Invisible Children

4 Children of Raymond and Ida Thurmond

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.

Four children, ages 14, 13, 12, and 9, were beaten, imprisoned, starved, and medically neglected by their father, Raymond Daniel Thurmond, and their mother, Ida Thurmond. (The two oldest children were Raymond’s from a previous marriage; the 12-year-old was Ida’s from a previous marriage; and the youngest child was their biological child.) Though Ida claimed to be homeschooling the children, investigators found no evidence of this and the children were not registered with their school district. Only the oldest child had ever been to school, and he had been withdrawn in second grade.

The children had been kept imprisoned since August 2005 in a filthy trailer with padlocks on the front door and the bedroom doors. In the three years they were held prisoner, the children were only allowed out of the trailer once. They were beaten with a steel-toed boot and were deprived of food. When they were rescued, they were undernourished and underweight. One of the children had a serious medical condition that had not been treated. Originally police believed Raymond had sexually assaulted Ida, who claimed to have been a prisoner also; however, later evidence led to the finding that Ida was involved in the child abuse.

The abuse came to light when Raymond told Ida he was leaving her for another woman and she took the children to a domestic violence shelter. An employee at the shelter called the police, who arrested Raymond in August 2008. In December 2008, Ida lost custody of all four children, and she was arrested for her part in the abuse in October 2009. Both Raymond and Ida were charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment. Raymond pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served.

Date: August 4, 2008
Lavonia, Georgia


Documents: Date:
Lavonia, Ga., man imprisoned family for years, police say 08-12-2008
Man accused of locking family in trash-filled trailer 08-13-2008
Police: Ga. man held family captive in squalor 08-14-2008
Woman indicted on child cruelty and false imprisonment charges in Lavonia case 10-08-2009
Raymond Thurmond released from jail 10-16-2009