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Police Comment on Manhunt for Iowa Man Suspected of Murdering Seven

Aired August 31, 2001 - 09:01   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Another mass killing -- this one happened last night -- and the hunt for a suspect under way right now. Seven people are dead, including a mother and her five children. And police in Sioux City, Iowa are calling it one of the worst crimes in state history.

Let's go to Sioux City now live for the latest press briefing from Police Chief Joe Frisbie.



Hopefully, if people keep communicating with us and turn up the heat a little bit here, I'm hoping before this day is over, we have this person in custody. That's my hopes.

Of course, we don't know. I believe that there's probably no question that he's still in this community and probably trying -- I would suspect he's probably trying to find a way out. But I think he's still here -- recent sightings. Police are out on the West Side right now looking, trying to locate this individual.

But other than that, not a whole lot has changed. And as I told you, there was a -- as you know, the "Journal" has already released some names. And I will neither confirm nor deny those names at this point, because I don't have that luxury. I have to -- I have certain procedures that I have to follow on positive identifications. And that will probably occur sometime today after the autopsies have been performed.

And, as you understand, there will be seven different autopsies that have to be performed. They'll start at 8:30. That could take some time. I am hoping by noon that we will know a whole lot more. So I'm going to wait until noon to have another news conference. And at noon, if we require more at that time, I'll schedule another one. We will try to be as forthcoming and as available as we possibly can for the news media.

We understand the necessity for that. And, hopefully, I will be able to be here and do these for you. So...


QUESTION: ... sighting at all? Was he in a vehicle? Or was he on foot?

FRISBIE: No, he was on foot.

QUESTION: Whereabouts in the West Side, Chief?

FRISBIE: Near West Side out here, close to the area of the western tap out there in that area.

QUESTION: Is there anything you want to tell people in town? Should they be careful?

FRISBIE: Well, I think they should be extremely careful and be aware that this person is moving around out there. So anybody that is listening, especially most people in the cars, I think are going to be listening probably to your station and the radio. And if they see anything please call the 911 number. That's probably the one that will be most familiar with them.

That will be OK because we consider this an emergency nature -- and to give us whatever information they have. We have officers working the area right now. And we can respond very quickly.

QUESTION: Can you give us the I.D. for (OFF-MIKE)

FRISBIE: Sure. Of course, most of you, I think, have photos. And if you don't, there should be some at our front desk.

Andrew (sic) Matthew Moss is a white male, 23 years of age, 5 foot, 9 inches tall, 170 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes. The description of clothing I really don't have at this point, OK? But as soon as I get more information, I will certainly release that. But...

QUESTION: You said he is looking for a way about of here. Is he looking for...

FRISBIE: Well, let me put it this way: If I was him, I would be looking for a way out. I don't know that that's what he is doing. But God only knows what's motivating him right now. And this sort of thing, if he's on foot, I suspect that he would like to change that. So people should be very cautious.

QUESTION: Have authorities in South Dakota and Nebraska also been notified?

FRISBIE: Authorities all over the area here have been notified.

QUESTION: This morning you mentioned that he had -- he could make a weapon out of just about anything. Does that imply military training?

FRISBIE: No. No. I'm just saying that -- I really, probably kind of regret that statement, because it's probably shedding more light on the trauma that occurred at these homicides. But I'm just saying that you don't necessarily have to have a gun to do damage, OK?

QUESTION: Are you getting a lot of tips from the public?

FRISBIE: Pardon?

QUESTION: Are you getting tips from the public on sightings?

FRISBIE: We've been getting some calls, yes.

QUESTION: Is he still the only suspect (OFF-MIKE)

FRISBIE: He is the focal point of our investigation at this point, yes.

QUESTION: The warrant on Moss (OFF-MIKE)

FRISBIE: Pardon?

QUESTION: Is the warrant on Moss (OFF-MIKE)

FRISBIE: Yes, it is.

QUESTION: What can you tell us about Mr. Moss? Is he a native to the city? Does he live here?

