updated 12/27/2005 10:49:21 AM ET 2005-12-27T15:49:21

Guest: Vito Colucci, Jack Hickey, Bill Schwartz, Greg Purdy, David Ovalle,

Bob Cicherillo, Frank Curreri, Janet Hare, Dan O'Keefe, Trevor Hare,

Delaney Hare

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.

Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, the hunt is on for an alleged serial rapist who escaped from captivity.  Did he have help, and could he be terrorizing the scene of crimes?  And some big developments tonight in the case of this famous body-building couple accused of a heavy crime.  Are they responsible for a grisly murder?

But we begin with a big exclusive in the disappearance of newlywed George Smith, who was last seen on board a cruise ship with his fiancee this summer.  The head of security for the Royal Caribbean cruise line, Greg Purdy, is going to join us for his first interview about the mystery.  We're going to speak with him in just a moment.

But first, here's what George Smith's family told us in an interview that we aired here last night.  They said the cruise line is hiding something in George's disappearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE SMITH, SR., FATHER OF MISSING MAN:  It's evidence of a cover-up with Royal Caribbean.  If they'd left that evidence, it would have been a lot easier for the FBI to work on the case, but they were seen 7:30 or 8:00 o'clock in the morning washing that off, even before the Turkish police came on board, so...

BREE SMITH, SISTER OF MISSING MAN:  And then it was painted over before the FBI got on the boat.  So you know, who knows what was left there for the FBI.

MAUREEN SMITH, MOTHER OF MISSING MAN:  MAUREEN SMITH:  They knew there was blood there.  And what did they say to you, Bree?  No news.  No news.

GEORGE SMITH:  No news.

BREE SMITH:  No news.

MAUREEN SMITH:  No news.

GEORGE SMITH:  That's what we kept getting, No news.

MAUREEN SMITH:  From Royal Caribbean, yes.

COSBY:  And they had no update for you?

MAUREEN SMITH:  No.

BREE SMITH:  Right.  Right.

COSBY:  They knew that there was blood there.

BREE SMITH:  Yes.

COSBY:  And didn't tell you.

BREE SMITH:  Right.

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  ... that they had no information.

GEORGE SMITH:  That's typically the way they work.  It's risk management...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And joining us for an exclusive interview is Greg Purdy.  He's the director of safety, security and environment for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which is finally breaking its silence in the case.

We're going to get to the cover-up in a moment, but Mr. Purdy, first of all, why are you finally speaking out now?

GREG PURDY, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, DIR. SAFETY, SECURITY AND

ENVIRONMENT:  Well, Rita, we have—in each of these cases, we have several things to consider, first and foremost, the sensitivity to the privacy of the family.  We also have a responsibility to respect the integrity of the FBI's investigation, which we are doing.  However, we also have an obligation to our employees and guests to let them know that, in this case, we handled it carefully, sensitively and appropriately.

COSBY:  I'm going to walk you through a lot of stuff, if I could.  But let's start first off, I think, for folks who are just sort of tuning in, walk us through—first of all, when you knew that something was wrong on your ship, when did you find that out, and what was the first indication?

PURDY:  Our first indication was when two guests pointed out that there were what appeared to be bloodstains on the canopy over some of the lifeboats.  And immediately, the security started an investigation and narrowed down the search to the cabin of the Smiths.  We started doing announcements to find them, upon—we did locate Ms. Smith, we did not find George Smith, and we did a full search of the ship.  At that point, we...

COSBY:  Let me ask you, if I could, real quick...

PURDY:  ... notified the authorities...

COSBY:  How big was the blood?  Let me kind of—I'm going to walk you through it and the pieces, if I could.  How much blood was there on the canopy?

PURDY:  Well, you've seen what I've seen, which are the photos that you have displayed.  And the canopy is fairly large.  But that's really all the information that I have.

COSBY:  How much blood was in the room?  We're told that there were a number of bloodstains in the room, on the sheets, on a towel, also a tissue in the bathroom.  That's correct, right?

PURDY:  Well, what is correct is that as soon as we had this reported, we called the authorities.  They came on board, conducted their forensic investigation.  This did include taking some items, doing the typical dusting of fingerprints, taking some samples and taking photographs.  All of this was turned over to the FBI, who were working in cooperation with the Turkish authorities that very first day.

COSBY:  Do we know whose blood it was in the room?  And again, we're told it was on a piece of tissue.  That's also on sheets, on a towel, of course, as you point out, on the canopy.  Do we know whose blood that was?

PURDY:  Well, all this information, again, has been turned over to the FBI, and we're cooperating full with them on this.  However, that's more appropriately handled by them.

COSBY:  Let me walk you through again, Mr. Purdy.  You said that you put out a page, at that point, went to the cabin, obviously, didn't see them in the cabin, put out a page.  Where did you find Jennifer Smith, the wife of George Smith?

PURDY:  Upon searching through the ship and after making announcements, we were notified that she was in the spa.  So we sent some senior officers there to meet with Mrs. Smith.  As soon as we had indications that George Smith may, in fact, be missing, we informed her.  We also immediately assigned a senior female officer named Maria (ph) to accompany her and to ensure that she was as comfortable as possible throughout the day, including when she was taken ashore by the authorities for further interviews as part of their investigation.

