After several residents called 911 to report seeing the man wanted for questioning in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, officers Karen Jones and Troy Rasmussen of the Sandy (Utah) Police Department were dispatched.
Officer Jones got the call from the dispatcher first. "They just told us that there was a suspicious man walking north on State Street with two females,she said on The Early Show. "And the two complainants who called in within one minute of each other both recognized him to match the description of Emmanuel, who was wanted by Salt Lake City Police, just in questioning of Elizabeth Smart."
Mitchell was spotted in Sandy, a Salt Lake City suburb, Wednesday afternoon by Rudy and Nancy Montoya, who recognized him from television reports.
They called police just as Anita and Alvin Dickerson drove past the trio and had the same thought.
Officer Jones said she was just down the street from them, "So when I was pulling up behind them, I just saw three homeless-looking transient people from behind. They were carrying their duffel bags. They were in dirty clothes."
Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee were wearing windbreakers, T-shirts around their necks and sweatshirts. Elizabeth had sunglasses on, was wearing a grey wig and a T-shirt was over the wig like a veil.
Officer Jones did not recognize Elizabeth and said was not sure about Mitchell, but knew something was not right.
"I wasn't positive because I wasn't too familiar, unfortunately, with the picture," she said. "I had heard his name mentioned. But hadn't, unfortunately, memorized his face." Nevertheless, she called for backup. Officer Troy Rasmussen who had also gotten the call, got to the scene 30 seconds later. He recognized Mitchell immediately.
"I was kind of familiar with the picture,"he said. "Officer Jones was running their names. They gave some suspicious names. They really couldn't substantiate their date of births and so forth."
Officer Jones asked Mitchell for an ID, but he didn't have one. He said they were Peter and Juliet Marshall and Elizabeth was their daughter Augustine.
"At that point I looked over at the female who was obviously in a disguise and she resembled Elizabeth Smart. And I echoed that to officer Jones. She goes, 'Yeah, she does look like Elizabeth Smart,'" he said.
Then two other officers arrived. "And I asked them, 'You know, I think that's Elizabeth Smart, look at her.' And they, too, agreed," Rasmussen said.
"And at one point in that ordeal, I asked her. 'I said, you know, I think you're Elizabeth Smart.' And her head just kind of hung. She didn't deny or say she was or wasn't," Rasmussen recalled.
Officer Rasmussen eventually pulled her aside and said Elizabeth looked uncomfortable and visibly upset. Her heart was pounding so hard you could see her shirt moving in rhythm with her heart, he said. She never took off her sunglasses or wig while on State Street. However, her glasses fell to the bridge of her nose and the officers said they could see the tears well up in her eyes.
"I said, 'I think you're Elizabeth. And, Elizabeth, a lot of people are worried about you. Your parents, and you need to come home. If you're in danger, we're here to help you.' And at that time she put her head down and I could see over the top of her glasses ,her eyes were welling up and she started to cry," he said.
Mitchell and Barzee did not resist arrest and were quiet. The Sandy police placed Elizabeth in handcuffs and took her to the Sandy Police Station. During the ride back to the station she cried. At the station, she took off the wig and glasses.
This case has been turned over to the Salt Lake City police for the investigation.