Elizabeth Smart responds after kidnapper Barzee is no-show at parole hearing

Elizabeth Smart is pictured at a November 2015 press conference. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 12, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Elizabeth Smart has responded on Instagram to kidnapper Wanda Barzee’s no-show at a Tuesday morning patrol hearing in Salt Lake City.

Barzee also refused required psychological evaluations, required by law, Utah Board of Pardons & Parole officials said. The parole board has not yet said if and when another hearing will be held. Barzee is scheduled to be released in 2024.

Smart posted on her Instagram page, which is followed by 81,000 people, that it had been an eventful day.

Her post in full reads: It’s only 11 a.m. and today has already been an eventful day. This morning was the parole hearing for Wanda Barzee, one of the people who kidnapped and held me captive for nine months. The funny side of this morning was I got to the state prison once it was already over, that was just due to a silly mix up.

And the good news is she was not released. However what I find troubling is that regardless of her threat level she will be released in 2024, six years from now. It is possible that she could be paroled before then … hopefully not. I do not think I’m a vindictive or vengeful person, if change were truly possible in her case then perhaps parole/release could be justified. But I have recently learned that she is still carrying around a manuscript called,”The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah” and is reading from it. In this manuscript were the “revelations” Mitchell “received” from God to kidnap myself and six other young girls to all become his wives, it also “revealed” his other highly disturbing and dangerous ideas. This is proof to me that she hasn’t changed, and if the prior 15+ years hasn’t changed her I don’t see how the future years will.

I will continue to pray that she will never be a threat to myself, my family, or any vulnerable person ever again. A lot can happen between now and the years to come so in the meantime I will continue to make my family my priority, working to advocate and protect victims and children, and live my life the best way I know how.

The post had been liked 5,500 times as of 3:15 p.m.

Smart, who goes by her married name, Smart-Gilmour, is now 30 years old, and lives in Park City with her husband and their two young children. The couple met while each served a France-Paris mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Earlier this year, she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for her work as a special correspondent on “Crime Watch Daily.” She also runs a foundation dedicated to helping kidnap victims and their recovery.

In 2002, Brian David Mitchell, Barzee’s then-husband, snatched the then 14-year-old Smart out of her bed. She was held captive by the couple for nine months, during which she was starved and raped, until someone recognized her and she was recovered.

Mitchell, now 64, was convicted in 2010 of aggravated kidnapping and illegally transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes. He is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Arizona.

Barzee, now 72, was denied parole at her last hearing, held in February 2011.

Barzee pleaded guilty in 2009 to kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor in connection with Smart’s abduction. Barzee was sentenced in 2010 to 15 years in federal prison, but got credit as part of a plea bargain for the seven years she’d already spent behind bars in both the Utah State Hospital and Salt Lake County Jail.

At the time Barzee was sentenced, she was also ordered to serve one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison for state kidnapping charges in the Smart case.

She was transported back to the Utah State Prison in April 2016 after completing her federal prison term in Texas.


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