updated 10/21/2005 10:23:43 AM ET 2005-10-21T14:23:43

Guest: Jim Zamora, Carole Pogashi, Jim Giller, Lawrence Kobilinsky, Bill

Barnett, Steve Fabian, Kevin Fagen, Pamela Horowitz, Rusty Yates, David

Heim, George Malim, Debbie Boyd

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, we're following two huge stories.  Monster Hurricane Wilma—it is big, it's dangerous and it's about to pound Cancun before heading to the United States.  We'll tell where it's going and who needs to get out of the way.

But first, we have exclusive details in the surprising twist to the murder of a high-profile TV lawyer's wife, the murder of that wife.  Tonight, we know that a 16-year-old neighbor has been arrested for the murder of Pamela Vitale, the wife of defense attorney Daniel Horowitz.  We have exclusive access to two people who know the young suspect well.  Do they think he's capable of this horrible crime?

But first, let's get right to the details of this case.  LIVE AND DIRECT tonight is Jim Zamora with “The San Francisco Chronicle,” and also Carole Pogashi, who's an author writing a book on the Vitale murder case.

Let me start, if I could, with you, Jim.  What did you hear?  What was the first tip-off that this arrest was coming down?

JIM ZAMORA, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”:  We had an inkling about this yesterday afternoon or last night.  We didn't know who the suspect was, but we understood then that it was somebody that hadn't been on our radar screen, and I mean the whole media, hadn't been somebody we'd been looking at, that this was—this was a scenario that a lot of people really hadn't thought about, this 16-year-old kid.

They went to the home last night.  They searched the house.  They arrested him.  They searched his clothing.  They searched it extensively.  They took him into custody.  We have it on good sources that he will be charged as an adult for the murder of Pamela Vitale.

COSBY:  Oh, that's interesting.  So that obviously could be a stiffer sentencing.  Let me bring in Carole real quick.  And Carole, before we go to you, we got some exclusive details about the 16-year-old boy.  Of course, we're not naming him.  He is a juvenile, at this point.  Of course, if he's tried as an adult, that could be different in the future, as we just heard from Jim.

But first of all, let me show a comment.  We talked to somebody who knows this suspect.  This is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He wears black clothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What kind of coats or jackets or shirts?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just black pants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You mentioned he wore a robe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Robe?  It's a coat, actually.  It's a coat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Describe for me what it looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Long coat.  Long.  That's all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And his hair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  His hair is long, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  That was someone who knows the suspect talking to our producer, Darren Mackoff (ph), who's out there in California.

Carole, do we have any idea what the motive was?  What are you hearing?

CAROLE POGASHI, FREELANCE WRITER AND AUTHOR:  Well, the story that “The Chronicle” broke today is about this kid that he—as you say, 16 years old—that he had a scheme to raise money so that he and a friend could grow marijuana.  It's a convoluted tale, but basically, he lived at least part of the time with a relative on the same mountain road that Daniel Horowitz and his wife, Pamela Vitale, lived on.

He stole some credit card bills from—presumably, from the Horowitz household, from their mailbox, and used that to buy the electrical equipment or the lighting, whatever he needed for indoor growing of marijuana.

He went to the house Saturday morning shortly after Dan Horowitz left. 

At least, we think that's the timing of it because Dan went out for a

breakfast meeting.  And he thought he was picking up the equipment that he

had ordered.  He got into a confrontation with Pamela Vitale, and he just -

·         you know, it—it was just horrendous because, according to the “Chronicle” source, she was hit 39 times on the head with crown molding.  And other sources have talked about there being other weapons—you know, not regular weapons, it may have been lumber, some sort of sharp object that was used—and that there was a Goth symbol that was cut into her back.

COSBY:  Yes, let me—in fact, let me show something that we've learned exclusively about this 16-year-old boy.  These are some details that we've learned.  Dan Horowitz knew the suspect.  He knew the mother well.  Again, lived very close by.  Dan Horowitz even gave the suspect and mother access to the property (INAUDIBLE) even had the codes to get onto the property.  Other neighbors even suspected of this family being involved in the credit card thefts.  Apparently, they thought even the mother was involved.  They were about to approach the mother, we're told, and then the murder happened.  And of course, everybody was so focused on the murder, they weren't even tying the two together.

Then the thing is, the suspect's mother defended Joe Lynch.  We are told that other neighbors in the neighborhood actually went over to the mother.  They were just talking, Who do you think might have done this crime?  And when they asked about Joe Lynch—this is the caretaker that everybody was focusing on—she said, quote, “I know he didn't do it.”  And a lot of people thought that was particularly suspicious.

Jim, any idea how they finally zoomed in on this kid?

ZAMORA:  Rita, before we get to that, let me tell you, I interviewed Joe Lynch and actually...

COSBY:  Yes.  What'd he say?  You talked to him today, right?

ZAMORA:  Yes, I talked to him for about 45 minutes today.  And he also said that he was completely shocked that this young man was arrested for this crime.  He had somewhat watched this kid grow up.  He was completely blown away by the whole thing.  He realizes that the young man has been in a little bit of trouble before, but did not think he was capable of any such thing.

