Guests: Dave Ardizzone, Ed Rendell, Doug Shimell, Ken Coluzzi, Petra Schlatter, Jeff Werner, Thomas Leighton, Kristen Cornett, Lisa Bloom, Sharon Spangler, Jennifer Salvatore, Mark Dagostino
RITA COSBY, MSNBC ANCHOR: And good evening every body. I‘m Rita Cosby and I am live from Yardley, Pennsylvania. As you can see, I‘m standing right now in several feet of water. This was a very popular downtown street, but now, as you can see, it is flooded. Breaking news tonight out of the northeast, this is the scene everywhere.
We‘re coming to you LIVE AND DIRECT from Yardley, Pennsylvania, one of the many places in the northeast hit hard by fierce and deadly flooding. Across the region, tens of thousands have been told to evacuate, including in Montgomery County, Maryland, where there is big concern tonight about whether a dam there will be able to withstand the rising waters..
And, take a look at this video from upstate New York. An entire two story restaurant overwhelmed by flood waters. It collapses into the East Canada Creek outside of Utica. And I myself just got back from a tour of some of the most flooded areas here in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Take a look at some of the incredible flooding that we saw first hand.
COSBY: As we come up here, this is normally a dry neighborhood, right?
DAVE ARDIZZONE, SWIFT WATER RESCUE: Bone dry.
COSBY: What‘s your reaction when you see this?
ARDIZZONE: I feel bad for the residents. It‘s never wracking. We have been through this three times now in a year and a half. It‘s a 100-year flood. It‘s been two years, we‘ve had three of them.
COSBY: You know we‘re pulling up, I see, on a funeral home here.
COSBY: How much water, this is the building over here?
ARDIZZONE: There is approximately, eight, nine foot. The basement is definitely full. It‘s probably a foot off the first floor.
COSBY: And when were the residents in this funeral home and everything else inside taken out?
ARDIZZONE: Minimum of 24 hours ago was the initial notice.
COSBY: And how many residents are you finding are still in the building, in different buildings here?
ARDIZZONE: There are a few who don‘t want to leave. We‘ll find more as the water gets higher. They think it‘s nice and sunny out now, and it‘s done. It‘s only just starting.
COSBY: And this is just the beginning, right? Even though we‘re seeing lots of water here.
COSBY: You know, what are we seeing over here? This is going really quick. That‘s the Delaware river, right?
ARDIZZONE: That‘s the Delaware River, and that‘s all the debris.
It‘s pretty dangerous out there.
COSBY: How rough are the waters?
ARDIZZONE: They are pretty rough. The debris is what you have to worry about, and there are certain things called boyles where you can get sucked under.
COSBY: How dangerous for you guys? Have you been out on the water there?
ARDIZZONE: We‘ve had to, yes.
COSBY: How dangerous is it for you?
ARDIZZONE: Extremely, this stuff hits the boat constantly, then you always have to worry about damaging the motor and then we need to be rescued.
COSBY: How high normally is this street sign that we see here?
ARDIZZONE: This is about a 10-foot sign, so we‘re seeing half of it.
So right at this point it‘s five or six feet.
COSBY: At it‘s going to get worse, obviously. We‘re looking at this home over here it looks like there was something built on the bottom.
ARDIZZONE: This is an office building. That used to be down 15 feet lower, down on the ground. After the last flood, they decided to raise it. It‘s a very large building.
COSBY: How many homeowners and businesses are doing the same thing?
ARDIZZONE: The ones that can afford to. Flood insurance isn‘t helping enough.
COSBY: We see lots of tires, lots of debris, there‘s also a car I‘m told.
ARDIZZONE: Yes. That‘s one of the things we‘re looking at, there‘s constant hazards under here. Tires, gas stations right up on the road. There‘s oil leaking out. Gasoline that we have to worry about. Those are some of the hazards that we have.
COSBY: How concerned, you know, we‘re looking at the power lines, I understood they just cut off power, right?
ARDIZZONE: They did, they just cut off power.
COSBY: How critical is that?
ARDIZZONE: Extremely critical. If one of the poles comes down in the water while we‘re in the water, obviously, it‘s life threatening.
COSBY: What are some of the other biggest concerns for you as your looking now? You‘re going physically through the homes, looking for folks.
ARDIZZONE: We‘re looking for people. We‘re looking for people looking through their top floor. We have to tell them if they are on the top floor, it‘s mandatory they evacuate.
COSBY: How many folks are still here?
ARDIZZONE: By experience, I would estimate at least 100, minimum.
COSBY: IN just this area right here?
ARDIZZONE: Probably. This is a small little section.
