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August 27th, 2009
11:55 PM ET

360 Interview: Elizabeth Smart and her father, Ed

Anderson Cooper | BIO

AC360° Anchor

An 11-year-old California girl snatched from the street in front of her house in 1991 had two children with the man accused of taking her and lived in a secret backyard shed, authorities said Thursday.

The 18-year mystery of what happened to Jaycee Dugard ended this week when a sex offender admitted to corrections authorities that he abducted her.

Since her kidnapping, Dugard has lived in her alleged abductor’s backyard, in a shed. All of this played out in a residential neighborhood.

We spoke to Ed Smart and his daughter Elizabeth. The Smarts lived through a similar nightmare, when Elizabeth was snatched from her bedroom in the middle of the night in 2002. She was found nine months later.

Elizabeth Smart and her father, Ed, speak to Anderson Cooper.
Elizabeth Smart and her father, Ed, speak to Anderson Cooper.

Anderson Cooper: Elizabeth from your own experiences, what do you think Jaycee is going through right now?

Elizabeth Smart: Well for me I felt relief and happiness and I was just excited to be home and back to the people that I know love and care for me and I know want the best for me. So I think Jaycee is probably feeling something along those lines as well.

Cooper: And Ed from a father's perspective what was it like getting that call, being told that after so long, your child was alive?

Ed Smart: It's the end of the nightmare. Just you know, it was very surreal, we didn't even get a call saying we had them, they just said we want you to come down. So I didn't know what to expect. They didn't even ask Lois to come with me, so you know, I'm just so happy for them, the moment finding that it was really her, was just like this one miracle in life that i could really have. It was just overwhelming and joyful.

Cooper: And Elizabeth, that reunion, obviously, incredibly emotional, and obviously, incredibly joyful. But there's got to be some ups and downs with it - can you talk a little bit about what that's like?

Elizabeth Smart: For me it was just overwhelming happiness because, I mean, I was out of that terrible situation, I was with my family and friends. I thought life was just going to resume back to what it had been before, I was just very happy. Of course I wondered what was going to happen, my captors, where were they going to be kept? What was going to happen to them? I mean, certainly there were some questions I had. But I would say for the main part I was just so happy, and I felt so loved being at home, and it was just one of the best days of my life.

Cooper: Ed, for you, what was that reunion like, and what do you think this reunion is like for this woman Jaycee who's been away for so long?

Ed Smart: The reunion was amazing, it was pure heaven. When we were transferred to the Salt Lake Police Department, one of my biggest concerns was that law enforcement would immediately get the full story from Elizabeth, which they took her in and started – I guess what you would call – debriefing her. And I was very concerned about that. And I'm hopeful that Jaycee will not have to immediately go through that. And that's basically reliving the whole nightmare of the time that she was gone. Now is the time to rejoice and be happy, reconnect as a family. The other will come, and it has to come, but right now it's just a time to live and feel the joy and happiness that life can bring.

Cooper: It was a police officer, a campus police officer, who was kind of very observant and got the ball moving, which ultimately lead to Jaycee being discovered. And yet, what we've now learned is that she was living in a backyard for 18 years, her children never went to school, never went to see a doctor. do you think the public is observing enough of things they see?

Ed Smart: I think that there are some people, in Elizabeth's case, there were two people that saw her at the same time. So I think a lot of people are very observant. I think that sometimes we need to put ourselves out and if we feel uncomfortable about something, you might look stupid, but it's better to check than not. There are other children out there like this that want to be found, and that we just need to work on how we feel.

In this scenario I don't know all the details on it, but you would i think somebody would have noticed a tent in a backyard. It sounds like it might have been remote. It's hard to second guess anyone and I wouldn't want to try to. It's important to be observant. I think that's really key.

Cooper: Elizabeth what's your advice for Jaycee?

Elizabeth Smart: I would tell her to just relax and enjoy your family and spend some time reconnecting. Maybe if it's possible to think back and think of things that she enjoyed doing with her family, and maybe going out and doing them again, and finding new things she would want to do with her family. One of the things I liked the best, after I came home – and no offense to the media – but, we didn't do anything. We just my family we went on a vacation but we just spent time as a family, which was like - it was the best thing I could have done. Together as a family, it was the best thing that I could have have done.

