The shocking true story of the abduction of Lisa McVey, behind Believe Me on Netflix

Aged 17, she managed to persuade a serial killer to set her free


Netflix has just added true crime drama film Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. The film is based on a true story and recreates what happened to Lisa McVey, who was abducted by a serial killer when she was 17.

Lisa is played by Katie Douglas, who you might recognise from Ginny and Georgia, and the film recalls her ordeal of being held and tortured for 26 hours by the killer. The first screening of the movie was attended by the real Lisa McVey. Here is the full true story of what happened.

CW: This articles contains details of a story including sexual assault and kidnap. 

Lisa McVey, Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey, true story, Netflix,

via Netflix

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey is based on the true story of what happened to Lisa when she was taken aged 17

In 1984, when Lisa McVey was 17-years-old, she was abducted by Bobby Joe Long. Just hours before she was taken, Lisa McVey had been planning to take her own life, but now says her ordeal made her determined to survive. McVey was tortured and sexually assaulted over a period of 26 hours, before she managed to persuade him to set her free.

McVey is the only victim to have survived serial killer and sex offender Bobby Joe Long, however it is believed that he sexually assaulted many more women before he began killing people. Before he took Lisa, Bobby Joe Long had killed at least 10 other women in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. He is reported to have sexually assaulted at least 50.

Long started his crimes after he was divorced, leaving the mother of his two children. He’s reported to have searched for women who were selling appliances in local newspapers, and then would visit their homes hoping they were alone. He would ask to use the bathroom before assaulting the women. After a short stint in prison, his crimes escalated to murder, and his victims were attacked in different brutal ways.

After killing 10, Long abducted Lisa. She had been living with her grandmother since the age of 14 and had suffered abuse from her grandmother’s boyfriend, which caused her to want to take her own life. Lisa was cycling home from her job at a doughnut shop when she was held at gunpoint and put into a car by Long. She was taken to his apartment and sexually assaulted multiple times, whilst still being held at gunpoint.

Lisa McVey, Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey, true story, Netflix, Bobby Joe Long

via Netflix

Speaking of the ordeal in an interview, Lisa said: “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.” It was then that Lisa thought of a plan to save herself. She told Long that she could be his girlfriend and nobody would have to know about him abducting her.

Lisa, who had been blindfolded the entire time, had managed to keep track in her mind of clues which would help her get Long caught. She remembered how long it had taken to get from where he took her to his apartment and what his facial features were like, from one time where he had put her hands on his face. She had tried to touch as many things in the bathroom as possible, in the hope that police would be able to find her DNA after.

She then told Long that she was caring for her seriously ill father, who would die without her, and Long released her. Lisa had spotted a rare feature in the car from under her blindfold and Long stopped at a cashpoint on the way to letting her go. Cashpoints were rare in the 80s so police were able to trace that too. All of this helped the police to track him down.

In an interview after her release, Lisa McVey recalled: “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.”

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Where you recognise cast of Netflix true crime Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey from

True crime drama Believe Me is ‘harrowing’, ‘sinister’ and ‘wildly heartbreaking’

What happened to Bobby Joe Long? The serial killer who abducted Lisa McVey

Believe Me on Netflix: Where is the real Lisa McVey now?