SALT LAKE CITY — One of the most highly publicized missing person cases in the last 10 years was the story of Utahn Elizabeth Smart, and now her father is offering his unique perspective on the three missing women found in Ohio Monday.
Ed Smart is familiar with what the families in Ohio are probably going through, and he said the important thing for these girls right now is to get used to their new normal.
He said he knows how wonderful it can be to have a missing loved one returned to you.
“It’s great news, it’s really great news,” he said. “But having that re-unification with your family and extended family is going to be huge!”
Ed Smart and his family beat the long odds when Elizabeth was found 9 months after she was kidnapped. Ed Smart said people need to know that the unthinkable can happen.
“You never know when something is going to happen,” he said. “These girls, whether it’s walking to school or whatever…I mean in Elizabeth’s case she was in her own bed at night.”
Paul Murphy, Utah Attorney General’s Office, said Utah has a Child Abduction Response Team, which springs into action whenever there is a report of a possible missing child.
“It’s like a SWAT team with a bunch of experts who can some in immediately and do all the finite things that need to be done to help bring that person home safe,” he said.
Ed Smart said whether it takes 10 hours or 10 years, these women will need an adjustment period now that they’re free.
“And all these women, for them it will be a new life, a new normal,” he said. “But the importance of having support and being considerate of them and giving them space to move forward is really important.”
Smart said that as these women adjust there will inevitably be questions and second-guessing about why the women didn’t get away sooner or run, but he said that isn’t constructive at all.