Elizabeth Smart "overjoyed" about rescue of Cleveland women

Elizabeth Smart, America's most famous kidnapping victim, talKs to CBS News anchor Scott Pelley from Utah.
Former kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart in a 2013 interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelley.
CBS News

(CBS News) If there is anyone who can understand what Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight went through, it's Elizabeth Smart.

Eleven years ago, when she was 14, she was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City by a man who had done odd jobs for the family.

She was held and sexually-assaulted for nine months until someone spotted her in public and tipped off police. Her abductor, Brian Mitchell, is serving life in prison. His wife, Wanda Barzee, is serving 15 years.

Elizabeth Smart joined CBS News from Park City, Utah, for an interview about the three Cleveland women who were discovered alive after about a decade in captivity.

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Scott Pelley: When you heard the news of these women being freed today, what did you think?

Elizabeth Smart, America's most famous kidnapping victim, talks to CBS News anchor Scott Pelley from Utah.
Elizabeth Smart, America's most famous kidnapping victim, tals to CBS News anchor Scott Pelley from Utah. CBS News

Elizabeth Smart: I am just so happy. I am overjoyed. And I think that just goes to show that everyday people, the general public are the people who are going to make the biggest difference. It was because of the bravery and the heroism of that one man that ended up saving those three girls, because he was willing to listen, he was willing to act, he was willing to help. So I think it's just wonderful.

Pelley: Why were you not able to escape of those nine months [you were held captive]? What was the thought process like for a young woman like yourself?

Smart: Well, it's difficult to explain because once again I could explain to you every single detail of what happened, but for me I was constantly threatened. For these women, I can't even begin to speculate what they were going through, what threats were made to them, what was happening. That's a very difficult question to answer.

Pelley: What threats were you living under at that time?

Smart: Threats on my family. Threats on my life. I mean, those are the two biggest threats I lived under, yes.

Pelley: Of course those had a tremendous hold on you at the age of 14. You didn't feel like you had options.

Smart: Of course. Of course, my family was everything to me, and the still are everything to me.