SANDY, Utah, April 18, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s best know kidnapping survivor spoke Monday on behalf of those not yet found.
Elizabeth Smart, taken from her bed in June of 2002 and recovered by police nine months later, used her voice to speak for Elizabeth Salgado, last heard from on April 16 of last year.
Salgado, then 25, had arrived in Provo just 20 days earlier to study English. She disappeared without a trace while walking home from Nomen Global Language Center.
“How can it not be possible that one person didn’t see something,” said Smart, now 28 and the married mother of one.
“Someone had to have seen something…. I can just say come forward, just share anything you have seen, anything that seems remotely suspicious. Anything, because that can make all the difference.”
Asked what she would say if she could talk directly to people being held captive — which family members believe may be the case with both Salgado and with missing St. George teenager Macin Smith — Smart offered advice from her own perspective.
“My direct message to Elizabeth, to Macin, to missing children, people, where ever they may be, No. 1, is don’t lose hope,” Smart said. “No. 2 is don’t lose faith in your family, they love you, they want you back, they’re not giving up on you…. Don’t lose that faith. Don’t lose that hope. Survive.
“Do whatever you need to to survive. That doesn’t always leave room for escape. That doesn’t always leave room for phone calls, telephone calls, communication with anybody else. But do whatever you have to do to survive, because we will find you. We are looking and we won’t give up.”
Elizabeth Salgado’s uncle, Rosemberg Salgado, has served as the family spokesman in the case.
“It has been a roller coaster of emotions: sadness, depression,” the elder Salgado said, at the news conference that also featured Elizabeth Smart, her father Ed Smart, and Libertado Edith Salgado, mother of the missing woman.
“We are frustrated that we don’t have any leads, Rosemberg Salgado said. “We know that the Provo Police Department is working very hard on this case. I’m begging the community to please help us out, to help the Provo Police Department to find leads. so that we can find my niece.
“We have been very stressful, not being able to sleep, not being able to know where she’s at. I want to ask the community to please treat this case like she was your own niece.”
Salgado, who also believes his niece is being held captive, send a message to her alleged captor.
“If you have any compassion in your heart, any goodness, any conscience, please listen to my plea and let my niece go,” he said. “My niece, Elizabeth Elana has a great heart and she’s a good person. She deserves the chance to live a normal life. You will find no joy in harming another living being. Just let her go. Find the courage to set her free. Please. I’m begging you to let her go, whoever you are.”
Answering a reporter’s question, Salgado said he and the rest of his family have cooperated with the Provo Police Department’s investigation into family members.
Salgado said early leads have not led police and the FBI any closer to finding his niece, and new leads have dried up, except from people sharing “psychic” impressions. Law officers need solid leads to work with, and ask people who may have seen or heard anything remotely related to the case to come forward.
Donations now amount to $50,000 in reward money reward for information that leads to the recovery of Elizabeth Salgado.
Libertado Edith Salgado pleaded in her native Spanish for the return of her daughter. Rosemberg Salgado thanked Ed and Elizabeth Smart for helping spread the word, and said the story of Elizabeth Smart’s rescue serves as an ongoing inspiration.
“Stories like Elizabeth Smart is what give us hope and faith that we’re going to be able to find my niece and that she’s still alive, and I cant wait until that day happen,” he said. “It will be the greatest blessing of my life to be able to see my niece.”