Wis. kidnapping victim offers insight to Cali. case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wis. kidnapping victim offers insight to Cali. case


A Wisconsin woman is speaking out about the kidnapping in California years after she herself was rescued from another kidnapping.

Jessyca Mullenberg Christianson was just 13-years-old when she was kidnapped in Eau Claire in 1995. Mullenberg Christianson says she met her alleged captor, Steven Oliver, when he was a neighbor.

She says Oliver moved her to Texas and kept her in a hotel where he physically and sexually abused her. Three months after she was kidnapped, Mullenberg Christianson was reunited with her family. Her kidnapper was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Mullenberg Christianson continues to share her story to offer victims' perspectives on other kidnapping cases.

She opened up to Newsline 9 about the time she was held captive and her journey to recover from the life changing ordeal. She said that road to recovery is a long one for any kidnapping victim.

Mullenberg Christianson had mixed emotions when she heard of a California woman reunited with her family after missing for a decade.

"I was very excited and happy for herself, her daughter and her family that she's going to be reunited with her family," said Mullenberg Christianson. "And on the other side, it's going to be a hard thing because I know the next few days or next years are going to be very tough for her."

Mullenberg Christianson is all too familiar with that healing process.

She was kidnapped when she was 13.

"If I did try to talk to anyone or say anything, I was severely beaten so it didn't really pay to do anything. It was pray and hope that eventually, somebody would find me," said Mullenberg Christianson.

But she said the pain didn't end when she was reunited with her family.

"It's a very long process. A lot of people think as soon as you go back home everything returns to normal, it's fine. It's not," said Mullenberg Christianson.

She said she, and other victims, are met with blame.

"It's a lot of 'Why didn't you run away? Why didn't you go home? You're out in public. Why didn't you say anything?' A lot of it is you're fearing for your life, you're fearing for your family's life as well," said Mullenberg Christianson.

She says victims also have to overcome potential brainwashing.

"Everyday we hear hours on end that you're dumb, you're stupid, no body wants you and you start believing that and as the months go by that's the only person you get to talk to so then you just believe what that person says," said Mullenberg Christianson.

As she learns more about this California kidnapping case, she said there will be a lot of ups and downs for the victim.

"It's going to be a lot of times of being unhappy, a lot of times of crying, you might have flashbacks or triggers of your kidnapper, whether it's a TV show or scent that he had," said Mullenberg Christianson.

She said another challenge for the woman in California might be learning to trust again. Nearly 20 years after she was kidnapped, Mullenberg Christianson said that's something she still struggles with.

But the key, she said, is taking time to heal and having family and friends to help along the way.

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