The case of Frank Hertel, an Ohio man who raped his daughter for 15 years, finally reached a conclusion after he was convicted following a decade on the run. The abuse began when Heather Orr was just three years old, with her father claiming to be teaching her about love. Her family, including her mother, protected her abuser and prevented her from making allegations.
Before Hertel could stand trial in Arizona, he, Heather's mother, and their younger son fled to Germany, where they assumed fake identities and operated a bar and grill for ten years. Despite the trauma she endured, Heather got married and had children but struggled to trust men, even forbidding her daughter's father from bathing or changing her diapers.
Determined to find justice and locate her brother, Heather searched for her father's name online. She discovered an article about her grandfather's arrest for tax fraud, which led her to contact individuals who commented on the article. Eventually, she located her family's whereabouts in Germany.
Heather shared this information with authorities, leading to her father's extradition back to the United States to face charges. Hertel first stood trial in Arizona, receiving a 20-year sentence for child molestation. Later, in Ohio, he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape and gross sexual imposition and received a sentence of 19 to 95 years in prison.
During his sentencing, Hertel broke down in tears, expressing remorse but claiming it was not the life he wanted for his daughter. Heather saw through his insincere apologies, believing that he was only sorry for getting caught. She testified against him, stating that he had robbed her of feeling safe in the world, and expressed her loss of her entire family.
Despite the hardships she has faced, Heather strives to find happiness every day. She plans to write a book about her ordeal, aiming to bring awareness to the issue of child and women abuse. Heather wants to empower others who have experienced similar nightmares to stand up and declare that such actions are not acceptable.
This heartbreaking case highlights the horrors of long-term abuse and the resilience of survivors like Heather, who bravely confront their perpetrators in pursuit of justice and healing.