National News

Wanda Barzee a no-show at parole hearing in Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping

Posted June 12, 2018 5:51 p.m. EDT

— Wanda Barzee, the woman who helped Brian David Mitchell kidnap Elizabeth Smart from her bedroom back in 2002 and held her captive for nine months, is up for parole.

Barzee, 72, refused to attend her hearing, instead informing corrections officers that she did not wish to be transported. Angela Micklos, a member of the Utah Board of Pardons & Parole, also said Barzee has refused to participate in required psychological evaluations.

"That has not been done to date. Ms. Barzee refused to meet with the prison psychologist last month just for a psych review," she said.

Elizabeth Smart did not attend the hearing, but her father, Ed Smart, showed up after it had concluded. He said he believes Barzee still follows Mitchell, who is serving life in a federal prison.

"I recently heard she's still following Mitchell, carries around his little bitty bible and her refusal to come today seems like an indicator that she's still of the same mindset she was at the time she took Elizabeth," he told reporters.

Smart said his daughter has moved on with her life and he would leave it up to mental health professionals to recommend if Barzee is released.

"I don't think I have concerns for Elizabeth or our family, but if she were to go back to the same scenario that she's been, she was really an encouragement to Mitchell to abduct Elizabeth," he said. "I would hate for her to have the opportunity to do that to somebody else."

Barzee is serving a one-to-15 year sentence in the Utah State Prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping. She entered the prison in 2016 after serving a stint in federal system.

Her sentence is scheduled to expire in 2024, meaning she would have to be released by then regardless of any mandatory mental health evaluation. Micklos signaled the parole board is unlikely to release her immediately without that evaluation.

"Without that additional information, we're left, basically, guessing what her current status is. We will not be making any decision until we receive more information," she said.

Barzee's lawyer, Scott Williams, told reporters that he believed she should already have been out by now. The deal with the feds called for a concurrent sentence.

"She should be out because 15 years has passed and I don't think, and I'm trying to understand how the state of Utah thinks they can hold her more than 15 years on a 15 year sentence maximum," he said.

Williams said he sent information on Barzee's plea deal to the parole board. Greg Johnson, a spokesman for the board, said they would evaluate it and make an ultimate decision on Barzee's fate within two to four weeks.