Elizabeth Smart speaks at Pennsylvania university following Barzee’s release

Local News

FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo, Elizabeth Smart arrives for a news conference in Salt Lake City. Smart says she’s been “reassured” the woman who helped kidnap her when she was 14 and stood by as she was sexually assaulted will be watched when she’s released from prison. Appearing in an interview […]

LOCK HAVEN, Penn. (News4Utah) – Just hours after the release of one of her kidnappers Elizabeth Smart will address the community at a Pennsylvania university.

Wanda Barzee and Brian David Mitchell were arrested for kidnapping Smart when she was 14. They held her captive for nine months before they were eventually captured, and she was returned to her family in 2003.

Barzee was convicted in both federal and state court for the crime. It was recently announced that she had served her time and would be released on September 19.

Coincidentally, on the day of her kidnapper’s release, Smart is scheduled to give a talk at Lock Haven University. She planned to “share her traumatic story and talk about what it takes to overcome trauma, find the strength to move on, and reclaim one’s life,” according to details of the event. 

Smart held an impromptu press conference ahead of her talk. It is the first time she has spoken publicly since Barzee’s release. 

“I feel like being here to tonight is a statement in my moving forward and being able to continue to do what I feel like is important,” said Smart.

Watch the news conference below: 

Smart who is also promoting her new book, Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up, held a book signing immediately following her talk.

The event was held in partnership with the It’s On Us PA campaign.

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