Sylvia

Based on the true story that shocked the world in 1965.

In the early summer of 1965, 16 year old Sylvia Likens stepped foot into 3850 East New York with hopes and dreams. She left the house three months later, emaciated with burns, bruises and scratches. What happened in those endless months would later be described as "the worst crime ever committed in the state of Indiana". This is the story of a girl who had hopes and dreams.

This is Sylvia's story.

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3. Prologue

I used to love the carnival.

Daddy always worked the fair selling candy and toys to those who would be lucky enough to win. We were always looking for something better, but as a child I just figured we were the luckiest family in the world with a life like that. I would always get left with relatives or boarders every time my parents found a place on a travelling carnival. It was an exciting, unpredictable adventure with a whole new family every time - though if we were lucky sometimes daddy would take us. My favourite ride was the merry go round - maybe I was a little old for it, but all those rides just scared me. It was the way the merry go round could go up and down, and round and round. I knew I could never get anywhere, but I always felt safe.

I remember being 6 years old, barely tall enough to see over a table. It was an age when everything excited me, even the things you take for granted as you get older. I remember my daddy kept a snow-globe on a table in one of the many houses we stayed at. I remember the little figure of a girl that lived inside that globe. She was all alone in there, and I felt sorry for her.

"Hey..." My daddy whispered with a reassuring tone.

He always saw the sadness I felt for that little girl. His hand would pick up the globe, and turn it upside down. I would watch, as it would sparkle and come alive, and the little girl would be in her own winter wonderland.

"See?" Daddy smiled, "she's in her own perfect world."

It was in the mist of early July in the year 1965. I was 16, a little vulnerable, a little adventurous. My life was panned out for me. I had dreams, big dreams. But at 16, for the meanwhile, I had to just make do with travelling on the road. My dreams would wait. I should tell you that 1965 was a time when The Beatles belted loud from records, and the drawings of Paul McCartney never went unnoticed on my school books. The 1960s was a time when everything horrific with the world was ignored; if it wasn't in your neighbourhood then it didn't matter, and even then every person chose to keep to themselves. This was a time before kids started appearing on milk cartons, or were feature stories on the daily news. It was back when people believed things like that didn't happen.

And yet this brings me to the final chapter of my life.

My name is Sylvia Likens.

And this is my story.

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