Joe Lynch is close to the family.  And actually, I met the young man -

·         the arrested young man's mother the other day when I was—when I was doing a story, and I interviewed Joe Lynch, and she rushed in front of me.  At the time, she wouldn't give me her name.  But all the neighbors said that—told me later that's who she was, and that she also defended Joe Lynch and said that she didn't think Joe Lynch committed this crime.

The irony of it is, is that Joe Lynch was somebody who was being looked at very seriously because of his history of legal disputes with Dan Horowitz and Pamela Vitale.  And the police searched his home, questioned him a couple times, took DNA samples, and at this point, have now basically cleared him as a suspect.

COSBY:  All right.  Well, guys, stick with us, if you could.  Jim and Carole both stick with us.  We have some more details.  And not only are we hearing more about the suspect in this case, but also his mother—you heard some details from Jim.  We also—in an exclusive interview, some of her co-workers told us that they were left to wonder when she didn't show up for work on Monday.  Take a listen to what one co-worker told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I came on Tuesday to work, and I asked my boss, [DELETED] (INAUDIBLE) He said she did not—she did not show up.  And then he thought she quit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And what he essentially says, the mother did not show up for work on Monday, hasn't been seen since, which is kind of interesting, especially coincidentally with the timing here.

Now, we're joined on the phone by Jim Giller.  He is a close friend of Daniel Horowitz.  And I also want to bring in, if I could, Larry Kobilinsky.  He's a professor of forensic science at John Jay College in New York.

Let me go to you, Jim Giller, first.  Your reaction when you found out this is a neighbor, a guy who Dan tried to help.

JIM GILLER, FRIEND OF DANIEL HOROWITZ:  Well, it was very startling, like it was to everybody else in the—our community.  I'm talking about the whole legal community, as well as that community up there in Hunsaker Canyon.  It was a shock to all them, too.

COSBY:  You bet.  It is stunning.  Larry Kobilinsky, before I go to you, I want to show what Dan Horowitz said to our Dan Abrams last night during an interview just about how brutal the crime scene was and how much his wife fought to the bitter end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY LEE, CONTRA COSTA SHERIFF'S DEPT. SPOKESMAN:  Although we have a suspect in custody, the investigation is still going on.  Much more work still needs to be done.  As I speak right now, we're still interviewing people.  Our crime lab is hard at work.  We're analyzing evidence and waiting for test results to come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And that, of course, is a spokesperson there in the community.  Also, you know, Dan Horowitz on our show the other night talked about how his wife basically fought like hell, just about the marks on her body.  Let me first go to that issue.  Larry Kobilinsky, do you think the suspect's body, the 16-year-old's body—scratches, bruises—is that going to be sort of the best piece of evidence against him?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENCE PROFESSOR:  Well, it's—it may not be the best, but it's very important.  And the reason I say that is it indicates that he was in a huge battle with somebody.  But more importantly, those scratches were most likely made by Pamela Vitale, and most likely, there's DNA beneath her fingernails.  There may be other evidence that will directly tie this 16-year-old to the victim.  There's an awful lot of evidence at the crime scene.

Again, it tells us that when you come to a crime scene, you got to keep an open mind and follow the evidence.  There's a lot of evidence.  There's hair, blood and other things, including the murder weapon that may have latent prints.  And that is exactly what may have led to the warrant, the search of the individual's home and leading to his arrest.

COSBY:  Let me show—I understand we have that comment now from Dan Horowitz when he talked about his wife sort of fighting until the end.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I know what a crime scene looks like.  That's what I've done for a living.  And I'm telling you that Pamela fought like hell.  And that person who attacked, I bet he feared that he was going to lose.  She fought like hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Sounds like she did fight like the dickens.  Jim Giller, you

know, as we hear about it now, and now some of the details, that has got to

be so tough for Dan.  When I talked to him today, he sounded so distraught

·         39 blows to the head, a Gothic symbol carved in her neck!

GILLER:  Oh, yes.  Absolutely.  But he was fairly good at the funeral.  He seemed to be in control and—at least, until he started talking.  You know, he talked at the funeral at length about his relationship with his wife and who she was and what she was and how happy they were.  And so that -- he had a little difficulty at times while he was talking at the funeral.  But otherwise, before and afterwards, he seemed OK.  And of course, I think there's a great relief in his mind that they have made an arrest, and the arrest that they made seems to fit in with the scene, too, also.

COSBY:  Sure does.  All right.  Well, everybody, thank you very much.  And the big question is, is this boy—is he working alone?  Could there be more arrests?  Everybody, we'll keep you posted.

Well, Dan Horowitz, of course, is the lead defense attorney in the Susan Polk murder trial.  A mistrial was declared Monday in the wake of Pamela Vitale's murder.  Susan Polk is a California housewife accused of stabbing her own husband to death.  We caught up with her exclusively today at her California jail.  This is what she had to say about Pamela Vitale's death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN POLK, ACCUSED OF KILLING HER HUSBAND:  I'm shocked, totally shocked, by the death of Mrs. Horowitz.  It was very clear from the way Mr.  Horowitz spoke about Mrs. Vitale—or Ms. Vitale in court that he really adored her, really loved her and was so very proud of her.

