Elizabeth Smart upset her kidnapper to be freed
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Elizabeth Smart says it is “incomprehensible” that a woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap her will be released from prison next week.
A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and hold her captive will be released from prison next week.
The surprise move announced Tuesday comes after authorities determined they had miscalculated the time 72-year-old Wanda Barzee previously served in federal custody.
Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months before Smart was found and rescued.
Utah Board of Pardons and Parole spokesman Greg Johnson said Barzee will be freed on Sept. 19 after authorities determined they had miscalculated the time Barzee previously served in federal custody. . She will be under federal supervision for five years.
Smart, now 30, said in a statement Tuesday she was “surprised and disappointed” to learn that Wanda Barzee will be freed after failing to undergo mental health evaluations and failing to attend her own parole hearing in June.
Smart says she’s exploring her “options” and plans to speak publicly in the coming days.
The board said previously that Barzee would be released in January 2024 after it denied her an early parole following a hearing that she chose not to attend. The board said at the June hearing that Barzee refused to take a psychological exam.