Invisible Children

6 Children of Sara Anne and Jonathan Woody

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 (b. 2004 and 2008) were starved and physically abused by their stepmother, Sara Anne Woody. Their father, Jonathan Woody, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. The boys’ siblings–a younger girl and boy who were Sara Anne’s children from a previous relationship, and two younger children who were both the Woodys’ biological children–witnessed the abuse although they were not reported to be targets of it. The children were homeschooled.

The abuse began soon after Sara Anne and Jonathan moved in together around 2014. Sara Anne burned the boys’ tongues with a lighter, beat their genitals with a belt, forced them to go naked as punishment (“because it was the worst thing a Christian fanatic could think of,” according to the prosecution), forced them to lick feces off of a toilet, forced them to vomit up food they had “stolen”, forced them to exercise and beat them when they stopped, and locked them in a closet overnight with a bucket for a toilet. After the boys’ grandparents noticed the abuse, visits to the grandparents ceased, and prosecutors later noted that “the defense never called any…other mothers from their homeschool group to testify, showing an increased isolation of the children.” According to the boys’ grandparents, after they were rescued, “the older boy scored in the sixth percentile in reading and 15th percentile in math…His younger brother has also had to repeat the first grade.”

The abuse came to light after Sara Anne beat one of the boys’ faces with a metal spoon and Jonathan took the boy to the hospital, where his injuries were recognized as caused by abuse. The boys quickly gained weight when they were placed in a different home, and they and Sara Anne’s two children were diagnosed with PTSD. Sara Anne was found guilty on 16 counts of injury to a child and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Jonathan Woody was charged with child endangerment.

Date: March 30, 2016
Burkburnett, Texas


Documents: Date:
Texas stepmom forced kids to lick toilet seats, vomit to return stolen food, police say 06-03-2016
Stepmother has new child injury charge 07-07-2017
Caretakers describe Woody’s daughter as ‘different’ 08-23-2017
Other child victim details alleged abuse by Woody 08-26-2017
Victims’ grandmother details early concerns 08-29-2017
Child abuse victims open up to maternal grandparents following CPS placement 08-30-2017
Jury deliberates guilt or innocence of Woody 09-05-2017
Woody given lengthy prison term for abusing stepsons 09-07-2017
Burkburnett Woman Sentenced to 45 Years in Horrific Abuse Case 09-08-2017