Guests: Steve Huff, Tony Casamento, Vito Colucci
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, a LIVE AND DIRECT first. A man who says that he was scammed by the husband at the center of an international double murder mystery joins me live. Could the scam be tied to the murders of a mother and her baby girl?
And myspace.com is a wildly popular Web site. Just ask any teenager. But is it also a favorite among sexual predators, maybe even killers, trolling to get their hands on your most personal information. It‘s a LIVE AND DIRECT special investigation that you and your family need to hear.
But first, an all points bulletin tonight for a man accuse of a violent rampage. A man, 18-year-old Jacob Robida—he‘s suspected of swinging a hatchet and opening fire at patrons after drinking at a Massachusetts gay bar overnight. The teen reportedly walked into a bar about 50 miles south of Boston and began his rampage after asking if he was in a gay bar.
Ryan Owens from NBC Boston affiliate WHDH is live in New Bedford, Massachusetts, with the latest. Ryan, do we know where this guy is tonight? Any clues?
RYAN OWENS, WHDH-TV: We do not, Rita, and police here are desperate to find him before they think he may hurt someone else or even hurt himself.
COSBY: Was he provoked at all? What do we know?
OWENS: Not at all. According to the bartender who was working at this place behind me, at about 11:30 last night, he walked in, sat down at the bar by himself, wearing all black, ordered a drink, asked the bartender, Is this, in fact, a gay bar? The bartender said, Yes, it is. He finished that drink, ordered another one, finished that drink, then walked over to the pool table, started watching some people who were playing pool, and suddenly, according to everyone in there, out of nowhere, pulls out the hatchet, starts actually hitting someone with the hatchet in the face, in the back. That‘s where the massacre starts. Before it‘s over, he pulls out a gun, three people are shot, two of them also cut by the hatchet.
COSBY: You know, police also searched his home, Ryan. They found some really scary things. Tell us what they discovered in the search.
OWENS: Well, according to the neighbors, his bedroom is full of Nazi paraphernalia. He is a—he says he‘s a Nazi. He brags about it to anybody that will listen. Inside his room on the walls, there swastikas all over the place. We did see police leaving with several boxes. We don‘t know exactly what was in there. But according to neighbors, his bedroom was a shrine to this sort of thing. And as I said, anybody who knows him says he would tell you straight out that he‘s a white supremacist.
COSBY: Scary stuff. Ryan, thank you. Please keep us posted with any more developments. We appreciate it.
Meantime, investigators are hoping to find out a lot more about this suspect, Jacob Robida, actually going on line. We‘re joined now by Steve Huff of Huffcrimeblog.com. Steve, I understand you run a blog. There‘s a guy named Jake Jekyll who you think probably this same guy, Jacob Robido. What‘s on this site?
STEVE HUFF, HUFFCRIMEBLOG.COM: Basically, a lot of things that support what the reporter you were just talking to was saying about this guy‘s—what he‘s into. He‘s obviously, number one, a fan of rap, hip-hop, a punk metal group, Insane Clown Posse. Now, they don‘t necessarily have associations with white supremacy, but also, their music is very violent. The lyrics are very violent.
And in addition that, on his site, you‘ll find a number of quizzes he took. And these on-line quizzes aren‘t meant to be accurate, but people who use them are representing a certain image. And every one of his quizzes is something like—he tested as an anti-social personality. Is he an angel or a demon? Well, he tested as a demon.
COSBY: And in fact, Steve, you know, this is just—it‘s scary and very freaky to see this. One of the things I want to show, on the test, in fact, that you were talking about, there‘s a question, “Are you a juggalo?” And he says that his favorite color—this is really, I just think, ominous and horrible—crimson red, and his murder weapon is a hatchet. And now what we hear, that this guy is believed to be responsible for—first of—first of all, what is a juggalo? What does all this mean, Steve?
HUFF: Juggalos and juggalettes (ph) are Insane Clown Posse fans. The juggalos are the guys, the juggalettes are the girls.
COSBY: You know, he also compares himself to a demon. I want to show another quote. He said, “Demon, my favorite. You are the evilest and deadliest there is. You hate religion and often scare people. You see people in pain. You crave this.” Is this someone that sounds like, you know, based on your background, Steve, driven to do, you know, horrible hate crimes? It sounds like there‘s just evil in this kid.
HUFF: Yes, it does. This is likely a hate crime, but to me, it sounds like pretty much anybody who runs afoul of this guy is in trouble, gay, you know, ethnic, whatever, because he has a devotion, a love of violence. If you look at this Web site, if it‘s any indication, he‘s really into it. It‘s his pursuit, his hobby.
COSBY: It‘s scary stuff. And of course, everybody, if you‘re looking at the screen right here -- 508-991-6320 -- please call authorities if you have seen this man, have any information. And Steve Huff, as always, thank you very much.
HUFF: Thank you.
COSBY: And this isn‘t the first time that police are hearing about Myspace.com—it‘s the Web site we were talking about—while investigating crimes. Later in the show, we‘re going to show you how Internet predators are using Web sites like that to hunt down people based on their profiles. We‘re going to have a LIVE AND DIRECT special report, “Caught in the Web.” That‘s coming up in a few minutes.
