Elizabeth Smart is rising above her tragedy and helping others move forward.
Gina DeJesus — who at 14 was kidnapped by Ariel Castro and held captive in his Cleveland, Ohio home for nine years — is also on the panel, as are Katie Beers, Alicia Kozakiewicz, Sarah Maynard, Kara Robinson, and Denise Huskins.
As Radar readers know, Closs, 13, was kidnapped on October 2018, by Jake Patterson, the same man who brutally murdered her parents inside their family home. Miraculously, she was able to flee from his home three months later.
“I remember hearing the news and thinking: She did it! Another one of us got away,” says Smart in the trailer of her new Lifetime show, Smart Justice: The Jayme Closs Case. “When I came home my parents were waiting for me, but that didn’t happen to Jayme.”
By sharing their stories of abuse, suffering, and, ultimately, survival, the women hope they can help Closs recover and move on with her life.
“Nothing prepares you for being kidnapped, and nothing prepares you for life after. Only a few of us know what it’s like and we have to stick together and help Jayme,” Smart says. “My mission is simple, to help Jayme move forward and heal.”
Smart was abducted at knife point from her bedroom in her family's house in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 5, 2002, when she was just 14. She was raped daily, tied up, and tortured by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. They threatened her with death if she attempted to escape. Nine months later, two witnesses recognized Smart’s abductors when they were walking on a street in Sandy, Utah. Police arrested them and rescued Smart, returning her home to her family.
“When I came home after being held captive for nine months my community played a huge part in my recovery, their support meant so much to me. I wanted to know more about where Jayme came from, the people who will be standing behind her as she moves forward in life,” says Smart in the clip.