Elizabeth Smart to join ABC on missing person stories

LOS ANGELES Thu Jul 7, 2011 1:33pm EDT

Elizabeth Smart talks to the media outside the Federal Courthouse after addressing her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, during his sentencing in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 25, 2011. REUTERS/Michael Brandy

Elizabeth Smart talks to the media outside the Federal Courthouse after addressing her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, during his sentencing in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 25, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Brandy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart will join ABC News as a contributor on stories about missing persons, the network said on Thursday.

Smart, now 23, who was abducted in 2002 from her Salt Lake City home and held for nine months, will appear across all ABC News programs and platforms. She could be on the air within the next few weeks, ABC News spokeswoman Julie Townsend said.

"She'll help our viewers better understand missing person stories from someone with the perspective to know what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing. And her contributions will be focused on looking ahead, not looking back at her own story," Townsend said.

Smart was kidnapped at knife point from her bedroom at the age of 14 by a homeless street preacher, repeatedly raped and forced to wander with her captor from town to town for nine months before being spotted by passers-by in a Salt Lake City suburb in 2003.

The kidnapping shocked Americans but Smart has shown composure since her release from captivity. Her abductor, Brian Mitchell, was sentenced in May to life in prison after Smart confronted him in court and told him that she had "a wonderful life now."

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)