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Special Event

Body of Cory Erving Positively Identified

Aired July 7, 2000 - 4:03 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to get a statement now from the Seminole County sheriff, Donald Eslinger, on the discovery of the body of Cory Erving. He is the 19-year-old son of Julius Erving, the son of the Hall-of-Famer.

And the sheriff is speaking now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD ESLINGER, SEMINOLE COUNTY SHERIFF: We've contacted and been in contact with the Florida Highway Patrol. They will assist us in reconstruction of the scene. The car has not been examined thoroughly as of this point but will be in the future.

Any questions?

QUESTION: Sheriff, did they find any type of bread container? Any bread in the car indicating that perhaps he was on his way home that night?

ESLINGER: We are -- or that afternoon. We are, again, in the process of going through that car once it's clear, or at least a little bit drier and more preserved. It's in our impound, or our garage area now in tech services. So when we get that point, we'll have that inventory accessible.

QUESTION: Do you have a better indication of whether or not he had been returning home that Sunday afternoon or whether this...

ESLINGER: We could say that he was wearing the same clothing that was observed by witnesses at Penares (ph) at 2 p.m., or approximately 2 p.m., on the 28th.

QUESTION: Sheriff, can you tell me what brought you back to that retaining pond?

ESLINGER: Actually, Investigators Janes (ph) and Clothe (ph) walked that area the previous day. It was checked on Tuesday the 20th of June with a helicopter, as well as some ground units. Those -- there are three or four different retention ponds in that area. Investigators asked Sergeant Davidson to go back and thorough examination. That's what he did, along with the volunteers, and they discovered the vehicle approximately 4:15 on the 28th, or yesterday.

QUESTION: Have you found any eyewitnesses who saw the (OFF-MIKE)

ESLINGER: No, we do not have any eyewitnesses at this point, but I have scheduled a series of different interviews and whatnot to make that determination.

QUESTION: Sheriff, what did they see on the ground that lead them to believe the car was in the water?

ESLINGER: I'm sorry, what was the question?

QUESTION: What did they see on the ground that led them to believe the car was in the water?

ESLINGER: They didn't. They didn't. Again...

QUESTION: Did they see the car?

ESLINGER: No, no, no, no. They didn't see the car until they dragged the lake as a procedure I explained earlier this morning by Sergeant Davidson (ph) and his volunteers.

QUESTION: Sheriff, how many hours do you think were expended on this case and how much money from the sheriff's office was dedicated to solving this case?

ESLINGER: Well, the investigation continues. It is not concluded. And I do not have an estimate of the amount of man hours that were utilized or expended during this investigation. But I can assure you that it is well within our budget. We did not have to -- we did not exceed our budget, nor did we have to go back to the county and ask for additional funds to conduct this investigation.

QUESTION: Can you talk about how the medical examiner made the ID?

ESLINGER: No, I cannot. I cannot. I am not going to reveal that information. And I have to tell you that there is information, obviously, that we are going to hold to ourselves. We don't want to -- we do not want to compromise the investigation, and it does in fact continue. So please understand that. You know, we have an obligation to provide information to the family and find some resolution to this case, and we don't want to speculate. We don't want to draw any false conclusions or lead us -- it's like from the very beginning on May -- or June the 4th, is we want to maintain our objectivity in this case. We want to look at all the possible scenarios, and that's where we're at today.

QUESTION: Sheriff, you said earlier this morning that there doesn't appear to be any foul play at this point...

ESLINGER: No, I didn't say that. I said that the physical examination conducted by the medical examiner's office at the scene would indicate that there is no apparent signs of foul play or that would be inconsistent with an accident. We cannot make that determination. Closer examination on the autopsy did not reveal anything that would be contrary to what was seen at the initial scene. QUESTION: Sheriff, is there...

QUESTION: Sheriff, any indication that the body in the car had been in the water since May 28th?

ESLINGER: We can't exactly put that together at this point, but we are working on that, based on water temperature and whatnot.

QUESTION: Based on cursory examination, can you tell if there's any indication that the person inside struggled to get out?

ESLINGER: I'm not going to reveal that information, but there's is information that would -- that would assist the people who are going to reconstruct the scene.

QUESTION: Can you say -- do you know if any of the family members positively identified the body? Did they see the body?

ESLINGER: They did not. They did not.

QUESTION: Do you know at this point how positive (OFF-MIKE)

ESLINGER: It's way too early for that, but we are working on that, including the mechanical inspection of the vehicle.

QUESTION: When might you replay the scene and what exactly (OFF- MIKE)

ESLINGER: I don't have a time frame for that but as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Sir, are you able to rule out, based upon preliminary examination of the autopsy...

WATERS: Julius Erving's son has been positively identified. Nineteen-year-old Cory Erving discovered in a retention pond near the family's Florida home in Orlando. The sheriff there, Donald Eslinger of the Seminole County Sheriff's Department, confirming that an autopsy has been performed verifying the identity of the boy and also not disputing preliminary conclusion there was no apparent signs of foul play.

The sheriff did add, however, that some information is being withheld, that this investigation continues.

So we will continue following the story. Right now we're going to turn it back to Rhonda Schaffler in New York.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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