This movie was the second attempt to tell Sylvia Likens' story on the big screen and the first one to be successful. In the early 1980s there were moves to make a movie about Sylvia but they were dropped in the face of intense opposition from Sylvia's sister Jenny. It wasn't until after Jenny's death in 2004 that efforts to tell the events of 1965 in a movie were revived.
The real life daughter, Paula Baniszewski, was released from prison and changed her name. She ended up getting a job as a guidance counselor aide in an Iowa school and worked there for 14 years before anyone found out about her real past. She was immediately fired.
Hayley McFarland, Scout Taylor-Compton and Hannah Leigh all played minor roles in the Gilmore Girls TV Series, Hayley played April Nardini's school friend, Scout played Dean's sister and Hannah played Charlotte, one of Emily Gilmore's apprentices.
There are a few historical inaccuracies in this film, such as Sylvia's body was found in an upstairs bedroom in real life, not the kitchen. Also, Gertrude had seven kids, where in the movie she says she has six.