After a summer of terrible kidnapping stories, one finally has a happier resolution: Elizabeth Smart was found 9 months after being kidnapped. The now 15 year old Salt Lake City girl was found just 13 miles outside of Salt Lake City in Sandy, Utah. Abducted from her bedroom in the middle of the night last July by a homeless man, Brian Mitchell aka "Emmanuel," who had done handy work around her house, Elizabeth was found wearing a wig and possibly a veil. She had been traveling around with Mitchell and a woman who has been described as his wife. Mitchell had been known in downtown Salt Lake and is described as being a preacher/religious fanatic.
The Smart family maintained had released new information about "Emmanuel" in February, after revisiting what Elizabeth's 9 year-old sister, Mary Katharine, who was in the room when Elizabeth was kidnapped, had seen. The photographs of "Emmanuel"-Brian Mitchell show him in a variety of forms, sketch, bearded, beardless. According to an AP story, Mitchell was "frequently seen wearing white pants, a robe-like tunic and a brimless white hat that resembles a puffy turban or baker's toque," and the photograph below makes him looks strangely John Walker Lindh like.
I'm riveted and thrilled, mainly because it's so shocking that one of these stories is revolved with someone alive. The Smart family has been using the word "miracle" a lot - "Do miracles still exist? The answer is yes. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the prayers around the world. We have Elizabeth back," said her uncle, Dave Smart. I agree it is a miracle, but I'm interested to see how faith and religion will play into her recovery, as Salt Lake City is a religious city and the Smarts are a prominent Mormon family. Not that it shouldn't, but especially since we're all so cynical these days, concerned with other things, something like this can really turn around people's ideas about faith.
Coverage from The Salt Lake Tribrune
The Salt Lake Tribune also has great photos of the Smart family and Salt Lake City residents.
Lou Dobbs interviews a CNN correspodent about Elizabeth Smart's appearance.