Elizabeth Smart: Kidnapper Wanda Breeze is getting out of prison next week

Wanda Barzee, convicted for role in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, to be released from prison September 19

Elizabeth Smart kidnapper to be released from prison in surprise move

In a statement quoted by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Smart said she was "surprised and disappointed" to learn of Barzee's pending release.

Wanda Barzee, 72, will be released September 19 after the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole determined it had miscalculated the time she was required to serve in prison, board spokesman Greg Johnson said.

She said she is exploring her options and plans to speak publicly in the coming days.

Just after her abduction, Mitchell took her to a wooded area behind her home and performed a mock marriage ceremony with her, Smart later said.

They began hearing about the possibility of an early release just last week, he said.

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Barzee was sentenced to one to 15 years in state prison to be served concurrently with her federal sentence.

Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell, were convicted of abducting Smart, then 14, at knifepoint from her Salt Lake City bedroom in June 2002.

The kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart gripped the United States media in 2002 and 2003, ultimately leading to the imprisonment of abductor Brian Mitchell and his accomplice Wanda Barzee after their arrest by police.

As we've told you, Wanda skipped out on her parole hearing in June, and a board member said she turned down meeting a psychiatrist at the Utah State Prison despite pleading "guilty but mentally ill".

Smart, now married with two children, has written a book about the harrowing ordeal and helped make a Lifetime movie and documentary about the crime and her life. She was released from federal prison in Texas in 2016 and returned to Utah to serve her state sentence. During his trial, Smart told the jury that Mitchell treated her "like an animal", and forced her to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.

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She said in her statement she appreciates the support she's receiving and vowed to work to address the issue of Barzee's release so the same thing doesn't happen again. She was transferred to the Utah state prison in April 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in the USA state of Texas.

Barzee will be under federal supervision for five years.

"Upon further review and advice from legal counsel, the Board must count time spent in federal custody toward Ms. Barzee's state sentence". In exchange for her plea, she agreed to cooperate in the state and federal cases against Mitchell, her husband.

Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months before Smart was found and rescued. She's also become an outspoken child safety activist and advocate for stronger laws against those who harm children, even testifying in the U.S. Congress in March 2006 in favor of the AMBER Alert system and tough laws against child predators.

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