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No News on Second Set of Remains

Aired August 26, 2002 - 14:10   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, we are going to take you to Oregon City, another top story we have been covering throughout the day. The FBI's Bethanne Speele is commenting on the second set of remains out there, on the story we have been following, not yet identified. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BETHANNE SPEELE, FBI: ... in the case of Miranda to get us to this point. They worked day in and day out, using every legal means that they could to develop what they needed to get a search warrant in this case.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SPEELE: Well, in our country, we are grateful enough to know that we have a Constitution that protects everyone's right, and under that Constitution, under state laws, there are certain protections that anybody has, and those protections include a right to not have your property seized or searched unless there is probable cause for some kind of search warrant related to a crime, and it was simply a matter of getting the proper evidence in line, enough information that we were able to go to a court and get the search warrant. I believe the DA will have more information on that later.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... could you explain why we -- to clear this property, are we talking days, another week, I mean, how long should you anticipate that intensive search to clear this property?

SPEELE: It is possible that it will be done today. You know, we are holding our options open. If it isn't done today, then they will be back tomorrow.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) how did you specifically know where to go right away?

SPEELE: That is not something I will comment on. One more question.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

SPEELE: I would refer you to the chief's comments last night. One last thing, I wanted to let you guys know who is on scene today. Obviously, the FBI and Oregon City Police Department are back. Oregon State Police crime lab personnel are on scene. We have the public works folks out here from Oregon City helping with the back hoe, and we have a Westland Police Department who has had an investigator working on the task force from day one. He is out here as well. Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: FBI agent Bethanne Speele there briefing reporters in Oregon City on the latest developments there as the investigation continues into the remains that were found in the backyard of two young girls' neighbor's yard. We know that Sunday, Miranda Gaddis -- 13-year-old Miranda Gaddis -- her remains were identified. She had been kidnapped a number of months ago and those were, indeed, were discovered.

The remains now that are still at question -- it is possible that it is those of 12-year-old Ashley Pond, the other missing young girl from that area.

We are going to bring our James Hattori back in. He has been covering this story from the very beginning all the way up to this point, with more on what exactly was said there at the press conference. Really no new developments on the second set of remains -- right, James?

JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think they indicated that the autopsy had begun a short time ago, and that they expect that it could be concluded before the day's end, and there could be an identity confirming or not confirming whether or not they, indeed, are those of Ashley Pond. Of course, those remains were discovered yesterday in a barrel buried beneath a concrete slab in Ward Weaver's backyard. The other remains, which were discovered Saturday, were found in a shed also in Ward Weaver's backyard.

Meantime, investigators are still at work. They say they don't expect to find any more human remains today, but they want to continue combing that property just to be thorough to make sure they get all of the evidence. Mr. Weaver has not been charged in connection with these two deaths yet. We expect to hear from the prosecutor later today, perhaps with a little more information on how they will go about -- Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: James, you know, we have been running bits of this interview with Ward Weaver that was taped back in June. Before we take that, will you just give us a little background on why he was interviewed, and what exactly he was talking about, and why reporters got him on tape back in June?

HATTORI: Well, he had expressed some displeasure at being -- I don't want to put words into his mouth, but I think it was characterized as something along the lines of harassment on the part of the police agencies. He told reporters that the police considered him a suspect, even though police, at that point, publicly said that they did not consider him a suspect. He publicly said that, even at one point, talking that he would move out of the area to get away from all of this. He, at that point also, insisted that he had no connection with the kidnappings whatsoever, of course, denying any involvement, saying that he had a friendly relationship with the girls, and there are reports that he even had purchased a ticket to a memorial service of some sort, and was planning to attend for Ashley Pond after her initial disappearance. So clearly, if he, in fact, was involved with these deaths, he was putting on quite an act for investigators and the media.

PHILLIPS: Well, let's take a look at it, James.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD WEAVER, SUSPECT: I mean, I had a lot of contact with both girls, you know, so I expect to be looked at and, you know, questioned, and background checks and that kind of thing. You know, I have got no problem with any of that.

I honestly do not see this as a serial kidnapping as, you know, it has been made out to be, because I honestly don't think Ashley was kidnapped, knowing her family life that I do, having been a part of that life, you know, for two and a half years -- or two years now, minus the six months, and I am familiar with Lori (ph) -- that little girl took off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: James, he talked very confidently. Didn't seem very nervous either when talking to reporters.

HATTORI: Apparently not, but you talk to other people in the community, people who knew both of the girls and him, for example his ex-wife, Kristi Sloan, one of his ex-wives, Kristi Sloan, and she said that he thought the relationship -- she says that she thought the relationship between him and Ashley Pond was a little strange. As we know, at some point, Ashley had made allegations that Ward Weaver had sexually molested her. There were never any charges brought as a result of that. So, you know, what he said on camera tells a very different story from what appears to be coming together for investigators here -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: James Hattori in Oregon City. Thanks, James.

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