updated 1/6/2006 9:15:29 AM ET 2006-01-06T14:15:29

Guests: Lynn Martenstein, Amy Martinez, Walter Zalisko, Henry Lee, Vito Colucci, Jack Hickey, Steve Huff, Jim Craig, Tim Stalnaker, Rex Stalnaker, Brian Quintana

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  It is great to see you.  We are LIVE AND DIRECT tonight from the port of Miami with some big developments in the case of honeymooner George Smith, who vanished from his cruise ship.

Plus, the West Virginia mine tragedy.  New details on the final message from the miners to their families.  Family members will join me live.

And a musician and his entire family found murdered in their home. 

Wait until you hear his eerie lyrics that could have foretold his death.

But first, our very top story right here.  After six months of silence, surprising new details about what happened the night honeymooner George Smith went missing from his cruise ship.  You are now going to be looking at live pictures of the port of Miami.  This is the world‘s busiest port for cruise ships.  In fact, it‘s estimated that as many as three million cruise passengers pass through here—you can see it there live—each year.

But it‘s what happened to just one of those passengers, George Smith, which has been the subject of so much speculation since his disappearance in July.  And now both Royal Caribbean cruise lines and Jennifer Hagel-Smith are giving new accounts of that night, finally painting a much clearer picture of what happened.

Joining us now to fill us in on all the stunning new developments that have been taking place, particularly in the last 24 hours or so, is Amy Martinez with “The Miami Herald.”  Amy, give us (INAUDIBLE) some pretty dramatic developments, particularly.

AMY MARTINEZ, “MIAMI HERALD”:  Yes.  Well, the day began with Royal Caribbean issuing an eight-page statement, giving its version of what happened that day that George Smith disappeared from the ship and its handling of the case.

COSBY:  Pretty strong developments, first of all, about Jennifer Hagel-Smith.  You know, what, that she was so drunk, needed to be taken in a wheelchair?  These are her own comments.

MARTINEZ:  Right.  Royal Caribbean says it found her unconscious on the floor in a hallway far from her cabin around 4:00 AM that morning that he was reported missing, yes, put her in a wheelchair and took her to her cabin, placed her in bed, left her there alone.

COSBY:  Let me show also a comment.  This is from Brett Rivkind.  This is the family attorney representing George Smith‘s family, and this is what he had to say in the press conference that Amy was talking about earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRETT RIVKIND, GEORGE SMITH FAMILY ATTORNEY:  Now, some six months more—or six months later, Royal Caribbean, under the public scrutiny, is for the first time conceding the scenario of a possible crime on board their ship.  But we know they knew that from the beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, Amy, there‘s certainly a lot of tension, it seems, between the two sides.  Why do you think it‘s escalated to this point?

MARTINEZ:  Well, you know, there‘s just a lot of heated accusations, really, you know, I guess, on both sides.  You know, it began with the Smith family hiring a New York public relations firm, holding, you know, a press conference about a month ago.  Then Jennifer Hagel-Smith came out, you know, really, you know, criticizing the way that Royal Caribbean treated her that day.  And so finally now, Royal Caribbean is coming out, and yes, quite forcefully.

COSBY:  Still not knowing, though, from any side what happened at this point.

MARTINEZ:  Right.  Right.  The FBI continues to investigate.

COSBY:  There‘s a lot of unanswered questions.

MARTINEZ:  A lot of unanswered questions.

COSBY:  Amy Martinez (INAUDIBLE) “Miami Herald‘s” done a good job on this story.  Thanks so much.

And joining us now to talk more about all of these new developments in this investigation is Lynn Martenstein.  She‘s, of course, the vice president of communications for Royal Caribbean.

You know, Lynn, a lot of big developments today.  First of all, walk us through the timeline when everything came down, when the blood was first spotted.

LYNN MARTENSTEIN, VP COMMUNICATIONS, ROYAL CARIBBEAN:  Sure.  At 8:30 in the morning, we had two of our guests who said they saw blood.  Our staff captain went down.  He looked at it.  He looked above.  He identified about nine cabins.  We looked at those cabins.  We didn‘t find the Smiths.  We started paging the Smiths.  We paged for about an hour-and-a-half.  We found Jennifer Hagel-Smith in the spa about 10:00 o‘clock.  Forty-five minutes before we found Jennifer, we had called the U.S. officials, and we had also called the Turkish authorities.

COSBY:  Now, let me—let me clear up.  You found her at 10:00 o‘clock in the spa?

MARTENSTEIN:  We found her at 10:00 o‘clock, yes.

COSBY:  In the spa?

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.

COSBY:  What time—had she already finished her massage, at that point, or what was happening?

MARTENSTEIN:  She was—at 10:00 o‘clock, we get a call from the spa manager, saying, The woman that you‘re paging, Mrs. Jennifer Hagel-Smith, is in the spa.  We went.  She was finishing her spa treatment.

COSBY:  But her appointment was 10:00 o‘clock.

MARTENSTEIN:  No, actually—yes, her appointment was at 10:00 o‘clock, but she had arrived at 8:30, thinking her appointment was at 8:30.  It wasn‘t until 10:00 o‘clock...

