Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — A woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart and stood by as the Utah girl was sexually assaulted was released from prison Wednesday after 15 years amid concerns that she might still be a threat to other young people.

Wanda Barzee, 72, quietly left the state prison in the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper, avoiding a throng of reporters gathered outside. Authorities have not said where she was going.

Barzee's release followed a surprise announcement last week that Utah authorities had miscalculated her sentence and she would be freed earlier than expected.

Under the terms of her release, Barzee must undergo mental health treatment and not contact Smart and her family.

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Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case
Former missing child Elizabeth Smart (C) stands with her father Edward (L) and mother Lois (R) as they attend a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington April 30, 2003. President George W. Bush signed the Protect Act of 2003 also known as the Amber Alert legislation during the ceremony. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn GMH
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 17: Ed (L) and Lois Smart speak to the news media about their daughter Elizabeth's kidnapping June 17 , 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Mauricio Menjivar/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: This handout photo from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's department shows Brian David Mitchell March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell and his wife Wanda Ilene Barzee were taken into custody in conjunction with the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart who was found alive with them, nine months after being kidnapped. (Photo by Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: This handout photo from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's department shows Wanda Ilene Barzee March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Barbee and her husband Brian David Mitchell were taken into custody in conjunction with the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart who was found alive with them, nine months after being kidnapped. (Photo by Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 9: Elizabeth Smart's cousins Tori Dumke (L), Cessilee Smart (C) and Alicia Smart join supporters during a candlelight vigil June 9, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth was kidnapped at gunpoint from her home early June 5, 2002. (Photo by Keith Johnson/Getty Images)
KEARNS, UTAH - JUNE15: Eric Hutchings, Representative of district 38 in Utah, gives instructions to volunteers searching for the kidnapped14 year-old Elizabeth Smart June 15, 2002 in Kearns, Utah. Smart was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City June 5, 2002 and an all out local effort to search for her continues. (Photo by Mauricio Menjivar/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: Tom Smart, uncle of Elizabeth Smart, speaks at a news conference March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth, the teenager abducted from her bedroom June 5, 2002, was found in a routine traffic stop in the car of Brian David Mitchell, a man who had done work on the Smart home and was wanted by police for questioning in the case. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 13: Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed, speaks with the media at the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Federal Heights Ward March 13, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth Smart was abducted nine months ago from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint, allegedly by Brian David Mitchell. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 13: A poster echoing the Smart Family's Latter-Day Saints (LDS) beliefs hangs at the LDS Federal Heights Ward March 13, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth Smart was abducted nine months ago from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint, allegedly by Brian David Mitchell. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 21: Investigators in the Elizabeth Smart case meet before a news conference June 21, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Later, Bret Edmunds, the man wanted for questioning in the kidnapping of the 14-year-old girl was caught June 21, 2002 at a West Virginia hospital.(Photo by Mauricio Menjivar/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - (UNDATED FILE PHOTO): A family photo of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart who was abducted at gunpoint from her Salt Lake City home June 5, 2002 is shown in this undated photo. A teenager has been arrested for trying to extort money from the Smart family according to reports in the media in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect, Walter Kenneth Holloway, is not believed to have any actual connection with Smart's disapearance, but faces charges such as interstate extortion and threatening communications. Elizabeth Smart turned 15-years-old November 3, 2002. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 18: (FILE PHOTO) This handout image showing a compilation of images of a man identified as Brian David Mitchell, was released by the Smart family February 18, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart. According to the Smart family, the man who at first was identified as 'Emanuel' was a handyman in their home in November of 2001. Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home June 5, 2002. (Photo by Smart Family/Salt Lake City PD/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 12: Elizabeth Smart's cousins Amanda (L) and Sierra Smart react at a news conference March 12, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elizabeth, the teenager abducted from her bedroom in June 5, 2002, was found in a routine traffic stop in the car of Brian David Mitchell, a man who had done work on the Smart home and was wanted by police for questioning in the case. (Photo by Danny Chan La/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 30: Surrounded by families of kidnapped victims, including Elizabeth Smart (L), her parents Lois and Ed, and Donna Norris, the mother of Amber Hagerman, U.S. President George W. Bush (R) signs the Amber Alert package into law at the Rose Garden of the White House April 30, 2003 in Washington, DC. The national 'Amber Alert' plan would create a system to help find kidnapped children and impose tougher penalties on child abusers, kidnappers and pornographers. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2003/05/20: Elizabeth Smart of Salt Lake City, Utah plays the harp during the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's 9th Annual Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.. Smart was given the 2004 National Courage Award for having the courage to relay her identity to law enforcement authorities. