


This case has haunted me since I was a child and came accross my mothers copy of the Indiana Torture Slaying in the early 70's. I was born in 62 and my mother was a voracious reader. We always had books laying around and were encouraged to read. I was not interested in the typical drivel ie ,classic novels, but picked up this book and was blown away by the pics and the absolute violent nature of the crime. I had vague memories as a very small child of my parents and grandparents talkng about the cruel way this poor girl was treated. I was warned about "bad people" from this case. It's one of my earliest childhood memories. My morbid curiosoty led me to read the book without my parents concent. I could not believe that people were capable of treating others like this. I had forgotten about the case but with the advent of the internet I have researched and reread most accounts about Sylvia's ordeal. I am 46 years old and still very much affected by what happened in 1965. I am of the opinion the Gertrude was an absolute hateful, spiteful person who felt that she could abuse these girls because mom and dad were not around and all was ok. This post tries to justify her reasoning,however it is simple. She was so miserable with her own existence and lifestyle and so ashamed of her own children's behavior(Paula's pregnancy) she took it out on Sylvia. People also need to take into accout that she was also very mentally bankrupt. Probably stupid,ignorant... The only way you get into the financial strait she was in is by being uneducated,irresponsible(who has 7 kids without an income)and basically a loser. Come on, 3 spoons and no stove. An american Crime is an illusion. This was not middle class Indy. These were people living in slum conditions with an absolute disregard for human life starting with their own. The Likens girls grew up in this same environment. Papa Likens leaving his girls with these misfits shows he had a few lose screws. They were all from this same ilk. Still no excuse. We all know that we do not use little girls for ash trays,punching bags,or beat them for sport. The mob mentality took over and no one had the sack to step up and stop it. I promise you all active participants were the losers at school. The hoods,shanks,geeks,losers... Sylvia was part of that crowd because she lived in that neighborhood. Her sister and her may have been able to overcome that environment had they not ran into the charming Ms B. This neighborhood is not middle class. This is borderline slum. I pray for that little girl that never had a chance because of the drug addicted monster. GB, Paula and the boys got a pass from the state. They won't get one from the next judge.

Greg on Jan 29, 2009


I agree , especially about that movie being an illusion. In that movie or even "girl next door", they show the houses freshly painted, neighbors out trimming the bushes, and that was far from what they had there. Even the Baniszewskis house in the movie showed them having furiture and beds, when they had to sell off those things for money. The kids were even sent out to steal or beg from the neighborhood for food. According to Johnny Baniszewski the family moved 8 times in the 3 years that the parents had divorced. I believe that is a horribly sad way for children to start out in life, of course, but you can't use that as an exuse to forgive them for what they've done. After all there were and are alot of good people that are very intelligent and responsible in that neighborhood-and ones like it, who just fell on hard times. Even the less educated or responsible people don't necessarily live in such conditions. ( 3 spoons and no stove.) And they don't commit crimes such as torture and murder! If that's the case, lets let Manson out, he had a bad childhood. Also let the child rapists and murderers that were molested as children out because what should we have expected from them. Isn't it funny how they find God after they're caught? I know some will say they found God before the crime was commited, but I question if it was God they found and if it was God, I don't think the message stuck! (Especially "Love thy neighbor" and "Do to others as you would have them do to you.")

Tim on Jan 30, 2009


great!who else wants to join the expedition?

Cammie on Jan 30, 2009


I love the way O Haver took the liberty of casting that hottie(Keener) as Gertie. For crying out loud that is about as accurate as having Mister Rogers playing Manson in Helter Skelter. People who are not familiar with the facts are so misled. Keener's tail would have made GB a Sunday face. And the babe that played Paula,right. We all know that Paula was a hefty bully that was not averse to throwing blows to enforce her sick twisted agenda. She busted her hand with her "disciplinary action" and seemed quite proud to announce it to anyone within earshot. Poor casting. Poor interpretation of the facts. If anyone out there wants the real story they can check out the Newspaper archive. It is a website that has scanned and downloaded Newspapers from many of the more prominent cities. I think The Indy Star has started to participate. Unfortunately it costs to access the papers. I paid for a trial and was able to read the daily accounts of the trial. There are alot of pics that were in the newspaper accounts that I have never seen printed elsewhere. This story was so huge when it happened. Our society was not as desensitized in 1965 as it is now. I have a question for anyone who happens to live in the Indy area. Does anyone remember a case back in October of 1970 where a small boy named Jerry Michael Bayles was delivering newspapers on the near westside close to Central State hospital and was abducted and murdered? They found his naked body in Henry County and to this day it remains an unsolved crime. I was friends with the small boys relatives that lived in Tipton County just north of Indpls. This case is also one that leaves you scratching your head as to why or how people can be so callous concerning human life. Just another example of a lack of respect for human life which is really what this blog addresses.

Greg on Jan 30, 2009


Greg, what do you think of Ellen Page as Sylvia Likens? do u think it's poor casting too? but for me, ellen's the perfect sylvia.

Cammie on Feb 1, 2009


Cammie< You are spot on. Ellen Page not only had the look,her acting was was incredible. She showed what a capable actress she has become. He emotion had me wanting to time travel to rescue Sylvia from her nightmare. I also thought the girl who played Jenny was accurate. Some people have been harsh to criticize her for not reporting the abuse which could have saved her sister. My heart goes out to her because she was so traumatized and feared repercussion if she even considered telling anyone. She suffered pains we will never know with the demons haunting her thoughts the rest of her life. It is easy for us to be armchair quarterbacks and say we would have done this or that, however until we are placed in a situation like this you never know. I also feel the girls were convinced that as bad as it was, their parents would be home soon so they just needed to wait things out.

Greg on Feb 1, 2009


Greg- I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID! Ellen and Hayley Macfarland(?) were the perfect Sylvia and Jenny. ANd now that i know better, I don't blame Jenny. She was abused as well, but did people think of that? No. They forgot she was a victim as well, and after Sylvia her life wasn't easy. She bore the guilt of something she didn't do. No, Jenny was not guilty, NOT at all, in fact, next to Sylvia she suffered the most. Hayley played her part well. Ellen got her big break in Juno; I hope Hayley get her big break soon too. She's such a versatile actress. Speaking of which, the girl who plays Shirley ( Hannah Dworkin), was amazing as well. I've seen her for quite a few times in Ths SUite Life of Zack and Cody, and the way she played in AAC was very good for someone her age. She captured the innocenec her role demanded; she played the role of a young girl who was confused with right and wrong and thought, 'it was just a punishment', amazingly. And the time when she says, "DOn't worry Jenny, Momma's just teaching her," i just shuddered. SHe sounded innocent and cute.She didn't know how wrong it was. I like the way she plaYED IT.

Cammie on Feb 2, 2009


I just saw the movie An American Crime for the first time today. I had looked at it a few weeks ago at Blockbuster and passed it over b/c I was almost afraid to watch it. Finally I did take it out and felt sick throughout most of it. There were parts I couldnt even watch, which I'm sure is not unusual with this story. I was unbelievably disturbed by the roles of the children in this family, with the exception of the baby, who was too young to know what was going on. I understand all the arguments regarding family dynamics, learning, fear etc. However, there was STILL right and wrong, even in the 60's when we didnt have as many support systems for child abuse. I found myself enraged during this movie. I even found myself thinking "How can I write to this mother in prison and tell her what I think of her?" I was almost disappointed to find she had died and I wouldnt be able to at least write her a letter and tell her what a waste of a human life I thought she was. I would like to think I would have told someone what was going on, but I did not live in the situation. I am MOST troubled by the actions of the neighborhood children, the ones who came in to the house as though this poor girl were some sort of exhibition or experiment. These were not kids who had to live with the crazy Gertrude and needed to fear her wrath if they spoke out. How many of these kids went home to normal families? Went to school every day? Could have told a teacher, or even sent an anonymous note to the police? I dont know if the movie exaggerates the amount of "outsiders" that came in to be part of this horror story, but it certainly seems like there were a lot of them portrayed. None of them have any kind of excuse under the sun for not speaking out. I would be curious to know how some of those other kids feel now as they look back on the decisions that they made.

Elizabeth on Feb 2, 2009


who here has dreams/nightmares about Sylvia and her murder, or AN American cRIme?

Cammie on Feb 6, 2009


i like this film i just cant understan why gertie tortured sylvia but not jenny

Krishna on Feb 6, 2009


Sylvia was cute, outgoing, spunky, and in Gertie's mind had everything Gertie did not. Remember that Gertie was attracted to young teenaged boys so in some ways Sylvia posed a threat to her (in her mind). Jenny was quiet and handicapped. Something about Sylvia just made Gertie want to hurt her.

Kaptain Kebo on Feb 7, 2009


Jenny was tortured. She got the belt often early in the game. However,she was tortured mentally which can be very traumatic. remember she was told to physically abuse her sister also. If she didn't she would have been beaten as well. Can you even imagine how horrible she felt when she was forced to get physical with her sister,whom she loved,looked up to and admired. The poor girl wasn't healthy enough to fight for her sister. Also being forced to watch the continual abuse of her sister would have been enough to rip her heart out. As i mentioned before Sylvia's torture was short lived compared to the hurt Jenny endured for the rest of her life.

Greg on Feb 7, 2009


>greg oh, i seee.... poor jenny, i dont blame her at all now. what do you mean by "in the game"?

Krishna on Feb 7, 2009


jenny was also abused. people didnt see that in aac. i also read somewhere that she was used as a "taste tester" and had things burn in her mouth.and she was tortured emotionally. every single day she had to live with seeing her sister get burned, beaten, "played with", and most likely for the rest of her life she had ugly flashbacks about it. i read somewhere that she would shake at the mere mention of GErtie. her life wasnt that good after sylvia's plagued her for the rest of her life. while paula and the other kids had good lives. it sucks!

Cammie on Feb 7, 2009


Jenny was forced to abuse her sister? I didn't know that. Poor kid! I know for sure she hated doing it to her sister. What exactly were the things Jenny was forced to do to Sylvia?

Jessa on Feb 7, 2009


Krishna, I was using "in the game" as a fugure of speech for early in the ordeal. Jessa, Jenny was forced to slap and punch her in the face. If she refused they were going to beat her. I believe they even tried to get her to restrain Sylvia while she was being branded.

Greg on Feb 8, 2009


Oh I see. Did Jenny comply?

Jessa on Feb 8, 2009


Not to mention the fact that Jenny laughed at Sylvia during the first coke-bottle incident. I think it was forced as well.

Cammie on Feb 8, 2009


she laughed? is that true, cammie?

Jessa on Feb 10, 2009


Yes, it says so in "The Basement" by Kate Millett. It's a good read.

Cammie on Feb 10, 2009


Stephen Hostetter, I have a message from Sylvia's older sister: "You are a LIAR!'" She's given me several ways to prove this, but I'm not going to at this point. To everyone that believes him: "You can also believe the moon is made of cheese if you want to!"

angie on Feb 12, 2009


I too Have a message from Sylvia's Older Sister, Dianna.. She is my Mom, She is devastated that people are going to Steve Hostetter like he truly knew what was going on. Anything he has said here is public Knowledge. As for him knowing Lester likens and working for him I know for a fact that in 1974-1977 Lester worked selling mobile homes in ohio, he was not at that time in the carny business. so Steve Hostetter is not being truthful. I understand some people like to draw attention to themselves in any form possible to be popular. But you really shouldn't try so hard when there are people out there that know the truth.... If you really want the truth about how things were I can relate any questions back to Dianna and she can fill in the blanks. Dianna is Sylvia's older sister she if anyone would know. I am trying to convince Dianna to write a book from her view, but she doesn't think it would be of any use. I think if just for therapy sake it would be a wonderful release for her. But Please be careful to whom you address questions as there are many wolves in sheeps clothing.

Kris'Tal on Feb 12, 2009


Kris'tal, I just want to express my condolences to your mother and the entire Likens family, not ONLY for the obvious tragedy of losing Sylvia to murder, but also having to deal with the publicity that has recently surrounded her death...again. If the accusations that you and Angie leveled here are true, than that's ashame and I'm glad you caught it! The truth of that event was horrible enough, and I believe most people that are on these sites are just searching for more information about what happened and want to TRY to understand it. I agree Dianna should write her views down. Maybe not in book form, but perhaps just a diary of her thoughts and feelings. Especially for therapy sake, even if she doesn't make it public. God Bless her, she doesn't have to share anything with anyone about her family's sorrows! Thank you for posting and pass on my best to your mother. Alot of people are broken-hearted about what happened to her family and really do care. Today, I'm sure is a sad day for her, being Jennifer's birthday. What a brave soul she was as well!

Tim on Feb 13, 2009


Kris'tal, Your mother is another one of the victims in the horrific crime. She has had to live her life knowing her baby sister was being systematically murdered one blow at a time by a bunch of unsupervised lunatics somewhat close to where she lived. In 1965, it was unfathomable to think of a group of people abusing another person to this extent. As I mentioned in a post above, our society was not as desensitized to crime as we are now. These things just did not happen. Even the neighbors who heard the commotion probably just thought it was the kids fighting and arguing. I am sure that yelling,screaming,bickering,fighting... was commonplace in the Baniszewski house. We know Gertrude didn't hesitate to use a belt,paddle... I am also sure that the Baniszewski kids got their share of whippings although it appears when the Likens girls showed up that abuse was piled upon them. We all probably had a house in our neighborhood where the parents were either working alot or more lax than our own. When a bunch of kids get together unsupervised it can get quite unruly. Still no excuse. After all these years it still shocks me that no one ever stood up a said enough is enough. What is happening here is wrong. where was the compassion? This lack of compassion is why all of the perpetrators should have spent the rest of their lives in jail. I sure your mother was not aware of the severity of the abuse. The blame falls solely on the perpetrators. I pray your mother does not blame herself.

Greg on Feb 13, 2009


Couldn't all of this be a misunderstanding? You won't clear it up if you are not polite, though.

Kathleen on Feb 13, 2009


What is there to misunderstand? Dianna gets very upset by people "claiming to know" facts about her family that are simply untrue. Why would you go on for sooooooo many postings when, desribing Lester, Sylvia, and whatever else he wants to throw in, when his very first posting was a lie? Do you not know that there is somebody out there who would know if it's true or not? Even Lester, when asked (about his rigs) just for confermation asked; "Why would you asked such a stupid question?" It just makes no sense to try to gain "fame" or "popularity" over such a tragedy. That family has had to live with this pain for over 40 years, and people who spread such untruths only make things worse.

angie on Feb 13, 2009


Oh, by the way, this is the same guy that tried to "sell" pictures of the "death house" with many conditions including: using his name with any photo of his, his approval prior to using them, and also a rediculous price per photo. I don't have the price with me right now, but it was "very high". Now you can see it all over Youtube for free. I would think this could be "a misunderstanding" if it happened once, "My fault, maybe it's the wrong Lester!" But it's not a "mistake" when it happens over the course of 600 postings. I'm sorry, I'm trying to be polite!

angie on Feb 13, 2009


Sigh, I knew the whole 'polite' thing would come up. I'm really curious about something.....If you had such a tragedy happen in you family wouldn't you want to make sure your sisters death wasn't exploited by people looking to make a buck or receive notoriety? Wouldn’t you have enough sorrow weighing down your heart that things like this would just be too much to deal with? I believe I was very civil here; All I'm trying to do is protect my Mom. Dianna is the sweetest woman you will ever know. She has the heart and soul of a child, gentle and fragile. I am her protector and I will go to great lengths to make sure she is unharmed; I wish I could have done the same for Sylvia. I receive the phone calls from Mom in the middle of the night when She is crying because of things like this, I listen and calm her so she can go back to sleep. What kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t stand up for her? I never got to meet Sylvia But I know from what Mom says she was Just as Gentle and fragile as Her. I feel protecting Sylvia’s memory is my job as well. My Mom wants to thank all of you that have been touched by this tragedy and genuinely have Her Family’s best interest at heart, when you say things in love she cries at the idea that there are real people that do care, Every kind word helps soften the pain even if it is just a little. I, as well send my gratitude for your words of compassion and grace. I pray that God sends blessings your way and Keeps tragedy far from your home.

Kris'Tal on Feb 13, 2009


Kris'tal, I read this entire blog and that is how I got interested in posting. My gut feeling with regard to steve Hostetter is that he has an alternative agenda. He makes comments that leave me scratching my head. i believe he once said he needed proof of OJ's guilt and also admitted he had only read One book in his life. If he thinks OJ was innocent he is a freakin idiot. I could give him 50 reasons why he is guilty. i have read one book a week for most of my life so the guy isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. I wish you and your mother well and please relate to her that i was moved that she gets emotional at the idea that people genuinely care for her and your aunts. I am one of those people. The vast majority of people can tell right from wrong and they are fully behind you and your family.