COSBY:  OK, that‘s important...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  ... because a lot of people thought it was sort of strange that she shows up at 8:30...

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes.

COSBY:  ... for a 10:00 o‘clock appointment.

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  So she gets there.  She said, Can you take me—can you take me early?  We did.  Spa manager calls.  She‘s in the spa.  We send three uniformed officers to her, and we ask her where her husband is.

COSBY:  And she said at first, what, He could be in another room?

MARTENSTEIN:  She said, I don‘t know where he is.  I didn‘t realize he was missing.  He may be in another cabin.  We partied last night.  He may be asleep elsewhere in the ship.

COSBY:  Now, how drunk was she?

MARTENSTEIN:  We found her asleep at 4:30 in the morning.  So you‘ve got to go back earlier -- 4:30 in the morning, two of our crew members were cleaning.  They found her.  She was unconscious.  We asked her...

COSBY:  So much so that, what, she had to be taken in a wheelchair?

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes, exactly right.  We called our medical facilities.  We inquired—we asked about medical advice.  We—with their advice, we were able to wake her up.  We asked if she was OK.  She said, Yes, I am OK.  Our procedure is, we wheel her back.  We wheeled her back to her cabin.  We wheeled her back, opened the door, put her in, asked her again, Are you OK?  She said, Yes, I am OK.  We left her alone in her room.  We saw nothing amiss in the cabin.

COSBY:  Did they even check the cabin?  Did they look to see if there was anything unusual, or did they just put her in there, thinking, Let‘s just put her to bed, she‘s drunk?

MARTENSTEIN:  I think they went in—no, they didn‘t search the cabin.  They didn‘t do an exhaustive—you know, they didn‘t look around the cabin.  They took her in.  They put her on the bed.  They didn‘t see anything that was obviously amiss...

COSBY:  Did they turn the lights...

MARTENSTEIN:  ... and they left her there.

COSBY:  ... on?  Did they turn the lights on in the cabin?

MARTENSTEIN:  I don‘t know that.

COSBY:  Let‘s also talk about George Smith.

MARTENSTEIN:  Sure.

COSBY:  We know—did he win a lot of money gambling?  Do we know if he won a lot of money?

MARTENSTEIN:  You know, we haven‘t said.  It‘s an ongoing investigation.  The FBI has asked us specifically not to reveal certain details of the investigation, so I can‘t comment on that.

COSBY:  (INAUDIBLE) I want to talk about them, the captain of the ship that‘s coming on (INAUDIBLE) interviews.

MARTENSTEIN:  I‘ll be happy to...

COSBY:  With Dan Abrams.  And he talked about specifically these rape

allegations.  There was a rape reported—I think this is very significant

on that ship, what, involving some of the guys, is that correct, who were also hanging around?

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.

COSBY:  Tell me—these were the same people?

MARTENSTEIN:  Several of the young men who were the last people to see George Smith alive were involved in an unrelated incident.  There is an allegation of a sexual assault against a young female guest.  And these are some of the same young men who were the last to see George Smith alive.

COSBY:  And in fact, the captain talked about that.  Let‘s play what the captain had to say earlier this week on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN ABRAMS, HOST, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”:  A few days after George Smith went missing, those same young men...

MICHAEL LACHTARIDIS, FORMER ROYAL CARIBBEAN CAPTAIN:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... were accused of raping a woman on the boat.

LACHTARIDIS:  This is under investigation.  I cannot say more about this.

ABRAMS:  They were kicked of the boat, weren‘t they?

LACHTARIDIS:  Yes, they were kicked off the boat.

ABRAMS:  Why did you decide to kick them off the boat?

LACHTARIDIS:  Because this—with these accusations, it was too much now.  I mean, you hear of, like, pre-warning.  You hear of a warning, and then you cannot call them anymore, you see?  Even the Italian police, they say that for them, was not a case.

ABRAMS:  What do you mean?

LACHTARIDIS:  It was not a rape case for them.

COSBY:  You know, Lynn, as we‘re hearing this, there‘s, what, also a videotape maybe possibly?

LACHTARIDIS:  Yes, there is.  There are two.

COSBY:  Of?

LACHTARIDIS:  The young men—the young men videotaped the assault.  The FBI has both tapes.  We had one of the tapes, and we turned it over to the FBI—actually, to the Italian authorities.  They have turned it over to the FBI...

(CROSSTALK)

MARTENSTEIN:  It‘s an active investigation with the FBI.  And they‘re investigating.

COSBY:  Do you believe—I mean—I mean, does it look like there clearly was a rape?  Are we saying—are you talking specifically about there were three Russian guys and a California student?  These are the ones who were involved. Is this who was involved in this case?

MARTENSTEIN:  The same young men who were the last to see saw George Smith, so yes.

COSBY:  These same four individuals?

(CROSSTALK)

MARTENSTEIN:  ... an allegation.

COSBY:  But these same four individuals.

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes.

COSBY:  What does that say to you?  I mean, is it more than coincidence, that here, there‘s a missing man last seen with these guys, and then they‘re accused of a violent crime?

MARTENSTEIN:  I think that‘s worth looking at, and I‘m sure the FBI is.

