|Updated: 8/12/2009 9:12 am
||Published: 8/11/2009 6:02 pm
The ATF confirms to FOX16 News the wife and son of a Russellville doctor are now "persons of interest" in the investigation of the bombing of Arkansas State Medical Board Chairman Dr. Trent Pierce.
This comes one day after an agent described Randeep Mann as the "prime suspect" in the February bombing. The federal agency also revealed more Tuesday about why Mann is called the prime suspect.
Agent Grover Crossland with the ATF says it's the combining of a lot of evidence.
"He is no longer a person of interest," Crossland says. "We are now targeting him as a prime suspect and gathering as much evidence as we can in this investigation. We've had a lot of persons of interest in this investigation and we still have, not very many."
But FOX16 learned those dwindling numbers include Sangeeta Mann, who was released from federal custody after a hearing, and Randeep Mann's son Dan.
"As it relates to the bombing of Trent Pierce they are not suspects," Crossland says. They are persons of interest until we can eliminate them or gather enough evidence on them."
Pierce and his attorney tell FOX16 News they have nothing to say on Mann being a suspect or his family members becoming persons of interest.
The office for United States Attorney Jane Duke released photos Tuesday from a search warrant last week at the Mann home near Russellville. The photos depict hundreds of firearms, half a million rounds of ammunition and $50,000 in cash found inside. Of the total cache, 93 machine guns were seized.
West Memphis police have investigated since the explosion happened outside Pierce's home in February. Police Chief Bob Paudert says he wants closure for the community.
"I just hope that indictments are coming and that justice will be served," Paudert said.
"There is evidence that we have not totally uncovered yet," Crossland said.
How much, the ATF won't say. But on a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 is a complete investigation, the agency admits it's getting close.
"I hate to be boxed into a corner like this but I think I can be safe to say we're around a seven maybe."
Crossland also added they've used what they called a phenomenal amount of resources for the Pierce bombing investigation, bringing in agents from around the country to assist.