TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Authorities Question Kansas Teens Abduction Story

Authorities Question Kansas Teens Abduction Story

John Hanna (
Thu, 13 Apr 2006 11:54:02 -0500

By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press Writer

Kelsey Stelting's picture seemed to be everywhere, on walls, windows
and even pickup tailgates, after she called 911 and said she had been
kidnapped at gunpoint.

Twenty four hours after Kelsey Stelting resurfaced and recounted how
she'd clobbered her abductor and escaped, police said that no one else
had corroborated her harrowing story. They said Wednesday that they
had not ruled out the possibility that it might have been a hoax.

Authorities continued to withhold details, leaving puzzling questions
about the 15 hours the teen went missing Tuesday.

Police and the FBI hadn't released a detailed description or drawing
of a suspect, haven't found the white van in which Stelting said she
was kept and haven't recovered the cell phone they believed had been
taken from her after she made the 911 call.

Authorities were planning to make a final public statement about the
case Thursday.

"We've been looking at this as the criminal act. We've also been
looking at this, as somebody's mentioned here, as something that
possibly didn't happen," police Chief Lee Bynum told reporters.

The FBI interviewed some of Stelting's fellow classmates, although
officials said none were suspects or even involved in what happened.

Bynum said authorities wanted to correlate those statements -- as well
as rumors he wouldn't discuss -- with what Stelting said during hours
of interviews, which ended Wednesday night.

Earlier Wednesday, police released an audio file and transcript of the
teenager's 911 call.

Stelting said a man with a gun had approached her from behind in the
driveway of her home about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, forced her to run
several blocks to a lumber yard as he followed and then forced her
into a white van.

Police traced the call to a cellular tower about 10 miles south of
Independence. Stelting appeared Tuesday night at a house, near her
family's home, and the resident, Pete Dierks, said she told him she
hit her abductor with a glass and ran. The Dierks family called police
to notify them of her arrival.

Friends and acquaintances described Stelting as a good student who is
involved in softball, cheerleading, dance squad and student
government. They said they didn't see anything to cause them to doubt
that she'd been abducted.

Stelting's mother, Kelly Cox, said authorities were simply being
thorough in not dismissing the possibility of a false report. She said
she had no doubts.

"Every single one of us will tell you that Kelsey's a very forthright
young woman," she said. "If you listen to that 911 call, and I think
if you're a mom or a dad, I think you hear in her voice the trauma,
that she is afraid."

On the Net:

Kansas Bureau of Investigation Amber Alert System:

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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