Elizabeth Smart Details Wrenching Near-Rescues
Memoir is out today
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2013 1:52 PM CDT
In this May 7, 2013, file photo, Elizabeth Smart talks with a reporter before an interview in Park City, Utah.    (Rick Bowmer)

(Newser) – Minutes after 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was snatched from her bedroom in the dead of night, a police cruiser idled by along a neighborhood street as she was forced to the ground at knifepoint. "Move and I will kill you!" her captor hissed. It was one of several fleeting times Smart watched a rescue slip away during her nine-month ordeal, she recounts in My Story, a 308-page book released by St. Martin's Press today. She writes that she was so terrified of the street preacher who kidnapped her that when she was rescued by police in a Salt Lake City suburb in March 2003, she only reluctantly identified herself.

More near-rescues:

  • A homicide detective once questioned kidnapper Brian David Mitchell at a downtown Salt Lake City library. From under a table, his wife, Wanda Barzee, clamped "iron" fingers into Smart's thigh. Smart, disguised in a dirty robe and face veil, kept her silence as she remembered the couple's repeated threats to kill her family if she tried to save herself.
  • Only days into the kidnapping, a helicopter hovered over the makeshift camp in the mountains just 5 miles from Smart's home where she was kept tethered to trees by steel cables. She was forced inside a tent as the helicopter's rotors bent trees around them. After an eternal minute, she watched the helicopter slowly glide away.
"Why didn't I cry out for help?" Smart reflects. The answer "comes down to fear." The young girl believed Mitchell invincible. Click for more from the book.