COSBY:  Also, what, the ship captain came out and said blood on the—bloody nose maybe might have been one of the theories.  That was one of the things.  Do you believe that George Smith, after all this, may have just gotten a bloody nose and fallen off?

MARTENSTEIN:  Rita, we don‘t know.  I mean, we don‘t.  We have—the FBI has asked us specifically not to say what was in the cabin.  We have talked about the blood on the metal overhang, but they specifically asked us—and when we released the statement this morning, we had what was found in the cabin.  They asked us specifically to take that out.

COSBY:  Because?

MARTENSTEIN:  Because it might impede, it might somehow jeopardize the investigation, and we want to respect that.  We don‘t want to do anything that would jeopardize the investigation.

COSBY:  But there was quite a bit of blood in the cabin, from our understanding.

MARTENSTEIN:  We‘ve not characterized and we have been asked not to characterize the amount of blood in the cabin.  And we‘re being respectful of that.

COSBY:  Lynn Martenstein, thank you very much, with Royal Caribbean.

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.  Thank you.

COSBY:  And their office is...

MARTENSTEIN:  Thank you very much.

COSBY:  ... not too far from here.

MARTENSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes.

COSBY:  (INAUDIBLE) about a block or two away.  We appreciate it.

MARTENSTEIN:  Thank you very much.

COSBY:  And joining us now exclusively on the phone is George Smith‘s mother, Maureen Smith.  Maureen, I understand you want to make a statement tonight.

MAUREEN SMITH, GEORGE SMITH‘S MOTHER:  Yes.  Good evening, Rita.  I have been—we‘ve been watching the captain on the television all day today, and I just have a few comments to make.  First one to Mr. Fain.  What a way to promote Royal Caribbean cruise lines, by hiring the likes of this Captain Michael Lachtaridis, I think his name is.  When he was asked why he didn‘t stop the ship in Turkey, he said in a very nonchalant sort of voice, What for?

My son was missing and murdered on the ship, and he said, What for?  He would not leave that ship in Turkey, and he was—he had no sympathy whatsoever throughout the whole day on every interview he was on.  And he‘s also a former captain.  Now, I wonder, is his contract up, conveniently, or was—I don‘t know why he‘s a former captain now.

And I have another thing I want to say about the maritime lawyer Larry Kaye.  He—I‘m absolutely appalled by my dead son‘s character assassination today.  My son‘s not here to defend himself.  And how can he attack somebody else‘s character when the law firm that he represents, they defend corporate felons?  And he‘s turned around today and he said my son‘s marriage was a marriage gone awry.  How dare he make statements like that!

And you know what?  I have a message for Mr. Kaye.  My son would have made 10 of you, Mr. Kaye.  And I‘m—but then again, this is Royal Caribbean‘s common approach, to blame the victim, whether dead or alive, to detract attention from their wrongdoing, their cover-ups.  And you know, we‘re not going to let it go this time.

And we‘re getting stronger and stronger.  We have an association now, and we‘re all going forward against the cruise lines.  And we‘re just not going to let this happen to people, you know?  And everybody that has been interviewed from Royal Caribbean, whether it be Lynn Martenstein, Eileen O‘Connor tonight, Mr. Purdy—they‘re all on the attack.  Well, you know what?  Attack is your best means of defense.

And we‘re not letting this go because something really bad happened to my son on a Royal Caribbean ship.  And I was outraged by the behavior, especially of the captain, how he sat there.  And I actually went to the little town of Samos (ph), where I know that the captain is from, and I got more sympathy from the coast guard and everybody who lived in Samos than I‘ve seen on that captain‘s face all day today.

And that‘s all I wanted to say to you tonight, Rita.  There will be a lot more said in time.

COSBY:  Absolutely.  Maureen, our prayers are with and that whole family, and we‘re just hoping that we‘re going to get some answers.  And we will do whatever we can, Maureen.  Thank you so much for being with us tonight.  We appreciate it.

And still ahead, we‘re going to hear from a man who was on the ship the night that George vanished.  Hear what he has to say about the cruise line speaking out.

And a shocking case of murder, an entire family killed in their home.  The father a talented musician, the wife a relative of a key player on “Desperate Housewives,” the TV show.  So who killed them?

And find out how the miners who perished in West Virginia left a final good-bye to their families.  Plus, the very latest on that sole survivor.  It‘s all coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He was able to interact a little bit with us, some appropriate movements, responded to his wife in an appropriate manner.  And I think all of that‘s very, very positive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LACHTARIDIS:  If George—let‘s say he fell.  And then if he fell, you break your nose and you start bleeding.  And then you take a towel, and then you wipe it there.  And then you go outside to get some fresh air.  And then you are sitting on the railing and you fell over.  So that‘s the whole thing.  I mean, blood on the towel or wherever you pass by to go outside to the balcony to get some fresh air, and you fell over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  As we continue here live from the port of Miami, that was the captain of the Royal Caribbean ship doing one of the theories, saying essentially that maybe one of the theories is he got a bloody nose and then somehow went over the railing.

Meantime, Jennifer Hagel-Smith, George Smith‘s new wife, has hired one of the top forensic pathologists in the country to help solve this case, Dr. Henry Lee.  He has investigated the O.J. Simpson case, as well as the JonBenet Ramsey murder.  And he joins us now live to talk more about this case.

