Kidnap Survivors Share Stories of What Kept Them From Attempting to Escape


"[It] just feels like the whole world is crushing down around you," Smart said in an interview with ABC News in 2011.

Welner was one of the psychiatrists who examined Smart's kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell. Just like the women in Cleveland, Smart was hidden in seemingly plain view while in captivity, something Welner says is common in abduction cases.

"If that person is manipulative enough to come up with a system to inspire fear and dehumanization...[then] fooling and manipulating ignorant neighbors, neighbors who just wouldn't expect something like that, is easy," he said.

"It's easy to understand how Brian David Mitchell was looking right at a police officer and Elizabeth Smart was right there in a library and the police officer says, 'Are you Elizabeth Smart?,' and she remains silent and Brian David Mitchell says, 'You can't lift that veil because we're Muslim,'" he said.

For the three women in Cleveland, as with Duggard and Smart and Hornbeck before them, even though they are free, their ordeal is not over, according to Welner. They next face the arduous and emotional task of recounting their experience to investigators.

"It's very painful for the victims and there's no way around it. You must be heard," Welner said. "You'll assist law enforcement and you'll lock people up and you will make sure they never hurt others again."

"You will discourage others from following in their footsteps, knowing eventually they will be caught and the victim will be heard."

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