Invisible Children

6 Children of Anya James

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.


Officials removed four of Anya James’s adopted children from her home after an older child, who had run away from home and was living on her own, reported her adoptive mother’s abuse. Another older adopted child had lodged a child abuse complaint after moving out of the home several years earlier, but when officials had visited the home James had convinced them that all was well and officials did not speak to the children out of her presence. When James’s four remaining children, aged 13, 15, 19, and 20, were removed from her home, three of them were severely malnourished, their bodies covered with soft, downy hair associated with starvation and their growth stunted to the extent that they had not gone through puberty. The abuse, including beatings, food deprivation, and imprisonment, had been taking place for over ten years. The children were confined to basement rooms with concrete floors and were required to use kitty litter buckets as toilets. The doors and windows had alarms on them so that James would know if the children tried to escape, and were monitored with video surveillance cameras. The children were homeschooled and allowed minimal contact with the outside world.

Date: October 2010
Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Documents: Date:
Woman charged with severe abuse of adopted children 2011-05-18
Police statement on James arrest 2011-05-18
Anchorage woman charged with abuse of adopted kids 2011-05-18
Allegations of Child Abuse Spur Questions of Adopted Services Oversight 2011-05-19
James’ Adopted Children Give Harrowing Account of Abuse 2011-05-19
Adopted child sues city and state for not taking down abusive home 2012-02-10