Elizabeth Smart asks prison officials not to release woman who kidnapped her

Ray Downs

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Elizabeth Smart, the woman who was kidnapped at age 14 and held captive and raped for nine months in 2002, has asked Utah state authorities not to release from prison one of the people who kept her in captivity.

Wanda Barzee, now 72, was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault in 2010 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. But because she had been held by authorities since 2003, when she and her husband were arrested for kidnapping Smart, she got credit for time served and the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole said she will be released on Sep. 19.


Barzee's husband, Brian David Mitchell, is serving a life sentence.

When Utah authorities announced Barzee's release date on Tuesday, Smart, now 30, criticized the move in a statement.

"It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone who did not show up to her own parole hearing can be released into our community," she said.

At a press conference Thursday, she described Barzee's "depravity."

"She is a woman who had six children and yet could co-conspire to kidnap a 14-year-old girl and not only sit next to her while being raped but encouraged her husband to continue to rape me," Smart said at a news conference.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole said on Tuesday that it would take another look at Barzee's release date but later said they couldn't legally keep her in prison past her release date.

"Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the Board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee's state sentence," the board said.

Upon her release, Barzee will serve five years of federal probation.

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