Crime History: Elizabeth Smart found after 9-month search

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Crime History

On this day, March 12, in 2003, police found missing Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart nine months after she was abducted from her bed at knifepoint by a street preacher.

Elizabeth, then 14, was taken from her Salt Lake City bedroom by Brian David Mitchell, a homeless man who once worked for Elizabeth's parents and who claimed to be a Mormon prophet named Emmanuel.

Elizabeth's sister saw the captor but did not alert her family for two hours because she was too scared to move.

After an intensive manhunt, police received a tip and finally found Elizabeth 15 miles from her home after someone recognized her picture.

At first, the girl denied that she was Elizabeth Smart and said her name was Augustine. It is believed Elizabeth may have suffered from Stockholm syndrome, in which victims develop empathy toward and bond with their captors.

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.

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