Toddler who was Tortured and Kept in a Closet for 5 Years, Finds a Happy Ending

A young woman went through hell and back for five years, but is ready to tell her story and start a new life.

Lauren Kavanaugh, who is now 21, was living in a 4-foot by 9-foot closet from the age of three to eight. It was in this wardrobe where she would spend the majority of her time each day in solitude.

She was kept prisoner in this wardrobe by her mother and her stepfather, Barbara Atkinson and Kenny Atkinson, in their home in Dallas, Texas, and the two sadistic “parents,” if you one can even call them that, wanted Lauren to be their “little secret.”

“I was huddled in there for hours under a rail of dresses and shirts. I thought it was a punishment. There was no water or food, just darkness” exclaims Lauren. She even had to use the closet as her bathroom, where the carpet would become soaked in urine every day.

The only time her parents would let her out was when they would torture and rape the child. This would be Lauren’s life during the key developmental stages of her childhood. She recalls the events by saying; “They put country music on blaring to hide my screams. After hours of abuse, I was bundled back into the closet, confused and in agony.” She had no other choice, but to sit in the darkness, knowing there was not anything she could do.

Laurent may have been there for longer, if her parents did not decide to show off their “little secret” to a neighbor of theirs. The neighbor was shocked and disgusted with the condition of the poor child, and immediately contacted the authorities after her visit with Lauren’s parents.

When the police found Lauren in critical condition, she was brought to the hospital to have reconstructive surgery in response to the years of sexual abuse that was inflicted on her. She was just over twenty-five pounds at the age of eight, (25 pounds is the average weight of a two year old infant.) While in the hospital the doctors had to use feeding methods that were once practiced on malnourished victims of the Holocaust. Her mother and stepfather were never convicted of rape because officials felt that it would be unsettling for the eight year old who was still being taken care of and grieving.

The story although sounding likes a tragedy does have a happy ending. Lauren is now a healthy twenty-one year old, who has been able to put the past behind her and is finally happy to close that chapter of her life. She is currently studying psychology, and wishes to be a counselor, so that other victims exposed to crimes like these have someone they could relate to.

Photo: PA Real Life


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