Elizabeth Smart's Dad Hopes Letter Will Lead to Kidnapper

Elizabeth Smart's father said Wednesday he has received a letter that he suspects may have come from someone with knowledge of his daughter's June 5 abduction.

But Ed Smart also said he could not say whether the unsigned letter, which he received Tuesday, was credible. It lacked any solid information that would indicate it came from a person with specific information about his daughter, Smart said at a news briefing.

Later Wednesday, Smart said in an interview that there were some things in the letter that did not seem to fit Elizabeth. He did not amplify on the comment.

Since 14-year-old Elizabeth's disappearance on June 5, the family has received "thousands" of letters, Tom Smart, Ed Smart's brother, told The Associated Press.

But this one was the first that seemed to be from someone willing to negotiate, Ed Smart said during the earlier news briefing. "It was from a person that had talked to the abductor," indicating that person was looking for a safe way to resolve the kidnapping, he said.

Smart said the unsigned, typewritten letter postmarked July 3 bore no return address and that the police received a faxed copy before he received the original letter. He would not say whether the letter was mailed to his home.

Salt Lake City Police Capt. Scott Atkinson said Wednesday afternoon that police were talking to Ed Smart about the letter. Atkinson said they never received a faxed copy, but that Smart gave them a copy after telling reporters about it.

Police haven't seen the original, but expected to Wednesday afternoon, Atkinson said. He declined to comment on the letter's contents or validity.

Ed Smart said the decision to disclose the letter publicly was his own. "The police have absolutely nothing to do with this," he said.

"I'm just anxious to do whatever it's going to take to get her back," he said. "I address him to ask him to please correspond with me to give me a reason to truly believe that he truly does have Elizabeth. I would like to be able to hear from him and tell me what it is that he wants."

Police say Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bedroom at gunpoint by a soft-spoken abductor. Investigators have said a former handyman, Richard Ricci, is at the top of their list of potential suspects, but he has not been charged in the case.

Ricci, who has a long criminal history, is being held on unrelated parole violations.

Kent Morgan, an assistant county district attorney, said charges accusing Ricci of burglarizing the Smart home last year could be filed some time this week.