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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Agents Find Assault Rifle in North Carolina Woods

Aired June 2, 2003 - 20:08   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Want to get -- we have some story -- some news just in. Want to go to Art Harris, who is on the phone with us. Art, are you there?
ART HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am here, Anderson, in Murphy, North Carolina.

COOPER: And what can you tell us?

HARRIS: Agents, Anderson, found a .223 assault rifle at the campsite, one of the campsites that they believe Eric Rudolph was using. It is a Belgian-made assault rifle called an FLAN. Doesn't have a long range, so it wouldn't be that effective for deer hunting.

But they believe it was used by Rudolph, and sources tell us they expect to find several other guns, based on literature that was found in his trailer when he disappeared, Anderson.

COOPER: Art, how far -- I'm not sure if you know this or can say this, but how far is the campsite that they found this rifle at from the town of Murphy?

HARRIS: There are two campsites (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Anderson. I can't tell you which campsite they found it in. One is actually about a 30-mile hike up above a ridge that overlooks the parking lot and the grocery store where he was arrested.

And then it's about five miles as the crow flies to the second secret campsite, which is atop a mountain in the middle of Nantahela National Forest. We were up there and got turned away at a roadblock by Forest Service Rangers.

It is so high up and so vertical, Anderson, that one of the agents said, Even when we finish, and you have access to it, you might not want to go there, because I am a runner, I'm in great shape, and it was tough for me.

COOPER: And Art, we're looking at some images of the original search for Eric Rudolph, using the bloodhounds, all -- I mean, hundreds of law enforcement officials over many years, searching these woods. Describe the -- you know, that -- we've heard a lot about this area, how difficult it is. Do you get the sense that investigators know what they're looking for, know where to go now?

HARRIS: Well, Anderson, the standard procedure here, you know, once they find one campsite, and they've got items that he has used, they can use bloodhounds. They're very effective at retracking or backtracking. And we believe that that is what they're doing now, and that may be leading them to other places.

But it is rough. And Eric Rudolph has been adept at losing dogs, because I've been inside these woods, Anderson, you can't see sometimes three feet ahead of you.

And then there's a stream. They may have found -- followed the scent to the stream and then they lose it. And I asked one agent, Well, how did he lose the dogs? He just went straight up the stream, and naturally you can't follow those kind of footprints.

COOPER: Well, you raise a good point, now, Art, they have his scent. It's going to be a big help to those dogs, even if they're not getting information from Eric Rudolph. Art Harris, appreciate you joining us tonight with that update. That just into CNN. Art, thanks.

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