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Elizabeth Smart Interviewed for Television Special

Elizabeth Smart Interviewed for Television Special

Posted - Oct. 17, 2003 at 4:08 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Elizabeth Smart, the teen whose kidnapping and recovery nine months later was global news, has given her first television interview.

The one-hour program, called "Katie Couric Special: Bringing Elizabeth Home," is scheduled to air Oct. 24 on NBC.

Couric interviewed the 15-year-old high school freshman Tuesday at her family's ranch near Salt Lake City. The network did not pay for the interview, said NBC spokeswoman Caryn Mautner.

Elizabeth told Couric that she's "still pretty much the same person," and that her ordeal has made her "more compassionate for the homeless," according to the network.

Ed and Lois Smart talked about the police investigation and how their faith helped them during the nine months Elizabeth was gone.

"It was a miracle that we could function as a family together because these ... types of things can wreck marriages and pull families apart, and I think we've become stronger and closer as a family," Ed Smart told Couric.

Elizabeth has three brothers and a sister, ranging in age from 4 to 16. Her sister Mary Katherine, now 10, the sole witness to the kidnapping, told her parents last October that she thought Elizabeth's abductor was a homeless man they knew as Immanuel, but whose real name is Brian David Mitchell.

Mitchell, 50, and his wife Wanda Barzee, 57, are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary in Elizabeth's June 5, 2002, abduction.

The homeless couple, who say they had revelations from God, also have been charged with aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping in a second attempted abduction -- that of Smart's 18-year-old cousin, Jessica Wright -- seven weeks after Elizabeth, then 14, was taken.

They allegedly kept Elizabeth as Mitchell's second wife for nine months in Utah and California. They were found March 12 in Sandy, a suburb about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City, nine months after Elizabeth disappeared.

In May, Elizabeth made her first public appearance during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden for the new nationwide Amber Alert legislation President Bush had signed.

The next day, she appeared with her parents on the syndicated television program "The John Walsh Show." She played her harp but didn't speak.

Her parents have repeatedly denied requests from Salt Lake City media for interviews. A phone message left by The Associated Press at the Smart home on Friday requesting an interview was not immediately returned.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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