Gertrude Nadine Baniszewski

Picture of Gertrude Nadine Baniszewski

Date of Birth: 09/19/1929

Age: 60

Place of birth: Indianapolis

Citizenship: United States


Gertrude Nadine Van Fossano - the daughter of Hugh and Molly van Fossanov, she was the third child of their six children. Family Gertrude belonged to a lower social class. In 1940, when Gertrude was 11, Hugh died of a heart attack. Gertrude has always loved her father more than her mother, and is very hard suffered his death. In adolescence, Gertrude had difficulty in the relationship with her mother - and finally at age 16 she dropped out of school and married the 18-year-old police officer John Banishevsky, which gave birth to 4 children.

John was very intermittent, the differences between him and Gertrude often ended in a fight, but in spite of this, Gertrude and John lived together for 10 years before the divorce. Then Gertrude three months was married to Edward Guthrie, but Edward did not want to take responsibility for the children of Gertrude, who were not his relatives. Then she took up with John and bore him two more children, and seven years later in 1963 they divorced again and forever.

Zetem 34-year-old Gertrude took up with 23-year-old Dennis Lee Wright. Although it was unfashionable then, Dennis and Gertrude entered into a civil marriage, but often beat Wright concubine. From him she was pregnant twice, but the first time she had a miscarriage, and the second time she gave birth to Dennis Jr .; but shortly after his birth by Gertrude Wright left and disappeared from her life. To no one knew that Dennis - illegitimate, Gertrude all presented as "Mrs. Wright," though with Dennis Lee Wright, they never painted.

In general, before the meeting with Sylvia Likens life Gertrude was hard and sad, but not criminal.

Sylvia Likens

At the time of the meeting with the family Likens Gertrude was so tortured life, that her physical weight was below normal. By the time she was a heavy smoker and suffer from asthma, bronchitis and nervous excitement. All her income consisted only of the rare allowance for the child, and a few dollars that she earned as a washerwoman or a nurse (Sylvia Likens do the same).

In July 1965 the eldest daughter Gertrude 17-year-old Paula met the sisters 16-year-old Sylvia Mary and 15-year-old Jenny Faye Likens. Parents Sylvia and Jenny worked in a mobile booth and constantly roamed the country. As the girls become friends, Lester Likens suggested to kakoe-to time to shelter his daughters and as compensation predolzhil pay $ 20 a week. Sylvia and Jenny went to school with the children Banishevsky and with them also went to church on Sundays.

When the first payment was promised has not arrived on time, Gertrude beat the girls, after some time they were beaten again when Gertrude Sylvia accused of stealing candy from the store, in fact Sylvia bought it. Thus began a regular child abuse.

Start torture

Completely from verbal abuse to physical Gertrude moved in August 1965. If it is undertaken more children with Likens sisters fight, Gertrude did not prevent this, and later began to incite their children to beat Sylvia. Then, at some point, Sylvia let slip that she had a love with a boy, which is why Gertrude began to call her a prostitute. To protect yourself, Sylvia and Jenny blurted out that Paula and Stephanie themselves to promiscuity behavior of prostitutes, but Gertrude refused to believe this and is connected to the case friend Stephanie Coy Hubbard and a few neighborhood kids - Anna Sisco, Judith Duke, Randy Lepper and Mike Monroe.

At some point, Gertrude threats and violence forced Jenny Likens to hit his sister. Jenny had to obey, but she, being right-handed, beating Sylvia left hand and strike gets weak.

