updated 8/2/2005 11:33:37 AM ET 2005-08-02T15:33:37

Guest: Bill Stanton, Larry Kobilinsky, Dave Holloway, Charles Shoebridge, Dawn Peck, Mickenzie Smith, Kaidan Smith, Dave Parkinson, Vernell Crittendon

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, as we speak, Aruban authorities searching for what could be the crucial piece of evidence in the Natalee Holloway case. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  A pair of sneakers that belonged to lead suspect Joran Van Der Sloot, reportedly lost the night Natalee went missing. 

Plus a 12-year-old fights off a kidnapper with a criminal past after he forced her into his truck.  We‘ll talk to the brave little girl.  This as we kickoff a weeklong series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to help police track down some of the worst sex offenders on the run before they strike. 

And Scott Peterson is speaking out.  He‘s on death row but there‘s a Web site with his message to supporters.  We‘ll hear from the man who has been corresponding with the convicted murderer. 

The program about justice starts now.  


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, we have just learned that suspect Joran Van Der Sloot was questioned again today, this time by an elite team of interrogators from Holland.  This and police are looking for his shoes, believed to have been lost the night Natalee disappeared nine weeks ago today. 

NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski is in Aruba and joins us now.  All right, so Michelle, do we know for a fact that Joran lost his shoes and if that‘s the case, why are we just learning that or why are they just learning that now? 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well there have been a number of rumors surrounding this.  First we heard that there was one sneaker missing.  They wanted to find the match to it, but today police confirmed to us that they‘re looking for two sneakers, K-Swiss, blue and white stripes, size 14 that are someone out there, they believe on this island.  We know that they‘re looking for them around the beach, but remember this is part of the investigation, so information on this element has been pretty slow in coming out. 

It‘s something that apparently they wanted to keep quiet for a while.  Remember we‘ve been showing you that drained field and pond, we‘ve also heard that that was one of the areas that they were looking for these shoes.  We don‘t know exactly that they were lost right around that time, but obviously, police think that that it could be valuable.  It might even be possible evidence in this case. 

ABRAMS:  Michelle, what else do we know about the interrogation of Joran Van Der Sloot?  I mean this is not the first time that he‘s been questioned.  But is this the first time he‘s been questioned by this—quote—“ elite team” from Holland? 

KOSINSKI:  That‘s what we‘ve been told and we‘ve been waiting for this to happen.  It‘s been anticipated every since these Dutch interrogation experts were flown in from Holland last week.  They‘re considered to be the cream of the crop, almost like the American FBI.  They‘re experts in this field and they were brought in specifically to interview the suspect and we know the FBI is working with them.  So we have it confirmed from a top-ranking police official that this did happen at some point today.  It could still be going on as far as we know, but these can be marathon sessions. 


KOSINSKI:  We were told to expect it could be an eight-hour interrogation and one of the attorneys working on this case told us that they can‘t use torture obviously, but they can use a number of different methods, including lying to the suspects, misleading them, you know having these last a long period of time, even denying food for a period of time and water.  But the suspect can always maintain their right to silence, so it‘s possible that they could sit him down with all these experts and he could say, no, I‘m not saying a thing.  We‘re just going to have to wait and see what exactly came out of this and it is an ongoing process, so he could be interrogated by these same groups over and over again. 

ABRAMS:  What about the search of that water, the pond or the lake or whatever it was near the Marriott hotel.  Has that turned up nothing? 

KOSINSKI:  Yes, it‘s been ruled out.  They spent days and days draining this.  It was a huge operation and the pumps broke down.  The water level started rising again.  But by that time, authorities had ruled it out as holding any evidence related to Natalee Holloway. 

ABRAMS:  And just so I‘m clear, EquuSearch is also searching the same landfill, as are the authorities? 

KOSINSKI:  The authorities were out there for a period of time.  Now, it‘s pretty much EquuSearch and some Aruban searchers who have teamed up with them.  Remember EquuSearch has now brought in experts from all over the country, including dog teams from Pennsylvania that worked after September 11 in New York, looking for remains of victims, so they know what they‘re doing, but there‘s the problem.

They wanted to get out there today for a fourth day in a row but they just couldn‘t secure the equipment.  To dig down through 10 feet of trash or more they needed back hoes and other heavy-duty equipment that they had loaned to them, but they just couldn‘t secure it today, so they‘re going to try to get that out there tomorrow.  And they‘re telling us they just want to tear that place apart. 

They‘ve been digging these big holes, about 40 of them so far, but they say now they just want to take this area, a couple of square yards by a couple hundred square yards, I should say, and they want to just take that dirt and trash away layer by layer and just try to prove that she is not there.  And if they don‘t find anything tomorrow, they say they don‘t have much choice.  They might just pack up their things and go home at least for a short time. 

