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(Pinterest) Betty Likens (left) and Sylvia’s little sister Jennifer Faye Likens (right) (Daily Debbie) Dennis Lee Wright Sr., Gertrude’s second love and the father of her youngest child. I can tell it! At that time, the Likens parents had left Sylvia and Jenny in the care of Mrs. Baniszewski—they knew her as “Mrs. John Baniszewski Jr. even changed his name and sought out refuge in rural Texas as a minister. The money arrived the following day, but the torture had just begun. What I think this was ultimately about was jealousy."[117]. I'm just going to have to go on a diet. He admitted to having burned Sylvia with matches on several occasions, adding that his mother had repeatedly burned the child with cigarettes. [155] On this occasion, Paula Baniszewski opted to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter rather than face a retrial;[19] she was sentenced to serve a term of between two and twenty years' imprisonment for her part in Likens' abuse and death. She was suspended from her position when in 2012 an anonymous caller tipped off the school district that Paula was once convicted of the death of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens. She was then returned to the basement. Paula returned home soon after Jenny. Sidestepping the multiple instances of testimony delivered at trial describing Paula and her mother as by far the most enthusiastic participants in Likens' physical abuse, Rice claimed the evidence presented against his client did not equate to her actual guilt of murder. [177], Following his 1968 release from the Indiana Reformatory, Coy Hubbard remained in Indiana, and never attempted to change his name. Sylvia Likens estimated net worth in 2018 is Under Review.Here we also added Sylvia Likens previous years Net Worth, Income, Salary & Property details. She struck her body with a book, shouting "Faker! They had seen Paula strike the girl in the Baniszewski home on two separate occasions but claimed not to report the abuse because they feared for their own lives. Age 16 years (age at death) old. Gertrude forced the toast into her mouth before repeatedly striking her face with a curtain rod until sections of the instrument were bent into right angles. While at school, Stephanie was jokingly propositioned by a boy who told her that Likens had started the rumor about her. In 1971, both Gertrude and Paula were re-tried to the result that Gertrude was again found guilty. Sylvia Likens. [132] Hobbs further testified that he had initially believed Likens would not be at the Baniszewski household on October 26, as Gertrude had informed him she intended to "get rid of" Sylvia the day prior. [94] She was 16 years old. The woman [Gertrude] is stark mad!" Riley Mattox. After this, she would often be “cleansed” in a scalding hot bath. Gertrude asked Sylvia whether she knew what a tattoo was ... she said: 'You branded my children so now I'm going to brand you.' After three months of torture and starvation, she could no longer form intelligible words and could barely move her limbs. Jurors who expressed any opposition to the death penalty were excused from duty by Leroy New; any who either worked with children, expressed prejudice against an insanity defense, or repulsion regarding the actual horrific nature of Likens' death, were excused by defense counsels. [7], Deputy Prosecutor Marjorie Wessner delivered the state's closing argument before the jury on behalf of the prosecution. Ultimately though, on May 19, 1966, Gertrude Baniszewski was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The tragic legacy of Sylvia Likens. All were tried together before Judge Rabb at Indianapolis' City-County Building. Its terrors are so plentiful that many horror films have been made about what this poor young girl endured. Gertrude Baniszewski, photographed after being granted parole in 1986. Stephanie punched her in response, but Likens apologized to her, in tears, and Stephanie then also began to cry. Following her release from jail, Elizabeth Likens would immediately join her husband in their seasonal employment with the traveling carnival. We'll never know the pain and suffering that Sylvia endured ... the best evidence of that was the picture of her lips—lips that were bitten into shreds! "[17] The Reverend Gibson then strode towards Likens' casket before adding, "She has gone to eternity. 2:40. On both occasions, the Vermillions witnessed Paula physically abusing Likens—who on both occasions had a black eye—and openly boasting about her mistreatment of the child to them. As Likens had not attended school for several days, a school nurse visited 3850 East New York Street to investigate these claims. [113][n 8], Three weeks prior to the filing of the indictments against the five defendants, Stephanie Baniszewski had been released from custody upon a writ of habeas corpus bond, with her attorney successfully contending the state had insufficient evidence to support any murder or culmination of fatal injuries charges against her. In what Hobbs would later insist were "short, light" etchings, he continued to brand the text into Likens' abdomen as she clenched her teeth and moaned. ", "When Sylvia Likens was Killed, Part of Our Childhoods Died, Too", "Looking Back On Indiana's Most Infamous Crime, 50 Years Later", "Teen Girl Fatally Bullied in Indiana House of Horrors". “I’m going to die,” Sylvia told her sister three days before she did. [16] Baniszewski resided in Indianapolis at 3850 East New York Street, where the monthly rent was $55. When she wet her mattress, Gertrude decided that the girl was no longer fit to live with the rest of her children. Six years later, she dropped out of high school at age 16 to marry 18-year-old John Stephan Baniszewski (1926–2007), who was originally from Youngsville, Pennsylvania, and to whom she bore four children. “I took care of you two bitches for two weeks for nothing,” Gertrude spat at Sylvia and Jenny. There was no question about her guilt. Following her divorce, Baniszewski married a man named Edward Guthrie. Somehow, the conversation got around to tattooing. [91], That afternoon, several of Likens' other tormentors gathered in the basement. Sylvia Likens' death is credited with the adoption of Indiana's mandated reporter law, and with an increased understanding of the investigation and recognition of abuse. The injuries discovered upon and around Likens' fingernails would later be described as most likely having been inflicted via her "desperate scratching motions" at the trial of her tormentors and murderers. In her death throes, Sylvia bit through her lips, nearly severing each of them. She later married and has several children. As soon as she could get close enough to a police officer she whispered, “Get me out of here and I’ll tell you everything.”. Gertrude Baniszewski announced to her children that Sylvia was a "prostitute, and she's proud of it; so we'll just put it on her stomach."

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