2012 Shows

(Original Air Date: 02/06/12) It was a crime that shocked the world: 8-year-old Lauren was locked in a pitch-black closet, infested with lice and surrounded by human waste, held captive by her mother and step-father for six years. Denied food and water until near starvation, Lauren was finally discovered by a neighbor in 2001. She weighed only 25 pounds and stood just 3-feet tall. In a Dr. Phil exclusive, Lauren, now 18, speaks out about her horrifying experience. Among the atrocities: Lauren never saw grass or sunlight and was confined to cramped spaces such as toy boxes, closets, crawl spaces and car trunks. On the rare occasions she was released from her isolation, she says she was sexually and physically abused by her parents and her parents’ friends. Today, for the first time since her rescue, Lauren is reunited with the people who freed her. See their emotional reunion, and learn what Lauren would say to her parents -- who are now behind bars for life -- if given the chance. Then, learn how Lauren is coping and moving on in her new life with her adoptive mother Sabrina, a woman who raised Lauren until she was 2, then forced to return her to her birth mother and her horrific fate. Hear the tireless efforts Sabrina is making to help Lauren put her life back together. What are Sabrina's biggest fears for the daughter she has always felt was hers? Tune in to this must-see daytime television exclusive to find out the warning signs of child abuse, and learn what to do if you suspect a child is in danger. Warning: This episode contains disturbing and sexually explicit content. Viewer discretion advised.

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: bloodelle on Jan 30, 2017, 12:57AM - In reply to doug6555
I know you were trying to come across as all-knowing and empathetic, but that was actually the most disrespectful message I've ever read.
Replied By: maryfromiowa on Jul 26, 2014, 11:02AM
Every since this story aired I have not been able to get it out of my mind.  I was an abuse victim but I was never treated as cruelly as Lauren was.  My doctor has told me that abuse is abuse and one isnt any worse than another, but I am not convinced this is true.  Poor Lauren sat in that hot closet day after day...what did she think when she heard her siblings playing?  Why were they spared and she wasnt?  I admire Lauren for fighting the nightmares and trying to make a better life for herself.  Your story will forever stay with me due to the cruel nature of this crime.  Lauren, if you read these messages, I hope you see and feel the love that people have for you.  I hope Dr Phil has you back on so that we all can see how well you are doing.
Replied By: starz133 on Aug 28, 2013, 9:29AM
I have experienced solitary confinement (as a child) although it wasn't severe as this girl's ordeal. As a very young kid I had to deal with this and one of the most humiliating things is to be deprived of human contact. I experienced this for a while although it wasn't long or short. My life has been one complete string of traumas but I have tried not to let it affect me. I haven't fallen into becoming a criminal so I think I'm good when it comes to that. I haven't mentioned it to anyone in person and would not go into detail if I had the chance. 

Something that gives me hope is the poem Invictus:

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

It is comforting to see how many people are receptive and kind to an experience like this. I couldn't begin to imagine what it would be like to process trauma. Thank you for your courage to showcase this guest and for Lauren's bravery.

Replied By: adal1409 on Jul 1, 2013, 11:31PM
this story still haunts mI and I know it always will. I remember I could only listen to most of it I couldn't look at the tv and I was listening from another room mom watched it in the living room. I could not believe the sexual abuse this poor BABY had to endure For six years.. Omg... My heart was so heavy for this precious baby. I could not believe the things I was hearing-- the things her own mother did and allowed to happen to her own child. how could a mother do this? and go so long.. I'm a mother to a 3 year old boy and to think that people actually choose to do those horrible things to these precious lives is so far beyond Me. I hate her parents. And since they were allowed to live.. I hope they get their asses beat.regularly. Iam so glad she was placed with someone who loves her. I just want to hug this girl and tell her how much she is loved by so many who she doesn't even know. She is so brave and SO strong. I hug my son extra tight whenever this episode passes my mind. I hope she truly is happy now she deserves all the happiness the world can offer.
Replied By: ablack061 on Jan 24, 2013, 6:22PM
I know this story is old, however I found myself wandering on youtube and found this episode, calling out to be watched.  I don't know why, just something about it.  What I got from watching I suppose is just a reminder of how lucky I was.

On a cold Sunday in December of 1995 my father was involved in an accident.  So many things happened, everything was such a blur, somehow my two older sisters and I ended up being taken by my godmother Lisa to her home.  I was cursed from birth with a photographic memory, many of those moments are scarred into my head, the feeling of the carpet, the exact layout of the home and all of its furnature, all of it.