Greg on Feb 13, 2009


I remember reading posts on another site (can't remember which one) and Stephen was asking if Lester ever worked the "Lake County Fair" in crown point,in. He said he worked there as a teen and was wondering if perhaps the man he worked for was Lester. I think he put 1 and 1 together and got 3. He did state that he saw pictures of Lester from newspaper clippings earlier on this blog, so he should have realized than that he was mistaken. Whats sad is that Dianna was hurt by those actions and says he's friends with Stephanie Baniszewski, along with Kathy, that make every excuse they can think of to make it seem like they had nothing to do with it. At least Kathy says she's, "not excusing anyone because there's no excuse." Right after a 2 paragraph EXCUSE. But these are people that believe O.J's innocent! The one question I would want to ask Dianna is, why did the girls stay with the Baniszewskis and not their Gramma or herself? Was it Jenny and Sylvia's idea to stay with them because of the children to play with? Maybe Gramma was too elderly and Dianna just married, or something like that? I just wondered. Nobody could have imagined those Baniszewski's were soooo nuts! Also to Kris'Tal, Are you one of the nephews that Stephen claims to have met? Best wishes to all.

sb on Feb 13, 2009


I think post # 618 saw this coming way back then. He hit the nail on the head. The only response back to him was about a stupid song! That's what upset those idiots! "timmy can't read",(#619) is obviously Stephen because he states "Stephanie didn't commit a crime and was friends with Sylvia!" ...of coarse that could be kathy,(Stephanie) too!!

sb on Feb 13, 2009


Are you talking about Kathe? I haven't read on this board since before the movie came out, I will, but I haven't yet. I started at the beginning, which is how a ran across Hostetter, and I have an email he sent to a friend with his ridiculous conditions for pictures of the "death house". That was way back at the beginning of our research, but when I saw the post, the name rang a bell. But, back to Kathe, she is really Dennis Jr's wife! I am the one who put her in touch with the attorney, who in turn, put her through to Stephanie. I could have sent her right through to Stephanie, but it is a very sensitive issue, and I thought the attorney could prepare her first. Kathe has been given a hard time, I don't know if it was on this board, but it is unfair! She really is who she said she is, she has been connected with her husband's birth family. She is a good person, and doesn't deserve the mean things people have said to her. She's only looking for answers, and whatever way she has to get them is her business. She has the right to know her husbands hereditary conditions, which in turn will probably be her sons. I do consider her a friend, and I wish people would not be so mean.

angie on Feb 14, 2009


Yes, I was talking about Kathe. Sorry about the misspelling. She's not as pure as you think! I assume since you put Kathe in contact with Stephanie and Marie and you know Dianna, that things are all worked out between the two families now?

sb on Feb 14, 2009


angie, can you please ask Dianna if the Baniszewski kids and the neighborhood kids abused jenny, too? i've read a rumor somewhere that during her stay at the baniszewskis,the kids would hide jenny's steel leg brace and made her trip while she tried to find it. Is this true?

sff on Feb 14, 2009


You're right, sff. I've seen that rumor too, and the one about Jenny being a taste tester, though I am not sure if it it true. Angie, please ask Dianna- are these rumours true?

Cammie on Feb 14, 2009


and Kris'Tal too, are these rumours true? and there is SO much I need to know about this case.

Cammie on Feb 14, 2009


Do you mean things are worked out between the Baniszewski's and the Likens? No way, I don't think that will EVER happen! As far as Dianna, like Kris 'Tal said, this is all a VERY sensitive subject for her, and to this day, she still cries whenever she talks about it. So I'll see what I can do.

angie on Feb 15, 2009


Thanks Angie, but I really don't want to upset anyone who's involved personally. No questions that I have just for pure curiosity is worth causing anymore pain to this family. Also, I don't mean to say that Kathe isn't who she says she is, I just don't believe her motives are as pure as she says. I do hope Denny's health has improved. I would like to ask YOU, since you seem to have talked to Stephanie, do you believe that her hands are clean of that crime? I know charges were dropped back than, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she was proven innocent, just that they couldn't necessarily prove guilt. Does anyone, even Kris'Tal believe Stephanie is clean or that any of the younger kids should be forgiven, because of their ages at the time? Again, please don't upset anyone. I just wonder if they have ever talked about it with you?

sb on Feb 15, 2009


I haven't/don't talk to Stephanie, but I have friends that have, and that's for them to share, not me. Since I haven't spoken to her directly, I don't know what to believe about her. But, I don't think she's ever claimed to be completely innocent. Hopefully, one day she will come out, and let us ALL know what her story is.

angie on Feb 15, 2009


Hi Angie and Kris'Tal, I'm so sorry that Dianna is crying over what has been written here. I know some of the earlier post are outright mean. I wrote #618 that sb referred to, and I was outraged at the personal attacts that were going on without any concern for the Likens family or friends. I do hope that this doesn't turn into a "let's hate Stephen" blog though. That wouldn't be fair either. I don't know what's true or not, about selling the pictures or his working with Lester... but he does know alot about the case and alot of people like having him here. I don't know, I just hope the spirit of what this site is suppose be about isn't lost.

Tim on Feb 15, 2009


poor dianna....hope she knows that there are people who TRULY care about her, not just want to get gain from her(and the Likenses') pain.

Cammie on Feb 16, 2009


and if things cant go right between the bs and the likenses I dont blame the Likens family! if this sort of thing happens to anyone i love i would NEVER forgive the person who did it!!!

Cammie on Feb 16, 2009


Allright! Krys Tal, believe me, I am sorry for your mother because of all she had to go through, and I was sorry long before your post. I believe, too, that having to deal with so much pain for such a long time renders you very vulnerable to things others wouldn 't see as harshly - and that this goes for a daughter trying to protect her mother, too. I'm not involved and maybe that enables me to see things with a calmer mind. Thing is, I'm quite sure that Stephen and Kathe are both good persons and mean well and more important, that neither of them lied or did anything else with a bad intention. Kathe is who she claims to be and there are things she needs to know and others she is ready to share, and many of these because of us asking her to do so. As to Stephen maybe having put 1 and 1 together and come up with 3, well, possibly, in some things, not in all, that is a human thing. And trips down memory lane tend to be like this. Last week I was comparing notes with my sisters about our childhood, and each of us asked a question to see how many different answers there would be. For example: Where was the T'V set in our first home? One said, on a table in the living room corner, one said, in the kitchen. Correct answer? We didn't own a TV set in that house. So Stephen may easily have got some dates wrong and confused one place with another. Who wouldn't, after all those years? If we are at each other's throats over things like that ...

Kathleen on Feb 16, 2009


I have read the whole discussion, but never posted anything on this board until now. Kathleen: I just want to say that you are a very sensible person with a lot of insight, and some of the things you have written on this board are really quite interesting (for instance, your theories about how Gertrude "transferred" her anger to Sylvia instead of Paula). KrysTal: please read #709, written by Kathleen. I also don't believe Stephen told a deliberate lie, but honestly thought he had worked with Lester at one time. Of course he should have expressed that a little more carefully, and explained that he wasn't 100% sure, but it is human to make a mistake, isn't it? As for Kathe, she seems to be a very brave and honest woman and I don't know why "sg" questions her motive in speaking up.

Iwanhoe on Feb 16, 2009


is lester likens still alive?

SFF on Feb 18, 2009


OMG people, do you not have enough facts yet. Does knowing the exact minute that Sylvia died even make a difference? It does not change anything to know of every burn, cut, bruise. You are talking about a tragic death here, not about a car that you are thinking about purchasing. The Likens family has suffered enough. Should they have to read repeatedly all the detailed descriptions. Kris'Tal, if your mother is upset at the posts, please do not encourage her to write a book, it will just bring on more questions. You may want to encourage her to speak out about Child Abuse, but I know from experience, it will have to be on her terms, not because people are curious. I have posted on the Mark Gibbon site and do recognize a few of you. I can assure you that anybody that has suffered abuse, it is a horrific thing to live through and most that did still do not speak out about it because of shame. The Likens family now have that tragedy to live with, it is theirs, nobody has the right to exploit it any further. It happened and it cannot be changed now, but going forward, each and every person that has posted here has the responsibility to be aware that this still happens. As Tim stated (625) there are signs, I know them, do you? If you do not, then use this site to educate yourselves on how to spot them, ask questions about that, not about being brought up from the basement, put in the tub, brought to the bed. Why does that even matter at this point? And yet, I think I just read about 50 posts trying to verify that sequence (why?????). If you feel the need to write, then write to your government, make yourselves heard. Be proactive, not reactive. Just let you know, I am not going to ever apologize for this post. If it offends anybody, then get mad. But get mad that child abuse is a reality, and still continues to happen!!!!

cml on Feb 18, 2009


where's stephen?

kevin on Feb 21, 2009


Just to let you know Kathleen, I've read the whole thing now, and I have to say, I've really enjoyed reading your posts. You seem to have a unique and logical way of looking at this story. As for Stephen, yes I snapped at the beginning, but that's because of the outragous conditions he sent in an email to my friend. She forwarded it to me. So I hope he does take the advise of #618. Please don't write that book. Maybe Stephanie has let him know how bad his "memory" has failed him. The only connection he really has to the Sylvia Likens case is he has been inside the house. Other than that, the tales of the Hobbs, McGuires, Lester, etc. are untrue. And it upset me to see Dianna get upset. I'm sorry Kathleen, but like I said, 1 or 2 posts could be a mistake, but not all he has said. Well, thank you all for the entertainment, it's been fun! P.S. Kebo, I can see your posts on the Yuku site, I hope you'll give it another chance. Angie

angie on Feb 23, 2009


Kathe and Stephen, I can think of a number of reasons why you have not returned to this board and each is worrying in itself, so I'd be glad if both of you would mail me directly at Thanks, and Greetings

Kathleen on Feb 25, 2009


Oh so they are your only interests in this board? Well, Kathe I can understand because she tells the truth, but Stephen, I hope you keep encouraging him on that book, because I would like to ride with him as he laughs all the way to the bank! I'm sorry, I am really not a confrontational person, and I'm not trying to be. BUT I do have something against people who are not honest. I can't help it! I am a person who can't look a person in the eye and lie to them, but I guess over a computer screen, you don't have to face anyone, huh?

angie on Feb 25, 2009


Hi, Angie, this is uncalled for. Of course, I could have responded to your post, since you addressed me directly and in a kind way, which I planned to do, but since you said "Well, thank you all for the entertainment, it's been fun!" I wasn't even sure that you would return to this board, atl least not anytime soon; second, if you have read it all, you know that English is not my first language and a longer text sometimes takes me a while. I was in a hurry, worry about Kathe and Stephen - again, you read the blog plus you are connected to Kathe, so you know very well there are some reasons to be, whatever you think about it - was first in my mind, so I posted this and left anything else for later. Anyway, you are not saying that because you take Stephen for a liar everyone else here has to cut off contact with him? And is it such a crime I thought it was a good idea to write a book - and were it just to get it out of his system - and encouraged him? And is it so bad that I won't base a judgment on what has been said here on the board? As to Kathe, I'm still just as worried about what her silence may imply. Anyway, for the time being, I thank you for your kind comment on my postings and I should look forward to discuss topics with every person capable of logical thinking. Greetings!

Kathleen on Feb 26, 2009


Kathleen, I know Kathe (and others from this site) are posting on another thread because the tone that this one has taken. I won't divulge which site they're on because it's not my place to do so. I'm sure they still read here though, so I hope they contact you via your e-mail. They also quit posting on "mark gribben's" site for the same reason. Unfortunately these sites are more about personal attacks then about Sylvia. Like I said, I'm sure they still read these posts from time to time so maybe if this thread gets back on track, they'll return.

Tim on Feb 26, 2009


where was diana,daniel,and benny while sylvia was being tortured why did know one check on those kids or bother to come see them did they not know where they was or what

wylma on Mar 5, 2009


Hi, Wylma - looks like you just saw the film and didn't read up much about it yet. Sylvia's brothers were with their parents working as carnies respectively were working elsewhere and one of them (Danny, I believe) came to visit once or twice before things got really bad. Diana lived in the same town, bought food for them on several occasions - that, too, before it got too bad and without one of them or both telling her much - after that, she tried to see her sisters at the B. house at least once and couldn't get past Gertrude. Also, she had not been married for long, yet, according to Dean her divorce was in preparation. so I guess she had problems and worries of her own, and she was still only 18, poor soul. Practically a child herself and certainly entitlled to protection from others instead of having to protect someone herself.

Kathleen on Mar 10, 2009


Wow, this thread sure has many posts....and I'm still left wondering if #9 is John Cougar Mellencamp, the singer. -Kevin

Kevin on Mar 19, 2009



tim on Mar 24, 2009


Does anyone have a link to the 'autopsy' photos?

Johnnie on Mar 29, 2009


this is really crazy - people fighting their personal fights on here. Also a lot of the information is worthless. Who babysat who, who went to school with who, some people are talking about their family problems here - who cares. If you really want to pay homage to Sylvia Likens memory just leave her alone.

amanda on Apr 1, 2009


Betty Likens (71d) 37 dob: 1928 dod: 08/00/1999 res: 109 Euclid Ave., Indianapolis, IN parents: 333 South Temple Ave., Indianapolis, IN 07/03/1965 Arrested for shoplifting Betty and Lester divorced in 1967 Betty remarried Lester R Likens (66d) 39 dob: 1926 dod: res: Lebanon, IN emp1: Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach, CA emp2: Fair consession attendant Lester and Betty divorced in 1967 Moss, TN Dianna M Bedwell Knutson (62) 18 dob: Nutchel res: 56415 Anaconda Dr., Yucca Valley, CA 92284 (760) 365-1782 emp: school bus driver hus: Cecil Arthur Knutson (73) ?: Knutson, Elizabeth J (00) CA; ANAHEIM, GARDEN GROVE, NV; LAS VEGAS Twin sister of Daniel Shoemaker Daniel Likens (62) 19 dob: Twin brother of Dianna Sylvia Likens (16d) 16 dob: 01/03/1949 Lebanon, IN dod: 10/26/1965 Indianapolis, IN buried: Oak Hill Cemetery, Lebanon, Indiana Jenny Fay Likens-Ford-Wade (54d) 15 dob: 02/13/1946 dod: 06/23/2004 Beech Grove , IN heart attack 435-64-6781 Louisiana buried: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Greenwood, Indiana, Plot: Section 9, Block 20 hus: Leonard R Wade (67d) 311-38-3618 Indiana dob: 01/19/1940 dod: 09/09/2007 buried: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Greenwood, Indiana, Plot: Section 9, Block 20 son: Bob Ford dau: Tammy Ford mil: Gladys Hostetler gc: 1 Services entrusted to Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory, Chapel of the Chimes Benny Likens (49d) dob: dod: 12/04/1999 Benny, Jenny's twin, began showing signs of severe mental illness a few years after his sister's death Benny served in the army and worked in various restaurants, often as a cook, when he got out Benny became semi-recluse and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic Gertrude Baniszewski (60d) Nadine Van Fossan (maiden name) and moved to Iowa Gertrude dob: 09/19/1929 dod: 06/16/1990 lung cancer f: Hugh M. Van Fossan (d) 1940 m: Mollie M. Van Fossan 5 siblings bro: Hugh M. Van Fossan II dob: 02/21/1925 dod: 05/03/1995 315-16-5951 Indiana h1: John Baniszewski (d) was a Beech Grove cop div: 1963 h2: Edward Guthrie KS bf: Dennis Lee Wright Sr. () dob: 1940 dod: 1974 or 1975 Dennis was an identical twin, Richard. Dennis also has a brother and a sister Debbie Drafted to Vietnam; exposed to Agent Orange Suffered from Huntington's Disease All four of them had Huntington's, which they inherited from their father, who inherited it from his Denny has a 50/50 chance of having Huntington's and could pass it on to his son Paula Marie Baniszewski (61) 17 dob: 1948 dau: Gertrude 1966 [gave up for adoption] Paula married and had 2 kids Paula lives in Bedford Iowa Stephanie Kay Baniszewski (59) 15 dob: 1950 res: Floral City Florida Stephanie went to live with family members Stephanie became a schoolteacher Stephanie married and had kids John Stephan Baniszewski (d) 12 John Blake dob: 1953 dod: John surfaced a few years ago after the Jonesboro, Arkansas tragedy John came forward to say there is hope for young murderers and they can turn their lives around John had no run-ins with the law John has worked as a truck driver and realtor and served as a lay pastor John is happily married and the father of three John is now disabled by diabetes, blurred vision and requires assistance of a cane or walker Marie Baniszewski (55) 11 dob: 1954 Put in foster care Shirley Ann Baniszewski (54) 10 dob: 1955 Put in foster care James Baniszewski (52) 08 dob: 1957 Put in foster care Dennis Lee Wright Jr. (45) 01 dob: 1964 wife: Katherine Louise Mendelsohn-White (49) emp: Warner Bros; business and legal affairs son: Dustin (17) Went into an orphanage after the crime He was legally adopted in 1971 at the age of 07 Gertrude had not relinquished her parental rights until then Grew up in Anderson IN with a different name Cliff Wright, Dennis Sr.'s brother Tim Wright, Dennis Sr.'s brother Richard Wright, Dennis Sr.'s brother - lived on N. 8th. St., Beech Grove Raymond Wright, Dennis Sr.'s brother - lived on N. 8th. St., Beech Grove VALLEY VILG, WOODLAND HILLS, VALLEY VLG, CHATSWORTH, VAN NUYS WHITE, DENNIS LEE (47) MENDELSOHN, SALLE ANN (71) MENDELSOHN, ROBERT SAMUEL (75) WEST-MENDELSOHN, ADELE K (50) MENDELSOHN, KATHERINE L (49) WHITE, DUSTIN L (17) WHITE, DENNY L (44) Coy Randolph Hubbard (56d) Shelbyville, IN 15 dob: 07/07/1950 Appalachia, VA dod: 06/23/2007 Shelbyville, IN 315-50-3317 Indiana f: Ralph Hubbard (d) m: Virginia A Hubbard (83) wife: Patricia A Gorman-Hubbard (60) son: Coy Hubbard, Jr. (d) dau: Tracy Renee (David) Reynolds (39) dau: Melissa A (Jeff) Fausnaugh () dau: Jennifer Stephens () son: Ronald (Natasha) Conley () son: Bradley (Kim) Conley () bro: Jerry E Vickie) Hubbard (60) Springdale, OH sis: Freda Fay (Arthur) Hildreth (62) Houston, TX sis: Wanda Foster () gc: 17; Shatawn Hubbard ggc: 1 funrl: 06/27/2007 Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Center, 10722 E. Washington St. Burial will take place at a later date in Big Stone Gap, VA. Hubbard served time for burglary some years after his brief stint in the reformatory. Hubbard obtained work as a mechanic Hubbard was later tried but acquitted for the murders of two men. IN INDIANAPOLIS, SHELBYVILLE, KNIGHTSTOWN, BEECH GROVE HUBBARD, TINA A Richard Dean Hobbs (21d) 14 dob: 03/15/1958 dod: 12/00/1979 cancer 409-06-5028 Tennessee Grew up at 218 south 5th, Indianapolis, IN Randy Gordon Lepper (56) 12 dob: 1953 Charged with "injury to person." Judy Darlene Duke (56) 12 dob: 1953 Charged with "injury to person." Anna Ruth Siscoe (57) 13 dob: 1952 Charged with "injury to person." Michael John Monroe (55) 11 dob: 1954 Charged with "injury to person."

