The Abduction and Captivity of Elizabeth Smart. Part 6: Shearjashub


Before I dive into this case I would like to put this disclaimer out there for those of you reading.

When I am writing about true crime I want to make it very clear how much respect and empathy I have for the victims and those affected by the heinous acts of violence and terror brought forth by their assailants. I am writing these to not only bring awareness to the many victims of violent crimes but also as an educational source for anyone else wishing to explore these subjects. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that I cover such cases in as respectful a way as I can and to tell their story with all the facts I have at my disposal.

One cannot really begin to explain the feelings that come along with rape unless they’ve experienced it themselves. The shame and humiliation that follow an assault are unmatched to anything else. To not feel safe or secure in your own skin. Elizabeth was feeling all of this and on a much deeper level as her situation was one in which she would now live in constant fear of her next rape.

Growing up as religious as she had there was now a sense of confusion within her. She was taught purity and wondered if her family would even want her after Brian Mitchell had violated her in such a sick and personal way. Irrational as it could possibly sound, it’s not at all uncommon for such thoughts to arise following an assault.

She wondered now what was going on at her home. Was her family searching for her? By now they had to know she was gone, right? Elizabeth felt obvious exhaustion from the events of the last night and this morning, but more than anything she felt fear. She managed to fall into a light doze for a while but never truly slipping into a deep sleep. She was always aware of where she was and what was happening, how could one truly rest in such a horrific situation? That night she planned to run.

However her doze would be interrupted and she would open her eyes to find Brian Mitchell wrapping a steel cable around her ankle. Elizabeth could see that the cable was stretched almost to its limit and reached outside the tent.

“What are you doing?” She asked, looking up at her captor and assailant.

Brian Mitchell answered her with a sarcastic undertone. “Shearjashub, I just want to take away any temptations.”

Elizabeth was completely confused. What was a Shearjashub? Confusion turned into a sick feeling of dread though, she was beginning to realize that Mitchell’s plan was not to kill her at all. Was this to be her new life now?

Any thoughts of running that Elizabeth had prior were now replaced with the sick feeling of hopelessness. This cable was not going anywhere. All she could do at this point was think of her family and create the will to survive. She had to survive.

After a while Elizabeth looked around a bit, assessing her surroundings and taking everything in. In the tent there were two thick pads for Barzee and Mitchell to sleep on and a thinner pad for her. They were dressed with floral print sheets that Elizabeth found hideous, as well as a plum colored comforter that was a lighter shade on the other side. Also atrocious. There were two feathered pillows and two hard cot pillows stuffed along the top of the tent. It was disheartening realizing this was her home for the inevitable future.

She finally worked herself up enough to make her way out of the tent and again looked around, surveying the campsite more thoroughly than she had before. The cable around her ankle was tethered to another steel cable that was bolted by a padlock between two trees. She had roughly 20 feet of movement throughout the camp with the cable on.

Elizabeth sat down on a nearby upturned bucket and continued to cry. There was nothing else she could do. Mitchell and Barzee didn’t acknowledge her for quite some time until Barzee made a point to address the distressed girl. This was not an act of comfort or kindness though.

“This is your time to cry, this is your wedding day. Go ahead and get it out, but know this, you can’t go on and cry forever. Pretty soon you’ll have to stop.”

It wasn’t long after before Mitchell had things he needed to say as well. He made his way over to Elizabeth, speaking directly to her.

“You will call me Immanuel. You will call her Hephzibah.” He pointed at Barzee as he said this, then turning his attention back to her. He pointed at Elizabeth now. “Shearjashub.”

“My name is Elizabeth Smart.” She replied without hesitation.

Mitchell acted as if she hadn’t spoken at all and continued talking. “You are her handmaiden. You are the second wife. She is your mother wife and you are her handmaiden.”

Elizabeth would find out as time passed that to Mitchell the term handmaiden clearly meant sex toy, and to Barzee meant slave. It didn’t matter what you called it, all Elizabeth really knew was that they were in charge and she was at their disposal.

Survival was the only thing driving her now, it’s all she had left at this point. She thought maybe if she seemed as though she were not as scared or that she was accepting of her situation that perhaps they would learn to trust her over time and she could make plans to escape then.  So when Barzee pulled out the food and began to prepare dinner Elizabeth offered her help.

Naturally Barzee was skeptical and kept the knife far enough out of reach that it couldn’t even become an idea for the young girl but she accepted the help. They ate onions, carrots, and raisins mixed with mayonnaise rolled up in a tortilla. Once they had eaten though Barzee told Elizabeth she no longer needed her help and urged her to continue crying if she needed to because this was after all, her wedding day.

This sent Elizabeth into another tailspin, the tears welled up in her eyes and her chest grew tight with panic. All she could do was plead through broken, muddled sobs.

“Please..Please don’t hurt me again…Please just leave me alone…”

Mitchell answered her dryly without so much as an ounce of emotion behind his voice. “We’re man and wife. That’s what we do now.”

“No! Please don’t do it again. You don’t have to do it. Please, I’m begging you.” Elizabeth was completely hysterical now.

