When ABC News went to her home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Coventry, England, there was no answer at the door.
ABCNews.com could not gain access to McCann's personal Web site, and it has been reported that McCann has had to remove the site after readers of the article posted "hurtful" comments.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McCann has also changed her voice-mail message, which now says, "Please be advised that under no circumstances will I ever grant interviews regarding family or personal matters."
In an interview with the Coventry Times, McCann said that the story had been completely misrepresented.
Coventry Times reporter Sandish Shoker told ABC News that an emotionally distraught McCann invited her into her home to let the world know her side of the story.
"She said she was in a controlling relationship, she was depressed, she wanted to get out," Shoker said. "She loved her kids. She felt there was no other option but to leave. She had made friends with a guy from Coventry and … he offered her shelter at his house, so that's why she moved to England."
The 42-year-old author said that she felt trapped in her marriage to Gebert.
"My husband completely controlled me," she told Shoker. "I had no access to money or a vehicle. I wasn't allowed to leave the house, and he would threaten me. I felt my life was in danger."
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, John Gebert said he found evidence on his then-wife's computer that she was having affairs with other men.
McCann denied Firestone's claims that she never attempted to contact the family.
"I don't know whether my communications were intercepted, but I can't even put into words how it feels to know that my children don't know I've tried contacting them and don't know why I left," McCann said.
Shoker told ABC News that McCann said she tried many times to send e-mails, gifts and letters.
But in 2002, the Geberts formally divorced, "through a process in which one spouse can dissolve a marriage if he or she cannot locate the other person for an extended period of time," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
McCann's new husband, Michael McCann, who also spoke to the Coventry Times, said, "We tried so hard to contact the children, but we have done nothing wrong. Sandee is too frightened to go back, and we just want to be able to get on with our lives."
McCann is the author of a number of romance novels. In an interview about her books with Fallen Angel Reviews, she told the interviewer of her proudest accomplishment: "When I was feeling rather unhappy and unfulfilled with my life, I had the courage to pick myself up and successfully relocate myself to a new country."
Firestone, meanwhile, said she's haunted by many unanswered questions. But if there is a silver lining to the story, Firestone's half-siblings, Jude, Dylan and Bria, are straight-A students, and Christian is on the honor roll in his special needs classes. There's another sibling, Rebecca. The say they owe it all to their big sister.
"She plays sister, mother, friend, all those roles," Christian said.
Firestone said her mother is missing out on time with "great kids." And for all she has given up in her own life, Firestone said she knows she's made all the difference in the lives of her sisters and brothers.
"It just makes me happy, too, because it's nice to know that at least I did something good," she said. "Even though I missed out on a lot, I accomplished something good."