Guest: Pat Brown, Vito Colucci, Paul Reynolds>
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Big news out of Aruba tonight, as a judge issues a potentially devastating ruling to Natalee Holloway‘s family. We will have all the latest from Aruba, plus, the Mediterranean and all across SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Major rulings from a judge in Aruba, but the news is not good in the search for Natalee. And the pond draining nears completion and the landfill search continuous. We will hear from Natalee‘s mom and all the latest on the search for Natalee.
Then, exclusive: Another cruise passenger comes forward to talk about missing newlywed, the investigation and what the cruise line did wrong, as we continue to cover the mystery on that Mediterranean cruise.
And then, a sweep of suspects in an upscale London neighborhood, arrests all across Europe. We‘ll have the very latest and answer the question, are there terror cells in your neighborhood?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY: And welcome to the show, I‘m Monica Crowley, in for Joe on a big night of news.
Coming up, a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive on the case of a newlywed who disappeared from his honeymoon cruise. The only clue? A trail of blood. Tonight, we talk live to a passenger who was on that cruise. He will tell us what he saw and what he heard.
But, first, major developments in Aruba tonight. A judge rules on DNA tests and further interrogation of Joran van der Sloot, while, out at the landfill by the airport and a swampy area behind the Marriott Hotel, the search for Natalee continues.
For the very latest, let‘s go now to Aruba and NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski.
Well, Michelle, a very big day here, big news on the suspect‘s DNA.
What can you tell us?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Now, this is coming out of the court of appeals just a few hours ago.
First of all, Joran van der Sloot‘s DNA sample thrown out of evidence because of procedural problems. But prosecutors can still file to get a new order to take a new sample. Those judges also ruled, though, that prosecutors can continue to interrogate him. And we could see that as soon as tonight or tomorrow.
Satish Kalpoe‘s DNA sample also thrown out, but this time judges say prosecutors never had enough evidence in the first place to even take that sample. And Deepak Kalpoe‘s attorney did not contest the taking of DNA evidence from him—Monica.
CROWLEY: Michelle, this sounds like huge news, because the DNA pretty much hangs the entire case on what they have taken from Joran and the Kalpoe brothers. Does this mean now that investigators are going to have to go back and take another sample from Joran?
KOSINSKI: Yes, that‘s likely what they will do.
In fact, we have been told that they already wanted to file an order back during the hearing that was a couple of days ago. And prosecutors admitted there were just some procedural problems there, some technicalities, legal errors made. So, they will, already we know, go back and try to get another sample from him. Satish Kalpoe, though, in his case, we‘re told by the judges that prosecutors will actually have to find new evidence, new information against, before they can be legally OK in trying to get an order for another DNA sample from him.
CROWLEY: Michelle, can Joran van der Sloot fight this new DNA sample?
KOSINSKI: His attorneys can try.
But that is not likely at this point, because prosecutors, if they do have legal bounds to do so, they can do it. And, today, the judges of the appeals court ruled that, yes, there is enough evidence for prosecutors to seek that order. So, that is already coming from the appeals court. So, trying to, you know, go against that, it would probably be futile in this system.
CROWLEY: Michelle, we also understand that the search of that landfill by the airport did intensify today. What can you tell about that?
We have seen a lot of activity out there today and yesterday. Searchers and investigators were out there with a new witness. This witness says, three days after Natalee disappear, he saw a white pickup truck come in. Some men inside got out and took out what he said looked like a body from a short distance. This witness tell investigators that then he saw the men bury it somewhere in this landfill.
He knows the location, the approximate area. He took searchers out there yesterday. And today, they had a backhoe with them. They started digging down. Of course, by now, that area is covered by about six feet of trash. And investigators, we are told, are actually using old newspapers that they find to give them a time frame that they are getting to as they dig.
They tell us that they went down to a few days before Natalee vanished. But, so far, they haven‘t found anything connected to her, although they will be back tomorrow.
Natalee‘s father actually was also out with them all afternoon. And, you know, they say, after so many letdowns in this case, it is tough to get their hopes up about new leads until something concrete is found of her.
CROWLEY: All right, Michelle Kosinski for us in Aruba—thank you so much, Michelle.
And, earlier today, MSNBC‘s Lisa Daniels sat down with Natalee‘s mom and step-dad on “THE ABRAMS REPORT” to get their reaction to all of these recent developments. Here‘s what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”)
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: I‘ll be honest. The last couple of days have really been, they‘ve really been hard. I—you know I think with all the activity that‘s been going on around this pond, near the Marriott and just—I‘ve just been so preoccupied with that. It‘s been a struggle.
LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST: Do you still have that surreal feeling, I can‘t believe I‘m in Aruba. I can‘t believe this is happening. I can‘t believe I‘m in the middle of this media storm.
TWITTY: You know what, Lisa. That is so funny you mention that. Because you know had that for so many weeks and I don‘t know, Lisa, I think now, it‘s not surreal anymore. I just—now, I see the reality of it. But it took me a long time, Lisa, to feel that it is reality.
DANIELS: Well, you‘re working so hard. You‘re doing this every single day. Yesterday, as you know, the FBI came back and said that those strands of hair on the duct tape were not Natalee‘s. Were you relieved?
TWITTY: Oh, absolutely. I was when they first told me. I really didn‘t say anything. I think I was just kind of in shock and then I called him right back and of course, I‘m just—oh that was great news to me.
DANIELS: As you mentioned, there‘s been so much activity this week. First of all, the draining of the pond, the DNA results coming back. Also these interrogators from Holland coming. Are you feeling like things are getting done?
TWITTY: Oh absolutely. I mean I think this week—we‘ve seen a lot of movement. You know I look out into the field and I see the fire department and you know the investigators. I mean this is high huge joint effort now and it‘s just incredible to me. And you know with these professionals that are flying in from Holland, I mean yes, it‘s definitely moving and we are so grateful and oh, it‘s great.
DANIELS: Do you think those interrogators will be able to get through to the three suspects and finally get some answers?
TWITTY: Well, I‘m very optimistic about it, Lisa. I mean I am. I‘m very optimistic.
DANIELS: Do you feel like this is a constant push? You have to push the local authorities to do something. You‘re there in Aruba really trying to get the word out. Do you feel like if you were not there, things would not be happening to the degree that they are?
TWITTY: You know, Lisa, it‘s not me anymore. I realize now there‘s just an army of supporters that are carrying me through this. So I‘m not alone. So everyone has been instrumental in getting all this accomplished, Lisa.
DANIELS: How certain are you that the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot still hold the answers to where Natalee is? TWITTY: Well, I‘d also like to mention in that Paul Van Der Sloot also. I think that they all have involvement and they all have knowledge. What I need to know now is I want to know the details of the involvement.
DANIELS: And what do you think it‘s going to take to get those answers? It‘s been two months as you are very well aware. What is it going to take for these two guys to start to speak?
TWITTY: I‘m just hoping that this fresh new look at the investigation and even going back to as early as the very hourly morning of May 31. I‘m just hoping that there‘s, you know, some piece or something that‘s been overlooked or something that we can go back and hang on to and maybe help solve this, Lisa.
DANIELS: You and you family have spoken many times that this investigation was very slow at the start, that 10 crucial days went by where really nothing was going on. Do you feel optimistic, still, that, even this late this the game, you can still find answers to where Natalee is?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: You know, Lisa, I‘m sure that people would say that the odds are against it. But I just can‘t help but have that optimism, that, hopefully, with this new look at the investigation from the beginning, that there will be some answers there that have been overlooked. I just—I just have to have that hope and faith.
CROWLEY: Well, for more reaction now from the family, let‘s go back live to Aruba and bring in Natalee‘s uncle, Paul Reynolds.
PAUL REYNOLDS, UNCLE OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Hi.
CROWLEY: Paul, there has been a lot of renewed activity on the island of Aruba, primarily because of these three witnesses, one of whom told investigators to take a look at that pond by the Marriott Hotel. Another witness said to take a look at the landfill by the airport. What can you tell us about these witnesses?
REYNOLDS: I don‘t have a lot of information about them specifically.
We are very happy that witnesses are coming forward with information. We feel that will boost the investigation and support other information that we have. This—you know, as Beth was saying, as you were saying, the 10-day delay in taking the individuals did, we believe, hurt the investigation. It gave them a chance to hide evidence or change their stories.
But we still feel certain that we can determine what happened. The—we have to look at the fact that they were lying in the beginning. We need to understand why they were lying. And I think those individuals, the three original suspects, have the information that we need. And the witnesses that are coming forward support the fact that these people were involved. And they need to be reexamined.
CROWLEY: Paul, we do know that the search of the landfill—and we are seeing some—some pictures of it there on the side of our screen—that that search of the landfill was stepped up today. And we also know that Natalee‘s father was on the scene.
What can you tell us about what may or may not have been found today?
REYNOLDS: I‘m not sure they found anything specifically. I know they are still looking. You know, they are dedicated to this effort.
EquuSearch, other searchers, Natalee‘s dad, they want to get to the bottom of this. And, you know, we are very appreciative of all the support and help that we have.
CROWLEY: Do you feel that you are on to something here, Paul?
