Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart

The Green

Charlie Miller was among the dozens of people the police interviewed in connection with Elizabeth Smart's disappearance. Miller was the milkman in the Smarts' neighborhood, delivering fresh milk products to homes the old-fashioned way. He told police that on Monday, June 3, at around 7:00 a.m. — 43 hours before Elizabeth's abduction — he had noticed a green car cruising slowly along Kristianna Circle. He drove past the car in his truck and noticed that the driver was wearing a white baseball cap. Miller didn't think anything of it until the green car turned around and started following him. Fearing that the stranger might be aiming to rob him, Miller wrote down the green car's license plate number and called the police.

Bret Michael Edmunds
Bret Michael Edmunds

The next Sunday a vigil for Elizabeth took place at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. The police patrolled the parking lot, checking license-plate numbers, hoping to come up with a lead, and one officer took note of a green Saturn sedan with license-plate number 266HJH. The number was not an exact match with the one Charlie Miller had written down, but it was close enough and the color matched, so the police decided to stake out the car. When the driver returned to the vehicle, two officers got out of their patrol car and approached the Saturn on foot, but the man quickly started his engine and sped off, losing the police.

Later that day a little boy playing in the high weeds along a road near his home found a set of abandoned license plates — 266HJH. The boy brought the plates home, and his father notified the police. Fingerprints lifted from the plates matched a 26-year-old man named Bret Michael Edmunds who was wanted for assaulting a police officer.

Edmunds was six feet two inches tall. Mary Katherine Smart had said that the man who took her sister was much shorter. But Edmunds had done work for people in the Smarts' neighborhood, so he immediately became a person of interest. The police wanted to talk to him, but despite extensive efforts to find him, Edmunds could not be located.

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