Guest: Lincoln Gomez, Paul Reynolds, Sean O‘Shea, Jonathan “Paco” Reese, Lisa De Paulo, David Edmunds, Clint Van Zandt
LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST: Coming up, a judge rules authorities can keep the fourth suspect in the search for missing teen Natalee Holloway behind bars.
DANIELS (voice-over): And police question another person in connection with Natalee‘s disappearance, the father of the Dutch suspect, but still no sign of Natalee now missing for three weeks.
And jurors deciding the fate of an 80-year-old man on trial for the murder of three civil rights workers in the 1960‘s, the first time anyone has been tried for killing them.
Plus, their job was to guard Saddam Hussein. He may be one of the most brutal dictators alive today, but these soldiers say he certainly doesn‘t act like one. We‘ll talk with them.
The program about justice starts right now.
DANIELS: Hi everyone. I‘m Lisa Daniels. Dan is off tonight.
New developments in the search for Natalee Holloway, the American high school graduate missing in Aruba for more than three weeks. Today a judge‘s ruling that the latest suspect, the fourth to be arrested in the case, Steve Gregory Croes will be detained for another eight days. Croes is a disc jockey in a local party boat. In fact, that boat docked just yards away from the Holiday Inn where Holloway was staying in Aruba over the weekend.
Paul Van Der Sloot, the father of the Dutch suspect, was questioned by police for seven hours, five Saturday night and two Sunday afternoon. According to Aruba‘s attorney general the judge in training was—quote—
“questioned as a witness no more or no less.”
Joining us now with the latest out of Aruba NBC‘s Martin Savidge and Martin, what are the new developments today? Are there any?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well there are a number of developments. Certainly, a number of things that are interesting to take a look at. First of all, at this hour, we had been anticipating the transfer of two of the three primary systems from jail cells to an actual prison. KIA Prison is located on the opposite end of the island from where we are now.
That transfer, though, we are told now is not going to take place this evening. It would be intriguing because if you move them from a jail cell to a prison, clearing the indication is that you are going to be hanging on to these suspects for some time. These are the three young men who are associated with Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance because she was with them the night that she vanished.
Now let‘s talk about this fourth suspect. That is Steven Croes, the disc jockey you mentioned from the party boat. He went before a judge today. It was a routine hearing. It‘s a matter where you go before the judge and the judge reviews all of the evidence, listens to the prosecutor, listens to the defense attorney, can actually listen to the suspects themselves and then decides is there enough evidence to warrant continuing to hold this particular person and the judge said in the case of Mr. Croes, yes there is. That means he will be held for at least another eight days.
And then over the weekend, that interview, the two interviews that took place with the father of Joran Van Der Sloot, that‘s Paul Van Der Sloot. As you point out, he‘s a judge in training. He‘s also an attorney. He got called into the police department on Saturday, was questioned at length until 10:00 at night. Then came back out and returned the next morning for another two hours. We‘re told at that time he was actually reviewing the statement he made the day before and he signed off on it.
So these are the intriguing developments that are happening, but the backdrop, of course, to all of this is the fact that it‘s now been exactly three weeks since Natalee Holloway disappeared and there is no sign at all of that young girl—Lisa.
DANIELS: Three weeks to the day. Let‘s just go back, Martin. This guy, Steve Croes, what do we know about him? How did the police even get his name?
SAVIDGE: Well we don‘t know a lot about him. What we have heard, what we‘ve been told through sources is that he is a friend of one of the original three suspects, a friend that met at an Internet cafe. I mean that sounds pretty innocuous and really doesn‘t seem strong evidence to link him perhaps to the disappearance of this young woman. We don‘t know how it goes beyond that right now. There‘s a lot of speculation, but hard evidence we just don‘t have.
DANIELS: In the last three weeks you‘ve talked a lot about the searches going on for Natalee. I haven‘t heard much talk about that recently. Are the searches still active? Are they going on?
SAVIDGE: There are. They‘re not the size that perhaps you saw in the beginning where you had hundreds of people involved. Now it‘s down to just a handful of volunteers and that‘s not to say that people aren‘t interested. They want to help. It‘s the fact that most of these searches are now being instigated as a result of tips that they get, people calling in or people who say that they have some information.
Family members many times are the ones that are responding going out and searching in specific areas. Sometimes it‘s caves. Sometimes it‘s beachfronts. Sometimes it‘s buildings. But they have not found any sign of this missing young woman, so the searches continue. We understand there is another larger effort that is being planned in the next coming days. We‘ll keep you posted on that, Lisa.