Cooper:And Elizabeth you would agree with your Dad, and just let her take as much time as she needs and tell her story or not in her own way, to her family, to her loved ones?

Elizabeth Smart: Yes I would agree with my Dad, for me it's something very personal and I just don't talk about it all the time with everybody and so I would think maybe she feels the same way and if she chooses to never say anything about it, I think it should always be her decision and there are a lot of people out here that love her and support her in what she decides to do.

Cooper: And Elizabeth, I read somewhere that you had written a pamphlet to help others who have been in similar situations, is that right?

Elizabeth Smart: That's right. A big thing I tried to stress in the section that I participated in writing was , to set goals for yourself to continually be moving forward, continuing on with your life and not letting this horrible event take over and consume the rest of your life. Because we only have one life and it's a beautiful world out there and there are so many things to see and learn and grow in. And I would just encourage her to find different passions in life and continually push forward and learn more and reach more for them and not to look behind, because there's a lot out there.

Cooper: It's something that happened to you its not who you are.

Elizabeth Smart: Right.

Cooper: Obviously, this is extraordinarily good news for everyone involved in this story. And it gives hope to other families out there who are still waiting for their loved ones to be found, in one way or another. Some would say that it gives false hope to some people because so many people will never find their loved one and yet there are cases like this, like Elizabeth's case, Jaycee's case. So it's a hard thing. Hope is important to hold onto isn't it?

Ed Smart: It is. A lot of people during those nine months said, how can you believe that she's still out there? You're crazy, or any number of comments. But I had this impression that Elizabeth was still out there, and we never gave up hope. That isn't to say that there weren't doubts in my mind. But for this family I've heard today that a lot of them kept on hoping, and you know, here it is. It's real. A miracle has happened.

Cooper: So many others are waiting and hoping as well.

Ed Smart: Absolutely.


Filed under: 360° Interview • 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. lace wigs

    this story is sickening...i heard this morning that the guy who kidnapped her actually impregnated her, too. disgusting. this kind of thing must stop, people be vigilant with your kids!

    August 31, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  2. linda morris

    Heard a blurb of advertizing related to Organs For sale....black market,that is....well.That is not just happening in other countries.despite a enormous amount of effort to imply a random amount of donors with no profit to anyone..this is totally a lie! Every state in the US has level on trauma centers ,however, without a neuro surgery fellowship program...One pt can go to one facility and be saved...and then go to another facility and be a organ donor.These are explant centers instead of transplant ones..Its not rocket science my friend its cha cha chinging,Hourly reinbursement by the minute to remove the organs...

    August 31, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  3. Michele

    LIke many others who commented -Sadly, I think there is a difference in the situation (9 months, 18 years). Also, Elizabeth was fortunate enough to go back to an intact wealthy family who could surround her with lots of support and counseling etc. I have always been happy for Elizabeth Smart that she had that support.

    This poor woman lived her nightmare for 18 years, had two children, no schooling and I believe while she has returned to a loving mother and sister – I am sure that they don't have the resources and time to help her to the same extent that Elizabeth's parents have had. Although saying that I do think that Elizabeth can still speak to this situation more than any of us – since she did go through her own nightmare.

    The Smart's do have a good message for Jaycee and for all of us and that is to try and go forward as positively as you can even when something horrific happens to you.

    August 31, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  4. Paula

    How ignorant to criticise Elizabeth and persecute her for telling her story!

    The only people here who warrant criticism are the MONSTERS WHO TOOK THESE GIRLS! They are to blame – not these innocent children who were removed from their families through no fault of their own.

    To those of you who want to undermine Elizabeth – stop and think for a minute how you would feel if you, your children or a family member were abducted for 9 minutes – let alone 9 months. Then maybe you will show some compassion.

    This is not a competition about who had the worst experience. This is a tragedy for both young women. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

    August 31, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  5. Jim

    will we see a 3rd unemployment extension before the end of this year ?

