Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story

source: A&E Networks
source: A&E Networks

53 Days in 1980

In Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story (Donovan, 2019) as Mary Stauffer, 36 (Alyson Hannigan), and her daughter Beth, 8 (Daphne Hoskins) are leaving a hair salon in 1980 they are approached by a man carrying a gun forcing them into their car and to drive. He takes them down a dirt road where another car is waiting. While he is forcing Mary and her daughter into the trunk of the second car two boys witness the act. One boy, Jason, asks if the guy is broken down to which kidnapper also forces Jason into the trunk. Jason’s friend gets away for the kidnapped didn’t see him.

The kidnapper drives a short distance before stopping to take Jason out of the trunk. What became of Jason is revealed towards the end of the movie, and this post.

The kidnapper continues driving until he reaches his destination, his house. Here he has a closet in a room set up for Mary and Beth to stay in. He has wrapped chains around Mary and Beth’s waist and has them locked together. This is to keep one from running. The closet door has a padlock on the outside. The closet is fitted with a desk lamp, bucket for the bathroom and a thin mattress.


Every day the kidnapped takes Mary out of the closet to another room to film an interview he’s doing with her. It’s here we learn the motivation behind his kidnapping which there are two.

The first being when he was in 9th grade, 15 years prior and Mary was his teacher.  She gave him a bad grade on an assignment. He tried to speak to her about it but she did entertain him. He claims the bad mark caused him to be denied a scholarship. How true this is is unknown. It’s only 9th grade and there are three more years of school to be had to make up for that one bad grade. The second is he had a crush on Mary since 9th grade.

Mary leaving the closet was solely for the video interviews. He also forced himself upon her a few times, though it is not shown in the movie only talked about by the kidnapper when he tells Mary she didn’t make love to him like he made love to her. She tells him what he did wasn’t love it was rape. The kidnapper wants Mary to call him by his name when they’re ‘making love’ like she does her husband. This is where Mary learns that the kidnapper has been in her house listening to her and husband have sex. Through various other conversations, Mary learns that the kidnapper knows a lot about her and her family and uses it as leverage to continue to maintaining control over Mary.


The ordeal Mary and her daughter went through is seen through the eyes of Mary and her daughter for the most part. The audience is also privy to the suffering her husband, Irv, is going through himself. They have a son as well, but he’s not old enough to grasp the severity of the situation and goes about his life. All the son know is his mother and sister aren’t there. The father does a great job of trying to maintain some stability in the home for his son. He continues to go to church on Sundays where he’s a preacher.

For 53 days Mary and her daughter were being held captive in Ming Sen Shiue’s home in Roseville, CA. It was faith and the love of her daughter that kept her going. It’s, in the end, the viewer learns the story Mary is telling throughout the movie is being told to the congregation at her church.

Jason, the boy that was taken by Ming for a short period was killed by Ming. His remains were found approximately 53 days later, could have been sooner or could have been later than 53 days. Ming was sentenced to life in prison. He was up for parole in 2016 in which he was denied.

Mary and Irv are still together and currently live in Duluth, MN. Beth is married and has a family of her own. The whereabouts of the son, Beth’s brother wasn’t mentioned which he should be.


Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story is part of Lifetime’s Ripped From The Headline movies they are presenting. Last week’s movie was Trapped: The Alex Cooper Story. On Saturday, 13 October 2019 LifetimeTV will be showing The College Admission Scandal focusing on Felicity Hoffman (played by Penelope Ann Miller) and Lori Laughlin (played by Mia Kirshner) who were accused of paying for their daughter’s admission into top colleges. The movie that started the ball rolling was Escaping the NXIVM Cult: A mother’s Fight to Save Her Daughter, which aired on 21 September 2019.

Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story, 87 mins, directed by Jim Donovan, is currently playing on LifetimeTV. Check your local listings.

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