Familiarization with the case of Silvia often wondered why Likens sisters did not think to complain to the police or simply to escape. This was partly due to the fact that girls living with early childhood in a tense atmosphere iz-za strained relations between the parents, not seen in the actions of Gertrude nothing criminal. In August 1965, next door to the couple settled Banishevsky Raymond and Phyllis Virmillion, who had two children. As Phyllis worked the night shift at the factory the RCA, she decided to find their children a babysitter, and so came to the house Banishevsky, assuming that the mother of seven children might well look after and for its own. Women drinking coffee at a table, while the other children were screaming at each other, and the youngest child of Gertrude Dennis comes crying. In kakoy-to moment Phyllis noticed pretty thin, but shy with kakim-to excited eyes girl, who had a bruise under his eye. "This is Sylvia" - Gertrude sighed. Paula Banishevsky scored a glass of hot water and threw it on Sylvia, and then rather boastfully declared: "It is I put her bruise." It is clear that the Phillies decided to look for a nanny in a different place, but it is not clear why she had not told the authorities that she saw and heard. In early October of the same year Virmillion again caused a social call Banishevsky and again saw Sylvia. At this time, the girl was already bruising under the other eye and swollen lip. "I beat it", - said Paula (assuming it did just when Silvia has issued it a secret). So, even if an adult responsible person did not see in all this terrible crime, it is expected that it will notice a teenager, it was impossible. On the motivation of why Sylvia ran away, we can only guess, but most of all she was afraid that if anger Banishevsky fall at Jenny, who suffered less Sylvia. One of the reasons was also the fact that Jenny`s leg covers the metal bracket together and so escape was impossible.

The priest of the local church Reverend Roy Julian in September 1965 struck Banishevsky visit, as her family was in his congregation. Sitting in the living room, Gertrude complained to his refusal of her husband to pay child support for his illness and all the problems that she had with the children. And the main problem, according to her, was Sylvia. A frightened voice she told the priest that Sylvia walking to school and earn money in prostitution. Julian did not believe, as previously seen in the church of Sylvia and she made a good impression. He wanted to talk to her, but Gertrude told him to talk to Jenny. Jenny herself at that time was so intimidated that the priest gave out a purely mechanical responses such as: "She`s lying. At night, when we go to bed, she goes down and raids on the refrigerator. " Jenny very much hoped that it Banishevsky not touched, if it is to go at them on occasion. It partially worked. A few weeks later Julian came again to Banishevsky. Gertrude again complained about Sylvia, because she, according to her, dismisses rumors at school about pregnancy Paula. "But I know my daughter - she told him - and I know Sylvia. Paula is not pregnant; it - Silvia "[4].


Apogee situation reached when Sylvia was beaten, that she admitted that she stole the store sportswear (which Banishevsky not be bought for her) to go to gym class. Then Gertrude Sylvia forbidden to go to school and do not let her leave the house. After some time, Gertrude began again to accuse Sylvia in prostitution, then forced her section and repeatedly inserted into the vagina Sylvia glass bottle Pepsi-Cola. Apparently, the kidneys Sylvia had suffered some harm, because she began to urinate in the bed, and then Gertrude locked her in the cellar and has forbidden to use the toilet. Nevertheless, we can not say that Sylvia had to completely forget about hygiene. After kakoe-to time Gertrude began to carry out her terrible water treatments: Sylvia forcibly put in a bath of boiling water, and burns from cigarettes salt rubbed clean. Sylvia idle for long periods without food and clothes. Later, Gertrude and John began to give it as food it is their own waste.

Gde-to in the same period, Jenny sent their older sister Diana Shoemaker letter in which he outlined the all the horrors that happened to them, and asked his sister to inform the police. But Diana ignored the letter, writing off all the children on the obnoxious character and bad behavior of girls. However, somewhere in October, she came to visit the sisters. Gertrude did not want to see that, in some terrible conditions contained Sylvia, and therefore do not let Diana`s house. Banishevsky demanded permission from the parents to keep Diana Likens separate from the sisters. Diana insisted, and when Gertrude had to threaten her with arrest for the invasion of private property. Shortly before his death Jenny Sylvia faced with Diana on the street and only told her: "I can not talk to you, otherwise I will have problems," - and hurried on. Then Diana sent a signal to the local health agency, as she wanted to know why she was not allowed to see his sister. October 15 in the house called the woman, who introduced herself as a nurse and wanted to talk with Gertrude. Gertrude looked evil Jenny Likens and quietly whispered, "If you say anything about Sylvia, then you will do the same as her." Then the nurse reported that Sylvia was a prostitute, she did not keep themselves clean, and so she just kicked it. Jenny threatened podverdit it. The nurse returned to his office and to report on Banishevsky made a note "one-off".