And now we‘re going to move on to the vicious killings of a mother and her baby daughter and the mystery surrounding her husband, Neil Entwistle, who‘s still overseas in the United Kingdom. In just moments, I‘ll have the very first interview with a man who says that he was scammed by Neil Entwistle in an on-line scheme involving eBay.
Also today, friends and former co-workers in the U.K. held a private memorial for Rachel and her baby. And also tonight, the family Web site with the pictures of the family—Rachel, Neil and baby Lillian—has been shut down.
Investigative reporter Laurel Sweet with “The Boston Herald” is covering this case, and she joins me now. Laurel, I was just hearing that, what, they‘ve seized the car—this is Neil‘s car—at Logan airport. What are they looking for?
LAUREL SWEET, “BOSTON HERALD”: Well, it‘s hard to know. I mean, obviously, I would think they‘d be looking for any kind of forensic evidence, but there, by all accounts, was very little of that at the Entwistles‘ home, so—you know, gunpowder residue, I suppose anything they can use, at this point.
COSBY: What do we know—you know, in fact, I want to say, we got an e-mail from one of our viewers. This is someone—“Travel C (ph)” is what the person calls himself—wrote and—Did he, Neil, leave her, meaning Rachel, a car? Leaving a woman with an infant and no car speaks volumes.
Do we have any idea about their vehicles at all, Laura, if there was a car in the driveway when the cops came?
SWEET: I don‘t know that. I know that this particular vehicle, the BMW, was leased. You know, there‘s so much mystery around this. Why were the—would someone kill a mother and child and leave the family dog alive in the house? You know, to whatever that says to the crime.
COSBY: Yes, it does—and none of this makes sense. You know, what about Neil‘s—this Web site, this family Web site, shut down? Do we know who shut it down and what‘s behind that?
SWEET: We don‘t. I mean, it could very well just be a simple case of overload. I think, probably, with the funerals past us now, it was the appropriate thing to do. You know, it was being used a lot by the media. I‘m sure it‘s very disturbing for her parents to see pictures of them, you know, looking very much alive.
COSBY: I‘m sure it‘s very painful. You know, her—speaking of her family, Laurel, we are hearing that they met with, what, the state police today. Do you know about that? What did you hear?
SWEET: Well, that was our understanding, that state police met with them today. I don‘t know the purpose of it. I think they‘re doing it regularly. It could very well just to have been to give them an update on the case.
Our understanding is that Neil Entwistle remains in seclusion in England, most likely with a relative. It‘s very interesting what‘s going on here, and it might be a very brilliant move by investigators. The longer he stays away, the less he says, this all becomes part of his behavior, and all of that will be possibly used before a jury if, in fact, he‘s arrested.
COSBY: Yes, very interesting strategy. And you‘re right, there may be a method to what‘s going on. Laurel, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
SWEET: Thank you.
COSBY: And now for more insight into Neil Entwistle‘s purported Internet schemes—we know that the—the computer whiz—that he had numerous Web dealings, including participating in eBay auctions and selling products on the eBay site. Joining us is one of his alleged victims, Tony Casamento. And also with us tonight again is former Massachusetts prosecutor Gerry Leone and also private investigator Vito Colucci.
You know, Tony, let me start with you.
TONY CASAMENTO, ALLEGEDLY SCAMMED BY ENTWISTLE: Hi, Rita.
COSBY: Hi, there. You go on line, right, about a month ago. What were you trying to buy? And tell us about that process.
CASAMENTO: Oh, I was trying to purchase Macromedia Studio 8 so that I could develop a Web site about fraud, from a previous fraud.
COSBY: And what was the seller‘s name, Tony? What was it listed as?
CASAMENTO: What was what about?
COSBY: Was there a company? What was the seller?
CASAMENTO: Oh, Macromedia. Yes, this—they‘re a company that makes softwares that allow DVD creation and interactive—interactive media with people who play DVDs, like U2 does it and Stix (ph) have done that.
COSBY: But then, Tony, it was SR Publications, right, was the actual seller, which turns out it was Neil Entwistle‘s company. What happened? You go in to put it—did you ever hear back? Did you ever get that product?
CASAMENTO: No. I ordered some of this software from him because he said that it was legal copies, and instead of buying and advertising in a magazine, that he was selling it for a really big discount. So I thought I‘d take the risk and use eBay credit card because I get protection from fraud.
COSBY: Did you ever get the goods, Tony? Did you ever get anything?
CASAMENTO: Didn‘t get the goods, didn‘t get a response from him when I e-mailed him saying that, I sent you the money.
COSBY: And in fact, we—the seller‘s eBay feedback profile, which a lot of people can look at to see—and I want to show some of the quotes, if I could. These are from other entries, people saying, “Seems to be a scam,” “Do not trust,” “Do not do business with this individual, as he does not exist,” “thief.” That‘s just a few.
