The Salt Lake City detective who failed to recognize ELIZABETH SMART after he bumped into the 14-year-old and her abductors of evil said he was "traumatized".
Detective Jon Richey testified at the trial of Brian David Mitchell who is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting Smart following her 2002 abduction from her parents home.
RadarOnline.com reports that although a caller had reported spotting Smart wearing a robe and veil at a downtown Salt Lake City library, the detective told court that Mitchell’s "cool under fire" convinced him she wasn’t Smart.
Richey testified sat beside Smart and Mitchell’s wife Wanda Barzee – each was wearing a robe headpiece and veil that revealed only their eyes.
He told the court he never looked under the veil because Mitchell wouldn’t allow it, claiming it would have serious religious consequences for the girl.
The detective said that he watched Mitchell’s reactions to see if he was nervous as he asked to see the girl’s face – he offered Mitchell the option of unveiling her himself.
"I upped the pressure, one notch at a time, and got the same matter-of-fact response that this was not going to happen," Richey testified.
He said Mitchell remained "calm, assertive and very much the same throughout the confrontation."
The detective claimed he was aware of the trio’s civil rights and felt that he did not have enough evidence to get the girl to bare her face.
Richey later told reporters: "Had I more information, anything at all that led me to believe it was Elizabeth, (civil rights) wouldn’t matter. Her safety would be my only consideration. I would have taken off the veil."
He told the court that when Smart was finally rescued in 2003 and he learned she was the veiled girl "it was absolutely traumatizing."
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