Invisible Children

Children of Randy and Katherine Swopes

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.

At least 9 children were abused by their parents, Randy and Katherine Swopes (pictured). Several of the children were homeschooled.

The Swopeses had at least 9 children, including a boy b. 1994, a child b. 2003, a child b. 2005, a girl b. 2008, and a child b. 2011. “In January 2008, Randy Swopes was charged, and later convicted, of abusing” his 14-year-old son. The boy had Crohn’s disease and had developed a rectal fistula. Rather than seeking medical treatment for his son, Randy Swopes sewed the fistula shut himself, causing an infection that required the boy’s hospitalization for almost a month. Randy Swopes took an Alford plea to aggravated battery for the incident and was placed on the child abuse registry. Eight minor children were removed from the Swopeses’ custody at that time; the children were returned more than a year later after April 2009. In 2017, the Swopeses began keeping their 9-year-old daughter locked in the basement due to a belief that she was possessed by a demon. The girl was forced to use a training toilet for a bathroom and shower out of a bucket. She was not allowed contact with her siblings. The girl and her siblings born in 2005 and 2011 were homeschooled while the child born in 2003 attended school.

The abuse came to light after the police received an anonymous tip that the girl was being held in the basement. The four minor children were removed from the home and the Swopeses were charged with child endangerment and unlawful restraint.

Date: July 17, 2018
Waukegan, Illinois


Documents: Date:
Father sews teenage son’s buttocks shut with needle and thread in bizarre attempt to cure his Crohn’s Disease 05-21-2012
Parents allegedly kept 10-year-old daughter in basement, believed she was possessed by demon 07-18-2018
Police: Waukegan parents thought 10-year-old daughter was possessed, kept her in basement 07-18-2018
Believing daughter, 10, was ‘a demon,’ Illinois parents locked her in squalid basement for months, cops say 07-19-2018
Police: Suburban couple locked girl in basement because they believed she was possessed by demon 07-19-2018
Family That Allegedly Locked Girl In Basement Known To DCFS 07-19-2018