Our history is filled with many dark stories, and these stories are horrifying because they're true. Sometimes, bad things happen to people, things that should never have to happen to anyone. There have been many tales of murder, theft, kidnapping, and rape throughout history, and many of those stories don’t have a happy ending.
Kidnapping is one of the most horrific crimes out there. We fear it because it's something that happens suddenly and can leave us with many unanswered questions. Many people and children have gone missing over the years and were never heard from again. That's a terrifying thought for anyone who has lost a loved one this way. You wonder for years on end if your loved one is dead or alive. There are times, however, when the victim is lucky enough to get away from their kidnapper and live to tell the tale. There are other times when the victims aren’t that lucky.
Kidnappings can leave the victim forever traumatized even if they do return home. There can be a lifetime of psychological and mental trauma that the victim deals with. Oddly enough, some victims even experience Stockholm Syndrome where the victim learns to care about their kidnapper and will often defend them.
There are almost a million children kidnapped every single year, and that’s a shocking number. If you've ever been fascinated by kidnapping stories, then you're sure to love these shocking stories. They'll make you want to hold on tight to your loved ones.
15 Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping story rocked the world when she was kidnapped at knifepoint in 2002. Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee abducted Smart and kept her in captivity for nine months before she was rescued. The girl was kidnapped in her own home while her sister was in the same room, pretending to sleep. Mitchell brought Smart to a camp where he raped her multiple times a day for months on end. She was finally rescued when a biker saw the threesome traveling and felt that they were acting suspiciously. The biker called the police and recognized Smart as the missing girl. Mitchell and his wife were charged with kidnapping. Smart grew up to become a motivational speaker and author and eventually got married. Her husband said this about Smart: “The thing that attracted me the most to her — at the beginning and now — is how confident she is, especially considering everything she has been through.”
14 The House of Horrors
Three young girls were kidnapped in Cleveland and held captive for ten years. Between the years of 2002-2004, Ariel Castro, a man who was considered to be a friendly school bus driver, kidnapped three girls and held them captive. Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus were held captivate in the basement of an abandoned Puerto Rican house. Castro sexually abused the girls for many years and even fathered Amanda Berry’s daughter. The child was six when they finally escaped. The girls were tortured in the basement, and the house became known as “The House of Horrors.” While the girls remained captive, Castro would chain them while he raped them and would often keep them from going to the bathroom. One day, Berry realized that Castro had left the house and their bedrooms unlocked. She was able to break down one of the windows and get help from a neighbor. “I’ve been missing for ten years,” she told authorities.
13 Elisabeth Fritzl
This is a sick kidnapping story that involved a father kidnapping his own daughter and forcing her to live in a basement for 24 years. There was a secret basement compound in Austria that Josef Fritzl forced his daughter and the three of the seven children he fathered with her to live in. He raised the other children with his wife, Rosemarie. It always shocks us when there's a woman involved in these kinds of stories. When word got out about the story, it shocked the entire community as people that saw him on a day-to-day basis had no idea how evil he was. The children who grew up in the cellar couldn’t even speak; they communicated through grunts and growls. One of the children grew very ill, and Josef was forced to take the child to the doctor. Elisabeth had hidden a note on the child asking for help. The note was given to the police, and the children were rescued.
12 Colleen Stan
This horrifying story involved a 20-year-old girl who was kidnapped while hitchhiking to a birthday party. Although hitchhiking is by no means a safe traveling option, Stan said that she felt safe because it was a couple with a child in the car. It wasn’t long before their car trip took a terrifying turn when Cameron Hooker took a detour down a dirt road. The wife, Janice, left the car with their child while Hooker held a knife to Stan’s throat. To Stan’s horror, there was a hinged plywood box that was placed over her head; she couldn't see nor hear and could hardly breathe. They removed the box once she was brought to their home, and from there, she was hung by her wrists from the basement ceiling and whipped repeatedly. The couple would often have sex on the floor in front of the girl as she hung there in pain. It was Hooker’s fantasy to have a sex slave, and his wife wanted to do anything to please him. Stan spent most of her time in a box that fit underneath the couple’s bed. It took seven years of torture and rape before Janice called the police and had Stan rescued. What finally made the wife turn on her husband was when he mentioned how he wanted to have a child with his sex slave.
