Woman recalls being kidnapped, held in bunker as a teen

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTV) - Elizabeth Shoaf is looking forward to life's best years.

She is a survivor because of the trauma and hardship that came as a teenager.

"I was 14 when I was kidnapped. I am currently 21. It was a good many years, but I made it through," Shoaf said.

She was kidnapped, placed in a bunker, and was off the grid in her hometown of Lugoff, SC.

For 10 days during September 2006, the 14-year-old girl's picture was plastered across Kershaw County.

The prayers of her parents were answered.

Investigators located Shoaf after she was able to send a text to her mom.

She managed to get hold of her captor's cell phone.

"Lately, the past couple of years, I've had plenty of good days," she said. "Bad days are decreasing."

Shoaf finished high school and graduated from a technical college.

These days, she works as a dental hygienist at Columbia's University Dental Clinic.

Dr. Loretta Felder McKelvey owns and operates the clinic.

"Things happen to people and they are lights on a hill for other people and I think that's what Elizabeth is, and I think she understands," McKelvey said.

Last week's shocking discovery in Cleveland, OH where three women were held against their will hits close to home.

Shoaf can relate, and says survival can come if people hold on to their beliefs.

"Always keep faith. Faith will get you through anything. When I was held captive keeping faith and knowing and hoping to see my family again kept me strong."

Vinson Filyaw was charged with kidnapping, assault, and a string of other offenses.

He received 421 years in prison.

Shoaf calls it a fair sentence.

"Four-hundred-and-twenty years is a long time, and a lot people said he should get the death sentence, but really from the people I talked to, I know that he's getting what he deserves," she said.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.