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Elizabeth Smart found alive
March 12, 2003 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Elizabeth Smart has been found - alive - in a restaraunt in Sandy, Utah, MSNBC reports.
posted by Psionic_Tim (61 comments total)

 
According to the bulletin, her condition is unknown. She was found in the custody of the homeless handyman that police have been searching for.
posted by Psionic_Tim at 2:29 PM on March 12, 2003


[more direct link.]
posted by grabbingsand at 2:36 PM on March 12, 2003


Sharks! Where are the sharks?!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:38 PM on March 12, 2003


Very weird... wonder what drama will now unfold.
posted by xmutex at 2:39 PM on March 12, 2003


The news article is a bit scant of detail, so I will ask you, PT, who the hell is Elizabeth Smart?
posted by mischief at 2:41 PM on March 12, 2003


Who...bla bla... need a tv to...blah? But, I'm glad the little girl is ok, whoever she is...
posted by ubi at 2:41 PM on March 12, 2003


Elizabeth Smart was one of the girls in ABBA.
posted by xmutex at 2:45 PM on March 12, 2003


smartfilter.
posted by soyjoy at 2:46 PM on March 12, 2003


What does this have to do with the impending war? I mean if we're going to post news, let's at least post "the news that matters". Sheesh.
posted by Witty at 2:48 PM on March 12, 2003


This is lame on my part, I guess, but for a second, when I saw the headline, I thought it was the pregnant woman who had been killed and hidden by her adulterous husband. So many victimized/disappeared women in the media, so hard to keep track of.
posted by jonson at 2:57 PM on March 12, 2003


elizabethsmart.com
posted by t r a c y at 2:59 PM on March 12, 2003


"the news that matters"

Dammit, Witty, I want "the news I can use"!
posted by mr_roboto at 3:07 PM on March 12, 2003


She's been missing for six months.

You could see her parents visibly aging on TV.

I'm from the area, and was pulled over a few days ago under some lame pretext. Turns out I sorta look like the guy they caught. Some homeless "street prophet" named Emmanuel.
posted by mecran01 at 3:08 PM on March 12, 2003


Any relation to Maxwell Smart?
posted by eyeballkid at 3:09 PM on March 12, 2003


Ooo Ooo Ooo! I'll ask the $50,000 question:

Kidnapped and held in a state of absolute fear for the last 8 months...

or

Didn't want to be found?

MeFi Mojo Go!
posted by Stan Chin at 3:12 PM on March 12, 2003


It's interesting to note that the Salt Lake Tribune published a story yesterday in which the Salt Lake police are quoted as saying: "...an FBI agent in Miami is following a credible sighting of Mitchell".

Yesterday.

In Miami.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:14 PM on March 12, 2003


It's wonderful that Elizabeth Smart has been found alive.

But this isn't a MetaFilter post. It's just good news - there's nothing to discuss.
posted by orange swan at 3:15 PM on March 12, 2003


You forgot these:

Britain, U.S. offer U.N. amendments

U.S. plans increased war security

U.S. warplanes en route to S. Korea

Report of bin Laden capture denied

Congress wrestles with 2004 budget

Mortgage refinancing hits record

War talk boosts arctic oil supporters

Dow rises 28 points; Nasdaq up 8

C'mon people! We're letting some news slip by unposted!
posted by signal at 3:17 PM on March 12, 2003


All I can say is thank the lucky stars. I was so worried about how the Elizabeth's baby sister was going to be able to live with the knowledge of seeing her sister kidnapped.

The reason I am saying this is because I have a friend whose teenage sister disappeared when she was just a little girl (her car was found but never a body and in that case the sister didn't witness the crime). This now woman, still speaks often of her missing sister. The disappearance still looms heavily in her life even after all these years. I thought of my friend when I heard about the Elizabeth Smart case. I felt so sad for the baby sister....knowing how deeply this incident was going to play out in her life. Now that this miraculous (I can not think of any better way to describe it) will prevent that poor girl from agonizing over it like my friend does...
posted by SweetIceT at 3:27 PM on March 12, 2003


Why did the handyman steal the baby? Was it going to be a ransom thing before all the media attention a few months ago? What were they doing with her? He was a transient drifter, so an extra mouth to feed must have put a burden on him.

Maybe he kidnapped her as a pre-emptive protest against the war. I'm sure Saddam and Osama must have funded the transient's drifting.
posted by jdaura at 3:35 PM on March 12, 2003


mefi-worthy or not, i'm amazed and relieved. i've never heard of a missing children's case (ignoring kidnapping by relatives) where the child was found alive almost a year later. if we can quote memorable movie lines, mourn over lost celebrities then surely we can display some kind of sappy notion of happiness in a story like this.
posted by poopy at 3:38 PM on March 12, 2003


Welcome to Metafilter where it's all war, all the time.

