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The Utah woman convicted of kidnapping for her part in the infamous abduction of Elizabeth Smart 16 years ago was released from Utah State Prison on Wednesday.

Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kaitlin Felsted announced the release of Wanda Barzee, 72, in a brief email shortly after 8 a.m. local time.

Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping and other charges in 2003 and was sentenced to concurrent, 15-year sentences in federal and state courts. Barzee also cooperated in the prosecution of her husband, Brian David Mitchell, 64, who is serving life without parole.

Utah officials recently moved up Barzee's release from 2024, saying they had miscalculated her time served in various institutions. 

Smart was 14 when she was taken from her bedroom overnight. Now 30 and the married mother of two, Smart has complained that Barzee rejected psychiatric treatment in prison, urging authorities and Barzee's family to have her institutionalized.

Smart says she fears for herself, her family and the community. In an Instagram post after the release, Smart said she has dealt with "a rollercoaster of emotion" the last few weeks.

"May we all remain vigilant in watching over our families, friends, and community from anyone who would seek to hurt or take advantage," Smart wrote. "I truly believe life is meant to be happy and beautiful, and no matter what happens that will remain my goal for me and for my family."

More: Elizabeth Smart on 'rollercoaster of emotion'

More: Elizabeth Smart: It's 'incomprehensible' my kidnapper will be released

Mitchell slipped into a window of the Smart home in Salt Lake City and kidnapped the blonde teen, whose photo almost immediately appeared in media across the nation and around the world. Mitchell brought Smart to a makeshift campsite, and Smart said she was raped almost every day.

Smart has emphasized that Barzee was as bad as Mitchell.

"She would encourage him to rape me," Smart told "CBS This Morning" this week. "There were no secrets. She knew what was going on. And, I mean, she just was the kind of woman that – she was just evil and twisted."

The trio lived a nomadic existence for about nine months until they were spotted walking along a road in Sandy, Utah.

Barzee's lawyer, Scott Williams, says his client is not a threat to Smart or the community. Smart said she has been assured repeatedly that authorities will keep an eye on Barzee during her five years under supervised release.

"As soon as she messes up, which I've been reassured that she will, she will be taken back to federal prison," Smart said.

Smart  has written a book and a made a movie about her ordeal. She advocates for victims of sexual assault. And she said she turned her horrific experience into a positive.

"I wouldn't have the voice that I have today," she said. "I wouldn't have the compassion or the empathy that I have today. I wouldn't understand what it's like to ... walk the proverbial mile in their shoes. But I have. I have been there. I do know what it's like."

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