A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
One of the worst nightmares imaginable for all parties involved, kidnapping remains one of the most common crimes in the United States today.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI reported nearly 460,700 missing child cases in 2015 alone. Each year, tens of thousands of children are abducted from American streets, homes, and schools by strangers. And they are even more likely taken illegally by family members. While these statistics are shocking, many cases boil down to custody disputes or runaways, but an estimated 1% are the violent random kidnappings that people most fear.
Chances are you’ve heard of one of these widely-covered stories online, in a magazine, or on the news in your lifetime, as many of them make national headlines. While some cases are resolved quickly, others last for months or years at a time, and while the missing child’s name or face may fade from the public eye, dedicated family and friends never stop searching or hoping.
As terrifying as this very real threat is, the happy endings that can come from them become even more special. Such stories of human triumph, especially the victorious outcome for children facing unthinkable adversity, remind us that there is always hope, even after years of living in a nightmare.
Such is the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was kidnapped while walking to the school bus when she was just 11-years-old. Held prisoner for 18 years by a serial rapist and his wife, Jaycee’s rescue and return to normalcy shows the incredible breadth of the human capacity to survive. Now, she has become an inspiration for countless others.
This is her story.