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Elizabeth Smart Releases Statement After Learning of Abductor's Upcoming Release

After learning that Wanda Barzee, the wife of Brian David Mitchell, would be released from prison on September 19, Elizabeth Smart released the following statement. 

"I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the pending release of Wanda Barzee. It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone who did not show up to her own parole hearing can be released into our community. I am trying to understand how and why this is happening and exploring possible options. I plan to speak publicly in the coming days once I have a better understanding. 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."

On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart woke to a strange voice in her room saying, "I have a knife at your neck. Don't make a sound. Get up and come with me." Smart was taken by Mitchell into the hills above her home where Barzee helped hold Smart hostage for the following nine months.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announced September 11 that, "Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee’s state sentence. Therefore, Ms. Barzee’s state sentence ends on Sept. 19, 2018."

Read more about the decision here.

Lead image from NBC News
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