Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart

American schoolgirl, kidnapping victim.
Date of Birth: 03.11.1987
Country: USA

Content:
  1. Elizabeth Smart: A Victim of Kidnapping
  2. A Frightful Night
  3. The Search for Elizabeth
  4. A Breakthrough and Justice
  5. Justice and Consequences

Elizabeth Smart: A Victim of Kidnapping

Elizabeth Smart was an American schoolgirl who became a victim of a horrifying kidnapping incident. On the evening of June 4, 2002, Edward and Lois Smart attended an awards ceremony at their daughter Elizabeth's school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon returning home, the Smarts went to bed peacefully. Edward, before going to sleep, made sure that all the doors were securely locked, but he did not activate the alarm system. Edward was afraid that the alarm might go off if any of his six children felt like taking a nighttime stroll. Little did he know the trouble that not activating the alarm would cause him.

Elizabeth Smart

A Frightful Night

Early in the morning, uninvited guest Brian David Mitchell broke into the Smart's home. Mitchell sneaked into the room where Elizabeth shared a bed with her younger sister, Mary Katherine. Mary pretended to be fast asleep and later described, though somewhat inaccurately, what happened that fateful morning. According to Mary, the kidnapper was a white man in his 30s or 40s, with dark hair and wearing light-colored clothing, who held a gun to Elizabeth's head. In a calm, soft tone, he ordered Elizabeth to remain quiet and led her out of the room. Later, the police discovered that Mary's statements had many inconsistencies. The kidnapper was actually dressed in black, had no golf hat as described by Mary, and threatened Elizabeth with a knife, not a gun. Mary only vaguely recognized the kidnapper's voice, and she never saw his face clearly. By the creaking floorboards, she could determine where her sister and her abductor were. When the footsteps subsided, Mary ran to her parents in a panic. Luckily, she didn't lose her freedom as Mitchell and Elizabeth had not yet left the house, but had only stopped in the boys' bedroom. Mary returned to her room in fear and hid under the covers. According to indirect evidence, she only dared to come out two hours later. Around 4 a.m., Mary woke her parents, informing them of the horrifying news. At first, Edward did not believe his daughter, but the signs of a break-in convinced him that Mary was not just recounting an overly realistic nightmare.

Elizabeth Smart

The Search for Elizabeth

The following day, Edward and Lois appeared on television, appealing to the kidnapper. Simultaneously, a search for Brian Mitchell and his victim was organized. Over 2,000 volunteers participated in the search, and various online platforms actively spread information about the missing girl and her abductor. Despite turning the surroundings upside down, neither the volunteers, nor the search dogs, nor the aerial reconnaissance could find any leads. With time, it became clear that catching Mitchell would be impossible through hot pursuit and that alternative methods were needed. The lack of accurate information greatly complicated the situation. The only witness, Mary Katherine, was unable to provide valuable information to the authorities. Fingerprints or DNA evidence at the crime scene were also not found. The police investigated anyone who even remotely aroused suspicion. For a while, a 26-year-old vagrant named Bret Michael Edmunds was considered a promising suspect. However, it became clear later that he had no connection to Elizabeth's abduction. The police then focused on a certain Richard Ricci, who had previously worked in the Smart's home and had a history of criminal activities. Ricci was accused of a series of burglaries and had a similar method of breaking into houses, just like the unknown kidnapper. Unfortunately, this lead also turned out to be a dead end. Ricci refused to cooperate with the authorities and died in prison a few weeks later due to a brain hemorrhage.

Elizabeth Smart

A Breakthrough and Justice

The Smarts continued to regularly communicate with the press, doing their utmost to prevent people from forgetting about their missing daughter. However, their efforts yielded little results. The breakthrough in the case came in October 2002, and surprisingly, it was thanks to Mary Katherine once again. Several months later, the young girl remembered where she had heard the kidnapper's voice before. It turned out to belong to someone named "Emmanuel." This man had worked for the Smarts for some time, as they actively supported the unemployed by offering them various side jobs. Emmanuel had a calm voice, politeness, and a deep religious devotion. Rumor had it that he sincerely believed himself to be a prophet of God and acted as a pastor for other homeless individuals. Initially, the police reacted skeptically to Mary's new testimony, as she had not heard the kidnapper's voice clearly, and too much time had passed since the incident. The Smarts took the investigation into their own hands. With the help of an artist, they created an approximate portrait of "Emmanuel" and presented it on several television programs, including "America's Most Wanted." This eventually bore fruit when Emmanuel's relatives reached out to the Smarts. From this moment, the police started actively searching for Brian David Mitchell. Emmanuel's relatives kindly provided detectives with relatively good photographs of the abductor. Mitchell was finally captured on March 13, 2003, thanks to a biker who recognized him from a segment about Elizabeth's kidnapping. The police arrested Mitchell, along with his two accomplices, Wanda Ileen Barzee and a carefully disguised Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth's testimonies helped reconstruct the events that had taken place. After the kidnapping, Mitchell took the girl to a cabin in the woods, where they were greeted by Wanda Barzee. Elizabeth was forced to wear a robe, and then Mitchell... "married" the captive.

Elizabeth Smart

Justice and Consequences

The sentences for the kidnappers were not delivered immediately. For a long time, it was unclear whether they should be tried or treated in a psychiatric hospital. Ultimately, Barzee and Mitchell were declared fit to stand trial. Several psychiatrists confirmed that, at the very least, Mitchell was capable of objectively assessing reality and did not suffer from a carefully simulated religious psychosis. On November 17, 2009, Barzee received a 15-year prison sentence for her involvement in the kidnapping, while "Emmanuel" was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 25, 2011. These criminals are currently serving their deserved punishments.

Elizabeth Smart

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