Kim Johnson ReportingTwo years after her recovery, another book on the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping ordeal. "In Plain Sight" hit bookshelves today. The book chronicles events that happened out of the public view.
We spoke to authors, Tom Smart and Lee Benson today, who joined us from NBC studios in New York City. They say this is the story of the good and the bad in a heroic effort to bring Elizabeth Smart home.
As Elizabeth's uncle, Tom Smart suffered with his family through the kidnapping ordeal itself and the ensuing investigations, interrogations, and media accusations. As a journalist he was documenting a compelling story to tell the world.
Tom Smart, Author: In Plain Sight: “I thought very clearly we should document what happened here so that some day people could see them, because frankly, there were some really horrible things that happened. When you're talking to talk shows and talk media, people go off at the mouth and say all kinds of things that can turn on the family and turn into a horrible situation, which it did in this kidnapping, it did in many others.”
Co-author says he and Smart interviewed hundreds of people in their attempt to put all that happened behind the scenes into context.
Lee Benson: “We wanted to do this book to talk about the good things that happened, and then maybe as a learning process for media, law enforcement, that didn’t go as right as it might have to help someone else down the road.”
Benson says the heroic efforts of Elizabeth's extended family were critical to her recovery.
Lee Benson: "The timing of how she was found was directly associated with the family stepping forward, with all of the family stepping forward, making sure that all of the clues were investigated that started with Mary Katharine, Elizabeth's little sister."
The book pays tribute to heroes -- Mary Katharine, who remembered the day worker who called himself Emmanuel; Elizabeth herself, for doing what she had to do to survive her ordeal; and others.
Smart says the book is both laudatory and critical of law enforcement.
Tom Smart: “They lie to you. They take advantage of your sleep deprivation. But you know that that’s really them doing their job. Now there were places where they went beyond that, and that’s outlined in the book.”
Salt Lake police chief Rick Dinse says he doesn't intend to read the book.
Lee Benson: "I don't know why the police chief wouldn't want to read this book. If there's something in here that's legitimate and credible that he could look at and help improve his department, that would be great, and if there isn't, he would be able to know that."
Smart says the majority of proceeds from the book will go to the center for missing and exploited children and the rape recovery center here in Salt Lake.