DANIELS: All right, Martin Savidge. Thanks so much, Martin. I know it‘s frustrating given the lack of information coming out of Aruba.
As you know, Aruba follows Dutch law, which is in so many ways different from the legal procedures we‘re familiar with right here in the United States. And joining me now to help us better understand those difference, Lincoln Gomez, an attorney in Aruba, and Mr. Gomez, if you could give us some perspective. We know that some of these suspects have been held days on end. I know it‘s part of the law, but is it typical in Aruba for that to happen?
LINCOLN GOMEZ, ARUBAN ATTORNEY: Yes, I think we‘re still in the parameters of the normal course of action in these types of cases and you know they‘ve held them for so many days now. It seems that some of them will be going to the correction facility, to prison as opposed to the police station where the accommodations perhaps are not as suitable for a longer term imprisonment and again, that‘s pretty standard in these cases.
DANIELS: So no significance about the transfer at all.
GOMEZ: No, the transfer usually, at the police station, they will keep you—keep a suspect up to 10 days. After that they would arrange for transport to KIA, to the correction facility. Whether or not a transfer takes place sometimes depends on logistical aspects, availability at the police station or availability at the jail.
DANIELS: Give us some perspective and as sense of what the questioning is like. Is it like the questioning done here in the United States? As you know, the family is saying that they don‘t believe the authorities are questioning these suspects hard enough. What‘s the questioning like?
GOMEZ: Well I think the questioning would be similar to any international law enforcement agency or methods that are used. You know our officers are trained, not only in Aruba, but also in Holland and the EU, and it would not be any different. We don‘t have any access to those questions and we don‘t know what is being questioned—is being asked, but I‘m sure it‘s all within the normal course of action.
DANIELS: Do you think that the techniques are slightly harsher than those used here in the United States?
GOMEZ: I think at the end of the day one key thing is here that we fall under the convention of human rights and those human—and that convention regulates very strictly to what extent questioning can be done and to what kind—and what kind of techniques can or cannot be used and during investigations.
DANIELS: How much access to you think these suspects are actually getting—being given to their attorneys?
GOMEZ: My understanding is that all the suspects are getting access to their attorneys. One of the suspect‘s access was restricted to one specific attorney, but there were two other attorneys joining in the defense team and they had access to their clients throughout the whole time, so they have the access.
DANIELS: And just yes or no, are polygraphs typical in situations like this, just yes or no.
GOMEZ: Not typical.
DANIELS: All right. Lincoln thanks so much for the perspective.
Good to get those insights.
GOMEZ: A pleasure.
DANIELS: Also this weekend, Natalee Holloway‘s family released some new pictures of the missing teen, recent ones from her prom and also her high school graduation. Joining me now Paul Reynolds, Natalee‘s uncle. He actually just returned from Aruba and Mr. Reynolds, thanks so much for joining us. I know it‘s—you must be going through such a difficult time right now.
PAUL REYNOLDS, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S UNCLE: It has been difficult and as you mentioned earlier, it‘s been three weeks today, so...
REYNOLDS: ... a long time but you know we‘re holding firm.
DANIELS: How is the family holding up, especially your sister, Natalee‘s mom?
REYNOLDS: Beth is doing very well despite this difficult circumstance. You know she has tremendous ups and downs, but every day she comes back and you know she re-energizes herself and she focuses on the task at hand.
DANIELS: Are you happy with how this investigation is going right now?
REYNOLDS: Well of course we would be happiest with some results and information. You know that‘s what we want, just some answers. Let us know what has happened and where Natalee is. We‘re trying to be patient. We‘re trying to work within in the system and allow it to—allow them to complete the investigation.
DANIELS: Let me ask you, Mr. Reynolds, do you feel like the Aruban authorities aren‘t giving you everything that they have or do you think that this investigation really hasn‘t yielded a lot of results right now?
REYNOLDS: Well at this point we‘re hoping that they have much more information than they‘re giving us.
REYNOLDS: That‘s the real hope that we have and that they‘re following these leads and they‘re making progress. It would be very disappointing to think that they‘re not making progress and this lack of information that we‘re receiving is simply a lack of information that they have.
DANIELS: So if there was one thing that you wanted the Aruban police to do, what would that be?
REYNOLDS: Just get to the bottom of this. You know find out from the person involved you know what has happened, where Natalee is. Give us some information that will lead us to the right person. And of course, we would like to understand how the individuals are tied together and you know what possible motives or links they might have, but we just want some answers.
DANIELS: Do you feel like the four people who are detained right now, that amongst those four people, they have the answer to where Natalee is?
