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Indianapolis news archives tell of the horrific murder of Sylvia Likens
Gertrude Nadine Baniszewski September 19, - June 16, was convicted of the torture and murder of year-old Sylvia Likens in Indianapolis, Indiana. Baniszewski agreed to board both Sylvia and her polio disabled sister Jenny for twenty dollars for their father Lester. Their parents were carnival workers. When Lester's payment didn't show up one week, Gertrude lashed out on both girls whipping them with a belt. Eventually, Gertrude lashes out on Sylvia. She burned her with lit matches and cigarettes, beat her, let her children and neighborhood children beat up on her, and even kept her in their basement without food and water.
The murder of Sylvia Likens was a child murder case that occurred in Indianapolis , Indiana in October Likens, aged 16, was held captive and subjected to increasing levels of child abuse and torture —committed over a period of almost three months—by her caregiver, Gertrude Baniszewski, many of Baniszewski's children, and several other neighborhood children, before ultimately succumbing to her injuries on October Baniszewski; her oldest daughter, Paula; her son, John; and two neighborhood youths, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs, were all tried and convicted in May of neglecting, torturing, and murdering Likens. At the defendants' trial, Deputy Prosecutor Leroy New described the case as "the most diabolical case to ever come before a court or jury"  and Gertrude's defense attorney , William C. Erbecker,  described Likens as having been subjected to acts of "degradation that you wouldn't commit on a dog" prior to her death. The torture and murder of Sylvia Likens is widely regarded by Indiana citizens as the worst crime ever committed in their state   and has been described by a senior investigator in the Indianapolis Police Department as the "most sadistic " case he had ever investigated in the 35 years he served with the Indianapolis police. Baniszewski was the third of six children, and her family was working class. On October 5, , Baniszewski saw her year-old father die from a sudden heart attack.
On Oct. Further details unfolded in the coming months and were reported in the newspapers. The investigation indicated numerous young persons, plus the woman with whom the girl was staying, beat and tortured her over an extended period, police said. The year-old girl was systematically beaten and tortured over a three-week period by at least 10 persons, probably more, police said. Judge Saul I. She gave birth to a girl Thursday, and Rabb said he thought the jail would be a poor place for convalescence. The baby was named Gertrude, after Paula's mother.