CNN BREAKING NEWS
Police Confirm Murder of Kidnapped California Girl
Aired July 17, 2002 - 12:55 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take our viewers now live to Orange County. We have been waiting for word of the case of that kidnapped 5-year-old girl, Samantha Runnion. We are expecting an announcement now to come here from the sheriff's department in Orange County. The body of a girl has been discovered. We don't know yet if it is Samantha Runnion or not -- let's listen in.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... contact with Sheriff-Elect Bob Doyle, the sheriff of Riverside County, allowed the Orange County Sheriff's Department, our investigative team that has been put together, local law enforcement state and the FBI, take the leadership role in that investigation.
Working through the night, we were able to identify this morning that, in fact, the body in Riverside County is that of Samantha Runnion. The body was found nude, and at this point in time, there is no obvious cause of death.
Because the -- worked very quickly, because the body was found very quickly, we have a high expectation that there will be significant forensic evidence found at the scene, and significant forensic evidence found on the body of Samantha Runnion. As we speak, there is an autopsy that is being performed, as well as the collection of evidence by our investigative team. We should have information for you later this afternoon.
I want to read some information, and I will give it to you verbatim as to what we can expect from the individual who committed this crime. We believe that there is an ongoing risk, based on the profile provided to us by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that this individual will commit another crime of a similar fact pattern in a relatively short period of time. And so we need the public to be aware of that and to continue to support our investigative efforts in locating this individual and bringing him to justice as quickly as possible.
Last night, I had the opportunity to discuss with the leadership in the FBI here in Orange County, Richard Garcia (ph), an offer was made to allow their profiling division back in Washington, D.C. to look at digital photos at the scene. They were able to give us the following description of what we can expect, and this is important for the public to understand how important their role is in helping us solve this crime.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are continuing to investigate the kidnap and murder of Samantha Runnion. While the task force has received a tremendous response from the public, and numerous leads have been called in and followed up to their logical conclusion, the task force is requesting the public's continued assistance.
We have reason to believe that there may be an individual or individuals who have information pertinent to this investigation, that for unknown reasons, they have yet to come forward. We are making an appeal to these individuals to contact the task force as soon as possible.
Information about suspicious persons or unusual vehicles in the area of this kidnap-murder could be extremely important to this investigation. Even if you think that the information that you have is unimportant, or that someone else may have already given the task force the information that you know, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible. Your call may provide us information needed to solve this case.
Additionally, we are asking the public's assistance in identifying the offender in this matter by noting changes in this person's behavior patterns. Often, someone in the community will unknowingly be associated with the offender of a crime, and may be in a position to observe behavioral changes in that individual. They will recognize changes, and may even question them about it, but not relate to changes to that person's involvement in this crime. The persons close to the individual responsible for the kidnap and murder of Samantha Runnion may have noticed one or more of the following changes or scenarios, especially on the late afternoon of Monday, July the 15th.
They are: unexpectedly leaving an area for what is a plausible sounding reason -- work related, a visit to a distance relative -- changes in the normal consumption of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, missing work or other routine engagement, particularly on Monday, July the 15th, and Tuesday July the 16th. And unnatural, at least for this individual, interest in the status of the investigation, playing close attention to the media, a noted display of nervousness or irritability. Unexplained injuries, bruises, particularly on the hands and/or arms, changes in routine sleep patterns, sudden shaving of facial hair and/or head hair, or change in the hairstyle. A noted increase or decrease in religious activities. No longer operating their personal vehicle for no plausible reason. This might include sudden I will keeping the vehicle in a shed or a garage, selling it, or trying to give it away to friends or relatives.
It's important to notes that the exhibition of one or more of these behavioral changes by themselves is not indicative of one's involvement in this crime. These behavioral characteristics or changes are being shared with the public so the public may be sensitive to them and may bring forth possible helpful information to resolve the murder of Samantha Runnion. Should you or someone that you know have information that may be important to this successful resolution of this tragic kidnap and murder, please immediately contact the Samantha Runnion task force at area code 714-890-4280. Or you can contact us by the mail at post office box 449 Santa Ana, California, 92702.
I want to emphasize that the media and the public have been incredibly helpful in moving this investigation forward as quickly and as successfully as it has to this point. We need the public's continued involvement in this.
We believe that the individual or individuals who committed this crime are probably watching. You have to understand, don't sleep, don't eat, because we're coming after you. We will take every resource that's available to us to bring you to justice.
