Invisible Children

2 Children by Barbara Dean Baldwin and Tommy Lee Baldwin

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.

Two boys, ages 10 and 9, were imprisoned and starved by their great-aunt Barbara Dean Baldwin and her husband Tommy Lee Baldwin. The boys were forced to live in a hot, windowless garage and were not allowed into the house to use the toilet or bathe. They were punished for making errors in their school work “by being denied food, sometimes for several days.” They “ate garbage and dog food and were sometimes punished by kneeling on a concrete floor with their arms raised over their heads.”

The Baldwins gained custody of the boys in September 1998 when their mother was imprisoned on a drug charge. The boys were removed from the Baldwins’ care for two months that year for being made to sleep in the garage, but they were later returned to the Baldwins. In October 2000 and September 2001 CPS investigated neglect reports but did not find evidence to substantiate them. The boys were eventually removed from school to be homeschooled after the Baldwins restricted their food so much that they started to steal food from classmates.

The abuse was uncovered in 2002 when social workers found the boys in response to an anonymous abuse tip. The Baldwins were each charged with four counts of felony injury to a child by omission. Barbara Baldwin was sentenced to 40 years in prison and Tommy Baldwin was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Date: August 8, 2002
Houston, Texas


Documents: Date:
CPS takes starving boys locked in garage 10-08-2002
Marshall: Little brothers fall through safety net 10-09-2002
Couple indicted for allegedly starving boys 12-05-2002
Doctor: Nurses wept over malnourished boys 08-24-2006
Boys tell of whippings, eating garbage, dog food 08-25-2006
Photos of starved boys called key to guilty verdict 08-30-2006
Pair who starved boys get decades in prison 08-31-2006
BALDWIN v. STATE (2008) 02-07-2008