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Jessica Cortez Found in Clinic

Aired August 13, 2002 - 21:25   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Aaron Brown in New York. In just a few moments we expect the Los Angeles Police Department to tell us what they can about Jessica Cortez, who they found a short time ago. It appears to us the briefing is about to begin, so we'll go to that. That's the mayor, I believe, Jim Hahn.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

MAYOR JIM HAHN, LOS ANGELES: Little Jessica was found about an hour ago. Came into a clinic accompanied by a woman, LAPD was notified and arrived on scene, and just a few minutes ago she was reunited with her mother...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARTIN POMEROY, INTERIM CHIEF, LAPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. A few hours ago I said that even though we were policemen we were searching for Jessica with a concern and with a fervor of parents.

And now, even though we are police officers here to tell you the results of our professional investigation, it's with the pride and the relief of a parent that we stand before you, that this little girl has been found.

I won't be able to give you too many details at this moment. There is one person that we're interviewing that may have had contact with Jessica, may have brought her to that clinic. Certainly no suspect has been clearly identified yet. So the reward for identification of the suspect leading to his arrest is still in effect. The $25,000 provided by the city council and the $20,000 by the FBI -- this begins, really, the investigation.

We want to make certain that whomever is the suspect, they never, ever do this to one of our children again. We will pursue that person just as relentlessly as we can, and we'll find that person. Jessica is safe and now the real work begins overnight. We won't rest until that person is in custody.

I echo the mayor's sentiments about our partners in this. From the port police to the FBI to the sheriffs, city fire department, county fire department, recreation and parks, they've all contributed in great measure, and I have to believe that the great effort that went into looking for Jessica, as reported by the media, had some influence on those who held her. They just didn't want to face what they knew was coming, so they turned her back. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are there any blanks you can fill in for us, for this child's odyssey over the last two days?

POMEROY: Unfortunately there are no blanks that I can fill in at this time. We have nothing more than she appeared at a clinic around 5:10 p.m. this afternoon. We will have continuing press conferences later to give you as much information as fast as we can, but you know now what I know.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The woman that was taken into custody custody...

BROWN: The acting Los Angeles Police Chief Martin Pomeroy talking to reporters, the mayor Jim Hahn. Not a lot of information, honestly, being given out, except the most important piece of information, which is, of course, that the 4-year-old, Jessica Cortez, missing since Sunday afternoon, is safe, found at a free clinic in Los Angeles. Police say they are interviewing one woman and they continue to search for whoever kidnapped this child, a child who is safe tonight.

We'll have more later on NEWSNIGHT, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time. We hope you'll join us for that. LARRY KING LIVE continues in a moment.

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