    August 30, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  6. B O'Donnell

    I agree, that although both Ms. Smart and this other woman were abducted, there is a big difference in the amount of time that both were held in c aptivity; not to mention that one of them had two children by her abductor.

    I will agree with Ms. Smart that the captivity should not defined who a person is, but it is a matter where the environment and the people who we are in contact on daily basis plays an important role in defining our perspective on life.

    I am very glad and appreciative of the fact that Ms. Smart has a loving family, and counseling to help her overcome such a traversity which took place in her life.

    On the other hand, this other woman and her two offspring by her abductor will face lifelong consequences as a result of their lack of social environment, health care, and education; but most of all their emotional well-being in order to relate and trust others.

    No, this woman and her off-spring will never have a life that most of us enjoy today.

    I can only hope and pray that she and her children will be able to make the most out of what remains of their lives.

    Will their lives be stable? Only time, counseling, and much love from family members will tell.

    August 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  7. dmargl

    Abuse is a horrible thing and there are some parts that one can never erase. I am recovering from 25 year verbal abusive marriage. It is a daily struggle. Thanks to the Lord, I was able to get out of it. Unfortunately, after so much, some things stay with you and daily one has to remind oneself–no more!

    I pray for a complete recovery for this 29 year old and her family! All things are possible with the LORD.

    August 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  8. Carol

    It is time for new laws regarding sex offenders. There should be mandatory searches of their property on a regular basis. All of their property – every inch of it, and their computers. They should also be under video surveillance that authorities can tap into (and at the offenders expense) at all times as a condition of parole.

    The neighbors who turned a blind eye when they felt something was amiss at that house should be ashamed of themselves.

    I hope that awareness is greater now because of this story and people will start to report odd behavior they notice their neighbors exhibiting and the police will FOLLOW UP ON ALL LEADS! Maybe victims who are waiting to be discovered will be!

    August 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  9. E K KADIDDLEHOPPER

    Let's play the devil's advocate here for a moment:
    – Suppose Jaycee states in court that she loves her captor?
    – Suppose the two girls born to Jaycee both state that they love their father and wish to see him often and spend time with him, perhaps daily?
    – Do the girls have a "right" to see and be with their father, if they desire?
    – Does the father have any rights whatever? (Let's assume for the purpose of this and the above two questions that the two daughters are both virgins and were never molested!)
    – We know that Jaycee is going to be brainwashed by government counselors, but suppose her mindset is to protect the only sexual partner she has ever known, as well as the father of her two children? What then?
    – What happens if the wife claims she was "frightened to death" of this man?
    – What happens if the two daughters go running to their father with tears of joy the first time they see him in court? Will they be jerked away from their father by police officials? Or will government counselors make sure this does NOT happen to begin with?
    Very few people have made any discerning comments about the two daughters! This seems strange! Apparently, most people do not know what to think or say in the matter! As a father, I see at least just a little hint that this man wanted children. Could it be that any natural children would have been removed from a man with his record? Does our system of "tagging people for life" encourage this type of behavior? Are we sentencing a man to a life where he cannot have children or be a father, based on one incident? Suppose the man had been attacked by a female predator, who hated men, and wanted their money, plus punishment for ANY and ALL men? We know our justice system would believe everything the female said, but give NO credibility to the man's story! Our whole mentality in the American culture is based on revenge and vengeance! Everyone is guilty until proven innocent! People are convicted and found guilty in news reports before they ever enter a court room. Prosecutors, seeking quick promotion, send many innocent people to jail, with NO guilty conscious. The Illinois Governor has to commute all death-row sentences because of this! The USA has the largest percentage of it's population behind bars of any nation on earth! Shouldn't this automatically necessitate a review of our system? The fact that Jaycee and the two daughters were reported as being in good health, well fed, and with no apparent indicators of physical abuse, just might be something positive about this case, and just might point to a father who was playing out his "father syndrome," something he had been denied by our court system. Everyone who has commented so far has immediately jumped to conclusions! All of the facts are not yet known! We need to drop the "lynch-mob mentality" and be a bit more objective!