The men and women of law enforcement, not only here in Orange County, but in the state and in the nation, are committed to making sure that you're caught and brought to justice.
I would like to introduce now my colleague from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Richard Garcia.
RICHARD GARCIA, FBI: Thank you, sheriff.
First, as far as myself, the FBI, we extend our deepest condolences to the family in the tragic death of Samantha. As the sheriff was emphasizing, we have our behavioral science team here from Washington D.C. to assist in this matter. They will provide assistance as far as the patterns, the potential description of the suspect, and any type of future-type activities the suspect may do.
Yesterday, they are saying in the media that we had approximately 30 agents involved in this investigation. It's quite significantly more than that. I won't give you the exact numbers, but we have a tremendous amount of support being provided by our office, and we will continue on 24 by 7 until this person is caught.
The individual is in fact watching us right now. And I want to tell you I, like the sheriff said, we will find you, we will bring you to justice.
But we do need the public's help, because this individual, based on our profile, will do this again and soon. We emphasize the parents to talk to their children, to talk to them to see if there's anything has happened like this in the past recently an attempt by this individual to call us.
I'm telling the subject himself, call us, and we can work your arrest peacefully.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As mayor of city council and mayor of Stanton, this is indeed a sad day for everybody, and we in the city council and the entire community support the Runnion family with our thoughts and prayers. We know there are many of you out there across the nation who share in this and share their sorrow, and we wish to have you -- if you want to send letters, or cards to other items to the family, please send them to the Stanton City Hall, 7800 Katella Avenue, Stanton, California, 90680.
Additional, a fund has been established for those offering wishing to monetary support. And donations may be made be made to the Samantha Runnion fund, again, care of the city of Stanton, 7800 Katella Avenue.
Thank you -- sheriff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mayor Donahue.
I'm more than a happy to answer any questions.
QUESTION: Was she sexually assaulted?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we believe she was.
QUESTION: ... trauma to the body. And do you she was murdered at the scene there in Riverside County or dumped there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know whether the murder occurred. That is part of the investigation, but we believe she was sexually assaulted, and yes, there was trauma to the body.
QUESTION: Do you think he wanted you to find the body so quickly? He didn't make attempt to hide it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he clearly didn't hide the body, in a shallow grave. And we believe, again, based upon the FBI's profile of this individual, that, yes, in fact he wanted us to find the body. It's a calling card for future activity. That's why it's so critically important for parents to engage their children in the discussion about staying away from strangers, and for the public to be particularly wary of this individual, who may strike again.
QUESTION: Can we get your personal reaction to this? Obviously as sheriff you're speaking on behalf of your investigators, and right now the FBI. Your reaction to this horrific crime?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My reaction as the sheriff is the same as reaction as a father. We don't accept crime in Orange County. We don't let children be brutalized or murdered. If you commit a crime in this county, I can guarantee you, not just the sheriff's department, law enforcement of this county, the resources of the state of California, and the resources of the federal government are going to come after you. We don't give up. We are notorious for tracking you down.
We are developing a further profile, working with the investigative team. We'll have more information for you on that, but we believe he has -- that he is a serial rapist and perhaps a serial killer, and would strike again.
QUESTION: Can you tell us -- we've seen some emotions from you. How difficult has this been for you? You say you're a father as well. How difficult for you to deal with this today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentlemen, I understand, you want the emotion out of this, let me just tell you, as a father and as the sheriff, a child is dead. I've had to talk to the parents. We're trying to pull investigative team together. The emotions aren't what's important. It's making sure that no further children are injured, nobody else gets hurt, and that we put all the resources to bringing this person to justice. So I appreciate the fact you want my emotions, but the reality is , we need to solve a crime right now.
QUESTION: Based on where the bodies was found, do you have any clues about where he might be headed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, ma'am, we don't, and we want the public to help us out. Again, the information that we gave you, the profile about the type of individual who would commit a crime like this critically important. Look for behavioral changes, look for abnormalities and share that with us, because we don't know where he is or where he might be going.
QUESTION: Anybody see the car or anything else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a number of leads. Again, a thank you to the media and to the public. You have been outstanding about getting us information. We have a number of leads about cars, and we're following up on every single one of those.