11 Jaycee Dugard
One story that shocked the world was the story of Jaycee Dugard who was abducted right before her stepfather’s eyes while she was walking towards her school bus. It was 1991, and Jaycee was only 11 when a car pulled up beside her. The driver was a convicted sex offender by the name of Phillip Craig Garrido, and he tased Jaycee while his wife pulled the girl into their car. There was a lot of mishandling of the case with regard to the police department, and they even had the stepfather under suspicion. Meanwhile, Jaycee was driven only two hours away and kept inside a soundproof storage shed in the backyard for 18 years. She was raped for many years and fathered a child by her kidnapper at the age of 14. The neighbors had no idea that a kidnapped child lived right next door to them. One day, Garrido took his daughters to the University of California-Berkeley to get permission to hold a religious event there. The manager got suspicious because the girls behaved weirdly. He did a background check on Garrido and discovered he was a convicted sex offender. Jaycee was awarded $20 million dollars due to the mishandling of her case.
10 Natascha Kampusch
Natascha Kampusch was only ten years old when she was abducted on her way to school in Vienna. A man by the name of Wolfgang Priklopil grabbed her and pulled her into the back of his van. He imprisoned her in a cell beneath his home for eight years. She was raped daily but says that aside from that, he treated her really well. It wasn’t until she turned 15 that he started to beat her as well. In 2006, she managed to escape while her kidnapper was cleaning his car. Her kidnapper was never apprehended because he killed himself on railway tracks. Oddly enough, the girl now lives in the house that she was held captive in, as she inherited it after Wolfgang’s suicide. She writes about it in her autobiography 3,096 Days, where she says she inhabits the house so it “doesn’t become a theme park.”
9 Abby Drover
Abby Drover went missing when she was 12 on her way to school, in Vancouver, Canada. The police searched for the child as the city participated in the search. One of the people who helped search for the girl was Donald Alexander Hay, the man who had kidnapped her. He was actually a neighbor of the Drovers, and he was keeping her captive in a dungeon under his garage. The only way into the dungeon was through an obscured trap door. The girl lived in a damp room with a dirty mattress. She was chained and raped for a six-month period throughout which she was fed only biscuits and chocolate. She was rescued when Hay’s wife called the police for a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they saw him coming out of the dungeon with his pants around his ankles, and they could hear someone crying. Hay was arrested, though he claimed, “I thought I was helping her.” He got a life sentence for having sex with a minor and kidnapping. He was up for parole in 2001, but Abby pleaded, “Please don’t let him out.” He died in prison in 2006.
8 Tanya Kach
Tanya Kach was a thirteen-year-old with problems, and she made the mistake of trusting the security guard who worked at her middle school. She came from a troubled home where her mother had left and her father moved in with another woman. Thomas Hose was the guard that offered her advice and would buy her cigarettes and candy to cheer her up. They even started a kissing relationship even though he was 37. He convinced Kach to run away with him and move in with him. She thought they were in love; meanwhile, Hose lived with his parents and kept her locked in a closet in his bedroom. She was never allowed to leave and only had a bucket as a toilet; she was allowed one shower a week while his parents slept. She lived like that for four years before he introduced her to his parents as his girlfriend. One time, he took her to a deli with him to run errands, and the owner thought there was something wrong with her. He called the police, and she was rescued after ten years in captivity.
7 Steven Stayner
Steven Stayner was approached by a man who passed himself off as a pastor looking for donations. Kenneth Parnell asked Stayner if his mother would donate and then offered to drive the boy home. Instead of taking him home, however, he drove the boy to a cabin in Catheys Valley. He told the 7-year-old boy that his parents had given him guardianship over him because they couldn’t afford to take care of him and changed his name to Dennis. He sexually abused Stayner until he reached puberty and then kidnapped Timmy White, a five-year-old boy. Stayner couldn’t live with the idea that another boy would go through what he did so he escaped with the boy. He went to a police station and told them, “I know my first name is Steven, I think my last name is Stainer.” Parnell only received seven years in prison and was paroled after five. Justice certainly wasn’t served in this case.
