While most celebrities of this age are known for beating world records, participating in epoch-making events and living their dreams, Elizabeth Smart is best remembered for her gruesome abduction from her childhood bedroom at the age of fourteen.
Considered as one of the most widely recognized abduction cases in the history of the United States, Smart’s captivity in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City and subsequently in a campsite outside of San Diego for 9 months, greatly helped in shaping her life and making her the strong and respected woman she is today.
Despite her journey of grief and underserved ugly experience in the hands of her abductors, Elizabeth was able to get over her plight, coming out better and stronger than she was.
Beyond her abduction story, we have so many things to tell you about the pretty young woman. Read on to find them yourself.
Biography of Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart is the daughter of Lois Smart (mother) and real estate developer Edward Smart (father). She was born into a devout Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 3, 1987.
Smart has four brothers – Charles Smart, Edward Smart, Andrew Smart, and William Smart – and one sister, whose name is Mary Katherine. The second-oldest child in her family, she attended Bryant Middle School, in Salt Lake City and later East High School in Salt Lake City, graduating in 2006.
She later proceeded to Brigham Young University to further her education. Smart studied music and harp performance at BYU and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in harp performance in 2012.
Her Abduction, Discovery, and Rescue
Elizabeth Smart’s abduction took place on June 5, 2002, a day after she walked home with several awards for academic excellence and physical fitness. Her kidnapper is said to have found his way into her room an hour after midnight. Elizabeth’s younger sister, Mary, who was sharing a room with her at the time is said to have overheard the man talking to her sister, threatening to kill her and the rest of her family members if she makes a sound. Overwhelmed with fear and indecision, Mary silently watched the stranger leave with her sister.
After leading Smart out of the house, the kidnapper marched her for hours through the forest to a spot where his wife was waiting. Her captors chained her to a tree in Utah woods, drugged, raped, and forced her to endure religious rituals for nine months.
A frantic search for Smart’s abductor began immediately after it occurred to Mary that the man resembled Immanuel, a homeless street preacher who used to do odd jobs in their home. Elizabeth Smart was later rescued after a passerby saw Immanuel, whose real name is Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Ileen Barzee, walking with the teen on a public street in Sandy, Utah, on March 12, 2003.
Justice was served in the case on December 10, 2010, when a jury in a federal courtroom in Salt Lake City found Brian guilty of kidnapping Elizabeth for religious delusion and grooming the teen for sexual purposes. He was sentenced to life in prison while his wife bagged 15 years behind bars for her roles in the crimes.
Following the victory, Smart returned to the classroom and later became an advocate, an activist for child violence and sexual abuse and a motivational speaker for people who survived abduction.
Her Family – Husband
Elizabeth Smart is married to Matthew Gilmour, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland. The pair met while serving as missionaries in the Paris Mission. The got engaged in January 2012, after a deep friendship that lasted for one year and later exchanged marital vows on February 18, 2012, on the north shore of Oahu, in Hawaii.
Smart and Matthew welcomed their first baby, Chloe Gilmour (a girl), in February 2015 while their second child, James Gilmour (a boy) arrived in 2017.
It takes great courage to make it in life for who you are and not for what you’ve been through. Smart really had a turbulent early life but her passion for saving victims who also passed through the same ordeal is paying off.
In addition to her job as a contributor to ABC News, she also earns a huge sum of money as an activist. Her fortune is valued at $1.7 million.
Facts To Know About Elizabeth Smart
1. The American activist is the founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which was launched in 2011, with the aim to provide resources and trauma support for families and victims and empower children as well.
2. Smart released a memoir entitled: “My Story” in October 2013. The narrative centers on her horrific ordeals in the hands of the former Mormon religious fanatic Brian David Mitchell.
3. As a child, she was good at playing the harp. Prior to her abduction, she used to perform at recitals, funerals, and local weddings.
4. Smart was part of the team that wrote the handbook: “You Are Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment”. It was written by the United States Department of Justice and was launched in 2008 for kidnapping survivors.