How did you feel when you found out you were taken advantage of, and now to find out that it was this guy, Neil Entwistle, who everyone‘s looking for, it seems?
CASAMENTO: Oh, I was the first one who put up a negative feedback.
So I started contacting other purchasers to see if they received theirs. And about a week went by, and so I kind of had a hunch. I wasn‘t going to wait any longer.
COSBY: And were you stunned to find out this is the guy who‘s getting all the headlines? Real quick, Tony.
CASAMENTO: Oh, no. I didn‘t find out about that until your producer called me this morning. And I received an e-mail from somebody among those who said that it was Neil Entwistle and Rachel Entwistle, and this was even before the murder happened. So maybe somebody over in his neighborhood found out about who was doing this.
COSBY: Amazing stuff. Tony, stick with us. I want to bring in Vito because, Vito, we also looked at some other stuff on the Web site, and it sort of shows a history of these negative feedbacks. If we could put it up? Fourteen were negative. These are the sort of different feedbacks that you get. Only one was positive. This was just recently. And if you look back six months ago, he had 25 positive notes, 15 negative. A year ago, a whole bunch were positive. It seems like people were going negative, more negative, more negative. Is that a sign, Vito, that he was having financial problems, things were going downhill for Neil Entwistle?
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Yes, definitely, Rita. I mean, we know that they both were not working, OK, and it goes from positive signs months ago, like you said, to negative ones now. That‘s why the search of the car may present some interesting things, not only the possibility of gunpowder residue that he may have touched a car door, the steering wheel, the seats, but also anything else that he may have in that car, even some stuff he may have hidden from his wife. There could be cell phone records, there could be a girlfriend, there could be a whole lot of threatening messages in that vehicle. So they‘re going to take their time and really go through this vehicle.
COSBY: Gerry Leone, what are you hearing about when he might be coming back, if at all, to the United States?
GERRY LEONE, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS PROSECUTOR: Well, Rita, the presumptive side of this case is focused on Neil Entwistle, that he had something to do with this, if not was responsible for the murders. And there are really two sides to that. One is continuing to build a presumptive case against Neil Entwistle, but also having a plan in place in the U.K. to the extent that he tries to flee because if, in fact, Neil Entwistle tries to flee, the district attorney is going to have to make a split-second decision about whether or not she has enough evidence to apprehend him. It‘s very fortunate that you have a very experienced district attorney here who will assess those facts and be able to make those judgments.
COSBY: Is she is looking at a timetable, or she‘s looking at actions and then making a decision, is what you‘re saying, Gerry?
LEONE: Right because if, in fact, Neil Entwistle decides, where he‘s not in custody—if he decides that he wants to leave that jurisdiction, you‘re going to have to make some decisions, where he‘s a person of keen interest, about whether or not to apprehend and hold him. You can‘t do that right now, until you‘ve made the decision that, in fact, there‘s enough evidence to ask the U.K. to put him in custody.
COSBY: All right, well, we‘re going to be watching this, guys. Both of you, thank you very much. We‘re going to have you keep following this case (INAUDIBLE) both have been terrific. Thank you.
And everybody, if you think that you may have been part of the Entwistles‘ alleged scam, make sure that you send us a message. You just heard what Tony Casamento went through. If you could, log onto rita.msnbc.com, rita.msnbc.com, if you, too, believe you‘ve been part of this scam.
And coming up, a LIVE AND DIRECT special report that you and your family won‘t want to miss. Take a look.
Still ahead: Sexual predators, cyber-stalkers, maybe even killers may already have their hands on your most personal information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pedophiles are using all of the social networking sites.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Tonight, we‘ll show you how the crooks are using it and how you can stop them from getting to you. It‘s a LIVE AND DIRECT expose.
And this girl left her home and was never seen again. Tonight, for the first time, her friends are going nationwide. They‘ll join me live with an emotional plea for help.
And a deplorable case of exploitation, a human smuggling ring busted on the border. And get this. The people paid to defend America‘s borders were the ones apparently breaking the law. The scandal on the front lines coming up.
COSBY: And tonight, a desperate search for a woman who vanished from her home and an emotional plea for your help. Twenty-four-year-old Jennifer Kesse went missing early last week. She never showed up for work on Tuesday. And now investigators are looking for clues in a case they say has suspicious circumstances.
Live with the latest is Sgt. Barbara Jones with the Orlando Police Department. Sgt. Jones, is there any indication that she used her cell or credit cards? Is there any movement there?
SGT. BARBARA JONES, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: You know, they‘re not really talking about anything as far as trackable information, whether it‘s the use of her cell phone or any bank records. They are looking into that, and anything about that, they‘re really not wanting to release at this time.
COSBY: Now, her car was found, it was a week ago today. Do you know when her car was last driven? Do we know when it was last used?
JONES: Yes, actually, what they‘ve done is they have created a timeline between Monday at 10:00 PM, which was when she had the last conversation with her boyfriend via cellular telephone—that was at 10:00 PM on Monday. And then after we put out a flyer and got some media attention, a citizen located the car in a particular condominium complex about a mile from where she lives last Thursday at around 8:06. So we believe that between 10:00 o‘clock that Monday and 8:06 that Thursday that she or someone else was driving her black Malibu in the area of John Young (ph) Parkway, which is a major road on the southwest side of Orlando.