ABRAMS:  Boy, you know, I took a week off, I‘m sitting there at home, and people are saying oh, it‘s the break in the case.  It‘s coming.  They‘ve got—you know, I‘m thinking (INAUDIBLE) I‘m going to be on vacation the week that—all right.  So Michelle thanks a lot. 

Turns out that—look but this is important stuff.  We‘re talking about these pair of sneakers here.  I mean you know if they find those, if he really lost them the night, this could be crucial. 

Joining me now forensic expert Larry Kobilinsky and private eye, former New York P.D. officer Bill Stanton.  All right, Bill, first let‘s stalk about a landfill.  Yes, you know, that‘s tough stuff...


ABRAMS:  ... to be searching...

STANTON:  Right.  Well they‘re going to do a grid system and they‘re going to go section by section until they would hopefully find a body. 

ABRAMS:  These are volunteer searchers though.  I mean searching landfills, from what I understand, is very gruesome...

STANTON:  Tedious, gruesome...

ABRAMS:  ... tedious and difficult.

STANTON:  That‘s right.  But you know I‘ll go a step further, Dan.  Even if they found the body, God forbid, you know she‘s passed away, what are they going to find?  Unless there is a knife with fingerprints, unless there is a bullet...

ABRAMS:  What about sneakers though?  What if they found sneakers with blood on them, for example?

STANTON:  If they found sneakers, they would tie him, but you have to understand, instead of running away from the crime, he‘s actually run toward the crime.  He went right up to the point where he left her on the beach.  You know we don‘t know his exact statement.  She could have fell and you know he could have made any number of stories up.  Finding the sneaker unless it has direct DNA evidence such as blood, it‘s nothing. 

ABRAMS:  Well and Larry, that‘s what you deal with every day, is evidence found in less-than-pristine states.  You know how hopeful should people be about this particular piece of news?

LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSICS EXPERT:  Well, we‘re working with the situation where we think she was murdered and at best, we will have only a skeleton.  So in the absence of any physical evidence, I guess these sneakers become a paramount importance, but they will only be important if in fact they show a linkage between Joran and Natalee and furthermore, there‘s got to be more than just a linkage.  There‘s got to be some indication of violence or criminality in the form of bloodstains or some other tissue or biological fluid and presumably, I mean you could argue that he lost these sneakers during the commission of the crime.  But there are a lot of other explanations. 


KOBILINSKY:  Quite frankly, this could be a red herring...

ABRAMS:  Right.  But Bill, what I don‘t get is why—and I asked this to Michelle before—why—just now?  I mean, just now they‘re realizing that Joran may—I mean I guess it‘s possible they‘ve known for a long time and that we‘re just learning in the media that they just started—that they‘ve been searching for sneakers all along. 

STANTON:  Well he could have said what did you wear that day.  You know teenagers they have a gazillion pair of sneakers.  You know was it this pair?  Was it this pair?  You know they‘re focusing on a lot of different stuff, so I don‘t want to fault the Aruban police for every little thing.  You know that is a simple mistake to make.  And once again, these sneakers, you know, they may not be...

ABRAMS:  Right.

STANTON:  ... it‘s just a missing pair of sneakers. 

ABRAMS:  Do you think people have been too hard on the Aruban authorities?

STANTON:  Yes and no. 

ABRAMS:  I mean in Alabama the House there passed a resolution saying that people should boycott visiting Aruba until they get serious about this investigation...

STANTON:  I mean we could look at any of the alphabetic agencies and law enforcement in America, the FBI, NYPD, we—they‘ve all made mistakes.  I mean look at the beltway sniper.  He kind of gave himself up.  We didn‘t catch him until he made phone calls.  So the fact that it is so crime free allegedly, you know they‘re not dealing with this all the time, I think they‘re doing a fairly good job. 

ABRAMS:  Larry, let‘s talk about apart from something like blood, hair, et cetera—I mean again, if you find something in a landfill, how do you sort out—first of all, is there any chance you‘re going to find any usable evidence on sneakers and “B”, how do you distinguish it from any other material that was just there in the landfill? 

KOBILINSKY:  Yes, good point.  A landfill is a horrendous place to work.  Cadaver dogs don‘t work because there‘s so much decaying matter there.  It is a nightmare and quite frankly, even if they found sneakers there then what?  There may be nothing you can learn from this piece of evidence.  I think the issue for me is that the interrogators are about two months too late. 

Had they done their job early on, we might not have reached this point.  But at this stage, with two months gone, no crime scene, no body, no physical evidence, there‘s not much of a case. 

ABRAMS:  And very quickly, Bill, I think they‘re getting kind of desperate and as a result, they‘re going after leads they might not have gone after early on. 

