Guests: Shar Jackson, Katrina Szish, Beth Holloway Twitty, Harold Copus, Julia Renfro, Leanne Shirey, Shelley Riling, Jake Goldenflame, Mary Ann Jennings, Joe Loya, Tranda Conley, Mark Kruger
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, big developments in the Natalee Holloway investigation. Is Joran Van Der Sloot‘s dad off the hook for good? And “DATELINE” exposed eager Internet predators. Now we‘re showing you the horror that can happen when kids actually meet the other men on the other end.
But first, a LIVE AND DIRECT exclusive. What happens when the father of your children ends up married to a worldwide pop star? We‘ll meet Shar Jackson. We know her by playing one of Brandy‘s best friends in hit UPN show “Moesha.” More recently, however, she was caught in a love triangle with Britney Spears and also Kevin Federline. That‘s right, the father of her children is now married to the pop star Britney Spears. I bet that makes for visitation being very complicated. Shar joins me now live.
Shar, thank you so much for coming on. We appreciate it.
SHAR JACKSON, ACTRESS AND SINGER: Oh, my God. Thank you for having me.
COSBY: How complicated are things with Britney Spears?
JACKSON: As complicated as I let them be, and I really don‘t let them be that complicated. You know, I‘m a big girl and I like to handle things responsibly. And we handle it like grownups, you know? It could be a crazy situation, but I‘m too easygoing for that.
COSBY: Yes, you definitely seem to have a good attitude there. Tell me, you‘ve got two kids...
JACKSON: You know, my mother raised me right!
COSBY: Yes, it sounds like it. It sounds like it. You know, Shar, you‘ve got two kids with Kevin, right? Tell us about those kids. Tell us about your relationship with Kevin Federline.
JACKSON: We were together for three years. It was—I mean, we weren‘t legally married, but I mean, we lived together, and he kind of joined my family that I already had, as far as my two older kids. So he became like a stepdad to them and—I mean, we were a family and things were good, at least I thought. And the kids—our kids are amazing. You know, I wish they could spend more time with their dad but you know, He‘s doing all his stuff now. So that it makes it kind of hard. That‘s the hardest part.
COSBY: Right. And I‘m going to imagine this was equally hard. When you were pregnant, you find out that he‘s with Britney Spears. That‘s got to be tough.
COSBY: How‘d you find out?
JACKSON: That was very hard. He called me the day before I guess all the pictures were going to be released to the magazines. He called and just kind of told me he hung out with somebody that week...
COSBY: And then you find out that he goes to Europe, right, with her?
You must have wanted to kill him.
JACKSON: Yes. At first, yes, because he told me he was going to go shoot a commercial in Japan, and that‘s not what happened, so...
COSBY: When did you find out? And did you ever confront him?
JACKSON: When I initially found out that he had hung out with her, I told him to come home and let‘s talk about this face to face because I‘m not real big on talking about it over the phone. And then—so he did that. We discussed it. That‘s when he told me he was leaving to go to Europe to shoot the commercial—in Japan. No, that was in Japan. He said he was going to Japan to shoot a commercial. And I found out that he was going over there to visit her because a friend of mine was already there and called and said, yes, you know, Kevin‘s on his way over here.
And I mean, there‘s not very much confronting you can do after that.
It‘s done, so you know kind of just have to roll with the punches.
COSBY: Did you know at that point it‘s over? Why do you think he went to Britney?
JACKSON: You know, I don‘t know. I never...
COSBY: Was it money? Was it her stardom?
JACKSON: You know, maybe it was just a bunch of things. Maybe he felt something and he just had to go with it, I guess.
COSBY: Now, did you still want him in your life after that? How did you feel?
JACKSON: Oh, I was crushed. I mean, you know, if you love somebody and they disappear on you, it‘s—you know, it‘s a hard thing to deal with. It‘s hard to cope with that. But you know, I‘m pretty strong, so I made it through.
COSBY: Now, how are the other kids doing? How are your two kids and then the other ones you have?
JACKSON: The kids are good. The older two had a little adjustment problem at first because it‘s just hard when somebody that you‘re with every single day just disappears from your life and, you know, you barely get to see them. And then not only that, they have to hear it at school and all their friends want to know what‘s going on and what happened and—so they were having a harder time adjusting. But I‘ve been there for them 110 percent, so everybody‘s good now.
COSBY: Now, how do you feel about him? I mean, do you think it‘s going to last with him and Britney? He cheated on you.
JACKSON: I have no idea. I have no idea. I stay completely out of that. I don‘t ask questions about it because, as far as I‘m concerned, it‘s not my business. You know what I mean? I love Kevin. I‘m going to love him until the day he dies. You know, he‘s the father of my children. We‘re good friends and, you know, I just—I support him in whatever choices he decides he wants to make with his life.
COSBY: Do you believe that they‘re together because there‘s a lot of stuff in the tabloids that maybe they‘re apart now?
JACKSON: I have no idea. You know, I‘ve heard some things, but I don‘t know.
COSBY: Is it the kind of thing that...
COSBY: He cheated on you when you were pregnant, you know, and now she‘s just had a kid. Is it sort of once a cheater, always a cheater?
JACKSON: I don‘t know. I‘ve never known him to be a cheater before this incident, so I don‘t know.
COSBY: You don‘t know? You don‘t know how he‘s handling Britney.
What kind of relationship do they have, from what you‘ve seen?
JACKSON: Like, honestly, I pay no attention to their relationship because I feel like it‘s not my business.
