Elizabeth Smart kidnapper to be released from prison in surprise move

Author: CBS/AP
FILE – In this April 24, 2015, file photo, kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart looks on during a news conference in Sandy, Utah. Authorities arrested Claude Hudson, of Terre Haute, Ind., who they say punched a police officer who stopped him from approaching Smart with a knife while she was signing books at an event Monday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Indiana State University. Hudson pleaded not guilty to battery Wednesday, Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and hold her captive will be released from prison next week. The surprise move announced Tuesday comes after authorities determined they had miscalculated the time 72-year-old Wanda Barzee previously served in federal custody.

Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months before Smart was found and rescued.

Utah Board of Pardons and Parole spokesman Greg Johnson said Barzee will be freed on Sept. 19. She will be under federal supervision for five years.

Smart, now 30, didn’t immediately have comment.

The board said previously that Barzee would be released in January 2024 after it denied her an early parole following a hearing that she chose not to attend.

CBS affiliate KUTV reports that Smart was abducted on June 5, 2002, from her home by Brian David Mitchell. She was 14 at the time and was taken to a camp where Barzee, Mitchell’s wife, was waiting.

Smart was found in March of 2003. She was walking down the street with Mitchell.

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