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Chicago FBI, Buddy Myers' Family Hold Press Conferences

Aired May 2, 2003 - 15:00   ET


KATE SNOW, CNN ANCHOR: We are expecting to hear shortly from the family of a missing North Carolina boy. They had hoped that Buddy Myers had been found alive in Illinois. Now they have the results of genetic testing and perhaps broken hearts. Let's go to Clinton, North Carolina now, CNN's Jennifer Coggioca -- Jennifer.
JENNIFER COGGIOCA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well, it should be any minute now that there will be a press conference here that is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Now it's been about two weeks that Buddy Myers' family has been waiting on the results of these DNA tests to determine if the 6-year-old boy in Illinois, his name is Eli Quick, is in fact Buddy Myers. Now, at this press conference we are expecting to hear from the sheriff. His name is Jimmy Thornton, also the sergeant and a North Carolina representative from the FBI.

Also at the press conference is expected to be Buddy Myers' family. Now, his great aunt, her name is Donna Myers, she raised Buddy and it is from her home that Buddy vanished from more than two years ago in North Carolina, and like I said, we're just waiting for this begin but hopefully we will have those results momentarily -- Kate.

SNOW: And this is something they were expecting at this point. They'd had some gut and wind that this might be the case, right, but it's got to be devastating for them.

COGGIOCA: Absolutely, a little bit of false hope. Actually yesterday some FBI sources told CNN that due to some preliminary DNA testing they were 90 percent sure that this child in Illinois was not Buddy Myers. Now the family spokeswoman, Jackie Jacobs, came forward once she heard that information and said the family is still holding out hope. They still feel, you know, confident that this will come back in their favor.

SNOW: Jennifer, I'm going to have break in. Thanks. There's a press conference beginning now in Chicago, Illinois, which of course is where little Eli Quick was found. Let's listen to that press conference in Chicago now.

THOMAS KNEIR, CHICAGO FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I know this possibility of finding Tristen who has been missing from Roseboro County, North Carolina since October 5, 2000 has been hard on the family of Tristen. I want to thank the cooperation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Chicago police department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Samson County sheriff's office, the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation and the Charlotte Division of the FBI for their cooperation in this matter.

Samples of DNA from Raven Myers, mother of Tristen, were tested against those of Eli Quick and according to the Laboratory Corporation of America in Burlington, North Carolina, Myers is not the biological mother of the child Eli Quick. I would like to thank the laboratory for their expediting this examination. We can only hope that by the media attention on Tristen that this will cause new leads to be generated. We will continue to work with the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services to determine all of the details regarding Eli. We want to make sure of the true identity and background of Eli.

I will open it up for questions.


KNEIR: Well again, what we're going to do is to work with DCFS to run out the rest of the leads. What we want to assure ourselves in this thing that again I'm not saying -- you know I don't want you to draw any conclusions but that Eli -- who exactly Eli is and that you know, that Eli is not, you know, abducted from an area. You know I'm not saying that that's the case but we need to pin down all of the details on this case and we're working very closely with the Illinois people now.

QUESTION: Do you know his parents are at this point?

KNEIR: We're not going to go into the details. I mean, our first hurdle was are these two children identical. They are not. You know, unfortunately that's not the good news story that I think everyone wanted here today that we can say that this child is being returned to North Carolina. That's not the case. Now we have a lot of work to do here, you know, to resolve Eli's background, Eli's -- you know who the mother was, who the relatives are, you know, where Ricky Quick fits into all this picture and that.

QUESTION: Tom, can we ask the young lady from DCFS a question here.

KNEIR: You may.

QUESTION: Good afternoon.


QUESTION: Can you tell us what kinds of questions you have right now for Mr. Quick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have any questions for Mr. Quick right now. Eli's in foster care in Chicago. He's our primary concern. We're making sure that all of the services that he needs are put in place. He is in school. He's doing well. At this point we have not yet talked to Mr. Quick. We have invited him to come and talk to us and continue the assessment process that we need to undertake to find out what the next steps need to be.

QUESTION: You just said you have no questions for him but I understand ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have not talked to him.



QUESTION: Why do you want to talk to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to find out what his involvement is with this child. We want to find out about what he knows about this child for purposes of us making sure that we put together the most comprehensive services that we can for this child. We don't have a medical history. We don't have a history on this child. So any information that can be provided to us to help us make sure that we're dealing with all of this child's needs are the most important things to us.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) DNA matches scheduled to try to help pin down the precise identity of the boy known as Eli Quick?

