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For 19 years, an Oklahoma woman was tortured, repeatedly raped and help captive in Mexico by her disturbed stepfather, but with the help of a friendly couple at a local market, she and her children were finally able to find freedom.
Rosalynn McGinnis recounted her horrific, nearly two-decade-long ordeal on Tuesday’s episode of Dr. Oz, detailing how her stepfather Henri Michelle Piette began abusing her when she was just 10 years old, then orchestrated a fake wedding with her just a year later before kidnapping her from an Oklahoma middle school in 1997.
Piette drove the 12-year-old to a Tulsa hotel room where he told her that her mother did not want her anymore and that she was now considered a runaway. For some time, she and Piette lived out of his van, frequently moving to new states before they crossed the border into Mexico in 2000.
McGinnis would go on to give birth to nine of Piette’s children—the first when she was just 15 years old—and often found herself the victim of horrific abuse.
“Any kind of abuse that you can think of he did to me,” she told Dr. Oz.
In an earlier interview in 2018 with Kansas City station KSHB, McGinnis said she had scars all over her head from daily beatings with glass beer bottles, 2x4 pieces of wood and a cast-iron skillet.
“It’s a miracle that I am sitting here today,” she said at the time.
McGinnis told Oz that during the 19 years she was held in captivity she often wondered if she would make it out alive.
“I figured I would escape with my life or with my death,” she said.
But it would ultimately be a couple she met at the market while trying to buy groceries for her family that helped facilitate her rescue. The couple, Ian and Lisa, helped buy the family’s groceries after McGinnis did not have enough to pay for the food.
“On a home visit, the couple realize something is terribly wrong and secretly offer to help,” Oz described it during Tuesday’s show.
McGinnis waited until Piette passed out one day from drinking and then fled the home with her nine children to Ian and Lisa’s nearby home.
Once safe in the home, she shared the story of how she had been abducted from school years earlier.
“We got online and there was this poster for missing children and there she was looking almost identical to where she was, but she was 12,” Lisa later told KSHB.
The couple helped McGinnis and her children get to a U.S. consulate, where they were rescued.
“I just hope that they manage to live a life without the fear that they have been living with and I hope that they enjoy the rest of their lives,” Ian told the Kansas City station.
McGinnis said her children never learned the truth about her life until she after she had escaped.
“They were really shocked,” she said in a clip of the show obtained by The New York Post. “The reason I didn’t tell them was of course because what I knew inside, how much it damaged me, I didn’t want them to grow up knowing that.”
McGinnis said although she tried to protect her children, they were also often abused by Piette over the years.
“He would tell them they were animals. He would treat them like animals [and say] that the only reason that they’re alive is because your mother is here. Otherwise, if she wasn’t that I’d kill all of you,” she said.
In June, Piette was found guilty in a federal court of kidnapping and travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile. He’s also facing charges of first-degree rape, lewd molestation and child abuse in Oklahoma.
When asked about the charges against him by Oklahoma station KOKI-TV Piette maintained that he was innocent.
“I never raped any children,” he said. “I made love to my wife. We were married.”
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