BETA

Offering support to families of kidnappings

"We're suffering with them"

Family, friends and law officers are continuing their search for Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old LDS girl who was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home more than nine weeks ago.

While Elizabeth's whereabouts were unknown at press time, her family continues to hope she will be found alive.

The girl's father, Ed Smart, said he is hoping for an ending similar to the nine men who were recently rescued after being trapped in a coal mine in Pennsylvania.

"A lot of people felt, 'How could (they be alive)?' We, too, feel like Elizabeth will come out alive," said Brother Smart of the Arlington Hills Ward, Salt Lake Emigration Stake.

While recent searches in areas outside Utah's Wasatch Front turned up nothing, Brother Smart said July 19 that he had a feeling that "something will come forward this week that will help us."

Elizabeth Smart was reportedly abducted from her bedroom at gunpoint June 5 by an unknown man. Local and federal law officers have conducted a massive investigation but no arrests have been made.

Elizabeth's bishop, David Hamblin, said the ward is trying to return to "some degree of normalcy" but continues to pray, support and help the Smarts however they can.

"We're suffering with them," Bishop Hamblin said.

A ward fast and prayer meeting was held for Elizabeth and her family on July 30. Ward members also continue to bring meals to the Smarts and lend their time in the search effort.

"The family is doing fairly well under the circumstances," he added.

Meanwhile, e-mails of concern and support for Elizabeth and her family continue to arrive at the Church News office from readers around the world.