    August 30, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  10. Karen Gordon

    I think these people that kidnap children are so beyond comprehension. It's sick enough that it even happens but the wives are such active participants – It's simply unfathomable.

    It's true these cases can't really be compared it the big picture. How can you possibly compare 9 months to 18 years and two children. But obviously something happens in these situations where the girls don't even try to escape and they basically become utterly dependent upon their kidnappers. It's a miracle that either of these girls were ever found.

    I will say that Elizabeth seems strikingly young and naive at 21, particularly in light of what she endured. She does seem a bit automatic in her speech patterns and I question how "alright" she really is after 7 years later. Is it possible to be normal after enduring what she did for 9 months? I hope that she is still getting therapy and that one day she is able to have a normal life. And given that, how likely is it that Jaycee will ever really be okay after 18 years of captivity???

    It's really unfortunate that this horrible man only served 11 years of his 50 year sentence and he was allowed back in society. Had he served his full sentence, Jaycee would never have had this happen to her. Perhaps it's time to re-examine what cases are allowed out early. I personally don't think people who create heinous crimes like this should be paroled.

    August 30, 2009 at 2:24 am |
  11. Elma Murray

    Elizabeth Smart is poised and has a healthy approach to life, maybe moreso than someone who has never experienced such trauma!! You are right on, Elizabeth!!!

    Thanks for the platform, Anderson.....................good show!!!

    August 30, 2009 at 1:08 am |
  12. LA

    I agree with others who say these two stories can't really be compared.

    I am almost the exact same age as Jaycee (she is exactly a week older than me). I remember being 11 in June of 1991. I would be starting Junior High that fall.. I was nervous, excited, etc.

    I can NOT imagine having the life as I knew it cut short back then and turned into the isolated and emotionally crippling hell that this poor girl went through up until just this week? I think of all of the experiences (good and bad) I've been able to have in the last 18 years and how they have made me who I am today. I don't think any of us could possibly fathom what this has done to this girl mentally, and how incredibly difficult it is going to be for her to adjust to a "normal" life in today's society.

    I feel incredibly sorry for her (and her children she was forced to have with this psychopath) and can only hope she and her children receive heavy counseling and support, and are able to VERY SLOWLY adjust to life in today's world.

    August 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  13. Sabina

    Elizabeth Smart always appears as a Stepford wife. She is absolutely clueless about Jaycee's ordeal. The interview was painful to watch.

    August 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  14. lorie b.

    im so glad that you back with your family.i hope that you elizabeth smart that things go alot better then it did before.i hope he goe's to hell for what he did to u when u where younger .he has taking u away when u where 8-year-old .u had been raped and through a lot of things u weny through .he has raped u and u had alot going now i hope u do,he had u in a tent and in a backyeard .he should go to hell for what he did to u.im so glad u got out when u had the chance.You are the lucky one to get away when u could.i known u had the lord looking after u.i hope for the best.

    love lorie b.

    August 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  15. MikeG

    All you people who say that Elizabeth smart doesn't even compare...yeah you may be right but I would rather hear from her than someone like yourselves who tends to know something about everything, and how everything should work. Expierience is everything and I feel like no one can know someones heart and feelings perfectly except God. Why are we all so negative about everyone being wrong and all the screw ups. They both made it and I'm sure have felt similar during different situations they went through. Way to go to the both of them!! I feel inspired to hear from anyone who has been through harder things than myself and my family. I believe if we would all look for the positive in any situation there will be something there that we can learn from and gain happiness from!

    August 29, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  16. Stephanie

    It always seemed like the Smart family was close and cared about their family. The fact that they are Mormons and have such restricted views on life makes me wonder what the Smart family life is really like. Regardless, she seems well-adjusted and happy. However, a
    9 month abduction versus an 18 year abduction does not even compare in the least. Maybe the parents of the abducted children have something in common – the fear, worry, even torment of knowing their child is out there – somewhere. But I think that's where the comparisons end. It may even be insulting to compare the two stories as the Smart family could resume their lives in less than a year and the other family had to go on for nearly two decades without their daughter. I think Cooper could have done better to find a family that went through something a little more like Jaycee's family. Again, a little insulting to compare the two.
    Stephanie

    August 29, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  17. Donna Mumby

    Dear Mr Anderson,

    I think Tim had it right: We are a bunch of spoon fed monkeys.

