Windang survivor haunted by abductions

Melanie Pizany is sharing her story during missing persons' week to give hope to others who may be in a similar situation. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Melanie Pizany is sharing her story during missing persons' week to give hope to others who may be in a similar situation. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Melanie Pizany has lived in fear since the first time she was kidnapped in 2007.

Her ex would threaten her and beat her "black and blue" during the time she was his hostage in bushland near Lithgow.

"He questioned me about something, didn't believe what I said to him and he literally chained my feet together and told me he was going to tie me to a tree in the morning and slit my throat if he found out I'd been lying," she said.

"He was very controlling in a sexual way. I pretty much lived my life pleasing him."

Ms Pizany, who now lives at Windang, was kidnapped by her ex partner three times between 2007 and 2011, and was listed as a missing person each time.

The first time, he kept her hidden in a makeshift camp in the bush at Lost City near Lithgow, and watched her every move.

During the six months he held her captive a massive manhunt was launched. He was eventually charged, and jailed.

The second time, after he escaped from prison, he took Ms Pizany to bushland near Bell where they lived in a shipping container.

Her family reported her missing for a second time.

Again, her ex was eventually arrested, charged and put behind bars.

In the third kidnapping, her ex partner moved Ms Pizany from campsite to campsite in Newnes State Forest.

She only escaped after the two went into Blayney and she was able to run to the local hospital.

Her ex was released from prison in 2012, and Ms Pizany hasn't been in contact with him since.

But she said she still lived in fear of him.

"I can only just live in hope and be aware, stay vigilant of what's going on around me and make sure I have some sort of safety plan," she said.

Saturday marks the end of Missing Persons Week.

Ms Pizany urged people who found themselves in a similar situation to never give up hope.

"Believe it or not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel," she said. "I saw that but at the time it was quite dull."

She also had a message for domestic violence victims.

"Seek as much help as you can," she said. "There is a lot of help out there.

"Never give up hope."

On average, 35,000 people are reported missing in Australia every year - equivalent to one person every 15 minutes.

There are three groups who are most at risk of going missing: those living with a mental illness, young people, and older people suffering from dementia or memory loss.

More than 99 per cent of missing persons are located; however, there are about 1600 long-term missing persons in Australia (classified as missing for more than six months).

Approximately one-third of missing persons go missing more than once; this is particularly the case with young people and for those people with dementia.

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