Elizabeth Shoaf was abducted in South Carolina at age 14 by a man posing as a police officer. She was locked into a pit on his property for 10 days in 2006 and repeatedly sexually assaulted. He would place a bomb around her neck to keep her from escaping when he left her alone.
She says prayer, hope and seeing her family on the news helped her cope with the traumatic ordeal. "Keeping faith kept me strong," she tells Anderson Cooper.
Her strategy for dealing with her captor was to do exactly what he asked her to do, regardless of how painful it was physically and emotionally. When she did that, his behavior changed.
She slowly started convincing him that they had a future together, and by doing so she earned his trust. "I learned the nicer I was to him, the nicer he was to me," says Shoaf.
By letting him believe she loved him, Shoaf noticed he was becoming more lax. She took advantage when he let his guard down and used his cell phone to text her mom for help. As the police came closer in their search, she manipulated him into thinking he should leave before authorities arrived and then she would find him later so they could be together.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with