Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper Wanda Barzee is back in a Utah jail

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The woman convicted of her role in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart is back in Utah to begin serving a state prison sentence.

Authorities confirmed to FOX 13 on Thursday that Wanda Barzee terminated her federal prison sentence for the kidnapping on April 5. She had been sentenced to serve 15 years for the crime, but was given credit for the nearly seven years she'd already spent in the state mental hospital and the Salt Lake County Jail.

Wanda E. Barzee (Courtesy Salt Lake County Jail)

Wanda E. Barzee (Courtesy Salt Lake County Jail)

Barzee, 70, will now begin serving part of her state sentence for aggravated kindapping. She's already been denied parole once, with a re-hearing scheduled for 2018. The state parole board could decide to keep her in prison until the sentence expires in 2024. The Utah Department of Corrections said Thursday it did not know when she would be brought to the prison from the Salt Lake County Jail.

Contacted by FOX 13, Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed, said that no one had told his daughter that Barzee would be released from federal prison.

"I was taken off guard that it was happening so quickly," Ed Smart said Thursday. "We knew it was going to be coming up."

Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, were convicted of kidnapping then-14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from her home in 2002. The pair held the girl captive for nine months before being found wandering down a Sandy street. Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, had proclaimed that he had taken the girl as one of his polygamous "wives." The two were also accused of trying to kidnap Elizabeth's cousin from her home.

Mitchell, 62, is serving a life sentence in an Arizona prison.

In a 2013 interview with FOX 13, Elizabeth Smart said she had forgiven Mitchell and Barzee.

"I don't think I would be able to move on as well as I have had I not forgiven them, because I would still be angry over what they had done," she said. "I would still be carrying on that hurt and in the end, that really wouldn't be hurting them any. They wouldn't care. That would only be hurting me. That would only be causing me to slow down, me to live in the past, really, if I didn't forgive them."

Ed Smart said Thursday it was his hope that when Barzee is ultimately released from prison, she would never harm anyone else.

"She's getting so old, I would hope that she couldn't hurt anyone again," he said. "My hope is she has recognized what she did was wrong and that she gets past the craziness that she was involved with."


  • bob


    Why was she not put in for LIFE? (Rhetorical question. I know why. She’s a woman, and women aren’t grownups. They can’t be, or they’d be responsible for their own choices.)


      One of her children remembered their mother as a “monster” who once, with a sly smile, served her youngest daughter her pet rabbit for dinner.

  • bob of all bobs

    Why is this even news worthy? Seriously the media is overly obsessed with the opportunity to bring up the name Elizabeth Smart in ANYWAY.

    • clbg

      Barzee helped kidnap and hold a person, a real human, for 9 months. That’s news. She just got out of prison, that’s news. Crime and punishment and lack of sufficient punishment IS news.

      Elizabeth Smart is news everywhere and particularly in the very state where the crime was committed.

      • bob

        She didn’t get out of prison. When she was sentenced on the State charges the judge said her sentence would be served after her Federal time was done.

        She’s being transferred from one prison to another.

    • bob

      If they release Charles Manson would you say the same thing? I suspect not, because he didn’t kill any Mormons.

      What REALLY bothers you is that she’s LDS, blond, and comes from a family with a few bucks.

    • TRUTH

      It is news Bob because the victim didn’t let the crime destroy her. The victim became a role model and that’s why decent people are interested in this story.

  • bob

    The story has been updated. At first it said “She’s being sent to the Utah State Prison for some reason.” Now we know she’s being transferred from Federal to State custody, but is still doing time.

    • bob

      By the way, she was in custody for 15 years. So she DID do her Federal time.

      Now she does her State time…..and it’s unlikely she’ll live to see parole. Which will save someone the trouble of lynching her.

      Anyone who forces a young girl to submit to repeated rapes should certainly never see the light of day. Forcible sex crimes against children should be punished by death. Or at least rotting in prison until you’re carried out feet first.

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