Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Family of Winnfred Wright

It Takes a Village

In the wake of Ndigo's death, many people were quick to point fingers at The Family's Marin neighbors. How could they not have noticed or heard something amiss with13 children living next door? A spray-painted message on The Family's garage captured this sentiment after the adults were arrested and the children parceled out to foster care: "it takes a village," the message said.

The neighbors said The Family took exquisite care to guard their privacy, even waiting until the garage door completely shut before getting out of their SUV, which had dark-tinted windows. They had no idea how many children were living in the home, they said.

One neighbor told The Los Angeles Times that on the rare occasion the children did go outside, they were eerily quiet. He'd hear the plastic wheels of their tricycles rolling over the patio flagstones, he said, but never the sounds of their voices or laughter.

Another neighbor told the Chronicle that the two oldest girls sometimes wrote "Watch your karma" on the sidewalk in chalk.

But odd behavior isn't necessarily illegal behavior, and they had no idea of what went on behind the closed drapes and doors.

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