Elizabeth Smart Works To Help Abduction Victims

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Cleveland kidnapping victims Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus told the harrowing story of abduction and imprisonment by Ariel Castro Tuesday night on ABC’s “20/20”. Elizabeth Smart personally  knows about the types of horrors they experienced.

Smart was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Brian David Mitchell for nine months from June 2002 to March 2003.

DeJesus and Smart were both just 14 when they were abducted. Smart knows all too well what she was experiencing as Castro’s prisoner.

“It’s terrifying and you’re left wondering and confused,” Smart said. “How did this happen to me and what’s going to happen next? Will I ever make it home again? Will I ever see my family again? I mean, it’s the worst thing in the world you could experience.”

That trauma motivated Smart to become an victims’ advocate, write a book and start her own foundation to stop child victimization.

“I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy,” Smart recently told ABC4’s Ali Monsen. “So I feel like I have a platform and I can speak out about these things because I do know what it’s like and I have been there.”

Smart and her father Ed have recently joined the effort to find missing 26 year old Provo woman Elizabeth “Elena” Salgado who disappeared on April 16th.

“I do believe she’s alive and I do believe we can find her and bring her home,” Smart said at a news conference April 25th at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

Smart thinks that Salgado may be held against her will right now and may even see this on television.

“Hang in there,” Smart said. “Keep fighting, keep surviving. Do what you feel like you have to do to survive because we’re looking for you and we will find you.”

The Provo Police Department continues to search for Salgado.

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