Police in Sulawesi, Indonesia have freed a 28-year-old woman who was held captive in a cave for 15 years by a village witchdoctor.
The perpetrator, currently 83-year-olds is alleged to have kidnapped the woman when she was just 13 years old, and brainwashed her into believing he was possessed by a spirit or "jin". He then sexually abused her for more than a decade.
According to local media, the man - named as Jago - was known as an alternative healer and for performing black magic.
The woman, identified by police as “H”, was rescued on Sunday in Tolitoli regency, in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province.
Acting on a tip-off, police said they found the woman, who was now approximately 28 years old, in a rocky crevice in a jungle near Bajugan village, where she had been held captive since her disappearance in 2003. The police also said that it appeared Jago would frequently move her at night, and put her up in a hut near his own house.
Central Sulawesi Police Chief Muhammad Iqbal Alqudusy said the man had shown the girl a picture of a boy named Amrin “who she thought was her boyfriend”. “She was led to believe that Amrin’s spirit had entered [the elderly man’s] body,” Iqbal said on Tuesday at a news conference that was posted online. “It is obvious that he was satisfying his lust.”
Iqbal said the woman revealed she had been having intercourse with “Jin Amrin” since 2003 “but she was really having sex with Jago”. The man, the police chief said, admitted to sexual relations with the victim since 2008.
The victim had first been brought to Jago for healing by her own parents. After kidnapping her, Jago had explained away the victim’s disappearance to her parents by saying she had gone to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, to work.
Jago has been charged with offences under Indonesia’s child protection laws, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.