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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Polly Mitchell

Aired April 7, 2004 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
POLLY MITCHELL, HELD CAPTIVE BY HUSBAND: When I opened that window and I felt that, I smelled that fresh air, oh it was awesome, it was awesome. I don't even know how to describe it. I don't even know how to describe -- it was just so -- it was freedom.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, one woman's escape from a house of horror. Polly Mitchell, held by her husband for 10 hellish years. Living with emotional abuse, physical brutality, gut wrenching fear and finally, finding a way to free herself and her 4 children.

Exclusive in primetime, Polly Mitchell shares her extraordinary story: painful, powerful, important and next on LARRY KING LIVE.

An extraordinary story tonight on LARRY KING LIVE, the story of Polly Mitchell, held captive and terrorized by her husband, David Mitchell, for a decade.

In late March, her husband was sentenced to up to 20 years behind bars for his crimes against her and their children. A really horrifying story.

How -- what happened? I mean, you met this guy. You fell in love. You got married. What happened?

MITCHELL: Well, it all started -- the first time he hit me was on August 4.

KING: Of what year?

MITCHELL: Ninety-three.

KING: And had you had a child already?

MITCHELL: No. My first child wasn't born until '95. And he hit me because he thought that I was cheating on him. He was obsessed with that.

KING: How did you react to being hit?

MITCHELL: I accepted it.

KING: Why?

MITCHELL: Because I loved him. KING: Is that explainable, why women who are battered stay with the batterer?

MITCHELL: Yes. They love them. Over time, there's a lot of psychological -- I don't know how to...

KING: It builds up, you mean?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: They begin to own you, right?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: But how did this become to be a prison for you? How did that develop? I mean, you had four children with him, right?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: How did that develop?

MITCHELL: After the first time he hit me, he installed double dead bolt locks. And it just kind of escalated from there. The second place that we lived, he nailed the windows shut and covered the windows. And the third place, we even had an alarm system in there. And he armed that, and I didn't know the combinatino or anything.

KING: But you kept having children?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Did you have a phone?

MITCHELL: Not -- not most of the time.

KING: When you had a phone, didn't you think of calling for help?

MITCHELL: I couldn't. He would set a number in there.

KING: What do you mean?

MITCHELL: I mean that he would dial a number, and if he would leave and come back and push redial. And if the number wasn't the same, then he would -- I would be in trouble.

KING: Did you go out at all?

MITCHELL: No. Never without him.

KING: Did you go to movies?

MITCHELL: With him. But we always had to leave. Usually we left, like, halfway through the movie, because he would see someone looking at me or he would say I was looking at somebody.

KING: He was obsessed with you?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: How did you put up with this? I mean, really, how did you take this?

MITCHELL: I don't know. I just -- dealt, I guess.

KING: I mean, you were literally a prisoner. What about the children?

MITCHELL: They were prisoners, too.

KING: How have they come out of all of this?

MITCHELL: They have some general issues, but they're OK. But we're all in therapy and everything now.

KING: Let's go back. You met him when you were a teenager, right?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You were at Taco Bell?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Was he -- what was he like when you first met him?

MITCHELL: I thought he was cute and charming.

KING: Was he good to date? He was fun?

MITCHELL: Yes. He was fun. He bought me -- like he would come through and give me, like, money and stuff, come through the drive through.

KING: Did your family like him?

MITCHELL: I'm not really sure. I don't remember. I don't -- I think they did, as far as I know. They didn't know him very well, though.

KING: Didn't they, during all this period, try to keep in touch with you and their grandchildren?

MITCHELL: Yes. I was in touch with them, but just never without him. Whenever I talked to them on the phone, he would listen in. When I went over to my mom's house, he was there.

KING: And all of this dealt with being obsessed that you would see someone else?

MITCHELL: Yes, that I would cheat on him.

KING: This is like jealousy run wild? MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What about his friends, his family?

MITCHELL: He didn't have any friends, really. His friends, he just basically -- he would talk to them in the street. But -- and his family, we went over to his brother's house some weekends. Or some weekends his brother and his girl came over to our house.

KING: Where'd he work?

MITCHELL: Several places. We -- we had a company from '93 to '95. Well, I guess until '99. We had it for, like, three years, but I don't remember what the dates were. Anyway, we had a paging -- a paging and cellular company. We worked there. We worked together. He worked at a lot of telemarketing agencies.

KING: Were there ever, in those 10 years, any happy moments?

MITCHELL: I'm sure there were. But I don't remember very many.

KING: Did he hit you a lot?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: But if he's got you prisoner, what was he going to hit you for? He couldn't -- he couldn't be worried about you looking at another man.

MITCHELL: No, he was worried of various people coming into the house while he was gone, even though it was dead bolted and -- and pretty much secured.

KING: The kids go to school?

MITCHELL: Yes, they went -- our two older ones went to school, every day late. He would take them on his way to work and then come home late.

KING: Did any one of them think of telling the teacher...

MITCHELL: No.

KING: ...what's going on at home?

MITCHELL: No, because he always said, "What goes on in our house stays in our house."

KING: So none of them ever told?

MITCHELL: No. There's older two. But I had four. I had two babies.

KING: You didn't dump him after the first abuse, because you loved him. Did you think he'd change?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Did he keep telling you he would change?

MITCHELL: He did. He said that he hit me, because he cared about me. And that he was -- he wouldn't be jealous if he didn't care about me -- care about me.

KING: So -- and did you buy that?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You did?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: I mean, that's -- what about his background?

MITCHELL: His background?

KING: Does he comes from a normal family?

