On TV and in the movies, neighbors are portrayed as those nosy individuals who pretend to stop by for a cup of sugar when all they really want to do is gossip about the weird family next door. In reality, there are the neighbors who play their music too loud at the worst hours of the day, those that have kids that scream all hours of the night, and the party people down the hall who can't possibly hold down real jobs. The people who live nearby are an eclectic group from different backgrounds who make a neighborhood what it is, but not everyone next door or down the road has good intentions.
Truth be told, you never really know who your neighbors are. You can have brunch in their backyards or dinner parties in their living rooms, but, most of the time, people are putting on airs for your benefit. They may hold steady jobs and take care of their families, but the person you let babysit your kids may be a devil in disguise. John Wayne Gacy dressed up as a clown for kids' birthday parties but had the bodies of young men buried beneath his floorboards. Philip Markoff was a promising medical student preparing to get married but turned into the Craigslist Killer. Some of these 15 neighbors on our list may not be murderers, but that doesn't make their kidnapping crimes any more terrifying. Be careful; you may be spying on your neighbors when you peek outside of the blinds and find that someone is watching you, too.
15 Victims Were Made To Eat Feces When Food Was Scarce
A Pennsylvania landlord was checking up on his property when he came across four adults who were being held hostage, some of whom had mental disabilities, in a boiler room. Linda Weston and four accomplices, including her daughter, kidnapped people they thought could be easily manipulated and wouldn't be much of a threat. Weston's abducting crimes started way back in 2001, when she decided that the best way to scam people out of their disability and state benefits would be to keep them hidden away from society. There were other victims, adults and children, found in various locations in Texas, Virginia, and Florida. The victims were drugged and held in basements, closets, or attics. Those that tried to escape were stabbed, beaten, or burned. When there wasn't enough food for everyone, the captors forced the victims to eat their own or each others' feces. The experience was so terrifying for the victims that when police showed up to save them, they told them they wanted to stay because they feared punishment for being rescued. One woman was detained for 10 years and drank her own urine the entire time. Two people died while caged up. Weston received life plus 80 years in prison.
14 She Was Kept In A Box Under The Bed For Seven Years
In a story that made headlines around the world, Colleen Stan was known as "The Girl in the Box" after investigators confirmed that she was kept captive under a bed for nearly a decade. Colleen was 20 years old in May of 1977 when she was hitchhiking to a friend's birthday. Married couple Cameron and Janice Hooker stopped to offer her a ride, and Colleen thought she would be safe because there was also a baby in the car. However, 30 minutes later, Cameron was holding a knife to her throat, threatening her life, and placing a gag in her mouth and a wooden box over her head.
When they all arrived at the couple's home in Red Bluff, California, Colleen discovered they'd crafted a coffin-like box made of wood. They placed Colleen inside and, according to her, only brought her out to be sexually assaulted, tortured, and beaten. Cameron told her that he was apart of a group called The Company and made Colleen believe that if she tried to escape, this human trafficking network would track her down and kill her. It wasn't until 1984, with the help of Janice, that Colleen was able to escape. Janice received immunity from prosecutors for her testimony and Cameron was sentenced to 104 years.
13 Epileptic Man Held Hostage And Tortured In Garden Shed
No one's last days on this earth should be anything like those of 29-year-old Kevin Davies. He suffered from severe epilepsy and was described as being a vulnerable and gullible personality. He lived with his father and was being cared for by him, but when his father died, it left Kevin open to being taken advantage of. Kevin had been alone for only two months when neighbors David Lehane, his girlfriend Amanda Baggus, and their friend, Scott Andrews, kidnapped him. They told investigators that they had abducted him over an unpaid debt, but records showed that Amanda was collecting and cashing in on Kevin's social security checks.
For four months, Kevin was kept bolted inside that shed. He was beaten, starved, humiliated, and burned while his torment was captured on film. The three captors also kept a diary of the horrific things they did to him and even listed when and how Kevin cried for help. The criminals weren't charged with murder because examiners couldn't determine Kevin's condition could have been responsible for his death, but David and Amanda got 10 years in prison and Scott received nine for other crimes.