COSBY: What are some of the interesting rescues you‘ve had?
ARDIZZONE: We‘ve had people come out of the second floor. We‘ve had people who wouldn‘t leave without their dogs. We‘ve had to escort an ambulance through the water, just to get victims out.
COSBY: Physically escort an ambulance in the water?
ARDIZZONE: We had to ride next to an ambulance, just to make sure they got out. They got out, they motored through.
COSBY: How far in were they?
ARDIZZONE: Their tail pipe was in the water, so that‘s a concern.
COSBY: Looks like all these folks got out of these businesses.
ARDIZZONE: Yes. And our last flood, this building here is our sewage pumping station. We had actually do a mission. We came out with multiple boats and we had this blocked up like they did now. And we had to block off the vent to prevent raw sewage from coming out.
COSBY: How high are these normally, these bushes? There‘s a treat sign.
ARDIZZONE: There‘s the street sign, there‘s the car.
COSBY: What kind of a car is this?
ARDIZZONE It‘s some kind of hatch back.
COSBY: How many of you are out here on the boat, and how long have you been doing this for?
ARDIZZONE: Karl and I have been doing it for a long time, 10, 15 years. With different companies. I‘ve been doing it with Yardley for about four years.
COSBY: How heart breaking is it for you to see your neighborhood like this?
ARDIZZONE: Very heart breaking. It‘s heart breaking when you pull people out of their houses who just moved back in from the previous flood. That‘s what‘s heart breaking.
COSBY: How bad is some of the damage you‘ve seen?
ARDIZZONE: Extreme. Houses have been moved. Fortunately, we have been lucky not having houses actually go down the river this time. But we have had houses lift off their foundations. It‘s scary.
COSBY: What about fatalities. How concerned are you that people aren‘t going to get out with their lives?
ARDIZZONE: I believe it was in 1996, one of our floods. People got sucked under, stuck under a car, two fatalities. A bridge was out and someone drove right in, that‘s why it‘s important, you don‘t drive through water. Even if you think you know it‘s only a foot or two deep, you don‘t know what the erosion has done.
COSBY: Are people taking the warning, look at this. Look at the debris floating by so rapidly. Are people taking the warnings seriously enough?
ARDIZZONE: Most people are. There‘s a few people who have their own boats who think they can tough it out. You know, we have to go rescue them. And every time we have to come out here, someone else has to be ready to rescue us in case something happens.
COSBY: How concerned are you for your own safety?
ARDIZZONE: Extreme concern. There are all unknowns, say a person is in the water, we‘re hanging onto the boat, we can get hooked. We could get hooked on the car, the boat goes, that‘s it. So it‘s scary.
COSBY: And for a look now at how much more flooding is expected, not just here in Pennsylvania, but up and down the eastern seaboard, let‘s go to NBC weather plus Bill Karins for the very latest. Bill what‘s expected?
COSBY: And, Bill Karins, thank you so much. And everybody, we‘ll continue live from Yardley, Pennsylvania, massive flooding, this is the least of the. It‘s much worse back in there at some places, more than 20 feet deep. Everybody stick with us. A lot more to come on LIVE AND DIRECT, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still ahead, with the floodwaters rising up and down the east coast, what happens when the rivers finally crest? We‘ll take you to the towns in danger of being washed away. And this woman was locked up for eight months and then found not guilty of a terrifying murder. But wait until you hear why she is having to fight to get her life back. She joins Rita LIVE AND DIRECT. And everything you ever wanted to know about the JonBenet Ramsey murder and why the case is colder than ever, even though her mother‘s death has people asking, did she take any secrets to her grave. Plus, did Star Jones‘ preemptive strike on “The View” backfire?
STAR JONES REYNOLDS, FORMER CO-HOST, THE VIEW: If anyone should feel betrayed, then it should probably be me.
ANNOUNCER: Turns out she may have just started a vicious cat fight.
It‘s coming up on LIVE & DIRECT.
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: “The View” helped make Star a star.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: We‘re standing in a spot that sometime in the next 24-to-36 hours, we anticipate will be underwater.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And as you can see, I am here live in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Take a look at what is around me here. These homes and businesses are flooded. And this is just the beginning of it. As you go further in, and we were there not too long ago, a lot of those homes and businesses have water almost up to the rooftops.
In some places, the river is more than 20 feet deep. This is the Delaware River, and they are expecting that this is just the beginning. That‘s the bad news, because they are expecting more rain tomorrow, and a lot more rain overnight, Thursday night into Friday morning.
