65-year-old Henri Michelle Piette of Poteau, Oklahoma, has been convicted of kidnapping and traveling with a minor to engage in a sexual act for the abduction of his step-daughter, Rosalynn McGinnis, in 1997.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice, “Over the course of the nearly 20 years that followed, the defendant repeatedly raped and inflicted additional physical and emotional abuse upon the victim. The victim gave birth to nine children, the first being born in 2000 when she was 15 years old.”
In June 2016, McGinnis escaped with eight of the nine children she had with Piette from a remote village in Mexico where they had been held captive. Her oldest child reportedly ran away before her escape, but they have since been reunited, People Magazine reports. The FBI began an investigation in search of Piette shortly after McGinnis’ return to the U.S.
On February 7, 2017, an FBI special agent was notified that Piette “visited the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City attempting to obtain a U.S. Passport.” He was arrested one month later in Dallas. Following his arrest, McGinnis gave an exclusive statement to People saying, “Relief is such a small word in comparison to how I feel about the capture of Henri Piette.”
She continued, “However, it is the closest I am able to come to describing my overall demeanor at this time,”she said. “Knowing that the man who physically took 22 years from me, leaving me with a lifetime of painful challenges, has been captured makes today one of the most pivotal times of my life.”
Piette was sentenced to life in prison on February 20th, in addition to 360 months for traveling with intent to engage in sexual acts with a juvenile, a $50,000 fine, and ordered to pay $50,067 restitution.