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Torture Mom

A Chilling True Story of Confinement, Mutilation and Murder (True Crime)
Written by: Ryan Green
Narrated by: Steve White
Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In July 1965, teenagers Sylvia and Jenny Likens were left in the temporary care of Gertrude Baniszewski, a middle-aged single mother, and her seven children. 

The Baniszewski household was overrun with children. There were few rules and ample freedom. Sadly, the environment created a dangerous hierarchy of social Darwinism where the strong preyed on the weak. 

What transpired in the following three months was both riveting and chilling.

In October 1965, the body of Sylvia Likens was found in the basement of the Baniszewski home, where she had been imprisoned. She was starved, beaten, burned, and had the words "I am a prostitute and proud of it" carved into her stomach. 

Gertrude Baniszewski oversaw and facilitated the torture and eventual murder of Sylvia Likens. While she played an active role in Sylvia's death, the majority of the abuse was carried out by her children and other neighborhood youths.

The case shocked the entire nation and would later be described as "The single worst crime perpetuated against an individual in Indiana's history".

Caution: This audiobook contains descriptive accounts of abuse and violence. If you are especially sensitive to this material, it might be advisable not to listen any further.

©2018 Ryan Green (P)2018 Ryan Green

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Victoria Haugen
  • 2018-10-01

Sad, Angry... Lot of Emotions

Wow, I can't even fathom doing to ANY LIVING CREATURE what Gertrude Baniszewski did to young Sylvia Likens. It's gripping, horrific, and makes me really mad. But, sad thing is, it's not so uncommon, it happens a lot - did then and still does now. That's the really scary part.

This woman and those who are responsible for this unspeakable act deserve a place in Hell, and I'm glad they're there.
Very well written and well narrated book - I've read, listened to or watched stories about many horrific things, and this one is one that will haunt you. It's hard to hear, but needs to be told. I long for a world where this crap doesn't happen.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Please take a moment to click the "YES" ("Helpful") button below if you found this review helpful :) Thank you!

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • cafurg
  • 2018-08-14

Unimaginably Tragic

This is the story of Sylvia Likens of Indianapolis, Indiana in the 1960s. She was brutally, brutally, brutally, tortured and murdered for no reason whatsoever. I feel that it is important to say her name. I live in Indy and have known this story all my life. This book has a slightly different perspective, so it was interesting to kind of get the back story of the adult murderous ringleader. I refuse to state her name, although I will never forget it. Sylvia suffered horrendously basically due to what began as shallow jealously. How, and why, the neighborhood kids came over and joined in, is beyond me. The penalties for these people were either non-existent or extremely lenient. None of the perpetrators should have ever seen the light of day. It is a difficult story, but Sylvia deserves for the truth to be told. The narration was smooth and easy to follow.
Rest in Peace, Dear Sylvia.
-I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • timj26
  • ontario canada
  • 2019-05-28

<br />Excellent

Ryan has quickly become my go to for true crime
This real life horror story is based on testimony from the trial
As brutal as this is I can only imagine what Sylvia’s side would uncover
Steve’s narration is fantastic once again highly recommended
I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gabrielle
  • Chicago
  • 2018-09-04

Torture Mom

When a sadistic and mentally unstable woman takes in a pair of poor and homeless sister’s the chaos and the horror begins. Life has never been easy for the Likens sisters, but it turns into Hell when they are taken in to the Baniszewski house. Soon the daily torture that Sylvia has to deal with becomes too much and her body is found mutilated and emaciated and thrown into the basement of the home. When the truth comes out the Baniszewski family is put on trail and judged for their crimes. This is a disturbing tale of what pain one woman can inflict and teach others to do. The horrible truth of what the poor girl had to endure is a painful to read. One can never understand what drives people to do such things. What Sylvia endures was beyond torture and humiliation but must be told so that people will recognize the signs and be human enough to step up and question things before something like this happens again. Narrator Steve White does a good job of bringing the facts of this story to life. He speaks clearly and at a good pace. This story is a hard tale to listen to but hopefully we will learn from it.

I received this audiobook at my request and I voluntarily wrote a review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Teresa Noel
  • Silver Springs FL
  • 2018-09-17

buckle up for this ride

Over the years I have read many articles, books, and seen websites on the Sylvia Likens case. This is one of the most horrible torture deaths I have heard of. I listened to this book straight through. I just cannot believe anyone could be so horrible at what this woman is responsible for.

