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. jewel doves

    just wanted to thank 360 for great show on health care hope you do more of the same

    August 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  2. Nora

    oh, and if you look at a map–she was 48 miles away from where she was kidnapped–just the other side of the el dorado state forest.

    How sad.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  3. kris

    This person was disconnected from her family and not educated for 18 years...this poor woman is in for an agonizing recovery.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  4. Nora

    Your investigative reporting skills would be better used exploring how someone is on parole and no one notices the hostages living in the yard. Your second line of investigation could be for the sheriff who investigates a call that there are people living in tents in the backyard and they never look in the backyard.


    August 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  5. Sylvia Flynt

    I have not read a single blog or comment above as I just scrolled down here to leave my own personal opinion not swayed by anything else. Some people will hate me for this but I have a right to my belief.

    This little girl Jaycee was held prisoner and never let out and never went to a hospital or anywhere so therefore I have a completely different feeling about her and her children born from this monster. I feel very sorry for her and for them and I believe he deserves worst than the death penalty and should be tortured as long as they can and keep him alive to torture him more and more----But I literally cannot stand Elizabeth Smart and think the whole thing was a ploy. She is pathetic and I think since she was out in public on a regular basis and wore clothing hiding her face and lived close to her home and had PLENTY opportunity to escape not like this other girl that she deserved no sympathy from her parents and her parents should have disowned her and never let her come home. She is in it for the money and so is her parents. Why not ask them if they have received any money for their Interviews or for books or anything else and if so ask them to give every damn dime to charity. Bet they won't!!!!! I get sick everytime I hear or see her and don't believe a word she says.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  6. Diane

    Mr. Cooper:

    I saw your interview with Elizabeth Smart and her father. I am surprised that you would mix apples with oranges. You are an intelligent person and I am sure understands that no one can compare 9 months of being with a kidnapper to 18 years of repeatedly being raped, possible physical abuse, and not knowing if you will be killed or not. Not to mention the emotional abuse this woman and her children endured. Let's not forget that these children or their mother had any socialization with their peers or others, which will impair their functioning socially. There are so many issues here to be addressed to help this woman and her children, I can't begin to list them. Please, please, even though I can understand the trauma Elizabeth and her father went through, please do not compare her story to this one. PLEASE!

    August 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Jay

    9 months vs 11 years....is there really a comparison? I doubt their experiences could've been very similiar outside the fact they were both taken from their homes.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Nikita

    These stories, Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard, are so completely different. First, Elizabeth was 13 yrs old vs Jaycee at 11 yrs of age. Those two years do make a BIG difference. Second, the length of time in captivity. Add to that, Jaycee being pregnant, having a child at age 14, and her being totally dependent on her captors for her very survival. All of these details will make her adjustment incredibly difficult.

    Jaycee's children, and God knows what condition they are in mentally...he says he slept with them every night...have never gone to school, had friends, social interaction, doctor visits, etc. What will they have to adjust to...hmm...maybe the whole world. Elizabeth Fritzl of Austria is the only one who comes to mind who might have some insight for Jaycee.

    This story, and the one in Austria, both make me wonder about the lack of curiosity in people. In each case, there were people who had reason to be suspicious of the victims captors. How can you live next door to a property and not know what is on that property? The house in California is on a one acre lot at best...fences be damned, a 6ft ladder takes care of that...this creep had to be making multiple trips to the back of his property, every day and night for 18 years. Very suspicious in my mind.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  9. natasha

    I think that it's great the Elizebeth Smart is doing well. But this situation has nothing to do with her it's not even comparable. 18 years that is more than half of Jaycees life. And everything around her has changed not just her family and her self but society. She has such a long road to any recovery and my heart goes out to Jaycee. She probably doesn't even know up from down. I hope the media and people around her can give her her space that she needs. As for her kids they are in the same boat as their mom. They may as well be from a 3erd world country the way they were brought up. So sad. I think the people (us) should start some fund for her and her kids so she can just live the rest of her life in peace and happiness and no worries! She deserves it!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  10. David Strong

    Of course Elizabeth Smart's situation is different, but it is a heck of a lot closer to Jaycee's than anyone could imagine. If it weren't for a single observant stranger, Elizabeth would still be living in captivity and probably have a child by now (her captor certainly tried). So let's not diss on Elizabeth because her experience was merely horrible, rather than extremely horrible. She didn't ask to come on the show, but was gracious enough to again share her own experience so that the rest of us had some idea of what Jaycee might be feeling. I'm sure that Elizabeth would be the last one to say her situation was just the same as Jaycee's. But even her ordeal was beyond what any of us can imagine in our worst nightmares. And geez, to those who are harping on Elizabeth being Mormon, get a life!

