Elizabeth Smart recalls her life as a captive
Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) -- Testifying in the trial of her alleged kidnapper, Elizabeth Smart recounted before jurors Tuesday an encounter with a Salt Lake City, Utah, detective that could have brought her home months earlier.
The homicide detective encountered Smart and her alleged abductor, Brian David Mitchell, along with Mitchell's wife, Wanda Barzee, at the city library in the fall of 2002, several months after she was snatched at knifepoint from her family's home in June, she testified Tuesday.
The three had gone to the library to research California and San Diego, Smart said. Mitchell was already considering moving her there, and the encounter with police spurred him to do so.
Smart said she was wearing robes and a veil. The detective approached her and Barzee, who were sitting at a table while Mitchell used the bathroom, she said.
"The man introduced himself as a homicide detective. He wanted me to remove the veil so he could see my face," said Smart. She recalled Barzee's hand clenching her leg and interpreted it as a warning not to say or do anything.
Meanwhile, Mitchell returned, and Smart said he positioned himself between her and the detective. The officer said that police had received some calls, and that he was looking for Elizabeth Smart, she said.
But Mitchell told him that looking under her veil "was not allowed in our religion. Only my husband would ever see my face in my religion," Smart testified. He told the detective she was his daughter, she said.
The detective "asked if he could be part of our religion for a day" so he could go back and report the girl was not Elizabeth Smart, she said. But Mitchell refused, saying only her husband could do that.
The detective left, Smart said, and "I felt like hope was walking out the door."
"I was so mad at myself that I didn't say anything," she said. "I was mad at myself for not taking the chance. I felt like it was so close. I felt terrible that the detective could just walk away. ... Maybe something would have happened for me. Maybe something would have happened for my family. I was just very upset."
It was not until the following March that her abduction ended.
Smart testified Tuesday about the summer and early fall of 2002. She recalled going to a "rave party" in Salt Lake City and said Mitchell got drunk and they got thrown out after he told everyone to repent. They also spent the night at several different apartments in the city, she said.
During that time, they were wearing their linen religious robes, and she was wearing a veil. After the incident with the detective, she testified, Mitchell made her wear a veil covering her eyes, telling her "the world wasn't ready for the light that was in my eyes." She also was not allowed to speak to anyone, she said -- and whenever someone approached her, Mitchell would get between them.
Learn more about Mitchell
She also recalled being forced to destroy the pajamas she wore the night she was abducted. Mitchell said "the time had come that I needed to sever all ties with the world, and that meant my family as well." She said he let her choose the method, and she chose to burn them because it would have been too difficult to shred them. Mitchell also took her tennis shoes away, she said, and told her he would put them in a public garbage can.
A small piece of the shoe sole had begun to come off, Smart testified, and she ripped it off and kept it. She also retrieved a safety pin that had been on her pajama top and used it to pin the piece of sole onto a piece of paper, placing it into a binder she had.
"I didn't want to let go of my family, of my life," Smart said.
She said Mitchell used marijuana, and she and Barzee smoked it with him on one occasion. But she said he took the marijuana away from her, saying she wasn't inhaling right.
Smart wore a knee-length black skirt Tuesday with a ruffled salmon-colored top and cardigan. At times, her voice dropped so low she was difficult to hear.
She also detailed an unsuccessful attempt by Mitchell to kidnap her cousin, intending to make her his next bride. But he returned to their camp in the foothills alone, saying that after he cut the window screen and attempted to push the blinds out of the way, he knocked over objects, and the noise awoke the occupants of the home.
Mitchell had had a revelation that he was to have seven wives plus one, Smart said. He told her that when he obtained other wives, it would be her job to demonstrate to them "sexual intercourse and its variations."
On Monday, she testified Mitchell told her that he had planned for months how he would snatch her so she could join him and his wife in a "celestial" plural marriage.
"He said they had been preparing for me since he saw me," she said.
Mitchell had done some handyman work for the Smarts after the family encountered him panhandling outside a mall in downtown Salt Lake City. Smart said she had seen him around the house but never spoke to him.
It was the second day of testimony for Smart, now 23 and living in Paris, France, where she is on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Glimpse into Smart's life as a missionary
On Monday, she spoke of being raped "daily at the very least," tethered between two trees "like an animal," and forced to watch and participate in sex acts she found repugnant. She said she was forced to smoke cigarettes and drink wine and "hard liquor."
She did not have to face her alleged abductor Monday or Tuesday. Mitchell, 57, loudly sings hymns whenever he is in court. He had been ejected, as usual, from the courtroom and was watching the trial from another room. He is charged with kidnapping and taking a minor across state lines for sex. If convicted, he would face life in prison.
Mitchell's attorneys do not dispute what happened but say their client was insane at the time of the abduction, and therefore not responsible for his actions.
Smart was found nine months after her abduction in March 2003, walking on a street in the suburb of Sandy, Utah, in the company of Mitchell and Barzee.
Barzee, 64, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor in federal court. She was sentenced in May to 15 years in federal prison. She also pleaded guilty but mentally ill in state court to conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping in the attempt to kidnap Smart's cousin. She was given a sentence of one to 15 years, to be served concurrently with the federal sentence and given credit for the seven years she had already pent in custody.
As part of her plea agreement, Barzee agreed to cooperate in the state and federal cases against her husband.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/11/09/uta ... tml?hpt=T1