They are expecting that the river will crest somewhere around 28 feet at some point probably early Friday morning. And, again, so far overall, about 11 people have died. Eighty counties in five states have declared a state of emergency. And joining us now is the governor of Pennsylvania, Governor Ed Rendell. Governor, give us the latest on how many counties have been declared disaster areas tonight?
GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well last night around midnight, I declared 46 counties disaster areas. Fifteen of the counties themselves have declared their own declaration of disaster. But we did that so we could have the capability to put the National Guard in anywhere we needed them.
The sad scene about what you showed is that there are places in Pennsylvania much worse in the northern tier. The National Guard alone with seven helicopters took 936 people out of the roofs or the windows of their homes in the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania state police and the Coast Guard took many more.
So we‘ve had over 1,000 water rescues. We didn‘t activate the guard until 12:30 last night. They have done a marvelous and incredible job. And the worst news is those are the northern tier counties, the southeast, which Yardley is in, as you said, they won‘t crest until maybe tomorrow night, late tomorrow night. So we won‘t know the extent of the flooding, and imagine the scenes you just showed. That‘s due to get much worse.
COSBY: You know, as we talk about the weather getting worse. They are so worried here, governor, particularly in some areas, the river is right next to some of these homes. I saw it, it was just raging. How concerned are you there, particularly this is an area that‘s been flooded a couple of times before. Your state has been significantly in the past few years.
RENDELL: Yes, we‘ve had three major floods in the last four years. And that‘s extraordinary. It‘s a 100-year flood plain as the guy said, and we‘ve been hit three times brutally in the last four years. It‘s an enormous problem.
Pennsylvania, we don‘t have hurricanes, we don‘t have many tornadoes. We certainly don‘t have earthquakes or forest fires, but floods are our biggest challenge. And I‘ve never seen six and a half days of intense rain like we‘ve had.
Many areas, as you know, Rita, averaged five inches of rain a day. And the worst part for us is the Susquehanna and the Delaware come down from New York. The scenes you showed at the beginning of your show in Binghamton and Utica, those waters are coming down. That‘s what‘s going to crest on the Delaware River in southeast Pennsylvania tomorrow night. So it could be real tough.
COSBY: You know, governor, as I was around today on some of the boats, it reminded me of Katrina. Luckily the devastation nowhere near as bad. But just massive flooding everywhere. Are you absolutely playing it safe, being super cautious, because of Katrina, because of the scenes we saw there?
RENDELL: Yes, there‘s no question. And first of all, again, I have to remind you, you‘re in the southeast. In the north, northern tier in the northeast portion of the state, again, over 1,000 water rescues by helicopters with baskets with people getting right directly into the helicopters themselves. That‘s extraordinary. That ranks right up there.
One of the reasons that the mayor in consultation with us and FEMA decided to evacuate Wilkes-Barre, the greater Wilkes-Barre region, about 150,000 people moved out. One of the reasons was the lessons we learned from Katrina. A lot of the secondary roads in Wilkes-Barre were flooded. If the dike broke or if the dike was surmounted by the flood stage—and as you heard in the weather report, it doesn‘t look like it‘s likely to happen.
But we didn‘t know that mid-day today. And we had 150,000 people to get out. So in an abundance of caution, we didn‘t want to be caught in a Katrina-like situation where the access roads were cut off, the dike broke or the dike was surmounted and we had all our water and no way to get people out.
So we decided to move swiftly and get those people out. It looks like, again, nobody knows for sure. But it looks like the dike will hold because the water is now scheduled to crest five feet below where the dikes are. So that‘s good news, but I think one of the lessons from Katrina was let‘s be overcautious. You know, moving 150,000 people isn‘t easy, but better to move them and nothing happens than not move them and something happens.
COSBY: You know real briefly governor, you‘ve had already four deaths unfortunately in your state. What message do you want to send to residents tonight?
RENDELL: Well when your local people tell you to evacuate, get out, evacuate. Don‘t take chances. This is real. I mean if you could have seen the scenes from Sayer and places like that. This is absolutely real. We‘re taking people off rooftops just like Katrina. So take this deadly seriously.
COSBY: Governor, thank you very much. Our prayers are with you, and let‘s hope that there‘s not a lot of rain. Unfortunately, that is predicted in the next 24 hours. Thank you, Governor Ed Rendell.
And joining me here is a veteran reporter Doug Shimell with WCAU. I know you‘ve been out and about all day. What‘s your reaction, for of all, because you took a look behind us. This was a main street here in Yardley.
DOUG SHIMELL, WCAU-TV: Exactly. And the problem is that these sort of cycles used to come about every eight, 10, 12, 15 years, and it seems like they‘re cycling through a lot faster. We‘re seeing this now once or twice a year, which is very unusual. And just the frequency alone was enough to sort of make you step back and say there has got to be something that can be enacted upstream, because you keep hearing that it‘s problems upstream, development upstream, poor flood control upstream.
