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Dartmouth Killings: Arresting Officers Hold Press Conference

Aired February 19, 2001 - 11:14 a.m. ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I believe -- are we ready to go to the news conference in New Castle, Indiana? Let's go that live right now.


SHERIFF KIM CRONK, HENRY COUNTY, INDIANA: ... the possibility that the suspect could be coming through -- or suspects could be coming through Henry County. At approximately 4:00 this morning, Sergeant Ward overheard CB traffic of a trucker indicating that he had picked up two individuals in the New Hampshire-New Jersey area and was transporting them.

They wanted to be transported to an area in California. And the truck driver was asking if there was another truck driver that would transport them from the Henry County area to California. Sergeant Ward then got on the CB and identified himself as a truck driver and that he would be willing to transport the subjects that he was talking about to California. He asked the truck driver to drop the individuals at the gas desk at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) truck stop at State Route 3 and 70, which the truck driver did take the individuals to the truck stop.

And the deputies were able to apprehend James J. Parker of Chelsea, Vermont, and Robert Tulloch. They were taken into custody. They were transferred to the Henry County Sheriff's Department. The New Hampshire authorities were contacted. And the FBI was contacted. The Sheriff's Department investigators, with the FBI, are currently conducting the investigation here in Indiana until the New Hampshire authorities arrive, which should be later this afternoon.

Contacted the attorney general from the state of New Hampshire, Philip T. McLaughlin. He wants me to personally thank the officers for a good job that they have done. And the community there is very appreciative that these people were apprehended. And it causes them great relief that they have been apprehended without incident. And we are open for questions.

QUESTION: How was the trucker able to make the connection? Or did the trucker know who these two were?

CRONK: The truck did not know who these individuals were at the time at Sergeant Ward talked to them.

QUESTION: How surprised were these two individuals (OFF-MIKE)

CRONK: Well, I'll refer to Sergeant Ward.

QUESTION: You are the sergeant?


CRONK: Sergeant Ward and Deputy Dean (ph).


QUESTION: Can you get closer to the mike?

WARD: OK. They appeared to be very surprised. They didn't expect us to move in around them so quickly. I had radioed the other two officers to come up in the area on the outside chance that these would be the two gentlemen that were being looked for.

And they were standing outside of another truck trying to get a ride when Officer Newkirk (ph) and Officer Dean came around both ends of the truck and cornered them. And by the time I got there, they already had them -- they were searching the two subjects when I approached.

QUESTION: What was the truck driver's reaction?

WARD: He was very surprised. He -- as we put them in the car, he hadn't yet -- all he knew that they were in trouble. He didn't know what they had done or what. But, at that point, he approached us. We didn't know who he was. And he wanted -- he'd let us know where he picked them up at.

QUESTION: Why did you start listening into the CB? Is this something you routinely do on the overnight shift?

WARD: I do that routinely out on the interstate.

QUESTION: Did you have reason to believe they may have been coming through Indiana?

WARD: No. The news program I watched last night while I was getting ready for work indicated that they had hitched a ride with a truck driver and were heading west. So I-70 being one of the main corridors to the West Coast, we just watch it for about anything that passes through.

QUESTION: What about the boys' reaction when you did apprehend them? Were they speaking? Did they acknowledge anything, admit to anything?

CRONK: We can't answer that question at this point because it's still under investigation.

QUESTION: Where did the trucker pick them up at? Did he say exactly?

WARD: It was near the Pennsylvania -- let me look at my notes. It was near a state line -- near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey state line at a truck stop.

QUESTION: You got the trucker's name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't release that right now.

QUESTION: Has he gone on westbound or is he still here?

WARD: I think he's continued on.

QUESTION: Were either of them armed at all when you apprehended them?


QUESTION: Did they have backpacks?

CRONK: We can't release that right now.

QUESTION: Did they give you any indication of whether or not they were somewhat relieved to be caught? Or were they giving up any information at all?

WARD: The subject I spoke to didn't give make any indication. I think maybe one of them commented about his concerns. But...

QUESTION: His concerns were?

CRONK: That is part of the investigative process. And it's still in the making. And we can't release information.

QUESTION: Can you talk about the emotions, though? Did they -- you know, did they cry or yell or...

WARD: No, they were very quiet.

QUESTION: They are both juveniles. Are you holding them as adults or have the authorities on the East Coast given you any indication, you know, treat them as adults, treat them as juveniles?

CRONK: They are both being charged with adult offenses.

QUESTION: Sheriff, take us through the extradition process: where things stand and what happens next?

CRONK: The prosecutor here, Vic Train (ph), will be working with the New Hampshire authorities to extradite the individuals back to New Hampshire. One of the individuals does have representation. And they are working with them at this time. They do have the right to accept or refuse extradition back.

If they refuse it, we have to attain governor's warrants from Indiana and New Hampshire to get the -- so New Hampshire can get the individuals back. However, I have no indication whether they have or not accepted extradition proceedings.

QUESTION: What exactly are you charging them with at this point: homicide?

CRONK: They are being held on preliminary charges of homicide.

QUESTION: That's based on the charges back in New Hampshire.

CRONK: In New Hampshire.

