In Her Own Words
Lauren, 18, recounts the unimaginable horrors she suffered at the hands of her parents, from age 2 to 8. “I was locked in a closet for six years. I could not get out, no matter what I did. It was always dark. I didn’t get fed. I didn’t get to eat. I had to go to the bathroom in the closet, where I slept. I had a pillow on the floor and maybe a blanket every now and then if I was good. I would cry until I fell asleep,” she says. “I thought I could escape by clawing the door, and they were furious. My parents said if they couldn’t have me, no one could. I did not try to escape again.”

Lauren says being taken out of the closet only meant one thing. “They took me out of the closet to have sex with me. There were three steps. The first step was oral. And then the second step was they would have sex with me on the bed and tie me down. There was blood all over the sheets, everywhere. The third step: They would take me to the shower, so that they could have sex with me in there. When they were done with me, they would beat me and throw me in the closet. It was like torture.

“My mom would bring home guys or girls to have sex with me. If I screamed or yelled, that really made them mad. My parents thought it was hilarious for them to watch. And I had to do what they said, so I could stay alive. My parents would use some kind of weapon to beat me. I have scars all over my body where they have cut me. My stepdad would get the gun that was beside his bed, put it to my head and pull the trigger, pretending to shoot me.”

[AD]Lauren thought she was going to die. “My mom did try to drown me,” she says. “I remember passing out, not being able to breathe. Next thing I know, I’m waking up, and my mom is standing over me, laughing, like I was a wimpy kid or something. I think God was with me that day, or I’d be dead right now.

“If I had a message for my parents, it would say, ‘Rot in jail,’ because that is where they belong,” Lauren says.
Lauren sits down with Dr. Phil in her first interview since being rescued 10 years ago.

“How much do you remember about that six-year period?” Dr. Phil asks her.

Lauren says what comes back to her the most is the sexual abuse. Since it began when she was 2, Lauren says she thought that every kid was treated that way. “I thought every kid was like that, that they did that stuff,” she says. Lauren says she was always in pitch-black darkness, and she soon learned that when the door was opened, it meant pain. “That was the only time they took me out,” she says.

“And they took you out for what?” Dr. Phil probes.

[AD]“To have sex with me and beat me,” she says.

“Your mother had sex with you.”

“Yes, my mother did.”

“And then your father, Ken, did.”

“Yes,” she says.
Lauren describes how the abuse usually occurred.


Lauren has never seen any of the shocking photos of the day she was rescued or the closet she was kept in but is ready to view them. Dr. Phil shows her various photographs. Upon seeing the one of her at the table on the day she was rescued, she says, “I was so small.” Lauren says she has a hard time believing the little girl in the photograph is her.

Dr. Phil shows her various pictures of the closet. When she sees the chewed or clawed doorknob, Lauren says she remembers trying to get out of the closet. “Every time I would, they would put a lock or something on it, so I wouldn’t get out,” she says.

Lauren remembers that she would sometimes hear her siblings playing in the house. She would yell for them to help her, but says they would just turn the radio up louder.

Dr. Phil asks Lauren about life after her rescue. “How did it feel to have food to eat?” Dr. Phil asks.

[AD]“I would eat so much that I would make myself sick,” she says. Lauren says she would also sneak food, hide it and eat it in the middle of the night. Many nights, Lauren says she would sleep on the floor instead of the bed, because it felt safer to her; the bed was where she was hurt. She still sleeps on the floor from time to time.

Lauren describes other punishments that took place outside of the closet.