COSBY: Are they doing enough? Because you know, this area wasn‘t hit too long ago with million dollars worth of damages.
SHIMELL: Well, there had been a bill that I guess had passed the U.S. House of Representatives, it was sort of doing a full army corps of engineers review and I guess it‘s now up to the Senate to decide if it‘s something that they can put together and work with. It would be a comprehensive look at what sort of flood control has been done upstream, is it outdated. Do they need to learn some lessons in some form or fashion from what happened in with Katrina in New Orleans? Because what you‘re seeing is areas that weren‘t previously affected being affected and the frequency now is up to one, two and as we had a fellow in our story tonight, said three times a year.
COSBY: Doug Shimell, thank you for being with us. We really appreciate it. I‘m sure we‘ll see a lot of you over the next few days.
One of the areas that has been really hard hit is Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 200,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate that city alone. Joining us right now on the phone is the mayor of that fine area. Mayor, how are you holding up tonight? How are your residents doing?
MAYOR THOMAS M. LEIGHTON, WILKES-BARRE, PA: Our residents are doing fine. I‘m holding up well. It‘s been a long 36 hours, but, you know, we were prepared for it. We knew that we may have this situation. And we err on the side of caution. When have you that many lives in your hands, you want to make sure you get out safely and in a timely manner, that‘s why we choose to do that mandatory evacuation so early, so they could move their personal belongings and possessions out during daylight hours.
COSBY: Where are the residents going? Where are you putting them up and where are you advising them to go?
LEIGHTON: Well, we have several shelters. The Wilkes-Barre school district under Dr. Jeffrey Namey, opened up schools here that are in the higher grounds. So I know that most of them are filled. I‘m told the local hotels that are out of the flood plain are all fully occupied. There‘s no vacancies. And not all Wilkes-Barre is located in the flood plain. Approximately half of it is high and dry. So we have a lot of people who have family members that are not in the flood plain and they chose to go with other family members.
COSBY: Well mayor, please keep us posted. I think we‘ll be talking with you a lot and our prayers are with you, of course, as more rough weather, unfortunately, is ahead. And reporters across the northeast have been covering the events today, not just in Wilkes-Barre, but really all across the northeast, particularly in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, also Maryland being hit. Here is a look at what reporters experienced and saw first hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Frederick County sheriff‘s officials have confirmed that they have found the bodies of three young adults.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A flood emergency has been declared in Yardley Borough, and in Upper Makefield township for the communities along the river. Shelters are being set up to provide food and medical assistance to flood victims. Just before noon, a rescue crew took a boat in to help evacuate people from homes in Yardley.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Early this morning, they made mandatory evacuations, but it just was not soon enough for some folks. They got at least 24 hours of evacuations in front of them for folks along the Delaware river.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As on for the young 15-year-old girl, missing here in Livingston Manor, state police have still said that they are considering her a missing person. They have not found her or recovered her body. The Delaware river in this area is expected to crest around midnight tonight. The national weather service says around 20 feet. That is 10 feet above its normal flood level.
COSBY: And as are you looking at a live picture now of the downtown area of Yardley, Pennsylvania, we‘re joined by some locals who have been severely affected by this flooding, and unfortunately, know all too well about flooding. Ken Coluzzi is the police chief of Lower Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, wrapped around this area here also Petra Schlatter is a staff writer, she had to evacuate her home, and also Jeff Werner, he‘s the editor of “The Yardley News” as well.
Chief, you and I spent a little time today. We were out there looking at the boats and the water. First of all, how do you feel when you see your community like this?
CHIEF KEN COLUZZI, LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP, PA POLICE: Oh, it‘s devastating. These poor people went through this two times before this. The devastation was awful. I mean, it was millions of dollars worth of damage, hundreds of homes affected and what you are seeing is just the beginning. We‘re looking at several more feet by tomorrow evening and I don‘t know what is going to happen. This canal and the river, all along Yardley Borough, Lower Makefield Township is going to be completely underwater. We‘re so happy we got ahead of the curve. So far, we have no injuries or no fatalities, we want to keep it that way.
COSBY: Absolutely. Walk us through the what you think the next 24 to 48 hours could bring? Give us the timetable that you shared with me earlier?
COLUZZI: Well, We‘re watching the weather forecast and we‘re watching the river basin forecast and they are talking about possibly anywhere between 25 and 28 feet. That‘s substantial. We had 25 last time, 28 is well over what we had the last two floods. The floods of April 2004 and September 2005. It‘s just too much water and too much devastation for these people.