12 Kidnapped Boy Lived As Abductor's Son For Four Years
In 2002, 11-year-old Shawn was out riding his bike when Michael Devlin kidnapped him. For the first month, Devlin kept Shawn tied to a futon with duct tape over his mouth, telling him that even if he looked as if he wanted to escape, Devlin would kill him. Over the course of four years, Shawn was sexually molested, had videos and photographs of a sexual nature taken of him, was tortured, and was held captive. His name was changed to Shawn Delvin, and eventually, he was able to go outside with Delvin who introduced the boy to people as his son.
Delvin could've probably gotten away with his crimes against Shawn if he hadn't kidnapped 13-year-old Ben Ownby in 2007. Neighbor Mitchell Hults recognized Delvin's van as being described as the getaway vehicle and reported it to police. Four days after Ben's abduction, authorities found the boys and reunited them with their families. Devlin is serving out 74 life sentences in prison.
11 Cleveland Men Conspired In Keeping Three Women Captive for 10 Years
It was one of the most incredible news stories of 2013: three women who had been missing for ten years were found alive in a residential Cleveland home just miles away from where they were all kidnapped. Michelle Knight was 21 years old in 2002, when she left her friend's house and accepted a ride from a man named Ariel Castro. He restrained her and kept her locked up in his basement where he abused and raped her. The day before Amanda Berry's 17th birthday, the teen called her sister to tell her she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King. In 2004, 14-year-old Georgina DeJesus was on her way home from middle school when she, too, accepted a ride from Castro. The three girls weren't seen again until their rescue.
Michelle was impregnated at least five times, but because Castro would starve her, beat her with dumbbells, or throw her against walls, she always miscarried. Castro did, however, have a daughter with Amanda in 2006. All of the women were fed once a day and were abused daily. In 2013, Amanda seized an opportunity to escape with her six-year-old daughter and got the attention of neighbors who called the police. Castro was found guilty of almost 1,000 charges and was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years, but he had only been in prison for a month before he committed suicide by hanging.
10 Woman Was Held Captive in Pit Beneath A Neighbor's Shed In His Backyard
A worried mother was waiting to hear from her 30-year-old daughter, Jennifer Elliott, to no avail. She finally called police and reported Jennifer missing at around 2:00 a.m., but the case came to an end just hours later. While waiting up with worry, Jennifer's mother heard someone crying from the shed of her neighbor, Dennis Dunn's, so she once again called the police. The police promptly responded and made a frightening discovery when they pulled Jennifer out of a pit beneath the shed in the 45-year-old's backyard.
The mentally ill man was holding Jennifer in a 3.5x2-foot wide hole that he kept covered with heavy objects that kept Jennifer from being able to get out. An examination showed she wasn't suffering from any physical trauma, but she was obviously physically shaken. In the past, Dunn would harass Jennifer with phone calls and text messages, and he was known to police because he would often call and tell dispatchers that people were constantly trying to break into his home.
9 Woman Living As Man's Wife Says He Abducted Her As A Teenager
A Bell Gardens, California apartment complex was turned on its head after a woman living there walked into a police station and told them she had been abducted. She claimed that her husband of six years, 42-year-old Isidro Garcia, kidnapped her when she was just 15 years old ten years prior. She told police that Garcia was dating her mother when he abducted her, moved away, and kept her as his lover. The pair even had a child together, and the victim said she was forced to work right beside him cleaning office buildings. When she tried to leave, she said he would drug and beat her. They moved into the apartment complex around the time they got married, and according to neighbors, they were a steady couple. No one believed the accusations, saying they never saw evidence of abuse, and they even called Garcia a loving husband.
