It’s a gut-wrenching story of survival.
A little girl taken from school when she was only 12, held captive, abused and raped daily, not seen again by her family for nearly 20 years
Right now, her accused captor sits in a Green Country jail cell.
Rosalynn McGinnis was a happy little girl.
“I wanted to grow up, I wanted to be a veterinarian and I wanted to teach violin,” she said.
Living in Springfield, Missouri, McGinnis said her stepfather Henri Piette first raped her just days after her 10th birthday.
"…the kind of trauma that I've been through… It's like life stops,” she said. “The moment that you're abused... it's like imprinted in your mind, like I remember those days exactly what happened.”
McGinnis says the sexual abuse happened regularly.
Piette moved the family often. Then, in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, when McGinnis was 12.
He arranged to take her from school. Her family didn't see her again.
The police report from 1997 states she was last seen getting into a small grey pickup.
There was a search.
But there was no trace.
“The next thing I know is my mother's not there,” she said. “I am by myself with this man.”
In a hotel. It was clear to McGinnis that Piette had been planning this.
He dyed her hair, changed their names. He called her Stephanie. He went by Bill. The sexual abuse continued.
Piette moved Rosalynn to Mexico within a few months of taking her. Piette reportedly drank all the time and was violent. She says he beat her daily.
“I have about 21 scars on top of my head and I'm not talking little ones,” she said. “I'm talking about ones like that.... I'm sitting here today.”
She says he raped her just as often. Her first baby came at age 15. Then another. And another. Nine babies in all.
Nineteen years later and still in Mexico, McGinnis eventually met the woman who would change her life.
“She's an American lady from California. She's married to a guy from England,” she said.
McGinnis and the woman had small encounters.
“They owned a restaurant that they had opened up down by the beach where I also sold ice cream,” she said.
And then one day...
“Henry had been drinking like always,” she said. “She brought a birthday cake and he had walked into the other room and she was like, 'I know there's something wrong. If you can ever get away I will help you.'"
A month later, while Piette was passed out, McGinnis gathered the kids.
“I went to her house where she lived,” she said. “I knew where she lived. And I knocked on her door.”
The woman’s name is Lisa. Her husband is Ian. We aren't sharing their last name or location for their safety.
Lisa didn't know how bad it was until McGinnis started talking.
"She finally looked at me and goes ‘look, I have to tell you something. Stephanie isn't my real name. And Bill isn't his real name,” Lisa said. “And I said ‘who are you?’ And she said ‘well, he is my stepfather and his name is Henri Piette. My real name is Rosalynn McGinnis. And he molested me starting at 10 and he stole me from school when I was 12.
“… And I went ‘Oh my God.’ And we got online and there was this poster for missing children. And there she was looking almost identical to when she was 12. She turned to me and goes ‘I've been waiting 20 years somebody to do the math and figure out that a 15-year-old or 16-year-old shouldn't have babies like this.
“We knew we needed to do something to help them but the question was how, what, why and when?” Ian said.
Lisa called the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States.
They, along with the help of whole lot of other people, helped get the children back into the United States and to relatives in Missouri.
A year after her escape - authorities arrested Piette.
He is currently sitting in the Wagoner County jail awaiting a competency hearing.
Piette faces multiple charges including child abduction and rape. Currently Rosalynn McGinnis is living in the Kansas City area with her children. She wasn't comfortable talking about them though, saying they have their own stories to tell if they ever chose to do so.
If you would like to help McGinnis and her family, she has partnered with a local bank and opened an account to obtain and maintain funds received from a GoFundMe page.
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