Elizabeth Smart’s captor Wanda Barzee released from prison

Wanda Barzee, who helped her husband kidnap Elizabeth Smart in 2002 from the then-14-year-old’s Salt Lake City home, was released Wednesday from Utah State Prison.

Barzee will be under federal supervision for five years and is already on Utah’s sex offender registry. She’s ordered not to contact Smart’s family and must stay in an emergency housing facility given by her probation officer. Her future residence must be approved.

Barzee will be required to follow a curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

If she violates terms that include mental health treatment she could go back to prison.

“On September 19, Ms. Barzee will have spent 15 years in custody, which is the maximum amount of time allowed by her state conviction and sentence,” Greg Johnson of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole said earlier. “Ms. Barzee cannot legally be held in the Utah State prison beyond the length of her sentence.”

Smart, now 30 and soon-to-be mother of three, told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday that her kidnapper is “still a big threat” to the public.

“I do believe she’s still a danger,” Smart told CBS anchor Gayle King. “Through my sources, I’ve heard that she’s still carrying around this ‘book of revelations’ that Brian Mitchell wrote … that said he should kidnap me, and not just kidnap me but six other young girls, and that we’d all be his wives … clearly, she hasn’t let it go.”

“[Barzee] is still a big threat, and not just to me but to the public in general, I mean, to any person who’s vulnerable out there,” she added.

Smart said Barzee encouraged Mitchell, who’s serving life in prison, to rape her while she was being held captive.

“I know just how bad she really can be. She would encourage him to rape me. She would sit right next to me. Like, the side of her body would be touching me,” Smart said.


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The past few days could certainly be described as shocking. Only a couple months ago I was informed one of my captors, Wanda Barzee, would not be released until 2024. Now she will be released in less than a week. I find this news greatly disturbing and incomprehensible. In my efforts to learn more it seems there are no viable legal options open to me at this time. So it is now that I ask those that have the power, and her family to start proceedings to have her be civilly committed. To my knowledge she has neither complied with medication or treatment and as some one who has experienced first hand just how depraved she truly is, I believe her to be a threat and a danger not just to myself but to the community, any vulnerable person. I am very concerned and precautions have been taken however I refuse to live in fear. I have spent the last 15 years rebuilding and moving forward with my life, having a family, and pursuing my goals. I lived in absolute fear and terror for nine months, no matter the outcome I will not do so again.

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Smart said she’s been assured Barzee will be closely monitored after her release.

“I have been informed on who the agent is, who the federal agent is, who will be supervising her,” she said. “And I do believe that he will do the job to the best of his ability. I have faith in him. I just lack faith in her.”