Garcia was sentenced to four years in jail and will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
8 Man Assaulted Women He Held Captive For Days
Back in April of this year, there was a shooting in Indianapolis, Indiana where no one was injured. Derrick Glass was in the area at the time but soon left to meet up with a female acquaintance and a friend of hers. The ladies agreed to sell some synthetic marijuana for him, so he waited at his apartment for them to return with the money. However, while they were away, the 31-year-old heard that his acquaintance was spreading rumors that he was responsible for the shooting that occurred a few days prior, so when the women showed up, he flipped out. He threatened them with a gun, took their cell phones, and told them he would kill them and their loved ones. A third woman who went by the apartment to buy drugs was also held hostage, and for up to five days, the women were drugged and beaten and forced to cook, clean, and have sex with Derrick. When he allowed one of them to leave the apartment to go make a drug deal, she immediately ran to authorities and reported him. Derrick was held on a $1 million bond, and his case is still pending. We expect him to be put away for a long time, though.
7 The Serial Killer Known As 'The Monster Of Belgium'
In May of 1996, 12-year-old Sabine Dardenne was riding her bike to school when someone abducted her off the streets. Marc Dutroux, with the help of an accomplice, kidnapped the girl and held her captive in a tiny basement at his home. Dutroux chained her up and regularly sexually assaulted her, telling Sabine that her parents were no longer looking for her after they refused to pay his ransom. He told her there was someone above him in rank that wanted to kill her, but he was her "savior," so she should be thankful. Aside from having help in kidnapping Sabine, Dutroux was acting alone.
Sabine was with Dutroux for 74 days before she asked him if she could have a friend. He accommodated her request and abducted 14-year-old Laetitia Delhez. Fortunately for his victims, Dutroux's car was recognized by locals in the area. He was arrested, but it took another two days for authorities to find the girls. Six days after Laetitia's kidnapping, the girls were safe. These weren't his only victims;Dutroux killed two eight-year-olds and two teenage girls. The older girls he buried alive. He was sentenced to life in prison.
6 She Was Held Captive For 18 Years And Gave Birth To Two Of Her Abductor's Children
Another famous case of a kidnapping victim found alive after a period of years is that of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was taken while she was on her way to school in South Lake Tahoe at the age of 11 in 1991. Jaycee's abductor, Phillip Garrido, had made a hidden compound in the backyard of his property 200 miles away from where he took the little girl. He regularly sexually assaulted her, and when Jaycee was 14, she gave birth to her first child. Four years later, she had her second. When Jaycee was rescued, her children were 15 and 11. During her 18 years in captivity with Garrido, Jaycee never had any schooling; nor did she visit a doctor. While Jaycee was held hostage out back, Garrido's parole officer even visited the man's home and had no idea the compound even existed. Garrido's wife, Nancy, helped in keeping her husband's secrets. He received 431 years to life (bizarre) while Nancy was sentenced to 36 years to life. In an interview, Phillip said, "My life has been straightened out. … Wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house. You're going to be absolutely impressed. It's a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning, but I turned my life completely around."
5 Man Forces Girl To Obsessively Clean His Home For Eight Years
As she was on her way to school in 1998, 10-year-old Natascha Kampusch was grabbed and thrown into a white van. Police investigated her kidnapping, but the case went cold. What everyone didn't know was that Natascha was locked inside a five-foot square space in Wolfgang Priklopil's basement. He made the windowless room soundproof complete with a concrete and reinforced steel secret door. For the first six months, Natascha wasn't allowed to leave her new, dark home. She never saw the light of day and lost track of hours and days. She was finally allowed to come upstairs with Priklopil, but that was only to do chores for the man with OCD. If he didn't find that her cleaning was up to par, he would beat her. He shaved her head, starved her, raped her, and made her walk around half-naked. One day, he made Natascha clean out his car, and that's when the 18-year-old, 100-pound girl took off running while screaming her name. Eight years after she was abducted, Natascha was free, but Priklopil wasn't going to be taken alive. He jumped in front of a train and killed himself.
Natascha purchased Priklopil's home because she said it was such an important part of her younger years. She filled in the basement.