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 30: President George W. Bush greets Elizabeth Smart (C) and her mother Lois Smart (R) in the Roosevelt Room April 30, 2003 at the White House in Washington, D.C. President Bush met with the Smart family before the signing of the S. 151, PROTECT Act of 2003, which would create a system to help find kidnapped children and impose stiffer penalties on kidnappers. (Photo by Eric Draper/The White House/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 22: Judge Judith Atherton listens to the attorneys for Brian David Mitchell in court April 22, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell is charged with the alleged abduction of teenager Elizabeth Smart June 5, 2002. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 22: Wanda Barzee appears in court handcuffed April 22, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Barzee is charged with the alleged abduction of teenager Elizabeth Smart June 5, 2002. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 19: Brian Mitchell, a suspect in the Elizabeth Smart abduction, is seen on a video screen from jail during his first court appearance March 19, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee were charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated burglary March 18, 2003 in the abduction of Elizabeth Smart June 5, 2002. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - JANUARY 6: Brian David Mitchell (C), the alleged kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, makes an outburst in court by singing a Bible verse as a Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputy prepares to remove him from the courtroom during a hearing at the Matheson Courthouse January 6, 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Defense attorneys Heidi Buchi (L) and Mark Helm (R) attended the hearing. (Photo by Laura Seitz-Pool/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY - SEPTEMBER 2: Elizabeth Smart's father, Ed Smart, listens to the charges read against Brian David Mitchell, former homeless street preacher and kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, during an arraignment before Third District judge Judith Atherton September 2, 2004 at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitchell pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and other charges in the knifepoint abduction of Elizabeth Smart. (Photo by Laura Seitz-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2004/05/19: Left to right, Elizabeth Smart, Senator Orin Hatch (UT) and John Walsh attend the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's 9th Annual Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C.. Smart was given the 2004 National Courage Award for having the courage to relay her identity to law enforcement authorities. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Ed Smart, father of kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart, approaches the media shouting "It's real, It's real" about his daughter being found alive and in what he describes as doing well in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 13, 2003. Elizabeth was found yesterday in Sandy, Utah after spending almost nine months captive. She was abducted at night from her bedroom June 5, 2002. REUTERS/Steve Wilson SCW
Neighbors Kate Langland (left) and Kim Ujifsa leave the home of the Smart family to go and post fliers of Elizabeth Smart in surrounding areas, in Salt Lake City, June 5, 2002. A 14-year-old girl was abducted at gunpoint from her bedroom in the middle of the night on Wednesday, prompting a massive search across three states as family members pleaded for her safe return. Elizabeth Smart, still wearing her red silk pajamas, was taken from the house in front of her 9-year-old sister, who was so frightened by the gunman's threats that she waited two hours before raising the alarm. REUTERS/Matthew Hatfield ME/
Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl, was abducted at gunpoint from her bedroom in the middle of the night on June 5, 2002, prompting a massive search across three states as family members pleaded for her safe return. Ms. Smart, still wearing her red silk pajamas, was taken from her Salt Lake City, Utah house, shown June 6, in front of her nine-year-old sister, who was so frightened by the gunman's threats that she waited two hours before raising the alarm. REUTERS/Steve Wilson/POOL CRIME KIDNAPPING
Cousins of Elizabeth Smart, Amanda (L) amd Sierra Smart (R), share tears of joy at a family news conference after Elizabeth was found alive and in what police describe as good condition in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 12, 2003. Elizabeth Smart was abducted from the bedroom of her home June 5, 2002. REUTERS/Steve Wilson SCW
Daisy Carlson and her son Hayden tie a blue ribbon around a railing in the neighborhood below Elizabeth Smarts home in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 13, 2003. Elizabeth was found yesterday in Sandy, Utah after spending almost nine months captive. She was abducted at night from her bedroom June 5, 2002. REUTERS/Steve Wilson SCW
Elizabeth Smart (C) and her father Ed Smart (L) applaud as U.S. President George W. Bush speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House April 30, 2003. Surrounded by the Smart family and families of other kidnapped children, President Bush signed a wide-ranging package of child safety measures into law. REUTERS/Win McNamee WM
A letter from Brian David Mitchell, the self-styled prophet who calls himself 'Immanuel', on trial for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002, is shown in this undated photograph admitted into evidence in his federal kidnapping trial in Salt Lake City, Utah. The image was released to Reuters November 29, 2010. REUTERS/United States District Court/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Brian David Mitchell is escorted by a marshal at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 10, 2010. Mitchell, a homeless street preacher was found guilty of kidnapping then teenager Elizabeth Smart in June of 2002, whose abduction and nine-month ordeal gripped much of America more than eight years ago. A federal jury in Salt Lake City convicted Mitchell, 57, on two counts: kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. REUTERS/Michael Brandy (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Elizabeth Smart talks to the media outside the Federal Courthouse after addressing her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, during his sentencing in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 25, 2011. The homeless street preacher convicted of kidnapping Smart was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison after Smart told him that he would be held responsible for his actions "in this life or the next." REUTERS/Michael Brandy (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
Reporters Jennifer Dobner (L), Carla Roberts (C) and Kelly Burke hold up signs reading "Life" for the media outside the Federal Courthouse during sentencing of Brian David Mitchell in kidnapping case of Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City, Utah May 25, 2011. The homeless street preacher convicted of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison after Smart told him that he would be held responsible for his actions "in this life or the next." REUTERS/Michael Brandy (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY)
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Smart, now 30, has said she was shocked and disappointed by the announcement.

