Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison


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DRAPER, Utah (AP) — A lady who helped kidnap Elizabeth Sensible and stood by because the Utah woman was sexually assaulted was launched from jail Wednesday amid considerations that she stays a menace 15 years after the chilling crime.

Wanda Barzee, 72, quietly left the state jail within the Salt Lake Metropolis suburb of Draper, avoiding a throng of reporters gathered outdoors.

Courtroom paperwork say she is going to keep in unspecified emergency housing chosen by her probation officer till one other house is permitted.

Barzee's launch adopted a shock announcement final week that Utah authorities had miscalculated her sentence and she or he can be freed about six years sooner than anticipated.

Beneath the phrases of her launch, Barzee should bear psychological well being remedy and never contact Sensible and her household.

Sensible, now a 30-year-old mom, speaker and activist, has stated she was shocked and disenchanted by the announcement of Barzee's launch.

Sensible recalled a few of the horrors she skilled as a 14-year-old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake Metropolis residence in 2002 by Barzee's then-husband, road preacher Brian David Mitchell.

Sensible stated final week that Barzee noticed her as a slave in the course of the 9 months she was held by the couple and inspired Mitchell to rape her.

"So do I consider she's harmful? Sure," Sensible stated.

In an Instagram submit early Wednesday, Sensible urged her supporters to be careful for "anybody who would search to harm or take benefit."

Sensible didn't instantly converse out publicly after Barzee was launched later within the day.

Barzee's lawyer Scott Williams stated there is no dependable proof that his shopper stays a menace to anybody.

"It's unfair and counterproductive," Williams advised reporters, including that Barzee needs to be left alone and can adjust to the circumstances of her supervised launch.

He stated he is involved about her security however didn't elaborate.

Ed Sensible, the sufferer's father, stated he is glad Barzee can be watched over intently by federal brokers throughout her 5 years of supervised launch, however he is involved about studies that she nonetheless believes Mitchell's concepts.

Aiding Mitchell in following his so-called "divine revelations" prompted Barzee to assist him kidnap Elizabeth Sensible and even sit subsequent to her as Mitchell raped her, Ed Sensible stated.

"My hope is that she will not be an issue," he stated of Barzee. "I do understand how she handled Elizabeth throughout that point, and I nonetheless really feel like she's very able to doing the identical factor."

Sensible, now an activist for victims' rights, wrote on Instagram over the weekend that she's taken precautions and will not let her life be disrupted by the discharge of Barzee.

"I lived in absolute worry and terror for 9 months, regardless of the result I can't achieve this once more," Sensible wrote.

Sensible was present in captivity whereas strolling with Barzee and Mitchell on a road in suburban Sandy by individuals who acknowledged the abductors from media stories. Mitchell is serving a life sentence after being convicted of kidnapping and rape.

As one other situation of her launch, Barzee was positioned on the Utah intercourse offender registry, however her handle was nonetheless listed on-line Wednesday because the Utah jail. Her mug shot on the registry exhibits her with a large smile, blue eyes and chin-length grey hair.

She's additionally voluntarily agreed to avoid locations frequented by the Sensible household, Williams stated.

Barzee could possibly be returned to jail if she violates the phrases of her launch.

Barzee's niece Tina Mace has stated her aunt's testimony towards Mitchell appeared like a turning level, however her psychological state seems to have modified in jail. Mace stated she's unaware of any relations who would give Barzee a spot to reside.

Barzee was handled at Utah State Hospital for about 5 years following her arrest. She testified in 2010 towards Mitchell and was given a plea deal on state and federal expenses. She was transferred to the Utah jail in 2016 after ending a federal sentence in Texas.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole initially set a 2024 launch date. Her lawyer questioned whether or not the time period included time Barzee had served in a federal jail. The board determined final week that she had served her sentence.


AP author Russell Contreras in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed to this report