FRISBIE: We've had dealings with Mr. Moss going back to his teen years. He's been in this community for some time.

QUESTION: Criminal dealings?

FRISBIE: Pardon?

QUESTION: Does he have a record?

FRISBIE: I've got to be careful about talking about any kind of records, that sort of thing. I don't want to prejudice this situation. I couldn't give you a confirmed answer on that until I do some more research. But we've had -- we've had occasion to deal with Mr. Moss in the past, OK? I will just leave it at that.

QUESTION: Could you be more specific on the area of the West Side? I know that you mentioned a particular area. But that's one that I'm not


FRISBIE: It would probably be approximately -- from the station here, you are probably talking around six blocks west of the police station here on West Third Street. It was right in the area.

QUESTION: Oh, right in the area of the murder.

FRISBIE: Out by the western tap out in that area -- out where Hybe (ph) is, in that area out there -- right out in that area.

QUESTION: Probably four or five blocks from the Third West Street location? Not far from the West Street...

FRISBIE: Well, West Street location would probably be another -- that would probably be another 12 blocks out, I'll bet, at least -- pretty close to that, anyway.

QUESTION: Do you know how many medical examiners are going to be performing these autopsies?

FRISBIE: I know the state medical examiner is being called in. There's two local pathologists that are going to be involved, for sure -- to the best of my knowledge, probably three, maybe more. I'm not sure. I know there will be three.

And, ma'am, you've been waiting. Yes.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Do you know anything about whether or not Adam Moss worked for (OFF-MIKE) company and if the mother of the children also worked there?

FRISBIE: That is my understanding, yes.

Any other questions at this time?

QUESTION: Did you know if she called in sick to work on Monday? Has anyone confirmed that?

FRISBIE: She certainly did not call in.


QUESTION: Can you tell us, Mr. Moss, did he have any family in the area?


QUESTION: And have they been contacted or (OFF-MIKE)

FRISBIE: I am -- I know that they have probably all been talked to by this time, OK? I can't tell you who, how or when. But there's no question that all those avenues have been explored at this time in our attempt to find this individual.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Did you say he was on foot?

FRISBIE: He is on foot at this time, yes -- at least, that was our last information.

QUESTION: Is it possible he may try to enter a home? And if so, what should people do?

FRISBIE: I think anything is possible. I don't want to -- obviously, I'm not trying to panic the community at all. But they got to realize that the seriousness of this investigation and what we need to talk to this individual about.

And if it is the right individual, and what we've seen occur up to this point, people have a need to be concerned about their safety. And, obviously, if they see this individual or somebody that matches the description, they should certainly contact us and we will respond to those calls.

And, obviously, you will see a lot of -- you will be seeing a lot of police in the community right now.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) last night, as I understand it, you were making a link between the two scenes. What is the link between the two scenes?

FRISBIE: The link between the two scenes is Mr. Moss. The victims, to the best of my knowledge, did not know each other. But Mr. Moss did know victims at both residents. So that is the link, is Mr. Moss. And so -- and that's about all I really want to speculate on that right now.

Again, we will be getting into information that's investigative in nature and could be damaging to our case. So I'm being a little careful about that right now.


QUESTION: Are all the children related?


HARRIS: We've been listening this morning as Sioux City police Chief Joe Frisbie has been briefing the press on the early stages of this investigation into a mass killing situation in that city.

A family of six, a mother and her five children, were killed at one scene. And then at another crime scene, another man was killed. They think that there is a link between the two scenes, if not between all seven people. The link is Adam Matthew Moss. Let's see if we -- can we put a picture of Moss up here?

This is the man that Sioux City police are looking for. They say he is 23 years old. He is 5 feet, 9 inches tall. And they say he weighs about 175 pounds. The police believe right now that he is on foot and he may want to change that situation. Therefore, they are advising drivers to be very careful if they happen to be on the west side of town.

We are continuing to follow the story. And we'll bring you any developments as they come in.



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