In 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bedroom in her family’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah. For nine months, she was held captive by Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee where she was raped daily, tied up, and threatened with death. Smart was eventually rescued when someone recognized the kidnappers from when they were featured on an episode of America’s Most Wanted.
Smart went on to become a vocal advocate for children’s safety and bringing awareness to predatory crimes against children. Now she is debuting a new series of specials on Lifetime called Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice, the first episode of which accompanies the Lifetime movie Ann Rule’s A Murder to Remember. The special sees Smart sitting down with the subject of the real-life case that was the basis for the Rule novel and subsequent movie.
Ahead of the new series premiering on Lifetime, here’s what you need to know about Smart after her ordeal and where she is today.
Smart Has Three Children and Is An Active Advocate For Various Causes
While serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paris in 2009, Smart met Matthew Gilmour from Scotland. They were married in February 2012 in Hawaii, according to Reuters.
The two have three children together: Chloe born February 2015, James, born April 2017, and Olivia, born November 2018.
In addition to being a wife and a mother, Smart actively advocates for a variety of causes, including lobbying Congress in support of sexual predator legislation and the AMBER alert system, forming the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to bring awareness to violent and sexual crimes against children, and working with Operation Underground Railroad in an effort to fight human trafficking. She has also been working as a commentator for ABC News and Crime Watch Daily.
Smart’s Kidnappers Were Found Guilty and Went to Prison
Following her rescue, there was a lengthy trial for Smart’s kidnappers. Eventually, in 2009, Barzee pled guilty to assisting in SMart’s kidnapping as part of a plea deal. She was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and given credit for the seven years she had already served. Barzee was released in September 2018, according to NBC News.
In May 2011, Mitchell was found guilty of kidnapping and sexual assault and was sentenced to two life terms in prison. According to Fox News, at the sentencing, Smart, then 23, told Mitchell, “I don’t have very much to say to you. I know that you know what you did was wrong. You did it with full knowledge. But I want you to know that I have a wonderful life … in this life or the next, you will have to be held responsible for those actions. I hope you are ready when that time comes.”
Smart’s New Special Dives Into How to Go From Victim to Survivor
A Murder to Remember “follows Javier (Kevin Rodriguez) and Robin Rivera (Maddie Nichols) as they celebrate their one-year anniversary on a camping trip. But when Javier ends up dead, Robin finds herself alone in the rough wilderness. She accepts help from another camper, a mysterious stranger named Sam (TC Matherne) and slowly places her life in his hands. But is Sam there to protect Robin? Or does she need protecting from him?”
After the movie airs, Smart’s special has her sitting down with Candra Torres, the woman whose case is the basis for the film. Torres “was kidnapped and held captive by a stranger and became a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition in which the victim develops a connection with their captor. Elizabeth interviews Candra about the series of events that started with the mysterious death of her husband and the subsequent brainwashing she suffered at the hands of her kidnapper,” according to the press release.
In the special, Torres and Smart “discuss the difficult process of being deprogrammed, healing, and turning the corner from victim to survivor.”
Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice airs Sunday, August 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.