Ex-kidnapping victims: Jayme Closs needs space, time to heal

CHICAGO (AP) — Katie Beers' joy quickly turned to deep concern when she learned 13-year-old Jayme Closs had been found alive in rural Wisconsin nearly three months after police say a man shot and killed her parents then abducted the girl from their home.

"She is going to have to grieve the loss of her parents and also come to terms with the fact she was abducted, escaped and whatever (other) hell she went through," said Beers. "And it's not going to be easy."

Beers knows that better than most.

Sunday will mark 26 years since a then-10-year-old Beers was rescued from an underground concrete bunker in Bay Shore, New York, where she had been held captive for more than two weeks by a family friend who had lured her to his home with the promise of birthday presents.

30 PHOTOS
Jayme Closs kidnapping case
See Gallery
Jayme Closs kidnapping case
Jayme Closs (Photo: FBI Milwaukee)
This photo provided by the Barron County Sheriff's Department in Barron, Wis., shows Jake Thomas Patterson, of the Town of Gordon, Wis., who has been jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges in the October killing of a Wisconsin couple and abduction of their teen daughter, Jayme Closs. Closs was found alive Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in the Town of Gordon. (Barron County Sheriff's Department via AP)
A sign is seen in the small town of Barron, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, where 13-year-old Jayme Closs was discovered missing Oct. 15 after her parents were found fatally shot at their home. A search was being organized to find the couple's missing daughter. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)
A U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) missing person poster shows Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old Wisconsin girl, missing since her parents were discovered fatally shot three months ago, has been located in Gordon, Wisconsin, U.S. as seen in this poster provided January 11, 2019. FBI/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Volunteers search a field along 15th Ave. near highway 25 just north of Barron, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was discovered missing Oct. 15 after her parents were found fatally shot at their home. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald holds up the booking photo of Jake Thomas Patterson, who allegedly kidnapped Jayme Closs, during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Barron, Wis. Closs, a 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed, was found alive in the rural town of Gordon, Wis., about about 60 miles north of her home in Barron. Investigators believe Patterson, who was taken into custody shortly after Closs was found, killed her parents because he wanted to abduct her. (Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press via AP)
Greg Niemuth, of Eau Claire, Wis., searches a wooded area along 15th Av. near Highway 25, north of town for missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs in Barron, Wis., Tuesday Oct. 23, 2018. Hundreds of volunteers in rows walked through swamps, cornfields and woods on Tuesday in search of clues that might lead investigators to the Wisconsin girl whose parents were killed and who is believed to have been abducted. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
Jayme Closs (Photo: FBI Milwaukee)
Louie Lauderdale, of Lake Geneva, Wis. searches near a cornfield along 15th Ave. near highway 25 just North of Barron, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was discovered missing Oct. 15 after her parents were found fatally shot at their home. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald speaks during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Barron, Wis., regarding the arrest of Jake Thomas Patterson, who allegedly kidnapped Jayme Closs, Closs, a 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed, was found alive in the rural town of Gordon, Wis., about about 60 miles north of her home in Barron. Investigators believe Patterson, who was taken into custody shortly after Closs was found, killed her parents because he wanted to abduct her. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
A Barron County, Wis., sheriff's vehicle sits Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, outside the home where James Closs and Denise Closs were found fatally shot on Oct. 15. A search was being organized to find the couple's missing 13-year-old daughter, Jayme. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)
Hundreds of volunteers gather Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Barron, Wis., to assist in the search for Jayme Closs, a missing teenage Wisconsin girl, whose parents were killed in the family's home. Jayme has been missing since Oct. 15, when deputies responding to a 911 call found that someone had broken into the family's home in Barron and gunned down James and Denise Closs. (Jerry Holt /Star Tribune via AP)
Volunteers cross a creek and barbed wire near Barron, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, on their way to a ground search for 13-year-old Jayme Closs who was discovered missing Oct. 15 after her parents were found fatally shot at their home. The search for Closs was expanded Tuesday, with as many as 2,000 volunteers expected to take part in a search of the area. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)
Jayme Closs (Photo: FBI Milwaukee)
Volunteers line up along Highway 25 just north of Barron, Wis., Oct. 23, 2018, to assist in the search for Jayme Closs, a missing teenage Wisconsin girl, whose parents were killed in the family's home. Jayme has been missing since Oct. 15, when deputies responding to a 911 call found that someone had broken into the family's home in Barron and gunned down James and Denise Closs. (Jerry Holt /Star Tribune via AP)
