Invisible Children

2 Children of Richard and Christine Dodson

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.

A 6 year old boy and a 5 year old girl were abused by their adoptive parents, Richard and Christine Dodson. The Dodsons severely starved and beat the boy, and broke the girl’s bones multiple times. The boy was reported to have been beaten with a stick, often forced to run laps around a tree for up to an hour, and made to sleep in a closet. While running laps around the tree he fell and hit his head, was put in the closet by Christine Dodson, and was later rushed to the hospital, where he was in a coma for 3 days. Richard Dodson’s father reported being fearful for the boy’s wellbeing, seeing Richard spank him for eating a potato chip and a piece of bread at a family reunion. A neighbor reported that there was a racial component to the abuse, as the Dodson’s were white, the children they adopted were black, and Christine Dodson had said that that she punished the adopted boy more harshly because she did not want the 6 year old to turn into “a lazy black man.” The couple were charged, convicted, and each sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Date: July, 1995
Location: Round Rock, Texas

Documents: Date:
Grandfather takes stand in couple’s abuse trial 1996-06-11
Neighbor testifies child’s punishment had racial overtone 1996-06-12
CORRECTION 1996-06-13
Dodsons convicted of abusing their adopted son 1996-06-20
Injury to a child database