January 26, 2017
From the ages of 2-8, Lauren was held captive by her mother, Barbara, and step-father, Kenneth, in a bedroom closet. For six years she was starved, beaten, tortured and sexually abused. When a neighbor alerted authorities to Lauren’s whereabouts in 2001, she stood just 3 feet tall and weighed about 26 lbs. – less than an average 2-year-old. That was 16 years ago.
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While Lauren was confined to a filthy, cramped closet in her parents’ bedroom, she had five siblings living just feet away. Lauren’s oldest sister, Blake, says growing up – the house was “very chaotic.” She says she still doesn’t understand why her parents singled out Lauren for abuse, “I feel like Ken and Barbie treated Lauren like an animal.”
“We knew that she was our sister, but we were closed off from her,” says Blake. “My parents would refer to Lauren as ‘that girl or it’ or ‘the problem’…They never used her name.” She says she and the other children were “completely brainwashed” into thinking that Lauren deserved to be in the closet.
Recalling the cramped quarters where she says Lauren was forced to live, Blake says, “I remember the inside of the closet was just nasty. It smelled horrible – like urine. I could actually smell the closet from inside my parents’ bedroom.”
Blake says hearing Lauren cry, she was able to sneak her food “a couple of times,” when their parents weren’t around, “I knew what it felt like to be hungry… but I…I just… She needed me, and I did it.”