I just can't imagine what that feels like for him to have lost his wife like this, and you know, just the brutality of this killing.  I mean, it must be very—just—just horrible to imagine how he feels.

What I heard is that the police went in and seized Mr. Horowitz's computer that had all the work product related to my case on it, including personal statements by me, a timeline, I mean, everything.  And it's the same investigative team that investigated my case.  And that doesn't seem right to me.  I understand, too, that the coroner who did the autopsy on Mrs. Horowitz is the same coroner who did the autopsy on my husband.  And Mr. Horowitz had raised objections in the court and given notice that this coroner is going to be challenged for his unethical conduct, that his credibility is going to be called into question.

It doesn't seem right that they—that the same district attorney's office that is prosecuting me would have access to all of this privileged material that was on Mr. Horowitz's hard drive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And again, that was Susan Polk.  Of course, Dan Horowitz was defending her.  The case now in a mistrial this week.  Her first response, of course, to the brutal murder of his wife, and also a response now that somebody has been arrested, speaking to us exclusively today.  We just got that in.  Spoke to us from prison.  We're, of course, going to keep following the investigation into Pamela Vitale's death and bring you details as they happen.

And also tonight, there's some big developments in the hunt for a killer and a rapist who broke out of prison.  The late-breaking details and a lot more coming up.

Still ahead: walls of water, deafening winds.  What will monster Hurricane Wilma bring?  We'll tell you where it's going.  And frightened American tourists trapped in the path of the storm.  Will they be safe?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I'm just trying to get out a little early.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And a mother tosses her three children to their deaths in the San Francisco Bay.  Tonight, hear what some other parents did when they saw it happen.  Could anyone have saved those kids?  It's all coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And right now, Hurricane Wilma is a category four, with its eye on Mexico.  But the monster storm, as you can see, is spinning right toward Florida.  For more on the track of the storm, we go to NBC Weather Plus meteorologist Bill Karins.  Bill, what is the latest right now?

BILL KARINS, NBC WEATHER PLUS METEOROLOGIST:  I'll tell you what.  I just got my first indications of how serious this storm is going to be. 

Now, there's buoys out here that give us the readings of the wave heights,

and also tell us what the wind speeds are.  This is where the center of our

storm is, here.  (INAUDIBLE) a buoy.  It's probably about 40 to 50 miles

from the center, and it just reported a wave height of 34 feet.  Imagine

34-foot waves out there.  That's not even under the center.  Ivan a couple

years back—actually, it was just last year—was thought to have set

some of the records with waves of around 40 feet or so.  And when that

happened, it broke off one of these buoys that was reporting those gusts or

·         and those winds.

So we're going to continue to watch this buoy.  It's a good indication of what's going to head towards the coastline here, the beautiful beach community there near Cancun, low-lying areas, hotels right down on the surf.  We're going to be talking about a storm surge probably around 10 to 12 feet.  And then on top of that, these battering waves for about 24 hours.  You can imagine the devastation that we're going to see.

Let's track the center of this storm, this black line.  We're going to watch this closely.  It shows the past (ph) path of where we've been watching the storm.  And watch the eye clear itself out, an indication that this storm is once again strengthening, and this could become a category five.  And actually, the Hurricane Center, that's their forecast, it makes landfall as a category five here on the coast.

Now, as far as Florida is concerned, you can see it up here, Key West.  We've already got some scattered showers of rain going through, but you really have all the way until Sunday to make your preparations because by Sunday night is when we think the worst of the weather will be arriving.  And then probably during the day on Monday, early Monday, looks like the timing for what's left of this hurricane to travel through that region.

Currently, 150 mile-per-hour winds.  To get category five, it only has to go up 6 more miles per hour.  We're going to watch the pressure.  That's the key number here.  It's at 923.  If that begins to drop, then we should this go up to a category five as early as the 11:00 o'clock advisory tonight.  If not, probably while everyone's sleeping.

This is the painful part.  It's moving at 5 miles per hour.  That's about as how fast as you walk.  And so it's going to be a long time for the Yucatan before this storm is long gone.

Want to show you lastly how impressive it does on the radar here. 

Here's the eye of the storm.  Here's where the coastline is located, Rita.  And those bands of wind are now moving in.  A lot of people there are going to wake up in the dark.  It's going to be a scary night and probably a scary 24 hours there in Mexico.

COSBY:  Incredible, 34-foot waves.  Thank you very much, Bill Karins. 

We appreciate it.

Well, everybody, we've got the storm covered for you from all angles tonight.  NBC's Mark Potter is live in Cuba.  NBC's Donna Gregory will have the very latest from Key West, Florida.

But first, if we could, let's go Mark Potter, who is there in Cuba—

Mark.

MARK POTTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Rita.  The city of Havana is pretty quiet tonight.  Even though the weather is clear, most people are inside, keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, very concerned about Hurricane Wilma.

