Remember Elizabeth Smart? Ever wonder where her kidnappers have been and where they are now? We have the scoop on the past and current prison homes of now infamous and famous prisoners Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.
Capturing 14-Year Old Elizabeth Smart in 2002
In 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was woken up in the room she shared with her younger sister in Salt Lake City, Utah, by a man with a knife who threatened to kill her family if she didn’t come with him.
But the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart and held her captive for nine months was no stranger.
The New Yorker reports that Smart immediately recognized her captor as Immanuel (yes, with an “I”), a local beggar who her father had once hired to do work on their roof.
Who Are Elizabeth Smart’s Kidnappers?
What Smart wouldn’t learn until later is that her abductor’s real name was Brian David Mitchell. Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, would hold Smart captive in the Wasatch Mountains of Salt Lake City and later in a campsite outside of San Diego for nine months.
Eventually, the trio were recognized in Salt Lake City. The two were taken into custody and have never seen freedom again.
Brian David Mitchell’s Trial
The New York Times reports that the case had been stalled for so many years after the initial abduction as Mitchell was declared mentally ill and unfit to stand trial in state court.
Mitchell was finally found guilty of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines in December of 2010. During the trial, CBS reported that Mitchell had to be repeatedly removed from the court due to incessant singing.
Where Is Brian David Mitchell Now?
In 2011 Mitchell was sentenced to life in federal prison for kidnapping Smart, holding her captive, and raping her. He was hauled off to a federal facility. But, authorities never released the name of the prison to the public.
To this day… inmate searches on the federal BOP website comes back empty for Brian David Mitchell. So, his exact whereabouts are still a secret to the general public at this time.
Wanda Barzee’s Trial
According to the outlet, Wanda Barzee was found incompetent to stand trial in 2004. The famous prisoner was subsequently sent to the Utah State Hospital for further review.
Wanda Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in 2010, according to CNN. The sentence was part of a plea deal in which Barzee pled guilty to federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines.
In exchange for cooperating with authorities in regards to the charges against her husband, Judge Dale Kimball gave Barzee credit for seven years that she had already served, per CNN.
Per KSL, she then pleaded guilty in state court to the 2002 attempted kidnapping of Smart’s then-14-year-old cousin, Olivia Wright, as part of a larger plea deal.
Where Is Wanda Barzee Now?
In 2016, Fox 13 reported that Barzee had finished serving her federal prison sentence in Forth Worth, Texas, as she was given credit for the nearly seven years she’d already spent in Utah’s state mental hospital.
She was then transferred to the Utah State Prison to serve her state sentence, where she remains today. The felony kidnapper has already been denied parole once, and has another parole hearing scheduled for 2018.
Wanda Barzee’s sentence expires in 2024, when she will be roughly 78. It’s possible the state parole board will decide to keep her in prison until then.
How Is Elizabeth Smart Doing Now?
She is now married with two children, Elizabeth Smart hopes that sharing her story will prevent others from suffering the same fate she did when she was taken from her home in 2002.
The survivor says:
“No child deserved to go through what I went through. No child deserves to be taken, to be raped, to be murdered.”
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