MITCHELL: No. Pretty violent. His mother killed his dad in a domestic dispute.

KING: Sheesh!

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You really stepped into it, didn't you?

MITCHELL: Yes, but I didn't know what I was getting into until years later.

KING: How were the kids -- was he paranoid, David?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: That must be right. He's suspicious of everything.

MITCHELL: Everything. He used to line his cereal bowls with aluminum foil when he was 8 so he didn't catch any diseases from his other family members. I heard that from his mother.

KING: You saw none of this when you were dating him?

MITCHELL: No. I didn't date him for very long. I met him in June, I moved in with him in August, and I married him in September.

KING: That's unbelievable.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You became a prisoner how soon after that?

MITCHELL: August 4 was when he put the dead bolts on there.

KING: Two months.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Did you ever say to him, "David, why am I a prisoner?"

MITCHELL: "Because I love you, and I can't -- I don't want you to be taken away."

KING: "But David, I have no life. I'm trapped in here. I want to go shopping. I want to go out with friends. I want to live a life."

MITCHELL: "Why do you want to do that? Why do you want to do that?"

KING: That's what he would say?

MITCHELL: Yes. "You want someone -- one of them people to hook you up with somebody else?"

KING: Why didn't you run away?

MITCHELL: Because I was scared of him. And I still loved him. He was the father of my kids.

KING: Did the kids say anything? How old were the kids?

MITCHELL: Well, at the time they were 8, 6, 2 and 3.

KING: Did the 8-year-old say to you, "Ma, what's going on here?"

MITCHELL: No. She didn't know any different.

KING: Believed it?

MITCHELL: That's how she was raised.

KING: Grew up that way. Did he hit the kids?

MITCHELL: Not really. Punishment. Punishment. He used to spank them with the belt, but we both did that, because it was acceptable.

KING: Our guest is Polly Mitchell. This is LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCHELL: He said, you're wrong, you're going to go to hell.

QUESTION: What do you say to that?

MITCHELL: I'm not going to find myself in hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time in 10 years, Holly Mitchell feels in control with her life. Her husband, 36 year old sent to spend the next 14-20 years behind bars, but for Polly and her family, no sentence is harsh enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No time will give back the time that Polly and the kids will need to heal, no time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONI SLATEEN, MOTHER OF POLLY MITCHELL: I was about ten minutes ahead of the police department. And Polly was on the phone, and she said, mom, I can see your car, there's a little tear in the tin foil. And I'll never forget this. I said Polly, go ahead and tear the foil off. She said, no, I can't. I said, tear it off, Polly. I said, you'll be out of there in a few minutes, he'll never know. And she said, I can't. She said, I'm too scared. She was not even able to uncover the window for fear, in the next ten minutes, he would discover that, and the consequences of doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's go back to that scene. Why was your mother coming over?

MITCHELL: She was going to help get me out.

KING: And she had the police coming with her?

MITCHELL: Well, yes. We called -- I called the YWCA. We had planned it for about a month.

KING: You and your mom?

MITCHELL: Me and my mom and my advocate at the YWCA.

KING: What was the plan?

MITCHELL: The plan was to -- for me to leave on June 2, and that she would have the police come and help me get out.

KING: So you picked that date.

MITCHELL: Yes, I picked that date.

KING: She told the police what was going on?

MITCHELL: Yes, a domestic violence unit.

KING: Was David home at the time the police came?

MITCHELL: No. He was at work.

KING: What happened when they came?

MITCHELL: When they came I had pulled the nails out of the window earlier that morning right after he left, because it was 2:00 when I left. Pulled the nails out of that window and they came and knocked on the window that we had specified and then I pushed the window open, and then Detective Barnes pushed the screen in.

KING: What led you to finally do this?

MITCHELL: A few things.

KING: Like?

MITCHELL: Mother's day was really bad. I wanted to go have breakfast with my mom and my sisters, and I wasn't allowed. And my son, he started to show violent traits toward my daughter, my little daughter. And I knew that I wouldn't be able to go to school or do anything with my life.

KING: So you contacted your mother?

MITCHELL: My mother first, mm-hmm.

KING: And who is the other person at the where?

MITCHELL: Erin Richardson (ph) at the YWCA. She's an advocate.

KING: How did you know about her?

MITCHELL: I called the YWCA and she -- and they assigned me -- actually they assigned me to Melissa, was her name, and then she moved, and I got Erin Richardson.

KING: What happened when David came home?

MITCHELL: We weren't there. I don't know.

KING: The police arrest him?

MITCHELL: No. They didn't arrest him until the 13th.

KING: A few days later?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: What happened when he found out you weren't there? Did he run to your mother's house? Did he call you?

MITCHELL: He didn't make any attempt to find us as far as I know. My mom told me that he had drove by a couple times when I was in shelter, but I don't know.

KING: So he didn't make any overt attempt to come get you?

MITCHELL: Not that I know of, no.

KING: What did police charge him with?

MITCHELL: Terroristic threats, false imprisonment, two counts of child abuse, all felonies.

KING: Was there a trial?

MITCHELL: No he pled no contest.

KING: Did you see him at all after that day?

MITCHELL: I saw him at the preliminary hearing. And I saw him at the sentencing.

KING: And he was sentenced to what?

MITCHELL: 14 to 20 years, I believe. And he'll be eligible for parole in 2011.

KING: What was it like for you in the courtroom?

MITCHELL: Scared. He was looking at me crazy when he was in there. When I first came in. And I didn't -- I tried not to look at him too much. And I was happy that he got sentenced for that long. And I was...

KING: Feel relieved?

