UNION, S.C. — Despite growing public suspicion against a mother who claims her two sons were kidnaped in her car, neither she nor anyone else is a suspect in the "impossible" case, investigators said Saturday.
Union County Sheriff Howard Wells refused to confirm or deny reports that Susan Smith had failed a police lie-detector test.
"We're trying to corroborate her story because not only is she the victim in this case, but the public is trying to make her the suspect," he said.
Susan Smith's sons--3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex Smith--have been missing since Tuesday night. She says a gunman commandeered her car and then forced her out, driving away with the children strapped in safety seats.
No significant leads have turned up despite national publicity and hundreds of calls to a tip line.
Susan Smith and her husband, David, from whom she filed for divorce last month, have been questioned repeatedly by police.
Authorities were trying to find a motive. "We haven't had a ransom demand," Wells said, and no one seemed "mad at the family."
Anonymous sources told the Greenville News and the State in Columbia that Susan Smith did not pass a polygraph test. The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported that the test was inconclusive. It was unclear what questions she failed.
Wells said he had no immediate plans to question Susan Smith again and cautioned against focusing on any individual.
"You have to be aware of public speculation and allegations. Persons automatically assume things when an investigation goes this long. . . . Naturally people are going to speculate," the sheriff said.
He added, however, "We have not ruled out anything."
Two intense searches Friday around Union turned up nothing.
A search for a car matching Susan Smith's, reportedly seen in Shut-In Mountain, Tenn., also was fruitless.
"We have dogs here at a moment's notice. We've got a hostage rescue team at a moment's notice. We have aircraft that'll take us wherever we need to go," Wells said.
But there was nowhere to dispatch them. "Right now, we're trying to do the impossible," he said. "We're trying to work a case without a scene."