REYNOLDS: You know, we want to look at every lead. We want every lead to be followed up on.
You know, we try to keep level-headed about new leads as they arrive. We don‘t want to pin our hopes on any one thing. Every lead is important and every lead needs to be followed up on extensively. And that is what is being done.
CROWLEY: Speaking of the leads, Paul, how credible do you think these witnesses are?
REYNOLDS: It is hard for me to gauge that, but we certainly take it seriously, that the information they provide needs to be followed up on. You never know when one person might have the information that can lead to the resolution of this case.
CROWLEY: Well, your family recently increased the reward money. Have thigh of these witnesses actually asked for the money yet?
REYNOLDS: I haven‘t heard of anyone asking for the money. I don‘t think it is about the money at this time. People want this resolved. People are sincere in their belief that these people know what happened.
They want a resolution to this.
You know, we are receiving phone calls from all over the United States. My sister is receiving mail from countless concerned individuals that are feeling as much pain as our family is. And we just all want a resolution to this.
CROWLEY: Indeed. Amen to that.
Paul Reynolds, stick around, because our conversation is going to continue right after this.
Also coming up tonight, new details in the case of the missing bridegroom George Smith. We are going to talk to—to a passenger from that cruise. And guess what? He is also a veteran cop. What he has to say about the cruise that could be the scene of a horrible crime.
And major developments coming out of London tonight, dramatic raids caught on tape. Police say they have nabbed five of London‘s would-be bombers. Can America learn from this investigation?
CROWLEY: Could this bloody photo provide crucial evidence to investigators trying to learn what happened to a missing newlywed on his honeymoon cruise? We‘re going to talk live to a veteran cop who was also a passenger on that ship.
CROWLEY: Natalee‘s father, Dave Holloway, looks on today as searchers dig through a landfill near the airport in Aruba.
Now let‘s go back to Aruba and Natalee‘s uncle Paul Reynolds.
Paul, big news coming out of an Aruban court today. A judge ruling on DNA evidence ruled that Joran van der Sloot‘s DNA was inadmissible because of procedural errors. Satish Kalpoe, the court said that his DNA was inadmissible because there was not enough evidence to secure it in the first place. Deepak Kalpoe did not file to contest his DNA. So, his DNA is still on file.
But here we now have a case where two of the three prime suspects have issues now with the DNA, on which this entire case seems to hang. Your thoughts on this?
REYNOLDS: Well, of course, we think other information, you know, is very strong in this case, as well as the possible DNA, you know, the fact that they were lying from the very beginning. One of the brothers was at Joran‘s house the night my brother—I mean, my sister—arrived on the island, very suspicious from the beginning.
Innocent people don‘t lie. They lie to cover up something. We don‘t understand what it was they were covering up, but this is a serious potential crime, a possible homicide or a possible kidnapping. Lying about a cover-up for that is very serious. And, you know, it led to the arrest of two innocent individuals. It delayed the case 10 days, giving them an opportunity to collaborate their stories and hid evidence.
You know, what the brothers did, even though they may have just lied one time, is very serious. There should be serious consequences. And we have to get to the bottom of this. The fact that they lied leads us to believe that they know what happened and they need to be questioned further.
CROWLEY: Paul, your family has hired a private investigator to look into all of this. Is that P.I. unearthing anything new?
REYNOLDS: I haven‘t heard anything new specifically. We want to pursue every avenue.
Any resource that we can find, we are willing to except any assistance
we can come across, new technology. We are desperate to come to the
collusion to this episode, to find out what happened and find Natalee where
· where she is.
CROWLEY: Well, Paul Reynolds, our thoughts and prayers are certainly with your family. And we greatly appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
REYNOLDS: All right.
CROWLEY: And dramatic news from London today, as police in body armor, ski masks, gas masks and carrying automatic rifles stormed two apartment houses or flats in West London and arrested three men.
Meantime, in Rome, Italian police arrested a Somali-born man with British citizenship, identified by the Italians as Osman Hussain. They are believed to be the four suspected bombers whose images were released following the failed July 21 attacks on the London subway trains.
Here with me now to analyze it all is terrorism expert Steve Emerson from the Investigative Project.
STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Hi, Monica.
CROWLEY: Hi. Nice to have you.
Well, the fourth alleged bomber was apprehended in Rome today. Would these four or five suspected bombers be part of an individual cell or do you believe that they are part of a bigger cell?
EMERSON: I think the odds are—and I don‘t think there is any definitive evidence, at least disclosed to the United States, or maybe not even interpreted yet by the Royal Intelligence, by British authorities, that they are connected to larger group of individual cells that are connected at an upper tier.
