It was one of the most publicized kidnappings in history and every parent's worst nightmare. Five years ago, Elizabeth Smart, then 14, vanished from her Utah bedroom. Nine months later, the nation breathed a sigh of relief after Elizabeth was found alive just miles from her home. "When Elizabeth came home, it was just such a miracle," says her father, Ed Smart.
Ed says that when Elizabeth came home, the family wanted her to know one very important thing: "This was not her fault and that nobody had the right to do this. It wasn't her choice," he says. "I can't overemphasize the importance of these children being able to realize that it is not their fault."
In order to help Elizabeth reclaim her life, Ed says the family never asked her about what happened in those nine months. "Elizabeth went through a lot telling her story to forensic psychologists, and that was enough," Ed says.
Because Elizabeth gave psychologists permission to share her statements with her parents, Ed says his family didn't need to hear it from her. "I wanted her to know that she was home, that she was safe, and that she did not have to bother with this the rest of her life," he says. "That it was time for her to move on."