Sylvia Marie Likens (January 3, 1949 – October 26, 1965) was an American murder victim from Indiana. She was tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski (née Van Fossan), Gertrude's children, and other young people from their neighborhood. Her parents, who were carnival workers, had left Likens and her sister Jenny in the care of the Baniszewski family three months before her death in exchange for $20 a week. Baniszewski, two of her children, Paula and John, and two neighborhood youths, Coy Hubbard and Richard Hobbs, were charged and convicted of the crime. Her torture and murder were described by the prosecutor in Baniszewski's trial as "the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana".
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... Coy, and Stephanie Baniszewski to bring Likens up from the basement and tie her to a bed ... The next morning, Baniszewski, enraged that Sylvia had wet the bed, again forced her to insert a Coke bottle into her vagina, before beginning to carve the phrase "I'm a prostitute ... The next day, Baniszewski woke Likens, and then dictated a letter to her, intended to look like a runaway letter to her parents ...