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Salt Lake City Mayor Announces Award for Information on Elizabeth Smart

Aired July 3, 2002 - 13:10   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.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. To Salt Lake City now where the mayor of Salt Lake is giving a news conference to reporters.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ROSS ANDERSON, MAYOR, SALT LAKE CITY: ...for the safe return of Elizabeth. That reward is still available. In addition to that reward, Salt Lake City and the FBI are offering a $25,000 reward for information that will lead police to the location of Elizabeth or information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Elizabeth's disappearance.

Information can be relayed to the Salt Lake City Police Department by calling area code 801-799-3000, or by contacting the Salt Lake City Police anonymous tip line at 799-INFO. That's 799- 4636.

This is all part of our tips for cash program in the Salt Lake City Police Department. In the past we have offered rewards and we offer rewards on a continuing basis in serious cases, and there have been occasions when people have phoned in anonymously tips that have led to the arrest and conviction of offenders, and they have received their reward money anonymously.

Anonymity can be provided, and if anonymity is sought, that be arranged, once again, by calling 799-4636. We emphasize this today because, although the tips for cash program is an ongoing program, the $25,000 is an enhanced reward in this case, and we also want to emphasize that not only is the $250,000 reward still outstanding for the safe return of Elizabeth Smart, but that there is, in addition to that, a reward of $25,000 for either, one -- information leading authorities to the location of Elizabeth -- or, two -- for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Elizabeth's abduction.

And we appreciate your help in getting this word out and in doing so accurately. We've handed out the precise language with respect to the rewards. There won't be many misunderstanding. Thank you very much.

ED SMART, FATHER OF MISSING GIRL: Lois and I are so grateful for the support. We really appreciate Rocky. He has just been there every step of the way in supporting us. I would make a plea, again, to this abductor, to please let Elizabeth go. We really want her home. With this 4th of July vacation period coming up, we would hope that everyone out there who is going to their cabins, to all of these places that maybe are just visited once a year, that you would, again, keep your eyes open for Elizabeth, for anything unusual that might help us find Elizabeth.

During the celebrations we're going to have booths set up for volunteers, and we would appreciate anyone's support out there. The support has just been outstanding, overwhelming, and on behalf of Lois and myself and our family, we're so grateful to the community, to Utah, to everyone out there that has been so helpful.

We've had such support from so many different religions. It has been heartwarming, and we appreciate all that you've done. And I just want to thank everyone out there for their support. It's really been wonderful, and I'm just very grateful. Words can't express our feelings about that. But I just want everyone to keep their eyes open for her. Thank you.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

ANDERSON: Is it about the reward?

QUESTION: Yes. Is there a frustration that you haven't received what you need to receive with the high reward, that now you have to offer this. The standards have changed a little bit. There's not safe return. We're not talking safe return anymore...

ANDERSON: We are talking about safe return as well. But in addition, and that's why we're emphasizing this today, we still have the $250,000 reward for Elizabeth's safe return. But we just wanted to emphasize that there is a very significant reward available for anyone with information that can lead us to the whereabouts of Elizabeth, whether she's alive or dead, or if they can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for her abduction.

QUESTION: Mayor, are you satisfied with your police department's handling of this case?

ANDERSON: Yes, I think the police department, along with the FBI, with state investigators, with the help of surrounding communities, everybody has pulled together very well, aggressively following up on every significant lead.

There's a lot of -- there's a lot of good information that's come in from members of the community. People have been very, very helpful in providing any information they have that might be helpful to the police. We encourage them to continue doing that, and I think the police have done a remarkable job and have really shown their passion. I think nationwide -- you hear the commentators, I think nationwide there's been fairly uniform agreement that they're doing an excellent job.

And, also, agreement that some of the information with regard to the facts and the evidence that's coming in, that it's entirely appropriate not to be disclosing that publicly.

QUESTION: Mayor, are there not as many tips coming in as there were before, and that's why a change now?

ANDERSON: Now -- well, to answer your first question. Yes, and I think that's natural, that the numbers are dropping off, but there still is a lot of good information coming in. We still encourage anybody with any information, anything that might be a lead to let the police know. But we also know that there are some who very well may have information about this crime and they may not know that there's a significant reward.

And we certainly wish that people are motivated by something other than that, but rewards can be very effective. They've been effective in our tips for cash program in the past. We just want anybody with any good information that -- that will either help lead us to the location of Elizabeth, or that can help us make an arrest and conviction in this case. We want them to know that there is a significant amount of money available, and they can remain anonymous if they provide that information. And I'll take one more question.

QUESTION: Do you have warning out there for other parents in the Salt Lake Area that, hey, there's an abductor out there, a kidnapper. Is there a way of warning people out there that there's somebody out there lurking around and this could happen again?

ANDERSON: I don't think there's a parent in this community who is not aware of this case or aware of the risk.

There have been a number of abductions or attempted abductions under different circumstances, and we just say, for the safety of your children, whether it's water hazards or the risk of an abduction, just keep a good close eye on your children, and emphasize to your children that wherever it may happen, whether it's on the bus, whether it's in a park, whether it's in the home, if there is any situation involving a stranger where they feel intimidated, if there's any improper touching, scream bloody murder, kick, scratch, raise as big a ruckus as you possibly can.

Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson coming forward with reporters, talking about an additional reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of Elizabeth Smart's abductor. Another $25,000 reward. He's talking about his tips for cash program and how successful it's been. It's already a $250,000 reward out there for Elizabeth Smart's safe return.

Now the mayor coming out and announcing an additional $25,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of her abductor.

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