SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man police say tops their list of potential suspects in the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart said he is being targeted because of his criminal past.
Richard Albert Ricci said Friday night that he knows nothing about the 14-year-old girl's whereabouts.
"I think the reason I'm involved is because of my past. I would not -- nor could not -- hurt a child in any way," Ricci said in a statement released by his attorney. "I have no knowledge of Elizabeth Smart's abduction, disappearance or whereabouts."
The ex-convict, who worked as a handyman in the Smart home more than a year ago, is in police custody on an unrelated parole violation. He hasn't been charged in the Smart case.
Ricci has spent 29 years in and out of prison on burglary, attempted homicide, armed robbery and other convictions.
He said in the statement that he has "cooperated fully" with the FBI, police and probation officers.
Ricci's wife told police her husband was in bed by her side the night Elizabeth disappeared. Police say the girl was taken at gunpoint from her bedroom in the early morning hours of June 5.
Investigators have said they aren't satisfied with Ricci's alibi.
Salt Lake City police spokesman Fred Louis confirmed Friday that Ricci has been cooperating, and detectives have conducted several interviews with him.
"They have some questions about some of the things he's telling them," Louis said. He would not elaborate.
According to the statement released by attorney David Smith, Ricci says he has undergone 26 hours of interviews, given blood, taken polygraph tests and surrendered his vehicle to detectives. Police searching his home even dug up his garden.
"They have found nothing," Ricci said in the statement.
Louis confirmed that police have searched Ricci's property, but wouldn't give details. He said he couldn't comment on any physical evidence.
Ricci's father-in-law, Dave Morse Sr., said Thursday that police and the FBI seized a knife and one of his Scottish-style golf hats from his home next to the trailer shared by Ricci and his wife.
Elizabeth's sister told police the intruder was wearing a tan-colored Scottish-style golf hat.
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