ABC News Hires Kidnap Victim Elizabeth Smart as Correspondent

If there's one person who knows a thing or two about abductions, it's Elizabeth Smart and now ABC is putting her personal experience to use

By Josh Grossberg Jul 07, 2011 4:55 PMTags
Elizabeth SmartCharles Eshelman/FilmMagic

Elizabeth Smart 's personal kidnapping tragedy captivated the nation. Now she's going to use her experience to lend perspective to others facing similar adversity.

ABC News confirms that Smart has been hired as an onair contributor.

What exactly will she be doing?

"She'll be available to all programs and platforms across the news division," says ABC News spokewoman Julie Townshend. "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."

Smart was only 14 when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City bedroom on June 5, 2002, by a mentally disturbed former street preacher and his wife. She was held captive and raped repeatedly over the course of eight months during which time a massive search effort was undertaken by authorities to find her. After intense media coverage, nine months later a bystander who had heard of the case on America's Most Wanted spotted Smart dressed in a disguise with her captors and alerted police who took them into custody.

The teenager's harrowing ordeal was turned into a book and the CBS TV movie The Elizabeth Smart Story.

Now 23, Smart has been studying music at Brigham Young University and is now a staunch activist lobbying for stronger missing persons legislation.

According to the ABC News rep, the network had been talking to her about the job for months. Smart will make her debut as a contributor in the next two weeks,

but will not be featured on the network's two-hour special on another famous kidnapping victim, Jaycee Dugard (Dugard was abducted when she was 11 and held against her will for 18 years, during which time she bore two daughters by her captor).

Good luck, Elizabeth.