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According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, 99.8 percent of children who go missing do come home. In fact, the organization points out, "Nearly 90% of missing children have simply misunderstood directions or miscommunicated their plans, are lost, or have run away."

9 percent of children are kidnapped by family members in custody disputes. 3 percent are abducted by family members, and the kidnapper is often someone the child knows. In fact, less than 1 percent are kidnapped in the cases of "stranger danger" you likely grew up hearing about. Half of those children, the organization notes, end up coming home.

"People who've been kidnapped, how did you survive?" –– This was today's burning question.

"I was kidnapped..."

I was kidnapped in my car, when I was 18. I had been stalked by the guy for at least a few days (saw the same truck follow me a couple times on my way to college campus). I was just about to get out of my car to go to a bookstore, and this guy jumps in the passenger seat with a gun. He made me drive out of town to a remote area where his truck was parked (never found out how he followed me to bookstore without the truck).

He wanted to keep the gun on me while he got out of the car because I had a mace thing on my keychain. As he was backing out, he slipped and lost his footing, and I took off in the car. I drove straight to the police station. He was never caught.


"I was on my way home..."

Almost. Age of eleven. Do NOT go to second location. Fight like hell to stay in the first. Even if you get taken anyway, raising a huge noise can cause a witness to come see what's happening to you and they can report it.

I was on my way home from school for lunch and some guy in a small quarter ton truck gets out, claims he's a police officer and tells me to get in the truck. Right away I'm thinking I'm not going anywhere with this clown. He claimed to be a cop and I asked where's your badge? While he's launching into this rant about how much trouble I'll be in if I don't do as he says in my head I'm thinking all we have to do is bolt behind the house right next to us. That neighbourhood had a whole mess of pathways that went all over the place. If we make it to that, there's no way that guy is gonna catch us.

I straight up told him I'm not going anywhere with you. That caught him off guard, like he wasn't used to someone challenging him. He got this scared look on his face and got back in his truck. Then he tries laying this bullshit on us he's some secret undercover cop and don't tell anyone he's there.

Yeah right, my friend and I, we both ran home and told our parents first thing. They called the cops and we gave a full description of both the truck and the guy. The friend who was with me actually remembered the license plate. After that I couldn't tell you what happened, we never got an update from the police and never saw that guy ever again.


"She didn't mistreat me..."

I was kidnapped way before my memories formed so this is all from my parents and the police report.

Basically, a lady in the nursing ward decided to give me a "spicy adoption" by hiding me in some sheets and taking me out of the hospital. She was tracked down a few days later and I was handed back to my parents.

She didn't mistreat me, apparently I was a healthy normal child and she even bought the expensive stuff in order to take care of me.

I got to meet her in my teens, I asked her "why me" and it was because my family hadn't done the paperwork for me correctly so I was easier to slip out and potentially give her more time to disappear with me.


"I got very, very lucky."

I got very, very lucky. The two men who kidnapped me from a bus stop (I was 16) had clearly done so with others before. They'd removed the door handles from the back seat doors, so when I tried to make my way out at a red light I couldn't get the door open. I'm pretty sure they intended to kill me.

They drove me to an abandoned gas station. A police car drove up to check out what was happening. The man in the back seat with me at that time threatened to slit my throat if I screamed, while his partner got out and convinced the cop that I was his niece, and that he and my "dad" brought me out to talk to me. He said they needed to set me straight because I'd been acting out.

The cop insisted they leave the station right then, and he followed our car back to the highway. They got so worried he'd remember them if my body turned up the next day that they decided to release me right then. I got thrown down a gravel embankment along the highway, and ran in the dark to a nearby open restaurant.

I will never forget lying there in the wet grass after coming to rest at the bottom of the embankment, gazing up at a sky filled with stars, and realizing that, holy hell! I was somehow still alive.

I was very, very lucky.


"The family member..."

I was kidnapped when I was 7. It was by a very drug ridden family member who told me he was bringing me out for ice cream. He left me on a bench outside of a bar when the bartender told him he couldn't bring kids in. It was a dirty biker bar in Las Vegas during the 90's. I was young, scared and didn't fully comprehend the situation. I was confused why we didn't go to an ice cream shop.

The family member came out with two men that fully terrified me. One of them touched my curly bright red hair and smiled wide. I remember not knowing what to do so I started scream singing Joan Osborne's "What if god was one of us." They got freaked when I wouldn't stop singing and walked back in the bar. I was definitely a weird kid but scream singing as self defense was kind of smart.

I was left alone on the bench again when a man walked up and asked me where my parents were. I told him I didn't get ice cream and wanted to go back to my mom but my family member wouldn't let me. He walked in the bar but came out just a minute later and sat with me until the police arrived.

20 years later my mom saw that family member for the first time. He was on end of life hospice care but made it to another family members funeral. When everyone was filtering out he was waiting on the bus home when my mom punched him in the face. I love my mom.


"At the time..."

I was kidnapped at gunpoint along with my younger brother and my early-twenties mother when I was in kindergarten. My father (~40 years old) hadn't taken the divorce well and already had some psychiatric illness, so he forced us all into his truck and drove us from California to Mexico.

At the time my parents told us kids that we were taking a family trip. I remember the drive, shopping in a street market, and being greeted by the flashing lights of police cars when we eventually returned to the states. The police were nice and let us sit in the police car! I remember being excited about that.

The next thing I remember was coming home to dead pets (I think just two mice, but still). Then being upset that I had missed picture day in school when I saw the other kids receiving their photos. I'm not sure how long we were in Mexico but maybe that'll help set the time frame.

I'm not sure what would have happened if my father hadn't decided to take us back.


"I was eating dinner..."

I was "kidnapped" at 17 by goons my parents hired to take me to rehab when they found out I smoked pot.

I was eating dinner with my parents when all of a sudden they got up and walked out of the room with no explanation, then a few seconds later two huge guys showed up out of nowhere blocking both the exits to the kitchen and told me to come with them.

Since they didn't identify themselves at all or tell me what was going on, I assumed i was being kidnapped for real, so I grabbed a kitchen stool and started swinging. I took one down but the other guy tackled and handcuffed me.

After they forced me into a car, they explained who they were and that they were taking me to a "wilderness program" in Georgia. We were in DC so I spent the next few hours apologizing, sucking up to them, and basically trying to get them as much on my side as possible.

It worked because they stopped for food and told me they would take off the handcuffs and let me eat if I promised to behave. I was a model citizen all throughout dinner and when we got back in the car they didn't put the handcuffs back on.

A few hours later we stopped for gas. It was dark by then and I asked to use the bathroom. One guy was filling the car with gas, and I noticed the guy who was escorting me to the bathroom was limping badly (I learned later I shattered his kneecap with the stool) so I figured it was my chance to escape.

I made a break for it - I had a good head start on the guy pumping gas and the limping guy couldn't keep up. I ran into the woods next to the gas station and just kept going.


Clint Patterson/Unsplash

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