Elizabeth Smart Gives Advice to Evansdale Family, All Iowans

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By Liz Blood

DES MOINES, Iowa - Elizabeth Smart was in Iowa Thursday to talk about how to better protect children.

"If my child was approached, I would tell them kick that person so hard, scratch their eyes out," said Smart.

Smart toured the Blank Children's Hospital Regional Child Protection Center on Thursday that helps 1,300 children each year who are victims of sexual or physical abuse.

She was abducted on June 5, 2002, at the age of 14, and was held prisoner for nine months before being reunited with her family.

She said her mother's advice has helped her heal.

"She said this man has stolen 9 months of your life. You will never get it back, but the best punishment I could give him is to be happy and follow my dreams and do what I want to," said Smart.

Smart has become an advocate for strengthening child protection programs.

Her advice to the Iowa families in Evansdale who have two missing girls is to hold onto hope that the cousins will be found.

"It was two people who saw me with my captors and called police, who made the difference in my case," said Smart.

She advises all Iowans to keep a watchful eye out for the missing girls.

"Never give up, never think they're gone for good until they're found. You don't know they could very well come home," said Smart.

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