(NewsNation Now) — Ed Smart, the father of Elizabeth Smart, knows all about the journey to recovery.
His daughter Elizabeth was kidnapped in Utah in 2002 when she was just 14 and found alive nine months later.
So when 19-year-old Madeline Allen was found by police Saturday after going missing from her dorm at Snow College in Utah, it was a bittersweet reminder of Elizabeth.
“The day that Elizabeth came home was just overwhelming to us,” Smart said during an appearance on “Banfield.” “I’m sure that is very much the way it is for the Allen family and we’re so happy for Maddie that she is home safe.”
Madeline, also known as Maddie, was missing for five days. She was located, trapped in a coal storage area in the basement of the Loa, Utah home of 39-year-old Brent Neal Brown.
“The not knowing during that five days or the nine months is just incredible and painful,” Smart said. “But what a Christmas present to have her come home. And to be there safe and sound, that’s just a blessing.”
The day after Maddie disappeared, her parents got a suspicious text from her phone simply saying, “I Love You!” Police then traced her phone to a location 87 miles away from Madeline’s dorm where she was last seen.
Maddie was found after police conducted a house-to-house search in Loa. At one home, they saw a person with a small frame and blond hair when they peered through a basement window. When authorities knocked on the door, the man who answered said he was home alone.
Mattie was in the basement, naked and covered in coal. Her personal effects and ID were upstairs in a suitcase along with a gun.
Finding Maddie alive “is something to rejoice about,” Smart said, but for her and her family, the ordeal is far from over. There’s a journey ahead.
“It is a journey,” Smart said. “I remember the comment was made to us. ‘You think you’ve been through hell already. It hasn’t even begun.’ And I thought, you know, don’t tell me that because nothing could be worse than having our daughter lost and now we have her home. So nothing can be worse.”
Madeline said she’d been held there for five days and that Brown threatened to go after her, as well as her sister and her sister’s family, if she tried to run away.
“I think that’s a very, very difficult situation,” Smart said. “So we’re just so glad to hear that there is a happy ending to this nightmare.”
Brown has been arrested in the abduction of Maddie. He’s facing multiple charges including aggravated kidnapping, rape and obstruction of justice.
Smart talked about how difficult the prosecution process can be. He stressed that one of the most important things for a family in this situation is to be aware of what’s to come and avoid surprises if possible.
“It is difficult and it is hard to go through the stages of a trial,” Smart said. “One of the most important things is to know what’s in front of you, know what’s going to come up, what Mattie’s gonna have to go through, whether there’s going to have to be testifying.”
“I think that you just have to take it a day at a time,” Smart added.
Watch the full interview in the video player at the top of the page.