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The Dianne DeVanna's Story

The Dianne DeVanna's Story

In 1978, Dianne DeVanna died as the result of child abuse. She had been killed by the very people who were supposed to love and protect her – her parents. After living in foster homes and residential facilities for six years, Dianne wanted to go home. In August of 1978, a judge ordered that Dianne be returned to her family, even though all the professionals involved in the case argued against it. During the last weeks of her life, Dianne was subjected to beatings, humiliations, and torture. She was kept a virtual prisoner in her home. At night, she was tied down to the bedsprings, as there was no mattress or bedding. Her room was locked from the outside and the windows were nailed shut. During the day, while her father worked, her hand were kept tied behind her back by her stepmother, who made her kneel to eat her food which had been put in the cat’s litter box. She was routinely burned with cigarettes. On the Friday and Saturday evenings just prior to her death, clothed only in a diaper, Dianne was hung upside down above the staircase with her wrists and ankles wrapped in duct tape. When she cried saying that she had to go to the bathroom, a red bandana was stuffed in her mouth as a gag. When she could no longer hold her urine in, it spilled out of her, soaking the bandana. At some point, her father decided to apply more direct discipline and cut her down. He began kicking her

with his shod foot, as she lay almost lifeless. This continued until she stopped breathing.

The horror and the outrage that was felt by the community were soon channeled into something good and positive that became The Dianne DeVanna Center. Today, The Center stands as an enduring tribute to Dianne and is dedicated to all children who suffer as the result of abuse and neglect.