8. Elizabeth Smart
In 2002, Elizabeth, 14, was kidnapped from her bedroom by knifepoint as her little sister silently watched, pretending to be asleep. During nine long months of sheer horror, abuse and brainwashing, she was chained to a tree and repeatedly sexually assaulted by Brian Mitchell. He had been hired as an odd-jobs man at the Short family home, his own wife, Wanda, watched his hideous attacks.
After a story was aired on Americas Most Wanted about her disappearance, she was recognized on the street. Brian Mitchell is currently serving life imprisonment, while his wife is serving 16 years for their heinous crimes.
7. Natascha Kampusch
Abducted on her way to school in March 1998, by a ‘man in a white van’, Natascha just 10-years-old had been held in a purpose built 5sqm chamber beneath a garage owned by Wolfgang Priklopil for eight years. She spent the first 6 months of her captivity never being allowed to leave the tiny room, but as she grew older Priklopil would send her upstairs to the main house to clean.
Punished if she ever spoke without permission, she would be beaten black and blue and then had a photograph taken by her captor. Unable to escape until she was 18, she was vacuuming his white van when he received a phone call. To avoid the noise, Priklopil had gone into another room, so seeing her opportunity she kept the vacuum on and ran to an elderly neighbors home where the police were notified. Priklopil, noticing her escape, committed suicide by jumping in front of a train claiming ‘they will never catch me alive’.