Reports: Knox's Ex 'Stopped Near Border'

7:50 AM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (AP)
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By Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY 

The siblings of Meredith Kercher spoke to the media on Friday, conceding that they may never know what happened to their sister after an Italian appeals court ruled that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were guilty of her 2007 murder.

As Kercher's family addressed the news conference in Florence, an Italian media report by Rai News, later backed up by police who spoke to the Associated Press, alleged that Sollecito - Knox's former boyfriend - was "stopped near the border" with Slovenia and Austria.

It was not clear whether he was seeking to flee the country, but following the guilty verdict by the Italian court Thursday - for which the 29-year-old was handed a 25-year jail sentence - Sollecito was ordered to relinquish his passport and identity card. Knox's reinstated sentence was increased to 28.5 years, but she is currently in Seattle, where she lives.

"The guilty verdict is just the next step or us," said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister, addressing the news conference. "We're still on a journey to the truth." Later she added: "We might never know" the true circumstances of Meredith's murder.

"We hope that we are nearer the end so that we can just start to remember Meredith for who she was," she added.

Meredith's brother, Lyle, said that nothing would ever take away from the horror of what happened.

Knox, who released a statement Thursday from her hometown, said she was "frightened and saddened by the unjust verdict" and blamed "overzealous and intransigent prosecution," ''narrow-minded investigation" and coercive interrogation techniques.

"This has gotten out of hand," Knox said in the statement. "Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system."

The AP reported that police found Sollecito at about 1 a.m. Friday at a hotel in Venzone, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border, where he and his current girlfriend were staying. They took him to the Udine police station, took his passport and put a stamp in his Italian identity papers showing that he cannot leave the country.

Italy's highest court will now review the case that has made headlines around the world for over half a decade and produce a final verdict.

If the conviction is upheld, Italian authorities may seek Knox's extradition, legal experts say, although it is not clear whether the State Department will cooperate with that process.

Asked Friday whether Knox should be extradited to Italy following the guilty verdict, Lyle Kercher said: "Yes."

"If someone has been found guilty and convicted of a murder, and if an extradition law exists between those two countries," that would be appropriate, he said.

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