COSBY: And you pointed out—real quick—that that car was found in an apartment complex. I understand you have expanded the search. To exactly where? And why is that critical?
JONES: Sure. The car was crucial as far as moving forward with trying to locate her. Based on where that car was and where the track from the car to where she lived, it created what we believe to be about a 3-to-5-mile radius that we wanted to search. We conducted several grid searches in that area, and we‘re going to be expanding that out to the south after we do an aerial overview tomorrow, identifying other wooded, isolated areas where we believe somebody could have hidden her body.
COSBY: Well, Sgt. Jones, we wish you luck. Thank you very much.
Please keep us posted.
JONES: Sure. Thanks a lot.
COSBY: And tonight, a plea for help from Jennifer‘s family and also her friends, including from her best childhood friend. She‘s seen here together with Jennifer on this home video when they were just 10 years old, dancing, as you can see.
And joining us is Jennifer‘s father, Drew Kesse, also her brother, Logan Kesse, and her best friend, Lauren Daligan (ph).
Logan, let me start with you. How tough is it? You know, there‘s still so few—you know, so few leads, so few clues. How tough is it for you, Logan, as her younger brother?
LOGAN KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE‘S BROTHER: Well, it‘s extremely tough and
very, very frustrating. I know the cops, and everyone, all of our family,
friends are doing as much as they can. But I honestly feel that it is just
it‘s by far the hardest thing I‘ve ever done in my life, and gone through. And I can imagine the same thing for her. But it‘s—that‘s the toughest part, is not knowing anything and not being able to be told anything.
COSBY: Yes, I‘m sure. And Lauren, you know, as we look at these—you know, we‘re seeing the beautiful video of you guys together, younger. How close were you? And what do you think may have happened to your friend?
LAUREN DALIGAN, JENNIFER KESSE‘S BEST FRIEND: She has been my best friend my entire life. And I don‘t—I wish I knew what happened to her. I just want her to come home safely.
COSBY: Is there anyone that you can think of, Lauren, would have wanted to cause her harm or anything suspicious you saw in the recent weeks leading up to this?
COSBY: Nothing. Tell us about her, too. Tell us—you know, we‘ve heard so many good things about her. She seems like, even in the young video, just a happy, young, free-spirited woman.
DALIGAN: Yes. She‘s by far the best person I know in my life. I mean, she‘s been my closest friend for as long as I can remember. She‘s beautiful, obviously. You‘ve seen the pictures. She‘s smart. She‘s driven. She‘s just—she‘s just an amazing person.
COSBY: You know, Drew—let me bring in her dad because I understand you‘ve set up almost sort of a virtual command center in the home. What kind of information are you getting? Is there any substantive leads that you can hold onto?
DREW KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE‘S FATHER: Not really that we can hold onto, Rita. We‘re very optimistic, though. Really, she‘s alive. She‘s out there, and she knows we‘re coming for her. We‘ve been very lucky to have an organization come forward, Child Watch of North America, and they really help families going through this organize themselves. And they came on board with us yesterday, it‘s—we‘re going to have a huge search for her coming up this Saturday, and people are signing up for teams to go out and try and find Jennifer.
And it‘s just—the community here is unbelievable. The police are unbelievable. And the media yourself has just been so good to us. That‘s how we‘re going to help find Jennifer. And—and we‘re going to do it.
COSBY: Absolutely. We, of course, will do whatever we can, Drew, and whatever possible we can to help you get some answers, which you desperately deserve.
You know, Logan, when was the last time you talked to your sister?
Did you notice anything unusual?
LOGAN KESSE: No. I actually spoke to her on Monday night.
Obviously, Tuesday, she went missing. I spoke to her on Monday night. Everything was normal. She was telling me about her trip to St. Croix with her boyfriend. She seemed happy. Everything was cool, and nothing unusual at all.
COSBY: Do we know anything...
LOGAN KESSE: She was in very, very high spirits.
COSBY: Do we know anything, Logan, if, like, there was any sign of robbery, anything missing from her car, from her purse?
LOGAN KESSE: I wish I could tell you. I have no idea myself. No idea.
COSBY: Can you imagine her leaving for any reason at all, Drew?
DREW KESSE: No. Personally, no. She has recently had a promotion. She recently bought her first condominium, as Logan has said, went on a great vacation. She‘s right now on top of the world—not currently. But she just had everything going for her, and she was bubbly and really loving life.
COSBY: I can tell (INAUDIBLE) obviously had a lot of support. And Lauren, if somebody‘s out there who has any clues, saw anything suspicious, is there something you want to say? Hopefully, somebody‘s watching tonight that can help.
DALIGAN: I just want to say to find it in your heart to, you know, help us get Jennifer safely home. We miss her.
LOGAN KESSE: Please. I know someone out there had to have (INAUDIBLE) see something. So please, if you don‘t—you can be anonymous, anything. Just please let anyone know. There‘s numbers. We have the crime line, anything you can, please.