God knows this country doesn't need any good news.
posted by whatever at 3:57 PM on March 12, 2003


Indeed, most child abductions by someone other than a parent end in death. I'm relieved this ended differently.

And jdaura, the girl was 14 when she was kidnapped.
posted by Tacodog at 3:58 PM on March 12, 2003


...Elizabeth had said she and Emanuel had hidden in the hills near the family home for several days after the reported kidnapping and spent months driving around the country with the other woman, traveling to San Diego and Florida...

from
upi.
I think she ran away.
posted by amberglow at 4:11 PM on March 12, 2003


I was just kidding about the pre-emptive war protest. Thought I'd bring MeFi full circle on this one.

I knew she wasn't a "baby", but seriously, what was the point of kidnapping while drifting? It must have been a ransom scheme gone wrong.
posted by jdaura at 4:12 PM on March 12, 2003


As more details come out, I'm about 70% sure she ran away right now.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:14 PM on March 12, 2003


so an extra mouth to feed must have put a burden on him.

well, unfortunately one can not avoid to fear that maybe the drifter guy had other reasons to keep her with him even if she cost him money for food and clothing.
posted by matteo at 4:16 PM on March 12, 2003


SpeculationFilter
posted by signal at 4:22 PM on March 12, 2003


SpeculationFilter

of course it is, they've found her 5 minutes ago, what could we do? clearly this thread should be deleted, but I guess none of us have nothing better to do at the moment, so we can only speculate.

i.e., she either ran away or she was on drugs the whole time (9 months), or maybe he kidnapped her, raped her, brainwashed her and she kind of fell in love with the scumbag, Patty Hearst-like
I'm glad she's not dead, but I don't want to think about what that child had to endure these last nine months
posted by matteo at 4:29 PM on March 12, 2003


what could we do?

Not speculate?
posted by signal at 4:37 PM on March 12, 2003


O.K., let me explain it again:

we have almost no data
we can only speculate
we'll do it until Matt delets the thread (or the again maybe he won't)

if you don't like SpeculationFilter, leave the thread
or go to MetaTalk
posted by matteo at 4:41 PM on March 12, 2003


TouchyFilter
posted by signal at 4:44 PM on March 12, 2003


There's no harm in intelligent people's speculation regarding a bizarre scenario. We can probably come up with a better reason to kidnap the girl than the drifter did.

TouchyFilter

MeFi has seemed a little touchy as a whole lately. F%^cking pre-war tension, IMHO.
posted by jdaura at 4:50 PM on March 12, 2003


I thought the dingo stole the baby?
posted by dhacker at 4:52 PM on March 12, 2003


Washington state study on child abduction.
posted by poopy at 5:07 PM on March 12, 2003


TouchyFilter

Too funny.
posted by Witty at 5:50 PM on March 12, 2003


Exactly. I wonder if that much will be reported. Now the nation can take a 15 second reprieve from The Pending Possible War.
posted by adampsyche at 5:52 PM on March 12, 2003


Elizabeth who?

I'm sorry, but thousands of children go missing each year. Why was this one so special that she so captivated the hearts and minds of lame Fox News viewers?

Oh, that's right, because she didn't look like this.
posted by dogmatic at 6:46 PM on March 12, 2003


Hmmmmmm............ via fark

I'm back to a speculating that she was scared out of her mind/brainwashed.
posted by Stan Chin at 6:54 PM on March 12, 2003


She is so hot. Discuss.
posted by nicwolff at 8:07 PM on March 12, 2003


Err, that might be a somewhat valid point, dogmatic, but there's a fair bit of difference between an "endangered runaway" and the rather sensational story of Elizabeth Smart being kidnapped out of her home at gunpoint in front of her 9 year old sister. "Unhappy teenager runs away from home" is not headline material. "Teen Kidnapped at Gunpoint from her Bedroom" is.

I'm sure a case can be made that people "care" more about little white girls than they do about little black girls, but unless you can cite a similarly bizarre kidnapping of a black child that didn't get a lot of press, I wouldn't tot this one up in the "everyone's a racist" column.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:13 PM on March 12, 2003


Well, there's always the case of Erica Pratt, who interestingly enough didn't get any press until after she escaped her captor. It seems the news media isn't too interested in a poor black kid whose entire family has drug records, and who lived in a neighborhood where harassment, kidnapping, and beating of a child was common and almost expected.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not this fanatical -- but the point is that Smart, Runnion, and Van Dam wouldn't have made the news had they not been cute little white kids born of upper middle-class parents. You know, that live in neighborhoods where this kind of thing doesn't normally happen.

