19 Horrifying Stories About Famous Kidnapping Victims
Over the years, headlines have been flooded with stories of dark, grisly kidnappings. Many of these stories are so horrifying that they're almost hard to believe. Some famous kidnapping victims return home, but others were sadly killed by their captors. Several of the most famous kidnapping victims were abducted because their families were rich, and the kidnappers wanted a hefty ransom.
Who is the most famous kidnapping victim? One of the best-known kidnapping stories is that of Adam Walsh. The child was kidnapped at a department store in 1981. Two weeks later, his head was found by a fisherman, but his body was never recovered. The murder was unsolved for many years, but Ottis Toole was later declared responsible for the crime. Walsh's father, John Walsh, went on to host the show, America's Most Wanted.
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Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted in 1991, when she was just 11 years old, and held in captivity by Phillip Garrido for over 18 years.
Dugard was walking to her school bus stop at the time of the kidnapping. Garrido stopped his car and used a stun gun to capture her. While in captivity, Dugard was forced to shower with Garrido, and was repeatedly raped. She first became pregnant at age 13, and her second daughter was born three years later.
In 2009, Garrido raised suspicions after an events manager at UC Berkeley noticed that his daughters looked pale at a meeting. Officers were notified, and after an investigation of Garrido's home, he was arrested. Dugard was finally freed.
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped at knifepoint in 2002. She was held by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, for nine months before she was recovered.
Brian David Mitchell broke into the Smart home and kidnapped 14-year-old Smart while her sister pretended to sleep in the same room. After Mitchell brought Smart to his camp, he repeatedly raped her, often multiple times a day.
Nine months after the abduction, a biker called police when he saw Mitchell, Barzee, and Smart traveling together because it looked suspicious. Officers recognized Smart, and Mitchell and Barzee were arrested for kidnapping.
In 1996, Amber Hagerman was kidnapped while riding her bike in a parking lot. She was later killed by her captor, who has never been identified. Her case was the inspiration for the Amber Alert notification system.
A neighbor witnessed the kidnapping of 9-year-old Hagerman and called the police. The girl's mother, father, and neighbors started looking for Amber, but sadly, a dog walker found her body four days after her abduction. The crime remains unsolved to this day.
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Adam Walsh was kidnapped at a department store in 1981. Two weeks later, his head was found by a fisherman, but his body was never recovered. The murder was unsolved for many years, but Ottis Toole was later declared responsible for the crime. Walsh's father, John Walsh, went on to host the show, America's Most Wanted.
Toole was suspected of the crime for many years, but a changing story and retracted confessions slowed down progress in the case. At one point, people thought that Jeffery Dahmer may have been the culprit, but that was later discounted. The case was finally closed in 2008, with Toole held accountable for the crime.
Michael Anthony Hughes
Michael Anthony Hughes has been missing since 1994. He was abducted by Franklin Delano Floyd while he was attending school. Hughes has never been seen since, but Floyd was arrested for his kidnapping and sentenced to 52 years in prison.
The most disturbing part about this case is that Sharon Marshall, Hughes's mother, was married to Floyd. Floyd actually kidnapped Marshall when she was a little girl, raised her as his daughter, and married her later in life. Sharon Marshall's real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis. Floyd took her and her sister and brother from their home when she was a young child, and began sexually abusing her.
Her brother was never seen again. Marshall/Sevakis was found dead in a suspicious hit-and-run accident in April 1990. Floyd was listed as a suspect, but never charged with her murder.
In 2014, while on death row for the murder of another woman, Floyd admitted to killing Hughes.
Jessica Lunsford was abducted from her home in 2005. Her body was found one month later behind a house where John Evander Couey was staying. Couey was later found guilty of kidnapping, murder, burglary, and sexual assault.
Couey provided investigators with a detailed confession. He raped Lunsford, kept her in a closet, and then days later wrapped her in garbage bags and buried her alive. Couey was sentenced to death for his crimes, but died of cancer in 2009.