COSBY: And again, everybody, if you‘re looking at the top line there, 1-800-423-TIPS. Please call in. Please help this family and do whatever you can. Again, it‘s $115,000 reward. Please do what you can.
Thank you very much, and our prayers are with all of you tonight.
And still ahead, everybody, a big bust on the border, a border agent charged with defending America, turns out he‘s not even an American. Wait until you hear what he is accused of doing. You‘re going to be outraged.
And next, a LIVE AND DIRECT special report. How cyber stalkers and maybe even killers are using your on line profile to target you and your family. What we found is surprising, and that‘s coming up next.
COSBY: And right now, you may be one of millions of Americans “Caught in the Web.” Countless people are putting their most personal information on the Internet and right into the hands of dangerous predators and cyber stalkers. And if you don‘t think that they‘re using it, listen to this. Seventeen-year-old Taylor Behl is believed to have been conversing with her alleged killer, Ben Fawley, through a Web site where she kept a personal blog. She was found murdered last October.
David Ludwig is accused of murdering his teenage girlfriend‘s parents back in November, before leading police on a national manhunt. The 18 year old used the Internet to carry on a secret relationship with 14-year-old Kara Borden without her parents‘ knowledge.
And in the developing case, the one we just told you about at the top of the show tonight, the Internet may be providing significant clues about Jacob Robida, the alleged attacker behind a shooting at a Massachusetts gay bar.
Tonight, we‘re going to look at how the Web is changing how criminals behave and how police are using it to help in their investigations. We start with Rob Stafford of “DATELINE NBC,” who has a look at the dangers posed by these social networking sites. One of the biggest, Myspace.com.
Rob, take it away.
ROB STAFFORD, “DATELINE NBC” CORRESPONDENT: Rita, Myspace is big and getting bigger, five million new members expected this month, 25 percent of the members are under the age of 18. So the big question is, Do teenagers really understand the potential danger of posting personal information on line?
(voice-over): With more than 50 million members, it‘s one of the fastest-growing Web sites in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone has a Myspace and everyone wants a Myspace.
STAFFORD: It‘s free, easy to join and easy to message its members. Kids chat about everything from school to sports to fundraisers for Katrina victims. It all seems like innocent fun, and it can be. But many parents and teens are unaware there are hidden dangers.
SULLIVAN: I honestly just thought it was my friends looking at it.
STAFFORD: Which is why Shannon Sullivan disclosed so much on her space.
SULLIVAN: I put my name.
REPORTER (on-screen): Did put your address?
SULLIVAN: I put my address.
STAFFORD: Where you go to school?
STAFFORD: So everything about how to find Shannon was on that site?
STAFFORD: Were you worried about doing that?
SULLIVAN: I didn‘t think twice about it.
REPORTER (voice-over): Shannon did think twice about something else.
The rules on MySpace say you‘re supposed to be at least 14.
(on-screen): How old did you say you were?
SULLIVAN: I think it was 18.
STAFFORD: You think it was 18?
SULLIVAN: I was 13.
MARGARET SULLIVAN, MOTHER OF MYSPACE USER: I was just very upset that somebody looking for kids could find a kid very easily. I get a report e-mailed to me everyday that tells me what Web sites she visited...
REPORTER (voice-over): Shannon‘s mother, Margaret, happens to run the computer system at a private grammar school. She has parental controls on her home computer and, several months ago, MySpace popped up.
(on-screen): Ever heard of it?
M. SULLIVAN: No.
STAFFORD: She was stunned by what Shannon revealed and found the sites of other kids far more revealing.
M. SULLIVAN: I found all kinds of pictures of kids in revealing positions, pictures of kids scantily dressed.
STAFFORD: It‘s a cyber secret teenagers keep from tech-challenged parents not as savvy as Margaret, a world where the kids next door play any role they want, but may not realize everyone with Internet access, including sexual predators, can see the pictures and personal information they post.
When “Dateline” surfed MySpace, we found scenes of binge drinking, apparently drug use, teens posing in underwear, and other members simulating sex and, in some cases, even having it. We also found less provocative pages like Shannon‘s was, but potentially even more dangerous. Teens listing not only their names and addresses, but even cell phone numbers and their after-school schedules.
PARRY AFTAB, INTERNET LAWYER AND SAFETY EXPERT: One-stop shopping for sexual predators. And they can shop by catalogue.
STAFFORD: Internet lawyer Parry Aftab started the Web site WiredSafety.org and her safety tips appear on MySpace.com.
(on-screen): Do parents have any idea what some kids are posting on these sites?
AFTAB: Parents are clueless. They‘re caught like deer in the headlights.
REPORTER (voice-over): Aftab educates parents and kids about the dangerous lurking on the web.
AFTAB: Pedophiles are using all of the social networking sites and every other anonymous Internet technology to find kids and social networking sites and where kids are.
STAFFORD: Aftab says even kids who don‘t list their name and address can provide enough personal information, such as the kinds of bands and boys they love, for pedophiles to use to con their way into their lives.
