Elizabeth Smart Joins ABC News as Contributor on Missing Person Stories

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Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart -- who was held captive for nine months by a homeless man who called himself a religious prophet -- has been hired by ABC News as a contributor on stories dealing with missing persons and child abductions

"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," ABC News spokeswoman Julie Townsend told ET. 

Townsend said the network had been talking to Smart, 23, "for quite some time" and she could be on the air within the next few weeks. Smart was kidnapped at age 14 from her bedroom at knifepoint, then raped and held captive by Salt Lake City, UT street preacher Brian David Mitchell, whose writings have indicated he abducted Smart so he could practice polygamy.

Mitchell, 57, was convicted in December on federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for sex. He was sentenced in May to life in federal prison without parole.

The news comes just two days after a Florida jury acquitted 25-year-old Casey Anthony of killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee and kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugardreemerged in the public eye to reveal horrific details of her 18-year abduction.