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Entries in Elizabeth Smart (12)

Sunday
Feb192012

Elizabeth Smart Marries in Hawaii

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic(HONOLULU) -- Elizabeth Smart, 24, tied the knot on Saturday with fiancé Matthew Gilmour, 22, in a small private ceremony in Hawaii.

“She is positively radiant. And Matthew couldn’t be happier,” Smart’s spokesperson, Chris Thomas, told People magazine.

The couple was planning to get married this summer, but moved up the wedding to Saturday to avoid attracting too much attention.

Smart, who is currently a senior at Brigham Young University.

In 2002,  Smart, then 14, was kidnapped and held captive for nine months by Brian Mitchell.

Smart was found alive March 12, 2003, less than 18 miles from her home.

Mitchell was convicted in 2010 of kidnapping and sexual assault.

Smart is currently a commentator for ABC News on missing person and child abduction cases.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan202012

Kidnap Victim Elizabeth Smart Engaged, in ‘Seventh Heaven’

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) -- Wedding bells are ringing for Elizabeth Smart, the young Utah woman who was kidnapped at age 14 and survived nine months of captivity.

"I’m so excited," Smart told ABC News exclusively. "We are looking forward to a bright future together."

A paid contributor for Good Morning America, reporting and providing analysis on issues related to missing and exploited children, and a music student at Brigham Young University, Smart, 24, got engaged last weekend and is planning a wedding for ”later this year.”

“She is in seventh heaven,” said her publicist Chris Thomas of Intrepid Communications. “She’s excited, she’s enjoying life. It’s been an adventure.”

Thomas would not reveal anything related to the proposal, groom or upcoming wedding. He only said that Smart and her family were “still working to finalize some details.”

“While [Smart] plans to be  involved with her public advocacy work, she really feels she needs to keep her personal life private,” Thomas said.

Smart has continued to be very involved with her Elizabeth Smart Foundation and its group radKIDS, a non-profit educational organization, as well as traveled across the country to speak about child-advocacy issues.

“It’s been a banner year for her,” Thomas said. “She has been in school, she has obviously been dating and has tried to make it a normal life.”

Homeless street preacher Brian David Mitchell abducted Smart from her bedroom in her Salt Lake City home at knife-point in 2002, while her then-9-year-old sister, Mary Katherine, watched from her own bed.

Smart took the stand in 2010 at Mitchell’s trial and gave harrowing details about how he and his wife, Wanda Barzee, held her captive for nine months. During that time, Smart testified that Mitchell raped her, forced her to  pretend she was his wife and to disguise herself in public. Smart was eventually found alive on March 12, 2003, by passers-by in a Salt Lake City suburb less than 18 miles from her home.

Mitchell, 58, was convicted of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for sex and is serving a life sentence in prison. Barzee is serving a 15-year sentence in a federal prison hospital in Texas for assisting in the kidnapping.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Police Release Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Interrogation Tapes

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Brian David Mitchell told detectives who interviewed him shortly after his arrest that he had been commanded by God to kidnap Elizabeth Smart in 2002, and that she had "a glorious experience" with him.

The interview is shown in a video newly released by the Utah District Federal Court, in which a Salt Lake City police detective and an FBI agent question Mitchell sitting around a table in an interview room.

The video was released in response to a motion filed by attorneys for The Salt Lake Tribune and KUTV.

Mitchell, with his wild gray beard, spouts Biblical references and expounds his belief in his calling from God as the investigators try to pin him down on details about the abduction of Smart and the nine months he and Wanda Barzee held her captive.

The two-hour interview was conducted in 2003 by Salt Lake City Police Detective Cordon Parks and FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Ross hours after Mitchell was arrested in Sandy, Utah.

Smart was taken at knifepoint from her bed in the middle of the night on June 5, 2002, while her sister slept.

During Mitchell's trial last year, she told the court that Mitchell held a knife to her throat, took her to an encampment near Salt Lake City, pronounced her his wife, and raped her repeatedly.  Smart also testified that he forced her to view pornography, drink alcohol and watch him and Barzee engage in sexual activity.

After a nine-month search that attracted extensive national coverage, Smart was rescued in 2003 when she was walking in a suburb of Salt Lake City with Mitchell and Barzee.

Barzee, 65, was sentenced in May 2010 to 15 years after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

A District court judge allowed the early interrogation tapes to be released after Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, was convicted in December of kidnapping and transportation of a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity.

