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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Father Charged; Missing Kids Thought Dead

Aired July 21, 2003 - 20:38   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to move on to something serious now. First-degree murder charges have been filed against a father who's two children disappeared during a New Hampshire to California road trip.
Jason Carroll reports on this case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors still can't say where two missing New Hampshire children are, but they say they do know what happened to them and have accused their father of murder.

PETER HEEG, N.H. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Manuel Gehring has been indicted by the Hillsboro County grand jury for two counts of first- degree murder.

CARROLL: Police say Manuel Gehring shot his 14-year-old daughter, Sara, and his 11-year-old son, Philip. They say both children were last seen with their father at a Fourth of July fireworks show. Gehring, who is divorced, had visitation rights that weekend but police say he failed to return the children to his ex- wife, with whom court records show, he had been arguing over a custody agreement.

Credit card receipts show Gehring traveled in his minivan across the country to California. Police arrested him there on July 10 after a nationwide manhunt. His children were never found.

JEFF STELVIN, ASST. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The searches that have been conducted have not yielded any results. We have not located the bodies as of this date. We're continuing to ask the public for their assistance.

CARROLL: Police have been retracing Gehring's cross country trek with hopes of finding the children or clues to what happened to them. They have not said whether they have found any physical evidence but New Hampshire law allows a murder charge even without a body. Officials say Gehring had not yet retained an attorney.

JACKALYN COLBURN, PUBLIC DEFENDER: We anticipate representing him when he arrives here although we haven't officially appointed yet.

CARROLL: Gehring has not issued a plea, nor, police say, has he said what happened to Sara and Philip. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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