Smart’s kidnapper refuses to attend parole board hearing

DRAPER, Utah — A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 refused to attend a hearing Tuesday before the state parole board.

Wanda Barzee, 72, also refused to undergo a psychological evaluation she would need to get out before her scheduled release in January 2024, said Angela Micklos, a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. She ran the brief hearing at the state prison in the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper, Utah.

Smart’s abduction from her bedroom at knife point by a man who entered through an open kitchen window triggered waves of fear among parents everywhere. The frantic search for the teenager and the mystery about who took her captivated the nation.

She was found nine months later while walking with Barzee and Brian David Mitchell on a street in the suburb of Sandy, Utah, by people who recognized the couple from media reports as suspects in Smart’s kidnapping.

Smart, now 30 and married with two children, has since written a book about the harrowing ordeal and recently helped make a Lifetime movie and documentary about the crime and her life. She is now a child-safety activist who regularly gives speeches.

Smart posted on her Instagram account that she’s not a vindictive person but that she’s worried about Barzee’s scheduled release in 2024 after learning that Barzee is still carrying around a manuscript containing revelations Mitchell said he received from God that told him to kidnap Smart.

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