COSBY: What advice would you give to Britney, Shar, based on your own experience?
JACKSON: Try and work through it, you know? And if it‘s good, try and make it better. If it‘s bad, try and make it better. If it‘s time to let go, then let go, you know? Everything happens for a reason. That‘s what I believe. And that‘s what made me so strong through my whole—the whole ordeal with me is because I believe that everything happens for a reason.
COSBY: Well, you absolutely have a great, great attitude. It really is terrific. What‘s going in your own personal life? I understand that there‘s been some reports of and you and Quentin Tarantino.
COSBY: The buzz is out, Shar.
JACKSON: Quentin is my boy. That‘s a friend of mine. I love him to death. I think he‘s a sweetheart. Wee go movies together a lot. Like, whenever there‘s a new scary movie out, we—he and I will be at the theater together checking that out. We—that‘s a picture of Quentin of on the screen.
COSBY: No love connection here?
JACKSON: No, that‘s—he‘s just a good friend. He‘s a good friend.
That‘s my boy.
COSBY: Yes, it seems like a lot of people are good friends. In fact, let me show a little clip. This is of Kevin and Britney from the reality show. It‘s interesting to watch the tit-for-tat of relationships. Let‘s take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRITNEY SPEARS: How do you feel about marriage and commitment?
KEVIN FEDERLINE: (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: They were saying, I don‘t believe in marriage. What is so interesting about this guy, Shar? You got to know him very well.
JACKSON: He‘s hot. He‘s hot.
COSBY: What about mentally, too? Is he interesting? Is he funny?
What is it about him?
JACKSON: No, he is. He‘s hilarious. He‘s a very funny guy. He has a great personality, a great attitude. The world actually hasn‘t gotten a chance to see it because he‘s kind guarded now, you know what I mean? He‘s not letting very many people in. But he‘s hilarious. He‘s a funny guy.
COSBY: Yes, that‘s what we hear.
JACKSON: I liked him.
COSBY: Obviously, a lot. You also like music a lot. You got some new stuff that you‘re working on. Tell us what you‘re working on yourself.
JACKSON: Yes. Yes, I‘m just trying to stay busy, you know? I mean, I was an entertainer before all of this stuff happened, and I have to focus on that because that‘s my career and that‘s what‘s important to me, you know? So that‘s what I‘m doing. I‘m working on my album right now. I just started to work on a show for ABC called “The Ex-Wives‘ Club” that I‘m very, very proud of.
COSBY: With Marla Maples, right? (INAUDIBLE) ex-wives.
JACKSON: Yes, with Marla Maples and Angie Everhart, you know? All three women who have been public break-ups, you know, hence “The Ex-Wives‘ Club.” And actually, right before I got over here, I just booked Bernie Mac, so I‘m doing that next week.
COSBY: What is ahead for you, too?
JACKSON: I‘m just trying to stay busy, you know.
COSBY: ... you‘re always busy.
JACKSON: Oh, yes.
COSBY: What‘s ahead for you? And where do you see sort of—where do you see Kevin fitting in your life?
JACKSON: In the role that he is, you know, the father of the kids. And he has to be there and do all those fatherly things because that‘s the job he took on, to be the father.
COSBY: Well, Shar...
JACKSON: So I‘m not going to let him off the—I‘m not going to let him off the hook with that one.
COSBY: Don‘t you dare, Shar! Don‘t you dare. And I don‘t think you will.
JACKSON: Oh, no, not at all. Not at al.
COSBY: You‘re terrific. Thank you. We really appreciate having you on.
JACKSON: Thank you, honey.
COSBY: Lots of fun.
JACKSON: Thank you so much for having me.
COSBY: Thank you. We‘re going to look for your new album and also more on your show there, too.
So what is the fascination with Kevin, Britney and also Shar? Joining me now is “US Weekly” editor Katrina Szish to talk about this. What do you make of, first of all, what we heard from Shar? You know, she says, Look, everything‘s fine. We‘re still friends. Do you buy that?
KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY” EDITOR: I think Shar has handled this incredibly well...
COSBY: She sure has!
SZISH: ... from the beginning until...
COSBY: Isn‘t it amazing!
SZISH: ... hearing her now.
COSBY: It‘s amazing!
SZISH: My mouth was sort of dropped open just hearing her. And I believe her. It‘s not like she‘s giving a party line. I mean, she really means it.
COSBY: Yes, she seems like she has just a very healthy, positive attitude. Is this sort of par for the course in Hollywood?
SZISH: I absolutely don‘t think so. I think a lot of people say that they don‘t really care, but you can tell by their actions or by their disappearing from the spotlight that they really are having a hard time with it. But she seems like she‘s really bounced back. She‘s doing her own thing, and I‘m impressed.
COSBY: You know, let‘s talk about Kevin Federline because, you know, Shar even admitted, look, she was pregnant with his child. He runs off with Britney Spears. What kind of a guy is this guy, from your perspective?
SZISH: I think for many Americans, Kevin Federline seems like a parent‘s ultimate nightmare. Britney Spears was sort of our pop princess, America‘s sweetheart, for such a long time, and to see her end up with who she considers the love of her life under these circumstances, the circumstances of him leaving Shar while she was six-and-a-half months pregnant with their second child, all the circumstances just don‘t bode very well. And we‘re used to seeing him as the party guy, the shopping guy, as he goes out and shops with Britney‘s money. He just seems sort of like the ultimate watch-out kind of guy.