REYNOLDS: We do and especially the first three—those were the three that my sister was able to identify the day that Natalee was missing, the day that my sister arrived on the island.
REYNOLDS: Those were the last people that were seen with her and that‘s where we keep coming back to.
DANIELS: And yet 10 days passed before those people were actually detained. Do you think that was a crucial mistake?
REYNOLDS: Well we‘re not going to make a judgment at this time. Of course, during those 10 days, we were somewhat anxious about that and wondering why. Of course in the meantime, there were the arrests of the two security guards, so we tried to allow that situation to go through. Certainly that would have given them time to change a story or create a story and possibly hide some evidence.
DANIELS: We also understand that your family just hired an Aruban attorney. What are you hoping for in that? Just to understand the law or are you hoping for legal action?
REYNOLDS: At this point we just want to understand the law and some information that we‘ve received, which we have not yet verified, was that some more information might be appropriately given to a victim or the victim‘s family if they‘re considered a party of interest. And so that‘s one of the things that we‘re hoping. We‘re hoping that can allow us to receive more information.
DANIELS: Well Paul Reynolds you know that America is with you. That they‘re thinking about Natalee. Thanks so much for coming on the show. We really appreciate it and wish you all the very best.
REYNOLDS: All right, thank you.
DANIELS: All right. Well coming up, we‘re going to ask a former FBI investigator about the search for Natalee.
Also we‘re going to go behind the scenes with Saddam Hussein. Two of the National Guardsmen responsible for guarding him in jail are here. He may be a brutal dictator, but they say Saddam likes to eat just like an average American, just don‘t give him any Froot Loops.
Plus, jurors get the case of an 80-year-old former KKK member on trial for arranging the murder of three civil rights workers in the ‘60‘s, the first and only person ever charged with their murders.
And of course your e-mails, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to include your name and where you‘re writing from, and I‘ll respond at the end of the show.
DANIELS: When he ruled Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a fearsome figure in the world, but lately we‘ve seen him in slightly more humbling circumstances, getting checked for lice when he was caught by coalition forces back in December of 2003, reprimanded by an Iraqi judge last July, and also questioned by magistrates in a video released earlier this month.
But now we‘re learning some of the most surprising details of the former dictator‘s life, from a group of National Guardsmen given the unusual assignment of guarding Saddam Hussein in the secret location where he‘s being detained. They watched him sleep. They watched him bathe, tend to a garden, even eat American snack foods and not surprisingly they formed a unique relationship with the man once known as the butcher of Baghdad.
The latest edition of “GQ” magazine details the guards‘ experiences and joining me now is the author of the article, Lisa De Paulo and the men who had the job of guarding Saddam, Specialist Sean O‘Shea, also Corporal Jonathan “Paco” Reese of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Thank you—all of you for joining us today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
DANIELS: So Sean...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for having us.
DANIELS: ... let me begin with you. How many times a day did you think to yourself, I can‘t believe I am guarding Saddam Hussein.
SPL. SEAN O‘SHEA, GUARDED SADDAM HUSSEIN: Every single time—just about every single time I walked into the cell area. It was like—I mean as much as you get used to one thing, it still hits you every time, you know, to shake his hand or say hello to him.
DANIELS: Why do you think you were chosen for it?
O‘SHEA: I don‘t know. It just kind of fell in the lap of my whole platoon and it‘s just the job we got chosen for. I don‘t know exactly how or why, but it was a pretty—it‘s an experience I‘ll never forget, so I‘m very happy I got...
DANIELS: Yes, I bet. Jonathan, tell me about your first meeting with Saddam Hussein. How did that happen?
CPL. JONATHAN “PACO” REESE, GUARDED SADDAM HUSSEIN: My first meeting with Saddam Hussein was a little bit—I was a little awestruck. My roommate took me to his door, asked if I wanted to meet him. I‘m like are we allowed to do that. So he brings me to the door and he knocks on his cell door and I started like freaking out a little bit.
I was like you know you‘re going to get him upset. You‘re going to get him mad. So he sticks his hand, he waves hello to him through the door, and Saddam comes up to the door, a big smile on his face, you know puts his hand over his heart and he‘s like hello, you know it‘s nice to meet you. So you know I said the same thing back to him, and I just thought why am I saying it‘s nice to meet...
REESE: ... so that was my first time meeting him.
DANIELS: You referenced him as Saddam, are you on a first-name basis at this point?
REESE: Well I didn‘t know what to call him. I just you know usually got his attention by making a noise or something like that, you know...
DANIELS: Yes. Lisa, it‘s such a great idea for an article. I‘m just curious, how did this transpire?