Smart recalled some of the horrors she experienced as a 14-year-old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 by Barzee's then-husband, street preacher Brian David Mitchell.

Smart said last week that Barzee saw her as a slave during the nine months she was held by the couple and encouraged Mitchell to rape her.

"So do I believe she's dangerous? Yes," Smart said.

An Instagram post early Wednesday, Smart urged her supporters to watch out for "anyone who would seek to hurt or take advantage."

Barzee's attorney Scott Williams said there's no reliable evidence that his client remains a threat to anyone.

"It is unfair and counterproductive," Williams told reporters, adding that Barzee wants to be left alone and will comply with the conditions of her supervised release.

He said he's concerned about her safety but did not elaborate.

Ed Smart, the victim's father, said he's glad Barzee will be watched over closely by federal agents during her five years of supervised release, but he's concerned about reports that she still believes Mitchell's ideas.

He said Mitchell's so-called divine revelations prompted Barzee to help kidnap his daughter and even sit next to her as Mitchell raped her.

"My hope is that she won't be a problem," Ed Smart said of Barzee. "I do know how she treated Elizabeth during that time, and I still feel like she's very capable of doing the same thing."

Smart, now a married mother and activist for victims' rights, wrote on Instagram over the weekend that she's taken precautions and won't let her life be disrupted by the release of Barzee.

"I lived in absolute fear and terror for nine months, no matter the outcome I will not do so again," Smart wrote.

Smart was found in captivity while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in suburban Sandy by people who recognized the abductors from media reports. Mitchell is serving a life sentence after being convicted of kidnapping and rape.

As another condition of her release, Barzee was placed on the Utah sex offender registry, but her address was still listed online Wednesday as the Utah prison. Her mug shot on the sex-offender registry shows her with a wide smile, blue eyes and chin-length gray hair.

Federal agents have said Barzee won't be homeless but declined to say whether she will live in a private home or a facility. She could be returned to prison if she violates the terms of her release.

Barzee's niece Tina Mace has said her aunt's testimony against Mitchell seemed like a turning point, but her mental state appears to have changed in prison. Mace said she's unaware of any family members who would give Barzee a place to live.

Barzee was treated at Utah State Hospital for about five years following her arrest. She testified in 2010 against Mitchell and was given a plea deal on state and federal charges. She was transferred to the Utah prison in 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in Texas.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole initially set a 2024 release date. Her attorney questioned whether the term included time Barzee had served in a federal prison. The board decided last week that she had served her sentence.

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AP writer Russell Contreras in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed to this report

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