COSBY:  Let me...

PURDY:  Maria stayed with her all the way up until even the medical exam that you've heard about.  In fact, it was Maria who demanded that everybody except for the doctor and the nurse leave the room during that examination.

COSBY:  I want to ask about some of the things that, obviously, your company did do because I know the allegation is from Jennifer Smith that she was sort of left alone.  but let me go back to the spa.  She's approached by Royal Caribbean in the spa.  This is Jennifer Smith.  What was the first thing that she said to your staff when your staff asked, Where's your husband?

PURDY:  Well, again, her specific comments and what is documented, that's all part of an investigation, and I don't want to go into what her comments were.  But we did just ensure that she was treated with care and sensitivity and that we immediately assigned someone to oversee her throughout the day.  And as a matter of fact, even upon the ship's departure, we left her with contact information and left her in the hands of the U.S. consulate (INAUDIBLE)

COSBY:  Was she coherent?  Was she able to provide any information?

PURDY:  Well, this is all—this is all part of the investigation, and I simply don't want to comment on what the interviews and what everything has—has revealed there, as she doesn't, either.  We've both been very committed to cooperating with the FBI in this investigation.

COSBY:  But she did not report that her husband was missing, you had to track her down, is that correct?

PURDY:  Well, we did—she did not report that her husband was missing.  We found that he was missing, based on our narrowing down to the cabin and making announcements for both of them, actually.  And then after locating her in the spa, we still hadn't ruled out he may be somewhere, and we continued to search, and ultimately found that he was missing.

COSBY:  Tell us about her appearance.  We understand she might have been wearing clothes from the night before.  Is that correct?

PURDY:  Mrs. Hagel Smith was wearing clothes from the night before, and we did provide her with clothes.  And again, our—Maria—Marie helped her get everything, so that she could be ready to go for the interviews with the authorities.

COSBY:  What was she doing in the spa at 8:30 in the morning, after, from what everyone's been saying, was a night drinking, that they were both drinking?  Was she working out?  Was she just sitting there?

COSBY:  Well, as common in the spa, people go there for massages, and I understand she did have a massage scheduled that morning.  And that's really all the details I have for that.

COSBY:  What was her mood when she was approached by Royal Caribbean?  Because I think that's important, to go to state of mind and to see how it was handled by your cruise line.  Was she upset?  Was she incoherent?  Was she drunk from the night before?

PURDY:  I agree that this is important.  However, it's difficult to understand, this is—once we told her that he may be missing, it's incomprehensible to understand what's going through people's minds.  So I don't want to characterize her behavior or comment on how she acted.  I think that that's all part of the investigation.

COSBY:  Did she seem to think maybe he was in another room or went somewhere else or maybe that he wasn't missing, that he just maybe, you know, went out somewhere else that night?

PURDY:  All of these are possibilities, and that's why we immediately informed the authorities.  We wanted to conduct a professional investigation with the authorities, and we gave them access to the room, items in the room, the CCTV tapes that we have on the ship, access to other guests and crew members.  And we've continued to cooperate thoroughly while maintaining some sensitivity for the privacy of everyone involved, including Mrs. Hagel Smith.

COSBY:  Let me play, if I could—this is some comments that—she obviously has done a couple of interviews—let me play some comments that she said about the cruise line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER HAGEL SMITH, WIFE OF MISSING GEORGE SMITH:  They just basically said, you know, They want you to get off the ship in Turkey.  They want you, you know, to come for some questions.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  You're in Turkey.  You obviously—you don't speak the language.  Did they give you money?

HAGEL SMITH:  No.

SCARBOROUGH:  Did they give you transportation?

HAGEL SMITH:  No.

SCARBOROUGH:  Did they give you any guidance at all?

HAGEL SMITH:  No.  And then finally, when I was taken back to the dock where the cruise ship was, I see my bags.  I see George's suitcases.  I see my suitcases.  And I see 10 Royal Caribbean-logoed plastic souvenir bags on the dock.  And I just froze.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Mr. Purdy, was she kicked off the ship and treated poorly?

PURDY:  This is an unimaginable event for her to go through, and the things that she recollects now may be hard to perceive at the time what would be sticking out in her mind.  We treated her with care and sensitivity.  We had Marie with her the entire day.

COSBY:  And Marie...

PURDY:  We did not kick her off the ship.

COSBY:  Who is Marie?

PURDY:  Maria's a shipboard officer on our ship who the captain, the senior officer, the captain assigned to do nothing except to accompany Ms.  Hagel Smith and to make sure that she was comfortable and that she was being treated properly.

COSBY:  So she was never left alone, was not kicked off the ship?

PURDY:  She was never left alone with the exception of when the FBI and the Turkish judge were interviewing her, and they actually required that Marie step out of the room.  Other than that, Marie was with her the entire time up until the end, even with the U.S. consulate involved.  And ultimately, when the ship left, we left her with full contact information for a Royal Caribbean representative in the port of (INAUDIBLE)

COSBY:  When did you alert the FBI?  When did you alert the feds?

