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Erica Pratt's Uncle Holds Press Conference

Aired July 24, 2002 - 15:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A 7-year-old Philadelphia girl is back home with her family after a brave escape from her kidnappers. Erica Pratt chewed through the duct tape and managed to yell for help yesterday after she was grabbed by two men in front of her grandmother's home. Police are searching for her captors.

We're just moments away from a live press conference in Philadelphia, where we're expected to hear from Erica's mother, grandmother, and possibly Erica.

Live pictures now, actually -- live pictures now. There is little Erica Pratt, obviously looking a lot better and a lot cleaner from the time that she was taken from her abductors. Look at her.

She was a brave little girl, breaking through that screen window and chewing through that duct tape, finding police. Now all of a sudden she's become very shy. Now, that's one humble, brave little girl.

It looks like they're going to step up to the podium. Not quite sure who the male is. We were supposed to hear from her mother Serina Gillis and grandmother Barbara (ph) Pratt.

Let's listen in.


MANNWELL GLENN, SPOKESMAN FOR FAMILY: But first and foremost, ladies and gentlemen, we appreciate you all being here today, and we thank you for your patience. The family was inside getting together, enjoying Erica.

June (ph) Moore is going to issue the family statement. After the statement they're going to take a couple of questions -- June.

JOSEPH MOORE, ERICA'S UNCLE: This statement is on behalf of the Pratt family:

We would like take this opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude to everyone involved who offered their prayers and support concerning the safe return of Erica. To the responsible members of the media, we thank you for your assistance in helping us.

This has been a very, very emotional time for us, as a family. In regards to that, we are extremely happy that she has been returned to us safely.

Erica is enjoying being with her family again, and is doing the things that she normally does. We applaud her for her courageousness, tenacity and wit in doing whatever she could to get to safety. I guess in that regard, she is a hero in her own way.

To the children Justin Ballard (ph), Vanessa Ponds (ph), as well as Officer Andrew Skaziak (ph) and Michael Harvey (ph), we would like to send you a special thank you for helping us retrieve Erica.

Again, this has been a very trying time for us, and we thank you for your support and concerns. Calls have been coming in from all over the city and the country with congratulations and wishes of support.

We appreciate it, and we thank you. God bless.

GLENN: Now ladies and gentlemen, they're going to take a couple of questions. But understand that these are not -- these are very private people. And we want you all to appreciate and respect their privacy.

Gerald Copin?

QUESTION: Yes, could we just get the spelling of your names -- both your names -- and your relationship to the family.

MOORE: My name is Joseph Moore, M-double-O-R-E. I am Eric's uncle.





MOORE: Yes, I'm the brother of (OFF-MIKE)

QUESTION: Can you describe the emotions of today?

MOORE: The emotions of today, the emotions of yesterday, I don't know the words to describe them. It was a very empty and lonely feeling to have one of ours taken from the nest.

But we have her back, and that's our concern, that we have her back, and she's safe.

GLENN: Over here.

QUESTION: June, can you tell us what Erica has been doing since she's been home, and if she talked at all about how she managed to escape that house?

MOORE: Well, I respect Erica's privacy, and I won't talk to her in that regard.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) what she's been through?

MOORE: Yes. She's just been playing. She's been painting, making beaded necklaces, eating and enjoying her family.

GLENN: Vern (ph), you had a question?

QUESTION: What can you tell us about -- earlier -- do you know the people who -- the chief suspects of this. Does your family know them, and any thoughts about what they did and what they're accused of doing to this little girl?

MOORE: Mr. Odoms (ph), I'm going to keep this interview concentrated on our happiness with having Erica back.

GLENN: And that's one of the things that the family was very specific on.

Everyone, listen to me: This is a very happy time right now. This little girl saved herself. We had neighborhood after neighborhood; we had police; we had community activists; we had friends of the family looking for this little girl. And this heroine saved herself, did things that many adults probably couldn't have done.

That is where we want to maintain and keep this focus. We're going to entertain a couple of more questions, and then we're going to back into the house.

Sir, over here.

QUESTION: Sir, what was your reaction when you first saw (OFF- MIKE)

MOORE: I cried. I was elated. I wanted to hold her and hug her and let her know that I loved her. I guess I -- my reaction was the same as the rest of my family, to reel her back in and show her that we still love her.


QUESTION: Mr. Moore, can you explain for us very quickly just how Erica is doing today? How is she doing now?

MOORE: She's fine. She's just her normal, jovial self. You wouldn't know her, because you are not around her. But to us, she's normal. She's doing the normal things that she did as a 7-year-old before Monday night.

GLENN: There's a question over here.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) this insurance payment, and whether that had anything to do with why they were asking for money?

GLENN: We want to lay to rest right now that we're not even entertaining that conversation, unless June wants to say something else.

MOORE: No, I'm just going to keep this restricted to the happiness that me and my family feels about having our child back. We're not concerned about insurance payments or anything else.

One of our children was taken from us, and thank God we have her back. And that's all we're concerned with.

QUESTION: Could you identify the gentleman holding (OFF-MIKE)

MOORE: The gentleman holding her is her uncle.

QUESTION: And his name?

MOORE: His name is Derek (ph).

QUESTION: Last name?


GLENN: Barbara (ph) doesn't want to talk.

MOORE: No one will be talking. No one will be fielding no questions.

QUESTION: And your name, sir?

GLENN: Mannwell Glenn.

QUESTION: And your relation?

GLENN: I'm the spokesman for the family, and I'm a father and a parent.


GLENN: M-A-N-N-W-E-L-L, last name G-L-E-N-N.

QUESTION: Could you talk about...

QUESTION: Are you related to them?

GLENN: We're friends.

QUESTION: Her eye injury -- is there any problem with her eye? There's an abrasion, apparently.

GLENN: Well folks, I think that what they want to do right now is go back in the house and enjoy Erica.

But if you want to know how Erica is doing, I think Erica has something she wants to say real quick.

QUESTION: How do you feel Erica?

MOORE: Thank you all. GLENN: Everybody, thank you so much for your patience and understanding. Thank you so much. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: With a big smile, holding her stuffed animal and looking quite relieved, 7-year-old Erica Pratt back home with her family.

That was a statement on behalf of Erica's uncle Joseph Moore, just thanking the police, the media, specifically the two officers that came across his little niece today.

If you are just tuning in and you haven't been following the story, 7-year-old Erica Pratt was being held by two captors -- or kidnappers, rather, for 24 hours. But she chewed through the duct tape that was wrapped around her arms; she had it around her eyes and her head.

She chewed through that, got through a window, called for help. And now, 24 hours later, she's back home safe and sound.

Terrific ending to a pretty tough story in the past 24 hours.




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