QUESTION: Sheriff, how proud are you of this officer sitting next to you, who just, you know, basically cracked a national case by doing his job?

CRONK: We're very proud of our officers. And I don't know. We're elated that they have done -- and does show the professionalism that we strive to accomplish in our department and the good police work that they do everyday here in Henry County.

QUESTION: Has anything like this ever happened? What's the closest thing to it?

CRONK: As far as to this extent, we haven't had anything this national. So...

QUESTION: How did you make the connection that those were the two wanted and not


WARD: As I spoke to them, they both very closely resembled the photographs on the news program last night.

QUESTION: What program was that that you were watching?

WARD: CNN Headline News.

QUESTION: Were the two young men awake when the trucker was talking with you? I mean, did they know where they stood?

WARD: I believe so. I'm not sure. I believe they did, though.

QUESTION: When did the trucker pick them up?

WARD: I don't have the date and time here. In my notes, I have the general location. But I think the FBI would want to talk him about that.

QUESTION: What kind of story did they give the trucker so that the trucker would give them a ride?


The truck driver had felt sorry for them. They were close in age to a child of his own. They indicated to him they were from California and they had hitchhiked out to New Jersey -- or, no, Salem, Massachusetts -- I'm sorry -- for employment, and that once they got there, they didn't find employment. And they were just trying to hitchhike back to California.

QUESTION: The trucker had no idea they were giving him a bogus...


QUESTION: When you heard the trucker on the CB saying, "Hey, I'm trying to find a ride for these two kids to go onto California," I mean, did you have a hunch: Gosh, I wonder if it's these two? Or...

WARD: I actually didn't expect it to be them. But I thought it was worth checking out.

QUESTION: How would you describe your own reaction on finding out they were the guys you were looking for?

WARD: I was pleased.

QUESTION: Can you walk us again through the process of the apprehension, when you first found, you know, you might have a situation and how that transpired?

WARD: Once I -- the truck driver called looking to try to find a ride for the boys to continue onto California, I used a cell phone to call Central Dispatch and just confirm that they had the NCIC broadcast printout in hand so they would have information right there at hand when we requested it.

Another trucker had phoned into Central Dispatch. And apparently he overheard our conversation on the CB radio. And he also had seen it on the news, and was informing our dispatch that maybe this was -- might be related. So as I pulled into the truck stop driveway, this driver was waiting for me. He informed me that he had seen the boys get out of a truck and approach some trucks near the fueling island. I directed Officers Dean and Newkirk over to the island. And then I followed them over there shortly thereafter.

And they already had them -- they were searching them and had them in custody.

QUESTION: But you said you were -- you said you were


WARD: No, I -- what I did is, instead of saying that, I just -- the driver had called two or three times asking for rides. So I just got in there and said: "Hey, why don't you drop them off at the fuel desk and someone will pick them up in a few minutes?" And he said, "OK."

QUESTION: These two guys are wanted for murder. They made no attempt to get away, made no attempt to hide, anything like that?

WARD: No. QUESTION: They were very cooperative?

WARD: They didn't resist.

QUESTION: Now, on the charge sheet, it says one of these young men, Tulloch, has slow speech. Is there an indication that he is somewhat mentally handicapped


WARD: I haven't spoken...

CRONK: No, not to our knowledge.

QUESTION: When did your folks write this, sir?

CRONK: That's just the initial interview at the jail.

QUESTION: Because he was anxious or...

CRONK: That is when he was being booked at the jail. That's the only information we have on that.

QUESTION: So there's no indication that he is mentally handicapped?

CRONK: No. We have no indication of that.

QUESTION: There was some discussion


QUESTION: ... that one of the kids might have a really sore throat.


CRONK: That's true.

QUESTION: So he was sick?

CRONK: Right.

QUESTION: Were both of them pretty -- both of them sick by this point, would you say? Or...

CRONK: He had indicated he had a sore throat. That's all we know. They didn't seem to be ill to us or handicapped in any way.

QUESTION: Did one of the individuals point to the other as being a leader?


QUESTION: How about court appearances? Will they make appearances today? CRONK: Last I heard, if there is court appearances, there is a possibility it will be tomorrow morning. And if that changes, we will let you know before then.

QUESTION: Can you talk a little bit more about what they looked like? Did they have dirty Levi's on? Hair look like it was


QUESTION: That kind of stuff?

CRONK: They are not really that unkempt.

QUESTION: Just look like a typical teenager, would you say?


QUESTION: How about people at the truck stop? Were people curious...

KAGAN: We've been listening to authorities in New Castle, Indiana, as they talk about the capture of two teenagers on the run for allegedly killing two Dartmouth professors last month: James Parker, 16, and Robert Tulloch now in custody.

They were picked up at a truck stop in Henry County -- and police officers doing their job, just listening to citizens band radio -- CB radio, listening to truck drivers talk as these two were hitchhiking their way from the East Coast to California. They were picked up earlier today. The extradition now begins, those proceedings to get the two young men back to New Hampshire where they will face first- degree murder charges in the death of Susanne and Half Zantop.

We will have more on this in just a bit. In fact, about 45 minutes from now, we expect another news conference, this one with the Attorney General's Office in Hanover, New Hampshire. We'll also be bringing you that news conference live.



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