Shoaf Case Resurfaces in Light of Alabama Kidnapping


By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "I just remember how distraught the whole family was whenever she went missing," says Donald Shoaf, Elizabeth Shoaf's brother

Seven years have passed sinced Donald Shoaf's sister Elizabeth Shoaf, then 14, was kidnapped and held hostage in an underground bunker.

Wednesday, we talked with Shoaf about the ordeal.

"Every time I would come home I would see most of my family members trying to search around the woods near our home," says Donald Shoaf

Also searching, law enforcement.

"He staked her out to a point to where he knew exactly what he wanted in his mind," says Lt. Steven Knafelc, Kershaw County Sheriff's Department.

Knafelc, who also serves as a hostage negotiator, was on the case and he says Vincent Filyaw, the man convicted in the case, used Elizabeth in his plot aimed directly at Knafelc and fellow officers.

Knafelc says Filyaw pretended to be a police officer when he approached Elizabeth and mentioned her brother.

"He made the comment, we have, speaking of him, we have your brother, talking to Elizabeth, and obviously at the time, and I'm sure today, she loved her brother and she was doing everyhing she could for him," says Knafelc

So Knafeclc says Elizabeth went with Filyaw and that's when he took her to an underground bunker holding her hostage.

"She tried several times to go when she was asleep, try to go to the top of the door, and hold the phone, his phone, up and just try to send a text and it would come back," says Knafelc

But Elizabeth held in the bunker would keep trying until finally a text went through.

Knafelc says it read something like this.

"Mom, I'm in a hole, it's Lizzy, I'm in a hold near where the big trucks come out," says Knafelc.

Knafelc says she even convinced her captor to leave.

"She tried to be like best friends with him and told him, I don't want you to go to jail," says Knafelc.

It worked and hours later Elizabeth called for help.

"We heard someone yelling and we all stopped and yelled back," says Knafelc

Elizabeth was found alive and well, her captor was later caught, prosecuted and sentenced to more than 400 years behind bars.

While Elizabeth's brother says the family has moved on.

"They're more protective, but otherwise she's a free bird," says Shoaf
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