Mitchell’s eyes narrowed and his eyebrows creased into sharp lines, this time there was anger in his voice as he replied to the sobbing, shaking girl. “It’s what we do.”

His anger turned to a quick menacing demeanor as he smirked and continued to speak. “Tomorrow we are going to be as Adam and Eve in the garden. We’ll be his little children. Tomorrow we’re all going to go naked and Hephzibah and I are going to demonstrate.”

                Mitchell would go on to explain all of the horrific things he was going to do with Elizabeth eventually, it made her skin crawl. The next day they did as he had said and were forced to spend the day naked, he made true of his promises to demonstrate with Hephzibah as well. Then he raped Elizabeth again. Her life over the next 9 months would become that of hunger, thirst, boredom, and rape.

The crying didn’t stop after the first day. She had in 48 hours experienced and seen things that no child should be subjected to. Elizabeth felt broken, there were so many things she wondered if she would ever get to experience. Prom, football games, college. This life she felt had been stolen from her overnight.

She must have said something out loud by mistake through her cries because Mitchell began sneering at her, as if offended that she wasn’t somehow grateful for the life he was giving her now. He would go on to preach at her for the better half of the afternoon. After what felt like an eternity there was finally a moment of quiet, although it wouldn’t be for long.

“Shearjashub is your name.”

“What?” Elizabeth answered him meekly.

“Your name is Shearjashub. He was the first son of Isaiah.”

“You’re giving me a man’s name?” She was confused by this. It just didn’t make sense, none of this made sense to her though.

“It means a remnant will return.”

                Elizabeth didn’t care what it meant, she found it completely Ludacris. She wondered if he even knew her real name. Although young and naïve, she wasn’t at all oblivious to the fact that this was just a manipulation tactic meant to remove her further from her previous life. Her real life.

She thought for a moment and looked back to Mitchell.

“Can I choose a middle name?”

“What?” He looked at her skeptically.

“You and Hephzibah have middle names. You’re Immanuel David Isaiah, she is Hephzibah Elladah Isaiah. I would like a middle name too.” Elizabeth explained.

                Mitchell looked her over, his expression almost seemed happy. It was as though he had a sense of pride that perhaps she was understanding and accepting her circumstances.

“Alright you can choose a middle name.”

There was not a moment’s hesitation as she spoke, “I want my middle name to be Elizabeth.”

“No, not Elizabeth! Nothing like that! Not Elizabeth and not Ann.” He hissed at her.

                Ann was her middle name, he did know her name.

“Your middle name has to be from the Old Testament.” He continued.

Elizabeth pressed on, “Anna was a prophetess in the bible.”

“It will not be Anna!” He was angry now and it was apparent that his patience was growing thin.

                Elizabeth stood up and walked over to where a bible sat. She picked it up thoughtfully and began thumbing through the pages of the Old Testament. Barzee watched her, curious of what she was doing. She wanted her middle name to start with an E. She needed a connection to her name even if just a tiny one. She stopped, one of her heroes in the bible was a queen named Esther. Esther was strong and courageous, she needed both strength and courage if she was to survive this.

“I want my middle name to be Esther.”

Barzee and Mitchell exchanged glances before he spoke and said “Okay.”

“I want you to call me Esther, not Shearjashub. Esther is a girl’s name. It’s from the bible. Will you call me that now?”

                With great reluctance Mitchell nods and agrees to this. There was a small sense of joy that filled Elizabeth in this, it was a victory. A small victory, but it gave her a renewed sense of hope.


Elizabeth Smart: My Story with Chris Stewart

The Abduction and Captivity of Elizabeth Smart. Part 5: Wanda Elaine Barzee.

Before I dive into this case I would like to put this disclaimer out there for those of you reading.

When I am writing about true crime I want to make it very clear how much respect and empathy I have for the victims and those affected by the heinous acts of violence and terror brought forth by their assailants. I am writing these to not only bring awareness to the many victims of violent crimes but also as an educational source for anyone else wishing to explore these subjects. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that I cover such cases in as respectful a way as I can and to tell their story with all the facts I have at my disposal.

                Though Elizabeth would come to know her as “Hephzibah” I think it’s important to highlight the background of Mitchell’s accomplice and wife Wanda Elaine Barzee.

                Born on November 6th, 1945 she would be 57 years of age at the time of Elizabeth’s abduction. Barzee had grown up in a life and environment where she excelled at most everything that she put her mind to and it was said by her sister Evelyn Camp that she had a laugh that was absolutely contagious.

                Wanda would go on to become a gifted pianist whom would play Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. She would even eventually play the organ for the Mormon Tabernacle choir.

                Young adult Wanda Barzee craved and desired what most normal young women hope and dream about as well, love and stability. She would struggle in this however as it was said that while married to her first husband she would move 33 times in their 22 years of marriage. Unfortunately it was also alleged that she was abused in ways not suitable to discuss throughout their marriage.

                After her failed first marriage Wanda Barzee met Brian David Mitchell at their Mormon church, at the time Mitchell was in drug rehabilitation for heroin. They were married shortly after.  

