SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A national manhunt was launched for a brazen kidnapper who abducted a 14-year-old girl from her bedroom at gunpoint while a younger sister cowered in fear.
Police with tracking dogs, helicopters and a new statewide emergency alert system searched for Elizabeth Smart, who vanished early Wednesday.
"I would just appreciate it if you've got her, to please let her go," Elizabeth's father, Edward Smart, pleaded with the kidnapper. "Please. She doesn't do anything to anyone. Please let her go. Please."
The family called for volunteers to meet Thursday morning for a house-to-house search in the affluent Federal Heights neighborhood and an adjacent wooded area.
The parents went on national TV networks Thursday to renew their plea for their daughter's return.
"This person, whoever he is, I don't think he knows what he's doing," the father said on NBC's "Today" show. "She's just the sweetheart in our family and we just want her back."
Police believe the intruder forced open a window somewhere in the house -- though not in the bedroom where the girl and her 9-year-old sister slept -- at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. The parents and other children also were home and sleeping. The family has six children in all.
The assailant was described as white with dark hair and wearing a tan denim-type jacket and a white baseball cap. He is about 5 foot 8 inches tall and was soft-spoken, the sister told police.
Police said he brandished a small, black handgun and told the younger girl her sister would be harmed if the alarm was raised. Elizabeth was wearing red pajamas, and the man let her take a pair of shoes, police said.
The assailant didn't call the victim by name, nor did he appear to know his way around the house, the sister told police. No neighbors reported anything suspicious.
Because of the man's threat, the younger girl waited several hours before alerting her parents, which would have given the abductor time to get well away from the area, said police spokesman Dwayne Baird.
A $10,000 reward was announced by Mayor Rocky Anderson.
Elizabeth, who had just graduated from middle school Tuesday, is 5-foot, 6-inches tall with blonde hair and weighing about 105 pounds. Friends said she was an accomplished harp player and a good athlete.
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