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Pennsylvania kidnapping survivor remembers dragging 'cold, heavy chain' from captor's dungeon during rescue

Alicia “Kozak” Kozakiewicz remembers thinking she wasn’t leaving her captor’s dungeon alive after four days of rape and abuse

She was 13 years old when an online predator lured her from her parents’ home in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2002, drove her to Virginia and chained her in his basement.

“He put a locking dog collar around my neck and dragged me to his dungeon and raped me,” Kozak told Fox News Digital. 

“He chained me to the floor with this dog collar next to the bed. I was raped and beaten and tortured in that house for four days.”

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As a 13-year-old in 2002, Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz was tricked by an online predator, kidnapped in Pennsylvania and held captive in Virginia for four days before she was rescued by the FBI.

As a 13-year-old in 2002, Alicia “Kozak” Kozakiewicz was tricked by an online predator, kidnapped in Pennsylvania and held captive in Virginia for four days before she was rescued by the FBI. (Courtesy of Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz)

On the fourth day, Kozak said her attacker – whose name she won’t speak – told her, “I’m beginning to like you too much. Tonight we’re going to go for a ride.”

“I knew in that moment there was nothing I could do,” Kozak said. “I knew he was going to kill me.”

As she accepted what she thought was her inevitable fate, Kozak thought about her parents “and how much they loved me.”

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“That’s what kept me going, but I knew it was unlikely that I was going to make it out of there alive,” she said. 

Before that “ride” her captor promised, Kozak heard banging against the door and “angry voices shouting.” 

Alicia Kozak has been using her traumatic experience to help others.

Alicia Kozak has been using her traumatic experience to help others. (Courtesy of Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz)

She didn’t know at the time it was the FBI. There was originally an “all-clear,” but she thinks she made just enough noise because one of the agents shouted, “Movement over there.”

“I remember dragging that cold, heavy chain out, and trying to put my hands up but also trying to cover myself at the same time. I had no clothing on. I was staring at the end of a gun,” Kozak said.

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The FBI returned her to the safety of her parents, who flanked their 13-year-old daughter wearing an oversized sweater and FBI hat in a photo splashed across the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

“It was a miracle I was found,” Kozak said. “Another way to say miracle is luck. And children’s safety shouldn’t be left up to luck.”

Alicia Kozak is pictured after the 13-year-old was rescued by the FBI after four days with her captor.

Alicia Kozak is pictured after the 13-year-old was rescued by the FBI after four days with her captor. (Courtesy of Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz)

Her captor livestreamed the abuse, and someone who saw the video recognized Kozak from a missing person poster from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and called police.

Kozak’s case was one of the first widely covered cases of internet-related child abduction. 

But the issue has only become more perverse and rampant in the 20 years since she was rescued.

WATCH: ALICIA KOZAK TALKS TO FOX NEWS DIGITAL

Alicia Kozak talks about her abduction, the 'miracle' of her rescue and how parents and children can protect themselves from online predators Video

Kids want to be social media influencers, at what cost?

When Kozak was abducted, there was no Wi-Fi; it was all dial up. The internet was in its infancy. 

Now it’s an integral part of everyone’s lives, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Combine that with teens’ and young adults’ cravings to be social media influencers, and predators have access 24/7 to potential victims that they can groom and lure out as they did Kozak. 

About 70% of kids in the U.S. would accept a “friend request” regardless of the sender, according to a 2011 FBI warning about child predators, and over 65% of online sex offenders use social media to gather information about their victims, according to FBI child crime investigations. 

Alicia Kozak has been using her traumatic experience to help others and teach children about internet safety.

Alicia Kozak has been using her traumatic experience to help others and teach children about internet safety. (Courtesy of Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz)

It happened in a high-profile case about two weeks ago, when a 13-year-old Texas girl was allegedly kidnapped by a man she was talking to online and later found in a shed in North Carolina. 

“Kids on social media want to reach as many people as possible and making viral videos and become famous,” Kozak said.

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Fox Nation: 'No Interruption' with Alicia Kozakiewicz Video

“That’s the new type of celebrity, and who doesn’t want to be a celebrity? Who doesn’t want to be discovered? But you’re also discovered by predators who want to do harm, and kids don’t pay attention to who is following them.”

This is a “disturbing and tough-to-talk-about topic” that happens every day, said Kevin Metcalf, a former federal agent turned prosecutor and founder of the National Child Protection Task Force.

The shed on a North Carolina property where child abduction suspect Jorge Camacho was allegedly living with a captive Dallas teen.

The shed on a North Carolina property where child abduction suspect Jorge Camacho was allegedly living with a captive Dallas teen. (APTN)

About 2,300 children go missing every day in the U.S., according to the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART), which said most of the cases are runaways or victims of familial abductions during custody battles. 

Those victims typically live. 

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A study of children who went missing in 1999 found that about 40% of victims in “stereotypical kidnappings” have died, according to NISMART. 

NISMART defines “stereotypical kidnappings” as “stranger or slight acquaintance transports a child 50 miles or more from home and either kills the child, holds the child for ransom or intends to keep the child permanently.”

Alicia Kozak was found after her captor livestreamed her abuse and someone recognized her picture from a missing person poster.

Alicia Kozak was found after her captor livestreamed her abuse and someone recognized her picture from a missing person poster. (Courtesy of Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz)

A missing person poster for Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz

A missing person poster for Alicia “Kozak” Kozakiewicz ( )

“It’s a public health problem that threatens childhood itself,” Metcalf told Fox News Digital. 

‘A wake-up call for parents’

National stories like the Texas teen found in North Carolina “serve as a wake-up call for parents,” Kozak said. 

Metcalf and Kozak have been pushing lawmakers to adjust a privacy bill geared toward marketers that they argue will have unintended consequences on law enforcement’s efforts to find abducted children. 

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The congressional bill, known as the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), is intended to protect consumers from marketers. 

“However, in its current form, ADPPA would have unintended consequences that could have potentially disastrous impacts on the fight against child exploitation, human trafficking and other heinous crimes,” Metcalf wrote in an opinion piece on The Hill. 

"Children's safety shouldn't be left up to luck," Alicia Kozak says.

“Children’s safety shouldn’t be left up to luck,” Alicia Kozak says. (Courtesy of Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz)

Essentially, it would allow sex offenders and “would-be criminals” to force companies to delete information about them and hurt his task force, and other law enforcement groups, in their efforts to use information to track a down a missing child, he said.

“For instance, if a sex offender requests to have their information deleted from a database, they could then move undetected into another community, putting children in that area at risk,” Metcalf said.

‘Every second a child’s life ticks away’

Kozak has joined the fight to close this loophole in the bill. 

“Privacy is important, and we can all agree on that, but investigators don’t use the same tools like marketers do,” Kozak said. “Children’s safety shouldn’t be left up to luck. The fact is it’s not just days that matter, it’s minutes, it’s seconds. Every second is a child’s life ticking away.”

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Since the traumatic ordeal, Kozak has become a motivational speaker, missing persons advocate and internet safety expert. 

She works alongside the National Association to Protect Children to secure the passage of Alicia’s Law, named after Kozak, in all 50 states, which provides funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.

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By creating this new revenue stream, Alicia’s Law builds permanent capacity for child rescue teams – revenue that will not fall victim to yearly fights over cuts to the general budget.

A handful of states, including Virginia, California, Idaho, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Hawaii and Washington, have enacted Alicia’s Law.

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