Elizabeth Smart’s nine month kidnap ordeal ended not with gunfire and drama but with just three words: ‘I am Elizabeth.’
With this, she reclaimed her life after an abduction that horrified the nation in a harrowing tale told for the first time in her memoir published today.
Now, in her book, ‘My Story,’ Elizabeth reveals the life of abject horror into which she was plunged on the night of 5 June 2002 when she was snatched from her bed by Brian David Mitchell.
She recalls how her captor and his wife, Wanda Barzee, claimed her as their ‘handmaiden’ – a sex-object for him, a slave for her.
She was forced to endure a ‘wedding’ ceremony to Mitchell, now 59. At just 14 Elizabeth was ‘a little girl really,’ who, stripped of the red pyjamas, had her innocence taken in the most brutal way
Speaking to Meredith Vieira on NBC she recalled: ‘I remember him forcing me onto the ground (and) fighting the whole way. And then when he was finished he stood up and I was left alone feeling absolutely broken, absolutely shattered.
‘I was broken beyond repair.’
After that Mitchell raped her daily, often many times over. He presented himself as a ‘prophet’ and espoused twisted biblical notions. Once he told her they were to be ‘naked as Adam and Eve in the garden,’ and forced her to watch as he performed ‘anatomy lessons’ on Barzee.
‘I woke up with…a dark man standing over me. “I have a knife to your neck” he whispered…”Don’t make a sound.”‘
It was a nightmarish induction to Mitchell’s make-shift camp in the mountains high above her hometown of Salt Lake City. By day she was tethered to trees by a steel cable, wrapped so tight round her ankle that she can still feel its cut to this day.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk