The Whittaker family were left with heartbreaking genetic defects as they have a complicated history of inbreeding.
Many members of the family from West Virginia can only communicate through barks and grunts and even try to run away when people try to talk to them.
According to the Mirror, they did not know their genetic problems were caused by inbreeding and they can’t remember much about their parents and other members of the family.
Betty, one of the daughters, would not answer if her parents were related when asked by a documentary staff but later confirmed that her mother and father are double first cousins.
Their inbreeding reportedly started with twin brothers John and Henry Whittaker, whose children tied the knot and had more than a dozen children together.
Henry and his partner Sally had seven kids, including John Emory Whittaker,
John and Gracie, who shared both sets of grandparents, married and had more than 15 children. Many of their children had a number of mental and physical impairments.
Their eldest, Aileen, died after suffering a heart attack, while their son passed away only a month after being born due to pneumonia.
Betty has taken on the role of the matriarch of the family and vowed to her mom that she would not find a husband so she could take care of her siblings.
Lorene and Ray, who share a son named Timmy, are both unable to speak and can only communicate through barks and grunts.
Even if it may sound unintelligent to others, they seem to understand their forms of communication.
Timmy is the only member of the family who has graduated from high school.
Photographer Mark Laita told Koncrete KLIPS podcast: “We came around to this road, which turns into a country road, which turns into a dirt road, and we come to this trailer and then a little shack on the other side of the road.
“And there’s these people walking around and their eyes are going in different directions and they are barking at us.
“And then one guy, you would look at him in the eye or say anything and he would just scream and go running away, and his pants would fall around his ankles, and he would go running off and go and kick a garbage can.”
He added: “And this would happen over and over. It was out of control – the craziest thing I have ever seen.”
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