But here in Cuba, the biggest concern right now is for the western part of the country, the area known as Pinar del Rio (ph), which is closest to the storm.  The big concern there is for very heavy rain.  It's already falling, and they're thinking they could get up to two feet of rain in that area in the next couple of days.

Already, some quarter million people have been evacuated from coastal towns, from areas up in the mountains, where they're afraid of flash flooding, also towns below the reservoirs, which are becoming dangerously full.  And of course, the fear there is that those reservoirs could rupture, so they want everybody out of that area.

The government has put some 5,000 troops out there to help with this evacuation.  They're very serious about this, trying to save lives, and they're also out there to guard the property left behind.  When the storm was in the eastern part of the country, there were also problems there.  About 1,000 homes were lost.  A power plant went down, causing widespread blackouts.

And the long-term question is the big one that's on everybody's mind:

Where will Wilma go?  Will she make that predicted turn that the forecasters are talking about?  If so, will she turn back into Cuba or just graze the north coast, bringing more heavy rain?  It's a critical question here that has everybody very concerned and watching those weather forecasts very closely.  Rita, back to you.

COSBY:  Mark, thank you very much.  And now let's go to Peter Alexander, who's in Cancun, Mexico.  What are the conditions like there now, Peter, on the phone?

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Rita, we're starting to feel some of the stronger outer bands of this hurricane.  I'm standing outside right now.  The palm trees are swaying.  We've seen fronts on those trees already snap off.  In one of the hotels that we visited tonight, it holds about 350 people.  That's its capacity.  Tonight there are 700 -- 700 -- people staying there.  It's being used as a shelter.  They are sleeping on floors, like sardines.  It's just packed.

And there's a lot of frustration but also fear.  Visiting with many of the visitors here who simply couldn't get out, they couldn't get a flight because the last flight went out of here at about 5:15 local time today.  Fifteen thousand people in total, many of them American tourists, were able to evacuate, as the rain now keeps falling a little bit harder.  However, 150 -- excuse me -- 250 to 350 others were stuck at the airport, hoping to board a flight, but simply, the airport shut them down and said, You're going to have to find places to stay tonight, helping them go to community centers and other churches throughout this area.

Obviously, the biggest concern is that this storm appears to be coming right at us, and if it arrives as a category five, the area that will most likely be hit hardest is that little layer of land that's right along the water, the Caribbean Sea, the land that's so popular with so many tourists, where all the major resorts and restaurants are—Rita.

COSBY:  Peter, thank you very much.  We appreciate it.

Well, forecasters say that Wilma could threaten the entire East Coast of the United States.  And at this hour, in the Florida Keys, people are being evacuated in stages.  NBC's Donna Gregory is there tonight with the very latest.  Donna, what's happening there?

DONNA GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hello to you, Rita.  There is a mandatory evacuation order.  The tourists are all supposed to be gone.  Now, they've bumped back the mandatory evacuation for residents until Saturday, so that gives people enough time to prepare and then to get out of town.

And it's very odd this time.  We were here for Hurricane Rita just a short time ago, just last month, and people weren't nearly as serious about that storm.  It was a category one when it brushed by Key West.  And now they are really taking these evacuation orders seriously here.  People are packing up.  They're boarding up the businesses.  Most of the businesses in the downtown area that we've seen have boarded up.  And a lot of the people who normally ride out the storms are telling us that they are not staying this time.  They say it's just simply too odd here.  They say there's a feeling of gloom here, and the animals are behaving differently than they have during past storms.

The airport is still open, prepared to take people off of this island, and US-1, the main highway leading up from the Keys into Miami, is also open, and people are gassing up their cars.  FEMA is telling people they need to bring at least a three-day supply of, of course, clothing, medicine, water.  And they say lessons learned from Katrina, they also need to bring  very important documents—their insurance papers, their birth certificates, items like that.

The hospital already has evacuated 16 critically ill patients on a C-130 military transport plane, taken those people to a safe hospital, a sister hospital in Alabama.  Ten others were too critical to fly in a plane.  They were driven by ambulance up to hospitals in the Miami-Dade area.

So very serious situation unfolding here, Rita, even though the hurricane is not expected here until at least late in the weekend.  Back to you.

COSBY:  All right, Donna.  Thank you very much.

Well, just 14 months after Hurricane Charley devastated Florida's Gulf Coast town of Punta Gorda, residents are waiting for Wilma tonight.  All residents around that area can do is sit and wait.  Joining us now is the mayor of Punta Gorda, Steve Fabian, and also the mayor of Naples, Florida, Bill Barnett.

Mayor Barnett, let me start with you because your city was basically flattened, wasn't it, in 1960, with Hurricane Donna.  What is the worst...

MAYOR BILL BARNETT, NAPLES, FLORIDA:  That's correct.

COSBY:  ... that you're fearing tonight?

BARNETT:  Well, you know, it's that wait and watch, Rita.  And I think

some of us are getting a little bit Wilma-weary already.  We haven't even -

·         you know, we don't even know if it's going to hit us or not.  But we are doing the best we can to prepare, and we're taking every precaution.  And I think, as somebody just said to you earlier, that—I think we're taking it a lot more seriously after Charley's near miss last year, and certainly, what we just witnessed by Katrina in New Orleans.

