John Wiley (11 Mar 1952 - 18 Feb 2011) was Genie's older brother. He was forbidden to speak to Genie by their abusive father, and also wasn't allowed to speak or leave the house.


John lived in the Arcadia, California home with Genie and their parents. He was the third child of the couple; the two older siblings had died mysteriously as infants. It's said that a 2-month-old sister died after her cries prompted Clark, the father, to wrap her in a receiving blanket and leave her in a bureau drawer in the garage and the other brother died shortly after birth.[1]

He also suffered in the hands of his nearly blind, mentally ill mother and tyrannical father. His grandmother - a single woman who ran a bordello in the Pacific Northwest - took him into her California home when he was 4, believing that her son - Clark Wiley - was an unstable parent. John's life was spared in 1958, when his grandmother was slammed by a pickup truck, dragging her mangled body down the street. They were on their way to buy an ice cream. The 6-year-old boy was taken back to his parents. "I was left out in field and no one came to my rescue"[1].

The Wileys moved to the grandmother's two-bedroom home in Temple City, California, and Clark blamed the boy for his mother's death. Genie was confined in one of the bedrooms and the other went unused and was kept as a shrine to his grandmother. The rest of the family slept in the living room - Clark in a recliner, his wife in a chair at the dining room table, and John on the floor. [2]

Adult lifeEdit

In the following years he briefly moved in with his maternal grandparents, then stayed with friends and returned briefly to the family home. Soon he ventured on a cross-country trip, working odd jobs at gas stations and factories, and eventually in construction in the Southwest. He had brushes with the law, including 10 days in jail for stealing cars. He joined the Navy, but was discharged 182 days later. After an arrest for drunken driving, he lost his driver's license and bicycles and eventually settled for a quiet life.

In 2008, he was living as a house painter in Ohio and had spent most of the rest of his life estranged from his family. Trying to recover from the tragedy that was his childhood, though he had never received proper treatment or public attention ever since. "I am a living dead man," he said.

He married and had a daughter even though, like his father, he didn't want children. "I was afraid to have kids because of my upbringing," he said. After his 17-year marriage ended, he said his own daughter turned to crack-cocaine for solace.

He last saw Genie in 1982 - she has been confined in her sixth foster home since -, and his mother died in 2003. In 2008, on a ABC News interview, he detailed a life spent struggling through alcohol abuse, divorce and estrangement from his own daughter. "I have forgiven, but I can't forget". He lived a modest life, shunning almost any association or documentation of his past.


Despite not wanting to have kids, his daughter was born in 1983. She lived nearby his house but had her own emotional problems. She had two children - of whom John didn't see much.

Mental HealthEdit

Having suffered and witnessed his younger sister's abuse, Wiley probably suffers from trauma to this day. Specially because he has never received any kind of treatment for the scars of his past.[3]

According to Dr. Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, boys like John fare worse than girls when deprived of a loving home[1]. While his sister was locked away in the bedroom and hit for crying, the boy suffered intermittent beatings and was ordered by his father to be the family's sentry guard, to help hide the secret. In interviews with researchers and police he describes his childhood house as a "concentration camp" and that he "never knew what normal was".

In recent years, John, a diabetic without health insurance, also survived a heart attack. Detective Frank Linley who arrested Clark and Irene in 1970 has declared "[John] was as much a victim of the family dynamics as the younger sister was, but he was so little a part of the direction of the case. Unfortunately, we never really paid attention to him."[2]


John Wiley died on February 18, 2011 in Urbana, Ohio at age 58.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 [ Raised by a Tyrant, Suffering a Sibling's Abuse. ABC News, 2008-05-19. Retrieved on 2011-06-06.
  2. 2.0 2.1 [ Page 2: Raised by a Tyrant, Suffering a Sibling's Abuse. ABC News, 2008-05-19. Retrieved on 2011-06-06.
  3. [ Wild Child Speechless After Tortured Life. ABC News, 2008-05-07. Retrieved on 2011-06-06.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.