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Possible Sighting of Bret Michael Edmunds in Texas

Aired June 14, 2002 - 13:30   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: What's interesting is this case is taking a lot of interesting turns, out of Salt Lake City, and now involving the states of Texas and New Mexico. You heard from the captain, who said that they're looking -- there zeroing in on videotapes, because most recently they saw an image of Bret Michael Edmunds. He is a man that they have been look for in questioning, in a vigil last week.

And now in Hereford, Texas, police are looking into this. We have a report coming out of Hereford, Texas, where convenience store clerk in the town of Hereford, Gloria Grajeda, apparently believes very strongly she had direct interaction with Bret Michael Edmunds. She is on the telephone with us now.

Just within the past 24 hours, Gloria, if you can hear me, give us a sense as to what you believed took place in your convenience store, All Stop convenience store in Hereford Texas.

GLORIA GRAJEDA, CONVENIENCE STORE CLERK: Yes, ma'am I was outside in the parking lot (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So when he walked in, I walked in with him. The first thing he did, he went toward the refrigerators and got a bottle of water. Then he came back toward the counter, and he put the bottle of water on the counter, but he had already opened it. So then, he gave me a credit card, and when he gave me the credit card, I had scanned it twice, and his credit card denied twice.

And the next thing you the man said he was going to have to wait until the bossman gut there, because according to him, he didn't have any money.

WHITFIELD: Now, Gloria, you feel pretty confident that this person was Bret Michael Edmunds. Did you recognize him right away, or what led you to believe that this person was also the individual that Salt Lake City Police had been looking for to question in the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart?

GRAJEDA: Ma'am, I didn't know he was being looking for. The reason is that I recognized him is because, they have showed me a picture of him, and he was the same guy that I saw (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

WHITFIELD: What did he say, if anything, while you were waiting on him at your store? GRAJEDA: When he had left his bottle on the counter, I had three customers come in. He grabbed the bottle off the counter, and he was going to wait for my bossman to get there, and so he reclined himself over there by the Coke (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when you once walk in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) store.

And, well, next you know, he had told me that he had a bus ticket to go out of town (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bus ticket wouldn't take to Amarillo (ph). That ticket, he had said that one of his brothers had died. So next thing you know, I was attending one of my customers, because I had three customers that had walked in. And the next thing you know, he walked out of the store.

When he walked out of the store, the only thing I had to do was call the cops because he had taken the water.

WHITFIELD: Gloria Grajeda, thank you very much for joining us on the telephone. You are working at an All Stops convenience store, where you believe you had direct interaction with Bret Michael Edmunds.

Salt Lake City Police have not called him a suspect, but have simply said that they want to question him in connection with the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart.

Our James Hattori is in Salt Lake City, and he has been following this story from the very beginning.

Now, James, police captain said he didn't know anything about this Texas connection, or even now a New Mexico potential connection, because it's believed that perhaps a vehicle that may have been stolen by Bret Michael Edmunds in Hereford, Texas, he may have taken that vehicle and traveled on to New Mexico, where a farmer believes he saw Brett Michael dump the car and run off into a wooded area there.

What are investigators willing to say about these reports, now, out of both Texas and New Mexico -- James.

JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you heard him as well as did. Today, the captain could not confirm any of those reports. Doesn't mean that it didn't happen; it could be that they are happening so quickly that he hasn't had a chance to get word from the investigators or they haven't gotten word from Texas or New Mexico. Obviously not out of the realm of possibility.

What is striking is that Captain Atkinson continues to profess a distinct, I don't want to say lack of interest, but lack of urgency in pursuing Mr. Edmunds. He again repeated today, that I don't believe he is involved, very flatly. He obviously -- they do want to talk with him, because he is wanted on a couple charges, fraud, and assaulting a police officer. They also believe he was at a candlelight vigil Sunday, last Sunday, in the crowd, which raises some suspicions. They want to find out why he was there. Police did see him there, police did follow him, did not attempt to chase him down. He saw the police, and then fled, and they lost him after that. So they do consider him a person that they want to talk, to find out -- ask him some questions, what he knows, what his involvement might be, but as of this moment, they continue to say and believe that he is not involved -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Now, James, what about these reports of stolen vehicles? Now, we are dealing with more than one stolen vehicle, more than one vehicle, rather, where we are hearing reports about not only did he have this 1997 green Saturn that he was last seen in, talking about Bret Michael Edmunds, but they're was also another vehicle, a Toyota Camry that was stolen from Colorado. As well as now, in Texas, that same connection once again, to Hereford, Texas, that there is a Mitsubishi Montero reported car that was stolen, that is also now being connected to Mr. Edmunds. Are you hearing anything on that end now since that press conference about those connections?

HATTORI: Short answer is no. He does have a history of crimes, and he does -- he has been known to switch plates on his cars before. He was a transient in the area, living in his car reportedly. He is from a small town in central Utah. His mother hasn't seen him in sometime. We went by his sister's house a couple of days ago. She apparently hasn't not seen him in a while, although we didn't get a chance to speak with her. Neighbors said they hadn't seen him in the area for sometime.

So the impression is that he has been on his own, and that kind of activity would not surprising. Now, does that mean there is more of a link to this case? I don't know. investigators, I'm sure trying to sort that out at this moment.

WHITFIELD: James Hattori, thank you very much, from Salt Lake City. There are lots of moving parts in this case, that only further complicates matters, but that's the way it is for now in this investigation. Of course we will be updating you on the investigation in Salt Lake City, and its potential or possible links to Texas, as well as New Mexico now.




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