COSBY:  Yes, I bet.  Mayor Fabian, let me go to you in Punta Gorda. 

What kind of preparations are you doing tonight?

MAYOR STEVE FABIAN, PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA:  Well, we've gotten through an emergency resolution to give our city manager full powers.  We are waiting for—just a wait-and-see again.  We're watching it.  All of our departments have been on alert.  So we're just waiting and watching.

COSBY:  What kind of damage could it do to your city, Mayor Fabian, if it's a direct hit?

FABIAN:  Well, you know, we got a direct hit from Charley last year. 

And if it hits us now, I don't know what we're going to do.

COSBY:  Are you looking at evacuations, Mayor Fabian?

FABIAN:  Not yet, no.  Everything is on hold.  There is no evacuation order.  We may get them through the county later on tomorrow, but we haven't had anything yet.

COSBY:  Mayor Barnett, you know, tonight, is there any sort of warning that the hurricane's headed that way?  When we were in Galveston a few days in advance, we saw, you know, the waves kicking up, the winds rains kicking up.

BARNETT:  Well, there's nothing yet, Rita.  But I—we do have mandatory evacuations starting tomorrow at noon, through Saturday at noon in certain areas of our community.  And you know, as I said prior, I think that people are definitely going to heed that.  We're not going to wait around.  And if we're going to err, it's going to be in the part of caution, rather than waiting until the last minute.

COSBY:  You bet.  And Mayor Barnett, why is your area so vulnerable?

BARNETT:  Well, because, you know, we—you know, everybody says we're lucky.  We haven't been hit since Donna.  We're just in a very kind of special place or hard place to get to.  But if we do get hit, as I say, nothing ever has been tested here after Donna, and we really don't want to find out—we don't want to find out if it's going to hold up or not.

COSBY:  You bet.  Mayor Fabian, on the phone, why is your area so vulnerable?  What's your biggest concern?

FABIAN:  Well, our biggest concern, that the thing that we don't think is going to happen—we're not looking for a storm surge because we are quite low.  But the biggest concern is if we did get hit again, we still have a lot of buildings that are vulnerable from last year.

COSBY:  When you say still vulnerable, what, they didn't rebound from the last one?

FABIAN:  That's right.  Yes.  We have—we still have some buildings that don't have roofs on them.  We have buildings that still have to be demolished.  So you know, we got—we still got a lot of buildings here that, if we got another hit, could be disastrous.

COSBY:  All right.  Well, our prayers are with both of you gentlemen. 

Thank you very much.

BARNETT:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And everybody, please stay posted.  We're going to be keeping an eye on this storm.

Still ahead, everybody, onlookers watch in horror as a mother throws her three children to their deaths in the San Francisco Bay.  You'll be shocked when you find out what some people did when it happened.

Plus: How can you cope with such a horrible act?  Rusty Yates lived through it with his own wife, Andrea Yates.  He joins me for an exclusive interview.  He's coming up.

And there are late-breaking developments in the hunt for a killer and a rapist who escaped from prison.  It is LIVE AND DIRECT coming up.  We've got some new details on the prison break, who they've got.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Now to a tragic story that is just really so hard to believe.  A mother strips her three children and throws them off a pier into the San Francisco Bay. 

Police have already recovered the body of one of the children, but are still searching tonight for the two others.  Lashaun Harris is behind bars tonight.  That's, of course, the mother of the three kids. 

Joining me now is “San Francisco Chronicle” reporter Kevin Fagen who was on the scene after the incident. 

Kevin, what did you see? 

KEVIN FAGEN, REPORTER, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”:  Well, I got there and the pier was empty, except for the mother and the cops down at the end of the pier.  And in the middle of the pier was a baby carriage with a bunch of clothes thrown around it.  It was pretty obvious what had happened... 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Now, you saw the mother.  What did she look like?  What was her expressions, her demeanor? 

FAGEN:  She looked in shock.  I watched her out on the pier.  And then I watched her as they were taking her away in the police car.  I don't think she said much. 

She was blank, and didn't move, sat stiffly in the back of the car.  Her hair was disheveled.  She was very thin.  She looked like a lot of the homeless people that I write about. 

COSBY:  What's the background?  She was living, what, in a Salvation Army shelter?  What's the background on her mental illness? 

FAGEN:  She had schizophrenia for quite awhile.  She spent part of the summer in Florida with her sister and went off her meds back there, came back here. 

The family's been trying to get a grip on this whole thing.  But, as you probably know, when there's a severe mental illness in a family, it's hellish, especially when they're not medicating. 

She began hearing voices a little while ago.  And the voices were telling her various things.  And finally, yesterday, the voices told her to kill the kids. 

COSBY:  You know, why didn't anyone go in and help the kids?  That's the first question—when I heard this story, you know, why didn't anybody jump in to try to save them? 

FAGEN:  Well, that's a good question.  I've been asked that a lot myself. 