AFTAB: If someone knows you like pina coladas and walks in the rain, it‘s very easy online to be exactly what it is you‘re looking for, to be your soul mate.
REPORTER (on-screen): Who happens to be a 40-year-old predator?
AFTAB: Absolutely. The teens just don‘t get it. To them, they‘re talking to a computer monitor. They‘re playing in an area where they don‘t recognize the consequences.
REPORTER (voice-over): In the last month, authorities have charged at least three men with sexually assaulting teenagers they found through MySpace.com. Police found a missing 15-year-old girl who investigators say was sexually assaulted by a 26-year-old man she met through the site. MySpace members are now warning each other about the danger of sharing information online. Aftab says parents need to find out what their kids are sharing.
AFTAB: Say to your kids, “I‘d like to see your profile page tomorrow.” It‘s important that you give them a day to clean up their page. That will be the last time you give them warning.
STAFFORD: Then, Aftab says, look at their site. Are the pictures provocative, their profiles too detailed? Who are they talking to? And perhaps most important, have they kept their profiles private, protected by a password to keep strangers out?
STAFFORD: MySpace declined to talk on camera, but did say via e-mail that it prohibits posting personal information and has a team that searches for and removes both underage users and offensive material. MySpace also said it does not prescreen the material posted by its more than 50 million members but urges everyone to be cautious.
Bottom line, Rita, every expert will tell you parents should not count on anyone other than themselves to monitor what their kids are doing online.
COSBY: Right, it‘s up to the families. You know, besides MySpace.com, Rob, what can parents do about the other dangers? There‘s instant messaging, chat rooms.
STAFFORD: Well, instant messaging is huge, not just for high school kids, but middle-schoolers, even elementary school kids. Parents need to talk to their kids, ask them for their buddy list to find out the list of people they‘re instant messaging with, go down that list. Some kids have 200, 300 names on that list. And if the parents don‘t know who those people are, they should be deleted.
COSBY: That‘s a lot of work for parents to do, but very important work that they‘ve got to do. Rob, thank you very much. Great report. We appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
STAFFORD: You bet. Thanks.
COSBY: So what can you do to avoid getting caught in the Web with dangerous cyber-crooks? We‘re joined by former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt and also Del Harvey of the group Perverted Justice.
You know, Clint, some of the things that Rob was reporting, some of those numbers are staggering, 500,000 to 700,000 predators online every day? I mean, when you look at those numbers, those are whopping numbers. How disturbing is that, Clint?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, these are whopping numbers. And it goes past grade school and teenagers, Rita. It goes into adults. Men and women trust like teenagers do. And they share the same type of information.
There‘s stories that I‘ve dealt over the years of women who have met someone on the Internet, who have wound up being a sexual assault victim or a murder victim.
One case last year, a guy got on the Internet and he solicited over 25 women all to commit suicide on Valentine‘s Day with him, and they were all signed up through these chat rooms and Internet to do this. So there is a lot going on, and people have to be careful not only of what their teenagers share, but what you and I as adults share, too.
COSBY: Absolutely. Everybody has to be aware of how vulnerable they are.
You know, Del, you‘ve done some amazing stuff. You‘ve been on my show before, where you actually went undercover and posed as a young child sort of luring people in. How easy is it for these creeps to go after people online from your experience, Del?
DEL HARVEY, PERVERTED JUSTICE: Incredibly easy. All you have to do is take five minutes to create a profile and you‘re there.
COSBY: You know, who are these people, also, Del? You know, who are these guys who are going after them? Are they married? Are they all ages? What‘s sort of the range and some of the extremes you‘ve seen?
HARVEY: Every age range, every profession. Last “Dateline,” we got a doctor, a rabbi, a special education teacher, guys in the military. The “Dateline” that we have coming up, we got a federal immigration agent, I believe, a lawyer. I mean, these are your kids‘ teachers. These are the people—these are your next-door neighbors. These are the people that you rely on and trust.
COSBY: Yes, it‘s scary. And as you said, they‘re betraying that trust.
You know, some of the other figures. Two-thirds of the kids were on these sort of social networking sites. They provide, as we were hearing, age and first name. Sixty percent give their location and contact information. One in 5 give their full name. You know, Del, what message do you have for parents tonight watching?
HARVEY: That sites like MySpace and Friendster are great for adults. There‘s virtually no real reason that your kid should be on a social networking site, especially not one where there‘s such a chance for an adult to really prey upon them.
We actually ran this “Dateline” that‘s coming up tomorrow, we ran into a guy who has a MySpace account with hundreds of pictures of teenage males on his page, pictures of him with them. And he can use that just to create even more trust. You know, “Look at the guys I‘ve met. I‘m safe.”
COSBY: Yes, it‘s frightening. You know, and, Clint, real quick, what can we do? I mean, obviously, these companies are doing the best they can to keep barricades, but it does come to the home, right?
VAN ZANDT: It comes to the home. You‘ve got to realize, Rita, 50 percent of the people lie on their resumes. So how do we expect anything less on MySpace?
