Mitchell losing hold on Barzee in Smart kidnapping


    SALT LAKE CITY – Wanda Barzee, charged with helping a self-styled prophet kidnap Elizabeth Smart, is no longer under his spell, family members say.

    Evelyn Camp made an appearance with their mother Dora Corbett at the Utah chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, where leaders are using the Smart case to publicize mental health problems.

    “The Lord told her to ‘let him go,'” Camp said Friday. “She doesn’t seem emotional about it.”

    Camp said when she visited a mental hospital, Barzee told her, “I’m so sorry for everything. They’re helping me learn to let go of my past.”

    Despite that, court documents say Barzee’s mental status is anything but certain. She was sent March 24 to the Utah State Hospital for treatment after spending a year in jail.

    Barzee, 58, calls herself the “Mother of Zion” and still insists co-defendant Brian Mitchell is “the only living prophet,” her sister said.

    Barzee was deemed incompetent to stand trial in January, although experts differed in their reasons, one saying she was a paranoid schizophrenic, another that she suffered from shared psychotic disorder with Mitchell.

    Mitchell’s competency hasn’t been determined. The 50-year-old street preacher allegedly kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth at knife point from her Federal Heights home June 5, 2002. Barzee allegedly helped hold Elizabeth captive for nine months in 2002 before police found all three walking along a street in suburban Sandy.

    Prosecutors claim the abduction partially fulfilled what Mitchell said was a prophecy from God to take seven plural wives.

    After a tumultuous first marriage, Barzee found Mitchell reassuring. And Mitchell “offered a seemingly timid manner” when her family first met him, Camp said.

    Soon, though, a darker side to Mitchell began to emerge. He quit his iron-working job, complaining that the ornate railings he worked on were “graven images.”

    Barzee was playing the organ for the dedication of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, then complained “she felt an evil spirit here,” Camp said.

    The two were excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mitchell began calling himself a prophet.

    “I used to say, ‘If only we could get Wanda away from Brian, if only we could kidnap her,'” Camp said.

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