Sex Offender Linked To 2003 Case?

It's being called a long shot, but police in Minnesota say they're looking into whether convicted sex offender Joseph Duncan may be involved in the 2003 disappearance of 5-year-old LeeAnna Warner.

Duncan is already accused of kidnapping Shasta Groene, and killing her brother Dylan. In a blog, Duncan referred to LeeAnna's disappearance, writing, "Just found out that a five year old girl went missing from Chisholm MN...I tried to figure out what I was doing that day, since I'm always afraid of getting accused when something like this happens."

LeeAnna's father, Chris Warner, tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm he wonders why Duncan mentions his daughter.

"It seemed like it come up out of the blue," he says. "We weren't aware of this man prior to what he had done to Shasta and Dylan."

His wife, Kaelin, says just the idea of a possible connection is "very scary" for them now.

Chris Warner agrees: "It is real intimidating to know that this guy could have had possibly something to do with it. If we're able to link him to this area, I'm going to become more and more concerned for LeeAnna's safety, and I believe if this man had anything to do with her disappearance, her fate was sealed very early on after she disappeared."

And yet, he notes, this information is a lead.

"This is the first time we've had something concrete," he says. "We've had several different leads, but nothing that we can really go off of. It is scary to know that a man of this potential could possibly be involved with my daughter's disappearance."

Chisholm police chief Scott Erickson told CBS News that authorities want to take a look at why Duncan would have written about LeeAnna, and whether he had anything to do with the little girl's disappearance in June of 2003.

"This little girl disappeared two years ago and we have absolutely nothing to this day. So we won't rule out anything," Erickson said.

Chris Warner notes, "Right now they're working with the FBI and the local police on trying to establish a timeline of where this man's whereabouts were in the month of June."

Duncan wrote that according to his entries in Quicken, a personal finance computer program, on the day Warner disappeared he had gone to watch two co-workers do a tandem jump out of an airplane, purchased a package of Depends adult diapers as a joke and bought some camcorder tapes. It also said he went grocery shopping, but couldn't find the receipts. He said he'd keep looking.

Duncan called his journal "Blogging the Fifth Nail" - an allegorical reference to a fifth nail intended to end Christ's suffering on the cross. He used it as a soapbox to vent over the stigma of being a convicted sex offender. And he wrote that finding out about Warner was "the proverbial last straw" that led him to start the blog.

A second Web site has placed Duncan in nearby Crosby, Minn., a week before the girl's disappearance, The Early Show correspondent Tracy Smith reports.

For now, Chris Warner says he appreciates the Internet postings from people trying to help find their daughter.

He says, "As many people as we can get reading that Web site and getting their opinion on what's going on. Because the way this guy talks, he bounces all over the place. It is really hard to understand."

Kaelin Warner says she is trying to control her ups and downs. She says, "Right now we're trying to establish a new normal because we do have other children. We're basically just going day by day, and hoping that we find her."

To The Early Show correspondent Tracy Smith she said earlier, "I miss her voice; I miss her laugh; I miss her looks. I miss her smell, everything about her."

Known to family and friends as Beaner, the 5-year-old went off to play with friends and simply disappeared.

Pointing at the street where she last saw her daughter, Kaeline said, "She went up the stairs; she knocked on the door; they weren't there; and she turned around, and that's the last time anyone ever saw her."

And though Chisholm residents combed the area looking for Beaner, she's never been found.

"I hold on to the hope,' Kaelin Warner says. "I made a promise when this happened. I made it to LeeAnna, that until they can physically prove to me that she's no longer alive, I will believe that she is still here on this earth."

Featured