Boy by Christina Thomas and Peggy Starr
Christina Thomas and her mother, Peggy Starr, abused Erin Albin, a developmentally-disabled woman under their care, and abused, starved, and imprisoned Albin’s son between 2006 and 2010. When the boy was rescued at age 6-1/2, he weighed 23 lbs.
The boy was enrolled in preschool in September 2008, and his teachers and paraprofessionals noticed that he was always extremely hungry. Though they were instructed by Thomas to withhold food from him (purportedly because of his allergies and medical conditions), they did not do so. Thomas subsequently withdrew him from school to homeschool him, although there is “no evidence the boy was being home-schooled after leaving New Durham School in December 2009.”
Thomas imprisoned Albin’s son in a dog kennel and leashed him to his bed. She punished him for vomiting by placing him into freezing showers and deprived him of medical care for about two years. She starved him and sometimes force-fed him until he vomited. She punished both the boy and Albin if he referred to Albin as his mother. Starr also beat the boy with a spatula, made him sit naked in a snow bank, and put him naked into a stream. Thomas threatened Albin with a knife and withheld food from her, and both Thomas and Starr controlled Albin and manipulated her into abusing her son.
Other members of the household also included Thomas’s husband, her five children, her boyfriend, and her friend Steven Pearson, who reported the abuse to authorities. Though one of the children told social workers that Thomas beat them with a paddle as punishment, Thomas was able to prevent her children from testifying against her.
Court psychologists diagnosed Thomas with a personality disorder. She was found guilty of first-degree assault and sentenced to 10-30 years in prison, which she is serving in a psychiatric unit. Starr was charged with first-degree assault.
Location: New Durham, New Hampshire