COSBY: Yes, and also, I mean, you know, the idea now—there‘s some reports that he even may be cheating on her. Does a leopard change his spots?
SZISH: Pardon me?
COSBY: Does a leopard change his spots?
SZISH: Exactly right. I think—of course, it depends on each individual scenario, but I do think a lot of people believe that we‘re sort of watching Britney live an “I told you so” marriage. If he did it once, what‘s going to mean he won‘t do it again? Especially now that he is living the high life. He has everything he could possibly want at his fingertips, and it might not be—it might be difficult for someone like Kevin, or like we perceive Kevin to be, not to stray.
COSBY: Let me bring in Shar, real quick. You know, Shar, have you seen Britney‘s baby at all? Have you seen her new baby?
JACKSON: No, I haven‘t, but I heard he‘s adorable. I haven‘t seen him yet, though.
COSBY: Are you planning...
JACKSON: They‘re keeping him under blankets and stuff, so you know...
COSBY: Do you think you‘ll get a chance to see him soon?
JACKSON: I‘m sure I will. I mean, you know, our kids are siblings and the holidays are coming up, so—you know, I‘m taking the kids shopping, actually, very, very soon so we can go get the—you know, the Christmas presents, so yes, we‘re preparing.
COSBY: Well, you guys are both great. Thank you very much, Katrina and Shar. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.
SZISH: Thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you.
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) picture of her baby, if you could, Shar.
And still ahead, everybody, shocking video of a baby stroller caught in the door of a train. The train starts moving. We‘re going to show you what happened. And that‘s just the beginning of the show.
Still ahead, Dr. Phil says he‘s got a tip that‘s turning the Natalee Holloway investigation upside-down. What is it, and could it be true? Natalee‘s mother joins me live.
And you‘ve seen the men who showed up at this house expecting a teen home alone. But wait until you hear the horror that happened to one girl who actually met up after chatting on line. And shocking pictures, a baby stroller caught in the door of a moving train. You won‘t believe what happened.
And is this the rudest cell phone user ever? She wouldn‘t even hang up while committing a crime. It‘s ahead LIVE AND DIRECT.
COSBY: Two big developments in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, several coming at us tonight. Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw says he‘s got new clues in the case. He says he got a tip from a source on Curacao, another Dutch island which is east of Aruba, that the tip is from a source in that area and it‘s pointing to nearby Venezuela. Also tonight, we‘ve obtained an exclusive copy of a Philadelphia city council resolution that is supporting that proposed boycott of Aruba. They call the move, quote, “An action necessary to send a clear signal to the uncooperative officials of the Aruba government.”
Joining me here in the studio tonight is Natalee Holloway‘s mom, Beth Twitty. Beth, first of all, it‘s so great to have you. How are you holding up?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S MOTHER: Oh, some days are so hard, Rita, but you know, we just feel like if we just keep pressing forward that we will have answers.
COSBY: Well, we‘re really glad that you‘re with us. I know there‘s some new developments, and I want to bring in right now, if I could, with the phone right now, is Julia Renfro. She‘s with the newspaper “Aruba Today.” Julia, you‘ve got some late-breaking developments surrounding Joran Van Der Sloot‘s father, Paul?
JULIA RENFRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “ARUBA TODAY”: Yes, I did. Good evening, Rita, Beth. Yes, actually very surprising information. A judge flew in this morning to Aruba and heard the case between Paul Van Der Sloot and the prosecutor, and he judge made the decision to set Paul Van Der Sloot free of suspicion in the Natalee Holloway case.
COSBY: Is that a final decision, Julia? Is that something that‘s permanent?
RENFRO: No. Actually—actually, the prosecutor does have the right to appeal the case, which would bring in the three panel of judges. And of course, then after that, it could go all the way to the superior court.
COSBY: Real quick, I mean, that doesn‘t exclude if there‘s new evidence that comes forward later, right?
RENFRO: Oh, no. Absolutely not. Right now, basically, what this means is he is no longer a suspect. But if evidence is brought forward, he could be rearrested.
COSBY: And Julia, real quick, is there something—I heard also that you told one of our producers earlier that possibly, the court has to pay him, that the government actually might have to pay Paul Van Der Sloot?
RENFRO: Yes. That was one of the reasons for releasing him from suspicion, is he now has until December 1 to basically put a list on paper of the damages he‘s received as a result of his arrest in June. And then after that, the prosecutor will have until the 15th of June to counter it. Then the judge will in the beginning of January make a decision on whether or not he will receive damages.
COSBY: Julia, thank you very much.
You know, Beth, when you hear this, first of all, how surprised are you that they‘ve cleared him, at least at this point?
TWITTY: You know, Rita, when I hear that, it doesn‘t even phase me. Not surprised at all because, I mean, I think back, if the judge would release three rapists on their island, you know, nothing surprises me coming out of the judges or out of the prosecuting attorney‘s office of Aruba. Absolutely nothing, Rita.
COSBY: Are you worried this is the beginning of them sort of trying to clean the slate?
TWITTY: Well, I think that they would like to think that that would happen, but it‘s not. There‘s no way that they‘re going to be able to get away with this one. There‘s no way, Rita.
COSBY: Well, you‘ve got a lot of folks behind you and supporting you through all of this. You know, as you hear also the other thing Julia pointed out, that maybe some damages—he may be able to get reimbursed by the court or by the government for the three days he was in jail. How outrageous is that, based on the information—you know, no body, no case?
