Elizabeth Smart has spoken out regarding the discovery of a kidnapped California woman who disappeared 10 years ago, saying “I’m praying for her. I’m hoping the very best for her and just very, very happy to hear some good news.”
The kidnapping victim, currently unidentified, recently contacted police when she discovered her sister on Facebook. In addition to the psychological abuse meant to terrify the victim into remaining silent about her circumstances, her captor frequently changed location to avoid discovery.
“We don’t know what these evil people are holding over them — whether it’s their families’ lives, their lives, whatever it is. We just don’t know,” said Smart regarding the frequent questions she fields about why kidnapping victims don’t try to escape. “There can be stronger bonds and chains than physical bonds and chains.”
— Hamilton Spectator (@TheSpec) May 22, 2014
According to the Santa Ana Police Department, Isidro Garcia, 41, was arrested on Tuesday in connection to the case on suspicion of kidnapping for rape, lewd acts with a minor and false imprisonment. Garcia, who was living with the victim’s mother at the time of the kidnapping, drugged the 15-year-old victim then created false identification for the teen and subsequently forced her into marriage.
The California kidnapping case is similar to Smart’s ordeal; She was kidnapped in 2002 at age 14 and held captive for nine months, moved around Utah and California by her captors who threatened to kill her family if she attempted escape. Smart also endured physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
Today, Smart advocates for children who have been victims of predatory crimes. She advised that those rescued “…need to have time with their family. They need to have time re-calibrating back into life. It’s a massive change.”
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