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Ed Smart talks after scheduled parole hearing for daughter’s captor

Ed Smart speaks about Wanda Barzee following a meeting of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole on June 12, 2018.

UTAH STATE PRISON — Elizabeth Smart’s father was outside the room when a parole hearing was supposed to take place for convicted kidnapper Wanda Barzee on Tuesday morning.

Barzee did not leave her cell. Utah Department of Corrections staff said she also refused to cooperate with a new psychological evaluation.

Smart said he has heard Barzee still follows the teachings of fellow Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Brian David Mitchell. Mitchell is serving a life sentence in Arizona for the 2002 crime.

“Her refusal to come today seems to be an indicator that she is still of the same mindset back at the time that she took Elizabeth,” Smart said.

But Smart said they are not letting this whole process bring down their family.

“I think we are just moving on, and life is great. Occasionally something like this will happen, and we will deal with it as it comes,” he said.

Elizabeth and her husband have two children. She now acts as an advocate for survivors.

Barzee will remain in custody until the Parole Board makes a decision on whether to parole her, which seems unlikely, or set another hearing. Barzee’s sentence will expire on January 29, 2024.

Smart said he is not concerned about his family’s safety once Barzee is released, but does worry about whether she would do anything like this again.

It’s only 11:00am and today has already been an eventful day. This morning was the parole hearing for Wanda Barzee, one of the people who kidnapped and held me captive for nine months. The funny side of this morning was I got to the state prison once it was already over 😬, that was just due to a silly mix up. And the good news is she was not released. However what I find troubling is that regardless of her threat level she will be released in 2024, six years from now. It is possible that she could be paroled before then….hopefully not. I do not think I’m a vindictive or vengeful person, if change were truly possible in her case then perhaps parole/release could be justified. But I have recently learned that she is still carrying around a manuscript called,”The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah” and is reading from it. In this manuscript were the “revelations” Mitchell “received” from God to kidnap myself and 6 other young girls to all become his wives, it also “revealed” his other highly disturbing and dangerous ideas. This is proof to me that she hasn’t changed, and if the prior 15+ years hasn’t changed her I don’t see how the future years will. I will continue to pray that she will never be a threat to myself, my family, or any vulnerable person ever again. A lot can happen between now and the years to come so in the meantime I will continue to make my family my priority, working to advocate and protect victims and children, and live my life the best way I know how.

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