TWITTY: You know, it‘s just mind-boggling that they would even consider such a measure brought forward by Paulus Van Der Sloot. I mean, he—you know, obstruction of justice, a lying witness, I mean, the list is endless of what he has done in order to throw barriers in having a resolution in Natalee‘s case. It‘s just incredible, and reprehensible that he was ever even considered to be a judge.
COSBY: Yes, now the question is, Does he get his job back? There may be some other issues that come with this. You know, Dr. Phil came out not too long and talked about this theory of a sex slave. What he said, apparently, on a show that was taped a few days ago—some tip from Curacao, the island not too far from Aruba, as you know, leading to maybe Venezuela. Have you heard anything about any of these tips?
TWITTY: You know, there‘s been a lot of different leads that we‘ve followed and—you know, and one thing I want to make sure everyone knows is, in the beginning, even for the first three weeks, we followed so many live sightings of Natalee that it‘s not new to us to have some of these sightings to where we‘re searching for Natalee alive instead of not alive. So you know, we just have to take each one and either rule it out or in, Rita.
COSBY: Is there anything that gives this any—any credence, this new sort of theory that‘s come out from Dr. Phil? Is anything that‘s reliable here?
TWITTY: Well, you know, I just think we just have to take each one and just carefully rule it in or out, you know? We just—just have to take one step at a time with each tip.
COSBY: I want to read a quote from the Philadelphia City Council.
COSBY: Of course, (INAUDIBLE) has been supporting you, some of the other folks who are up there (INAUDIBLE) that we had some city council members. It says that a boycott is needed, quote, “until such time that the government of Aruba has clearly demonstrated that they have explored all pertinent avenues.” Another also I want to read a comment, too. This is from Senator Shelby of Alabama. He came on our show and first announced that he was supporting Governor Riley and the boycott. He also wrote a letter today, I don‘t know if you know this, to the American Society of Travel Agents. And it says in part, “For the safety, security and wellbeing of our citizens, I do not believe that we can trust that we will be protected while in Aruba.”
That‘s a strong statement. How do you feel to get that kind of support?
TWITTY: It‘s just huge, Rita. And you know, I want people to know that Senator Shelby, Senator Sessions, Governor Riley, Congressman Bachus, these men have been with me since the beginning. They have communicated with the family. They have been there. What can we do? You know, they have just been supportive all along. And we just kept telling them, you know, We can handle this. We‘re working with the Dutch law, and we can do this. But you know, they knew early on that we were going to be in trouble, and I am so glad that they stayed with us. And now they are taking over, and we are just so grateful for their support and...
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) because a lot of Americans (INAUDIBLE) we‘ve been getting e-mails and letters and calls from folks who said, Look, I‘m not going to go Aruba now . I heard about this boycott. What do you want to say to other Americans, just average citizens who are saying, I support Beth?
TWITTY: Well, we appreciate all their support. And you know, Rita, we‘re really looking at it from a safety standpoint. And you know, I know that—you know, whether the economic—you know, the sanctions are placed, you know, that‘s not something that we want, but what we have to remember is it‘s a safety concern. And until their (INAUDIBLE) law enforcement practices are evaluated, you know, it‘s not safe for tourists and it‘s not safe for the citizens of Aruba. And you know, I just think that we have to look at that seriously before, you know, we‘re allowing our tourists to enter their island.
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) move with Paul Van Der Sloot. I want to bring in with us to the conversation two guys who you know well, Clint Van Zandt and also Harold Copus. They‘re with us. Clint is a former FBI hostage negotiator. He is also an MSNBC analyst. And also, Harold is a former FBI agent. Both have been to Aruba, looking into this case.
Clint, let‘s start with you, in terms of the boycott, too, this pressure—you know, one of the things we heard the other day from Governor Riley, he said, We‘re already seeing the parliament meeting. It seemed like there was some movement. Is it maybe working? Is it putting at least a little pressure, at least a public eye on it?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: Well, I think it‘s going to. You know, number one, Rita, if Paulus Van Der Sloot gets to make a list, I think Beth gets to make a list, too. And on that list, she writes one thing, Natalee, you know? So if Paulus submits his list to the government of things that need to be corrected, Beth gets to turn in her list at the same time.
COSBY: Yes, my list is—would probably be a lot longer, I think, than Paul—I‘m sure Beth‘s list would be very, very long, right?
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
COSBY: You know, Harold, what do you think, too, about this new thing that came down from Paulus Van Der Sloot? What‘s your reaction that they‘ve cleared him as a suspect? Right move? Wrong move?
HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI AGENT: Totally ridiculous. Wrong move. I cannot imagine how this has happened. That whole system appears to be corrupt from the bottom to the top, and this is just another example of it.
COSBY: You know, Harold, I‘ve got to ask you, because I know, you know, some of the folks with the Dr. Phil show—this new claim that we‘re hearing about this tip coming from Curacao pointing to something in Venezuela. What do you know about it?
COPUS: Well, I think it‘s like everything else. I think what happens is that there‘s a parallel track that has to be run. We don‘t have a body, so if there‘s any sightings or any information, then you have to assume that there‘s some truth to it and you have to search and take that—follow that trail wherever it may lead. And as Beth has said, many of those have occurred.
COSBY: You know, Clint, what do you know about the situation in Venezuela? One of the things we‘re hearing about is sex trade in Venezuela. There‘s a lot of corruption.
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, this is the world‘s dirty little secret, Rita, that there‘s between one and four million women and children that are traded, stolen, kidnapped, sold into sex slavery. There‘s at least 100,000 in the Caribbean islands itself. Tens of thousands of women are victimized.