Volunteers gather at a cornfield along 15th Ave. near highway 25 just North of Barron, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, as they search for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was discovered missing Oct. 15 after her parents were found fatally shot at their home. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
People attend a gathering during a moment of silence for Jayme Closs at the Barron High School Football Stadium, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Authorities revealed they're looking for two vehicles in connection with the disappearance of the Wisconsin girl whose parents were gunned down last week, calling on hundreds of volunteers to resume a ground search. State, local and federal investigators have been searching for Closs since early Oct. 15, when deputies discovered someone had broken into the family's rural Barron home and shot her parents to death. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
Jayme Closs (Photo: FBI Milwaukee)
Chris Kroeze, a contestant from the show The Voice, performs during a vigil for Jayme Closs at the Barron High School Football Stadium in Barron, Wis., Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Authorities revealed they're looking for two vehicles in connection with the disappearance of the Wisconsin girl whose parents were gunned down last week, calling on hundreds of volunteers to resume a ground search. State, local and federal investigators have been searching for Closs since early Oct. 15, when deputies discovered someone had broken into the family's rural Barron home and shot her parents to death. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
Steven Fowler of luck Wis., and his dog Cheeka search a cornfield along 15th Ave. near highway 25 just North of Barron, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was discovered missing Oct. 15 after her parents were found fatally shot at their home. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
A group of volunteers searched the ditches along highway 8 Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Barron, Wis., near the home where 13-year-old Jayme Closs lived with her parents James, and Denise. (Jerry Holt /Star Tribune via AP)
Jayme Closs (Photo: FBI Milwaukee)
People attend a gathering during a moment of silence for Jayme Closs at the Barron High School Football Stadium in Barron, Wis., Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Authorities revealed they're looking for two vehicles in connection with the disappearance of the Wisconsin girl whose parents were gunned down last week, calling on hundreds of volunteers to resume a ground search. State, local and federal investigators have been searching for Closs since early Oct. 15, when deputies discovered someone had broken into the family's rural Barron home and shot her parents to death. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)
Wisconsin DNR warden supervisor Russell T Fell selected 100 volunteers to searched the ditches along highway 8 Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Barron, Wis., near the home where 13-year-old Jayme Closs lived with her parents James, and Denise. (Jerry Holt /Star Tribune via AP)
Wisconsin DNR warden Supervisor Russell T Fell selected 100 volunteers to searched the ditches along highway 8, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Barron, Wis., near the home where 13-year-old Jayme Closs lived with her parents James, and Denise. (Jerry Holt /Star Tribune via AP)
Joan Smrekar talked about the night that she heard two gunshots at the home were where 13-year-old Jayme Closs parents James, and Denise was killed Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Barron, Wis. (Jerry Holt /Star Tribune via AP)
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald speaks during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Barron, Wis., regarding the arrest of Jake Thomas Patterson, who allegedly kidnapped Jayme Closs, Closs, a 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed, was found alive in the rural town of Gordon, Wis., about about 60 miles north of her home in Barron. Investigators believe Patterson, who was taken into custody shortly after Closs was found, killed her parents because he wanted to abduct her. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald holds up the booking photo of Jake Thomas Patterson, who allegedly kidnapped Jayme Closs, during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Barron, Wis. Closs, a 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed, was found alive in the rural town of Gordon, Wis., about about 60 miles north of her home in Barron. Investigators believe Patterson, who was taken into custody shortly after Closs was found, killed her parents because he wanted to abduct her. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
Community members listened as representatives from various Wisconsin law enforcement agencies speak during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Barron, Wis., regarding the arrest of Jake Thomas Patterson, who allegedly kidnapped Jayme Closs. Closs, a 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed, was found alive in the rural town of Gordon, Wis., about about 60 miles north of her home in Barron. Investigators believe Patterson, who was taken into custody shortly after Closs was found, killed her parents because he wanted to abduct her. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
Kristin Kasinskas, who lives on S. Eau Claire Acres Circle with her husband, Peter, speak with the media Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Gordon, Wis. Kristin Kasinskas called 911 on Thursday, to report that Jayme Closs, 13, had been found after another neighbor out walking her dog encountered her and brought her to Kasinskas' house. Closs went missing in October after her parents were killed. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

As Jayme begins to process her trauma, experts and former victims say what she needs most is space and time to discuss it on her own terms. And with the help of a supportive and understanding family, she likely will be able to recover and live a happy life.

