Elizabeth smart’s kidnapping was highly publicized 18 years ago when she was rescued from a married couple who had held her captive for nine months. During this time, she endured sexual abuse and horrible conditions that are difficult to contemplate. She has recently revealed her thoughts about the event now at age 31.
Elizabeth was 14 years old when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. It happened late at night while her parents were asleep and her sister was in the same bedroom pretending to be asleep. The kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, held Elizabeth at knife point while her little sister Mary was too terrified to react.
Brian took Elizabeth to a camp in the woods about 20 miles away where he and his wife Wanda Barzee kept her captive. The teen was subjected to rape, starvation and other hardships for months. Soon after the girl was taken to the campsite, they forced her to wear a ceremonial robe and partake in a marriage after which she was raped.
Mitchell had told Elizabeth that he was an angel who was destined to rise up and destroy the Antichrist. David told her that he intended to kidnap a total of seven virgin girls whom he would marry so that they could accompany him in his religious battles. The couple was brazen enough to bring Elizabeth out in public several times with her wearing a strange robe and a veil over her face.
Discovery and rescue
Elizabeth’s parents Ed and Lois Smart appeared on television the day after the kidnapping occurred to plead for the return of their daughter and alert the public that she was missing. Thousands of people began to search with planes and dogs. The search went on for several days, but it was abandoned without success.
The kidnappers relocated with Elizabeth to the wooded areas of San Diego, and the girl was never recognized even though she had made numerous public appearances in public with the couple. It wasn’t until October of 2002 that Elizabeth’s sister Mary finally recalled that the man’s voice sounded like a man whom the family had hired for a day to do work on the house and property, but she never got a look at the man’s face that night.
The police had the family provide details that helped create a sketch of the man that was released in the media in February of 2003. Mitchell’s relatives saw the sketch on television, and they gave police some photographs of the abductor. On March 12, 2003, a couple who had seen photos of Mitchell on television spotted the kidnappers and the girl wearing veiled robes. They promptly alerted local police. When the couple was questioned, the officers recognized Elizabeth and arrested the kidnappers.
Today, Elizabeth Smart is a victim’s rights advocate. She recently released a statement on Instagram explaining that she feels her survival of the ordeal has enabled her to take a life path that has enabled her to help other people who have suffered similar circumstances. Her actions have helped in the efforts to pass legislation to prevent kidnapping and help the survivors of horrible sexual crimes.
One of the kidnappers, Wanda Barzee, whom Elizabeth described as the most evil woman she had ever known, was recently released from prison. Elizabeth made a public statement revealing her disappointment over this, and she mentioned that probation officers spoke with her to address her safety. She added that it doesn’t feel as though justice has been served.
These new events also come shortly after Elizabeth’s father Ed at age 64 has announced on social media that he’s gay. He explained that he felt it was important to be honest with his family, and he is relieved that he no longer has to hide his orientation. He also revealed that hiding the truth caused him to have thoughts akin to suicide.
Ed also revealed that he and his wife were getting divorced, although they remain devout in their Mormon faith. Elizabeth told reporters that she was sad about the separation, but she supports them in their decision.
David Mitchell is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.