Elizabeth Smart upset her kidnapper to be freed


Wanda Eileen Barzee wasn't expected to be released for at least another five years.

Wanda and Brian were thrown in prison after being arrested in 2003, but the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole changed Wanda's original January 2024 release on September 11, because the board didn't properly acknowledge her time served in federal prison, Fox News reported.

Barzee, now 72, admitted to aiding her self-proclaimed-prophet husband Brian David Mitchell kidnap a then-14-year-old Smart at knifepoint from her bedroom in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Smart was found while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in the suburb of Sandy in the U.S. city of Utah, by people who recognised the couple from media reports. He had done some handyman work at the Smarts' home.

Barzee returned to Utah in 2016 after completing her federal sentence and began serving her Utah prison sentence.

Smart said in a statement Tuesday she was "surprised and disappointed" to learn that Wanda Barzee will be freed after failing to undergo mental health evaluations and failing to attend her own parole hearing in June. "Everyone is horrified by the news that Wanda Barzee is being released, it's truly shocking and deeply concerning", a source close to the Smart family EXCLUSIVELY shared with HollywoodLife. She said she was degraded and treated "like an animal".

Smart, who is married and a mom of two, said she appreciated the support she's received and vowed to address how Barzee was released so the same thing doesn't happen again.

She was forced to wear robes and a veil in public and was not permitted to speak to other people. They would hold exalted positions in God's new kingdom, she was told.

Barzee will be under federal supervision for five years. She was transferred to the Utah state prison in April 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in the USA state of Texas.

She pled guilty to criminal charges in federal court on November 16, 2009 and three months later also pleaded guilty to state charges for being involved in a plot to kidnap Smart's cousin in July 2002.

He has said Barzee has been diagnosed with several mental illnesses. Barzee was sentenced in 2010 to 15 years in federal prison, but got credit as part of a plea bargain for the seven years she'd already spent behind bars in both the Utah State Hospital and Salt Lake County Jail.

According to a letter from the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, Barzee was denied parole in a hearing in June of 2018.

Utah Board of Pardons and Parole spokesman Greg Johnson said Barzee will be freed on September 19.

She did not say how she knows Barzee has the book. She's also become an outspoken child safety activist and advocate for stronger laws against those who harm children, even testifying in the U.S. Congress in March 2006 in favor of the AMBER Alert system and tough laws against child predators.