I hope my readers will indulge me with one more post about the Elizabeth Smart case. I have to be honest with myself and you. I take such strong issue with this case because if Elizabeth and her family have not been completely honest about her “ordeal,” or if they have outright lied about it, then this draws anger from me because of the countless victims of child sexual abuse and rape who struggle to be believed, and to believe themselves. People who lie about rape and abuse, provide shelter for perpetrators and deny truth and a voice to real victims.
So, in my daily attempt to be honest with myself and my readers, I need to address another problem I have with the Smart family:
One of my readers reminded me of an interview given about a week after Elizabeth Smart went missing. The interview was given to CNN’s Nancy Grace, by Tom Smart, Ed Smart’s brother.
Nancy Grace: “Tom Smart, message to the kidnapper tonight, what do you have to say?”
Tom: “We all have issues. Anybody’s taken — we’ve been ripped apart to the core. And we understand that everybody has issues. And we pray hard that whoever this is will know that the family is full of compassion towards everybody because this is a wonderful story, in a lot of ways.”
My first instinct when I read this was, “A wonderful story???”
Without any knowledge of who has the teen or what they are doing with her, why would Tom Smart say it is a “wonderful story?” How did he not know that -at that very moment- his niece was not having her throat slit, being sodomized, or being shipped off to a foreign country for sex slavery?
Has anyone ever heard the family of a kidnapped child call it a “wonderful story” shortly after the child is taken and before anyone knows if they are dead, alive, being enslaved and raped repeatedly, or who has her?
Tom Smart: “Because it’s about, foremost, a beautiful, little angelic girl. But it’s also about — everybody has issues no matter what. It crosses the boundaries on everything. It’s an amazing story.”
An amazing story?!!! It crosses the boundaries on everything? What exactly crosses the boundaries, and what boundaries?
These remarks about her story being wonderful and amazing, coupled with “everyone has issues” tell me that the following scenario is highly plausible: The family knew that Elizabeth had talked to someone before the night of the kidnapping and she pre-arranged to go with him.
One does not say that a child rapist, child murderer, or someone who has enslaved children into the sex trade industry, merely has “issues.” Did they say this to soften the heart of the kidnapper? Maybe.
Someone might argue that the Smarts thought the man who took her “just likes her.” Maybe so, but stay with me for a minute…
Remember in 2002, when America was riveted by the case of seven year-old Danielle Van Dam? Danielle was taken from her home in the suburban ‘bliss’ of beautiful San Diego California. Her body, found a month later, was discarded in a remote area, as if it were a piece of trash.
David Westerfield, a neighbor of the Van Dams, was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of little Danielle. Child pornography had been downloaded on his computer, and his pornography collection included bestiality and a video of a very young girl being raped. One of Danielle’s fingerprints was found on the headboard of the bed inside Westerfield’s motor home. The fingerprint was in a position indicating she might have been raped there.
David Westerfield “liked” Danielle enough to want to go into the Van Dam home, steal her away, rape her, and murder her within a few days. How did the Smarts know that Elizabeth was not taken by a man with intentions just like Westerfield? Or was the amazing story that “crosses all boundaries” really about a so-called angelic young teen, who met someone that talked her into going on a religious mission, or that she became infatuated with him and wanted an adventure? Or that Elizabeth became attracted to Mitchell because of his religious message and that she allowed him to talk her into going off with him to be his spiritual wife, only to be surprised by Wanda Barzee being a part of the deal and that Mitchell was not the prophet he had proclaimed to be?
(Five year-old Samantha Runnion)
Following the murder of Danielle Van Dam, a virus of child abduction cases quickly swept across the United States, including the well-known case of little Samantha Runnion, who was also taken by a child sexual abuser. She too was murdered and discarded like trash a few days after she was abducted. Samantha Runnion was an angel, no doubt about that. Elizabeth Smart? Maybe only an angel in the eyes of her family.
Can you imagine what the press and public would do if Samantha Runnion’s mother, or the Van Dams had appeared on CNN and proclaimed that the kidnapping of their child was “an amazing story,” “a wonderful story?” Look at Samantha Runnion’s mother holding her child’s photo, can you honestly see this mother having said that her child’s abduction is an amazing and wonderful story while she was still missing and presumed taken by a man who wanted to have sex with her?
The night Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bed, the unknown man had a “long hunting knife,” threatened her and her family’s lives, and her little sister said he told Elizabeth he was taking her for hostage or for ransom. How is this a wonderfully amazing story?
I don’t have children, but I do have pets that are like children to me. If one of them were taken for ransom, at force with a long hunting knife, I would NEVER ever call the situation wonderful or an amazing story!
If the Smart family did not know who took her, or why someone did, then how did they know she was not already dead? How is a dead, or tortured child an amazing and wonderful story?
“whoever the abductor was, he was very smart or very lucky.”… “He entered a home with a security system on a dead-end street.” ~Tom Smart
Yes, I too find Mitchell’s luck to be pretty darn good that night, being the one night that a window was left open and the security system was off.
In plain sight: the startling truth behind the Elizabeth Smart investigation, By Tom Smart, Lee Benson