Faye Yager has devoted her life to protecting children. But this noble undertaking did not come without backlash, which we witness in Children of the Underground.
Joining the lineup of 2022's true crime documentaries, the FX project is an exploration of Yager's retaliation against the legal system that failed her, as well as her desire to keep families safe.
"If there's no other option, get in touch with Faye Yager. She's the one that can help," we hear a woman state in the series trailer.
Here's what you need to know about Yager and her highly-debated efforts, which began with her service, Children of the Underground.
Why did Faye Yager create Children of the Underground?
Faye had witnessed her first husband, Roger Jones, abusing their daughter, Michelle, at just two years old—an unimaginable atrocity. He retaliated by insisting she had experienced mental health issues, according to TIME (opens in new tab), and the court ultimately granted him custody of his child. However, years later, he was found guilty of molesting young women in Florida.
After experiencing something so unthinkable, Yager (who was born Billie Faye Wisen in West Virginia) decided to help women and children who experienced similar situations—families who were rejected by the court system she grew to hate.
"I understood I wasn’t the only one. I saw this as my chance to change things, to make some sense out of what I had lived through," she told People (opens in new tab) in 1989.
She assisted thousands of families escaping dangerous situations by relocating them to safe houses across the country and helping them to change their identity. She had a hotline that people could call and one in which she used to help gather information about callers' abuse allegations and custody battles. Her anonymous volunteers were oftentimes referred to as "Sally."
While most would find this as a selfless, courageous act, there were those who'd go against Yager with death threats and acts of violence like running her off the road and leaving dead animals on her front yard.
In 1992, she was charged with cruelty to children, interference with custody and kidnapping in connection, though charges were ultimately dropped. She was at one time even considered one of the most wanted people in America.
Today, Faye and her third husband, Howard, run an inn in North Carolina (opens in new tab), though the time in which she stopped championing for women and children's safety is not entirely clear.
According to a three-star review on Roger Ebert's website (opens in new tab): "Children of the Underground [is] as an intricate character study of someone who is scarred and flawed, but fixated on what we'd all want: for children to be safe. If mistakes are made in the process, does that negate those who are saved?
How to watch 'Children of the Underground'
The five-part docuseries will air on FX on August 12, and episodes are available for next-day streaming via Hulu.
If this isn't an option for you in your location, try a VPN. This is a handy piece of software that allows you to browse anonymously, and change your IP address so your mobile, computer or laptop thinks it's in another location. That allows you to watch your favorite show, film or TV event from anywhere in the world.
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Should you be interested in other buzzy true crime docs, you can try I Just Killed My Dad, Netflix's August Skye Borgman release, and her July sensation, Girl in the Picture, which focuses on the astounding Sharon Marshall case. In September, Discovery+ will premiere the Armie Hammer documentary, House of Hammer, which focuses on the actor's abuse allegations and his family's generations of wrongdoing.
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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