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Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper’s prison release

On June 5th, 2002, Elizabeth Ann Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 14. Smart was held captive for nine months by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. While in their possession, Elizabeth was frequently drugged, raped and forced to tolerate religious rituals. Eventually, on March 12th, 2003, an individual recognized Smart with the couple.

Barzee was released from prison on September 19th, 2018 after serving 15 years of her maximum duration. According to CNN, Barzee received a lenience in her sentencing for her testimony against Mitchell. In 2010, she pleaded guilty to unlawful transport of a minor for the purposes of sexual activity and kidnapping. Barzee’s release terms state that she will be on supervised release for five years, she must partake in a mental health treatment program and she must register as a sex offender. In addition, Barzee is to not own or possess a firearm and a probation officer may visit her on any occasion.

While reflecting back on the horrific experiences, Smart describes Barzee as submissive to Mitchell’s orders. Often, there were times that Barzee sat next to Smart while she was being raped and encouraged her husband to continue with the monstrous acts of violation.

Elizabeth Smart has every right to feel the way that she does about her kidnapper’s release. She expressed her concern for not only her safety, but the safety of her community. At a news conference Smart spoke out against the release of Wanda Barzee. “I do believe she is a threat. 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 [I was] being raped, but encouraged her husband to continue raping me,” Smart said in reference to the months she was held captive.

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