The details of criminal cases are often exposed openly in the media and give the world a glimpse into the sadistic and evil people in this world. While there are laws to protect the identity of the victims, many come forward to help jail those who have done wrong, while empowering other victims to fight for justice too. It can be easy to turn a blind eye to the violent and disturbing crimes that happen each day, but it is important to be aware of the dangerous people that lurk among us. This awareness is important not only to shed the naivety of youth and protect yourself from the dangers of the world, but it is crucial to help bring justice to others. When people are treated unfairly and criminals are not brought to justice, it is the outcries of the public that can change laws and take criminals off the streets. The details of assaults and murders can be hard to hear and carry with you, but in learning the details, the victims are freed in a way. They no longer have to be the only one carrying those horrific memories under the weight of shame, sadness and fear. There have been many unspeakable acts of violence throughout American history. Here are fifteen cases of notorious gruesome assaults that need to be remembered to honor the victims and work to help prevent these unspeakable acts from happening to others.
15 A Child Called It
The book a Child Called It chronicles the heartbreaking story of a young boy growing up while being subjected to the abuse and torture of his alcoholic mother. Living with his parents and two brothers, David Pelzer was starved, forced to sleep in the garage, wear the same clothes for days, and punished in humiliating and terrible ways. While his brothers were not subjected to the same abuse, his father did nothing to stop what his mother was doing to the innocent child. From time to time, his brothers would even take part in the abuse which included laying naked in a cold bath for hours, having dirty diapers rubbed on his face, and an incident in which his mother "accidentally" stabbed him. Eventually, teachers at school called child protective services, and David was removed from the home ending the reign of heinous treatment and torture from his own mother.
14 Undernourished Girl in Captivity
A young girl appeared with her mother in the LA county offices of welfare one day in 1970 captivating the welfare officers. Her mother was almost blind with cataracts and looking for services for the blind, but the daughter she brought along with her raised many red flags. She looked very young and undernourished around the age of seven, but she could not speak and was incontinent. It appeared something was very wrong with the little girl, and soon after, it was discovered that the girl had in fact been abused by her mentally unstable father since she was a small child and was thirteen. The girl was kept in a straight jacket, tied up in an empty room in their home or left in a wire mesh enclosed crib for almost the entirety of her life. She wasn't allowed to speak or cry, and her father would only bark or growl at her. No one suspected what was going on behind closed doors in the quiet Californian home, but one of the worst cases of child abuse was revealed when the little girl's mother took her into public that day.
13 Caught By Elevator Cam
Back in 2014, NFL player Ray Rice was arrested for simple assault charges and given a two game suspension. However, when a video surfaced of the "simple assault" people were shocked. The video depicted Rice and his fiancee (now wife) in an elevator when he punched her, knocking her out. She falls to the floor, and when the door opens, he carelessly drags her lifeless body out of the elevator.
Once the video surfaced, Rice was suspended indefinitely from the Ravens NFL team, and his charges were increased to aggravated assault. The altercation exposed the couple to a barrage of questions from the public and the media. Rice publicly apologized, and his wife also apologized for the role she played in the incident which was a bit baffling to everyone. It was a shocking incident that drew attention to the problem of domestic violence that often plagues professional athletes but isn't often punished accordingly.
12 Forced Himself Onto an Unconscious Girl
Brock Turner has became an infamous name in the news since his arrest in early 2015. The Stanford student was caught forcing himself onto an unconscious girl as she lay next to a dumpster behind two fraternity houses. Two men caught him in the act and chased him down, holding him until cops could arrive. The victim wrote a powerful victim-impact letter that can be read online, in which she details how his actions have completely violated her and changed her life. Yet, despite his disgusting and malicious behavior as well as his lack of remorse during the trial, he served merely three months in jail before being released with credit for time served before the trial. He will have three years of probation as well as having to register as a sex offender. The public was disgusted by the judge's leniency for a young man that so callously violated a woman that couldn't even defend herself.
