Alicia Kozakiewicz was 13 when she met Scott online. Scott wasn’t like the other boys of her age. He was understanding, sympathetic and interested in everything she liked.
So, when Scott suggested they meet up, Alicia slipped past the Christmas tree and waited outside. But when his car pulled up alongside her, it was the thick arms of a 38-year-old man that reached out to pull her into a car.
Alicia was kidnapped, raped, beaten and tortured for four excruciating days.
Her kidnapper was Scott Tyree. He used a dog collar to chain Alicia to the floor beside his bed.
“Once he’d got me into the basement, there was a door with a padlock on it and he took me inside. On the walls were all these devices that my 13-year-old mind just couldn’t comprehend,” she said.
“He then removed my clothing and looked at me and said, ‘This is going to be really hard for you. It’s okay, cry’.”
But her advocacy has not always been met with understanding.
“Sometimes people say, ‘You’re so lucky, that’s not that long’,” she said.
“In 2002, when I was kidnapped, it seemed impossible for them to understand how this happened and that I was groomed. Simply, they blamed the victim, which sadly, is not much different from sexual assault cases of present day.”
Alicia hadn’t told her parents she was meeting anyone when she slipped out that evening. It was the night of New Year’s day and they had just finished dinner. She had never done anything like that before.
Her rescue came four days later when her kidnapper, Scott Tyree, bragged to one of his online friends by showing an image of Alicia tied to his basement floor.
Overcome not with guilt or concern for Alicia but out of fear he may be implicated, the friend contacted police with information.
Alicia will continue to share her story alongside the advocacy group she founded one year after her ordeal. The Alicia Project works on spreading further awareness about internet safety in and out of schools.
“Today, nearly 14 years later, I am continuing my mission, sharing my story with people around the globe, and advising families on internet safety.”
Watch as Alicia and her mother tell their brutal story in hopes it will inspire others to take greater caution.