She had been prepared by Mitchell with a back story in such cases, she said. "I started giving those answers, because they were standing right next to me. I was scared. I was petrified."
But her courage grew when the police separated her from Mitchell and Barzee. "At first, I was still really scared," she said. "I kept giving the answers that I had been told to give, and then finally one of the officers said, 'Well, if you're Elizabeth Smart, your family misses you so much and they love you so much and they have never given up hope on you the entire nine months you're gone. Don't you want to go back home to your family?' And it was just at that point that I felt like, well, no matter what the consequences are, I don't care, I want to go home."
"So what did you say?" Cooper asked.
"I told them that I was Elizabeth Smart," she said.
"What was that feeling like to say your name? You probably hadn't said your name for a long time," Cooper said.
"It was scary because I didn't know if they thought I had done something wrong or if they had thought I had run away," she said. "I didn't know what they were thinking."
One lesson to be learned from her story is that public speculation -- the armchair quarterbacking by people who do not know the facts -- can be hurtful to a victim.
"To have so many people speculate on what happened and what I must be going through, and just so many lies being told," she said. "It was hard. I didn't like it. I don't think anybody likes having people guess at what they're going through. Privacy is so sacred and any time a victim is returned, a survivor is found and rescued, privacy is one of the greatest gifts we can give them because if they decide to share, that's up to them and they will come forward."