Ryan Green has done an amazing job with this book. Laying out the facts that are no known.

Steve White narrated thus story and kept me enthralled and a little sick to my stomach with this book.

I was given this title at my request and chose to leave this review.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • R. MCRACKAN
  • Raleigh, NC
  • 2019-05-21

Not for everyone

I read a lot of true crime and I'm used to encountering depraved violence. However, most of those instances are against teens and adults, not young children. And it's usually 1 victim after another, not continued brutality toward 1 person. This book was extremely uncomfortable to listen to.

The author injects a lot of unsettling details to flesh out and humanize the abuse. To some extent there's probably something wrong with a writer (and narrator) who produces these embellishments but I sure am glad he has an outlet with non-fiction crime novels. I was starting to suspect that the author was enjoying himself a bit too much so I did just a few web searches to make sure this wasn't merely his twisted fantasy. Sure enough, this wretched case is true and it appears to be every inch as messed up as this book depicts. Maybe I was just hoping it was the product of a sick writer. The reality that this woman perpetrated such sadism makes you question your belief in goodness.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simone
  • New York
  • 2019-04-14

Depraved

I consume a lot of true crime content and rarely am I shook by something I read or hear. I've even heard this story before, and upon the retelling by Ryan Green, I was freshly and deeply disturbed. If you're sensitive to child abuse, you'll definitely want to avoid this book. Sylvia Likens is about as likable of a young woman as one could find. That doesn't stop (and perhaps is one of the reasons why) Gertrude Baniszewski and her band of violent children from torturing her until she ultimately dies. This is a heartbreaking tale about the worst of what human depravity has to offer. I found it fascinating and horrifying how easily Gert was able to manipulate the children around her into doing unspeakable things. This is a study in real world terror. Steve White gives a really good performance.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • wdarling
  • Hayden, Idaho
  • 2019-03-17

Really hard to listen to

This is an incredibly sad story to listen to. The torture of this young girl is hard to fathom, much less read about in detail. Gertrude was a monster, along with her children and I can’t imagine how the whole family went along with and participated in this torture.
Well written and narrated. The only thing I’m really taking away from listening to this book is that monsters are indeed real and walk amongst us.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • hippiechic
  • South/ East Coast
  • 2018-12-18

Truth mixed with inaccurate facts

I found the narrator Steve White to be as compelling a reader as there is ; enough to the point of keeping me gripped in Ryan Green's version of the Sylvia Likens case . There are simple facts that are brought to light and other facts blindly swept under a rug that doesn't need to be there by all accounts known. I feel that John Dean's version of Sylvia Likens case is even more disturbing to me because he not only over embellished the connection with Ricky Hobbs to Gertrude B. he was a court reporter of the case at the time and he actually stated that in a court room photo of Gertrude saying her good byes to her son John named him as Ricky Hobbs and did nothing to correct his error and implied and even stranger relationship than was acknowledged by either Ricky Hobbs or Gertrude B. . I find it extremely odd that the fact that at the time before and after Sylvia Likens and Jenny came to stay with Gertrude there was no mention at all in the court case about the 10+yrs. junior man of Gertrude B. in a relationship and was the father to Gertrude's sixth baby...… still an infant at the time of Sylvia's demise . I was disappointed to find that Ryan Green had jumped on the Ricky Hobbs in a relationship with Gertrude B. band wagon and if it were not for Steve White as a narrator for this book I would not have kept it. The one thing I look for in factual historical documentaries is that the facts do not get misconstrued .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L-dog
  • 2018-09-04

Tough tale of woe

I have a pretty high tolerance for gruesome tales, but listening to chapter after chapter of a girl getting horrifically abused was tough. Every time I had to hear "whore" shouted yet again, I cringed inwardly. That said, it's a true story and the heads-up is right there on the cover. The pace is a little slow at the beginning, with less fleshed-out details of the eponymous Mom's early life, and then once she has charge of the little girls, it's anecdotal retelling of awful abuses for a long while.

I thought Steve White was a strong narrator, though his narration is bizarrely lighthearted for such a dark story. I'd love to hear him in other genres.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful