Barbara Sanders - Public Health Nurse

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Barbara Sanders - Public Health Nurse

Postby admin » October 31st, 2010, 6:25 pm


THE COURT: Your next witness, please.

BARBARA SANDERS , a witness called on behalf of the State of Indiana,
being duly sworn by the Court, testified as follows:


Q. State your name, please, to the court and jury.

A. Mrs. Barbara Sanders, 913 East Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive.

Q. What is your occupation, ma'am?

A. Public Health Nurse.

Q. How long have you been a public health nurse?

A. A year, in February, I have been with them.

Q. A year last February?

A. Yes.

Q. You are in your second year now?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Directing your attention to October 15, 1965, did you ever have occasion to go to 3850 East New York Street?

A. I did.

Q. What time of the day or night did you go there?

A. It was between 2:00 and 2:30 in the afternoon.

Q. And upon your arrival what happened?

A. I was met at the door by Mrs. Wright. I was told at this time this was who I was going to see. I told her that I was there to talk to her about her children.

Q. Who else was present when you arrived there and she opened the door?

A. Her oldest daughter, Paula. I believe her youngest son, Dennis, and Jenny Likens.

Q. Will you indicate Mrs. Wright about whom you have testified, point her out? Point her out for the jury.

A. She is sitting there with the green blouse and white sweater. (indicating defendant Gertrude Baniszewski)

MR. NEW: Let the record show the witness indicated Gertrude Baniszewski.

Q. Tell the jury what was said at that time?

A. Well, I told her that I was there to talk to her about the children and she invited me in and I set down. We talked about the children a while, their immunizations, diet, general conversation. Then I inquired if any of the children had been ill, had any sort of diseases and so forth. She told me, "No, they had not" and Dennis was there in the room and I was noticing if he had any sores and so forth on him. The reason for being there at this time was I had received word - the Health Department had received word there were children that had open running sores in this household. I explained this to her. She was very inquisitive why I was there. She said definitely none of the children were sick, nothing was wrong. She said she knew who I was looking for, Jenny's sister Sylvia, whom she had kicked out of the house. She expressed contempt and hate for the girl. She said she was not worthy to stay there, as she had called her daughters prostitutes and names around school and that she ran around herself a lot and she was a prostitute. She indicated this in words.

Q. Speaking of whom?

A. Sylvia. This is whom she told me had sores that I was looking for.

Q. Did she indicate when she had kicked her out?

A. I believe it had been several days. I can't tell whether it was several days or several weeks. Sometime ago. She was not there at this time. She said she had sores all over her and did not take care of herself, her hair was matted and dirty and there were sores on her head. She was very sure this was who I was looking for. She was very upset. She went on to tell me her children were good children and went to church on Sunday and were not in any kind of trouble and she did not allow them to play with the neighbor children, she kept them pretty much at home so she knew where they were and so forth. She went on to tell me how the girls had dates at home. It was pretty much general conversation after that about her children and so forth.

Q. You stated Jenny Likens was there. Was she present during the entire conversation?

A. Yes, she was there.

Q. Where did she stand, what did she do while you were talking to Mrs. Baniszewski?

A. She was very quiet. She sat in a chair in the corner. I spoke to her. I did not know who she was. She does go to school.

Q. Did you say anything to her in the presence of Mrs. Baniszewski?

A. I said, "How are you"? She said, "Fine". She was very quiet.

Q. Is that all she said?

A. Yes, sir, that is all she said to me.

Q. Did you speak to Paula?

A. Yes, I talked to Paula. The main conversation I had with Paula, at the same time, she also expressed her great dislike - I guess you would say, or hate - for her and said she had called her names and so forth, and she went on to tell me how awful she was. We talked further about her father, Mrs. Wright's ex-husband, and how he did not pay support all the time and how she had troubles financially. We talked about this a little bit and her husband in service, Mr. Wright, that he did not pay support all the time either and she had a pretty difficult time financially and so forth and Paula went on to say how her own father, how she disliked him.