    Thank you Elizabeth for being willing to share, and all the best to Jaycee and her family in their attempt to try to return to a relatively normal and hopefully happy and peaceful life. And maybe we can all try to have a little more patience and compassion with everyone around us, because we often don't know what those around us have experienced in the past or are currently going through.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  11. dg

    Anderson – How about a link to Elizabeth's pamphlet?

    August 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  12. Ian

    I couldn't watch the rest of the interview. It felt like a celebration after a long "ordeal" Everyone feeling good because "its over". Where's the outrage? Does anyone really want to stop these monsters from victimizing more children? And Elizabeth Smart's father parading her on TV like that. Sick. Sick. Sick.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  13. Linda

    Kudos to the police who noticed odd behavior and took action on it! Frankly, they would have been a better interview choice so that we could all learn what they observed. I am happy for Elizabeth Smart's continued strength and the fact that she is moving on and seems to be doing well. That being said, her case is really not a relevant comparison to someone held captive for 18 years. I read another article that neighbors saw the tents and heard kids playing, but did nothing, ugh! As a society, we should focus on helping prevent something like this in the future by learning types of behavior to look for, when to act, appropriate action to take, and simply to step up rather than being afraid or looking the other way.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  14. Nancy Hester

    While I sympathize with Elizabeth Smart for the ordeal she and her family went through, I don't know how you can compare her to the horror that Jaycee has experienced. I think Elizabeth's comments were very naive and I'm rather surprised that Anderson didn't respond to that, although I'm sure he didn't want to offend or upset her or her father. I was very irritated with the whole interview and I'm a tremendous Anderson Cooper fan!

    August 28, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  15. Mimi

    I'm worried about media attention and intrusion. That's going to be hard for the Dugart's to handle. Every talking head will venture opinions, many of them hurtful and sensational. They'll hound the family, trying to feed the frenzy with sound bites.

    I remember how Ed Smart was criticized for what he said or didn't during his family's 9 month ordeal and aftermath. His daughter was criticized by ignorant reporters and members of the public for not immediately condemning her abductors or escaping sooner. They didn't seem to understand the psychology of abduction, despite a wealth of information. It was easier to sensationalize and second guess.

    I know they'll start doing that with Jaycee. Yet Jaycee's problems and adjustment will be different, and not as easily mended as having a family togetherness. The media must leave her and her family alone as they try to adjust and find some normalcy.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  16. OhioMom

    Jaycee and Elizabeth are both survivors, they have that in common. I don't believe the interview was trying to portray their experiences or situation as being the same. I believe it was healthy for Elizabeth to be able to express her positive outlook and let's face it, that's what Jaycee needs right now. We all know it won't be an easy journey, but as a parent I know any journey with my daughter, and now two grandchildren, would be better than none at all. With faith, love and patients, they will build a new family. I pray they find joy and laughter. Jaycee is a survivor!

    August 28, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  17. Rene

    This case is more like the Austrian case which came to light a year ago or so. That girl was kidnapped by her father, held in the basement for longer than this if I recall correctly. She bore 8 children during that time. Her father got life in prison and I believe Elisabeth and her children are living in a compound getting the therapy they need and I pray are doing well.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  18. Tim

    Wait a second... the story is about Jaycee.

    God can do it?

    Elizabeth we applaud you?

    What about this poor woman Jaycee? You people are spoon fed monkeys.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  19. Diana

    It makes me sick to think that this young girl had to endure such shocking treatment and forced to sire children with this child molester. What is even more sickening is that his wife allowed it to happen. They should both be prosecuted to the hightest extent of the law. Prison time will not even make up for what they've done and the lives they've ruined. My prayers are with Jaycee and her family that they can get thru all of this.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  20. luckyoldsun

    Anderson Cooper wants to interview Elizabeth Smart and her father and show where they are now. Fine.

