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The Tragic Death of Sylvia Likens
Women Who Kill
"A quiz about one of the most notorious cases of child abuse and the gross miscarriage of justice which followed. Most of the information about this quiz was obtained from crimelibrary.com."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
Sylvia Likens was 16 years old when she came to live with Gertrude Baniszewski. Described by many who knew her as 'vivacious,' 'outspoken' and 'likeable,' what was her nickname?
Sylvia's parents were carnival workers who traveled often, and were on the road much of the time. Because of this, they would frequently board Sylvia and her 15-year old sister Jenny so the girls could live a more stable lifestyle. In July 1965, Lester Likens made arrangements with Gertrude Baniszewski to board Sylvia and Jenny. How much per week did the Likens' agree to pay Gertrude?
Lester Likens examined the house where his daughters were to be living and felt it was safe to leave Sylvia and Jenny there, despite only knowing Gertrude for a few days.
How long were Sylvia and Jenny living with Gertrude before the abuse began?
Eventually, the abuse focused almost entirely on Sylvia, who was far more outspoken than her much quieter, frail younger sister (Jenny was required to wear a leg brace as a result of polio). As the abuse escalated, Gertrude enlisted not only the help of her own children, but other children in the neighborhood in her crusade to 'punish' Sylvia.
Eventually, Sylvia was forced by Gertrude to drop out of school and was confined to the Baniszewski home. Where was Sylvia kept?
An upstairs bedroom
On October 26, 1965 police were called to the Baniszewski, where they found Sylvia's corpse in an upstairs bedroom, malnourished and mutilated. The number '3' was burned into her chest and the words 'I'm a prostitute and proud of it' had been burned into her stomach. Gertrude and her children (who had been coached by Gertrude) told the police that:
Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs had mutilated and beaten Sylvia without the Baniszewski's knowledge
A group of unidentified boys had attacked Sylvia after she left the house with them
Sylvia had returned home in that condition after being missing for several days and subsequently died in the Baniszewski home
They didn't know how Sylvia came to be injured, or how she got there
After Sylvia's death, it was revealed that visitors to the Baniszewski home had witnessed them abusing Sylvia, but no one called the authorites.
At trial, all of Sylvia's abusers were convicted of murder.
Gertrude eventually expressed remorse for what happened to Sylvia while she was under her care.
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Compiled May 19 13