Elizabeth Smart says she never told her parents about abuse during kidnapping

Elizabeth Smart prosecutor reacts to release of kidnapper

Brett Tolman slams the ‘devastating gap in the law’ amid the pending release of one of Elizabeth Smart’s captors Wanda Barzee.

Elizabeth Smart revealed over the weekend that she "was embarrassed and ashamed" to tell her parents about her experience while being held in captivity and repeatedly raped after being kidnapped at 14 from her home. 

Smart, 33, was kidnapped at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and held captive for nine months by handyman and street pastor Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. Mitchell forced Smart into a polygamous "marriage" and raped her almost daily.

She was found while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy.

In a Sunday Instagram post, Smart said she was recently asked about telling her parents about her ordeal. 

"The truth is I never sat them all down and had a 'tell all' experience with them," Smart wrote of her father Ed Smart and mother Lois. "I was brought to an advocacy center where I had to disclose much of what happened to two professionals and they in turn relayed much of what happened to my parents. But I don’t think my parents ever heard in detail what happened from my own lips until my court appearance almost a decade later."

Over the weekend, Smart also posted a photo of her and her parents and thanked them for their support. 

"For my seventh day posting about gratitude I feel I can not go without saying thank you to every person who searched for me, prayed for me, followed my story, and did everything they could to bring me home safely!" she wrote. "I shudder to think what my life would be like if it weren’t for good everyday people! Would I still be with my captors? Would I even be alive?"

Since being rescued, Smart has gotten married and become a mother to three children. She has since become an advocate for kidnapped children and sexual assault victims. 


Barzee was released from prison in 2018 despite pleas from Smart that she be kept locked up. Mitchell is currently serving a life sentence. 

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