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He Held His Stepdaughter Captive for 20 Years, Until Fateful Store Run

Rosalynn McGinnis' tormentor found guilty
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2019 2:04 PM CDT
In this photo provided by the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office, Henri Michelle Piette is pictured in an undated booking photo.   (Wagoner County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – Rosalynn McGinnis was just 12 in January 1997 when her stepfather, who had been sexually abusing her since she was 10, took her out of school and to a hotel room two hours from their Oklahoma home. Henri Michelle Piette told McGinnis her mother didn't want her anymore and that she was now considered a runaway and would be in trouble if she tried to return home. For the next nearly two decades, he held her captive, raped her, and beat her while they stayed on the run with his children from other relationships. He fathered her nine children, and abused them too. Last week a federal jury convicted Piette, 64, of kidnapping McGinnis and taking her across state lines for sex, KSHB reports. He faces up to life in prison, and the AP reports he still faces other charges including rape, child abuse, and molestation. The Washington Post has the incredible story of McGinnis' escape.

It was early 2016 when she took some of her children to buy groceries in Oaxaca, Mexico, where they were living at the time. She struck up a friendship with the English-speaking couple behind her in line, who paid for her groceries when she was short on cash. Over the next few months, as they got to know McGinnis and her "husband" and kids, the couple realized something was wrong. They were able to help McGinnis and her kids get away from Piette, and in July 2016, McGinnis showed up at the US Consulate in Nogales with eight of her children. (Her oldest son had run away due to abuse at Piette's hands, but they were eventually reunited.) Piette was arrested in 2017 when he went to get a new passport at the US Embassy in Mexico City. "I know this verdict cannot heal the countless wounds inflicted by the defendant," US Attorney Brian J. Kuester said in a statement after the conviction was announced. "It should prevent him from ever inflicting more." (Mother held hostage by Taliban breaks media silence.)

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