Elizabeth Shoaf was just twelve years old when she innocently got off the school bus, and on to her home driveway to go inside for the day, when she disappeared on September 6, 2006. Initially she was considered a runaway.
Elizabeth's recounted that her abductor jumped out of a bush after she got off the bus, lied to her telling her that he family was caught growing marijuana and she was getting arrested. He handcuffed her, then leading her into the woods on a long path to his destination. Vinson built a bunker inside a hill, stocking it with food, guns, and crude explosive devices. He created a police officer uniform and badge to kidnap Elizabeth. Almost immediately after forcing her into the bunker, he raped her, something that would continue for a horrific 10 days. He kept a chain around her neck and threatened to hurt her brother if she escaped.
Elizabeth escaped by playing his game. He called her 'baby", and she called him 'baby'. He told her he loved her, and she told him she loved him. She did everything he told her to do, and told him she wanted to be with him.
He eventually let her use his phone to play video games. One night, while he slept, she took his phone and text her mother. 'Hi mom. I'm in a hole across from Charm Hill where the big trucks go in and out. There's a bomb. Call police.'
The two soon heard helicopters and watched the news reports about the text she sent. He became panicked, and Elizabeth advised him that they were coming, and he should run without her. He soon did, and disappeared.
September 16, 2006, Elizabeth stood on the hill outside the bunker when law enforcement and search teams headed toward her. Elizabeth had been found. She saved herself, and survived.
Investigators later uncovered homemade grenades in the bunker, made with gunpowder. The bunker was 6 feet under ground, and was booby-trapped with explosives, had a camouflaged door, and was equipped with a well, a bed, a stove, and a television.
September 17, 2006, Vinson Filyaw was found walking on Interstate 20 with a pellet gun, a knife and night-vision goggles several miles away, arrested and charged. Police were contacted after a woman was carjacked about 2:00 a.m. outside a pizza restaurant.
Vinson Filyaw pled guilty and was sentenced on September 19, 2017 to 421 years for kidnapping, rape, criminal sexual assault, impersonating a police officer, and other charges. He was housed at the Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia, South Carolina. His release date was set for May 18, 2353. He died in prison May 3, 2021, but the cause of death was not released.
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