CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Salt Lake City Police Officials Hold Press Conference
Aired June 13, 2002 - 13:01 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.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: As promised, we want to take you to Salt Lake City there, where police have a press conference under way right now. And they are discussing the missing case of 14- year-old Elizabeth Smart.
DAVID SMART, ELIZABETH'S UNCLE: Good afternoon. We would like to express our feelings toward the police department that we have full confidence in them. We will help them in any way possible. Any questions they have or anything we can do to help aid in this investigation, we will do that.
As you know in investigations, there are many boxes that need to be checked, and we feel that the family box is one of those boxes. And if the police did not do their job, if they did not investigate us, they would not be doing their job. They would be negligent. We are, once again, very happy with what -- the effort they have been putting out. We know some of these officers and law enforcement agencies have been going around the clock, and we greatly appreciate that.
Also we urge the public and the media, do not get distracted with this type of aspect. Our key focus is finding Elizabeth, and we do not want to lose that focus.
Also yesterday, there were many companies that came out yesterday, and they closed their doors down. They came out to help search for Elizabeth. We would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to them for their prayers, for their help and all of the donations that have been coming in. The effort in finding Elizabeth has been overwhelming. We have been extremely -- I mean, words cannot express our feeling towards the community and towards the nation in all of the help and the support we have received.
As a family, I feel as a community and a nation, we are all united in finding Elizabeth. Let's stay the course and find Elizabeth. Thank you.
CAPT. SCOTT ATKINSON, SALT LAKE CITY POLICE: Overnight, there have not been any new developments. We are still looking for Mr. Edmunds in his green Saturn. He may have changed plates on the car. Again, we would ask you to look for that car and any information, please call the police. The distinguishing thing, again, might be that neighborhood pace car sticker that's in the middle of the back window. The other thing is that the police department has been very supportive of the Laura Foundation and all of the things that they have been able to accomplish that we have not been able to. Without their support, we would -- the areas of town that have been covered and searched and those kinds of things would not be possible for us to do.
Maybe one of the most significant things that has happened with them is that they have been able to eliminate places that she might be, and that's very important. Some of those things that they have not found have been very important to us. The family continues to be very cooperative and very supportive of what we are doing and have cooperated in every way. And they have come in and talked to us when we need it and clear up any questions that we might have.
At this point, I'll take questions.
QUESTION: Did the Smart family wait an hour to report this kidnapping?
ATKINSON: Did the Smart family wait an hour to report this? Not that I am aware of.
QUESTION: 45 minutes, Captain, they waited 45 minutes?
ATKINSON: All I can tell you is that the call came to us at 4:01 a.m. in the morning.
QUESTION: And has a search warrant been executed for any home other than Elizabeth's home, I mean, in the family -- for any other family member?
ATKINSON: The question was, has a search warrant been issued? I don't know of any other search warrants.
QUESTION: Have there been any lie detector tests since those reported earlier this week? Has anyone else taken a lie detector test?
ATKINSON: The question is, have there been anymore lie detector tests? Yes, we are continuing to do polygraphs and probably will continue to do more.
QUESTION: Have those resulted in anything that you would consider a lead or something that bares further following up on?
ATKINSON: They have not.
QUESTION: Who else besides Edward has been polygraphed?
ATKINSON: The question was, who else besides Edward has been polygraphed? I won't comment on that.
QUESTION: Have you repeat polygraphed anyone?
ATKINSON: Not that I -- the question was, have we repeat polygraphed anyone? And not to my knowledge.
QUESTION: Tom Smart told "LARRY KING LIVE" that he did take a polygraph test. Can you comment at all on the results?
ATKINSON: Now, the question was, is that Tom Smart took a polygraph or told Larry King that he took a polygraph, and can I comment on the results. And, no, I can't.
QUESTION: Based upon what you know now, do you believe that there was a forced entry into the Smart home?
ATKINSON: Do I believe that there was a forced entry into the Smart home? I am not commenting on any of evidence.
QUESTION: That's a pretty straightforward question.
ATKINSON: I am still not commenting on any evidence.
QUESTION: When you talk about the extended family, how many people are we talking about? Is it 30 people, 300 people of the extended family that we are looking at in the investigation?
