Invisible Children

5 children by Patrick and Sherry Kelley

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.

Five children, girls aged 15, 14, and 6 and boys aged 13 and 11, were burned, beaten, starved, and imprisoned by their adoptive parents, Patrick (center) and Sherry Kelley. Their grandparents, George and Shirley Long, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. After the children were withdrawn from school when the family moved to Big Lake, “the Kelleys soon gave up trying to home school them.”

The children were placed with the Kelleys in 1998 after being removed from their parents, who were substance abusers. They were forced to work outside 20 hours a day. They were beaten with metal pipes and shovels. They were sometimes forced to sleep outside in the Alaska winter with no heat. The younger boy, who now goes by T.J. White (pictured at right), suffered burns over a large part of his body which went untreated; he also lost a finger to frostbite and had his arm broken by a beating. The children were locked in bedrooms and tied to beds; the older boy was chained to a tree and imprisoned in a coffin-like sealed box. They were punished for eating and deprived of food.

The abuse came to light when George Long called the police after one of the children received a particularly vicious beating. Sherry and Patrick Kelley were each charged with 9 felonies and 34 misdemeanors; in a later plea agreement they Sherry pleaded no contest to assault and criminal nonsupport while Patrick pleaded no contest to child endangerment. In November 2006 they were sentenced to time served. George Long was convicted of assault and sentenced to time served.

Date: July 9, 2004
Big Lake, Wasilla, Alaska


Documents: Date:
Wasilla couple charged with extreme abuse of 5 adopted kids 09-15-2004
Adoptive parents of 5 accused of abuse 2004-09-16
Kelley child abuse sentencing begins 2006-11-27
Kelley unable to explain children’s injuries in second day of sentencing 2006-11-28
Kelley defends actions 2006-11-29
Sentencing continue in Kelly abuse case 2006-11-29
Accused in child-abuse case dispute police story 12-03-2006
Kelleys get out of jail 2007-01-08
Grandparents on trial in Big Lake abuse 2008-08-18
Big Lake abuse case continues for grandparents 2008-08-19
Witness recalls Longs’ role in abuse at trial 08-19-2008
Judge orders acquittal in Mat-Su abuse trial 2008-08-27
Jury convicts grandfather of assault in child-abuse case 2008-08-28
Infamous child abuse case comes to a close 2008-11-20
Grandfather sentenced in adopted child abuse case 2008-11-21
Children adopted by Patrick and Sherry Kelley
Time served ordered in abuse case 08-12-2012
For child abuse victim who received $1M in settlement, a nightmarish path to adulthood 05-17-2014
Frostbitten, beaten and left to rot while maggots infested his wounds: Abuse victim is awarded $1million after being subjected to a litany of horrors by his adoptive parents 05-18-2014