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Sacramento Sheriff Discusses Soltys' Arrest

Aired August 30, 2001 - 17:02   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm just told that the Sacramento news conference with the Sacramento sheriff's department is getting underway. Let's go there now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SHERIFF LOU BLANAS, SACRAMENTO COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you, Sergeant Lewis. Presently, the status of the investigation is the suspect is in our homicide bureau presently being interviewed by our investigating detectives. As you know, this morning at quarter to 8:00, we arrested the suspect at his mother's residence hiding in the backyard under a desk. We took him into custody without incident. We were on a 24-hour watch of his residence, actually three residences, and hoping for the best. And the best turned out; we managed to find him and arrest him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys needed to do this before the press conference. We need to hear the sheriff.

BLANAS: Before we get into questions and answers, I'd like to introduce Valentin Kalinovskiy, a member of the Ukrainian community and also a minister in that community.

VALENTIN KALINOVSKIY, UKRAINIAN MINISTER: My name is Valentin Kalinovskiy, V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N K-A-L-I-N-O-V-S-K-I-Y.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you speak a little louder, please?

Valentin Kalinovskiy, V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-, K-A-L-I-N-O-V-S-K-I-Y. I'm the church secretary of the Bethany Islamic Missionary Church, and we are very glad to hear this news, and we're very happy that this already ended. And we give special recognition to the Slavic community for helping to capture Nikolay, and also a special recognition to the sheriff's department, especially to Lou Blanas for doing their job very good and very quick. We appreciate it very much. And thank you very much, everybody.

BLANAS: Do you have any questions for...

QUESTION: Sheriff, do you have a better idea now how the suspect has spent the last 10 days?

BLANAS: Well, we are still interviewing the suspect, and I've got to tell you, at the request of the district attorney, they do not want us to talk about the interview that's going on right now. And they do not want us to release a 911 tape. By the way, the 911 tape is in Ukrainian and very difficult to understand, but at the request of the district attorney, we are obliging her and not releasing any of that.

QUESTION: Can you say at least whether he's confessed to anything or not?

BLANAS: I'm saying that we are interviewing him. And the interview is going well.

QUESTION: Do you have any better idea what the motive may have been behind this?

BLANAS: We are interviewing him, and we're not, at the request of the district attorney, again -- as you know, this is going to be a very high-profile case here in Sacramento, and the district attorney has requested that we do not divulge the motive at this point.

QUESTION: How long has he been interviewed?

QUESTION: Can you tell us what kind of condition he's been in?

BLANAS: Well, he's pretty tired, pretty run down. He has clothing underneath the clothing he had on. And it appears that he's been living outside for some time, and he's pretty tired.

QUESTION: Have you been able to determine whether or not he had any help or assistance while he was on the lam?

BLANAS: We're still examining that. I think it was mentioned earlier that it looked like he had a couple days' growth of beard, or at least three or four days. That is one of the considerations we're talking -- issues that we're talking to him about. And the this time, I don't have the particulars on exactly where he's been. I do know one thing: It is our feeling that there was never a green Explorer.

QUESTION: Sheriff, since...

QUESTION: Why do you say that?

QUESTION: Sheriff, since the family is the one that called, are they subject to receiving the reward money?

BLANAS: Well, we don't know that. The family is going to be here at 4:00, and we're going to -- they'd like to come down and talk to the press. They are very relieved and excited over the fact that he is in custody. So we will have another press conference at 4:00 with the family of the victims.

QUESTION: How come you say there's no green car?

BLANAS: We're understanding that through information that we're developing, that he was probably on foot most of the time in the last 10 days that he was at large.

QUESTION: You were saying -- you think he was in one place or was he moving around? Or how did he stay where he was?

BLANAS: Well, he had to be moving around, because from where he dropped the car off to where we initially or finally arrested him, it's about -- probably about 12 miles. So as you know, we have -- Sacramento is blessed with the fact that we have a lot of beltways and green parkways, and conceivably, he could have been hiding in there. I don't know exactly where, and we're still going through the process of examining that.

QUESTION: Have you found a camp or anything like that?

BLANAS: Not at this point. We did find a sleeping bag with him and a nap sack, so to speak, and that's about it. That was in the backyard.

QUESTION: Did he have any other clothing, one additional layer of clothing or multiple layers of clothing?

BLANAS: Well, he had a tee-shirt under a tee-shirt.

QUESTION: Have you determined if the knife in the bag was one that he may have used in these crimes?

BLANAS: The knife in the bag, and the reason I didn't bring it down here to show it to you is we still have some witnesses to talk to in this case. I mean, you know, we've got a suspect that's been identified, but we still have to go through all the process to make sure our investigation holds true. But it's our feeling from our homicide investigators that the weapon that we found in the bag is consistent with the murder weapon.

QUESTION: Did it have any blood on it?

BLANAS: I did not find that out. I'm not going to get into that?

QUESTION: Sheriff, how was Soltys (OFF-MIKE) in the backyard of his mother's home? I mean, it was under 24-hour surveillance. Can you talk about that?

BLANAS: Well, you know, we had six officers out there in graveyard guarding the residence or watching the residence. We had a surveillance on the family because it was our feeling that he would make contact with his mother. We felt it was a good likelihood that he would make contact with his mother. So we had a 24-hour surveillance on the mother.

The mother was staying at the bottom address, and, you know, at night, there's so many ways to get into that backyard, you can't cover every inch. But we felt the fact that we had an alarm system in there, a panic alarm system that we installed, and also issued cellular phones with a simple press of the button, and it would dial 911.

QUESTION: What happened with the panic alarm? We're being told... WOODRUFF: The sheriff of Sacramento County, California talking with reporters about today's arrest of Ukrainian immigrant, Nikolay Soltys, who has been accused in the death of murder of six of his family members, including his own 3-year-old son. We heard the sheriff saying that Soltys is now being questioned. And also, we heard him say that the knife they found in his bag when they arrested him at his mother's home in the Sacramento area, that knife is consistent, he said, with the murder weapon. Those murders taking place 10 days ago.

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