ATKINSON: The number of people in extended, I don't have a number -- I am sorry. The family could probably help you with that.
QUESTION: Can you confirm that the police department has asked for all video clippings since the kidnapping of Tom Smart?
ATKINSON: The question was, is can I confirm that the police department has asked for all video clipping that include Tom Smart? Not specifically for Tom Smart. We have asked for video clippings.
ATKINSON: In investigative technique.
QUESTION: Have you done any more or less investigation of family members than you would have on any other case of this magnitude?
ATKINSON: The question is, is have we done any more or less investigation on the family than we would on any other case involving this kind of situation? And I think I would respond to that that I don't believe we have. Anytime you have an investigation of this magnitude and of this kind, we always look closely to who this person might be acquainted with, who their contacts were, all that kind of stuff. And looking at the family and extended family and people who have been in the area is a typical type of investigation.
QUESTION: The newspaper article today suggests that the police are focusing on the extended family and the idea that it might be a -- quote -- "inside job." Can you characterize how much of a focus that is in the investigation?
ATKINSON: The question was talked about the newspaper article today focusing on the family and how much the police are using that to focus on investigation? I don't believe we are focusing on it any more than we already have been. Again, during these types of investigations, you look at the family, extended family, those people who might have had contact with this young lady.
QUESTION: Is it a primary focus of your investigation?
ATKINSON: The question was, is it a primary focus of our investigation? I wouldn't characterize it as that.
QUESTION: Was the information about the screen correct?
ATKINSON: Was the information about the screen correct, was the question. And I am not going to comment on that. It's evidence.
QUESTION: So is the extended family just one theory, a primary theory, one of many theories?
ATKINSON: The question was, is it the primary theory, one of many theories. I would say the latter one of many theories.
QUESTION: We know the family was shown a picture of Bret Edmunds. But was Mary Catherine actually shown the picture? Last night on LARRY KING, Duane Baird (ph) wasn't quite for sure. The family hasn't really come out and said for sure whether Mary Catherine, the nine-year-old sister, was actually shown a picture of Edmunds, and if so, was that the perpetrator in the room nine days ago?
ATKINSON: OK, the question was, did Mary Catherine, was she shown a picture of Mr. Edmunds, and did she identify him as a suspect? I do not know if she was shown a picture of him.
QUESTION: How can we find out whether Mary Catherine was shown that picture?
ATKINSON: I don't know. The family could answer that. I don't know that she has been shown. That would something the investigators would take care of.
QUESTION: The only witness to the perpetrator would have to see a photo first?
ATKINSON: The question was, wouldn't that be key? Again, I can't comment on that.
QUESTION: Let me put it this way. Wouldn't it be logical to show the one girl who could possibly put a pinpoint on this man, wouldn't it be, you know, sort of logical to show her that picture?
ATKINSON: The question, wouldn't it be logical for us to show her the picture? I guess you could characterize it as that.
QUESTION: David is here. Could David come up and address this and tell us about that?
ATKINSON: I don't know that David knows.
SMART: To my knowledge, the whole family has been shown this picture, and no one recognizes this individual.
QUESTION: Including Mary Catherine?
SMART: I believe so. That's all I can tell you. You know, another thing is that this person is being brought in for questioning to get -- to gain information. I believe it has not been said that he is suspect. Is that correct?
ATKINSON: That's correct. Yes. We believe that he might have knowledge of the Avenues (ph) area and the people that frequent up here. He has living up here in his car, and he is not a suspect.
QUESTION: Captain, can you comment at all? There are other reports out this morning that say that one of the polygraph tests given to a family member did not pass the smell test. The results are suspicious. Can you comment on that at all?
ATKINSON: The question is, is that one of the polygraph tests has been characterized as being not meeting the smell test. And I am sorry, I can't comment on any results of polygraph tests.
QUESTION: Can you tell us what was going on in the Smart family home on Tuesday. Was there some sort of a gathering of members of the family, perhaps who wouldn't normally be there? What was going on Tuesday evening in the Smart family home?
ATKINSON: OK. The question was, is can I tell you what's going on, or what was going on Tuesday at the Smart family home? I am sorry, I am not aware of meeting that happened there. There could have been.
