Their Girl Hurried up the Ladder, Then She Yelled for Help Until Someone Yelled Her Name Back

The tragic case of Elizabeth Shoaf

The tragic case of Elizabeth Shoaf– image from haritanita

That morning, Elizabeth woke up. She listened closely to hear if there was someone around. But it was quiet.

So she knew that she was alone.

She didn’t waste another second, and she climbed up the ladder. Then she yelled out.

“I decided to yell, Help!!! Somebody finally yelled my name back. I instantly just fell to the ground and started crying.” — Elizabeth

Elizabeth, the Girl From South Carolina

Elizabeth Shoaf was a fourteen-year-old girl from Lugoff, South Carolina. She lived with her parents, Madeline and Don Shoaf, and her brother, Donnie.

Elizabeth was so full of life and so sweet. At that moment, She was so excited about starting high school and a boy she had recently started dating.

Elizabeth and Donnie had strict rules to follow.

They had to head straight home after school. Then do their homework as they waited for their parents’ return.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s mom constantly checked on her children via calls and messages.

On September 6th, 2006, Madeline made a call to her home from work. Donnie was the one who answered the phone. Then Donnie told Madeline that Elizabeth wasn’t home yet. Madeline got worried.

She had an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong.

Elizabeth’s Mom Left Work in A Hurry

Elizabeth Shoaf in 2007 — image from

Madeline immediately left work and rushed home.

She called her daughter’s friends to see if they knew where Elizabeth was. But no one knew. Madeline informed Don about the situation.

Don also rushed home. And then the parents searched around the house for clues as to where Elizabeth might have gone.


  • all her favorite clothes were there
  • her music collection was there
  • there was nothing missing

Madeline then called friends and family to help search for Elizabeth.

And they went from house to house, knocking on doors throughout the neighborhood. But there was no sign of Elizabeth. Then Madeline called 911.

The police showed up at the Shoaf house. They began their investigation.

They questioned the children who took the bus home from school with Elizabeth. And everyone recalled seeing Elizabeth get off with a few friends.

The group then walked up the road together. Then someone picked up Elizabeth’s friends. Elizabeth refused to join them. And that was the last time Elizabeth was seen.

Elizabeth’s Mom Appealed to The Public

Elizabeth’s mom appeared on TV pleading for her daughter.

“I just want my baby home. If anybody sees her, please.” — Madeline.

Meanwhile, the authorities searched for Elizabeth.

They brought in tracking dogs, helicopters, etc. And volunteers poured in to help with the ground searches. Over seven days passed since Elizabeth went missing.

Everyone was losing hope of finding her alive. A friend of the Shoaf family held a vigil for Elizabeth.

Madeline prepared herself to attend the vigil. Then she received an unbelievable text message.

“Hey mom it’s Lizy. I’m in a hold in the ground near Charm Hill. It’s near that dirt road where those big trucks go. Get the police. Though be careful. He has bombs hidden.”

The text sparked a glimmer of hope of finding Elizabeth alive.

Elizabeth’s search regained momentum.

Then the police finally found Elizabeth, and she was soon reunited with her family.

The Tragic Day When Elizabeth Vanished

As the children described, Elizabeth walked home from the bus stop with her friends. Then she continued walking home by herself after her friends got a ride home.

Elizabeth was so close to home. She could see their house and hear her dogs barking at her. Then she suddenly heard rustling leaves. A man walked up to her wearing camouflage pants, a green shirt, and a hand-drawn sheriff badge.

The man told Elizabeth that he was a police officer.

He said that the police found marijuana on Elizabeth’s family property, and Donnie was already in custody.

Elizabeth agreed to follow the man.

The man handcuffed Elizabeth. He also put a collar around her neck with a box hanging from it. He told her the box was a bomb and if she tried to escape, it would explode.

The man took Elizabeth far into the woods.

Elizabeth was terrified. She constantly asked the man not to kill her and not to hurt her. The man finally stopped, reached down, and pulled up a hatch door from the ground.

The door was hidden by a lot of leaves. Then he told Elizabeth to go down the ladder and get into the bunker.

The Evil Man Sexually Assaulted Elizabeth

The man raped Elizabeth then he bound her.

Elizabeth soon learned that the man’s name was Vinson Filyaw. Vinson made Elizabeth watch TV as her mother pleaded.

Elizabeth regretted how rude she was to her mother when she last saw her.

“Now that you’re missing, you wish you could say sorry, say you love her, but can’t.” — Elizabeth.

On the fourth day of her abduction, she and Vinson heard helicopters flying overhead. Soon there were footsteps above them. But Elizabeth couldn’t scream for help because Vinson threatened to shoot her.

The footsteps soon disappeared. Elizabeth tried to save herself from Vinson.

She tried to shoot him with his gun in his sleep one time. But it got jammed when she pulled the trigger.

To Save Her Life, Elizabeth Pretended to Love Vinson

The next day, Elizabeth pretended that she was beginning to fall for Vinson.

When he addressed her as “baby,” she reciprocated. She also told him that she loved him back. And Vinson felt for it. He began to trust Elizabeth.

He agreed to unbind her.

He took Elizabeth for a walk outside. And he showed off the traps he had set up for intruders. That’s when Vinson took out his phone and texted his girlfriend. And Elizabeth took note of that.

Elizabeth waited for Vinson to fall asleep that night. Then she quietly got out of bed, opened Vinson’s phone, and began writing a text to her mother.

Meanwhile, she was scared that Vinson would wake up. Elizabeth pressed send after she finished typing her message. But the message failed to send.

“I would continually press send. And it just failed.” — Elizabeth.

But she didn’t give up.

Elizabeth continued to try sending her mother a text message every night after Vinson was asleep. Then on September 15th, Vinson and Elizabeth could hear helicopters in the air.

Vinson panicked, wondering why the search had regained momentum.

The Evil Man Panicked and Lost His Sense Of Control

Vinson Filyaw — image from

Vinson turned on the news.

He heard the reporter saying Elizabeth’s mom had received a text from Elizabeth. Vinson panicked and asked Elizabeth if she had done that.

But Elizabeth assured him that she loved him and would never do that to him.

Then Vinson asked her what she thought he should do.

Elizabeth told him that he needed to pack his stuff and leave while he could. She told him she didn’t want him in jail.

Vinson agreed.

“His last steps out the ladder and out the door, I remember telling him I loved him and shut it and tied it up right there behind him.” — Elizabeth

But Elizabeth was wise. She didn’t risk leaving right away. She waited until the morning of the next day.

She made sure she was still alone. Then she went up the ladder and got outside. Elizabeth yelled for help until someone finally yelled her name back.

The police finally got to where Elizabeth was. Then the captain hugged her and told her that she was safe.

The Aftermath

A few hours later, the police got a tip from a woman saying she had encountered Vinson as he tried to steal her car.

The police located Vinson a few hours later, and they arrested him. Elizabeth testified against Vinson in court. Vinson was sentenced to 421 years in prison without the possibility of parole. He died in prison in 2021.

Elizabeth is now a loving mother and lives her life to the fullest.

She embraces the process of her healing with patience.

Elizabeth stated;

“I think of it because I don’t wanna forget it.

Because that’s something I accomplished that a lot of people might not have. It makes me feel good to know that I got to get through something like that.”, Unseen