e on Apr 26, 2009


I just wanted to let everyone know that I have now put up the complete trial transcript on the Yuku board, along with new versions of the evidence photographs that I made. Pass the word around.

Brian Gaddis on May 7, 2009


hi everyone, i was looking up my grandmother ( anna ruth siscoe ( smith ) and i noticed her name popped up on here when i searched it. i'd like to let everyone know that my grandma was mentioned a few times in the book and ive heard some rather shitty things about her. my grandma was a great woman who loved sylvia and was her friend, my mom tried to ask her several times what happened to slyvia and my grams couldnt even reply, she felt so much remorse and loved syvlia so much..... she died of cancer when i was 7. but i wanted to let everyone know how she felt...

stephanie smith on May 13, 2009


Sorry to hear about your Grandmother. Thanks for the info.

Scott Garrett on May 14, 2009


It puts the lotion in the basket.

Bill on May 19, 2009


When were you seven? Or, when did she die? If you don't mind me asking...

angie on May 29, 2009


post #725, where do you get your info from? Richard Dean Hobbs (21d) 14 dob: 03/15/1958 dod: 12/00/1979 cancer 409-06-5028 Tennessee Grew up at 218 south 5th, Indianapolis, IN If what you stated here on Ricky Hobbs is true, Ricky would have been 7 years old in 1965, I dont think there is one number right in these dates. He was 15 at the time of Sylvias death. He lived on Denny afew houses down from the Baniszewskis. Benny Likens (49d) dob: dod: 12/04/1999 Benny, Jenny's twin, began showing signs of severe mental illness a few years after his sister's death Benny served in the army and worked in various restaurants, often as a cook, when he got out Benny became semi-recluse and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic Bennys decomposed body was found 8-3-1999, Benny didnt show signs of mental problems until after the army, he did get a honorable discharge.

Patti Krieg on Jun 4, 2009


richard hobbs lived at 210 S. 5th. ave. Beech Grove IN

Stephen Hostetter on Jun 7, 2009


hobbs died in 71 at the age of 21

Stephenn Hostetter on Jun 8, 2009


Angie claims to be Diana's daughter, what I'd like to know Angie is where exactly did Diana move to right after Sylvia's passing? Do you have any brother's and if so what is their first names ? I assume you are a Shoemaker? Please respond as soon as possible because all this information has been documented as public record and I'd hate to think your looking it up in order to respond. thank you

Stephenn Hostetler on Jun 8, 2009


Also, Angie can you tell me your age and what school you attended, grade school, junior high, and high school..If your name is no longer Shoemaker or never was then no need to tell me that. When you tell me the location your mother moved to can you also include the street name and address to if you like.. I know that she no longer lives there so it shouldn't be a big deal to mention. I just need to know that you are who you say you are, nothing more.. I believe that in one of the posts you were asked some of these questions but you never did respond I could be wrong so If you did could you please say again thank you

Stephenn Hostetler on Jun 8, 2009


Hello Mr. Hostetler, you're back! I'm sorry, you have me confused with Krystal, who said she was Dianna's daughter. I'm merely Dianna's FRIEND, and I speak with her daily. So, my information would not be of any importance to you, frankly it's none of you're business. But, no, I'm no relative of anyone ever mentioned here. I am from Indianapolis, where the crime occurred, not from California, and I only post the truth, or what I believe to be true, not a bunch of crap to be a "know it all" or "go to person" for info. You should know Sylvia's relatives are alive, and they know what you say is not true. Also, if you knew the Hobb's in Beech Grove, you must have known older Hobb's, because I believe Ricky testified that he lived at 310 N. Denny St. all of his life. I enjoyed your "fish tale" though.

angie on Jun 8, 2009


you said I didn't go to school with the Shoemaker's is that correct?

Stephenn Hostetler on Jun 8, 2009


judgeing from the other sites you've already wrecked with your half backed lies and contradictions you seem to enjoy going around pretending to be someone your not.. You were laughed off that other site because you got caught and exposed as a liar. everything I talked about on this site was truthful to the best of my knowlege.. originally I wasn't sure if I should come forward and talk about my experiance on this subject but needed to talk non the less... I found several good souls that would listen and I started to talk about everything I knew about this subject... I needed to for my own sake If the conversation got to detailed for your thin skin you shouldn't have attended or read the conversation.. you have that choice you say we shouldn't be talking about the case because there are still family members still alive but that doesn't stop you from chiming in and speading malicious lies to further your own self rightous agenda.. If you were a friend to Diana you'd know something but you have never offered anything but lies and insults .. You lied about many things conserning myself and your name can't be googled which is no mistake makes me know you are very calculating.. you are most likely one of those misguided religious fanatics busy body control freak.. As you can see from the looks of this once healthy populated site that no one can stand you around.. They must see the same thing I do. I won't exchange words with you from here on because there is no point in hearing you repeat the same lies over and over and then after time your confronted and you change your story.. It's all written down here but I knew it was just to much for you to skim through which is why I waited so long to confront you.. You should do yourself a favor and get a life! this one just you busted once again

Stephenn Hostetler on Jun 8, 2009


Well, even though you're not going to respond to me, I would like to know what site that was I was laughed off of! I've never left any site I went on, for being laughed at. Here we go with the insults, why would you need to google my name? I'm not the one that told all of these lies, you are! Sorry, again, you're totally WRONG! I'm not a religious, I don't need to lie, I'm not a control freak, and last but not least, I do have a life. So, don't respond to me anymore, as I won't you, now that everyone knows not to believe your tales.

angie on Jun 9, 2009


wow! lol Angie, if he only knew! hope to see you and Dianna tommorrow, dont forget to call me.......

Patti Krieg on Jun 9, 2009


Patti, I'll call as soon as I know time and place.

angie on Jun 10, 2009


I must say that I hate drama because it could very dull sometimes. After reading the review I know that this is a definite stay away for me.

Best way to stop smoking on Jun 23, 2009


it doesn't sound like my kind of film. I enjoyed reading the review however and the comments on this post make very interesting reading. It took me ages to read them all.

Cougar Woman on Jul 2, 2009


I wish it was public knowledge of the whereabouts of any of Gertrude's remaining children, and of any of the other neighborhood children who participated in and observed the repeated torture of Sylvia Likens. I would line up to beat the $hit out of them myself, for all of the horrible, vile, repulsive, disgusting things they did to that girl and her sister, and for watching it and doing NOTHING or saying NOTHING! May they ALL burn slowly in hell!

Stephen V on Jul 13, 2009


Stephen Hostetler, I decided to come back and check the message boards after 8 or so months and Stephen you are still the tool you were 8 months ago and reading comprehension still fails you. As for your comment about another poster who called you out on your lies not being able to google their name just shows you are a waste of space. I googled your name and the only thing that came up was classmates and a few message boards filled with your drivel. You didn't even show up on myspace or facebook. Don't come here citing others spreading malicious lies when you are the biggest lying bag of @ss I have ever seen on a message board. You and Rebecca were the first to attack people who had a different opinion on the message board and fling insults way before i ever showed up. So you can purvey this "love the world, everyone hug" attitude on here but those of us who see through your bull, know you are a tool. I am certainly not alone in my opinion of you.

SoldierGirl on Jul 16, 2009


I agree. SoldierGirl, I have kept silent for so long. I have read comments and ask myself, is this what Sylvia wanted? Gertrude has created so much hatred even after her death after all of these years. Has she won? Does it matter who is who, and who knew who, or who didn't. Why is there so much malice here? Sylvia, I'm sure, is not happy with what has been going on blogs like this one.

Gisele on Jul 16, 2009


Steve Hostetler Tsk, Tsk shame on you for trying to exploit this case by selling pictures of the house. The house at 3850 New York St. is the most preserved crime scene you will ever see..! The basement steps are still there complete with the nail that held the police belt... There is also a hand print at the top of the bottom of the stairwell which may very well be Sylvia's.... I have over 30 photographs of the interior of the home and am interested in selling them for one time print rights... Contact me at by Steve Hostetter on Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:46 pm haroldwingo wrote: Steve, Did you get the email I sent to your email address? HaroldHi Harold,,,, I have a new email address ...It's

SoldierGirl on Jul 19, 2009


Lol.... selling pictures of the house? Is this a joke? Who is selling pictures? There is so many pictures of the inside of this house, why would someone buy them? Is this a joke?

Patti Krieg on Jul 20, 2009


Thank you so much Soldiergirl for finding that, I have also that he sent a friend of mine. Here are some more of his RIDICULOUS requirements: I took these pictures right before they boarded the house up... I got permission from a renter at the time.. I first need the following: Name of book in question Name of publisher you expect to use I can sell you these pictures for one time print rights,, also each photo has to have my name printed next to each photo printed. I'd need tear sheets of each page containing my pictures.. I have pictures of the basement, several angles, the floor around the steps, detailed pictures of shovel marks on ceiling and step railing, I have time exposure of exiting light and flash ... I have pictures of all the rooms in the house complete with blood stained floors and steps.. I have pictures of the actual nail used to hold the police belt... Many stains on the lower steps and rail... also I have a photo of a hand print above the stairwell at the foot of the basement steps which resembles that of a young girls.. Very odd place for a hand print which looks like someone was trying to save themselves from a fall... I can't begin to tell you how erie the place is and how well preserved the basement (crime scene) is... I have been in the house now numerous times untill they boarded it up last year... I don't know why I felt compelled to go back... Steve

angie on Jul 26, 2009


Oh, and by the way, he has over 40 pictures from inside... Guess what his price was???? $100.00 FOR EVERY 3 PHOTO'S I knew I had proof of this, I was just too lazy to go back and find it! Now I hope you all see Mr. Hostetter for who he really is!

angie on Jul 26, 2009


so lester left his 16 yr old daughter with perfect strangers while he went off exploiting people in a carnival. hmm If this happened today lester and his wife would be doing time what scum

jackleg on Aug 8, 2009


what about the scum that left their 16 yr old kid with a house full of animals while they go exploit people in a carnival today they'd be in jail for neglect you all need a life I see everyone here as liars

jack leg on Aug 8, 2009


I am not convinced that your statement is 100% accurate Mr. leg.

Kaptain Kebo on Aug 8, 2009


Fascism: Severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. 2 people gave a speech in which they said: "you are either with us or against us" those 2 people were Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush.. I see all of you as this

jack leg on Aug 8, 2009


You are awesome Jack!! we have been waiting for a heavyweight with superior intelligence to arrive and clue us all in on reality, I will be your most your most studious pupil...thanks again for all of your help!

Kaptain Kebo on Aug 8, 2009


rent the movie "sicko" and watch the special features as well. It is a fine line we walk between full out genocide and dropping our people out on the curb like so much trash for not being able to pay for health care. and you people think you can push your ideas onto people of all nations by going to war when you have gangs in your own country that will kill you for giving the wrong look back. you are little natzi's in your own right although you are currently a world power there will be one day when you yourselves will be living in a third world country with no ability to protect yourselves . you will be your own undoers

jack leg on Aug 8, 2009


nazi's to

jack leg on Aug 8, 2009


Actually, you are making some sense now. Yes, Americans can generally be clueless deathsuckers, although the majority are against the war. What Country do you call home?

Kaptain Kebo on Aug 8, 2009


Jack leg, Why are you not going by the name monkeyspanker anymore? Deuces, SG

Soldiergirl on Aug 10, 2009


Oh god, this used to be a great blog. How far it has gone down, and in so short a time!

Kathleen on Aug 17, 2009


I read the comments here for a bit and I must say my favorite one is by Melissa (I think) where she stated that she wanted to know where the B**th Paula was to do the same to her. I bet all of us that saw the movie (read the book etc) feel the same way. So much of this story just turns you inside out but the fact that the twisted sadistic Paula only served a few years in prison is just beyond abhorrent. I prefer punishments that fit the crime, and if there is ever a vote to send Paula into a basement for 30 days of that torture, I would move to the state to be sure to vote!! I just can't believe any of the animals that participated in this crime are walking the street, but Paula the one that solicited her mother's hatred toward Sylvia? how in the bloody hell can it be that she is walking the streets today. I don't see her as any different at all from her mother. And did anyone read that she named her baby after her totally PSYCHO mother? That poor kid!! If the entry in the above comments is correct and Paula had several kids, I just totally can't believe that they weren't all taken away!! Shouldn't anyone that contributed to a brutal torture like this NEVER be allowed to have custody of children?! This story is just the worst I have ever heard. I so swear I feel pain for that poor child Sylvia. btw, I also noticed someone above commenting on the price of $100 for 3 photos. Honestly!! Photography is an art and a skill in which approx 30.00 for a photo is More then Fair!! I beg that person's pardon but photographs that are being considered for commercial purposes to be printed, can be sold at hundreds of dollars per photo. If I have mispercieved this exchange, I must apologize. If not, really the person that states that there are a ton of photos out there better be sure they are paying attention to copyright laws. Just because photos are out there doesn't mean anyone can go along and steal the person's work, to use them for their own benefit. I say to the person ranting about the price of the photos, pay up, or don't take them and shut up!

Aydyn on Aug 23, 2009


Welcome to America Aydyn, you must remember that the crime ocured in Indiana, so if Paula had killed Sylvia while smoking a joint within 500 feet of a church she would likely still be in jail.

Kaptain Kebo on Aug 23, 2009


Thank you KK Don't get me started on drug aka prohibition laws. Though, you are so right! What is the matter with this country that people that commit crimes like this, serve little or no time and people caught with a bag of weeds sit in prison for years. Unfortunately, major messed up laws are all over the country. Today, I became aware of a case where a very beautiful female teacher was intimate with a 14 year old boy. She hasn't served a day in prison. When she was interviewed what really made me want to hurl is when this teacher smiled and said (the boy) "wanted it". If it were a male teacher that seduced a 13 or 14 yr old girl likely the sentence would be years. Re your point about church, I did notice the questioning in the trial of Gertrude in which they asked if Sylvia read the bible. So, they used religion to display that Sylvia was a good kid. Really, I don't know how the behavior of the child is an issue at all and the premise that it was in this type of questioning is revolting. Further, Gertrude went to church every week with her evil kids in tow. So, it seems to me that bringing out the religion card and implying that a religious person is better behaved was pretty bizarre most especially in that case. The fact is many woman that commit the most despicable crimes against children are extremely religious. I can't count the times I have heard of women that slaughtered their children were devout Christians and believed their kids were evil, or that Satan would get them. There is one area of this case that I am inclined to feel that an error that may occurred is something I thrilled for. Of course, Gertrude did display serious symptoms of delusional behavior. There is no question that woman fit the criteria of having a serious Psychological illness. So, this story could be worse if she did get away with an insanity defense. If nothing else, that case poses many interesting points that could be very useful in the justice system, that is if we are delusional and feel we have a justice system that is intended to attain justice. ha ha!!

