13 Real People Who Have Been Personally Kidnapped Share Their Terrifying Stories

Twenty20 / @cloud_dreamers
Twenty20 / @cloud_dreamers

1. Freaky Mall kidnapping

I was around 3 years old at the time, at this point I’m not sure if I actually remember the incident or it has just been told to me over the years so many times that I think I remember it.

I was with my Mom and Dad at a mall. Mom went to go do some shopping for herself, Dad was hanging around “watching” me. The story goes, when he wasn’t looking a lady came up and took hold of the stroller and ran away with me. When he started chasing her the lady started screaming “He’s trying to steal my baby!”, security came and forcefully grabbed my dad and detained him. Luckily they also kept me and the lady there until the cops came and the mall paged my actual mother. Everything was sorted out once the cops came and I went home with my real parents (I hope).

They put me in one of those kid leashes after that.

No idea what her story was as the cops talked to everyone separately. Parents decided not to press charges because the cops said they couldn’t pin kidnapping on her because I was always in sight of my father during the whole incident or some bullshit like that. She was banned from the mall though, we never went back there regardless.

2. “I Threw Open The Door And Ran”

I was 24 and coming home around 3am one night from being the designated driver. I parked outside my apartment and a man with a gun approaches as I am getting out of the car. He forces me back in and yells at me to climb over into the passenger seat. I am a blubbering mess at this point and just know I am going to die. He drives me to an atm and wants me to get him some cash. I had $4 in my bank account, so he was pretty pissed.

He starts driving around and I start trying to figure out how to get myself out of the situation. I turn in my seat toward him and start trying to talk to him, even touching him on the arm so he might start seeing me as another human. While I am doing this, I reach up behind and unlock the door. Eventually he comes to a stop a red light. I notice a car has pulled up behind us and I throw open the door and jump out. He grabs me and my clothes rip, but I get out. He takes off and the people in the car behind me call the cops.

A couple months later I have to go to the police station and pick him out of a lineup. I meet two other women he did this too and realize I was extremely lucky compared to what they went through. Another year later and I go to trial since my incident had the most evidence. He gets 99 years in prison and won’t be eligible for parole until he is 64.

Took me a number of years to feel comfortable being out alone at night. I joined an outreach program that went into prisons and that was probably the best therapy I could have ever gotten. I am happy to say that event does not plague me any longer and I have forgiven the man who did it.

— pollysockem

3. They Debated Whether they Should Kill Me

Last summer, I went to Walmart around 1 am on a Sunday night. I work night shift so I was fairly comfortable but still aware of my surroundings. I bought an HDMI cable and a bag of chips and was walking out to my car when a car pulled up to mine. When the guy got out, I just assumed he was going into the store. I unlocked my car and he came around the side. At that point I was a little anxious but just thought he was gonna ask for money or a cigarette. Then I saw his gun. He told me not to say anything and to get in the back seat of his car. He said if I did what he said, he wouldn’t hurt me.

I got in his car, and he gave the gun to a kid (probably 13 or so) in the passenger seat. The kid held the gun on me while the man took my wallet, phone, and keys. They drove to an ATM and withdrew all the money from my bank account (only about $200 because I’m a broke college kid). They kept talking about whether or not they should kill me or let me go. I convinced them to drop me off as long as I promised not to say anything to the cops. They kept my phone but gave me my wallet and keys back and dropped me off in the ghetto. I walked to a gas station and the cashier called the cops for me. I think they had a hard time believing me because I seemed so calm, but it was the worst night of my life.

Not really sure if this counts as a kidnapping, since I was only with them for about 20 minutes, but it sucked.

— dontgiveittome

4. She bit her way free

Not me, my childhood neighbor, so probably doesn’t count but it might help somebody…

The neighbor was a little girl playing in her front yard and when the man grabbed her and covered her mouth she bit through his arm. Like, took a mouthful of him. He dropped her, she ran off screaming (literal) bloody murder, genius went to the ER for stitches and was caught.

Our moms all told us to do exactly that if that situation ever came up.

— girllock

5. I lived in a good area, but…

Basically I went to go pick up a friend from work at around 1AM. She usually has to close and clean so I wait in my car, with the car off. This particular day I had kept my car on and was messing around on my phone. A couple minutes later I see a guy come and ask me for money. I cracked my window an inch and said no, and he left. My gut feeling was telling me something was wrong cause the guy had a ski mask on…

Immediately after I see 2 other guys with him and they walk to the front of the restaurant and sit on the outside benches. I got freaked out and was going to text my friend not to come out yet and I would pull around back. I was typing the text when suddenly I hear tapping on my window and I looked up and the the same guy had a gun to my window and told me to get out the car. I was shocked and thought it was some kind of prank so I waited but the other 2 came from behind and started yelling with their guns for me to get out. So I got out and told them to take whatever they want and leave me.