    Thank you for bringing us the Elizabeth Smart interview. I enjoyed hearing more from her.

    I would like to suggest, however, that you do more educational info when you talk about topics like this. People were angry and didn't understand how people like Elizabeth Smart or Shawn Hornbeck can appear to be walking around freely while still under the control of their captors. People referred to "brainwashing", but no one mentioned anything about the well studied psychology behind events like this. Please use more educational info...tell them about "dissociation" and how it alters a person's conscious awareness. Inform people about the mental state that people who are abducted are in. Talk about how these captors are also definately mentally ill if they are doing something like this.

    The remarks by Sylvia Flynt were just frightening. Poor Elizabeth will encounter people like her everyday in her life, yet she still speaks up. Now that's courage, it's also enough to keep you in a very delicate state. It's a miracle the girl still smiles.

    And as for Kathleen Legler... Have you ever personally known a sex offender? Have you ever been inside a prison? I'd like to suggest that you volunteer in such a place...because that is where you will find your answers. And as for being an apathetic species, yes – we are. We're also extremely voyeristic, that's why we're obsessed with stories like this, and we're also all blind (dissociative) – that's how the Elizabeths and Shawns are right under our noses – and that's why these mentally ill abusers get away with it. You can keep locking them up, and you can lock them up forever, but there will always be another one tomorrow. That's because there is something wrong with society. Prisons are not the answer, only a bandaid designed to fool us into feeling better.

    August 29, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  18. Adeline

    Very sad story, no girl should have to ever go through this, this is despicable and I will never understand how someone part of the human race can commit such shameful and horrible things. Elizabeth is a very courageous young girl and she looks positive with a smile on her face in spite of everything she's been through and I find this very brave. I would have loved hearing more about the 'downs' of what she went through (and what Jaycee must be going though now) though. As Anderson asked Elizabeth about the 'ups and downs' of such an experience, she only kept talking about 'overwhelming happiness' which I can imagine is true, but what about the other side ? I wish she would have mentioned the 'down' moments more, as Anderson had asked about. But I guess in situations like this, it's better to stay positive and not talk about the negative in order to remain psychologically stable and be able to move on. This or denial ? I don't know. Maybe the 'downside' is not to talk about on TV but just with family and a trusted therapist. However, I would have loved to hear a little more like: 'she must be so happy and scared at the same time, she should know it's not going to be easy to heal but she can do it. The pain she feel is so strong but the desire to survive and move on will overcome' I don't know, I wish she had injected a little more 'realistic' view into this.

    August 29, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  19. Robbie

    I can't understand how this man was let out of prison in the first place after being convicted of similar crimes. What is wrong with the legal system that allows this kind of monster to live his life and ruin the lives of others? The people who paroled him and subsequently didn't follow-up or keep a more watchful eye on him should also be reprimanded. If you can't watch him, let him rot in prison! Here we go with another long legal battle, wasting tax-payer money for the same person, same crime. The victims (Jaycee, her children and her other family members), have led a horrid life and nothing will ever repair the damage. Why don't we do something the first time around with these pedophiles, not wait until more lives have been ruined before we step up and say enough is enough AND THEN TRY TO MAKE IT ALL BETTER? They should be automatically castrated, be made to do manual labor, fed bread and water and leave them without medical care until they die- even that is too good for them! Bring back the death penalty and lets get rid of these sick bastards before any more lives are ruined!!! THE LAWS NEED TO BE CHANGED!!!

    August 29, 2009 at 4:56 am |
  20. Lilibeth

    Hi Anderson, I have been thinking about Jaycee all day and still can't wrap my mind around what happened to her. I wish I could give her a hug, hold her hand and tell her everything's going to be all right. I wish I can help her and her family heal. Times like these remind me that I missed my true calling in life, of being a psychologist or a social worker or a therapist. I love helping people. I so wish I can be in California to help her. All I can do is pray that God will keep her safe and help her live a happy and peaceful life. Anderson if there's anything I can do to help her please let me know.

