Invisible Children

Christopher Smithburg

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.

Christopher Smithburg, adopted from the Philippines at age 8, was physically abused by his mother, Susan Smithburg. Christopher, his 17-year-old brother, and his 10-year old sister were homeschooled.

Christopher got into trouble in school, and was ultimately sent to a boarding school and then homeschooled. His mother put an alarm on his bedroom door, and her use of physical discipline escalated over time. On March 26, Christopher lied to his mother about making toast and was punished by being forced to do 1,500 push-ups. After four hours of push-ups, Christopher could not continue, so Smithburg hit him in the head. The next day, Susan struck Christopher again and the boy ran away from home, camping in the woods for six days until authorities found him and he reported the abuse. Christopher’s siblings were also punished by being forced to exercise excessively.

Smithburg was charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect. Christopher was placed in foster care and reportedly did well both at home and at school. The charges against Smithburg were later dropped after she produced documents showing that Christopher was 18 at the time the abuse occurred.

Date: March 27, 2014
Location: Nolensville, Tennessee

Documents: Date:
Missing Nolensville Teen Found Safe in Rutherford County 04-02-2014
Police: Nolensville mom ordered son to do 1,500 pushups 04-02-2014
UPDATE: Mother of runaway Nolensville teen bonds out of jail 04-03-2014
Mother of Nolensville teen arrested 04-03-2014
Mother of runaway teen charged with aggravated abuse 04-03-2014
Search continues for missing Nolensville teen 04-10-2014
Mom charged with abuse after runaway Nolensville teen found 05-01-2014
Missing teen’s mother arrested for child abuse 05-05-2014
UPDATED: Charges against Nolensville mother dismissed; documents show son was ‘re-aged’ 05-28-2014
Nolensville mom accused of abusing son has charges dismissed 05-28-2014