You know, and the reality is, while we‘re out looking for Natalee, there‘s a darn good chance, even if we don‘t find her right away, there‘s a lot of other women and children that are in bondage, that need to be found, whether it‘s the United States, the United Nations. As a world, we‘ve got to step up and recognize that there‘s so many people that‘s lives are imperiled by this nasty little secret of the sex trade across the world—
Venezuela, Mexico, it‘s all across the world.
COSBY: Oh, it is. It is tragic. You know, Harold, are you giving any credence to this theory?
COPUS: Certainly. There‘s—I would say to you there‘s about a 20 percent chance that this could be true. I think the thing you have to realize, Rita, is that what fuels this economy in Aruba is tourism, which we all know about. But the thing that‘s the dirty secret there is the other portion of their economy is fueled, candidly, by money laundering and by drug trafficking. This is a corrupt area. It‘s not safe, as Beth has said. If the American public can work behind this boycott, maybe we can get some justice for Natalee.
COSBY: Beth? It‘s got to be—you know, when you hear this—so many folks—it‘s so great to have you here in person. (INAUDIBLE) gave you a big hug when we saw each other in Aruba. So many folks just look at and you say, How do you get through all these barriers and keep going every day? It‘s been so many months.
TWITTY: Look at these men that are coming forward. I mean, you know, it‘s just incredible, everyone that is helping us. I mean, we‘ve got Clint Van Zandt and Harold Copus in with us. I mean, it‘s just overwhelming, the amount of support that we are getting in this. And you know, we can‘t do it by ourselves, I mean, just, you know, the family and I. We—we can‘t. And we haven‘t been. It‘s been people like that have been keeping us going, Rita, and will continue to keep us going.
COSBY: Well, my hat‘s off to you, and it‘s always so great to see you, Beth. And we keep you in our prayers here all the time. Thank you so much.
TWITTY: Thank you so much for having me here, Rita.
COSBY: It‘s great to see you.
And still ahead, everybody, chaos in the courtroom. We‘re going to tell you what happened in this case that has a whole courtroom going crazy. Take a look at this. This is crazy.
And how rude is this woman? You would think that committing a federal offense would be reason enough to hang up your cell phone, but apparently not.
And next: You won‘t believe what a real sex offender thinks these Internet predators should do to curb their illegal urges. It‘s a fascinating interview. It‘s coming up.
COSBY: Tonight, the dangerous side of chatting on the Internet. An exclusive “Dateline NBC” investigation exposed just how eager predators are to meet up with your children.
These guys all expected to meet a teen home alone. It can be dangerous, however. In just a minute, we‘re going to talk to a woman whose own niece was killed by an Internet sex predator.
But first, the investigation that exposed all those dangers. Here‘s “Dateline NBC‘s” Chris Hansen.
CHRIS HANSEN, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Could you explain yourself?
JOHN KENNELLY, CAUGHT IN CHILD PREDATOR STING: I‘m sorry?
HANSEN: Why don‘t you go ahead and cover up?
KENNELLY: Certainly. I‘m sorry.
HANSEN (voice-over): The man‘s name is John Kennelly. He tells me he‘s 29 and a bus driver. Then he changes it to a teacher.
(on-screen): What kind of conduct is this for a high school teacher?
KENNELLY: I‘m sorry. I‘ve never done this before.
HANSEN: So you just woke up this morning and said, “I‘m going to get involved in an Internet conversation with a 14-year-old boy. I‘m going to go to his house, strip naked, and walk in with a 12-pack of beer.”
KENNELLY: No, sir.
HANSEN: What were to happen, John, if I wasn‘t here?
KENNELLY: I probably would have chickened out, sir.
HANSEN: After doing a deeper background check on him, we found out he‘s neither a teacher nor a bus driver. His father says he‘s unemployed. And he‘s not 29; he‘s actually 43.
COSBY: And joining me now is Sergeant Leanne Shirey with the Seattle Police Department and also Shelley Riling. She had custody of her 13-year-old niece, Christina Long, who was brutally murdered by an Internet sex predator.
Let me bring in, if I could, the sergeant, first of all. Sergeant, what is your—you know, when you hear these stories, it is just incredible. What goes on through these guys‘ minds?
SGT. LEANNE SHIREY, SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, they‘re very driven to get to the children. They have a sexual interest in children. And that is the only thing that‘s on their mind at that time.
So getting on the Internet, it‘s a huge playground and a target-rich environment. So they‘re able to get to the children very quickly.
COSBY: You know, Shelley, I‘m sure it‘s just heartbreaking when you hear these reports and see these images. You know, your niece was killed by an Internet sex predator. What goes through your mind when you see these pictures and see these other guys doing the same thing?
SHELLEY RILING, NIECE WAS KILLED BY SEX PREDATOR: What goes through my mind when I see other predators hurting other children? I wish there was a way I could stop it. And that‘s why I‘m here today.
COSBY: You bet. What do you think could stop it? How do we bring an end to this?
RILING: By educating parents, by letting them know, and by educating the law force, too. And I think the law force has come a long way on that level.
But parents need to educate themselves more about what‘s on the Internet and educate their kids to conduct themselves properly on the Internet so that they‘re not as exposed, and if they do come in contact with a predator, what to do about it.
COSBY: You know, Shelley, I know in your case your beautiful niece lived with you. Christina, she was 13. Did you have any idea that she was online with these guys, these much older guys? And how did they lure her in?