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    August 29, 2009 at 3:19 am |
  21. Jerome Jasinkowski

    I have something that is on my mind, After what the president has done, Cash for clunkers, After all the cars that have been sold, and this put the auto workers back to work, whats going to happen when the auto workers make all the new cars and cant sell or move them , will the auto industry be back in trouble, the people just dont have the type of money thats being asked for new cars, they are not worth the price the dealers and auto industry is asking,
    they are junk from the word go, plastic and rubber, who in there right mind is going to pay from $14000.00 to $21000.00 for them, people would have to be out of there minds to buy such Junk, one good accident and the auto is considered Junk,

    August 29, 2009 at 2:05 am |
  22. burt23

    I think what Elisabeth was teaching us all something.

    Many in this world have had terrible things happen to them. Some not as bad. Many hold onto the thing so long that you miss out on life. hate can be an addiction. Christ says were are to forgive all men.

    I say not because they deserve forgiveness but because we deserve to live our lives without holding on to some wrong someone did to us. When I see someone like Elizabeth forgive and move on ...I am encouraged. How can anything that that b'tch of an ex-wife I had compare with what she went through. yet I was addicted to the hate for many years before I learn that lesson.

    August 29, 2009 at 1:03 am |
  23. lpfoong

    Wow...an incredibly moving interview.
    For the parents to have the will to continue hoping when others have already given up and probably being told to do that as well and circumstances looking grim...not many individuals can keep believing on and on and not give up. (People have given up for less stressful situations)
    The pain that they have to go through...so much hurting within, the not knowing and not having much signs to confirm in what you're hoping for and believe in, it would seem much easier to let go. There's no right or wrong way. A person has just got to decide what's best for their sanity.
    As for the girls, their strength to survive and now having to live with what they have experienced is beyond most people's comprehension. Their situation may be similar but the duration of time endured is not. Nevertheless, they both have endured so very much and they deserve respect for their will to survive and their phenomenal strength, then and now. They both deserve all the time they need to work this out.

    August 29, 2009 at 12:43 am |
  24. Johnny Nguyen

    Please, remove the 2 comments attributed to me. Someone (probably my roommate) used my computer to post them. It wasn't me, and I'd like them removed. Thank you very much.

    August 28, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  25. Sara Ray, HI

    There is something strange to me about the demeanor of Elizabeth in this interview, she seems dreamy, a sort of absence in her face. I cannot imagine the absolute horror that both of these girls have been through. Its unimaginable.

    August 28, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  26. sherri

    Watching ac360 right now. Regarding MJackson and propofol. I am Anesthetist,CRNA and your correspondent should get info correct. Versed is not a muscle relaxant. It is a sedative. Ehedrine is used to increase a dropping Blood pressure. 25mg Propofol alone would not kill anyone. Dose too small. More importantly, a cardiologist is not appropriate to provide propofol .Only anesthesia providers CRNA and MDA are trained to safely give this hypnotic drug. Only medical people trained specifically in airway management and resuscitation.Anyone else is not the standard of care.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  27. Jackie Cole

    I am glad that you brought the story of the two girls to us even though Elizabeth's kidnapping was short lived, it was still terrifying and can give insight as to how Jayscee feels without her having to relive it and tell us herself. Good work Anderson.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  28. Lois

    Allison Jacobs and Lisa Campbell are true heroes!!!!!

    August 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  29. Eileen Foley

    Why did you have to cut it with your stupid commentary and fail to show the ending of Kennedy's memorial? It is so irritating and disrespectful that you can't let the viewer be a part of the entire memorial and its closure.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  30. Donna in Philly

    The Boston Community Chorus was the WORST singing I've ever heard in my life!!! Other than that, the coverage of the Kennedy Memorial was great!