Aydyn on Aug 24, 2009


The power of Christ compels you.

JC on Sep 13, 2009


No one sought out the autopsy pictures yet?

GMC on Sep 21, 2009


We will gather, again this year, to honor the memory of Sylvia, at her Willard Park memorial, on Oct. 26th. Time is not sure yet, we need some suggestions. Anyone from Indy, who wants to participate, give us some suggestions on a time of day.

angie on Oct 15, 2009


Please join us, everyone! 5pm, at Willard Park, Sylvia's memorial on Oct. 26.

angie on Oct 20, 2009


I will be there Angie!

Patti Krieg on Oct 21, 2009


I have been reading through these comments and must say, that although I have never commented on anything before I felt it neccessary. I have read all the coments, books and watched all of the movies regarding silvia Liken and I always come back to the same questions. Where was Dianna her older sister during all this. She was old enough to marry, she lived in the same town, had seen her sister on the street (getting a cold response from her) , She went to the house and was told to go away, she received a letter that she just didn't believe or take serious. So where was she? It really doesn't matter what you have going on in your own life, a bell should have gone off somewhere at sometime, to say things just don't seem right.

lisa lee on Nov 22, 2009


I have followed this horrible story for many years. And what I don't understand is the lack of culpability on everyones part. Gertrude the kids and the families. Silvias sister new something was wrong, but she never follows up. Her sister Jenny told her, I can't talk to you or I will get in trouble? She never went to the police when Gertrude told her to leave the property? She recieved a letter saying that something was not right, And she dismisses it as a lie, no follow up? I'm sorry but the neighbors new the sister new, the priestnew and a nurse new. Times were different yes, but not that different.

roselee on Nov 23, 2009


Dianna never received any letter. That's Wikipedia BS.

darrin on Dec 6, 2009


So assume there was no letter. but A red flag should have gone up when, her own sister saw her on the street, and commented that if she spoke with her she would be in trouble. Question, you go to see your sisters and are told to go away or the police will be called, you then just don't follow up? Answer, you demand to see them or YOU will call the police. Believe me I am not placing blame on anyone other then those invovled in the beatings and death of this poor child. but we must all stop turning our heads. Act on your hunches, get involved, ask questions and call the authorites even if we are not sure.

roselee on Dec 9, 2009


Dianna was forbidden by HER PARENTS to see her younger sisters. That's who Dianna assumed Jenny meant she was going to get in trouble by, not Gertrude. As a matter of fact, she did not even know at that time, Sylvia and Jenny were staying with someone OTHER than her/their parents. Come on, do you honestly think, that if Dianna had known about any of the things that were going on there, she would not have torn the world to shreds to protect her sisters?

angie on Dec 25, 2009


I do not know what Dianna's relationship with her parents was, and for that matter her relationship with her sisters, but she must have had some connection, or she would not have made a visit to the Braniszewski household. She was turned away by Gertrude and told not to come back, RED FLAG? She received a letter from her sisters stating the punishments and that Sylvia was being blamed for things she did'nt do. RED FLAG? She felt it neccesary at the trial to state that she had tried to see her sisters but was turned away by Gertrude (NOT HER PARENTS). I really do feel sorry for all the pain that Dianna must have endured throughout life. A am sure that she wishes she could back to that time. Her discord with her parents may be so, (lets face it they left their children with someone they did not know). But the fact still remains that people new and did nothing. A young beautiful life was taken in the most incomprehensible manner imaginable, while others stood by and allowed it to happen. Dianna has suffered this is true, but her suffering should not be compared to that of Sylvia's.

roselee on Dec 30, 2009


Just A note. I was under the assumption and correct me if I'm wrong, that It was Gertrude who told Dianna that her parents did not want her to see her sisters when she arrived at the house.

roselee on Dec 30, 2009


If Dianna could have ever imagined something so horrific was happening she surely would have stopped it. I'm sure she knew that her siblings living conditions were far less than ideal, but c'mon, really, who, in there wildest horrific imagination could think that something so severe and unusual was occurring. People need to instead take a look at, and focus their anger towards the people who rallied for Gerties parole, and the wacko, nut job parole board members who so easily complied to the idea of releasing a child torturing, murderous monster back into society based on her bible study habits. Many of these people are still around Indy.

Kebo on Dec 30, 2009


And there lies the problem. This is horrific, but not unusual. This case has received much media attention but Sylivia is not alone. Case in point Esther Combs, Esther suffered unimaginable abuse the only difference is that Esther lived to tell the tale. People new about the abuse, saw the scars, marks and bruses, over 400 were documented. This girl now in her twenties was subjected to torture her whole life. It is not uncommon. We much stop looking the other way, we must take action when asomething doesn't feel or look right. I never said that she new the abuse had escalated to the point it had, only that something was not right. I would say the same for the neighbors, the parents of the others involved, and the clergy and nurse. Esther endured a lifetime of abuse and is still living the nightmare everyday of her life. As far as Gertrude and the others, I think enough time has been spent on them and she and the others are not worth my time or my anger. I instead would prefer to spend my time making sure that our system of justices changes so that people like Gertrude and the others never see the light of day again. Please remember, you will never know how uncomfortable someones elses shoes may be, until you have walked a mile in them.

roselee on Dec 31, 2009


Hey Stephen Hostetler, I find your posts the most honest and interesting. I am currently obsessed with this case and would like to talk more with some one from the area who actually knew people involve. Please feel free to email me back. look forward to hearing from you.

Christine Conroy on Jan 1, 2010


LISTEN AND LISTEN CLOSELY!!!!!!!!!!! MY AUNT SYLVIA NEVER SENT MY MOTHER, DIANNA, ANY SUCH LETTERS....... YOU HAVE NO F-ING IDEA WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!! Sylvia is and was my Aunt. My Mother is Dianna Likens... I am in Law Enforcement and I also served 8 years in the U.S. Marines. I am a very humble sound person who loves there mother. So here it goes...... For those of you who made my mother call me and cry about your stupid ass comments!!!!!!! you need to get a life!!!!!! We, as a family, have had to live with this horrific tragedy all our lives... I have never had the opportunity to know my Aunt, but I still love her and feel a very close bond to her...... Save all your lame ass comments for yourself.....because you truley don't know the truth..... And if you think for one minute the "movie" you watch or the books you have read are even close to the are sadley mistaken.........maybe you should go back to your trailer and watch Jerry Springer and eat your Bon Bon ice cream, HoHo chocodiles and Popcorn with raisenettes and quite posting your CRAP about my family.... Not one person has ever came to the victims or the family of the victim to find out the truth.....the only story that anyone has ever heard is from the losers who tortured my AUNT!!!! So please leave us alone.... My mother has had enough trauma in her life to endure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In Loving Memory of Aunt Sylvia and my wonderful Mother Dianna, Robert

Robert on Jan 9, 2010


And roselee you know what they say about assuming ...... and just remember.....there are alot of us family members who live with this and have alot of hurt and anger still inside us.... so please stop your careless assumptions towards my family!!!!!!

robert on Jan 9, 2010


I’m appalled at peoples depiction of Sylvia’s sister Diana, You DO not know the sort of woman she is Diana wears her heart on a sleeve and breaks down crying over ANY tragedy Let alone what this has done to her. YOU do NOT know the story! YOU do NOT know what Diana knew or not! Most of these allegations are completely fabricated. I am her stepdaughter of over 23 years I have talked more to Diana then any other person on earth and as God is my witness I swear by her honorable character! We have adopted one another, as Mother and Daughter No step exist here. I have opened my heart and phone to Diana to call me at all hours of the night if so needed. You have NO idea how many late night phone calls I have gotten from her crying because she is shattered by the death of her sister. Even all these years later she still holds it hard as if it happened yesterday As for this alleged letter that Sylvia wrote her sister, FALSE THERE is NO way this could even have existed for the simple fact neither Sylvia nor Diana KNEW where one another lived. On top of in that day and age you could move pretty much anywhere and no one knew where you were. Diana never even received any mail what so ever! Her rent included ALL utilities so She didn’t even receive a bill. What had happened is Diana was concerned about the girls being hurt by their father, she went to her mother and explained her concern the mother would hear nothing of it and made Diana an outcast never to see them or her sisters. All Diana was trying to do is protect her sisters. The ONLY reason she even saw them that day in July is she just happened to be driven down the street, She had NO address No phone number, nothing! In fact Diana didn’t even own a phone till she was 26 years of age. Her parents wouldn’t even let her back in when she begged them holding her baby in the cold of winter! Dianna went to Gertrude house and asked if she could see her sisters. Gertrude replied NO, Your not allowed to see them!” and slammed the door. Diana once again was driving down the street in Oct, Hoping to run into her sisters. She saw Jenny and asked her “where’s Sylvia? Has she already gone to school? (She wanted Sylvia to hang out with her that morning) Jenny replied” Yes, I got to go or you’ll get me in trouble” Diana went home talked to her husband and told him “ I feel like calling the police! I can’t even see my own sisters” Her husband replied, “Hunny there is nothing you can do about it, the police can’t make them let you see your sister” WHAT was Diana to do she had No real evidence of foul play Now did she? It all summed up to her is they just were doing even thing in their power to keep Diana’s sisters away from her. Diana only found out about Sylvia’s death due to the fact a friend of hers saw it on the news and called Diana at work Diana Screamed and was so devastated her boss had to drive her home. Diana went down to the police station to get her sister Jenny and take her home with her. The next day she took Jenny back to the police station for more statements she saw her parents on the elevator, Dianna turned to them and said “ well you wanted to keep her away from me, She’s away from me now” As the evidence states here Diana had NO CLUE! Wild Horses wouldn’t have kept her away from protecting her sisters if she but had the slightest idea. To the fabricators: Please stop riding the skirt tails of other peoples tragedies to make your lives seem more important. Any and all stories made up by you is defamation or character and as My Brother Robert so kindly stated We will have our family lawyer handle you! Don’t ‘assume’ anything it only makes an ASS out of U and Me. Diana has endured so much horror in her life. Please allow her to finish out her golden years in peace. I feel I’ve set the record straight here so I will not be hearing any more lies made of my Mom, Now will? She also wants me to state to all those wonderful people that have kept Sylvia’s memory alive and cherished, “Thank you it means the world to me, May God Bless you”

Kris on Jan 9, 2010


Nicely said SIS!!! any questions from you assuming people?????

Robert on Jan 9, 2010


I'm very sorry, Kris and Robert. I did not want to upset Dianna, I love her as if she is my own Mom! It hurts me when people say these things about her, and I would have never told her these terrible things people say, but she asked me too:( I hope you guys aren't mad at me, I'm your sis, too, you just don't know me! Your mother is the most wonderful, and the kindest person I have ever spoken too! I will do anything for her, but I didn't feel it was my place to say what she wanted said. You two done it perfectly, thank you, and again, I'm sorry.

angie on Jan 9, 2010


Angie, Don't be sorry these things had to come to light…. Lies breed contempt....It is a matter Of Diana’s Honor here that we stand up for her. Have you not heard the old adage "Don't shoot the messenger" You were concerned. You felt it was needed to know.. PLEASE feel free to enlighten Robert or I on ANY and ALL tales you might hear I will come to the aid of my Mom as a Knightess in shinning armor! And Robert will come to her aid Sirens blazing 😉 Be Blessed knowing you stand on the side of light against the tyranny of evil doer’s I feel blessed knowing you are out there ever diligent to protect her. Have a glorious day Kris

Kris on Jan 9, 2010


Dianna asked me to include one more thing to rosalee. Dianna was never at the "trial". She thanks God she did not have to see those horrible photo's Jenny, and the others had to see. She was in COURT once, and that was during jury selection. Also, in your first post, when you made all of your untrue assumptions, you spelled Sylvia's name S-I-L-V-I-A, after you said you followed the case for many years. You did not correct the spelling until my response. Are those the places that you're getting your info from? Where they spell her name Silvia? No wonder they're all wrong! P.S. Kris, thank you, that means a lot to me!

angie on Jan 9, 2010


Christine Conroy, Stephen Hostetter is a total fraud. He knows no one and never did know anyone. Avoid him.

Brian Gaddis on Jan 9, 2010


As I prepare to go out on patrol, I daun my bullet proof vest, I buckle up my gun belt, make sure I have a fresh battery for my radio and mentally prepare to face the side of society only a few of us can tolerate, even if only for a ten hour shift. I personnaly chose this profession as a tribute to my Mother and the tragedy's she has had to endure throughout her life and as a tribute to my beloved Aunt Sylvia. When I raised my right hand and took the Police Officer Oath, I did it with my family in mind. My Mother aforded me and my Sister Debbie the opportunity to go to school and succeed in life. She gave us a better life that she and her siblings could only dream about. Debbie is a successful career woman and I believe you already have an idea of what I do. I protect the good people in life. I run into danger while you run out and away from it. I am paid to protect human life and property and I respect that responsibility that has been given and trusted to me. I will share a small TRUE story for you with regard to the red flag comment of a radio call I received that changed my life........... My partner and I receivved a radio call that a man had just found his two year old daughter face down in a bucket and she wasn't breathing. My partner and I were close to the location and activated our lights and sirens. After about a 30 second trip, we arrived on scene and the Dad was waiting for us outside, his Daughter was no where in sight though "RED FLAG!" We raced inside and ran up the flight of stairs to find the little girl lying on her back, motionless. I picked her lifless body of the floor and began giving her CPR. I continued to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived and took over. And oh by the way, I forgot to mention her histarical three year old sister was watching me the entire time, trying to save her sister "RED FLAG!". As the paramedics continued to try and save the two year old, I began my investigation and this is what happened or should I say the "RED FLAG's" that were there: The girls bedroom had a matress on the floor and there were approximately ten dirty soiled diapers scattered about "RED FLAG!" There was human fecies on the walls and it was obvious it was smeared on there with the hands of the little girls, "RED FLAG!" There was no furniture in the house except for a small round kitchen table that had a computer consuming the entire top of it that displayed a pornographic website on it, "RED FLAG!" The kitchen sink was full of FILHTY dishes with flies flying everywhere, "RED FLAG!" The refrigerator was completely empty, "RED FLAG!" while I was interviewing him, he was literally making jokes about things that had nothing to do with the incident, "RED FLAG!" He never once asked about his Daughter, nor did he demand to see her, ride with her in the ambulance, or cry, "RED FLAG!" I took him into custody and walked him out of the apartment where he was met by news camera's. He then proceeded to extend both his hands and give the news camera's the middle finger "RED FLAG!" And I must not forget, he still hasn't asked one time about his injured Daughter (who was pronounced dead already) or his other Daughter that was being taken into protective custody, "RED FLAG!" During his statement he told me he found the little girl face down in a cleaning bucket. In the cleaning bucket was about an inch of liquid cleaner solution. I thought it was strange that a little girl could drown in a bucket of one inch solution when she was twice the bucket's size. I also found the bathtub was filled with cold water and she was soken wet when I was giving her CPR and I never smelt cleaning solution emminating from her body. Not knowing whatever became of the case, I was taking a child abuse class approximately two years later and the instructor was the investigating Detective on my case. She began telling the story of the "Bucket Baby" as the final topic of her class. Apparently the little girl dropped a small toy in the bucket and she tried to retrieve it and as she reached in the bucket for the toy, she got stuck at the waist and drowned. The dad found out by the sister wakening him up at 11:00 AM (he was unemployed). The Mother of the children was away at sea as she was in the Navy. He was never charged with anything, he was given his Daughter back to live in that same apartment, and the Mother had to return to duty after a 60 day leave of absence. Now you want to talk about RED FLAG'S........ the Grandparents visited, he was friends with all the neighbor's who openly admitted they thought there was a problem, but didn't want to get involved. The freaking "RED FLAG'S" are screaming in this case and this happened only 8 years ago. With today's advancement's in Law Enforcement. He was never charged with anything......AT ALL!!!!! I carry that little girl with me everyday.... I see her blue lips and lifless torsoe everyday. I am crying as I type this it hurts so bad. I have a two year Daughter now who is the world to me. I can't imagine ever putting her in a situation where she could be harmed. It is so easy to Monday morning quarterback anything, but if you got anything from my message, please know Monday morning quarterbacking only hurts those who are directly involved. I must go serve and protect now.........

