Missing Teen Was Allegedly Held Captive for a Year by Man She Met Online


WSB-TV

A missing North Carolina teen has been reunited with her family at last, after reportedly spending a year in captivity -- and a 31-year-old Georgia man has been arrested in connection with the horrifying crime, which serves as yet another scary reminder of just how dangerous the internet can be.

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When 17-year-old Hailey Burns disappeared from her home in Ballantyne, North Carolina, in May 2016, her father told reporters that his daughter -- who has Asperger's syndrome -- left behind a diary detailing plans to meet a man she met online. But things didn't go as planned when Hailey met the suspect, Michael Ren Wysoloyski.

The teen was allegedly held captive for a year by Wysoloyski in the "quiet, middle-class" neighborhood of Duluth, Georgia, in an apparently well-maintained house with drapes and blinds that were always closed. Neighbors now say they had no idea there was anything amiss; one man even reported seeing Hailey unloading groceries one day and waving hello.

"It makes me sick to my stomach, actually that someone could do that," next-door neighbor Jennifer Elmore told Fox 5.

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As for Wysoloyski's crimes, not many details have been released at this point. But we do know what he's being charged with: false imprisonment, sodomy/aggravated sodomy, interference with custody, and cruelty to children involving first-degree deprivation. So clearly, Hailey went through an absolutely terrifying ordeal. 

Considering that Hailey met Wysoloyski online, it's ironic that the teen's Internet activity led to her eventual rescue. According to her mother, Shaunna Burns, Hailey's parents were contacted by a woman in Romania who said she'd met the girl online and that Hailey told her she was in trouble. Hailey also sent the woman a picture taken from her window. Luckily, that was all investigators needed to find Burns, and fast -- within five hours! As Shaunna posted on Facebook:

"After a night of sleuthing and driving to Georgia our sweet baby is coming home with us.

"We found my starlight and after a brief hospital stay she will return to her home. It is a blessing from God. Please pray for our family as we work to help Hailey feel how much she has been missed. Thank you to all that have stood with us through this difficult time."

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The FBI and local police will continue their investigation into Hailey's case, and we can only hope that justice is served, swiftly. It's a scary reality to face, but we can't forget that Internet predators are out there -- and that even the most sophisticated teens are still, ultimately, naive and vulnerable. As Hailey's father said of her captor:

"He gradually wormed his way into her good graces, he coerced her into listening to him and not following our directions and the next thing I knew my daughter wasn't communicating with me."

Heartbreaking, and all too common a scenario. Thankfully, Hailey's story has a happy ending -- though we're sure she still has a long way to go when it comes to healing and putting this tragedy behind her. Best wishes to Hailey and her family in the difficult months ahead. 

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