"Miracles do exist," said a joyful Tom Smart, the uncle of Elizabeth Smart.
Those are the words that echo the nation's feeling about the recovery of Elizabeth who had been missing for nine fearful months.
The unbelievable recovery story starts with the airing of a profile of Brian David Mitchell on America's Most Wanted.
The show highlighted Mitchell and his bizarre behaviors, as recounted by his relatives. Pictures of Mitchell showed a man in full beard and wild eyes. The show told of his penchant for spontaneous preaching and his disaffection with the Mormon church.
Tips poured into AMW and police, but it wasn't until the afternoon of Wednesday, March 12, 2003, that investigators got the call that they had been waiting for.
Anita and Alvin Dickerson were driving north on State Street in Sandy, Utah, when they spotted a man with a long graying beard and flowers in his hair. The man was walking with two women, who were wearing robes and veils.
At the same time, Rudy and Nancy Montoya were walking out of Kinko's Copies on State Street when they saw the same scuffy trio.
Both couples, who were AMW viewers, wondered if the shaggy man was the homeless preacher wanted in the Smart case. They called 911.
Sandy police officers were sent to follow up on the calls. A routine call became anything but that. Officers questioned the trio and made the miraculous discovery that Elizabeth Smart was disguised in a wig, robe and veil. She was alive and well.
The scruffy man turned out to be 49-year-old Brian David Mitchell and the woman was his wife, 57-year-old Wanda Ilene Barzee.
The couple was arrested and taken to jail.
Elizabeth's recovery and the arrest of her abductors is a direct result of AMW.
She is the 36th child found alive in the show's history.