There were not a lot of people around at the time, at least within the vicinity.  There were a bunch of people having dinner at a restaurant just to the north of this pier.  And there were a few people passing by the pier. 

But this is about 100-yard-long pier.  And she picked her spot, and she picked her time pretty well.  So when she was out on that pier, there was not a lot of foot traffic around. 

One man and his two small children saw this, and they were horrified.  And they were actually scared, because she looked like she was having an episode, by all accounts, and she certainly looked like that when I saw her. 

And so this man then ran, or walked, about a block or two up to make sure, in his mind, that she didn't think he was going to go bust her.  And then he ducked into the restaurant real quick, dropped his kids off, called 911.

And the cops showed up within four minutes of that call.  But by then, the kids were long gone under the waves.  There was an ebb tide coming on at the time.  And it swept those kids away really fast. 

COSBY:  Well, Kevin—no, Kevin, go ahead real quick. 

FAGEN:  When they found the body, it was four miles away.  And that was just a few hours later. 

COSBY:  Oh, and they're looking, of course, for the two kids tonight. 

Kevin, thank you very much. 

You talked about that guy with the two kids going to the restaurant.  Now we're going to hear from a woman who found out about this horrific incident from one of those little boys.

This, as you heard, after a father left him with her, when he went to call 911.  Pamela Horowitz is a hostess at the Waterfront Restaurant and Cafe.  And she joins me now on the phone.

Pamela, we just heard the story from Kevin.  This guy runs in with his two kids.  What did they say to you? 

PAMELA HOROWITZ, SPOKE WITH 7-YEAR-OLD WITNESS:  Honestly, I was just working the door.  And there was no sign of fear.  The gentleman was on his cell phone.  I assumed that he was coming in for a reservation and—to eat with his wife and his kids.  And I assumed she was on the line. 

COSBY:  And one of the little boys talked to you.  What did he say to you? 

HOROWITZ:  Well, the little boy—honestly, I mean, the man was on the phone for about three minutes.  And I just directed the little boy to sit down.  I really was just—I didn't know anything that was going on.  I was just concerned that the little boy was beating up on the little toddler. 

So I just had them sit down.  And it wasn't until the man said, “Can you watch my kids?”  I still had no clue.  He didn't show any sign of anything being wrong. 

Once he stepped out, that's when the police came—formed the pier.  And I was again sitting there.  We were talking about his school.  And then, you know, then we started—I guess he started saying that something illegal happened on the boardwalk. 

And, at that point, I clued in that he said he wasn't allowed to tell me because his father said, “Don't tell.”  And at that point, I clued in that something had happened.  And I said to him, “You can tell me because tomorrow everybody will know.  It'll be fine.”  And he said that a woman threw her two children over the pier. 

COSBY:  And what did you think at that point, when you heard this? 

Here was a little 7-year-old boy telling you this? 

HOROWITZ:  I was shocked.  It was one of those situations that you—you spend time talking with kids all the time.  And, you know, every once in awhile they'll say shocking things.

And you're just horrified.  And all you can think of is, how do I maintain composure, and still talk to the child, and make sure that the child is OK, you know?  And so I just, you know, sat there.  The father had not come. 

And, you know, really, before he even said anything, people were joking because the police came, thinking, “Oh,” people said, “now you have two kids because the police are probably after that man.” 

It was one of those—nobody really knew.  They were like, “You must be very trustworthy for him to leave his kids with you.” 

COSBY:  Absolutely.  And what a crazy story and just such an unfortunate story, too.  And, Pamela, thank you very much.  It must have been amazing to see that 7-year-old boy explaining this to you. 

And now to an exclusive interview with someone who lived through a similar nightmare.  Rusty Yates' ex-wife, Andrea Yates, is now serving life in prison for drowning their five children in 2001.  Rusty joins me now live. 

You know, Rusty, when you hear about what happened today, you know, of course a lot of people draw comparisons.  What went through your mind, when you heard about this woman who stripped her kids and basically threw them over the bridge into the water? 

RUSTY YATES, ANDREA YATES' HUSBAND:  Yes, it sounded like a very, very similar case, you know, just on the surface.  You know, I mean, when I hear something like this, I—you know, my first thought is, “Well, she's probably psychotic.” 

And then, you know, as I hear more details of it and the account Kevin gave earlier I thought was very good, how he described her as being blank, you know, and another person described her as withdrawn. 

I think that it's scary, because you see someone withdrawn like that.  And if they're not, you know, overtly psychotic, you really don't assume that they're dangerous.  But you really have to assume that they're dangerous, because you don't know what's going through their head at the time. 

COSBY:  How important is it to sort of get a mental evaluation for her right now, literally right now, even for her own defense? 

YATES:  It's absolutely critical.  I mean, both—you know, for the state to be fair, they need to bring in a couple of psychiatrists, not hired guns like Park Dietz in Andrea's case, you know, who didn't see Andrea for, like, four months after she was, you know, arrested. 

No, but bring, you know, some respective psychiatrist in, have them evaluate her before she goes on medication, before they put her back on medication, and, you know, and make an assessment. 

