By Marissa Widdison
“She”s alive? Unbelievable.”
Whether first heard on the television, radio or by word of mouth, reactions seemed to be the same. As the news spread that Elizabeth Smart was alive Wednesday afternoon, students across BYU campus began talking about the event.
Tracy Skousen, 19, a sophomore from Hyder, Ariz., majoring in history, first heard about Elizabeth”s return when she walked into her kitchen, where her roommates were watching the news.
“I came home after my History 247 class,” Skousen said. “I was very surprised. I recognized the names on TV, but I just didn”t think she”d be alive. And that she was so close – in Sandy. I”m very surprised.”
As Skousen watched the local news with her roommates, she said she became a little irritated at the comments from some people being interviewed.
“Some of the peoples” comments (on TV) have been interesting,” Skousen said. “One lady said that she was disgusted, because Elizabeth was found so close and that she was okay. I thought, how na?ve, to think that she”s okay just because she”s alive. There”s a lot that could have happened to her.”
Maureen Porter, a BYU bookstore employee, said she is also concerned about what could have happened to Elizabeth in the past nine months.
“What has been done to her, that she hasn”t tried to make contact this whole time?” Porter said. “Have they done terrible things to her? I”m just so fearful for what they”ve done to her mentally, emotionally and physically. She”s probably scarred for life.”
Porter first heard about Elizabeth”s return as she was working at the BYU bookstore, and noticed people gathering around the television monitor hanging from the bookstore ceiling near the Twilight Zone.
“All these people were gathered around the TV, and we asked, ”What are you looking at?”” Porter said. “Someone turned and that they had found Elizabeth Smart alive.”
Like Skousen, Porter was amazed.
“I was in shock,” Porter said. “Last week my daughter and I were in the bank, and there was a picture of Elizabeth Smart on the counter. She pointed and said, ”That girl is dead,” and I agreed. Two weeks after (her abduction), I thought she was dead or probably better off dead.
“I just hope that the whole family can get together and that she”s okay. She”s going to need a lot of support, I”m sure.”
Ryan Milts, 19, a freshman from Highland, Calif., said he heard the news while waiting in line for his Jamba Juice in the Wilkinson Center.
“All of a sudden this lady on the radio said they had found Elizabeth Smart,” Milts said. “Everyone said, ”shush!” and we tried to listen over the blenders.”
Milts said he has conflicting emotions about the event.
“I think it”s great that she”s home,” Milts said. “But the whole thing is just too weird. She was so close, for so long.”
Milts did express one question that seems to be on everybody”s mind: “It makes me wonder – what went on for those nine months?”