QUESTION: Green Honda?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Green Honda, Acura, the information we gave you yesterday. No changes in that data.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: In the description of suspect, there was some mention that he may be Hispanic. What is that based on, and did he speak Spanish to Sarah and to Samantha?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, we have a 5-year-old witness, and she's done a fantastic job for us. Based upon her description of the individual, facial features, skin tone, we believe that this person is of Latin descent. Further, Sarah was able to give us speech patterns based upon how she sees a Latin person, that those speech patterns were consistent with an individual who may be Hispanic, which is we why we put out that definition for the public.
QUESTION: What did he say to the girls?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have that information for you.
QUESTION: Do you believe a person who has been arrested or convicted of similar sexual crimes before? Is this something you're looking at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. We're looking through all of our files that I shared with you yesterday at the first press conference. All of the basic investigative protocols with respect to a crime of this nature have been followed. We're looking at databases of sexual offenders, and clearly, anybody who has a pattern of this type of behavior.
QUESTION: Based on the fact that she was sexually assaulted, do you feel as though you have a good DNA sample at this point, and are you currently, as we speak, running that in the system?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a tremendous amount of forensic evidence that was collected at the scene of the crime, both from Samantha as well as from the location, and we believe that forensic evidence, when analyzed, is going to will give us an important profile of this individual. We're doing as quickly as we possibly can.
One follow-up question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on the profilers, how soon do you think this man may act again. Are we looking at the next 24 hours? Can you give us...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Within the next 24 hours, we believe that this individual, based upon the behavioral profile that we've been able to get from the FBI, this person would react again within the next 24 hours, and so we're asking the public to be very, very cautious.
We haven't been able to determine time of death. The autopsy is going forward right now, and we'll have that for you as soon as we can conclude it and can actually pinpoint that.
QUESTION: Any more physical evidence such as tire tracks, or clothing or anything of that kind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was tremendous amount of physical evidence at the scene. Again, one of the strong suits of this particular investigation, is within a very short period of time, we had people not only here at the complex, but once the body was identified out in Riverside County, we had investigative teams in Riverside County. The collection of physical evidence, forensic analysis of that evidence will take place very, very quickly.
QUESTION: Are you more convinced today that he stalked her? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know what the individual might look like in terms of his physical description, and we know what he might look like in terms of his behavioral description. Whether or not he stalked her, we don't have that information yet, we don't have a suspect yet.
QUESTION: Your comment on the serial rape, serial murder are you looking into another case? Is there another case that you're -- you're saying serial, but so far this only one? Or do you have others?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serial is a description of the type of individual who would commit a crime like this, how we found Samantha's body at the scene of the crime. Now that leads us to a whole lot of other opportunities to investigate prior conduct by individuals. I can tell you that the FBI has been very, very good about bringing their analytical team out here. We have fed a tremendous amount of information into their system, and we are digesting that. This is now one more lead for the investigative team to solve this in a very quick period of time.
QUESTION: Yes, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know. We don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, no other crime has been linked to it, but we're looking at similar crimes.
QUESTION: When was the family informed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning, the investigative team from the Orange County Sheriff's Department met with the family, and confirmation of -- confirmation of Samantha was made by her grandmother.
QUESTION: Is the 6-year-old witness being protected?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at all the investigative leads in this case.
QUESTION: Why do you think he will strike within 24 hours?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a profile that meets the type of forensic evidence that we have, both at the scene, and what we've been able to pick up along the way from this investigation.
QUESTION: Is the 6-year-old witness being protected?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: An arrest in Lake Elsinore this morning, apparently a man matching the description in a similar car. Do you know anything about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't, Michelle (ph).
QUESTION: Any other obvious -- I know you said he left the body, didn't try to bury it. He left a sign. According to profilers, that's a sign in their determination. Anything else? Any notes? Nothing else other than the body?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not yet. And as we pick up more information that we want to get out to the public that could be a benefit to us in moving this investigation forward, we'll let you know.
QUESTION: What are the means of confirmation besides the grandmother making the ID?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will have an actual positive confirmation when the autopsy is concluded and matches of additional information that we use as part of the protocol for identifying an individual are done. But the only confirmation that we have right now is by the grandmother, from looking at pictures at the scene.
QUESTION: What did the FBI profiler say if any significance to the fact he left the body so out in the open, with so much evidence on the body and around the body? Is that in itself not something to consider in the profile?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am, and we did, and it's one of the reasons we're asking the public to be very cautious and to help us and find this individual quickly.
QUESTION: Sheriff, I have a question. Is this a crime done out of passion, per se, or was this something that was planned?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't give you that answer until we have the individual.
