Elizabeth Smart was just 14-years-old when she was kidnapped in her own bedroom. For months, she endured physical and sexual assaults at the hands of her captors. Now, she is having to relive that nightmare with the news that one of her abductors is suddenly being released at least five years early.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced that Wanda Barzee will be released from prison September 19th after realizing her sentence had been miscalculated. In a statement, Smart called the decision “incomprehensible” that the woman who helped keep her captive was being set free after just 15 years. Barzee did nothing to intervene after her husband stole the teen and raped her repeatedly, yet she will soon be a free woman.
For someone to make such a horrific mistake in such a high profile case is almost unfathomable, but when it comes to the government, incompetency often reigns. According to Smart, Barzee is not even taking appropriate actions to take care of her own mental health. It’s alarming to think this woman will soon be released from prison.
“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,” Smart said in a statement. “I appreciate the support, love and concern that has already been expressed and will work diligently to address the issue of Barzee’s release as well as to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else in the future.”
Barzee’s husband Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison. Barzee agreed to cooperate in the case against her husband in exchange for a plea deal. She was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and in 2016 was sent to Utah to serve her state sentence. Barzee was serving a state sentence for her role in a plot to also abduct Smart’s cousin just a month after Elizabeth’s kidnapping.
This is hardly the behavior of someone who should be walking free among the rest of us, but that will soon be a reality when Barzee is released next week.
Elizabeth Smart has been vocal about the horrors she faced at the hands of Barzee and Mitchell. You can hear her recount it in the video below.
Source: Washington Post