I’m not a big guy and 2 of the guys were huge. The big guys huddled around me and pressed their guns against my hip and told me to get in the back seat. I tried to remain calm and listen and got in the backseat. One got in the drivers and the other 2 got in the back with me, with me in the middle.

The driver immediately started driving and we left the restaurant and They started asking me for my wallet and phone. I told him to wait and let me restore my phone which I quickly did and handed it to him. I told them I had no cash in my wallet and only credit cards. They thought I was lying and started threatening me about how they already had a murder charge and weren’t afraid to kill me. I told them I have no cash and eventually they believed me. I told them twice to let me go and take whatever but they told me to shutup or they will pistol whip me. So I was quiet.

We drove for about 3 hours and their plan was to escape to another state, it was nearly 4AM now and the driver was getting sleepy. He pulled into a random hotel parking lot and told everyone to sleep except for one guy to keep an eye on me. The car is an 8 seater and the guy on my right moved to the passenger and the guy on my left moved to the last row. I obviously couldn’t sleep but pretended to be asleep. Eventually all three of the guys fell asleep and I was pretending to be asleep for almost 3 more hours. It was 7 am now and I noticed people were leaving the hotel. When I saw a couple right next to our car start to leave I had made up my mind I was going to run. I waited and moved to the right door, I took off my slides and grabbed My ID and School ID and whatever else cards they had dropped. I took a deep breath and just ran, when I closed the door I saw the driver wake up and yell but I was already running. I ran past the couple yelling “call 911!” and ran to the front lobby of the hotel. I hid in the bathroom while telling the lady at the front to call 911. At the end police came, the guys had drove off with my car and my family had found me and picked me up. The car was recovered with minimal damage.

Please everyone be aware of your surroundings especially late at night. I live in a good area and nothing like this has happened before but It was just the wrong place at the wrong time.


6. My BF sold me to his drug dealer

My ex handed me off to his drug dealer while we were traveling abroad in the middle of the night. He had my bags packed with the drug dealer in a car at 3am, waiting, after he broke up with me suddenly. Was young, in shock, in a foreign country for the first time.

I was heavily drugged for months. When he thought I was passed out, he left and I locked the door and climbed down/jumped out three stories where an expat couple found me.

They helped me escape.

I lost 2-3 months like that and my brain was shattered. Memories are very distorted from then. Not easy to talk about.

— Thefieldwaiting

7. My Son Was Kidnapped

I wasn’t kidnapped, but my son was. Last year. One year, one month, and 3 weeks ago. He was found the same day.

My ex (not my son’s father) was abusive and…crazy. Basically my ex and I were in an argument while in the car and I got out of the car, went to grab my son out of the back (he was only an infant) and my ex jumped in the drivers side and took off.

Long story short, police found my car with my son still in it, alone. They had sent officers to every highway in town to make sure my car wasn’t leaving the area; eventually they found it. My son was okay, just crying and soaking wet because of his diaper.

My ex was all over the news/newspapers because of this… I’m terrified my son will see it someday tbh.

— IAmThe0neWhoKn0cks

8. They were getting tools to Dismember Me

This happened when I was very young, in the days when parents sent kids out to play and told them to come back when it gets dark. I was in 1st grade, outside playing as the sun set near our apartment complex in a pretty rough neighborhood. I was walking home alone when a group of four young men called me over to them. I walked over to see what they wanted and one put a knife to my throat as one other grabbed me. The one with the knife told me not to scream or they would hurt my mommy and daddy. They said they just wanted to a play a game with me and if I went quietly they would let me go home, no problem. I was worried about my parents so I went with them.

They took me to an abandoned house somewhere in the neighborhood. They took turns touching me and argued about who would get to do what with me. They also talked a lot about hurting and killing me, dumping my body, etc. I was scared so I stayed quiet and waited for it to be over. They laughed and joked constantly and seemed to be having a blast.