LISA DE PAULO, “GQ” CORRESPONDENT: Actually Sean and I are from the same hometown...
DE PAULO: ... and I heard he was in Iraq and I heard he was on some mysterious assignment and kept up with it.
DANIELS: But the military, did they have to approve the article?
DE PAULO: Well I spoke to several of his commanding officers and I knew that when they left Iraq they signed certain things that they could not—they signed things that explained what they couldn‘t talk about, such as the location, the number of forces, methods—actual methods of guarding him that would put soldiers in jeopardy. Well we wouldn‘t have printed that anyway...
DE PAULO: ... so that was pretty easy. But in terms of their personal stories, I was shocked at how many there were.
DANIELS: Yes, it‘s really—it‘s a great article. Sean...
DE PAULO: Thank you.
DANIELS: ... outline for us what a typical day was for Saddam Hussein.
O‘SHEA: Well wake up early in the morning, around 7:00, then he‘d have his breakfast.
DANIELS: But what‘s the breakfast like?
O‘SHEA: We usually have eggs, French toast, a lot of fruit and...
DANIELS: But not Froot Loops, let‘s be clear...
DANIELS: ... about that. The guy didn‘t like Froot Loops, right...
O‘SHEA: Yes, not Froot Loops. He liked Raisin Bran...
DANIELS: (INAUDIBLE) But do you cater to that? Did the military provide Raisin Bran because Saddam Hussein liked it?
O‘SHEA: Not because Saddam Hussein liked it. It was something that was available to all the troops but he got to eat exactly what we had to eat, so he just—he just took a liking to it.
DANIELS: OK, so then what happens after breakfast? What happens next?
O‘SHEA: After breakfast, the doctors come to see him and then he goes outside for a little while, takes a shower, has lunch, then dinner and then...
DANIELS: How many showers a week did he—I think in the article it said two, right?
O‘SHEA: For a while, it was two showers a week, but he‘s able to shower every day now.
DANIELS: OK and what happens in the evening? What‘s the evening plans?
O‘SHEA: Pretty much just calm. He just sits down, writes in his cell and then goes to bed.
DANIELS: So Jonathan, tell me about this neat freak. It‘s worse than a neat freak. He sounds from the article like he‘s a germaphobe.
REESE: Yes, that‘s—you can‘t word it any better than that. For example, like if you met him, like you came into his presence, he‘d shake your hand and after you left he would take his baby wipes that we supplied him with and he would wipe his hands off, but he never did it in front of any—in front of you to offend you. He also wiped off his utensils, his plates, his trays. Basically anytime he felt dirty, he wiped himself off.
DANIELS: And so here you have Saddam Hussein trying to make conversation with you on certain days. Do you answer him? What were the rules regarding what you could and could not say?
REESE: We couldn‘t tell him anything personal about ourselves. I mean I wouldn‘t want him knowing anything personal about me either.
DANIELS: But he told you he loved President Reagan, right?
REESE: Yes. Yes...
DANIELS: And I understand one of you told him that he actually died.
O‘SHEA: Yes, I told...
O‘SHEA: ... that he passed away...
DANIELS: And what was his reaction, Sean, when you told him?
O‘SHEA: He just said yes, it happens. So...
DANIELS: Yes. So did you guys actually like him? Was he a likable guy, Jonathan?
REESE: In a sense, you know yes, he was if I didn‘t know anything about his past. But since you know I knew everything that he‘s done to his own country and stuff like that, he wasn‘t really likable in the back of your mind. But as far the outer side of him, yes, he seemed like a likable guy, like if I didn‘t know anything about him, I‘d probably like...
DANIELS: And I also understand he gave you guys dating tips.
DANIELS: Anything good that you want to share with me?
O‘SHEA: I don‘t think anything that would work.
DANIELS: What about those photos we saw in the “London Sun” of Saddam in his underwear. How do you think those got released?
O‘SHEA: You know what, there were people guarding him before we got there as well, so I mean could it have been somebody from us? Yes. I highly doubt it. The way our platoon was run, it was—we had a tight ship...
O‘SHEA: ... actually, I was kind of upset by those pictures because it kind of...
O‘SHEA: ... picture of Saddam Hussein, so it kind of showed him, you know...
O‘SHEA: ... kind of made it look like we treated him like a fool...
O‘SHEA: ... and we didn‘t.
REESE: Definitely, yes.
DANIELS: Lisa, when you read the article, he almost becomes likeable, Saddam Hussein. He‘s very timid. He likes his, you know, his Raisin Bran. He doesn‘t like his Froot Loops. Were you worried how this article was going to be received?
