News

Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart recounts captivity in new memoir

Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart recounts captivity in new memoir

SURVIVOR; Elizabeth Smart, 25, details her kidnapping and fight to get back home. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her Utah bedroom in 2002 as a teenager by a self-styled religious prophet and held for nine months, details her captivity in a memoir, “My Story,” published on Monday.

Smart, 25, describes in the book her persistent fear during the ordeal and how she persuaded her captors, religious fanatic Brian David Mitchell and his wife, to travel from California back to Utah, which eventually led to her rescue.

“All I could think of was if I wasn’t found here, there’s no way I’m going to be found anywhere else,” Smart told NBC’s “Today” show on Monday. “I have to get back to Salt Lake.”

Smart retells how Mitchell, now 59, kidnapped her from her Salt Lake City bedroom and took her to a nearby mountain encampment. He would rape her every day for the next nine months, Smart writes.

Mitchell took Smart and his wife, Wanda Barzee, to Southern California three months after kidnapping the teenager.

Smart persuaded Mitchell to hitchhike with her and Barzee back to Utah from California after Mitchell had suggested taking Smart to the East Coast. Smart said she believed she would be recognized only in Utah.

Smart, who married last year and works as an advocate to prevent crimes against children, said she still hangs onto words her mother spoke days after she was rescued when a passerby spotted Mitchell walking down a street with her and Barzee in Sandy, Utah, and notified police.

“The best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy, to move forward with your life and to do what you want to do,” Smart said. “By feeling sorry for yourself and by holding on to what’s happened to you that’s only allowing him to steal more of your life away from you, and he doesn’t deserve another second.”

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison following a six-week trial in 2010 in which Smart testified about her abduction and captivity. Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Smart, a devout Mormon, also details in the book how playing the harp and horseback-riding have helped her in her recovery.

“Healing takes a lot of different forms and it’s different for everybody and there’s not a wrong way and there’s not a right way,” she said.

“My Story” is published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of privately held Macmillan.

Recent Headlines

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as ‘Bambi’

23-overlay6

"Saturday Night Live" and The Rock take a look at what a live-action "Bambi" would look like.

in Music

This week’s top alternative tracks

modestmouse

LISTEN: This week's top alternative songs, according to the weekly Billboard chart.

in Viral Videos

Billy Zane mistakenly thanks One Direction fans for support

Billy Zane arrives at the Global Green USA's 12th Annual Pre-Oscar Party at the Avalon Hollywood on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Actor Billy Zane pokes fun at the fact he shares a similar name to former One Direction member Zayn Malik in a new video.

in Music

Ringo Starr: Beatles reunion would have happened if Lennon, Harrison hadn’t died

ringo-starr

The drummer says he believes the band would have eventually gotten back together.

in Viral Videos

National Anthem ‘fans’ at Walmart

13-overlay4

We all did this as kids ... we just probably didn't get caught on camera doing it in a Walmart.