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Suspect's Life Shows Pattern of Isolation, Alienation

Suspect's Life Shows Pattern of Isolation, Alienation

Posted - Mar. 19, 2003 at 5:18 p.m.



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Jill Atwood reportingDay by day we learn more about Brian David Mitchell-- who he was before he became Emanuel, his religious beliefs, and his family life.

Mitchell's father, Shirl Mitchell, recalls a very intelligent boy and young man, but admits he went off the deep end as far as religion goes.

Pictures of a clean shaven Brian Mitchell years ago surrounded by family. He appears happy and healthy, certainly night and day from the monster police now portray him as.

But even growing up, Shirl Mitchell says his son had problems. "He likes to retreat from society and isolate himself. That's been his pattern all his life, a pattern of isolation and alienation."

Mitchell remembers having religious conversations with his son a couple of years ago. He says back then, they were rational, intelligent conversations. He says before his son was ex-communicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was second counselor to the bishop in a Salt Lake City ward.

Mr. Mitchell says things turned really bad for Brian when his mom kicked him out of the house for good. He apparantly had become violent, and his religious rantings became incoherent.

"He had that refuge, had that cushion until then, because when things got bad, he'd go and live with her. But when she thrust him out with a restraining order that he couldn't come back, that just slammed the door on him," Mr. Mitchell says.

About a month later Elizabeth would disappear. Shirl Mitchell agrees what his son did was wrong, but he feels the Smarts have blown things out of proportion.

"That girl came back unscathed, as anybody can see. Of course they prognosticate mental damage, psychic damage." "I didn't see any untoward or traumatic results of her experience. As soon as she started to identify with her family, she was right back," he says.

Mr. Mitchell plans to stand by his son as much as possible, which includes trying to help pay for his defense. He would like to see Brian have a good attorney rather than represent himself. Mr. Mitchell has not spoken with his son as of yet.

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