Clovis Police Chief Dan Blair on the safe recovery Friday of 10-year-old Marissa Graham, abducted from Texhoma, Okla., Thursday night:
The recovery: We received the 911 call from a local convenience store that a little girl was there that had been kidnapped out of Oklahoma. We had received earlier or last night an Amber Alert to be on the lookout for this little girl Marissa, and when the officers got there ,they verified who she was and confirmed that she was the little girl taken out of Texhoma. … What I do know is that the vehicle pulled over here in Clovis, she was able to get out of the vehicle and run to the convenience store. (She was able to get away of her own accord.(She escaped) in the area of the (Allsup’s on Mabry), I can’t tell you if it was in the parking lot or where. …. I don’t have that information (about how she was kidnapped).
The suspect: A white vehicle is what we were looking for. We are still looking for a white male 35 to 40s possibly with facial hair, very light complected. The last description we have (is) either a purple, plumb color SUV or van-type vehicle. We really don’t (know the make). … At first we thought a Chrysler-type product, but we can not confirm that. … We don’t (have any idea what direction the suspect took off in). We’re still investigating that and trying to come up with more leads. … I’m sure (if caught he will face) kidnapping charges in a couple of states for sure. I don’t know what the Oklahoma authorities, what their laws are, but I’m sure it would be kidnapping. … We have two shifts out right now plus all the other agencies looking region wide. … He’ll be located — he’ll be found, I have no doubts. … The public will find out and that’s where it will come from. From a tip or from a citizen that sees something. That’s how we solve crimes every day. … We’re still investigating every possible lead that we have. … Everybody’s help was very much appreciated. The public has been calling in. The people scan our channels, when they see vehicles, they have been calling and that’s what it takes to get crime solved.
About Marissa: She is doing very well — in good spirits. She is a very brave little girl with a lot of energy, very energetic little girl. … I have not (spoken with her parents). I did call the investigators in Oklahoma. Right then Marissa was able to talk to her parents on the phone, and again, she’s a very brave little girl. The expression on her face — she had a smile from ear to ear. … She is (an absolutely radiant little 10-year-old). Right now (Friday afternoon), we have her with one of our investigators and a victim’s advocate from the D.A.’s office. We are not questioning, we are just trying to get her back in a kid environment. The FBI out of Albuquerque and Oklahoma as well as Roswell are on their way here and they will take over the investigation. … I have no information (if there are any signs of trauma or injury to Marissa). … We asked her if she was hungry she said she hadn’t eaten since yesterday so we sent one of our officers out. … She wanted a hamburger and we got her a hamburger. I haven’t seen a tear out of her. (She is) very much so (a playful kid), very strong kid — a strong willed little girl. (Her parents) they are on their way right now.
Amber Alerts and child abduction: I think Amber Alerts work very well, especially when you get them out on the national level. Sometimes state to state there’s trouble because of border(s). We send ours out in Albuquerque, which we would go through New Mexico police. Sometimes it’s hard to cross over. Oklahoma authorities did a very good job getting information out on the teletype to let everybody in surrounding states know.