On a summer night in June three years ago, 9-year-old Mary Katherine Smart and her 14-year-old sister Elizabeth were asleep in their shared bedroom when an intruder slipped into the house through an open kitchen window. The man slipped into the girls' room and abducted Elizabeth.
Mary Katherine was the only witness to the kidnapping, but she didn't get a clear look at the intruder and couldn't provide investigators with enough details for a sketch.
Then several months later while flipping through a book, Mary Katherine had an epiphany that caused her to remember the name "Emmanuel." That was the name used by Brian David Mitchell, the man now accused of kidnapping Elizabeth. Elizabeth was living just 15 miles away from the family's Salt Lake City home with Mitchell, and his wife, Wanda Barzee.
Mary Katherine, who is now 13, is speaking out for the first time about the night of the kidnapping and the agonizing months leading to Elizabeth's recovery in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News' "Primetime." The "Primetime" interview will air Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.
Witness to the Kidnapping
Mary Katherine awoke that night to see a man go over to her sister Elizabeth's bed and tap her. "I was sort of awake, and I saw this guy in my room, and I'm like, 'Who is he?' And I had no idea what he was doing in my room," Mary Katherine told Sawyer.
The man forced a frightened Elizabeth to get out of her bed and get shoes. Mary Katherine got up to tell her parents, but when she reached the bedroom door she saw the man forcing her sister down the hall. Terrified, Mary Katherine ran back to bed, where she stayed for two hours before getting up to tell her parents.
"I thought, you know, be quiet, because if he hears you, he might take you too, and you're the only person who has seen this," Mary Katherine said. "I was, like, shaking."
But Mary Katherine didn't get a good look at the intruder and only heard his voice. Weeks and then months passed as the police and community continued their frantic search for Elizabeth.
Remembering a Name
Those months were torture for Mary Katherine. She told Sawyer she felt the saddest when people recognized her. "Just when people would come up to me and say, 'Elizabeth Smart's sister, huh? ... Because you remind me of her,' " she said.
But then one night in October, Mary Katherine was home alone flipping through the "Guinness Book of World Records" when something clicked in her memory about that night.
"I was thinking of who might have taken Elizabeth ... [on] the page was ... a really muscular lady and like a Harley Davidson person, and I was thinking, who has been to the house and who was like suspicious, and the name 'Emmanuel' came into my head," Mary Katherine said.
That name helped lead police to Mitchell, who had done roof repair on the Smarts' home in 2001. The self-styled street preacher believed in polygamy and took Elizabeth in order to make her one of his wives, say police.
Mitchell, 51, and Barzee, 59, were charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated kidnapping in Elizabeth's disappearance. He also is charged in the attempted abduction of Elizabeth's cousin. Barzee was found incompetent to stand trial; Mitchell awaits a decision on his competency.
Elizabeth, now 17, has stayed silent about her ordeal and both she and Mary Katherine are trying to move on.
Mary Katherine told Sawyer she has one wish for her sister. "Just for her to be happy," she said.