After three days of news conferences and public celebrations, Elizabeth Smart and her family simply spent time with each other Saturday. They avoided the public eye and the persistent stream of questions and wonderings stemming from the 15-year-old's nine-month kidnapping odyssey.
Elizabeth's best friend returned from a trip to California on Friday night and saw Elizabeth for the first time, Smart family spokesman Chris Thomas said. The two had a "great time" just doing what normal teenage girls do, he said.
Overall, Thomas said, Elizabeth is doing "remarkably well" considering what she's been through. He admitted, however, that "things aren't perfect." When asked to elaborate, Thomas said there are times Elizabeth seems a little distracted. But if you had no idea who Elizabeth was or that she had been a captive for three-quarters of a year, you wouldn't have a clue anything was wrong, he said.At week's end, Thomas and others near the case and experts observing it tried to clear up some of the rumors and questions that have been circulating since Elizabeth was found Wednesday afternoon:
Question Was Elizabeth "married" to Brian David Mitchell, her alleged kidnapper?
Answer Asked if some sort of ceremony was performed in the foothills above her Federal Heights home on the night Mitchell is alleged to have abducted her, Thomas said, "Elizabeth did what she needed to do to survive. Had she been resistant, this case may not have had a positive out come."
Question Could she be pregnant?
Answer "She is unequivocally not pregnant and never has been," Thomas emphasized, quashing a specific rumor.
Question Has Elizabeth changed?
Answer Family members report that she is healthy, happy and glad to be home enjoying the little things she missed, such as movies, bubble baths and time with family and friends. The Smart family's LDS bishop, Dave Hamblin, told Newsweek's Elise Christenson that she has changed; she is a little more somber and she has matured a lot. (Newsweek's Web exclusive can be found at www.msnbc.com.)
Question Why didn't she run away from her captors?
Answer No one knows for sure. A combination of factors is most likely, behavior experts say. The child's fear, shyness, naivety and a passive nature mixed with constant efforts by the adult couple to brainwash her and give her a new identity could have blocked out thoughts of escape. An expert on cult behavior told the Deseret News this week that something much deeper was at work than the so-called Stockholm syndrome in which captives exhibit a bond and sympathy for their captors. Elizabeth was absorbing a new personality, he said, which might explain why she initially gave police a false name and claimed not to be the girl they were looking for. The expert said she will clearly have to be deprogrammed. Mitchell's family members also accused him of being a borderline pedophile. Such people, psychiatrists said, become experts in targeting victims and can be very skilled at ingratiating themselves to children and their parents.
Question When will her life be back to normal?
- Community comes together to surprise...
- Man killed in avalanche had a passion for...
- 'We're not going to stop'
- Photos: Olympian Noelle Pikus-Pace speaks to...
- About Utah: Company helps show 'you don't win...
- No money for House Speaker Becky Lockhart's...
- Behind the masks: Why some Utahns choose...
- Family of BYU student hit by car say they are...
- Utah Democrats offer full Medicaid... 34
- Gov. Herbert threatens veto of House... 31
- Judge: Biological father will share... 28
- The story of a fish, a river and what's... 24
- Local religious leaders urge support... 24
- Cities, state battle panhandling... 22
- Utah unemployment rate hits five-year low 18
- Dog lovers walk to support anti-bias... 12