The case is unique in that, while Baniszewski did play an active role in Likens' death, the majority of the torture that eventually brought about Likens' demise was carried out by Baniszewski's teenage children and other neighborhood children. The news of Baniszewski's parole hearing sent shockwaves through the Indiana community. She made a desperate attempt to get out of the house - but she was caught and beaten into unconsciousness. Although it was unfashionable at the time, they lived together for a while out of wedlock. In July 1965, Sylvia and Jenny were living with their mother in Indianapolis.
She accused her of stealing candy that she had bought, and humiliated her when she admitted that she once had a boyfriend. Some of the most damaging testimony against Baniszewski was due to her own self-incrimination; she recounted bizarre tales of Sylvia Likens being a neighborhood prostitute and of her trysts with middle aged, married men, as well as accusing her of frequently starting fights in the home. Gertrude however, was again convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The caller was a teenaged boy whose voice had not finished changing into that of an adult man. Complaining to others would have meant having to tell them what had been done to her.
Hobbs, along with Baniszewski's son John and another neighborhood boy, Coy Hubbard, were convicted of manslaughter. The fates of Baniszewski's children remains largely unknown. Other crimes have involved a greater number of victims, often including children, but the villains in those stories were hardened criminals or madmen, and their acts of violence played out rapidly within a span of minutes or hours. Baniszewski, her children, Hobbs, and Hubbard were held without bail pending their trials. The call came from a pay telephone in front of a Shell station in a poor section of the city.
She was spared the and was sentenced to. The neighbours heard Sylvia hitting the walls of the basement with a shovel; some of them thought about complaining to the authorities about all the sleep they'd lost - but nobody actually did complain. Baniszewski, her daughter Paula, her son John, and two neighborhood youths, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs, were tried and convicted of torturing and Likens. Shortly thereafter, Gertrude and John Baniszewski reconciled and re-married. Her genital area was hit and kicked so often, that medical examiners were shocked by the number of injuries that area had sustained. Arrests did come, but only after it was over. Baniszewski began allowing her older children to beat Likens and repeatedly push her down stairs for entertainment.
Shortly thereafter, a neighbor made an anonymous report, which prompted an in-home visit by a public health nurse. The social worker returned to her office, where she filed a report stating that no more calls needed to be made to the Baniszewski home. Basement Stairs in the Baniszewski House To further torture and humiliate her, Gertrude solicited the help of a neighborhood boy, Ricky Hobbs. When she slept at night, she would wet her mattress, and Gertrude decided that Sylvia was no longer fit to live with her children. While he and Baniszewski drank coffee, she complained to him that Sylvia had been an intense burden on her, claiming that the girl was a prostitute who had been servicing married men and had gotten pregnant. John often ended disagreements between himself and Gertrude with his fists. If you have ever felt a small burn, you know how painful it is.
Early abuse of Likens The first week of Sylvia and Jenny's lives at the Baniszewski home went relatively well. At one point, Diana secretly gave a starving Sylvia a sandwich. They were supposed to head to their son's home in Riverside County later that afternoon for Mother's Day but never showed up, police said. Gertrude encouraged not only her own children to beat and abuse Sylvia, but also let in other neighborhood children to participate. Phyllis, seeing the number of children Baniszewski cared for, believed that Baniszewski would make a good babysitter for her two young children, and that she would also be helping Baniszewski out by paying her for her services. The storytelling is straightforward and free of rabbit holes so the cases stay suspenseful and are easy to follow.
In his foreword to , prosecutor Leroy K. She told Baniszewski the report was about Likens; Baniszewski replied she had kicked Likens out of her house, and that her whereabouts were unknown. In 1965, she agreed to board sixteen years old Sylvia Likens and her sister Jenny, who was a year younger. Indeed, at least one adult witnessed abusive incidents and, although disturbed by them, did not consider them serious enough to report them to the police. In June 2001, a six-foot tall block of granite was dedicated as a memorial to Sylvia in Willard Park 1700 E.
Neither of the Vermillions reported this incident to the authorities. Being on hard times, their mother chose to shoplift, and was consequently arrested and jailed. Others extinguished their cigarettes on her skin. Vermillion noticed a slim, pretty, but timid and nervous-looking girl who had a black eye. Two months later, Phyllis went to the Baniszewski home to borrow something.