Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart speaks out on Gabby Petito case: ‘It’s heartbreaking’

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Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has spoken out about the murder of Gabby Petito, describing the case as “heartbreaking”.

Speaking in an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith on Red Table Talk, Ms Smart discussed her experience of being abducted aged 14 by street preacher Brian David Mitchell, and the recent case of Ms Petito.

“In Gabby's case in particular, I mean, I was alive, and I came home, and hers tragically has not ended that way,” Ms Smart said.

“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.”

Ms Smart was held by her captor Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee for nine moths after being kidnapped at knifepoint from her home in Salt Lake City. She was eventually rescued by police on a street in Utah, and the case has been widely reported as well as becoming the subject of numerous films and books.

Since being rescued, she has become an adviocate for kidnapping survivors and has spoken openly about her ordeal.

Among her fears during her kidnapping was the thought that her parents might think she had run away from home.

“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,” she told Ms Pinkett Smith during their interview.

“So 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.”

Ms Petito’s body was found on 19 September near the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. She was reported missing by her family several weeks earlier after her fiance brian Laundrie returned from the couple’s cross-country road trip alone.

Mr Laundrie has since disappeared and has been named by police as a person of interest in the case. Ms Petito’s family have called for all missin person’s investigations to be treated with the attention that Ms Petito’s recieved.

 (Gabby Petito/Facebook)
(Gabby Petito/Facebook)

Ms Petito’s father, Joe Petito, said at a press conference: “I don’t want to dismiss the ridiculously hard work that the FBI and law enforcement all around did, but social media has been amazing and very influential.

“And to be honest, it should continue for other people, too. This same type of heightened awareness should be continued for everyone, everyone.”

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