10 August 2012

Elizabeth Smart Incident

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts

On Thanksgiving Day 2000, Mitchell announced to Barzee, his wife, an upstanding Saint who for a period had played organ at the Mormon Tabernacle, and anyone else who would listen that he had received a revelation in which the Lord commanded him to take seven additional wives. Subsequent divine commandments revealed that Mitchell’s name was actually Immanuel David Isaiah, and that he had been placed on earth to serve as a mouthpiece for the Lord during the Last Days. Mitchell stopped shaving and cutting his hair, dressed in billowing robes fashioned after the garb of Old Testament prophets, and gained a reputation throughout Salt Lake Valley as an eccentric but harmless street preacher.

Around two in the morning on June 5, 2002, Mitchell placed a chair beneath a small window that had been left ajar on the first floor, sliced through a flimsy screen, and squeezed through the opening into the Smarts’ kitchen. Making his way through the vast, 6,000-square-foot house, he located the upstairs bedroom Elizabeth shared with her nine-year-old sister, Mary Katherine, and woke Elizabeth. Mitchell hustled her past the bedroom where the Smart parents were sleeping soundly, and exited the house.

Mitchell marched Elizabeth at knifepoint four miles into the foothills west of her home. Upon reaching a secluded campsite in Dry Creek Canyon, he and Wanda Barzee conducted a weird, self-styled wedding ritual to “seal” the girl to Mitchell in “the new and everlasting covenant” – a Mormon euphemism for polygamous marriage. Barzee then demanded that Elizabeth remove her red pajamas. When the girl balked, Barzee explained that if she refused to cooperate, Mitchell would forcibly disrobe her. Faced with this prospect, Elizabeth complied, where upon Mitchell consummated the marriage by raping his fourteen-year-old bride.

Using his gift for fundamentalist rhetoric and adroitly manipulating the religious indoctrination Elizabeth had received since she was old enough to talk, Mitchell cowed the girl into becoming an utterly submissive polygamous concubine – buttressing his powers of theological persuasion with threats to kill her and her family.

Elizabeth Smart kidnapping: Mitchell gets life in jail
25 May 2011
A homeless street preacher who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl in the US state of Utah in 2002 has been ordered to spend life in prison. Elizabeth Smart, who was held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell, looked on as he was sentenced in a federal court in Salt Lake City. "I know that you know what you did is wrong," Ms. Smart told Mitchell. Prosecutors said in December that Mitchell forced Ms. Smart into a self-styled polygamous marriage and raped her almost daily, gave her alcohol and drugs to lower her resistance and threatened to kill her, her family and anyone who tried to rescue her.

Kidnapped US teenager found
13 Mar 2003
A teenager who was kidnapped at gunpoint from her bedroom last June has been found alive and well in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth Smart was discovered not far from her home, reportedly wearing long robes and a veil, when police stopped a car following a tip-off. A homeless man who had done work on the family home, Brian Mitchell, and a woman have been arrested.

Elizabeth kidnap baffles Utah
07 Jun 2002
Police in Utah say they are no closer to success in their search for a man who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint from her bedroom in an affluent suburb of Salt Lake City. The local community has been in shock since an intruder slipped through the window of Elizabeth Smart's room in the middle of the night and took her away. The suspect is described as a white male of medium height. According to Elizabeth's little sister, he was soft-spoken, wearing a tan coat and a baseball hat and carrying a small black gun. He came in through the bedroom window at 0230 on Wednesday and let Elizabeth put on a pair of shoes before leaving with her. So scared was the younger girl, that she waited two hours before raising the alert.

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