Longest-Serving Inmate Tells Terribly Sad Story Of Why She’s Been In Prison Since She Was 18

Indiana's longest-serving inmate Sarah White has shared the sad story of why she's been in prison since she was 18 years old.
Credit: ITV

Content warning: the subject matter in this article may be upsetting to some readers. 

Indiana’s longest-serving inmate has shared her terribly sad story of why she has been locked up in prison since she was 18.

Sarah ‘Cindy’ White, who was born in 1957, was s**ually abused by her father from the age of eight years old, as per Mid West Crime Files.

Following his death in 1971, the damage he had caused White affected her mental health and she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 10 months.

Unfortunately, her mother also died while she was in the hospital and once released, she was alone.

Related Article: Death Row Inmate Set To Become First To Be Executed By Controversial New Method

Related Article: Death Row Inmate Suffered ‘Excruciating’ Death After Making Last Meal ‘Mistake’

Luckily, an acquaintance called Charles Roberson invited 18-year-old White to live with him, his wife Carole and their four children.

They proposed that she would be a full-time nanny for the family as the parents both worked full-time jobs.

At one point, the relationship between Roberson and White would allegedly become flirtatious, with the pair even exchanging love letters.

However, White claims Roberson’s behaviour eventually evolved into something much more disturbing – with him allegedly forcing her perform s**ual acts and watch p***ography.

White would go on to allege that she had been s**ually abused by the couple, as per The Indianapolis Star.

Sarah Cindy White and Trevor McDonald.
Sarah ‘Cindy’ White was subject to abuse from her father and allegedly from the family who took her in after she came out of hospital. Credit: ITV

White attempted to escape multiple times but was unsuccessful – with Roberson even killing a kitten as a threat.

Resorting to desperate measures in order to escape from her tormentors, she set a fire in the home on New Year’s Eve 1975.

In the interview with Sir Trevor McDonald, she explained: “I was abused. I was extremely abused from basically a home that I was living at. And I tried to leave. And I set a fire trying to get out. And it got out of hand. And they died in the fire.

“I knew the people were there. What I was thinking was if I set a fire, then everybody can get out and I can run. That was my intention. The fire got out of hand.”

White was later arrested while she was in hospital receiving treatment for bad burns.

She continued: “Trying to save them. That’s how I got burned. I kept trying to go back into the house to get him.”

Unfortunately, White’s defence was unsuccessful and she was sentenced to six life sentences for the deaths of her alleged abusers and their four children.

Sarah 'Cindy' White
In a bid to escape her abusers, Sarah ‘Cindy’ White set fire to their home, however, she accidentally killed the couple and their four children. Credit: ITV

White’s attorney, Charles Asher, has been fighting to have her released from prison since the 1990s – believing that the sentence she was handed was unfair considering the circumstances she found herself in.

He told the The Indianapolis Star: “You have to acknowledge the horror of six lives being lost, including those of four children.

“But at the same time, I’ve never seen a person with such a sad life or sad treatment in the legal system.

“At some point, we have to ask: Are we really protecting society when we punish abused teenagers by putting them in prison and throwing away the key?”

Related Article: Woman Executed On Death Row Performed Defiant Final Act Before Her Death

Related Article: Death Row Inmate Made Extravagant Request For Last Meal Of 11 Different Items Before Being Killed

White has opened up about never having had a ‘normal life’, having been robbed of experiences such as going on dates or having the opportunity to become a mother.

Instead, she has become a mother figure to the younger inmates who arrive in prison.

“I was never able to be a mother. But a lot of these people in here that are younger, I’m mom,” she said.

White also mentioned that she is ‘looking forward’ to growing old in prison because she knows that she won’t have much longer left to live.

She explained: “I am looking forward to growing old in here. Because you know, I am going to know that my life is not going to be much longer. And there’s something always positive on the other side.”

The Best Of It’s Gone Viral Delivered Straight To Your Inbox

* indicates required

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.