October 21 late in the evening the police came to the house of Gertrude, but she came not iz-za Sylvia and iz-za that, according to the police, at the door of the house drumming neighbor Robert Bruce Hanlon, a statement that children Banishevsky robbed him things from the basement. Gertrude also called the police and reported that Hanlon tried myself to get to her house. Police arrested him on charges of theft. Later Hanlon was released due to the request of Raymond and Phyllis Virmillion who saw his arrest, but did not inform the police pochemu-to nothing about Sylvia.


October 21, Gertrude told John Koyu and Stephanie Sylvia move out of the cellar in one of the rooms upstairs and tied to the bed. The first night Sylvia dip and Gertrude, seeing it in the morning, was furious and again put into the vagina Sylvia glass bottle. Then, in retaliation for libel Paulo and Stephanie, it burnt out red-hot needle in her belly the words "I`m a prostitute and proud of it." Rather, it burnt out only part of the sentence, the rest finished neighbor guy Richard Hobbs, who then use the 10-year-old daughter Gertrude Cheryl Banishevsky hot bolt burned on his chest Sylvia number "3". The next day, Gertrude, Sylvia made her write under the dictation of a letter, in which she explained that she had a sexual relationship for money with a group of boys and what is it they tore her clothes and made burns on her body.

Then Gertrude plotted plan that John and Jenny Likens had to take Sylvia to a nearby dump and leave her there to die. When Sylvia overheard this, she secretly went downstairs and tried to escape, but was caught Banishevsky right at the door and then thrown into the basement. October 24, Gertrude went down to the basement and tried to hit Sylvia paddle, but missed and accidentally hit himself. Then Coy Hubbard rasveripel and repeatedly struck on the head with a broom Sylvia, so that she lost consciousness. October 26, Gertrude told the children that she wants to buy Silvia, this time in the warm water. Stephanie and Richard Hobbs Sylvia moved to the bathroom on the upper floor of the bathroom and put on clothes. After some time, they pulled it, put on a bare mattress on the floor and only then noticed that Sylvia was not breathing. Stephanie tried to do artificial respiration and Silvia made him so long until I realized that she was dead.

Then Stephanie Hobbs sent to the nearest telephone, so he called the police. When she arrived, Gertrude handed him a letter that Silvia wrote under her pressure for a few days before. It would seem that the criminals will jump out of the trap, but before the police had time to read the letter to the end, to one of the officers approached upset and frightened and Jenny Likens whispered to him: "Take me away, and I`ll tell you everything." An autopsy of the body of Sylvia and Jenny gave evidence to officials more than a weighty reason to arrest Gertrude, Paulo, Stephanie and John Banishevsky, Richard Hobbs, and Coy Hubbard. Anna Sisco, Judith Duke, Randy Lepper and Mike Monroe, were arrested on charges of harming a person, but later with them were cleared of all charges.


Gertrude, her children, Hobbs, and Hubbard were in custody without the right to payment of bail until trial.

The examination and autopsy of the body of Sylvia Liken revealed numerous burns, bruising and nerve damage. Her vagina was swollen, but the examination found that the hymen remained intact, which completely refutes Gertrude that Sylvia was a prostitute and that she was pregnant. The official cause of death was announced as intracerebral hemorrhage, shock, and malnutrition.

Throughout the trial Gertrude denied any responsibility for the death of Sylvia and did not recognize his guilt iz-za allegedly own insanity. She claimed that she was too tired and your poor health depresciey to look after children. However, the young lawyers of the accused (Paula and John Banishevsky, Richard Hobbs, and Coy Hobbarda) claimed that their customers have clearly influenced the older Banishevsky. As Anna Sisco, Judith Duke, Randy Lepper and Mike Monroe with children Banishevsky pleaded guilty, but the question of whether this involves an older Banishevsky gave the same answer: "Gerty told me."

When 11-year-old daughter Gertrude Mary Banishevsky called on the court to answer a defense witness, she initially denied that her mother beat and all Sylvia kak-libo badly she was treated, but then broke down and, hysterical, crying, "Oh Lord, help me! "- she admitted that she was forced to warm the needle, which Hobbs slashed the skin of Sylvia. She also admitted that she had seen her mother beat Likens. Lawyer William Erbeker Gertrude tried to mitigate the sentence, based on Banishevsky dementia. He said: "I condemn it, because she was the killer. But I do not believe it is responsible for this, because it is not all here! "(Uttering the last words, he pointed to his head).

