Invisible Children

6 Children of Joseph and Samantha Ferguson

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.

A girl, Jane*, was imprisoned, physically abused, and medically neglected by her adoptive parents, Joseph and Samantha Ferguson. The girl’s sister, Jean*, was also imprisoned. The girls’ four siblings were not reported to be abused. All six children were homeschooled.

Jean and Jane, biological sisters both adopted by the Fergusons, “were undergoing trauma therapy for sexual and physical abuse in their prior home.” The Fergusons disciplined all their children by striking them with a hand or a wooden spoon. Jane was also punished by being forced to stand in a dark utility closet. Samantha Ferguson soon began to handcuff or duct tape Jane’s hands during these punishments. She also kept Jane handcuffed to a bed for several hours each day and bound her hands during a car ride. She covered Jane’s mouth with duct tape. Furthermore, the Fergusons stopped giving Jane her ADHD medication “and halted her in person therapy due to their religious beliefs that they could pray away [her] problems.” Samantha Ferguson also forced Jean to handcuff Jane and forced Jean to stand in a utility closet until she “gave her life to Jesus”. Joseph Ferguson was aware of and approved of the abuse.

The abuse came to light when investigators received a phone tip in October 2018. Jane disclosed the abuse in an interview, but the girls were determined to be safe and left in the Fergusons’ custody. After the investigation was passed to another agency due to a conflict of interest, the girls were removed from the Fergusons’ custody. The Fergusons were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and false imprisonment.

*not their real names

Date: October 10, 2018
Corsica, Pennsylvania


Documents: Date:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Samantha Ann Ferguson 03-19-2019
Clarion County Woman Accused of Handcuffing Child, Keeping Her in Closet 03-19-2019
Couple inflicted horrific abuse on adopted daughter, police say 03-19-2019
Child Handcuffed, Hands Duct-Taped Together While Locked In Closet By Adoptive Parents 03-19-2019