QUESTION: But they did attend an awards ceremony at the middle school, is that correct?
SMART: Yes. They did go to an awards ceremony that night. Some of the kids were at home. There was no special family gathering or anything of that sort. It was just a normal night basically.
QUESTION: Was there a gathering also the day before perhaps, because of the death of Lois' mother?
SMART: You know, I wouldn't be able to answer that. Someone from the Franken (ph) family would have to answer that. But what my understanding is, is that as far as at Ed and Lois' house, I am unaware of anything of that sort.
QUESTION: David, have you been asked to take polygraph test or any of your brothers other than the two who have already taken them?
SMART: You know, I will cooperate in whatever the police department wants. If that's what they want, that's what I will do. Anything they need, I will do. But I am leaving all of that up to the police.
QUESTION: David, has the family hired an attorney at all?
SMART: I don't see any need in hiring an attorney -- thanks.
QUESTION: David, is Tom here this morning? Would he be available to answer a few questions?
SMART: Tom -- I am unaware that Tom is here. Tom needs to get some sleep. He has been through an awful lot, and we would like to see him rested. And at a further time, we hope to see him come back.
QUESTION: Have you been asked to take a polygraph?
SMART: I believe I have already answered that question -- thank you.
ATKINSON: Thanks, David.
QUESTION: David, can you talk about the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Could you just answer if you have been asked or any of your other brothers, other than...
ATKINSON: OK. If there are not any other questions for me, then we will be done today.
QUESTION: Since you have narrowed the focus (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the other day, how much progress you made in re-interviewing suspects, re-canvassing the neighborhood surrounding the Smart house?
ATKINSON: The question is, is since we have started canvassing or refocused our investigation on the neighborhood. We have done lots and lots of interviews. We have come up with lots of information that would help us to determine who or who might not be a suspect. We think that it's moving in a positive direction.
QUESTION: Captain, why is the polygraph question so touchy? I mean, if somebody has been given a polygraph, they know. I don't know that that's going to reveal anything to the suspected kidnapper, is it?
ATKINSON: The question is, is why is the polygraph test such a sensitive issue? And that he didn't think that it would reveal anything in the investigation. Part of the reason that we don't give all the names of the people that are polygraphed is people that we talk to and we give polygraphs to may have nothing to do with this investigation once we have talked to them and given them a polygraph. Why would I jeopardize their identity to you, so that you could go out and talk to them if they have nothing to do with the investigation? So we are not commenting on anybody who has taken a polygraph test or not.
QUESTION: ... come in and interviewed Mary Catherine. Is there any possibility that sketch artists would have drawn a picture of M. Edmunds?
ATKINSON: Mr. Edmunds is not a suspect.
ATKINSON: Could it ever change?
QUESTION: Are you saying he is not a suspect? You don't think he was involved. Is that...
ATKINSON: The question was, is do we think Mr. Edmunds was involved at all? We do not believe that Mr. Edmunds was involved.
QUESTION: Why do you say that?
ATKINSON: There is no indication to us that Mr. Edmunds -- again, what we are looking for him for is we have information that he has lived in the Avenues (ph), has been here, we have identified him, the plate led us to his direction, those kinds of things. Again, he is not a suspect at this time.
QUESTION: You were hoping to...
ATKINSON: No, I wouldn't say that he has been eliminated. But again, we are looking for him to give us information he might have seen up here, people that he might have seen, those kinds of things.
QUESTION: Captain, do you think he may have had any relationship to the family in any way?
ATKINSON: The question was, is do we think he had any relationship? At this point, we can't show a relationship.
QUESTION: What do you know about Mr. Edmunds? I mean, you have had some time now. What have you been able to determine about jobs he may have held, where he lived?
ATKINSON: Well, we have lots of information on where he lived previously, the jobs that he has held. He is currently unemployed. Again, he -- earlier last month, he assaulted a police officer, ran from the police, was chased up here into the Avenues (ph), where he was lost. He at one point worked up here in the Avenues (ph) gathering garbage, I understand, and so would know the Avenues (ph).
QUESTION: One consistency in this case is basically nine-year- old Mary Catherine's account of what happened in that bedroom nine days ago, is that correct?