DE PAULO: Well I think Sean said this best and I think most of the guys agree that one of the things they learned was he had to be charming to manipulate millions of people. He had to be—it‘s kind of like—I felt the truth about Saddam was as important as the truth about a serial killer. We can never know too much about them, and this is the truth.
DANIELS: Well it‘s really a fascinating article to read. Of course, you know, his love of Doritos is not going to make me like the man, but I think it‘s a very interesting perspective from you, Sean and Jonathan.
Lisa DePaulo, Sean O‘Shea, and Jonathan “Paco” Reese, thanks so much for coming on the show.
DE PAULO: Thank you.
O‘SHEA: Thank you.
DANIELS: We appreciate it.
REESE: Thank you.
DANIELS: Coming up, their civil rights work and murders inspired the movie “Mississippi Burning”, now a former Klansman is on trial for the crimes, the jury now deciding the fate of the 80-year-old suspect. We‘re going to have a live report from the courthouse. That‘s next.
And more than 1,000 people join the search for a missing Boy Scout last seen in the wilderness on Friday. We‘ll get a live update from the scene.
DANIELS: Coming up, a jury is deliberating the fate of a former Klansman on trial for the murders of three civil right workers. The story became immortalized in the movie “Mississippi Burning”. We‘re going to have live update from the courthouse next, but first the headlines.
DANIELS: A Mississippi jury is behind closed doors right now deciding the fate of an 80-year-old man charged in three of the most notorious murders of the civil rights era. Prosecutors say Edgar Ray Killen was the Ku Klux Klan mastermind behind the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, civil rights workers murdered 20 years ago.
A 1967 federal trial found seven men guilty of civil rights violations in the killings. Eight were found not guilty and the jury hung on three suspects, including Killen. But now the state of Mississippi says it‘s trying to bring Killen to justice for the murders, which were the subject of the movie “Mississippi Burning”. If convicted, Killen could spend the rest of his life in prison.
NBC News—NBC‘s Mark Potter, that is, is in Philadelphia, Mississippi with more. Good to see you Mark. What‘s the latest?
MARK POTTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well hi Lisa. The jury has been out for almost four hours now. We haven‘t heard anything from them. We do understand that the judge may be coming back into the courtroom shortly. We got a warning on that but indications are that this is not a verdict. Perhaps the judge will be announcing that the jury is being dismissed for the night.
We are awaiting his word and we‘ll see what happens. These deliberations followed two hours of closing arguments by the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, each of course painting a different picture for the jurors. In his summation, the Mississippi Attorney General, James Hood, accused Edgar Ray Killen of coordinating the murders of the three civil rights workers back in 1964. He said 41 years later it is now time for justice. Let‘s listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM HOOD, MISSISSIPPI ATTORNEY GENERAL: The defendant was the mastermind of all of it. He was the Kleagle. He recruited all those people down there in Meridian and formed that Klan down there. He talked at several meetings and several witnesses almost every one of them that testified said that when they were at those Klan meetings the defendant said that the elimination order had been approved. What other evidence do you need other than the murder order, order had been approved, that—other than that it was carried out?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: But the defense argued that Killen had nothing to do with the murders. That perhaps all he did wrong was just talk too much about the case. His attorney, Mitch Moran, said that the government never proved this case and relied on tainted witnesses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MCINTYRE, KILLEN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Every witness that testified lied. Now then paid money, paid informants, is it right to hold up your right hand and I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me God, and then under the table, take the money? Is that right? Would you believe a witness like that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: Now back in 1967, Killen a former Klan member, a part-time preacher and sawmill owner, faced trial with others on federal civil rights charges, but the jury deadlocked in his case 11-1, the one holdout juror saying she could just not convict a preacher. Now the State Attorney General, James Hood, today said it‘s time to make up for mistakes of the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOOD: People didn‘t do their duty. The good people didn‘t act. They didn‘t tell the FBI anything and they had to pay people to get information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: Now many argue that this case brought by the state is important for Philadelphia, Mississippi, for this state to clear its name to make up for problems of the past, but the defense says that it doesn‘t do any good, that it solves nothing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: This is a complete distraction for the system of the state of Mississippi. And are we going to start looking cross-eyed at one another again? Is this going to help the social system again? Is it going to help the cultural differences again? It‘s dividing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POTTER: Now the court at this moment has just come back into session.
The judge is on the bench. We‘re waiting to see what he has to say. Meanwhile, the jury must consider either murder or manslaughter charges and they could obviously go either way. If Killen is convicted of murder, he could face a life prison sentence. Manslaughter brings 20 years on each count—each of the three counts. Of course, being 80 years old, any sentence in his case would likely be a life sentence. We‘re standing by to see what the jury does next. Back to you...