COSBY: Absolutely. You know Petra you had to evacuate your home.
What does your house look like?
PETRA SCHLATTER, “THE YARDLEY NEWS”: Well right now I don‘t know. We had to evacuate at noon today. My kids and my husband, and we just got out. I don‘t know if we‘re going to be flooded or not.
COSBY: How close was the water coming at that point?
SCHLATTER: It was just down to river road. It was like a couple, I don‘t know, maybe a quarter of a block or something like that.
COSBY: I can tell you we were near river road, and the water is creeping up. In fact we had to rush out of there today because we were being engulfed in water.
SCHLATTER: My heart really goes out to the people here. I‘ve covered them. I‘ve gone to town meetings, and the thing that‘s really sad is that the federal government is really slow on getting funds to these people for acquisition and elevation. That‘s what they are waiting for. Some of them can‘t afford to move out. They just can‘t.
COSBY: You know Jeff, as you hear this, why have they not figured it out yet? Why has the government not figured it out to help these people? This is the third flood you have had in just a few years?
JEFF WERNER, “THE YARDLEY NEWS” EDITOR: I have no idea. Our borough officials have been working so hard to get this money for these people to help them out. This is the third time they‘re going through this. They need help.
COSBY: Give us a little history of the floods that have taken place in the last few years causing millions of dollars of damage here.
WERNER: Yes, the first flood that we had was in September of 2004, and then that was followed up just six months later in April of 2005, and now this one is expected to surpass that one by a little bit. So, you know, the people, but they are resilient, they bounce back. They have a spirit here, and our town comes together, we‘ll get them through this.
COSBY: Well, we‘ll be here rooting for you guys, thank you.
WERNER: Thank you.
COSBY: I have met some beautiful people here today. Chief thank you very much. Guys thank you. Everybody stick with us. We‘ll be covering the massive flooding that is here now and is continuing to come to Yardley, Pennsylvania, other places around the country.
Plus, we first told you about the Star Jones bombshell on “The View.” Her shell-shocked co-hosts have now responded quite vigorously. And next, how the JonBenet murder mystery may be affected by the death of Patsy Ramsey. A new cold case investigation, could it open the case? That‘s coming up.
COSBY: And you‘re looking at what is normally an active gas station here in Yardley, Pennsylvania. But you can see where the water has come up, there near the pumps. You can see that they have lifted some of the nozzles up to avoid any hazards here. But obviously a lot of big concerns here tonight in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
This over here, in fact, take a look over here. This is a realtor‘s office. You can see the sign, several feet under water at this point. Front door, mailbox, everything. Again, all of these businesses emptied tonight, there is much more rain expected. In fact, let‘s go if we could now to NBC Weather Plus meteorologist Kristen Cornett, who is on the phone from Easton, Pennsylvania, to talk about the weather there and up and down this state. Kristen?
KRISTEN CORNETT, METEOROLOGIST, NBC WEATHER PLUS: Hi, Rita. All right, well rolled into Easton, Pennsylvania this evening. And the Delaware River runs through the town here. Flood stage on this river is about 22 feet. They consider it a major flood stage at 30 feet. The latest information I have on this river is we‘re at about 34.8.
So we‘re above major flood stage. Much of the downtown is underwater, a lot of the business underwater, a lot of roads in the downtown area have been blocked off. Some residents have been evacuated.
We‘re expecting this river to crest, it appears, tomorrow morning at about 35.5 feet, so that‘s about a foot higher than it is now. But we do have thunderstorms in the forecast tomorrow. They are not going to be widespread, heavy rains like we‘ve had in recent days. That‘s moved out.
However, any brief, heavy downpours could certainly aggravate the situation. So they‘re saying while we are expecting that 35.5 at crest tomorrow morning, any additional rises could occur thereafter. So that‘s something we‘ll certainly be closely watching—Rita.
COSBY: Kristen, thank you very much. And everybody at home, be sure to stay with us for our continuing coverage of the fierce flooding that is taking place up and down the Northeast, including right here where I‘m standing in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
We will continue to update you throughout the hour, more bad weather as you just heard, unfortunately, on the way. And we‘ll keep you posted, again, throughout this hour. So do not touch that dial.
Now, let‘s move on to a big mystery that a lot of people are still focusing on, especially with some new developments recently. This is maybe one of the most famous cold cases ever to grip the headlines. Who killed little JonBenet Ramsey? Ten years after the brutal crime, it is still a question without any answers with the death of JonBenet‘s mother Patsy just taking place a few days ago.
