Police Find Body Believed to Be Teen Abducted from Store

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Police on Wednesday found a body they believe is that of a teenager who disappeared four days ago after she was apparently abducted from a department store parking lot.

Police Chief John Douglass said the body was found across the state line at a Grandview, Mo., lake. Positive identification was pending, but authorities believed it was Kelsey Smith, 18. Police said volunteer searchers could stop their work.

Investigators had isolated two signals from Kelsey Smith's cell phone to an area about 15 miles east of the Target store in suburban Kansas City.

Officers from several police departments and the FBI were involved in the search in a woods along a lake.

Several Kansas City television stations and The Kansas City Star reported the discovery of a body, citing unidentified sources.

Officers refused to confirm the reports but planned a news conference for 5 p.m. EDT.

Police were still seeking information about a young man videotaped entering and leaving the Target store within moments of Smith. He said police still considered the unidentified man a "person of interest" and not a suspect.

Smith's parents, Greg and Missy Smith, said Wednesday on "The Early Show" that they do not know the man in the surveillance video.

"None of our immediate family recognize him," Greg Smith told CBS.

Officers also continued to look for information about a dark mid-1970s Chevrolet pickup that was seen entering the Target parking lot shortly after Smith's car. Just before 7 p.m. Saturday, the pickup pulled into the parking lot aisle where Smith had parked about one minute earlier, police said. A man is seen leaving the pickup and going into the Target store Smith had entered.

On Tuesday, police also released video showing a woman they believe is Smith being forced into her car.

Smith, who graduated from high school less than two weeks ago, left the store around 7:10 p.m. and put packages into her car when someone ran toward her, police said.

"You see two individuals come together, and there is no separation of those two individuals," Overland Park Police Chief John Douglas said. "So it is easy to conclude there was some kind of incident at the back of the car. Then the car leaves."

But the tape was "just not detailed enough" and was being enhanced at a forensics lab, Douglas said.

"We see activity," Douglas said of the videotape. "We are moving on the assumption - because the prudent thing to do is to treat this as an abduction - that there was some kind of force involved."

About two hours after Smith disappeared, her grandparents found her car in a parking lot at a mall in suburban Kansas City with her purse and packages still inside.

More than 50 detectives and officers from the area and the FBI were involved in the case, he said.

The Smith family increased the reward for information about Kelsey's disappearance to $30,000. Greg Smith, who has been in law enforcement for 16 years, described his daughter as an outgoing young woman who plans to be a veterinarian.

Investigators said they don't know whether Smith was picked at random or abducted by someone she knew.

Smith's sister, Stevie Hockersmith, 23, has been helping coordinate volunteer efforts.

"He doesn't know what he's in for," she said. "Honestly, she'll raise all hell, and she won't stop. Kelsey won't stop until her body makes her stop basically, until she just can't go on anymore."

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On the Net:

http://www.findkelsey.com


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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