PURDY:  In our company, for any kind of alleged crime, it's immediate.  It's indoctrinated.  As soon as the ship—the ship called us immediately upon hearing or discovering that Mr. Smith may be missing.  That was at approximately 2:15 AM Miami time, and the—our management immediately called the FBI.  That's 3:00 AM in the morning.  We contacted the 24-hour number, got the FBI involved with the Turkish authorities and assisted with everything that they required of us or requested, and continue to do so today.

COSBY:  Let me show you what the family said about the crime scene sort of being covered up.  Here's what they had to tell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE SMITH, SR., GEORGE SMITH'S FATHER:  When you see blood dripping down the side of a boat, you know you've got a crime scene, and that boat should have been stopped, locked down.  Passengers should have been questioned.  No one should have been allowed to get off the boat.  You know, that was a crime scene and it should have been treated as a crime scene, and royal Caribbean did not treat it as a crime scene.

MAUREEN SMITH, GEORGE SMITH'S MOTHER:  And we have evidence to the fact that there was enough blood in the room to warrant our suspicion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PURDY:  Mr. Purdy, was that spot that we saw, the canopy—was that painted over, as some people have suspected?

PURDY:  The canopy has never been painted over.  To this day—the canopy was lost—at the end of the day, after the Turkish authorities came on board, conducted a complete forensic investigation—again, taking samples, taking photographs and taking certain items from the cabin—they gave us express permission to clean the canopy, as well as the stateroom.  We kept the—we did clean the canopy, and that's with a high-pressure water wash.  We kept the stateroom sealed for the following six days, while we were in communication with the FBI.  So we really felt that we followed this by the book, correctly and responsibly throughout.

COSBY:  So you kept the stateroom blocked off, you said, for six days? 

Is that what you just said?

PURDY:  Yes.

COSBY:  And what was the decision to sort of wash it over?  In hindsight, I guess now you're looking back, do you wish, in retrospect, you had kept those, preserved those?

PURDY:  Well, in hindsight, it's difficult to say what you could or should do.  Each case is different.  And the bottom line is that we did everything requested of the authorities, and only cleaned or disturbed the scene after we had been given express permission from the authorities, Turkish authorities in this case in communication with the FBI.

COSBY:  Were crew members...

(CROSSTALK)

PURDY:  And then following that, we continued to make the ship, the crew and people available to the FBI for the investigation.

COSBY:  And in fact, that's my question.  Were crew members interviewed?

PURDY:  Yes.  In fact, crew members were interviewed, as well as some passengers.

COSBY:  Including the folks in the casino and also in the gambling area?

PURDY:  Again, it's the FBI's investigation.  I'm not aware or don't want to go into the specifics of who they're interviewing, but we have made all of our crew members, all of their records and all of our manifests for who was on board at the time available to the FBI.

COSBY:  Mr. Purdy, if you could stick with us, I'm going to ask you what the result of some of those questions, if you believe the crew members are not involved in any shape or form.  We're going to have a lot more of this ground-breaking details about the cruise ship mystery right after the break.

And also coming up, we've got some new details in the hunt for an escaped serial rapist.  Police suspect he's going back to the scene of the crime.  They're going to join me live, looking for your help tonight.  And also, some big developments in the hunt for two body builders on the run.  Cops have caught them and have just released new information about their capture.  And there's no place like home for the holidays, but what if your home is the “Playboy” mansion?  I got a tour of the mansion and all its decorations.  That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BREE SMITH, GEORGE SMITH'S SISTER:  I'm confident the FBI knows who those people were, and I think they have the answers.  We have faith that the FBI, you know, will make arrests and will make convictions in my brother's murder.

COSBY:  You do believe this will be solved?

BREE SMITH:  Yes.  Yes.  It's just painful to have to wait this long, you know, but we've been told by the FBI that they're 100 percent committed and they will bring us answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And of course, that's the family of George Smith.  Let's bring back in Greg Purdy.  He's head of security and safety with the cruise line, Royal Caribbean.

Right before the break, Mr. Purdy, I was talking about the crew because there have been some questions, did the crew cover something up, did they push a body over, if, indeed, that happened?  Of course, we all don't know what happened.  Did—are you confident tonight—can you tell us and tell the American public that the crew has been cleared?  Do you believe the crew, all your folks on board have been cleared?

PURDY:  Well, first I want to emphasize that for our crew and the culture of our company, safety is the number one priority.  We have made all crew members accessible to the FBI for this investigation.  And we have no indications to imply that our crew did anything wrong in this case.  As a matter of fact, our crew took great care and sensitivity to make sure this was handled properly, that we also made sure that Ms. Hagel was comfortable, and that we did the best job we could, considering this horrific situation that occurred.

COSBY:  What about passengers?

PURDY:  As far as the passengers, this is—again, we've made all of them, all their names and information available to the FBI.  I'm sure that they have been interviewed.  Several of them have made statements.  And it's in the hands of the FBI at this point.  We continue to cooperate fully with them to get them any information that we can provide.

COSBY:  Are you confident everybody is providing information?  Because there's been a lot of questions about two Russian boys from Brooklyn and also a guy from California, Josh, who's a student from California.

PURDY:  Again, the specifics of who the FBI are talking to, that's for them to address.  We have worked to make everybody available, within our power, that they requested to speak with.