    But to ask Elizabeith Smart to give advice to a 29 year old mother of two children–as if she is qualified to do so–is moronic.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  21. Jessica

    Elizabeth, I would like to apologize to you on behalf of the people who have posted less-than-compassionate comments here. You are amazing, strong, and have survived a terrible ordeal that nobody should ever have to go through. The length of another's ordeal does not lessen what happened to you. I am sorry for the inconsideration displayed here. I wish you all of the best.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  22. Nancy

    I applaud Elizabeth Smart for the way she has handled the tragic and hateful events that tore into her young life. To her and her family, those nine months must have been an eternity. She is a very brave and special young woman indeed, and a fine role model. We certainly need many, many more like her. However, this is where the apples and oranges comparison comes into play. There are similarities – what happened to both girls was tragic, hateful and it happened at the same young, tender age. They forced to live under dirty, disgusting conditions. But for Jaycee, it didn't end by the next time the roses bloomed or the next time school got out for summer vacation, or by her next birthday. She spent almost twice as long as she had been alive, in captivity. Elizabeth's advise is good but needs to be delivered to the appropriate audience. Jaycee doesn't know her family and what happened to her makes up two-thirds of her life. As I said, apples and oranges.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  23. amy c

    jaycee's situation was very much like the case of the german girl who was held hostage in a basement for years.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  24. Dee

    A 9 month ordeal and a 18 year ordeal is definitely not comparable by any means. Going through therapy for erasing 9 months to me will take a lifetime to overcome... I can't imagine 18 years of horror to erase... impossible I know. I just hope that his young lady doesn't let this psycho ruin the rest of her life. Be strong, get through this with your head up high and your eyes blaring with light! You not only have the support of your family and friends but the entire world supporting every move you make! NOTHING is your fault nor your kids! You are a miracle and I hope you the VERY best from this day forward!

    August 28, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  25. Nancy

    I don't think anyone tried to equate the two situations, least of all Miss Smart and her dad; but Cooper tried to find someone who might be able to relate and this was the closest he could come. Thank God there aren't too many people who have suffered in this way, though I suspect there are more than we imagine.

    Miss Smart is a resilient and admirable person who handled an awful situation beautifully. My prayer for her and for Miss Dugard and her kids is that they continue to be blessed by the love of God and of those around them, to know that there is goodness in the world as well as terrible evil, and to choose goodness every day.

    "Hard to handle"? Of course. Impossible? All things are possible with God.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  26. Kathy

    I think what Elizabeth and Jaycee would have in common is the brainwashing that had to take place to get these children to stay in the situation. Elizabeth would understand that. Remember, somebody found Elizabeth. She didn't escape on her own. And that must be because of the terrible fear and brainwashing both she and Jaycee were put through. Elizabeth probably understands the feeling that your previous life is gone and this is now your life.
    That being said, I do think Jaycee will have a tougher time readjusting than Elizabeth, because Elizabeth came home when she was still a child. Jaycee is an adult with children of her own. I just can't imagine. But didn't something like this just happen in Austria? I wonder how that woman is doing; didn't she have a bunch of kids with her horrible father keeping her captive?

    August 28, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  27. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Anderson, I don't know that there is any "false " hope in these situations. These people who have lost thier children to predators among us need all the hope they can get otherwise they might not survive. Believe me "false" hope is much better than "no" hope at all. I'm not dissing what you said, I'm just saying, you know? My heart goes out to anyone finding themself in such a horrible situation. I don't know what I myself would have done in the same situation! It's so unthinkable until it happens.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    August 28, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  28. Stelli

    First off, thoughts and prayers to both Jaycee and her family. Second, while yes, there are vast differences between Elizabeth's abduction and Jaycee's abduction, I think that Elizabeth is much more qualified to offer insight on Jaycee's situation than all of us who have commented on here are! Prayers to Elizabeth and the Smart family as well.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  29. Barb

    The very idea that there would be even remote comparison between these two cases/situations is ludicrous. The psychological impact of what Jaycee has gone through is beyond anyone's comprehension. Enjoy her family? This poor child has been brain washed for 19 years. I doubt she can just "reconnect" and enjoy her family.