MITCHELL: A little, yes. A little. And then he told me I was going to go to hell on his way out of the courtroom.

KING: Did any part of you love him?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Even then?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm. Even now.

KING: Even now?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: You're going to have to explain this, Polly.

MITCHELL: I love him, but I hate him. I hate the reason -- I mean hate the way he put us through this stuff. I don't know if I love him anymore. I'm worried about him. But I don't...

KING: Worried about him what?

MITCHELL: I don't know.

KING: How he gets along in prison?

MITCHELL: I suppose. I suppose. Not that worried.

KING: You were really captured by this guy.

MITCHELL: Yes. KING: Right? And he still, I'm not a pop psychologist, owns a part of you.

MITCHELL: Oh, I have nightmares about him every night.

KING: How about the children? Do they talk about him? What do they say?

MITCHELL: They talk about him a little bit. I mean, not that often. When they have questions I'll answer. I told them that he was not going to get out till they were almost grown up. And there's going to be...

KING: Did your mom know, Polly, that this was going on?

MITCHELL: They knew that he was weird, my mom and my sisters. They knew that he was weird. They just didn't know to what extent it was.

KING: So you never over at the house whispered to them, I'm a prisoner?

MITCHELL: No. I couldn't. Even times when I didn't whisper things to them, he would accuse me of it and beat me for it. So I didn't even attempt.

KING: You had four children so you continued to be romantic with him, right?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: When you had the child you had to go to the hospital, right?

MITCHELL: He was there.

KING: Couldn't you have said something to the doctor?

MITCHELL: He was there. He was always there.

KING: Yes, but when another person is there he's not going to hit you with a doctor there in the hospital room.

MITCHELL: No, but it would be just a matter of time when we were alone.

KING: So you never had a break plan until that Mother's Day about ten years later?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What finally did it? What finally -- there were other Mother's Days.

MITCHELL: Yes, there was. But I don't know. And then my son acting like that toward my daughter. And just me sitting there for months dwelling on my life. And thinking that I wasn't going to have a life.

KING: Did any of his family come to the sentencing?

MITCHELL: Yes. His brother was there. And his brother started yelling at me in the courtroom.

KING: Saying?

MITCHELL: Why didn't you leave him while he had money? Why didn't you leave him while you guys had the company? But David never had any money for us. He would buy himself things. But he never had any money for us.

KING: Did the company do well?

MITCHELL: Yes, it did well. Until it went out of business.

KING: Our guest is Polly Mitchell. We'll continue this incredible story right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLATEEN: Right after she came out the window, out of the window, she was just ready to, and then she ran back into the house. And then she came back to the window and I said, Polly what are you doing? She said, I had to hide David's valuables. Because he will hunt me down if he thinks I stole his property. She said if someone breaks into the house while I'm not here before he comes home from work, he's going to blame it on me. She said, and that is the worst thing, to steal something of his. If he blames it on me, she said, he will hunt me down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONI SLATTEN, MOTHER OF POLLY MITCHELL: When she said, she said I have to get out of this house, I said, I'll come and get you right now. And she said, no, I can't. And I said, yes, you can. I'm coming -- I'm coming to get you right now. She said, you don't understand. She said, the doors are locked from the outside. She said the windows are nailed shut. You can't get me out.

I said, I can. We can break you out. She said, no, you can't. She says, he'll kill me. He'll kill me if you even come close to this house. She said, or he'll kill you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How were you able to make the calls, if he had a lock on the phone?

MITCHELL: He had an Internet service, and it was hooked up to the computer. So I just unhooked it from the computer and hooked it into the fax machine. And then before he got home from work, I hooked it back up.

KING: Smart.

MITCHELL: I know.

KING: Could have done that sooner, though, couldn't it?

MITCHELL: No, no. He just got the line in there, because he was starting an Internet company.

KING: What did the police say to you? Were they shocked?

MITCHELL: Yes. They said it was the worst case of domestic abuse they'd ever saw.

KING: Worst case I ever heard of.

And of course, the audience must be wondering why you -- how you put up with it. What was your day like? Give me...

MITCHELL: I had to.

KING: ... a day in the life of Polly Mitchell. Say, five years ago, you get up in the morning. What?

MITCHELL: Get up in the morning, get the kids ready for school.

KING: Make breakfast?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What's David doing?

MITCHELL: Getting ready for work. Usually he slept until about 10 minutes before they had to leave. And the kids would be late for school, going there.

KING: He took them, or you...

MITCHELL: He did. I didn't even have my driver's license. And he goes to work and then...

KING: And you're home with the baby, right?

MITCHELL: Both of them. Two.

KING: What do you do all day?

MITCHELL: Watch them. Watch them. I taught myself how to sow, taught myself how to crochet, with my mom's help. And watched my babies close.

KING: Waiting for him to come home?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: He picked up the kids at school?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Did you ever think of physically attacking him?

MITCHELL: I couldn't. I couldn't hurt him.

KING: Why not?

MITCHELL: Because he would hurt me twice as bad if I did.

KING: You could have stabbed him in the back. You could have done...

MITCHELL: Right. I didn't want to go to jail. I had to take care of my babies.

KING: You think you would have gone to jail?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: After all you've gone through?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Was David -- ever show acts of kindness?

MITCHELL: Toward us?

KING: Yes.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Was he funny? Did he have -- what was his personality like?

MITCHELL: He was pretty much to himself. He was funny sometimes. Just like a normal person, I guess.

KING: But he sure wasn't normal.

MITCHELL: No.

KING: All right. Did you -- you didn't shop for food and clothing. When you needed clothes, what happened? How did you do that?

