Jaycee Dugard, Emily Errico, Elizabeth Smart: Kidnapped Children
Jaycee Dugard, Emily Errico, Elizabeth Smart, Elisabeth Fritzl, Megan Kanka, Polly Klaas, Madeleine McCann, and Patty Hearst were all kidnapped children. Some survivied their ordeal and now live normal lives; some were and still are not so lucky.
The case of Jaycee Dugard being found after missing for 18 years has brought to light some other cases of missing and kidnapped children around the world. Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy Garrido have both been arrested in the Dugard case, and Jaycee's story may provide some hope to parents of children who are still missing; that their loved one may come home one day and that it's never too late.
For some children however, their ordeal did not end happily, and now their loved ones left behind can only remember the children they once were before they went missing or were kidnapped.
Emily Errico's case is a little bit different from other kidnapped children; she wasn't kidnapped, but she was missing. Only she was missing within the walls of her own home.
She lived with her parents on a quiet street in New Jersey, and her mother was so obsessively controlling that she was even forced to wear plastic bags instead of clothes and could only eat what her mother told her to. However, Emily Errico was not a child. She died at the age of 25, due to neglect from her parents, but her torture had been going of for years. Neighbors said they hadn't even known the couple had a child until she died.
"I never knew there was a wife or daughter that lived there," said next-door neighbor Melissa Mehalick, who estimated the Erricos have lived at the house for about five years. "I saw the husband. He was a very nice man, always saying 'Hi' and asking how you were."
Emily's mother, Ermina Errico has been processed by the police, and if convicted could face five years in prison.
The story of Elizabeth Smart is perhaps the most famous recent kidnapping case in North America, as she was abducted by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee from her Salt Lake City Utah home on June 5, 2002. She was found nine months later, alive, and now lives a normal life as a university student and political activist.
Elizabeth Smart was very lucky to have been found and to have returned to a normal life. She is now considered a poster child for missing children and a ray of hope for kidnapped children that their own children can be found and be returned home.
Elisabeth Fritzl was again, a bit of a different case than that of a 'kidnapped child'. Like Emily Errico, she wasn't kidnapped by a stranger, but was held captive by her own father, Josef Fritzl in Amstetten, Austria for 24 years in the basement of her family home.
Josef Fritzl inflicted pain on his daughter that is unimaginable to most, he raped, sexually abused and physically assaulted her, and fathered seven children by his own daughter. It wasn't only Elisabeth that was kept a prisoner, but three of her children as well: Krestin Fritzl, Stefan Fritzl, and Felix Fritzl. The other three children was raised by Josef and his wife Rosemarie upstairs. It was only because Krestin became ill and was taken to hospital that the discovery of what was happening in this house became known.
Josef Fritzl was charged with incest, rape, false imprisonment, coercion, enslavement and murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment, although many thought he should be executed. Elisabeth Fritzl has kept a low profile since her release from captivity, and is not out in the public eye.
Polly Klass was kidnapped at knife point during a slumber party at her home in Petaluma, California on October 1, 1993, when she was just 12 years old. Richard Allen Davis took Polly and then strangled her to death. He has since been sentenced to death.
It is not known why he took Polly; he didn't know her and was already on the run for violating his parole. He was in Polly's house when she was with two other friends, and although he took Polly, he didn't take the other two girls. When he had taken Polly, two police officers encountered Davis and her in rural area, but they didn't know he was wanted and so let him go. It was thought that shortly after, Davis drove to another rural location, killed Polly, and then buried her.
When Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974, she demonstrated what is known as Stockholm Syndrome, when the kidnapped person identifies with their captors, and almost grows to love them in a way.
She joined her captors in trying to further their cause, and even took part in a bank robbery. She was caught however, and sentenced to two years in prison before Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence. She was very high profile, being the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, and the great-granddaughter of Geroge Hearst.
She now lives with Bernard Shaw and has two children.
Megan Kanka, who 'Megan's Law' is named after, was murdered and raped by her neighbour Jesse K. Timmendequas on July 29, 1994 in New Jersey. Megan's Law now requires all sex offenders to register when they move to a new neighbourhood, as Jesse Timmendequas was a registered sex offender and no one knew about it.
He lured Megan in to his house with the promise of a puppy then he brutally raped her. After he strangled her to death and dumped her body in a nearby park. He is currently serving a life sentence without parole in New Jersey State Prison, but nothing is going to bring back young Megan, whose life was cut so brutally short.
The kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh, the son of America's Most Wanted host John Walsh, happened in 1981, and he was taken from Sears by Ottis Toole, who has never been tried for the crime. Adam was found dead, with his head cut from his body on August 10, 1981, but the rest of his remains have never been found. It is thought that he got ushered outside with a group of older boys when his mother left him for about seven minutes, and it was then that he was taken.
Haleigh Cummings is another child who was taken from her home who has never been found, but investigators believe her disappearance has something to do with Misty (Croslin) Cummings, who was babysitting Haleigh at the time. It happened earlier this year in Putnam County, and investigators cannot find out who may have taken young Haleigh.
"If it's her mother's side of the family... they came in and took her because they didn't want to pay child support.... or if it was somebody else.... I keep hearing things about my brother... I have no idea if he took her," said Croslin.
Misty says the abduction happened between 10pm and 3am on February 9th, but the case is still open and active.
Just as in the case of Madeleine McCann, who went missing from her holiday apartment in the Algarve region of Portugal on May 3, 2007.
She has never been found.
Her siblings were in a nearby room, and her parents, Kate and Gerry, were eating dinner nearby, but so far all the clues have lead to dead ends in the case.
The disappearance and its aftermath were notable for the breadth and longevity of the media coverage. This was initially due to the active involvement of the parents in publicising the case and to several awareness-raising campaigns by international celebrities and, latterly, to the interest that arose from the parents being named as suspects
The case of Madeline McCann is the most high profile kidnapping case in recent history, and her continued disappearance only serves to heighten the mystery surrounding her life.