Originally Published: March 14, 2003 3 p.m.
Every once in a while, the good guys win.
It's a sad comment on our times when we hear stories of children disappearing and assume that sooner or later those parents will hear the worst.
Almost everyone had come to assume the worst after nine months had passed since the abduction of Elizabeth Smart from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home in June 2002; most of the public thought her family would never see her again alive.
But in an ironic miracle, police caught up with Elizabeth and the couple now facing charges in her abduction on Wednesday just a few miles from where she originally disappeared.
The story of what went on is something authorities still must prove in court, but they say Elizabeth's abductor is a homeless street preacher who sees himself as a prophet and who worked for the Smart family for five hours one day about five months before an armed man took her from her bedroom while her younger sister watched in fear.
Early indications are the man and his wife took Elizabeth to such far-flung locales as California and Georgia before bringing her back to Utah.
Motives are still a mystery, although the defendant's stepdaughter, who went to live with other relatives not long after her mother married him, said Elizabeth resembles her at the age she left the home.
The capture resulted from two observant citizens who recognized the former handyman who became a focus of the investigation when Elizabeth's younger sister this past October associated him with the man who took her sister.
Elizabeth's elated father spent Thursday celebrating her return and crusading for enactment of a national Amber Alert system that will publicize an abducted child's description immediately after an abduction.
It certainly seems to be time. Perhaps the good guys will enjoy a few more victories.