The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story (2023 Lifetime)
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Cast: Katie Douglas, Kristian Bruun, Cara Buono, Brandon McEwan
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
While in her best friend’s front yard, 15-year-old Kara Robinson was approached by a man who put a gun to her neck and forced her into his car. He would go on to take Kara to his apartment where he held her captive and sexually assaulted her for 18 hours. While he was asleep, Kara escaped the restraints and his apartment. Even though it was the middle of the night, Kara was able to lead the police back to the apartment’s exact location and identify her captor, a serial killer who was also responsible for at least three other unsolved homicides. Stars Katie Douglas, Cara Buono, Kristian Bruun, Robert Nahum, Brandon Carl McEwan, John B. Lowe, Gwendolyn Collins, Emily Meadows, Adriana O’Neil, and Lisa Marie DiGiacinto (2023).
The movie starts with Kara Robison in captivity. She is handcuffed to a bed.
Flash to twin best friends who look like twin sisters. Kara makes a plan with Jess to go to her lake house. Kara calls her working mother, Debra, to let her know the plans for the weekend. Debra has a date and tells her daughter not to wait up for her. Kara seems to be on her own, with her mother working and her parents divorced.
Before leaving for the day, Kara waters the plants out front and decides to water her neighbor’s house. A man, Richard Evonitz, casually walks up to her, asks if her parents are home, and then holds a gun to her neck and forces her into a storage container in the back of his car.
Kara hyperventilates in the car and memories a SKU number on the container. She calms her breathing and tries not to scream for fear of angering her kidnapper.
Jess returns after showering and finds the hose running, and she immediately knows something is wrong. She calls Debra right away.
When the car stops, Richard Evonitz tells Kara that he will gag and tie her. Kara contemplates making a run for it be decides to wait until she is in a less remote area.
Richard lays out the rules for Kara.
1) He will always have his gun on him.
2) She must call him “daddy.”
3) She will do only as she is told.
4) If she breaks the rules, there will be consequences.
He then asks her questions about her name, address, friend, and family information. Then he asks about her sexual experience and boyfriend. Kara waits, follows his rules, and gathers information. It is what she has to do to survive. He tells her he will let her go when he is finished with her.
Debra calls the police, but it has only been two hours, so they write it off as a runaway.
Instead of running, Kara asks questions and gathers information about Richard. Richard smokes weed and wants Kara to smoke with him. He also forces her to watch porn. At every moment, she pictures what it would be like to escape. Most of the time, she envisions herself not making it out alive.
Richard turns on the news to see if reports about Kara’s abduction have made it to air. When she sees nothing about herself, Richard says it is because no one cares about her. He later gives her some anti-anxiety medication. (Which, like, dude you are causing her to freak out.)
At night Kara is handcuffed and shackled to the bed with ropes and ties. She manages to untie herself while Richard sleeps. Kara jumps into a car and has them drive her to the police station.
At the police station, the cops are dumbfounded. They ask her to go back to the apartment complex to look for Richard’s apartment number. With the information Kara provides, they find the unit and search the property. Richard is nowhere to be found.
Kara’s memory is impeccable, and she tells the police multiple details that will assist in identifying Richard.
The police conduct a rape kit on Kara (who hasn’t even been to a gynecologist yet.) They also find evidence in a lockbox that indicates Richard kidnapped and killed before. They are dealing with a serial killer. Wanted signs are posted around town.
Kara doesn’t share the details of what happened with her family and friend because she says they shouldn’t ask if they don’t want to know the answer. She confides in Sgt. Bonnie about feeling overwhelmed with the new police presence and visitors from the neighborhood. Bonnie tells her that it is because people are impressed.
Ashley, “Marcs” wife, says she can’t imagine him doing anything like this. His sister is also interviewed and turns on her brother. Giving up his location.
Police continue to swarm Kara’s house for “safety.” She wants to live everyday life and doesn’t take it well when Sheriff Dale tells her she should be acting in a more victimized way. Kara tells him that she saved herself and won’t take advice from a man who can’t even do this job correctly.
Another Sheriff does some PR repair and thanks Kara for being a survivor and helping crack open a case that will give peace to many victims’ families.
The police apprehend Richard after a foot chase. Before they can take him into custody, he shoots himself. He dies on the scene.
The following day Dara tells her daughter that Richard killed himself, and Kara gets upset that the news wasn’t shared with her sooner. She is also upset that justice was not served in the courts.
Kara tries to explain herself to her mother and Dara admits she is trying her best to be there for her daughter. Kara says she is a survivor, and she is herself.
Elizabeth Smart was the producer of this movie. The Real Kara Robinson was also consulted for the making of this film.
Read about the real story here in Kara’s own words.
Minority Report: Sheriff Price, Sargent Bonnie Jennings,
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