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PSI TECH Technical Remote Viewing





Elizabeth Smart Search: What Went Wrong & What Went Right



By Joni Dourif, PSI TECH President
March 14, 2003


      The news on Wednesday broke of the retrieval of Elizabeth Smart. Since that day, PSI TECH has been inundated with hate mail because we announced early in our investigation that she was deceased. Personally, I must tell you, I am devastated. I can only imagine how upset and angry I would be if my daughter had been abducted and missing and I was informed by a reputable intelligence gathering company that she was dead.

      I have been retracing everything we did from the beginning. My intent was to not publicly comment further on this case until all of the facts were garnered. However, due to public requests, I am issuing this statement today.

Today's News Reports Compared To August TRV Data

August 22, 2002 PSI TECH TRV Report:
"The puzzling pieces were that there is constant activity not too far from her location and the idea that she has been passed by and walked over by people and searchers is also present."

March 14, 2003 MSNBC News Report:
"From her disappearance on June 5 through part of August, Elizabeth was kept in the hills near her home. She even heard searchers “calling her name,” Ed Smart said. She appears to have been held in a tent in Dry Creek Canyon, a popular hiking area within two miles of the Smart’s house. The area was searched many times last summer."



August 22, 2002 PSI TECH TRV Report:
"We believe the perpetrator traveled through this area and then took her to the immediate north east from the monument."

March 14, 2003 CNN News Report:
"Ed Smart said his daughter told him that through August she was in the nearby foothills and canyons of the Wasatch Range that rise from just behind his Federal Heights home on the northeastern edge of Salt Lake City."

Note: see the map below.


August 22, 2002 PSI TECH TRV Report:
"Also, the idea of a religious aspect and tombstone have been prevalent throughout the data since we began. One viewer wrote "nailed to the cross" in his data. This data could pertain to the nearest landmark however."

March 14, 2003 USA Today Report:
"Mitchell took religion to extremes. A street eccentric, he often dressed in white robes when he preached at homeless shelters. The vagabond said he was a prophet. He believed it so fervently that he wrote a book in which he declared his connection with the divine and criticized the Mormon Church." "Up on the roof with Ed, he talked about Jesus and salvation."


      I have not had enough time to pour over the hundreds of TRV sessions of data on this case, but I can easily recall the chronology of the project. To begin with, when Elizabeth went missing in June, we were just finalizing the last report from the four month project of the missing Bradley girls case in Chicago. We were exhausted and we, along with our 14 member team, were dreading the thought of digging into another missing child case so soon. The initial sessions we performed right after Elizabeth's abduction were performed by only a few of us. We concluded then that she was "barely alive." But our first dire mistake was our rush to conclusion that Elizabeth was deceased in our initial public spot report. We "assumed" that because we found her unmoving and lying still in one place. The assumption was backed by follow up sessions containing the same data that "she was lying still curled up in one place with the same immediate surroundings."

      Dave Smart began to email me and I did not answer him at first. Then he began phoning. By the time I spoke with him, he could hear how tired and weary I was and my reluctance to embark on this project but I could not turn him down. So, we immediately began tasking the team. Utah has massive mountains of homogeneous terrain so our goal was to identify if Elizabeth was in Utah and if so where exactly in the expansive landscape was she. We began by tasking our team (in the blind) with "Elizabeth's current location" and "The most recognizable terrain features of her current location." Then, we looked at "The most unique terrain features nearest her present location." And then "The route and direction Elizabeth was taken." We sketched a variety of consistent terrain features from all sides of her route and her current location. We surprisingly identified an area not far from her family home and the nearest unique and identifiable feature was "This is the Place Monument Park" a few miles from the Smarts' property. It will be insightful for us to discover more about where Elizabeth had been taken and if she was drugged and constrained to the point that she was lying still for any lengthy periods of time. Regardless of the fact that we pronounced her deceased, it appears as though our geographic data matched the location where she had been taken. Our dire oversight was racing ahead with the mission of trying to locate Elizabeth without considering that she may have been drugged and going back to check to see if she was alive. The thought did not occur to us because we were so focused on finding her location. TRV is a site specific tool so if we target the identifying features surrounding Elizabeth's location - that is exactly what we are going to get. We tirelessly pursued the retrieval of information in order to locate her.

      Dane and I traveled to Utah to follow our trail of sketches. Dave Smart and a canine team met us there. Our search was derailed when the scent dog from the canine team reacted to The Native American Burial Tomb at "This is Place Monument Park." That tomb was never identified by us as data of "Elizabeth's location." It was identified by us as one of the "Unique features en route to her location." But since the dog was trained to react to Elizabeth's scent, everyone felt that it needed to be thoroughly searched. The complications of searching the tomb began a media frenzy that put the Salt Lake City Police on the defensive and the local newspaper; The Salt Lake Tribune followed up with media hoopla. It seemed that the Tribune delighted in poking fun by strategically misrepresenting us and the sequence of events. They were determined to demean and ridicule us at any cost.