RILING: I had no idea that she was on—I thought she understood clearly that, just as you don‘t talk to strangers outside of the home, you don‘t talk to strangers on the Internet, either. We had made a discussion about that. And she said she clearly understood.
And I‘m sorry, I didn‘t—what was the second part of the question?
COSBY: Yes, how did they finally lure her in? I mean, she actually went—she went to the mall to meet them?
RILING: Well, what happens is, first, they I.M. you. And they get your trust and tell you that they convince you that they are your friend.
And there was one point where Chrissy said she thought her online friends were—she was closer to than her friends at school, which was a red flag for me.
And then they talk to you on the telephone. And one of the mistakes I made was giving Chrissy her own phone. And I also let her have a computer in her room. I should have had the computer in a public area of the house, like the kitchen or the living room.
And then once they—and then I should have never given her, her own phone, but I was trying to respect her privacy, because privacy is very important for teenagers.
And once they start talking on the phone, then the predator grooms them and teaching them how to lie to the parent. Chrissy never lied to me before. But I found e-mail messages where the predator taught her how to lie.
And then they—this particular predator, Dos Reis, told her to meet him at the mall. And what I found out later is that the mall is a favorite place for predators to hang out.
COSBY: And he actually had sex with her and killed her. It just must be so heartbreaking for you, as someone who clearly loved your niece so much.
RILING: I loved her very much. She was the light of my life. And there‘s not a moment that goes by that I don‘t miss her. And there isn‘t a moment that goes by that I don‘t feel the guilt for letting this happen to her.
COSBY: What would you say, Shelley, to other parents, too?
RILING: I would say to, one, not have the computer in their room, but to have it in a public area, not to give them their own phone, to get more involved.
Don‘t be so concerned about their privacy, but to go online with them and teach them how to behave. And parents need to educate themselves so they can educate their children and to encourage their children to tell them what‘s going on online.
If they see that their child is turning off the computer when they walk by, then that‘s a red flag. If they see their child not playing with their friends like they used to, that‘s another red flag. If they get obsessed with the computer, that‘s a red flag. And parents need to pay attention to those points.
There‘s an organization called i-SAFE America. It‘s a nonprofit organization that I‘m involved with that teaches parents and children how to protect themselves on the computer so that they can recognize—so that they won‘t be so exposed to predators, but if they are what to do about it.
COSBY: You know, Shelley, if you could, stay with us, because I want to bring into the conversation, you know, someone who has a unique perspective about all of this.
Jake Goldenflame, he, himself, is a recovering sex offender. He was convicted of two counts of child molestation. He‘s also the author of the book, “Overcoming Sexual Terrorism: How to Protect your Children from Sexual Predators.”
You know, Jake, as you hear this heartbreaking story, you know, of Shelley, what happened to her niece, you know, her beautiful 13-year-old niece, what would you want to say to her?
JAKE GOLDENFLAME, RECOVERING SEX OFFENDER: All I can say is she‘s done everything she could have possibly done. My heart goes out to her when I hear she‘s feeling guilt.
I would like her to know she bears no guilt. She did everything she could do. She was taken cruel advantage of, and she should not blame herself.
COSBY: You know, Jake, what is going on in the minds of these guys? In the case, you know, of Shelley‘s niece, you know, this guy was much older, luring her online, befriending her, making her feel special. Is that sort of the modus operandi of these guys, guys like yourself?
GOLDENFLAME: Sure. In my worst years, I did the same kind of thing that they did, except I did it by picking up boys hitchhiking instead of hitchhiking on the Internet. But it‘s the same exact thing.
It‘s this lust for power. It‘s this desire to get intoxicated by getting involved in inappropriate relationships with somebody much younger than yourself. And it‘s something that becomes after awhile so addictive that you can‘t let go of it.
And I say to men out there, if you‘re even thinking of going online to talk with kids about sex, that should be your danger sign that you should be seeing a counselor.
COSBY: Yes. And, Shelley, you know, as you think about what happened, you know, with your niece, you know, as you look back and—have you talked to this guy? Did you ever want to say, “Why did you do this?” What did he say was the reason?
RILING: Oh, there are many times when I‘ve wanted to confront him and ask him, “Why?”
He‘s an adult. He‘s 24 years old. She was barely 13. She was only two months into being 13. She didn‘t—teenagers think that nothing can happen to them, that they‘re invincible. They don‘t have enough experience behind them to be able to handle the kind of experience that she was having with this guy.
But he was 24 years old. He should have been more responsible. He didn‘t care, though. All he cared was about getting his own satisfaction. He didn‘t care about how that was going to affect her, emotionally or physically.
COSBY: You know, Shelley, do you think there‘s a way to break the cycle? I‘m astounded at some of these numbers: 50,000 sexual predators out there.
RILING: I‘m sorry, the question is?
COSBY: Yes, do you think there‘s ever a way to break the cycle or make a dent, you know, when you look at just how overwhelming these numbers are, unfortunately?
RILING: Oh, I feel that there is. I think that education is the key.
And I think that i-SAFE itself has done a great job in making a dent.
But every little bit helps from everybody. Everybody has to be more aware and more educated. Parents have to be more aware.
I know that the parents that I knew and talked to, they didn‘t have any idea that there were predators out there. They had no idea. And before this happened to Chrissy, they never monitored the computer. But they do now.
And I‘m hoping that being on the show with you that other parents will be aware, as well.