I guess my point of contention is that even if there were a similar case of a minority child kidnapped at gunpoint, you probably wouldn't hear about it because this kind of thing happening in that kind of neighborhood isn't news -- it's a fact of life.
posted by dogmatic at 9:18 PM on March 12, 2003


It seems the news media isn't too interested in a poor black kid whose entire family has drug records

Well, maybe the media were holding back because they felt that the drug records were relevant, but that reporting on them would leave them open to accusations of racism ("oh, you're saying that all those people do drugs, so they must have had this sort of thing coming.")

I can tell you that Rilya Wilson got quite a bit of national coverage.
posted by transona5 at 9:26 PM on March 12, 2003


It seems the news media isn't too interested in a poor black kid whose entire family has drug records, and who lived in a neighborhood where harassment, kidnapping, and beating of a child was common and almost expected.

"Dog bites man: no news. Man bites dog: News!"

I'm pretty sure this, or something close, is a Pogo quote, but I can't find it on the net.

That having been said: I don't think stranger kidnapping is that common in high-crime neighborhoods. It's pointless to accuse the media in any one particular case, but you can't get away from the fact that most of the kidnappings and disappearances that attract a huge amount of media attention involve young cute white females.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:14 PM on March 12, 2003


I've mixed feelings about stories like these... On the one hand, the media attention makes it more likely that the case will be solved at some point. On the other hand, the media coverage is intended to play on people's fears. Insofar as I know, child abductions are a fairly rare occurance, and the huge amount of media attention given to them create an irrational level of fear. This fear tends to drive people apart, destroying community.

"Then they all retreated to the suburbs, where it was all white, and safe, and clean. And they went out and bought a quarter of a billion guns, and put locks on the doors, alarms on the houses, and gates around the neighborhoods. And finally they were all safe and secure and snug as a bug. And everyone lived happily ever after."
-A Brief History of the United States
(by matt stone and trey parker)
posted by kaibutsu at 11:53 PM on March 12, 2003


You know, that live in neighborhoods where this kind of thing doesn't normally happen.

Ahhh, so therefore they are racially privileged to more media coverage and law enforcement.

I will agree that given the number of children that go missing every year, it is a bit odd that so much attention can be put into searching for particular ones.

To try and make it an issue of race, "America doesn't care about non white children" is really over simplifying things.
posted by a3matrix at 5:29 AM on March 13, 2003


I think it all depends on how far a parent wants to take it...

My sister got into some deep trouble once... My parents took it alot farther then I would suppose an "average" set of parents would take it. She went missing and didn't call for about a day, they went nuts... called the police... everything was fine, of coarse... but the point is, some parents really don't give a shit, some do.

The Smart family obviously pulled as many strings as they possible could... other families may have not.

It's not a race thing... it's how far you are willing to go to get your kid back. There are always strings to pull to get your missing child in the media. Some parents, I am sorry to say, just don't give a fucking shit what happens to thair kids.
posted by LoopSouth at 5:56 AM on March 13, 2003


It's not a race thing... it's how far you are willing to go to get your kid back. There are always strings to pull to get your missing child in the media. Some parents, I am sorry to say, just don't give a fucking shit what happens to thair kids.

you can't possibly believe everyone has equal access to those strings.

Anyone else see that story on -Dateline, I think- about the serial killer in vancouver that kept going for years and years (I think he killed like 30 people) because it was just prostitutes he was killing? And relatives were trying to get the police on it, but the police just figured prostitutes disappear sometimes...
posted by mdn at 6:23 AM on March 13, 2003


how can you compare that story this...

This was a unique event. Your point is not even relevant, because in this case they were trying to find this supposidly kidnapped girl... and in your case they were trying to find a killer.

Sure, it pisses me off that it is usually only the white blah blah blah middle blah blah class that gets the attention... sure... we can all see this trend... but seriously, has anyone considered that the majority of kidnapped kids go unnoticed because the parents just eventually "let it go". Yeah that IS a cold hard fact to take in... but come on... Some parents would rather move on and try and live the rest of their lives instead of dragging it out as far as they can. There are alot of bad parents out there just not watching over their kids and genrerally not giving a shit. One less mouth to feed...

it's a fucked up world.

This case, the parents were lucky. They knew how to get on TV with sappy stories, pictures, and videos... and this time, the "kidnapper" didn't kill the kid.

again... remember we were all looking for a little girl... not a killer... there is a difference.
posted by LoopSouth at 6:38 AM on March 13, 2003


Wow.

A missing child is found, and what do we get here on mefi? Dumb jokes. Snarkiness. Armchair psychology and detective work. People trotting out inflammatory racial arguments.

This is good news I thought. I swear sometimes you people could fuck up ice cream on a sunny day at the seashore.
posted by jonmc at 6:55 AM on March 13, 2003


Fucking ice cream dripping down my arm...global warming, I tells ya!
posted by ColdChef at 7:13 AM on March 13, 2003


There are roughly 300 successful stranger abductions of minor children every year in the United States. Of that number, roughly 6 of those children will be recovered alive. Sounds like something fairly worthy of notice from where I sit.

