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Elizabeth Smart Slams Pending Release Of Her Kidnapper Wanda Barzee: ‘It’s Incomprehensible’

Elizabeth Smart Slams Pending Release Of Her Kidnapper Wanda Barzee: ‘It’s Incomprehensible’”

This 2016 photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Wanda Barzee.

A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart in 2002 will be freed from a U.S. prison more than five years earlier than expected.

Barzee has admitted to helping her husband, Brian David Mitchell, kidnap Smart from her bedroom in Salt Lake City. The surprise move announced Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, comes after authorities determined they had miscalculated the time Barzee previously served in federal custody.

Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months.

Smart, now 30, didn't immediately have comment on the pending release.

Smart says she's exploring her "options" and plans to speak publicly in the coming days.

The parole board had previously denied Barzee an early release after declining to include her eight years in federal prison as time served on state charges.

At the June hearing, her attorney questioned the calculation of her release date, which led the Utah board to look into it. Lawyer Scott Williams said Tuesday he's appreciative the board reviewed it and agreed with his assessment.

Elizabeth Smart voiced her horror over her kidnapper's changed prison release date in a September 11 statement.

On July 2, the Board issued a decision that said the time spent in federal custody did not count toward the state sentence and the end of Barzee's state sentence was January 29, 2024. Williams has said Barzee has been diagnosed with several mental illnesses.

The reversal of that decision not to grant credit for time served ultimately means Barzee's sentence will be complete and she will be released on September 19.

Smart remained their captive for nine months, time during which she was raped by the husband, forced to smoke and drink and watch the couple having sex.

Mitchell is serving two life term sentences in federal prison for kidnapping and sexual assault. He and Barzee were married at one point.

The next year, she was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Smart, now married with two children, has written a book about the harrowing ordeal and helped make a Lifetime movie and documentary about the crime and her life.

Elizabeth Smart is a child safety activist and ABC News contributor who came to national attention in 2002 when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City, Utah home.

"I appreciate the support, love and concern that has already been expressed and will work diligently to address the issue of Barzee's release as well as to ensure changes are made moving forward to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future", Smart added.



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