For six years, between the ages of 2 and 8, little Lauren was confined to a tiny, urine and feces strewn closet in her parents’ home. She had been held captive by her mother, Barbara, and her stepfather, Kenneth Atkinson until a neighbor tipped off authorities. When the child was finally rescued, first responders found her severely emaciated and covered in lice. It was later determined she had been both physically and sexually brutalized.

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In the video above, Officer Gary McClain, who says he was the first on the scene, describes Lauren’s condition when he found her. “Her skin was peeling due to laying in her own feces. Lauren’s matted hair reminded me of a rat’s nest. The closet where Lauren had been kept, it smelled horribly – urine and all the bodily functions. We found what appeared to be chew marks or teeth marks on the inside of the closet door handle. I haven’t ever run across anything like this.”


“She weighed only 26 pounds and was three feet tall, even though she was eight years old,” says Jennifer Emily, a news reporter who covered Lauren’s story.


A decade after her rescue, Lauren spoke for the first time about her ordeal with Dr. Phil. On Wednesday’s episode, five years after her first appearance, and fifteen years following her release from captivity, Lauren is back with an update on her life. It’s the first installment of an exclusive two-part Dr. Phil, airing this week.

This program contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.  Find out where to watch here.

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