Wild Child Speechless After Tortured Life

Soon, team members were divided into combative camps, accusing one another of exploitation. Butler criticized the team members for overtesting the child and other infractions. Rigler eventually asked Butler to leave, according to Kent. "She was an odd person," he said.

Research Head Became Foster Parent

In 1971, Rigler and his wife, Marilyn, became Genie's legal foster parents. She learned sign language and continued to progress. But by 1975, NIMH officials -- citing poor organization and lack of results -- refused to renew the study grant. The Riglers, who had received compensation as foster parents, then ended their care.

ABC News was unable to find current contact information for Rigler, who is now 87 and reportedly in failing health. But in a 1994 NOVA documentary, the Riglers said they assumed the foster care arrangement was "temporary."

Genie was sent to foster care homes for special needs children, including one that was particularly religious. She immediately regressed.

She was readmitted to Children's Hospital in 1977 for two weeks and was able to describe in sign language how her foster parents had punished her for vomiting. After that incident, Genie never regained her speech.

Again, she was thrown into foster care, some of it abusive, according to Curtiss and UCLA's archival data on her case.

When Genie turned 18 in 1975, just after the study ended, Irene Wiley convinced the court to drop the abuse charges against her, claiming she had also been a victim, and Wiley took custody of Genie for a very short time. According to reports in the Los Angeles Times, Wiley worked as a "domestic servant" and quickly found she could not tend to Genie's needs.

In 1978, after cataract surgery, Wiley again petitioned for custody and obtained legal guardianship of her daughter, but by then Genie had been placed in an adult care home. No one has released the name of the facility, and the private foundation that supports her care would not give out the information.

Mother Sues Team

In 1979, Wiley filed a lawsuit against the hospital and her daughter's individual caregivers, alleging they used Genie for "prestige and profit."

The suit was settled in 1984, but the rancor deepened. Curtiss, who had continued to work with Genie on a volunteer basis, was banned from visiting her. Meanwhile, the Riglers reconnected with Irene Wiley.

"I was banned from seeing her and was prevented from explaining to her why," said Curtiss. "Genie had so many losses, and here she was losing the one person who had remained in her life ever since I met her."

h4>Rift Affects Authors, Filmmakers

Russ Rymer, author of the 1993 book "Genie: An Abused Child's Flight From Silence," acknowledged the arguments between researchers affected those who tried to tell her story.

"I am still scarred by the tragedy," Rymer told ABCNEWS.com. "The tremendous rift complicated my reporting. That was also part of the breakdown that turned her treatment into such a tragedy."

Harry Bromley-Davenport, whose self-described "sentimental film "Mockingbird Don't Sing" told the story from Curtiss' point of view, spent two years researching the case, including 40 hours of interviews with Curtiss.

"Susie is the only absolute angel in this whole horrifying saga," Bromley-Davenport said. "She is an extraordinary person.

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