Court TV is taking another look at the case, examining the twists and turns that have left detectives high and dry. Right now, investigators are no closer to solving the case. In fact, one reporter close to the investigation says there were problems right from the start.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when the initial investigators and officers showed up at the Ramsey house, they found that rather than a—a contained, pristine, crime scene, they had had distraught parents with four of their best friends and their minister traipsing through the house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us live right now is Court TV‘s Lisa Bloom. Lisa, where do think the case stands now? Everyone is wondering.
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Well, we take a close look at it in the special which airs tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on Court TV, Rita.
There‘s always been two schools of thought. The Boulder police always felt that it was the parents who were probably responsible for the death of little JonBenet Ramsey back on Christmas Day of 1996. And the D.A. investigators always felt that it was not the parents, rather it was an intruder.
But the problem is, as you point out, initially everyone thought it was a kidnapping, and so law enforcement went trampling through the home, the very home where little JonBenet was found later on to be dead. That turns out to be a crime scene, but so much evidence was lost as a result of that.
But we take a close look at all of the evidence, everything that the grand jury went over in their one-year investigation of the case. No one was ever charged. But we have Dr. Henry Lee taking a look at some evidence that nobody‘s really thought about. It‘s really intriguing, Rita, you‘re going to have to take a look.
COSBY: And, in fact, Lisa, you know, as we look at the case, it‘s fascinating, because we have gotten so many calls, and one of the things that a lot of people have been talking about, Lisa, is the ransom note.
COSBY: Where did the pen and paper come from? What did you guys discover on that?
BLOOM: Well that‘s a good question. We really don‘t know the answer to that. That‘s one of the many unanswered questions in this case. Another one that‘s been less well-reported is that pineapple was found in the stomach during the autopsy of little JonBenet Ramsey. Now everybody says that day nobody fed her any pineapple.
So where did it come from? Well investigators found a bowl on the table in the Ramseys home with pineapple in it and also a cup with a tea bag on it. Patsy Ramsey was always adamant that she did not give her daughter any pineapple. And she would really have no reason to lie about that, right?
So it looks as though perhaps an intruder came in, sat down at a table with little JonBenet Ramsey in the middle of the night while her parents and her brother are there sleeping in the house. They had something to eat, the intruder may have had some tea from that tea cup with the tea bag in it.
And you know, DNA was taken from the crime scene, Rita, DNA of a white male that‘s never been matched to anyone. The best hope is if this crime was done by an intruder, that that person commits another crime, that person‘s DNA gets into some DNA bank soon and gets matched against the DNA found at JonBenet‘s crime scene.
So there is always a possibility that can happen. New DNA‘s coming into police law enforcement banks all the time and there could be a match. It‘s a possibility.
COSBY: And very quickly, does it look like this case will ever be solved really quickly?
BLOOM: It‘s very hard to say, Rita. I have to say I think it‘s a long shot.
COSBY: All right. Lisa Bloom, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
BLOOM: Thanks Rita, stay dry.
COSBY: Keep us posted, a fascinating special on Court TV. Thank you, I‘ll try to. And there‘s a lot more coming up here on MSNBC tonight.
Let‘s check in with Tucker with “THE SITUATION.” Tucker, what do you have?
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Rita. We‘ll have much more on the floods tonight, plus Star Jones gets into a very public brawl with Barbara Walters. We‘ll have expert analysis on who‘s going to win that brawl. And L.A. takes a stand against the Hooters girls, really a controversy. In fact, we‘re on the side of Hooters, I‘m going to let you know right now, Rita.
COSBY: All right Tucker, we‘ll be watching. Thanks so much.
And everybody, stay with us as we continue here live from Yardley, Pennsylvania. But we‘re going to be focusing on the battle of the divas:
Barbara Walters, Star Jones, the big smackdown. Hold onto your seats. Some surprising words from Barbara today. And a woman acquitted of killing her husband says she wants her job back. Should she get it? Find out. That‘s coming up next.
COSBY: Well, she killed her husband and was acquitted for murder, and now she wants her old job back. Sharon Spangler was fired by Daimler Chrysler almost two months after shooting her estranged husband, Stephen, during an alleged domestic dispute. The automaker says Spangler failed to show up for a medical evaluation. The former executive says that she was fired after being charged with first-degree murder. LIVE & DIRECT now is Sharon Spangler and her attorney Jennifer Salvatore.
Sharon, you know, you believe that you were terminated because of the murder. Tell us about that, first of all, and why do you believe that that‘s the reason?
SHARON SPANGLER, ACQUITTED OF MURDERING HUSBAND: I think that might be part of the reason why I was terminated. I believe I was terminated for reasons because I was denied a leave of absence, and also because they wanted to reduce their head count.