    The Smart's offering advice is equally as ludicrous and actually quite insensitive. They are quite obviously lacking a great deal of insight. Anderson Cooper would have done well to have interviewed a soldier who has been a POW for 19 years rather than interviewing the Smart Family.

    I for one am praying for Jaycee and her children. It's going to take a countries prayers and a whole lot of psychological counselling to restore any level of normalcy for these young women.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  30. hedsey

    Elizabeth Smart has never really told the story which i believe is her right.......however, I do believe there is a lot more to her story that sheds a dark light on her experience. i believe she had a child in the time she was gone........i believe her parents know this. jaycee was traumatized for a lot longer and the repercussions will run deep. I hope that both these women will be happy and content. Ed Smart never really gives an insightful interview other than he gives a positive spin on the experience. Something is not right in the Smart home.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  31. Penny

    I send this note to Elizabeth, in case she reads the sarcastic, uncaring comments that some readers have shared. It is obvious that 9 months is different than 18 years, but the difference does not take away from the fact that you experienced something so terrible that fortunately very few of us will ever have to experience. You are a courageous woman, and your positive approach is a breath of fresh air. Your attitude and perseverance gives us hope. Our society can be so quick to jump on the negative, as shown by some of these comments, and your approach helps offset such unconstructive criticism. Talking about your experience will help others who need support and advice from someone who also has suffered through the horrible experience of being abducted and we are lucky that you are willing to share your thoughts, your hope and your love of life.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  32. Ciarra

    Although Elizabeth Smart also went through a horrific event, her advice does not apply to Jaycee's experience at all. We must understand that after a certain point in time, she may have stopped trying to escape this horiffic life and is so disconnected from her original family at this point that it will probably be extremely difficult to connect with them in a healthy manner again. There was so much trauma and abuse in this situation that Jaycee may have taken on this life as her own after a certain point, perhaps not even trying to find a way out. Although it is amazing and relieving that she was finally found and is "free" from her captors, she may never truly feel "free" until her and her children recieve intensive trauma counseling. Trying to reconnect with her original parents at this point (however happy they may be to see her) could actually be MORE damaging right now. If her parents truly care about her well being, hopefully they can understand that as well.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  33. Renee - NB, Canada

    There is a significant difference between these two stories. However, Elizabeth Smart is the only other person in the world (that I know of) who has experienced such a terrifying life-changing event and lived tell the world about it. Of course she can only comment on her own experience (Ted – who then would have been a better choice?). Elizabeth is a brave girl to have agreed to be interviewd again. Jaycee has lived through the unimaginable. Indeed she needs support and strength. Perhaps Elizabeth's story can give Jaycee and her children some strength to take the first step toward a new life. Jaycee, my thoughts an prayers are with you and your daughters.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  34. Harry Rakhraj

    A crime being committed right under our noses went completely unnoticed. For 18 long years! We and our splendid isolation; see where it's taking us.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  35. Maria

    I am so happy for all the kids that are found!
    I know it is not easy at all to go through all that pain. It takes time to recover, but it is worth it!
    The Smarts are a wonderful family, they proof by serving God, keeping faith, miracles can happen!

    My prayers go to all the families that are suffering for something like this.

    God bless you and give the strength you all need!

    August 28, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  36. Angie

    There is no comparison here!! Smart was missing for 9 MONTHS–Dugard was gone 18 YEARS–Dugard and her parents missed many milestones, memories etc. Dugard was forced into having children at ages 14 and 18. She was confined to a shed for 18 years–she didn't have a chance to seek outside help–Smart roamed with her captives and had several opportunities to seek help–eventually she was found b/c they were roaming. This interview is a slap in the face to Dugard, her family, her two daughters and all they've been through...

    August 28, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  37. Tracey

    Elizabeth is a very blessed girl to have been given the wonderful family she has. I pray this young woman and her two children will be given the love, support and counseling they will so desperately need to get well. Although some may say this is a miracle, I believe "miracle" may have been a more appropriate word, had it happened 18 years ago. I cannot imagine the horror this woman and her children must have endured. Only with enormous, love, patience and counseling with these three women be able to move forward. I will keep their entire family in my prayers.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  38. Arlene

    I can't help thinking about Joseph Fritzl, in Austria who kept his daughter in that dungeon for all those years as well. These men are sickos. Where do u begin?
    He should be locked away for a long time. He has ruin the lives of Jaycee, her children and her family. Her stepfather was under suspicion for a long time and he said as a result it ruin his marriage. She never got an education and neither did her children. How was he able to go so long without anyone finding out?

