Some of Wanda Barzee’s new neighbors are not pleased with her new home. Vanessa Phillips, a tenant who lives at the InTown Suites in South Salt Lake City, Utah, spoke exclusively to Us Weekly about the woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart living in the same building as her and her family.
“I am pretty irate,” Phillips began, claiming that the hotel is lying about Barzee’s stay. “There are a lot of children that live there. There are a lot of families that are in transition there, I mean my kids go to school up the road, so for them to lie, hide or anything, it is pretty bulls—t if you ask me.”
Barzee was released from prison after 15 years on Wednesday, September 19. The kidnapper, who was originally scheduled to be released in 2024, pleaded guilty in 2009 to helping her husband, Brian David Mitchell, kidnap a then-14-year-old Smart from her family’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Smart, now 30, was held captive for nine months. A source confirmed to Us that Barzee is staying at the InTown Suites.
“I am really angry, you know there are lots of sex offenders in the world, but this is a high profile case,” Phillips told Us. “I remember this, I was 14 when this happened. For her to be able to come onto a property where there are lots of families with children, I don’t understand what the rules of her probation are and how she can, I mean I know she is supposed to stay away from Elizabeth Smart, but what about other children.”
“I know most sex offenders can not be within certain amount of feet of children, yet she is,” she continued. “This is an extended stay hotel, this is not like a regular Motel 6, this is where people are there for at least seven days or more. So for her to be able to come where there is a possibility where a kid can be there, and nobody made aware, I am very angry about it. I am at the point where I have been trying to find a normal rental, but now I am in more of a hurry because doesn’t seem like they care about how I feel about the situation.”
A public information officer from the South Salt Lake City Police Department in Utah told Us authorities received a noise complaint from the InTown Suites in the early hours of Thursday, September 20. After not getting a response from the person who reported the complaint, police did not respond to the scene.
Smart, meanwhile, spoke out about Barzee’s release during a conversation at Lock Haven University on Wednesday.
“I want every victim and every survivor to know there is nothing that anyone can do to you to change your worth as a human being and if you can’t believe that for yourself, then believe me, because I know it’s true,” she said. “I am not going to let these people or this woman stop me from living the life I want to live.”
Us Weekly has reached out to InTown Suites for comment.
Reporting by Michelle Falls
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