The Latest: Smart calls for vigilance, shares thanks in post
DRAPER, Utah (AP) — The Latest on the release of a woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart in Utah (all times local):
As one of her kidnappers was about to be released from prison, Elizabeth Smart called for people to watch over friends and family members.
An Instagram post early Wednesday by Smart urged her supporters to watch out for “anyone who would seek to hurt or take advantage.”
Smart said she’s grateful for the support she received during her “roller coaster of emotion” after the surprise announcement that Wanda Barzee would be released from prison years earlier than expected.
Smart told reporters last week she was worried that Barzee remains a threat, something the woman’s lawyer denies.
Smart did not immediately speak out publicly after Barzee was released.
She is scheduled to make a planned speech at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania later in the day.
The lawyer for a woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart in Utah says it’s unfair to call her a threat now that she’s been released from prison.
Attorney Scott Williams made the comment Wednesday after Smart’s father said he is concerned that 72-year-old Wanda Barzee remains capable of abusing another child.
Barzee was released from a Utah prison after serving 15 years in the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, then 14.
Williams told reporters there’s no reliable evidence that Barzee will be dangerous.
He says she wants to be left alone and will comply with the conditions of her supervised release. He said he’s concerned about her safety but did not elaborate.
Under the terms of her release, Barzee must undergo mental health treatment and not contact Smart and her family.
Elizabeth Smart’s father says he’s grateful that one of her kidnappers will be watched closely by federal agents now that she’s been freed from prison, but he remains concerned about Wanda Barzee’s mental state.
Ed Smart said Wednesday that he’s heard reports that Barzee still believes in the teachings of David Brian Mitchell, the street preacher who took the teenage Elizabeth Smart from her bedroom at knifepoint in 2002.
Ed Smart says Mitchell’s so-called divine revelations prompted Barzee to help kidnap the girl and even sit next to her as Mitchell raped her.
He fears Barzee remains capable of abusing another child.
Barzee will be on federal supervised release for five years and is now a registered sex offender.
Under the terms of her release, she must undergo mental health treatment and not contact Smart and her family.
Mitchell is serving a life prison sentence.
One of Elizabeth Smart’s kidnappers has been placed on the Utah sex offender registry after her release from prison.
The online registry shows Wanda Barzee’s conviction on federal and state charges in the 2002 kidnapping of then 14-year-old Smart.
The registry shows the addresses of convicted Utah sex offenders and is a condition of Barzee’s release.
Barzee’s registration shows her address as the Utah State Prison in Draper, outside Salt Lake City.
Prison and probation officials did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment on when her address outside prison would be listed on the site.
She was released Wednesday morning after 15 years in custody.
Federal agents overseeing her five years on supervised release have said she will have a place to live, but haven’t released specific information.
She pleaded guilty to helping her husband, street preacher Brian David Mitchell, who took Smart from her bedroom at knifepoint.
A woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart when she was a teenager has been released from a Utah prison after 15 years in custody.
Utah State prison spokeswoman Kaitlin Felsted said in a statement that Wanda Barzee was released Wednesday following a surprise announcement last week that authorities had miscalculated the amount of time she should serve.
The 72-year-old was previously scheduled to be released in 2024.
Barzee was not seen by reporters leaving the prison in the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper. She will be under federal supervision for five years.
Smart, now 30, is shocked Barzee is being released and said she hopes she will be closely watched and given treatment.
Smart says that during her nine-month abduction in 2002 and 2003, Barzee would encourage her street-preacher husband to rape her.
Elizabeth Smart says the woman who helped kidnap her when she was 14 and stood by as she was sexually assaulted fell short on her court-ordered apology.
Part of Wanda Barzee’s plea deal was a requirement that she write an apology, Smart said in an interview aired Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
Barzee is expected to be freed Wednesday after 15 years in custody because Utah authorities had miscalculated the amount of time the 72-year-old woman should serve.
In the interview, Smart also stressed that victims like herself shouldn’t be blamed, tempting though it may be.