Inspired by actual events, Lifetime’s Girl in the Basement tells the story of a teenage girl, Sara (Stefanie Scott), who is looking forward to her 18th birthday so she can leave her domineering father, Don (Judd Nelson). But before she would come of age, her father imprisoned her in a secret annex in the basement of their home, convincing Sara’s mother Irene (Joely Fisher) that she had run away. Ultimately Sara was held captive—and sexually abused—for more than 20 years before she escaped.
Below, read a selection of A&E Real Crime articles on high-profile cases where resilient women and young girls were abducted and held captive—in some cases for many years—but later broke free.
Elizabeth Shoaf Was Kidnapped and Assaulted Inside a Bunker for 10 Days: How the Teen Escaped
The amazing 2006 escape of a 14-year-old girl from Kershaw County, South Carolina, who had been kidnapped, raped and held in an underground bunker in the woods.
What Happened to Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight After They Escaped from Captor Ariel Castro?
After their 2013 escape from Ariel Castro’s Cleveland house of horrors, where the man repeatedly raped and tortured them for years, the three women are now working to help other survivors.
The Kidnapping and Torture of Mary Stauffer
A Minnesota woman and her daughter were kidnapped and tortured for 53 days by the woman’s former student, Ming Sen Shiue, in 1980.
Colleen Stan Was Kidnapped and Kept in a Box for 7 Years
For seven years, a 20-year-old was held captive and locked in a small, coffin-like box under a couple’s bed. What came next was a misery of unspeakable depth and duration.
What’s Jaycee Dugard’s Life Like Now?
At age 40, more than a decade after she was found alive after being kidnapped as a child, Dugard has learned to drive, has written two books and started a foundation to help other survivors.