Elizabeth Smart Details Wrenching Near-Rescues

Memoir is out today

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Oct 7, 2013 1:52 PM CDT

(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.

In this May 7, 2013, file photo, Elizabeth Smart talks with a reporter before an interview in Park City, Utah.
In this May 7, 2013, file photo, Elizabeth Smart talks with a reporter before an interview in Park City, Utah.   (Rick Bowmer)
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