Elizabeth Smart said the impending release of Wanda Barzee should concern the public because the convicted kidnapper is “still a big threat” and possibly holds onto beliefs that led her to help with her kidnapping more than 16 years ago.
Smart, 30, a soon-to-be mother of three, told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday she heard Barzee, 72, still holds onto teachings written by husband Brian David Mitchell, who held her captive for nine months when she was 14.
“I do believe she's still a danger,” Smart told CBS anchor Gayle King. “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 ... clearly, she hasn't let it go.”
"[Barzee] is still a big threat, and not just to me but to the public in general, I mean, to any person who's vulnerable out there,” she added.
Barzee spent 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to helping Mitchell kidnap Smart in 2002. She was convicted on both state and federal crimes and was transferred to the Utah state prison in April 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in Texas.
Utah's Board of Pardons and Parole had denied Barzee early parole following a June hearing, which she chose not to attend. They said she also had refused to take a psychological exam and set a release date of January 2024.
Last week, however, officials announced Barzee had served her full sentence after crediting time she served in federal prison. She is expected to be released this week.
Smart recalled Tuesday how Barzee encouraged Mitchell, who is serving a life sentence, to rape her.
“I know just how bad she really can be. She would encourage him to rape me. She would sit right next to me. Like, the side of her body would be touching me,” Smart said.
Smart said she’s been assured Barzee will be closely monitored after her release.
“I have been informed on who the agent is, who the federal agent is, who will be supervising her,” she said. “And I do believe that he will do the job to the best of his ability. I have faith in him. I just lack faith in her.”
Barzee’s niece told The Deseret News she will not be taking in Barzee.
“She needs help,” the niece said, adding her family is not capable of handling Barzee’s mental needs.
Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.