Elizabeth Smart kidnapper now lives near elementary school

This 2016 file photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Wanda Barzee, who was convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002. | Photo courtesy of Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office via Associated Press, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart is living several blocks away from a Salt Lake City elementary school following her release from prison in September, according to Utah’s sex-offender registry.

Elizabeth Smart looks on during a news conference in Sandy, Utah, April 24, 2015. | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Wanda Barzee, 73, is listed in the registry as living in an apartment near the school after her initial placement in a halfway house. She had been released on parole much earlier than anticipated despite her refusal to cooperate with mental health professionals while incarcerated.

Federal probation officers did return a phone message Monday seeking comment about the living arrangement near Parkview Elementary School.

Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2010 after she pleaded guilty to helping her husband, street preacher Brian David Mitchell, abduct Smart at knifepoint in 2002 when she was 14 and repeatedly raped her. Smart was held captive for nine months before she was found and rescued.

Smart, now 31, has become a child safety advocate and is married with three young children. She had no immediate comment about Barzee living near the school, according to her spokesman, Chris Thomas.

Wanda Barzee shown in a 2017 file photo. | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Corrections via Associated Press, St. George News

Smart has criticized Barzee’s release, which came more than five years earlier than expected after the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole determined it had miscalculated the time Barzee was required to serve in prison.

Smart called it “incomprehensible” that someone who had not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments could be let out, but also said she wouldn’t let Barzee’s release stop her from living her life.

Barzee is serving five years of federal supervised release. The release guidelines don’t seem to set limits on how close she can live to a school.

Sex offenders in Utah are prohibited from going on school grounds, according to state rules.

The school, which has students from kindergarten through fifth grade, is closed for winter break.

Yandary Chatwin, a spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City School District, had no immediate comment.

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • bikeandfish December 31, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Seriously, early release?

    You would think they could create a specific release agreement that would keep someone like her away from vulnerable populations of minors. She’s clearly not rehabilitated, given she refused to work with a mental health team, so such a burden (finding housing a specified distance from schools, etc) seems fair and just.

  • Carpe Diem December 31, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Should be living in a Federal Pen for life. Gitmo would do.

  • Comment December 31, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Anybody need a babysitter?


  • Redbud December 31, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I’d be so mad if I found out she was my next door neighbor. That would freak me out.

    • KR567 January 1, 2019 at 6:14 am

      I would rather have her living next door than some others I know

      • Comment January 1, 2019 at 12:09 pm

        I would take her over the neighbors I’ve got now. Parolees are gonna be motivated to be well-behaved. I’ve got a crew of crackheads on my street in a rental. At least they act like crackheads.

  • Mean Momma December 31, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    If I lived in that neighborhood, I’d make sure she’d want to move every. single. day. Until she finally packed up and got her perverted a&& out of there!
    Disgusting …*

    * Ed. ellipsis

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