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CNN Today

Florida Police Optimistic About Catching Kidnapper of 10-Year- Old Girl

Aired March 10, 2000 - 1:03 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Florida police say that Jessica Rodriguez should make a good witness. The 10-year-old kidnapping victim is giving them plenty of details about her abduction. Police say they are optimistic about catching the man who kidnapped her.

And CNN's Brian Cabell is joining us from Gainesville, Florida, with the latest on the case -- Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Donna.

About 50 law enforcement agents are now working on this case full time; about 30 or 40 are working on it part-time. They are going through, literally, hundreds of leads, most of them local, but some of them nationwide. But, clearly, officials here think this is a local case; they say their focus is local. They think their suspect is someone who was local, at least until yesterday.

As for the abduction itself, they aren't releasing any details of that, nor are they saying whether little Jessica was molested.

But her mom said Jessica this morning was up fairly early and started playing with her cousin, and she seemed to be happy, it seemed to be a normal child on, more or less, a normal day.

She is not going to be seen publicly today. She will go to school sometime next week.

But, mom, of course, is just happy to have her child back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER GRAHAM, JESSICA'S MOTHER: I want to thank everybody. I want to thank the media for putting it all out there and bringing my daughter back home to me because everybody has been a very, very big help, letting it be known that she was missing. I also want to thank my community because it is so grateful: everybody pulled together and came through. And they never gave up; they were just out there; they really tried their best; they've done their hardest.

And most of all, I want to tell the man that had Jessica: Thank you for dropping my daughter off safely.

And she's doing great. She's playing. She's so happy. She is wonderful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: The suspect, authorities say, is a white man in his 30s with brown hair, balding on top, about 6-foot tall. He was last seen driving a green SUV, probably somewhere between the years of 1988 and 1992.

Now, we've asked officials: What about someone who would abduct a girl Monday and then turn her back in on Thursday, what about his personality? What about his motivation? They don't want to speculate on that. But they do hold out the possibility that this is someone who might want to be caught.

I'm Brian Cabell, CNN, live in Gainesville, Florida.

KELLEY: Brian, can you tell us a little bit more, if you know anything more about the lie-detector test that they gave to the family, including the mother? Do you know anything about that -- them?

CABELL: All we can tell you is that the mother and the stepfather were both given polygraph tests. And, in fact, it was right in the middle of the polygraph test with the mother that the news came that her daughter had been found. We don't know the results, and I suspect we will not have those results released any time soon, if at all.

KELLEY: OK, Brian Cabell, thanks very much.

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