by Michael Janofsky, The New York Times
SALT LAKE CITY - A man wanted here for questioning in the abduction of
Elizabeth Ann Smart may have fled to Texas and New Mexico in the last few
The authorities in Hereford, Tex., and Curry County, N.M., said today
they received reports that the man, Bret Michael Edmunds, had passed through
their communities in stolen cars. The Salt Lake City police said the journey
probably began Sunday evening, after officers here spotted Mr. Edmunds at
vigil for the 14-year-old, who was taken at gunpoint from her bedroom on
Capt. Scott Atkinson of the Salt Lake City police said despite Mr.
Edmunds's movements, investigators still do not believe he was involved
As volunteer search efforts of the region continued for a ninth day,
conceded that detectives still have neither a suspect nor any idea where
girl might be.
The interest in Mr. Edmunds grew out of a call to police last week by
milkman who said he saw a man driving slowly through the Smart family
neighborhood several days before the abduction. By tracing a license plate,
investigators were led to Mr. Edmunds, 26, whom they have described as an
unemployed transient who lived out of cars and had outstanding arrest
warrants for fraud and for assaulting a police officer.
When police officers identified him in the crowd at the vigil, Captain
Atkinson said a decision was made not to approach him "for safety reasons."
Instead, he said, officers followed him, and after Mr. Edmunds noticed them,
he fled and was not pursued.