Elizabeth Smart Memoir Will Chronicle Kidnapping, Later Advocacy Work

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Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart has announced that she is writing a memoir that will chronicle her time in captivity at the hands of a drifter couple. The book will also describe the course her life took when she was freed after nine months with her captors. Smart, now a 25-year-old senior at Brigham Young University, was just 14 when she was abducted from her Utah home by Brian David Mitchell.

The Associated Press reported that Smart will co-write the book with religious author Chris Stewart and will focus on her work as an advocate for children and victims that she conducted in the wake of her time in the nation's headlines. Stewart is also a congressman-elect from Utah.

“She has taken a professional outlook on this and is able to talk in an impressive way about these things frankly,” Stewart told the AP. He added that the book would give “appropriate” attention to the brutality that Smart saw from Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, but would veer away from being “salacious.”

Smart reportedly was waiting for Mitchell to be sentenced before completing the book. In March 2011, Mitchell was convicted, and he was sentenced to life in prison two months later. Barzee will be behind bars for 15 years for her participation in the crimes.

The memoir will be published by St. Martin’s Press and is tentatively slated for a Sept. 13, 2013, release date, according to the New York Times. Stewart has previously written books with religious and patriotic themes, perhaps most notably “The Great and the Terrible” series. This will be the fourth book about the Smart case, the most popular of which was “Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope,” from 2003.

The Smart case caused a media firestorm when the 14-year-old was reported missing after being kidnapped at knifepoint on June 5, 2002. Elizabeth’s sister, Mary Katherine, pretended to be asleep in the bedroom the two girls shared while witnessing the abduction. The case was solved after Mary Katherine’s story was corroborated with those of other witnesses who saw Mitchell traveling with two companions. The case was solved after witnesses reported seeing Mitchell and the two women to police after the case was depicted on an episode of “America’s Most Wanted.”

Elizabeth is now married to Mormon missionary Matthew Gilmour and has been praised for her advocacy work on behalf of missing children. The Elizabeth Smart Foundation supports law enforcement and raises awareness about predatory crimes.

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