Wanda Barzee, the wife of Elizabeth Smart‘s kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, is set for release from custody after over a decade in prison on Wednesday.

Utah parole officials told People it comes after “further review and advice from legal counsel” which said Barzee’s time in federal prison must be counted towards her current stay at the state level, on top of time already served in jail and a state hospital.

Smart called Barzee’s release “incomprehensible,” saying she was “surprised and disappointed.” At a news conference on September 13, she said, “Wanda Barzee saw me as her slave. She called me her ‘handmaiden’ and she never hesitated to let her displeasure with me be known,” and added, “I do believe she is a threat. She is a woman who had six children and yet could co-conspire to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, and not only sit next to her while [I was] being raped, but encouraged her husband to continue raping me.”


Barzee leaves Utah State prison next week, where she’s spent two years, nine after being convicted of kidnapping Smart.

Soon after her arrest in 2003, Barzee told police that she had helped her husband with kidnapping Smart from her home as her younger sister, Mary Katherine, watched. She was also convicted of attempted kidnapping of Smart’s favorite cousin, Olivia Wright, months after the first. In 2010, Barzee pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges related to that.

She would also agree to testify against Mitchell, who’s serving two life sentences.

In April 2016, Barzee started a one to 15 year sentence for the Wright crime, after completing her term for the Smart kidnapping case. In July, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole rejected her request for parole but Scott Williams, her lawyer, argued that she should be released based on time already served instead of 2024.

Williams told Desert News, “There will be no state supervision,” adding that since Barzee served her time, she has no parole. However, she will still be under federal supervision for five years. According to court records, she will have to register as a sex offender as well as check in with a probation officer, go to a mental health treatment program, and avoid consuming alcohol.

On Tuesday, officials couldn’t answer to where Barzee would live or what she’ll do once she’s released. Williams said he “doesn’t talk about any conversations he’s had with clients.” Board of Pardons spokesman Greg Johnson said, “The Department of Corrections is working with Ms. Barzee to help her transition to a stable environment.”

Smart said, “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.” in response to Barzee’s release.

In the years since she was freed from captivity as a teenager, Smart, now 30, has become an author, TV correspondent, motivational speaker and victims’ rights advocate.

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