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Published: Tuesday, 3/15/2005

* NEW * Police want to interview person of interest in case of missing 9-year-old Florida girl


HOMOSASSA, Fla. Investigators have identified a person of interest they want to interview in the case of missing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, authorities said today.

Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said in a statement that although no one has been crossed off the list of possible suspects, detectives had developed information about a man who is believed to be out of state.

Detectives want to question him concerning Jessica s disappearance, said Dawsy, who provided no other details including where the man was believed to be.

Jessica hasn t been seen since Feb. 23, after her grandmother says she tucked her into bed at the family s home, about 60 miles north of Tampa.

The statement also said that red flags were raised in an FBI polygraph test given March 4 to the girl s grandmother, Ruth Lunsford, regarding two of her responses. But investigators were unable to determine what, if anything, she might know about Jessica s disappearance, the sheriff said.

Reached today by telephone at the family s home, Ruth Lunsford, 73, said investigators have told the family nothing.

I have no idea what they are talking about, she said in a telephone interview. I m sorry, I m under a lot of stress.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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