Alicia's Cautionary Tale
Alicia was a shy girl from a close-knit family, but on New Year's Day in 2002, she did something completely out of character. She agreed to meet a friend she had been chatting with online for eight months.
"I can remember standing behind a tree and thinking, 'This is really stupid.' My senses came back to me for a second." At that moment, Alicia says she heard her name being called out and got into the car with 38-year-old Scott Tyree. "Once I got near him, something changed and I realized that this person's a monster," Alicia says.
"He tortured me," Alicia says. "He treated me like an animal—a dog. I basically did whatever I had to to survive. It's like I'm a whole entirely different person. That man did kill that little girl. He did. That girl's completely dead."
Tyree bragged to his friends about the girl held captive in his basement. He even videotaped her bound and chained and shared those images over the Internet.
After four days of sheer hell, Alicia was rescued by the FBI. She was found chained to the ground by lock and collar. "When I said he treated me like a dog, he did," Alicia says.
To understand what it's like to be groomed, Alicia says to remember what it was like to be 13 years old. "There's days where the world's wonderful, and there's days where it seems like the world just hates you." The bad days are when Alicia says the predators step in. "There's somebody there, always there, to tell you that it's going to be okay."
"After eight months of talking like that, it takes you apart," Alicia says. "It does. And he's always there, all the time."
When Alicia started her relationship with Tyree, social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook didn't exist yet. "That wasn't even around when this happened to me, so there's this whole other level of danger they need to be aware of, and it's sad. It's sad because it should be something wonderful connecting with your friends. That's something children should be able to do. But the world's so scary that they can't. There's so many bad people in it that they can't, and that's horribly sad."
Alicia is now fighting to keep predators like Tyree behind bars. A junior in college, she spends much of her time speaking at schools about her ordeal, and hopes to join the FBI so she can fight for other children.
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