STANTON:  At this stage it‘s just they just want to cover their own butt.  They want to be able to tell the world that they did everything humanly possible.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well Larry Kobilinsky, Bill Stanton, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

KOBILINSKY:  A pleasure.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, but Natalee‘s father has joined the search, literally, helping rescuers search a landfill for any clues and as you just heard from Larry and Bill, that is not an easy task.  Dave Holloway joins us next. 

And a 12-year-old girl forced into a truck by a man with a criminal past.  She fought back kicking and screaming.  He let her go.  She joins us to tell us how she did it. 

Plus Scott Peterson has a Web site.  He‘s posted a personal letter to his supporters and—quote—“fans”, plans on putting up more messages later—he‘s concerned though about his words being misinterpreted or misused.  (INAUDIBLE)

Your e-mails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.



EDUARDO MANSUR, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  We want to put an end to this.  We need to end this.  I don‘t want it to be an unsolved mystery.  We keep on digging until we are completely satisfied or sure that that‘s nothing down there.  But in the meantime, we‘re going to be digging every day. 


ABRAMS:  That‘s one of the private investigators in the Natalee Holloway case.  Searchers have focused their efforts on a landfill after a witness said he was there dropping off his own garbage when he saw men dump and cover the body of a blond female two days after Natalee‘s disappearance. 

Joining me now is Dave Holloway, Natalee‘s father.  Dave thanks for coming back on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right...


ABRAMS:  Let me start by asking you are literally—you‘ve been literally there at the landfill? 

HOLLOWAY:  I have.  When we first started the landfill, I came out there and then quickly realized that these conditions are pretty horrible out there for anyone.  And we realized that we needed masks, things to cover our face and eyes and then the stench is just unbelievable.  If you‘ve ever been to a landfill, you know you can imagine staying out there most of the day; it‘s not very good conditions for us and the dogs. 

ABRAMS:  I know how much you want to be involved in this and how dedicated you have become to finding a resolution to this investigation, but isn‘t—are you concerned that if something were found that you know really might not be the sort of thing that the father should discover? 

HOLLOWAY:  Well, we‘ve already discussed that.  I think within two or three weeks of arriving on the island and talking with the EquuSearch people, we made a decision that if anything is found that I would leave the scene.  You know when the barrel was coming up out of the water, I made the decision to leave the scene and then asked someone to call me and tell me what the results were...

ABRAMS:  Right.  So...

HOLLOWAY:  ... and this will be the same case. 

ABRAMS:  So at the landfill, is EquuSearch primarily looking for the shoes or are they also following up on this tip about someone seeing you know a blond body being covered? 

HOLLOWAY:  They‘re not looking for the shoes. 

ABRAMS:  They‘re not.  OK.


ABRAMS:  And has EquuSearch—you know how much are they able to search there?  I mean this landfill is huge.

HOLLOWAY:  The landfill is huge.  What we did was we contacted the supervisor.  He was able to tell us approximately where the garbage on or about June 1 was buried and we also spoke with a witness who pretty much confirmed that.  He got pretty close.  But what we did—we did some test digs down into the garbage and then pulled out some newspapers and looked at the dates on the newspapers to determine approximately where we needed to search. 

And we were fairly close within 20 to 30 yards of our first dig.  So then we did some other spot digs around the island.  As you know, the bulldozers push various directions and kind of got us in the area of approximately the size of a football field, two football fields in length of what areas we‘ll be searching tomorrow. 

ABRAMS:  And how credible do you think this witness is?  Have you gotten a chance to speak with the person? 

HOLLOWAY:  Well, I spoke with the witness two days ago and of course he had sunglasses on, facemask, and a wrap around his face and we spoke at the landfill, as a matter of fact.  You know the credibility, I—you know I don‘t know.  I just couldn‘t answer that.  The issue is, is he feels like something‘s there and we would be remiss not looking.  A lot of people are putting their faith in that this guy saw what he saw and...

ABRAMS:  Do you know why he only came forward now? 

HOLLOWAY:  You know, I think he had indicated he called the police early on and you know kept calling and calling and calling and you know, finally, I understand the FBI did go out with a dog and search the area but you know, you got to understand the conditions out there.  You know you‘re looking at winds blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour.  The dust is just terrible and you know, if you‘re not digging or pulling up the area, you know, you kind of wonder how thorough the search was conducted if—you know if something‘s down there. 

ABRAMS:  Is this the first time that they‘ve searched that landfill, Dave?

HOLLOWAY:  As I said earlier, the FBI has—ran some dogs through there early on, I think probably two or three weeks ago.  I‘m not sure about the dates, but it has previously been searched, yes. 

ABRAMS:  How are you holding up?  I mean this has—I mean look, this has all been awful for you.  Just the idea, though, of you at a landfill, to me just—I just—I don‘t even have words for it. 

