$250,000 Reward for Kidnapped Utah Girl

About 1,200 volunteers on Thursday helped search for a 14-year-old girl who police say was taken at gunpoint in her pajamas from her Federal Heights home.

Police say they are no closer to finding Elizabeth Smart, who was reportedly abducted in the early morning Wednesday.

"None of the information we have gotten has turned up anything significant. Nothing earthshaking," said Salt Lake City Police Capt. Scott Atkinson at a 4 p.m. news conference.

"We're pretty much where we were yesterday," he said. "The further we go into this, the more concerned we become. Leads dry up, those kinds of things."

Thursday's search was winding down but will resume at 8 a.m. MDT Friday, Atkinson said.

Despite more than 1,000 tips, police said they had made little headway in the baffling disappearance. The reward for her safe return was raised to $250,000.

On Wednesday at 1 a.m., an intruder forced open a window at Elizabeth's home and went into the bedroom where the teen-ager and her 9-year-old sister slept, police said. The rest of the family was also asleep. Police said the gunman warned the younger girl her sister would be harmed if she told anyone.

A family member said the Smarts had a security system in the home designed to alert them to an intruder, but that it didn't have a loud alarm and wasn't the kind that rang into a security agency.

No ransom demand had been made as of Thursday, police said.

"I don't know that we have any clear indication that the suspect may have known her," Atkinson said.

The 1,200 volunteers were divided into groups of 10 to 20. They fanned out through the streets and into the steep foothills around the city in response to a desperate plea from the girl's father.

Searchers knocked on doors and asked if anyone had seen anything suspicious. Others hiked through a city cemetery above the town and combed the juniper and holly bushes in a park.

The reward was initially $10,000, but donations from the community boosted the fund.

"The entire community is looking to help in any way people can. This community is hurting in very significant ways," said Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson Thursday night when announcing a candlelight vigil for Sunday.

Smart, a real estate and mortgage broker, and his wife, Lois, have lived in their seven-bedroom house since 1996. The couple have four boys and two girls.

Elizabeth was described by friends and family as a sweet and shy teen-ager, an accomplished harp player and a good athlete. She is to graduate from middle school on Friday.

The family's house is on the market for $1.19 million, and police were looking into whether a potential buyer toured the home and later returned.

Investigators were also trying to determine whether any neighbors had surveillance cameras that might yield clues. Officers also searched the family's computer to see if Elizabeth had had contact with any strangers online, though her father said she did not use the Internet.

The kidnapper carried a small black gun and was described as 5-foot-8, white, with dark hair, and dressed in a tan denim-type jacket and white baseball cap. Elizabeth was wearing red satin pajamas, and the man let her take a pair of shoes, police said.

The man did not call Elizabeth by name and he did not appear to know his way around the house, the sister told police. No neighbors reported anything suspicious.

Because of the gunman's threat, the younger girl waited several hours before alerting her parents, enough time for the kidnapper to get out of the area, police spokesman Dwayne Baird said.

Police said Thursday afternoon that they have no reason not to believe the younger girl.

"We're taking the information she gave us on face value. We talked with her a couple of times and that story seems to be consistent," Atkinson said. "We're going with the information that she gave us."