Elizabeth Smart Afraid Alleged Kidnappers Will Come After Her Again

Smart, 20, Was Rescued Five Years Ago Today

ABC News/March 12, 2008

Elizabeth Smart, the girl whose abduction in 2002 captivated the nation, is now a 20-year-old music major at Brigham Young University. She calls her life today "great," but she still harbors some fear of her alleged kidnappers, who are being held in a Utah mental hospital.

"I think that if they were to be released, I think they would come back and they would try to come back after me and I don't think that they - that any child or any human should ever be in danger of having that happen again," Smart told "Good Morning America" today.

On March 12, 2003, five years ago today, Smart was found just miles away from her home with polygamist street preacher Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.

The 15-year-old was reportedly forced to live for nine months as Mitchell's wife. The self-styled prophet and drifter had done odd jobs around the Smart home.

Mitchell and Barzee have been indicted on kidnapping and other charges, but both were found incompetent to stand trial. If they face trial, though, Smart says she's ready to testify against them.

"I don't think I really want to, but I don't want them getting back out," she said. "I don't want them ever out because I really, I really believe that they wouldn't stop."

Kids Think Parents Are Paranoid

Though finding Smart seemed miraculous to her family members, they still bear the scars from that trying time, especially her parents.

"I used to be pretty carefree and not worry about locking the door," said Smart's father, Ed Smart. "But now, I just, you know, I don't want the kids going off by themselves. I want to hear from them when they're supposed to."

"Elizabeth thinks I'm paranoid, but so do the rest of the kids," he said with a laugh. The Smarts have five other children besides Elizabeth.

Mary Katherine, who was 9 years old and actually witnessed Smart's kidnapping, thinks her parents worry too much.

Ed Smart wanted his kids to take a self-defense course to prepare them for any dangers they might encounter, but Mary Katherine didn't want to take the class.

"It just felt kind of stupid," she said. "I just felt nothing bad is ever gonna happen to me, it's already happened. I mean I don't think - anything will happen to me, really."

The intense media coverage of her sister's abduction and miraculous recovery have meant that they're forever in the spotlight.

Smart says strangers often recognize her.

"A lot of the times people don't say anything, they just kind of get that look on their face - and then sometimes they'll point," she said. "You just keep on going. And then if someone comes up to me and says, 'oh, we prayed for you,' I say, 'thank, thank you very much. We couldn't have done it without everyone's prayers and support,' and keep going."

Forgiven, Not Forgotten

While Smart says she's forgiven Mitchell and Barzee, she and her family will never forget what they did.

"We don't forget, we don't forget what happened, but we have to move forward," said Smart's mother Lois. "And in order to move forward, we have to let the past go."

Smart is also working with the Justice Department on a book about her experiences as a kidnapping survivor, and she and her father are pushing for new legislation to crack down on child predators, with a campaign called "Not One More Child."

"Right now, in the United States, there's over 572,000 computer serial IDs that they've identified that have child pornography, and when you know that these people exist out there and you know exactly where they are - this is like a war on terror - when you know where they are and who they are, you can't put off getting them," Ed Smart said.

"Right now, only 2 percent of those 572,000 are being investigated because they lack the manpower and the support to do their job. And two weeks ago, I was with the coalition in Washington asking for funds to help make this happen, to save children's lives, to stop the cycle of violence that we have here."

For those who prayed for Smart five years ago and who followed her story and rejoiced in her homecoming, she has a message.

"I'm doing great. I want to thank everybody for everything that they have ever done for me, for the prayers, the thoughts that they have given to me. I truly appreciate it," she said.

"And [I] love being alive, I love being here, I'm excited for my life ahead of me. I am just so thankful for every blessing that I have." Elizabeth Smart Afraid Alleged Kidnappers Will Come After Her Again

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