Wanda Barzee, Elizabeth Smart kidnapper, rejected by family

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 16, 2018

"She is a woman who had six children and not only did she kidnap a young girl and sit next to her while she was being raped but encouraged her husband to continue to rape her".

And details of the crime still horrify Barzee's niece, Tina Mace.

Like Smart, Mace is alarmed by the surprise announcement this week by Utah authorities, who said they had miscalculated her aunt's sentence and would release her from prison on Wednesday.

The news stoked fears about whether Barzee remains a threat and underscored serious concerns about mental health treatment in America's prison system.

Barzee has spent the past 15 years behind bars.

This provided by Utah State Prison shows Wanda Barzee. The parole board stated it had to count Barzee's time served in federal prison toward her state sentence.

Mace also opened up about her aunt's housing arrangement after her release noting that, to the best of her knowledge, "no family can take her in or would take her in".

Smart, now a 30-year-old mother, speaker and activist, said she's deeply concerned that Barzee remains a threat, citing her refusal to cooperate with mental health treatment in prison and reports that she may still harbor Mitchell's beliefs. She, however, did not believe that cleared Wanda's name as she, "in her own right, abused me as much as he did". Smart asked. "Yes, but not just to me". While Eric Anderson, the deputy chief U.S. Probation Officer for Utah, declined to confirm whether Wanda would be living in a facility or a private residence, he confirmed that she "will not be homeless". Smart was raped nearly daily and treated like an animal.

On the stand, Barzee described a "hellish" first year of marriage that eased after she "learned to be submissive and obedient", and his later pronouncement that it was "God's will" they sell their possessions and travel the country wearing long robes.

Eventually, Mitchell kidnapped then-14-year-old Smart at knifepoint, forced her into a polygamous "marriage" and raped her nearly daily.

She was found nine months later, while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in a Salt Lake City suburb.

Yet, since she fulfilled her federal prison sentence, which ran concurrent with her state prison sentence, officials said Barzee's prison time is complete. During his trial, Smart told the jury that Mitchell treated her "like an animal", and forced her to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.

"There were times when, yes, absolutely, she was manipulated by Mitchell", she said. "I am a Christian", she said.

In 2011, Mitchell received life in prison while Barzee received 15 years in federal prison, in addition to the concurrent sentence of to one to 15 years in state prison.

During her months in captivity, Smart said the older woman sat nearby and encouraged her husband as he raped the teenager.

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