Robert on Jan 9, 2010


I am going to start off with "for once my brother Robert (Bobby) beat me to the punch" to finally express how we have felt our entire lives for what our Mom has had to go through. It was always just the 4 of us for so many years, My Mom My Grandpa My Little Brother and Me and NO ONE KNOWS everything as to the extent that this has affected my family and mostly my Mom, Diane. A tragedy like this does not start or END with the death of my Aunt Sylvia, who I never got to know and love, my loss. Something like this has a domino reaction that only those of us that lived the life will ever completely understand. I am not going to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing details because frankly, ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!! My day started with a call from my mom sobbing at what her dear friend had shared with her about the nonsense of a letter she received but ignored. Lisa Lee #769 you dont know what the f#@k your talking about. This is how crap gets started and I would like to thank Darrin #771 for clearing that up on my moms behalf. Because I was at work all day and didnt have a chance to read this crap in here, I called upon my brother to help me defend our mother, which he did better than I could have done myself, not easy for me to say. I absolutely wont tolerate my mother being talked about as if she was too busy to help Sylvia when I know she would have done anything and everything to be there for her sister, just like she was there for Jenny my whole life. I will not elaborate anymore but I will be watching what is said about her in the future and handle things from there. For those of you who do know Mom, your friendship means the world to her and I am so happy she talks and opens up for you. I think you have discovered how unique and loving she really is. NOW EVERYONE ELSE--KEEP MY MOMMA'S NAME OUCHA MOUTH!!!!

Debbie on Jan 9, 2010


Debbie, Kris, and Robert: Thank you for your comments. They are much appreciated. Robert, thank you for your service to this country, both in the Marines and in the blue uniform. I'm sure you made your mother proud, and I'm sure your aunt Sylvia is proud also. You are out there to protect people like her. I haven't commented here in a long time, but felt the need to weigh in. The problem with these boards is that private citizens, including the VICTIM'S families, get dragged through the mud by unconscionable people. Just a piece of advice, folks (and this is to anyone reading). I am an attorney. Publishing information and statements regarding a private citizen can often rise to the level of tortious conduct. While I don't practice in this area, I am just going to rattle off some of what I actually remember from studying for the bar. Some of these statements above made about Dianna are most likely defamatory, but could also rise to the level of Invasion of privacy. The inasion of privacy tort is recognized in most jurisdictions as a way to protect private citizens from being discussed publicly against their wishes. Furthermore, there is also a tort known as "false light" which involves statements that attribute actions or views that depict a person in a "false light". Robert, Kris, and Debbie: best wishes to your mother. I am based out of Ohio and am in Indianapolis for work often. Your aunt's memorial is near enough to downtown Indy. I swing by there after work on occasion.

Ross on Jan 11, 2010


Ross, Thank you for that. It is good to hear that the way my mom is portrayed by some actually IS as wrong as it seems. The first time we experienced this was when I was a teenager and we happened upon Kate Millet's book, The Basement, and she referred to my mom as an amiable midtown hussy (close enough) and how that affected her. That is just an example of the hurt that can take place when it is unjustified. As my mom, I didnt want her called that and as my mom, she didnt want to be called that. The "false light" you mentioned is exactly what had my mom SO upset Saturday morning. The thought of people actually thinking it was remotely possible that she could have helped Sylvia and didnt is what cut her to her core. As far as Robert, PROUD is an understatement!! His story, even though I have heard it years ago, brought tears to my eyes again. I think it was very clear at the message he was trying to get across, I got it loud and clear. The fact that he and I have been able to work hard and become successful, good parents, and overall well adjusted members for our communities is a testament to Diane, Mom. I think she did a great job of making this happen with very limited resources and knowledge of how to really make that happen. We are very PROUD of her as well. Thank you again and I am sure that Bobby and Kris feel the same way.

Debbie on Jan 11, 2010


Brian Gaddis, I would hate to think that anybody on here is a fraud, but I guess it's certainly possible. All I know is that ever since this movie has come out (Which I still have not seen) and I found out about this story I have not been able to get Sylvia Likens out of my mind. I need to know WHY? How could all these kids have known about and even participated in this horrible crime without even one of them saying or doing something? I can understand poor Jenny being paralyzed by fear, but what about the others? I am glad to see that Sylvia's family has spoken out. I have often wondered why the family was not interviewed when this movie came out. I would like to know more about Sylvia the person as opposed to Sylvia the victim.

christine conroy on Jan 15, 2010


Dianna exposed Steven Hostetter as a fraud a while back. The question of why is eternal. We'll never know in this life why those people did what they did. 🙁

Brian Gaddis on Jan 15, 2010


Let me start by saying that I apoligize for offending anyone, that certainly was not my intention. Rather my intention was just to bring to light several points, which obviously was lost either through my poor choice of words or through misinterpretation of those words. First point being that we have a massive problem of abuse/torture of our children in our society. Second that the system of justice we have to punish those guilty is imperfect, with little culbability on the part of the guilty. Light sentences are being handed out due to age, mental state, and evidence or lack there of. And last the touchy subject of, is it really any of my business what the neighbors do or how they discipline their children? When I first came to this site I thought how wonderful, these people really seem to care about abuse, and I thought what a great way to elicite help and awareness. I realize now I was incorrect in my assumption, and that this is about one case, one incident, one child and who is or is not to blame, not about making a diference. I mentioned the case of Esther Combs, how sad that she got no response. I mentioned several things in my previous comment one being that I am sure that Diane is a strong women who has had to endure great pain in her life and I commend her for that. She seems to have a great family who love her very much. Second that I think that we could all take part by questioning, and following our instincts. I still feel very strongly that this will make a difference. I am guilty myself of not always questioning, i am sure. I am saddened that a law enforcement officer would make such an assumption about those who live in trailers. I have yet to see Jerry Springer, i am sure that is due to age, I do not eat Bon Bons and I have been blessed with a wonderful residence. I am sure that their are wonderful, productive citizens that choose a trailer to call home. I do however spend my day surrounded my cases like this, and see all to often the guilty going free. I was also saddened that my comments some how became a lesson in the law. There certainly are laws against defamation, and the "false light" tort mentioned. Except in the state of Florida, The Florida Supreme Court has rejected the "false Light" tort, because it believed it to be a duplicative of defamation and therefore likely to impede on Constitutionally protected "free speech laws". Also forgotten to be mentioned was "fair comment on a public matter of interest" and "Opinion". If the allegedly defamatory statement in an expression of opinion rather then a statement of fact, defamation claims usually can not be brought. In my experience a statement is found to be logically unsound if a reasonable person could honestly entertain such an opinion. (This statement is protected.) With that said our courts are full of frivolous lawsuits, taking time and money away from serious crimes and offenses. The only point that I was trying to make is that we have a problem and that we are all human. We must all question, act and get invovled, myself included. And if you are someone who has no faults and has never had to question your actions or choices, than that puts you right up there at the right hand of the good lord himself and I "commend Thee". But if you are like me and you are not perfect, you must always question your action and in-actions. Again I apologize for any hurt or pain that I have caused it truly was not my intention. I will certainly words my thoughts more carefully and find a forum where People really care about the subject of abuse and the victims it leaves behind, and not just about this one case, and who was to blame, but about all of Sylvia's who have suffered and died. Those who are presently suffering the same abuse. Again I am truly sorry. For anyone who is interested April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, please remember all those who have suffered, and find a organization in your community to support. The abuse of children will not go away, and do not listen to those who say it is not your business, it is. make it your business. Please do not assume that I think you do not care, it's just my opinion here.

roselee on Jan 18, 2010


I haven't been here in a while and I see we have gotten some peoples attention. Let me first say that my sister and I grew up in a trailer and my mother still resides in one part time during her work week and then in her lovely retirement home when she finally hangs em up. If the truth be known I am positive I ate ice cream and watched Jerry Springer many many times in ONE of the trailers I grew up in. My wife, jokingly, refers to me as white trash sometimes :). Not trying to downplay the trailer life. My deceased step dad left my mother, his wife, enough money to provide us with a wonderful brand new double wide trailer that Debbie and I grew up in. Now that, that is out of the way. I am a very active member of my community, people come to me for advice and comfort. I am a very compassionate loving man. I have kids and an unbelievable wife. I am involved with my church and I am a very strong believer in my Lord and Savior. However; my mother Dianna is OFF LIMITS!!! I will go to area's that I may later ask the Lord for forgiveness for. I too have been blessed by God with a beautiful home and family. This is about MY family, our losses, and yes the victims here.....THE LIKENS FAMILY. My family did not ask for this. I am just requesting that nothing be said about my mother and what she could have done. And although people may want to know the better side of Sylvia, or what the "true" story of what happened with my family sister Debbie and I personally don't think it is anyone's business but ours.... why on earth would we give out any type of information? Information turns into questions, accusations, and oh yeah RED FLAGS. Kris answered earlier about the "why didn't Dianna do anything question".......that will be the last true story ever put on this blog, as the true story is priveledged information. One thing that is absolutely awesome about this, is the positive influence that will hopefully come out of this tragic story. It sickens me to know right now, some little boy or girl is being called names, being told shut up, or being yelled at. It sickens me that people have kids and then don't give them all the love they deserve. I love my 2 year old Daughter so much I couldn't imagine ever hurting her or ever protecting her. She is not a burden to me and I adjust my schedule to her. I get home from a 12 hour day at 0400 AM.... my wife and I get up together by 0730, maybe 0800 (if im lucky) and I feed her breakfast while my wife gets her clothes ready for school (3x a week) the other two days, I still wake up at the same time because she is awake and misses me (it's awesome). I'm not looking for a pat on the back, I have just went to so many homes and seen people sleeping all day while their kids are on auto-pilot. I hope that Sylvia's story will make people more aware of RED FLAGS..... because as mentioned before, there are definitly RED FLAGS out there to be seen. Don't hesitate to call the Police when you just don't think something you see is right. Or your neighbor sleeps until noon while there little one roams around all day or, even worse, is locked in some room while the parent sleeps..... please help those that can't help themselves. Law Enforcement is truely a partnership with the community. I am paid to protect human life and those that can't protect themselves and with the communities help, it makes for one excellent team. God Bless Robert

Robert on Jan 19, 2010


Just one single question to Debbie, Kris and Robert - with a bit of fear as to the possible answer, I'll admit that - you do have brothers called Jeremy and Lee? Or cousins?

Kathleen on Jan 26, 2010


I am not aware of a Jeremy or Lee in our family. If there is some relation to Robert or I, they must be distant relatives. We dont know all of our distant cousins and the ones we were around as children were just from the immediate family. If there are cousins out there that we dont know I would like to know who they are and how the relationship links. Curious why you ask and why you fear the answer. We are very open in our everyday lives just very sensitive when it comes to Mom.

Debbie on Feb 1, 2010


Debbie, thanks for answering, that was kind of you. The reason I asked and why I was a bit afraid of the answer is nothing to do with your family. It's just that I'm trying to find out if Stephen's statements could be simply based on error instead of something deliberate. I still think it could be so. Shoemaker is not a rare name and there may well have been a Jeremy or a Lee Shoemaker who just happened to be someone else's sons. I know that this view is unpopular on this board (understandably, where you and your siblings and some others are concerned). But I like Stephen and it would make me very sad indeed to find out these were intentioned falsehoods. I'd like you to know, though, that I have great admiration for your Mum and wish her all the best.

Kathleen on Feb 2, 2010


Now call me a no-lifer or somebody who should rent a life, but yes I did it I read all the comments. And only one question is bothering me. It's addressed to Robert, Kris, Andie, Kathe or whoever is somehow related : Do you know where Paula or other Baniszewski children are ? That's it. Don't care how they turned out, what lifes they live or how "cough" TOUGH "cough" it was for them... That shit dont matter now. As some offsprings said there were many speculations which resulted in a whole lot of bullshit, some even tried to take advantage and make a quick buck or become somewhat important. It would be good, if someone would write a book about what really happened. Yes there are testimonies and documents but we all know they lied... Anyway, if by any chance Dianna is reading this, please know that everybody was somehow affected by this tragedy. I don't know why ( I wasn't even born when this happened), but somehow I feel devastated, maybe depressed... Anyway please leave a comment or something if you have any info about Bs' whereabouts ?

John on Feb 3, 2010


Kathleen, Thank you for your kind words towards my mom, she has endured much in her life with the death of Sylvia being the worst. As far as Stephen, I wouldn't want to deliberately call anyone a liar, especially when I know some childhood memories become distorted over the years, but there are many examples that don't add up. My step sister, Kris, explained in #688 the whereabouts of my Grandpa during those years and that is accurate information. I was born in 1967 and when I was a young girl until now I have always had a relationship with him. From 73 to 81 we lived in the same area, a small town just south of Indianapolis, and my Grandpa was around quite often. He would drive over from Ohio, alot of times with his then second wife. Which brings me to my examples. First of all, there have been articles referring to a pink suitcase, this was my Grandma Betty's. This contained her personal things in regards to Sylvia. My Grandparents were not married in the 70's so therefore there would have been no "pink trunk" to spot because it was in my Grandma's possession and they weren't together. Stephen stated something to the affect of Grandpa mentioning Sylvia, I find this strange considering he has always been in my life and I grew up knowing the subject was taboo, I only talked to my mom about it. It was the big pink elephant in the middle of the room. I wouldn't have even known he lost a daughter if it wasn't for the fact my mom lost her sister. So I find that comment very odd knowing my Grandpa. As far as never seeing him drink, this is funny. My Grandpa was a social drinker and was always enjoying a good time, along with most of those around. I would not call him a drunk by no means but in his day, he did enjoy a cocktail or two. I am sure this would apply to many of us. When Stephen talks about the encouraging words that My Grandpa conveyed, I do hope that is true. In knowing him and as much as I know he adored me, he was never good with words. I dont even think I could come up with one time that he said something to me in the form of bettering myself or encourage further schooling, he was always just there and loved me and he OFTEN said how proud he was. As far as Shoemaker's, that was a short lived relationship when my mom was still a kid herself. He was her first husband and not my dad. I couldn't verify anything about the validity of that one way or another. I will tell my mom what you said, it will mean alot to her.

Debbie on Feb 4, 2010


Debbie, thanks a lot for answering in so much detail, it’s nice of you to go so much trouble. Far as I see this now, anything further to the matter of Stephen, I should discuss with Stephen himself which I’m ready to do at any given time with the promise of an understanding reception. That is all I can do now but I don’t think I should bother you and your siblings with it - especially not since it is a delicate matter for your Mother. Which brings me to something I should have said before. Whatever I say here, consider none of it a question, at least not as one I expect you or anyone else from your family to answer. What I said to Kathe on this blog goes as well for you all: as you are concerned parties, your privacy has priority over everything else and no sensible person would expect you to give out information, be it about past or present matters or whatever. As to the people who say things that are bound to hurt your mother or you all on her behalf, on this blog or elsewhere, usually it’s people who didn’t go into the matter except superficially. They confound the movie with web bullcrit and web bullcrit with the books and the books with each other. With other people it’s worse, though. My theory is that by blaming someone – anyone they can find – people whose own fears are too strong to bear assure themselves: No, it won’t happen to me. Understandable, perhaps, but inacceptable if it hurts someone else. In my eyes, Dianna has achieved the impossible. Normally, people who suffered what she did, especially when quite young, afterwards perceive the world as a dangerous place where humans are either dangerous or helpless. If that’s the way you feel you can’t help transferring this perception onto your children and they grow up in fear or with aggression against every other human being. Obviously, Dianna managed to raise level-headed, reasonable and strongl children and has given them a lot of love. I cannot imagine how she did it but the fact that she did makes her a white hope – as I ‘m not without fears either. One last thing: A few posts above you referred to Kate Millett describing Dianna as an “amiable midtown hussy”. I remember that quote well. All I could ever lay hands upon was a translation of “The Basement” into German and if you translate back into English the German term used by the translator, it would be “an amiable city gal”. Here it should be noted that “gal” in German is a word you could use tenderly, e. g. to describe a young girl who has a good character but refuses to take shit from anyone or just someone who loves having a good time and forgets more serious things sometimes. Combined with “city”, you’d imagine that young woman in quite some gear and maybe with a lot of make-up (applied more or less skilfully). Unlike “hussy” , it doesn’t have anything insulting to it, though. What I had imagined was an adorable young thing with lots of boys in love with her …

Kathleen on Feb 8, 2010


"What had happened is Diana was concerned about the girls being hurt by their father, she went to her mother and explained her concern the mother would hear nothing of it and made Diana an outcast never to see them or her sisters." What do you mean by this, Kris? Was Lester abusive or at least neglectful?

