FERRIER FILES: Middle Tennessee mom kidnapped, imprisoned by Saddam Hussein
CROSS PLAINS, Tenn. (WZTV) —
Lynne Hutton-Smith is a dog breeder and jewelry designer from tiny Cross Plains in Robertson County.
She has been in the midstate for 25 years and calls it the place she healed after weathering something unimaginable.
The Middle Tennessee woman was kidnapped and imprisoned by Saddam Hussein.
Lynne Hutton-Smith loves the only intersection in Cross Plains. She lives not far from here on a 20 -acre farm in Robertson County, where she has been raising miniature Schnauzers and designing beautiful pearl jewelry for 25 years.
This is so different than the Lynne who was an international banker's wife in Kuwait, where she had private swim and tennis lessons, a maid and a $12,000 monthly income.
"I mean really you live a life of royalty," said Hutton-Smith.
That is until August 2, 1990.
"I picked up the phone and she said 'my god they are killing people in the street,' and I could hear gun fire," Hutton-Smith said. "And I said what's wrong? And she said 'oh my god they are killing civilians. They are here they are here!' I said who's here? She said the Iraqis, they're invading and the phone went dead."
That was just the beginning for Hutton-Smith.
"A couple hours later, Iraqi soldiers burst into my home and told me I had two minutes to pack a bag and go with them," she said. "So I had my 2-year-old with me. What do you do? What do you do?"
Saddam Hussein had taken 47 hostages and put them on a bus, including Hutton-Smith and her 2-year-old baby Claudia who had a hole in her heart and serious health issues.
"They asked us for our passports and they had trash bags," Hutton-smith said. "Now as you know, if you see your passport going into a trash bag, all your ID, everything is going. So they were laughing and joking and they came to pick up the passports, and then they told us to get out of the bus and lined us up in a firing squad," Hutton-Smith said.
She said she remembers thinking of her baby in that moment.
"I remember thinking when I heard the gunfire surely they wouldn't kill Claudia, surely they wouldn't kill my baby," Hutton-Smith said. "But what they were doing, they were mentally torturing us."
From there they went to a secret military facility, where many of the hostages were raped. Lynne Hutton-Smith believes she was spared because she was with 2-year-old Claudia.
Claudia was very sick. Hutton-Smith thought she might be dying, and so she dared approach her guard.
"And before I said anything, he said 'madam please forgive me,'" Hutton-Smith said. "In time of war, there is this guard standing there, apologizing to me."
She said she then explained her daughter's condition.
"I said don't have any medicine and my daughter is so sick, please please please help me" Hutton-Smith said. "You know what he did? He left the camp for three days, and then he came back with a bottle of Amoxicillin for me. Do not tell me they are all bad. I'm not gonna have it."
Three weeks of hell continued for Hutton-Smith and the other hostages before a bus ride to Iraq in 135° heat and no bathrooms. The hostages urinated and defecated on themselves, but they survived.
World leaders negotiated their release, and the 47 were flown to London. Lynne Hutton-Smith made the papers but gave no interviews about her experience.
She nearly drank herself to death. Her husband did drink himself to death, financially ruined and burdened by guilt.
Hutton-Smith said she became a Christian, stopped drinking and moved to Cross Plains. Her daughter Claudia is a missionary, mom and married to a Brentwood pastor.
"She loves the lord," Hutton-Smith said with a smile.
Her story is still hard for her to tell, but she will tell it to any soldier she meets. She said she wants to affirm their sacrifice.
Once in her jewelry shop, it was one of those soldiers surprised Lynne Hutton-Smith.
"All of a sudden he said now I know who I'm going to give the key to," Hutton-Smith said. "Saddam Hussein's jail cell key. He locked him up before he went to hell."
She said the soldier was special forces and the jailer of Saddam Hussein. He gave her the key to Saddam's cell.
Lynne Hutton-Smith has always dreamed of gratefully telling her story on Fort Campbell. Somehow she has been unable to make that happen. She hopes somebody with some pull can help get her on post.