Elizabeth Smart reflects on Gabby Petito case: Knowing what she went through is ‘heartbreaking’

Elizabeth Sensible, who was kidnapped for 9 months when she was 14-years-old by a avenue preacher and his spouse, stated Wednesday that it’s “heartbreaking” realizing what Gabby Petito seemingly went by means of within the days and weeks main as much as her dying. 

“In Gabby’s case particularly, I imply, I used to be alive and I got here residence, and hers tragically has not ended that means,” Sensible, who’s now a victims’ rights activist, stated Wednesday on the present Pink Desk Speak. “However realizing what it is like being on the opposite aspect and probably what could have occurred and what could have led as much as her ultimate moments, and understanding in all probability a variety of what she was feeling, it is heartbreaking.”

Sensible was kidnapped from her Salt Lake Metropolis residence by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee in 2002. She was held in captivity and raped by Mitchell for 9 months, earlier than being rescued by cops on a avenue in Sandy, Utah, about 20 miles from her residence. 

Elizabeth Smart said she has slowly started to open up to her oldest child about her ordeal. (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Elizabeth Sensible stated she has slowly began to speak in confidence to her oldest youngster about her ordeal. (Photograph by: Zach Pagano/NBCU Photograph Financial institution/NBCUniversal through Getty Photographs through Getty Photographs)

One in every of her kidnappers, Barzee, was launched from jail on parole in 2018 after serving 15 years in jail. Sensible stated Wednesday that she was dissatisfied in Barzee’s launch however grateful that she received some measure of justice. 

“I used to be dissatisfied, but it surely additionally helped me have a larger appreciation for what number of victims by no means also have a smidgen of justice. Their perpetrators stroll day by day free,” Sensible stated on Pink Desk Speak. “Like, no less than I received one thing. What number of extra haven’t?”


Individuals worldwide have been captivated by the Gabby Petito case and her household has thanked everybody for bringing consciousness to the 22-year-old’s disappearance, however they’re additionally asking folks to direct their consideration to the hundreds of different lacking particular person instances which can be at present energetic. 

“It ought to proceed for different folks, too. This identical sort of heightened consciousness needs to be continued for everybody ― everybody,” Joseph Petito, Gabby’s father, stated at a press convention on Sept. 22. 

“It’s on all of you, everybody that’s on this room, to do this. Should you don’t try this for different folks which can be lacking, that’s a disgrace, as a result of it’s not simply Gabby that deserves that.”

On the finish of final yr, the FBI’s Nationwide Crime Data Middle counted almost 90,000 energetic lacking individuals instances. 

“It’s a large downside. Each 90 seconds, an individual goes lacking,” Sensible stated Wednesday. “Simply within the time that we’ve been sitting right here chatting, there are individuals who have already gone lacking.”


Whereas Barzee was launched from jail three years in the past, Sensible was assured that Brian Mitchell won’t ever escape his life sentence.

“He won’t ever get out. He is in federal jail. There is no likelihood of parole,” Sensible stated Wednesday.