In other words, they‘re not necessarily connected to one another, but the same organizers essentially organized each one. So, wrapping the cell is very important, Monica, but the odds are that there are probably other cells out there.
CROWLEY: You know, Steve, the last time we talked, about a week ago, Scotland Yard had been concerned about getting a second wave, which in fact they got. And thank goodness it didn‘t come off as the bombers had anticipated.
But what about a third wave? What do you think Scotland Yard‘s concerns are about additional cells?
EMERSON: I think Scotland Yard‘s concern, as well as MI-5, which is their domestic intelligence agency, is that there is going to be a potential third wave, because I don‘t think they believe they have wrapped up the entire number of participates in these cells.
I think they believe, considering that, in order to carry out these operations, Monica; you need reconnaissance people; you need bomb mixtures; you need laboratories; you need people to provide sanctuary; you need people who provided them with the ability to escape.
Because you have all those other people involved, the odds are that all they need are people to recruit the actual terrorist operators, the ones that made the bomb. And that is probably a supply that is much larger than just eight or nine.
CROWLEY: Steve, we do know that two women were arrested as part of this roundup in London today. Now, their connection to all of this remains unclear. But how concerned should we be that al Qaeda might be recruiting women to at least harbor terrorists, if not asking them to carry out some of these attacks?
EMERSON: Well, I think we have to be concerned that they may be part of the logistical support network, that perhaps they were the ones who provided access to these safe houses and apartments where they hid for the last week-and-a-half.
We don‘t know their exact role. But, clearly, I don‘t even know that it will be al Qaeda recruiting them, but rather they would be volunteering when asked to participate in some aspect of a terrorist operation, particularly if it was a logistical supply role that didn‘t involve direct violence. But, clearly, they are essential to the terrorist machinery.
And that is very worrisome, because we don‘t know what their ages were. But if these were young women, this would be the same shock that occurred to us when we saw that they were young British men carrying out these jihad attacks.
CROWLEY: Steve, one of the things that London does show us is that there really is such thing as the terrorist next door. Terrorists, al Qaeda cells in the United States, what can you tell us about how many there be and how active they really are?
EMERSON: I don‘t think anybody really knows. And that is one of the big concerns.
But we know only on the basis of those who have been arrested, those who have been deported, those who have been convicted. And there are clearly enough cases since 9/11 to suggest that radical Islamic groups have had a major enterprise going on in the United States, some more formal than others, some more oriented to fund-raising, like Hamas, others like Al Qaeda targeting American targets in the United States.
The case, for example, Monica, of Ali al-Timimi, a very charismatic Islamic cleric in Northern Virginia who preached dialogue publicly, but in fact behind closed doors was urging his followers to wage war against the United States. That is a deception that is very, very shocking, alarming and also prevents us from really knowing who is in our backyard.
CROWLEY: Well, Steve, given the magnitude of this threat, as you mentioned, here at home as well, why haven‘t we seen another attack on U.S. soil?
EMERSON: That‘s a good question.
I think, one, there was the fear of the al Qaeda-style operation, would have been really generated by Ayman al-Zawahri or somebody still in the leadership that wanted to surpass the casualties of 9/11. They simply haven‘t been able to get their act together to pull it off because so many have been taken out of circulation.
The other fear, of course, was the type of suicide bombing we saw in London. People wondered why it didn‘t happen here. And I think, now, after London, there is a greater realization that it could happen. In the end, the reason that it doesn‘t happen is that there‘s some self-deterrence put out by these jihadists that don‘t want to ruin their paradise in the United States vs. their jihadist rage against the U.S.. And once the jihadist rage exceeds that self-deterrence, that‘s when terrorism occurs.
CROWLEY: Steve, have we done a better job than say the U.K. in monitoring these radicals and not coddling them and taking action when we see this kind of extremist activity?
EMERSON: Well, I think the United Kingdom, unfortunately, allowed its capital and its entire country to become saturated over the last 14 years with radical Islamic groups and cells, the likes of which, concentration was not greater anyplace else but in London outside the Middle East.
The United States wasn‘t as bad, although Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, as evidenced by the current trial in Florida, definitely had major toeholds here. But we were not as bad in terms of allowing radical Islamic groups to set up shop here. And we‘ve been much more aggressive in terms of preempting them by taking them out, arresting them before they become operational, unlike the British authorities, who really allowed a lot of logistical support networks to flourish for al Qaeda and other groups.
CROWLEY: And—and we need to keep up that aggressive approach.
Steve Emerson, thank you so much for your time tonight.
CROWLEY: And, when we come back, a story SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has been following since day one, the disturbing disappearance of a newlywed from his honeymoon cruise.