Evelyn Camp said that when Wanda met Brian David Mitchell he at first seemed timid to the family and it wouldn’t be until later on that his dark side would show itself.

Eventually Barzee and Mitchell would leave the LDS church altogether to begin their journey in ministering their religious views as ‘Emmanuel’ and ‘Hephzibah’, whom Brian would refer to as the “Mother of Zion.”

Evelyn Camp who is the younger sister of Barzee attributes her mental breakdown and behavior to that of mental illness caused by much of the abuse that she endured. Wanda Barzee’s children however disagree.

Wanda Barzee has six children and they call the woman a monster. The youngest of her children, Louree Gayler recalls being fed her pet rabbit for dinner unknowingly, only finding out the next morning when she asked her mother where the family pet was, only to be told that she had ate her for dinner the night prior.

Gayler also remembers an uncomfortable moment with Mitchell whom had pulled out nude photos of women and laid them out on the bed, as though inviting her to participate in a sexual encounter.

Louree Gayler goes on to say that she was so starved for affection and attention that she would turn to the family dog and spend many of her nights sleeping outside in the doghouse with the pet, even eating out of the dog’s food bowl.

Derrick Thompson, older brother to Louree has explained that he would avoid the abuse by residing in the large back yard, he would use a pellet gun to hunt for birds that he would later cook to eat. He has also gone on to write a book that highlights his upbringing titled “Raised by wolves.” I will link in below with my sources for anyone interested in reading it.

One of Barzee’s daughters identified to the public only as ‘Andrea’ recalls many of her mother’s brainwashing sessions in which Barzee would bring them upstairs and verbally accost them, telling her children that if they were not part of the family that the family would be fine.

Mental illness or not I think it’s pretty clear that Wanda Elaine Barzee was an extremely abusive and cold mother to her children. While reading some of the excerpts of what her children had to say about her, I found it extremely hard to believe which made it all the more chilling to me. You never expect or think about things such as this happening to children at the hands of their own parents. It’s absolutely disgusting. Even more so thinking about what she would later go on to do with Mitchell.

And did you know that she’s walking free right now? Released from prison in 2018. I’ll go over that later though.


Here is the link for the Book “Raised by wolves”, written by Barzee’s son Derrick Thompson.


The Abduction and Captivity of Elizabeth Smart. Part 4: Sealed.

Before I dive into this case I would like to put this disclaimer out there for those of you reading.

When I am writing about true crime I want to make it very clear how much respect and empathy I have for the victims and those affected by the heinous acts of violence and terror brought forth by their assailants. I am writing these to not only bring awareness to the many victims of violent crimes but also as an educational source for anyone else wishing to explore these subjects. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that I cover such cases in as respectful a way as I can and to tell their story with all the facts I have at my disposal.

“Hephzibah!” Mitchell shouted into the morning air.

“Emmanuel!” A woman’s voice replied.

                As they got closer Elizabeth could now see they had come upon a campsite where a woman now greeted them. The mere fact that a woman was here gave the young girl a small sense of hope, perhaps they couldn’t have children and the intentions of her abduction were not as lewd as she feared. Maybe they only wanted a child of their own to care for. Her hope soon dissolved though as the woman now approach and embrace her into a deep hug.

                Hugs represent affection, comfort, and often times are a way to console grief or pain. This was not any of the above. The woman brought Elizabeth into her arms and squeezed tightly. It wasn’t comforting and it most certainly didn’t console the innocent girl. It was an embrace as if to assert a strange sense of dominance, letting Elizabeth know that she was in control and disobedience was not to be tolerated. Until this moment Elizabeth didn’t think she could feel any more terror, she was wrong.

                The woman was cold and hardened, her face wrinkled and aged, her eyes empty of emotion. She had wild brown and gray hair and was dressed in a linen robe. She gave off a feral feeling like she could possibly attack at any moment. It was immediately clear that this woman was not a friend.

                Elizabeth glanced around the small campsite, it was extremely well stocked and it was obvious that this had been their home for quite some time. Buckets, tarps, and a tent surround her.

                It was then that the woman pull her by her arm into the tent and sat Elizabeth down on an upturned bucket. This was where her nightmare would truly begin.

                She began washing Elizabeth’s feet from a basin of warm water and then with assertion behind her voice began giving her directions.

“Take off your pajama’s”

                Her tone was dry and matter of fact but Elizabeth reeled back in horror. Aside from her having grown up in such a modest household, she was 14 and extremely shy. Changing in front of others, least of all stripping was not something that she had ever experienced.

“No!” Elizabeth exclaimed with wide eyes.

                The woman looked at her and took a deep breath as if she were trying to contain her emotions and hold back the obvious anger behind her eyes. She replied simply with a forced calmness.

“I need to bathe you.”

“I took a shower last night!” Elizabeth pleaded.

                The woman pursed her lips and hesitated as she looked towards the tent and called out to her captor.

“She said that she had a shower last night, is that okay?”

