A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager in 2002 from her Salt Lake City bedroom and hold her captive will be freed from prison in a surprise move announced Tuesday by state authorities.
72-year old Wanda Barzee, is scheduled to be released on September 19th, after the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole determined it had miscalculated the time she previously served in federal custody. She’ll be under federal supervision for five years.
Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months before Smart was found and rescued. Smart is 30-years old now and she says it’s “incomprehensible” that a woman convicted of helping kidnap her will be released from prison next week.
Smart said in a statement Tuesday she was “surprised and disappointed” to learn that Wanda Barzee will be freed after failing to undergo mental health evaluations and failing to attend her own parole hearing in June.