GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A man accused of holding a teenager from Ballantyne captive for more than a year pleaded guilty in Georgia Thursday.
Michael Wysolovski was arrested in 2017, near Atlanta. Investigators said he met Hailey 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.
Channel 9's coverage on Hailey Burns' disappearance:
- Man accused of holding Charlotte teen captive denied bond
- 9 Investigates rise in Charlotte teens disappearing
- Police searching for missing 16-year-old Charlotte girl
- CMPD, FBI searching for 16-year-old girl missing since May
- 1 year later, parents still coping with daughter's disappearance
Investigators said Burns was rescued more than a year later after she reached out to a woman overseas through Facebook who then helped police track her down.
Burns along with her family members spoke Thursday afternoon as Wysolovski was sentenced.
“He manipulated me heavily, taking advantage of my mental illness to push me closer to his desires,” Hailey said.
Wysolovski sat without emotion as Hailey described how she was abused, starved at times as part of his twisted sexual fantasies.
"He lowered my self-esteem greatly and led me to believe I'd never be loved or have a proper life if I gained any weight,” Hailey said.
Hailey’s mother also spoke at Thursday’s sentencing hearing.
"You are a coward. A silver-tongued abuser who preys on young women and girls. You rape them. You torture them. You control them. You're sick and sadistic,” Shauna Burns said.
Wysolovski targeted Hailey through an eating disorder website and eventually lured her away from her home in Ballantyne just after she turned 16 years old.
Channel 9 learned Hailey was given a fake ID and told to lie about who she really was.
The state attorney struck a plea deal in the case that the family agreed to, saying a trial would not have brought a guaranteed conviction.
"Did you, in fact, commit the offenses for which you are pleading guilty?" the judge asked.
"Yes sir,” Wysolovski replied.
Wysolovski faced up to 25 years in prison but agreed to a 10-year sentence with eight months of confinement, which he’s already served.
Hailey testified she’s still trying to recover and has attempted suicide three times since she’s escaped.
Her father said parents everywhere should be warned of predators like Wysolovski.
"Your honor, I will not allow the defendant to hurt her anymore. And I will do everything in my power to make sure he never does this to another family like mine,” Anthony Burns said.
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