TAMPA, Fla. - A teenager riding her bicycle home from her part-time job is abducted by a man who turns out to be a notorious serial killer. Not only does she survive, convincing her captor to let her go, but she thrives, becoming a sheriff's deputy and school resource officer.
That's the story being told in a movie debuting Sunday on the Lifetime Movie Network, but it's also the real-life story of Lisa McVey Noland.
“Believe Me: The Lisa McVey Story” traces her steps the night she was snatched off her bike, blindfolded, and violently assaulted by a man named Robert "Bobby" Joe Long.
Lisa would be the only victim of Long to escape him. She did it not by fighting him physically, but psychologically.
“I had to take all of the abuse I had incurred as a child and just reach down one more time, into the pit of my stomach, and tap into those survivor skills in order to overcome him psychologically,” Lisa remembered. “And it worked. Here I am.”
Lisa had suffered years of abuse, most recently at the hands of her grandmother's boyfriend.
When she came home after escaping the grips of a killer, her family didn't believe her.
Lisa was, however, able to give investigators a few crucial details that sparked the interest of deputies looking into the unsolved murders in Tampa.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Captain Gary Terry wrote a full recap of the case, beginning with Lisa McVey reporting her abduction and assault, for the December 1987 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
“I was calm when I told my story, but I knew I had to help them, I had to find this guy before he struck again.”
Long was believed to have killed at least 10 young women in the Tampa area during the mid-1980s. He was captured in 1984, and a year later he pleaded guilty to eight murders, as well the kidnapping and assault of Lisa.
He has spent decades on death row, where he remains today.
The many women he murdered continue to be remembered.
“I’m those victims who are gone. I’m their voice now, until the day he's executed, and I will be there the day he's executed.”
Lisa is now a school resource officer in Hillsborough County. She is also a motivational speaker. She hopes having her story told through a feature-length film will empower victims to overcome their circumstances.
“It’s to empower people, It’s to show people how to embrace life after horrific things happen to you,” Lisa said. “Maybe physical things, maybe mental or emotional, I want to be an inspiration to others.”
The movie about Lisa’s story of survival – “Believe Me: The Lisa McVey Story” airs on the Lifetime Movie Network Sunday at 8 p.m.
It will also be shown at the same north Tampa movie theater where serial killer Bobby Joe Long was arrested, the Villagio Theater on North Dale Mabry Highway. Tickets are $5 and the proceeds will go to help abused women and children.