Saturday, May 22, 2010
Elizabeth Ann Smart, (November 3, 1987) is an American woman who survived a nine-month kidnapping and is now a political activist. She is currently a Mormon missionary in France.
Elizabeth Ann Smart was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Ed and Lois Smart. She has a younger sister named Mary Katherine and an older brother named Charlie, as well as three other brothers.
Main article: Elizabeth Smart kidnapping
Smart was abducted from her bedroom on June 5, 2002, at the age of 14. She was found alive nine months later on March 12, 2003, in Sandy, Utah, about 18 miles from her home, in the company of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee, who were indicted for her kidnapping but ruled unfit to stand trial. Her abduction and recovery was widely reported and was the subject of both a made-for-TV movie and a non-fiction book.
On October 1, 2009 Smart testified to being threatened, tied, and raped daily while she was held captive.
On November 16, 2009 Wanda Barzee announced that she would plead guilty to assisting in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, as part of an agreement with prosecutors. On November 17, 2009 she was sentenced to 15 years in prison for her involvement in the kidnapping.
On March 1, 2010, Brian David Mitchell was found competent to stand trial for the kidnapping and sexual assault charges in Federal Court by federal judge Dale Kimball.
Post-abduction life and political activism
"I know that there is a God and He loves us and that no matter what people can take from you or do to you or harm you, they can't take that away from you.... I want [the people of France] to know God exists and that He loves them, and there isn't anything in this world that could possibly change what He feels for them. And that they will never be alone, and that He wants them to be happy."
— Elizabeth Smart, September 2009
On March 8, 2006, Smart went to Congress to support Sexual Predator Legislation and the AMBER Alert system, and on July 26, 2006, she spoke after the signing of the Adam Walsh Act.
Smart is currently a senior at Brigham Young University studying music as a harp performance major. In May 2008, she traveled to Washington, D.C., where she helped present a book, You're Not Alone published by the U.S. Department of Justice, which has entries written by her as well as four other recovered young adults.
In 2009, Smart commented on the kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard, stressing that dwelling upon the past is unproductive. On Oct 27 2009 Elizabeth spoke at the 2009 Women's Conference in California hosted by First Lady Maria Shriver, on overcoming obstacles in life.
On November 11, 2009, Smart left on a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church) to Paris, France.