"One of the things that helped me recover so quickly is that nobody forced me to talk about what happened," said Beers, 36, who is married and has two children. "I didn't even do interviews until I was 30. I didn't have to relive it every day."

Authorities said Jayme was skinny, disheveled and wearing shoes too big for her when she approached a stranger and pleaded for help Thursday in the small north woods town of Gordon, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) from her hometown of Barron. Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was quickly arrested and jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges.

It's unclear exactly what Jayme experienced — including whether she was coerced with threats or physically abused — so people must be careful how they interact with her, said Duane Bowers, a trauma therapist who works with families of missing and exploited children and adults.

Although friends and family might be eager to know details, the only control the victim has is when, to whom and how they tell their story, Bowers said, adding that's especially true of Jayme, who has lost so much.

For most child kidnapping victims, they have the hope that their parents will find them, "but in this case she knew her folks were dead and couldn't find her," Bowers said. So now, "she needs to feel ... in control and experience her memories in a way that ... doesn't retrigger" her trauma.

Elizabeth Smart, who was 14 when she was kidnapped at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City home in 2002, told The Associated Press that everyone endures different mental and psychological trauma after kidnappings, but Jayme will have to confront the fact that there "is no going back to the way things were."

32 PHOTOS
Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case
See Gallery
Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case
Former missing child Elizabeth Smart (C) stands with her father Edward (L) and mother Lois (R) as they attend a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington April 30, 2003. President George W. Bush signed the Protect Act of 2003 also known as the Amber Alert legislation during the ceremony. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn GMH
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 17: Ed (L) and Lois Smart speak to the news media about their daughter Elizabeth's kidnapping June 17 , 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Mauricio Menjivar/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: This handout photo from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's department shows Brian David Mitchell March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell and his wife Wanda Ilene Barzee were taken into custody in conjunction with the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart who was found alive with them, nine months after being kidnapped. (Photo by Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: This handout photo from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's department shows Wanda Ilene Barzee March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Barbee and her husband Brian David Mitchell were taken into custody in conjunction with the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart who was found alive with them, nine months after being kidnapped. (Photo by Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 9: Elizabeth Smart's cousins Tori Dumke (L), Cessilee Smart (C) and Alicia Smart join supporters during a candlelight vigil June 9, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth was kidnapped at gunpoint from her home early June 5, 2002. (Photo by Keith Johnson/Getty Images)
KEARNS, UTAH - JUNE15: Eric Hutchings, Representative of district 38 in Utah, gives instructions to volunteers searching for the kidnapped14 year-old Elizabeth Smart June 15, 2002 in Kearns, Utah. Smart was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City June 5, 2002 and an all out local effort to search for her continues. (Photo by Mauricio Menjivar/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: Tom Smart, uncle of Elizabeth Smart, speaks at a news conference March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth, the teenager abducted from her bedroom June 5, 2002, was found in a routine traffic stop in the car of Brian David Mitchell, a man who had done work on the Smart home and was wanted by police for questioning in the case. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 13: Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed, speaks with the media at the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Federal Heights Ward March 13, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth Smart was abducted nine months ago from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint, allegedly by Brian David Mitchell. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 13: A poster echoing the Smart Family's Latter-Day Saints (LDS) beliefs hangs at the LDS Federal Heights Ward March 13, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth Smart was abducted nine months ago from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint, allegedly by Brian David Mitchell. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 21: Investigators in the Elizabeth Smart case meet before a news conference June 21, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Later, Bret Edmunds, the man wanted for questioning in the kidnapping of the 14-year-old girl was caught June 21, 2002 at a West Virginia hospital.(Photo by Mauricio Menjivar/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - (UNDATED FILE PHOTO): A family photo of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart who was abducted at gunpoint from her Salt Lake City home June 5, 2002 is shown in this undated photo. A teenager has been arrested for trying to extort money from the Smart family according to reports in the media in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect, Walter Kenneth Holloway, is not believed to have any actual connection with Smart's disapearance, but faces charges such as interstate extortion and threatening communications. Elizabeth Smart turned 15-years-old November 3, 2002. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 18: (FILE PHOTO) This handout image showing a compilation of images of a man identified as Brian David Mitchell, was released by the Smart family February 18, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart. According to the Smart family, the man who at first was identified as 'Emanuel' was a handyman in their home in November of 2001. Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home June 5, 2002. (Photo by Smart Family/Salt Lake City PD/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: Elizabeth Smart's cousins Amanda (L) and Sierra Smart react at a news conference March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth, the teenager abducted from her bedroom in June 5, 2002, was found in a routine traffic stop in the car of Brian David Mitchell, a man who had done work on the Smart home and was wanted by police for questioning in the case. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 30: Surrounded by families of kidnapped victims, including Elizabeth Smart (L), her parents Lois and Ed, and Donna Norris, the mother of Amber Hagerman, U.S. President George W. Bush (R) signs the Amber Alert package into law at the Rose Garden of the White House April 30, 2003 in Washington, DC. The national 'Amber Alert' plan would create a system to help find kidnapped children and impose tougher penalties on child abusers, kidnappers and pornographers. