After serving 16 years in prison for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, Wanda Eileen Barzee is scheduled for release next week according to CNN.
In 2002 a then 14-year-old Smart was abducted at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City bedroom by Barzee and her husband Brian David Mitchell. Smart was missing for nine months before she was found walking down a street with Barzee and Mitchell in the Salt Lake City suburb of Utah.
Barzee was convicted in November 2009, pleading guilty to federal charges and agreeing to cooperate with the cases against her husband, who received a life sentence. Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, which she served in Texas before being sent back to Utah to serve a state sentence.
The state sentence was in relation to an unsuccessful kidnapping of Smart’s cousin one month after the kidnapping of Smart. The court sentenced her to one to 15 years in state prison, served concurrently with her federal sentence. The parole board determined on Tuesday that Barzee had now completed both sentences, releasing a statement.
“Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the Board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee’s state sentence. Therefore Ms. Barzee’s state sentence ends on September 19, 2018.”
Originally the parole board had declined to include the eight years served in Texas for the federal crimes as time served for the state charges, reports Fox News.
The response from Smart was angry and disappointed but she expressed thanks for the support she had been shown by the public 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.”
"Incomprehensible" NEW statement from Elizabeth Smart: “I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the pending release of Wanda Barzee." @ElizSmart responds to news that one of her kidnappers will be released from prison https://t.co/7VMkv8fJAD @KSL5TV @KSLcom @kslnewsradio pic.twitter.com/gunAJ95V88
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) September 11, 2018
Smart was taken from her bed and marched up a path to Mitchell’s remote camp; she was forced to undergo a mock wedding ceremony to Mitchell before being raped and shackled between two trees at the camp. Smart says that she was treated “like an animal” by the pair for the whole time of her captivity.
Mitchell was a self-styled preacher who claimed that God had destined the two of them to be together as husband and wife, and that they would battle together to defeat the Antichrist.
As is common in abductions, Smart was threatened by Mitchell that he would kill her and her family if anyone found out about what he was doing to her. Smart was required to wear robes and a veil while she was in public and was forbidden from talking to other people all in an effort to conceal who she was and expose Mitchell and Barzee.