Man who says he is suspect in case of two missing girls arreste

Saturday, August 17, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A man who said he is suspected in the disappearance of two 13-year-old girls from his neighborhood was in jail Friday in an unrelated rape investigation.

Ward Weaver was arrested Tuesday for allegedly raping his son's girlfriend, and authorities in Clackamas County searched his home and car, said Gordon Huiras, the Oregon City police chief.

Weaver's 19-year-old son, Francis Weaver, told 911 dispatchers when he reported the rape that his father also admitted killing Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, according to transcripts of the call obtained by The Oregonian.

Ward Weaver, 39, has denied any involvement in the girls' disappearances. He was being held on $1 million bail in the rape case.

Huiras said investigators have no new evidence linking Ward Weaver to the girls as a result of his arrest, though Weaver himself has said in several interviews that he is the main suspect.

Charles Mathews, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation, said his team is following up on leads and has narrowed the pool of suspects to 10 to 20 people, but he has not identified any of them.

The FBI wouldn't comment on reports about Francis Weaver's 911 call.

The two missing girls, members of the same dance team as Ward Weaver's daughter, disappeared last winter within two months of each other from an apartment complex near Weaver's Clackamas County home.

Police in Oregon City, a Portland suburb, served a search warrant on Ward Weaver's house Wednesday. They took photographs and carried off bags and boxes.

On Thursday, police searched his car and interviewed Francis Weaver for four hours. Francis Weaver's last known address was his father's house, but it was unclear Friday whether he lived there.

Relatives of the missing girls were unsure about Francis Weaver's claims.

The police "don't know if what he's saying is actual or if he's just really angry at his dad," Michelle Duffey, Miranda Gaddis' mother, said Friday on CNN.

Ward Weaver has a history of run-ins with the law.

In the 1980s, Ward Weaver served three years in a California prison for beating a baby sitter with a cement block and for credit card forgery. In 1991, a former wife of Ward Weaver's filed for a restraining order in Clackamas County, accusing him of threatening to shoot her and hitting their children.

Another ex-wife, Kristi Sloan, told CNN that she got a restraining order after he attacked her with a frying pan. They divorced in October 2000.

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