Kidnap survivor Elizabeth Smart joins ABC News as commentator [Updated]
Elizabeth Smart captured the nation’s attention after being kidnapped and held captive by a Salt Lake City street preacher for nine months at age 14. Now, at 23, Smart is joining ABC News as a commentator focusing on missing-person and child-abduction cases.
"We expect that she can add some insightful, invaluable perspective of what families are going through and bring stories to life for viewers," network spokeswoman Julie Townsend told ShowTracker. "Her contributions will be very much focused on the looking-forward aspect of these situations."
The deal has been in the works for several months, Townsend added, and Smart is expected to be on the air within the next few weeks.
Smart will contribute across the network’s news programs, including “Good Morning America" and "Nightline."
Smart was abducted from her family home in June 2002 by Brian David Mitchell. The 56-year-old nomadic street preacher was convicted in December on federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for sex. He was later sentenced to life in federal prison without parole.
[Updated, 2:24 p.m. July 7: In a statement through her publicist, Smart said of the new gig: "I am committed to giving back and getting involved where I can make the greatest difference through child advocacy work. Partnering with ABC provides a powerful tool to help me accomplish this. I look forward to working to create awareness for and helping bring other missing children home as well as helping to prevent others from experiencing what I went through."]
-- Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: Elizabeth Smart, left, and her father, Ed Smart, talk to the media in front of the Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse on May 25, 2011, in Salt Lake City. Smart's kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, was sentenced to life in prison. Credit: Jim Urquhart / Associated Press