This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," May 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: A person of interest in the Idaho triple homicide has been found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. BEN WOLFINGER, KOOTENAI SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: He is a person of interest because we know he was here at the residence on Sunday evening. Now, we don't know if he was involved in the crime, but we know he was here Sunday evening. That's the last timeframe we can put everybody here at the house alive. So his importance is he may have seen something. He may have known someone else was here at the residence. He may have met somebody as he was leaving the residence that — as he was leaving, they may have been coming in. That's the kind of information we hope to glean from him. But until our investigators can get up and actually talk to him and interview him, that's all we're going to say now.
QUESTION: Ben, did he know that you were looking for him, Ben?
WOLFINGER: No. He knew we were looking for him, and he contacted our office. Lutner has a criminal past. He's been convicted of fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits, a lot of misdemeanor crimes — drunk driving, traffic offensives, some misdemeanor drug offenses, things like that.
Don't know about the children. That was the first question our detectives are going to go ask, obviously. So we can cancel the lookout for him. And trust me, I will bring you together in 30 seconds if we find those children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: At this hour, Robert Lutner is being interviewed by the police. What does he know? Joining us now on the phone is Dave Turner, a reporter with The Coeur d'Alene Press. Dave, thank you for joining us.
DAVE TURNER, COEUR D'ALENE PRESS: Thank, you Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: First of all, any update on the two children who are missing? I know that we have a homicide investigation, but what about the two children?
TURNER: There's still no word. I was at the scene up until about a half an hour ago, and they're still looking. They're still missing. There is still an Amber Alert in effect.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know when the children were last seen?
TURNER: Well, there was talk yesterday that they were seen getting off a school bus. The sheriff's office has now confirmed that the children did not go to school on Monday, so apparently, the last time anybody we — our reporters have ever talked to anybody about finding them was that — were seen Saturday afternoon playing out in the front yard as mom was working in her garden.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Robert Lutner is the man who the police are now speaking to. Do you know why he was at the home on Sunday?
TURNER: Not a clue. He was characterized by the sheriff's office as a family friend. Back when he was having his felony problems with collecting — fraudulently collecting unemployment, he lived a short distance away in the Wolf Lodge area, but not along the same road, just about a couple miles away.
VAN SUSTEREN: I've read that Robert Lutner is on probation, and that sometime between now and last Sunday, that he called his probation officer and said that he'd be visiting his parents and would be out of communication with the probation officer. Have you been able to corroborate that?
TURNER: Well, that's about what we heard from the sheriff's office at an earlier press conference they had today. And we've not been able to independently corroborate that, but it seemed logical. But we also heard that he was distraught and going to see his father. We also heard that his father was suffering some kind of an illness, and so if he was distraught, it might have something to do with that, as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you actually confirm that he was with his parents? Because there was another report that said his stepmother said earlier today that she hadn't heard from him and he hadn't been to visit. Now, that doesn't mean that he didn't visit the father or something. But are you able to give me background on that?
TURNER: Well, his family lives closer to Boise, which is several hundred miles south of Coeur d'Alene. And it would take several hours to get down there, and from all what we can establish, he's most likely a lot closer than that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know if tonight Robert Lutner — they call him a person of interest — is he anything more to the police?
TURNER: Well, we've checked the sheriff's office and we've asked if he's been booked under any kind of statute. He is, of course, under on probation right now, so if he was arrested on some kind of a probation violation or probation hold, the jail would have that booking information. As of about a couple hours ago, they said that he's not been held on any of those warrants at all.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Dave, thank you.
Let's bring in Captain Ben Wolfinger from the Kootenai County sheriff's office. Welcome, sir.
WOLFINGER: Good evening.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, I know you've determined the cause of death. Have you released the cause of death?
WOLFINGER: No, we haven't. Only two of the autopsies were completed today. The third one will be completed tomorrow. Then we'll meet with the coroner and coordinate that information release.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. This is definitely a triple homicide, it's not a murder-suicide, is that right, sir?
WOLFINGER: That's correct. We released this morning that all three victims were bound, obviously ruling out the possibility of a murder- suicide.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The children were last seen Saturday afternoon. Any update, any information you have about the children that we might pass on to people watching tonight to help you find them?
WOLFINGER: No. They were last seen Sunday afternoon, and we just don't have any more information, anything new, just out there looking for those kids. They've got to eat somewhere. They've got to sleep somewhere. Somebody will see those children, and we just need them to give us a call.
VAN SUSTEREN: Were you able to confirm whether or not Robert Lutner had been to see his family at all, his father or his stepmother, since Sunday night?
WOLFINGER: No, I haven't been able to confirm that. He is in interviews with the investigators at this time. I talked to the detective supervisor, and her comment was, We're just not going to interrupt that interview. Let's let them get that done first.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you seized any of his vehicles?
WOLFINGER: We haven't seized any vehicles at this point, no.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you looked into his vehicle to see whether there might be any evidence of any foul play?
WOLFINGER: I don't know what processes the investigators have done yet. They're in Coeur d'Alene. They're about eight miles from the scene here, and we haven't had an opportunity to visit with the investigators since they're busing interviewing Mr. Lutner at this time.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Describe search that you're doing in the area to find these children. Because I know that in addition to speaking to him, you're also searching the area.
WOLFINGER: Right. We've conducted an intense ground search of the area around the residence, about 400 acres of heavily brushed and treed areas. We've used search dogs, cadaver dogs, searchers on horses, on all- terrain vehicles, and the old-fashioned way of searching on foot. And we have had no luck whatsoever.
VAN SUSTEREN: Captain, what tipped you off to go to the house to check on it to discover these three murders?
WOLFINGER: We had a neighbor call us Sunday evening, or Monday evening, excuse me, Monday evening about 6:15, said there's some suspicious circumstances at the house. He'd gone to the house to pay the 13-year-old, Slade, for mowing his lawn. All the vehicles were in the driveway. The house was dark. The dogs were barking inside. That was very out of character here. And his words to me were, I just had a bad feeling in my gut about it. So called for suspicious circumstances here.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the father of the children has been cleared by you, is that right?
TURNER: That's correct. Our investigators met with him late Monday night, early hours Tuesday morning, and they cleared him quite early on in this investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I take it you're getting a ton of tips pouring in.
TURNER: Pardon me?
VAN SUSTEREN: You're getting a lot of tips pouring in to help you?
TURNER: I'm sorry? Oh, tips? I'm sorry. Yes. Our tips line has been open. We've had a couple hundred calls so far. None of those have panned out at this time, but those tip lines will remain open, and we're hoping for that one call that really makes the difference.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Captain. We put those pictures up. We put the tip line up. Hopefully, someone has seen those children and will call you right away. Thank you, sir.
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