"You may think you know my story, but you don't."
Those are the final words of the trailer for Lifetime's TV Movie "I Am Elizabeth Smart" which airs later this month.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2002, when she was just 14-years-old.
Her younger sister, nine-year-old Mary Katherine Smart pretended to sleep as she watched the intruder leave the room with a knife to her sister.
The onetime homeless preacher and self-avowed prophet, lead the young girl in her pajamas from her bed, deep into the woods and chained her to a makeshift mountain campsite a few miles from her home.
It was here, he kept her captive for the next nine months, with the help of his wife Wanda Eileen Barzee.
The man who took Elizabeth was someone who did odd jobs around the house for the Smart family. He had given them a fake name and story to conceal his identity. To the Smarts, he was Emmanuel, but to his family and his wife, he was Brian David Mitchell.
Over the months, Elizabeth faced repeated rapes and abuse. She was told that if she tried to escape, her family would be killed.
It was her young sister that gave authorities the help they needed to find the teenager. Several months into the search, Mary Katherine was able to recognize the voice of the kidnapper and identify it as 'Emmanuel'. The Smart family went to police with the new information, but they chose not to follow the lead.
The family did not give up though, they hired a private sketch artist and the photo of Mitchell was sent to America's Most Wanted.
That's when someone came forward with Mitchell's real name.
With the help of Mary Katherine's clue, a biker saw Mitchell with two people- one of which was Elizabeth, the other was Barzee.
In March 2003, police surrounded Mitchell and managed to guide Elizabeth away from her captors. At first, her fear prevented her from answering their questions. But they kept asking her the same thing: "What's your name?"
Once she was away from Mitchell, her fear dissipated, and she was able to find her voice again.
"I am Elizabeth," she said.
That's when she was able to start putting her life back together.
Celebrating her 29th birthday on Friday, Elizabeth has been able to finally put her horrifying past behind her.
“There was a point that I stopped crying,” she has said. “It’s not just because I didn’t feel pain anymore, not because I didn’t feel sorrow. It was just to keep going. I mean, it just was to survive, to live.”
Mitchell is now serving a life sentence on several charges related to Elizabeth's kidnapping, after being convicted in 2010. His wife Wanda Barzee, plead guilty to her involvement and testified against him.
Smart addressed Mitchell at his sentencing in 2011, saying “I know that you know what you did is wrong. You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned.”
“You will never affect me again,” she told Mitchell.
With the help of her family, her Mormon faith, and playing the harp, Elizabeth has been able to deal with the trauma that she has endured during those nine months of captivity.
“I feel so fortunate that I was able to come through this unscarred. I want to tell other people, ‘Don’t give up. Miracles do happen,’ ” Smart said. “I’m not sorry this happened to me anymore, because it made me grow up.”
Today, she is an outspoken child safety activist and contributor for ABC News. She is married to her husband Matthew Gilmour and is the mother for her daughter Chloe who was born in February 2015, and son James who was born in April 2017.
"These people are my whole world. Whenever I look at them I realize how fortunate I am. I hope I never forget what a blessing a safe, healthy, happy family is," she wrote on her Instagram post.
These people are my whole world. Whenever I look at them I realize how fortunate I am. I hope I never forget what a blessing a safe, healthy, happy family is. @sierracampbellphotography I'm so lucky to have such a great cousin to take such beautiful pictures. #grateful #newbornphotography #familyiseverything #blessed #lovemylife
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my mom,” she said. “My mom is a hero and has influenced my life more than any other person, and I’d like to have that same influence on my children.”
She has now produced the Lifetime film about her experiences and even visited the set of the TV movie, where she met actress Alana Boden, who portrays her.
“It was a real honor to play such a strong and inspirational woman,” Boden said. “What she went through was unimaginable. But I wanted people to know she’s bright, she didn’t lose hope, she’s a true survivor. It was so important that these points came across on camera.”
There have been many reports surrounding her Elizabeth's abduction, and rescue, but now she is ready to tell her story.
“I’m not apprehensive about what the audience might take away,” Smart told reporters of the film in July, according to Deadline.
See the full trailer here:
“It is the best worst movie I’ve ever seen,” she said. “It was so well done and accurate. I’m very proud of it.”
"I Am Elizabeth Smart" premieres on November 18 at 8 PM ET on Lifetime.
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