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The Terrifying True Story Behind Netflix’s ‘Believe Me: The Abduction Of Lisa McVey’

The true crime film takes a deep dive into the chilling case.
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The following contains descriptions of violence, including sexual violence.

Leave it to Netflix to master the dramatic retelling of the terrifying true story of Lisa McVey, a 17-year-old Florida native who was abducted and raped by one of the Tampa Bay area’s most notorious serial killers—only for the harrowing story to end in her persuading her abductor to release her. 

The streaming giant’s latest true crime film, Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVeyrecounts the true story of a teen who was abducted and raped for 26 hours in 1984 by serial killer Bobby Joe Long, following his murderous rampage in the months prior. 

While the film was originally released in the U.S. in 2018, by director Jim Donovan, it only just landed on Netflix, sparking a reinvigoration of interest in the case. It stars Ginny & Georgia’s Katie Douglas as Lisa and Rossif Suther as Bobby Joe Long. 

Interestingly, the real Lisa McVey attended the film’s original screening and has retold her story for countless true-crime series and publications in the years since.

Read on for a deep dive into the true story behind Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey.

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In 1984, Lisa McVey Was Abducted By Bobby Joe Long And Held Captive. 

In 1984, when Lisa was just 17 years old, she was abducted in Florida by Bobby Joe Long and later released after being sexually assaulted and raped over a 26-hour period. 

According to Lisa, just hours prior to her abduction she had planned to commit suicide as a result of years of sexual abuse by her grandmother’s boyfriend, but the terrifying ordeal made her determined to survive. 

“I was deathly afraid that he was going to kill me. Here I was thinking about killing myself, and now I was going to be fighting for my life,” Lisa previously said in an interview. “When he released me and drove off, I took off my blindfold and saw this amazing oak tree. I had wanted to die before and now I wanted to live, I got a second chance at life.”

Despite Being Blindfolded, Lisa Remembered To Keep Track Of Clues While Held Captive.

Despite her abductor blindfolding her the entire time, Lisa managed to take in clues from her surroundings—including what the perpetrator’s facial features were like by placing hands on his face and trying to touch as many surfaces in the bathroom in the hopes of leaving DNA behind. 

Lisa McVey. (Credit: Getty Images)

It Was A Tale Of Her Seriously Ill Father That Persuaded Long To Release Her. 

After telling Long that she was the caretaker of her seriously ill father, he decided to release her. When being driven home while blindfolded, Lisa noticed a rare feature in the car from under her blindfold, which became a crucial point for the police investigation that followed, as well as Long stopping at an ATM on the way. 

Who Was Bobby Joe Long And How Was He Captured? 

Prior to abducting Lisa, Bobby Joe Long had been terrorising the Tampa Bay area of Florida, reportedly sexually assaulting up to 50 women and murdering 10 in the early ’80s. 

In November of 1984, Long was arrested outside a movie theatre and charged with Lisa’s kidnapping, where he later confessed to the abduction. When investigating further crimes that had been committed in the area, and believed to have been done by Long, detectives showed the perpetrator images of murder victims in the area, where Long responded: “The complexion of things sure have changed since you came back into the room. I think I might need an attorney.” 

Long eventually confessed to 10 murders and was handed down the death penalty in 1985. He was executed in 2019, more than 30 years after his conviction. 

Where Is Lisa McVey Now? 

Following her experiences, Lisa focused her energy on making sure nobody else would have to go through what she did and eventually ended up in law enforcement. Lisa has been a member of the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office for nearly two decades and a School Resource Officer for seven. 

“If a student is down in the dumps, I tell them a story about a girl whose family abandoned her and who was kidnapped and raped. And I say, ‘Do you think she lost her way? No. She became a police officer. You’re looking at her,” Lisa told A&E

Intrigued by Lisa’s story? Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey is available to stream now.

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