Victims of Attachment Therapy and its Parenting Methods


“Attachment Therapy is the worst quackery in our nation today. To our most vulnerable children — adoptive, foster and minority children — ‘Attachment (Holding) Therapy’ and ‘Therapeutic Parenting’ means nothing less than a childhood of relentless torture. How is inflicting fear, pain, humiliation, bizarre notions of reality, threats, forced intimacy, and isolation from friends and family — how is all this expected to lead a child to trust, love, and be happy? We do know it has led to death.”
— Linda Rosa, RN

Firsthand Accounts by Survivors are here.

Why Attachment Therapy/Parenting is So Dangerous

  • Attachment Therapy/Parenting is scientifically baseless and useless; it is not guided by research or ethical guidelines. Children are often subjected to Attachment Therapy/Parenting in lieu of a sound diagnosis and possibly effective treatment of their real problems, if any. This abusive treatment can lead to continued or escalating problems with the potential for horrific outcomes in the long run.

  • It is emotionally and physically abusive, and therefore risks leaving damaged children in its wake.

  • It invariably involves psychologically and/or physically-enforced coercive restraint as therapy. Some forms of restraint are exceedingly dangerous and have been associated with numerous deaths.

  • It mischaracterizes and demonizes the children Attachment Therapists diagnose with their unvalidated and unrecognized diagnosis of “Attachment Disorder.” Common myths include: 1) these children do not experience physical pain, 2) these children may be satanists or come from satanic ritual cults, 3) they have repressed memories of abuse and suppressed “infant rage,” and 4) without Attachment Therapy, these children will become psychopathic killers.

  • Its practices inure caregivers to the suffering of their children during “treatment” so that caregivers more readily slip into a frame of mind where they can and do “go too far,” inflicting physical injury, or even causing death.

Some horrific cases of child abuse and death, associated with Attachment Therapy and the parenting methods allied with it, have come to light over the years. Children have suffered and died. Their adoptive and foster parents have lost custody or faced criminal charges. Few therapists have lost their licenses; only two were given prison sentences.

Below is an alphabetical list of some of the known abuse and death cases, linked to summaries prepared from journalistic and other public sources. A chronological list is further below, followed by suspected cases.


  • S. M. Abbott, 5, stepchild, rescued August 1994, Benton County, Minnesota

  • Alzoubaidi infant, 6 months, rescued, attempted murder by mother, 16 Oct 2018, Sioux Falls, SD

  • Kathryn Amon, 9, Russian adoptee, relinquished 2007, North Carolina

  • Ksenia Antonova, 17, Russian adoptee, not rescued, Cherokee County, Georgia

  • Angie Arndt, 7, foster child, killed 25 May 2006, Rice Lake, Wisconsin

  • Dallas,” 5, bio child, rescued, 2001, Denver, Colorado

  • Ms E, Adult, treatment ended 2006, Auckland, New Zealand

  • Engstrom Girl, 13, stepchild, rescued 16 January 2007, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

  • Roberta Evers, adopted, killed 13 June 1998, Bayfield, Colorado

  • Fahrerkrug boy, 5, adopted, rescued 6 April 2017, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Olivia Farrell, 18, rescued 26 June 2018, Pickens County, Georgia

  • Natalie Finn, 16, adopted, killed, starved 24 October 2016, West Des Moines, Iowa

  • Christopher Forder, 8, adopted, killed 24 November 2004, Kitsap County, Washington

  • Fry children, ages 8 and 9, adopted from Ghana, rescued 30 Jan 2018, Osceola, Iowa

  • Alexis Glover, 13, adopted, killed January 2009, Manassas, Virginia

  • Jessica Hagmann, 2 yr 7 mo, Russian adoptee, killed 11 Aug. 2003, Prince William Co., Virginia

  • Hansen Adoptees, 4 and 5, rescued February 2002, Saratoga Springs, Utah

  • Harris adopted girls, 4 and 6 (and a third not adopted), abused and re-homed, rescued 2015, Arkansas

  • Headrick children, 4 adoptees and 1 bio daughter, rescued August 2018, Melvina, Wisconsin

  • Hepple Children, 13 and 10, escaped and rescued June 2007, Valencia County, New Mexico

  • Nina Hilt, 2, Russian adoptee, killed July 2005, Manassas, Virginia

  • Brooklyn Holcomb, 5, stepchild, killed 17 January 2007, Princeton, West Virginia

  • Jackson Brothers, 9, 10, 14, 19, adoptees, rescued 10 October 2003, Collingswood, New Jersey

  • Bethanne Johnson, 3, kinship care, killed 17 March 2017, Grand Junction, Colorado

  • Seth Johnson, 7, adopted, died, 30 March 2015, Minnesota

  • Adrian Jones, 7, stepchild, killed, remains found November 2015, Kansas

  • Lisa Kepler, 18; her boyfriend Jeremy Lake, 19, was killed by her adoptive father, 5 Aug 2014, Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Cassandra Killpack, 4, adopted, killed 9 June 2002, Springville, Utah