MITCHELL: I got clothes from his mom. His mom would go to the Goodwill. She lived in Columbus.

KING: Did she know you were being kept prisoner?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: And what did she think?

MITCHELL: She thought it was wrong. But that's all she could do, was just think. He wouldn't listen to her.

KING: How do you live under constant fear? Because you had constant fear. He hit you. You looked the wrong way. How about when you watched television? If a man came on television and you smiled, would he get mad?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Really?

MITCHELL: Yes. "Do you want him?" He would say, "What, do you want him?" Yes.

KING: That's a nervous laugh you have.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Boy, oh boy. I don't know how you...

MITCHELL: It's a cover.

KING: I mean, it's amazing to think how you put up -- you must have a lot of resilience.

What about your sister? Was she supportive?

MITCHELL: Yes. All my sisters. I have three of them.

KING: Did they know all about this? Did they know this was going on?

MITCHELL: They knew -- it was like the same as my mom -- something was wrong, but they didn't know what it was. None of them knew I was getting physically abused. None of them.

KING: Nobody in the town knew it?

MITCHELL: I didn't talk to anybody.

KING: What about medical treatment? Kids need inoculations. All the things kids need. Did you go with them?

MITCHELL: Me and him.

KING: He would take off work to go with you to see the kids get a vaccine so you wouldn't make an eye at the doctor?

MITCHELL: Absolutely. I couldn't go anywhere. I didn't have a driver's license or anything.

KING: Did you ever have a driver's license?

MITCHELL: July 30 of this year. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: But you never had one before that?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: What's your life like now?

MITCHELL: Better.

KING: Are you dating?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: Why not?

MITCHELL: I don't want to.

KING: Are you afraid of men?

MITCHELL: Maybe afraid of getting in the same situation again.

KING: The odds on that would be pretty remote, right?

MITCHELL: Probably slim to none, but yes. I just don't trust very well.

KING: Do your kids ask about him?

MITCHELL: About their dad?

KING: Yes.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Do they know he's in jail?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: How did they handle that?

MITCHELL: They're dealing. They understand that what he did to us was wrong. They understand that they should be able to play outside. They understand that they -- they don't have to keep secrets and tell lies any more.

KING: I'm told here that there were several weeks passed between the time you reached out for help and when you and the children were actually rescued.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What happened in those two weeks, or a month?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Were they planning it?

MITCHELL: Yes. The -- the advocate that I was talking to, she was getting it set up to where we could go to shelter and things like that. My mom, I think she was busy buying clothes for us and packing our bags and...

KING: Your heart must have been pounding, taking the tin foil off.

MITCHELL: I didn't take it off.

KING: Oh, you just climbed out the window?

MITCHELL: Lifted it up very carefully.

KING: What were you going -- your heart must have been...

MITCHELL: Yes, I was scared.

KING: Did you think he's going to come home?

MITCHELL: I was -- call, yes. I was scared. I was scared that once I got out the window, the phone was going to start ringing. And I would have been in trouble. He would have...

KING: Did seeing the police car help you?

MITCHELL: It was unmarked.

KING: Knowing they were cops, though, did that help?

MITCHELL: Yes. That helped a lot.

KING: We'll be right back with Polly Mitchell on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLATTEN: Watching Polly and the babies come out of the window, it sounds strange, it was almost like watching people be born. It was -- Polly passed the babies through the windows, and of course they just thought that was a lot of fun, to come out the window. And to have grammy standing outside the window. That was great. But when Polly -- when Polly came out of the window, it was -- it was just stark terror on her face. To be doing what she was doing. I think she literally knew she was taking her life in her hands, that there would be no going back for her, not ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLATTEN: When she said, she said I have to get out of this house, I said, I'll come and get you right now. And she said, no, I can't. And I said, yes, you can. I'm coming -- I'm coming to get you right now. She said, you don't understand. She said, the doors are locked from the outside. She said the windows are nailed shut. You can't get me out. I said, I can. We can break you out. She said, no, you can't. She says, he'll kill me. He'll kill me if you even come close to this house. She said, or he'll kill you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How were you able to make the calls, if he had a lock on the phone?

MITCHELL: He had an Internet service, and it was hooked up to the computer. So I just unhooked it from the computer and hooked it into the fax machine. And then before he got home from work, I hooked it back up.

KING: Smart.

MITCHELL: I know.

KING: Could have done that sooner, though, couldn't it?

MITCHELL: No, no. He just got the line in there, because he was starting an Internet company.

KING: What did the police say to you? Were they shocked?

MITCHELL: Yes. They said it was the worst case of domestic abuse they'd ever saw.

KING: Worst case I ever heard of.

And of course, the audience must be wondering why you -- how you put up with it. What was your day like? Give me...

MITCHELL: I had to.

KING: ... a day in the life of Polly Mitchell. Say, five years ago, you get up in the morning. What?

MITCHELL: Get up in the morning, get the kids ready for school.

KING: Make breakfast?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What's David doing?

MITCHELL: Getting ready for work. Usually he slept until about 10 minutes before they had to leave. And the kids would be late for school, going there.

KING: He took them, or you...

MITCHELL: He did. I didn't even have my driver's license. And he goes to work and then...

KING: And you're home with the baby, right? MITCHELL: Both of them. Two.

KING: What do you do all day?

MITCHELL: Watch them. Watch them. I taught myself how to sow, taught myself how to crochet, with my mom's help. And watched my babies close.

KING: Waiting for him to come home?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: He picked up the kids at school?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Did you ever think of physically attacking him?

MITCHELL: I couldn't. I couldn't hurt him.

KING: Why not?