After a few hours of this they decided they needed tools to kill and dismember me. We got in a car and drove to one of their houses. Three of the four went inside and the fourth volunteered to stay and watch me. The fourth guy had stayed back most of the night and not done much to me. As an adult I like to tell myself he felt sorry for me and I could see it in his eyes but that may be me projecting.

When the others had entered the house he opened the door to the car and told me to run. I took off as fast as I could and just kept running. When I got tired I hid behind the dumpsters of another apartment complex. When I was able, I crept home.

I never told my parents because I was afraid those men would hurt them. I told my best friend who told me I should have let them have sex with me, she said I was old enough.

Bonus: A friend of mine and her sisters were kidnapped by their father when we were in high school. He had been arrested for molesting the oldest while she was a child. Friend and sister didn’t believe the oldest and maintained dad’s innocence. The day before the kidnapping we had been out walking the neighborhood. When we got back her grandmother freaked out because she couldn’t have been picked up by the father. My friend laughed it off, we hugged and I walked home.

The next day while she was walking to the store dad pulled up to her in a car with a gun. The sister was tied up and gagged in the back. He had just shot her mother in the face before kidnapping the sisters. My friend got in and the father drove them to a secluded part of the local reservoir. He raped them for three days before getting drunk enough to fall asleep. When he was asleep my friend grabbed the gun and shot him. Her and her sisters walked out to the road. I spent every night sleeping with her for the rest of the summer because of the night terrors.

She’s now a prostitute in the little town where this happened. She is also addicted to crack.

— TheMapesHotel

9. “I will give you $ if you leave your parents!”

When I was 12 years old, I sat next to a woman on a plane to Las Vegas. When my mother fell asleep on the plane, a lady in her mid-30s started talking to me. She was saying things like, ” your parents are con artists” and “I have a mansion you can come live in” and “I will give you lots of money if you leave your parents and come live with me” and things along those lines.

After the plane landed and everyone was walking to get off the plane, the lady grabbed my wrist and pulled me and began ushering me in front of her…My mom LOST her mind and caused a huge scene…I am not sure how the conversation went among everyone, I was very distraught. But, they made me wait on the plane while police escorted the lady off the plane to question her elsewhere. To this day, I cannot believe she attempted to do this while my parents were right there and on a plane no less.

I will never know the ladies true intentions, but the older I got the more sinister the situations became in my head.

— hdslvo

10. He Almost saw I texted Someone

I was held up at gun point and put in the trunk of my own car, while my friend was made to drive to the other side of town. The kidnapper dropped us off in a risky neighborhood then drove off, while threatening to shoot us.

The closest thing to a movie plot-line was when he yelled back that he was going to check my phone and if I had called the cops he was going to shoot us both. I hadn’t called anyone because he would have heard me talking but I texted my mom, so I was worried he’d see that. I took the battery out of my phone (this was in the early days of smart phones but I still had a flip phone) and put it in a board game case next to my head. He stopped and checked my phone and seemed satisfied when it was “dead.”

They busted him two weeks later on a warrant for drug charges and I got my car back. Covered in grimy fingerprint dust and fast food droppings, with enough miles to have driven to Florida just like he said he would

— drumsandpolitics

11. Held by a sex offender

I was 4 and I was picked up and taken into a car when I was playing on the street in front of my house. A lot of this memory has been blocked out of my mind but I remember waking up in a cage in a garage.

There was a bunch of stuff around in the house; it looked like a hoarders house. I don’t know how long I had been in there or how I managed to fall asleep (authorities think I may have been knocked out by a chemical agent) but it was dark out and I think it was morning time when I had been outside on the street.

I remember crying and looking up to see mattresses up against the walls and lots of clothes on the ground. I had really tiny hands so I managed to somehow unlock the cage and crawl out after some time. I was pretty scared so I thought that maybe if I just stayed quiet, he would forget where I was or something.

I remember walking through the house and there wasn’t really any furniture around, only in the garage where I was. I escaped and ran to the neighbors. The man had apparently been a known sex offender. I’m extremely lucky.

— clancythepantsy

12. He stabbed the Dash with A screwdriver

I got pushed into a car in London and held for 14 hours in a car that had been stripped of much of its internal paneling with a door that could only be opened from outside. I don’t really know what his intentions were, but he was going through a pretty serious crisis.

He told me how his wife had left him after revealing how neither of his two children were his. He was unemployed and evidently addicted to crack cocaine. For 14 hours, he shared many of his fears and problems along with a desire to ”end it”. As the time passed, I became a little impatient as I had a plane to catch, but soon abandoned such hope after he started shouting and stabbing the dashboard with a 10” screwdriver because I wasn’t listening.

