Wanda Barzee, the Utah woman who, along with her accomplice Brian David Mitchell, kidnapped then-teenager Elizabeth Smart and held her captive for nine months, will be released from prison today.
As ABC News reports, Barzee was originally scheduled to be released in 2024. However, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole determined that miscalculations were made in how much time Barzee was to serve, and she is due to be released today instead.
Greg Johnson, director of administrative services for Utah’s Board of Pardon and Parole, tells KUER-TV (Salt Lake City) that Barzee is being released because she served her time. She is not being granted parole or early release.
“She has served the maximum length of her sentence and must be released.”
However, she is not getting out of prison scot-free. Johnson says that Barzee will still have the same parole conditions that she would have if she were being released at her original release date. That means she’ll be “monitored” for five years.
“So she will have a federal officer and conditions she has to meet.”
One such condition, according to The Daily Mail, is that Barzee must not have any contact with her victim, Elizabeth Smart.
It’s not clear where Barzee will go after her release. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, her family has refused to take her in. Barzee’s niece, Tina Mace, said that Smart’s kidnapper is not welcome in any of her family members’ homes.
“She’s got nowhere to go. She’s mentally ill, terribly mentally ill, and she’s very manipulative.”
— ABC News (@ABC) September 19, 2018
It is not clear when on Wednesday Barzee will actually be released – and indeed her release may take place even as this post is being written. Nevertheless, crowds of reporters began camping out around midnight at Utah’s Draper State Prison.
Barzee’s accomplice and husband, Brian David Mitchell, remains behind bars, serving a life sentence.
Barzee’s victim, Elizabeth Smart, is now 30 and works as a child safety advocate and contributor to ABC News. Speaking to CBS News after the news broke of her abductor’s impending release, Smart said that she believes Barzee is still a danger and deserves to be kept behind bars.
“I don’t think you can just kidnap a 14-year-old girl and, you know, not only sit by her while she’s being raped but encourage the rapist to continue…. Then just at the end of it say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and really mean it.”
Another kidnapping victim, Jaycee Dugard, has also expressed outrage at Barzee’s early release. Speaking to ABC News, the 38-year-old said she is “outraged” that Barzee is being released back into society.