And if she's found to be insane, then, you know, she really doesn't need to be in prison.  She needs to, you know, have treatment.  So she obviously needs to be off the streets until she's functional and safe, but she certainly doesn't need to be in prison. 

And that's really, really important.  And also, from the defense standpoint, you know, if the state proceeded fairly, they would do that.  But from the defense standpoint, just protect—you know, they also need to bring in an expert of their own right away and have her evaluated.  It's absolutely critical. 

And it's impossible for the family, because, during this time, they're in shock, you know, worried about, you know, the children that they've lost, worried about her, and, you know, to have to deal with just the practical matters of all that.  And then have, you know, the state charge her on top of that, it's not—I mean, it's to much to bear, really. 

COSBY:  It is a lot. 

YATES:  And the first days are critical.

COSBY:  You know, Rusty, help us explain the unimaginable.  I mean, in your case, your own wife killed five of your kids.  Now, this woman kills three of her kids.  Help us understand.  Did your wife, did this woman, did they love their kids, but their mental illness just overshadowed anything? 

YATES:  Yes.  I think the key part of that is that, you know, it's the idea of psychosis.  You know, a lot of people think, “Oh, these women are just stressed, and it leads into this situation.” 

That's really not it at all.  They're psychotic.  So what happens is, is that their mind fools them.  They hear voices that aren't real.  And to them, it's every bit as real as anyone else's voice. 

Or they see things.  You know, they have visual hallucinations.  And to them, it's as real as everything else.  And they believe things to be true which aren't.  You know, they have delusional thoughts.

So they're working in a different framework of reality.  And one of the symptoms of this, also, is paranoia.  So sometimes they won't share what they're thinking.  You know, they'll just kind of shut down, they'll be quiet.  They're trying to, you know, cope with what they're thinking internally.

And everyone around them assumes that they're thinking the same thing that they've always thought, but they're not.  They're living in a distorted reality, and they're acting within that distorted reality. 

Like in Andrea's case, she was at a point where her distorted reality caused her to believe that she was actually saving the kids by doing what she did. 

COSBY:  Yes, and who knows?  That might even be the case with this woman, too, you know, by what she's doing. 

YATES:  It may well have been.  It may well have been.

COSBY:  I know you two are divorced now, you and Andrea.  Have you seen her lately?  How is she doing? 

YATES:  Yes, I see her still about once a month.  I try to go up the first weekend every month and see her.  And she's actually been pretty stable.  I'd say, ever since last September or so, they brought her out of her last psychotic state in prison. 

Basically, every time they took her off of any psychotic medicine, she relapsed, much like this woman did.  In fact, she was on the same medicine, Haldol, which is a very strong anti-psychotic medicine. 

So Andrea relapsed.  They brought her back out with Haldol.  They put her on Zapraxa (ph), I believe, which wasn't really strong enough to pull her out of her psychotic state, but it's been strong enough to sustain her. 

And she hasn't relapsed.  And she's actually doing pretty well.  The only bad side effect was weight gain, but, obviously, we'll take that instead of psychosis.  So it's been—she's been doing pretty good for about a year now.  I've been really happy about that. 

COSBY:  I'm glad to hear that.  And, Rusty, we really appreciate, especially on a tough story like this, and we really appreciate your insight and being with us tonight. 

YATES:  Oh, thank you. 

COSBY:  Thank you very much. 

And, everybody, still ahead, late-breaking details in the hunt for a killer and a rapist who escaped from prison.  Are cops close to catching them?  We're going to find out next. 

And we've shown you this surveillance video.  It's the last time anybody saw the woman you see leaving this casino.  What does the man next to her know about what happened?  That's next on LIVE & DIRECT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Now, a big break in the manhunt for a killer and a rapist who broke out of prison.  Tonight, there's an all-points bulletin for just one of them.  That's because police caught up with one of the suspects, Pharon Johnson.  He is now back behind bars. 

And joining me now on the phone with all the details, the very latest on how Johnson was caught, is trooper David Heim with the Kansas Highway Patrol. 

Trooper Heim, how did you take Johnson into custody? 

TROOPER DAVID HEIM, KANSAS HIGHWAY PATROL:  Well, it's my understanding that he walked into a grocery store and surrendered himself to police near Oklahoma City, so...

COSBY:  So he actually turned himself in? 

HEIM:  Yes.  The interviewers told me that he got scared after he escaped with the younger guy, who bought a knife and started acting, quote, unquote, “a little bit crazy.”  So they separated.  And Pharon Johnson never did even enter Kansas. 

COSBY:  Now, the other one, the guy you're talking about, is Aaron Olsen, who's still at large, convicted of murder.  How dangerous is this man?  And do we have any idea where he could be? 

HEIM:  Well, our last—our best information is that he was the one two nights ago that broke into one of our maintenance sheds and stole the sandwich.  Since then, we've had a couple of sightings. 

We checked them out to the utmost.  Oklahoma Highway Patrol's been very cooperative with their dogs, and mules, and helicopters.  And we've had our own people in. 

And we just haven't been able to confirm any of those sightings.  So, right now, we're just waiting for more information from the public, hoping that he's going to make a move and make a mistake. 

