On Monday, three women were rescued from a Cleveland home after a decade in captivity, police said. One of the women, Amanda Berry, broke through a window and called for help from the next-door neighbor. Three brothers, none related to the women, are being charged in the case. One woman reportedly had a child in captivity.
Why couldn't they escape sooner? Surely there must have been moments when nobody was looking?
Experts say it isn't so easy.
First of all, kidnapping is about power and control rather than chains and shackles, explained Herb Nieburg, an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, psychologist and professor of law and justice at Mitchell College in New London, Conn. He said kidnapping is often the same dynamic between a battered woman and her spouse or boyfriend.
"It's fear," Nieburg, said. "They probably said 'We know where your family members are. If you get away we will kill you and kill them.' They start the mind control process using threats."
Nieburg said this pattern of psychological control has been shown in previous kidnapping cases. He said that sexual abuse is often the root of the victim's inability to escape.