And what I tell kids and adults, too, think of anything you post as a tattoo on your forehead. Who do you want to be looking at that tattoo tomorrow, six months from now, six years from now? Once you put it up there, even though you try to take it down, people are pulling it down, they‘re pasting it, they‘re keeping it. When you put that information out in cyberspace, it‘s there forever.
COSBY: Yes, people have to be aware. Both of you, thank you very much. Very important for everybody to watch this tonight. Thank you so much.
VAN ZANDT: Thank you.
COSBY: And still ahead, a girl‘s body was found in a dumpster. She vanished while walking home from school. But tonight, we‘ll show you how police are scouring the Web for clues.
And then we‘ll take you to the computer lab and show you how investigators can recreate the past. You‘ll only going to see it here inside the high-tech lab which helped solve these cases. That‘s coming up next, on LIVE & DIRECT.
COSBY: Well, we just showed you how dangerous stalkers are using the Internet to find their victims. Among those who may have been targeted is 14-year-old Judy Cajuste who was brutally murdered last month. Police have still not found her killer, but she told friends she had met a man in his 20s on the popular Web site, MySpace.com, which we were just talking about.
And now police hope to track down her killer online. WNBC‘s Pat Battle has the story.
PAT BATTLE, WNBC REPORTER (voice-over): Authorities believe that the information superhighway could put them on the trail of Judy‘s killer. She had a profile on MySpace.com, a social networking Web site popular with young people where they can leave details of their lives and, of course, chat with friends and with strangers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A young teen is really no match for what we call an online child predator, someone who frequents the Internet on a regular basis looking to exploit a child.
BATTLE: Authorities have brought Judy‘s computer here to the state police laboratory in Hamilton Township where this forensic computer will duplicate her hard drive and possibly give them some clues into how she spent her final hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And look at last communications, last Web pages, and Web sites that were visited. They can search for keywords or phrases, maybe recent contacts or friends, that the person may have been involved with shortly before their disappearance.
BATTLE: Many of Judy‘s classmates here at Abraham Clark High School in Roselle tell us they have profiles on MySpace.com and many more are dropping them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody‘s talking about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody got them. Everybody got one of those pages. Like, after that happened, most of my friends, like my cousin for example, he had one. And then, he was like—after he heard that, he was like no, he just cancelled it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s all right to talk to family and friends, but don‘t talk to nobody that you don‘t know.
COSBY: And that was WNBC‘s Pat Battle. Right now, that girl‘s computer is inside a lab in New Jersey. And coming up, we‘re going to take you there LIVE & DIRECT and show you how they‘re using high-tech investigative skills to solve crimes just like the one you just heard about all over the country. Stay tuned. It‘s coming up live.
COSBY: Well, with all the Web sites accessible on the Internet, you may be wondering just how much information can be collected from devices like your computer or your iPod or other things like that. LIVE & DIRECT with us tonight is Larry Depew. He is the director of the New Jersey Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.
Larry, thank you so much for giving sort of a little bit of a tour. You know, before the show, you were showing us the evidence room. Tell us what kind of evidence, you know, in general terms comes into you? And how does it get to you?
LARRY DEPEW, NJ REGIONAL COMPUTER FORENSIC LABELLE: Well, just about anything, Rita, that is digital evidence or—excuse me, stores items digitally, electronically comes into our evidence room. It could be a hard drive. We have some other devices here on the bench that include cell phones, PDAs. I have a USB watch, Flash media or even a pen that might be found in somebody‘s shirt pocket can hold data.
COSBY: How much data can be, like, in that pen you‘re showing us there, Larry? How much data, for example? I mean, a massive amount, and what type of information?
DEPEW: That pen is the small one. It‘s about 256 megabytes.
COSBY: You know, you have also a computer. Once you get those type of things, walk us through what you do with it. What‘s the process? It‘s fascinating.
DEPEW: Well, the first thing obviously, you saw the evidence room. We take it into our evidence process and ensure first that we protect all of the evidence, whether it‘s a Flash card or a hard drive or an entire computer.
It is heat-sealed into an anti-static bag. And until we‘re ready to actually begin working on the bench, it stays in our evidence room. Once it comes out of the evidence room, it comes directly to the work bench, like this piece of evidence here, where we dismantle the computer, pull out the original hard drive, and bring it over to the work bench, where we begin doing our process.
We connect it to a device that prevents any write to device—excuse me, to the hard drive. That‘s connected to a forensic work station, which is sitting here, and we do a data copy or an image of the original to a working drive. Once that‘s verified, we do a digital fingerprint of the data copied and the data transferred.
We take the original hard drive and we put that away. We don‘t work on that original evidence any longer. It goes back into the original piece of equipment.
From that point forward, we begin doing our analysis on the working drive. And I do have up here on my screen a representation of an examination. In this case, the representation was made that there was actually no data on this computer before it was brought into our laboratory, when in fact, after the examination, we were actually able to recover 130,000 files from this particular hard drive that you saw.
