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Family friend: Ballantyne-area teen getting better every day after year in captivity

Michael Ren Wysolovski, 31, was taken into custody and is facing a number of state charges, according to the FBI.
Michael Ren Wysolovski, 31, was taken into custody and is facing a number of state charges, according to the FBI.

A family friend says Hailey Burns, the Ballantyne-area teen kept captive in a Georgia man’s Gwinnett County house for more than a year, is getting better every day.

But full recovery will be a long road for Burns, 17, who was rescued by law enforcement over the weekend and is now home with her family, family friend and spokesman Tom McNamara said.

She’s already been to her favorite restaurant, Firebirds, and she’s making herself at home again in her room, McNamara said - all of which is surely a great relief after the months she spent stuck in a room with mundane details of her life controlled by a man now facing life in prison.

In Georgia, Burns couldn’t move freely though the house due to a floor-to-ceiling gate, said Tracie Cason, a deputy chief assistant district attorney in Gwinnett County.

When she was allowed to move around, her alleged captor, 31-year-old Michael Ren Wysolovski, told her she would be arrested if she left the house, Cason said.

Wysolovski and Burns met in an online chat room for people struggling with eating issues, Cason said. McNamara said Burns has not been diagnosed with any eating disorder and was involved in a lot of different chat rooms at the time.

Wysolovski apparently had a particular interest in disordered eating, and he restricted the calories Burns could eat in Georgia to keep her “gaunt,” Cason said. He’s charged with cruelty to children for limiting Burns’ food.

McNamara said Burns is doing as well as could be expected from a medical perspective now. When she was examined at a Georgia hospital over the weekend, she was found to be malnourished, Cason said.

Wysolovski is also charged with interstate interference with custody for bringing her to Georgia. Sometime after Burns and Wysolovski met in the chat room, Cason said, Wysolovski drove to North Carolina and picked her up about a mile from her house.

Wysolovski is also charged with aggravated sodomy and false imprisonment, and more charges are likely coming, Cason said. He currently faces a maximum sentence of life plus 35 years.

Burns was rescued after she met a woman in Romania online and sent her pictures to help her figure out where Burns was being held. That woman contacted Burns’ parents, who reached out to the FBI. Burns was rescued Saturday.

Wysolovski does not appear to have a prior criminal record in Georgia or North Carolina.

Jane Wester; 704-358-5331; @janewester

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