TODAY   |  May 08, 2013

From Smart to Dugard, more tales of captives rescued

Somewhere in the U.S., an abduction involving a stranger occurs about once every three days. In the wake of the rescue of three women held captive in Ohio, NBC’s Tom Costello reports on Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, and others who were found alive months and even years after being abducted.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> first an abduction of a stranger occurs once every three days in this country. as we saw in the city of cleveland there can be remarkable stories of survival. in a moment we'll talk to shawn hornbeck kidnapped and held for four years. here's nbc's tom costello.

>> what an amazing time to be talking about hope with everything that's happening.

>> reporter: there are a few stories as harrowing as jaycee dugard. she was 11 when she was kidnapped in 1991 . for 18 years she lived in the backyard of her abductors, philip and nancy garrido, giving birth to two daughters fathered by garrido. today she is resilient.

>> i'd like all of us to remember to just ask yourself to care.

>> reporter: elizabeth smart was just 14 when she was kidnapped from her home in salt lake city . for nine months she was held and sexually abused by a drifter and his wife.

>> i felt crushed. who could want me now? i felt so dirty and so filthy. i understand so easily all too well why someone wouldn't run, because of that alone.

>> reporter: last week she talked about the fear that kept her from trying to escape.

>> i'd watched them abuse me for so long, what was going to stop them from killing me? what was going to stop them from killing my family?

>> reporter: and shawn hornbeck was only 11 when he was kidnapped, rescued four years later when his abductor took another child. nationwide roughly 115 children are abducted by strangers each year. among the hundreds of children still missing in america, bryeon hunter abducted inily nation, sidney randall and timmothy timmothy pitzen, 8 years old, his mother found dead he's been missing for two years and there are hundreds more. reunions between parents and children can occur decades before a kidnapping. last year a mother and son were reunited 41 years after he was taken by his non-custodial father.