Elizabeth Smart recently expressed her heartbreak over Gabby Petito‘s death. Smart spoke with Jada Pinkett Smith on her Red Table Talk show about her experience as a kidnapping victim and her sadness that Petito’s story did not end with her coming home.
“In Gabby’s case in particular, I mean, I was alive, and I came home, and hers tragically has not ended that way,” said Smart on the show, according to the Daily Mail. “But knowing what it’s like being on the other side and potentially what may have happened and what may have led up to her final moments, and understanding probably a lot of what she was feeling, it’s heartbreaking.”
Elizabeth Smart was abducted when she was 14-years-old and was held captive for nine months. She is now an activist advocating for missing persons and child safety in America.
“When I think of Gabby Petito, when I think of all of these other victims, I feel like they still deserve every much to be found so that their stories have an ending as well,” Smart said.
Gabby Petito’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 19. The Wyoming coroner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation. Her former fiancé Brian Laundrie is still missing.
Elizabeth Smart’s Story
In August 2002, Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee abducted 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Like Gabby Petito, her case gained national attention as authorities and officials tried to find her for nine months. She was eventually spotted on a street in Sandy, Utah, where she was rescued just 18 miles from her house.
On Red Table Talk, Smart shared details of her experience and the horrors that she endured as a kidnapping victim. “I always wanted to be rescued. I don’t know that I always had hope. There were some pretty dark times for sure,” she said.
Mitchell kept Smart tied up and repeatedly sexually abused her, threatening her with death if she tried to escape. “I asked him if he was going to rape and kill me if he could do it close to my house because it was important to me that my parents find my body and know that I hadn’t run away,” Smart said.
Smart also discussed the missing persons who don’t get the kind of media coverage that she and Gabby Petito received. “I live in this field every day, and all the time I hear stories I have never heard,” Smart said, “And they’re not just brand new stories of ten minutes ago. They’re stories of five, ten, 20 years ago. And I’ve never heard of them.”
Elizabeth Smart advocates for self-worth when speaking about victimhood and sexual assault. She believes in dispelling myths around loss of personal value and autonomy after abuse. She expressed her thoughts on missing persons cases succinctly and eloquently, saying, “Someone is missing. Are they any less worthy? Has any less of a hole been left because they’re gone?”