Elizabeth Smart Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of Elizabeth Smart, children’s advocate and kidnapping survivor.


Birth date: November 3, 1987

Birth name: Elizabeth Ann Smart

Father: Ed Smart, real-estate and mortgage broker

Mother: Lois Smart

Marriage: Matthew Gilmour (February 18, 2012-present)

Children: Olivia, November 2018; James, April 2017; Chloe, February 2015

Education: Attended Brigham Young University.

Other Facts

According to books and news stories, immediately after her abduction, Smart was kept at a campsite a few miles from her home. She was sometimes tethered to a tree or hidden in a hole. She once heard her uncle calling for her, but was unable to answer.

She met her husband when they were on missionary assignments in Paris.


June 5, 2002 - Fourteen-year-old Smart is abducted from the bedroom of her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Eileen Barzee. Her younger sister, Mary Katherine Smart, is the only witness.

July 24, 2002 - Mitchell allegedly attempts to kidnap Smart’s cousin, Jessica Wright, but is unsuccessful.

October 2002 - Mary Katherine Smart tells her parents that she believes the kidnapper might have been a man named “Immanuel” who worked at their home for one day in November of 2001.

October 2002-March 2003 - Mitchell and Barzee take Smart to San Diego where they camp out and panhandle.

February 3, 2003 - Police release a sketch of the drifter, “Immanuel.”

February 2003 - The sketch and information is profiled on the TV program “America’s Most Wanted.”

March 12, 2003 - Smart is found alive, walking down a street with Mitchell and Barzee in Sandy, Utah, five miles from her home.

March 18, 2003 - Both Mitchell and Barzee are charged with six felony counts, including aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and two charges for allegedly trying to break into the home of Smart’s cousin.

April 30, 2003 - Smart and her family meet with President George W. Bush at the White House. Bush signs a child protection bill encouraging states to establish Amber Alert systems to quickly post information about child abductions.

October 24, 2003 - Smart appears in her first televised interview. Katie Couric, of NBC, speaks with her in an hour-long, primetime program.

October 28, 2003 - The book, “Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope,” a collaboration between Smart, her father and author Laura Morton, is published.

November 9, 2003 - CBS airs “The Elizabeth Smart Story,” a TV movie about Smart’s ordeal from the point-of-view of her parents.

January 9, 2004 - Barzee is found incompetent to stand trial and is sent to Utah State Hospital for further review.

September 2, 2004 - Mitchell pleads not guilty to kidnapping and five other charges.

February 16, 2005 - Mitchell is removed from the courtroom for singing during a competency hearing.

July 26, 2005 - A judge rules that Mitchell is mentally incompetent to stand trial. He is sent to Utah State Hospital.

December 18, 2006 - Mitchell is again found mentally unfit to stand trial after screaming outbursts in the courtroom.

March 7, 2008 - A federal grand jury indicts Mitchell and Barzee with one count of unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines and one count of interstate kidnapping.

May 21, 2008 - Smart and four other kidnapping survivors publish a Department of Justice pamphlet, “You’re Not Alone: The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment.”

October 24, 2008 - US Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba enters a not guilty plea on behalf of Mitchell. Mitchell is removed from the courtroom after he begins singing hymns.

September 28, 2009 - A US District Court judge rules that Smart can testify about her kidnapping and ordeal with Mitchell.

October 1, 2009 - Smart testifies against Mitchell in a hearing to determine his competency.

November 17, 2009 - Barzee pleads guilty to kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor and agrees to cooperate in state and federal cases against Mitchell.

May 21, 2010 - Barzee is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

November 1, 2010 - Mitchell’s trial on kidnapping charges begins.

November 8-10, 2010 - Smart testifies against Mitchell, describing her nine months of captivity.

December 10, 2010 - Jurors find Mitchell guilty of kidnapping and the unlawful transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity.

May 25, 2011 - US District Judge Kimball sentences Mitchell to life in prison.

2011 - Smart establishes the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to help promote the “Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force” organized for law enforcement agencies.

July 7, 2011 - ABC News announces that it has hired Smart as a contributor to comment on missing persons cases.

February 18, 2012 - Smart marries Matthew Gilmour at a Mormon temple on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

October 7, 2013 - Smart’s memoir, “My Story,” is published.

March 27, 2018 - Smart’s book, “Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up,” is published.

September 11, 2018 - The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announces that Barzee will be released on September 19, 2018, because her time in federal custody must be counted toward her state sentence. Barzee wasn’t expected to be released for another five years.

September 19, 2018 - Barzee is released from prison. Under the conditions of her release, she must register as a sex offender and participate in a mental health treatment program.

February 6, 2020 - Smart tells Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” that she is launching a self-defense initiative called Smart Defense after she says she was assaulted on a flight to Utah last summer. The program, designed by mixed martial arts and law enforcement experts, “empowers women and girls with confidence and self-defense skills to prevent, ward off, and fight back against sexual assault in a safe, controlled environment,” according to the Elizabeth Smart Foundation website.

January 13, 2021 - Smart is revealed as a contestant on the reality competition series, “The Masked Dancer.”

August 12, 2023 - “Beyond the Headlines: The Elizabeth Thomas Story With Elizabeth Smart″ premieres on Lifetime.