Culture

Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper Released from Prison

Elizabeth Smart speaks during a news conference while her father Ed Smart looks on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Smart says it appears there is no viable, legal recourse she can take to stop the release of one of her kidnappers. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

This week, one of Elizabeth Smart’s kidnappers was released from prison. In 2002, when Smart was just 14 years old, she was taken from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, by Wanda Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell. She was held until 2003 and was raped and tormented the entire time.

Barzee, who served 15 years in jail, not only sat nearby while Mitchell raped Smart, but encouraged him to keep doing so, according to the victim. Now that she is a free woman, she is a registered sex offender.

When Smart learned of Barzee’s imminent release from prison, she was not happy with the news:

Barzee and Mitchell treated Smart like a slave and “handmaiden” when she was being held captive.

When Barzee was sentenced 15 years ago, she had to write a letter of apology to Smart. But the victim was unmoved by the short, heartless “I’m sorry” she received after the ordeal she had experienced at the hands of Barzee and Mitchell.

News cameras were expecting to get a glimpse of Barzee when she was released, but she was never seen. It is believed that the jail arranged for her to be bused elsewhere for her release to avoid the press.

Despite the fact that Barzee is now free, Brian David Mitchell is serving a life sentence.