Dayton Daily NewsSaturday, May 11, 2013
For the first time, Jessica Buchanan will share her thoughts on being rescued after 93 days in captivity.
figured they were going to rape me and then kill me. I just kept
thinking this can’t be the end, this can’t be the end of my life,”
Buchanan said during an interview to be aired at 7 p.m. Sunday, on
Buchanan and a colleague were working for a Danish group
dedicated to educating local people in the war-torn African republic
about the dangers from landmines left over from civil wars. They were
abducted by a Somali man with an AK-47 and held until the rescue by Seal
Team 6 on Jan. 25, 2012. Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were
whisked away by the special operations team in a helicopter, leaving
behind nine dead kidnappers, according to reports.
“Oh my God. How
terrible,” said Gail Shope, a former neighbor of the Buchanans in
Clarksville, a small town along the Warren-Clinton county line. “I can’t
imagine the terror she went through.”
Buchanan, 34, got a taste
of foreign aid work on a Ridgeville Christian School mission trip to
Mexico, according to friends. The school, north of Lebanon, has since
Buchanan grew up in a two-bedroom home in Harlan Township,
south of Clarksville. She graduated in 1997 from the Ridgeville
Christian School, about 20 miles west, along Ohio 48 in Clearcreek Twp.
at the school, Buchanan played volleyball and cheered, although she
wasn’t a sports enthusiast, said Paul Bilunka, Buchanan’s first teacher
at the school in 4th grade. She started a singing group, Mere Images,
and wrote a song sung at the school and local churches, friends said.
went to college in Pennsylvania, before traveling to Africa where she
was working for the Danish Demining Group. Her parents and sister moved
to Virginia in 2010.
Her mother, Marilyn Buchanan, walked up and down Clarksville Road, often stopping to talk with the Shopes and their horses.
were a wonderful family,” Shope said, recalling Jessica and her
siblings were busy with school and other activities and her father, John
Buchanan, was busy building furniture. Her mother also volunteered at
Bilunka remembered seeing her for the last time at her mother’s memorial service, about a year before the kidnapping.
loved it. She said she was homesick for going back to Africa,” said
Bilunka, now a teacher at the Dayton Christian School in Miami Twp.
brother, Stephen, stayed with a family just east of the school on Lower
Springboro Road and worked at Grandma’s Garden nursery, north of the
school and the town of Ridgeville.
Marilyn Buchanan died after the move to Virginia and before her daughter’s captivity, Shope said.
“She didn’t have to go through that,” Shope said. “I can’t imagine what the family went through.”
The TV appearance and a forthcoming book end a prolonged silence.
Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by
SEAL Team Six,” is scheduled for release on May 14.
Buchanan co-wrote the book with her husband and author Anthony Flacco.
glad she’s coming out and talking about it,” said Bilunka, who also
served as her high school principal. “She’ll be uncomfortable with
notoriety. She’s a low-profile type.”