“Yeah that’s okay.” Mitchell called back to her, his voice just outside the tent. He sounded anxious and hungry, like an animal in heat.

                It was absolutely disgusting. Was she clean enough for him? After being forced out of her bed and up a mountain at knife point, was she clean enough for him? The woman turned back to her and continued with her instructions.

“Take off your clothes.”

                Elizabeth’s heart sank even further, fear and embarrassment washing over her body like a wave.

“No.” Elizabeth said again.

The feral woman’s patience was growing thin now as she spat her reply at Elizabeth.

“Take them off or I’ll have him come in and rip them off of you!”

Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears that began to escape, she couldn’t hold it back any longer. Everything was becoming too real now and there was nothing she could do to stop what was happening. She felt utterly helpless, she knew that if she didn’t obey that she would in fact do as she had said and call the disgusting man to rip her clothes off and she knew he would in fact rip them off. She could feel his filthy hunger through the tent.

“Take them off or he will rip them off of you!” She repeated to the sobbing girl as she handed her a linen robe identical to her own.

                It was a robe you could pull over your head, relieved Elizabeth slid the robe on over her red pajamas, removing her clothes only when she was covered by the robe. That relief quickly faded though as the woman barked more instructions.

“Take off your underwear.”

“No!” Elizabeth said through broken sobs.

“Take them off or he’ll rip them off your body.”

                Looking hopelessly at the ground, Elizabeth complied and slid off her underwear.

                With that the woman made her way to the opening of the tent. Elizabeth was overcome with dread as Brian Mitchell entered the tent. He was now dressed in a linen robe just as she wore, the only difference was there was a sash tied around the waist of his.

It was hard to focus on her breathing through her sobbing, tears rolled down her cheeks as Mitchell began speaking. She didn’t hear much of what he was saying to begin as she choked over her cries but when she did tune back into his words, she realized immediately what was happening and it was as if the earth had stopped spinning.

“I seal you to me on this earth, and what is sealed here on earth will be sealed in the afterlife, and I take you to be my wife. Before God and his angels as my witnesses.”

“No!” Elizabeth screamed.

                Suddenly Mitchell moved very close to her and reached out almost as if he were going to slap her. He looked at her with terrifying rage as he addressed her.

“If you ever scream again I’ll kill you.”

                She believed him. He forced her off of the bucket now and onto the dirty bedding that was on the tent floor, positioning himself on top of her. There can be no words to properly explain the absolute terror that Elizabeth felt in this moment. She did all she could to fight off the assault but he was bigger and stronger. All she could do was plead.

“Please stop, I’m just a little girl, I haven’t even got my period yet…”

                He paused for a moment with this information, it seemed to detour him momentarily. He looked confused like he was trying to work out a math problem in his head. When he couldn’t come to a decision himself he called out to the woman.

“She hasn’t got her period yet. Is it still okay?”

                Without a moment of hesitation her raspy voice replied.

“It’s okay.”

                That was the first time Brian David Mitchell raped Elizabeth Smart. The first assault unfortunately of many to come in the next nine months. You can’t possibly understand the feelings of shame and disgust if you have never been through it and I won’t pretend for a second to understand what that must have been like at 14 years old. My entire heart goes out to her.


Books: My Story: Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

The Abduction and Captivity of Elizabeth Smart Part 3: Brian David Mitchell


Before I dive into this case I would like to put this disclaimer out there for those of you reading.

When I am writing about true crime I want to make it very clear how much respect and empathy I have for the victims and those affected by the heinous acts of violence and terror brought forth by their assailants. I am writing these to not only bring awareness to the many victims of violent crimes but also as an educational source for anyone else wishing to explore these subjects. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that I cover such cases in as respectful a way as I can and to tell their story with all the facts I have at my disposal.

    Time seemed to slow down as they made their way further up the wooded mountainside. Adrenaline and fear coursed through Elizabeth’s veins, so badly she wanted to run, she prayed harder than she ever had in her life. She needed a miracle, an opening for a way out, anything. Had she missed something? Was there a sign from God that she just hadn’t seen? This couldn’t be what was meant of her life. There had to be hope.

                She wondered if she could jump behind a bush and hide, maybe the forest would part like Moses had parted the red sea, maybe she could out run him… All of these thoughts seemed to slowly fade as she assessed the reality of the situation though. He stayed behind her, pushing her up the mountain, and the knife always at her back. There was no way to run without likely being killed in the process.

“Please if it’s money you want I know my parents will pay anything to get me back”          

Elizabeth’s pleas to her captor were ignored. He had mentioned ransom before and while she knew her parents didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal, she also knew they would do anything and everything to have her safely returned home.

“Please, don’t you know what you’re doing? If you get caught you’ll be put in prison for the rest of your life. If you let me go my parents won’t press charges I promise!”

                Elizabeth was willing to say anything at this point, she had never felt such desperation.

The man smiled that same sickly smirk as he had not too long ago and looked at Elizabeth, narrowing his eyes, he replied with terrifying confidence.

“I know exactly what I’m doing and I know what the consequences are. The only difference is, I’m not going to get caught.”