HOLLOWAY:  I tell you, it‘s tough.  You know, one of the tougher ones was the first incident about the bloody mattress.  You know but after we‘ve had so many false hits, you know the area north of the Marriott where a few days later they discovered some clothing, to the shallow grave, to the barrel being pulled out of the water, to the duct tape.  You know, we‘ve had so many I guess false hopes that you know you wonder, you know, is this going to be it or is it going to be another one of these negatives.  You just don‘t know. 

ABRAMS:  What do you make of this lead on the sneakers of Joran Van Der Sloot, that they‘re looking for possibly missing sneakers? 

HOLLOWAY:  Well as you recall, the witness placed them on that road near the pond and the only thing I can figure out is maybe they were running back and forth from the beach and he stepped off in the mud or whatever and lost his shoes.  You know I really don‘t know. 

ABRAMS:  But they have not found those as of yet, right? 

HOLLOWAY:  As far as I know, they have not. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Are they keeping you updated?  I mean I know you have a very close relationship with the EquuSearch search team that is at the landfill, correct? 


ABRAMS:  And how about the Aruban...


ABRAMS:  I‘m sorry, did you want to—I apologize. 

HOLLOWAY:  No, I was going to answer your question.  I know exactly what the EquuSearch people do for the most part because I‘m there with them.  As far as Aruban police, you know when you‘re out searching, you kind of let the police do their work and you do yours.  And you know I‘m kept posted on any new developments.  No information about any specifics on any investigation but you know if anything comes up that‘s any—you know, any—you know anything that‘s of significance, they let me know, so... 

ABRAMS:  Dave Holloway, brave man.  Thanks a lot.  Appreciate you coming back on the program. 

HOLLOWAY:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Switching topics.  In London, two more arrests announced a little more than an hour ago in connection with the most recent attacks on London‘s mass transit.  And in train stations and tube tunnels today, a major show of force.  Thousands of police deployed, possibly to ward of what intelligence sources fear was a third cell of suicide bombers. 

Now police interrogators are working hard to crack suspects caught last Friday like the two they picked up in this north London raid.  “The Washington Post” reports police were tipped off by a resident.  Another suspect, a man known as Hussein Osman seems to have led police right to him with his cell phone.  He was picked up in Italy where he‘s being held on terrorism charges while he waits to be extradited to Britain.

ITN‘s Emma Murphy (ph) has more.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over):  The trail that led police to their suspect began shortly after the attempted attacks on the 21st.  Police began to monitor a mobile phone being used to make calls to Italy.  Officers suspected Hussein Osman was involved in the attempted attack. When he left the U.K. on the Eurostar, his phone signal shifted. 

The Italian authorities were alerted that he could be heading their way.  They ran checks on the Italian numbers that had called Osman and established that he was heading for Rome.  On the 28th, surveillance began on Osman‘s brothers‘ Internet shop.  He had called there on a monitored telephone.  A day later, the Metropolitan police checked a recording of Osman‘s voice.  He was identified by his distinctive Ethiopian dialect.  The phone signal was traced to a Rome flat.  Bare wounds on his leg identified Osman and he was arrested. 


ABRAMS:  Charles Shoebridge is a NBC News terrorism expert.  He joins us now from London.  You know Charles, there is a sense here, with all of these arrests being made, that Scotland Yard has a crack team there.  I mean, have they basically solved this crime, meaning the second attempted bombing on the transit system? 

CHARLES SHOEBRIDGE, TERRORISM EXPERT:  I think they feel quite justifiably in my view, that they‘ve cracked the issue of who actually were the people who put the bombs down.  Of course, it‘s suspected that there are others who are involved in the leadership of this group, perhaps the handling of it, those who planned this attack and gave the orders.  But also I think people who possibly made the explosives and put the bombs together and it‘s in this respect that there may well be links to the first cell who, of course, who perished in the July 7 attacks and possibly with many others too.  So certainly the work hasn‘t finished yet by any means even with regards to the second attack. 

ABRAMS:  But if they really are al Qaeda connected, isn‘t it a surprise to see them giving up like that?  I mean I guess you could argue that Khalid Sheik Mohammed gave up as well, but you know you picture these al Qaeda guys willing to kill themselves for the cause and you know there they are just giving it up. 

SHOEBRIDGE:  Well we saw something similar, of course, in Madrid following the attacks on the train stations there last March where much the same situation developed but indeed people did blow themselves up, killing themselves, seven terrorists, plus a policeman in the process.  But of course that‘s because maybe they had access to explosives. 

It seems that at this stage, from what we know, these people did not have any more explosives left, that‘s our understanding, and therefore a pointless act of suicide under police bullets isn‘t the same in their mentality.  That‘s the terrorists‘ mentality as carrying out what they would call a (INAUDIBLE) operation.  We would call it a terrorist act, of course.  So in committing suicide, a search, the benefits of martyrdom and others that are offered in a suicide action aren‘t guaranteed.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Charles Shoebridge thanks a lot.  As always, appreciate it. 