KNEIR: Yes. I don't think we're going to get into all of that right now. You know we will do a logical investigation with our counterparts here to determine everything we can of where Eli, you know, the mother, where he's been, you know, how he came to be in the -- in the -- in with Ricky Quick and that. So that's -- you know that is chapter two of this thing. So right now you know we don't ...

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) can you tell us if you have been able to determine the whereabouts of the sisters or little girls that at one time were staying with this group of people?


QUESTION: You have no idea where they are?

QUESTION: Can you explain why this took three months for DCFS to play out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you -- play out in what way?

QUESTION: Well to get to the point where we are today where this determination has been made. When he walked in with this child in early February, why has it now taken three months to reach this point?


JILL MANUEL, CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES: Well, basically the first thing I want to say is that the reason we're here today at all is because of a DCFS social worker who put the pieces together and went to the web site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and started this ball rolling and I think that we need to take a moment to acknowledge her ingenuity and she's the reason that this thing is happening in the first place and obviously you know once we picked up this child, we took this child into protective custody and now we have temporary custody of this child.

We had a lot of investigating to do and we have been doing that investigation and it's during the course of this investigation that we decided that things may not be -- you know Ricky or Eli Quick may not be who, you know, he says or Ricky Quick says he is and that's what's taken this long because it's -- we were piecing together the pieces of this puzzle. It's been like a detective novel for us so basically, you know, that brings us to this point we're at right now.

QUESTION: The DNA test, had it been done initially, would have cleared this up without this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) period. Is that correct?

MANUEL: Well, I think that originally you know Eli was who he said he was but during the course of you know getting to know Eli and trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together I think that, you know, initially there was no reason to do a DNA test.


I am Jill Manuel. I am the Chief of Communications for DCFS.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Eli had said that they had made several hotline calls to DCFS about him when they saw him wandering the streets. Do you have a record of those hotline calls?

SNOW: Chicago authorities there announcing officially that the DNA of a little boy, Eli Quick, who turned up in a hospital in Chicago does not match that of a missing boy, Tristen Buddy Myers, who's from Clinton, North Carolina. Now let's go to Clinton, North Carolina where his family is holding a press conference.

JIMMY THORNTON, SHERIFF, SAMPSON COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: ... the family members of Tristen Buddy Myers, I want the family to know that my office along with the assisting agencies will continue to investigate any and all leads that have been generated as a result of this case. I want to also say thank you and a big appreciation to all leads that was generated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Also to that case worker, Elion Ois (ph), who was employed with the Children and Family Service Agency, she was the force that seemed to see a connection or a tie in to Buddy but also I'd like to say that the positive aspect onto this case has been awareness that has been generated by the general public in that all the help that law enforcement can receive from the public will be most appreciated and help us in helping to find missing children that are out there in the United States.

Let me introduce to you several individuals that will answer questions from each of you. I have Miss Hick (ph), who's with the family, Miss Jacobs, who represents the family who will be making a statement as well as Miss Hick (ph), Tim Flynn (ph) with the FBI, John Crawford (ph) with the State Bureau of Investigation and Sergeant Darrel Cotts (ph). Miss Jacobs.

JACKIE JACOBS, MYERS FAMILY SPOKESWOMAN: The Myers family would like to thank everyone in the state of North Carolina as well as Illinois for the quick resolution to this situation.

It has been determined that Buddy is not in Chicago and not coming home but someone else out there has him. The family has asked me to appeal to you personally that if anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of Tristen Buddy Myers to please contact the Sampson County Sheriff's Department, Sergeant Cox (ph) at 910-592-4141 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1-800-THE- LOFT, 1-800-843-5648.

The Myers family is doing as well as can be expected. This obviously, as you all know having been with us the last week, the news that we did not want to hear nor were we expecting. As early as this morning our hopes were still very high and we were very optimistic that we were going to have a reunion with little Buddy but that is not the case. We also feel very personally that this is a horrific form of domestic terrorism. Somebody out there is abducting our loved ones. They have Buddy and they also have my brother. We just hope that you will keep attention and focused on the plight of missing children and other adults in this country.

I personally thank each of you on behalf of the family for your assistance in helping us get the word out about Tristen.