DANIELS: Mark, it‘s just interesting listening to those sound bites, hearing about the case, you wonder is it 2005 or is it 1967. I mean even the former mayor of Philadelphia on the stand saying the KKK is a peaceful organization and that the Klan did a lot of good up here. What‘s the reaction of the locals down there?
POTTER: Well it‘s mixed. A lot of people would just like to see this go away. A lot of people—it‘s split in half, really, talking to people. A lot think it should just go away, they should forget about it and let it pass. Others say this is what‘s needed to be done to clear the past. It‘s a very emotional trial.
You‘re indeed right. It‘s a trip back 41 years, and we‘re hearing a lot about events in the Kennedy administration. It truly is a trip back and the jurors are having to wrestle with the fact that much of this evidence that they are considering was read to them because many of the witnesses from back in those days are gone now, so they‘re having to consider that with the few live witnesses who are alive now.
That‘s one of the defense theories, that there‘s just not enough there to prove the case. And by the way, the state attorney general has—we understand that the state attorney general has said that he has no plans to bring any case against any other people, and I‘m told that the jury is split. I‘m just being told in my ear that the jury has reported that it is split 6-6. No verdict yet.
It‘s split right down the middle, 6-6. This just coming to us from the courthouse and they‘re going to be sent back in to take another vote. Back to you Lisa...
DANIELS: All right...
POTTER: ... so this is happening right now, as we‘re standing here.
DANIELS: Yes. Jury split 6-6. That‘s the very latest. Thanks so much, Mark Potter.
All right. Well coming up, the search for a Boy Scout in Utah missing since Friday night. Over 3,000 people have joined the search. Do authorities suspect foul play?
And of course your e-mails. Send them to email@example.com. Remember to include your name, where you‘re writing from. We‘re going to go through some of them at the end of the show.
We‘ll be right back.
DANIELS: Coming up, thousands join in the search for a missing Boy Scout in Utah, last seen Friday night right near his campsite. We‘re going to get the latest, next.
DANIELS: Search teams in northwest Utah are combing the mountains for 11-year-old Brennan Hawkins. The Boy Scout went missing there early Friday evening, just 15 miles from where 12-year-old Garrett Bardsley vanished while camping last summer. Thousands of volunteers scoured nearly six square miles of rugged wilderness over the weekend, but so far no evidence has turned up.
Joining me now with the latest on the search efforts, Summit County, Utah Sheriff David Edmunds. Thanks so much, Sheriff, for joining us tonight.
SHERIFF DAVID EDMUNDS, SUMMIT COUNTY, UT: You‘re welcome Lisa.
DANIELS: So the search is now in its third day. Any evidence whatsoever indicating where this little boy is?
EDMUNDS: You know I wish there was something new to report. There just isn‘t at this time. We still have our searchers in the field and we‘ll continue to go out there until we have reason not to. We‘ve really concentrated on the river again today. This river is a lot deeper than we originally anticipated in spots and it‘s flowing even faster than we thought in some spots as well. So it‘s slow going, but we‘re going to continue to search the river and continue to search the area surrounding the Boy Scout camp as well.
DANIELS: Is it plausible at this point, Sheriff, to still believe that this little boy got lost?
EDMUNDS: It‘s possible. You know another thing that we‘re doing and that we‘ve started to do is look into some of the cabins around here to see if possibly maybe he would have broke into one of those to seek some shelter. We‘ve started that search as well. Anything is possible at this time and we haven‘t ruled anything out as of yet.
DANIELS: And I know investigators are also exploring the possibility of foul play, is that just routine or do you have something to go on?
EDMUNDS: No, that‘s routine. We do that anytime a child goes missing. We initially treat it as a missing child incident and then we also conduct a possible kidnapping case and we investigate that on the side as well, so that‘s pretty basic and pretty routine.
DANIELS: But it‘s a little bit different because this area is right around where last summer another little boy vanished. Still no clue from him. Do you think the two cases are related at all?
EDMUNDS: Well no, I really don‘t. I don‘t have any reason to believe that. Is it possible? I guess it‘s always possible. And that‘s why I have four detectives that are working on this case exclusively. We‘re trying to get some answers and certainly there‘s a lot more questions than answers right now.
DANIELS: But when you have these two parallel investigations, one criminal, one looking for a lost boy, are you diverting resources from one, if it turns out that obviously one of these is wrong?
