Polygraph expert believes baby's parents
By MARTY ROSEN
©St. Petersburg Times, published January 8, 1998
TAMPA -- The former FBI agent whose polygraph examination helped
clear Richard Jewell in the Olympic bombing case concluded after
11 hours of questioning that the parents of missing baby Sabrina
Aisenberg were not involved in her disappearance.
Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen said he sent Marlene and Steve Aisenberg
for the private polygraph tests recently to counter sporadic leaks
to the media by sheriff's investigators suggesting the parents
were involved in the disappearance. Sabrina, who would now be
6 months old, was reported missing from her crib Nov. 24.
"I was impressed. I like them," said Richard Rackleff, the former
FBI polygraph examiner whose work eliminated Jewell in the bombing
of Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. "Obviously, I don't think
they have any involvement at all in any abduction. I think the
baby's been snatched."
Rackleff, who charged $1,000 per day plus expenses, questioned
Mrs. Aisenberg on Dec. 22 for six hours in a Tampa hotel room.
He described the mother of three as a vibrant, disciplined woman
who has been torn by her infant daughter's kidnapping and the
subsequent public criticism questioning her role in the crime.
Her grief struck the experienced investigator as normal for an
"She lays awake nights and she worries about it every day," said
Rackleff, who also spent more than five hours with Steve Aisenberg
and determined his answers were truthful.
Cohen released the results of the tests at a news conference Wednesday
afternoon in his Tampa office.
In an open letter to sheriff's Maj. Gary Terry, Cohen rejected
published reports that the Aisenbergs have not cooperated with
the investigation. The couple turned to him Nov. 26, after several
intense interviews that led them to believe they were suspects
in the case. Cohen has refused to let his clients answer questions
about their conduct unless he is present, the sessions are tape
recorded and he has copies of all notes taken by investigators
in the first days of the case.
While saying he has respect for Terry, Cohen said he was alarmed
by the lack of taped statements, and he believes some investigators
are capable of doctoring handwritten notes in an attempt to distort
statements made by the Aisenbergs.
Sheriff's officials don't plan to give Cohen the notes.
"A defense attorney is not privileged to open and ongoing case
files," said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Greg Brown. "It's not something
a sheriff's office would turn over to anyone."
Sheriff's officials, who have refused to discuss the case publicly,
confirmed Wednesday the couple took three polygraph tests within
two days after Sabrina was reported missing. Cohen said Mrs. Aisenberg
was rushed to the Sheriff's Office on Nov. 25 for a second test
after detectives learned she had scheduled a meeting with Cohen
for the next day. Several media outlets subsequently reported
Mrs. Aisenberg's test was inconclusive.
Brown would not discuss the findings.
©Copyright 2006 St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.