Young woman kidnapped and buried alive in fibreglass box for days in ransom bid

A woman spent more than three days locked in a fibreglass box underground when she was kidnapped to extract a ransom from her wealthy property developer dad.

Barbara Mackle was a 20-year-old student at the prestigious Emery University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was a popular girl partly thanks to her well-connected status and good looks.

Her dad Robert was one of the three Mackle Brothers, who bought and developed a lucrative chunk of Florida land on the Gulf Coast before it became a hotspot.

What do you think about Barbara's audacious abduction? Have your say and see what others think in the comments.

By the late sixties, the Mackle Brothers were some of the state's richest men. Their property viewings attracted thousands of people and worldwide intrigue.

Barbara had nothing to do with that, though her kidnapping was entirely due to her father's wealth.

On December 17 1968, kidnappers George Deacon and Ruth Eisemann-Schier came to the door dressed as police officers.

  • Love Island's bombshell postcard fallout revealed after Casa Amor betrayals

They said her friend Stewart had been involved in a car accident and needed her help.

Barbara's mum was gagged and chloroformed, with the bright young student taken at gunpoint to a strange rural location 20 miles from her home.

When they arrived Barbara was placed in an extraordinary fibreglass-reinforced plastic box fitted with tailor-made breathing tubes, sedated water, food and even a small lamp.

  • Wayne Rooney photo girls apologise to Man Utd hero and sell him copyright for £1

In one way Barbara was lucky her kidnappers were willing to take such good care of her.

What they were really after was a $500k ($3.5m today) ransom from Barbara's dad.

Robert immediately agreed and a drop-off at a secure location was organised.

But when police arrived the kidnappers fled on foot, with key information left in the car they abandoned.

  • Airbnb lists top seaside destinations for summer – and Kent coastline tops list

The next time things ran smoothly and the money was received.

Yet Deacon and Eisemann-Schier again fled, taking the money with them and not revealing desperate Barbara's whereabouts.

Police conducted fingerprint testing on the abandoned vehicle, which revealed Deacon was actually escaped prisoner Gary Stephen Krist.

Then on December 20, Krist phoned the FBI switchboard with loose details about where Barbara was.

A police manhunt involving 200 officers began straight away and the real estate heiress was soon found.

Strikingly she was unharmed and in fact not in bad spirits.

Barbara was dehydrated but not suffering from any illness or starvation.

She later wrote in a book about the incident that she was fuelled by an expectation she would be spending Christmas with her loved ones.

Krist was arrested in a Florida swamp just days later and Honduran immigrant Eisemann-Schier was tracked 79 days later in nearby Oklahoma.

She has the enviable honour of being the first woman ever to appear on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list.

Ruth was imprisoned and deported, while Krist got a life sentence before being paroled after a decade.

They are both still alive, with Krist even briefly becoming a doctor in 2006 before losing his medical license.

Barbara married beau Stewart Woodward and they had two children together.

She even met President Richard Nixon, who advised her to write a book about her experience.

The bestselling '83 Hours 'til Dawn' was adapted for two television films, helping spread awareness of Barbara's lengthy ordeal.

When Barbara's dad Robert died in 1983 at the age of 71, his obituary appeared on page 10 of the New York Times.

He was described as a pioneer of Florida property development, who by the eighties had 3,000 employees.

Stewart Woodward sadly died in 2013.

Barbara continues to live in Florida.

For more incredible stories from the Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

Source: Read Full Article