COSBY: Well, I certainly hope so. And, Shelley, our prayers are with you. Thank you so much for coming on and talking about, I‘m sure, what is a really difficult experience.
And, Jake, thank you, too, for having the courage.
GOLDENFLAME: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: And also Sergeant Shirey, thank you. I‘d to have all of you back again soon. Thank you.
And you can learn how best to protect your own children from online predators by watching my special report. It‘s this weekend right here on MSNBC, “Protecting Our Children Online: First Steps.” It airs tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern time and again on Sunday night at 6:00 and 11:00 Eastern time.
I do hope that you will tune in for this important special with some valuable tips that you can use in your own home.
And still ahead, everybody, this has to be the scariest thing that could ever happen to any mother. A baby stroller, with her baby inside, caught in a subway door and the train starts moving. A scary experience.
And the nerve of this woman. Wait until you find out what she was doing while talking on her phone. Here‘s a hint: She was breaking the law, big time. Find out what she was up to, next.
COSBY: Well, investigators in northern Virginia are on the lookout for the cell phone bandit. A woman in her 20s has now walked into four banks in that area and robbed them, all while talking on her cell phone.
On the phone right now tonight—I don‘t know if it‘s her cell phone
but Mary Ann Jennings. She‘s a public information officer for the Fairfax County Police Department.
And also with us is the author of the book, “The Man who Outgrew his Prison Cell,” Joe Loya. He‘s a former bank robber turned comedian and also actor.
Let me start with Ms. Jennings. First of all, give us sort of the M.O. of this woman. What is she doing when she walks into the bank?
MARY ANN JENNINGS, FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE SPOKESPERSON: She walks into the bank, and she appears to be talking on a cell phone, and stands in line until it‘s her turn, and then presents a note and robs the bank.
COSBY: What is she saying on the note? It sounds like she wasn‘t armed up until just the last robbery. For the first three, she wasn‘t. What is she saying in the note to have them land over the loot?
JENNINGS: We don‘t talk about exactly what she says on the note. That‘s one of the things we keep behind in our investigations. That‘s one of the ways we can make sure that she is who—when we arrest her, that she is the right person.
COSBY: Is it something that‘s ominous? It‘s got to be something pretty threatening, I would imagine.
JENNINGS: I really don‘t know exactly what she‘s saying, but it‘s obvious that it‘s very clear to the bank tellers, and she robs the bank.
COSBY: And, real quick, do we know if she‘s talking to somebody on the phone?
JENNINGS: We don‘t know that. She appears to be, but you know how pervasive people on cell phones are today. None of the witnesses in the bank have been able to tell us whether there‘s an actual conversation going on.
COSBY: That‘s interesting.
Joe Loya, you know, why do you think she‘s on her cell phone? What do you make of this?
JOE LOYA, FORMER BANK ROBBER/COMEDIAN: It‘s very odd. It could be several things.
One, it‘s nerve-racking to go in there. A lot of people think it‘s just—you know, if you‘re going to rob a bank, you‘re kind of cool already, and that, you know, you‘d just must be just, you know, prepared, and you walk in.
But it‘s very frightening, even for the bank robber. And in some ways, it might be sort of a comfort for her to walk in there and make her feel like there‘s a sense of walking in there with a conspirator. So if she walks into...
COSBY: Joe, do you think someone‘s on the other end, or do you think she‘s just faking it?
LOYA: It could be. You know, there‘s no way I would know.
It could be that she‘s just trying to threaten the person. I know when I walked into a bank to rob it, I always said, “We have a bomb. I have a gun.” Now, There was no “we.” I had no conspirators.
But I always felt like, if I let them think that there was somebody behind me, if I had a conspirator, then it would frighten them more, because that‘s an unknown element.
And it could be that she‘s telling them in the note, the tellers in the note, you know, that there is somebody else, and somebody‘s watching the bank, or someone has a bomb.
I know, when I was in prison, some guys would talk about eventually coming out and robbing banks. And one of the things they would say they wanted to do was come on out, have a phone, tell the teller that their family had been kidnapped and their partner was on the other line. And if they didn‘t cooperate and give the money, then they were going to tell their partner to injure the family.
So there‘s a lot of different things that this could be. My feeling, my suspicion...
COSBY: Yes, real quick, Joe.
LOYA: ... is that there‘s—yes?
COSBY: No, no, go ahead real quick with your suspicion, real quick.
LOYA: My suspicion is that there is a conspirator, that there is a coconspirator. And it might just be that he‘s saying, “It‘s clear. It‘s still clear. It‘s still clear,” because that‘s one element of robbing banks that‘s the most frightening. You don‘t know what‘s waiting for you outside.
You know, you don‘t know if that‘s going to be, you know, your last bank robbery. So she might have a conspirator just telling her that.
COSBY: Very interesting. Joe, thank you for your perspective.
And also, Ms. Jennings, thank you very much. Love to have you back on again, Joe. It‘s interesting to hear your thoughts firsthand. Thanks.
LOYA: Real quick. Real quick. I‘m not a comedian. I‘m a playwright and an essayist.
COSBY: Thank you. And former bank robber, too.
LOYA: And former bank robber. Thank you.
COSBY: Thanks so much.
LOYA: All right, OK.
COSBY: Well, a mother‘s worst nightmare on a subway platform happens.
You have to see this.
This mother‘s baby stroller gets caught in the subway train‘s doors in Seoul, South Korea. The frantic mom tries to pull the stroller out, but it will not budge.
