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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Short Family Press Conference

Aired August 21, 2002 - 10:19   ET

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


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Instead of going to break, we want to take you now to a press conference underway back in Collinsville, Virginia. The family of Jennifer Short speaking out.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

FRANK ARRINGTON, JENNIFER SHORT'S GREAT UNCLE: ... that is all that needs to be on the note. She may not be capable of telling someone who she is. She is kind of shy. This would make a lot of difference, I think. And also, we are pleading for you to do not harm her. She doesn't deserve to be going through what ever it is she is going through right now.

We love her, we want her home. Anyone who has seen or has any information, please call the proper authorities as soon as possible. There is an undisclosed amount of reward for the safe return of Jennifer, and whoever you are, please do the right thing, and bring her back to her family.

And we want to thank you -- news media, everybody, and I'm not going to try and say which networks I'm talking about. It's all of them. I want to thank all of the networks, all of the police, all of the search and rescue members, all the media and their families, their friends, their neighbors, the volunteers, and anyone that has helped to try and solve this thing. I want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

There is still a lot more to come in this case, before it is ever resolved. Your continued support and prayers are appreciated, and this is for Jennifer.

Jennifer, honey, wherever you are, God is with you. He will take care of you, no matter what. We need you to be strong. We all love you. God will bless you. Also, Jennifer, honey, I'm looking forward to that fishing trip that I promised to take you on. I still want to take you on that fishing trip. I'm looking forward to it.

And the last is, please allow the families the respect and dignity during this time of going through the funeral services and that -- that's all I have to say right now. I will try and answer any questions you might have.

QUESTION: Mr. Arrington, did the family ever indicate to you fear for their safety?

ARRINGTON: No. Never. Never that I have heard, and I never heard any other family member mention anything like that. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) ... did he perhaps say something about being warned about something, or perhaps do you recall ever being (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

ARRINGTON: No. Michael has done quite a bit of work for me, construction-type work, and setting up mobile home and digging ditches and that, and he has never mentioned anything, and never even showed any indication that there was any problem.

QUESTION: Sir, it must have been a long, difficult week. What made you guys come out today instead of earlier (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

ARRINGTON: Well, I know the police and the media needs all of the information they can get. We have decided to come out and say what we can say, we don't know anything, mainly to get a message through to Jennifer that we love her, we want her home. We are doing everything in our power to get her back. Getting a reward up, working on getting rewards up, putting posters all over the whole area. It seems like everybody is working toward that same goal. But that's our goal, and we were in such a state of shock to hear what happened, we just weren't in a state of mind to come out and meet with the media at that time.

QUESTION: Mr. Arrington, you are wearing a yellow ribbon...

ARRINGTON: We all are wearing yellow ribbons. It is a significant thing for us to do, because it signifies there is a missing person. Right now, she is missing. And we, tomorrow, at the funeral, we anticipate maybe 1,200 people will be there wearing yellow ribbons, and we are going to get them on everybody.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

ARRINGTON: Yes, on my left, is Michael's sister, Carolyn (ph). Behind is her husband, Tommy (ph). Behind me is Reba (ph), and Reba (ph) is my niece. Behind Reba (ph) is Michael's brother. Behind him is -- yes, behind him is Michael's son -- excuse me -- son, and behind him is Michael's other son. And this is Kenny's (ph) wife -- this is Kenny (ph) -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

OK. What's your name? And the rest of this -- this is Michael's brother, here with...

HARRIS: We are just now listening to the introduction of the family there assembled before the press in Collinsville, Virginia. The family of the Short family, who are all mourning today the loss of the mother and father of Jennifer Short, and still expressing their concern about the missing status of Jennifer this morning. As you might have noticed there, they were wearing yellow ribbons, signifying their belief that she is still alive and just missing at this particular point. In fact, Frank Arrington, the man who is speaking is Jennifer's great uncle, her father's uncle.

And he had some words for whoever may be holding Jennifer right now. He tells -- says to do the right thing and return her safely as soon as possible. He says there is a reward of an undisclosed amount right now for any information leading to the return of Jennifer. He also had these words for Jennifer. Really touching words. He told her, he said, Jennifer if you are listening this morning, God is with you. He also said that God will bless you, and we need you to be strong right now, and still can't wait to take you out on that fishing trip I promised I would take you on.

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