MITCHELL: Because he would hurt me twice as bad if I did.

KING: You could have stabbed him in the back. You could have done...

MITCHELL: Right. I didn't want to go to jail. I had to take care of my babies.

KING: You think you would have gone to jail?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: After all you've gone through?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Was David -- ever show acts of kindness?

MITCHELL: Toward us?

KING: Yes.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Was he funny? Did he have -- what was his personality like?

MITCHELL: He was pretty much to himself. He was funny sometimes. Just like a normal person, I guess.

KING: But he sure wasn't normal.

MITCHELL: No. KING: All right. Did you -- you didn't shop for food and clothing. When you needed clothes, what happened? How did you do that?

MITCHELL: I got clothes from his mom. His mom would go to the Goodwill. She lived in Columbus.

KING: Did she know you were being kept prisoner?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: And what did she think?

MITCHELL: She thought it was wrong. But that's all she could do, was just think. He wouldn't listen to her.

KING: How do you live under constant fear? Because you had constant fear. He hit you. You looked the wrong way. How about when you watched television? If a man came on television and you smiled, would he get mad?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Really?

MITCHELL: Yes. "Do you want him?" He would say, "What, do you want him?" Yes.

KING: That's a nervous laugh you have.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Boy, oh boy. I don't know how you...

MITCHELL: It's a cover.

KING: I mean, it's amazing to think how you put up -- you must have a lot of resilience.

What about your sister? Was she supportive?

MITCHELL: Yes. All my sisters. I have three of them.

KING: Did they know all about this? Did they know this was going on?

MITCHELL: They knew -- it was like the same as my mom -- something was wrong, but they didn't know what it was. None of them knew I was getting physically abused. None of them.

KING: Nobody in the town knew it?

MITCHELL: I didn't talk to anybody.

KING: What about medical treatment? Kids need inoculations. All the things kids need. Did you go with them? MITCHELL: Me and him.

KING: He would take off work to go with you to see the kids get a vaccine so you wouldn't make an eye at the doctor?

MITCHELL: Absolutely. I couldn't go anywhere. I didn't have a driver's license or anything.

KING: Did you ever have a driver's license?

MITCHELL: July 30 of this year. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: But you never had one before that?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: What's your life like now?

MITCHELL: Better.

KING: Are you dating?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: Why not?

MITCHELL: I don't want to.

KING: Are you afraid of men?

MITCHELL: Maybe afraid of getting in the same situation again.

KING: The odds on that would be pretty remote, right?

MITCHELL: Probably slim to none, but yes. I just don't trust very well.

KING: Do your kids ask about him?

MITCHELL: About their dad?

KING: Yes.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Do they know he's in jail?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: How did they handle that?

MITCHELL: They're dealing. They understand that what he did to us was wrong. They understand that they should be able to play outside. They understand that they -- they don't have to keep secrets and tell lies any more. KING: I'm told here that there were several weeks passed between the time you reached out for help and when you and the children were actually rescued.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What happened in those two weeks, or a month?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Were they planning it?

MITCHELL: Yes. The -- the advocate that I was talking to, she was getting it set up to where we could go to shelter and things like that. My mom, I think she was busy buying clothes for us and packing our bags and...

KING: Your heart must have been pounding, taking the tin foil off.

MITCHELL: I didn't take it off.

KING: Oh, you just climbed out the window?

MITCHELL: Lifted it up very carefully.

KING: What were you going -- your heart must have been...

MITCHELL: Yes, I was scared.

KING: Did you think he's going to come home?

MITCHELL: I was -- call, yes. I was scared. I was scared that once I got out the window, the phone was going to start ringing. And I would have been in trouble. He would have...

KING: Did seeing the police car help you?

MITCHELL: It was unmarked.

KING: Knowing they were cops, though, did that help?

MITCHELL: Yes. That helped a lot.

KING: We'll be right back with Polly Mitchell on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLATTEN: Watching Polly and the babies come out of the window, it sounds strange, it was almost like watching people be born. It was -- Polly passed the babies through the windows, and of course they just thought that was a lot of fun, to come out the window. And to have grammy standing outside the window. That was great. But when Polly -- when Polly came out of the window, it was -- it was just stark terror on her face. To be doing what she was doing. I think she literally knew she was taking her life in her hands, that there would be no going back for her, not ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYLVIA SLATTEN, SISTER OF POLLY MITCHELL: They saw their mother being strangled. These are just things Polly has told me. That she would be sitting on the couch holding one of the babies and he would grab her by her feet and pull her off the couch, knowing that she wouldn't let go of the baby to try and stop her fall and she would hit her head on the floor. They'd be driving down the interstate in the car and he'd be beating her in the head so hard that her ear was bleeding and she tried to jump out because she wanted to get away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Didn't you go to the doctor for that?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: Because the doctor would have reported it?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: You just...

MITCHELL: I went to the doctor -- one time I went to Planned Parenthood to get the physical and everything, and she seen a big bruise on my arm back here. And I told her that me and my sister got in a fight.

KING: What city was this?

MITCHELL: Omaha, Nebraska.

KING: They have a very good program of rescue?

MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. The domestic violence squad is excellent.

KING: When people would call, a telemarketer, a wrong number.

MITCHELL: I would get in trouble. I'd get beat.

KING: How about if he wasn't home?

MITCHELL: I didn't answer.

KING: For fear?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: You didn't answer.

MITCHELL: Because it could have been him.

KING: But if he was calling home, wouldn't he ask you later why you didn't answer? Or he would check on you by calling?

MITCHELL: We had a ring. He would ring twice and then hang up and then ring three times and then hang up and call back.