Dr. Lee, what do you think you can bring to the case?  Do you think you might be able to solve it?

DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST:  Rita, you know, we have to try.  (INAUDIBLE) for so many months now.  The public need answer.  Especially the family want to know what happened to their son.  And of course, Jennifer Smith want to know what happened to her husband.  It‘s very important to find out what did happen.

I heard the captain‘s statement.  That‘s not giving a theory, that‘s called speculation.  We have to look for some physical evidence to find out exactly what did happen, where‘d it happen, how did it happen, then come up a reconstruction to determine exactly how it happened.

COSBY:  Dr. Lee, have you been told how much blood was actually in the cabin?  We know that there was some blood found on the towels, on the tissues.  We know that there was also, obviously, some on the canopy.  Do you know the extent of the blood from what you‘re getting?

LEE:  Well, so far, I only got (INAUDIBLE) photograph from cruise ship security people.  Another set of photographs from Turkish police and...

COSBY:  Does it look like a lot to you?

LEE:  On the canopy, it‘s quite a bit of blood.  However, we don‘t know exactly what‘s the measurement, the size of the blood.  Also, we don‘t what the condition because the photograph is just a two dimension, no representation.  We want to know exactly (INAUDIBLE) whole blood or a little bit of blood, and whether or not have any hairs, tissue embedded in blood.  And if somebody fall on the canopy, broke their nose or something happened to him before prior to fall on the canopy, we should see a trail of blood.  Then, of course, if somebody step on the chair to sit on the railing, on the chair, we should find some shoeprint.  So a lot of stuff we have to find out, yes.

COSBY:  Dr. Lee, what about in the room, though, itself?  Have you gotten a sense of how much might have been in the room?

LEE:  In the room, you have to look at what evidence so far Turkish police collect, FBI collect.  So we haven‘t got the inventory of the piece of physical evidence, what evidence, where they collect it, what‘s the condition.  Also, we have to determine what‘s the testing result before we can reach a conclusion.

COSBY:  Dr. Lee, thank you very much.  Please keep us posted on this. 

We appreciate it.

LEE:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And of course, the family of missing honeymooner George Smith is confident that they will one day know exactly what happened to him.  And after some incredible developments in the case today, we now know a lot more about what happened around the cruise ship around the time of his disappearance.

Joining us now to talk all about this and all about the latest developments in the case is Chief Walter Zalisko.  He was a passenger on that same cruise on which George Smith went missing.  Private investigator Vito Colucci is also with me.  And we have with me right here, maritime attorney Jack Hickey.

You know, Vito, I want to first start with you because we just talked with Dr. Henry Lee.  Unfortunately, a lot of the evidence is gone.  I mean, remember, it was washed off that canopy.  Doesn‘t that make his job that much more difficult?

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  Yes, it definitely does, Rita.  What I don‘t understand, though, is these people brought Jennifer back to the room about quarter to 5:00, OK?  One report in the newspaper say these were maintenance workers that found her, OK?  So we don‘t know if it‘s even security people.  Even if they‘re security people, nobody saw blood in the cabin, not even Jennifer when she wakes up three hours later, I mean, and with furniture moved around and everything else that goes on there?  I just don‘t understand this.

It‘s very difficult.  Very difficult.  But Dr. Lee is the best.  If anybody can determine this stuff, Dr. Lee would be able to.

COSBY:  Walter, walk me through.  Your cousin was also on the cruise with you, and I think this is significant.  What time did your cousin—I understand that she‘s talked to maybe some family members and other people, but what time did she see some people hovering around a bloody spot on the canopy?

CHIEF WALTER ZALISKO, PASSENGER ON GEORGE SMITH‘S CRUISE:  Rita, I think it was around 7:30 in the morning, but...

COSBY:  Are you sure of that?  Walter, are you sure that it was that early?

ZALISKO:  According to her, yes.  But what I was saying is, I think that there‘s maybe some controversy now.  They‘re claiming it was an hour time difference or so.  So I can‘t, you know, substantiate that.  But I was told at breakfast time, and that was just before 8:00 that she saw two people there.  Now...

COSBY:  What do you see is—what do you see as the biggest discrepancy?  You know, from all the things that you‘ve heard, Walter, being—you know, even as a law enforcement guy.

ZALISKO:  Well, there‘s a lot of questions that are coming into play here.  I mean, number one, they bring Jennifer back to the room around 4:30, 5:00 o‘clock, and like Vito said, they walk into her room, they didn‘t notice any blood.  We have—it‘s been reported that there was blood on the bed and on the floor.  How did they miss that?  How does Jennifer miss that waking up?  You know...

COSBY:  And you know—you know, Walter, that has always bothered me, too.  How is this woman—it‘s their honeymoon.  You know, she just takes off and then goes early—shows up early for a massage?

ZALISKO:  Well, that‘s a little, you know, suspect also.  You know, why are you going to your massage an hour earlier?  But I don‘t think we should even get into that.  I think the fact is, is that George was—is a victim of a crime, and you know, Royal Caribbean has been doing nothing to really cooperate with this investigation.  I mean, they‘ve been just trying to protect their own interests in this.

