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Edmunds is charged as fugitive from justice

The drifter is to be arraigned in Magistrate Court after he is released from City Hospital

The drifter is to be arraigned in Magistrate Court after he is released from City Hospital

June 25, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County, W.Va., magistrate on Monday issued a warrant charging Bret Michael Edmunds, who had been sought for questioning in the disappearance of Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart, with being a fugitive from justice.

Sandra Miller issued the warrant Monday after federal authorities said they would ask a judge to withdraw a federal warrant for unlawful flight, Martinsburg Police Chief Ted Anderson said.

Edmunds, 26, remained in serious condition at City Hospital in Martinsburg Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Edmunds checked himself into the hospital June 20 for treatment of drug-related liver damage.

After his release from the hospital, Edmunds will be arraigned on the state charge in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, Anderson said. It was not known when that might be.

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Police said Edmunds was not the focus of the investigation into Smart's disappearance.

Police in Salt Lake City said Monday that Richard Albert Ricci, a handyman who worked at the Smart house, was arrested for an alleged parole violation and was at the top of the list of potential suspects in her disappearance.

Authorities said, however, that some "items of interest" were recovered from Edmunds' car.

Police conducted a "forensic vacuum" of Edmunds' car, which turned up "quite a bit," Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse said in a press conference broadcast Monday by CNN.

Police would not say what was found in Edmunds' Saturn.

The items will be taken to a lab in Salt Lake City for testing, FBI spokesman Kevin Eaton said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

Police did not know why Edmunds traveled to Berkeley County, Eaton said.

In the press conference, FBI spokesman Dan Roberts said Edmunds was cooperative with investigators at City Hospital and the FBI was tracking leads as a result of conversations with Edmunds.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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