Coming up, we covered story after story about missing sex offenders committing heinous crimes, so we decided to do something about it.  This week we are going to highlight some of the country‘s most wanted sex offenders before they strike. 

Plus we talk to a 12-year-old girl who fought off a kidnapper with a criminal past.  She joins us to tell us how she escaped. 

And Scott Peterson, saying gracias to his supporters on his personal Web site, but he says he needs to be careful because his letters are being sold.  We‘ll ask the man who‘s running the Web site (INAUDIBLE) well (INAUDIBLE) why he‘s doing it. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, our weeklong series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, we‘re working with law enforcement across the country tracking down violent sex offenders before they strike.  First the headlines. 


ABRAMS:  Tonight is the first night of a weeklong series we hope will help law enforcement track down missing violent sex offenders before they strike.  We just got tired of covering stories only after these people have committed terrible crimes like the brutal kidnapping and killing of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Florida or the abduction and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion in California.  So each night we‘re going to highlight different states‘ “Most Wanted” list. 

Tonight, Idaho.  Same state where convicted violent sex offender Joseph Duncan is accused of killing Brenda Groene, her son Slade, a family friend, Mark Mickenzie, and then kidnapping 8-year-old Shasta and 9-year-old Dylan, taking them to a remote Montana campground where he repeatedly molested both of them.  Dylan was later found dead. 

Duncan had registered as a violent sex offender in North Dakota after serving 17 years for raping a teenage boy in 1980, but had gone missing several weeks before the alleged crime spree in Idaho.  Now Idaho is now facing a new threat with the recent disappearance of William Lightner, a violent convicted sex offender who disappeared nearly 10 days ago.  Police say Lightner served 10 years for lewd contact with a minor, cut off his monitoring bracelet. 

Joining us now is Dawn Peck, who leads Idaho‘s Bureau of Criminal Identification.  Thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right, what can you tell us about this guy Lightner? 

DAWN PECK, IDAHO STATE POLICE:  Well, he has been in and out of prison on this charge.  He had been violated on his patrol.  Before he got out of prison in March of this year, he was not evening due for his 90-day monitoring again for another six weeks or so and he cut off his ankle bracelet and he hasn‘t been seen since. 

ABRAMS:  How do you know he cut it off? 

PECK:  The—his patrol officer went to his residence and found the bracelet—the ankle bracelet there and he was gone. 

ABRAMS:  And tell us exactly what is it that he did that he was convicted of? 

PECK:  He was convicted of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16...

ABRAMS:  What does that mean?  I mean give us in layperson‘s terms. 

What did he do? 

PECK:  He had some kind of sexual contact with a juvenile that was under the age of 16.  So generally, this is when someone molests or even rapes a child. 

ABRAMS:  But this was violent, correct? 

PECK:  He has been classified as a violent sexual predator by the Idaho Classification Board. 

ABRAMS:  But why violent?  I mean what is it about what he‘s done that‘s been violent? 

PECK:  I‘m not sure exactly of those details, but what they do is they go on a psycho sexual evaluation and then they have folks that are trained in those areas that evaluate if the individual is likely to reoffend in a violent-type way and he was designated as a violent sexual predator on his release form. 

ABRAMS:  Bottom line, this guy is dangerous, correct? 

PECK:  Yes.  Yes he is. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  And there are other missing sex offenders in Idaho.  Let‘s go through them.  Omar Escobedo, what can you tell us about him? 

PECK:  He was released from prison in November of 2002.  His last registration was last December but the—his parole officer has found that he is not where he is supposed to be and he‘s also wanted in questioning for another sex crime in another county here in Idaho. 

ABRAMS:  Louis Flood. 

PECK:  He is wanted on a failure to register charge here in Ada County, which is a county, which Boise is in, and he‘s also—all of these offenders are wanted for parole violations by the Idaho Department of Corrections. 

ABRAMS:  What is it that he was convicted of? 

PECK:  He was convicted of both lewd and lascivious with a child under 16 and sexual abuse of a minor.  The distinction there is sexual abuse of a minor.  The victim is 16 or 17 years old. 

ABRAMS:  And—let me just go through—David Moroney. 

PECK:  David Moroney is also—he was also convicted of an L&L type crime and child abuse.  He was released from prison in April of 2002 and—or April of 2001, excuse me.  He last registered in April of 2002.  He‘s wanted on a parole violation here in Idaho and also on warrants out of the state of Florida.  He is known to be a truck driver, heavy equipment operator, so his occupations would make him pretty mobile. 

ABRAMS:  And bottom line, all three of these guys are supposed to be registering and they haven‘t, correct? 

PECK:  Right.  They were registered...

ABRAMS:  Right.

PECK:  ... and they have absconded and didn‘t reregister when they were suppose to and all of them were found to be not where they were supposed to be by the parole officers before the re-registration time...

ABRAMS:  All right.

