Wanda Barzee is an embarrassment to her Salt Lake City, Utah family after she took part in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. Now, with her release from prison scheduled for today, her mental health is being questioned.
When Barzee and husband Brian David Mitchell did the kidnapping, Smart was only a teenager. Barzee was a professional organ player at the time.
Even though Barzee is scheduled for release today, many, including her kidnap victim, Elizabeth Smart, fear she’s not ready for society. Some say she’s still a threat to the public and want her to stay off the streets.
The Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart
Barzee’s husband then, Brian David Mitchell, kidnapped Smart at knifepoint from her bedroom. They held Smart captive for several months. During this time, Smart reports that Barzee sat close by and motivated her husband as he raped her.
Wanda described her marriage to Mitchell to have been a tough one. It only got easier when she learned to become submissive and obedient.
Brian Mitchell was a street preacher. He convinced Barzee that it was God’s plan for them to sell all they owned and travel the country dressed in long robes.
Mitchell then kidnapped Smart when she was 14 years old. Smart was forced into a polygamous marriage. Mitchell rapped her almost on a daily basis.
Smart was found nine months later when she was taking a walk with Barzee in the suburb of Sandy in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.
According to Smart, when she looks back, it does seem that Barzee was manipulated by her husband. Barzee treated her as a slave and handmaiden.
“But she, in her own right, abused me as much as he did.”
Barzee’s Upcoming Release
Barzee, now 72-years-old, is due to be released from Timpanogos Women’s Facility in Draper, Utah today. The Utah prison board says they had miscalculated her sentence and that she is due to be released on September 19.
Her release comes as a threat to many who are concerned about her mental health. Can we trust the mental health treatment she received from the nation’s prison?
Her family feels that she could still be a threat to society. Calls have been made to ensure that she stays off the streets.
Life after Release for Wanda Barzee: Family Ashamed of Elizabeth Smart’s Kidnapper
Tina Mace, Barzee’s niece, says her aunt’s actions still terrify her. She wonders why anyone would commit such a tremendous act. Mace says that no family member is willing to welcome Barzee into their homes.
Since no family member is willing to take Barzee in after her Utah prison release, federal agents have found her a place to live. This is where she will stay during her five-year supervised release. The information was given by U.S deputy chief Probation Officer for Utah, Eric Anderson.
Eric, however, declined to disclose where Barzee will be staying. They say this is to keep the Famous Prisoner safe.
Wanda Barzee’s Plea Deal
After Barzee testified against her then-husband Mitchell in 2010, she was able to get in a plea deal. The deal had her serving 15 years in prison. A sentence she has now completed.
Due to her testimony, Brian David Mitchell was given a life sentence.
What Is Elizabeth Smart Up to These Days?
Elizabeth Smart is now 30-years-old. She is an activist and a speaker. On September 13, Smart addressed her concerns that she is worried that Barzee could still be a threat.
Smart’s concerns come from reports that Barzee was uncooperative with her mental health treatment while in prison. She is also reported to still hold on to Mitchell’s beliefs.
Smart says that the Utah prison authorities should first closely assess whether inmates, including Wanda Barzee, are completely healed before they are set free.
How inmates with mental health problems are treated in prisons is questionable. Trusting the prison with the task of ensuring prisoners are cured before release is adding more responsibilities to a system that is already overloaded with other unclear goals.
Barzee’s Mental Health
Mace reported that a few years into her stay in the federal and state prison had an effect on Wanda Barzee’s mental health. Barzee received treatment from Utah State Hospital for five years after her arrest.
Attorney Scott Williams, Barzee’s lawyer, says the famous prisoner is not a threat. The Utah women’s prison refused to comment on her behavior while she was incarcerated… which is only right.