Right from the time we arrived I found myself explorative, curious, I wandered away from my sisters and Lisa all of them by the door.  I found myself wandering through the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye the most adorable little kitten caught my attention.  Naturally as any 4 year old would do I approached the tiny thing to try and pet it... Well *sigh* this is terribly hard, to this day I can't look at a kitten without crying, I can't hold one without shaking uncontrollably, in the back of my head its like *DANGER* whirring around.  After that, they kept me separated from my sisters.  Moments from that terrible time play out like scenes from a movie, fading to dark as the worst parts occur.  They forced me to sleep in a crib in their closet (which I escaped once, I ran, I ran as fast as I could, I tried so hard to fight, but it is hard to fight a full grown naked man when he has you cornered), I was forced to listen to them do things.  At one point during the night, I am so unsure of where the pieces fit, Lisa took me into the bathroom.  It was like a sauna in there, the steam filled the room giving it a "sleepy" feeling.  She put these "pills" in my mouth that I managed to spit out, already partly dissolved.  She grabbed my hand and put it with hers to my mouth rubbing the partially dissolved pills over my mouth while her other hand clawed at my backside.  The scene began to fade to black with her hoisting me kicking and trying to scream towards the bathtub.  I don't know what happened after, but I have a terrible fear of drowning, I don't like going in water that is too deep, I like to be able to touch the bottom, and every time I try going further out it's that *DANGER* feeling all over again.

I know that just like Lauren I too would have been kidnapped, locked away and abused.  Lisa tried to force me to call her 'mommy,' tried to force me into believing I had a different name (I think it was Jewel or Julie).  I know for a fact that had she had the time, she would have taken my sisters and I away, fled the state with us, and god only knows what else.  We were lucky.  We were lucky because their son Trevor told his aunt what his parents were doing.  He knew to tell, and he and his aunt sacrificed their relationship with their family to save three little girls.

I know that Lauren is waiting to know "why?"  From personal experience I think I understand.  Why could anyone do something like that to their own child?  The answer is deep, I may have only scratched the surface of mine.  In my case it was jealousy.  Lisa could have no more children.  She was psychologically unhinged during that time because of a full hysterectomy.  Without the hormone balance she was a mess, and her husband knew it too.  He was the controlling factor in this all, not Lisa, it was his whispered sweet suggestions to Lisa's unhinged mind that made her do what she did.  It was him that suggested it might be easier to kill the younger two so as to use the oldest for their "personal" pleasure.  It is people like that, that have no soul.

So yes, when Lauren said she wished those monsters were on death-row I could only nod in agreement, but sadly death row is too quick, too "painless" for monsters like them.  Mine still walk free, use social media, and laugh jovially KNOWING what they did.  I stopped sleeping without having nightmares, reliving each and every waking moment of that torment, fearing that when I woke up our rescue would have been a dream. 
Replied By: busymom22247 on Oct 4, 2012, 10:45AM - In reply to anneoconnell
I totally disagree with your review of the show. First of all, she obviously wanted America to know her story or she would not have agreed to do the show. Secondly, her story was a way of exposing the sick, sadistic individuals who prey on our children. Her story serves as a forum to bring attention to the horrors that may be going on behind closed doors and encourages us to be more vigilant of people. Last of all, I feel sure Dr. Phil offered any type of counseling she may need to overcome this traumatic childhood. I suggest you rewatch the show and see this side of the story.
Pam K.
Replied By: busymom22247 on Oct 4, 2012, 10:36AM
Hi! Although this show aired several months ago, I still cannot get this horrendous story out of my mind! I cannot imagine how anybody, let alone a mother, could do such a monstrous thing (and the stepfather as well). It is a miracle this child survived and the fact that she did shows just how amazing she is. I can only imagine the nightmares she must have and the memories that must haunt her. I wish I could do something to help her but I have no clue what it would be. It seems she is in the best place possible with her foster mother. I am so thankful she now has a safe haven with people who support her and love her unconditionally. Even though I don't know her, I love her myself & I'm sure half of America feels the same way. God bless the neighbor who found her and the foster mother who welcomed her with open arms. "Foster mother" is an incorrect term for this woman-she truly deserves the title of "Mom"! I pray this child goes on to live a happy, healthy, successful life surrounded by people who truly love her. She will always be on my mind, in my heart and in my prayers!
Pam Klisures
Replied By: mamabearliv on Sep 19, 2012, 8:31AM
Months later and I can't stop thinking about Lauren. My heart aches for her but more importantly I feel strong for her. I felt sick, weak and overwhelming sadness but what I realize is that she and the hell she's been through is to teach us all something. To do something about what is happening to children. To be more vigilant. To get involved and don't stop. Not to just be sad and outraged, but to take the next step of ACTION! I am a mother of daughters and this story has changed me. I can't cry and feel bad and do nothing. There are real kids out there who are being victimized and we need to protect them, close ranks like dr Phil says.
Replied By: mssniper on Aug 29, 2012, 8:09AM
Why is no one asking/wondering if the police has tracked down these "friends" who abused little Lauren too?
I have read that her demon parents are isolated from the rest of the prisoners in jail, can't we start a petition so that her parents aren't isolated in jail or as per Laurens wish make sure they will be placed on death row? 

Replied By: anneoconnell on Jul 21, 2012, 2:09PM
I cannot believe that you woould put this show on the air. even if she approved it i  thought you were cruel to show the pictures. and l object to  your verbage to the child. your  treatment so violated anything of sensitivity to that child was unbelievle. this had to be a lax moment in thinking  towards  the childs future welfare and it is a questtion toany advantage  this would be to the child. you could with your program provide the help to this individual without airing it to her and the world. Please think about the injury to this child in addition to what she has already suffered . anne oconnell
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