KING: And you knew it was him?

MITCHELL: Uh-huh.

KING: You had to realize at some point you were living with a psycho. I mean, let's face it.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: There was nothing normal about this guy. I thought it was normal. I never been in a relationship before. I didn't know.

KING: Was he your first man in your life?

MITCHELL: First serious relationship.

KING: Why was his brother mad at you?

MITCHELL: I don't know. His brother just basically defended me the whole ten years we were married. So I don't know.

KING: But he was mad at you at the sentencing.

MITCHELL: Yes, it seemed that way. He was yelling at me.

KING: What prison is he in?

MITCHELL: He's in the Douglas county jail. I don't know -- he might have gotten transferred to the Lincoln penitentiary.

KING: Are you divorced?

MITCHELL: I filed divorce on him three weeks ago.

KING: And that will come about normal course of time?

MITCHELL: Yes, 60 days, I believe.

KING: No problem. Do you plan to start going out, seeing other people?

MITCHELL: Maybe. Eventually. Sure.

KING: What are you afraid of? Really? What holds you back from living a life that you've been denied ten years? You've been denied a life.

MITCHELL: Well, when I first started dating David, he swore that he would never hit me or hurt me. And he did. So trust. I guess that's what it boils down to.

KING: You wouldn't trust?

MITCHELL: I can't trust now.

KING: He would hit you hard?

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: In front of the children?

MITCHELL: He would strangle me. Kick me where I would fall to the floor. He would kick me. He would pull my hair down to the floor.

KING: For doing what? What had you done to deserve this?

MITCHELL: Nothing.

KING: What was the children's reaction when he did it?

MITCHELL: My oldest daughter would come in and try to get in between us. So I would push her away. My son, my oldest son, he would go under his bed and cry. And my two babies would just sit on the couch and scream their heads off, cry.

KING: Weren't there neighbors?

MITCHELL: There were neighbors.

KING: Didn't anybody come by wonder what's going on? Nobody? Somebody must have heard it.

MITCHELL: Everybody, I'm sure everybody heard it. I'm sure everybody heard it. But nobody ever do nothing.

KING: Now you're planning the escape. How did you explain it to the kids what you were doing going through the window?

MITCHELL: I didn't. I told my -- I let my two older kids know that they were staying the night at Grammys. And they stayed the night at Grammy's. And they were told they were going to go to the zoo the next day. And that's what I told David. So that he didn't think that my mom would then try to drop the kids off while he was at work. So, and then my babies were with me and they didn't really need an explanation. They just were happy we were going outside.

KING: You told what about the zoo? What did you mean?

MITCHELL: I told David that they were standing the night at grandma's and going to the zoo the next day so it would take up the whole day.

KING: I thought he wouldn't allow that.

MITCHELL: He would. KING: You could do that?

MITCHELL: The kids, not me.

KING: You could send the kids to grandma's?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Wasn't there a danger that grandma might keep them because of what was happening to you?

MITCHELL: She didn't know.

KING: And they never said anything to her.

MITCHELL: No.

KING: So he bought the zoo story?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: He must have went wacko when he came home.

MITCHELL: I don't really care.

KING: What kind of shelter were you put in?

MITCHELL: A domestic violence shelter.

KING: What happens there? What's that look like?

MITCHELL: It's just like a big house. Like a home.

KING: Other women in there, too?

MITCHELL: There wasn't in Norfolk, but there was in Lincoln. Very supportive.

KING: No story like yours, though?

MITCHELL: There were a couple doozies (ph) in there that I heard.

KING: Really? Like?

MITCHELL: I don't know. I don't really remember too much. But...

KING: Oh, but all women who were hit, right?

MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely.

KING: But you knew of no one who was a slave?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: Which is what you were.

MITCHELL: Essentially, I suppose.

KING: You were a prisoner? Not of war.

MITCHELL: Mm-hmm.

KING: Of malfunction. My guest is Polly Mitchell. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE, we'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. SLATTEN, MOTHER OF POLLY MITCHELL: David told her that he would kill her family, that she would watch him kill her family and then he would kill her and then himself. He told her that he would cut her up into little pieces, and spread her out throughout the United States so that they would never find a body, so they would never be able to pin anything on him. And she started telling me all of these things, and you know, I was just sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCHELL: It was that window over there that I got out of. I had to pull the nails out earlier that morning, right after he went to work. And I waited, I was talking to my mom on her cellphone. She was sitting on here, waiting for Sargeant Vendetti and Detective Barnes to get here.

They came to the window and I opened the inside window. And I couldn't get the storm window open, so Detective Barnes, I think, pushed the window in. And then I put my babies through the window. And then I got out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Polly Mitchell. Your birth name is Pollyanna?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What a name! Goody-two-shoes. Miss Pollyanna.

MITCHELL: I guess so.

KING: You still use the name Mitchell.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Because of the children?

MITCHELL: Yes. I plan on changing. I -- I'm thinking of changing, but I don't know for sure yet. KING: And his family had to know this was going on, right?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: What happened? Someone told me that something happened at a baby shower.

MITCHELL: Yes. My baby shower.

KING: For your baby?

MITCHELL: Yes, for my first baby.

KING: What happened?

MITCHELL: I went to my baby shower, he sat outside.

KING: Your friend go to your shower?

MITCHELL: My mom. It was in my mom's house. And he sat outside the whole time. And...

KING: Friends had all the gifts, and you're opening gifts.

MITCHELL: All females.

KING: Naturally, yes. And he's outside?

