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David Phoebe

(1 Hour, 45 Minutes)

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BoA:Audio explores another strange realm of human behavior as we welcome, direct from Australia, author David Phoebe, author of the book Captive Humans: True Crime Cases of People Held Captive. Over the course of this illuminating conversation, we explore ten key cases from David's book, including the infamous seven-year captivity of Colleen Stan and other unsettling American cases as well as international instances of humans being held captive in Belgium, Canada, India, and China. We also delve into how there appear to be a wide variety of motives which fuel these different cases, how different cultures react to the captive human phenomenon, and why it seems like women are the predominant victim of this particularly cruel type of crime.

One of the most deeply disturbing editions of the program in our long history of exploring the unusual as we take listeners to some of the darkest and most depraved corners of the human experience with David Phoebe, author of Captive Humans.

Recap: We begin the conversation with our standard bio / background and find out what led David Phoebe to write about the captive human phenomenon. We also discuss how, looking at the compendium of cases chronicled in Captive Humans, it becomes apparent that there are many different motivations for these events beyond merely the sexual gratification of the kidnapper, despite that being at the center of the most sensationalized cases. Digging in to specific cases covered in the book, we begin with the remarkable story of Colleen Stan, who was kidnapped at the age of 20 and kept as a sex slave in California for a mind boggling seven years. David recounts the harrowing aspects of Colleen Stan's captivity, the strange visit she made to her family the midst of all of this, and her eventual escape from her kidnapper.

Next we discuss the case of Gary Heidnik, who held several women captive in the hopes of spawning multiple children, and reflect on how, in this instance and it others, the captor often ends up killing themselves or attempting to kill themselves once their victims have escaped. We also talk about how the aftermath for Heidnik's victims in 1987 was vastly different from the kind of treatment which modern captive humans receive upon their escape. This leads some talk about the Ariel Castro case which, amazingly, broke in 2013 literally on the day that David finished writing Captive Humans. Following that, we talk about the Belgian case of Marc Dutroux, whose crimes caused widespread political fallout since he managed to elude the detection of the authorities for years, despite a myriad of clues.

We then delve into the weird case of John Jamelske, who repeatedly kidnapped women and held them for lengthy periods of time, but also inexplicably set them free and still managed to not get caught for his crimes until much later in his terror spree. Looking at how different cultures deal with the captive human phenomenon, we discuss the case of Annapurna Sahu, who was kept in a shed on her family's property in India for 25 years after she rejected an arranged marriage. We learn the stunning outcome of this case and what it tells us about the Indian penal system when it comes to "unlawful restraint." We also ponder the wild scenario of someone going to India to take advantage of these arcane laws, which leads to some musing about the mindset of these perpetrators of captive humans.

Returning to American cases and looking at another particularly unique story, we discuss the case of Tanya Kach, who went missing at 16 and disappeared for 10 years, but the circumstances of her time in exile remain enigmatic. Following that, we look at the case of Dustin LaFortune, who was victim to a seemingly rare instance of one adult man taking another man captive. David also shares his chilling theory as to why there aren't many known cases of men being held captive as sex slaves.

Tackling one of the more complex cases of the captive human phenomenon, we discuss the case of Linda Weston, who committed multiple kidnappings in multiple states over multiple decades. This leads to some talk about media coverage of these captive human events. Wrapping up the cherrypicked cases, we talk about an instance in China where a man, Li Hao, kidnapped several girls and the remarkable legal ramifications which befall all of them after the victims escaped. David also talks about some disturbing stories coming out of China regarding families keeping disabled siblings in captivity for lengthy periods of time.

With all of these cases having been discussed, we then look at the phenomenon as a whole, first pondering why a family would confine one of their own in ways that are discussed in the book. We also marvel at how the perpetrators of these crimes seem to possess an uncanny level of dedication and otherworldly amount of time to their crimes. We also speculate on how pervasive the phenomenon of captive humans may be as well as reflect on the secretive nature of the crime which likely allows for many perpetrators to elude capture. David also shares some insights into how some victims of human captivity react to their reentry into society.

Heading towards the close, we circle back around to the Colleen Stan case and how she did not go to the police to report her captor after she escaped, which leads to some talk about Stockholm Syndrome and how prevalent that may be during these events. Looking for a silver lining to this phenomenon, we celebrate how these cases are also a testament to the indomitable nature of the human spirit, where people live under subhuman conditions but manage to survive. We also return to the Ariel Casto case and find out why David decided not add it to the book.

Closing out the conversation, we find out if David has found any new cases, aside from Ariel Castro, since the book was released and we note how this phenomenon is similar to plane crashes, where the story simply breaks suddenly without any forewarning. Additionally, we theorize about who prevalent human captivity may have been in humanity's past, since David only research modern cases of the phenomenon, and why historical cases aren't as well known as contemporary events. Wrapping up the program, we find out what's next for David Phoebe and where folks can pick up Captive Humans.

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