From March 11-13, 2003 I was attending a Nielsen research conference at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliff resort north of Phoenix. After the second day's sessions had ended at 4:15 I went back to my suite to relax a bit before heading out to an evening rodeo when my friend Nina, who was also at the conference, called to tell me the shocking news that 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart had been rescued. Elizabeth had been kidnapped nine months earlier from her home in a suburb of Salt Lake City and was rescued just eighteen miles away in Sandy, Utah. After Nina's call I turned on CNN to watch its coverage of the news conference with police.
This was an unexpectedly wonderful turn of events since kidnappings all too often end tragically, bringing to mind high-profile cases such as those of Adam Walsh, Polly Klaus and Etan Patz . Nine years after her escape Elizabeth was married on February 18 in Hawaii.