The Tragic Life & Murder Of Child Star Judith Barsi | Part Two | True Crime

(Judith in Cagney & Lacey) 

Continued from part one...

(As with part one, please be aware that I will be talking about domestic abuse and child abuse in this post)

So, Child Protection Services were involved and Maria was brought into their office to answer a few questions. Maria convinced the case worker (who was already dealing with numerous cases at the time) to leave the family in peace and that she had a plan to leave Jozsef. Maria had an a secret apartment that she had rented out for her and Judith to go to during the day for some peace away from him. She would tell Jozsef that she was taking Judith to a photoshoot or a rehearsal and he seemed to buy it. He did follow her one day in his car and caught her outside of the building with boxes, she managed to convince him that she was helping a friend move in and he seemed to believe that.

Maria told the case worker that she and Judith were going to live in this apartment and get away from Jozsef. For some crazy reason the case worker felt that this was suitable and Child Protection Services were no longer involved. Again, another situation where a victim of domestic abuse is too scared to have anyone involved incase things turn worse. This is the point where Child Protection Services and the police should have done their jobs properly and stepped in, placed both Judith and Maria in a safe house and kept their eye on Jozsef.

Judith had told the kids at school about Jozsef, she spoke about how he threw pots and pans at her making her nose bleed. He once grabbed her hair and threw her to the floor. When these horrible incidences occurred, Jozsef would go out and buy Judith gifts, probably to keep her silence. It must have been so frightening and confusing for this poor little angel, not knowing where to turn. She was terrified of her father and I don't even feel comfortable with calling him her father. He was not her father, he was a monster who didn't deserve to have her as his daughter.

The neighbours already knew that Jozsef wasn't a very nice guy and Judith would often spend time at her friends house nearby. The parents would let Judith visit for as long as she liked because they knew she wasn't happy at home. When she told them about Jozsef's constant threats to kill her and her mother, they took it with a pinch of salt and thought that Judith was being overdramatic. I think this is a disgrace too, if a child who is clearly frightened, coming to your house all the time and not wanting to leave, telling you their father is violent and making all kinds of threats, you do something to help, you don't brush the child's pleas for help aside.

It seems to me (this is my opinion) that a lot of people involved with this case were either too lazy and couldn't be bothered getting involved with the situation cause it would disrupt their lives or they too were scared of what Jozsef was capable of.

This horrible situation that this poor child was forced to endure by a sick monster of a father and a money motivated (there, I said it) mother all came to a head on the 25th of July 1988. Judith was out playing on her bike that afternoon, the neighbours had seen her. Judith looking adorable as always and never showing a glimpse of what she was really feeling deep down. Being out on her bike in the fresh air in the sunshine must have felt like a little taste of freedom for her, she could forget about all of the bad stuff for a little while and just be a child.

(Judith and Maria. Picture credit: Judith Barsi Forever Remembered)

That evening, Maria put Judith to bed and shortly after that she went to bed herself leaving Jozsef watching TV like he always did. The house was a complete mess, there was stuff everywhere. Maria had gotten into the habit of not cleaning anything and stopped wearing makeup. This was an attempt to make Jozsef get fed up and leave her but it didn't work, maybe he didn't want to lose the house, the items and the money either?

Some time later when Maria and Judith were fast asleep. Jozsef Barsi walked into his 10 year old daughter's bedroom, placed a gun at her head and pulled the trigger. Hearing the gun shot, Maria jumped out of bed, in that moment she knew, she knew what he had done, he'd been saying it for years and now he finally did it. It's hard to imagine what she must have felt running out of that bedroom. When I think about it my heart aches and I feel this desperate and hopeless feeling. Trying to imagine it as if I was a mother myself. The pain must have been unbearable.

Everything happened so fast and I'm not going to say whether I thought if Maria thought about her own actions when it came to Jozsef or the importance she put on the house and the money. Nobody could deny that she loved her daughter and Judith loved her. Maria had her own problems in the past maybe there was a part of her that felt that Judith worked hard for that house so she didn't want Jozsef to have it. Whatever the situation, I have sympathy for what she went through but she should still have taken her child out of that situation and away from that man as soon as he raised his voice at her the very first time.

Maria ran into the hallway which I feel was a brave thing for her to do, she was trying to get to Judith. She could have ran, hid somewhere but she didn't, she ran to Judith and on the way to Judith's room, Jozsef caught her and fired the gun. There was no moment of ''What have I done'' after he killed Judith, he was determined that both of them were going to die at his hands.

He left the bodies where they were for two days and carried on as normal. When Ruth, Judith's agent called the house wondering why she hadn't turned up for a rehearsal, Jozsef calmly answered the phone telling her that Judith and Maria were picked up by a car earlier that afternoon and that he was no longer living in the house, he said that he was just saying goodbye to Judith.

Sometime after this, Jozsef took some cans of gasoline and poured it all over Maria and Judith's bodies before going into the garage and taking his own life by a shot to the head. An elderly neighbour head the noise when she was out in her garden she then saw smoke and called the fire station. The neighbour tried to use her hose to extinguish some of the flames.

The fire service arrived and got control of the situation but when they stepped inside, it soon became apparent what had happened. Maria and Judith's bodies were said to have been badly burnt almost to the point of unrecognition. The police came and slowley moved the bodies from the scene. Seasoned police officers openly wept as Judith's tiny body was carried out wrapped in a blanket.

(The Barsi Residence: Herald Examiner) 

(Heartbreaking sight. Police officers struggle to contain their emotions as Judith's body was removed from the house wrapped in a blanket. Picture credit: suaviterinmodo

Judith was buried beside her mother in unmarked graves in Forest Lawn Memorial park in the Hollywood Hills. A fitting final resting place for a little star who would have gone on to shine even brighter if she had been given the chance.

For over a decade there was no memorial stones for Judith and Maria but in 2004 a campaign to raise money for some proper headstones was started up and now they have been placed at the grave site.

Judith's gravestone says ''Our Concrete Angel, Yep! Yep! Yep!'' (Yep! Yep! Yep! was the catchphrase of her popular character Ducky).

(Judith grave. Picture credit:

The movie All Dogs Go To Heaven was released in the November of 1988 and the song at the end of the movie (during the roll of the credits) was wrtten and dedicated to Judith.

It's so heartbreaking to think what would have become of Judith, she was so talented at such a young age and had so much more to give. She deserved so much better. I can only hope that in the short time that she was here (away from her father) that there were moments of fun, joy and carefree happiness for her.

RIP Judith x

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