Elizabeth Smart Blasts Officials After Her Kidnapper Is Moved Near Elementary School

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 1, 2019US News
Elizabeth Smart Blasts Officials After Her Kidnapper Is Moved Near Elementary School
Elizabeth Smart during a news conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, while her father Ed Smart looks on, on Sept. 13, 2018. (Rick Bowme/AP Photo)

Elizabeth Smart has issued a statement blasting the authorities after one of her kidnappers was moved close to an elementary school.

Wanda Barzee, who along with Brian David Mitchell kept Smart captive after snatching her from her bed in 2002, was released from prison on Sept. 19, 2018.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole said that Barzee, 73, being released was due to a miscalculation.

Barzee is living less than 1 mile from Parkview Elementary School, located near downtown Salt Lake City, according to the Utah Department of Corrections’ sex offender registry.

Barzee is living in an apartment complex on W. 900 Street in Salt Lake City, according to the Corrections website. The complex is located fewer than 1,000 feet from the school.

Smart said in a statement sent to various news outlets that Barzee should not be housed near a school.

“Every possible caution and protection should be taken when it comes to protecting our children,” Smart said. “Whether a person is deemed a current threat or if they have a history of child abuse, neglect, sexual violence, etc., prudent measures should be taken, including housing them as far away as possible from schools, families, and community centers.”

Reached by The Associated Press, Yandary Chatwin, a spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City School District, declined to comment.

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Prison Release
Wanda Barzee, the woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and holding her captive, in an April 8, 2016 file photo. (Utah State Prison/AP Photo)

Just before Barzee’s release, Smart lashed out and said she was worried about anyone living near Barzee.

“I am very concerned—for the community, for the public, as much as I am for myself,” Smart said.

Smart said Barzee is capable of great evil, describing how Barzee would sit nearby, even touching the girl, while Mitchell raped her.

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Prison Release
Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart during a news conference in Sandy, Utah, on April 24, 2015. Wanda Barzee, a woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Smart in 2002 was released from prison more than five years earlier than expected, a surprise decision that Smart called “incomprehensible” on Sept. 11, 2018. (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

“There were no secrets. She knew what was going on. And, I mean, she just was the kind of woman that—she was just evil and twisted,” Smart said.

“I remember when they used to force me to drink alcohol. And one time they had me drink so much—I was a 14-year-old girl, I’d never touched alcohol in my life—that I ended up throwing up and then passing out in it. And both of them just let me lie there all night. And when I woke up the next morning, I mean, my face and my hair were completely crusted to the ground. And they both laughed. She laughed.”

Smart, who was a captive for nine months, also revealed that sources have informed her that Barzee still carries around a book written by Mitchell.

The book states that Mitchell wanted to kidnap seven girls in total, all of whom would become his wives. “Clearly, she hasn’t let it go,” Smart said.

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