                Higher and higher they trekked up the mountain, it wasn’t long before the sun was coming up now. It felt surreal, had it really been that long? It didn’t seem like this nightmare could have possibly already bled into the morning. Were people looking for her? Did anyone even know she was gone?

“We’ve got to run across the top of this mountain now because you’re like a flame. You’re like a bright red flame on top of a mountain and I don’t want any early morning runners seeing how lovely you look in your pajamas.”

                It was the most the deranged man had said since he had taken her out of her bedroom hours prior. The comment made her feel sick. ‘How lovely you look.’ It sounded lascivious and lustful and sent chills up the young girls back.

                The red pajamas Elizabeth wore were not the only distinguishing factors that the rising sun brought with it. It was then that she realized she had seen this man before. Twice she had seen him.

                It was months ago now and his appearance was much different than the grizzly man standing before her. Night and day. He had been clean shaven and looked like any other normal working class man who was just down on his luck at the time. It was hard to wrap her mind around the fact that this was the same person. The monster that present himself now had a long scraggly unkempt beard, he smelled of alcohol, and his eyes were full of cruelty. It was amazing she even recognized this as the same person.

                Elizabeth had been out with her mother and siblings shopping for school clothes. Her brothers had gone off to look at another store while she, Mary Katherine, and her mother go elsewhere. Her brother had come back across the street to talk to their mother about a man that had needed work, this man.

                Elizabeth’s mother Lois was a kind and nurturing woman and it was just second nature for her to oblige and talk to the stranger about what they could do to help. She gave the man $5 and her husband’s number to arrange for him to come do some work on the family’s home.

He did in fact reach out and he did in fact come work on their roof. Only once though, after that he never showed back up for more work and never contacted the family again.  It would be this day that the man would scout out the layout of the family home and begin his planning to take Elizabeth Smart.

She didn’t know it at the time but the day they briefly met in Salt Lake City would be the day that set this wicked plan in motion. He had been preparing for this night for months. It was calculated down to every minor detail, he had practiced this route multiple times to make sure he could avoid being out in the open when the sun came up. It was so methodical it was almost genius.

The realization of who he was sent Elizabeth into a deep confusion, she just couldn’t understand why someone who had been offered nothing but help could come back and do something so cruel. Had her family done something? What was the reason? She couldn’t figure it out.

“Why are you doing this? My family only wanted to help you!” Elizabeth asked, her mind trying to make sense of it.

He answered her dry and vaguely, “You’ll find out in due time.”

                Suddenly the man paused and cried out.


A voice called back to him in reply, “Emmanuel!”


                His name wasn’t Emmanuel, his name was Brian David Mitchell and he was a 49 year old self proclaimed prophet. He alleged that the end times were coming and he was to take 7 young wives to guide humanity to the way of God. 7 virgin wives more specifically.

                Brian David Mitchell had a disturbing pattern of sexual offenses against children, as most who eventually escalate to this degree of depravity do. At only 16 he was sent to a juvenile hall for exposing himself to a child. Behavior such as this almost always a preface to more vile circumstances. A red flag for much darker things to come.

                At 19 he married his first wife Karen Minor who was 3 years his junior, making her only 16 at the time of their marriage. Eventually they would divorce and when they did Karen was granted custody of the 2 children the couple had shared. Mitchell would flee to New Hampshire with the children, although he was never charged with this crime.

                He would go on to marry his second wife Debbie who has made many allegations indicating that Brian David Mitchell not only physically abused her throughout their marriage but sexually abused their 3 year old son. Although not medically confirmed, personally I think it’s pretty clear that this is a pattern and it’s a high probability that he is guilty of all he was accused of. Debbie’s daughter from her previous marriage would later go on to say that Mitchell sexually abused her for four years as well.

                Lastly, Mitchell would meet one Wanda Barzee who would become his 3rd wife and later accomplice to this crime. They became heavily involved in the LDS church but eventually Brian David Mitchell’s religious views would become so extreme that he would leave the church to explore himself now as the prophet Emmanuel David Isaiah.

                I’m sure it’s probably no surprise that he was also heavily involved in drugs and alcohol, he had a brief stint of sobriety upon his move to Salt Lake City, although that was short lived.

                He and his wife Wanda Barzee who by now he referred to as Hephzibah spent their time panhandling and “ministering” in Salt Lake City. They lived what was a very transient lifestyle. Brian David Mitchell can claim all he wants that he is the voice of God but that could never be the case.

                Mitchell is many things, but a prophet is not one of them. He didn’t take Elizabeth because he wanted to save humanity by marrying 7 virgins, Brian David Mitchell kidnapped her because he is a pedophile and a sociopath who would do anything to get what he wanted.

                Let’s talk about sociopaths for a moment because I have read articles on top of articles about this waste of space and not heard anything about him being sociopathic, so this is purely my own speculation.

 A sociopath is generally defined as someone who lacks general understanding of others emotions, even their own to a certain extent, it is diagnosed as a personality disorder and not every single person diagnosed with such is going to kidnap and rape innocent people obviously. The more severe sociopathic behaviors are the lack of remorse for pain inflicted whether be emotional or physical, a basic lack of empathy more or less.

