While most celebrities of this age are known for beating world records, taking part in epoch-making events, and living their dreams, Elizabeth Smart is best remembered for her cruel abduction from her childhood bedroom at the age of fourteen.
She was considered one of the most famous kidnapping cases in the history of the United States, and Smart’s imprisonment in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City and then for nine months at a campground outside San Diego helped her greatly in shaping her life and making her the strong and respected woman she is today.
Despite her journey of grief and undeserved ugly experiences at the hands of her captors, Elizabeth was able to overcome her plight and came out of it better and stronger than she had.
Beyond her abduction story, we have so much to tell you about this beautiful young woman. Read on to find her for yourself.
Biography of Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart is the daughter of Lois Smart (mother) and property developer Edward Smart (father). She was born on November 3, 1987, in a devout Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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, which she graduated from in 2006.
Later she went to Brigham Young University for further education. Smart studied music and harp playing at BYU and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in harp playing in 2012.
Her Abduction, Discovery, and Rescue
Elizabeth Smart’s abduction took place on June 5, 2002, the day after she had gone home with several awards for academic excellence and physical fitness. Her abductor is said to have found her way to 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 and threatened to kill her and the rest of her family if she made a sound. Overwhelmed by fear and indecision, Mary watched in silence as the stranger left with her sister.
After leading Smart out of the house, the kidnapper marched with her for hours through the forest to a place where his wife was waiting. Her captors chained her to a tree in the Utah forest, drugged her, raped her, and forced her to endure nine months of religious rituals.
A desperate search for Smart’s abductor began immediately after Mary noticed that the man resembled Immanuel, a homeless street preacher who did odd jobs in her house. Elizabeth Smart was later rescued after a passer-by saw Immanuel, whose real name is Brian David Mitchell, and his wife Wanda Ileen Barzee, walking the teenager on a public street in Sandy, Utah, on March 12, 2003.
The case was brought to trial on December 10, 2010, when a jury in a federal courtroom in Salt Lake City found Brian guilty of abducting Elizabeth for religious delusion and grooming the teenager for sexual purposes. He was sentenced to life in prison while his wife spent 15 years behind bars for her role in the crimes.
After his 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 the abduction.
Her Family – Husband
Elizabeth Smart is married to Matthew Gilmour, who is from Aberdeen, Scotland. The two met when they were missionaries at the Paris Mission. They got engaged in January 2012, after a deep friendship that lasted a year, and later exchanged vows on February 18, 2012, on the north shore of Oahu, 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, not for what you have been through. Smart really did have a turbulent early life, but her passion for rescuing victims who have been through the same ordeal is paying off.
In addition to her job as an employee of ABC News, she also earns a huge amount of money as an activist. Her fortune is estimated at $1.7 million.
Facts To Know About Elizabeth Smart
1. The American activist is the founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which was established in 2011 with the aim of providing resources and trauma support for families and victims and also empowering children.
2. Smart published a memoir in October 2013 entitled: “My Story”. The story focuses on their terrible ordeals at the hands of former Mormon religious fanatic Brian David Mitchell.
3. She was good at playing the harp as a child. Before her abduction, she performed at lectures, funerals, and local weddings.
4. Smart was part of the team that wrote the manual: “You are not alone: The journey from abduction to self-determination”. It was written by the United States Department of Justice and published in 2008 on the abduction of survivors.