COSBY:  Can you rule out tonight that passengers were not involved in some way?

PURDY:  Well, it's in not my job to rule out who was involved or who wasn't involved or actually what happened.  We don't know what happened.  But what we do know is that our crew our and officers on board handled the situation responsibly, in a manner that follows our company policy, and in a way that was compassionate and which retained our company value, having safety be the priority above all else.

COSBY:  You did get a lot of complaints, I understand, of folks hearing noises, hearing things going on in the room, correct?

PURDY:  We had—on the day that George Smith went missing, we had a complaint at 4:00 -- approximately 4:00 in the morning.  That was a noise complaint, describing possibly drinking games or loud partying.  And as is our policy, our security responded to that complaint.  When they came to the room, they knocked on the door, it was quiet.  They determined that the situation had been resolved.

Had there been any sign or report of a fight or of any kind of violence in that room, our policy requires that they go in and make sure all occupants of that stateroom are physically OK.  But unfortunately, that didn't happen.  It was a noise complaint.  They handled it the way they're trained to and as is appropriate for a noise complaint.

COSBY:  A number of people, though, we were hearing that Jennifer actually maybe didn't make it to the room, that was maybe so drunk, didn't make it to the room.  Do you know if she stayed in the room that night?  Where was she?

PURDY:  Well, I will just leave it that we located Ms. Smith in the morning in the spa.  And her whereabouts are really a subject for the FBI to address.

COSBY:  Do you know if she spent the night in the room?  Certainly, you would know by the condition of the room.  You told me about that there was some blood the room.  Is it clear that she spent the night in the room?

PURDY:  Well, I'm not going to comment on where she was or what various people that the FBI were discussing—were interviewing, where they were.  That wouldn't be appropriate at this point.

We are here to set the record straight on some facts, but certainly, we do have a responsibility to respect the integrity of the investigation.  We've said over and over that we're cooperating, and part of that cooperation is really standing behind that we're going to stick with respecting the integrity of the investigation.  So we're simply not going to discuss the whereabouts of Mrs. Hagel the night before or anything that the FBI is working on.

COSBY:  Let me just ask you, because the balcony—everyone has said this—the way physically your ship is laid out, the way the balcony is, for him to kind of go over it, he would probably either have to have been playing (ph) over it or pushed over, helped over, that a guy, even his height, would not have just accidentally fallen over.

PURDY:  Well, you're correct.  The ship—and it's not just the balconies, but everything on the ship, as you can see in your pictures, is designed to be inherently safe—high rails, rails throughout the ship.  But it doesn't mean that there haven't—there are all kinds of possibilities.  It could be horseplay, could be an accident, could be, our worst thoughts, that it was purposeful.  However...

COSBY:  So at this point, you can't rule anything out.

PURDY:  ... it's pure speculation.  So I'm not here to speculate, and I'll leave that to the FBI.  We will cooperate fully with them on this investigation, as we have been, and hopefully, they will come to some conclusion and give this family some measure of closure on this case.

COSBY:  You know, real quickly, the family has essentially said that you guys are liars, that you've covered up.  Why do you think both families feel that way?

PURDY:  Well, I think that it's hard to understand.  I'm a father, and if something like this happened to me, you know, you can't say you know how people are going to feel.  This is something that is actually immeasurable, and until you're in their shoes, you really don't know.  So this is a horrible tragedy, and they want to find answers.  They want to get them any way they can.  And that's natural for them, to want us to provide more information.

We simply don't know, but we just want to assure them we're doing everything we can to make sure that the right people get the right information, so that we get some closure on this case.  This is a horrible tragedy, although it's extremely rare, and we have literally thousands of people in our company that work every day to try and avoid situations like this.  However...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Do you believe that it will be solved?

PURDY:  ... even one incident is too many for us, and I...

COSBY:  And do you believe it'll be solved?

PURDY:  I hope that it's solved.  I sincerely hope that this is solved and that this family, who, you know, has just been through a horrible time, can find some way to move forward.

COSBY:  What is your final message to the family?  I can tell you that

·         I know the George Smith family is watching tonight.  Hopefully, Jennifer Hagel's family is, as well.

PURDY:  Yes, and my final thought for the family is that our hearts and thoughts are with you.  As family members, as fellow humans, we feel for this family.  We want them to get closure.  We want to do everything we can to help that come to pass.

COSBY:  Mr. Purdy, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being with us.  Hope to have you back on again.  Thank you very much for responding and talking again, the first comments from the director of safety and security from the Royal Caribbean cruise line.

Now let's get some reaction, if we could, to that exclusive interview. 

Right now, let's bring in, if we could—let's bring in Vito Colucci.  He's a private investigator, also maritime attorney Jack Hickey, and also Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI agent and MSNBC analyst.

You know, Vito, now that we've heard from Royal Caribbean, do you feel like it's a cover-up, or do you feel like—what do you feel like the straws were dropped?

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  Rita, you know, it didn't make any sense, what that Mr. Purdy said.  When you have a crime scene, whether it's in a restaurant, a big concert, and there's a possible murder that goes on, everything stops in its tracks, OK?  You do not have business as usual.  People do not get off the boat to go tour and have a good time.  We've seen the passengers say they saw this crime scene being cleaned.  I can assure you the FBI did not see the blood on the canopy, you know?