EDMUNDS: Well absolutely and right now we‘ve got the two investigations going. It‘s important to delineate the trained searchers up here that are volunteers for the Sheriff‘s Office aren‘t sworn peace officers and they‘re not law enforcement. They are up here doing a search and rescue operation. I‘ve got my sworn peace officers and my detectives actually conducting the possibly criminal investigation, so it‘s very different personnel.
DANIELS: Well I know you guys are doing your best. Hope you can find this little boy. Sheriff David Edmunds thanks so much for joining us today.
EDMUNDS: Thanks a lot.
DANIELS: Joining me now MSNBC analyst and also former FBI investigator Clint Van Zandt. Clint, what‘s your theory here? What happened here?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well I don‘t know, Lisa. I‘m kind of like you. As an FBI agent, I never like coincidences, so two boys going missing in the same area a year apart, you know this is a big park.
People go there. They camp there all the time, so it can be explained by -
· you know I mean people get lost in New York City so they can get lost in a great big open area like that.
He could have got caught up in water. He could have fell down a hole. A lot of things could have happened so I think the sheriff is absolutely right. Now, you know, to run these parallel investigations because you know you don‘t want to wait until the third or fourth or fifth boy goes missing and then start scratching your head and saying I wonder if there‘s anything that links these two together. So you‘ve got to rule it in, you‘ve got to rule it out, but right now nothing to indicate foul play, but let‘s look at it early so we don‘t miss anything. In the meantime, let‘s find this boy.
DANIELS: All right. Well we wish those guys all the very best. It‘s so sad for both families of both missing boys.
Clint, let‘s turn to the search for missing Alabama high school graduate Natalee Holloway. Natalee was last seen there three weeks ago actually today...
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
DANIELS: ... while in Aruba on a class trip. Four suspects currently in custody. Twenty-six-year-old party boat D.J. Steve Croes arrested just this past Friday and the two brothers, also a Dutch teen, Joran Van Der Sloot arrested June 9. A judge has ordered that Croes remain in custody as the investigation continues, as should the other three suspects.
And of course over the weekend, the father of the Dutch suspect was questioned for seven hours as a witness. Clint, we‘ve been talking about this case for the last three weeks. I know you must have some theory about what happened here. What is it?
VAN ZANDT: Yes. Well you know you usually go to the lowest common denominator. You usually go to the simplest theory and that is who was the last person with her if we can‘t put her anyplace else after that? You know, Lisa, you look at motive and opportunity. Those are the two things that seem to link an offender to a victim.
In this case we‘ve got the 17-year-old youth who was with her. The story has taken a couple of weeks to evolve until he finally, finally tells us, well, I was with her, but she laid down on the beach and fell asleep. I still don‘t think that‘s the rest of the story. You know there are other things—she was kidnapped by white slave traffickers. You know she went for a swim...
DANIELS: Do you buy that, Clint? Do you buy that theory?
VAN ZANDT: No, no, I don‘t. I don‘t. You know there is one to four million women and children taken into white slave trafficking every year in the world. It‘s a terrible, terrible phenomena that exists in a modern day world, but did it happen to this young lady? I don‘t think so. I think, just like the mother, those three boys who are in custody, they know something.
This fourth person, probably this D.J., his cell phone number or his Internet address probably came up just before or just after Miss Holloway went missing. Some connection with one of the other three defendants and the authorities have to say could they have called this guy in for some type of help. But...
VAN ZANDT: ... you know there‘s no use looking 1,000 miles away when...
DANIELS: But that‘s the thing Clint...
VAN ZANDT: ... it seems like the answer is right there.
DANIELS: I think what people think is odd is that Aruba is not that big an island...
VAN ZANDT: No.
DANIELS: ... and yet the searchers have looked through this rugged terrain, haven‘t come up with what we know of anything.
DANIELS: So what‘s the theory from there?
VAN ZANDT: Well I thin the story—you know the analogy I keep making is Aruba is about the size of Washington, D.C. and we all know the search that went on for congressional intern Chandra Levy. And the authorities knew she was in Rock Creek Park, a very small area of Washington, D.C. They thought she was there and it took them a year unfortunately to find her remains at that time. You know a human body, you know we may be 5‘5”, 125 pounds, whatever Natalee is, but you know when you get an island that size, there‘s caves, there‘s—you know, surrounded obviously by water. There‘s a lot of ways she could have disappeared. You know just keep praying for her safety.
DANIELS: Yes, your hearts just go out to that family...
VAN ZANDT: Absolutely.
DANIELS: Every time I see the mom, it‘s just...
VAN ZANDT: and for all the families...