4 Fake Rehab Center Imprisoned And Tortured Dozens Of 'Patients'
Police say dozens of people who thought they were handing over cash in order to receive treatment for various addictions were really victims of kidnapping. Fort Worth, Texas authorities raided two properties where majority Spanish-speaking victims were found starved and tied to chairs. Thirty-seven people were found at one location where a Spanish Alcoholics Anonymous sign was posted. Some people were kidnapped and taken back to the properties; others were dropped off by relatives who thought they were going to get treatment for their drug and alcohol vices. After money was exchanged, victims were held against their will. Many were threatened with deportation if they tried to leave and only the good ones were allowed to eat a meal of beans, rice, and potatoes for five minutes once a week.
The operation came to a halt after one victim was seen running away from the fake facility while being chased down the street by his kidnappers. Nine people were arrested in connection to the crimes.
3 Girl Was Left With Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Nine-Year Abduction
We've read many stories about people who were snatched off the streets in the United States, but this story comes from Japan. In 1990, nine-year-old Fusako Sano just finished watching a school baseball game when she disappeared. The police search for Fusako was extensive, but they didn't find any clues. Authorities even believed she was taken by North Korean secret agents.
The truth was that Fusako was kidnapped by a mentally disturbed 28-year-old man named Nobuyuki Satō. He lived with his elderly mother, but that didn't stop him from holding Fusako captive in his home which was just 200 yards from a police station. According to reports, Satō's apartment was searched during the initial hunt for Fusako, but they didn't find her. The girl was beaten, threatened, tied up, and tasered. The doors were never locked, but Fusako said she didn't try to escape because she was either too afraid or too exhausted, so she gave up hope. Satō's mother called police on her son because she thought he was acting strangely, and they finally found Fusako and arrested Satō. He was sentenced to 14 out of the 15-year maximum. When Fusako was reunited with her family, she was said to have the mind of a child and suffered from extreme PTSD. She finds social interactions difficult to handle, and her family doesn't comment on what she went through for those nine years.
2 Caged Woman Forced To Perform S-x Acts For Nearly A Year In Amite Louisiana
A 6x8-foot cage that looked like a large dog kennel is where a 22-year-old woman lived for months. Five relatives, Raylaine Knope, 40; Bridget Lambert, 19; Taylor Knope, 18; Jody Lambert, 21; and Terry Knope, 43, were arrested and charged in connection with her abduction and human trafficking. The autistic woman was held captive for a year, and a neighbor that lived just 100 yards away said the cage was hidden so well they didn't even know it was there. The victim is a distant relative of her captors.
When police stormed the property with a warrant last summer, they found the young lady in her cage that contained a mattress, some of her belongings, and a bucket she used to go to the bathroom. She was covered in insect bites and told authorities that those holding her hostage threatened to kill her. She lost 60 pounds during her year in captivity and was forced to perform sex acts on other people, leading police to believe that she was being groomed for prostitution. Detectives also think her abusers wanted to take her benefit checks for themselves.
1 Woman Found Chained On Man's Property Leads To Confession Of Seven Murders
Kala Brown and her boyfriend, Charles Carver, answered an advertisement they saw for a cleaning job in 2016. The pair disappeared when they went to visit the 100-acre property of Todd Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender. When the couple arrived, Kohlhepp pulled a gun on them and immediately took them captive. Kala would witness Kohlhepp shoot and kill her boyfriend and bury him on his land. She was then chained around the neck like a dog in a metal storage container for months.
Police began searching Kohlhepp's property because both Charles's and Kala's cell phones' last pinged location was in that area. An observant officer heard noises coming from the container, and there, they made the disturbing discovery. After Kohlhepp was taken into custody, he confessed to seven murders in a 13-year span. He admitted to shooting four people at a bike shop that he frequented and a husband and wife who visited his property to do some work back in 2015. Kohlhepp was previously convicted of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl but was released.
Sources: PEOPLE, KTLA, The Sun UK, Telegraph UK