Filyaw victim speaks out

Published: Apr. 17, 2008 at 7:48 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2008 at 6:17 PM EDT
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STATE HOUSE (WIS) - Almost two years after being kidnapped and held captive in an underground bunker beneath the woods of Kershaw County, a teenage girl told her story to help others.

Elizabeth Shoaf spoke at ceremony at the State House in Columbia on Thursday about finding the strength to move on.

It was an event most folks wish they never needed to attend. The Third Annual Crime Victim's Unity Ceremony was filled with emotion.

"So I walked toward him, and all of a sudden he handcuffed me and said I was arrested," explained 16-year-old Elizabeth Shoaf.

You may remember the horrific story. On September 6, 2006, Vinson Filyaw posed as a Kershaw County Sheriff's Deputy.

He lured Shoaf into the woods, kidnapped her and held her in an underground bunker where the unspeakable happened.

"While being down in the bunker I was repeatedly raped, threatened and tortured for ten days straight. I never knew if I was going to live or die, and if I was going to see my family friends or boyfriend again."

But Shoaf was able to send a text message for help when Filyaw wasn't looking.

"Every day I was down there I prayed for God to help me and help everybody who was trying to find me."

After ten days she was rescued. Filyaw was arrested and eventually sent to prison.

Shoaf knows her pain still lingers, but says she hopes the strength she's showing can help other crime victims.

"I have good days and I have bad days, sometimes I have nightmares about it. I would have panic attacks and think about it all the time."

Shoaf says she was a victim; now, she's a survivor.

Posted by Bryce Mursch