From his profile, he's an individual that has done this before, that has a pattern of this behavior, whether or not it rose to the level of actually killing a child, we don't know. This individual had a number of opportunities to not only just sexually assault Samantha, but he could have let her go. He chose not to and killed her. That's a very dangerous individual, that we're going to make sure comes to justice very, very quickly.
I'll take two more questions.
QUESTION: From the scene, what creates the profile that he will be a serial -- that he could be a serial rapist or killer again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's turn that one over to Richard Garcia from the FBI and we'll let the FBI talk about that.
GARCIA: Based on what we have right now as far as the evidence, the crime scene, as far as where Samantha was found. This -- this is what we can provide to you. First of all, a killing in the sexual assault type case from a sexual predator or individual such as this is extreme. Because it's extreme, they take that as another point to where they would emphasize that this person is going to do it again.
The way the body was found, the fact it was not buried, not hidden in such, and how it was left is also almost like a calling card, like a challenge. I'm here, and I'm coming back again. This is reason why we're saying that this person is going to strike again. And this is from the profilers. We will be having additional information as we review some of the forensics from the autopsy, as well as some additional evidence that we're looking at that was obtained last night and during the night from the scene.
QUESTION: Mr. Garcia, can you tell any more about how the body was found, beyond the fact it wasn't buried, wasn't hidden? .
GARCIA: I would say the body was found nude, and i cannot go into the specifics as far as the positioning or anything else like that, or any type of objects that might have been around, if there were any at all. I'm sorry, not at this time.
GARCIA: No, it's not. The profile may generally come to this area. There's no question about it, highly unlikely. But all of the L.A., Orange County, Riverside County area is basically the target area. But that doesn't mean that this individual will travel north or east to another state. When we're talking about the Hispanic male or the evidence from the witness, I might add to that the words cannot give you the words said, but the mannerism and the tone of voice was more of an Americanized Hispanic versus a foreign national.
QUESTION: Did you talk to profiler to profile the suspect?
GARCIA: Not at this time. We'll discuss it with them, and we'll talk with sheriff. Again, we are here assisting the sheriff's department. The FBI is in a supportive role in this particular fashion, providing agents, technical support, as well as (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to conclude by thanking the media for getting this information out there. I also want to make sure that the individual who committed this crime knows that we're coming after you. The best thing you can do is turn yourself in. You have the phone number. You're watching this. Turn yourself in, because the resources of law enforcement are coming after you. While we want the public to help, I understand that if you're an individual who is hiding this, this person, if you're aiding or abetting them in any way, we will come after you as well.
We want this individual, we want him quickly so no one else is hurt. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for being here.
PHILLIPS: Very strong and bold words from the sheriff of Orange County, California. Coming straight out and saying, there's a sexual -- or a serial rapist rather and a killer on the loose. He believes that this man will strike again. Meanwhile, confirming the fact that the body that was found on the side of the road is that of Samantha Runnion. This beautiful 5-year-old girl was kidnapped and front of her house about two days ago, and the body was discovered yesterday. All night investigators were working on trying to see if it was indeed Samantha Runnion. It is. Her body found was found 75 miles from home after being kidnapped. An autopsy is now under way.
Our Thelma Gutierrez is there on the scene. She's been following this story since it first happened.
Thelma, no doubt, as a mom, in addition to being a journalist, it's pretty disturbing what we've just heard.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, it sure is, particularly when you hear that this is a person who is likely to strike again, possibly as authorities say within the next 24 hours, very terrible thing.
On top of that, Kyra, another thought strikes me, that they said the grandmother had to identify the body based on photographs that were taken from the crime scene. And so you recall, Kyra, we had reported that the child, Samantha Runnion, was under her grandmother's care while her parents were at work the day abducted. You can imagine a very, very difficult thing for the family.
Out here today, we understand, that there are teams of volunteer crisis counselors who are here to talk with the family, here to talk other parents around children who may be traumatized by all of this news.
And, Thelma, now a $500,000 reward, I understand, is being offered for any information leading to this man?
GUTIERREZ: Any information leading to this man, Kyra, and one of the things that the sheriff was saying a short time ago is that he believes that there are individuals, or that there is an individual out there who absolutely has knowledge of who this person might be. They're urging that person to come forward, again, because they believe that this perpetrator will strike. They say it's certain he will strike possibly within the next 24 hours, a very scary thing.
