Rosalynn McGinnis tells how she escaped life of captivity, rape by stepfather

The Oklahoma woman who was tortured, raped and held captive by her depraved stepdad for 19 years recalled Tuesday how a couple she befriended at a supermarket in Mexico helped her and her nine children escape to safety.

Rosalynn McGinnis, now 34, was only 11 or 12 when her stepdad Henri Michelle Piette took her to a van and married her in a mock ceremony in the city of Wagoner and drove her through other states, ultimately crossing the border into Mexico.

During McGinnis’ time in captivity, Piette fathered nine children with her — two when she was under 18 — and abused her for years.

In 2016, a couple McGinnis met by chance at an Oaxaca supermarket helped her and the kids escape from their squalid living conditions, she told Dr. Oz in an interview that aired Tuesday.

“Well, we were in the grocery store, we were in front of them, and we had a bunch of kids, of course, and it was me and Henri Piette,” she said on the show. “The age difference and all the children. Actually, we were short on the bill to pay for the groceries and they paid it for us.”

The couple, Lisa and Ian, quickly suspected something was wrong, she said.

“They asked, conversation on where we lived,” McGinnis recalled. “It started like that. Henri was the type that always kept people away. But they knew something wasn’t right. So, they decided to do something about it.”

They secretly offered to help, and made sure to keep tabs on where the family went when Piette forced them to move.

“[Lisa was] like, I know there’s something wrong,” McGinnis said. “If you can ever get away, I’ll help you.”

McGinnis — with her children in tow — managed to escape to the couple’s home one day when Piette was passed out from drinking. The couple ended up finding a missing person’s file for McGinnis, and helped her and the kids flee to a US consul.

McGinnis told Dr. Oz she never told her kids the full story of what had happened until she made her escape.

“They were really shocked,” she said. “The reason I didn’t tell them, of course, was because what I knew inside was how much it’s damaged me. I didn’t want them to grow up knowing that. He would tell them they’re animals. He would treat them like animals. That the only reason that they’re alive is because your mother’s here. Otherwise, if she wasn’t that I’d kill all of you.”

“He would hit them and then I would step in and it would just be horrible,” she added. “Any kind of abuse that you can think of, he did to me.”

Back in June, Piette was found guilty by a federal jury of kidnapping and travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. He could face up to life behind bars on the kidnapping conviction.

He has also been charged in Oklahoma with first-degree rape and other offenses, The Oklahoman reported last month.

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