Buddy, if you're out there, the Myers family loves you very much. They have not forgotten about you. We are still looking for you and we will not give up until we find you. We love you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to personally thank everybody. We appreciate all you put into it. I'd like to personally thank Jackie for putting everything on hold with her brother and helping us out and just tell everybody we still -- we have a void in our life and we're still trying to fill it with hope that now that he's nationwide, somebody will recognize him and call your Sheriff's department, call Sampson County Sheriff's Department or call the National Foundation for Missing Children and even if you're -- you know just a slight indication that you may have recognized this child, let someone know.

We love you, Buddy. Come home soon.

THORNTON: If there's any questions, we'll be happy to answer a few of them.

QUESTION: Can you talk about all the leads you've been getting on this aside from the case? Can you elaborate on that? Have there been other ones before the disappearance of Buddy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've handled numerous leads on this investigation. They've been a little bit different than this one. Whenever we get notified that there may be someone out there that fits the description of Buddy ...

SNOW: Authorities in Clinton, North Carolina and some family and friends of the Myers family speaking there about a very difficult day, finding out that the little boy who was found in Evanston (ph) near Chicago, Illinois is in fact not the same boy that disappeared from there about two and a half years ago, little Tristen Buddy Myers. Let's go back to Jennifer Coggioca who's down in Clinton, North Carolina.

Jennifer, I guess it's what we had all feared.

COGGIOCA: Yeah, absolutely, the worst case scenario I think for the Myers family. You saw there that was Jackie Hick (ph). She is a close family friend, as we understand it and representing the family and Jackie Jacobs the other family spokeswoman. We have not heard from the Myers family since yesterday.

According to Jackie, they have just been exhausted emotionally and physically so I can understand this has been a very trying week but like Jackie Jacobs said, they have reiterated all day that if the test came out with this result, it's almost -- the positive side of this is that we have reinforced and reignited this search for Buddy Myers who has been missing for two years and that perhaps the media spotlight will put his name back in the homes of people everywhere so that the missing search will sort of pick up its speed again and we can find the boy who went missing and would be 6 years old right now -- Kate.

SNOW: Is the family upset at all that this happened? I mean in other words do they wish that they had never had false hopes raised?

COGGIOCA: You know that's a good question and although they didn't directly related to that, I mean the whole week their words were elated, were excited to hear the news of these DNA results. I think it sort of opened up maybe some wounds from the past but they really were hopeful up until last night, like I said, when they got -- even when they got word from CNN sources that it's 90 percent wasn't Buddy. They still were incredibly optimistic so I'm sure it is difficult but you know maybe it offered them just a little bit of a glimmer of hope that he is still out there somewhere with someone.

SNOW: Let's go to Jeff Flock who's in our Chicago bureau.

Jeff, you're following things from that side of this story. Eli Quick, where does he go now?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN: CORRESPONDENT Well, yes, now, instead, Kate, of having one sad story, that of Buddy Myers the missing boy from North Carolina, we got another sad story here and that is Eli Quick. The question is, is his name even Eli Quick? At this point they don't know. Is that man who says he is his father, Ricky Quick, is that his father? At this point we don't know.

Folks have been doing digging on this and yesterday a woman came forward from southern Illinois who says that her sister in fact is the mother of this little boy they're calling Eli Quick. This woman's name is Laura Trandal (ph), and in fact Ricky Quick says the prostitute, the Chicago prostitute with whom he fathered this boy, in fact her name was Laura and Cook County birth records show that a woman named Laura Trandal (ph) in fact gave birth to a boy about this age. His name was Timothy Robert Trandal (ph), that birth taking place in the Chicago hospital in 1996. So is that who Eli Quick is? After all, remember he was brought to this Chicago Evanston (ph), Illinois hospital by Ricky Quick in poor condition, not apparently very well cared for. DCFS taking that boy into custody then because of that and that's when all of this began to spiral out, the notion that perhaps he was this missing boy from North Carolina. So Ricky Quick the father we just talked to a few moments ago. He says the FBI just told me I'm going to get my boy back. Ricky Quick has said a lot of things that didn't turn out to be true. I suspect that's going to be one of them as well. I don't think it's clear that he's going to get Eli, if in fact that's his name, back anytime soon. Eli, if that's his name, remains in foster care somewhere we are told in the Chicago area and we will continue to watch this one as well as the case in North Carolina both -- Kate.

SNOW: Jeff Flock in Chicago, thanks so much.


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