This was to let everybody continue to have a good time, and it doesn't work that way.  It's unfortunate that people are not going to have a good time after you have a crime scene.  You have to do an investigation.  You have to secure that, Rita, and that's not done.  He said before Congress the cruise line handled George Smith's disappearance correctly and responsibly.  No!  Not even close, Rita.

COSBY:  You know, Clint, let me bring you in.  He said that the room was blocked off for six days.  That's the first we've heard of that.  He said it was washed off, not painted off.  But he said that he was following the lead from Turkish authorities.  Is that the right thing to do?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI AGENT, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, again, I agree with Vito.  You know, number one, as an FBI agent, before the days of whistleblowers, we would say, Don't embarrass the bureau.  And as far as cruise lines are concerned, their watchword is, Don't inconvenience the passengers.  And as much as I or Vito or someone else would like to say, Freeze that crime scene, freeze everybody on the ship, get a team of experienced investigators on board, let's do the interviews before they share their story, before the crew on the ship starts to talk to people and the stories get tainted—that's how the crime scene should be conducted.

Now, the cruise line is going to turn around and say, We're losing millions of dollars if that ship doesn't move.  We may not be able to get to the next port or not.  And I think that's why these hearings took place before Congress last week.  There has to be a balance between the needs of the investigation and the financial and fiduciary responsibilities that a cruise ship has to its passengers and shareholders.

COSBY:  Jack, let me bring you in because we know that the family is planning on filing a civil lawsuit involving also wrongful death and a number of things beginning of next year.  Do you see grounds here?

JACK HICKEY, MARITIME ATTORNEY:  Yes, I see grounds here.  And what we're missing is—you know, my perspective is that I used to represent the cruise lines for 17 years, and now I fight them in court in Miami every single day.  There are grounds here because there's two phases, and Mr.  Purdy didn't even comment on the first phase.  The first phase is there was a complete failure of security.  I guess he actually did, he said, Well, you know, there was a noise complaint.  But that doesn't really jive with what Clete Hyman says, Clete Hyman, the, you know, assistant police chief in the cabin next door.  He complained about, I believe, a fight.  And of course, whatever he complained about is going to be at issue there.  So there are grounds there.

And his statements, Mr. Purdy's statements, don't jive with all the evidence we've seen.  You know, you brought out, Rita, that he said for the first time, and this is first time I'm hearing it, that the room was blocked off for six hours.  Look at the statement of the cruise line...

COSBY:  I think he said six days.  I asked him six days.  He agreed with six days.

HICKEY:  Well, that's even more incredible because just look at how that contradicts the cruise line's own written statement submitted to MSNBC just the other day, where they said that, No, Jennifer Hagel was not abandoned on the dock at (INAUDIBLE).  She was handed her husband's wallet and some other things.  Aha!  If she is handed her husband's belongings, then there's no way that that room was sealed off.  They breached that.  They breached that, and then you've got...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  ... went in, and that's—you guys, lots of questions, all of you.  Sorry I've got to cut you off because, unfortunately, we let Mr.  Purdy, because it is their first time responding, go long.  We're going to have all of you back again very soon.  Thank you very much.

And still ahead, everybody, we're going to move on to another story.  The hunt is on for an accused serial rapist who escaped from custody.  Find out if the victims could be in danger.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And there's an all-points bulletin out tonight for an accused serial rapist on the run.  He broke out of a South Florida jail.  Police in Miami say Reynaldo Rapalo could now be armed and dangerous.  He's accused of sexually assaulting seven girls and women from the age of 11 to 79 years old. 

There are indications that Rapalo had been planning the escape from months and that he may have gotten some help from inside.  LIVE & DIRECT tonight is Lieutenant Bill Schwartz with the Miami Police Department.  And also with us is David Ovalle.  He's the crime reporter for “The Miami Herald.”

Lieutenant, let me start with you.  Where are you looking tonight? 

Any tips? 

LIEUTENANT BILL SCHWARTZ, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT:  We're looking everywhere.  We have command posts all over the town.  Any time we get tips, we send out a response platoon, either uniform or plainclothes, and we check it out.  The tips are coming in, but so far, no real, no real payday. 

COSBY:  How concerned should people be, with a guy like this on the streets with seven alleged rapes under his belt? 

SCHWARTZ:  Well, clearly, he's dangerous and very possibly armed.  However, he knows that we're looking for him.  This is one of the more infamous people we've ever had.  His picture's everywhere.  So I think he's pretty much afraid to show his face.

COSBY:  You know, David, walk us through exactly how he got out of the jail.  And do you believe he had help?  Is there a sense that he got help, David? 

DAVID OVALLE, “MIAMI HERALD”:  Oh, I would be very certain that he had help.  I think everyone agrees he had to have had help.  From what we do know, he was able to horde bed sheets and somehow got smuggled a hacksaw and was able to climb up inside an access vent, shimmy his way up.  It dumps out on to a roof.  And from there, he was able to use the bed sheets as a rope to lower himself down. 

You know, a lot of the details are still slow in coming.  How could he have horded all those bed sheets?  How could he have gotten that hacksaw in there? 

