Elizabeth Smart visits Kansas City with message

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Elizabeth Smart visited Kansas City on Saturday to use the power of her story that once captured the nation.

The childhood abduction survivor spends her time empowering children who have been in her same situation.

Smart visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to benefit Kansas City's Child Protection Center.

It is the only nationally accredited child advocacy center that provides forensic interview and supportive services to abused children.
        
Smart gained national attention at the age of 14, when she was kidnapped from the bedroom of her family's Utah home in 2002.
        
She was held captive for nine months and was found just 18 miles from her home.
        
Smart's mission now is to remind young survivors they do not have to be victims forever.

"There are so many children who are still in that nightmare of a situation that I was once in that we need to do something about it," Smart said. "We need to come together, like everyone came together to bring me home, to help bring all these other children home to stop these terrible crimes from happening."

The man who kidnapped her, Brian David Mitchell, is serving a life sentence.
      
His wife, Wanda Barzee, was sentenced to 15 years.

It took almost 10 years before Mitchell's conviction. She said she believes had she had a child protective center, similar to the facility in Kansas City, it would have helped speed up her court process and make it less painful.

"It would have been nice to be able only to have repeated my story one time, to only have to be interviewed one time and have that be it," she said.
      
Smart is now married with children.

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