Extraordinary Cases of Missing People Who Were Ultimately Found
The recent rescue of three Ohio women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight — after they had been missing for approximately a decade has captured the attention of the nation as an extraordinary story. The women had been kidnapped and were being held captive by three men all that time. Their story and their heroic rescue has captivated us all.
There are — surprisingly — many more stories like theirs of women and men who were found many years or even many decades after they went missing. Some were taken, while others left on their own. Here are just a few of the extraordinary cases of missing people who were ultimately found:
Jaycee Lee Dugard
In this well-known case, Jaycee Lee Dugard was found 18 years after she had been kidnapped. She was taken by a husband and wife when she was only 11 and kept against her will in their home. The couple kept a hidden back yard that was guarded by a tall fence, trees and a tarp. Jaycee was kept in a series of sheds that were soundproofed.
Jaycee was discovered when she accompanied her captor to a meeting with his parole officer.
Natascha Kampusch was kidnapped by Wolfgang Priklopi when she was only 10 years old. For almost 9 years, she was kept in a windowless, underground cell and repeatedly raped. Ultimately, she was able to escape on her own, and her captor committed suicide.
Shawn Hornbeck was kidnapped when he was 11 years old. Four years later, he was rescued by police, who were serving a search warrant to look for another missing boy in the home of William Benjamin Ownby.
Heist’s case is another that has made recent headlines. Brenda Heist was declared legally dead after being missing for many years. Eleven years after she went missing, she was found alive in Florida. She had turned herself in because she believed she was wanted on a warrant, and her true identity was discovered. She said that she had left with a group of hitchhikers who had found her crying over her impending divorce and financial troubles and had invited her to go with them. She left behind two children, 8 and 12.
Denise Desruisseaux Bolser
Like Brenda Heist’s case, this one turned out to be another missing person who left willingly. Sort of. Denise Desruisseaux Bolser was missing for 17 years before she was found after a private investigator who was browsing missing person files recognized her. Bolser says that she was helping her former boss cook the books, and he had threatened to kill her for her involvement. She faked a kidnapping note and fled.
There are many more cases of people who went missing and were found many more years later. Though the circumstances of their disappearance are never good, the fact that they are found and able to be reunited with their families is a positive. Many victims of kidnapping and sexual abuse have also gone on to raise awareness for victims of these types of crimes.
Amber Satka writes on financial topics, such as her look into biweekly car payments. Amber is a former office manager and current mother and writer