Report: Indian crypt scanned for Utah girl

Sept. 7, 2002 at 4:06 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Police entered a crypt built to hold the remains of ancient American Indians in a Salt Lake City park last week, after a group of psychics said that the body of missing teenager Elizabeth Smart was inside, but the search came up dry.

The Salt Lake Tribune said Saturday that there was nothing in the cobweb-filled crypt to indicate that 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart had ever been there.

"We searched it very thoroughly. The whole thing was very secure," Utah state archaeologist Kevin Jones told the Tribune. "I certainly didn't want to start opening coffins."

The crypt was built 10 years ago in the city's This Is The Place Heritage Park as a resting place for ancient remains unearthed during construction projects in the growing metropolitan area and holds around 75 sets of bones.

The simple concrete shaft, covered by a steel grate, became the latest area searched in a desperate effort to find the missing girl. The search was carried out after PSI Tech, a Seattle company that carries out psychic research by so-called remote viewers, contacted the Smart family and said that 14 of its members had produced sketches of Elizabeth's location that appeared to match the burial vault.

Remote viewing is a term used to describe the practice of psychics who use their skills to search for missing objects and people.

The Pentagon and CIA reportedly ran secret remote-viewing programs from the 1970s through the 1990s that utilized psychics in an attempt to locate enemy weapons, installations and missing persons. The programs were the topic of at least two books and were featured on segments of television news magazines.

Elizabeth was last seen early on June 5 when, according to her younger sister, a man in a golf cap with hairy hands broke into the family home and forced Elizabeth to go with him at gunpoint. There has been no trace of the teenager since that night.

The investigation has produced few solid leads and was further set back when the leading potential suspect in the case, former handyman Richard Ricci, died of a brain hemorrhage. Ricci once worked for the Smart family but had never been formally named as a suspect. He had denied any role in the girl's disappearance.

The Tribune said Elizabeth's uncle, David Smart, sought to have the state allow the PSI group to enter the crypt, but Jones insisted that police be present. Two lead investigators were dispatched to the scene and went inside to see if the remote viewers were correct.

Dane Spotts, head of PSI, wrote on the company's Web site -- -- that the search was an inadequate "cursory peek" and should still not be ruled out as the possible location of Elizabeth's body.

Police Chief Rick Dinse said that psychics are not actively recruited to look for the missing persons and also can consume man hours. But he added that the steady stream of tips from citizens claiming to have a sixth sense will be followed up if they are specific enough about a location.

"I don't encourage it or discourage it," Dinse stated. "To this point, we haven't brought in any psychics -- but I don't rule anything out."

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