Elizabeth Smart

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Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart is an advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and National legislation. She is the founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and has also helped promote The National AMBER Alert, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act, and other safety legislation to help prevent abductions.

Elizabeth was abducted from her Salt Lake City home on June 5, 2002, at the age of fourteen and held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee. Publicity surrounding the event went worldwide and won the sympathy of everyday people internationally. Mitchell, Barzee, and Elizabeth were identified in Sandy, Utah, and Elizabeth was rescued.

The family never lost hope that Elizabeth would be found and expressed the sentiment that they knew she would eventually be found. Years of healing led Elizabeth first to Brigham Young University as a student and then to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paris, France. Elizabeth came home temporarily from her mission to testify at the trial of Brian David Mitchell. The defense did not contest the events that occurred while she was a prisoner of Mitchell's delusional lifestyle, but the motives behind his criminal acts, which included the most heinous forms of abuse of a child.

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison and Barzee to fifteen years in prison.


Smart is an activist for children who suffer abuse and has formed a foundation on their behalf. She has worked as a commentator for ABC News.

She married Matthew Gilmour, of Scotland, in the Laie Hawaii Mormon Temple in February 2012 after becoming engaged in January and scheduling a summer wedding. The date was moved up to avoid publicity and undue attention, and only close family attended, with a luau following. [1] Gilmour served in the Paris France Mission with Smart. KSL Broadcasting in Salt Lake City released a statement from the family:

"Elizabeth is grateful to be celebrating her special day with those closest to her without distraction," family spokesman Chris Thomas said. "Her wedding further demonstrates it is possible to rise above challenging circumstance to lead a happy and productive life."

The Elizabeth Smart Foundation merged with Tim Ballard’s Operation Underground Railroad. Elizabeth Smart’s father, Ed, joined Ballard’s team in 2013 as director for prevention and rehabilitation. He suggested the merger of the two nonprofit organizations “to maximize the potential of preventing sexual abuse, rescuing children, and providing them with an opportunity for a better future.”[2] Elizabeth serves on the board of governors of Operation Underground Railroad. She has been trained as a jump team member and has participated on a mission.[3]

Her father, Ed Smart, announced in May 2015 that Elizabeth had given birth to a daughter, Chloe, about three months prior. He added, "We want all of those people that have been victimized out there to be survivors. We want them to find their dreams and find that new hope in life that helps them become the best and the most they can be."[4]

Since then she has borne two more children: son James, and daughter Olivia.

Elizabeth wrote the New York Times bestselling book, My Story. In addition, she and other abduction survivors worked with the Department of Justice to create a survivors guide, entitled, “You're Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.” This guide is meant to encourage children who have gone through similar experiences not to give up but to know that there is hope for a rewarding life. Elizabeth also wrote a powerful and inspiring book about what it takes to overcome trauma, find the strength to move on, and reclaim one’s life entitled Where There’s Hope.

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