Through all of this, I recognized a man at the end of his rope that needed someone to talk to. Although terrified at some points, I calmed myself by believing that I could get through it if I could keep him calm and see me as a friend, albeit one that needed to go home.

Eventually, the sun rose, the drugs ran out and wore off, and he had shared all he could. I encouraged him to speak with his family and try to seek legal advise. I gave him my email address and he opened the door and I found my way to the Tube station. I don’t know how things turned out for him. He never contacted me.

— igottashare


In late 2006, after a year out of high school finding my way about the world and decompressing, I started college at LSU. My father had been declining in mental state all since child hood, and I felt great getting out the house living on my own Getting Shit Done. Time came when his marriage was about rock bottom, I never will know exactly why but I guessed he was about to lose her and didn’t want to be without either of us, so he came to my college. I was called to the office, and he had the dean backed up to the wall behind her desk and said he was removing me and to unenroll me. This was a former footballer, bouncer, builder, almost 300 pounds and I don’t know how far over six feet. Knowing he was there I had mashed the ‘call police’ button on one of the pylons outside in the parking lot, but I later heard those fucking buttons don’t work anyway. So he succeeded in forcefully returning me to that hell in the tin can of a trailer. I still can’t look at a mobile home while being out in the city or with friends and not feel a knot in my stomach.

Long story short, things were much worse than I thought they had declined to, and I was not allowed to go outside my room without him being there to supervise me getting food to bring back to my room or even walking past the television in the living room. Due to his drug abuse (and my mothers’), I rarely saw my mother for years after that. Two or three times I year I got to tell her I loved her. Often, the only words I spoke all year. The window of my bedroom was screwed into the wall and covered in tinfoil from the outside, so I also had no light at any point in time (until the foil started to wear down from the wind, casting numerous dots of light on my bedroom wall.)

Not seeing my mother, I also stopped speaking. Soon captor bonding I felt set in, since his rage was very uncontrollable and I’m a very, very tiny woman. I snuck food from the fridge when my father was in his good moods, or stoned off his ass enough to not mind me eating. He would pig out, drink a gallon of milk in a sitting, eat everything while I slept so I had to hide cans under my mattress to have something to eat during lean times or when he was on some meth bender or whatnot. I later learned I was 73 pounds when I got out.

Learning to occupy myself for five years with books from high school and college by re-reading, or a lovely tiny ass faded TV set that could easily be called a handheld, became very numbing. Over time little pinholes were worn into the foil outside so I traced the anelemma and estimated the months and seasons on the wall. I would get so desperate to get out I once punched through the dry wall and got to the sheet metal and kicked, but he put a stop to that very swiftly, so I didn’t get to attempt egress after that.

A lot of time passed, a few hurricanes, and a shitload of worrying for my mother’s life and my own.. especially after he threatened to cut her into tiny pieces, set the house on fire, and shoot himself so we would all die together.. I kept tabs on his drug binges, staring out the gap at the bottom of my door to monitor his moving around (and honestly to catch the sound of the television as well,) so at the worst binge he was foaming at the mouth on the living room floor, I managed to pop the back door open with a thick butterknife (break-in attempts had rendered it almost useless by that time thankfully) and ran to the next door neighbour. I remember all he did was sit and stare at his TV, switching channels while I was sobbing, didn’t even say a damn word. Fuck you, thanks. No really, thanks.

So off to another house to find a phone, find family members, and eventually move into my mothers’ house (she had managed to get out a couple years before my escape!) I fled in 2012 and am grateful to be alive. Just wish I could find work, very very small resume due to being under a rock since college, but it’s south Louisiana and I hear everyone is having trouble.

Things did end well though, he went to rehab, gave up his anger problems, and turned into a completely different man. The fifth time he came down with cancer, we took him in, and I did his hospice (admin’d meds, watched his oxygen, washed his sad poor little feet since he could barely move, did his meals, etc.) I’m grateful I had four actual months to know this man that was my father, and to clear the air. My eyes well up with tears when I think about this, because I could have had a father… but at least I knew him for a few months and took care of him, letting my (and his) anger go. So… Broke, unemployed, no car, living on the couch of a Jehovah’s witness and I just wish I could be positive about the future. My heart goes out to other people in this thread, just know you’re not alone!

Sorry for the formatting, huge lack of sleep right now.

— Tiger-Gautreaux Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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