Wanda Barzee, a registered sex offender convicted of participating in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart in 2002, is apparently living in a dilapidated home in Utah following her early prison release, only blocks from an elementary school.
According to the Utah Department of Corrections’ sex offender registry, 73-year-old Barzee is living less than a mile from Parkview Elementary School, close to downtown Salt Lake City, where children from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade attend. As a registered sex offender, Barzee is not allowed on the premises of the school or any school for that matter. She’s also banned from daycare facilities and public playgrounds.
On September 19, Barzee was released from Utah State Prison after serving 15 years. Upon release, Barzee initially lived in a room at an extended-stay motel, where she allegedly wailed and screamed to the “top of her lungs” while quoting religious scriptures, before eventually moving to her current home off of W 900 S.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Barzee conspired with her husband, Brian David Mitchell, who kidnapped Smart from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. Mitchell held Smart, then 14, at knifepoint in her own bedroom and forced her out of her home in the middle of the night.
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The couple kept Smart for nine months until authorities found her walking down a street in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City just 18 miles from her family’s residence. Smart was walking alongside Barzee and Mitchell when police stopped them.
Shortly after taking Smart from her home, Mitchell led her into a wooded area close by and forced to go through a “marriage” with him, claiming her to be his new wife. According to Smart, Mitchell forced her through woods while she wore only her pajamas, then raped her after the mock marriage ceremony.
Mitchell then shackled her to a wire between two trees while Barzee fully cooperated and was complicit in the kidnapping.
For the next nine months, Smart was raped almost daily by Mitchell. During his trial, Smart told the jury that Mitchell treated her “like an animal,” and forced her to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. He also forced her to watch him have sex with Barzee.
Further, Mitchell often denied her food and water as a means to control her and have Smart completely dependent upon him.
In 2011, Mitchell received life in prison while Barzee received 15 years in federal prison, in addition to a concurrent sentence of to one to 15 years in state prison. The parole board stated Barzee completed her sentence.
“Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee’s state sentence,” director of administrative services, Greg Johnson, wrote.
Smart was strongly against Barzee’s prison release. During the interview with CBS in September, Smart provided disturbing, never-before-heard details about Barzee and her “reading materials” in prison. Smart claimed Barzee still had a book in her possession written by fellow kidnapper, Mitchell.
“Through my sources, I’ve heard that she’s still carrying around this ‘book of revelations’ that Brian Mitchell wrote… that said he should kidnap me, and not just kidnap me but six other young girls, and that we’d all be his wives,” Smart said.
So far, the allegations against Barzee carrying the book in prison has been unconfirmed. Smart, however, feels that it’s credible information.
“Clearly she hasn’t let go.”
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[Feature Photo: Wanda Barzee via AP/Utah State Prison; Elizabeth Smart via AP/Rick Bowmer]