The Girl in the Closet: Lauren Kavanaugh Was Held Prisoner for 6 Years, Until Her Rescue in 2001

WARNING: The details and images of this case are extremely disturbing. 

This is one of the most horrific cases of abuse that we have ever heard in our entire lives. We can’t even begin to comprehend how anyone could do something like this to another human being, let alone an innocent child.

When Lauren Kavanaugh was taken away from her loving, adoptive parents, she was immediately returned to her biological mother and father, Barbara and Kenny Atkinson.

From that moment on, her life became a dark, living hell. For the next six years, she would be neglected, tortured, starved, beaten and raped.

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The evil couple forced her to live in a tiny, filthy 4ft by 9ft wardrobe closet from the ages of three until she was eight-years-old.

“From then on, it became my new home,” she said. “The carpet was drenched in urine, and I lay under a thin, wet blanket.”

Surprisingly, her siblings were never abused.

“Sometimes I could hear them laughing and playing outside,” she explained. “I was weak from hunger and was tied down so I couldn’t fight back.”

Police were finally alerted about her conditions when Lauren’s father tried showing her off to a horror-struck neighbor.

By the time she was pulled from the closet by authorities, her ribs stuck out and she only weighed 25 pounds, the same as an average two-year-old.

Lauren went on to be re-adopted by the Kavanaugh family. She now lives in Athens, Texas, and hopes she can one day help abuse victims like herself.

“My dream now is to qualify as a counselor,” she said. “I really want to help victims like me to overcome their abuse and be strong. I’ve been in their shoes and come out the other side.”

Her mother later confessed that she was trying to forget that her daughter even existed. She often referred to Lauren as “it” or “the girl” but never by name.

“It was the problem. It was what was causing everything,” she was quoted saying in The Dallas Morning News. “Out of sight, out of mind. I shut it away and don’t think of it. … I couldn’t stop her being in the closet.”

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In 2002, her birth parents were convicted of felony injury to a child and sentenced to life in prison. They will not be eligible for parole until 2031.

It may be difficult to get through stories like this, but we’re happy to know that her parents were brought to justice for their atrocities.

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