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Wanda Barzee’s niece talks about her aunt’s release

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 20:42:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Many have been speculating that Wanda Barzee must be staying with family, but her niece Tina Mace said that couldn't be further from the truth.

“To do something like that, it just, it made me sick,” Mace said.

Mace said she wasn't close with her aunt, but knew that her first husband, before Brian David Mitchell, would physically abuse her and her children.

“Something's wrong. You know you get that feeling that something's wrong,” Mace said.

When Mace met Mitchell, she knew he was a little off and when the couple sold all their belongings to live on the streets, Mace said she wasn't all that surprised. She does remember seeing Mitchell once walking around downtown in 1998.

“(I yelled) Brian! And he turned around and he said my name's not Brian it`s David and he just stormed off,” Mace said.

Five years later, he was arrested, along with her aunt Wanda, and charged with kidnapping Elizabeth Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom.

“I was sitting at my computer and this sketch came out and they said Wanda and Brian Mitchell and I screamed out and said 'Don! Come here! It's my aunt!'" Mace said.

Mace remembered starting to watch Elizabeth Smart's documentary and having to turn it off when faced with the gruesome details of her captivity.

“Wanda would sit there and laugh and egg him on while he was raping her three times a day,” Mace said.

Last week when she heard her aunt would be getting out, Mace's heart sank for Elizabeth Smart.

“Oh, poor Elizabeth. I can’t even imagine what she's thinking or feeling,” Mace said.

As far as Mace is concerned, 15 years is nowhere near enough.

“You do that to a child in my opinion, and I'm sorry if this hurts my cousins, but I think you should get the death penalty,” Mace said.

While she hopes Barzee gets the help she needs, Mace said Barzee will never be welcome in the Mace’s home.

“Oh heck no. I wouldn't want her anywhere near my family. No, no, no, no,” Mace said.

She questions whether her aunt will ever truly be ready to be a part of our society.

“Can you really help somebody that`s done something like that? Who knows,” she said.