They can also be described as being very charming and charismatic, do you know why that is? Manipulation, they will mirror your mannerisms and emotional responses to certain things in order to come across genuine when trying to get what they want. A chameleon of sorts.

Why is this relevant? Well Brian David Mitchell used religious antics to get what he wanted from life, and he couldn’t have chosen a more perfect setting. Salt Lake City, Utah. Come on. It doesn’t get better than that in finding a place to “minister.” He came off as the clean cut man just needing some work when he needed to, he manipulates police and would even go on to manipulate a homicide detective with young Elizabeth standing right there next to him. He can talk is way out of everything because he blends to whatever he needs to be to get what he needs. It’s absolutely terrifying.

I’m purposely not covering anything on Brian David Mitchell’s early childhood as I don’t care how rough his upbringing was. I’m aware that in order to truly understand the way people like this think it is important to take into account those developmental years, and I did read about them but I won’t be adding that to his description here as this is the story of Elizabeth and what she went through. I will not cater to any ounce of empathy toward this man. I did link the article I got my information from below if you do want to read about his early childhood.



My Story: Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

If you’re interested in reading this book, I linked it on amazon below (:



The Abduction and Captivity of Elizabeth Smart Part 2: The Search Begins

Before I dive into this case I would like to put this disclaimer out there for those of you reading.

When I am writing about true crime I want to make it very clear how much respect and empathy I have for the victims and those affected by the heinous acts of violence and terror brought forth by their assailants. I am writing these to not only bring awareness to the many victims of violent crimes but also as an educational source for anyone else wishing to explore these subjects. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that I cover such cases in as respectful a way as I can and to tell their story with all the facts I have at my disposal.

            June 5 2002, 3:58 a.m.

            Mary Katherine lay in her bed paralyzed by the overwhelming fear that had overtaken her body for what felt like only moments, but in reality had been hours. She trembled under her blanket as she glanced once more to the bed next to her where only a few hours prior Elizabeth had slept soundly. The sheet was flat, her sister was gone. She had hoped that maybe it had been a sick nightmare but it was clear that this was reality and Mary Katherine had to get up.

            With that she took one last deep breath before standing up and covering her head with her baby blanket as though to shield her from the scene she had witnessed earlier that night, she then dashed as fast as her small legs would allow across the hall to her parent’s bedroom.

            Ed Smart opened his eyes to see his youngest daughter Mary Katherine standing there before him, she looked almost catatonic as she spoke to him in a hollow matter of fact manner.

“Dad, someone has taken Elizabeth.”

            Ed sat up quickly, his wife Lois awake now as well, surely there was some kind of mistake or misunderstanding. Mary Katherine had probably just had a bad dream because the words that had come out of her mouth just didn’t make any sense. Lois and Ed retreated out of the bedroom, checking the girl’s room and surely enough Elizabeth was gone. But she had to be in the house somewhere, right? People don’t just disappear. Ed opened their son Charles room calling to him.

“Is Elizabeth in here with you?”


            Panic began to set in as Lois and Ed continued to frantically search the house to no avail. Mary Katherine peered solemnly down the stairs at them. She knew that they would not find Elizabeth, she wasn’t in the house, not anymore. She repeated herself, this time hoping maybe they would understand.

“Somebody has taken her, you’re not going to find her.”

            Lois was nearly weeping now as terror began to take hold. She looked to the window she had opened early that evening when she had burned the potatoes. She had been in such a hurry to get Elizabeth’s harp into the car for her school program that she had forgot all about the potatoes cooking. She had opened the window to air out the smell of burning food. The window was still open now only upon a closer inspection Lois realized that the screen had been cut.

“Ed call the police”

             Immediately Ed phoned the police as the grief stricken cries of Lois filled the room. The children had never seen their mother in such a state, complete and utter agony. The sounds of a mother unable to hold her child and unable to comprehend why this could possibly be happening.

I don’t know this pain and can’t for a moment pretend that I understand what she must have been feeling in that moment but I can in confidence say that to lose your child in the safe haven of your own home must have been such a helpless feeling. Your world falling apart overnight and this was only the beginning of the excruciating journey that lie ahead for the Smart family.  

As soon as Ed was off the phone with the police he began the many phone calls to his family and friends. He was calling for anyone and everyone to help in the search and recovery of his oldest daughter Elizabeth, and he did indeed receive that help. They came in numbers.

The 2 police officers were the first to arrive on scene but it wasn’t long at all before the family and friends of the Smart family filled the home. Lois, still completely distraught was in the arms of family and Mary Katherine had finally relaxed just enough to fall asleep in her grandmother’s lap. The surrounding neighbors had also gathered and begun the seemingly endless search for the missing girl.

When detectives arrived to the Smart home it was clear that mistakes that couldn’t be fixed had been made. They made their way into the home, shuffling through the chaos of what was their crime scene. There was no way to reverse this, the crime scene had not been sealed off when the arriving officers first showed up to the home and now any traces of the intruder had undoubtedly been contaminated by the many friends and family whom had arrived.