Q. Alright, did Paula likewise agree Sylvia had been kicked out of the house several days before?

A. She did not disagree.

Q. Now, did you have occasion to go to the basement while you were there in the house?

A. No, sir.

Q. How long were you there?

A. Oh, I would say fifteen to twenty minutes. I could not tell you exactly but it was not any longer than that.

Q. Was there any other conversation while you were there at the house?

A. Not that I recall, sir.

Q. Did you look around? Were you permitted to see any other part of the house?

A. I did look around, considering the fact I was there, considering maybe the children had sores. The house was somewhat messy. Not what I would call dirty. There were clothes around and while I was there a lady came for the ironing and Paula took it out to her. She said she was in the middle of washing and ironing.

Q. Did you look into the basement?

A. No, sir. I was sitting in the living room. I could not see - I could only see into the dining room. That is all.

Q. Did you go in the kitchen?

A. No, sir, I had no reason to.

Q. Did anybody, while you were there, indicate where Sylvia might be?

A. No, sir, in fact she indicated she did not know where she would be when she had kicked her out of the house.

MR. NEW: Cross examine.


Q. Mrs. Sanders, you are a public health nurse?

A. Yes.

Q. Attached to the schools?

A. I have a district and at this time I had two schools. My district since then has been changed. I had 78 and 58.

Q. What date was this visit around 2:00 or 2:30?

A. October 15.

Q. October 15. How long did you stay there?

A. Around fifteen or twenty minutes.

Q. Who all was there now, yourself and Gertrude Baniszewski and who else?

A. Paula, her oldest daughter, Dennis Baniszewski -

Q. Dennis?

A. Yes.

Q. Who else?

A. Jenny Likens.

Q. Jenny Likens, Paula, Dennis, Jenny Likens, Gertrude and yourself?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Nobody else?

A. No, sir, to my knowledge.

Q. You said somebody talked about Mr. Wright not sending any money. Did you say that?

A. She mentioned this fact.

Q. Who mentioned it?

A. Mrs. Baniszewski. I did not say anything. He was not paying full support, she said. I don't know.

Q. Was there any conversation about Mr. Baniszewski, the father of these children, paying any support?

A. I said this was mentioned.

Q. I beg pardon?

A. It was mentioned that he did not always pay.

Q. Who said that?

A. Mrs. Baniszewski.

Q. What did she say about it? Anything specifically that you remember?

A. No, other than Paula was mainly talking about how she did not like her father, did not like to visit him.

Q. Was anything said about the lack of sufficient money to buy food?

A. No, sir, not at all.

Q. What did Mrs. Baniszewski say about Sylvia, now, to you?

A. What did she say about her to me - that she was the one I was looking for. I had told her I was there because a neighbor called and said there were children there with open running sores. When I explained - she was curious why I was asking questions about the children's diseases. I looked at Dennis to see how he was and he was clean enough and had no sores. She said she knew I was looking for Jenny's sister, Sylvia, whom she had kicked out of the house. She went on to say why she had kicked her out of the house.

Q. You said Mrs. Baniszewski was nervous and upset?

A. She was upset at the fact a neighbor had called in a complaint.

Q. Describe her appearance, how was she dressed?

A. I don't remember - she had slacks or a skirt on. I believe she had a white blouse on and her hair was combed. She was neat enough.

Q. Any time did Gertrude Baniszewski forbid Jenny Likens from talking?

A. No, sir.

Q. Did you ever go back?

A. No, sir.

Q. Did you make a report then?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. To whom?

A. I wrote it up as a call, as we ordinarily do, and put it in our files at the station.

Q. May I see a copy of the report?

A. I don't have it with me, sir, it is on a very small card. When we make a one time only card we write it up as such.

Q. A one time only card. That is what you did on this?

A. Yes.

Q. What, in essence, was the report?

A. That I went to the house, explained the reason why - that the neighbor called in. I did not know anything more about it. I could not go back to find who called in the report on the open sores of the children in this household. I discussed health habits, etc, with the mother and no sores were found on the children at this location, there were not any. I also put down in the report she said she knew who I was looking for, Jenny's sister, Sylvia, and so forth, just as I have said here.

