Image: Elizabeth Smart, Ed Smart
Jim Urquhart / AP

TODAY   |  May 26, 2011

Elizabeth Smart confronts her kidnapper

Nearly nine years after she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted, Elizabeth Smart had the chance to confront her captor face-to-face at his sentencing. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports from Salt Lake City, Utah.

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>>> now to an emotional day in court. for the first time she faced her former captor face to face on wednesday. nbc's miguel is in salt lake city .

>> reporter: her word wers breechlt she was in court to see the man who kidnap and raped her, sentenced to life in prison . elizabeth smart arrived in federal court to face germanster. the first time since her kidnapping she spoke directly to brian david mitchell . in court he was shackled and singing hymns throughout the entire hearing. surrounded by family, smart took a deep breath, stood tall, and without notes looked at mitchell and said you took away nine months of my life that can never be returned, but in this life or next, you will have to be held responsible for those actions, and i hope you are ready for when that time comes.

>> i told brian david mitchell today in court that whether he received his just senn stens here on earth or after this earth life that one day he will have to be responsible for his actions.

>> reporter: smart 's nightmare began in 2002 when she was just 14 years old, kidnapped from her bedroom at knife point. nine months after she disappeared, smart was spotted near salt lake city not far from where she lived. brian david mitchell and his estranged wife were arrested for kidnapping, but their trials and convictions took years. smart spoke directly to mitchell before his life sentence was handed down. i know that you know what you did was wrong. you did it with a full knowledge.

>> i absolutely 100% believe that brian david mitchell knew exactly what he was doing when he kidnapped me and all the events that followed.

>> reporter: in court smart 's final words to mitchell were clear. i want you to know i have a wonderful life now. you will never affect me again. now 23 years old, smart has attended college, traveled overseas, and has start add foundation with her family to help bring home the missing.

>> i thinking one of the biggest ways to overcome any trial in life to kill from any kind of experience is by helping those around you because by lifting those around you up, you end up lifting yourself up as well.

>> reporter: a young woman with an unforgettable past and a promising future.

>> today is the ending of a very long chapter and the beginning of a very beautiful chapter for me. i was happy for the opportunity to say what i felt that i needed to say, and i'm thrilled it's over.

>> reporter: in court mitchell never spoke nor even acknowledged smart . elizabeth said she was just fine with that, adding that she moved on with her life and said what she wanted to say.

>> all right. what a spectacular girl she's turned out to