  • Malayia Knapp, 17, adopted, survived, ran away from home Dec 2015, Iowa

  • Latham Adoptees, 5, 8, 9, and 10, Hispanic adoptees, rescued 2005, Columbus, Georgia

  • Leschinsky sisters, 12, 13, and 14; Russian adoptees, rescued 2010, Johnstown, Colorado

  • Logan Lynn Marr, 5, adopted, killed 31 January 2001, Chelsea, Maine

  • Matthews children, 12 adoptees, 1 respite, 3 unknown legal custody, rescued?, 8/14/04, Kenton, Tennessee

  • Dennis Merryman (Denis Uritsky), 8, Russian adoptee, killed, starved to death 22 Jan. 2005, rural Harford, Maryland

  • AJ and DD, 9 and 10, Rescued; Steven Murray, 10, killed, 1999, all foster children, Anchorage, Alaska

  • N.A.,” 10, not rescued, diagnosed with “RAD”; sent to Children’s Ark RTC (now closed), Colorado

  • Rhoten Girl, 13, adopted, rescued May 2008, Edwardsville, Missouri

  • Schmitz children, 10 adopted, 7 in illegal custody, 1 bio, rescued 2004, Wisconsin & Tennessee

  • Andrea Swenson, 13, Austrian adoptee, adoptees, suicide 9 November 1990, Evergreen, Colorado

  • Terry children, 4 adopted sisters, rescued 12 Apr 2016, Wasilla, Alaska

  • Krystal Ann Tibbets, 3, adopted, killed 7 July 1995, Midvale, Utah

  • Unnamed boy, 7, diagnosed with “RAD,” put in “therapeutic home” for 16 months; adoption disrupted 2019, Phoenix, Arizona

  • Bobby Veron, Jr., 7, adopted, severely injured, early 1990s, Gilmer, Texas

  • D.R.W., 4, placed in RTC 1 March 2001, diagnosed with “RAD,” bio father’s case before Colorado Court of Appeals 2004.

  • Jeannie Warren, adopted, sued therapist at age 19 in 1993, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Girl, 5, molested by David Weisbarth (sentenced to 100 years prison 7/2018); “RAD” defense, Great Falls, Montana

  • Benjamin Yhip, 33 months, adopted from Taiwan, died 19 April 2012, Oroville, California

  • T.D., Jr. and S.D., removed from home 2004, diagnosed with “RAD”; in Colorado Court of Appeals 2006


  • T.D., Jr. and S.D., removed from home 2004, diagnosed with “RAD”; in Colorado Court of Appeals 2006

SUSPECTED CASES Linked to Attachment Therapy/Parenting and the “RAD” Diagnosis

Kelly adoptee, 14, found severely malnourished, rescued 12 Nov 2016, Helena, Alabama
Hana Williams, 13, adopted, killed 11 May 2011, Sedro-Woolley, Washington
Sabrina Ray, 16, adopted, found dead from starvation 12 May 2017, Perry Iowa
Maliya Garcia, 5, adopted, killed 21 Dec 2016, Redmond, Oregon
Alex Gervais, 18, foster child, suicide, 2017, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Combs case, 4 foster children, 1 adopted, rescued Sept 2018, Indiana
Jorg case, 2 adopted girls, 11 and 13, rescued 2014, Peoria, Arizona
Helton case, 8 adoptees, starved & confined, rescued June 2018, New Braunfels, Texas
Busker boys, teens, rescued 18 Jun 2018, Emerson, Nebraska
Krause case, girl, 7, adopted from China, starved, rescued 2018, Waseca, Minnesota
Krause case, 6 adopted children, rescued 2018, Houtzdale, Pennsylvania
Busker case, 2 adopted boys, rescued, Aug 2018, Emerson, Nebraska
Savannah Rose Willow, 19, adopted, sued parent for abuse, 2018, Ankeny, Iowa
Serenity Dennard, 9, adopted girl, missing since 3 Feb 2019, Sturgis, South Dakota
Kaanoi Kipapa, one of 11 adoptees not rescued, on trial in 2019 for killing adoptive mother in 2014, Oahu, Hawaii
Boersma boy, 7, adoptee, isolated and starved, rescued 2017, Cache County, Utah
Erica Parsons, 13, killed by adoptive parents in 2011, body recovered 2016, Rowan County, North Carolina
Windey adoptees, 4 teens, excessive sitting/exercise, manipulation with food, beaten, rescued 2018, DePere, Wisconsin
Cobler girl, 11, adoptee, starved and abused, rescued 21 Dec 2018, Missoula, Montana
Hyler adoptees, four children, starved and abused, rescued 20 Apr 2020, Santa Rosa County, Florida
Zackery Sabin, 11, stepchild, abused, killed from forced water intoxication 11 Mar 2020, Colorado Springs, CO
Josie Ann Abney, 10, adopted, battered and starved to death, died 3 Oct 2020, Salem, Missouri