Could Stockholm Syndrome Have Occurred?

Randolph Dial
Randolph Dial

Bobbi Parker's boss knew her as Samantha Dial. That's the name she used when buying poultry supplies in Center, not far from the mobile home where she lived with a man who reportedly abducted her 11 years ago. She believes Parker stayed with the convicted killer Randolph Dial-- out of fear.

Parker had numerous opportunities to leave Dial, but she didn't. Dial explained why. "I had worked on her for about a year trying to get her mind right. I convinced her the friend was the enemy and the enemy was the friend. I think they refer to it as the Stockholm Syndrome."

The theory of a victim becoming sympathetic for their kidnapper evolved from a hostage situation that happened in Sweden thirty years ago. Psychiatrist Dr. James Buckingham explained, "The hostages wound up identifying with the men, taking their side. One wound up engaged to one of the men, another raised money for the defense fund when it was all over with."

Could Parker be another Patti Hearst or Elizabeth Smart who fell victim to a man with a controlling nature? Neighbor Lisa Kettler assumed the couple were husband and wife. She recalled, "My ex husband, he had spoke with her a time or two and he had told my husband not to speak with his wife anymore."

Buckingham says victims often have low self esteem and easily identify with their kidnapper. Dial began his friendship with the assistant warden's wife in a prison art program. Dial called Parker "a special person." "When you've done 9 years without any human contact of any kind, not even a pat on the shoulder..."

Dial said he and Parker weren't romantically involved, but apparently he had some kind of spell over his partner.

Bobbi Parker claims she was held captive the entire time. She tells authorities she was afraid if she escaped Dial would hurt her family. Parker has two daughters. They were 8 and 10 the last time they saw her.