Coming up next, we talk exclusively with a man who was on that ship.
And he‘s also a veteran police officer.
CROWLEY: The mystery in the Mediterranean that is baffling investigators. What happened to a Connecticut man on his honeymoon? We are going to talk live to a passenger who was on that ship coming up next.
But, first, here is the latest news from MSNBC World Headquarters.
CROWLEY: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Monica Crowley, in for Joe.
Tonight, more new details and another exclusive interview on the story we have been bringing to you about George Smith IV. He is the man who vanished from his honeymoon cruise in the early hours of July 5. There are new developments in this story.
Today, the U.S. attorney and the FBI from the couple‘s home state of Connecticut gave SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY this statement—quote—“We believe that the circumstances in this matter warrant a thorough investigation, which is active and ongoing. The families of both Jennifer Hagel and George A. Smith IV have been fully cooperative.”
And now, in another exclusive interview, I want to welcome to the program a man who was a passenger on that cruise and stayed on the same deck as the honeymooning couple. He is a law enforcement officer and has some stunning observations of what happened on that ship.
Walter, welcome. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
WALT, PASSENGER ON CRUISE: Thank you for having me.
CROWLEY: So, Walter, did you come into any contact whatsoever with this couple?
WALT: We did see them occasionally on the deck where the pool area was. That was in the beginning of the cruise.
CROWLEY: Did you talk to them at all? Did you socialize with them?
WALT: No, we didn‘t, no.
CROWLEY: Now, on the night in question, did you hear or see anything out of ordinary?
WALT: No, I didn‘t hear anything at the time that this incident apparently occurred. What happened after in the morning hours is what I think is important to this whole case.
CROWLEY: Well, tell us, what did you see in the morning when you got up and made your way out of the cabin? I understand that you did make some observations.
WALT: Well, I personally didn‘t make the observations.
What happened, it was approximately 7:30 in the morning. My wife and I had gone up to the 12th deck to breakfast. And our cousin had joined us. Our cousin was three rooms, staterooms away from the victim. And what she had described was that, when she got up in the morning, she had gone out on to her deck and she observed a puddle of blood on the canopy on the overhang for the life rafts.
And when I asked her, I said, well, what kind of blood puddle was that? And she said it was a small blood puddle. And we later on heard that an individual had gone overboard. So, there was a lot of speculation, what happened, whether he fell over and that was the result of like a bloody nose or a head jury or whatever.
Later on in the day, we even started to hear more stories about what had allegedly occurred.
CROWLEY: Now, Walter, you are an active police officer. What did your gut instinct tell you right away when you heard these stores about the blood and you started to get early indications that this man had gone missing from a cruise ship?
WALT: Well, what I had done is, I had provided the ship‘s staff, the officers, with my card. I‘m a police chief in Florida. I had indicated that, if they need any assistance in helping resolve this, I would be more than happy to assist them.
I didn‘t hear anything from them. But what is interesting is that the puddle of blood that was described to me was roughly the size of a small dog. However, when I viewed the puddle of blood on videotapes on the news that was aired, that puddle of blood was substantially larger than what was described to me. So, my cousin was telling me, well, when she woke up, she saw two men in uniform who were presumably ship security personnel, standing over the puddle of blood, hosing it, scrubbing it off and hosing it, watering it down.
And the first thing that came to my mind is, well, if they are—they contaminating a crime scene, why would they be hosing this off so early in the morning, before anybody can effectively investigate this? And...
CROWLEY: And, again, Walter, these were security personnel who were hosing down the deck in the area and not housekeeping?
WALT: No, they were not housekeepers. These were clearly individuals in uniforms that were—that the typical security officer on a ship had.
CROWLEY: Did you try to talk to them? Did you try to engage them in terms of what they were doing? Did you identify yourself as a police officer?
WALT: No, I didn‘t, because I wasn‘t there. This is what I‘m—the story that I‘m getting from my cousin, who is a nurse for over 30 years. So, she is quite familiar with puddles of blood.
CROWLEY: Now, Walter...
CROWLEY: Go ahead. Continue.
WALT: But what is very important is that the puddle of blood that she had already observed was the smaller one that we have seen in the videos. And that is the deep-red-colored blood. And that is the area that they were trying to scrape off from the canopy.
So, they had already cleaned off much of the blood that we have been seeing on the videotape. And we think that that was totally inappropriate. I think there should have been better precautions taken to secure the scene.
CROWLEY: Now, Walter, what can you tell us about what was going on, on this ship? We do understand that this couple and other couples on board the ship were drinking to great excess. Was there a lot of drinking going on, a lot of partying?
