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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2003

Teen did what was ‘necessary’ to live

Family won’t say if Smart became second wife of kidnapping suspect

March 16, 2003

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— Elizabeth Smart "did what she had to do" to survive her kidnapping ordeal, according to a family spokesman Saturday, who stopped short of confirming reports that a suspect in her kidnapping took her as his second wife.

"As far as the polygamist allegations and this wedding are concerned, Elizabeth did what she had to do in this situation, and had she not done that, the outcome would be completely different," spokesman Chris Thomas said. "We can't second-guess her actions."

Meanwhile, investigators in Salt Lake City were seeking clues but remained mum, and Elizabeth's parents stayed out of public sight Saturday. Thomas said they needed a break from the media glare.

But new pieces emerged about the path Smart and suspects in her kidnapping -- Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee -- might have taken in the days before they were found Wednesday near Salt Lake City.

Police said they likely encountered the trio Tuesday when they questioned three "transient" people outside a Burger King in North Las Vegas, Nev. The restaurant is near Interstate 15, the most direct route between San Diego and Salt Lake City, 400 miles away.

According to police, the three didn't provide identification but gave their names as Peter Marshal, Julitte Marshal and Augustine Marshal -- similar to aliases Mitchell, Barzee and Elizabeth gave when they were picked up the following day in Sandy, Utah. Officers there recognized the girl, despite her claims that she was the couple's daughter.

Mitchell was arrested twice during the time Elizabeth was missing -- once in Salt Lake City on suspicion of shoplifting Sept. 27 and again for trying to break into a San Diego County church. Mitchell pleaded innocent to the shoplifting charges Friday.

Mitchell and Barzee, a homeless couple who say they had revelations from God, also are suspected in a second attempted abduction -- that of Smart's 18-year-old cousin, Jessica Wright -- seven weeks after Elizabeth was taken in June.

"We're not making any statements until the police tell us it's all right to talk, but maybe later," said Stephen Wright, Jessica Wright's father.

Mitchell's affinity for polygamy has become a focus. In a 27-page manifesto written last year, Mitchell offers a rambling justification for the practice and suggests he and Barzee were on a mission to find at least seven more wives.

It remained unclear whether either was cooperating with investigators. Thomas said Elizabeth spoke with detectives Friday and would be interviewed again. Elizabeth's parents are avoiding asking her about the ordeal, Thomas said.

"They are trying to let Elizabeth move at her own pace. If she wants to talk about something, they'll talk about it," he said.

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