PHILLIPS: I heard you ask the question to the sheriff about how they knew if he was Hispanic or not? Obviously, little Ann (ph), her playmate, Samantha's playmate, got a great -- or gave a great description of this man. Can you give us a few of those details again on this man that police are now looking for.
GUTIERREZ: Yes, actually, Kyra, that is exactly what the sheriff said that this little girl was an excellent witness. She was very observant. Not only was she able to gather that the man had slicked back hair, that he had a thin mustache, that he was about 5'8, and that he had an olive complexion. But also, as a sheriff said, his pattern of speech that they were able to gather that this is not a person who is a Mexican national, but perhaps born here, and that was from the accent. So this was a very observant little girl.
And also, Kyra, she noticed a light green car driving away with Samantha inside kicking and screaming. Sarah Ahn, the 6-year-old witness, says that she noticed an "H" on the back of that car, and so authorities were thinking that perhaps it was a Honda or an Acura. So great observations made by this little girl.
PHILLIPS: One smart little girl. Thelma Gutierrez, thank you so much.
I know the next story will be the search for this man and the developments in that in the time period, looking for -- once again, here's a sketch of what police believe is what the suspect looks like, 25-40 years old, as Thelma was saying, Hispanic male, slicked back hair, thin mustache, possibly driving two-door car, maybe a Honda, a light-green car, with chrome wheels.
Let's bring in Don Clark retired FBI special agent. Don, you and I have talked a number of times on these missing children cases. And I found some very interesting things to come out of this sheriff's mouth today. He was so bold and so straightforward.
Let's first talk about behavioral changes, something that the community can be looking for right now. Obviously, they think this man is going to strike again. They're calling him a serial rapist and killer. He was mentioning these changes in people you may know. Let's run through them, Don, someone that maybe has bruises on his hands, cut his hair, sleep patterns changing, not showing up for work. Let's talk about this a little bit.
DON CLARK, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think the sheriff is right on target there. And he's worked closely with the profiling people. And I have to tell you, Kyra, having work with these profilers, you have to take what they say really seriously, because they have compared this time and time again, and they know these patterns, and you will find that the individual may try to do things to alter themselves to keep themselves disguised.
One of the things we have to realize about these type of criminals and having worked many of them here in Houston is that this is a sickness, and when that sickness comes upon them, they will strike at anytime. It could be 24 hours, or it may be a longer period of time than that. But nonetheless, when that thirst comes about, that they have to do something about it, and it's incurable, and it's a terrible crime, but we have got to be aware that there are people out there that exist and I think the public has to know that if you see somebody doing something that they suggested earlier -- changing their cars, changing their appearance, not one independent thing, but a collection of these types of activities, they may be on to something there, and somebody ought to take heed.
PHILLIPS: Yes, the public definitely needs to be sensitive to all these types of characteristics.
Let's talk about the fact that this man did not attempt to hide the body. The sheriff saying, this is calling card for future activity. Let's talk about this psychological aspect of not hiding the body. CLARK: Well, you know, Kyra, I'm sitting here and listening to that, and it was a similar situation that we had down here in Texas, in an area called "the killing fields," where there were at least three girls bodies found in the same similar location and in the same type of circumstance. And this is a calling card.
And as sick as the individuals are, with this type of criminal mind, they tend to do the same types of activity, and they tend to go after the same type of individual, the same age bracket of individuals. So none of our kids are safe from this. From teens to tots or tots to teens, we have got to be really careful because the individual may very well strike out again.
I can assure you, in all likelihood, that this is not the first time -- and unless he's apprehended soon -- it's a difficult task, and I know what the sheriff said and I know they're very committed to trying to get this person off the street, but without a lot of help and a lot of good investigation, which they will get, it's a difficult task.
PHILLIPS: So, Don, if I were living in Orange County. I'm a parent. I have a child this age, same age as Samantha Runnion, what would you tell me right now? What do I need to do? Sit my kid down, and what do I need to tell my son or daughter right now?
CLARK: I have to tell you, Kyra, you know, we're got to talk about supervision, constant supervision, and certainly, that's really not to cast any aspersion on any parent, but nonetheless, these little guys, we have got to keep our eyes on them at all times. Secondly, what we've got to do is tell them. And these kids are smarter today. They're exposed so much more. So at all ages, we have got to start telling them that you just don't talk to strangers. We don't want to make our kids paranoid, our grandkids or whatever paranoid, but nonetheless, you cannot talk to strangers.
