According to the FBI, in the United States, a child goes missing or is abducted every 40 seconds. Due to the structure of the modern American news circuit, stories of kidnappings tend to make breaking news, leaving the names of women such as Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, and Amanda Berry forever imprinted on the minds of many viewers across the country. Far too often we hear about women who have been captured, raped, or attacked. The stories of an against-all-odds escape are celebrated by the masses.
The kidnapping of Rosalynn McGinnis, which took place from 1997 to 2016, is sure to go down in history as one of the most infamous child abduction cases. Rosalynn was abducted at the age of 12 by her stepfather Henri Piette and, after living with him in Mexico with their nine children for nearly two decades, she escaped. It then took authorities nearly a year before they were able to locate the man who abused her daily for 19 years.
She Was Forced To Marry Her Stepfather In The Back Of A Van
Before he carried out the kidnapping of his stepdaughter, Henri Piette began his calculated manipulation of 11-year-old Rosalynn by holding a wedding ceremony for the two of them in the back of a van. After forcing his 15-year-old son to marry them, Piette even gave Rosalynn a ring to make it seem more official. What makes this all the more disturbing is that this took place months before he kidnapped her.
Piette Kidnapped Her From Her Home In Oklahoma
Rosalynn and her mother traveled to a women's shelter in Oklahoma in hopes of escaping Piette, who was physically and sexually abusing both of them. Piette eventually tracked them down and forced his son to lure Rosalynn into a van when she was leaving school one day.
Rosalynn was abducted and forced to travel to various locations across Oklahoma, where she lived in tents with Piette's children. They then began to move around the country but would occasionally go back to Oklahoma, where Rosalynn was forced to mail out letters to her family to lead them to believe they had remained in the state.
He Told Her She Had To Be The Mother Of His Children And Then They Fled To Mexico
After kidnapping her, Piette introduced Rosalynn to his children as "their new mother." They traveled through several states in the US before finally leaving for good and making their way to Mexico.
Once in Mexico, they began living in a small tent in a rural village, only traveling into larger towns to beg for money. Rosalynn was able to support herself and the other children with the money she earned begging on the streets, but she eventually learned to make homemade items such as honey and ice cream to sell, which brought in more money.
She Gave Birth To Nine of His Children
Over the 19 years that she was held against her will by Piette, Rosalynn gave birth to nine of his children.
In an effort to protect their children from the horrifying reality of their situation, Rosalynn kept her kidnapping and sexual abuse a secret from them while they lived with Piette. It wasn't until after they escaped that the children learned the truth about their father and their life.