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Man sentenced for kidnapping, holding stepdaughter captive for 19 years

Henri Piette receives life sentence in prison
Henri Piette convicted in step-daughter's kidnapping
Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 17:35:54-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City-area mother says she is feeling relief after a horrific, years-long ordeal is finally over.

That’s what Rosalynn McGinnis told 41 Action News after the man who kidnapped her at age 12 and held her captive for nearly two decades was sentenced Thursday.

A federal judge in Oklahoma City sentenced Henri Piette to life in prison on one count of kidnapping and 30 years in prison for "travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile" after a jury found Piette guilty in June 2019 of those crimes.

McGinnis testified at the trial, along with the defendant, FBI agents, witnesses and medical experts.

Piette was also ordered to pay the family restitution.

McGinnis told 41 Action News in an exclusive interview in November 2018 that Piette, who was her stepfather, started sexually abusing her at age 10 when they lived in Springfield, Missouri.

Piette later took McGinnis from her Oklahoma middle school in 1997 and changed her appearance. He moved her from hotel room to hotel room to elude capture.

Despite a search involving family and law enforcement, McGinnis wasn't found.

Piette eventually hid McGinnis across the border in Mexico, where she lived in constant fear. She said he beat and raped her almost daily.

McGinnis first became pregnant at 15, and she has nine children with her captor.

After the guilty verdict in 2019, McGinnis told 41 Action News, "I'm just so happy that he is put away where he can't hurt anyone anymore."

After Thursday’s sentencing Oklahoma, state officials took Piette into custody to try him on multiple state charges filed in Wagoner County, Oklahoma.

“The victim endured two decades of horrific abuse by the defendant. Her courage lead her to escape and rescue her children and allowed investigators and prosecutors to seek justice on her behalf,” United States Attorney Brian J. Kuester said following the verdict. “Ultimately her courage ended the defendant’s reign of terror.”

McGinnis now lives in the Kansas City area with her family.

They are focused on moving forward with their lives.