Louie on Feb 12, 2010


To John, As you stated in your email, don't know what happened to any of the members of the group of people who did this to my Aunt, and as you already said, DON'T CARE. I can only hope they found God while incarcerated and asked for forgiveness. My Mom and Sister would want the same. To Louie, My Grandfather, as stated by my Sister Debbie in earlier posting's, is a loving man who has basically been Debbie and mine's Father figure. He is not perfect, but I do know he always treated us like his little Angels. I will say it is a safe bet that without all the stresses in life he went through and without all of the pressure life gives, I, me, no one else, believes he truley enjoyed being there everyday for us and it gave him great pleasure to be our Father figure. He was not an alcoholic. He has always worked. And he always had a smile. I am sure he had a hard time raising five kids four of which were two sets of twins. Was he perfect, again no he wasn't, but he was and always has been there for me and Debbie. He didn't do homework, he didn't ask about school, he didn't ask if we were ok. He didn't need to, because he could see that his Daughter had done an excellent job. We were happy and that made him happy. He found a way to deal with his pain, regrets, and any guilt he had through the happiness he had with us. Debbie and I have never stopped loving him and he knows that. To All, I will be with my Mom, Dianna, next week. I will be Barbecueing for her and my Dad. We will have laughter and fun. I will probably let her read some of these postings as she is computer illiterate and doesn't own one. We will share tears as we are a very loving and affectionate family (that is the way she raised us). What she doesn't know is I have a big surprise for her. She will undoubtedly cry her eyes out, but she is going to be very happy and excited. I would say what it is, but I don't want her to find out. What better way to spend Valentines day, but with my Beautiful Wife and Daughter, and my Mother. I told her to bring her bathing suit so she can go in our jacuzzi. I am going to try and have her have a glass of red wine, we'll see. Monique and I are making her Rib-eye steaks (she loves it!!), corn on the cob, and Au-gratin potatoes. Goodbye for now, Robert

Robert (Dianna's SON) on Feb 12, 2010


Hey, all. There is a new book that came a couple of weeks ago that I'd like to post about. Robert, you may be especially interested in what I'm about to talk about, given your occupation. Your mother may like to be aware of this book, too. The book I'm referring to is a new hardback by Allan T. Duffin entitled History in Blue: 100 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers. It's a history of the challenges and struggles that women have faced trying to break into the field of law enforcement from the 1800s to today. One of the women the author chose to give coverage in the book is someone I'm proud to know myself. Her name is Jill S. Rice. She is a 30-year veteran of the Indiana State Police. She was among the first women to break the gender barrier preventing women from become Indiana state troopers back in an era when women were not welcomed on the force. She fought the sexism and discrimination put up by the Old Guard that existed back then and helped open the doors for women to realize their dreams of becoming Indiana state troopers. She fought through it all and is a respected veteran of the ISP today. What makes her relevant to the this forum is what drove her to pursue a career in law enforcement. The reason she became an officer of the law? Sylvia Likens. She didn't know Sylvia personally, but she knew who Sylvia was. Jill and Sylvia were classmates at Arsenal Technical High School in the fall of 1965, and they had gym class together that year. When the news of Sylvia's murder came out, it had a serious effect on Jill and changed the course of her life. "It was just so devastating for me when her death was announced. I had such an awful hatred for Gertrude and her children and the other neighborhood boys," she told me. She decided right then that she wanted to become a police officer. Jill is written about in several places in this new book. Pages 150-151 discuss Sylvia and the influence her murder had on Jill. There were several changes made in the way ISP conducted its business because of Jill and others like her. Something not mentioned in the book is the twist of fate that happened to Jill on December 3 of 1985. Her assignment that day: Report to Indiana Women's Prison to provide extra security for Gertrude Baniszewksi at Gertrude's public parole hearing. Imagine her feelings about that! Yes, Jill helped make changes in the Indiana State Police's policies toward female officers, but those changes are part of Sylvia's legacy, too. As Jill told me, "I, too, want people to know that Sylvia's life had a positive and good impact on others, and she did not die in vain. I have had a great career and I also want women, girls, females to know that they can get a good career, and they can be the best. I am very proud of my career, and sometimes I think Sylvia is looking over me smiling." Jill still keeps an article about Sylvia hanging on her office wall.

Brian Gaddis on Mar 2, 2010


I am mortified and sadden by the tragic torture and life of Sylvia Likens. Gertrude Baniszweski, her children and her childrens, children and their children have blood on their hands. I am not one to judge but just because someone is white trash does not mean they are going to assault and torture a young girl. I am baffled by the fact that John Baniszweski Jr. aka John Blake turned out to be a Lay Minister- he is not part of God as he torture and brutally attacked Sylvia when he was 12 years old, knowing fully what he did. Why is it when people are evil they turn to the Church and become a minister? It is because they have so many evil doings that they have to compensate to make up for all the bad that they did. The Baniszweski's not matter how much they try to shy away from this tragedy, change their last name, move away will always know that they are disgusting, and vile human beings; animals treat people better. Anyone who is related to this family, no matter how far down the family tree is considered vile and evil. I also think anyone who did absolutely nothing to save this poor child (Sylvia Likens) has blood on their hands. Even though people die, their spirits linger and the ancestors of all the vile people involved will forever be cursed. Anyone who admits to being related to these white trash criminals are forever left with hardships of life. The family cycle does not change, the links are forever connected and you all shall burn in hell.

SouthFlorida on Mar 17, 2010


SouthFlorida, you say: "Anyone who is related to this family, no matter how far down the family tree is considered vile and evil." Are you saying that to you people who were born long after Sylvia died and never did anything to anyone are still vile and evil? If that's what you are saying, why?

Kathleen on Mar 18, 2010


I'm sorry SouthFlorida, but I take great offense at your posting. I don't recall you here previously so you may not know what many here already do. My husband is baby Denny, Gertrude's last child and he was an infant at the time of Sylvia's murder. He should not be blamed and "forever cursed" as you say. While you say you are not one to judge, clearly that is exactly what you are doing. You are entitled to your opinions; do not get me wrong. I am not providing any excuses for any of what transpired. Obviously, no one should be forced to endure the kind of pain that Sylvia suffered. But to say that anyone related to this family will burn in hell is utterly absurd and narrow-minded. You are saying that my beautiful son born many decades after October 1965 will burn in hell just because he is biologically Gertrude's grandson. Thankfully, your judgment is meaningless. That is for God to do; and I know for a fact that my son is a pure honest soul that will stay in God's house forever.

Kathe on Mar 18, 2010


Southflorida, we need to remember that every horrible person who has ever lived had relatives, some of whom were great people. I think it would be more practical to say that future generations of Baniszewskis should be aware of the potential mental imbalance that could run in the family. To say that people not yet born have 'blood on their hands' is a bit extreme. This crime was the result of one mentally deranged adult and an army of miserable brat kids in a certain place and time. In your defense, many people experience anger when confronted with the facts of this horrific case, as I have too (I am not criticizing you SF, i've said worse). But my point is that only those who were directly involved in the torture on East new York St. hold any accountability, any person born into this world is entitled to shape themselves, learn and embrace the morals that define them...... only then can one be judged.

Kebo on Mar 20, 2010


Well said, Kathe and Kebo! Kebo, we haven't seen you for a while on the Yuku site ... lost the link?

Kathleen on Mar 22, 2010


[quote]"the ancestors of all the vile people involved will forever be cursed. Anyone who admits to being related to these white trash criminals are forever left with hardships of life. The family cycle does not change, the links are forever connected and you all shall burn in hell."[/quote] -- SouthFlorida I fell sorry for ignorant, narrow-minded people like you. You're so stupid, you don't realize that "ancestors" are already dead, and can't be, as you put it, "cursed" by anything. The word your tiny brain is groping for in the darkness of your tiny mind is ..."DESCENDANTS"(they can't be cursed either). Another fact that hasn't occurred to a genius like yourself is that if your assertion that evil acts committed by one's ANCESTORS will put a "curse" on all of their DESCENDANTS is true, that means that you yourself are supposedly "cursed" by every act of wrongdoing committed by ALL OF YOUR OWN ANCESTORS. Thankfully, you are in the minority here since most people with your level of intelligence are baffled by computers. I only hope you don't have children, because, as you yourself have pointed out, they would then be as "cursed" as you are. In reality, the only curse that will be on your descendants is the fact that they had A NUMBSKULL LIKE YOU FOR AN ANCESTOR. MORON.

Dave on May 10, 2010


South of Florida, You have no right to say those things about anyone in the family that did not participate in this crime. I have my own feelings about the Baniszweski's, but to blame people that were not involved, is ridiculous. As for John Baniszwesi, he spoke out about the things he did and spent his life trying to help other troubled youth. Kathe you know exactly how I feel about your husband, and I am sorry you have to hear crap like this. South of Florida you should be ashamed of yourself.

Angela on May 14, 2010


BTW... Kathe I am broommy from the yuku board.

Angela on May 14, 2010


I'd never heard of the Sylvia Likens torture and murder before I saw the movie, An American Crime, yesterday. The pieces of subhuman filth involved in the torture and murder of this poor girl should have been put away for life or to death, including her own sisters and the neighbours. It is beyond me that members of that evil family, like that paula, stephanie, john and the other little sisters, are enjoying their free lives while they butchered Sylvia to death. And now those COWARDS changed their names and live in hiding. Their faces should be made public so that everyone knows who they are and what they did. They are not entitled to lead normal lives. I read stephanie is a teacher and john is a minister which sounds terrifying to me. They should not be allowed anywhere near children. These evil bastards are not to be trusted.

Rosa on May 16, 2010


"The pieces of subhuman filth involved in the torture and murder of this poor girl should have been put away for life or to death, including her own sisters" -- Rosa Why should Sylvia's sisters Jenny and Dianna have been punished? Jenny was abused and terrorized along with Sylvia, and she was threatened with the same treatment Sylvia was getting if she said anything to anybody. Dianna tried to help her sisters several times, including buying them food, but was prevented from seeing them at the house by Gertrude. On top of that, Sylvia and Jenny were never clear to Dianna or their parents when they did see them about just how severe their abuse was. Dianna did everything she could, short of breaking into the house or kidnapping them off the street, to look out for her sisters. If she had known exactly what was going on in that house, she would've called the police to get them out of there. "Their faces should be made public so that everyone knows who they are and what they did. They are not entitled to lead normal lives" -- Rosa I actually agree with you, as far as Paula, Randy Lepper, Judy Duke, and Anna Siscoe are concerned. They don't deserve to hide from what they've done. Stephanie only hit Sylvia once(because Sylvia supposedly called her a prostitute at school), tied her to a door once, and helped put her in the bath tub once. She also testified for the prosecution against the real torturers and murderers - her own family members. So I don't put her in the same category as Gertrude, Paula, Coy, Ricky and the others. John jr. is dead, along with Coy Hubbard and Ricky Hobbs.

Dave on May 16, 2010


<<>> I have to disagree with you here. She did this to a dying girl, and that makes it so much worse. Stephanie also did not get help for Sylvia. Jenny said that she did more things to Sylvia, but the prosecution needed her to testify so they did not bring these things up. She also continues to lie and make up stories about Sylvia and refers to her as a prostitute. Another thing she does is tell every one Coy is innocent. The fact that she still disrespects Sylvia in this way puts her in the same category with the rest. Jenny was a handicapped girl. She was being mentally and physically abused as well. Blaming her was the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

Angela on May 16, 2010


Angela, are you the same "Angie" from the other boards? If you are that would mean you know members of the Likens family and therefore have a unique perspective on this case. I am really grossed out about Stephanie defending Koy. I have always viewed him has one of the ringleaders. The fact that he was implicated, if not convicted in the murder of two young people, as an adult says a lot about his personality. What you have said above says a lot about Stephanie as well. Maybe making up lies about Sylvia is the only way she can live with what happened. Not that I am defending her.

christine conroy on May 16, 2010


Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good. W.H. Audin

christine conroy on May 16, 2010


<<>> No. I am not the same person, and I do not know the Likens family. I am sure that Stephanie lies to herself daily, but that does not make it right. I am going to ask the person that posted the messages if I can post them here.

Angela on May 16, 2010


"She did this to a dying girl, and that makes it so much worse. Stephanie also did not get help for Sylvia. Jenny said that she did more things to Sylvia, but the prosecution needed her to testify so they did not bring these things up" -- Angela Sylvia wasn't dying when Stephanie did what she did. Even Jenny testified that Stephanie had almost no contact with Sylvia during all of October. Yes, it's true Stephanie seemed to turn a blind eye to what was happening to Sylvia and could've been more aggressive in finding out what was going on, and standing up to her mother and Paula. But, according to the testimony of her and others, she just wasn't around the house that much and wasn't aware of the serious abuse, and may have thought that what she did see didn't merit intervention on her part. She is by no means blameless, but that doesn't put her on the level of those who mercilessly burned, beat, scalded, and mutilated Sylvia. Jenny was questioned by the prosecution and the defense about everything she saw Stephanie do, and in both instances she only recalled those three things. Whether Jenny lied about that is anybody's guess, but I doubt it.

Dave on May 16, 2010


Ok. I am not going to discuss Stephanie here. I have had this conversation before, and I will not have it again. I am, however, going to post some of her lies here. Hopefully people will see through them. I have read the transcripts and am perfectly aware of what Jenny said, and I don't remember her saying that. I could be wrong, and willing to admit it if you show proof of this. I am aware of the fact that Jenny has said that she knew more about what Stephanie did, but was not able to say it in court, and can back this up with proof of this. The following posts by Stephanie have been confirmed by her sister in law: A friend of mine recently wrote to Stephanie on Myspace. I think it is genuinely her? I know Angie has her listed as a friend on there. Stephanie is also a member of the Myspace memorial group for Sylvia, and the maker is pretty adamant this is her. A lot of people want to know what Stephanie would have to say if she was here, and I thought this may give a general idea. This is the response my friend received... Don't believe everything you read. Up until a couple of years ago, I never read any books, newspaper articules or knew what testimony was given at that time. I have done so recently. I couldn't believe the lies that were told. What happened to Sylvia was bad enough. I still grieve for her, and I will be very glad to see her again, because that summer she accepted Jesus as her Savior. If you really cared about Sylvia, then you would be out there trying to help someone. I would start by trying to help the teenage prostitutes out on the streets. They need someone to care about them, or are you a hypocrite. I know Sylvia would appreciate some kind of positive focus on the young women out there who, for whatever, reason have found themselves in that sad and degrading profession. Your behavior, along with others is no better than my mother's. I'm amazed people don't realize that they are doing the same sort of things my mother did. I know where my baby brother is and I'm thankful to God that he let us find him again. As I said--you know nothing. Coy Hubbard never hurt Sylvia and I told the prosecutor, who eventually realized that that was so. I said it then and I'll say it forever, he was innocent. I'm so tired of liars. Yes, I know he did get into trouble later and that can happen to anyone. P.S. I had no big part. I was exonerated. Jenny, along with several other witnesses, tesitfied on my behalf and told the grand jury what I did for Sylvia, including asking Mr. Hubbard to call the police for me, twice. I thought they didn't come, but they came before I got home and my mother intercepted them. It's a long story. You know nothing about what happened, and from what I've read out there, no one does. And another post: I don't like writing to Stephanie, it's impossible to know whether or not she is lying. But I wanted to know why she brought the subject of prostitution into it. So I wrote her a few messages (I don't want to post them word for word, it makes me self-conscious) and this is what she said... Q. If you told Mr. New about Sylvia and you attending kindergarten together, why did you tell him you first met her in the summer of '65 on the stand? A. You don't understand what a prosecutor or defense attorney are trying to do with the questions, they ask or don't ask. They are not looking for the truth, but only enough evidence to convict. They do not want conflicting information from their witnesses. At the time I was so angry about what my mother did, that I truly wanted her to get the death penalty. Mr. New had his reasons for not asking me the questions that he asked me before I testified. If he had asked me the questions that he did then, my answers would have jeopardized the case against my mother. My answers would have called in question the testimony of most of his witnesses. I told Mr. New everything about the relationship between my mother and the Likens. Since I couldn't think of any connection between the time we were in kindergarten to the time she came to live with us and what happened, that he asked to just say I met her that July, which I felt awkward doing. As I said, the Likens were old family friends of my mother's. There is an IPS #3 kindergarten class picture out there with me in it and Sylvia's name listed at the bottom because she missed picture day. The I have on Myspace is from when I was at school #3. I still have the original with the school listed. I, also, have my sister Paula's picture from #3. Also, I didn't find out until a few years ago that she was in my 8th grade graduating class at #101, which explains a lot about my mother's actions and what happened to me there. I then sent her Coy's testimony, and asked her why she would say he is innocent. A. I did not have to testify. The reason I chose to is because I didn't want my mother getting away with blaming my brother for what happened. I thought Coy would be all right because I thought his father as well as his employer would testify for him. No, there are lots of things that were never made public. I understand the reasons for it, but I wish it was different. Of course, it doesn't help that the files were sealed and made confidential. Even I can't get them, and I tried. As I said, that statment was pre-prepared. Coy was not there on the 25th. I really don't like doing things piecemeal. If you knew what I knew, you'd truly flip. I'm more than willing to let God handle this. I trusted him since I was 8 years old, and I trust him now. My only duty now is to do the best I can with where I am for him. God promises to show us everything he did for us here. Besides, Silly is and will always be with me. I need to forgive again and again and again. And finally, I asked her about the prostitution comments. I asked her why she didn't suggest child abuse. A. If you want to honor or keep Sylvia in rememberance, then honor her humanity. She was completely human with all the frailities of the rest of us.

