Their cases made national news. Undergoing horrible ordeals as children, from kidnapping to abuse, they all managed to survive and tell their stories. From Elizabeth Smart to Jaycee Dugard, these kids from famous crime cases are both horrifying and inspiring.
For Smart, she was able to turn her traumatic experience with being kidnapped at 14 into an advocacy career. She’s now a spokesperson for the anti-pornography group, Fight the New Drug.
“He would just sit and look at it and stare at it, and he would just talk about these women, and then when he was done, he would turn and look at me, and he would be like, ‘Now we’re going to do this,'” she said in a video about her convicted abductor, Brian David Mitchell.
Most recently, Smart spoke out after Gabby Petito’s missing person case took the nation by storm. Upon learning the 22-year-old blogger died by strangulation “three to four weeks” before her body was found in Grand Teton National Park, Smart shared her thoughts on Red Table Talk.
“In Gabby’s case in particular, I mean, I was alive, and I came home, and hers tragically has not ended that way,” Smart said during a sit-down interview with Jada Pinkett Smith and Jada’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, which aired in October 2021. “Knowing what it’s like being on the other side and potentially what may have happened and what may have led up to her final moments and understanding probably a lot of what she was feeling, it’s heartbreaking.”
Since her 2003 rescue, Smart credits her Mormon faith and her supportive, loving family as helping her deal with the aftermath of trauma. But like most kidnapped kids who are later found, she still struggles with the aftermath.
Scroll through the gallery below to see before-and-after photos of famous kids from criminal cases.
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