Salt Lake City police made a public plea for information about Richard Albert Ricci Tuesday, the ex-convict they're questioning in the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart. Meanwhile, Ricci's wife tells ABCNEWS' Good Morning America that her husband is being railroaded.
Ricci, an ex-convict handyman with a 29-year criminal history, told police he was with his wife at the time of Smart's dissapearence. His wife says Ricci, who did some work at the Smart home last year, was devastated when they watched the news and learned of Smart's dissapearence.
"He put his face in his hands," Angela Ricci said. "He knows that pain and he just felt that for Mr. Smart. He knew the kids, he worked in the home, he spoke with them. He was devastated," she said.
Ricci, 48, has spent the last 11 days in a local jail after being arrested on a parole violation for allegedly burglarizing a home and possessing alcohol in April 2001. Authorities are skeptical about the alibi given by Ricci for his whereabouts on June 5, the day Elizabeth disappeared, and are trying to verify his whereabouts between May 31 and June 8.
Investigators have searched Ricci's home in Kearns, Utah, and impounded his three cars — a tan Ford Taurus, an Oldsmobile Cutlas, and a 1990 white Jeep Cherokee that Elizabeth's father, Edward Smart, gave him as a form of payment for work on the home.
'I Never Would Have Hired Him'
Elizabeth's father, Edward Smart, told reporters Tuesday that he was not aware of Ricci's criminal record and never would have hired him if he had known.
"Richard was referred to me by another contractor," he said. "I had no idea about his background whatsoever. I never would have hired him. I never would have exposed my family to that."
Police appealed to the public for any information on these vehicles Tuesday and distributed pictures of Ricci's cars.
The Riccis were married on Valentine's Day, 2001. They live with Angela's 11-year-old son from a previous marriage. Ricci's only son was killed after being struck by a drunk drive in 1985, when he was 9 years-old.
Comment: Ed Smart took men in from the street to work on his house, he had no interest in doing background checks on anyone.