Invisible Children

Joseph Chaney

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.

cynthia guthrie
Cynthia Guthrie abducted 14-year-old Joseph Chaney from his mobile home in Tennessee and went on the run with him, first to Colorado and then to New Mexico, where she was caught.

Guthrie was a friend of the boy’s mother, Susan Smith, who had asked Guthrie to homeschool her two sons. Guthrie’s sexual abuse of Joseph was first reported to child protective services in July 2002 and investigated. Smith was suspected of neglecting Joseph and his brother, who were removed from her home November 1 and placed in foster homes. Joseph ran away from his foster home on December 1 to go on the run with Guthrie, who was married.

Guthrie was charged with sexual battery by an authority figure and statutory rape.

Date: December 29, 2002
Location: Lebanon, Tennessee

Documents: Date:
Lebanon woman sought, indicted in rape case of 13-year-old boy 12-14-2002
Missing boy, home-schooler found in motel 12-31-2002
Woman gets 7 months after she violates probation, sees teen 08-03-2009