Then the unbelievable part: She manages to get her baby out right, as you can see here, the train starts moving. She and a bystander are dragged as the train pulls away. The train stopped at the end of the platform.
Thankfully, the baby was unharmed and, incredibly, the mom suffered only minor injuries. An amazing story.
And still ahead, everybody, disorder in the court? This looks more like a bar fight than a courtroom. We‘ll tell you what happened that drove these people well over the edge.
And how many times can you put your kids up for adoption and still get them back? Wait until you hear how these twins got caught in an international tug of war. That‘s coming up.
COSBY: Tonight, two twins are caught up in a bizarre international custody battle. Now their biological mother is trying to get them back again. We‘re going to have an exclusive interview with that mother at the center of it in just a moment.
But first, here‘s how it all went down.
COSBY (voice-over): Five years ago, Tranda Wecker became a tabloid media sensation as the mother of the so-called Internet twins. At the time, she was broke, under stress, her marriage falling apart, and with three children.
The adoption agency she selected used the Internet to try to find a home for the girls, but there was one caveat: Wecker wanted an open adoption. A California couple paid the broker $6,000 to adopt the girl, but Wecker took the twins back because she says they opposed her visits.
But then she put the girls up for adoption again. A second couple in England then paid the broker $12,000 for the babies. But a judge voided that adoption, so the twins were placed in a state‘s care in Missouri and, ultimately, in a foster home.
With her parental rights stripped, Wecker appealed in court to regain custody.
TRANDA WECKER, GAVE UP TWINS AND WANTS THEM BACK: I just want to show my girls that I can be a good mom.
COSBY: In 2004, the state Supreme Court invalidated the adoption but made no final decision about Wecker. In a few weeks, Wecker, now remarried, will be heard in court again and hopes to prove that she is a fit mother. This will be her last chance to be reunited with her daughters, now five years old.
WECKER: Everybody is not going to agree with me getting them back, but it doesn‘t matter what they think.
COSBY: And the biological mother, Tranda Wecker, has since remarried. She‘s now Tranda Conley, and she joins us LIVE & DIRECT. And also, we welcome her attorney, Mark Kruger.
Tranda, I want to start with you, because, you know, you gave your kids up for adoption twice. How are you going to convince the court you‘re a fit mother now?
TRANDA CONLEY, FORMERLY TRANDA WECKER: Well, Rita, I mean, because I‘ve done everything that they‘ve asked me to do.
COSBY: You know, but a lot of people are going to say maybe you missed your chance, because you gave them up twice for adoption. You know, maybe that was the opportunity—why is now the right time? Why should they change their minds and say, “OK, her finances are better, let‘s go with her now”?
CONLEY: Well, because I am their mom. And per the law, mother and daughters should be reunited.
COSBY: You know, Tranda, how tough do you think it‘s been on the kids, being apart from you, you know, for all these years, and back and forth in all these different homes?
CONLEY: Well, I mean, it‘s very tough. It‘s tough on them. It‘s tough on me. It‘s tough on their siblings, as well as I am sure it‘s tough on the foster parents.
COSBY: Tranda, do you know if your kids want to be back with you, too? Have you gotten any indication how they feel? They‘re five now.
CONLEY: Well, they‘re five, so I don‘t know if they know what‘s going on or not. But, you know, me, my husband, as well as their siblings, do want them back.
COSBY: You know, Mr. Kruger, as you hear this case, it is pretty incredible, all the different courts it‘s gone through, all the different states it‘s gone through. Why do you think she deserves to have custody now?
MARK KRUGER, TRANDA CONLEY‘S ATTORNEY: Well, at the time Tranda gave them up for adoption, she was under a great deal of stress. She was a single mother. Her husband had left her. She had three kids, and she was trying to support her family.
She felt, at the time, that she just couldn‘t do it. She was overwhelmed by it. And she thought that the best thing for those kids was to give them up for adoption.
It‘s not something that she came to easily. It‘s not something she wanted to do. But it‘s something she felt that she had to do.
She tried to do it, and those adoptions fell through. They didn‘t work. She wanted an open adoption. She didn‘t want to—she made a decision that‘s one of the hardest decisions for a woman to make, and that‘s to give up her kids.
But she wanted an open adoption, because she didn‘t want to give them up forever. She wanted to have contact with them. She wanted to know them. She wanted them to know her.
And when that fell through, she decided that she‘d make a go of it and try to get them back. And that‘s what we‘ve been trying to do for the last four years.
COSBY: Let me bring in Tranda. You know, I know it‘s been a long fight. If your kids are listening right now, what would you want to say to them?
CONLEY: I just want to say that their mom loves them very much. And the last time I saw them, I told them that mom was going to do whatever it took to get them back. And that‘s what we‘re doing. We‘re doing whatever it takes.
COSBY: Well, please keep us posted on your case. It‘s a fascinating case. And we‘ll be watching it closely.
Both of you, thank you very, very much.
And we‘re going to be right back after the break.
COSBY: There is courtroom drama, and then there is courtroom drama. This is what happened after a judge sentenced a teenager to 30 years in prison for brutally beating a man to death.
The families of the teen and his victim got into a shouting match, then a brawl, after the judge handed down the sentence. Pretty incredible.
And that‘s LIVE & DIRECT tonight. I‘m Rita Cosby. Again, please be sure to join me this weekend for my special report on keeping children safe from Internet predators. It‘s going to take place this weekend. You do have to see this. It‘s incredible news for you and your family to watch.
And stay tuned, everybody, because “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” starts right now. Monica Crowley is up on deck.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.