In 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City by two individuals, one of whom was Wandee Barzee.
Barzee pled guilty to the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart in 2010, and received only a 15-year sentence in exchange for her testimony against her husband, Brian Mitchell, who is serving a life sentence. Unexpectedly, she was granted credit for time served and was released from prison Wednesday.
Barzee’s lawyer, Scott Williams, stated, “I do not believe there is any evidence that Ms. Barzee is a risk to the community, and I think it is unfair and counterproductive to make such assertions.”
Willias also noted that Barzee will have “absolutely no contact directly or indirectly with any member of the Smart family and we have volunteered a condition restricting her geographically from certain areas that the Smart family might find themselves.” She’ll be on supervised release for 5 years.
Elizabeth Smart, who is now 30, has spoken out against the release of her captor saying that she is a danger to the community.
“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 (she was) being raped, but encouraged her husband to continue to rape me. So, do I believe she is dangerous? Yes, but not just to me. I believe that she is a danger and a threat to any vulnerable person in our community.”
Smart also posted this hopeful message to Instagram, saying,
“I truly believe life is meant to be happy and beautiful, and no matter what happens that will remain my goal for me and my family.”
View this post on Instagram
Without doubt the past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotion, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their kind words, support, and concern. It has meant so much to me. May we all remain vigilant in watching over our families, friends, and community from anyone who would seek to hurt or take advantage. I truly believe life is meant to be happy and beautiful, and no matter what happens that will remain my goal for me and for my family.