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Elizabeth Smart

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Elizabeth Smart

Post  NoStone on Mon 14 Nov - 17:12


These are the words that will give fresh heart to Kate and Gerry McCann this week: "Don't give up... because miracles DO happen."

It's a simple enough message, but what's important is that it comes from the one person who is living proof that there will always be hope for missing Madeleine.

As the McCanns wait to hear if Portuguese police have abandoned the search for their daughter, a pretty young woman called Elizabeth Smart has broken a long silence to talk about her own childhood ordeal.

Elizabeth, 20, reveals how she too was kidnapped in the night and was missing for months on end. She tells how her parents came under suspicion, just as Gerry and Kate McCann have.

Her case bears striking similarities to the baffling disappearance of little Maddie... but with a final instalment.

It ended happily. Elizabeth came home.

"I feel so lucky to be here, to have come through this unscarred," she says. "While I was gone I didn't know if I would ever be found, but I had hopes and dreams that I would.

They tell me I am an icon of hope. I just wish everyone could be as lucky as I was.

"Madeleine is a beautiful little girl and I can only imagine how her parents must feel, to see the case closing on their daughter - I feel so heartbroken for them.

"But look at me... I'm proof that good things do happen in this world."

Six years ago when she was 14, Elizabeth went to sleep in the bedroom she shared with her 10-year-old sister Mary Catherine - and the next morning she was gone. There was no evidence left behind and searches of the countryside around the family's home in Salt Lake City, Utah, produced not a single clue.

For a while her own parents Ed and Lois were suspects, like Gerry and Kate. And just like the McCanns, they carried on defiantly, campaigning to keep her face and name in the media.

Missing Elizabeth dominated the American TV networks as speculation raged - where had she been taken, how had anyone managed to spirit her away, was she alive or dead?

Months later, the police declared they were winding down their investigation.

And then, after nine agonising months, as suddenly as she had vanished Elizabeth was found again.

Errrr...Where exactly are the 'striking similarities'??


Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom on 5 June 2002 by a gun-wielding stranger who had broken into her family's Salt Lake City home.

Smart's younger sister, Mary Katherine, witnessed the crime while pretending to be asleep. In October, Mary Katherine told her parents she thought the kidnapper was Brian David Mitchell, a drifter and street preacher who called himself Emmanuel and had done odd jobs at the Smart home one day in November of 2001.

On March 12, 2003, Elizabeth Smart was found alive in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City, after being spotted while walking with Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Ilene Barzee. Mitchell and Barzee were arrested, and Elizabeth Smart was reunited with her family. Both Mitchell and Barzee were eventually declared incompetent to stand trial and confined to mental institutions for treatment. In November of 2009 Barzee struck a deal with prosecutors that involved her pleading guilty and cooperating in the case against Mitchell, just as Elizabeth Smart was preparing to leave for France on a mission for her church. Brian David Mitchell was tried and, on 10 December 2010, found guilty of interstate kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor. He was sentenced in May of 2011 to spend the rest of his life in prison. Later that same year, Elizabeth Smart was hired by ABC News as a paid contributor, with a network spokesman saying she would appear "when there are missing children or missing-person cases in the news."

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/elizabeth-smart#ixzz1dhUUIiPS
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