Posted: 6/13/2002 12:36:55 PM EDT
By RICH VOSEPKA
.c The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY (June 13) - Police are seeking a man they think may have information about a teen who was apparently kidnapped from her bedroom, while a newspaper reported that investigators believe the girl's abductor could have been a member of her extended family.
In a story in Thursday editions, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that detectives have been unable to explain how the abductor could have entered the house through the small window that appeared to be the entry point.
It said investigators also have surmised that a window screen appeared to have been cut from the inside, possibly to make it look like a break-in. This has led some to theorize the teenager may have been abducted by a member of her extended family, the Tribune reported. Her mother, Lois, is the second-youngest of eight siblings; her father, Ed, is the second-oldest of six.
The newspaper said the information was from four law enforcement agencies, which it did not identify.
Police have said the window was not in the bedroom shared by 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart and her 9-year-old sister. They refused to say where it was located or whether the screen had been cut.
Police spokesman Fred Louis would not confirm or deny the newspaper's statements about the window, and said only that the information ''did not come from us.''
''Our message all along (has been) that we're not going to comment on the physical evidence,'' he said.
Regarding the speculation that Elizabeth's abductor might have been a member of the extended family, he said police have said all along that they have not ruled anyone out.
Police have said they did not believe the missing girl staged the abduction.
The Smart family issued a statement saying it was ''disappointed by today's Salt Lake Tribune article.''
''Investigating the family is common procedure. We continue to fully cooperate in every aspect of the investigation and urge the public and media to avoid distraction from what is most important,'' the statement said.
The newspaper report followed a day of intense hunting for a 26-year-old transient who police said might have information about the teen's disappearance. Bret Michael Edmunds was identified through a partial license plate number provided by a milkman.
''We don't think he's a suspect at this point,'' Louis said earlier Wednesday.
Edmunds was being sought for parole violation and assault on a police officer. He had served 60 days and been put on probation in 2000 for stealing and forging checks.
Edmunds is probably living in a 1997 green Saturn with Utah license plate number 266XJH, Louis said.
The milkman, Charlie Miller, told police last week that he saw a car drive slowly up and down the Smarts' street on the morning of June 3, two days before the abduction.
A statement signed by Ed Smart said the family had looked at Edmunds' photograph and did not recognize him. Miller also saw the photograph and was not sure if that was the driver he had seen.
Elizabeth's 9-year-old sister, Mary Katherine Smart, described the kidnapper as a 5-foot-8-inch man. Edmunds is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 235 pounds.
Police have interviewed Mary Katherine three times. The girl told investigators that a gunman entered the bedroom she shared with her older sister and forced the older girl to go with him.