Lisa McVey abduction: The heartbreaking true story behind Netflix's Believe Me

4 June 2021, 14:57 | Updated: 4 June 2021, 16:24

Katie Douglas stars as Lisa McVey in Believe Me
Katie Douglas stars as Lisa McVey in Believe Me. Picture: Netflix

Ginny and Georgia actress Katie Douglas stars as Lisa McVey in the gripping movie.

Trigger warning: The following article contains themes of sexual assault and abuse that some readers may find upsetting.

Originally released on Lifetime in 2018, Believe Me starring Katie Douglas is a harrowing portrayal of the abduction of Lisa McVey.

Based on a true story, the film depicts the kidnapping of the Florida-based teenager in 1984, and how serial killer Bobby Joe Long repeatedly raped and held her hostage over a 26-hour period.

As well as including some harrowing scenes of the ordeal itself, the film exposes how Lisa was quizzed by police when she was eventually set free by the assailant.

Instead of being offered support and met with any sense of urgency, Lisa's account was questioned and cast with doubt.

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Here, we take a look at the true events that inspired the film, that is now available to stream on Netflix.

You may recognise Katie Douglas from Netflix's Ginny and Georgia
You may recognise Katie Douglas from Netflix's Ginny and Georgia. Picture: Netflix

How much of Believe Me is based on true events?

While the film does take some liberties with creative licence, for the most part it is based on true events.

Lisa McVey was abducted by serial killer Bobby Joe Long in 1984 aged 17, while she was on the way home from work.

McVey was the only victim to survive his eight-month-long killing spree. She told him that she was the sole caretaker of her sick father.

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When she finally escaped from her assailant, McVey was instrumental in helping the police capture the murderer.

McVey was continually raped over a 26-hour period and was blindfolded throughout most of the ordeal. However, she managed to keep track of clues - including the perpetrator's facial features - when she could.

Lisa also touched items in her attacker's bathroom, in the hope of leaving her DNA in his apartment.

Serial killer Bobby Joe Long was sentenced to death
Serial killer Bobby Joe Long was sentenced to death. Picture: PA

What happened to serial killer Bobby Joe Long?

Before he abducted Lisa, Bobby Joe Long had been terrorising the Tampa Bay area, murdering ten women.

It's also been reported that he sexually assaulted up to 50 others. Lisa was the only survivor.

Long was eventually arrested outside a movie theatre on November 16, 1984, charged with sexual battery and McVey's kidnapping.

After further investigation, the FBI linked Long's vehicle to various murders, before he finally confessed to eight murders in Hillsborough County, and another in Pasco County.

At his trial in 1985, Long pleaded guilty to all charges and, according to the Florida Department of Corrections, received one five-year sentence, four 99-year sentences, 28 life sentences, and one death sentence.

Bobby Joe Long was later executed on May 23, 2019 via lethal injection.

Where is Lisa McVey now?

Lisa has been a member of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for nearly two decades, and has also been working as a School Resource Officer.

Speaking of her ordeal in an interview, McVey 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.”

She also stated: “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 to stream on Netflix now


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