Did One of Mother's Sex Offender Friends Take Neveah?

Police name two persons of interest in case of missing 5-year-old.

May 28, 2009, 11:01 AM

May 29, 2009 — -- Michigan police have named a second person of interest in the disappearance of 5-year-old Neveah Buchanan, and both men are registered sex offenders who are pals with the missing girl's mother.

Both men have also been arrested on parole violations, which forbid them from being around children.

The latest person of interest is Roy Lee Smith, 48, who was released from prison last year after serving 15 years for multiple criminal sexual misconduct convictions, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections Web site. Other convictions include mulitple counts of larceny.

Police earlier said George Kennedy, a 39-year-old registered sex offender, was a person of interest in the case.

Both men are friends of Jennifer Buchanan, mother of the missing girl.

When asked if Buchanan herself was a person of interest, Monroe County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield replied "no comment," according to ABC affiliate WXYZ.

Neveah disappeared Sunday night from a parking lot near the Monroe, Mich., apartment complex where she lived with her mother.

Smith's mother, Donna Smith, told ABCNews.com that her son is not involved in Neveah's disappearance.

"I don't believe my son has anything to do with this," Donna Smith said, adding that his previous conviction was because a 24-year-old girl he was with "decided to holler rape."

A bloody towel and a blood-stained tool, along with photos of young girls, were among the evidence confiscated from Kennedy's motel room and in a van that also has ties to Smith.

Donna Smith said her son had traded the van to Kennedy about a week and a half ago and got Kennedy's Thunderbird in return.

At a news conference today, Crutchfield said police had received about 530 tips in the case.

Monroe County police spokesman Maj. Dan Motylinski told ABCNews.com today that they will follow up on every tip that comes in.

"All we can do is hope it's a recovery of her alive and well," he said.

He declined to comment on reports from the Detroit Free Press that Buchanan told reporters that investigators had seized a letter she had written to Kennedy, but tore it up before it was sent.

She told the newspaper the letter was completely innocent and that it made no mention of Neveah or Kennedy spending time with her.

"We have no idea," Motylinksi told ABCNews.com regarding Buchanan's claims to the Free Press. "We're looking into it."

In 1998, Kennedy, 39, was charged with a felony for having sex with a girl under 16. That charge was later dismissed, court records show.

In addition to the 1998 charge, court records show that by 2002, Kennedy had been charged with a home invasion and accosting a 13-year-old girl. Kennedy's former court-appointed lawyer Peter Sickels told ABCNews.com that the charges were combined in a plea deal that allowed him to be released from prison in 2003.

Looking for Neveah

Police say they've interview more than 240 people and have made several sweeps of the Charlotte Arms apartment complex where Neveah lived and was last seen.

Police searched a nearby quarry with divers, sonar equipment and cadaver dogs, Crutchfield said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events