6 Eloá Pimentel
Eloá Pimentel was 15 when she was kidnapped by her own boyfriend, Lindemberg Alves Fernandes, who was 22 at the time. It was a terrifying four days that eventually led to the death of Pimentel. It was one of the most famous cases going on in Brazil at the time, and it was a case that changed many things that the police department did when handling kidnappings. The couple dated for three years, and when they broke up, Fernandes went nuts. Pimentel was doing school work in her apartment when Fernandes showed up armed. He took the girl captive in the apartment with her three friends present. TV stations and the Special Tactical Action Group of the Military Police showed up, causing an uncontrollable scene. Tragically, Pimentel was shot twice by her boyfriend, and he was arrested and sentenced to 98 years in prison.
5 Michael Devlin
Michael John Devlin is a convicted child molester that kidnapped and raped many young boys. He confessed to kidnapping Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck. When police found Ownby after a four-day search, they realized that he was not the only missing boy that Devlin had had his hands on; they also found 11-year-old Hornbeck in the home as well. Hornbeck had been masquerading against his will as Devlin’s son and had been kidnapped four years earlier. Devlin raped the boys and produced child p---------y of the boys and was later sentenced to 74 life sentences, so there are no worries about him getting out anytime soon. He was charged with four counts of child p----------y as well as two counts of transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity. The boys were returned safely to their family, but who knows how much damage was done?
4 Fusako Sano
Fusako Sano was kidnapped at ten years old by a mentally disturbed man by the name of Nobuyuki Sato. She was kept a prisoner for over nine years, and although she tried to fight off her kidnapper at first, after a while, she just gave up and accepted her fate. She's known as The Niigata Girl in Japan; the shocking thing was the house that she was confined in was only 200 meters from the police station and 55 kilometers from the home that she was kidnapped from. She was often tied up for months at a time and would be punished with a stun gun for little crimes such as not taping his favorite TV show. She was often beaten and threatened with a knife. When she was rescued, she was, for the most part, healthy, but she was so weak that she could barely walk. The saddest part was that she was a 19-year-old girl, but she had the mind of a child.
3 John Jamelske
John Jamelske is a sick serial rapist that kidnapped a bunch of women for almost twenty years. He kept all these women captive in a concrete bunker underneath the yard in his home. A New Yorker for many years, people who knew him had no idea just how sick he really was. Jamie Gumm in Silence of the Lambs was based on Jamelske, which really makes you want to shudder. He would torture his victims by burning them with cigarettes and raping them. When the police discovered the dungeon, they found videotapes with multiple missing women on them. The videos were disturbing because Jamelsek was on the videotapes doing weird things with his victims such as exercising, dancing, and even singing. Each rape was prefaced with a Bible study, and Jamelske surely doesn’t understand the Bible. They would discuss the passage he read from the Bible before he would rape the girls.
2 Brooke Hart
Brooke Hart was kidnapped when he was 22 years old, and it wasn’t one of the stories that ended well. Hart was kidnapped by a few men due to his wealthy father who owned a department store. They were asking for $40,000, which was a lot of money in 1933. The kidnappers didn’t wait very long to get their money because Hart was murdered just a few hours after his kidnapping, his body discovered in the San Francisco Bay days later. The community didn’t take kindly to the ordeal, and when the kidnappers were discovered, there was no trial for them. In fact, the community decided to take matters into their own hands and lynched the kidnappers. Shockingly enough, they were publicly lynched by members of the community, including several judges and the governor, making the crime known as “the last lynching in California.”
1 Michael Anthony Hughes
This is a kidnapping story that has quite a twist. Michael Anthony Hughes was kidnapped while he was at school by Franklin Delano Floyd, who has a long history of kidnapping. Poor Hughes was never seen since and is assumed to be dead. But that’s not the twist in the story; the twist comes courtesy of Sharon Marshall, the mother of Michael. It turned out that Marshall was also kidnapped by Floyd when she was a little girl, and he raised her as his daughter. He even married the girl later in life. Her real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis, and she was kidnapped with her brother and sister. The brother was murdered, and Sevakis was sexually abused. As an adult, Sevakis was found dead in a suspicious hit and run, and even though Floyd was suspected, he was never charged with her murder. Talk about a mixed-up story.
Sources: Wikipedia; Daily Mail; CNN