ATKINSON: The question was, is the one consistency in this case is the story by Mary Catherine, and I would say, yes, that's true.
QUESTION: Is the lack of a composite stretch, can we assume that Mary Catherine didn't get a good enough look at this intruder to come up with a sketch? Was it possibly too dark in room, and there actually a chance that this is somebody she would have recognized had the lighting been better?
ATKINSON: The question was, is can you assume that she is not doing a composite because the lighting wasn't good or anything of those kinds of things? I guess you can assume what you want. I can't comment on any of that stuff. QUESTION: Captain, this is a very high-profile case. The media has been covering since the beginning. Yesterday, the first photo was released in this case, and being as high profile as it is, that photo has gone right across the country. But now you are saying this person you don't even believe is involved in the case. With respect to the sensitivities of releasing information, why is it you won't you release information about polygraph tests for the same reason?
ATKINSON: I have already explained our position on polygraph tests.
QUESTION: ... us whether or not the doors, do they know definitely the doors were all closed -- locked that night?
ATKINSON: Again, I can't comment on evidentiary kinds of things.
QUESTION: Captain, it seems like you are willing -- you guys are willing to release the name of a suspect or a person who you don't even believe is a suspect, but you are really reluctant to say anything about the family, about lie detector tests, et cetera. Why is that? I mean, why would you release the name of somebody you don't even believe was involved, but then steer clear of, you know, these things dealing with the family?
ATKINSON: Well, we really want to find Mr. Edmunds and see if he has any information that could help us.
QUESTION: Captain, it sounds like this whole investigation is hinging on what a nine-year-old girl saw. And yet, four hours after that photograph was released, Mary Catherine still hadn't seen the photo, and an FBI profiler who offered to sketch this person was turned away. Why is this?
ATKINSON: I believe the investigators didn't think it was necessary, or they have a reason that I am unaware of why that hasn't been done.
QUESTION: Are you guys holding back information?
ATKINSON: We are holding back evidentiary information, yes.
QUESTION: Did the nine-year-old girl actually see this person (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
ATKINSON: I can't tell you that.
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Let her see this photo. Let her do a composite. Did she see this individual?
ATKINSON: OK. I can't comment on that.
QUESTION: Can you tell me then why you aren't allowing the nine- year-old to speak to the media?
ATKINSON: The investigators I believe think that's in their best interest. QUESTION: Captain, can you tell us about, according to this article, there were some sources that were cited, giving -- leaking information. Can you tell us how this may affect your investigation, whether or not there is something going on within the department trying to keep that information within the department and seal those tapes?
ATKINSON: The question was about the leaks that came from within the department, the four people that supposedly are -- and how that all will affect our investigation. I don't think it will affect our investigation at all.
QUESTION: Were those leaks done deliberately?
ATKINSON: The question was, were those leaks done deliberately? No.
QUESTION: Well, are you all making any effort to make sure the leaks don't get out? I mean, that could affect the investigation.
ATKINSON: Well, as you all know, you all have sources, and I can't stop that.
QUESTION: Captain, do you think Elizabeth is still alive?
ATKINSON: Do I think Elizabeth is still alive? Personally? That's my hope.
QUESTION: What do you think?
ATKINSON: What do I think? I think that's my hope.
QUESTION: Captain, getting back to the polygraph, it's just one investigative tool. It's not permissible in court. We know that Edward has been polygraphed. By not releasing the names of the others, you keep the focus on the father. People continue to report that the father has been polygraphed. And now, we know Tom has been polygraphed.
ATKINSON: I think I have talked enough about the polygraphs. And I think it's you that puts the focus on the father and not me. So if you are focusing on the father because he took a polygraph and I am not telling you who else did one, that's your focus, not mine.
QUESTION: So why not clear it? Why not clear it in public? That way, all these repeated questions won't be coming out continuously.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just an investigative tool.
ATKINSON: Right. It is an investigative tool.
ATKINSON: OK. Go with your sources. I am not commenting on that. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)
ATKINSON: If you would like to comment on what he did, that's fine with me. But I am not commenting on it, Marcus (ph). I am not going to not comment on it. And you all can ask me 100 questions about it, and I will still stand up here and say I am not commenting on it.