The cells are not the traditional cells that you see, you know, in the movies.  It's a dormitory-style thing.  So inmates can go and visit each other.  So it's a little more lax and critics will say that it—critics do say that it lends itself more to security breaches like that. 

COSBY:  And, in fact, two officers have been put on administrative leave.  You know, Lieutenant, this guy is originally from Honduras.  Are you searching outside U.S. borders right now? 

SCHWARTZ:  Absolutely.  We're in touch with authorities there, as well as other places.  But the good news is we really do believe that Rapalo's still in South Florida.  More good news is that there's now a $16,000 reward for his capture.  And we really want people to think about that. 

And we want people also to think about how much trouble they could get in if they harbor a fugitive.  And if greed or fear doesn't work, then just think about good old-fashioned honor.  This man is very dangerous. 

COSBY:  Absolutely.  And I hope, if anybody has any information, that they certainly call the Miami Police Department.  Both of you, thank you very much.  And, again, there is the tip line that you see there.  Everybody, please do call if you have information. 

And there is an APB that is over tonight for two famous body builders.  Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan face murder charges in the death of a 28-year-old woman who lived with them in Las Vegas.  The husband and wife were nabbed in Canton, Massachusetts, almost 3,000 miles from their home. 

LIVE & DIRECT tonight is “Las Vegas Review Journal” crime reporter Frank Curreri and also is Bob Cicherillo—I had to pronounce that, sorry, Bob.  He's a friend of both the suspects and is an athlete representative for the International Federation of Body Builders. 

Frank, let me start with you, because these guys were captured how? 

FRANK CURRERI, “LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL”:  Well, they were captured, I'm told—this is preliminary information—they were in a parking lot of some sort.  And apparently, somebody spotted them, and then they were surrounded and surrendered without incident. 

COSBY:  What were they doing when they were captured?  I mean, did they have any idea that everybody was looking for them? 

CURRERI:  Well, at this point, I don't know.  I'm not privy to that.  I was not aware—you know, obviously, I'm not aware of what they said at the impromptu press conference in Massachusetts. 

COSBY:  You know, and we're looking at new video right now that we actually just got in, of them being captured.  It looks like at least one of them we can there.  It looks like one or both of them actually look like they're in the back of this police car.  We can certainly see it looked like a woman in that one. 

Do we have any idea at all why they were found in Massachusetts?  Did they think to look outside of Vegas, Frank? 

CURRERI:  Well, police had information that they had ties to a body building friend or acquaintance in Boston.  And they had information that the plan was, get to Boston, liquidate assets, and get out of the country as quickly as possible, possibly to Greece.  And the investigators claim that Titus believed that, if he were in Greece, he, for whatever reason, would not be extradited. 

COSBY:  You know, Bob, what do you make of all this?  I don't know if you know the friend that they were heading to towards Massachusetts, but what do you make of this whole case? 

BOB CICHERILLO, FRIEND OF CRAIG TITUS AND KELLY RYAN:  Well, obviously, the body building community is stunned over these actions.  We've all known Craig and Kelly a long time.  Over this past year or so, they've kind of gotten away from the sport and have really been kind of disassociated with body building.  So, obviously, this still came as quite a surprise, as this is nothing you'd ever expect. 

COSBY:  Where do you see this ending up and the impact on the community, real quick? 

CICHERILLO:  Well, I really don't think it's going to impact the community.  I mean, this is not a body building crime.  I mean, this is very much a Craig and Kelly crime.  They're obviously going to have to atone for whatever they've done.  And it'll have to proven in the court of law.  Like the saying go, you're innocent until proven guilty, so we'll see what happens. 

COSBY:  We absolutely will.  Both of you, thank you both very much. 

We appreciate you being with us tonight.

And up next, so if you had the chance to go to the “Playboy” mansion at Christmas time, there's one question you have to ask:  Do the presents come wrapped?  I went there.  You'll have to find out.  That's coming up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How can you get something that someone—he has everything, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He loves new pictures, things for his scrapbook, stuff like that.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  “Playboy” mogul Hugh Hefner has got it all.  His booming media empire, a palatial mansion fit for a king, and—you see them—three gorgeous girlfriends.  But what's this palatial estate like at the holidays?  Holly, Bridget and Kendra are “The Girls Next Door,” a reality show on E! Network, offering a behind-the-scenes peak into the life of the infamous “Playboy” mansion.

And guess what?  These three beauties were nice enough to give me my own personal tour of their posh pad right before Christmas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  How does it feel to celebrate Christmas at the “Playboy” mansion?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It's wonderful.  Everything is so beautiful, like the food on Christmas.  Everything's just so cool. 

COSBY:  And what kind of gifts do you give Hugh Hefner? 

(LAUGHTER)

What do you get the guy who has everything? 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  What do you give him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He loves new pictures, things for his scrapbook, stuff like that. 

COSBY:  And what do you give him...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I usually stick to pictures.  I did, last year, actually it was kind of a combination Halloween-Christmas picture, but it was of King Kong.  I was Fay Wray in Kong's hand. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It was cool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And this year, well, I guess I can't say, because he might see this.

COSBY:  But it's a photo?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It's a photo. 

