A woman who was found drifting alone at sea 50 years ago, when she was 11 years old, spoke out for the first time about her terrifying ordeal.
Terry Jo Duperrault’s family was murdered on a rented sailboat in 1961 by the captain, but she was able to escape and survive on her own for four days at sea. Duperrault was rescued by the Coast Guard, and remained relatively silent in the years since the horrifying events, until she decided to talk to CBS News.
“I always believed I was saved for a reason but it took me 50 years to gain the strength to be able to give other people hope with my story. If just one person goes on to heal from a life tragedy, my journey will have been worth it,” she said. “I am a survivor trying to reach other survivors. It took me so long but I want people to understand that there is no timeline with healing. It is never too late!”
Duperrault said she spent several decades not being able to speak about what happened, until she was given truth serum in 1999 to help clarify some of the memories. She eventually wrote a book with friend and co-author Richard Logan — who administered the truth serum — in which she detailed the experiences of that horrible day and the days that followed.
“In our book I describe what it was like to be dependent on the water for the four days I waited to be rescued. I write about the ocean life around me and the power of that experience,” she said. “I was forever drawn to water after this tragedy, not repelled like some would expect. When I applied with the Department of Natural Resources it was for a position with fisheries. I started working on the water and loved it.”
“I moved on to work in Water Resources and Water Regulation and Zoning. I went on to protect the water that had protected me as a little girl. Water is life and it is soothing for me to be on the beach. I find I can think clearly, relax and feel closer to my lost family.”
The woman’s story went viral, with many expressing their shock and sadness at the events she experienced at such a young age.
“Amazing story how she survived out there all alone in the ocean and only 11 years old wow I would have been scared to death,” one reader wrote on Newsiosity’s Facebook page.
Sources: Newsiosity/Facebook, Newsiosity, CBS News / Photo credit: CBS via Newsiosity