Another thing is that adults don't have to ask kids for help. They don't need kids help and assistance. So if an adult is asking you for something, don't respond. You've got to continue to move. And as many times, we constantly hear, watch for the puppy trick, the cookies, the candy, the ice cream, the gifts of somebody baring this, and as we as adults think, well, that's simple they are not going to do that. They are kids, and they will respond.
So we have to constantly repeat these messages to our kids to try to keep them from getting engaged in and getting caught up in this type of similar situation, because they are kids.
PHILLIPS: Don, let's talk about the playmate and I'm not going to say her name. I wish her name wasn't out there, because the question was brought up about her safety, this playmate that gave such a great description of this suspect. Is she in danger?
CLARK: It's very likely for a couple of reasons, that this kid could be in danger. Number one, from all that we've heard, Kyra, is that this kid gave an outstanding description of what this person is like, and it seems to be helping law enforcement to come together with some evidence. So that in of itself says that wait a minute, this person who grabbed this little girl and committed this heinous crime knows that there's someone who is capable of identifying him. So precautions have to be taken there.
And the other aspect of this is this is same age kid as the little girl who was just recently murder here. So just overall protection of the kids of similar ages, or any ages, we have to be on guard for. So certainly there has to be a great degree of protection, and I'm sure there is, being afforded this little girl.
PHILLIPS: Does a serial rapist, a serial killer, like this suspect, stalk kids, or is this random? Is this an impulse type of thing?
CLARK: I think sometimes it's random. I don't know that there is total pattern that they absolutely stalk a particular kid. Again, Kyra, I think when this first hits, and the profilers have told us this time and time again, that when it strikes, and the opportunity is there, that's when they hit. So we have to, as parents and grandparents and adults, try to not let that opportunity come about so that these little kids out there don't find themselves exposed to that.
PHILLIPS: Let's talk about the hunt for this suspect, this man -- I shouldn't even say "man." I mean, he deserves no honorable mention, this suspect. The search for him, how does this go? Are they going to look back at all records, police records, national records on sex offenders? How will the search begin?
CLARK: They have a lot of information to look to. And I think that the -- well, I know that FBI will have a pool of information of which they can go back through, and the profilers will help a lot in this. And the behavioral science unit back in Quantico, Virginia, part of the FBI. They will go and start to check databases and see, and really try to help determine. Also, there is a center out there, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who really worked very closely with law enforcement agencies, and they, too, will probably get involved in this, and see if they can provide some information.
And what's really going to play a very good role in this, Kyra, is that the investigation at the crime scene, at and around the crime scene, where Samantha's little body was found there, because everything around there now, by and large, is going to have to be looked at as some type of evidence, and I suspect that the law enforcement people will collect everything they can get their hands on, as well as the body itself and anything around it, hairs and , or anything of that nature, so they may have a significant amount of evidence to at least compare things to as they go down the road with this investigation.
PHILLIPS: So in looking at significant forensic evidence that could be found around the scene and found on the body, let's say that this person has been caught before for some type of sexual offense, and he indeed is in a database of sexual offenders, what could be in that database that can connect to what is found on the scene or on the body?
CLARK: I think one of the things that is going to be in that database, is that they are going to look at people of comparable sizes, and physical descriptions that they may find. Then what this evidence will really play a great role in, is that suspects are developed. They will have something to compare to, and information may come in about different suspects, about vehicles, etcetera, and based on what they find at the crime scene, both on the body, as well as around the crime scene, will give them an abundance of evidence to really compare to as they go about.
But those databases will definitely look at across the country and particularly in that area of California out there, what has transpired out there and the type of people who have committed these crimes and have not been caught, or have been caught for some other crime. Then they have some comparisons to make.
PHILLIPS: FBI special agent Don Clark. Thanks so much, Don. Your insight is always really terrific.
CLARK: Thank you, Kyra. It's a tough time, but we hope the family works out well.
PHILLIPS: Yes it is, definitely.
I'm sure we will be talking again, too, about the search for this man.
CLARK: You bet.
PHILLIPS: Once again a description of the suspect. We do have a sketch of him, 25 to 40 years old, Hispanic male, slicked back hair, thin mustache, possibly driving two-door light green car with chrome wheels, possibly a Honda. This is the man police are looking for. The body of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion has been identified. She was kidnapped and murdered. And police believe now a serial rapist and killer, this man right here, will strike again. If you have any information, you are asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department, 714-890-4280.
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