‘Girl in the Bunker’ kidnapper who got 421 years in SC prison dies behind bars

Vinson Filyaw, who was serving a 421-year prison sentence for kidnapping, torturing and raping a 14-year-old Kershaw County woman he saved in an explosive-laden underground bunker, died Monday in state prison, in line with official sources with information of his loss of life.

Filyaw, 51, was discovered unresponsive in his cell at McCormick Correctional Institution, an all-male facility in McCormick County, the sources stated.

There have been no fast indicators of foul play, and an post-mortem can be carried out, the sources stated.

Faye Puckett, McCormick County coroner, confirmed Monday that an inmate had died however declined to call him. State corrections officers stated their observe is to have the county coroner determine inmates who die in prison.

A Lifetime television movie about the case, “The Girl in the Bunker,” aired in 2018.

“He was a bad guy — as bad as you can get without killing anybody,” former fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Barney Giese, who prosecuted Filyaw’s case, stated in an interview Monday.

“He got 421 years and deserved every day of it,” Giese stated.

Filyaw’s projected launch date was in the 12 months 2353, in line with prison information.

He was caught in 2006 and pleaded guilty the next year. The decide sentenced him to 421 years in prison by combining consecutive sentences for kidnapping, rape, impersonating a legislation enforcement officer and a number of different offenses.

“Unforgivable,” intoned Judge G. Thomas Cooper as he sentenced Filyaw to one among the longest sentences given any state defendant in fashionable instances. “You have preyed upon helpless victims with violence and in a savage manner.”

From faculty bus to explosive-lined bunker

In September 2006, a 14-year-old woman went lacking after getting off a college bus in the Elgin group in Kershaw County.

According to an in-depth story in The State newspaper in 2007, proof in the case confirmed Filyaw had hidden in a bush and waited for the woman to depart the bus cease, then jumped out in entrance of her carrying a shirt with a police emblem on it. He falsely instructed her she was underneath arrest as a result of her household was rising marijuana and handcuffed her.

After main her into the woods, he raped her, then positioned a necklace on her he instructed her was stuffed with explosives. If she tried to flee, he stated, he would blow her up after which kill her little brother. Filyaw then led the woman deep right into a forest, the place he had ready an underground lair, six ft deep, with a camouflaged door. It was booby-trapped with explosives.

The bunker was one among 4 Filyaw had constructed round Kershaw County, in line with authorities. It had a properly, a mattress, a range, a tv and an escape hatch. As the days glided by, Filyaw allowed his sufferer to play video video games on his cellphone.

One evening, whereas Filyaw slept, she wrote a textual content message to her mom on the cellphone, lifted the camouflage door, caught her hand out with the cellphone and despatched the message. That finally led authorities to the hideout, the place they discovered her.

Evidence included chains Filyaw had positioned round the woman’s neck to maintain her captive, a hand-crafted badge he used to pose as a police officer and a knife, pellet gun and night-vision goggles he was carrying when he was arrested.

Filyaw instructed authorities the motive for the kidnapping was to hunt revenge on the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office, which had purportedly wrongfully accused him of a intercourse crime.

‘A world she did not deserve’

At the responsible plea listening to, the woman’s mom instructed Judge Cooper, ”For 10 days we endured a hell we might not want on some other household. Our harmless youngster was subjected to torment and abuse and positioned in a world she didn’t deserve.”

Also at the 2007 listening to, protection lawyer Jack Duncan launched proof that Filyaw had endured a turbulent childhood, had dropped out of highschool and was an alcoholic, unemployed loner affected by paranoia and delusions.

Duncan stated Monday that Filyaw redeemed himself to some extent when he determined to plead responsible as an alternative of getting a trial — which spared the sufferer the ordeal of testifying.

A veteran lawyer who has had hundreds of purchasers over a 40-year profession, Duncan stated he had by no means had a consumer who got a 425-year sentence.

“It’s the longest specific sentence, I think, in South Carolina history,” Duncan stated.

Giese, the prosecutor, stated he has a really clear reminiscence of the kidnapped woman whose actions led authorities to the bunker.

“She was very strong, very brave,” he stated.

After the case was closed, authorities blew up Filyaw’s bunker, Giese stated.

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