13 Terrifying Shopping Mall Kidnappings

Malls are the one safe space where everyone in the world feels like they can relax, but it’s simply not true. While you’re letting your guard down in front of the Forever 21, someone is thinking about shoving you into the back of an unmarked SUV. No one knows why the worst kidnappers choose malls as ground zero for abducting people, but crimes in shopping malls are definitely some of the scariest things that can happen.

People who were abducted at shopping malls don’t tend to walk away from the abduction with a positive outlook on capitalism; in fact, most of them don’t walk away at all. For whatever reason, people who are kidnapped from malls usually end up mutilated in some way. There’s probably a psychology dissertation that’s waiting to be written about the choice that a murderer makes to pick his victims out of a mall parking lot, but until that’s published, you’ll just have to read all the gory details that have been collected here for you. Even if these stories don’t turn you off of shopping at your local galleria forever, they should at least put you on guard. And you never know, they might even save your life. 

  • Toddler James Bulger Was Kidnapped And Murdered By Two 10-Year-Old Boys

    In 1993, James Bulger, a 2-year-old boy, was abducted while with his mother at a shopping mall in Bootle, England, by two 10-year-old boys named Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The two kidnappers led James on a 2-and-a-half mile walk across Liverpool to the Liverpool Canal, where the toddler was inflicted with 42 injuries.

    The boys took James to a rarely used railway station where they tortured him, hitting him with bricks and rocks, and weighed him down on the railroad tracks in hopes of making his death seem like an accident. When James's body was found, he had been hit by a train. The two boys were sent to a young offenders' institute until they were released in 2001.

  • Teen Sisters Planned To Kidnap And Molest A Toddler

    A pair of teenage sisters from Tyneside, England, were arrested in 2016 for shoplifting, kidnapping, and the intention of committing a sexual offense after they tried to steal a toddler from Primark. According to the Inquistr, the girls specifically wanted to steal a Black baby, and when they attempted to kidnap the little girl, they also stole baby milk and a bottle.

    After the teens kidnapped the toddler, it took about an hour and 45 minutes for them to be tracked down. After their arrest, police took a look at their computers and found that their search history held things like "poor little thing getting kidnapped and raped" and "African woman sexual activity."

  • Two Sisters Were Kidnapped From A Maryland Mall And Were Never Seen Again

    In 1975, Katherine and Sheila Lyon, ages 12 and 10, disappeared on a trip to a Maryland mall where they had gone to see the Easter exhibits. Multiple people saw them out together, and the girls were from such a prominent family that the police began an investigation on the same night that they disappeared.

    Even though a huge search party was put together, and multiple leads were investigated, the bodies of the girls were never found. It wasn't until 2013 that investigators got a break in the case when they discovered that Lloyd Lee Welch, a man who was serving a prison sentence for child sexual abuse, had probably committed the crime. One of his relatives even told the police that he had helped bury two bloody duffel bags in Bedford County, Virginia.

  • A Grieving Mother Stole A Baby From King of Prussia Mall

    There's nothing more frightening than losing your child, but having to watch it play back on video may be an even worse torture. At the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, in 2016, Cherie Amoore befriended Malika Hunter, a mother who was shopping with her 7-week-old baby and her toddler. The two women stopped and had a bite at the food court when Cherie grabbed the baby and ran. After she was apprehended, Amoore (who had lost her own newborn son a month before) told local police: 

    I don’t know why I did it. I can’t explain it. I held him, and all those feelings rushed back. I just wanted my baby. I felt like I was holding my son again. It felt so good. I didn’t want to lose that feeling. I was crazy. I never intended to do anything like this.

    The infant was recovered unharmed.

  • Adam Walsh Was Abducted After Playing Video Games At Sears

    In the mall kidnapping that jumpstarted America's Most Wanted, 6-year-old Adam Walsh was abducted from a mall in Hollywood, Florida, by Ottis E. Toole, a convicted serial killer. Walsh had been playing video games that were on display at Sears while his mom shopped nearby for a lamp. When she returned five minutes later, Adam was gone.

    On the evening of August 10, 1981, his head was found in a drainage canal alongside the Florida Turnpike near Vero Beach, Florida, almost 130 miles away from his original location. The rest of his body was never recovered

  • A Mother And Daughter Were Found Dead In A Boca Raton Mall Parking Lot

    In 2007, 47-year-old Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter Joey Bochicchio-Hauser were kidnapped when they left the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton. Both of them were tied up in the back of Nancy's SUV and were shot to death by an unknown assailant. The victims were found in the back of the vehicle bound at the ankles, wrists, and neck with plastic ties. They each had a pair of swimming goggles, the lenses of which were covered with black cloth, pulled over their eyes.

    As of 2016, the crime was still unsolved and the Miami-Dade Police are offering a $400,000 reward for anyone who can help them bring Nancy and Joey's murderer to justice.