    August 28, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  31. Elsie Wierzba

    I am so sorry for getting the wrong comments on the wrong topic of discussion. I do have to agree with many of the comments that the two cases are truly different. I would add that both girls were kidnapped at young ages but Jaycee was younger and held for so much longer and was totally dependent on her captives. I really can't see how one can compare the two kidnappings. I just hope and pray that Jaycee and her family can reconnect and go forward. She has so much to learn and patience and understanding are going to be needed. Elizabeth seems to have done very well although she did appear to be a tad nervous. I'm sure it's not something she likes to talk about much. I hope the kidnappers received the harshest punishment that can be given. They are by all definitions animals! EW

    August 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  32. Rose Read

    Hi,
    I am glad to know and see the great political people the Kennedy"s were. As a Canadian I am sad to see all the old stale politicians
    riding off of their shirt tails.
    Only to live each day with the daily problems more people face than not.
    God will wake up the planet. These people whom uphold their own praise and is quite meaningless to the rest of the world, hold on you are next, the axe was made for you.
    What will you do ? As the planet dies and people keep killing what are you and your pride of money???
    In Ted Kennedy's passing, I see the staleness of those OLD POLITICAL CREEPS that run Washington.
    The Kennedy"s are dead.
    Let each human rule , and decide,not the old stale farts whom live the life thanks to the taxpayers.Politics DIE, Huge Salaries Die.
    Thanks Rose

    August 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  33. Elsie Wierzba

    Mr. Cooper,
    I enjoy your news reporting very much. I appreciate the way you deliver the news. Very professionally! I do have a comment on the Health Care Plan being touted by Pres. Obama and many of the members of Congress. I would like to ask if the end result plan will be for all the citizens including the members of Congress, the Pres., VP, and the Speaker of the House. Or, will it exclude the members of Congress, Pres., VP and Speaker of the House? If they will be excluded, why, because their plan is so much better and if it is, why not offer the same plan they have to all of us. I'm sure all that has to be done is mention this and the red flag will be raised. From what I have learned, they have a fantastic Health Plan and retirement plan. Wow, we need to have all those perks brought out by the media and see how much news you will have. No one in the media has mentioned this little known fact and I wonder why? Thanks for your consideration in reading this. I hope to hear back from you. Elsie Wierzba

    August 28, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  34. Bill

    I hope justice will be served in this case. My problem is not with the kidnappers but with the government agencies that monitored these individuals. The news focus is on the kidnapper and his wife, but it should also be on the shoddy work these government agencies did and what about the neighbors? Here is a reason that the US gets no respect. We as a country do not respect each other and could care less what happen to the guy next to me. Hey! I hope all government agencies open the sleepy eyes and engage their minds to ensure that this is the only site of its kind. Gee! Do you think there could be more out there and even more sophisticated then what this individual had. I was going to say look at what the economy did. It caused the government agencies to cut back and caused all this misery. But once again, I am wrong, because it is the human element that is at fault not the economy. Boy, there must be a lot of Sergeant Shultz’s out there where this guy lived, “I know nothing”.

    August 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  35. Isabel Siaba, Brazil

    Two sad stories with happy endings, though the scars will never be resolved.

    Anderson,
    Interesting you bring a similar case and the experience of those who lived the problem.

    August 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  36. Kathleen Legler

    Most of us wonder why children like Jaycee Lee Dugard and countless others, continue to be abducted, tortured and often killed. Out of frustration I went searching for some answers. I spoke to some law enforcement people and congressional people via phone. I read a lot and finally came to the conclusion that public apathy combined with limited financial resources is at the heart of the problem.

    In case you haven’t heard protecting children from sex predators is extremely low on our community list of “to-do’s”. A lack of public outcry is a big reason that these monsters continue to hunt & hurt our children. We hear the news story and then make dinner and then forget about it. Just imagine if every parent in your neighborhood called their Senator and House Rep TODAY and demanded stronger sentences for these predators? Sadly it won’t happen. Why? Because while most everyone loathes sex predators, nobody thinks that their child will ever be the victim of this type of crime. Everyone is too busy or too apathetic to take any action.

