Our Pledge To You

News

Family refuses to take in Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper, niece says

This April 8, 2016, file photo, provided by Utah State Prison shows Wanda Barzee. Barzee, the woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and held her captive, has been released from prison. | Utah State Prison via AP, File

This April 8, 2016, file photo, provided by Utah State Prison shows Wanda Barzee. Barzee, the woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and held her captive, has been released from prison. | Utah State Prison via AP, File

SALT LAKE CITY — Once an accomplished organ player in Salt Lake City, Wanda Barzee became a disturbing figure for members of her own family after she helped in the 2002 kidnapping of then-teenager Elizabeth Smart.

Days before the 72-year-old woman is released from prison, an expert says looming fears about whether she remains a threat and calls to keep her off the streets bring up deep-rooted questions about mental-health treatment in the nation’s prisons.

Details of the crime still horrify Barzee’s niece, Tina Mace. She says no family members she knows of would take in Barzee after her release.

Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer for Utah Eric Anderson says Barzee has secured a place to live. He declined to provide details.

RELATED: Elizabeth Smart kidnapper to be released from prison