Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart praying for California woman who disappeared 10 years ago
Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart has said she is praying for a California woman who was found 10 years after disappearing from her home.
The unnamed 25-year-old woman got in touch with police on Monday after making contact with her sister through Facebook.
Police say she was drugged and abducted from the family home in Santa Ana by 41-year-old Isidro Garcia, who had been in a relationship with the mother at the time and living with them.
Over the last decade, it is alleged that Garcia physically and sexually assaulted the victim, with whom he has a daughter.
He reportedly evaded detection by frequently moving the family and assuming false identities.
Police said in a statement that although there had been the opportunity to escape, the victim "saw no way out of her situation and lived a life with Garcia under sustained physical and mental abuse".
Garcia has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for rape, lewd acts with a minor, and false imprisonment.
Smart told the Associated Press she was "so happy" about news of the California woman's escape.
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Smart was snatched from her bedroom in Utah at the age of 14 and repeatedly sexually abused over a period of nine months by her captors.
She told the Associated Press it was hard for outsiders to fully understand what kidnap victims are going through and why they do not try to escape sooner.
"We don't know what these evil people are holding over them – whether it's their families' lives, their lives, whatever it is. We just don't know," she said.
"There can be stronger bonds and chains than physical bonds and chains."
Smart, now 26, said the victim would "need to have time re-calibrating back into life".
"I'm praying for her," Smart told The Associated Press. "I'm hoping the very best for her and just very, very happy to hear some good news."