Like I said, the fact that they brought her into the room, they found

her in a unconscious state, they even had to go and call the ship‘s nurse -

so she was in that serious of a condition that they wanted guidance from her.  And then they just bring her in a room and just leave her totally alone.  That is totally irresponsible by the ship‘s personnel.

COSBY:  Jack Hickey, also, first off, the captain—there‘s some logs that show the captain that said right away he thought it was an accident.  Is he a psychic?

JACK HICKEY, MARITIME ATTORNEY:  That just doesn‘t wash, Rita, with what he said on the interview on MSNBC just recently.  You know, the captain says, yes it‘s an accident.  But on the other hand, he also says, You know, I threw off these two Russians off the ship in part because of this alleged date rape, or rape or whatever it was, and their involvement with George Smith.  Well, gee, you know, if that‘s an accident, why is he putting that together?  He‘s saying it‘s an accident.  I believe and it‘s the evidence shows that that‘s an accident because they fumbled and they went into the crime scene.  They destroyed evidence.

COSBY:  But yet, as we just heard from Lynn Martenstein, these are guys with possibly a violent background.  I mean, they‘re being accused of pretty serious incident.  (INAUDIBLE) they videotaped some rape.  That‘s what they‘re accused of.

HICKEY:  Right.  And that‘s exactly what the captain was concerned with, not only the evidence he had in regard to the rape...

COSBY:  But then...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  ... these guys were accused of this violent thing, but this happened to be an accident?  Wait a minute?  No coincidence?

HICKEY:  Right.  That‘s just too much.  And it‘s inconsistent.  And the cruise line is now inconsistent in the eight-page statement that they‘ve come out with just recently.  They say, on the one hand, that the crime scene was sealed, and yet on one page alone of the statement, they admit in two different areas that they went into the crime scene to get belongings, number one, and then number two, on July 14, despite what the FBI had requested them, they had already cleaned the room and prepared it for the next passengers to get on board, if you can believe that.

COSBY:  Vito, where do you see this going?

COLUCCI:  Well, you know, they‘re shifting the blame now.  I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Bree, and I warned them.  I said, You watch, they‘re going to start attacking your son.  And that‘s what they‘re doing.  The captain‘s saying he bumped his nose, George bumps his nose, goes outside for air and falls off?

You‘re going to hear—unfortunately, you‘re going to hear a lot more of this over the next several weeks.  And it‘s a shame what the Smith family has to go through.  That‘s why I‘m sure Maureen called you tonight.

COSBY:  No, it absolutely is.  Thank you very much, guys.  Everybody, we appreciate it.

ZALISKO:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And coming up on Monday on LIVE AND DIRECT, everybody, we‘re going to have a very special interview.  We‘re going to have a major interview in the George Smith case.  We‘re going to be speaking with Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain, and also guest relations manager Marie.  This is the woman, she stayed with Jennifer Hagel-Smith throughout the day after George Smith went missing.  She‘s going to tell us sort of and break her silence for the very first time right here on LIVE AND DIRECT, tell us the mood of Jennifer Smith and what happened that day.

And still ahead, everybody, final words from the victims of the West Virginia mining tragedy.

And the hunt for a killer after an entire family is murdered.  The father is a musician, the mother a relative of a “Desperate Housewives” star.  The shocking details are coming up next.

And later, extreme gossiping.  Find out who‘s asking a court to stop Paris Hilton from allegedly calling him names.  Stay tuned.  He‘s going to be on live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Tonight, the murder of an entire family over has—has an entire community, rather, turned upside-down and also investigators are baffled on how it all went down.  Police are trying to figure out who killed Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their two daughters, as well, 9-year-old Stella and 4-year-old Ruby.  They were found bound and their throats cut.  So far, there are no suspects in this case. 

And joining us now for an update on this horrific story is Jim Craig. 

He‘s with WRVA.  It‘s a radio station in Richmond, Virginia. 

Walk us through, first of all.  Any suspects? 

JIM CRAIG, WRVA RADIO REPORTER:  At this point, not only are there no suspects, but even clues to indicate a suspect are hard to come by. 

COSBY:  Walk us through, again, how the family was found.  And describe the crime scene. 

CRAIG:  Well, Bryan Harvey is a rock guitarist by night, worked (INAUDIBLE) schools by day.  They were planning a New Year‘s Day chili dinner.  And one of their friends came over to help prepare for that, just a little before 2:00 on New Year‘s Day.  He went into the house and found that it was filled with smoke.  He called firefighters.  They responded, found the four bodies in the basement. 

COSBY:  And I understand, at this point, we are hearing some reports that they were bound and their throats were slit, but maybe one of the other family members may have been killed in a different fashion? 

CRAIG:  Well, it‘s my understanding that they were all bound.  They were all had their throats slit, apparently with a box cutter.  But there‘s some indication from at least preliminary reports that at least one of the family members was stay alive when the fire was set, because they found smoke residue in their lungs. 

COSBY:  Who have they been talking to?  I mean, are they talking to neighbors, family members?  I mean, it sounds like someone who clearly was, a, had a vendetta against this family, especially to kill two young children, and, then we‘re clearly trying to cover it up. 