This May, with the help of Smart's emotionally grueling testimony, Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May252011

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Sentenced to Life in Prison

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Nearly nine years after being kidnapped and held in a state of sexual slavery she describes as "my nine months of hell", Elizabeth Smart addressed her former captor face-to-face in a packed Salt Lake City courtroom, just moments before he was sentenced to life in prison.

Brian David Mitchell, the homeless street preacher convicted of kidnapping Smart, sang a hymn and gently rocked in his chair as Elizabeth's father Ed and then Elizabeth herself took turns addressing him.

"I hope at some time in your life you find what you have done is wrong," said Ed Smart. "Whether during your time on earth or in eternity, you're going to have to face the guilt."

Next, Elizabeth slowly walked to a podium to pick up a microphone before calmly turning to face Mitchell, who continued singing. It was the first time the 23-year-old has directly addressed Mitchell, who did not appear to look at her as she spoke.

"I don't have very much to say to you," Elizabeth Smart began. "I know exactly what you did. I know that you know what you did was wrong. You did it with a full knowledge. I also want you to know that I have a wonderful life now."

"You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned," she continued. "But in this life or next, you will have to be held responsible for those actions, and I hope you are ready for when that time comes."

Addressing reporters outside the courthouse after the hearing, Elizabeth appeared relieved.

"Today is the ending of a long chapter and the very beginning of a new chapter," she said, her father standing by her sid.

Last December, Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping Smart.  At Wednesday's sentencing, she had the final word, telling her tormentor and the judge about the horrors she endured.

Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home in June 2002 after Mitchell broke in and took the then 14-year-old from the bedroom she shared with her sister.  For the next nine months, Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee, held her captive.  He claimed she had become his wife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

In March 2003, two women in Sandy, Utah -- just miles from Smart's home -- called police when they saw a man who they thought looked like Mitchell, whose face they knew from the extensive coverage of the girl's story.  The man was walking with a woman and a girl, all carrying rolled sleeping bags.  When police tracked the trio down, they thought the girl looked like Smart and took them into custody.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May252011

Elizabeth Smart to Speak at Kidnapper's Sentencing

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Utah kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart is due in court Wednesday for the sentencing of the man who held her captive and sexually assaulted her for nine months.

Smart says she will speak during Brian David Mitchell's sentencing not only for her case but also for other victims who cannot speak out -- she wants it to give them hope.

Last December, Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping Smart.  Now, she'll get the final word, telling her tormentor and the judge about the horrors she endured.

Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home in June 2002 after Mitchell broke in and took the then 14-year-old from the bedroom she shared with her sister.  For the next nine months, Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee, held her captive.  He claimed she had become his wife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

In March 2003, two women in Sandy, Utah -- just miles from Smart's home -- called police when they saw a man who they thought looked like Mitchell, whose face they knew from the extensive coverage of the girl's story.  The man was walking with a woman and a girl, all carrying rolled sleeping bags.  When police tracked the trio down, they thought the girl looked like Smart and took them into custody.

Mitchell will likely be sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Elizabeth Smart Wants to Make Sentencing Message of Hope

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- When Elizabeth Smart speaks at the sentencing this week of the man who kidnapped her from her bedroom nine years ago, her words might be directed to the judge, but she hopes her message will reach others who have gone through ordeals like hers.

At Brian David Mitchell's sentencing, scheduled for Wednesday, Smart will get the final word, telling her tormenter, and the judge, about the horrors she endured and why no one should ever have to face Mitchell again.

Smart said she also knows she can serve as an example and an inspiration to others.

"I will be able to reach out and help other children, other survivors speak out about what's happened to them and give them real hope and courage to take a stand," she said.

Smart was the picture of poise throughout the trial, holding her head high while telling a jury of the horrors Mitchell put her through.  But she said she hasn't decided what she will tell the court.

"I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to say yet," she said.  "So we'll just see when the time comes."

In June 2002, Mitchell broke into the Smart house in an affluent neighborhood of Salt Lake City and kidnapped the then 14-year-old from the bedroom she shared with her sister.  For the next nine months, Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet, and his accomplice, Wanda Barzee, held her captive.  He claimed she had become his wife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

In March 2003, two women in Sandy, Utah -- just miles from Smart's home -- called police when they saw a man who they thought looked like Mitchell, whose face they knew from the extensive coverage of the girl's story.  The man was walking with a woman and a girl, all carrying rolled sleeping bags.

When police tracked the trio down, they thought the girl looked like Smart and took them into custody.

It took years for the case to finally go to trial because of questions over Mitchell's mental health.  When it finally began last year, the trial spanned five weeks, during which Smart took the stand to describe in frank language what happened during her nine-month captivity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Found Guilty

Photo Courtesy - George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The jury in the Elizabeth Smart case found Brian David Mitchell guilty Friday of kidnapping and rape.

