Mind Games: Dangerous Obsession Leads to Horrific Kidnapping

Police soon received several calls about a 6-year-old boy named Jason Wilkman seen being abducted by a dark-haired man. But authorities still had no idea that Mary Stauffer and her daughter Beth were missing.

"Then the car came to a stop," said Mary. "And the trunk lid was opened, and Jason was removed from the trunk, and then the trunk lid was closed. And then all was quiet."

Math Teacher: Mother and Daughter Imprisoned in Closet

Night was falling and Mary's husband, Irv -- who was at home with their son, Steve, 6 -- had called police.

"Steve and I were at home alone, wondering, what's happening?" said Irv Stauffer. "Where are Mary and Beth? Why haven't they come home yet?"

Just six miles away, Mary and Beth were being led into a small house. Still blindfolded, mother and daughter were shackled and chained together and then forced into a tiny bedroom closet. Inside the closet, they managed to remove their blindfolds. Mary got the feeling that the closet had been prepared for them.

"There was a scatter rug on the floor and two small throw pillows," said Mary. "He took a screwdriver and removed the doorknob from the inside of the door ... and we were locked into that closet." The closet was just 21 inches wide and four feet long.

Biernat described the scene.

"This was his moment of triumph," the author said. "He had found the person he wanted all these years, and he had her in his control."

In the darkness, Mary wondered what had become of the little boy, Jason, and what was going to happen to her and her daughter. Who was this man, and why did he appear to know who they were? Terrified about what was in store for them, they passed a fitful night.

Finally, the next afternoon, the abductor unlocked the closet door and ordered Mary out.

"He blindfolded me, brought me to the living room of his house, made me lie down on the floor with my hands tied above my head to the leg of some piece of furniture," said Mary. "And then he began what really seemed like an interview process."

The Stranger's Identity Revealed

He told Mary his name: Ming Shiue. He revealed that he had tried to capture her several times, once using a blowtorch to break into her home. He even tried to cut a hole in the floor right under her bed.

He then began quizzing Mary about her past as a math teacher, annoyed that she did not recognize him. After hours of interrogation, Ming, 29 at the time, finally made an incredible admission. Fifteen years ago, he had been one of Mary's ninth-grade algebra students. His schoolboy crush had gestated over the years -- and turned deeply sinister.

"He said that my grade to him in ninth-grade algebra was a blemish on his otherwise perfect record," Mary said. "And because of that grade, he said, he was denied a scholarship."

With no money for college, Ming said, he had been forced to go to Viet Nam, suffering as a P.O.W. He said it was all Mary's fault. But Ming's elaborate tale of a wasted life had one problem: It was all a lie.

Pat Brown, a nationally prominent criminal profiler, said it is typical for a sociopath to lie about his past. "It was just another way to blame her... to show her it's all her fault," Brown said. "So that he then has a right to do what he did to her."

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Paul Curry reacts as a jury declares him guilty of murder in the 1994 death of his wife, Sept. 30, 2014.
Joshua Sudock/The Orange County Register/AP Photo
PHOTO:
Misty Gage/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
PHOTO: Molly Sims poses backstage at the Herve Leger By Max Azria fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015 at The Theatre at Lincoln Center, Sept. 6, 2014, in New York.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Bill Murray Goes Golfing
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images