CRAIG:  That‘s the speculation at this point, is that they set the fire to try to destroy the crime scene.  As to who might have done this, we don‘t know.  But the first speculation that it may have been a professional type of hit is pretty well, I think, been ruled out, because this was a fairly sloppy crime scene.  And everything that was used came from the scene itself.  They found the tape, hammer, box cutter all in the home. 

COSBY:  Thank you very much, Jim.  We appreciate it.  Some tragic news there. 

And now, let‘s bring in, if we could, for some analysis, private investigator Vito Colucci and also Steve Huff.  He writes for Court TV‘s—it‘s a crime library—and also PlanetHuff.com. 

Steve, I want to get to you, because I think what‘s so fascinating is these lyrics—and very eerie, too—the lyrics on the song that the father was tied to? 

STEVE HUFF, CRIME BLOGGER, PLANETHUFF.COM:  Yes, Bryan Harvey—I think he co-wrote it with one of his old band mates—and the title is, “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey.”  And the lyrics read almost like an account of what could have happened to the family.  It talks about death in the basement.  I don‘t remember the lyrics off the top of my head, but somebody had tracked those down on the Internet and posted them, at least on one message board.  And now they‘ve made it into articles in the “NY Daily News.”

Because, at the very least, there‘s such an eerie correlation between what may have happened to the Harveys and those song lyrics.  I mean, it‘s at the very least, it‘s a haunting element of the story, and one of many. 

COSBY:  It certainly is.  Any idea of any suspects?  Is there any discussion of any suspects, Steve, that they‘re saying who could have done this horrible crime? 

HUFF:  There is a lot of discussion and a lot of speculation.  And some of it points towards people who were not relatives of the Harveys but may have had a relationship with someone who was close to the family.

And someone that I had a tip sent to me, that there was some sort of altercation between the Harveys and one person on Thanksgiving Day when they were in Virginia Beach.  But it‘s been so unspecific that I can‘t give it a lot of credence, as yet.  But the problem with that is, I‘ve had the same tip sent to me from an entirely different source.  The two sources are not...

COSBY:  Is this a family member?  Is this a family member? 

HUFF:  No, this is not a family member.  This is someone who had—my understanding—formally had a relationship with a family member.  And...

COSBY:  Walk us through, also, the “Desperate Housewives” tie. 

There‘s an interesting “Desperate Housewives” tie.

HUFF:  Yes, Steven Culp, who was playing—who played, until, I believe, the last TV television season of “Desperate Housewives,” he played Rex Van De Kamp on that show—he was Kathryn Harvey‘s half-brother.  They have the same—I think they had the same mom.  And they—I am given to understand that they had a close relationship and that Mr. Culp is devastated. 

COSBY:  I can imagine.

You know, Vito Colucci, hearing all these details, especially what Steve was just saying about this person—and he‘s getting tips from different directions—but maybe that somebody had an altercation with the family member.  Where would you look for suspects at this point? 

COLUCCI:  Well, this is a group of people, Rita, that had a lot of contacts.  This guy was a notable musician.  One place I would definitely look is that Web site for that band, “House of Freaks,” because Harvey had a lot of contact back-and-forth with people writing in. 

You know, that would be interesting to read, all of these things back-and-forth that happened.  Obviously, this guy, where the altercation, she was co-owner of a store.  He worked in the school system.  He played in many bands across the country. 

So you‘ve got a lot of leg work to do as a cop here.  But this is a good P.D.  Richmond Police Department is a very good police department down there.  So I got a feeling this shouldn‘t take too long.  Sloppy crime scene, a lot of blood, bloody footprints, bloody handprints.  I think it‘s going to show something here, Rita. 

COSBY:  And it looks like, clearly, someone who was trying to cover it up.  Guys, thank you, both, very much. 

And, Vito, I know it‘s your birthday.  Thank you for coming on, on your birthday.  Happy birthday, my friend. 

COLUCCI:  Thank you.

COSBY:  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

And still ahead, everybody, we‘re going to have the latest on the sole surviving victim of the West Virginia mining tragedy.  Plus, find out how the miners who didn‘t make it out alive, how they left a final message for their loved ones.  The heartbreaking letters are coming up, and details about them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D), WEST VIRGINIA:  They think the worst.  And then somebody comes along and says, “Well, it‘s OK.  They‘re living.”  And then somebody comes along and says, “No, they‘re dead.”  That‘s about as much as you can crush a human soul. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Well, there are still so many unanswered questions for those the families of the 12 miners lost at the Sago mine in West Virginia.  Tonight, the sole survivor, Randal McCloy, is undergoing oxygen treatment after being transferred to a hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The 26-year-old‘s vital signs have improved, but physicians are still very concerned about possible brain damage.  At last report, he was in stable condition, but critically ill. 

Experts are now investigating also what caused the accident, as one of the miners who escaped the blast returns for the very first time since the explosion.  Here‘s NBC‘s Tom Costello. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Denver Anderson survived the explosion that killed 12 men working ahead of him on the coal scene deep underground.  Today, for the first time, he returned to the Sago mine. 

DENVER ANDERSON, ESCAPED SAGO MINE EXPLOSION:  Well, I just felt all this debris hit me.  And I turned and throwed my arm up front to protect my face.  I lost my hat and glasses. 

