Elizabeth Smart Speaks About Overcoming Trauma
Elizabeth Smart Speaks About Overcoming Trauma (Photo credit: KOMUnews)

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who have been rescued from a home in Cleveland after a decade in captivity, are not the first American kidnap victims to be found safe long after their abduction. The headlines about their release:

Jaycee Lee Dugard‘s case is perhaps the most extreme of all – she was missing for 18 years after being kidnapped aged 11, and bore two daughters to her captor. The girl was abducted on her way to school by Phillip Garrido South Lake Tahoe, California in June 1991. Her identity was revealed when he behaved erratically in public, attracting police attention.

Elizabeth Smart was another high-profile kidnap victim who was eventually rescued after she spent nine months in captivity. She was taken from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2002, aged 14 – the abduction was witnessed by her sister Mary Katherine, who shared the room.

Danielle Cramer, who was discovered in June 2007 after being missing for almost a year, was another kidnap victim. Adam Gault and Ann Murphy hid her at their home in West Bloomfield, Connecticut after she ran away from her family. She was found locked in a small space under a staircase, but police later suggested that she could have plotted with her kidnappers.

Shawn Hornbeck, from Richwoods, Missouri, was missing for more than four years, from October 2002 to January 2007. He was abducted aged 11 by paedophile Michael J. Devlin while riding his bicycle, and held at the kidnapper’s home nearby. Devlin tortured him until he agreed to do anything he asked, then used the boy for his own sexual pleasure over the following years.

An earlier high-profile kidnapping was that of Steven Stayner, kidnapped in Merced, California at the age of seven in 1972 and found in March 1980. Kenneth Parnell pretended to be the boy’s father and enrolled him in school, but was secretly molesting him and convinced him he had been abandoned by his parents. When Steven escaped aged 14, he also managed to rescue another victim of Parnell, five-year-old Timmy White.

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  1. Some serious psychological damage must happen when you’ve been with your kidnapper for that long. These poor children, and adults to have suffered and endured that kind of abuse for SO LONG. Its terrifying to think that some of our neighbors in our communities might be doing this. I really wish we could go back to villages raising children but with nutjobs like these… you just can’t. I bet many people stared down their childrens bus drivers this morning lol. Makes me want to pull my children out of school, homeschool them like I’ve always wanted and just keep them out of society for everrrrrrrrr. meh.


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