    We can only pray that with professional help they can move past this terrible tragedy.

    And what about the wife who was an accomplice, just heartless!!

    August 28, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  39. Michelle

    Okay, so the two ladies don't have the exact same stories but how many people have been abducted and been found alive after any given period of time? There aren't many to pick from so they choose to do an interview with the next best thing. It's about length of time and if Elizabeth hadn't been noticed when she was then she might still be in the same situation. Why can't people just be kind, accept the stories as different and write something encouraging to both ladies for the personal hell they've had to endure? Elizabeth's comments are a bit naive, but I'd take them over a smart aleck comment any day.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  40. William Cramer

    Just another note.

    Please look at the missing kids.
    AMW, center missing and exploited kids, Wal-mart the missing kids,

    Just look at them,
    You might notice a runaway...But you might also notice a kidnapped child.
    Report it, you might look stupid, but you might shorten someones suffering.

    Lets not let a child live in this situation.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  41. DRKellogg

    Give Elizabeth a break! Although there are others out there who might have a better perspective because they were held for longer, Elizabeth is the one who came forward. And she does have some things in common with Jaycee: They were about the same age when taken, they were both molested (although Jaycee's ordeal is much longer and greater) and they were both finally freed.

    Elizabeth has offered a few starting points for healing. It's a good idea to listen to her advice, because a counselor probably isn't going to have first hand experience in being held in captivity.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  42. shorek123

    I have a daughter the same age as Jaycee..... I have raised her, I have helped her through the difficult teen years, attended her graduation, enjoyed all of the holidays with her...... She just got married last year, bought her first house. I have been there for her through good and bad times. Oh how I cherish every one of these moments.

    Jaycee and her mother have been robbed of all of this. And her step father has lived with suspicion on probably all fronts. He and Jaycee's mother are separated. You can't tell me that Jaycee's mother hasn't had the same suspicion in the back of her mind.

    The abductor and his wife have caused irrepairable damage to so many. There isn't a punishment to fit this crime. I am hoping that the torture that they both have to endure in prison is enough to satisfy what they really deserve.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  43. William Cramer

    I hope Elizabeth and Jaycee and her children, know that not only thier family love them.
    I want them to feel the love the world can offer, after seeing the evil of the world.
    I would hope Elizabeth and family would offer directly, to help the familys(11yr old victims and 29yr old mothers) To deal with the over whelming attention after being so isolated for so long, to deal with the new freedoms, to some day be able to walk down a sunny street if they want, to feel safe, to feel in control that most of us take for granted.

    To the press, I hope they offer a podium to speak from, but not to infringe on their life if they don't want it. They had so much of their life stolen from them already.

    I pray for these families, the SMarts, and the Dugard families.

    I hope the court takes everything these people own and liquidate it, and offer it to the 29 yr old to set up their life. Not much to show for 18 yrs of abuse for 3 prisioners.

    I would also like to make a public appology to the step father, for all the doubt that the investigations and news media automatically dump on the non-biological parent, and by being the last person to see her.
    The frustration of trying to prevent the crime and not being able too, plus the frustration of having everyone doubting you would have been overwhelming.
    We must all remember, step parents aren't all evil. Its alot easier to say everyone is innocent until proven guilty, then to actually live it.

    Punishment for the kidnappers: 10 yrs per year of abduction/imprisionment, that being 180 yrs for the 11 yr old, and then 150 yrs for the oldest child, and 110 yrs for the youngest. So 440yrs just for abduction and imprisionment.(remember our great justice system, 1/2 of term is served by walking into jail, and good behavior takes some down too.)
    Every allegation of rape the victim(s) can remember, should be assumed to be true(since no proof can be given.) These counts should ad another 20 yrs per. And any abuse of "his" children should ad even more.
    Basically 3 life sentences plus.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  44. Margaret

