Police were digging into dark corners of the antiquarian book and manuscript trade as they worked to solve the mysteries surrounding three bombings that have stunned the capital of the Mormon faith.
Funerals were held here today for a man and woman killed Tuesday by separate homemade bombs.
Mark Hofmann, the 30-year-old rare-book trader whom police have identified as the "prime suspect" in the bombings, remained hospitalized in stable condition. Hofmann was injured Wednesday when a similar bomb went off in his car on a broad downtown avenue two blocks from the tall granite Mormon Temple.
Prosecutors said today that Hofmann expressed a desire Thursday night to make a formal statement about the bombings from his hospital bed. But Hofmann's lawyer, Ronald Yengich, arrived at the hospital ahead of the police, and after a discussion with Yengich, Hofmann changed his mind.
Federal and state investigators indicated they still do not have a clear explanation of the bombings.
Steven F. Christensen, the first of the two victims of Tuesday's bombings, had been involved with Hofmann in the sale of valuable documents linked to the birth of the Mormon faith in upstate New York in the 1820s.
Hofmann had sold Christensen an 1830 letter from a close associate of Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the faith. The letter says Smith claimed to have seen a "white salamander" that transformed itself into an "old spirit" while leading Smith to a buried trove of gold plates containing ancient scripture.
Smith translated these plates as "The Book of Mormon", a sacred text that serves as something of a second Bible to members of the Mormon church.
The second bombing victim was the wife of J. Gary Sheets, a former business associate of Christensen who helped finance a study of the letter.
Law enforcement officials today were investigating Hofmann's rare manuscript business. They said he may have obtained a copy of a 1638 manifesto called "Oath of a Freeman," which is considered the first document printed in North America and presumably would be worth millions of dollars.
Police were also trying to salvage a packet of old documents damaged by the bomb that exploded in Hofmann's car. One theory is that these documents were early Mormon papers that Hofmann hoped to sell to the church archives.
The working hypothesis among investigators so far seems to be that Hofmann made the bombs that killed his two associates and was headed somewhere with the third bomb when it unexpectedly went off in his car.
No charges have been filed.