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Elizabeth Smart during her kidnappers' sentincing. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Wanda Barzee, who participated in the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, was released from a Utah prison Wednesday after spending 15 years behind bars.

Upon the release, Smart responded to the news saying, "The past few weeks have been an absolute roller coaster. I appreciate everyone’s comments of love and support and outrage. I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to move on with my life. I’m going to continue doing that. I’m not going to have this woman stop me from living my life."

The big picture: Barzee was sentenced for 15 years in prison for holding Smart captive when she 14 years old for nine months, and in 2010 pleaded guilty to the "kidnapping and unlawful transport of a minor for the purposes of sexual activity," per CNN. She will spend the next five years on supervised release.

  • Still, Smart and others have concerns Barzee might threaten others. Court documents say she will stay in unspecified emergency housing chosen by her probation officer until another home is approved, per the Associated Press.

Barzee has been ordered to have zero contact with Elizabeth Smart and her family, and must stay a certain distance away from her, according to federal court documents.

  • "Ms. Barzee's singular desire is to comply with all conditions of her release and to be left alone," Barzee's lawyer Scott Williams told CNN.

After the release Smart wrote in an Instagram post: "May we all remain vigilant in watching over our families, friends, and community from anyone who would seek to hurt or take advantage."

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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