Wanda Barzee, the woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart was pictured for the first time since being released from custody on Sept. 19
The 72-year-old was spotted in Timpanogos, Utah carrying a salad and a banana on Wednesday, wearing a pink sweatshirt and grey sweats.
Barzee was released from the Draper Prison shortly after 8 a.m., Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kaitlin Felsted confirmed to local TV station KUTV.
Barzee has spent the last 15 years behind bars after her and her husband Brian David Mitchell kidnapped Smart, now 30, from her bedroom.
In 2009, Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping for her role in Smart’s abduction. She also agreed to testify against Mitchell, who was convicted in December 2010 and is serving two life sentences.
Barzee was meant to be behind bars until 2024, however, the parole board ruled that the time she spent in federal prison, jail and the Utah State Hospital prior to her conviction counted towards her sentence.
The time served meant Barzee had served the 15-year maximum term she was sentenced to so the parole board had to release her early.
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Before Barzee’s release, Smart said she was both “surprised and disappointed” in a statement obtained by local TV station KSL.
“It 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.”
“I am trying to understand how and why this is happening and exploring possible options.”
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Days later, Smart spoke at a news conference and urged authorities to reconsider freeing Barzee.
“Wanda Barzee saw me as her slave. She called me her ‘handmaiden’ and she never hesitated to let her displeasure with me be known,” Smart said.
“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 nine months she was held captive.
“I would urge the powers that be, and anyone who works under them, to really, strongly reconsider this situation, to look at all the facts, look at her mental status, and see if they really and honestly truly feel like she is no longer a threat and that she is ready to be released.”
Barzee will be on supervised release for five years, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.