They did their best to clear the home and began a thorough search but the damage had been done. They got a statement from Mary Katherine but there was virtually no other clues or evidence as to what had happened or who had done this.

Unfortunately in all too many cases like the one the detectives were being presented with currently, someone close to the victim is often involved, so before they could move forward with anything else the questioning of the family took place.

Each member of the family was driven to the police station in a separate vehicle to ensure the validity of each one of their accounts of what happened that night. Lois was an absolute mess, and who wouldn’t be? She couldn’t understand why they weren’t out searching for her daughter and were instead being interrogated. She did understand the process but she feared they were losing critical time, see Lois knew that most victims of kidnapping are dead within the first 24 hours of their abduction. It was an awful statistic that made her nauseous to even acknowledge.

In one final step to clear any and all suspicion of inside involvement in relation to the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, the detectives brought in cadaver dogs to assess the home. Once they were cleared, now it was time to move forward with the search and consider new people of interest that could have potentially been involved.

The one light the family seemed to have as they were making their way through such darkness was the mass amount of offered support to assist in any and all things regarding finding their little girl. Ed’s brother, Tom worked for the Dessert news and made sure to get Elizabeth’s photo and story out to as many people as he could manage. The more exposure this got, the better chance of someone recognizing the young girl and possibly bringing her home.

The police also urged the family to make a media appearance themselves and call for volunteers, they could have never expected the response this would get from the public. Over 2000 volunteers came to assist in finding their little girl. Different people from all walks of life pitched in to scour the surrounding Salt Lake City area and bring Elizabeth home.

Elizabeth had become the community’s child and they weren’t going to rest until she was back home.

Sources for Part 2:

Books: My Story, Elizabeth Smart with Christ Stewart

Purchase this book on amazon at the link below.


The Abduction and Captivity of Elizabeth Smart Part 1: Taken

Before I dive into this case I would like to put this disclaimer out there for those of you reading.

When I am writing about true crime I want to make it very clear how much respect and empathy I have for the victims and those affected by the heinous acts of violence and terror brought forth by their assailants. I am writing these to not only bring awareness to the many victims of violent crimes but also as an educational source for anyone else wishing to explore these subjects. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that I cover such cases in as respectful a way as I can and to tell their story with all the facts I have at my disposal.

            Elizabeth Ann Smart was as normal as any other teenage girl, she loved her family, enjoyed playing her harp, and was extremely involved in her church. At only 14 years old she went through many of the same trivial conflicts that many of us had at that age. She didn’t always feel like she fit in or like she was “popular” at school but her mother always made a point to reassure young Elizabeth that these were just words and at the end of the day her family was her rock and would always be there. At the time I doubt any of them knew how very true this would turn out to be.

            Being so involved in their faith, the Smart family made an active effort in reaching out to help those in need. To say they were generous would be an understatement, they didn’t just hand a homeless man a dollar and call it a day. They offered work as well at their family home. While their intentions were so kind and so pure, not everyone had the same sense of compassion and innocence. Wolves in sheep’s clothing lie in hungry wait around every corner and little did they know that this very compassion is what would bring Brian David Mitchell into their lives.

            It’s a thought that makes me angry if I sit with it for too long, how true it is that often the most kindhearted individuals are those who are taken advantage of and in this specific case ripped apart from the inside out. It makes me wonder after all of it how this family can stay faithful and offer such compassion even still. Strength I believe. Strength I couldn’t even begin to understand. It’s a type of strength that no parent should ever have to hold or experience.

            It was the night of June 4th, 2002. A warm summer evening in Salt Lake City Utah, the smell of potatoes Elizabeth’s mother had burned lingered in the air. The night had been busy and hectic and had only slowed down after the family of 6 children had returned home from a program at Elizabeth’s school where she played her harp. As the night came winding down to a close, Elizabeth and her younger sister Mary Katherine changed into their pajamas and settled into their room to continue reading Ella Enchanted.

            Elizabeth loved the romanticism that fairy tales brought to life, the idea of true love and being swept away by a prince charming. The happily ever after. It was all so whimsical. It captivated her as it does for many little girls, because that’s what she was, a little girl. A little girl who was about to be forced into a wicked world where the idea of happily ever after would soon fade into the back of her mind and be replaced with terror.

            It was dark and Elizabeth opened her eyes as she heard a voice from what she thought to be remnants of a dream. She was disoriented and still coming to but was immediately wide awake as she heard the voice again, clear this time.

“I have a knife at your neck, don’t make a sound, get up and come with me.”

            Fear shot through the young girls veins as she looked up to see a tall figure at the side of her bed. She could feel the cold blade against her neck and knew now that this was not a dream. Her eyes wandered to where her 9 year old sister Mary Katherine lay still and stiff as a board. The very thought of this strange man possibly hurting her younger sister wasn’t one she could bear so she quietly obeyed the man and got up and made her way into the hallway with the stranger.