May 19, 1966 Gertrude Baniszewski was found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, but was replaced by a life sentence previously assigned to her death. Paula Banishevsky (pregnancy that before so vehemently denied) during the investigation has given birth to a girl and as a sign of devotion to the mother named her in honor of her grandmother Gertrude. She was found guilty of second-degree murder. Hobbs, Hubbard and John Banishevsky (which then tolko-tolko thirteen) were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to terms ranging from 2 years to 21 years, but in the end, all three have stayed only for two years. The charge of murder against Stephanie Banishevsky was filmed.

The consequences and death

History has received a wide response both in Indiana and beyond, when Gertrude in 1971 again appeared in court with a petition for the release, it again found guilty. The subsequent 14 years, Gertrude, being a model prisoner, working in prison establishments and patron of young prisoners. When, in 1985, she again appeared before the court, in prison for it stuck the nickname "Mama".

The news of the petition for the release of Gertrude caused the explosion throughout Indiana. Jenny Likens and her family were on television, where vyskazilis against Banishevsky. The members of the two groups antiprestupnyh "protect the innocent League" and "The League of the Company against annoying" came to Indiana to oppose the petition Banishevsky, Likens family support and organize pickets company. These groups were made up petition prohibiting release Banishevsky. Within two months of in this petition have put their signatures to more than 40,000 citizens of Indiana. But despite all these efforts to Gertrude was arranged court hearing a petition on which Banishevsky said: "I`m not sure what I was in this role ... because I was on drugs. I never really knew her ... [But] I take full responsibility for everything that happened to Sylvia Likens. "

December 14, 1985 Gertrude Baniszewski was released and, changing his name to Nadine Van Fossano, he moved to Iowa, where, abusing tobacco, died of lung cancer June 16, 1990. When Jenny Likens, which by that time had married and settled in Beech Grove, Indiana, read in a newspaper obituary of death Banishevsky, she cut him, and sent by mail to the mother accompanying note: "A bit of good news. Damn old woman, Gertrude is dead. Ha-ha-ha! I`m happy about this. "

The fate of Gertrude`s children are not fully known. When, in March 1998 in the Arkansas High School Westside bombing occurred (perfect two students 13 and 11 years), John Banishevsky, who at that time changed his name to John Blake, issued a statement that juvenile offenders and murderers can always to change their lives and that they can always count on the help, because he was able to change his life after Sylvia Likens. It was the first time he spoke publicly about Sylvia`s death. John himself still does not understand why he and the other children tormented Sylvia, he only remembers that he felt intense anger because of his parents` divorce and the lack of food and clothing for him and his brothers and sisters. John admits that his sentence was lighter than it should be. After Sylvia John did not have any serious run-ins with the law. He first worked as a truck driver, then a realtor, and finally began to serve as a pastor. At the end of his life he suffered from diabetes and had weakened eyesight. John S. Blake-ml. He died after a long illness from diabetes in a public hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, May 19, 2005 at the age of 52 years (rod. July 14, 1953) and was buried in the cemetery Habeker Mennonayt. He was married to a woman Lois Charles Blake, and they had three children. Although before his death has been established its identity (John Stephen Banishevsky ml.), In his obituary was not a word about what he Banishevsky born.

Stephanie Banishevsky, changing the name, became a schoolteacher. She is married and she, too, have children. According to rumors, she lives in Floral City, Florida. Paula Banishevsky by filing an appeal in 1971, new hearing was held, where pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and two years later was released. After his release, he moved to Iowa (where she later moved and Gertrude) and is rumored to live there on a small farm in Redfield. About whether she had contacts there with her mother, is not known. Mary Shirley, James and Dennis were ottadny in foster families. Dennis Lee Wright, Jr.. now married, but according to his wife, despite the fact that Dennis was the youngest child Banishevsky at the time and did not remember Sylvia, he can not bring himself to read a variety of materials about the death of Likens.

House Banishevsky 3850 at East New York Street after the death of Sylvia empty for 44 years and was finally demolished on April 23 2009. The church parking lot is planned in its place.