MITCHELL: Yes. And after the baby shower, he came -- well, he called me 4,000 times while I was there. And he was sitting right outside. And he came and knocked on the door a couple times, I believe.

KING: What, did he think you ran out the back and met a guy?

MITCHELL: I -- I don't know. I don't know. He told me that he thought that maybe I was with a guy in my mom's room or something. Yes.

KING: Did he give you a rough time after the shower?

MITCHELL: He beat me all the way home. And I was nine -- eight months pregnant.

KING: All right. We have to get back to the original here. Why you stayed. You're eight months pregnant, and the man is hitting you. You're carrying his child. Wouldn't that be to you inexcusable, no matter how much you loved him -- unforgivable?

MITCHELL: No, I always forgive him.

KING: Did he beg you to forgive him, or was he just rough with you? You know, some guys, "Please, I'll never do it again."

MITCHELL: Yes, "I'll never do it again."

KING: He said that?

MITCHELL: That whole thing, yes. Yes, but he did.

KING: What would happen when you'd ask for freedom?

MITCHELL: I asked him several times, "Why do you do this to us?" You know? But he said that he has to keep me under lock and key so he didn't lose me like he lost his dad.

KING: Where the mother killed the father?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Do you think other people should have stepped in and helped? Neighbors? Someone should have known?

MITCHELL: It wouldn't have mattered if they did.

KING: Could it take a forcible act?

MITCHELL: I wouldn't have left.

KING: So in the fourth year, if a cop came to the door...

MITCHELL: I would have turned them away.

KING: ...and said, "Mrs. Mitchell, we heard what's been happening to you. Come with us."

MITCHELL: And if I -- "That's not true." I would have said, "That's not true. This is my husband."

KING: Did you ever hit him back?

MITCHELL: In self-defense. I put my hands up and scratched him when I could. That's about it.

KING: What kind of love life did you have?

MITCHELL: Forced.

KING: Forced?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Like marital rape?

MITCHELL: Five or six times a day, yes.

KING: Wait a minute. Five or six times a day?

MITCHELL: A day.

KING: The kids were home?

MITCHELL: Yes. KING: Did he drink?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Was he drunk a lot?

MITCHELL: He was high most of the time. Smoked marijuana every day.

KING: Do you know why he pled no contest?

MITCHELL: Yes. I think he pled no contest because the district attorney was going to put two more felony child abuses charges on him and a sexual assault charge.

KING: He would have done more time?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: So he got the easiest of sentences by, in a sense, copping a plea?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Are you worried about seven years from now?

MITCHELL: Yes. Very worried. Very worried. I hope that I'll be graduated by then, and I'm going to move.

KING: What are you taking in school?

MITCHELL: I'm studying for my bachelor's degree in science and nursing.

KING: What do you want to do with it? Be a nurse?

MITCHELL: Yes. A nurse. And then I'm going to go back and do some anesthesiology.

KING: Do you know where you're going to move to?

MITCHELL: I want to move to New York.

KING: The city?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: And get lost in New York?

MITCHELL: Right.

KING: You think he'll come looking for you? Wouldn't the state watch him? I guess, I don't know if they can.

MITCHELL: You would think. I don't know. I'm not really sure how all that goes. KING: How important was the shelter?

MITCHELL: Very important. Very important. It's totally hidden. It's in an undisclosed location to everybody. I mean, my mother couldn't even know where I was.

KING: How long were you there?

MITCHELL: I was in the shelter at Norfolk for two days and then I stayed in shelter in Lincoln until he was caught.

KING: And they had to go looking for him? Right?

MITCHELL: Yes. He was out at his brother's house.

KING: They didn't arrest him for awhile, though, right? There was a period of days, right? Eleven days?

MITCHELL: Well, yes. Charlie Vendetti, the officer who helped me get out, he came and did an interview with me at the home. And within a matter of minutes after the interview, he had warrants. Because by the time he got from the room that we were interviewing in to the parking lot, he had the warrants for him already. And they were going to find him.

KING: He didn't try to run away or anything?

MITCHELL: He didn't know he did anything wrong. He doesn't realize what he did to us.

KING: You're saying he still doesn't think he did anything wrong?

MITCHELL: I don't think he does, not if he told me I was going to hell when we were in the courtroom.

KING: So he would say what? He was protecting his family? He was just being a good father? Good husband.

MITCHELL: I would suppose so.

KING: After all, he made love to you five or six times a day.

MITCHELL: Not really "made love" but yes.

KING: You wouldn't call it love?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: He made force to you, five or six times a day.

We'll finish up our saga of Polly Mitchell and this extraordinary story, right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SYLVIA SLATTEN, SISTER OF POLLY MITCHELL: I mean, I know there's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the windows. And how David was always the one -- we always knew he was always the one to unlock the door, you know, from the inside, whenever somebody came to the house and stuff. And I even asked, what's up with the foil on the windows. And she'd say, oh you know, David and his paranoia. You know, just like, whatever about it.

And she never let on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. SLATTEN: We saw them at family dinners, holidays. It was never, you know, a drop-in type thing, but we were never, ever allowed at their house. And that was one thing that really sent up a lot of red flags when we went to their house, they did not answer the door. They -- we didn't know why. But they did not answer the door. If you were allowed in, you were just allowed inside the door, and that was mainly to pick up the kids or bring the kids home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Polly Mitchell.

You and the children are all in counseling?

MITCHELL: Yes, therapy.

KING: How is that working?

MITCHELL: It's working. Slowly but surely.

KING: Each child go individually?

MITCHELL: Yes. Well, at least...

KING: Your youngest is how old?

MITCHELL: Alicia -- is 3.

KING: A little young for therapy.

