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Elizabeth Smart: Kidnap Victim Speaks Out
Elizabeth Smart - who was kidnapped and then raped for nine months in a case that drew national attention - has spoken of her ordeal ahead of the publication of her memoir.
Ms Smart was 14 when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2002 by local beggar and religious fanatic Brian Mitchell.
She was then forced to a makeshift camp up the mountainside near her home where she was abused, plied with drugs and alcohol, and chained to a tree for the coming months.
In an interview with NBC News, she describes how she was met by a woman, Mitchell's wife Wanda Barzee, in long linen robes and told to undress.
Mitchell then began performing some kind of marriage ceremony.
Ms Smart said: "I was begging and crying and just so scared. I remember thinking I know what comes after the wedding. And that cannot happen to me. That cannot happen.
"I remember him forcing me onto the ground, (and) fighting the whole way. And then when he was finished, he stood up, and I was left alone, feeling absolutely broken, absolutely shattered. I was broken beyond repair. I was going to be thrown away."
In her book, My Story, due to be released next week, she said: "Over the next nine months, Brian David Mitchell would rape me every day, sometimes multiple times a day, he would torture and brutalise me in ways that are impossible to imagine, starve and manipulate me, like I was an animal."
She described her days in three words, "boredom, hunger and rape".
She said: "To her, (Barzee) I was a slave, and to him, (Mitchell) I was an object. I didn't feel human. I don't think there is anything worse you can do to a child."
Ms Smart went into survival mode, following her captors' demands, and as a result was allowed to travel with them to Salt Lake City in search of food and alcohol.
Meanwhile, Ms Smart's younger sister Mary Katherine, who was also in the bedroom the night she was kidnapped, recalled hearing the kidnapper's voice before as that of a man who had been employed by the family to carry out odd jobs around their home.
Soon after a sketch of Mitchell was shown on prime-time television, he was spotted along with Ms Smart and Barzee by a motorcyclist, who alerted the police.
Ms Smart writes in her memoir: "'What is your name?' one of the officers asked. I felt almost dizzy. I was sick with uncertainty and fear."
She recalled being scared to answer: "Don't give Mitchell a reason, or he'll hurt you! Don't give him a reason to hurt your family!"
However, the officer persisted, asking: "Are you Elizabeth Smart? Because if you are, your family has missed you so much since you were gone. They want you back. They love you. They want you to come home."
After initially being deemed unfit to stand trial, Mitchell was sentenced in May 2011 to life in prison for rape, kidnap and burglary.
Barzee is serving a 15-year sentence for her part in the crime.
Ms Smart, who is now 25, graduated from a Utah university and last year married Matthew Gilmour, a fellow Mormon.
Earlier this year, she offered advice to the three women who escaped from a house in Cleveland Ohio, after being held captive by Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver.
She said: "This man has taken so much of your life. There aren't words to describe how wicked he is. But the best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy.
"Because by dwelling on the past, and holding on to pain and the hurt you've had to go through, that's only allowing him to steal more of your life away from you, and he doesn't deserve to do that."