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  • Saturday, 24 February 2024
Elizabeth Smart's family spokesperson says Utah cops undermined efforts to ID kidnapper

Elizabeth Smart's family spokesperson says Utah cops undermined efforts to ID kidnapper

A spokesperson for the family of Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at the age of 14 and held captive for nine months in 2002, has accused Utah police of undermining efforts to identify her kidnapper. The spokesperson, Chris Thomas, claims that police disregarded a composite sketch of the kidnapper made by Smart shortly after her abduction, and instead pursued a false lead that resulted in the wrongful arrest of an innocent man.

Thomas made the claims during a press conference on March 9th, which marked the 19th anniversary of Smart's abduction. He said that the police's mishandling of the investigation caused unnecessary delays in identifying Smart's kidnapper, who was ultimately revealed to be Brian David Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet who had done odd jobs for the Smart family prior to the abduction.

Thomas alleges that police dismissed Smart's composite sketch of the kidnapper, which was based on her memory of the man who had taken her from her bedroom at knifepoint, because they believed it did not match the profile of their primary suspect at the time, Richard Ricci. Ricci, who had a criminal record and had worked as a handyman for the Smart family, was arrested in August 2002 and died in prison four months later.

According to Thomas, police spent valuable time and resources pursuing the theory that Ricci was the kidnapper, even though he did not fit Smart's description of the abductor. This led to the false arrest of another man, Bret Michael Edmunds, who was accused of being an accomplice to Ricci. Edmunds spent 13 months in prison before being cleared of all charges.

Thomas also claims that police failed to follow up on other leads that could have led to the identification of Mitchell, such as a tip from a woman who recognized

 
 

A spokesperson for the family of Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at the age of 14 and held captive for nine months in 2002, has accused Utah police of undermining efforts to identify her kidnapper. The spokesperson, Chris Thomas, claims that police disregarded a composite sketch of the kidnapper made by Smart shortly after her abduction, and instead pursued a false lead that resulted in the wrongful arrest of an innocent man.

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