FOR over 12 years a girl was starved, tortured and trapped in a dark room by her father, unable to walk or talk, in a situation doctors called the “world’s worst child abuse case.”
Genie Wiley, a name she was given when she escaped her evil dad, was dubbed “the feral child” as she lost out on her childhood and development while locked up in her family home.
Genie Wiley was starved, tortured and trapped by her father until she was 13[/caption]
At just 20-months-old Genie spent her nights locked in a cage with a wire lid strapped shut.
In the day she was put in a horrible homemade straight jacket and forced to sit on a potty chair unable to move, talk or learn in a black, silent room.
She was forbidden from making noise and would face being beaten by a piece of wood or violently hit if she disobeyed.
When she made it out doctors called her the most profoundly damaged child the world had ever seen.
Clarke Wiley, Genie’s brutal dad, turned into a cruel psychopath after his mum was killed in a hit and run accident by a drunk driver.
From that moment on, Wiley kept a private life and made sure the family house was always dark with the curtains closed and doors bolted shut.
Irene Wiley, the mother of Genie and wife of Clarke, also lived in the disturbed house.
She suffered with very bad cataracts and was controlled by Clarke out of fear.
The couple had four children but only two barely survived.
The first two died as babies, one alone in a cold garage and the other through birth complications.
The third child, John, lived but witnessed the beatings and was scarred by his sisters’ upbringing.
He labelled himself as dead inside even when he was free from his father.
One day, Irene took Genie and escaped the house when Clarke went out.
They went to a Los Angeles county welfare office so Irene could speak to someone about her worsening cataracts as it had become unbearable.
After a wrong turn the pair ended up talking to officers about Genie.
The innocent girl caused a frenzy in the office as her unique, worrying look drew unparalleled attention.
At first they assumed she had autism due to her poor social and verbal skills.
But as the poor girl began to drool and lifelessly stood in front of them, the assumption turned to panicked intrigue.
According to the first people who saw Genie in over a decade, she was incontinent and drooling over herself and spitting.
Her eyes couldn’t focus or hold a gaze and her limbs were never fully extended, making her hobble around with her arms up like a wild animal.
She weighed just 26kg and had nearly two complete sets of teeth meaning almost none had fallen out.
This led to people believing she was at most seven-years-old but in fact she was over 13.
She had to learn how to function like a normal teenage girl from square one after getting freed.
Speech therapy taught her how to talk, although she never quite grasped the language properly.
Genie could say words and knew what things meant, but she couldn’t hold a real conversation and communicate due to her poor grammar.
Her lack of proper food had caused her to barely be able to chew or swallow so she had to learn how to eat and drink all over again.
Wearing diapers every day in the house meant she never knew how to properly urinate- another task therapists and scientists had to talk her through.
Her father, Clarke Wiley, shot himself at 70 just before he was due in court for child abuse after getting arrested, leaving behind a suicide note which simply read, “the world will never understand.”
Paediatricians, psychologists, linguists and other experts from around the US jumped at the chance to research the girl and try to help her.
She was a phenomenon as a teenage recluse with next to no development.
The unique opportunity to study the brain and speech development was a staggering chance to see how important it is to learn as you grow up.
At 18 she moved back into the house she was abused in with her mother.
Irene started a lawsuit to prevent scientists and therapists contacting her so she could live her own life.
Since then, Genie has barely been seen and is thought to be living in a Los Angeles care home if she is still alive.