WALT: Well, for most people, this 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean was the trip of a lifetime, I would think.
And there surely was a lot of drinking. On many occasions, I have seen people walking in the hallways, on the dance floors, unable to stand. And many times, the ship‘s personnel had to escort them back to their rooms. So, there were quite a bit of drinking there.
CROWLEY: Did people look out of control?
WALT: No, absolutely not. You know, for the most part, everybody was having a good time there.
CROWLEY: Now, Walter, have investigators talked to you since the cruise ship has docked and since this investigation has been ongoing?
WALT: No, nobody has talked to me.
Like I had indicated, I had given the ship‘s crew my card and that was the only contact I had with anybody there, just indicating that I would be willing to assist them if they needed anything.
CROWLEY: Have they—have either the cruise line or the investigators in this case told you to be on standby for further questioning?
WALT: No, nobody has contacted me.
CROWLEY: So, all signs here seem to be pointing us to a crime.
And we want to bring in two additional guests to help me talk about it, private investigator Vito Colucci and criminal profiler Pat Brown.
Welcome to you both. Nice to see you.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Thank you.
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Pat, let me begin with you. What are your instincts telling you here? Is this a missing-persons case or is this a murder mystery?
BROWN: Well, I think the problem is, we don‘t have a lot of the information yet. There are so many details.
We are looking at, for example, how high the balcony is. Is it something somebody could lean over and accidentally fall off when they were ill? Is it something they could climb up on, being foolish, and fall over? Is it a type of balcony a woman alone could pick up and somebody and push over? Or would you have to take a piece of furniture and drag it over there, haul the body up and then push the body over?
I think we are looking at one important thing, though. If it happened in the room, the wife had to have been there. And if she was not dead drunk and passed out, then she knows exactly what happened. So, that is one of the questions. What state was she in at the time all of this occurred?
CROWLEY: Vito, what about the idea that it could be a murder mystery?
Are investigators in your mind ruling out things like drunk guy overboard? Are they looking at foul play? Are they looking at the fact that this couple was gambling and drinking a lot that night?
COLUCCI: I think they are looking at foul play. I really am.
Just you heard what this chief of police said, that, 7:30 in the morning, they have already started the progress of cleaning up the crime scene. That‘s amazing. People are getting off this boat at 8:00. Who knows what else was taken off of the boat at that time? You have got a clean crime scene. This is a chief of police that said, call me; I can a talk to you about what I have seen or whatever.
No phone calls for days. I think the wife not saying anything, Jennifer, on this is speaking volumes about this case. I really do, Monica.
CROWLEY: Walter, Pat was bringing up how high the railing was. You were on that cruise ship. How high was it? Can you tell us? Can you sort of show us on your chest how high that railing was and how difficult it would be for somebody just to fall overboard?
WALT: Well, it would be extremely difficult for someone to go overboard.
The railing came up to my chest, so—and this gentlemen was, he looked like a hulking individual. He was a large man, muscular. So, you can‘t just fall over. Even if you were totally inebriated, there is no possible way he can fall over by himself. There has to be some assistance in flipping somebody over.
And that was the other question. If they took this individual and threw him overboard, which is obviously what happened—he went over. I‘m not saying somebody threw him over, but he did go over. With the substantial amount of blood that was on that canopy, there would have had to have been more blood on the glass railing and on the adjacent floor of the balcony. Where did that blood go to?
CROWLEY: All right, more unanswered questions.
All right, we have got a lot more to talk about.
Walter, Vito and Pat, please stay with us.
CROWLEY: Well, it was supposed to be the honeymoon cruise of a lifetime, but it ended in a mystery that is baffling investigators from Turkey to Connecticut. The question, did somebody kill newlywed George Smith?
Let‘s bring back our guests, Walter, Veto, and Pat.
And, Vito, I want to go to you on the question of the timeline here, because it is incredibly interesting. Apparently, there was a scuffle in the room at about 4:00 in the morning. One of the other passengers heard a thump, a really loud thump, that awakened him. Then we have additional activity at 7:00 in the morning, followed by investigators being called around 9:30, not arriving on the scene until about 11:00 or 11:30 in the morning.
The timeline seems to suggest, Vito, that there are huge discrepancies in the time and that authorities took quite a while to get on the scene, when, perhaps, as Walter indicated, evidence could have been degraded, it could have been tampered with and the entire crime scene just completely shot.
COLUCCI: It is amazing. You say the word investigators. We are not talking FBI here. We are talking basically some untrained people, usually with no police background at all, OK? That‘s number one.