QUESTION: Captain, do you know of any problems in the relationships between Elizabeth and any of her uncles?
ATKINSON: Do I know of any problems between Elizabeth and her uncles? I am not aware of any.
QUESTION: Are you investigating any?
ATKINSON: Are we -- not that I am aware of.
QUESTION: Captain, have you found any her clothing yet, or you think you may have come upon some of her clothing?
ATKINSON: The question was, is have we found any of her clothing or may have found? No.
QUESTION: Captain, if a family member was somehow involved, wouldn't Mary Catherine recognize that person? And is there an explanation for that?
ATKINSON: The question was, is if a family member were involved, wouldn't Mary Catherine recognize that person? I would think so.
QUESTION: Captain on day one of the search, you told us that Mary Catherine didn't report it for two hours to her parents, because she was petrified, afraid of what the perpetrator might do to her sister. Does that still stand now? Is that still why she didn't report this for two hours.
ATKINSON: I believe so.
QUESTION: Captain, what would it take to clear various family members? Certain results on a polygraph? Actually finding Elizabeth? What do you need as a department to clear people in this case?
ATKINSON: All right. What would we need to clear someone as a suspect? I think we would need somebody in custody that would -- something that would direct us towards a specific suspect. At this point, although we have lots of information that lead us down certain directions, we have no positive suspect.
QUESTION: Are you getting more leads, less leads today than you have?
ATKINSON: The question is, are we getting more or less leads? I believe that there are less coming in, I guess we would say credible kinds of leads we follow up on. Lots of people calling and telling us how they think we ought to do the investigation and check here and check there. But we are still getting people calling those two numbers and giving us information.
QUESTION: Back to milkman discrepancy and what he saw and basically he was shown the picture yesterday. He publicly said that, you know, those things just don't seem to mesh. How do you explain these differences?
ATKINSON: Well, we do have the statement of the milkman that he thought he saw a gray or dark-colored Nissan or Honda with that plate 266. The way that we have connected it to the Saturn is just the 266, not the color of the car. Again, it's just a possibility, and as soon as we talk to Mr. Edmunds, we might be able to clear that up.
QUESTION: Has the milkman been polygraphed?
ATKINSON: I am not commenting on polygraphs.
QUESTION: ... Mr. Edmunds in the car, correct? I mean, we interviewed other witnesses yesterday.
ATKINSON: Who saw Mr. Edmunds up in this area?
QUESTION: No, who saw Mr. Edmunds in his car?
ATKINSON: That's correct.
QUESTION: Have you interviewed Carl Corkleson (ph), the gentleman who actually photographed the car?
ATKINSON: I am sorry, I don't know if we have or not.
QUESTION: Does he have a lot of information about...
ATKINSON: The car.
QUESTION: ... how long he was there, three weeks, that sort of thing? Yet, you don't know if you have talked to anyone?
ATKINSON: I am sorry, I don't know if we have. Ii think we have, but I can't say for sure.
QUESTION: I apologize for asking this, but are any of the family members known to be polygamists?
ATKINSON: The question was, are any of the family members known to be polygamists? Not to my knowledge.
QUESTION: ... plate or that he switches it?
ATKINSON: The question was, is do I believe that Mr. Edmunds obscures or tries to cover it? He has switched plates on that car before. That is not the original plate to that car. That came off of another car in another area, not the valley here, up in Clinton, Utah. And so he is known to switch plates and obscure and to change it, yes.
QUESTION: Are you talking about the 266 plate was actually from another car? ATKINSON: That's correct.
QUESTION: How did you place it to Edmunds?
ATKINSON: How did we place it to Edmunds?
QUESTION: If it's registered to another car, how do you know Edmunds is driving around with the 266?
ATKINSON: He was seen in that car by officers with that plate number on it.
QUESTION: The 266 plate is not registered to Bret Edmunds then, is that correct?
ATKINSON: That's correct.
QUESTION: What about a deal for Mr. Edmunds. We will drop those other charges if you come tell us what you know about the disappearance. Is there any offer like that?
ATKINSON: Not that I am aware of.
QUESTION: Captain, you talked to family members of Edmunds who said he in this area doing odd jobs, maybe construction. Is there any evidence that he was working in the home?
