All the tiny details in Believe Me that are actually true to the real Lisa McVey story

She really did know exactly what to do because she watched detective TV shows

If you’ve watched Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey you were probably very shocked at just how much Lisa McVey was able to do to get her captor found, and wondered if all of this is completely true to the real life story.

Lisa McVey was abducted in 1984 when she was 17, by serial killer and sex offender Bobby Joe Long, who held her captive and tortured her for 26 hours. She miraculously managed to persuade him to set her free and had left evidence and remembered crucial details of her ordeal which led police directly to Long.

The film, which has just been released on Netflix, is a true crime drama recreating the events. So just how much of the film is accurate to the true story and what in Believe Me actually happened to the real Lisa McVey? Here’s a full rundown.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey true story and which details in the film actually happened in real life

via Netflix

Lisa McVey knew what evidence to gather from watching cop shows

In the film, it is said that Lisa McVey’s incredible knowledge of what evidence to leave at the scene and how to track Long down came from her keen interest in cop shows. It’s been reported that this is in fact true, and Lisa was very interested in detective programmes on TV, so used elements from what she had seen on those to make sure she left the right clues for authorities.

Lisa McVey and Detective Larry Pinkerton

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey, true story, Larry Pinkerton

via Netflix

It is true that Detective Larry Pinkerton was one of the only detectives who really believed Lisa McVey’s story, and his was her primary support. After the film, the real Lisa McVey became a deputy in the Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, which is the same office that captured killer Bobby Joe Long. She has remained friends with Larry Pinkerton.

Leaving fingerprints in the bathroom

There is one scene in the film where McVey goes to the toilet and, whilst Bobby Joe Long is out of the room, she leaves fingerprints all over the bathroom. This did in fact happen – Lisa McVey left her prints over different parts of the bathroom hoping that the police would be able to find them and trace it back to her being there.

via Netflix

Leaving a hair clip in Bobby Joe Long’s apartment

In the film, Lisa is shown leaving a hair grip with some of her hair in it near Bobby Joe Long’s bed for DNA evidence. Whilst it has been confirmed that she left a lot of DNA evidence behind in the home, it’s not confirmed whether or not her hair clip was one of these in the real life true story or if this was just in Believe Me.

Lisa McVey counted the number of stairs up to the apartment

Bobby Joe Long, apartment, Lisa McVey

via Netflix

She did count the number of stairs from the door up to Bobby Joe Long’s apartment, despite being blindfolded and not knowing what was going to happen next. Lisa then recalled the exact number correctly to police investigators.

The blood Lisa left on the seat in Long’s car

One part of the film which it isn’t clear is true or not, is where it shows Lisa McVey biting her finger in the car so that she can leave blood on the car seat – which would later be traced back to her. One report instead says that in the real life case, McVey was on her period when she was abducted and left blood evidence in his car and his flat. This may have been slightly adapted for the film.

She studied the face of Bobby Joe Long with her hands

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey shows one poignant scene, where despite being blindfolded the entire time, Lisa was able to recall Long’s facial features. This is because when he held her captive she had touched his face and studied it – remembering details like his facial hair and how close together his eyes were, especially so she could tell police.

In an interview, the real McVey said: “At one time he placed my hands on his face. I saw his face through my hands. There were pockmarks, a small moustache, small ears, short hair, clean-cut, kind of stout, but not overweight; a big guy.”

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey true story and which details in the film actually happened in real life

via Netflix

The Magnum nameplate on Bobby Joe Long’s car

Lisa spotted a “Magnum” nameplate on Long’s car, which was a rare feature, and helped detectives to track down the exact car he was driving.

Lisa told Long she would be his girlfriend and that she had a sick father to look after

In order to be freed, Lisa McVey told Long that she could be his girlfriend and nobody would have to know about him abducting her. She then said she was caring for her seriously ill father, who would die without her, and Long released her. “I said, ‘Listen, it’s unfortunate how we met, but I can be your girlfriend. I could take care of you, and no one ever has to know,” McVey recalled.

Red fibres found at each crime scene

In the true story, red fibres were found at the crime scene of Bobby Joe Long’s other murder victims. These same red fibres were found on Lisa McVey, and were part of the red interior of Long’s car.

Lisa McVey is shown doing the drive she did with Long, but with police

There is one scene in Believe Me when police are trying to track the exact location of Bobby Joe Long’s apartment, so they take Lisa McVey in the car from where she was abducted and try to recreate the journey. She lies down in the police car, blindfolded the same way she was on the night, and directs the police. It has not be explicitly reported that this exact drive through happened in the real story, but Lisa McVey did provide the police with directions and clues to where they apartment was, so it is likely that this, or something similar, did also happen.

Did Detective Wolf photograph Long and tell him the armed robber story?

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey true story and which details in the film actually happened in real life

via Netflix

Finally, in the film, a man called Detective Wolf is shown out on patrol when he spots the car they believe belonged to their killer. They didn’t have enough evidence to arrest the driver, so instead photographed him so that McVey could formally identify him first. The detective is shown saying that an armed robbery had taken place nearby and they needed to take a photo so the victim could confirm it wasn’t Long who had done it.

Believe Me was actually very accurate to how this exchange played out in the true story. In real life, Detective Wolf and was on patrol with another detective when they saw the car. They pulled the car over and they checked his license which is when they confirmed the driver was Bobby Joe Long, and his address matched the area that the police were searching for the killer’s apartment. The car’s interior also matched what Lisa McVey had described. They did tell him they were looking for a robbery suspect, so Long cooperated and let them photograph him. He is said to have been visibly relieved when they let him go.

Lisa McVey

via Netflix

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:

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

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

Who is Katie Douglas? The 22-year-old actress who plays Lisa McVey in Believe Me