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Elizabeth Smart to speak on captor’s release from prison

SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart is set to discuss the surprise announcement that one of the people who kidnapped her when she was 14 will be released from prison.

Smart is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday on the release of 72-year-old Wanda Barzee, who will be freed next week. Utah authorities determined they had miscalculated the time Barzee previously served in federal custody.

Smart has called it “incomprehensible” that Barzee would be freed despite failing to undergo mental health evaluations or attend a June parole hearing.

Smart, now a 30-year-old speaker and activist, said in a statement Tuesday she was exploring her options.

Barzee pleaded guilty to helping a former street preacher kidnap Smart in 2002 and keep her captive for nine months before the girl was found and rescued.