11 A Former CEO, Physically Beat his Wife
As husband and wife, Abhishek Gattani and Neha Rastogi both had high powered jobs in Silicon Valley, but their decade long marriage was filled with domestic abuse at the hands of Gattani. Gattani, a former CEO, physically beat his wife over the course of their marriage even during her pregnancy and while trying to breastfeed their daughter. Rastogi was finally ready to leave Gattani, and she managed to record her husband beating her on three separate occasions in front of the their two year old daughter. When his charges were dropped to thirty days or less, people were outraged including his wife, the victim in all of this. His ridiculous sentencing has raised questions about the common acceptance of misogyny and sexism within Silicon Valley and what seems to be a cultural norm in the region. Cases like this begin to shine a light on the injustices many women suffer at the hands of the judicial system.
10 Another Silicon Valley Millionaire
In 2013, the internet millionaire Gurbaksh Chahal went to court for assault, and a video surveillance tape showed him kicking his girlfriend a hundred and seventeen times over thirty minutes. Initially, he had been charged with forty five felony counts of domestic violence. However, the video was deemed inadmissible because it wasn't obtained with a court order, and his former girlfriend decided not to testify against him. The charges were dropped and instead he plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges, domestic violence and battery along with a $500 fine and three years probation. When he assaulted yet another girlfriend, he had to head back to court for violating his probation, and additional charges were brought against him when former employees sued him for abusive behavior in the office. This is another Silicon Valley millionaire that initially got a minor slap on the wrist for despicable behavior towards another human being.
9 The Accused
If you have ever happened to see the movie The Accused starring Jodie Foster, you have been introduced to one of the most infamous assault cases in the country. Although this 1988 movie is only loosely based on the real events, it brought even more attention to the case and what many believed to be outright "victim blaming". In 1983, Cheryl Araujo put her daughters to bed and ran out to buy cigarettes. When her local store was closed, she stopped at a bar known as Big Dan's in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Two men approached her and asked her to leave with them. When she refused, they attacked her. She was thrown onto the pool table and forced on by four men while others in the bar watched and did nothing to stop the assault. Managing to fight off her attackers, she ran outside naked where three men in a truck helped her call the police. When the trial took place, her name was released to the public, and on the stand her entire life was dissected in an attempt to discredit her story. She was so ostracized and ridiculed she moved from Massachusetts to Florida where she was killed in a car accident only a few years later.
8 A Husband's Betrayal
Robert McClain was a deputy sheriff in LA County in 2012 when he found out his wife and the mother of his four children was having an affair. McClain told his wife he wanted to meet the boyfriend because if she was going to continue the relationship, he wanted to know the man that would be spending time around his kids. The three met at the office where McClain's wife worked, and from there he spent hours beating them both and forcing his wife to stab, perform sex acts, and even attempt to castrate her unconscious boyfriend. McClain strangled and gagged his wife's boyfriend and urinated on them before kidnapping his wife in his car where he forced himself on her, continued to beat her and cut her hair and face. Eventually she escaped and survived. Her boyfriend also survived but with severe injuries and brain damage that caused him to have to relearn how to walk and talk.
7 All For Fame
In 1995, three high school teens made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of their band. As members of a death metal band, these three boys wanted to be able to play better allowing their death metal band to rise to fame. They thought they could achieve this by killing someone in sacrifice to the devil. Choosing a fifteen year old classmate, Elyse Pahler's fate was sealed. They had lured her to a ravine and prompted one of the boys to stab here only to have him back out. Pahler thought they were just joking so she never told anyone about the bizarre incident. Eventually, they once again lured her to a secluded area where she was strangled and stabbed eventually dying from blood loss. After her death, the boys raped her and abandoned the body. One of the boys would come forward eight months later and lead police to her body.
6 A Woman's Injustice
On a warm Alabama afternoon in September 1944, Recy Taylor was just 24 years old when she was walking home from church and six men approached her in a car. The six white men kidnapped the African American Recy at gunpoint and took her to a secluded area in the woods where they abused her her. Taylor came forward to tell her father and the Sheriff. While they said something would be done about the incident, the men were never arrested and never served a day in jail for their brutal attack on Recy Taylor. Unfortunately, it is just one of many rapes against African Americans that was met with complete silence. Danielle McGuire would eventually write a book featuring Recy Taylor's story and many women that suffered similar fates. Her book is titled, The Dark End of the Street exposes what so many had to deal with privately and without justice.