ATKINSON: The question was, is they have talked to family members who said that he was up here doing odd jobs in construction, and is there evidence that he was working in the home? No, I don't believe there is.
QUESTION: Captain, has the investigation taken a shift from yesterday to today in any way? Can you characterize that?
ATKINSON: The question is, has the investigation taken a shift from yesterday to today? I don't believe so. I think we are still refocusing on this area, the neighborhood, family, extended family, friends, people who would have reason to be in the house, to be in this neighborhood, the same thing that we were doing yesterday.
QUESTION: Are you increasingly family and extended family members?
ATKINSON: Increasingly scrutinizing family or family members? Not any more so than the other people that are up in this area.
QUESTION: Are you increasingly scrutinizing the entry area in the house, looking at the screen, the cut patterns?
ATKINSON: The question is, are we increasingly scrutinizing the entry patterns or the evidence? The evidence is being looked at by both the crime lab here in Utah and probably by the FBI.
QUESTION: Is that having an effect on your questioning and your patterning of who you are questioning more as opposed to perhaps those who don't know the family or those who are in the family?
ATKINSON: Yes. That information is being used to question people, yes.
QUESTION: Captain, do you know anything about evidence (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Lance Canyon?
ATKINSON: I am sorry. I haven't heard of any evidence being found in Lance Canyon (ph).
QUESTION: Do you have any idea of a motive (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
ATKINSON: I am sorry, I don't know of any specific motive.
QUESTION: Do you have any indication that Edmunds is still in the area?
ATKINSON: The only information we have about Edmunds is someone thought they saw him in Draper (ph) just after you guys put it out yesterday. And that's the last sighting that I know for sure that we know.
QUESTION: But at any point was there an open house where the house would have been open not just to construction workers, but to anyone going in a newspaper, looking and seeing an open house on a Sunday and going into that home and being able to scout that home?
ATKINSON: The question was, is do we know of open house that might have gone out through the newspaper into that house? No, I don't believe it had been listed yet.
QUESTION: Captain, you said the plates weren't registered to Mr. Edmunds. Who were they registered to?
ATKINSON: I'm sorry, I don't know the specific name. It came off a car in Clinton, Utah.
QUESTION: Captain, do you have any plans to take disciplinary action against whoever leaked this information to the newspaper?
ATKINSON: Do we plan on taking disciplinary action over anyone who leaked this information? I don't know who leaked the information.
QUESTION: You gave us sort of gross number of the leads, the 600, 300 of those followed up. Can you give us a large number of that laundry list of people who are being looked at, family, extended family, subcontractors, people in the house? What is that number?
ATKINSON: He asked me about the number of people who we are looking at, family, friends, people up here. I am sorry, I don't know that number.
QUESTION: On the ninth day, are you still frustrated? And how would your characterize your investigation?
ATKINSON: I think we are making progress. I believe that the investigators are starting to sort through all of the information that they need to, and they are ruling out pieces of information that they have. And I think we are going forward. I don't know that they are as frustrated as we first were.
QUESTION: Captain, were those leaks legitimate?
ATKINSON: Were which leads legitimate?
ATKINSON: Were the leaks legitimate? I don't know who gave the leaks, so I don't know who those sources are. They may or may not be legitimate.
QUESTION: Do you plan on finding out those sources are?
ATKINSON: No, I don't think there is any reason to.
QUESTION: ... the dimensions of the window were very small, and that the screen had appeared to be cut from the inside. Can you even confess the basis of the report?
ATKINSON: Can I tell you whether or not -- tell you the dimensions of the window or the screen? I'm sorry, I cannot.
QUESTION: Scott, correct me if I misheard you, but it sounded like you said the state crime lab and the FBI are doing independent analyses of physical evidence. Is there a reason for that? Are they are coming to separate conclusions?
ATKINSON: I'm sorry, I don't know if they are doing it independently. I would imagine they are, so they each other look at each other's -- what they found out.
QUESTION: Sort of to correct each other?
ATKINSON: I don't know if it's correct, just so they don't overlook anything. OK, I don't believe there will be a 4:00 unless, of course, the family might have something to say at that time. Thanks.