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2003/05/20: Elizabeth Smart of Salt Lake City, Utah plays the harp during the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's 9th Annual Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.. Smart was given the 2004 National Courage Award for having the courage to relay her identity to law enforcement authorities. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 30: President George W. Bush greets Elizabeth Smart (C) and her mother Lois Smart (R) in the Roosevelt Room April 30, 2003 at the White House in Washington, D.C. President Bush met with the Smart family before the signing of the S. 151, PROTECT Act of 2003, which would create a system to help find kidnapped children and impose stiffer penalties on kidnappers. (Photo by Eric Draper/The White House/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 22: Judge Judith Atherton listens to the attorneys for Brian David Mitchell in court April 22, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell is charged with the alleged abduction of teenager Elizabeth Smart June 5, 2002. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 22: Wanda Barzee appears in court handcuffed April 22, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Barzee is charged with the alleged abduction of teenager Elizabeth Smart June 5, 2002. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 19: Brian Mitchell, a suspect in the Elizabeth Smart abduction, is seen on a video screen from jail during his first court appearance March 19, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee were charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary March 18, 2003 in the abduction of Elizabeth Smart June 5, 2002. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - JANUARY 6: Brian David Mitchell (C), the alleged kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, makes an outburst in court by singing a Bible verse as a Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputy prepares to remove him from the courtroom during a hearing at the Matheson Courthouse January 6, 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Defense attorneys Heidi Buchi (L) and Mark Helm (R) attended the hearing. (Photo by Laura Seitz-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - SEPTEMBER 2: Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed Smart, listens to the charges read against Brian David Mitchell, former homeless street preacher and kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, during an arraignment before Third District judge Judith Atherton September 2, 2004 at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and other charges in the knifepoint abduction of Elizabeth Smart. (Photo by Laura Seitz-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2004/05/19: Left to right, Elizabeth Smart, Senator Orin Hatch (UT) and John Walsh attend the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's 9th Annual Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.. Smart was given the 2004 National Courage Award for having the courage to relay her identity to law enforcement authorities. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Ed Smart, father of kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart, approaches the media shouting "It's real, It's real" about his daughter being found alive and in what he describes as doing well in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 13, 2003. Elizabeth was found yesterday in Sandy, Utah after spending almost nine months captive. She was abducted at night from her bedroom June 5, 2002. REUTERS/Steve Wilson SCW
Neighbors Kate Langland (left) and Kim Ujifsa leave the home of the Smart family to go and post fliers of Elizabeth Smart in surrounding areas, in Salt Lake City, June 5, 2002. A 14-year-old girl was abducted at gunpoint from her bedroom in the middle of the night on Wednesday, prompting a massive search across three states as family members pleaded for her safe return. Elizabeth Smart, still wearing her red silk pajamas, was taken from the house in front of her 9-year-old sister, who was so frightened by the gunman's threats that she waited two hours before raising the alarm. REUTERS/Matthew Hatfield ME/
Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl, was abducted at gunpoint from her bedroom in the middle of the night on June 5, 2002, prompting a massive search across three states as family members pleaded for her safe return. Ms. Smart, still wearing her red silk pajamas, was taken from her Salt Lake City, Utah house, shown June 6, in front of her nine-year-old sister, who was so frightened by the gunman's threats that she waited two hours before raising the alarm. REUTERS/Steve Wilson/POOL CRIME KIDNAPPING
Cousins of Elizabeth Smart, Amanda (L) amd Sierra Smart (R), share tears of joy at a family news conference after Elizabeth was found alive and in what police describe as good condition in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 12, 2003. Elizabeth Smart was abducted from the bedroom of her home June 5, 2002. REUTERS/Steve Wilson SCW
Daisy Carlson and her son Hayden tie a blue ribbon around a railing in the neighborhood below Elizabeth Smarts home in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 13, 2003. Elizabeth was found yesterday in Sandy, Utah after spending almost nine months captive. She was abducted at night from her bedroom June 5, 2002. REUTERS/Steve Wilson SCW
Elizabeth Smart (C) and her father Ed Smart (L) applaud as U.S. President George W. Bush speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House April 30, 2003. Surrounded by the Smart family and families of other kidnapped children, President Bush signed a wide-ranging package of child safety measures into law. REUTERS/Win McNamee WM
A letter from Brian David Mitchell, the self-styled prophet who calls himself 'Immanuel', on trial for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002, is shown in this undated photograph admitted into evidence in his federal kidnapping trial in Salt Lake City, Utah. The image was released to Reuters November 29, 2010. REUTERS/United States District Court/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Brian David Mitchell is escorted by a marshal at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 10, 2010. Mitchell, a homeless street preacher was found guilty of kidnapping then teenager Elizabeth Smart in June of 2002, whose abduction and nine-month ordeal gripped much of America more than eight years ago. A federal jury in Salt Lake City convicted Mitchell, 57, on two counts: kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. REUTERS/Michael Brandy (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Elizabeth Smart talks to the media outside the Federal Courthouse after addressing her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, during his sentencing in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 25, 2011. The homeless street preacher convicted of kidnapping Smart was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison after Smart told him that he would be held responsible for his actions "in this life or the next." REUTERS/Michael Brandy (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
Reporters Jennifer Dobner (L), Carla Roberts (C) and Kelly Burke hold up signs reading "Life" for the media outside the Federal Courthouse during sentencing of Brian David Mitchell in kidnapping case of Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City, Utah May 25, 2011. The homeless street preacher convicted of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison after Smart told him that he would be held responsible for his actions "in this life or the next." REUTERS/Michael Brandy (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Probably one of the more difficult issues is going to be finding that new sense of normalcy in her life," said Smart, a 31-year-old mother of three. "Not recreating the old but (creating) the new and learning to be OK with that."