You got security guards, like the chief said, scrubbing the decks, security guards. You know, you have lost a lot of time. Our FBI, which is one of the greatest in the whole world, OK, but they don‘t get involved in this for five days. They are playing catchup on this. You have got a manifest of about 2,000 people that they have to start from scratch with.
The wife holds a lot of keys. I‘m sure, through video, they know who these other men were that took him to the cabin or saw him at the scene.
CROWLEY: Yes, Vito, what about that? Apparently, there were four or five men who carried this guy or at least escorted him back to his room, because, apparently, George Smith was so drunk, he couldn‘t make it to his room on his own.
I imagine that the investigators are all over these four or five guys like a cheap suit. What could they be telling investigators?
COLUCCI: Oh, definitely, because, you know, they have probably seen them on the video. They have probably seen them up that late at night.
OK, basically, if I‘m looking across the table, if I have still got my police cap on and I‘m looking across the table, I‘m asking these guys. I‘m saying, Joe, you willing to take a polygraph? Bob, you willing to take a polygraph? And just even from their reactions to me with those questions will show me a lot. You know, you have to polygraph them.
We even haven‘t heard now if the wife has had a polygraph. And that‘s amazing. We haven‘t heard anything about that.
CROWLEY: Well, Pat Brown, what about that question of the wife? She was apparently in the room. She claims that she didn‘t hear anything. She didn‘t even realize he was missing, which I find incredible when you are on a honeymoon and supposed to not be able to keep your hands off of each other.
She claims that she didn‘t know where he was. She went to the gym, apparently, or at least that‘s her story. The wife hasn‘t been talking. Do we know whether or not she has been talked to by investigators and what she might be saying?
BROWN: We really don‘t know much.
And I think Vito has described this extraordinarily well. I mean, there is a great possibility, for example, that some men could have come back to the cabin. She could have passed out completely. They could have had a fight with the husband. God knows what was going on in there. They dumped him. She is still passed out. They leave.
She gets up in the morning. Now, you look at this and you say, gosh, she—she‘s—this is her honeymoon. She‘s not going to look over and say, he‘s not there, so let me ignore it. But let me tell you. I have seen enough odd behaviors that it doesn‘t necessarily mean she is criminally involved. She could be.
But, on the other hand, she just may have woken up and thought, oh, he is probably off. Maybe he has behaviors like this a lot. She gets up and goes about and does her stuff. It depends how long they have been together. It depends what their relationship is usually like. And this is why investigators have to go back in time and start checking out previous behaviors.
Something else I want to mention about this issue of private balconies. We are going to see a lot more, Monica, in the future of murders happening on cruise ships, because, before, you didn‘t have a way to get rid of bodies and get rid of evidence, like you do now. Now you have got your own private opening to the ocean. You can throw all your evidence off of there. You can throw bodies off of there.
I mean, it is amazing, but it is going to be a real problem in the future. So, I think we are going to see lots more of this happening.
CROWLEY: Walter, what was said on the ship after this guy went missing? Was there any kind of announcement made or any kinds of appeals for help from the rest of the passengers?
WALT: Well, I think initially the (AUDIO GAP)
CROWLEY: I‘m sorry. We have lost—we have lost Walter.
Pat Brown, let me go to you on this question. Do you think that they‘re—whether or not there were appeals to the passengers, that perhaps, even after all of this time, the passengers should be interrogated, they should be questioned? What did you see? What did you hear, if anything?
BROWN: Oh, absolutely.
There obviously needs to be a lot more information incoming. They haven‘t done a lot of that. It is badly handled. This is—if there‘s 2,000 people on a cruise ship, this is equivalent to a small town. A small town usually has a police force. And what we are looking at is a cruise ship that really doesn‘t have much going for it at all in the way of investigations.
And, like this problem with the cleanup of the blood, you know, you have a couple of security guards. It looks squirrelly, like, are they trying to cover something up or are they just not the brightest guys in the world and said, oh, my God, look at that mess, we‘ve got to clean this up before the passengers find out?
There‘s obviously a big breakdown there in how things are handled on the ship, because it is probably considered a vacation place, not a small town, which it become when you have that many people on board.
CROWLEY: Vito, I‘m very curious about these four or five guys that allegedly helped to escort Mr. Smith back to his cabin because he was so intoxicated. There was a lot of gambling going on, on the ship. Apparently, Mr. Smith was gambling quite heavily and winning. Could it have been, say, a robbery?
COLUCCI: Yes, I have heard that.
You know, I‘m in Stamford, so I‘m right next to Greenwich and people have seen me do a couple shows. And they got all kinds of different ideas of what happened. But, you know, we have heard that, that he possibly had won a lot. These guys took him back to the room. Maybe it got out of hand.