WHITFIELD: All right, have you been watching Scott Atkinson of the Salt Lake City Police, addressing questions from reporters there. He is saying everyone is being looked at closely and interviewed. That includes people ho are directly in the family, extended family members, and anyone who may have had association with that community. There are no named suspects.
However, a photograph was released yesterday by police, and that is of Bret Michael Edmunds. He is not considered a suspect, but investigators say they want to question him. He was an unemployed individual, but last month, he was allegedly charged with assaulting a police officer and apparently had worked in the area of that community, collecting garbage. He was last seen in a green Saturn vehicle, which is not apparently registered to him. But Bret Michael Edmunds is someone that Salt Lake City Police want to talk to. Our James Hattori is in Salt Lake City, and he has been covering this story from the very beginning, virtually.
James, did you hear anything from this investigator, besides the fact that they have this photograph of Bret Michael Edmunds? But strangely enough, this photograph has not even passed by the eyes of the 9-year-old, Mary Katherine, who is the little sifter, who was the only one, apparently, to have seen this alleged gunman abduct her sister.
JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the police have been a little cagey about that. Although at one point, David Smart, the uncle, did come out and say that, to his knowledge, the photo had been shown to everybody in the family, and that, to his knowledge, no one recognized it. So if you take it at his word, that everybody has seen the photo, it is of no value.
Also interesting is that Capt. Atkinson said, at one point, that he did not believe, at this point, that Mr. Edmunds is connected to the case, which leads to you to surmise, perhaps, that they are not giving this a tremendous amount of priority. There's no information that leads them to believe that, a, he is not a suspect or, b, that he has a lot of information to give about it. But they simply want to talk to him so they can eliminate him off the list. That's subject to interpretation. But that seems to be what the police are saying.
Obviously, the reporters are very frustrated at the conservative tone that Capt. Atkinson is taking. From his point of view, he is trying to preserve evidence, preserve information that will make it easier for police once there is a suspect to prosecute and make a case that will stand up in court. So it is a very tricky dance that's going on behind us. It has been going on for the past half-hour.
What is also interesting is a lot of the questions surrounded taking a polygraph tests. We know that the father, Ed Smart, has taken a polygraph test. He said so. Tom Smart, one of the other uncles, told Larry King that he took a polygraph test. David Smart, who was at the podium a little while ago, declined to answer, saying it is up to the police to decide whether or not that's appropriate. But he has said, in the past, that if he was asked, he would take a polygraph test. Capt. Atkinson said one reason he is not disclosing all this information is that there's no need to. It's somewhat a question of privacy for people because some of the people they will be administering tests to, have nothing at all to do with the test. This is what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATKINSON: Any time you have an investigation of this magnitude and of this kind, we always look closely to who this person might be acquainted with, who their contacts were, all that kind of stuff. Looking at the family and extended family and people who have been in the areas is a typical type of investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HATTORI: Just to sum up, he said there were no new developments overnight. They continue to make progress. They continue to focus on the neighborhood surrounding the house where Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped now more than seven or eight -- nine days now, last Wednesday morning, the early hours of last Wednesday -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: James, speaking of technique, Chief Atkinson said they have -- he admitted to requesting video clippings that have recently made air or been used. But he did not elaborate further on how it would be used, only that it is an investigative technique.
HATTORI: The presumption is that they believe the perpetrator, the kidnapper, may be the kind of person who is still in the community, first of all. They sort of hinted at that. And that may be the kind of person that would, as well, still be hanging around to see what's going on, to see how the investigation is progressing, to see whether or not they are on his trail, perhaps. Earlier, the police chief, Rick Dinse, said that, in the course of this investigation, it is possible they have already questioned the kidnapper.
So, apparently, they are drawing on past experience in this kind of case, where the perpetrator, the kidnapper, does hang around the scene of the crime. It is a trite old saying about returning to the scene of the crime, but perhaps it could be true.
WHITFIELD: Thanks very much, James Hattori. Thank you. Investigators are asking for anyone's help if they do recognize this gentleman, Bret Michael Edmunds, who they believe may have information as it relates to this young lady, Elizabeth Smart, 14-year-old. Here is the phone number to call, 1-801-799-3000 or 1-800-932-0190.
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