Q. Did you testify that Gertrude Baniszewski said Sylvia was a prostitute?

A. She called her this.

Q. Gertrude called Sylvia a prostitute?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did she tell you how old she was?

A. I don't know.

Q. Do you know how old Sylvia was?

A. I knew that she was in high school. She may have indicated her age. I don't remember exactly. I knew she was of high school age. She must have indicated this to me.

Q. That is kind of an unusual pronouncement for someone to say a high school girl was a prostitute?

A. She indicated in the same sentence she ran around with boys that were not fit.

Q. Did you check her story out?

A. No, sir, I had nowhere to go to from there. No, I did not.

Q. Did you know what school Sylvia went to?

A. No, I did not.

Q. Did you ask her?

A. I could not tell you for sure if I did or not.

Q. Was this routine explanation or a rather out of the ordinary explanation you got from Mrs. Baniszewski?

A. Well, it was a little out of the ordinary.

Q. What did you do about it?

A. What did I do about what, sir?

Q. The situation you found there with particular reference to what Mrs. Baniszewski said about the girl?

A. I wrote it up as such. This was all.

Q. You sent it to whom?

A. I did not send it to anyone. It goes through the supervisor and goes in the files.

Q. Nothing further was done about this?

A. No, sir.

Q. You made no investigation about it?

A. No, sir, I did not make any investigation.

Q. What department do you work for here in town?

A. Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion county.

Q. That is a county organization?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. In your opinion, did such report stating a high school girl was a prostitute, running around with open sores, in your opinion is that sufficiently important to warrant investigation?

A. No, sir, not at this time. I had nowhere to turn to - to investigate. She did not know where she was. The children were not in the household where I went to see about this.

Q. Who else did you check with about the story?

A. I did not check with anyone else.

Q. You did not make any investigation, did you?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Other than with Gertrude?

A. No, sir, I had not much to go on, the fact of an anonymous complaint, which I receive many of. Children in the household with open running sores. I receive many of them.

Q. You receive many, would you say thirteen or fourteen?

A. I hear many more tales than you ever dream of.

Q. What did you do with this particular report, with reference to the neighbors? Did you check?

A. I later on did have occasion to meet the neighbor, yes.

Q. When?

A. I could not tell you. I believe sometime the next week. I don't know the exact day. I believe it was the next week.

Q. After the death of this girl?

A. Yes, sir, it was after.

Q. What did you do from October 15, 1965 until the death of this girl, with reference to checking out the rather incredible story?

A. It was not any more incredible than the stories I hear many days and the people I see every day. If you would like to go with me -

Q. You did not consider it incredible?

A. Not more than I hear a lot of.

Q. You did not think it warranted more investigation?

A. Not at this time.

MR. ERBECKER: Nothing further.



Q. Mrs. Sanders all the time you were in this house for the purpose of the interview, was Mrs. Baniszewski present?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. In your presence?

A. Yes, she was.

Q. You had no occasion to be alone any time with Virginia Likens or Paula Baniszewski?

A. With Virginia?

Q. With - you called her Jenny. I believe she testified her name was Virginia.

A. No. I did not, sir.

Q. You were at all times within sight of all three at one time, one place?

A. Paula might have left the room. I really could not tell you for sure about that. Jenny, I know, was there all the time.

Q. You stated a little earlier Paula made certain statements that indicated a dislike of Sylvia Likens. Do you recall what any of the statements were?

A. She - when her mother was going to say she kicked her out. Paula very readily said "yes" and so forth. I don't remember exactly what she said. It was mostly not a statement, just agreement with her mother at this time.

Q. So far as you could tell any attitude of dislike expressed by Paula was expressed by agreeing with what her mother had previously said, is that correct?

A. Yes, sir, she did mention the fact she had spread rumors about her at school.

Q. During much of this time, I believe you said Paula remained there simply silent?

A. Just before we left she talked quite a bit about her father. Other than that, yes.

MR. RICE: No further questions.

THE COURT: Defendant Coy Hubbard and John Stephan Baniszewski.

MR. BOWMAN: No questions.

THE COURT: Defendant Richard Hobbs may cross examine.


