The Tragic Story Behind The Infamous ‘4 Children For Sale’ Photograph

The Unfortunate Situation Regarding The Picture

When the picture initially appeared in the Vidette-Messenger, it was accompanied by the subsequent caption:.

“A big ‘For Sale’ sign in a Chicago yard mutely tells the tragic story of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Chalifoux, who face eviction from their apartment. With no place to turn, the jobless coal truck driver and his wife decide to sell their four children. Mrs. Lucille Chalifoux turns her head from the camera above while her children stare wonderingly. On the top step are Lana, 6, and Rae, 5. Below are Milton, 4, and Sue Ellen, 2.”

It could have stood there long enough just to snap photos, or it could have remained for years. According to The Northwest Times of Indiana, it’s unclear how long the sign has been in the yard.

Ultimately, no evidence was ever confirmed to support the claim that “4 children for sale” was the case in any of the various homes. However, some members of the Chalifoux Lucille family were accused of accepting money on stage for the photo.

The Chalifoux family reportedly received financial assistance and employment opportunities, as well as an invitation from a woman in Chicago Heights to accommodate the children in her residence. According to the Chicago Heights Star, this information was published a few days later, and eventually, the photograph was distributed in newspapers nationwide.

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All of the children, including the one Lucille was expecting in the picture, had disappeared after two years since the photo was taken, and regrettably, none of it appeared to suffice.

So, what occurred to the Chalifoux offspring after the picture?

The Smallest Among the Children Available for Adoption, David, Was Taken In by Caring, Yet Disciplined, Parents

Because of his prior convictions, Ray, the father of the Chalifoux kids, deserted the family when they were young and was incapable of coming back to their residence.

As stated by the Creating a Family website, Lucille Chalifoux availed of government aid and delivered the couple’s fifth child, David, in 1949. Similar to his unknown siblings, David was either taken away from the household or voluntarily given up after just one year.

McDaniel, who legally obtained custody of him in July 1950, and his state indicated that the Chalifoux residence had not been a suitable one, David was formally adopted by Harry and Luella.

According to the New York Post, he stated, “I had bites from bed bugs all over my physique. I suppose it was quite an unfavorable setting.”

He spent two decades in the armed forces before eventually fleeing at the age of 16 as a defiant adolescent. McDaniel’s life was secure and protected, albeit somewhat rigid. Ultimately, he characterized himself as a defiant teenager.

Following that, he dedicated his life to working as a truck driver.

Despite his situation being significantly more unfavorable than theirs, he made it a point to visit them on multiple occasions. Additionally, he had the privilege of growing up in close proximity to his biological siblings, RaeAnn Mills and Milton Chalifoux. Furthermore, he maintained a strong bond with them.

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RaeAnn and Milton were shackled in the barn and subjected to slavery-like treatment.

John and Ruth Zoeteman reportedly gave $2 to RaeAnn Mills, who claimed that her biological mother traded her for the money in order to play bingo.

Milton noticed that RaeAnn originally intended to purchase only nearby crying children, but they evidently decided to take him too, as they regarded human beings more than property.

“There are many things from my childhood that I cannot recall,” stated Milton Chalifoux.

The Zoetemans altered Milton’s name to Kenneth David Zoeteman.

On his first day in the Zoeteman family, John was expected to serve as a slave, so the young boy was told to beat and tie him up.

“I stated that I would comply with that,” Milton expressed. “I had no comprehension of what a slave was. I was merely a youngster.”

“Remain [her] young child,” she instructed him, and from that moment forward she adored him. Nonetheless, Ruth Zoeteman took care of him following the mistreatment.

The Zoetemans additionally changed RaeAnn’s name, addressing her as Beverly Zoeteman. She described the couple’s home as a location brimming with mistreatment and lacking affection.

“They used to confine us regularly,” she remarked. “When I was a young child, we were farmers.”

She was violated and sexually assaulted, and then forcibly taken away when she was a teenager. Her childhood was filled with distressing experiences, as her son Lance Gray frequently compared his mother’s life to a terrifying film, Mills’.

Despite all of these circumstances, however, she developed into a caring and affectionate mother.

“They don’t create ’em like her anymore,” her son said. “Resilient as nails.”

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According to Rare Historical Photos, the mistreatment suffered by Milton often took the form of intense anger as he reached adolescence.

He chose to go to the psychiatric facility — being sent to either a correctional facility or a psychiatric facility was the choice given to him at the time. He was considered a threat to society and brought before a judge at some point.

He relocated from Chicago to Arizona with his spouse, tied the knot, and ultimately discharged from the medical facility in 1967 following a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Despite the failure of that marriage, he stayed in Tucson.

The 4 Children Available for Purchase Reunite to Contemplate Their Childhood

While RaeAnn Milton could not be said to have died in the same cancer as Lana did in 1998, they have since been reconnected as adults.

In the East Side of Chicago, she was raised in close proximity to their initial residence. Nonetheless, they managed to have a brief conversation with Sue Ellen and discovered some information.

Ellen Sue was diagnosed with late-stage lung disease in 2013, which proved to be challenging to discuss. Additionally, her siblings also experienced similar health issues around the same period.

Fortunately, she was able to scribble her responses on the paper during the interview. When asked how she felt when reunited with RaeAnn, she wrote, “Her affection. It’s fantastic.”

And regarding her perspective on her biological mother, she expressed, “She deserves to suffer in eternal flames.”

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