Unfortunately these people, who were kidnapped and treated like slaves while being held captive for long periods of time, lost a part of their lives where they could have been in happier places – on the other hand, they were fortunate enough to escape or be found.
The video below tells the tale of five missing people wh eventually turned up alive, but read on for just one of the stories...
On June 4th 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart went to bed as usual in the home she shared with her parents and five siblings in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the early hours of the following morning, she was kidnapped by a man who illegally entered her home. She shared the room with her 9-year-old sister, Mary-Katherine, who disturbingly heard the entire scene unfold while she pretended to be asleep, too scared to intervene she was left to listen fearfully as she watched her sister get dragged away.
In a statement which eerily described the crime, Mary-Katherine told reporters that the kidnapper, though armed with a knife was softly spoken well dressed, methodical and even polite. When Mary-Katherine deemed it safe to leave her bed she told her parents what had happened, they initially believed that she was just having a nightmare but, when they tried looking for Elizabeth in the house, they eventually came to the conclusion that what their daughter was telling them was true.
Eventually, Mary-Katherine realised the voice she heard was familiar to her, the Smart family had a reputation of helping unemployed people by kindly allowing them to work on odd-jobs at their home. One of these men, who the family knew as 'Emanuel', allegedly sounded like the kidnapper. His real name was Brian Mitchell.
Elizabeth was found nine months later on the street after a tip-off from residents, Alvin Dickerson and his wife, Anita, who were running errands on March 12, 2003. They initially spotted a homeless man and two women, then, when they drove past the trio a second time, something about the man's face jogged Dickerson's memory. Officers came to the scene and about 40 minutes later had Elizabeth, who was disguised in a grey wig and veil, safely in the police car.
In 2009, Wonda Barsey, Mitchell's wife, received 15 years in prison and Mitchell got life without parole. Mitchell displayed some strange behaviour in court, with some saying he was unfit to stand trial.
Elizabeth is now married with two kids and often speaks publicly about her ordeal.
Press play on the video below for more.