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Now a deputy, survivor tells her story tonight

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 04:05 AM
TAMPA -

That afternoon before work, Lisa McVey wrote the suicide note.

After years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, the 17-year-old felt trapped in a life not worth living.

She put the note aside and left for her job at Krispy Kreme. Not wanting to go home, she pulled a double shift. At 2 a.m. she left work on her bicycle.

She wouldn't make it home.

The events that followed changed her life forever.

During a 26-hour ordeal, a serial killer abducted and sexually assaulted McVey repeatedly. But she managed to gain the sympathy of her attacker and, even though she was blindfolded, collected numerous details about him.

To her amazement, he let her go.

It was even more amazing when she learned the abductor was Bobby Joe Long, who would admit abducting, sexually assaulting and killing 10 women in the Tampa area over an eight-month period in 1984.

McVey was the only one who got away. That will be 27 years ago on Nov. 4.

Now married, Lisa McVey Noland is a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy.

Noland has told her story many times — in a book and in lectures — and she tells it again tonight on the Bio Channel's "I Survived …" series.

On the program, taped last year, she fights back tears as she recalls the night she was abducted.

She says that when Long forced her into his car, she was shaking with fear.

"I was deathly afraid that he was going to kill me," she says. "Here I was thinking about killing myself, and now I was going to be fighting for my life."

He blindfolded her and forced her to perform oral sex before taking her to a house where he would rape her repeatedly.

She adds that as horrific as the ordeal was, it may have saved her life because after Long was caught she got away from the abuse.

She went to live with relatives in another part of the state and eventually fulfilled her goal of becoming a law enforcement officer.

"I got a second chance at life," she said in a recent interview.

Noland says because she had been sexually abused as a child, she was able to "pull up the courage and determination to survive" while Long was abusing her.

"I had street smarts and I did everything I could to remember every detail of where I was and what happened," she says. She remembered that the car was red and got a glimpse of the word "Magnum" on the dash. She noted that the house was in a wooded area.

At one point, Long let her touch his face and later she was able to give police a good description: thin eyebrows, thin moustache, short hair, pock-marked skin.

When she was in his bathroom, she touched every wall, the shower curtain, the mirror and toilet to leave her fingerprints.

Noland says her mother was an alcoholic and drug addict who ended up on the streets. At age 14, Noland went to live with a relative who had a boyfriend that sexually and physically abused the teen. "On the night that I got away, when I got home, he beat me for five hours, asking me where I had been and who I had been with," she says.

The police were eventually called after the ordeal with Long, and all the things she remembered helped them find him.

"When I was being held by Robert Long, I made up stories about being an only child with a sick father who was very ill, and if something happened there would be no one to care for him," she says. "I think he took sympathy on me, but I don't know why he didn't kill."

She says she pleaded with him for her life and told him whatever he wanted to hear.

"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," she says during the TV program.

She would later learn that Long was connected to more than 50 rapes in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area before he came to Tampa.

On Florida's death row since 1985, Long received two death sentences, 34 life sentences and an additional 693 years.

"I Survived…" airs at 9 on the Bio Channel.


wbelcher@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7654
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