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Parole Board Says Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper Will Pose Danger To Society

Elizabeth Smart/Instagram

After 15 years in prison, one of Elizabeth Smart's kidnappers is set to walk away as a free woman.

After pleading guilty to federal charges for her role in Smart's abduction in 2009, Wanda Barzee, 72, was sent to a federal prison in Texas, but was released in 2016.

She was then transferred to the Utah State Prison to serve time for a felony charge when she and her then-husband former street pastor, Brian David Mitchell, attempted to kidnap Smart's cousin just a month after the original abduction.

Although it was believed Barzee's sentence would continue through January 2024, the Utah Board of Pardons and Prisons realize they had miscalculated the total number of years she spent in prison.

"It is incomprehensible."

Since the prison sentences were served concurrently, they have no choice but release Barzee from custody.

"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 September 19, 2018," a statement from the parole board said.

However, according to TMZ,  the Utah Board of Pardons and Prisons have publicly acknowledged Barzee "poses a danger to society."

The celebrity news outlet said the parole board said as unfortunate as it is, there is nothing it can do to prevent Barzee from reentering society.

When Smart heard of Barzee's upcoming release, she didn't hold back when voicing her horror.

"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," Smart said.

"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."

In 2002, then 14-year-old Smart was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, and forced to live in a remote campground with Mitchell and Barzee until she was found nine months later.

While captive, Smart said she was forced to take part in a mock commitment ceremony with Mitchell and was both sexually and physically abused.

However, once Barzee is released from the slammer, it doesn't look like she'll have anywhere to go.

"I hope the state puts her in a mental hospital."

While Barzee is set to be released on September 19, her extended family said they won't be welcoming her home with open arms anytime soon.

"From what I know, no family can take her in or would take her in," Barzee’s niece Tina Mace said according to the Salt Lake Tribune. "I hope the state puts her in a mental hospital, and they never let her out."

"I just feel extremely horrible for Elizabeth and her family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through."

Barzee's oldest daughter Rhonda McLeod confirmed Mace's statement, and agrees she should be sent to a mental hospital.

"Where else is she supposed to go besides prison or the Utah state mental hospital?" McLeod told the outlet in an email, adding that her mother had disowned all of her six children in 1993.

The public is also speaking out about Barzee's release, including Ralf Czerny, a resident of Murray, Utah.

Although the retiree has acknowledged Barzee has served her time, he doesn't think her sentence was long enough.

"The public kind of got screwed there,” Czerny said, adding that he's afraid Barzee will harm a child again."There should be some kind of intervention from the social workers or whatever and restrict this person somehow."

[H/T: TMZ, Salt Lake Tribune]

How do you feel about Barzee's impending release? Let us know in the comments!

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com