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A new reward in Smart case

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An additional reward was announced Wednesday in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case.

Salt Lake police and the FBI are offering $25,000 for information that will lead them to the location of Elizabeth or to those responsible for her abduction. The money is separate from a previously announced $250,000 reward the family has offered for the "safe return" of Elizabeth.

Deseret News graphicDNews graphicElizabeth Smart kidnapping: What is fact and what is rumorRequires Adobe Acrobat.

Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson made the announcement during the Smarts' daily news conference Wednesday. He said the new reward money is for information whether Elizabeth is alive or dead.

Ed Smart, Elizabeth's father, said the new reward doesn't mean police or the family have given up hope that the girl still lives.

"We hope this will bring forward people that might not otherwise step forward," he said. "I don't believe in any way, shape or form that she is dead. I still believe she's alive."

Meanwhile, while he still has not officially been declared a suspect in the kidnapping, the investigation of Richard Albert Ricci heated up again Tuesday.

FBI agents served a search warrant at Ricci's trailer home Tuesday morning, leaving with bags of undisclosed evidence that was collected from his trailer and his shed. Ricci had consented to all searches in the past, but this one was apparently unannounced.

Neither Ricci nor his wife, Angela Ricci, was home.

In addition to searching Ricci's trailer, law enforcers have been busy tracking down and interviewing some of his known associates. One law enforcement source said the FBI's top priority now is to find the mysterious driver who allegedly gave Ricci a ride after he dropped off his car at Neth's Auto Repair on June 8.

Douglas Rex Young was arrested Sunday on a federal warrant for violating parole. The former bank robber was transported Monday to the Salt Lake County Jail by U.S. marshals.

Mike Wingert, senior criminal investigator for the U.S. Marshal's Office in Salt Lake City, said Young had not checked in with his parole officer for several months, a violation of his parole. Late last week, the office also received word that Salt Lake police wanted to talk to him, Wingert said.

Young was arrested while trying to visit an inmate at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. Security guards did a routine background check at the door and arrested him.

Wingert said it was his understanding that Young and Ricci met in the correctional system and may have worked in the same Federal Heights neighborhood as the Smart home, though Young did not actually work at the Smart house. Like Ricci, Young is a handyman and he and Ricci have maintained contact since being released, Wingert said.

Meanwhile, Bret Michael Edmunds, the man who sparked a nationwide manhunt after his name was one of the first to be released by police, announced Tuesday he would not fight extradition to Utah. Edmunds is in a West Virginia jail after being released from the Martinsburg City Hospital last week.

Edmunds is expected to be back in Utah in about a week.

Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom four weeks ago Wednesday. So far, no suspects have been named in the case.

Though Ricci has issued a statement denying any involvement, investigators are questioning his alibi for the morning of the kidnapping, June 5. Ricci claims he was in bed.

Investigators are also questioning where Ricci's Jeep was between May 30 and June 8. Ricci picked up his vehicle from Neth's Auto Shop May 30 and returned it June 8 with up to 1,000 new miles on the odometer, according to mechanic Neth Moul.

Ricci put two seat covers in a bag and carried that and a post hole digger across the street where a man was waiting to give him a ride, Moul said.

E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com