Angela on May 16, 2010


"I have read the transcripts and am perfectly aware of what Jenny said, and I don't remember her saying that. I could be wrong, and willing to admit it if you show proof of this." -- Angela The transcript speaks for itself. "I am aware of the fact that Jenny has said that she knew more about what Stephanie did, but was not able to say it in court, and can back this up with proof of this." -- Angela Please do. All Jenny said in court about what Stephanie did to Sylvia was what I stated earlier. In addition to that, she said Stephanie "flipped her", but I believe that was much earlier in their stay(and all in fun) when everybody was flipping everybody after Coy demonstrated a Judo move he just learned. That's nothing like Coy Hubbard or John jr. flipping Sylvia repeatedly as hard as they could into a wall. All that other stuff that was supposedly posted by Stephanie I have no idea about. Assuming it really was Stephanie, what relevance does that have to what we're talking about; ie- Stephanie being equally as responsible for Sylvia Likens' torture and death as Gertrude, Paula, and the others?

Dave on May 16, 2010


Correction: I misspoke. Instead of saying "Jenny testified that Stephanie had almost no contact with Sylvia during all of October", I should've said "There was nothing in Jenny's testimony that would lead one to believe that Stephanie had any interaction with Sylvia during October other than a very few instances".

Dave on May 16, 2010


That is not proof that Stephanie did not do anything. Here is my proof: There were many things that did not come out in the testimony; in fact, one time when Jenny was asked about Stephanie, it was objected to, because Stephanie was not on trial. Stephanie's trial is not a matter of public record. In the book The Indian Torture Slaying, it was stated by Jenny that Stephanie participated more that was stated at the trial. Btw...Making a statement that was not said by someone is not mis-speaking. It is drawing a conclusion based on assumption not evidence. This is how rumors start. It is a very dangerous practice, and is the reason that there is so much false information about this case and others on the internet. I am not saying that Stephanie is as responsible as the others, but she has blood on her hands. She would do well to admit it instead of lying. I don't want to get into the Stephanie discussion again. I am going to leave it at what was already said here. The posts speak from themselves. If you know anything about this case, you will be able to point out the lies for yourself.

Angela on May 16, 2010


"In the book The Indian(a) Torture Slaying, it was stated by Jenny that Stephanie participated more that was stated at the trial" -- Angela Really? Did the author interview Jenny? If so, I must've missed that particular passage in the book. Do you have a page number where that appears? If not, the only source he could've had for something like that would be the trial transcript. "one time when Jenny was asked about Stephanie, it was objected to, because Stephanie was not on trial." -- Angela Then how do you know her answer would have incriminated Stephanie or not? "Making a statement that was not said by someone is not mis-speaking. It is drawing a conclusion based on assumption not evidence" -- Angela I corrected my statement because it was worded improperly. However, drawing a conclusion from reading a trial transcript is proper, particularly when the conclusion you are drawing is based on what is said and what is not. Going by the transcript, it is clear what Jenny saw Stephanie do and what she did not see Stephanie do. In fact, she was asked more than once if she knew of anything else Stephanie did to Sylvia that she had not previously testified to, and her answer was "No". If John Dean got his information from somewhere besides the trial or its transcript, he doesn't say in the book.

Dave on May 17, 2010


-Dianna tried to help her sisters several times, including buying them food, but was prevented from seeing them at the house by Gertrude. Dave, may 16 2010- Still bullshit to me. There is no excuse for child abuse, there is NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE AT ALL! If she really wanted to help her sister she would have moved heaven and earth, she would have PERSISTED and gone to the police over and over again till they got her out of that house, demanded that they got her sister out of the house of horror. How in the hell dare they keep someone against their will locked inside a house. Besides that, Sylvia was nothing to the b-family, she wasn't related, she wasn't her daughter. Dianne could have taken her and her sister in her house and reach their parents. Jenny could have done basically the same thing, handicapped or not. She went to school didn't she? She went to church. But Sylvia stayed in the house, locked! Till the butchers came home for another round of beatings and torture. Nobody lifted a finger, nobody got help. I blame EVERYONE involved and I sure as hell don't believe a single word coming from evil sadistic stephanie. She is one lying sack of shit. If her scumbag boyfriend enjoyed punching Sylvia then I bet stephanie was having a good time too. I hope she is beyond miserable and I hope one day they will meet someone just as vicious as they are and beats the living shit out of them.

Rosa on May 17, 2010


Dave, I do not recall Jenny saying that in court. I am not saying she did not say it, but you like to put words in Jenny's mouth. Could you post where exactly that is in the transcript by posting the page in the pdf file. If you are right, I will gladly admit it. There is no way that anyone is going to write an entire book with just one source. I ordered the book today, and will post the passage when it arrives. Stephanie was not on trial, and her trial is not public record. Jenny was not asked about Stephanie in specific instances. I know the things that Stephanie has done by reading the transcripts and John Dean's books. I also have read her very own words. I don't actually care what she did. I care that she lies about what she did and tells lies about Sylvia. Read the above post of her own words. Finally, I have said that I don't want to have this conversation with you. I don't care to hear you stand up for Stephanie. You feel the way you. I don't know you, so I don't care how you feel. Don't post things that are not true. I don't care about what you assume happened, and then I would reply to you at all.

Angela on May 17, 2010


Hey Rosa, Perhaps you should read the posts by her children. Dianna was estranged from her family. How the hell would she even know what was going on. Her parents would not let her see Jenny or Sylvia. You don't give a shit about Sylvia if you would attack her family this way. You have absolutely no idea what was going through Jenny's head. You have no idea how timid abuse makes a child. Sylvia was a beautiful sweet girl. I hate the people that abused her, and I hope that most of them rot in hell, but Sylvia's sisters did absolutely nothing wrong. They do not deserve your bitter hateful words.

Angela on May 17, 2010


"I do not recall Jenny saying that in court. I am not saying she did not say it, but you like to put words in Jenny's mouth. Could you post where exactly that is in the transcript by posting the page in the pdf file. If you are right, I will gladly admit it." -- Angela Here are the PDF page numbers and transcript extracts of Jenny's testimony: 1711 - Erbecker asking Q. Now did you ever see Stephanie Baniszewsi on any other occasion do anything else to your sister that you did not testify to? A. Not that I did not testify. Q. That you did not testify - in other words, that is the only two things you saw Stephanie do to your sister? A. No, she has done more than that. Q. You did not testify to that? A. I testified to what I seen her do. Q. Did you testify yesterday to everything you saw Stephanie do? A. That I can remember. Q. Did you testify yesterday everything you remembered Stephanie did to your sister? A. Yes. 1752 - Erbecker asking Q. Have you testified to anything here yesterday or today that you were told to testify to? A. You mean someone told me to testify? Q. Yes. A. No. Q. Everything you have testified to yesterday and today, you actually saw or heard - you were right there, is that right? A. That is what I am testifying. 1813 - Bowman asking Q. Did you ever see Stephanie Baniszewski hit your sister? A. Yes. Q. Are there occasions when Stephanie Baniszewski hit your sister that you have not related in your testimony? A. No. Q. Are you sure? A. You mean has she striked her that I have not said? Q. Yes. A. Not that I can remember. Q. If there were any events you did not relate, it is because you failed to remember them, is that correct? A. That would it(be?) it. If that doesn't clear things up for you, I don't know what will. When Erbecker asks "that is the only two things you saw Stephanie do to your sister?", and Jenny says "No, she has done more than that.", she's referring to her previous testimony about what Stephanie did - watching Coy tie Sylvia down in the bedroom, slapping Sylvia when she walked into the house when Sylvia was being forced to do what she did with the Pepsi bottle, etc. She's not saying she knows about things Stephanie did that she has not testified about yet. That may be where your confusion stems from. "Jenny was not asked about Stephanie in specific instances." -- Angel Actually, she was. If you read the transcript thoroughly you'd know that. I was wrong about one thing though - the prosecution never asked Jenny if Stephanie did anything other than what Jenny testified to. But they didn't have to, two defense attorneys did that for them.

Dave on May 18, 2010


I did read the transcripts, but I do not remember every single thing, but remember that Jenny was not always there when Sylvia was being abused. She did enough as it is. As I said, I do not care what Stephanie did. I only care what she does now.

Angela on May 18, 2010


I forgot to add - the PDF file number for those is 31042.

Dave on May 18, 2010


"remember that Jenny was not always there when Sylvia was being abused. She did enough as it is" -- Angela I think you should heed your own advice here - "It is drawing a conclusion based on assumption not evidence. This is how rumors start. It is a very dangerous practice, and is the reason that there is so much false information about this case and others on the internet" I couldn't care less what Stephanie says now. What she said THEN, and what was said about her THEN is all that really matters in the Sylvia Likens case. In any event, I have proved that I did not "put words in Jenny's mouth".

Dave on May 18, 2010


I am not drawing a conclusion on anything. I am stating a fact. Jenny was not always with Sylvia. You really have no talent in arguing a point whatsoever. I am stating words that I read in a book that is on its way to my house as we speak. Once I recieve it, I will post it here. You did not prove anything. How does this stuff add up in your brain. When you say Jenny said, and she did not say what you said she did, you are putting words in her mouth. I am having a hard time understanding why you can't grasp that. It very much matters what she says about Sylvia. Why are you her if you don't care about what is said about this girl. Go find something else to do. She is being abused by Stephanie's words in her grave.

Angela on May 18, 2010


"Why are you her if you don't care about what is said about this girl" -- Angela This site is not about "what is said about this girl", this site is a message board dedicated to discussion about a movie called "An American Crime", and by extension, the story of Sylvia Likens' abuse and murder. You may allow emotion and irrationality to cloud your mind on this issue, but I do not. I proved my point, but I don't expect someone who is as obviously overwhelmed with hatred and rage as yourself to admit it. I hope you can find a measure of balance in your outlook on this issue. All the best.

Dave on May 18, 2010


Ok Dave if you are happy with your argument so am I. I have no hatred or rage. This crime makes me disappointed in the world and people in general. I sit here and think about all of the children in this world that are being abused like Sylvia right now, and I want to cry. Child abuse happens in this country all of the time. Sympathizing with the perpetrators and letting them out of jail early makes it happen more often. You are speaking to the wrong person when you talk about me being hateful. I have spent more time standing up for others that were victims of this crime on this board than I have talking about Stephanie. Which I told you from the beginning, I did not want to do. I would steer clear of making statements about others when you do not know them. I know that you are going to say that I am making statements about others here, but we all are. Once I do something interesting enough for someone to write a book about me or even one that I appear in, feel free to make assumptions about me.

Angela on May 18, 2010


"? Did the author interview Jenny? If so, I must've missed that particular passage in the book. Do you have a page number where that appears? If not, the only source he could've had for something like that would be the trial transcript." Read more: Dave, I received the book by John Dean today. I open to the very second page, and it says the following: Acknowledgments: Bill Brennan, Kimeral Bush, Jill Costill, Tom Fox, Paul A Kaiser, Dick Roberts., Dan Shereffler, Phil Smith, The Indianapolis Police Department, the Indianapolis and Marion County Public Library, and the Indiana State Library. Does that sound like he only got his information from the transcripts to you??

Angela on May 20, 2010


Nobody should ever pick on Jenny, she was a terrified child and her big sister was her leader, I can only imagine how confused, scared and paralyzed by fear that poor girl must have been. She was a little kid seeing things in life for the first time and obviously hoped and prayed that Sylvia would make it though they're horrible stay in the B's home. I've said it before, but we must remember, if not for Jenny's bravery in the end Gertie may have gotten away with this terrible crime. As far as Steph, it really is hard to know the truth, it is sad that Jenny is no longer with us to speak the truth. R.I.P. SYLVIA AND JENNY.

Kebo on May 20, 2010


"I received the book by John Dean today. I open to the very second page, and it says the following: Acknowledgments: Bill Brennan, Kimeral Bush, Jill Costill, Tom Fox, Paul A Kaiser, Dick Roberts., Dan Shereffler, Phil Smith, The Indianapolis Police Department, the Indianapolis and Marion County Public Library, and the Indiana State Library. Does that sound like he only got his information from the transcripts to you??" -- Angela I think that sounds like a list of acknowledgments to people that may or may not have contributed information that ended up in the book. Acknowledgments can be for any kind of help given to the author, not just information. Your question to me, though, is irrelevant since I never stated the author got ALL his information only from transcripts. In what way does what you just posted have anything whatsoever to do with your original statement - "In the book The Indian Torture Slaying, it was stated by Jenny that Stephanie participated more that was stated at the trial" ? I can't help but notice the name "Jenny Likens" does not appear in the list of acknowledgments. Therefore, we must conclude Dean did not interview Jenny for the book, and we also must conclude, as I originally said, that Dean had to get his facts about Jenny's knowledge of Stephanie's short list of abuses of Sylvia from either being at the trial or from the transcript. If you would care to point out where in the book, as you claim, Jenny stated that "Stephanie participated more that was stated at the trial", I'll be happy to look it up. And why did you include a link back to this page?

Dave on May 20, 2010


Hey Dave, it is my understanding that John Dean went to the trail everyday, to report on the trail for the Indianapolis Star. He was just a reporter. As far as the transcripts I dont think they were available to anyone until way after his book came out. He sure didnt approach any of the Likens for any of the information for his book.

patti on May 21, 2010


So, I asked someone far more informed on the Likens case than anyone I have ever seen, and he said that the trial transcripts were not released until a year after the book was published. So the transcripts were not even a source for the book, and Jenny was, in fact, a source for the book and was directly quoted in the book. On page 227 "I just wish," she told me, "me and Sylvia could have been left with people like this, instead of with Gertrude." She told me says it all. Additionally the prosecute who contributed to the book, was also interviewed. So Patty you are very right about John Dean, but Jenny did contribute to the book.

Angela on May 21, 2010


"Hey Dave, it is my understanding that John Dean went to the trail everyday, to report on the trail for the Indianapolis Star. He was just a reporter. As far as the transcripts I dont think they were available to anyone until way after his book came out. He sure didnt approach any of the Likens for any of the information for his book" -- patti Thanks, Patti. I assumed as much. As far as I know - except for some information Dean gives early in the book about Jenny's thoughts about her mother's shoplifting incident(which must've come from Jenny, unless Dean was making it up), and one single quote from Jenny about how she and Sylvia would've greatly preferred to have been left with the News instead of with Gertrude, there is nothing that comes directly from the Likens' in the book, except what was said at trial. "the trial transcripts were not released until a year after the book was published. So the transcripts were not even a source for the book" -- Angela I see, so that means Dean used his notes and his memory as the main source of information for his book. Interesting. Apparently he didn't need the transcripts anyway, since he was actually there. Not sure how that helps your argument, though. If you recall, I said I assumed he got all his facts about what Jenny knew about Stephanie either from being at the trial or from the transcripts. Now we know he got it directly from Jenny on the stand, which is exactly what appears in the transcript. "Jenny was, in fact, a source for the book and was directly quoted in the book. On page 227 "I just wish," she told me, "me and Sylvia could have been left with people like this, instead of with Gertrude." 'She told' me says it all" -- Angela That's right, Dean did indeed talk to Jenny. Thanks for pointing that out. Unfortunately, that quote, and the other few bits of information he got from Jenny that he put in the book, has absolutely nothing to do with what we are talking about. That's why I asked you to provide something very different - a statement by Jenny in the book saying she saw Stephanie do more to Sylvia than what she testified to in the trial. Also, I find it odd that Dean included neither Jenny nor Leroy New in his acknowledgments, since he apparently met with and talked to both of them. "Additionally the prosecute who contributed to the book, was also interviewed" -- Angela The Epilogue contains information about Jenny's time with New after the trial, so Dean obviously got that ancillary information from New, or from Jenny herself. But this does not constitute, as you seem to be implying, an interview whose object it was to obtain information about the case pertaining to Jenny's recollection of Stephanie's actions. Unfortunately, there is nothing there about what Jenny knew about Stephanie or anyone else involved in the case. You may assume she and New gave Dean more information pertaining to Stephanie than that, but there is no proof of that in the book, and assumption is not fact. It's abundantly clear at this point that you will never admit you were wrong to state "In the book The Indian Torture Slaying, it was stated by Jenny that Stephanie participated more that was stated at the trial", which is what started this whole argument. I've read the book, and already knew that was not true. But that's ok. You never admitted I was right about Jenny's testimony that she didn't know anything else Stephanie did to Sylvia that she didn't already testify to in trial either, even after I provided excerpts from the transcript that proved my point(a big thank you to Brian for posting the trial transcript on another site!). Odd behavior indeed from someone who tells me "You really have no talent in arguing a point whatsoever". The author of the book may make statements relating to Jenny's testimony, and that of others, in inexact terms, but a quote directly from Jenny of the kind you asserted appears in the book is simply not there. If you read the transcript carefully, she never says that in trial either, although the defense - and possibly Dean himself - may have erroneously thought they heard what they wanted to hear. The author himself admits in the preface that "Some incidents related in this book may not have occurred exactly as they are told." He's basically admitting to using a bit of artistic license in writing the narrative in order to "fill in the gaps" so to speak, and make it interesting for the reader, which is a perfectly legitimate practice in this instance. The most important thing to keep in mind here, though, is that ultimately it doesn't really matter what the book says or doesn't say. Luckily, we have access to the transcript of what was actually said in the courtroom and don't have to rely only on Dean's interpretation of what he heard, or thought he heard, in the courtroom. If he had gained access to the transcript before writing his book, the book may or may not have turned out differently, I don't know. Finally, I find it odd that someone who appears to be as passionately sympathetic to Sylvia Likens as you do would take all this time and go to all this effort in trying to prove her sister was a liar and a perjurer, just to make Stephanie Baniszewski look a little worse than she does already. I have no intention of continuing this discussion any longer, so I'll leave you with this: one of Jenny's quotes that does appear in the book is "All anybody ever told me to do was to tell the truth", and I believe she did - the WHOLE truth.

