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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- At least 14 people have claimed or been nominated for $295,000 in reward money for the recovery of Elizabeth Smart.
The money was pledged by the Smart family, private donors, city funds, and the FBI for Elizabeth's safe recovery. She was taken at knifepoint from her bedroom June 5, and returned to her family March 12 after she was spotted on the street of a Salt Lake City suburb with two transients who have been charged with her kidnapping.
Mayor Rocky Anderson and Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse will decide how to dole out the money within several weeks, said Josh Ewing, the mayor's spokesman. Anderson and Dinse can consult with the district attorney before awarding a $250,000 city reward, and they may consult with the FBI before distributing that agency's $45,000 reward.
The reward money may be divided among several parties if Anderson and Dinse decide so, Ewing said. Anderson's office is not releasing the names of nominees or claimants and may not name recipients even after they receive money, Ewing said.
The family sponsored another $10,000 reward for anyone who could exonerate Richard Ricci, once a potential suspect in Elizabeth's kidnapping. The arrest of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee apparently clears Ricci, a former Smart handyman who died of a brain hemorrhage in August.
That reward will be distributed by a committee of the FBI and Salt Lake City police.
Smart family spokesman Chris Thomas has said that people outside the family have nominated Mary Katherine Smart for the city's and FBI's rewards. If she receives any money, the family will donate it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Thomas said.
Mary Katherine shared a bed with Elizabeth the night of the kidnapping, saw the abductor, and several months later told her family and police that the man who took her sister looked somewhat like Mitchell, who had helped repair the Smarts' roof in November 2001.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)