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Revisiting the Murder of Sylvia Likens


It was on this day in 1965, the IPD were called to 3850 E. New York Street to find the body of 16 year-old Sylvia Likens. It is considered one of the more notorious crimes in the history of Indianapolis. Dawn Mitchell of the Indy Star gives us some insight into the murder of Sylvia and why this story has resonated with people over the years.

Sylvia Likens was left in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski and her family while Sylvia’s parents traveled as carnival workers. Over a span of three months, she was held captive, sexually abused and tortured by Gertrude Baniszewski, Baniszewski’s children and other children who lived in the neighborhood.

“She had been tortured by not just Gertrude, but by her children and other neighborhood children. That’s what makes the story a little more heinous. These kids would probably not have thought about doing this on their own. They were egged on by a mean woman.”

Listen to the complete interview with Dawn here. 

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