PECK:  ... had come up for each of them.

ABRAMS:  Let me put up two more pictures.  I‘ll put up the tip line again in a minute.  Dennis Nielsen, if we can put up his picture real quick, and Stefan Constantin.  There‘s Dennis Nielsen...

PECK:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... Dennis Nielsen, sorry.  Stefan Constantin also.  Those are two more...

PECK:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... more wanted men in Idaho.  Warrants are out for their arrest.

PECK:  Right.

ABRAMS:  Convicted sex offenders and that‘s the number.  If you‘ve got any information, 208-336-0740.  If you‘ve got any information about any of these guys, come on people.  You know, we want to try and do something before bad things happen.  I‘m just getting tired of reporting on these things about what could have been done beforehand.  So that‘s the number if you know anything about any of these people.  Dawn Peck, thank you very much for coming on the program. 

PECK:  You‘re welcome. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, a 12-year-old girl walking home from piano lessons fights off a kidnapper who took her into his truck.  She joins us next. 

And Scott Peterson is speaking from death row.  He‘s thanking his supporters but whining about his fan mail. 

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, a 12-year-old girl bravely fights off her abductor who eventually set her free.  She joins us next, coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I tried both sides and I looked back at my brother and I was screaming and crying and pounding on the window and I started to hit the man and I just was doing whatever I could to make him mad and about 100 yards up the road, he stopped and he yelled at me to get out. 


ABRAMS:  Wow, 12-year-old Mickenzie Smith, on her way home from a piano lesson in West Haven, Utah last week with her 9-year-old brother Kaidan.  A man drove up beside him, forced Mickenzie into his truck.  Mickenzie had heard about some other high-profile abductions, didn‘t want to be one of them.  She fought back, kicking and screaming, hitting him until he finally told her to get out. 

Mickenzie then gave police a apparently perfect description of the man, right down to what kinds of shoes he was wearing.  Within 36 hours police arrested 22-year-old Damon Crist, was on probation on theft charges.  Mickenzie has a few bruises but she is back safely with her brother and her family and now we are joined by Mickenzie Smith and her younger brother Kaidan.  Hi guys.  Thanks for taking the time.



ABRAMS:  How you doing, Mickenzie? 

M. SMITH:  Good.

ABRAMS:  You feeling all right...

M. SMITH:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  So tell me about this.  So this guy, what, he tries to put you into the truck and at that point was it instincts or did you think about, I have to do this? 

M. SMITH:  It was a little bit of both.  I had taken and thought about it with friends and we had talked about it as a family that you fight back if anything happens and it was also just instinct, just happened.

ABRAMS:  And so you‘re literally kicking him the whole—is he trying to drive the car while this is happening? 

M. SMITH:  While he was driving, I was actually just hitting him and punching...

ABRAMS:  In the face?  Where were you punching? 

M. SMITH:  In the face, in the arm, shoulder.  Just anywhere. 

ABRAMS:  Wow.  And what, is he screaming?  Is he—and then eventually, he just can‘t deal with it anymore and he says just get out. 

M. SMITH:  He was totally silent the whole time while this is going on.  And I‘m screaming into his ear and doing the most obnoxious things I can. 

ABRAMS:  Like what? 

M. SMITH:  Like just calling him ridiculously stupid names.  And...

ABRAMS:  What?  You mean like calming him a jerk...

M. SMITH:  Yes.  Like jerk, loser, idiot.  And just doing things like that and he just sat there and at the end of the road, he told me to get out. 

ABRAMS:  Maybe he realized you were right. 

M. SMITH:  So...

ABRAMS:  All right, Kaidan, you actually immediately—you see this happen, right?  And you immediately run to someone‘s house and call 911? 

K. SMITH:  (INAUDIBLE) ABRAMS:  How did you know to do that? 

K. SMITH:  Well, our family talks about it and so that‘s pretty much how I knew. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  What did you see happening?  You knew that this was not someone Mickenzie knew, right? 

K. SMITH:  (INAUDIBLE) ABRAMS:  How did you know? 

K. SMITH:  Well first of all, because he asked for our names. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, really.  Tell me about that.  Tell me how he came up to you. 

K. SMITH:  Well he was just driving down the road and he asked what we were doing. 

ABRAMS:  And what did you say? 

K. SMITH:  Feeding the horses. 

ABRAMS:  And then what happened? 

K. SMITH:  Then he got out of the car and started talking about his lost dog and said his daughter was so mad and all this other stupid stuff. 

ABRAMS:  And then what? 

K. SMITH:  And then he—we tried to leave a couple times and he asked for our number and stuff like that and we told him no. 

ABRAMS:  And then he just grabbed Mickenzie? 

K. SMITH:  No.  Then we—then my sister said we had to leave.  So she let me go first and so I was in front of the truck and then she came by and he grabbed her. 