    Since most people have very little motivation to call or visit their assigned congressional representatives to insist on REAL changes to the system, changes won’t be happening anytime soon. Who doesn’t think that their neighborhood is “safe”? Nobody wants to dwell on darkness, so we put it out of our minds and it gets put on the back burner until it happens again…

    Let’s face it. Tax dollars are precious. Simply put, there’s just not enough money to keep all these sexual deviants locked up for any length of time. What money there is, is spent on other community priorities. Statistically speaking, a few abducted & murdered children aren’t worth our trouble. Maybe that sounds callous and extreme, but that’s reality. Certainly not the reality that I wish for, but the only one that exists.

    With financial resources being so limited, there is only so much room for so many inmates in our prisons. Sex offenses against children just don’t rank as high as other types of crimes. The state has limited space & they have to pick and choose who gets to stay and who must go. These sentencing decisions are made by judges I presume. In addition to a cash-strapped system, I suspect that more “liberal” judges believe that sex predators can be “rehabilitated” and may in fact give them more lenient sentences. That’s why it becomes very important to vote for judges! The one category I never seem to know enough about to cast a vote for.

    Yes, these are just my personal theories about why these crimes against children go seem to go on and on. In the mean time, please remember that proverbial wisdom: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. The safety of our children is strictly is up to parents & caretakers. If you snooze your child may lose. If you don’t protect your biological investments then NOBODY will.

    August 28, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  37. Bill

    If you go to Google maps and enter the address of Phillip Garrido's house and click on "Street View" you can see images of Garrido pulling out of his driveway in a extremely rusty van and follow the Google camera car down Walnut. Then both vehicles make a right onto Bown Lane and the rusty van pulls up close behind the camera car at the next corner. You can see what looks like a male behind the wheel. If it's not Phillip Garrido who else might it be? When I first looked at these images I thought they were quite chilling and something you might want to share with your viewers.

    August 28, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  38. GF, Los Angeles

    I'm completely shocked and appalled by some of the responses in trivializing Elizabeth's kidnapping compared to Jaycee's because Elizabeth was "only" gone for 9 months and Jaycee was gone for 18 years and bore children with her captor. I'd like to know how Liliana Briones and a few other posters would feel if they were kidnapped for ONE DAY!

    Elizabeth has endured an unspeakable horror and I'm humbled by her courage to move forward and to help other kidnapped victims. I wish Jaycee and her children that type of courage to move forward.

    August 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  39. mlmtrainingbase

    Beautiful Young Lady. You Are The Miracle!

    Kia Kaha!

    Arohanui,

    August 28, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  40. spb

    I am sorry but having Elizabeth Smart on was not helpful. In my humble opinion there is not a very good comparison here- 9 months to 18years, living in a shed and bearing this crazy man's children. While this is a joyful day, we also would do her a disservice not to give her the time and space to heal as she has to have suffered tremendously. As a mother I hold you in my heart Jaycee and pray for healing and I am so happy that Elizabeth is home, happy, and healed as well. There is no replacement for a loving understanding family.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  41. Yvette Richardson Guy

    You do the Jaycee Dugar story a disservice by bringing Elizabeth Smart into the analysis. Elizabeth was abducted and lost for less than one year, while Jaycee was kidnapped and lost for 19 YEARS, just shy of two decades. Jaycee spent nearly twice the number of years in the control of her kidnapper than she did as a member of her own family. Besides, Elizabeth and her father always give off a disturbing "Stepford" vibe that also distracts from the complex issues involved in Jaycee's sad situation.

    Perhaps you should turn to the boy in the Midwest who was held for years and found a year or so ago (you know, where O'Reilly infamously talked about how much "fun" the kid was having with his pedofile captor). How has he adjusted to returning to his true family?

    Elizabeth Smart's glossy advertising brochure looks and story just do not belong in the Jaycee Dugar tragedy.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  42. Pamina in New Rochelle

    Thank you for the wonderful interview. Elizabeth Smart is brave for sharing her story. I wish her the best in the future.
    Pamina

    August 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  43. steveo

    wasn't this the girl that was completely untethered, left unattended for hours and only like 1 stop away from her house on the freeway?

    August 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
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