Woman convicted in abduction, abuse, rape of 14-year-old girl freed from Utah prison

Wanda Barzee released 15 years after Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor, Derick Hutchinson

SALT LAKE CITY - One of Elizabeth Smart's kidnappers was released from a Utah prison amid an uproar that has even the woman's family saying she was let out too soon.

Smart's kidnapping captivated the nation 15 years ago, and Wanda Barzee was one of the people sentenced in the case.

"There is no credible evidence that she is a danger to the community," Barzee's attorney, Scott Williams, said.

Barzee, 72, left prison Wednesday after Utah's parole board ruled her 15-year sentence must include time she spent in federal custody.

Barzee and her then-husband, Brian Davis Mitchell, kidnapped 14-year-old Smart at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City bedroom. Smart was held captive, abused and raped over a nine-month period, officials said.

Mitchell is serving a life sentence.

Barzee will be on probation for the next five years.

"She is, as far as I'm concerned, as unstable as she was back when they abducted Elizabeth," said Ed Smart, Elizabeth Smart's father.

"You can be assured that Wanda Barzee will be closely monitored, and if she falls off track of what her requirements are, that's a very short leash," U.S. attorney John Huber said.

Elizabeth Smart is now a child safety advocate and said she forgives her captors, but their actions are unacceptable.

"I have spent the last 15 years trying to leave my fear in the past," Elizabeth Smart said. "Are there things that I'm concerned about? Absolutely. But I also refuse to go back to that state of fear that I felt when I was kidnapped."

Barzee is on federal supervised release and is now a registered sex offender.

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