COSBY:  You bet.  And, trooper, you know, one of the other things, one of the acquaintances, we talked to her of Olsen.  She lives in, I think, Sioux City, Iowa.  She said that she fears that he may be headed her way. 

Have you expanded the search?  Have you looked even into Iowa, adjoining states? 

HEIM:  The marshal service and Oklahoma Department of Corrections is doing a, you know, investigative work on that.  They're doing background. 

I was listening to the marshal today giving a whole lowdown on his family, his complete background of his family, all his family members, their relationship with him.  So those guys know what they're doing on that end. 

And our job, as far as the highway patrol and the sheriff's department and the police department is to, you know, go out and react when we get a call from the citizens or, you know, just flush him out ourselves, so...

COSBY:  Well, I hope some more tips come in.  And, everybody at home, please take a look at this guy.  He is wanted.  We just heard that he may at least have some weapons with him. 

Again, he is convicted of murder.  If you have any information, be sure to call the number you have on your screen.  Don't approach him.  He's obviously—now we're hearing—armed and definitely dangerous. 

And we also have an update for you tonight.  This is a story that we first told you about last night. 

We can now confirm that Melvin Keeling, the man who was wanted in the shooting death of 13-year-old Katelind Caudill and two convenience store clerks, was found dead.  His body was found near some train tracks in Gary, Indiana.  Police say that he killed himself. 

And up next, can you help solve the mystery of a woman who vanished from a California casino?  This is the last time anyone saw her.  Her family is going to be here to plead for your help.  They are coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And the search continues tonight for a 27-year-old California woman, Christie Wilson.  She was last seen on this surveillance video leaving the Thunder Valley Casino. 

Investigators believe they are making some headway in the search for Christie Wilson.  We're joined now by Christie's mother, Debbie Boyd.  Also with us, one of the lead investigators, Lt. George Malim, the Placer County Sheriff's Department. 

Lieutenant, do you have some things tying, sort of, this person of interest—let's show, if we could, the surveillance video again, because I think it is so critical, especially if anyone sees anything familiar, remembers anything from that night, of course, call authorities. 

But this man who we know now walking with Christie is Mario Garcia. 

What do you have that could tie him to this event? 

LT. GEORGE MALIM, PLACER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT:  At this point, it's just the fact that he was the last person that he was seen with.  She goes in the parking lot with him.  And then we never see her again.

And some of the information we have from Mr. Garcia was she went back in the casino to get her phone.  He never saw her.  She never went to the car.  He drove home, and he never saw her again. 

We know that she never went back in the casino.  And we know that she never went back to her car. 

COSBY:  Well, I know he's being held on unrelated charges, but the bail is $1 million.  That's pretty high.  And, again, this is unrelated to this case.  Do you believe he's a flight risk? 

MALIM:  That's a concern of ours, obviously.  Whenever we make an arrest such as this, or in even domestic violence cases or things, that there was other extenuating circumstances that we think we should let the judge know, we call the on-call judge.  We fill him in.  And then, in this case, he, as others, he has agreed to increase the bail. 

COSBY:  Now, Mario Garcia's attorney gave us a statement.  And I want to put that up, if I could.  He says—this is from his attorney—he says, “We will be more than happy to talk with the media when Placer County investigators turn over information in this investigation.  We will gladly discuss our client's innocence at that time.” 

I have a couple of different points on that. 

But, Debbie, let me ask you.  You know, he says he's innocent.  Do you believe he's tied to the disappearance of your daughter? 

DEBBIE BOYD, CHRISTIE WILSON'S MOTHER:  Absolutely I believe he's tied to...

COSBY:  And why do you believe so?  You saw him.  He was in court, I know, yesterday.  You got to look at this man face-to-face.  Why did you think it was critical?  And what's your gut telling you? 

BOYD:  Well, all along I've said, you know, mother's intuition shouldn't be doubted.  I could tell.  You know, 53-year-old guy in a casino, you know, hitting on a 27-year-old gal, married man, walks out. 

When I saw the surveillance video, it was very clear to me that Christie was trying to, you know, just shake off his advance.  And, you know, the guy—you've heard he has some history.  I just—you know, he's just bad news. 

I haven't believed him from the beginning, especially the fact when he decided that he wanted to clam up and not cooperate with the police, in terms of just talking with them any further. 

COSBY:  Yes, you bet.  And, real quick, Lieutenant, I know you're looking for other folks.  Some folks have come forward who were at the casino that night, right?  You're looking for others still. 

MALIM:  Yes, correct.  We have been able to identify the Asian female that was at the table with them.  We spoke with her today.  We believe we've identified the African-American male, but we are unable to contact him today, so we need to—we'll try to speak with him again tomorrow. 

COSBY:  And, of course, anybody who was there that night, please come forward, please help this family.  And, Debbie and Lieutenant, thank you very much for being with us.  We will stay on this case, everyone.

And that does it for us tonight on LIVE & DIRECT.  I'm Rita Cosby.

Stay tuned, because I'm heading over to “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” to fill in for Joe.  Stay tuned, because it starts right after the break.

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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