Serial killers and abductors appear fairly frequently in the news. Such cases often inspire horror, morbid curiosity, and high press coverage, and several such cases have occurred in America recently.
In 2013, a case in Cleveland received remarkable press attention. Between 2002 and 2004, Ariel Castro abducted three women: Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus. The women ranged from 14 to 20 years old. Castro violently abused the women for years. His house was virtually impossible to escape, and the women were frequently confined in chains. After a decade of captivity, they escaped when Amanda Berry broke down a door and shouted to the neighbors for help. A month after he was sentenced to life in prison, Castro hanged himself.
Another news-grabbing abduction case in America was that of Jaycee Duggar, who was abducted in California in 1991 by Philip and Nancy Garrido. Duggar was 11 at the time of her abduction and was held captive for 18 years.
The kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old in Salt Lake City, generated considerable media coverage as well. Bryan David Mitchell kidnapped her and held her for nine months. Her rescue came when she was spotted out in public with Mitchell and his wife.
In part, John Fowles was inspired to write The Collector after learning about a news story; in London, a girl was kept in a garden shed and eventually managed to break free. Unfortunately, the appearance of The Collector also inspired several copycat serial killers and abductors.
In America, Charles Chi-Tat Ng and Leonard Lake together abducted, raped,and murdered 11-25 women. After committing several murders in Utah, Leonard met Charles, and the two began living together at Leonard's lake house in California. They had a dungeon built on the property. Two of the women they abducted, Brenda O'Connor (age 19) and Kathy Allen (age 18) were part of what Leonard called "Operation Miranda." In 1985, he abducted both of them with the goal of creating his own Miranda.
This was not the only instance of this sort. Christopher Wilder was a serial killer of young girls and, when he was shot to death by state troopers in 1984, he had a copy of The Collector with him. Bob Berderella, also known as the Kansas City Butcher, said that The Collector may have inspired his crimes. He recalled watching the movie as a teenager and said that it accurately represented ideas he had not yet fully formulated.