Saturday, March 24, 1990

Officials beginning to doubt alleged confession in Ann Gotlib case
By Cary B. Willis The Courier-Journal They haven't completely written him off, but investigators who searched ort !no" for the body of #nn $otlib based on an alleged confession from a serial %iller are having serious doubts about his credibility. &ichael 'ee 'oc%hart, a ()-year-old Toledo, *hio, man already facing three death sentences, was brought from a Te"as prison to ort !no" on Wednesday to show where he had buried the +frec%le-faced girl+ he purportedly %illed while stationed there in ,)-., police said. But an intensive search at a remote area near the southern edge of the post -a search employing ,/ to (0 people with shovels and another operating a bulldo1er -turned up nothing on Thursday, and officials now suspect they may have been sent on a wild-goose chase. 't. Col. !en 'ampe, assistant Jefferson County police chief, said it was frustrating to watch what had been one of the strongest leads in the seven- year history of the $otlib case wither away. +2aving been through so many of these false alarms, it loo%s li%e the best thing in the world,+ 'ampe said. 3olice thought +we finally found her. 4verybody's up, everybody's high. #nd then to watch it 5ust deteriorate in front of you . . . +Who %nows what motivates a serial %iller to do something li%e this6+ 'ampe said. +7'm past the point of trying to rationali1e why people give either false information or intentionally mislead you.+ *n the other hand, 'ampe said, +he may not have intentionally misled us. 2e may have %illed a little frec%le-faced girl somewhere else.+ 3hil 8oty, a spo%esman for the B7, said it would be +premature+ to say that 'oc%hart's information was a false alarm. +We're trying to re-evaluate the information we received. We may go bac% out there 9to ort !no": in the future. We need to go bac% and figure out what was said 9by 'oc%hart:, how we got to that particular location, retrace our steps, and go from there,+ 8oty said. 8oty said investigators thought +from the very start+ that there was a possibility 'oc%hart was ta%ing credit for an abduction he had had no part in. But they had to chec% out his information, he said.

'ampe said a county detective and an B7 agent had several conversations with 'oc%hart in Te"as in the past five or si" wee%s, and initially +he tal%ed about a lot of things that sounded e"tremely good.+ But as time passed, and 'oc%hart began giving +generic answers to specific ;uestions,+ they began to get concerned. 'ampe said another reason police had started getting suspicious about 'oc%hart was his failure of a polygraph e"amination regarding the $otlib case. But polygraphs are sub5ect to different interpretations, and people with psychotic tendencies such as 'oc%hart has shown often give false readings, he said. <till, they had to investigate 'oc%hart's claim, he said. +2e had his shot, and he didn't produce anything. 7'd say he was blowing smo%e,+ 'ampe said. =obert 2obbs, an investigator for the Jefferson County, Te"as, district attorney's office, said he contacted !entuc%y authorities several months ago after 'oc%hart told him in interviews about having abducted a girl from a suburban 'ouisville shopping mall. 2obbs said he has spent hundreds of hours tal%ing to 'oc%hart at a 2untsville prison since the former soldier and maga1ine salesman was sentenced to death in *ctober ,)-after being convicted of %illing a Beaumont, Te"as, police officer. 'oc%hart has confessed to, or been lin%ed by investigators to, a variety of crimes across the country -most in ,)-> and ,)-- -- and there is strong evidence to support many of the allegations, 2obbs said. Beaumont 3atrolman 3aul 2ulsey Jr. was %illed on &arch ((, ,)--, after he chased 'oc%hart to a Beaumont hotel on suspicion of car theft. 7nformation developed during the investigation of that slaying led Te"as authorities to lin% 'oc%hart to the murders of teen-age girls in $riffith, 7nd., in *ctober ,)->, and 3asco County, la., in January ,)--. 2e was convicted by a 5ury of the 7ndiana slaying, pleaded guilty in the lorida %illing and received additional death sentences in both cases. 'as ?egas police said yesterday that 'oc%hart is still a suspect in the July ,)-> slaying of a ,@-year-old girl whose mutilated body was found in the desert outside the Aevada city a wee% after she was reported missing. #nd 2obbs said 'oc%hart continues to admit to rapes, robberies and other crimes in +all four corners+ of the country. +2e tal%s very freely,+ 2obbs said. +7 don't %now how candid he is, but he tal%s a lot.+ 'oc%hart's confessions have never led investigators to another body, 2obbs said, but he pointed out that the 'as ?egas murder and others are different from the case in

'ouisville. +Those cases involve young girls who were definitely %nown to be dead, so it's 5ust a matter of finding their %iller. #nn $otlib's never been found,+ he said. With 'oc%hart's confessions, +We've made some progress on solving some unsolved cases,+ 2obbs said. #nd, he added, +7 thin% there are more murders.+ 'oc%hart hasn't been tried for any other crimes, partly because Te"as is unli%ely to send a thrice-condemned prisoner to another state for an offense less serious than murder, 2obbs said. With all the crimes in which 'oc%hart may be involved, 2obbs said it's difficult to %now the strength of 'oc%hart's confession in the $otlib case. +2e is most assuredly a %iller of young girls. 2e was living in the area at the time. Those factors alone ma%e him a suspect,+ 2obbs said. But 'oc%hart also is +capable of playing some real games. 2e could be 5er%ing us all around.+ #nn $otlib, the daughter of =ussian immigrants, moved to 'ouisville with her parents in ,)-0. <he was ,( when last seen near Bashford &anor &all on June ,, ,)-.. 2er bicycle was found outside the mall that night. 'oc%hart had been stationed at ort !no" for a little more than a year when #nn disappeared, #rmy spo%esmen said yesterday. 2e entered the #rmy on Jan. (-, ,)-(, and received basic and advanced training as a combat engineer at ort 'eonard Wood, &o. 2e arrived at ort !no" on &ay ,@, ,)-(, and was assigned to Company C, ,)th 4ngineer Battalion. 'oc%hart left ort !no" on *ct. ,>, ,)-., for !orea. #nn's disappearance received enormous publicity, and 'ampe speculated 'oc%hart may have learned of her case through news reports. #s police reassess the case, +7'm sure there will be more conversations with him,+ 'ampe said. +7t's not a case that's going away,+ 'ampe said. +7t's been wor%ed on this long, it's not going to go away. The leads will continue to come in, and we'll still get into situations li%e this.+

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