COSBY:  A creative photo?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  A creative photo. 

COSBY:  What does he give you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Lots of stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We open presents for hours. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Jewelry, clothes, “Playboy” stuff, it's crazy. 

COSBY:  Who did the tree? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I did the tree.  I wanted to decorate the tree.  Hef used to have just staff do it, and it was kind of generic looking.  And I always wanted to have a Disney tree, so I have all my little Disney characters and everything.

COSBY:  No “Playboy” bunnies on the tree?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, I have a little “Playboy” tree for Hef, actually, I made for him up in his room.  And this is my Disney village.  It's all Disneyland.

COSBY:  You created this? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yeah, I've been collecting it for the past year. 

COSBY:  How much work was this to put together?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It took a couple days to set up, because I had to cut all this Styrofoam and put all the wires in.  But it's a fun project.

COSBY:  What kind of folks had been here, lots of celebrities?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mike Tyson was just here a little while ago. 

COSBY:  Who else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We see all different kinds of celebrities.  You just don't know who's going to come over. 

COSBY:  What's the most, in terms of people, that have been here for a party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Some of the big parties get 1,000 people. 

COSBY:  A thousand people? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, so that's a lot. 

COSBY:  That's a lot. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It's a lot of fun. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  I bet.  I see upstairs there's a portrait of Hef. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

COSBY:  The man of the house. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Big Brother is watching you. 

COSBY:  What's upstairs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That's where our bedrooms are, so it's not really open to the public, but we have wreaths on our doors, and it's all very festive.  And down at the other wing of the house is actually some offices where Hef works, so he just has to walk down the hall to get a good day's work in. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This $5 bill here has a story with it.  Hef used to work at “Esquire” magazine.  And he asked for a $5 raise.  And they told him no.  So he quit.  And he started “Playboy.”  And on the 25th anniversary of “Playboy,” his boss from “Esquire” came and gave him a $5 bill and said he could come back to work anytime. 

COSBY:  What year was that, that he asked for the $5 raise? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I'm not sure the exact year, but it was definitely pre-1953. 

COSBY:  And obviously, he's making a lot more than $5 now. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think so. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  I see in your car you've got a “Playboy” magazine. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I do have a copy of it, because it goes perfectly with my car.  I get to show it off.  And then, if I ever get pulled over, I can just be like, “Oh, um, excuse me, I just happen to have a Sharpie here, too.” 

COSBY:  So you can autograph it for the officers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Hopefully to get out of a ticket.  I'll autograph that instead of the ticket.

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  And how many times has that worked?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I haven't had to do it yet, thank god. 

COSBY:  This is the grotto, the famous grotto.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, this is our pool.  And inside that cave right there is the grotto with all the hot tubs and everything. 

COSBY:  What's in there, there's Jacuzzis? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  There's, like, three or four different Jacuzzi areas.  And then the pool water goes in there, and you can swim through the waterfall into it.  There's a little cave that goes out the back way.

COSBY:  And is it sort of whatever happens in the grotto stays in the grotto?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Absolutely. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, we like to keep it that way. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  When we look out here, this looks like the national zoo. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Well, Hef actually does have a zoo license, so that way he can have the different exotic birds and different breeds of monkeys. 

COSBY:  He actually has a license? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

COSBY:  How many animals are here altogether? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don't know.  There's over 100 different species of birds.  We have a kinkajou.  We have three different species of monkeys.  And the tamarinds just had babies, so there's probably six of those now.  And we have a spider monkey, a ton of squirrel monkeys, and nine dogs and a cat. 

COSBY:  This is, what, a squirrel? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is a squirrel monkey.  You can feed him. 

COSBY:  He's not going to bite me, is he? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nope.

COSBY:  Look at him. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They're really sweet.

COSBY:  What a gentleman. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, definitely.  These guys are popular, because they're really friendly and they're fun to feed. 

COSBY:  You're Hef's main girlfriend, right? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

COSBY:  How many years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Four years. 

COSBY:  Any plans for a little Hef?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Maybe someday.  Maybe in five years or so.  I think that'd be fun.

COSBY:  Have you talked to him about it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, he's not as gung-ho on it as I am, but we'll see.

COSBY:  You think you can convince him? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Maybe. 

COSBY:  And this would be your support system here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think so.  They're my pals. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  And our thanks to the three girlfriends and the “Playboy” mansion. 

And still ahead, you may have heard of it, but just what is Festivus?  I'll ask the people who are celebrating it.  They're coming up.  There you can see them live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Well, this Sunday, many of our viewers will be celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah.  And on Monday, Kwanzaa begins.  But starting today, 'tis the season for a secular and very peculiar holiday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL RICHARDS, “KRAMER” ON “SEINFELD”:  It's a Festivus miracle!

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

COSBY:  Festivus took on a life of its own after being first mentioned on an episode of “Seinfeld” back in 1997.  Frank Costanza, George's father, coined it as an alternative to the commercialism of Christmas. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERRY STILLER, “FRANK COSTANZA” ON “SEINFELD”:  A new holiday was born, a Festivus for the rest of us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And I'm joined now by former “Seinfeld” writer, Dan O'Keefe, whose real father did create and celebrate Festivus.  The history is now told in his new book.  It's called “The Real Festivus:  The True Story Behind America's Favorite Made-up Holiday.”

