We just received notice that the house in Indiana where Sylvia Likens was slain (see The Sylvia Likens House) is currently being demolished. The demolition which started on April 23rd, is going to allow a local church to build a parking lot in its place. The change has come as a relief to some in the neighborhood, both because the house had become a site of recent illegal activity and because it served as a painful reminder of the horrifying abuse that happened there in the 1960s. The murder case had re-emerged into the national consciousness in recent years thanks to the films An American Crime (2007) and Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door (2007), reminding people of the horrible things that can happen when people who witness abuse fail to report it to authorities and instead allow it to escalate.
The city of Indianapolis erected a memorial to Sylvia Likens in 2001. The back of the memorial bears a message about how the death of Sylvia Likens caused a change in laws in an attempt to prevent the same thing from happening again. It also bears a promise of vigilance by the Indianapolis Police Department in matters of child protection. The memorial stands in a peaceful clearing in a local park where visitors can reflect on the incident and the lessons learned from it.
Pay your respects at the Sylvia Likens Memorial.
Thursday, April 23, 2009