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            Judith Barsi


            The only child of Jozsef Barsi and Maria Benko, Judith Eva Barsi beat 10,000 to 1 odds when she was discovered at a San Fernando Valley skating rink at 5 1/2 years old in 1983. She was mistaken for a three year old child. Her first commercial was for Donald Duck Orange Juice and she went on to appear in anywhere between 50-100 commercials, several episodes of various TV series and 3 major motion pictures. Her mother, Maria, was the main thrust of her career as a Hollywood starlet, but also took great pains in trying to give her a normal, happy childhood, bringing her Hungarian meals like duck to school for her lunch everyday. Her happy childhood did not last long, however. Beginning in 1985, Jozsef would often be home drunk rather than working his job as a plumber and he refused to let Maria work. The family was put on welfare for a brief period of time as a result, until Judith's career started taking off in 1986 and 1987. By the time she entered fourth grade, she was pulling in an estimated $100,000 a year and the income bought them a nice four bedroom house on a quiet street in West Hill. As her career soared, her father became an increasingly abusive recluse and threatened to kill his wife and daughter hundreds of times. In a mood of stress, Judith plucked out her eyebrows, eyelashes, her cats' whiskers and bit her nails. CPS was called in numerous times, but as Maria was reluctant to press any charges and as a lot of the reports/accounts were emotional and not physical abuse, the case was never followed up on.

            On Wednesday, July 27th, Eunice Daly, a next door neighbor, heard a loud bang next door while watering her plants; the house had been set afire and later, the bodies of the Barsis were discovered shot dead. All of Judith's toys that were not destroyed by the fire were given to the local goodwill and her best friend continued to feed her cats for months afterward.