Invisible Children

Girl by Wesley and Sherry Keen

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 14-year-old girl, Rachel*, was starved, imprisoned, and tortured by her family members, married couple Wesley and Sherry Keen (pictured). Rachel was homeschooled.

Shortly after the Keens became Rachel’s caretakers in early 2017, they withdrew her from school to homeschool her and began keeping her in a padlocked room where she had no food, water, or bathroom access for much of the day. Rachel’s neighborhood friend, Madison Brennan, reported that she tried to visit but was told by the Keens that Rachel was not available. Rachel was only let out for dinner each day. Wesley Keen beat her with a belt buckle and tortured her by breaking her fingers and teeth. She was forced to write “I do as I’m told or get punished” almost 3,000 times. When she was rescued, Rachel weighed only 70 pounds.

The abuse came to light when one of Rachel’s relatives, most likely Wesley Keen’s mother Hazel Byrd, grew concerned that she hadn’t seen Rachel in awhile and called the authorities for a welfare check. Authorities found the padlock on Rachel’s door and removed her from the Keens’ custody. Wesley Keen pleaded guilty to assault, malicious wounding, child abuse, and abduction, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Sherry Keen pleaded guilty to child abuse and abduction and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

*Rachel is a pseudonym.

Date: April 23, 2018
Vinton, Bedford County, Virginia


Documents: Date:
“He broke her fingers;” Suspect’s mother reveals details about son’s child abuse charges 05-01-2018
Man pleads guilty to abusing, neglecting teen in ‘house of torture’ 09-04-2018
Bedford woman involved in ‘house of horrors’ child abuse sentenced to prison 02-12-2019
Woman to spend 5 years behind bars after abusing, neglecting teen in ‘house of torture’ 02-15-2019
Gift of Hope-inside the case of an abused girl who was locked away from the outside world 03-21-2019