      After all this, we were ready to drop the case. I was drawing up the final report when we were ambushed with emails from a local private investigation company in Utah who alleged to want our information to assist in the search. We had ruled out Richard Ricci's involvement as the perpetrator and had profiled the real abductor. The P.I. Company requested our information of the perpetrator's profile which we provided to them. They searched and found a close match to our data; a man who had recently been put in jail for parole violation. So, using only the new suspect's name and the date and time of Elizabeth's disappearance, the TRV team dissected his activities the night of Elizabeth's disappearance; only to find him actively constraining and abusing a woman and carrying a firearm. He looked guilty. As it turns out, because of the P.I. company's ground investigation, we discovered that he indeed had a history of recently abusing his wife and girlfriend. They also found human blood and a gun hidden in his car. His jail sentence has been extended as a result of that investigation. The P.I.'s were constantly hounding me for the Smarts' number so they could contact them directly but I did not give it to them. However, I did finally write to Dave Smart myself and recommended to him that he make direct contact with them. That was the last that we heard from the P.I. company and it became apparent that obtaining direct contact with the Smart family was really what they were after all along. By this point I had grown disheartened by the competing politics of this case and I wrote Dave Smart and apologized.

      Although we got a "bad guy" who abused women and carried illegal firearms off the streets, we have tarnished the public view of this technology by being wrong about Elizabeth's mortality. The folks who have employed this technology for years do not doubt the veracity of Technical Remote Viewing because of this. They know that the most common errors are in the data analysis or a rush to conclusion. Another mistake we made, that we did not realize at the time but certainly felt, was taking on the Smart search on the heels of our four month Bradley girls search. TRV is a skill and like any skill where we utilize our bodies, we need to rest. We stretched ourselves too thin and we pushed ourselves too hard for too long, without taking a rest.

      Any other alleged "Remote Viewers" who make claims of superiority using our failure in this case to boost their credibility are obvious and conspicuous amateurs who have insufficient skill to take on risky projects. They are the followers who sneer when we are down and cheer when we succeed, only to feed off the scraps of our hard work. We invested thousands of hours in this case and have developed a strong emotional attachment to the family and everyone who assisted in the search effort. The professional Remote Viewer knows how difficult and challenging missing persons cases can be and would not likely poke fun or jeer at the sincere attempts of others who expend the time and effort to perfect this technology by applying it to real-life cases. That is how we learn to perfect our skills. Though some may use this "miss" as an opportunity to attack us others know not to "throw the baby out with the bath water." This is a young technology that is prone to human error. How can the technology evolve if we do not actively put it to the task of Intel gathering for real-time events? It was created at tax payers' expense as a spy tool in the Dept. of Defense for real-time espionage.

      News is now trickling out that in August when we were in Utah (following our sketches to her location) at the park where the Indian burial tomb sits, Elizabeth was behind the park in the hills approximately two miles away. Had these areas been more thoroughly searched, it is likely that she would have been found much earlier.

      In our August 22, 2002 report, we stated:

       "The puzzling pieces were that there is constant activity not too far from her location and the idea that she has been passed by and walked over by people and searchers is also present."

       Through police interviews with Elizabeth, we now know that this data was consistent with what occurred. In a March 14, 2003 MSNBC news article, we now find out the following:

       "From her disappearance on June 5 through part of August, Elizabeth was kept in the hills near her home. She even heard searchers “calling her name,” Ed Smart said. She appears to have been held in a tent in Dry Creek Canyon, a popular hiking area within two miles of the Smart’s house. The area was searched many times last summer."

       In our August 22 report we further stated:

       "We believe the perpetrator traveled through this area and then took her to the immediate north east from the monument."

       According to a March 14, 2003 CNN article:

       "Ed Smart said his daughter told him that through August she was in the nearby foothills and canyons of the Wasatch Range that rise from just behind his Federal Heights home on the northeastern edge of Salt Lake City."



      The aspect of religious fervor permeated our data throughout this entire project. In our August 22 report, we stated:

      "Also, the idea of a religious aspect and tombstone have been prevalent throughout the data since we began. One viewer wrote "nailed to the cross" in his data. This data could pertain to the nearest landmark however."

      News reports today indicate that the suspect, Brian David Mitchell, considered himself to be a prophet. According to an USA Today Story:

      "Mitchell took religion to extremes. A street eccentric, he often dressed in white robes when he preached at homeless shelters. The vagabond said he was a prophet. He believed it so fervently that he wrote a book in which he declared his connection with the divine and criticized the Mormon Church." "Up on the roof with Ed, he talked about Jesus and salvation."

      We will continue to evaluate our process to incorporate safeguards to ensure that we do not make the same mistake again. In 14 years of performing work on cases involving run-a-ways, kidnappings, missing persons and even pets, this was the first time we were wrong determining mortality. However, one occurrence is once too many for us. In the final analysis, we are very pleased that at the end of the day, although our analysis may have been wrong, Elizabeth was found alive and is now home safe with her family. That's wonderful news for all.

Joni Dourif




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