COSBY: You know, let me show Sharon, this is what Daimler Chrysler had to say. This is their response. We obviously tried to get a reaction from them. They said, “Like all employees on medical leave, Ms. Spangler was required to attend a medical evaluation. When she failed to report for the exam, she was terminated.”
What‘s your reaction? I mean, isn‘t this sort of standard and you missed it, so they have to do equal punishment?
SPANGLER: Well, that‘s what they are saying. But however, I have been at Chrysler, worked for 20 years and quite a few of those years I was a supervisor, and it was always case specific. There was many incidents that I‘m aware of where people missed their medical appointment or were able to reschedule. And the other issue was that I requested a leave of absence. And...
COSBY: ... Why did you kill your husband? Why did you kill your husband?
SPANGLER: Well, I had filed for divorce. My husband no longer lived in the house, and I came—I needed to get the—he was driving a Chrysler executive lease car that I needed to get back. And I had called him and told him I filed for a divorce, and he was pretty upset about that.
He had been having some major problems with his business. His business was failing. His life was sliding out of control. He was having issues with drug abuse, drug use, and he...
COSBY: ... And in fact Sharon, I want to show a little bit about the abuse that you said you endured with him. This is your comments in the deposition. Let‘s play it, this is what you said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPANGLER: I was a very private person, and I was having a hard enough time dealing with the changes in my husband, and I was afraid. I didn‘t—
I wasn‘t in the habit of running to the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, you also—it‘s really gripping this deposition.
You also talk about the moments before you shot and killed your husband.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPANGLER: He kept screaming, I‘ll kill you—all kinds of bad words, and I—the gun was there, and I picked it up and it fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, when you hear the description of what happened, do you understand why Daimler Chrysler is a little concerned at taking you back?
SPANGLER: No, not really, because I was attacked in my own home by a person that no longer lived there. He came to the home uninvited, surprised me, cornered me up in my upstairs bathroom while I was preparing to leave for an appointment.
And I did not go out looking for my husband. I did not go out looking for trouble or—I was doing what I needed to do. I filed for divorce. I went—the night before my husband came over, I had started divorce proceedings and that enraged him.
COSBY: Let me bring in Jennifer, your attorney. You know, as you hear this, this is obviously just a very sad story of abuse. And she was acquitted. She did spend time, but was acquitted ultimately. Jennifer, on what grounds are you now going to sue Daimler Chrysler, and what chance do you think you have?
JENNIFER SALVATORE, ATTORNEY: Rita, we‘ve brought a lawsuit alleging primarily discharge and breach of public policy. Here Sharon was a crime victim. A jury acquitted her of all charges, not only first-degree murder, but second-degree murder, manslaughter, and felonious use of a firearm.
In the United States of America, you‘re innocent until proven guilty and you‘re certainly innocent after you‘re acquitted of a crime. There are statutes in Michigan, as there are in many states, that protect the employment rights of crime victims. Sharon Spangler should not lose the right to be protected by those statutes simply because she chose to defend herself in a crime. So the argument primarily is...
COSBY: ... Let me bring in Sharon. Let me bring in Sharon, real quick. We just have a little bit of time, sorry. Sharon, what are you doing these days, and how are you spending your time?
SPANGLER: Well I‘ve been looking for a comparable job in a field that I‘ve worked in for 20 years. And I do a lot of volunteer work at women‘s shelters, dealing with domestic violence victims and staff. I do community service work and spend time with my family.
COSBY: Well please keep us posted on how the case progresses. Thank you, both of you, very much.
And everybody, we‘re going to continue to watch the flooding taking place here in Pennsylvania and in a lot of other places along the Northeast. Plus, also the battle of the divas, everybody. The big media story. Did Star Jones‘s surprise goodbye backfire and turn things vicious at “The View?” That‘s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: It is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table. And, therefore, regrettably, Star will no longer be on this program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: Good morning and welcome to “The View.” And then there were three.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, it‘s official the claws are out and the daytime divas are digging at each other all after Star Jones announced that she was leaving the show, AKA says she was fired. It was Barbara Walter‘s turn to scratch back on Star Jones on “The View” this morning. Jones stunned her viewers and co-hosts with a surprise on-air announcement Tuesday that she was leaving the show. But, the battle looks like it could get even uglier. Barbara and Star are now lashing out at each other through other media outlets. And with me now is “Peoples Magazine‘s” Mark Dagostino, who interviewed Star for this week‘s issue about she really left the show.
You know Mark when did you do the interview and did you know that it was going to coincide with the big TV announcement by Star Jones?