MITCHELL: Well, she still goes. Alicia and David both have their own therapists. And Sophie and Nathan, they have one therapist, but they go on different days.

KING: How do you support yourself?

MITCHELL: Barely. I get a government check for $500 a month.

KING: Why did you go public with this story?

MITCHELL: Because I wanted the women to know that they can get out. They don't have to sit there for 10 years and take it.

KING: Yes, but you did.

MITCHELL: I did. I did.

KING: So you say to abused women what?

MITCHELL: To leave. To leave. No matter what. I mean, I left with nothing. And I'm still here.

KING: Do you think that could be effective? For example, if you were watching this show five years ago, and another lady was on, saying, "Get out." Do you think it would have affected you?

MITCHELL: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: In your nursing career, do you want to deal with abused women?

MITCHELL: Sure.

KING: You want to make that part of your life?

MITCHELL: I'll make it a part of my life, speaking up against it.

KING: That's what I mean. But not necessarily in treatment or going into centers, right?

MITCHELL: Right, right.

KING: How does your mother handle all this?

MITCHELL: I think she feels guilty.

KING: Really?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Because?

MITCHELL: Because she thinks she should have known about it. Her and my sisters. My family.

KING: In other words, you pretty good, to keep that a secret? You had to do some job? They think they should have known.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You a church goer?

MITCHELL: I was before I met him. Not during. And I'm going to start going back to church.

KING: Did this cause you to question your faith? MITCHELL: Yes. Yes, it did. I couldn't understand how God would let me and four helpless children go through something like that, day in and day out.

KING: Very understandable that you would feel that way. What's bringing you back?

MITCHELL: A lot of different signs that I'm getting. I mean, I couldn't have made this if I didn't have help.

KING: Do you think you're strong, Polly?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: Weak?

MITCHELL: I think I'm weak.

KING: Getting stronger?

MITCHELL: I don't know.

KING: Why?

MITCHELL: I don't know. I just...

KING: This guy really had a hold on you.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Still does, in some ways.

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Well, I'm sure with counseling and stuff, you're going to lick this. I mean, there's got to be a way to be -- you're how old, 29?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You're an infant. I have ties older than you. You're on your way. Are you in school already?

MITCHELL: Yes. I made the dean's list the first semester, and...

KING: No kidding?

MITCHELL: ... I have all "A's," except for one now. That's a "B."

KING: How are the kids doing in school?

MITCHELL: They're faring.

KING: There had to be some psychological damage to the children? MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: I mean, it would be silly to say that...

MITCHELL: They have some behavioral problems in school. But they're working through them.

KING: Do they go to regular school?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Public school?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: So what are your hopes like? Do you want to remarry?

MITCHELL: No.

KING: Because of this fear.

MITCHELL: I don't ever want to get married again.

KING: I'm not sure you ever want to date again. I mean, you want to live the life of a single woman, away from men?

MITCHELL: I mean, I'll date. But I just don't want anything serious. I haven't dated, but I don't want anything serious.

KING: That's understandable. You ever think about him?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: You do? And what happens when you think about him?

MITCHELL: Sometimes I get mad. Sometimes I get sad. Sometimes I feel lonely.

KING: Do you ever say to yourself, "I should have seen it. I should have seen it sooner"?

MITCHELL: Sometimes.

KING: Like the first time he hit you.

MITCHELL: Yes. I should have left then. Oh, yes.

KING: Wouldn't you say that to someone watching now? Someone hits you, go.

MITCHELL: Leave. This first time.

KING: There's no excuse.

MITCHELL: It won't get better. Yes. KING: There is no excuse for hitting a woman. Ever, at any time, no matter what you say, there's no excuse. You can have all the alcohol in the world, there's no excuse for hitting someone.

MITCHELL: That's true.

KING: Are your children -- do you have faith they're going to make it?

MITCHELL: Yes. My children are resilient.

KING: They have friends?

MITCHELL: Yes. They have...

KING: How about friends on the street? Did you ever talk to them afterwards and say, "Didn't you hear what was going on?" Or "didn't you ever hear the beatings?" Or "didn't you ever see anything?"

Do you ever talk to neighbors?

MITCHELL: No. I didn't talk to any neighbors. David did.

KING: But I mean after it was all over?

MITCHELL: I didn't go back. I didn't talk to anybody. I didn't know anybody.

KING: You've never been back at the house?

MITCHELL: I have. But I didn't talk to any neighbors, because I don't know any.

KING: You went back, what, to get stuff?

MITCHELL: I went back probably a week after I came home, and I just couldn't bear to take anything. My bird was dead. It just hurt. I didn't want to be there. So I left.

KING: And you live now where?

MITCHELL: In my own apartment.

KING: With four little kids in an apartment?

MITCHELL: Yes.

KING: Yet you don't have a nanny.

MITCHELL: No.

KING: So you're taking them to school, raising them, going to school yourself?

MITCHELL: Yes. KING: And your only income is the $500 a month?

MITCHELL: That's it.

KING: Is anybody offering to help?

MITCHELL: I mean, I get $5, $10 from my mom every now and then, but I mean, they don't have very much to give, either, my family. But...

KING: I'm sure your story becomes public, people are going to help. I mean, you are -- you are the classic victim.

MITCHELL: Yes, well, I don't know.

KING: You're brave to come here.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Polly.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

KING: Polly Mitchell, held captive, terrorized by her husband, David Mitchell, for a decade. He is now behind bars, sentenced for up to 20 years for his crimes against her and her children. Polly Mitchell.

I'll be back in a minute. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN" is next. See you tomorrow night. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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