In a lengthy Instagram post on Monday, August 26 – less than two weeks after her father Ed Smart came out as gay – the kidnapping survivor admitted that being tortured and abused for nine months at the hands of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee in 2002 is now an experience she is thankful for.
“I never thought I would say that I’m grateful for what happened to me as a 14 year old girl (sic) but I can honestly say that I’m not sorry it happened to me because of what it has allowed me to do, the people I’ve been able to meet, and the cause that has become and driven such a large part of my life,” Elizabeth, 31, wrote on the photo sharing app.
She added: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and interact with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association on the Sex Offender Registry, and the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officer Association. I know there is no perfect piece of legislation or protocol that makes surviving rape and sexual violence easy on any level but I must say I am so grateful for people who keep coming back everyday doing their best to help protect and prevent future crimes from happening.”
As RadarOnline.com readers know, it’s been nearly one year since Elizabeth’s nightmare of her female captor Barzee being released from prison came true. The 73-year-old is currently living in a halfway house in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In an exclusive interview with Ed on August 16, Elizabeth’s father confirmed she has finally found freedom despite Barzee walking free in her hometown state.
“The feds have been very respective of Elizabeth,” Ed told RadarOnline.com. “We know that Wanda is on an ankle bracelet so she’s not going to be able to cause trouble or problems.”
Elizabeth shared a similar sentiment in her Instagram reveal on August 26.
“Coming up on a year ago Wanda Barzee was released from prison much to my disappointment however I so appreciate the time the federal probation officers took to speak with me and address my safety concerns,” Elizabeth added. “As an advocate for victims I know first hand that it doesn’t always feel like justice is served however it makes such a difference to be considered in the process even if that process includes perpetrators being released from prison.”
In a touching letter to her father, Elizabeth wrote, “Dad, I didn’t come home to lose you, and I want you in my life,” Ed revealed to RadarOnline.com.
Elizabeth was abducted from the Smart family home in Salt Lake City in 2002 at knifepoint. Mitchell and Barzee tortured her for nine months in the wilderness before she was rescued by police at a local grocery store nine months later.
The survivor welcomed her third child with her husband, Matt, last year.
Meanwhile, she continues to be a voice for kidnapping victims. Earlier this year, Elizabeth spoke out in support of survivor Jayme Closs, 13, who was abducted from her Barron, Wisconsin home after her kidnapper Jake Patterson murdered her parents. He has since been sentenced to life in prison without parole.