Chicago kidnapping victim shares chilling tale of survival - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago kidnapping victim shares chilling tale of survival

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A south suburban woman held captive and beaten for months is coming forward for the first time.

Katy Sharp is a long way from where she was nearly 2 1/2 years ago. She was a bartender at a bar in Markham where she says she met frequent customer James McNamara.

"A friendship slowly developed and he was actually paying me to clean his house for him. And I was in the process of trying to move down to Nashville, so I was saving up money," she tells FOX 32's Lisa Chavarria.

Sharp began to have deep conversations with McNamara. Talks, she says, that turned dark.

"Eventually, the stories became very intimidating," Sharp recalls. "Very scary, very violent."

She says those scary stories eventually evolved into something far more sinister--an obsession of sorts. He started threatening her and her family.

"He had looked up information about them, where they lived, what their daily schedules were like and he began telling me, you're going to move in with me," she explains. "And if you don't, I'm going to go kill your mother and kill your sister."

She said she had no choice but to move in with McNamara. For two months she told her family that he was her boyfriend. In reality, she lived a life of torture--all to keep her family safe.

"At that point, I felt like the only thing I could do to protect them was to comply with what he was asking me to do," Sharp continues. "It evolved from being punched in the face for hours and hours to being hit with a metal baseball bat that he would make me personally go get and hand to him."

In February of 2011, the two went on a trip to Las Vegas. On the last night of their stay, Sharp saw an opportunity.

"He fell asleep and I mustered up all of the strength inside of me to get to the hotel door very quietly so he wouldn't wake up. And I opened the door and I just ran. I ran to the elevator, downstairs and got help."

James McNamara was arrested and is now serving life in prison. Sharp now just wants to make sure other victims living in fear know they can come forward.

Her advice: "Don't be afraid to stand up for your right to live."

Sharp has now started up a nonprofit to help other victims or as she calls them, "survivors." She's working on her degree now in hopes of becoming a victim's advocate.

For more information on Sharp's non-profit organization Heart to Heart, click here.

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