            Mary Katherine lay in her bed paralyzed by the reality of what was happening. A man had come in and taken her older sister and there was nothing she could do. Moving seemed impossible and if she had wanted to scream she wasn’t sure if anything would even come out. She could see they had not yet left the house as the closet was opened in the hallway, she could see the light flicker on and then off through the crack at the bottom of her bedroom door. Still she couldn’t move. She could hear faint squeaks from their sneakers as the sounds of movement soon faded into silence. Her sister was gone, and would be for the next nine months.

            It wouldn’t be until much later that Mary Katherine would go alert her parents to the horror of what had just taken place and unfortunately I have had the displeasure of hearing many people call to question, “Why didn’t she scream?” “Why didn’t she go get her parents sooner?” If you are not in that situation you just simply cannot understand what she was feeling. I think it’s also important to remind ourselves that Mary Katherine was nine. A child. These are things most adults never have to live through, you can go on to tell someone how you THINK you would have handled something all day but until you come face to face with true evil I don’t think any of us truly know what we would do. Fight or flight is talked about often and we understand the concept just fine it seems, but the freeze response is not talked about as often. Feeling such immense fear that our body fights every natural instinct to move. Fight, flight, or freeze, and while Mary Katherine froze in that moment it would ultimately be her details of that eerie night that would later put a face on the monster that the nation would soon be searching for.

            In the hallway the man barked orders at the young girl trembling in her red pajamas in a hushed, angry whisper.

“Put your shoes on”

Elizabeth did as she was told and opened the hall closet quietly and began to slide on her slippers.

“Not those!” he hissed. “Running shoes.”

            The terrified girl’s heart sank, as young and naïve as she was, she wasn’t at all oblivious to the fact that he planned on taking her somewhere far enough away that tennis shoes would be necessary for the journey.

“If you scream or yell I will kill you and your family.”

“Why are you doing this?” Elizabeth stuttered, fighting back the tears that begged to fall.

“I’m taking you hostage for ransom”

            It was clear that there wouldn’t be further explanation, at least not in this moment.

 Once she had stepped into her white running shoes he ushered her through the kitchen and out the back door, the sick reality of what was happening becoming more and more evident with every step away from her family and her home she took.

‘I’m being kidnapped’ Elizabeth thought, only now seeming to fully understand the severity of the situation.

            He pushed her along, avoiding lights and any possible visibility. They made it a few blocks and now came to a vacant lot, he suddenly shoved her down behind some brush and crouched nearly on top of her. Headlights. There was a car passing and not just a car, a police cruiser. She could run, she could jump out and yell for help. Elizabeth knew she had to get away but didn’t know how, she glanced at the knife, it was large and serrated, and could probably cut through her like butter.

            They sat there for 30 seconds or so but it felt like an eternity. The terrifying man actually seemed scared, maybe he would get caught. Somehow, someway that car just HAD to spot them. As they sit there she could hear her captor whisper something to himself that brought a wave of confusion over young Elizabeth.

“If this work is true God, let this car pass”

            Elizabeth loved her God and the thought that this man was talking to God made her sick to her stomach, she knew it was wrong, almost in the same breath the man had asked for a sign from his God he made sure to also remind Elizabeth of what he was capable of.

“If you move I’ll kill you, one tiny peep and you know what I’ll do!”

            And as the car passed without so much as slowing down, Elizabeth believed the man, she knew that her only hope was to get away from this twisted madman but her options were running out and her hope felt as though it were fading.

            Now they were running up the side of the mountains that lie behind her neighborhood. There was not going to be any slowing down unless the man deemed it necessary. For now the fear of nearly being spotted by a police officer was fueling the man’s stamina. He stayed behind her, always but a few inches away, and the knife always at her back as if to remind her that there was no way out, she wouldn’t be coming back down this mountain.

            Elizabeth stopped for a moment, tears staining her cheeks, to make one final plea to her kidnapper.

“If you’re going to rape and kill me…please…please just do it here” The little girl begged through broken sobs.

            Elizabeth had nearly accepted that her fate would probably end in murder, again as naïve as she was at 14, she wasn’t ignorant to all of the atrocities in the world. In her mind she had absolved that at least if he were going to assault and kill her here that there would be a chance her body would be found. They weren’t so far up the mountain yet that her remains would lay untouched and unnoticed for years to come. If he killed her here there was hope that her family would at least know what happened to her.

            At 14 years old and in a matter of maybe an hour this was a decision that this young child felt she needed to make. “If you’re going to kill me, do it here” The more I think of this moment and this terrified girl saying that to the monster who came crashing into her life the more angry I get. To sit here and really let it sink in what that child must have been feeling in that moment is nearly impossible, accepting the fate no child…NO PERSON should have to ever think about. It breaks my heart for her.

            The strange bearded man smiled at Elizabeth, but not in a comforting way, a lustful smirk more like. She stayed quiet for a moment waiting for him to say something.

“Oh I’m not going to rape and murder you yet”

Sources for Part 1


My Story: Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

If you’re interested in reading this book, I linked it on amazon below (:



Elizabeth Smarts Story (Part 1) Biography: Found on youtube