Kids of Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper Call Wanda Barzee a 'Monster'

Elizabeth Smart's kidnapper once cooked their pet rabbit Peaches.

ByABC News via logo
February 2, 2010, 5:45 PM

Feb. 2, 2010— -- The children of one of Elizabeth Smart's kidnappers remembered their mother today as a "monster" who once, with a sly smile, served her youngest daughter her pet rabbit for dinner.

"I asked what's for dinner and she said chicken," LouRee Gayler told Oprah Winfrey on her show today. She remembered her mother Wanda Barzee and her second husband Brian David Mitchell just picking at their meals, "but she had a smile on her face the whole time," Gayler said.

When Gayler went to feed her pet rabbit the next morning, she found the cage empty.

"What happened to Peaches?" she asked her mother, referring to the pet. "You had it for dinner last night," she said her mother replied.

Gayler, the youngest of Barzee's six children, was 14 at the time and had some of the harshest memories of her mother and her two husbands. She recalled being so starved for affection that she would turn to her dog, stay in the doghouse with the pooch and eat dog food out the dog's bowl.

Her older brother Derrick Thompson, who wrote a book about his childhood entitled "Raised By Wolves," said he would escape the physical abuse and cold atmosphere in their home by staying in the large back yard, living there instead of in the house. He would use a pellet gun to shoot birds and cook them over a spit.

A sister identified only as Andrea remembered "brainwashing" sessions with her mother.

"We would be called up to her room, and she would sit there and drum into us, 'If you weren't a part of this family, then the family would be fine,'" Andrea said.

"I think the media portrayed my mother as being a victim of Brian David Mitchell, and I think one of the reasons I wanted to come on this show is to kind of expose her for the monster she is," Andrea said.

Mitchell and Barzee have been charged with kidnapping Smart from her home when she was 14 in June 2002. Smart, who was chained and repeatedly raped, was rescued nine months later.

Barzee has pleaded guilty to federal charges, but has not yet been sentenced. She is confined to a mental hospital while awaiting state charges in the Smart case. Mitchell has not yet been tried.