Invisible Children

5 Children of Travis and Amy Headrick

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.

Three children—a 12-year-old girl, and two boys ages 11 and 10—were imprisoned by their adoptive parents, Travis and Amy Headrick. The household also consisted of a fourth adopted child; the Headricks’ biological daughter; and a disabled adult. The adopted children, several of whom had disabilities, were neglected, starved, and tortured. They were homeschooled while the Headricks’ biological daughter attended school.

The abuse began at least as far back as 2009; the Headricks were reported for child abuse at least 20 times between 2009 and 2015 while they were fostering children. They were never charged with anything because the children were coached not to disclose the abuse. At some point, probably around 2015, the children were adopted. According to the Headricks’ biological daughter, who was charged with caring for the adoptive children and called their conditions “inhumane”, the Headricks were motivated by reimbursement checks. The 10-year-old boy was confined in a metal horse trough covered with metal fencing and secured with zip ties. The 11-year-old boy was locked in a cage, and the 12-year-old girl was kept locked in a room. Many of the rooms in the house were equipped with alarms. The Headricks claimed the imprisonment was for the children’s own good due to their cognitive disabilities and incontinence. The Headricks kicked the children and waterboarded them as punishment. Each of the adopted children received three bologna sandwiches per day. There were no toys in the home.

The abuse came to light when the children’s babysitter showed photographic evidence of the imprisonment to police. The babysitter, who had worked for the Headricks since March 2018, did not come forward sooner because the Headricks owned the rental unit where she lived and she did not want to risk eviction. The Headricks were each charged with nine felony counts of child neglect, false imprisonment, and reckless endangerment.

Date: August 24, 2018
Melvina, Wisconsin


Documents: Date:
Couple who allegedly kept kids in cages charged with felony child neglect, endangerment 08-28-2018
Bond set at $20,000 for Melvina couple who put children in ‘makeshift cages’ 08-28-2018
NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES: Child abuse allegations 09-05-2018