Police say kids might have clues to girl's murder

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Police are asking parents in the neighborhood where a 13-year-old girl was found murdered to question their children about the night of the homicide and pass on any information they learn, even if it doesn't seem significant.

Delaney Zutz, 13, disappeared early on the morning of July 10 after telling her boyfriend on the phone that she was going out with a friend who had appeared at her bedroom window about 2 a.m. Her family reported her missing later that day, and relatives found her body Monday.

Lt. Ken Cole said police have talked to as many as 60 juveniles from the area encompassing Lake Otis Parkway and the East 60s and believe some know more than they are saying.

''They may have a key that is going to help us solve this crime,'' Cole said.

Cole said kids may not want to admit that they sneak out at night. However, investigators suspect some of the teens they have talked to were out, perhaps without their parents' knowledge.

''They sneak out in surprisingly large numbers,'' Cole said.

Kids who knew Delaney agree. They say sneaking out to be with friends during a sunset-tinged Alaska summer night can be irresistible.

''The thrill of sneaking out, it's late, it's dark,'' said Daniel Goldman, 15, who lives around the corner from the Zutz family. ''It's just an adrenaline rush.''

Cole would not say whether the investigation is leaning toward a culprit known to Delaney or a stranger-predator.

''At this point, the police do not have enough information to say with absolute certainty this won't happen again,'' Cole said at a press conference Thursday, reversing an earlier statement that parents need not fear the possibility of another homicide.

Cole apologized for the department's silence on the case. He said keeping a lid on the facts is considered necessary for the investigation and for successful prosecution somewhere down the line.

The department is throwing all the resources it has at the case, said police spokesman Ron McGee, including the seven people in homicide, detectives from other units and patrol officers as needed.

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