But the whole key is, I believe the FBI knows who these guys are. We have heard they are possibly Russian or whatever. But they have got to be on a videotape. They have got to be on a videotape. It is a process of elimination. Like Pat says, you got have a lot people here. You‘ve got 2,000 people. But you just got to do what you have to do in these kind of cases.
CROWLEY: Vito, do you think that investigators are questioning these four or five guys today or now in the United States?
COLUCCI: Oh, I believe they are. I believe definitely they are.
Because, let‘s say there is foul play, OK? Maybe not all three or four of them or whatever murdered this fellow. Maybe one of them actually did it. OK? So, you want the person that is the least involved to help you out in this case, to cut a deal for himself and tell exactly what happened.
But the whole key still is, where is the wife? Is she sleeping in a lifeboat? Is she two floors down? People have said to me, Vito, when I drink all night, the last thing I want to do the next morning is go exercise in the gym.
CROWLEY: Yes, that‘s right. That‘s right.
COLUCCI: Ridiculous things that we are hearing here.
CROWLEY: So, some discrepancies in her story or at least things that might not make sense.
Pat, how helpful do you think interrogating these four or five guys might be, if we‘re doing it now, so many weeks after the actual crime?
BROWN: Well, that is a problem.
Any time you have a lot of time slip by, people get a chance to get their stories straight, to change their stories, to talk with others and decide, what can we get away with? But—but there is the truth that the more people you have got involved, the more you have got somebody to rat someone else out. So, there is a great advantage to that.
So, there is, hopefully, somebody who is less culpable than the rest of them. And that‘s—that is the person that is going to give up the information for the plea deal. So, I think there is hope in this particular case. Somebody does know something. This didn‘t happen just accidentally, unless there was some incredibly freaky accident and the guy fell over on this own, which you can‘t rule out.
And that is why you have to be sure that you make—you really do every single thing you need to be doing, because you might miss something if you are careless with the whole situation.
CROWLEY: Well, still so many unanswered questions.
Thanks to all of you for helping us to at least explore some of the them.
Walter, Vito Colucci, and Pat Brown, thanks so much for your time tonight.
BROWN: My pleasure.
CROWLEY: And there are still so many questions about this case, as I just said. We are going to continue to keep following this story right here on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
If you think there is something we should be asking or if you were on that cruise and have some answers for us, drop Joe an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com.
CROWLEY: Want too find out more about what is going in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY? Of course you do. Check out Joe‘s Web site at Joe.MSNBC.com.
Stay with us.
CROWLEY: Now it‘s time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.
A 9-year-old Long Island girl is getting credit for saving her grandfather‘s life. How did she did it?
Here is Carolyn Gusoff from WNBC in New York.
CAROLYN GUSOFF, WNBC REPORTER (voice-over): Brooklyn Levinson is quick at pounding out text messages on her cell phone. Her parents bought her the phone for her own safety, but it ended up saving someone else‘s life.
JOE BARELLA, SAVED BY GRANDDAUGHTER‘S CELL PHONE: If it wasn‘t for her, I wouldn‘t be here. She saved my life.
GUSOFF: Seventy-eight-year-old Joe Barella says he owes his life to his 9-year-old granddaughter and her cell phone. Having just lost his wife, Brooklyn was sleeping over at his home last weekend to keep him company. At breakfast, he became unresponsive.
BROOKLYN LEVINSON, SAVED GRANDFATHER‘S LIFE: I thought he was crying because of my grandma that passed away. And I was just seeing if I should give him a moment.
GUSOFF: But Barella wasn‘t deep in thought. He was in cardiac arrest. Brooklyn didn‘t know what was happening and didn‘t want to disturb him. So, she shot off concerned text messages to her mom.
LEVINSON: I wrote to her, grandpa is scaring me. Then I wrote to him that I‘m sending you a video showing you what he is doing.
GUSOFF: She then used a popular new cell phone feature, video recording, to send her mom this video of her grandfather slumped over his breakfast. It is grainy and hard to make out, but it sent her mother into high gear, rushing him to the hospital with moments to live.
DR. DENNIS KETCHIS, NORTH SHORE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: He definitely had a major impact in him being alive today.
BARELLA: I figure cameras take pictures. But now I feel that everybody should know a lot about those things, because they really prove to save people‘s lives.
CROWLEY: Very sweet story.
Well, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.
“IMUS IN THE MORNING” returns on Monday. And his guests include Senator Rick Santorum.
And do you have something to say? Drop Joe an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com. Joe will be back on Monday.
I‘m Monica Crowley. And I‘ll see you on “CONNECTED.”
Have a good night.
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