    I love seeing and hearing Elizabeth and her father. We've seen and heard about so many kidnapping cases with such horrible endings. Elizabeth's story, although her captivity was horrible, did end and she did come home. She is what hope is. I'm proud of her and I'm sure her family is too.
    I hope that Jaycee and her family can move forward and regain some kind of stability. I realize how difficult that will be, but at least she is home now. All my prayers and good wishes go out to her and the other missing children out there that haven't been found yet.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  45. Big D

    I know it's different ,but Elizabeth was abducted, I know.. only 9 mos, but she was found and it was a very big deal years ago and she was also the first person I thought of when this new abduction was made public. It is nice to see her adjusting so well. The point is that it is very important that Jaycee's family fully accept her and especialy her children, give her lots of love and support, and let her decide when she wants to talk about what happened. It is also very important that the media be careful and responsible for a change. I know it's big news, but there is the safety and well being of her and her children to think of, so interview her when she's ready. Good luck to you Jaycee and your children and remember, everyone is behind you.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  46. Gatorman9

    I can't listen to this story and help but think of the stories of girls like this who were abducted by Indians during the frontier period in America. The stories abound of how they had adapted to their new setting to the point that by the time they were "rescued" years later, they wholly identified with their captors and had not the slightest desire to be repatriated. The most famous, perhaps, was that of Cynthia Ann Parker, whose Indian son, generally identified as Quanah Parker, became a leading Comanche chief! This phenomenon has even been dramatized in some of the better western movies that were made in the 1950's and 60's. One has to wonder what the effect of twenty years has on someone who was forced into this situation at such an impressionable age. While the fact she is actually alive is a blessing, things from here on out are no doubt going to be difficult for everyone involved.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  47. Adrianne

    I think the point is being missed.... yes one has been gone for 18 years versus the other being gone for nine months.
    No one can understand anybody's individual situation. Yet we should admire Elizabeth Smart's for reaching out no matter the differences and saying she understands how hard it is to be taken away from those who love you. This young girl endured a hell of her own as well. It isn't about what happened to them while they were gone, or the length of time they were gone for. Nothing anyone says to this woman will take away what she has to live with for the rest of her life.
    The uniqueness of a child being found after 18 years is amazing. I think it is with that Elizabeth reaches out and tells her not to despair. Even in the most desolute of situations there can be hope and strength within an individual to push forward.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  48. Gail Berman

    The statement Mr. Smart made in regards to the publics responsibiltiy to be observant and to help find kidnapped children:
    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.
    is the message of this interview.

    August 28, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  49. Josie Miller

    There is no difference what so ever between these young woman other than the lenght of time and the children born to one.

    Both were removed from there familes, raped, held against there will, mentally tortured and most probably physically abused.

    While Elizabeth may sound cheery let's not forget this child lost her innocence and her childhood to some sick monster who also was help in his evil by his "wife".

    She knows what this girl went through and maybe her belief in her god and her family helped her stand strong again but we can't and shouldn't dismiss her horrific experience just because she was fortunate enough to only have to endure nine months of the worst hell a child should go through instead of 18 years or 24 years in the case of Elizabeth Fritzl.

    Shame on us for making her ordeal any less traumatic – this is exactly why people don't want to talk or don't want to make every effort to put these monsters behind bars forver – because of public opinion over what they should have done and what they should be feeling and how they should have acted.

    These monsters deserve death, when you kill a child's innocence and take away the joy of childhood, not to mention the fact that most end up murdered, there should be no jail, no trial, no endless appeals.

    There should be death and if that sounds barbaric then find me guilty because children don't often get a voice and sometimes its too late to hear them if they can find a way.

    Don't downplay this child's experience just because she's workng through her ordeal – none of us no what really haunts her dreams.

    August 28, 2009 at 7:08 am |
  50. Deborah Rahn

    Thank you, Anderson, for asking the question about the community's responsibility in being more observant. How many other children could have been saved or will be saved with just a little more vigilence and going with a gut feeling that something is not quite right? There are thousands of identified child molestors in our midst. They need to be monitored for the sake of all the innocent victims that become involved. Tragic and very frustrating that this threat of abduction and molestation continues to threaten our children and families every where.
    Let this be a lesson to all of us to keep the faith and hope as well as to pay attention and make the call when it is needed. We could save lives and end the misery by doing so.

    August 28, 2009 at 6:53 am |
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