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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Smart Family Press Briefing

Aired June 28, 2002 - 13:07   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: While we are trying to figure out that mystery yet, we have another one: The mysterious disappearance of teenager, Elizabeth Smart. Investigators in the case are focusing on the Smart's former handyman.

And our Jeanne Meserve is in Salt Lake City with more -- hi there, Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. That former handyman called Richard Ricci, CNN has learned that Angela Ricci, his wife, will be appearing again before a federal grand jury. Also that Richard Ricci's attorney, David Smith, is meeting today with FBI officials.

Now, police officials today tell CNN that one of their top priorities at the moment is to try to find the man that a mechanic says Ricci met up with shortly after dropping off his Jeep at his shop. That was in the days following the Elizabeth Smart abduction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETH MOUL, MECHANIC: I asked him, say how you get home? Because I didn't hear any car drop him -- I mean, came in. And I -- and he said, well, I get a friend waiting across the street. And so he looked at him, and he waved at the friend across the street. And I looked out of the shop and looked who -- you know, and so they waved back and so that's all. And after he got his second bag and he tied it up, he walked across the street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: The mechanic says that Ricci picked up that car from his shop just a few days before the abduction and dropped it off a few days after. When it came back, it had an additional 1,000 miles on its odometer, and it was dirty.

Police checking into Ricci's alibi also today. Ricci's wife has said that he was home asleep.

Last night on "LARRY KING LIVE," a neighbor was asked about what Angela Smart may have said to her about that alibi -- here is an excerpt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LARRY KING, HOST: Did she say anything to you, either contradicting it or confirming it?

CARMA TOLMAN, RICHARD RICCI'S NEIGHBOR: Well, she went around and asked a few people in the neighborhood if they had seen him leave late at night, and I told her I didn't pay any attention. I hadn't really, you know, known him to leave, so.

KING: So in other words, she may have been asleep, and he may have left.

TOLMAN: Yes, he could have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: Police sources telling CNN that Angela Ricci did use prescription drugs to help her sleep.

Now, law enforcement and Ricci in-laws telling CNN that a golf cap, a tan golf cap and a white polo shirt and tan pants have all been recovered. Some of those items from the Ricci home, some of them from the in-laws' home; also a machete recovered from the in-laws. Investigators saying they don't know how much relevance that machete has to their investigation. But if you remember the description of the abduction, it featured a tan golf cap, also the white polo shirt and tan pants.

The family, the Smart Family has begun the briefing here today -- let's listen in to what they have to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a run for Elizabeth tomorrow that's taking place. It will be taking place at Sugar House Park at 9:00. And there is a fee on that, and it says that the donation will go to the Elizabeth Smart funding program at Shriner's Hospital. And are there any questions on the searches?

(QUESTION OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry -- pardon?

QUESTION: How imperative are these searches here? And how important are they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extremely -- extremely important. Many of the family members are going out on these searches and everything like that and helping put them together, because we do not have Elizabeth back yet. So we feel that it is very imperative that they are going on. You know, if she has been released, she may be traumatized and just curled up somewhere and not able to just walk in somewhere. And so we want to be able to help bring Elizabeth home, and we just appreciate all of the volunteers helping with that.

QUESTION: How many people are you getting out generally to do the searches during the week and on the weekends? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I know -- and one that I was involved in on Tuesday night, we had approximately 65 to 70 people show up. And then on Wednesday night, we had about 160 people show up, and that was just in one location on the weeknight. And so, you know, we are still having a high turnout, and we are very appreciative.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... real quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dave has said 400 to 500 on the weekdays, and the number blossoms to about 3,000 on the weekend days -- that's overall.

MESERVE: You have been listening to the Smart family members thanking the public for their help; also talking about the strength of their search efforts. Fredricka, I have to tell you, we had a technical glitch. I didn't hear the top of that briefing. If there was other news, I am afraid you'll have to tell people about it -- back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Appreciate it -- thanks very much. We understand those technical problems -- Jeanne Meserve from Salt Lake City.

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