- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) With questions mounting about Elizabeth Smart's nine-month ordeal with a reputed religious fanatic and his wife, investigators may have to grill the teen about details of her captivity, including any accusations of sexual abuse or assault.
Brian David Mitchell, the self-styled prophet accused of snatching the teen from her home at knifepoint, wrote in a 27-page manifesto last year about taking multiple wives. Authorities say he may have taken Elizabeth for that reason and then tried to kidnap her 18-year-old cousin as well.
A mental health worker who spoke to Mr. Mitchell's wife, Wanda Barzee, in jail said yesterday that Mrs. Barzee told her Mr. Mitchell had a revelation instructing him to take seven more wives.
Asked about that possibility yesterday, Smart family spokesman Chris Thomas said, "Elizabeth did what she had to do in this situation, and had she not done that, the outcome would be completely different."
"Elizabeth is a victim," Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard said. "How did she become that? Who's the next victim? There are going to be other Brian Mitchells out there."
To properly investigate, "we have to ask [Elizabeth] the same questions we put to women.
"Hard-nosed questions need to be asked. Put her through it, and then get on with life," he said.
Late Friday, several thousand people gathered at a midtown park to celebrate Elizabeth's return. The 15-year-old did not attend but sent an autographed poster thanking the public for support.
"I'm the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you for your love and prayers. It's a wish come true. I'm home. I love you all," Elizabeth wrote in her first public comments since returning to her family.
On Wednesday, police found Elizabeth walking in a Salt Lake City suburb with Mrs. Barzee and Mr. Mitchell, a shaggy-haired vagabond once hired to help fix the roof on the Smart home. Authorities said the three had been living under bridges and in tents in Utah and California, apparently panhandling to eat.
Prosecutors said aggravated kidnapping and other charges from the Smart case would probably be filed against Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Barzee tomorrow.
Officials said Mr. Mitchell may also have tried to abduct Elizabeth's cousin seven weeks after Elizabeth's disappearance and that he could face charges in that case as well.

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