Dateline   |  September 06, 2013

Kidnapped, Part 3

Lorinda, Amanda's mother, becomes lead negotiator with the kidnappers.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> narrator: amanda lindhout and taken to a compound in mogadishu.

>> nigel and i were put in a room together, there were thin foam mattresses on the floor and a sheet on each one.

>> narrator: that was amanda 's new reality, her mother lorinda's reality was the lead role. family members usually don't participate in the negotiation, it's too emotionally draining, but because she had developed a rapport with the kidnappers, the canadian officials asked her to keep talking .

>> every phone call i had elicited the kidnappers and we were trying to find out as much information as we could.

>> narrator: can you read some of these to us?

>> i have to know if amanda and nigel are alive.

>> you're playing detective.

>> i learned to analyze everything.

>> you put your entire life on hold.

>> absolutely. i was scared to leave the phone at all.

>> narrator: lorinda's entire existence revolves around the negotiations. in the weeks following the kidnapping, there were dozens of ransom calls. aid workers and journalists had not only been kidnapped but had also been killed in somalia. lorinda feared her daughter would be next. kelley travelled to lorinda's home and found out firsthand just how strong a mother's love can be.

>> she really didn't have a choice. i'm not sure that i could do that. i have a whole new respect for lerr forlfor lorinda and how strong she is. she literally worked around the clock, 24/7.

>> narrator: by the third week of captivity, amanda 's and nigel 's existence were reduced to one room. what amanda missed the most was seeing the sky. some of their captors were nicer than others. some threatening. she says abdullah was the worst.

>> almost as soon as we had been taken, abdullah seemed to lay some claim on me.

>> narrator: during their ordeal, amanda and nigel were moved house to house many times, some worse than others, mold on the walls, cockroaches and rats on the floors. they were always trapped indoors, but all that changed nearly a month after they were taken. they were rousted out of their room and marched outside.

>> we were terrified and a small video camera was brought out and set down on the ground before us and we were told to beg for our lives.

>> narrator: it was a pivotal moment. on september 17 , 2008 , lorinda turned on the tv and saw this, a hostage video on al jazeera . she was crushed. it was the first time she saw amanda and nigel and it didn't look good.

>> we're just analyzing her, how she looks, how she's holding herself.

>> you take your negotiator cap off and put your mom hat on.

>> it was terrifying, to be honest, i couldn't keep my mom halt on very long because i couldn't function.

>> narrator: she could not hear, but the video made the situation very real.

>> what were you feeling as you watched it?

>> i just wanted to bring her home. never let her go.

>> narrator: weeks passed and each day grew longer and more desperate for both mother and daughter. and then after two months, their captors moved amanda and nigel into separate rooms and kept them apart.

>> why was that so important?

>> that day, as the days that followed were among the very, very worst because suddenly i'm alone with my own thoughts and my mind.

>> narrator: amanda 's mind ran wild, the only woman in a house with 16 men. she feared she would be raped.

>> it turns out your fears were justified. abdullah starts coming to your room.

>> yeah. this is very hard to talk about. he did cross that line and my worst fears were realized. and my whole experience in captivity really changed.

>> locked in that room, a simple act gave amanda strength.

>> i would just walk in circles in this room that itches held in. i would walk with the dreams of the life that i hoped one day i would be able to go on and live. and that's what helped pull me out of the slump that i went into immediately after abdullah started paying those first visits to my room.

>> then one night in the fourth month of captivity, she was jostled wake and driven out to the desert alone. what happened next was terrifying.

>> they brought me over to an acaicia tree, they pulled my head back and there was a serrated knife.

>> i can't imagine the horror you must have been feeling.

>> so many times in those first months i had feared that my head would be cut off because it was something that they threatened us with a lot. i was sure that that was it, that they were going to kill me.

>> it must have felt like an eterni eternity.

>> it did. i felt despair because i didn't want it to be the end.

>> and then they hand you a phone and who's on the phone?

>> my mom.

>> narrator: desperate, amanda had only three minutes to beg for her life.

>> mom --

>> amanda , amanda , i love you. amanda , how are you?

>> mom, listen, listen to me.

>> okay.

>> if you guys don't pay $1 million for me by one week, they will kill me. okay? tonight they have brought me out to kill me. but they have given me one more chance to call you guys.

>> amanda , amanda , stay strong, stay strong, hon.

>> that phone call definitely made it harder. not to let my imagination go.

>> did you keep it together?

>> i did. i did.

>> how?

>> i just felt like i had to. i had to be strong for her. but after the call, we just sat there and cried. things had taken a change. they weren't going to be nice anymore.

>> coming up, a daring new plan --

>> we might have a chance to escape.

>> armed with nail clippers and courage, the hostages make a dash for freedom.

farmers presents: fifteen seconds of smart. so