Elizabeth Smart to work for ABC News

Elizabeth Smart

SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart is taking a job with ABC News as a commentator focusing on missing persons and child-abduction cases.

The Utah woman who was kidnapped from her bedroom

at knifepoint, raped and held captive at age 14 by a Salt Lake City street preacher can provide viewers with a unique perspective, network spokeswoman Julie Townsend said Thursday.

A deal with the now 23-year-old has been the works for months and she could be on the air within the next few weeks, Townsend said.

“We think she’ll help our viewers better understand missing persons stories,” Townsend said. “This is someone with the perspective to know what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing.”

Smart was kidnapped from her family home in the dead of night on June 5, 2002, by Brian David Mitchell, an itinerant street preacher whose writings have revealed that he took the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl so he could practice polygamy.

Mitchell, 56, 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.

At a news conference after the sentencing, Smart said she was looking forward to a new and “beautiful” next chapter of her life, including working on behalf of missing children.

She and her father, Ed Smart, also used the news conference to highlight several missing-persons cases and talked about the creation of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which will focus on protecting children from falling victim to kidnapping and sexual crimes.