Q. You spent that time when you were visiting the house in the living room?

A. Yes.

Q. All you could see was the living room?

A. I said I could see into the dining room. There is no door there.

Q. You did not have occasion to see if they had a refrigerator or a stove?

A. No, sir.

Q. You had no opportunity to see if they had plenty of spoons for eating?

A. No.

Q. Did you smell the odor of dogs?

A. No, I did not.

Q. Did you inquire about Paula being pregnant?

A. I did not realize she was, sir.

Q. Is that right?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you talk to her?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. You had - did you have any conversation at all with Jenny Likens?

A. Just speaking to her and I asked her how she was.

Q. Now, you referred that you were assigned in that district, Public School 78?

A. Yes, and 58 and we have - well, we do more than this - we make home visits in TB cases and baby clinic and so forth.

Q. Your curiosity was not aroused by seeing and talking to Gertrude Wright and the children being registered in school under the name of Baniszewski?

A. She told me she had divorced her husband and had remarried Dennis Wright.

Q. Did you get to see Dennis?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. How old is he?

A. I believe she told me he was two.

Q. You said you had an opportunity to talk to the neighbor informant later?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Was it one week later?

A. No, sir, it was more than a week because I - I could find out exactly but it was probably a couple of weeks. Sometime later I went to this house. I had seen the mother on a previous occasion about her son who goes to the school I have and this was when I found out she told me she was the one that called in the complaint.

Q. You made a perfunctory report and forgot about it till Sylvia Likens was found dead?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Later you talked with this neighbor who first aroused your curiosity to go to 3850 and investigate? You had additional conversation with that person is that true?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. How many other conversations?

A. Well, sir, I had been there several times before this to talk to her about her son. I don't know exactly, but several.

Q. Was her first name Cassandra?

A. I don't know her first name.

Q. You would know if you had your report?

A. Yes.

MR. NEDEFF: No further questions.

MR. ERBECKER: I have another question.


Q. After you left that house, Mrs. Baniszewski's house, did you go to the second door neighbor and talk to somebody?

A. No, sir, I did not.

Q. After you completed your investigation, after the death then did you?

A. I did not complete any more after the death, no sir, I did not.

Q. What did you do from the time you visited them till the death other than what you described here?

A. Concerning what?

Q. Concerning the subject matter of your visit?

A. Wrote up the report and turned it in to my supervisor.

Q. What was the purpose of you going there?

A. That I had a complaint which I follow out when someone calls in the Health Department saying there were children in the household with open running sores.

Q. You went to Gertrude Baniszewski's house. What did you do to follow it out, so to speak?

MR. NEW: We object. It is repetitious.

THE COURT: Objection sustained.

Q. Then your report of your investigation consisted of going to the object of your complaint, interrogating her, closing your report?

A. No, sir, that is not right.

Q. What did you do?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Objection sustained. She has gone through all this.

Q. Have you done anything you omitted telling us then?

A. I did not, sir.

Q. You did not. Were you in the neighborhood any time prior to your first visit to Gertrude Baniszewski?

A. Lots of time in the neighborhood.

Q. How close?

A. I suppose the house does not make any difference. If I say Mrs. Monroe's house is the closest, I suppose I have ever been to there.

Q. When was that with reference to your visit, when?

A. Before. I could not tell you exactly, sir, I see lots of people every day.

Q. Would you say a month before?

A. I really don't know.

Q. Would you say two months?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Objection sustained. He is arguing with the witness.

Q. Would it be prior to the 4th of July, 1965?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. Would it be between July 4th and your visit?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Objection sustained.

Q. Did you have any notice of any occurrences in the Baniszewski house prior to your going there?

A. I did not, sir.

Q. Other than this one anonymous call?

A. Right, sir.

Q. Did your immediate superiors, to your knowledge, do anything about this after they got your report?

A. She did not, sir.

Q. She did not. Did she talk to you about it?

A. I believe I told her about it.

Q. After you made the report?

A. Well, at the same time.

Q. The same time. That is all that was done about this?

A. Yes.

MR. ERBECKER: Nothing further.

THE COURT: Any omitted questions from other defendants?


THE COURT: Any redirect?

MR. NEW: No re-direct.


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