The Tragic Story of the Whitaker Family – An Extraordinary American Case

Whitaker Family

In today’s world, people become famous for a variety of reasons, such as their talent, success, or even their family background. However, the Whitaker family’s story is a unique one, as they became famous for their inbreeding and resulting physical and developmental issues. Despite the family’s desire for privacy and their secretive nature, they have gained international recognition after being featured in a book and documentary. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating story of the Whitaker family, who they are, their mysterious ancestry, their neighborhood, and how they gained fame.

The Tragic Story of the Whitaker Family

The Whitaker family is a tragic and disturbing case of inbreeding that has garnered attention from the public and media. This family from Odd, West Virginia, is infamous for its inbred members who suffer from cognitive disabilities and physical abnormalities. The story of the Whitaker family is a cautionary tale of the dangers of inbreeding and the devastating consequences that it can have on individuals and families.

Background Information on the Whitaker Family

The Whitaker family is of British descent and lives in extreme poverty in West Virginia. The family members include Ray, Lorraine, Timmy (a cousin), Freddie, and an unnamed sister. The family is known for being completely inbred, with all members closely related biologically and genetically. The family lives in unkempt conditions and barely has enough resources to survive. Mark Laita, a photographer and documentarian, captured the Whitaker family for his book “Created Equal” in 2004, which depicts them in a series of haunting portraits.

The Whitaker Family: How They Became Famous

The Whitaker family gained international recognition after Mark Laita photographed them for his 2004 book Created Equally. The book aimed to explore the concept of equality and how it plays out in society. The Whitaker family’s inclusion in the book came about as Laita was curious about the divergent paths people take despite being born equal. He later returned to them in 2020 to record a video of them, which quickly went viral. Last year, Soft White Underbelly made a video “Breakfast with Whittakars” and you can watch it on YouTube.

The Consequences of Inbreeding

Inbreeding is the practice of mating organisms that are closely related by ancestry. This goes against the biological aim of mating, which is to shuffle DNA and increase genetic diversity. Intra-family mating carries the potential for dire outcomes in progeny, ranging from cognitive impairments to pulmonary disorders, cardiac pathologies, and other heritable conditions. Procreating between closely related individuals amplifies the risk of hereditary afflictions that may not ordinarily appear. The Whitaker family is a tragic example of the devastating consequences of inbreeding. According to Mark Laita, the family suffers from an undiagnosed mental condition, and Ray, in particular, can only communicate through grunts. Lorraine and Timmy also display cognitive disabilities and physical abnormalities. Inbreeding is likely the cause of these disabilities, although it is impossible to confirm whether the Whitaker parents were related.

The Mysterious Case of the Whitaker Family

The Whitaker household is immensely private, leaving only a scant amount of information about their background. Their ancestors’ origins, the number of siblings they possess, and their parents remain undisclosed. The family members never revealed anything about their parents or their family history. The Whitaker family is guarded by their armed neighbors and the Raleigh County deputies, making it difficult for outsiders to learn more about them. Mark Laita personally warned others to stay away from the Whitaker family, as their armed neighbors and the deputies make it clear that curious visitors are not welcome.

West Virginia’s Reputation for Inbreeding

West Virginia has long been associated with inbreeding, due in part to its poverty and isolation. Stereotypes about West Virginian inbreeding practices have been perpetuated by national newspapers and media, which portrayed the state as a backwater full of rundown shacks and barefoot kids in rags. These stereotypes have contributed to the stigma associated with inbreeding and have perpetuated the idea that certain populations are more likely to engage in inbreeding practices.

Neighbors and the Whitaker Family

If you want to interview one of the famous inbred families in America, the Whitakers, you should first consult with the neighbors and the local government. Inhabitants in the Whitaker neighborhood are so defensive of the family that they would not permit anybody to visit and manipulate them. At the beginning of Laita’s first video, he describes being confronted by an angry neighbor while photographing the family for his book Created Equal in 2004. The neighbor threatened to shoot him if he didn’t leave the Whittakers alone. However, after clarifying his intentions to him, he calmed down and agreed to let him photograph them. He also cautioned individuals not to pay visits to the location, as Raleigh County deputies and neighbors have indicated that uninvited guests are not allowed in the area.

The GoFundMe Campaign for the Whitakers

Mark Laita set up a GoFundMe campaign to help purchase or renovate the house for the most inbred family in America. He compensated them well during his fourth visit, providing them with food and money, which makes a significant difference in southwestern West Virginia, where the average annual revenue in some counties is as low as $12,000.

The Colt Clan Incest Case

The story of the Whitaker family is reminiscent of the Colt Clan incest case, which took place in Australia. The Colt family was a four-generation incestuous clan that was discovered by authorities in 2012. The family members had been assaulting each other for generations in order to produce offspring. The Colt Clan case was a shocking example of the devastating consequences of inbreeding, and it is a reminder of the importance of preventing inbreeding in all populations.


The story of the Whitaker family is a tragic and disturbing reminder of the dangers of inbreeding. The family members suffer from cognitive disabilities and physical abnormalities, likely due to inbreeding practices that have been perpetuated for generations