Investigation Discovery’s ‘Your Worst Nightmare: No End in Sight’ delves into the incredible story of Debbie Puglisi’s almost miraculous escape from her captor, Donald Flagg. She was held in captivity for five days before she was rescued. Donald abducted Debbie from her home after murdering her husband, Anthony “Nino” Puglisi. So, if you’re curious about what Debbie has done since then and where she might be now, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Debbie Puglisi?
Debbie was born in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. After graduating high school in 1969, she moved to Delaware. Soon after that, Debbie met Nino in Pennsylvania through her ex-boyfriend, Bill. The couple married in 1973 and lived in Academy Hills, Delaware, when their 25th wedding anniversary was coming up. By then, their children had gone off to college. Debbie worked as a hospice nurse at the time.
On April 20, 1998, Debbie went into the couple’s residence after working in her garden only to be attacked by Donald Flagg. He had punched in the head, knocking her glasses over in the process. As a result, Debbie couldn’t see clearly. By then, Donald had already murdered Nino. He then proceeded to take her to the basement, where he bound and raped her. Then, Donald pulled up his car to the front door and put Debbie, wrapped in a comforter, in the trunk.
Donald then drove Debbie to his house, where he continued to sexually assault her many times. During her time in captivity, Donald told Debbie he killed Nino, read her newspaper articles regarding the murder, and had the TV on that broadcasted news updates regarding the case. Debbie later said, “One thing that really, truly upset me was hearing my brother, who was in law enforcement, defending me on the news. He kept referring to me in the past tense because he had been trained that by the fourth day, a missing person was most likely dead.”
Donald kept her hogtied for the majority of the time, but on April 24, 1998, he placed handcuffs on her instead. However, he did tie the handcuffs on her hands and legs together behind her back with a rope. Once Donald left for work, Debbie somehow loosened the knot and got to a phone in the house, calling 911. But the operator didn’t immediately recognize her name despite the case making headlines for the past few days. Eventually, the police traced the phone call and rescued her.
Where is Debbie Puglisi Now?
After the ordeal, Debbie said in a statement regarding her children, “I knew they needed me and that my work as a parent was not over. God gave me the strength to get through, and I intend to make sure that the dreams their father and I have for them are realized.” But her road to recovery was a long one. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and went through therapy for many years. Debbie then decided to use her experience to help other survivors in similar situations.
Debbie wrote a book called ‘Shattered: Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence’ and has shared her story through the many lectures given over the years. “It has become my therapy,” she said, “Victims need to tell their stories.” After the incident, she reconnected with her first boyfriend, Bill, and they got married in 2000. She now goes by the last name Sharp and lives in Lewes, Delaware. Debbie works part-time at a local medical center and owns a tavern with her husband. Her efforts have also resulted in changes in Delaware’s 911 system, making it easier to track the location of a phone which made the call.
Read More: How Did Anthony “Nino” Puglisi Die?