She cautioned questions that might seem harmless could be hurtful.

Smart said she would get defensive when people asked her why she didn't run or scream when her captors sometimes traveled with her out in the open. Smart was found nine months after her disappearance while walking with her kidnappers in a Salt Lake City suburb by people who recognized the couple from media reports.

As an adult she realized they didn't mean any harm, she said.

"My brain heard that question as: 'You should have tried harder. You should have run, you should have yelled, this is somehow your fault,'" Smart said. "So, I would just caution her community and anyone able to interact with her to really think about the questions they are asking her."

(Katie Beers via AP)

Beers and Smart said they are proof that trauma survivors can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

"It's never going to be easy, but with the correct support, the correct people to talk to and people there who love you, she's going to be able to survive and thrive," said Beers, who was raised by a foster family after her rescue because of abuse she had suffered within her own family before the kidnapping.

"They just surrounded me with love and gave me a normal home and that to me ... was the most important thing," Beers said.

It won't happen quickly, though, Bowers said, and people need to realize that Jayme will relive her trauma in different ways throughout her life — including if she forms romantic relationships or has children of her own.

"People tend to think, 'OK, it's been a year now, you should be fine,'" Bowers said. "You might learn to cope and deal with it, but it will never go away."

He said it's also important for Jayme to know that "anything you're thinking and feeling is normal. Don't be afraid of it; don't think there's something wrong with you. ... You're not the bad guy here."

Smart said she would tell Jayme that "she is a survivor and she is a hero. She's incredibly strong and incredibly brave and there's so many people who love her and are in awe of her and who want to help her and support her in any way.

"And I would tell her that this experience might feel like it's defining, it might feel like that's who she is now, but it doesn't have to be," Smart said.

What's more, she said, Jayme's escape and rescue are "the reason why we can never give up hope on any missing child."

___

McCombs reported from Salt Lake City.

___

For more stories on Jayme's abduction and her parents' deaths: https://apnews.com/JaymeCloss

Read Full Story