5 Lost Innocence
Eight year old Sandra Cantu was skipping home on a California afternoon, when she was distracted by her neighbor, Melissa Huckaby. Huckaby, a former Sunday school teacher, managed to lure the child to her home where she drugged and kidnapped her. From there, Huckaby drove Sandra to the church where Huckaby's Grandfather was a pastor. Inside the church, it is believed she sexually assaulted the young girl with a rolling pin and abused her before use a noose to kill the eight year old. The young girl's body was then stuffed into a suitcase and dropped off in an irrigation pond where she was found two weeks later. The suitcase was traced back to Huckaby and surveillance footage helped identify a timeline that pointed to Huckaby as the murderer. While Huckaby initially told conflicting stories, she eventually admitted to killing the girl. However, Huckaby could not produce a reason as to why she would murder the innocent little girl, and she begged Sandra's mother for forgiveness at her trial.
4 The Toy Box Killer
In 1999, a woman burst into a trailer covered in blood and naked except for a collar and chain padlocked on her body. She was in southern in New Mexico and had managed to escape from a mobile home where she was being kept hostage as a sex slave. As police and FBI began investigating the trailer, they uncovered a trailer of horror. The mobile home had a soundproof trailer next door filled with instruments of torture, photos of women being abused, gynecological instruments, a coffin with ventilation and heinous tools used to cause sexual and bodily harm. David Parker Ray and his girlfriend Cynthia Lea Hendy were charged with counts of kidnapping and sexual assault. Ray's daughter was also eventually charged as well. It is believed that dozens of women were kidnapped and tortured some escaped and were too terrified to come forward until after his arrest. It is also believed that he killed some of his victims as well. He became dubbed the "toy box killer."
3 The Torture Chamber
In 2016, Kala Brown and her boyfriend went missing and were eventually found on the property of Todd Kohlhepp, a South Carolina real estate agent. Kala was found chained inside of a shipping container while her boyfriend was found deceased. As investigators searched the property, they would uncover seven bodies all together that Kohlhepp had murdered over the span of thirteen years. Kohlhepp had also spent fifteen years in jail after kidnapping a fourteen year old neighbor at knifepoint and raping her when he was a teen. In the case of Kala Brown, she cleaned house for Kohlhepp's real estate listings and showed up at his property along with her boyfriend at Kohlhepp's request. When they arrived, Kohlhepp shot Kala's boyfriend then kept her chained in a shipping container letting her out twice a day in order to wash in a bucket and change into clothes her brought her. Kohlhepp repeatedly raped her and told her he wanted to build a life with her.
2 The House of Horrors
In Cleveland, Ohio three women were held captive in one of the most bizarre and heart wrenching cases of kidnapping and assault. Amanda Berry managed to escape the home in May 2013 after being held in the home of Ariel Castro with two other women for over ten years. When Amanda was able to escape that day, she freed herself, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight from a nightmare that seemed like it may never end. DeJesus and Berry both knew Castro as well as his daughter before their abduction, but once they were tricked into entering his home, they were chained up and repeatedly abused in every way. He would offer them small amounts of food, a bucket for a bathroom and played constant mind games with the girls. At first, they were kept in separate rooms but eventually allowed to interact. When people came to visit, including Castro's daughter Arlene, they were hidden in the basement where they kept silent out of fear that they would be killed. Berry eventually gave birth to a daughter without any medical attention, and the women found some small sense of solace in the new little life. Of all the stories of missing women, these three women and Berry's daughter made it out alive albeit with a lot of difficult experiences to work through.
1 A Childhood Destroyed
Jackson, MI is where two parents were tried in 2013 for despicable acts committed against their toddler daughter. During the trial, it was revealed that a husband and wife had incorporated their daughter in their sexual activity in order to spice up their marriage. Some of the details of the abuse have not been published outside the trial because of their explicit and horrific nature. The husband also admitted to sending explicit photos of his daughter to his wife as foreplay. Both husband and wife have admitted to the participation, and the husband apologized but said he could offer no reason to explain why they did what they did. The young girl is now in foster care, and has been so traumatized by the ordeal that her foster parents have said she is acting out sexually. They have a difficult time changing her diaper and trying to potty train the young girl. These early experiences while she may not remember in detail will affect her the rest of her life.