Stories like the “house of horrors” in California, where a couple is accused of torturing and holding their 13 children for years, occur more frequently than people realise.
Chelsea Vosters of Wisconsin grew up in a dog cage for the first seven years of her life.
“I’ve come so far in my life and I can’t believe that happened to me,” Vosters replied.
She gained international attention after being rescued from her home in Brillion, Wisconsin, in 1997. She was her parents’ prisoner for seven years. She was starved, beaten, and confined to a dog cage.
Vosters stated that when she was rescued, she weighed 35 pounds. She’s only gotten better since the last time we spoke with her.
“I feel positive but it’s been many years of waking up and saying, ‘I’m going to have a great day,'” she stated.
Around the same time that interview aired in 2012, a 15-year-old girl in Madison was discovered wandering the streets after escaping from her parent’s basement turned prison. In Norway, Gail LaLonde and Dale Devers were accused of locking LaLonde’s 9-year-old granddaughter in a dog cage last autumn.
“I think the shocking part is that we don’t catch it sooner and how can it just be happening under our noses,” Vosters stated.
Vosters hopes the 13 California siblings realise that no matter what happens in their lives, they will always have each other.
“My main point is that there’s always hope, and that they are very lucky that there are 13 of them,” she stated. “I don’t think they are going to feel as alone in the healing process.”
According to Vosters, the news of the California “house of horrors” did not necessarily evoke memories. She stated that she tries to direct her energy towards the future rather than the past.
“I don’t think about it every day, you know?” she replied. “I’m pretty busy with my family and my work, and I put a lot of energy into that.”
Her parents, Michael and Angeline Rogers, were found to have abused all five of their children by the courts, but Chelsea, the only girl, bore the brunt of it at the hands of her mother. Her parents received a one-year prison sentence.
Vosters is now the mother of two sons and a daughter. She lives in Appleton and works at a YMCA in Green Bay as the aquatics director.