ABRAMS:  So Mickenzie, you were suspicious of the kinds of questions he was asking, right? 

M. SMITH:  Yes.  And the things he was telling us they didn‘t seem right to me. 

ABRAMS:  And there was just something about it that just seemed wrong...

M. SMITH:  Yes.  The whole feeling.  I had a feeling inside that something wasn‘t right.  Something bad was most likely going to happen. 

ABRAMS:  But you realize that parents around America are going to be showing their kids this video of the two of you explaining what you did because you did exactly what you needed to do.  How do you feel about that? 

M. SMITH:  (INAUDIBLE) I—it‘s just—it‘s not my typical day. 

It‘s different. 

ABRAMS:  Mickenzie, congratulations.  I mean what do I say to you?  I‘m so glad to see that you‘re OK.  Kaidan, great job in knowing what to do immediately.  This has got to be an awful, awful, scary experience and I think you dealt with it in exactly the way people would hope. 

M. SMITH:  Thank you. 

K. SMITH:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Good luck, guys. 

M. SMITH:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, convicted wife killer, Scott Peterson speaking out from death row...


ABRAMS:  It‘s been a while since we heard from convicted murderer Scott Peterson.  Now it seems he‘s back with a message.  Apparently he wants to say thank you.  Canadian anti-death penalty organization is hosting a Web page for Peterson, featuring a personal letter straight from death row.  In it, Peterson thanks his supporters for writing to him in prison, even if he‘s not able to write back.

Quote—“At mail call, I‘m encouraged by and enjoy hearing from people.  I wish I could respond to express my gratitude and continue to correspond.  However, people having sold my notes and sometimes fabricating content preclude me from doing so.  It is an irritating unfortunate situation.  I‘m tremendously appreciative of your kindness.  It has such a wonderful positive effect upon our family.” 

The group hosting the Web site says Peterson plans to publish similar public messages a few times a year.  Joining me now is Dave Parkinson from the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty.  They‘re running the Peterson Web page.  And Vernell Crittendon, a San Quentin Prison spokesperson who often fills us in on what‘s happening at death row where Peterson has recently been moved from an adjustment center to an individual cell. 

All right, thank you both to both of you.  Appreciate it.  Mr.  Parkinson, let me ask you this first of all.  It seems Scott Peterson appears more worried about someone profiting from his words than he does about putting the word out. 

DAVE PARKINSON, HOSTS SCOTT PETERSON‘S WEB PAGE:  Well, rightly so.  I mean since the...

ABRAMS:  It‘s more important you think...


ABRAMS:  You think it‘s more important whether people are profiting than whether he can supposedly defend...

PARKINSON:  Well, no, but certainly when people are selling his letters on eBay or memorabilia sites trying to make a profit from it and since this media fiasco began with us posting this on the Internet, we‘ve actually had some legitimate news organizations in the U.S. we won‘t mention who have offered us money for a copy of the letter. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  Now, I know your organization provides space for a lot of death row inmates and you‘ve pointed out that some have been released who—the evidence turns out enough to allow them to be freed.  But do you worry that championing Scott Peterson undermines your credibility in this sense, that a lot of these people had under-funded defenses.  They weren‘t able to investigate.  They didn‘t have proper legal defenses, and yet here Scott Peterson had one of the most expensive lawyers in the country. 

PARKINSON:  (INAUDIBLE) but certainly as you‘re well aware, it‘s primarily a circumstantial case, if not purely a circumstantial case with little or no forensic evidence, DNA, witnesses, what have you.  In many of the instances where we had someone who was wrongly convicted, almost 12 people now who originally wrote us from death row proclaiming their innocence, who have since been released and exonerated through DNA or other means, at least in those cases they had a jailhouse snitch‘s testimony.  They might have had some fabricated evidence.  They might have had wrong eyewitness statement. 


PARKINSON:  But the fact of the matter is...


PARKINSON:  ... they were much more guilty than a primarily circumstantial case...


PARKINSON:  ... where there‘s little or no physical evidence whatsoever.

ABRAMS:  But you know, you‘ve done a lot of these cases.  Don‘t give me the nonsense about circumstantial cases.  The bottom line is circumstantial cases are the strongest cases out there.  Eyewitnesses, jailhouse snitches are the type of testimony that lead to overturned verdicts because they‘re so unreliable. 

PARKINSON:  In some instances they do.  In other instances there have been many individuals who have been executed...

ABRAMS:  Right.

PARKINSON:  ... on primarily the same evidence that we‘ve had people exonerated on.  We‘re not taking the stance of guilt or innocence in Mr.  Peterson‘s case.  We‘re primarily allowing him a forum to do that on his own and he has maintained his innocence since day one. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I know, but you‘re also by saying it‘s an entirely circumstantial case and we have all these people who are released with this...

PARKINSON:  But it is.

