Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Stacey Butler reportingSome have questioned why Elizabeth Smart didn't try to escape from her captor, Brian Mitchell. Now, two women who were kidnapped sixteen years ago say they know why that question isn't fair.
Monica Berge/Kidnap Survivor “I FEEL LIKE I WENT FROM TWELVE TO TWENTY FOUR OVERNIGHT."
May 1987. It was a story that captured the headlines. Two girls and their chaperones were lured into a trailer park. Herbert Coddington strangled the chaperones.
Monica Berge/Kidnap Survivor “IT WAS AFTER HE HAD ALREADY MURDERED THEM AND HE HAD LEFT THE ROOM, IT WAS JUST US FOUR IN THE ROOM AND I WAS LAYING THERE CALLING HER NAME, CALLING HER NAME."
Alecia Holliday/Kidnap Survivor “AND I SAID MONICA-SHE'S DEAD, AND THEN SHE BURST INTO TEARS."
Coddington kept and molested 12-year-old Monica and 14 year old Alecia inside a small room he soundproofed with carpet.
He let them out of the room to watch TV, but they were too terrified to think of an escape.
Alecia Berge/Kidnap Survivor “WHEN YOU'RE IN THAT EXTREME TRAUMA AND YOUR LIFE IS BEING THREATENED, YOU REALLY DO A MAJOR MENTAL SHIFT."
After three days police rescued the girls. But for years to come, they were taunted by personal questions from classmates and accusations that they should have tried getting away.
Dr. Joanne Lippert/Clincal Psychologist “WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT PEOPLE SAY WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THIS? WHY DIDN'T YOU TRY TO GET AWAY? YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY AT THIS MOMENT OR AT THAT MOMENT. BUT THAT'S NOT THE REALITY OF WHAT IT'S LIKE IN A KIDNAP SITUATION."
The rescue of Elizabeth Smart has brought back a flood of feelings.
Monica Berge/Kidnap Survivor “TO SAY THAT SHE COULD HAVE CALLED HOME,SHE COULD HAVE RAN,IT'S JUST BULL."
And now sixteen years after their own ordeal, they have some advice for Elizabeth.
Alecia Holliday/Kidnap Survivor “IT'S NOT A MOVING ON AND GETTING OVER. IT'S AN INTEGRATING AND ADJUSTING INTO YOUR LIFE."
It’s a process of forgiveness and courage that some say takes a lifetime.
The girls’ captor, Herbert Coddington, is working his way through the appeals process on his death sentence.