|Mitchell, Barzee and Elizabeth in Lakeside. Photo take by Mindy Witthoft and shown on 10 news|
It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. I was living in Santee, the town over from Lakeside, where Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee lived for awhile with Elizabeth. Lakeside, is a small unincorporated city in San Diego County of 54,000 people and they certainly stood out, and it is no wonder the citizen’s notified the police several times about them.
What many may not realize is that this Lakeside is the same Lakeside that Hannah Anderson lives. Anderson was kidnapped by a family friend, James DiMaggio, who allegedly murdered Hannah’s mother and brother before he abducted Hannah a few months ago. Hannah was found a week later in the Idaho wilderness.
Curiously Hannah’s high school is right next to Vine Street, a well known homeless area where Mitchell and Barzee forced Elizabeth to set up camp and live for awhile. It is right across the street from El Capitan High School. Behind that is Catcus Park. They were there from October to March. I wasn’t familiar with the area when I was in Santee, but when I moved to Lakeside, I became very familiar with that area, as my son went their often to do airsoft.
In 2009, Elizabeth sent advice to Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped as a child and endured 18 years of captivity, after she was found, and to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight who were held captive for nine months, when they were found, but I am not aware of her doing the same for Hannah.
NBC will be airing a Meredith Vieira special about Elizabeth’s ordeal on Friday. They call the interview candid and revealing, and that Elizabeth will talk about her newly released book, “My Story” and details of her life during the 9 months she was forced by Mitchell and Barzee to live with them as they lived in the streets.
It has been brought up by social media that Elizabeth should be left alone by the media, but they are not realizing that she is the one that agreed to do the interview, and probably for the sake of marketing her new book that will be released next week.
I think the most prophetic thing that Elizabeth has said was on May 1, 2013 at John Hopkins University where she was attending a human trafficking conference. She was reflecting on how abstinence-based sex education affected her while she was in captivity.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”
Elizabeth was working for ABC as a missing person commentator, and continues to work on the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, Matthew Gilmour.