MARK DAGOSTINO, “PEOPLE MAGAZINE”: We did the interview on Friday and Saturday and we were not sure when she was going to make the announcement. We knew that it was coming this week. And when it happened on Tuesday, it just instantly, almost instantly Barbara Walters and folks at ABC turned around and were so upset by her announcement, and I don‘t think that Star was prepared for that. She thought that they were going to back her up.
COSBY: Why did she decide to take matters into her own hands.
Everybody thought that it was a pretty brazen move?
DAGOSTINO: For one thing she was worried that there would be tabloid leaks about this. She has suffered leak after leak and comment after comment in the gossip columns for months, and she wanted to do this on her own terms. She wanted to take a little of the control back and just tell the viewers the truth about what happened to her, which is a pretty bold move. I mean, who in television is admitting that their contract was not renewed, that they were essentially fired. It‘s a very bold move. I was surprised to hear it, and when she made the announcement on air, Barbara Walters and the rest of the crew were surprised as well.
COSBY: You bet, in fact, Barbara Walters was not happy. Mark, let me play a little clip from Barbara this morning on “The View.” Here is Barbara Walters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: We gave her time to look for another job and we hoped that she would announce it here on the program and leave with dignity. But Star made another choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Do you think Barbara deserves to be a little mad? Who should be mad in this fight, Mark?
DAGOSTINO: Well, Star was clearly hurt and has a right to be mad. She was on “The View” for nine years. To see her contract not renewed, she had a right to feel that things were working against her.
COSBY: And in fact Mark, I want to show, because she‘s been pretty feisty. A lot of people did say good for her, and this is what she said in an interview on Ryan Seacrest radio show. This is what she said this morning I‘ll get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: If anybody should feel betrayed, it should be me, because in the same week that I was told that I would not be renewed, that is the same week that Rosie O‘Donnell vilified me in the media, and the exact same week that Barbara, my mentor and friend and colleague of nine years called her and invited her to be a co-host on “The View.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Do you think that we will be talking about “The View” feud for a while?
DAGOSTINO: You know, I think there‘s enormous interest here. What has happened, there has been a revelation of what happens sometimes behind the scenes on the shows and how nasty things can get. When somebody is fired, normally everybody just kind of makes a little shell around them and just tries to protect them, and Barbara insists that‘s what she was trying to do, and what we have seen here is somebody admit the truth. Star wanted to come clean for her viewers and by admitting the truth, she enraged everybody at ABC and “The View.”
COSBY: Alright well Mike Dagostino, thank you very much from “People Magazine.” Everybody stick with us. We will have a lot more from the massive flooding here in Yardley, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. We will continue the story. Talk about it right after the break. Stick with us everybody.
COSBY: As you can see right now, a lot of water in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Right now the river is about 21, 22 feet deep, which is very deep for this river, the Delaware River, which is just probably a few blocks away from here, and we are expecting it will crest Friday morning at 28 or 29 feet, which means a lot of areas will be flooded, including possibly the homes of these residents here that we‘ve got with us. We have Devin, also Jim Boyle and also the girlfriend Liz. Thank you very much for being with us. Why are you still staying in your home?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Security. We are trying to make sure that everything is right, and we have some pumps to run and a generator to try to keep ahead of the water. We expect water in the basement this time.
COSBY: You were here in 2004, and 2005?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we never had water in the basement, and we do expect some this time.
COSBY: What do you think when you go around time. You are on the crest, your house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mainly I just feel bad for everybody on the flat, down lower or higher on the river.
COSBY: What did you see when you were out and about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people moving, and a lot of U-Haul trucks, a lot of Rider trucks, and things like that.
COSBY: How concerned are you for folks in the neighborhood and for your place?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very concerned. I‘m here to help, give them an extra hand, even though I am not that big.
COSBY: What‘s the reaction of some of neighbors? A lot of them seem very worried?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scared, very scared, and it keeps happening.
COSBY: You are staying. What message do you wanted to say to some of your neighbors who are down lower. That river is rushing, as you saw?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, anybody that‘s on the river really should not be there, we are a block off the river and it will stop the water from doing severe damage. It‘s really not that unsafe. And we are more concerned about trying to maintain and try to decrease the amount of losses. That‘s all.
COSBY: Well we hope that you‘re safe. If it gets high, you promise me all of you will get out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
COSBY: Stay safe, and everybody, that finishes our live coverage here from Yardley, Pennsylvania. We‘re going to continue our coverage, continuous coverage starting at 5:00 AM on MSNBC. Don‘t touch that dial. Now “THE SITUATION” starts.
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