COSTELLO:  In the pitch black, he grabbed his oxygen mask and feared for the 13 miners working deeper underground. 

(on-screen):  Without that rescue mask, could you have made it out alive? 

ANDERSON:  It‘d have been tough. 

COSTELLO (voice-over):  While the men on Anderson‘s team survived, 12 of the 13 miners ahead of them did not.  Today, word that several of the miners‘ bodies have been found with notes, telling family members that they hadn‘t suffered.  The message on Terry Helms body said simply, “I went in peace.”

MICHELLE MOUSER, TERRY HELMS‘ NIECE:  I think another miner there that was in there that was storming the barricade and stuff knew that, you know, he‘s passing away.  So they wrote the note to let the family know that he went in peace. 

COSTELLO:  Federal and state inspectors have begun their investigation.  They will look at why, from 2004 to 2005, even though coal production was dropping, the number of man hours and safety violations increased.  Although it‘s not a union mine, the union is speaking out. 

DENNIS O‘DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA:  These were serious violations that they were issuing.  They were imminent danger violations.  And it‘s—when you see that type of activity, it sends a red flag out and tells you that the conditions of this mine were unsafe. 

COSTELLO:  Bob Friend (ph) represents the government‘s Mine Safety Administration. 

(on-screen):  Did you feel this mine was unsafe? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.  If we had, we would have shut it down. 

COSTELLO:  But you did shut down portions of it last year? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We did shut down parts of it or pieces of equipment. 

COSTELLO (voice-over):  In fact, 18 shutdowns last year alone.  But the company that bought the mine in November says safety is its priority.

(on-screen):  Did you ever feel concern for your safety down there? 

ANDERSON:  No.  I never did feel...

COSTELLO:  You felt it was a safe mine? 

ANDERSON:  Yes. 

COSTELLO:  And, tonight, many of Anderson‘s fellow miners agree. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was nothing with the ventilation part of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This company is doing everything they can to make it safe for the men in there. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  Well, we‘ve heard also more today about notes that some of the lost miners left for their families.  The notes, pinned to their bodies, to let their families know that they did not die in pain. 

One of the 12 miners who lost their lives at the Sago mine is Marty Bennett.  LIVE & DIRECT tonight are two of Marty‘s nephews, Tim and Rex Stalnaker. 

Tim, let me start with you.  Have you heard anything about these notes, these final words? 

TIM STALNAKER, UNCLE DIED IN SAGO MINE:  Well, not at this time, Rita.  We‘ve spoken with Judy, his wife, and his son.  But if he did leave one, she wants to keep it to herself at this time. 

COSBY:  Rex, have you gotten any word?  And what do you think about that, too?  You know, we heard in the case in Pennsylvania, when the mine disaster took place in Pennsylvania, that turned out to, you know, have a jubilant ending.  The guys left notes, I think, it was in a lunchbox-type thing. 

What did you think when you heard in this case that your uncle may have left a note behind? 

REX STALNAKER, UNCLE DIED IN SAGO MINE:  Well, like my brother said, we‘re not sure if he did.  And if he did, his wife is keeping that information to herself.  

COSBY:  How hard has this been for you?  And, of course, our prayers go out, you know, to you and all the family members.  How tough has this whole ordeal been for you? 

R. STALNAKER:  Well, it‘s—I mean, it‘s devastating.  Anytime there‘s a loss of life, it‘s—I mean, you know, you‘re—there aren‘t words that can describe, you know, what you actually feel. 

COSBY:  How is his wife holding up? 

T. STALNAKER:  Well, I mean, as well as can be expected but, I mean, anytime you lose a loved one, it‘s painful. 

COSBY:  You know, and, Rex, were you there at the church where we were the other night, when all that news came down at first?  And at first, you know, there was jubilation and then, of course, the tragic news came down.  Were you—were either of you there?  Were both of you there? 

T. STALNAKER:  I was here.  I was here.  Rex was coming up from Georgia to be with—go ahead.

R. STALNAKER:  Yes, I reside in Georgia.  And I was on the—driving here and received word over my cell phone. 

T. STALNAKER:  I was at the church whenever we received the news. 

COSBY:  And, Tim, yes, how was that?  And how difficult—has that made it even harder for you? 

T. STALNAKER:  It was really terrible.  We know they were getting close to the end of the mine and they were going to find the men, you know, alive or dead.  And then, all of a sudden, once it broke out that they were alive, you know, it was just such jubilation.  And we all started praising the Lord and hugging each other and saying it‘s a miracle and everything.

And then, for them to let us wait that long was just devastating on the whole family.  When they knew that the word had gotten out that they were all alive, and they knew within 20 minutes or so, we feel they should have come down and told us that maybe it was a mistake and maybe not all of them are survived, you know?  It was just devastating. 

COSBY:  Absolutely. 

And you know, Rex, real quickly, tell us about your uncle.  We‘ve heard a lot of good things about him. 

R. STALNAKER:  Oh, absolutely.  You can‘t say enough good things about him.  He‘s the kind of guy that would do anything that would you ask him to do and would never expect anything in return. 

