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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview with Don Clark

Aired July 2, 2003 - 19:06   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Texas police still have no body, not even a crime scene to speak of in the case is missing Baylor Basketball player, Patrick Dennehy. Now while they say there's still hope that Dennehy will turn up OK, they say that hope is diminishing more each day.
Ed Lavandera is live in Waco, Texas with an update.

Ed, what's the latest?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.

Well, Waco investigators say there are several people they're interested in connection with Patrick Dennehy's disappearance. And the only person on the Baylor basketball team that is still considered, quote, a person of interest, you probably heard that phrase mentioned several times this week is Carlton Dotson, who we will we've heard so much about in the last couple days. Dotson, we learned today, he has hired an attorney to help him in this case, and he's also been defended by family members. He's in the Maryland area and defended by family members throughout the last couple days saying what was released in this search warrant affidavit couldn't possibly be true.

As we've heard a lot from his family. Waco investigators saying that they're getting hundreds of tips to help them in the search for Patrick Dennehy and they have scoured several areas north and south of the Waco area looking for Patrick Dennehy's body, but they consider this still to be officially a missing persons investigation. However they've been saying all along they're treating this as well as a possible homicide investigation as well. But authorities here also saying that this is going to be a slow, drawn out process and that's why they're -- they -- all the press conferences -- no more press conferences are scheduled to have briefings for the news media as to how this case is going along. And for the time being we won't hear from Waco investigators any time soon -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed Lavandera, in Waco, thanks very much for the update.

Now there are certain lay lot of questions about how this investigation is going. Is it off track?

For answers we turn to Don Clark, former head of the FBI office in Houston, Texas.

Don, thanks for being with us.

DON CLARK, FORMER FBI AGENT, HOUSTON OFFICE: Thank you.

COOPER: As you look at this thing from the outside, what jumps out at you?

There are a lot of questions.

Is this thing on track?

CLARK: It's hard to say whether it's on track or not. There's been some been some changes in the stream here on this case, Anderson. One of the things that really intrigues me is that we've taken this word, this phrase if you will, this person of interest, to a new height and I'm not really certain what that means anymore. If the individual has some information that's really paramount to the investigation, then call him a witness. Get a material witness warrant. If they're a suspect in the case call him a suspect. But person of interest, I'm not certain what that means and I think that's something that probably gets us a little distorted because...

COOPER: That's why I asked the question. Whether this thing is on track or not. Because this in conjunction with on Friday you have the police coming out saying, you know, that the basketball players are suspects, then they come out Monday and say oops, we really shouldn't have used the word suspects. Then this affidavit comes out for the search warrant in which this man, Dotson is said to, you know, through some unnamed informant, you know, allegedly this guy, the informant overheard that Dotson said he had shot Dennehy.

So, again, I have to ask, do these guys know what they're doing?

CLARK: Well, it looks like to me that there may be some gaps in here some place, Anderson. And what you do with this situation is that you have got to make sure that the source of information that you have is credible, and that you've got some cooperation some place to get an investigation on track. So it looks like to me that maybe there's an attempt to connect dots here, but it also seems that there are some gaps in place there and I think they need to be revisited.

COOPER: Who is in control of this investigation as far as you understand?

I know the FBI has been consulted, they have been involved. They helped out with the search in the field, apparently, according to reports. Then you hear Waco police are the ones still the ones in charge.

Does this thing need to get organized a little bit better.

CLARK: Well, I suspect that Waco police, from everything I've been hearing, Anderson, and people I have talked to Waco police is running this investigation. Many people have asked me, so why doesn't the FBI get involved in this. And the FBI can't jump into this. Because now with what has come out recently it doesn't appear to be a homicide investigation. It appears to be a missing person investigation, then you're not likely to see the FBI involved in that. It's probably going to stay with the Waco police.

COOPER: And again, it's so confusing because on the one hand they say maybe it's not a homicide investigation, on the other hand this affidavit floating out there for a search warrant in which you have this unconfirmed, unnamed source talking about this man being shot in the head. So we're going to have to follow this. Don Clark, appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

CLARK: Thank you, Anderson.

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