• Unspeakable Times

10 Seemingly Normal People Who Were Keeping Human Captives in Their Homes

When it comes to the most shocking misdeeds, the old saying is often true: "it's always the ones you least suspect." The friendly guy next door, the quiet IT tech, the old married couple you see at church every week: they all seem normal enough, but you never really know what’s going on in someone’s head – or in their homes. You could know someone that is keeping human captives locked up in their home right now and not even have a clue.

As absurd and fictional as things like “underground dungeons” and “soundproof bunkers” may sound, there really are wild people out there who build these things for the sole purpose of storing human captives. This list contains some real cases of people who were held against their will and suffered greatly at the hands of lunatics that appeared normal to the outside world.

  • Photo: Franklin County Sheriff's Department / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Michael J. Devlin Held Shawn Hornbeck Captive For Over 4 Years

    Michael J. Devlin abducted 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck in 2002. Shawn spent over four years in captivity in Delvin’s Missouri home. Delvin threatened and abused the boy, made him terrified of trying to escape, and even made Shawn take on the last name Delvin.  

    Devlin decided to abduct another child, 13-year-old Ben Ownby, but Delvin’s truck was recognized by Mitchell Hults and police raided his home four days after Ben went missing. Police found Ben Ownby and were shocked to find Shawn Hornbeck there, too. Both boys were returned to their families and Michael Devlin was convicted of the kidnappings. He’s been serving his multiple life sentences since 2008.

  • Colleen Stan Was Kept In A Box Under Her Captor's Bed

    Video: YouTube

    Colleen Stan was hitchhiking when 23-year-old Cameron Hooker and his 19-year-old wife Janice picked her up, drove her to a secluded wooded area, and pulled out a knife. Hooker forced Colleen to wear a blindfold and gag, and then he strapped a 20-pound wooden box around her head. The next time the car stopped, they were at the home where Colleen would remain a prisoner for the next seven years.

    Cameron would place her in a small, coffin-like box at bedtime and slide her underneath his bed. Colleen was brainwashed into believing Hooker was a part of some larger organization called “the company” and if she tried to escape the company would get her. He even made her sign a “slave contract.”

    For most of her captivity, Colleen spent her time in that box under the bed. This continued until Janice decided she wanted to get her husband help, so she helped Colleen escape. 

    Cameron was found guilty, and was sentenced to 104 years in prison.

  • A Married Couple Kept Girls In Their Cellar

    Marc Dutroux and his wife Michelle Martin may have seemed like a normal couple to their neighbors, but little did anyone know, the couple was keeping a 12-year old girl captive in their home and Dutroux was a serial killer Belgian authorities had been looking for.

    The child in question was Sabine Dardenne. She was only 12 years old when serial killer and child molester Mark Dutroux kidnapped her back in 1996. Dutroux snatched little Sabine when she was out on a bike ride and locked her up in his basement. She was abused repeatedly for the 80 days she spent chained up in his home.

    Dutroux was also responsible for the deaths of four other little girls.

    It was after he kidnapped another girl, 14-year-old Laetitia Delhez, that he was placed at the scene because his car was recognized, the two girls where found following Dutroux’s arrested.

    Police never got a confession out of Dutroux for murdering any of the girls, but they had enough evidence to give him life in prison. His wife and accomplice Michelle Martin was sentenced to 30 years in prison for letting those two little girls starve to death in the basement. She only served 16 years before being released.

  • Wolfgang Priklopil Kept Natascha Kampusch As A Slave

    In 1998, 10-year-old Natascha Kampusch was dragged into a van and her whereabouts wouldn’t be known for eight years. Wolfgang Priklopil kidnapped Natascha.

    Natascha was forced to cater to all Priklopil’s OCD-driven whims. If she did so much as leave a fingerprint behind, he would beat her. He didn’t want her leaving stray hairs around so he made her wear a plastic bag over her hair and then he eventually shaved all her hair off. She was physically abused, raped, and severely underfed. 

    One day and while he turned his back to take a call, she made a break for it. She ran as fast as she could to get someone to call the police. She was finally rescued. Priklopil committed suicide before he could be apprehended by jumping in front of a train.