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Death & Crime Scene Pictures From The Sylvia Likens Case 

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:21 PM
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Death & Crime Scene Pictures From The Sylvia Likens Case

On October 26, 1965, Indianapolis police answered a call saying that a girl had died. The call came from a pay telephone in front of a Shell station in a poor section of the city. The caller was a teenaged boy whose voice had not finished changing into that of an adult man. He sounded very nervous and directed the police to the address, 3850 East New York Street, at which they would find the dead female.

When the cops got to the dingy, rundown, clapboard home to which the anonymous caller had directed them, they found the emaciated dead body of 16-year-old Sylvia Marie Likens. She was covered with bruises and small wounds, later revealed to be cigarette and match burns that numbered over 100. There were also large areas where the outer layer of skin had peeled off. Likens also had a large letter "3" branded on her chest. However, the most remarkable injuries, by far, were the words in block letters that had been burned directly onto her stomach: "I'M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT!"

Below you can see the room where Sylvia's body was found. Thus ending one of the most horrible crimes ever committed against a single victim in Indiana history.

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A little bit of background information from Wikipedia:

Lester Likens agreed to pay Baniszewski $20 ($149.67 adjusted for inflation) a week, but when this stipend was late, Baniszewski, described by The Indianapolis Star as a "haggard, underweight asthmatic" suffering from depression and the stress of several failed marriages, began taking her anger out on the Likens girls, beating them with paddles.

Baniszewski soon focused her abuse exclusively on Likens, accusing her of stealing candy that she had bought from a grocery store, and humiliating her when she admitted that she once had a boyfriend. Baniszewski's daughter, Paula, who was pregnant at the time, kicked Likens in the genitals and accused her of being pregnant, although later medical examination proved that Likens was not and could not have been.

Likens was later accused of spreading rumors through Arsenal Technical High School that Paula and Stephanie Baniszewski were prostitutes; this supposedly provoked Stephanie's boyfriend, Coy Hubbard, to physically attack Likens. Gertrude Baniszewski encouraged Hubbard, her children and other neighborhood children to torment Likens, including, among other things, extinguishing cigarettes on her skin, beating her, tying her up, burning her with scalding water, rubbing salt in her wounds, forcing her to eat things that would cause her to vomit, and forcing her to remove her clothes and insert a glass Coca-Cola bottle into her vagina on at least two occasions. Paula Baniszewski once beat Likens in the face with such force that she broke her own wrist.

The Likens sisters attempted to contact their family to inform them of the abuse. They were able to mail letters to their older sister, Diana, who was then 18 years old and married. Diana supposedly visited the Baniszewski home after learning of the abuse, but did not call police or remove her sisters from the home. The Likens' parents did not intercede on their daughters' behalf.

Baniszewski eventually forbade Likens from attending school after she beat the girl in an attempt to confess to stealing a gym suit from school which Baniszewski would not buy for her (and without which she was unable to attend gym class). She was often deprived of water. Jenny later speculated during her court testimony that Sylvia was unable to produce tears due to dehydration. When Sylvia urinated in her bed while tied to the bed, she was locked in the cellar and forbidden to use the toilet. Later, she was forced to consume her own feces, as well as feces from the diaper of Gertrude Baniszewski's 1-year-old son, and urine. Shortly before Likens died, Baniszewski began to carve the words "I'm a prostitute and proud of it!" into Likens' stomach with a heated needle, although Richard Hobbs finished the carving. Hobbs and 10-year-old Shirley Baniszewski also used an iron poker in an attempt to burn the letter "S" into Likens' chest, although the burn ended up looking like the number "3".

On October 25, 1965, the day before her death, Likens attempted to escape after overhearing Baniszewski's plan to blindfold[8] and dump her in Jimmy's Forest, a wooded area nearby. As she reached the front door, Baniszewski caught her and punished her by tying her up in the basement and giving her only crackers to eat. On October 26, 1965, after multiple beatings, burnings, and scalding baths, Likens died of a brain hemorrhage, shock and malnutrition. She was 16 years old.

When Stephanie Baniszewski and Richard Hobbs realized that Likens was not breathing, Stephanie attempted to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After realizing Likens was dead, Baniszewski sent Hobbs to call the police from a nearby payphone. When police arrived, Gertrude Baniszewski handed them a letter she had forced Likens to write a few days previously, addressed to her parents. The letter stated that Likens had agreed to have sexual relations with a group of boys in exchange for money who then dragged her away in their car. The letter went on to claim that the boys had beaten, burned, and carved the "S" inscription into Likens' skin. Before the police left, however, Jenny Likens approached them and said, "Get me out of here and I'll tell you everything."

Case background taken from Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Likens
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:24 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

The dirty, bloody sink in the basement where Sylvia was kept along with the tool used to burn her sitting there in the sink. The kitchen is pretty disgusting, and note the bottles of pop, she had to use one on herself for punishment, more than once i believe.

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:48 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

I remember they made a movie based on that....

so sad... poor kid.

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:52 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

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Originally Posted by big raymie View Post
I remember they made a movie based on that....

so sad... poor kid.
and the movie(s) an american crime and the girl next door (which was based on but not exact) albeit horrific had to leave out so much

sorry i could not get the close up photos - but it is described in the story or the transcripts

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:54 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

I was so hoping to see the burned in phrase " "I'M A PROSTITUTE AND PROUD OF IT!"

I read the whole pre-fix and got excited to see all that was described. Thanks for the pics. It was kind of like getting a blowjob but, without the happy ending.

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Old 10-19-2009, 04:57 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

great post and info

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Old 10-19-2009, 05:24 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

wow i read this case a while back and was fascinated, never saw the pics though, thanks!

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Old 10-19-2009, 06:25 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

Nice info + pics!
are the close ups of the writing floating around so it's possible to find them?
would be nice!

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Old 10-19-2009, 07:32 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

I remember when that happened. I live a couple of blocks away here in indy from that house. It was tore down this last year. I met her uncle who used to shear sheep. I think her sister lives in texas or did.The woman she lived with was let out of prison and i believe died of lung cancer.There is a park on washington street here that has a stone memorial to sylvia in it in the sw corner.

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Old 10-19-2009, 07:53 PM
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Re: Sylvia Likens - Death and Photos of House

I remember hearing and reading about this case years ago but had never seen the photos - what a truly horrific thing to happen to such a young girl. There is true evil in this world.

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