Ballantyne family opens up about fight to bring daughter home from captivity

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — What if your child disappeared in the middle of the night and remained missing for more than a year -- this happened to local parents and it made national news in 2016.

Hailey Burns was lured away from her home in Ballantyne and held captive at 16 years old.

Miraculously, Hailey was found after she reached out to a woman overseas through Facebook.

[ALSO READ: 'My life was ruined': Ballantyne teen confronts man who held her captive]

The man who held her captive, Michael Wysolovski, was arrested in 2017, near Atlanta. Investigators said he met Burns online, then kept her locked inside an upstairs bedroom and controlled every aspect of her life, down to the number of calories she ate each day.

Her parents, Anthony and Shaunna Burns, were able to get their daughter back, but they said it has not been a fairytale ending.

Hailey's parents said they never imagined someone would prey on their 16-year-old daughter online and lure her away from home.

But, after it did happen to them, they said they did everything they could to find her and help the police, including investigating on their own.

"If your kid is out there, they need to know you are not giving up on them," Shaunna Burns said. "One of the things I did was I went in her room, I found her toothbrush, her hairbrush."

"One of the things I found in the trash, I found the 'Laws for transporting a minor across state lines' and the age of consent for every state in the country," Anthony Burns said.

Hailey was missing for 399 days and was found in Georgia, where the age of consent is "16 years old."

Channel 9's coverage on Hailey Burns' disappearance:

In a dramatic rescue, the FBI found her with Wysolovski. Hailey said he raped her, starved and tortured her and sometimes, held her in a dog cage.

"We didn't expect it was going to be easy when she came home," Anthony Burns said. "But, my daughter just recently qualified for disability. Her life is never gonna be the same."

Hailey has attempted death by suicide at least three times, according to her parents.

[LINK: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]

They said they did not want her re-traumatized in court.

In April, Wysolovski pleaded guilty to child cruelty and had to register as a sex offender with strict parole guidelines including no pornography and no interaction with children. He was released.

Recently, he was re-arrested for violating that parole. Hailey's parents helped turn him in.

"We had several people watching him, and one of those people came up with some evidence which they brought to my attention," Anthony Burns said. "We forwarded that evidence to the DA and the parole officer."

[RELATED: Georgia man gets time served after sexually abusing captive NC teen]

If convicted this time, Wysolovski could spend more than 9 years behind bars.

"He probably went along for years thinking 'I'm beyond being caught,' but he messed up when he messed with our family," Anthony Burns said.

Hailey is 19 years old now and living away from home. She is set to enter a first of its kind residential therapeutic healthcare facility outside of Mecklenburg County.

Her parents said they keep her pets Honey and Ms. Maple, she comes to visit and she goes by a different name now.

She is working to one day being able to live on her own.

"Today, my daughter is struggling, but she is living," Anthony Burns said. "She has a future ahead of her. She has prospects. She can take her life in any direction she chooses to, and he is sitting in a jail cell right now."

"All she can hope is to overcome it, and use it for good," Shaunna Burns said.