She never aspired to be the subject of the Top Story on the evening news, but Michelle Corrao’s abduction was the final crime in a string of assaults on women in Central Indiana in 1996. A confident, professional woman, violently assaulted and hidden in the trunk of her own car, Michelle was found by an off-duty police officer and given a second chance at life. More than twenty years after the assault, this gripping autobiography details her unexpected journey from the worst moments of her life to moments when she truly believed life couldn’t get any better. Michelle vulnerably documents her story as a source of hope for other survivors and their families, and as a compelling resource for anyone who longs to live more trauma-informed. Her compassion, gratitude, and empathy light the way for all who want to make the world a safer, kinder place.
September 12, 1996 my life as I knew it was changed forever.
As I was approaching home after a long day’s work, I noticed three men walking down the street. Something about this was suspicious so I decided to drive around the block and when I returned to my house, they were gone.
I parked my car, grabbed my things and walked up to my door. In an instant, I was struck on the head and knocked to the ground. I raised my head to feel the blood running down my face and a voice threatening to kill me if I screamed as a gun was pushed into my face. I was scared for my life, my pleas to leave me and take my belongings ignored. Unable to escape and feeling terrified and alone, my only hope was to pray for my life and for those that I love, hoping that I would see them again.
It has been a tough journey but my faith and family have given me the strength to overcome. It is now my mission to share my story with groups, organizations and businesses to share sexual assault awareness and to help others who have been victimized.
If you would like me to share my story of hope with your group or organization, please see my Public Speaking page and contact me today.
The following pictures refer to Michelle's Book Found
No one aspires to become the top story on the evening news. Yet there I was.
Though my name was not divulged, viewers would learn that I was hit over the head near the entrance of my home, abducted, sexually assaulted, and forced into the trunk of my own car. News cameras would capture footage of my personal items strewn across the lawn around my home and along the wooded area behind a local restaurant.
The community would breathe a sigh of relief after learning that I had somehow survived and that the assailants had been caught, ending a string of similar crimes. But there is so much more to the story.
The events of September 12, 1998, would change the entire course of my life. In the days that followed, I couldn’t imagine how I could ever live a normal, happy life; and I certainly never wanted to talk about it.
This is the story of how my life was forever impacted by the compassionate heroism of an off-duty officer, the patient and powerful love of my greatest ally, and the answer to a desperate prayer during what I believed were my dying moments. I share this story now with immense gratitude for every little miracle that would happen along the way and, eventually, empower me to become a voice for others who need to know they, too, can survive whatever unexpected turns life may bring.
Life is far from perfect, but somehow Love has a way of seeking us out in our darkest moments. And, just when we think all is lost, to our amazement… we are found.
Michelle Corrao with Attorney General Eric Holder
Michelle Corrao is a keynote speaker and compassionate advocate for victims of violent crimes. For sixteen years she served at Prevail, a victim awareness and support program, where she led the charge to create Central Indiana’s first Sexual Assault Response Team (SART,) focused on victim-centered, trauma-informed care.
She is the recipient of the Special Courage Award, presented by the U.S. Attorney General (2010), and became the first-ever recipient of the Distinguished Hoosier Award presented by Indiana Attorney General.
Through Michelle’s current role as Executive Director at The O’Connor House in Carmel, Indiana, she leads programs that provide women who are single, pregnant, and homeless with safe housing and opportunities to improve life for themselves & their children.
Michelle speaks to audiences of influencers, first responders, medical professionals, military and law enforcement personnel, faith communities, and a broad scope of conferences and events aimed at creating stronger, safer communities.
Praise for Found
A woman of great faith faces the most difficult situation anyone can face, including impending loss of life, and is saved by a miraculous intervention. Her life journey continues as she becomes a true force to help other victims and those in need…bad things equip believers for deeper ministry. Those with battle scars can better help those going through battles. Michelle Corrao’s story is a compelling story of faith, courage, and resilience.
ED.D., Fort Wayne Chief of Police (ret.) FBI-LEEDA
Found is a powerful testimony by a courageous woman who has turned pain into power through an unimaginable ordeal. Michelle Corrao’s story will encourage anyone who has been victimized, robbed of hope, and facing death. She is an incredible role model for survivors who are determined to not simply survive but go on to thrive through helping other survivors.
President, Alliance for HOPE International
Found is a powerful and moving message of faith, hope and perseverance proving a window into God’s love, grace and mercy for us. A lifeline for others offering hope, strength and courage. Truly a remarkable life story!
Founder of Prevail, Executive Director Meals on Wheels, Hamilton County, IN
Through the eyes of a heroic survivor of kidnapping and brutal assault, Found is a gripping memoir that illustrates the harrowing story of the emotional and physical aftermath of sexual violence as well as the importance of a trauma-informed response. Vulnerable and brave, Found is an essential read for law enforcement, first responders, advocates and anyone who wants to be inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit.
Founder PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, ShatteringThesilence.org
Found is a powerful story of indomitable spirit, faith, and service. It takes you on a terrifying yet inspiring journey that begins by challenging your belief in the intrinsic goodness of humankind and culminates with a true understanding of inconceivable perseverance and the power of hope. The book is a must-read for advocates, law enforcement, and others who work in or who want to work with sexual assault survivors. Michelle’s heartbreaking and motivational story serves as an instructional guide to best understand a victim’s tumultuous and painful, yet unique and often non-linear path to healing.
MA Executive Director Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Michelle revisits the painful suffering she’s endured and uses it to give hope and encouragement to others. This is a story of triumph over tragedy, faith and recovery, love and fate. Reading her story will give you a refreshed look at the power of faith and human will and it breathes life into “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me – Phil. 4:13”
Founder/CEO BeeFree LLC
Michelle’s direct account of her courageous story of triumph over tragedy gives hope to victims and provides valuable insight to those who help them. A must-read!
SFC Bethany Guzman
United States Army
Michelle gives victims of sexual assault hope and assurance that life following such a devastating tragedy is most definitely worth living and loving. This masterful book of faith and love reassures us all that the evil acts of others do NOT define who we are. Out of a horrifying night of terror and a resulting legacy of struggle blossoms a story of love and faith only Michelle can tell. Her vulnerability and strength make Michelle Corrao the perfect person to narrate a nightmare of evil, turned to triumph.
Director of Economic Development-CPM EcDMP 2012-2019
Michelle’s story will engage you like no other story you have read. Reading Found is to live her terrifying and redemptive story. Although my heart broke and I cried as I read the horror and terror Michelle experienced, her undefeatable spirit lifted and inspired me beyond measure. This is a must-read for anyone who has faced a tragedy or great challenge in life. Truly an inspirational and unforgettable story.
United States Army
Michelle Corrao has crafted an impactful and inspiring book for survivors, their loved ones, and professionals. Advocates, first responders, and police officers can all benefit from her raw, honest writing style. As readers, we get to share in her courage and success.
Director of Economic Development-CPM EcDMP 2012-2019
Office of Victims of Crime (OVC)
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Text REMEDY to 494949 to chat about abuse, anxiety, bullying, depression, drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, faith, pornography, self-harm, suicide
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PAVE (Promoting Awareness I Victim Empowerment)
PAVE is a movement creating a world free from sexual violence and building communities to support survivors.
Are you being forced to do anything you do not want to do? Have you been threatened if you try to leave? Have you witnessed young girls being prostituted? If so, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (24/7) at 1-888-373-7888.