A 63-year-old man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Oklahoma for allegedly kidnapping his stepdaughter and holding her hostage for 19 years. The man is accused of taking the victim to Mexico and other places and fathering her nine children.
Henri Michelle Piette allegedly kidnapped Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis in 1995 or 1996 and travelled with the intent to have sex with her, an indictment handed by a grand jury in Muskogee, Oklahoma claimed.
McGinnis has discussed her case publicly, the Associated Press reported.
"Knowing that the man who physically took 22 years from me, leaving me with a lifetime of painful challenges, has been captured makes today one of the most pivotal times in my life," she told People magazine in a piece published 9 October.
According to the AP, Piette faces state charges for first-degree rape of a victim under age 14, child abuse by injury and two counts of lewd molestation.
In an affidavit, FBI agent Adam Reynolds wrote that Piette first had sex with McGinnis when she was 11 or 12 in the back room of a Wagoner, Oklahoma home. The victim was about 11 years old when Piette "took her to a van and married her" in a ceremony in Wagoner where he "gave her a ring," according to the affidavit.
Piette allegedly changed his and McGinnis' names "numerous times in an attempt to stay hidden," the affidavit reveals. The two travelled throughout the US and Mexico but would occasionally return to Oklahoma to mail letters, pretending they still lived there.
The two had two children while she was younger than 18 and another seven after she turned 18, the document said. Federal officials obtained DNA samples from Piette and eight of the children. According to the affidavit, the night child was not present during the sample collection.
McGinnis, now 33 years old, claims she and her children managed to escape from Piette last year in Mexico. She went to the US Embassy and secured passports for herself and the children to be able to enter the US, the AP reported.
She testified to federal officials about the 19-year ordeal and claimed Piette was living in Mexico "and had strong connections with the Mexican Mafia".
Piette is in custody in Oklahoma. He faces life in prison if convicted of kidnapping, the state first-degree rape charge and/or child abuse by injury, according to the AP.
Travel with intent to engage in sexual act with a juvenile is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Lewd molestation carries a punishment of up to 25 years in prison if the victim is under 12.