The Girl in the Closet

An 8-year-old girl spent six years locked away in a closet, naked, starved, infested with lice and surrounded by human waste. For the first time, Lauren, now 18, bravely speaks out about the unimaginable horrors she suffered at the hands of her own parents.

“Barbie’s Little Secret”



Barbara and Kenneth
Police officer Gary McClain was the first to arrive at the scene after a neighbor reported that a little girl was being held captive in a closet. “The condition of the little girl, Lauren, was horrible,” he says. “Her skin was peeling due to lying in her own feces. Lauren’s matted hair reminded me of a rat’s nest. The closet where Lauren had been kept, it smelled horribly: urine and all the bodily functions. During the investigation, we found what appeared to be chew marks, or teeth marks, on the inside of the closet door handle. I haven’t ever run across anything like this.”

Thirty-year-old Barbara Atkinson has six children, but only one of them was locked in a closet, which has been her prison for years. Police say the girl’s stepfather was afraid to intervene because he was afraid of his wife.

Reports say prosecutors asked the jury to show no mercy. Both Barbara and Kenneth are now serving life in prison for their crimes.
1 of 3