VAN ZANDT: ... you know I mean the families of these men...
VAN ZANDT: ... in custody too.
VAN ZANDT: Something terrible happened.
DANIELS: Clint Van Zandt, that‘s for sure. Thanks so much, Clint.
VAN ZANDT: Thank you.
DANIELS: Coming up, why victims of violent rape in New York deserve more than five years to see their attackers brought to justice. That‘s my “Closing Argument”. It‘s coming up.
DANIELS: Already there so are many reasons out there why rape victims don‘t want to report attacks to authorities. There is the embarrassment, the humiliation, the fear of being attacked again, and of course the emotional trauma of having to tell your story all over again to the police and then in court. Well now add to that mix the possibility that your attacker could get off scot-free if authorities don‘t identify and arrest him within five years.
Guess what? That‘s actually the law in New York City, arguably the most sophisticated city in the world and it‘s not just New York City under New York state law. The statute of limitations on violent sex crimes is only five years. That translates into roughly 800 rape victims in New York City alone who will never see their attackers brought to justice because time has simply run out. Now New York isn‘t alone in having a five-year cutoff period to find and prosecute rapists.
If you thought five years was bad, guess what? Authorities in some states have even less time. But many of those states have changed their laws and now allow for violent rapes to be prosecuted at any time, but so far not New York. In fact, this week New York state lawmakers are considering a bill to abolish the statute of limitations for first-degree rape and sodomy in New York. Some very notorious criminal defendants have actually benefited from those time limits.
Remember Paul Shanley, the former Massachusetts priest who was accused of raping or molesting at least 26 kids over three decades? He couldn‘t be prosecuted for most of the alleged crimes because the statute of limitations had run out. Numerous other accused Catholic priests were not prosecuted all for the same reason. Even Fletcher Worrell, the serial rape suspect recently arrested in New York, will not face any charges for the alleged rapes of so many New York women who claim he attacked them in the 70‘s. Again, the time had run out on catching those guys.
So critics claim that if more than five years passes you can‘t provide a fair and speedy trial to defendants and they argue it‘s much more difficult to find witnesses and evidence when a crime occurred many years ago. Well, my opinion is these days it shouldn‘t matter especially with all that new forensic technology. There are no statute of limitations for murder. How many times have we seen these murder victims‘ families get justice years later after a suspect is captured because of modern DNA evidence?
Well, victims of violent rape in New York City deserve at least the same chance to have their cases heard whether the attack occurred last week or 20 years ago. Again, just one more instance of how our justice system seems to always protect the right of alleged criminals over the rights of victims. I think it‘s shameful and it should be fixed now.
Well, coming up, here‘s a tease for you. Did Dan Abrams, our own Dan Abrams, have anything to do with runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks‘ decision to flee? I know you‘re going to stay tuned for that one. Your e-mails are next.
DANIELS: And welcome back. I‘ve had my say now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. Alabama teen Natalee Holloway has been missing for three weeks to the day and investigators in Aruba continues to search for any sign of her. Some of you have criticized how slow the investigation has been and you faulted the Aruban police.
In fact, Jan Brennan in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania writes, “How can everyone criticize in the U.S. how Aruba is dealing with this? I am confused as to why everyone is so up in arms about Aruban justice. I realize there is an urgency to find Natalee, but certainly no more so than Chandra Levy or Laci Peterson.”
Yes, that‘s true Jan, but you‘ve got to admit the Aruban police haven‘t handled the situation too well. They detain people for weeks on end. They don‘t share information with the victim‘s family and on top of it all, they don‘t seem to be making much progress. I say bottom line, they are not doing so well.
Sam McCall in Stephens City, Virginia writes this. “Many people wondered what the IQs were of the Jackson jury. After watching the circus investigation in Aruba I‘m wondering what the IQs are of the Aruban investigators.”
As for runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks cashing in on her brief fame, reportedly selling the rights to her story for a possibly book and movie deals for hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of you not too pleased including Paul Hiatt in Providence, Rhode Island.
Quote—“I have one word for the $500,000 prize our lovely runaway bride gets for duping those who loved and worried so for her, despicable. She should hang her head in shame.”
Finally, Cathy in California, “You want to know why Jennifer Wilbanks ran from her wedding? She really wanted to marry Dan Abrams.”
Very interesting theory, Cathy. I was wondering where Dan was tonight, but you know what, I just know Dan. I don‘t think he likes those googly eyes. I just don‘t think it‘s his taste. But then again he‘s not here so who knows.
That‘s going to do it for us. Thanks so much for joining us.
Remember to send your e-mails and “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is next.
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