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Widow of Kidnapping Suspect Sues Police Investigator

Widow of Kidnapping Suspect Sues Police Investigator


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The widow of a former Elizabeth Smart kidnapping suspect who died in police custody is suing a lead investigator in the case.

Angela Ricci alleged in the suit filed Friday that Cory Mack Lyman fingered Richard Ricci to avoid allegations of incompetence and to "satisfy the public's need to identify a suspect" in the high-profile abduction -- even though no evidence linked the handyman to the crime.

Ricci, an ex-convict who had done odd jobs for the Smart family at their home, came under suspicion after then-14-year-old Elizabeth was kidnapped on June 5, 2002. He was returned to prison on an alleged parole violation and died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Aug. 30, 2002.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for false arrest, defamation and false imprisonment. It alleges Ricci, who was never charged in connection with the kidnapping, was treated differently than others incarcerated for parole violations.

Elizabeth was found with homeless street preacher Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee in a Salt Lake suburb nearly nine months later, and criminal proceedings against the two continue.

Lyman is now chief of police in Ketchum, Idaho. The Ketchum police department on Saturday declined comment.

Angela Ricci has also sued the Utah Department of Corrections and the Salt Lake City Police Department alleging wrongful death and other civil rights violations.

She reached a $150,000 settlement last year with the Corrections Department, which denied any wrongdoing. Her lawsuit against the police department is pending.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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