The jury determined Mitchell was mentally stable and only deliberated a few hours before it announced the verdict.

Mitchell abducted Smart from her bedroom when she was 14 and raped her on a near-daily basis until she was found nine months later.

The lawyer for the former street preacher did not dispute Mitchell’s guilt, but said he was delusional. Prosecutors said Mitchell faked his behavior to appear crazy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov112010

Elizabeth Smart Ends Testimony, Paints Kidnapper as Brutal Zealot

Photo Courtesy - George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) -- When Elizabeth Smart stepped down from the stand, ending three days of excruciatingly personal testimony Wednesday, she had painted her accused kidnapper as a brutally cruel, religious zealot obsessed with sex.

Speaking in a controlled voice, her words tinged with anger, Smart called Brian David Mitchell selfish and a "hypocrite" who raped her at every chance he got even while proclaiming himself to be God's servant.

The now 23-year-old woman told the jury that Mitchell talked to her during her nine months in captivity about what would happen if they were captured.

"He knew he would go to prison.  But then he also said that I...and the other wives...would come and testify in his behalf," Smart testified.  "And he said that he would be released and he would be killed and lie dead in the street for three days and then he would be resurrected and he would go on to fight the Anti-Christ."

She also spoke of being forced to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, which disgusted her.

Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped from her bed in Utah.  She has said she was forced to "marry" Mitchell in an impromptu ceremony shortly after the kidnapping and that he would often beg her for sex, angering accomplice Wanda Barzee, who was jealous of the attention Mitchell gave Smart.

During her three days on the stand, Smart was poised and unruffled as she detailed her nightmarish nine months with Mitchell and Barzee.  She said that at one point she was confronted by a police officer looking for Elizabeth Smart and he wanted to look under the veil Mitchell made her wear.  She was so afraid of Mitchell's death threats that she didn't speak up and was heartsick that the officer wasn't more persistent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov092010

Elizabeth Smart Tells Court Kidnapper Tried to Snatch Her Cousin Too

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) -- Elizabeth Smart described in court Tuesday a deranged life on the lam with a kidnapper who was an alcoholic, loved porn, and would rape her in a tent he called the Altar of Emanuel.

During her nine-month nightmare with accused kidnapper Brian David Mitchell, Smart says she was not only raped repeatedly, but was fed garbage, forced to drink alcohol and do drugs, and when she got sick would be forced to sleep in her own vomit.

Smart also says that Mitchell was constantly on the lookout for other girls to kidnap and make his wives, even targeting Smart's cousin.

Smart, now 23, testified for a second day in the trial that she believes her own mention of her cousin Olivia Wright -- whom she described as her "closest friend at the time" -- spurred Mitchell's interest in the teen.

"I would just mostly talk about times we shared together because she was one of my closest friends at the time. He would act interesting and engaging, but I didn't think anything else about it at the time," said Smart. "Then he prepared to go down to Salt Lake and kidnap my cousin."

"I watched him pack the green bags that he had used to kidnap me," Smart told the courtroom, matter-of-factly. "I saw him pack into the green bags some change of clothing, different ropes. I saw him pack duct tape, I saw him pack a knife."

The knife believed to have been used by Mitchell was passed around to members of the jury for inspection while Smart, who was just 14 at the time she was abducted, testified.

It's been eight years since Smart was snatched from her bed in Salt Lake City and forced to spend nine months on the run. After passersby reported spotting Smart in a Salt Lake City suburb, authorities arrested Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, charging them with Smart's kidnapping and sexual assault.

Now living in Paris while she works on a Latter Day Saints mission, Smart maintained her composure on the stand again Tuesday, appearing calm and collected, showing very little emotion while providing details of her nightmare, her strategy for survival, and a missed chance at being rescued.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Nov082010

Elizabeth Smart to Testify Against Her Accused Kidnapper, Rapist

Photo Courtesy - George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Elizabeth Smart could take the stand and testify against her accused kidnapper and rapist as early as Monday, when the trial for her case resumes at the Federal courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah.

On Monday or early Tuesday, Smart is expected to give her first public detailed account of being abducted at knife point, raped and held for nine months.  A year ago, she gave a brief overview of her ordeal at a competency hearing for her accused kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, saying he forced her to sleep face down in her own vomit and raped her multiple times a day.

The court says Smart's testimony could last about three days.

The trial resumes in Utah after the 10th circuit court of appeals in Denver, Colorado found Mitchell's claim that he can't get a fair trial in Utah to have no basis.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio