Lisa McVey had a difficult start in life. Her mother was an alcoholic and drug addict who ended up living on the streets. At age 14, McVey went to live with her grandmother and her boyfriend. After suffering years of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her grandmother’s boyfriend, McVey, who was now 17-years-old, decided that she could cope with the trauma no longer and opted to end her own life.
In the early morning hours of the 3rd of November, 1984, McVey left her shift at a Tampa, Florida, Krispy Kreme and started to cycle home. She had decided that when she got home, she was going to carry out her plan. She had already written her suicide note. However, the earth had different plans for McVey that night and a chance encounter with evil gave McVey the determination she needed to survive, and ultimately, to live.
As McVey was cycling home, a car approached her from behind and continually honked their horn, in a bid to get her attention. Ignoring it, she continued on her journey. Moments later, she turned around and noticed that the same car was now parked at the side of the road. Suddenly, she was yanked off her bicycle. She felt the cold barrel of a gun on her forehead as she was forced into the car that had been following her. The unidentified man threatened McVey with a knife before blindfolding her, binding her and driving off into the night.
The kidnapper drove McVey to his apartment where she he raped the teenager numerous times. The main thought running through McVey’s head was that she was going to be murdered and that she didn’t want to die despite the fact that she had been planning on killing herself just hours earlier. “I was deathly afraid that he was going to kill me,” she said. “Here I was thinking about killing myself, and now I was going to be fighting for my life.”1
What McVey didn’t know was that the man who had abducted her was infamous serial killer, Bobby Joe Long. By the time McVey was abducted, Long had already brutally raped and murdered at least ten women in Florida’s Tampa strip.
Using her wit, McVey knew that if she wanted to survive, she would have to try and earn her captor’s trust. She asked him what his motivation was for hurting her; he didn’t even know her. Long claimed that he had gone through a bitter breakup. “He said he was doing this to me because he was getting back at women in general for a really bad break up with another girl,” she recalled.2 Finally, McVey told Long she would have been proud to be his girlfriend and that he seemed like a decent man, just misunderstood. McVey made up a story that she was an only child and that she had a sick father she needed to take care of. And with that, Long took sympathy on McVey and dropped her off after a traumatizing 26 hour ordeal.
“When he released me and drove off, I took off my blindfold and saw this amazing oak tree. I had wanted to die before and now I wanted to live,” she said. McVey felt as though she had been given a new lease on life. “I got a second chance at life,” she said.
Thankfully, she managed to get a peek of Bobby’s face when her blindfold was lifted and was able to give this description to the police along with a description of the car he was driving. Before dropping her off, Long had stopped at an ATM and McVey could see that she was near a Howard Johnson’s motel and a Quality Inn. After McVey went to police to report her abduction, investigators searched for an ATM near those two hotels. There was only one. They then had the bank give them a list of people who made transactions that night at around the same time McVey was released. There was only one: Bobby Joe Long.3
McVey was the only ever victim of Bobby Joe Long to survive being abducted by him. He confessed to ten murders and a spate of over 50 rapes across the state of Florida. He was sentenced to death. As he languishes on death row, Lisa McVey – now Lisa McVey Noland – is a sheriff’s deputy at Hillsborough County, close to where she was abducted. “I wasn’t going to allow anybody to hurt me again and the only way I knew how to do that was to get into law enforcement,” she said. “My empowerment comes from being so helpless and lost, that feeling I had when I was 17 years old. I’m not lost any more. I’m on top of my mountain and it feels pretty good.”
In April of 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Bobby Joe Long’s death warrant and he is now scheduled to die by lethal injection. McVey says that she fully intends to be there to watch Long take his last breath. She will be wearing a t-shirt with the word “Long” on the front and “Overdue” on the back.4
- The Tampa Tribune, 23 October, 2011 – “Now a Deputy, Survivor Tells her Story Tonight”
- The People, 16 April, 2015 – “Bringing Down a Serial Killer”
- The Tampa Tribune, 31 October, 1993 – “Long to Return for 3rd Murder Trial”
- Patch, 3 May, 2019 – “Bobby Joe Long Denied Stay Of Execution; Surviving Victim Speaks”