By Saul Roth
On the night of June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was taken at knifepoint by Brian David Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet who believed that he was commanded by God to take her as his second wife. Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, held Smart captive for nine months, during which time she was repeatedly raped and brainwashed.
Smart’s kidnapping made national headlines and sparked a massive search effort. Her parents, Ed and Lois Smart, refused to give up hope and appeared on numerous television shows and news programs to plead for her safe return. On March 12, 2003, Smart was finally rescued after a stranger spotted her on a busy street in Sandy, Utah, with her abductors.
Mitchell and Barzee were arrested and eventually convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault. Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, while Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Smart’s kidnapping was a horrific ordeal, but she has emerged from it as a strong and inspiring advocate for missing persons and victims of sexual assault. She has written a best-selling book about her experience, and she has founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which works to raise awareness about child abduction and sexual violence.
Smart’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit. She refused to give up hope, even in the darkest of times. She is an inspiration to us all, and her story shows that even the most difficult challenges can be overcome.
The Aftermath of the Kidnapping
The Elizabeth Smart kidnapping had a profound impact on the city of Salt Lake City and the world at large. It raised awareness about the dangers of child abduction and sexual assault, and it inspired a national conversation about these issues.
Smart’s parents, Ed and Lois Smart, became outspoken advocates for missing persons and victims of sexual assault. They founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which works to raise awareness about these issues and to provide support to victims and their families.
Smart herself has become a powerful voice for change. She has written a best-selling book about her experience, and she has spoken out on numerous occasions about the need to protect children and to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable.
The Elizabeth Smart kidnapping was a tragedy, but it also inspired a movement for change. Smart’s story has helped to raise awareness about child abduction and sexual assault, and it has inspired others to speak out against these crimes. She is a true inspiration, and her story will continue to touch the lives of people around the world for years to come.