Elizabeth Smart voiced her horror over her kidnapper’s changed prison release date in a Sept. 11 statement. And Elizabeth’s family is just as shocked, HollywoodLife has EXCLUSIVELY learned.
Elizabeth Smart, 30, is condemning the more lenient prison release date of her kidnapper and captor, Wanda Barzee. She and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, kidnapped at knifepoint a then 14-year-old Elizabeth in 2002, keeping her captive for nine months until Elizabeth was spotted on the streets of Sandy, Utah with her abductors. Wanda and Brian were thrown in prison after being arrested in 2003, but the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole changed Wanda’s original January 2024 release on Sept. 11, because the board didn’t properly acknowledge her time served in federal prison, Fox News reported. On Sept. 11, Elizabeth issued a statement on the decision, revealing how exactly she feels about her abductor being free to walk among the public on Sept. 19 after just 15 years in 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,” Elizabeth began her statement. “I am trying to understand how and why this is happened and exploring possible options.”
As we’ve told you, Wanda skipped out on her parole hearing in June, and a board member said she turned down meeting a psychiatrist at the Utah State Prison despite pleading “guilty but mentally ill.” Elizabeth told Fox News she’ll “speak publicly” about Wanda’s release after she has “a better understanding” of the situation, then added, “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.”
The victim’s family is just as shocked as Elizabeth is, we’ve learned. “Everyone is horrified by the news that Wanda Barzee is being released, it’s truly shocking and deeply concerning,” a source close to the Smart family EXCLUSIVELY shared with HollywoodLife. “Wanda has shown no sign of rehabilitation and the worry is that she remains under the spell of David Mitchell—the fact that she is not even going to be under parole, and held under any kind of supervision only increases the family’s concerns.”
On top of the kidnapping, Elizabeth testified that Wanda’s husband raped her almost every day, and forced her to do other activities such as smoke, drink, and watch him and Wanda have sex. “The fact that this woman will be free to potentially attempt to make contact with Elizabeth, or even worse, her children, is a truly terrifying thought, and it’s creating a lot of anxiety for Elizabeth and the rest of her family,” our source continues. “The Smarts are incredibly good people, they are kind, and compassionate and forgiving, but they are also determined to never allow horror such as what occurred previously to ever darken their doorstep again—they believe Wanda Barzee still presents a real danger to society, and it’s unfathomable that she’s going to be free and walking the streets unchecked once again.”
As for the conditions of Wanda’s release, her attorney Scott C. Williams told The Salt Lake Tribune that Wanda will not be “on parole with the state system” and instead will be under federal supervision. It will be a 60-month long supervision that will restrict Wanda’s use of firearms, subject her to probation officer visits, require her to follow sex offender registry requirements and enroll in a mental heath treatment program, the newspaper reported based on Wanda’s 2010 sentencing documents.