LIFE

Elizabeth Smart’s Kidnapper Got Out Of Prison Early And Is Now Living Near An Elementary School

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

In the spring of 2002, Elizabeth Smart was just like any other 14-year-old girl. She went to school, spent time with her friends and family, and enjoyed her life in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Everything changed on June 5, 2002, when Elizabeth was kidnapped from her bedroom at knifepoint. She wasn’t found until nine months later, when she was spotted on a street 18 miles away from her home.

The kidnappers were Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. In 2010, Wanda Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and in 2011 her husband was sentenced to two life terms in prison.

In September 2018, Wanda Barzee was released on parole. She was released five years earlier than expected, even though she refused to cooperate with mental health professionals while in prison. Now the 73-year-old registered sex offender is living in an apartment just 600 yards from an elementary school.

Understandably, Elizabeth is outraged at the news that her former kidnapper is living near a school. She told the Associated Press, “Every possible caution and protection should be taken when it comes to protecting our children. Whether a person is deemed a current threat or if they have a history of child abuse, neglect, sexual violence, etc., prudent measures should be taken, including housing them as far away as possible from schools, families and community centers.”

Watch the video to find out more about Wanda Barzee’s new living arrangements.

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