Meanwhile, as to speculation that Elizabeth was somehow complicit in what has happened to her over the last nine months, I have a really hard time believing that a 14 year old plotted with a wierd homeless guy she may have met once to come in to her house and take her out at gunpoint, terrorizing her little sister in the process. Maybe I'm just naive.
posted by Dreama at 7:28 AM on March 13, 2003


A missing child is found, and what do we get here on mefi? Dumb jokes. Snarkiness. Armchair psychology and detective work. People trotting out inflammatory racial arguments.

This is good news I thought. I swear sometimes you people could fuck up ice cream on a sunny day at the seashore.


How true, how true.
posted by Plunge at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2003


Re: Man Bites Dog

That was a 19th century New York Sun editor John B. Bogart, who said, "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news."


Why some cases get attention isn't race as much as class, mixed with intangibles. Smart was gorgeous and had that harp video, yes. But also, it's really amazingly rare to have a kid of any race or class kidnapped from her bedroom by a stranger in front of a witness.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:46 AM on March 13, 2003


LoupSouth -

"majority of kidnapped kids go unnoticed because the parents just eventually 'let it go'... There are alot of bad parents out there just not watching over their kids and genrerally not giving a shit. One less mouth to feed... "

What exactly are you trying to say? Unless you can quote some sources for your "majority" of parents, it sounds to me like you are talking right out of your ass, based on your own issues with people who have kids. While it is true that some parents don't give a shit, most parents aren't as well-educated, well-off and well-connected as the Smart family.

Dreama -

Can you cite a source? I did some reseach in this area last year, and the Justice Dept. numbers I dug up (3200+ successful attempts, approx 100 will be murdered, 75% of those are dead in the first 3 hours) don't match your figures.

Also, weirder things have happend than 14 year old girls being complicit in running away. I'm not saying that's what happened, but it seems to me there are some questions about this whole thing that need to be answered.
posted by Irontom at 10:22 AM on March 13, 2003


mdn: I didn't see the story your talking about on Dateline, but who you're describing sounds like Art Shawcross. He was based in Watertown, NY, though. But his first child victim, Jack Blake, was the son of one of the small town's more notorious couples who were known for being poor, drunk, and often on the wrong side of the law. He was eventually arrested for killing Karen Ann Hill, who came from a wealthier and more well respected family and while Shawcross has confessed that he killed Jack Blake, and showed police where he dumped the body, he was never charged with that crime, which still technically remains unsolved.

He was released from prison after... 13 years maybe? and relocated to Binghampton, NY where he spent 3 or 4 years killing prostitutes before they caught him again.

A little OT, but it's a good example of how connections and money (as opposed to just race-- Hill and Blake were both white) can make a difference when it comes to a missing/murdered child. Also a good argument for listening to prison psychologists, none of whom believed Shawcross was safe to release from jail.
posted by jennyb at 10:26 AM on March 13, 2003


again... remember we were all looking for a little girl... not a killer... there is a difference.

you're finding the wrong analogue - I'm comparing the kidnapper to the murderer, or the pretty white suburban girl to the poor prostitutes - I was just supporting dogmatic's point that the characteristics of the victim make a big difference in the intensity of media coverage and even police investigation. Young attractive upper class people are going to get a lot more attention, and the criminals who kidnap or murder them will be hunted more aggressively.

Here's a piece on the vancouver killings - they eventually recovered 15 bodies on the property of a local pig farmer... I think the number of missing women / suspected victims was higher, though.
posted by mdn at 7:08 PM on March 13, 2003


I hope the girl is doing okay.
posted by kv at 7:31 PM on March 13, 2003


Am I the only person here who saw them? Late last summer/early fall, on Interstate 5 about 125 miles north of the California State line.
posted by Mack Twain at 7:52 PM on March 13, 2003


Fanny Alger was only 14.
posted by aaronshaf at 9:37 AM on March 14, 2003


a few weird detailsin this story (nyt) about her kidnapping. Seems she must have been a pretty impressionable kid - she was in the same town for most of her disappearance, and took to wearing a veil and calling herself by another name, etc. Not saying she had no reason to be afraid, but there must have been moments when she could've taken off...

as for the ruining ice cream etc, what's the point of a story about how nice ice cream is? This case has some interesting elements - of course it's great a kidnapped girl got home, but I didn't know her so I'm looking at the bigger picture, how this fits into a larger context. Other kidnapped kids don't get home. Other kidnapped kids don't get much media attention - etc. Take the "I'm happy for the family" to be implied & not worth discussion.
posted by mdn at 7:38 AM on March 16, 2003


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