Elizabeth Smart, a 24-year-old woman from Salt Lake City, Utah, who was snatched from her bedroom almost 10 years ago, revealed for the first time to an audience some of the horrific details about her ordeal last night.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City, when she was 14 years old. She cried as she told members of a Rotary Club about the night Brian David Mitchell took her at knifepoint.
It was the first time Elizabeth Smart, now 24, has spoken in public about the graphic details of her nine months in captivity at the hands of Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee.
“I kept begging him to let me go – and he wouldn’t listen to me,” Elizabeth Smart told ABC.
“All I could do was scream <<No>>. He said, <<If you ever scream like that again, I will kill you.>>”
Although Elizabeth Smart has published a book on her terrifying ordeal and spoken at the trial of Brian David Mitchell last year, this is the first time she has been heard recounting the terrible details.
Elizabeth Smart had been invited to speak to members of the Salt Lake City Rotary Club to help promote her charity the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. It works in schools across the country with a programme radKIDS to educate children on how to protect themselves from danger.
She was taken from her room in 2002 while her 9-year-old sister, Mary Katherine, pretended to be asleep but watched from her bed.
Brian David Mitchell, a homeless, religious fanatic, dragged Elizabeth Smart from her home to a camp in the woods he had set up with Wanda Barzee.
The man then performed a short wedding ceremony with the girl before raping her.
Elizabeth Smart added: “He went straight from marrying me to raping me. And after that moment I couldn’t feel more worthless and more degraded. It was the worse feeling I could have ever felt.”
Elizabeth Smart, who studies at Brigham Young University recalled being tied down with a cable on her first night and the deep sense of hopelessness that surrounded her.
The girl was held captive for nine months during which time she was raped daily by Brian David Mitchell, sometimes up to three or four times.
Elizabeth Smart had testified at Brian David Mitchell’s trial in 2010 in excruciating detail about waking up in the early hours of June 5, 2002, to the feel of a cold, jagged knife at her throat and being whisked away by the man.
Within hours of the kidnapping, Elizabeth Smart testified, she was stripped of her favorite red pajamas, draped in white, religious robes and forced into a polygamous marriage with Brian David Mitchell.
The girl was tethered to a metal cable strung between two trees and subjected to near-daily rapes while being forced to use alcohol and drugs.
Elizabeth Smart described the horrific events as her “nine months of hell”.
She recalled being forced to live homeless, dress in disguises and stay quiet or lie about her identity if ever approached by strangers or police.
Daily, her life and those of her family members were threatened by Brian David Mitchell, Elizabeth Smart said at the trial.
Elizabeth Smart was eventually spotted by chance on March 12, 2003 in a Salt Lake City suburb after a stranger recognized Brian David Mitchell from an episode of America’s Most Wanted.
Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison in May with the help of Elizabeth Smart’s compelling testimony.
Wanda Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in a Texas federal prison hospital for her role in the kidnapping of the girl.