Mary Katherine Smart, the younger sister of Elizabeth Smart, recognized the voice of her sibling's abductor, the girls' father says.
Police will not confirm the information. "I can't comment on that," Salt Lake Police Capt. Scott Atkinson said.
Thursday, Elizabeth's father, Ed Smart, told MSNBC that his daughter recognized the kidnapper's voice.
"She heard his voice and recognized it as having heard it before," Ed Smart said on "The Abrams Report" with the cable network's Don Abrams.
Mary Katherine heard the abductor speak as the man took Elizabeth from the Smart house at gunpoint June 5. The 9-year-old was lying in the same bed as her older sister but feigned sleep as the kidnapping occurred.
While the girl recognized the voice, she couldn't link the voice to a specific person, family spokesman Chris Thomas said.
"The voice was familiar to her," Thomas said.
If Mary Katherine could have identified the person belonging to the familiar voice, that person would be charged, Thomas said.
Neither police nor the family have said whether Mary Katherine has heard Richard Ricci's voice since the abduction.
"I don't know if she has," Thomas said. "That would be a question that law enforcement would have to answer."
Wednesday, Salt Lake Police Chief Rick Dinse called Ricci a suspect for the first time.
Formerly, police had taken great pains to make sure they didn't call the former Smart handyman a suspect in Elizabeth's kidnapping. Rather, they referred to Ricci as another person they were looking at in the investigation.
Atkinson said police have not changed their tune about Ricci's level of involvement. There is no new evidence to elevate Ricci to the level of suspect, and it may just be a matter of word choice as to how different people refer to the man with a long criminal record, Atkinson said.
"I think it's semantics," he said.
Ricci has been charged with several burglaries, including a theft from the Smart house last year when he did work around the family's million-dollar Federal Heights home.
The handyman is in prison on a parole violation but was out on parole when Elizabeth was abducted.
Police still want Ricci to account for his whereabouts between May 30 and June 8 when 500 to 1,000 miles were put on Ricci's white Jeep Cherokee after he picked it up from Neth's Auto Repair.
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