And also joining us in Tucson, Arizona, is the Hare family.  Trevor, Janet, Cassidy and Delaney are celebrating Festivus tonight along with a big, big crowd.  How many people are there, by the way, Janet?  How many do you have with you? 

JANET HARE, FAMILY CELEBRATES FESTIVUS:  Oh, gosh, I think we have about 120 or so, but, you know, the best is yet to be.  They're still trickling in. 

COSBY:  Oh, my god, that's amazing. 

Dan, you know, your eyes just popped out of your head.  Did your dad ever imagine it would turn into this? 

DAN O'KEEFE, AUTHOR, “THE REAL FESTIVUS”:  No, it was supposed to be one family's shame, yes. 

COSBY:  And how did your dad come up with this idea? 

O'KEEFE:  Too much time on his hands, I don't know.  Too much education.  Just sort of rattled around in there until it exploded.  I don't know.  I'm not really sure.

COSBY:  Now, you celebrated with your family, what, starting in the '70s or so about. 

O'KEEFE:  Yes. 

COSBY:  What was the real Festivus like at home for you? 

O'KEEFE:  OK, the real Festivus was no pole and no father-son wrestling.  That would have had the state take us away, and rightly so.  The symbols were a clock and a bag, and I don't know why.  He still won't tell me.  There was a lot of grievances, believe me.  And another aspect was it was all tape recorded.  So we have all these crazy cassettes of actual Festivi going back to about 1972. 

COSBY:  So you still have these? 

O'KEEFE:  Yes. 

COSBY:  How did it become a “Seinfeld” episode?  How did that evolve?

O'KEEFE:  An intervention.  My younger brother was a big mouth.  I mentioned to a friend of ours who was one of the guys running “Seinfeld” about this shameful family holiday.  And he thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard.  And he told Jerry.  And so, basically, they sat me down and said, “You have to put this on TV.”  And I said, “I don't think it's such a good idea,” and they kind of twisted my arm.  So I wrote it into an episode I was doing. 

COSBY:  And hence, the Hare family and lots of other people around the country. 

O'KEEFE:  I guess so. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  You know, Janet, how many years have you guys been celebrating Festivus? 

JANET HARE:  We started celebrating it in 1997, right after the first episode aired.  I think that was, like, on December 17th, we celebrated it that December 23rd.  We embraced the holiday. 

COSBY:  And now, do you celebrate other holidays?  Do you celebrate other holidays?

JANET HARE:  Yes, we celebrate, you know, the traditional holidays, Thanksgiving.  We even open a few gifts on Christmas, Easter.  If Trevor remembers, we do Valentine's Day.  But definitely, Festivus is by far the biggest Hare holiday happening. 

COSBY:  You know, Trevor, walk us through, because I see the pole there.  Explain to a lot of the folks who didn't know a lot about “Seinfeld.”  Explain the significance of the pole and what it means to Festivus. 

TREVOR HARE, FAMILY CELEBRATES FESTIVUS:  I'm not sure that there's any significance of the pole, except it is not a Christmas tree. 

(LAUGHTER)

JANET HARE:  Or a menorah. 

TREVOR HARE:  We use it as our sounding post when we do the airing of the grievances.  I make people stand next to it and grab onto the pole when they do their grievances.

COSBY:  And, Cassidy, did you ever wrestle your dad, for, what is it, feats of strength, the tradition? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I have a couple of times, but he can pretty much get me down pinned down pretty fast. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  He can?

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Has Delaney done it? 

DELANEY HARE, FAMILY CELEBRATES FESTIVUS:  No.  I think it was before my era, where my dad threw his back out, so I don't think we do it anymore. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  And, Janet, tell us about the food.  I understand not just here you have the pole, but you have Festivus food.  Tell us about it.

JANET HARE:  Oh, absolutely, all food, all New York.  Of course, a Festivus celebration wouldn't be complete without the New York hot dog cart that we have outside in front, fabulous Rosemary's (ph) New York-style hot dog cart.  I, of course, have the fabulous crab bisque, the coveted Soup Nazi crab bisque, that we are able to get in Tucson.  Cassidy has the big salad, Elaine's big salad, that, you know, George, I'm sure, had a grievance about paying for.  And Delaney has the best Festivus foods ever, the muffin tops and the Junior Mints. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  Any grievance you want to air, real quick, on national TV? 

JANET HARE:  Oh, wow—pardon me?

TREVOR HARE:  Bombo (ph). 

JANET HARE:  Oh, Trevor has tons of grievances.  No, my big grievance is that, you know, we don't do enough airing of the grievances throughout the whole year.  So we need to do that more often. 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  I'm going to get tons of grievances for my producer if I don't go to a break.  You're just shaking your head.  Thank you very much.  Everybody, what a fun occasion. 

When we come back, we're going to be turning the cameras upside down for a holiday tribute.  It's not Festivus.  It's something else, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And before we go tonight, we want to share with you some of the people who make LIVE & DIRECT a success, the folks behind the scenes.  Happy holidays, everybody. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Content and programming copyright 2005 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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