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19 Horrifying Stories About Famous Kidnapping Victims

Updated September 23, 2021 3.4m views19 items

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.

Do you think there is a better way to prevent kidnappings?

  • 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

    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.


  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., son of famed pilot Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped from his bed in 1932. A ransom note was left at the scene requesting $50,000. After a 72-day search, the baby's body was found in the woods. In 1934, police arrested Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the child.

    Investigators suspect that Lindbergh Jr.'s cause of death was due to a massive skull fracture. Hauptmann was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was electrocuted to death in 1936.

  • The 1960 kidnapping and murder of Graeme Thorne was the first of its kind in Australian history. The culprit was trying to blackmail the child's father for a recent lottery win.

    The 8-year-old Thorne was taken as he waited for his ride to school. His body was found in a rug. Police suspect that he died from asphyxiation and/or a head wound. Forensic evidence was used to track down his murderer, Stephen Bradley, who died in prison in 1968.