Teen Survives Months of Captivity: Abducted and Sexual Assaulted in Basement, Says Prosecution

Teen Survives Months of Captivity: Abducted and Sexual Assaulted in Basement, Says Prosecution

CHICAGO — Investigators suspect that a 15-year-old Chicago girl who took a ride from a stranger in December was drugged, kidnapped, and repeatedly raped by the guy, who kept her in his basement apartment for nearly five months.

Chicago police officers released the girl last week after she discovered a piece of mail with the apartment’s location and contacted 911, officials said as they filed charges in the case. Derek Swift, a 48-year-old man who has been arrested 52 times in his life, was held as a safety risk by Judge Susana Ortiz.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord, the girl, who spent her 16th birthday in captivity, was walking near her South Side home in December when Swift drew up and offered her a ride.

After initially denying his offer, the girl eventually caved because he kept asking. According to McCord, Swift offered her wine and tablets inside the car but refused to reveal the nature of the substances. Again under pressure, the girl took the pills and then passed out.

She awoke naked in the bedroom of Swift’s basement apartment, and he allegedly barred her from leaving. “She remained in that apartment for the following months,” McCord added. Four weeks after the girl disappeared, the Chicago Police Department issued a missing person bulletin.

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Swift would come and go from the apartment month after month, bringing her food from a gas station and occasionally leaving her alone for days, according to McCord. He brought home drinks and forced her to take more drugs.

Teen Survives Months of Captivity: Abducted and Sexual Assaulted in Basement, Says Prosecution

“When she refused to take the pills, he would grab her face and shove them into her mouth,” the senior prosecutor claimed. McCord stated that the apartment doors each had two locks, but the girl could only open one of them. “Every time he came back in the apartment, he would, what she termed, rape her,” McCord claimed. McCord claims he pushed her to take pregnancy tests twice. After her release, a test indicated that she is not now pregnant.

Swift gave the girl a phone to check on her but warned her that if she tried to leave, he would kill her and anybody she called, according to McCord. He checked her phone when he got home to make sure she hadn’t made any calls.

Swift surrendered to police hours after being removed from her flat. He apparently admitted to picking up the girl, even though he thought she was 20 years old, and stated that their sexual relationship was consensual.

Assistant Public Defender Joseph Crawford, who represented Swift at the detention hearing, stated that Swift initially took up the girl because he “believed he was giving her a place to stay after she had no other place to live.”

Crawford said the girl told Swift she was 20, while McCord said she told him she was 16.

“Regardless of whether he thought she was 16, 26, or 46,” McCord stated, “it is irrelevant because the age is not an element” relevant to Swift’s allegations, which include criminal sexual assault by force and kidnapping.

Crawford also wondered why the girl didn’t call anyone sooner or flee the residence.

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“It is important when the police come, she tells them that she tried to leave twice,” McCord countered. “The first time he caught her, [he] stood over her with an open hand, struck her across the face.” “The second attempt, he forcibly pushed her body against the wall; she did not believe that she had a way out,” she continued.

“She’s now a youngster who has been kept in this basement, fed medications, raped on a daily basis, and threatened to kill her and her family. She said nothing, but how could she? She’s a child. She is a child who has been tortured in inconceivable ways.”

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