COSBY: That‘s amazing! You know, Larry, that‘s incredible. What kind of trail are you looking for? What type of things are you pulling up that help investigators? Because you get the information, you give to them. What type of things?
DEPEW: It depends on the type of investigation we‘re servicing. If it‘s a child pornography type of investigation, certainly we‘re looking for images and how those images were actually captured on the computer and were they transmitted or shared over the Internet?
Perhaps it‘s an identity theft. How were the identities captured? What were the identities? Who were the victims on the computer? And actually who was working behind the keyboard?
That‘s what the investigator always wants to know is, can we put a person behind the keyboard tracing that activity?
COSBY: You know, in some famous cases—you and I were talking—even BTK, Dennis Rader. It‘s proven to be very key in solving cases of that nature, right?
DEPEW: Yes, it was. The Wichita Police Department and our regional computer forensics laboratory in Kansas City played a major role in that. And actually, that case was solved by a floppy disk that was analyzed in a digital forensic laboratory, much like this that you‘re seeing this evening.
COSBY: And finally, Larry, what advice do you have for parents and folks at home? We want to pass something that, you know, people who are concerned about information on the Internet. What should they do, just to be safeguard, to be aware of where this information could go?
DEPEW: Well, certainly never share anything with anyone that you‘re not familiar with on the Internet. I had small children. They‘re adults now. But as they were growing up, one of rules was you don‘t have your computer in your bedroom unless I have full monitoring rights and look at what you‘re doing and look at where you‘re going.
And never take someone‘s word on the other end of that computer. You may be—have you ever embellished on the Internet? Have you ever told a lie that perhaps you‘re 16 and only 14? And just think about what‘s happening on the other side of that keyboard.
COSBY: Larry, thank you very much. And thank you for the fascinating tour. We really appreciate it. Keep up the great work you guys are doing there and helping law enforcement.
DEPEW: Thank you.
COSBY: Thank you.
And still ahead, everybody, a breach in border security, broken wide open. Turns out some of the people paid to protect America were helping break down the borders. It‘s a flagrant disregard for the law by folks who were supposed to be the good guys. And it‘s coming up.
COSBY: Tonight, an unbelievable crack in border security has led to the smuggling in of illegal immigrants by the very people who are supposed to be protecting our borders. Today a former U.S. border patrol agent pled guilty to smuggling in more than 100 immigrants. The amazing part, he‘s not even an American citizen. He‘s Mexican and apparently lied about his citizenship. And get this: He even had a criminal record.
And in another case, just today we‘ve learned that two sailors have been arrested for helping smuggling immigrants through a shore patrol area in San Diego. Joining me now is border patrol agent T.J. Bonner.
T.J., this I think is just appalling. I mean, this border patrol—how did this guy get through the agency? He‘s got rap sheet going back to 2002, including also arrested of suspicion of smuggling. He‘s not an even an American.
T.J. BONNER, BORDER PATROL AGENT: It really is just an amazing circumstance. And it‘s something that appalls every border patrol agent out there.
How did this happen and why do we still have a system in place with contractors who have a failure rate of 12 percent deficiencies?
COSBY: And, T.J., what you‘re talking about...
BONNER: And they continue to do the background checks on our border patrol agents.
COSBY: That‘s what I wanted to say. It actually—it was, what, the FBI used to do it, and now it‘s being contracted out. Why is that?
BONNER: Probably to save money. But, you know, if you save a few pennies and allow criminals to come into law enforcement, what have you gained?
COSBY: And if we can‘t even check exactly to find out if they‘re a citizen, that this guy had a rap sheet. This guy, Ortiz, first of all, how long—what do we know about his case, T.J.? Like, how long it was going on and how did they finally bust him?
BONNER: It was actually a wiretap with a drug task force up in north San Diego County that picked up on these conversations. And they said, “Hey, this is a border patrol agent.” Actually, there were two of them that they picked up on this wiretap. I don‘t believe that there have been charges filed on the second individual yet. I think the investigation is ongoing.
COSBY: And he claims only 100...
BONNER: It‘s just incredible.
COSBY: ... people. Do you believe that‘s just probably the tip of the iceberg?
BONNER: I think it is just the tip of the iceberg. And what concerns me the most—I mean, this person was our backup for the agents out there on the line. And what concerns me the most is they have not yet corrected the situation that led to this. A 12 percent failure rate means that, when they‘re hiring 2,000 border patrol agents a year, close to 300 people could have deficiencies. What types of deficiencies? What‘s next, they forget to check to see if someone has ties to Al Qaeda?
COSBY: Yes, right. And very quickly—we just have a few seconds left, T.J.—you‘ve actually contacted the agencies, talked about some concerns. What response have you gotten? Literally, about five seconds, please.
COSBY: None, cold shoulder?
BONNER: They ignore us. They ignore their employees, the frontline employees.
COSBY: T.J. Bonner, very disturbing. We will definitely stay on this story and I‘d love to have you back on. And just a shocking and upsetting, of course, to hear that this guy was let in. Thank you very much.
And that does it everybody tonight for us here on LIVE & DIRECT. I‘m Rita Cosby. “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” starts right now.
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