T. STALNAKER:  Yes, we feel that, if he had the chance for one of them younger boys, he would have given his air for one of them younger men, you know, because he had lived his life.  And that‘s the way he had it—his heart was that way.  He gave to each and every one of us at all times.  And I‘m sure the men around him, you know, they‘re like a family together.  And they stick together and give their lives for each other. 

COSBY:  Well, he sounds like a beautiful person.  And, both of you, our prayers are with you and your whole family through this very, very difficult ordeal.  We‘re thinking about you all the time.  Thank you so much for being with us during this difficult time.  We appreciate it. 

T. STALNAKER:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And there‘s a lot coming up tonight here—thank you—and there‘s a lot coming up here on MSNBC tonight.  Let‘s check in, if we could, with Joe Scarborough now with a preview—Joe? 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Rita, thanks so much.  Obviously, we‘ve all been following what happened six months ago tonight on that cruise, that ill-fated cruise in the Mediterranean.  Tonight, we‘re going to be talking to the attorneys for Jen Hagel-Smith and George Smith‘s parents.  They are outraged that the cruise industry is trying to make this whole ordeal, this whole tragedy, about Jen Hagel-Smith and George Smith, instead of trying to figure out who actually killed the young man was on his honeymoon, the young man who had his life snuffed out, because, as the family believes, there just weren‘t enough safety precautions on that cruise ship.  We have that and an awful lot else going on tonight in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Rita?

COSBY:  Thanks, Joe.  We‘ll be watching. 

And, Tucker Carlson, what‘s ahead on tonight‘s “SITUATION”? 

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Rita, we‘re going to bring you the latest on this still-unfolding Jack Abramoff scandal in Washington.  All the country is awaiting word on which members of Congress will be indicted.  There will be some.  We‘ll take you to Washington to talk about that.

Plus, another chapter in the battle of the sexes.  Do men really prefer women who are less well-educated and poorer than they are?  We‘ll have answers to that.  A fascinating segment. 

COSBY:  Definitely should be interesting, Tucker.  Thank you very much. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Rita.

COSBY:  Everybody, at 10:00 and 11:00, make sure you tune in.

And still ahead, does it take a court order to stop Paris Hilton from gossiping?  A guy who says yes tells me why he went in front of a judge with that very odd request.  That‘s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Well, if you think everything served to Paris Hilton comes on a silver platter, listen up!  The hotel heiress has been served now with a cease-and-desist order, basically stopping her from trash-talking Hollywood promoter Brian Quintana.  He joins me now live to tell us his story. 

Why serve her with that letter and her reps?  What did she do? 

BRIAN QUINTANA, HOLLYWOOD PROMOTER:  Hi, Rita.  At first, she began making defamatory statements against me.  I sent her lawyers‘ a letter of cease-and-desist.  And once that was publicized in “Page Six,” I started getting death threats on my cell phone.  The first call...

COSBY:  What kind of things did she say to you?  What did she say on those calls? 

QUINTANA:  The first call was from Paris herself.  And she said, “You f-ed with the wrong person.  You‘re a dead man.  Watch your back.  I‘m going to put a contract out on you.” 

And I said, “Paris, you know, you‘re drunk.  Let me talk to”—

Stavros, her boyfriend, who was a good friend of mine, and she hung up the phone.  And then I got a call of a couple of hours later.  It was like 5:00, 6:00 in the morning my time here in California.  And it was a female voice, someone with her in Hawaii, saying, you know—just sort of mocking me and saying, “You better watch your back.  We‘re going to destroy you.”  And then the calls continued from unknown parties. 

COSBY:  Now, Brian, why is she doing this?  You mention that she‘s friends—you know, you‘re friends with her boyfriend, her current boyfriend.  What would she do this to you?  What do you think is her motivation? 

QUINTANA:  Well, I‘ve known Paris for about four years, so it sort of came as a surprise to me.  But then, knowing her like I do, it‘s not really a surprise, because she has a history of turning on most of her friends, I mean, Nicole Ritchie, Lindsay Lohan, Brendan Davis (ph), you know, Scott Storch (ph), Paris Latsis.  The list goes on and on of people that she‘s been close to, including her former fiance, and then she turns on them and tries to destroy them and basically freeze people out of Hollywood. 

COSBY:  All right.  Well, thank you very much, Brian.  We appreciate your version of the events. 

And, everybody, by the way, we did try to get a hold of her publicist, Paris Hilton, to get their version of the events.  They did not return our calls.  We‘re going to have a lot more after the break.  Stick with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And tonight, we have some remarkable pictures to show you.  This is video from a police dash camera, taken during a high-speed chase in Utah.  Inside that stolen car, a 17-month-old toddler. 

This happened about two hours east of Salt Lake City.  After chasing the truck at more than 100 miles an hour, police forced it off the road.  The toddler was not hurt.  The 27-year-old suspect faces at least nine other charges.  Pretty incredible video there.

And that does it for me on LIVE & DIRECT.  I‘m Rita Cosby.  Joe Scarborough with “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” starts right now. 

Joe, it‘s interesting.  We‘ve sort of reversed.  You‘re in my home turf of Secaucus and I‘m here in Florida for you. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Yes, that‘s right.  Red-state Rita and blue-state Joe.  Exactly.  Thanks so much, Rita.  Greatly appreciate it. 

COSBY:  Thank you.

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