ABRAMS:  It may be...


ABRAMS:  It may be, but circumstantial cases as you know, I‘m not saying that this is the strongest case I‘ve ever seen, but circumstantial cases are the strongest types of cases. 

PARKINSON:  Oh in some instances they can be.  But even Judge Delucchi three-quarters through the trial said if there is a conviction, it‘s in the apple of the lawyer‘s petrie dish.  Even he acknowledged the fact that there were so many issues that couldn‘t fully be substantiated that it is (INAUDIBLE) lawyer‘s dream and there are going to be issues brought up and he is certain to get an appeal down the road if these issues are properly addressed...

ABRAMS:  Yes, he‘ll get an appeal...

PARKINSON:  But again, we don‘t—we‘re not talking about his guilt or innocence on the page.  We‘re allowing him to do that as we do for 500 other death row prisoners, primarily in the United States but also in several other countries around the world. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Vernell Crittendon, what is Peterson up to these days? 

VERNELL CRITTENDON, SAN QUENTIN PRISON SPOKESPERSON:  Well good afternoon, Dan.  And I just wanted to comment on one statement that was made and that is here in the state of California, no inmate on death row has been released because of DNA testing.  So I just thought I‘d want to clarify that. 

And Scott Peterson is doing well on death row.  Was up in death row today just prior to coming to this broadcast and he‘s taken down the picture off of his wall, he and Laci at their wedding.  He‘s now put another picture up, which is a picture of he and Laci on vacation sitting out on a beach.  He seems to be in very good spirits. 

We now have him moved over to the east block where we house the lion share of the death row inmates.  And we actually began to identify inmates that are compatible with Scott Peterson that he‘ll be spending the rest of his life with.  I thought you might find interesting, just a couple of them I wanted to share with you.  One was a man named Ivan Gonzalez (ph) from San Diego who came in 1995. 

He had sexually molested a 4-year-old multiple times and at the point of death, 50 percent of her body was burned.  He has another gentleman that he‘ll be with is Mike Martinez (ph).  Mike Martinez (ph) took a knife and a hammer to a woman and killed her and then repeatedly...

PARKINSON:  Mr. Crittendon, is it not a serious breach of security to be releasing details—for the public relations officer at San Quentin to be releasing such detailed information on Mr. Peterson‘s comings and goings within the present facility?  I understand it‘s one thing to advise the public how he‘s checked in, fingerprinted, and escorted to a cell, but getting into such detailed information as to who he‘s hanging out with in the prison, does that not compromise Mr. Peterson‘s security and as an official representative of the California Department of Corrections...


PARKINSON:  ... are you not concerned that giving such detailed information...

ABRAMS:  Let him respond. 

PARKINSON:  ... may compromise...

ABRAMS:  All right, Vernell, your response. 

CRITTENDON:  No, it does not.  He is in—only in death row and he is put in with a group of death row inmates that are all compatible with Mr.  Peterson.  And there will be no other inmates that will have access to him.  Of the 637 that we have on death row in the state of California, none of them...

PARKINSON:  And now the public at large knows who those individuals are and they know who is in contact with Mr. Peterson within the facility.  So how does that not compromise...

CRITTENDON:  And there‘s almost 65 of them that are...

ABRAMS:  But how—wait, how does it compromise security?  I don‘t even understand theoretically how it would.  I mean he‘s on death row. 



PARKINSON:  Certainly by knowing who he is hanging out with...


PARKINSON:  ... at any given time within the facility, you know going to yard, the detailed information that‘s been provided...

ABRAMS:  All right.

PARKINSON:  ... it makes it a lot easier for individuals on the outside who wish harm to Mr. Peterson...


PARKINSON:  ... to contact individuals on the inside who may have close contact...

ABRAMS:  All right.  All right.  I‘ve got to wrap it up...

PARKINSON:  ... it‘s a serious breach of security. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, yes, all right. 

CRITTENDON:  Well I differ with you.  I don‘t call that...


CRITTENDON:  ... to be a serious breach...


ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to break here.  We‘ve got some quick breaking news here that the shuttle deputy program manager has just announced that they are going to try and fix two pieces of a gap filler dangling from the spaceship there on a space walk on Wednesday.  As you know, the Discovery suffered some damage shortly after takeoff and the question has been, are they going to have to go out there in a space walk, which can be risky and try and repair it?  The answer is yes they are going to do that.  The space walk will begin on Wednesday at 4:14 a.m.  Eastern Time. 

Take a break.  We‘ll be right back. 


ABRAMS:  That does it for us tonight.  We ran out of time with that breaking news, weren‘t able to do the “Rebuttal” and the “OH PLEAs!”, but again that breaking news was that there will be a third space walk on Wednesday to try and repair the damage to the Discovery.  That has never been done before, a space walk where they have actually tried to repair something like this.

Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  See you tomorrow.



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