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3 remarkable kidnap survival stories

Escape and reunion after years in captivity.

By Rich_Maloof May 7, 2013 7:30PM

As details in the dramatic recovery of three young Ohio women kidnapped a decade ago come to light, we’re reminded of other kidnapping victims with exceptional stories of survival and resolve.

Photo: Fabian Bimmer/dapd; Michael Christopher Brown/Photographed for Time Magazine/Corbis Natascha Kampusch:  Kidnapped in March 1998 at age 10, Natascha Kampusch was held captive for 8½ years in a secret, windowless cellar beneath the Vienna, Austria, home of her abductor and abuser. As a teenager, Natascha was allowed into the house’s garden, and at 18 years old she seized an opportunity to run away to the safety of a neighbor. Her captor, Wolfgang Přiklopil, threw himself under a train after her escape. Authorities later sold Přiklopil’s house to Kampusch at a knock-down price. At last report, Kampusch was regularly visiting the house and paying the required utility bills and taxes.

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Zhou Chengliang: In October 1988, 6-year-old Zhou Chengliang and his older brother Zhou Yong were walking home from school in the southwestern Chinese city of Zunyi. Poor and hungry, the boys were lured by a couple offering food and claiming to know their family. But the couple separated the boys, took Zhou Chengliang across the country and sold him to a family in a faraway province. The family took care of the boy and raised him as their own, even paying for his education. But the Zhou family never stopped looking for their boy. In 2011, after more than two decades of searching through official channels, they posted their son’s information online — and within three hours he was found with the help of a service that reunites families. Now a grown man with a job and a family of his own, Zhou Chengliang had posted his own information online in hope of finding his birth family after his daughter was born. The Zhou family has been in touch with the kidnappers and thanked them for taking care of their son.

Steven Stayner: In 1972, at the age of 7, Steven Stayner was abducted while walking home from school in Merced, Calif. The boy was held and sexually abused through the age of 14 while being forced to live as the foster son of his abductor, a serial child rapist named Kenneth Parnell. In 1980, Parnell kidnapped another, younger child, 5-year-old Timmy White. Not wanting the boy to suffer the same fate he had, Steven escaped with Timmy while Parnell was at his night job. The boys hitchhiked in the night, and Steven took Timmy to a police station. Parnell was later convicted. Steven Stayner was married and had two children when he died in a 1989 motorcycle accident. Fourteen-year-old Timmy White was a pallbearer at his funeral.

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Photo: Fabian Bimmer/dapd; Michael Christopher Brown/Photographed for Time Magazine/Corbis


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