Wedding of Elizabeth Smart


On June 5, 2002 Elizabeth Smart, age fourteen, was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the next nine months everyone in the United States intensely searched for Elizabeth. Her parents, siblings, friends and neighbors made pleas for her release. Television networks, radio stations, and newspaper reporters reported almost constantly on her disappearance. Her family was also suspected in involvement in her kidnapping due to the unusual occurrence of her being taken from her own home while her family was present.


Her younger sister Mary Katherine Smart, age 9, pretended to be asleep and witnessed the person who kidnapped her sister. Due to fear it was several hours before Mary Katherine Smart reported what had happened to her parents. At this point Ed Smart, father of Mary, Elizabeth and four other children who were in the home at the time of the kidnapping thought Mary was talking about a nightmare. He went to went to look for Elizabeth throughout the large house. Eventually Lois Smart, mother of Elizabeth, Mary and the other four children saw a cut window screen. They then called the police.

Despite the fact that Mary Katherine Smart had seen the kidnapper, no one could find any evidence of the whereabouts of Elizabeth Smart. Mary Katherine was able to provide a vague description of the kidnapper, but due to the darkness in the room and not seeing his full face there was no clear idea of exactly who he was. Mary Katherine had also heard his voice which was another important lead. In addition she had the idea she had seen him before the actual kidnapping, but could not exactly remember who he was. Many suspicious people were questioned and a few were taken in to custody for further questioning, but still there was no trace of Elizabeth Smart.

Ed Smart had occasionally hired various people to do work on his property. Mary Katherine eventually remembered someone who used the name Emmanuel who had been hired by her father. She believed this might be the man who kidnapped Elizabeth. After discussing this with the police they doubted that Emmanuel was the person involved. The family was angry at the police for not following this lead. The family hired a sketch artist to draw a sketch of Emmanuel. The sketch was shown on “America’s Most Wanted” and “Larry King Live” by John Walsh. Calls were received from the family of a man by the name of Brian David Mitchell.  Mitchell believed her was a prophet of God and used the name Emmanuel. He was homeless and often begged for money and food.  By March 12, 2003 someone reported seeing Brian Mitchell traveling with two women near Sandy, Utah. Elizabeth Smart was with Brian Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee. Elizabeth was wearing a disguise of a gray wig, face veil and sunglasses.

The Trial

Wanda Eileen Barzee and Brian David Mitchell were arrested for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. They kept her hidden in Arlington Hills for several months, hidden in a wooded area. In October, 2002, they moved to California where they lived on the streets begging for money and food. During the capture Elizabeth Smart was sexually assaulted, beaten and abused by Brian David Mitchell. Before trial could begin both Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee were found incompetent due to mental illness to be tried for their crimes. Both Brian and Wanda refused medical treatment for their mental illnesses and were being held in psychiatric hospitals. Eventually Wanda Barzee was tried and sentenced to fifteen years for assisting in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. She is serving her sentences at Federal Medical Center in Texas.

Brian David Mitchell was eventually tried for his crimes in 2010, more than eight years after the crime. Mitchell was still claiming an insanity defense. During the trial witnesses included two stepdaughters of Brian Mitchell who also reported abuse from Mitchell. Many witnesses described Brian Mitchell as polite and coherent during the time of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. A crucial part of the defense was proving Mitchell was insane or mentally ill. Many psychiatrists testified that instead he was a pedophile and was pretending mental illness to avoid being sentenced to prison. The jury found Brian Mitchell guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison in May, 2011. His sentence is being served at a high security prison in Tucson, Arizona.

Elizabeth Smart

By the time Brian David Mitchell was tried for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, she was now an adult. Showing great wisdom beyond her age she has proceeded to live her life to the fullest. Reunited with her family Elizabeth Smart returned to school and eventually college. She has appeared on a few television shows to talk about her experience and has worked to help other kidnap victims. Rather than becoming bitter Elizabeth Smart has been determined to live her life as normally and happily as possible.

In February, 2012, Elizabeth Smart married Matthew Gilmour in Oahu, Hawaii. Elizabeth wore a gorgeous lace white gown and veil and Matthew wore a traditional Scottish kilt. Matthew Gilmour is from Scotland and he and Elizabeth met while they were working a Latter Day Saints Mission in France. The wedding was kept secret so only family and friends could attend. Even though Elizabeth Smart now works as a commentator for ABC News, she wanted the wedding to be private and not a media event. Her wedding photos and story are in “People” magazine.