An Oklahoma man accused of holding his stepdaughter captive for nearly two decades and repeatedly raping her has been arrested, according to the district attorney in the case.
Henri Michele Piette, 62, is accused of keeping his stepdaughter captive for 19 years after “marrying” her when she was around 11 years old, according to court documents provided to Fox News. His other children told investigators that he began sexually assaulting Rosalynn McGinnis when she was very young, the court documents said.
McGinnis was repeatedly raped, stabbed, choked until unconscious, shot and beaten with baseball bats while she was allegedly held captive by Piette, the Oklahoman reported.
Investigators said McGinnis was taken from a school in Poteau, Okla., by Piette’s son in 1997 after her mother had left Piette, allegedly because he abused her. McGinnis was then introduced to Piette’s other children as “their new mother,” an F.B.I. agent said, according to the Oklahoman.
Piette moved around the U.S. and Mexico with McGinnis, but to make it seem as though they were still in Oklahoma, Piette would drive the young girl to the Sooner State to mail letters, court documents alleged. In June 2016, McGinnis, now 33, as able to escape from a tent in rural Mexico with eight of her nine children, she told People. She went to a U.S. embassy and was able to be brought back to America with her children, according to court documents.
“I knew that if I didn’t get out of there I’d either go insane or I would end up dying and leaving my kids with that man,” McGinnis told People. She added that when she was finally able to contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, it felt “so nice to be able to tell somebody the truth.”
“I was still scared, but it was wonderful not to have to lie anymore,” McGinnis said.
One of McGinnis’ sons previously ran away but has since been reunited with his mother, the Oklahoman reported.
Piette is charged with first-degree rape, two counts of lewd molestation of a child and physical abuse of a child, according to a court affidavit provided to Fox News. Court documents said investigators believe Piette had been in Mexico since McGinnis escaped.
“It is believed that Piette has resided in Mexico and or Central America for a very long time and has deep ties to criminal organizations in Mexico, which can assist him in evading law enforcement,” court documents said. “During the week of September 10th, Piette was contacting persons who aided Rosalynn’s escape from Mexico and threatening these individuals.”
Piette will appear in federal court on Tuesday before he is turned over to state authorities, Wagoner County District Attorney Jack Thorp told Fox News.
A woman who identified herself as McGinnis’ cousin set up a GoFundMe account to help McGinnis and her children with daily expenses, tutoring and a place to live.
People reported that McGinnis is living in the Midwest with her children, who range in ages from 2 to 17 years old, and they are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. She told People that she has told her children their father is a rapist and abductor.