Dave on May 23, 2010


Boy are the worst debater I have ever seen. I never once said that Jenny perjured anything. Do not project your feeling on me. I would never talk about Jenny that way, and it is horrible that you would even type such hateful words about her. An idea like that would never develop in my brain so much that I would even think it. I am going to post a part of the transcript where Jenny was confused as she often was: Q. Now, you related, told us about someone putting some soap powder on your sister, is that right? A. Yes. Q. Who did that? A. Gertrude. Q Are you sure of that? A. Yes. Q. Was that when Johnny poured the hot water on her? A. Well, I know she poured soap on her when she was in the basement – I mean in the bath tub. In the basement I did not see who poured it. I figured Gertrude did because she put soap on her when she was in the bath tub. Mr. Erbecker: I ask that be stricken. The Court: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury and Alternate Jurors, You will ignore that statement in arriving at a verdict in the case of Gertrude Baniszewski. Q. Did you say that your sister – when she was down in the basement – had a bowel movement A. Yes. Q. Johnny and Stephanie put soap power and water on her? A. I said that – it has come back in my mind – I was not down there and seen them put it on. I am not sure. Q. That just came to your mind right now? A. Yes, but I did see John carry hot water down to the basement. Q. You did say that your sister had just had a bowel movement? A. Yes. Q. In her clothing? A. Yes. Q. As a matter of fact, were they cleaning her up after Gerty told her she would have to clean herself up? A. The last I seen her she was laying on the floor, the basement floor. .... Jenny was under Cross-exam by Mr. Bowman (John and Coy's Lawyer) Rice at this time and I think that she was just confused in this part. I believe that she had different times mixed up. She was talking about Gerty and John giving her a hot bath with trend soap in the basement, and in one question she mentioned Stephanie. And then the next she said she wasn't sure. I believe that she was recalling a different time (a bath upstairs) and mixed it up with the hot cleaning in the basement. .... I am re-reading the book now. You may have time to sit around and read all the time, but I have a life. So when I am done with the book and I do not find the passage, I will gladly admit I was wrong. I have no problem with doing that, but I can see that you do. Another thing that you were wrong about was when you said that Stephanie did not do things to a dying girl, and had hardly any contact with her in October. Page 68 clearly states that Stephanie was involved in tying Sylvia up on Friday October 22. You may or may not know that Sylvia died on October 26. Sylvia was dying and starving on the 22. You are wrong again. YOU ARE WRONG on at least three accounts so far. It is abundantly clear to myself and others I know that have read the posts. Be a man and admit it. I love that you bowed out of this when you realized that you were wrong. I have been telling you the entire time that I did not want to have this conversation with you. You know nothing about this case and probably should not discuss it. No matter how you twist or make suggestions facts are facts. You can not change them to fit your argument. It is ridiculous to imply that: "She told me" could mean anything other than a direct quote from Jenny. Have a great day!

Angela on May 23, 2010


Dave I just wanted to let you know that I have proven you wrong once again. Page 157 of the Indiana Torture Slayings at the bottom: Erbercker hit at a theme of the alleged "deal" with Stephanie. Jenny said she knew more about what Stephanie had done than she had testified about. "What did you leave out?" Erbercker asked. New objected and was sustained. Stephanie was not on trial. It goes on to say that he tried a few more times and was pulled aside and spoken to by the judge. I hope from now on you don't make assumptions and state them as facts. Now you can have a great day!

Angela on May 24, 2010


Yes, I knew all about that part of the book from day one, and was wondering when you'd finally find it and wrongly claim it was "a statement by Jenny". If you knew what you were talking about, you'd realize that "Jenny said she knew more about what Stephanie had done than she had testified about." is not "a statement by Jenny", it is a statement BY THE AUTHOR paraphrasing Jenny's actual testimony in court. If you really want to converse intelligently about what Jenny actually knew about Stephanie's abuse of Sylvia Likens, why don't you stop worrying about what is in the book, and concentrate on what is IN THE TRANSCRIPT? That would be a much better way to argue about the facts of the case, and would hopefully keep you from making yourself look so foolish.

Dave on May 25, 2010


Angela - There is only one question I and anyone else reading this thread need you to answer - do you think Jenny was lying when she told two different defense lawyers she had testified about everything she knew Stephanie had done to Sylvia, and that she was holding NOTHING back? A simple 'yes' or 'no' would suffice.

Dave on May 25, 2010


I do not think she was lying. I already said that, but I will say it again. Erbecker was trying to confuse Jenny, because he wanted to know if Stephanie made a deal to turn states evidence. Maybe Jenny said is not a direct quote, but it is a reference to what Jenny said. New objected to him when he said it. He was reprimanded because he continued to bring it up. I don't look foolish, but if calling me foolish makes you feel better about being wrong. Fine. I would admit if I was wrong, but you don't have to. I have no desire to discuss what Stephanie did. I just don't like it when people spread unfounded statements. I am done with this conversation. I know many people who have messaged me in other places about this who feel I am right. I probably should have been nicer about this, but you are so insistent that you are right. It is getting on my nerves. If she only did one thing tying a dying girl to a bed, that deserves jail time and admission of guilt. I am completely over this you can respond or not, but I will read nothing further that you have to say.

Angela on May 25, 2010


Can't believe Angela is actually defending that piece of garbage named stephanie. I don't care what's in the transcript and I don't care what's written in the ITS book. I really don't care, they ALL knew that what they did was BEYOND wrong. And please don't give me that bullshit; Yeah, but they were young and they only did what Gertie instructed them to do, BULLSHIT!!!And like I said before, Jenny, Diana and everyone else involved is as much guilty as the rest of them. Keeping your mouth shut makes you just as guilty. They ALL knew what was going on but no-one did a thing to save Silvia. They used her, abused her and finaly tortured her to death. I hope they all rot in hell.

Rosa on May 25, 2010


Rosa, I am not defending Stephanie, nor would I ever. Your posts against the Likens are horribly wrong and insensitive. I suspect that is what you are going for here, and I am going to ignore them from now on. I do hope that the people involved in this crime rot in hell if they do not choose to repent.

Angela on May 25, 2010


''I do hope that the people involved in this crime rot in hell if they do not choose to repent.'' Angela on May 25, 2010. Repent? Oh my God, you are nuts. What they did is unforgivable. Horribly wrong and insensitive? Well, that's your point of view, isn't it? Angela's way is always the right way? Ha ha, I don't think so. You can ignore all you want, I dont care, but don't act like your the freaking expert here! You weren't there either. You get your info from a transcript and a book, just like everyone else. From a few messages posted by some relatives and from a sister who also turned the other way. Tell me something, if this would have happened to your sister would you stay and watch or would you find a way to get her out of the hell hole she was in?

Rosa on May 25, 2010


I don't act like an expert. I stated in my posts that I asked someone else for information. As for the repent thing, I think it is possible that a person who is truly sorry can be forgiven. Maybe they cant. I don't know I am not God. Maybe you think that you are, but you probably are not. Lets assume you are not god, then you probably are not 100% sure what the afterlife is. I would have rescued my sister, but I have parents that would have listened if I told them. Jenny and Sylvia were dumped off their entire life. They had no where to go or anywhere to turn. They even told there parents they were not getting enough food, and their parents did nothing. If they had told and nobody believed them, they never would have left the house, and both probably would have died. That is a pretty big risk when you are scared to death. The other day when I was watching Oprah, there was a story about four foster children being starved. One of them told his teacher he was hungry. She did not believe him, and the teacher called him foster mom. The foster mom then pulled them out of school and the starving got worse. They were practically dead when they were rescued. Some children are not wanted in this society. They have no where to turn.

Angela on May 25, 2010


"I do not think she was lying" -- Angela Well, I'm glad we agree on that. Stephanie may have indeed done more to Sylvia than what Jenny saw herself and testified to, but all we can be sure of is what Jenny said she did see in trial, and what Stephanie admitted to in court. This means that any "deal" New may or may not have offered to Stephanie for testifying for the prosecution was not in return for Jenny holding anything back about her, because nothing was held back. "If she only did one thing tying a dying girl to a bed, that deserves jail time and admission of guilt" -- Angela Just to keep the record clear: Jenny said she saw Stephanie standing outside the bedroom watching while Coy tied her down. Oddly, Stephanie actually testified that she herself tied Sylvia down, not Coy. Either way, an argument could be made, as I said before, that Stephanie is not completely innocent in this, and had many opportunities to find out exactly what was happening to Sylvia and stand up to her mother and stop the abuse. She did not do that, and must share in the blame for Sylvia's death.

Dave on May 26, 2010


Dave At least this debate is over. John Deans book does state that Stephanie did tie her down. I think that Jenny was very confused through a lot of this. It had to have been so hard for her. I will say that I read in John Dean's book, I loaned it to my brother so I don't know the page, that the reason Stephanie was not tried for murder was that she did in fact try to save Sylvia right before she died. I am not saying that makes her more or less innocent. I am just pointing this out because I forgot it was there. Too bad she waited so long.

Angela on May 27, 2010


I have to point out that I do not think Jenny lied, but I do think that because of confusion she left stuff out.

Angela on May 27, 2010


"I do think that because of confusion she left stuff out" -- Angela I don't.

Dave on May 28, 2010


Rosa, your insensitivity is mindblowing. Grow up and show compassion for both families who have suffered and lost more than you can ever imagine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are the vile one with your hateful, bigotted comments.

CeeCee on May 29, 2010


To Robert and Kris. I have been aware of Sylvia's tragedy for more than 25 years and even though I never knew Sylvia or any members of her family, I have come to regard her a very special person. I know I can not even come close to feeling what your (step)-mom and grandfather have had to endure but I feel as though I have lost someone very close to me. Don't ask me how that's possible because I don't understand it myself but it is God's honest truth. I have grieved for Sylvia many times over the years. I am unspeakably sorry for the insipid comments you have had to read about Dianna. I can assure you that most of us who are familiar with Sylvia's case repudiate these comments and support your mom as much as we can. I am aware that you have been asked this probably many times but have you considered joining some of the websites dedicated to your Aunt Sylvia? There are several such sites on Yuku and facebook and there is even a memorial page dedicated to Sylvia. We of course respect your privacy but if you should ever decide to join us, we would be most honored. Please convey to your mom my warmest regards and that she and her father are always in our prayers. Sylvia will never be forgotten because she will live forever in our hearts.

Chester on Jun 18, 2010


Amen Chester! Its amazing that you can write how I feel and you dont even know me.

patti on Jun 20, 2010


Let's just say that great minds think alike, Patti!

Chester on Jun 20, 2010


Thank You Chester! I hope Kris and Robert continue to post here.

christine conroy on Jun 20, 2010


Cheers Christine. So do I!

Chester on Jun 20, 2010


Chester, thank you for saying something finally worth reading on this page in awhile. I am Robert's sister and Kris's step sister and have posted on here in the past, mostly in defense of mom. I have been appalled at the juvenile things that people will actually take the time to write in here, not even worth commenting on. Thanks again for your nice words. I probably wont tell my mom because it will only bring light to the fact that their has been some not so nice things said about her, its less hurtful that way.

Debbie on Jun 22, 2010


My dear Debbie, Actually, I meant to include you in my previous message to your brother and step-sister. Sorry for the oversight 🙁 And while I usually don't like to pat myself on the back I promise you that I have also defended your mom and your late Aunt Jenny many times from ignorant people who "blame" them for what happened to our Sylvia. I know, as most other people know, that your mom is in no way to blame for what happened. Don't ask me how I know this, but I know your mom is a very sweet lady and I wish there was something we could do to give her some happiness. After all she has endured, no one in this world deserves it more. Believe me, I could never have endured what she has, which shows what a very strong person she is. I will understand if you don't want to tell her; the last thing I want to do is cause her any more pain. But never forget that you all are in our prayers and even if they don't express it, most people feel the same way about your mom as I do. Believe me, she has more friends who love her than she probably realizes and there are certainly more of us than those who want to believe the lies about her. But as in most cases, we're too quiet. Maybe we need to express our love for your mom more often.

Chester on Jun 22, 2010


Hello Debbie, I feel the way Chester does. Tell your mom that I said "Hello and that Im going to White Castle tomorrow, I will be thinking of her.

patti on Jun 24, 2010


Thank you both, your words do mean alot. I do know how loved my mom is, not only by those who know her but even by some that dont. Patti, have a White Castle for me too, one of my favorite things about going to Indiana (wonder who I got that from).

Debbie on Jun 26, 2010


Debbie, dont forget to tell your mom that I said Hello, she knows who I am.

patti on Jun 26, 2010


And me as well. She's heard of me through Angie.

Chester on Jun 27, 2010


PS. Abbi Marin also says hello!

Chester on Jun 27, 2010


All, Thanks for all the nice things that have been said about my mother. I would like to say to those who have attempted to degraid her and my family that it is simply wrong and malice. I will pray for you. I do believe in forgiveness, but only one man can judge. As for my mom. She is simply put, AMAZING!!! she has been everything to me. Against all odds, she has been so supportive and dedicated to raising Debbie and I. I know the grief she is STILL in to this very day over Sylvia. You can't mention the name without an emotional outpourring from her. The fact of the matter is, Sylvia isn't the only tragedy my mother has endurred in her life. Both prior to her passing and after. So for those of you who think it's okay to post ridiculous comments about her, again, it is just simply wrong and inhuman. God bless, by for now, Dianna's son......AKA Robert

Robert on Jul 10, 2010


Hi all, I am a recent contributer to the yuku site and would just like to thank Robert, Debbie and Kris. you sound like special people.

Dawn on Jul 17, 2010


Sorry but I believe everyone in that house above age 8 is responsible. We were abused children and my sister always stuck up for me. and as you become teenagers you always rebel and fight your mom when she acts crazy. I did, people in my high school did, and my dad controlled his dad when he was beating up his mom.. always. So at least once you're a teen, you start fighting against things that are wrong and since Gertie was frail, she was easily overpowered. As far as Dianna. I read that Jenny sent her letters twice and Dianna was too happy with her life and didn't want to be bothered with her troublemaker sisters. It was only much later she tried to visit but still did not require a search when Gertrude said she ran away and Jenny agreed out of fear. I would have busted in that place and found her. I don't know what's wrong with these women but let's put reality and culpability where it belongs.

Nick on Oct 30, 2010


Nick, That is an urban legend that unfortunately has taken on a life of its own. You know the old saying; if you repeat a lie often enough, people start to believe it's true. There was no such letter ever sent to Dianna but sadly this is one of the major reasons why so many misguided people have blamed Dianna for not doing enough to help Sylvia. I don't know how this started or by whom but all reliable information I have on this case reveals that there was no such letter and that you should just dismiss this as a load of rhubarb. I will agree with you that this charge of child abuse has been used a crutch to rationalize why Gertrude's kids participated in torturing Sylvia. It does not explain why the neighborhood kids participated as well. Surely, they weren't also abused kids. I'm not saying this charge is not true but neither can we use it to rationalize bad behavior. To Robert, Kris and Debbie, if we don't hear from you beforehand, I would like to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas. Please convey to your mom and granddad mine and Abbi's warmest wishes and may they keep her warm during the cold winter. We love you all. Chester

Chester on Nov 19, 2010


how i yearn for the day people like me and others interested in this case can have an open forum with family members that were involved in this case.....i feel it would be a great soothing session if we can all just have a civilized conversation to all get more info and all help each other. It will never happen but it would be nice.

mike on Nov 19, 2010


In order for that to happen there must be an honest discussion of what happened and of the people involved. And that means that those involved must be willing to take responsibility for what they did. And that is something that, as of yet, has not happened.

Chester on Nov 21, 2010


I have heard that while Jenny had the physical problem it has been said that Sylvia was very very slow borderline retarded. Now my question is there anyway this could have effected her thought process throughout this whole ordeal? if she went into the house like that all the abuse must have sent her in a complete downword spiral and maybe it effected her thought process in terms of leaving or getting help? if anyone has any insight on this id love to hear it.

malignaggi on Nov 21, 2010


That is totally not true. Sylvia was not slow and was not borderline retarded. More than likely, she did not know the difference between what was and what was not appropriate punishment, maybe due to the way she was raised. In fact, she was an average student in school but was by no means stupid.

Chester on Nov 22, 2010

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