Stories of Survival: Woman who at 14 was kidnapped and raped daily for 9 months finally tells her story
Elizabeth Smart is preparing to tell her story about being held captive and raped daily for nine months by a onetime homeless preacher.
St. Martin’s Press purchased the rights to publish Smart’s memoir, which is being written by Chris Stewart, congressman-elect from Utah.
“She has taken a professional outlook on this and is able to talk in an impressive way about these things frankly,” Stewart said.
Brian David Mitchell kidnapped Smart, then age 14, from her Utah bedroom at knifepoint on June 5, 2002, authorities say. Police recovered the teenager nine months later when they spotted her walking along a busy street with Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee, reported The Associated Press.
Mitchell was convicted of sexual assault and kidnapping, for which he is serving two life sentences in at a prison in Arizona. Barzee is serving a 15-year sentence.
Smart waited until Mitchell’s sentencing in March 2011 before starting work on the book about her struggle.
Smart is now a married, 25-year-old senior at Brigham Young University. She and Stewart have been working on the book for nearly a year now.
The book will also focus on how she started the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to help missing and abused children, according to her publicist Christopher Thomas.
“She started the foundation to get her message across, and (a) book was another way to do it,” he said.
Smart’s memoir will be the fourth book about her abduction. The first, “Held Captive,” was written months after police found Smart. The second, “Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope,” was penned by her parents.
The third book, “Plain Sight: The Startling Truth Behind the Elizabeth Smart Investigation,” was a more in-depth account of the police investigation by her uncle Tom Smart and journalist Lee Benson.
“We never talked to Elizabeth about our book,” her uncle told The Associated Press. “We did not want to tell her story. We want her to tell her story.”
Stewart said that Smart has recovered surprisingly well from the experience, but the fight is not over. Now she is on a mission to prevent and stop predatory crimes, and telling her story is one way to raise awareness.
“She’s not shying away from this story,” Stewart said.