Elizabeth Smart Stayed With Captor to Protect Family

He promised to kill them if she fled
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2010 2:53 PM CST
From left, Elizabeth Smart, Mary Katherine Smart, defense attorney Robert Steele, and Brian David Mitchell are depicted in this courtroom sketch Monday.   (AP Photo/Jimmy Lucero)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Elizabeth Smart continued her poised testimony today, explaining that she didn't try to escape captor Brian David Mitchell because he promised to kill her family if she did. The Salt Lake Tribune highlights this wrenching detail: Mitchell forced her to burn the red pajamas she had on when he abducted her, and she secretly saved a safety pin "because I didn’t want to let go of my family, of my life.” Mitchell also made her refer to her parents as Ed and Lois to try to distance the then 14-year-old from them.

At another point, Smart testified that a Salt Lake City police detective approached her, Mitchell, and Mitchell's wife in the library and asked to see the girl's face under her veil, but Mitchell refused to allow it under a religious pretense. The detective, who said he was looking for Elizabeth, eventually gave up, notes AP. "I was mad at myself, that I didn't say anything," said Smart. "I felt terrible that the detective hadn't pushed harder and had just walked away." Yesterday, she told jurors of Mitchell's sexual assaults.

My Take on This Story