Guest: Fred Kirschhoch, Mary Anne Kirschhoch, Lawrence Kobilinsky, Stacey
Honowitz, Paul Reynolds, Art Wood
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, for the first time, Natalee
Holloway's voice from video, plus, the latest on the investigation,
including chief suspect Joran Van Der Sloot grilled for eight hours today
by a lead investigator who is flown in from Holland.
And then more exclusives in the baffling case of a Connecticut man who vanished from his honeymoon cruise. We are going to be hearing from a friend of the missing American groom and also from another passenger who was on that cruise and says it was just out of control the whole trip, the whole cruise. We will give you that and a lot more tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, good evening and welcome to the show.
A lot of people asking tonight, who is the missing American groom, George Smith, and what could have happened to him on the night that he vanished from a cruise ship somewhere in the Mediterranean? Tonight, we are going to have two exclusives that are going to begin to answer those questions.
As we have been reporting, Smith disappeared from his honeymoon cruise almost a month ago. Tonight, a passenger on that same cruise comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and has exclusive details about that entire journey, said it was a ship out of control.
And our Lisa Daniels goes to George Smith's hometown to talk to people who know George best to find out more about a man that we have only met through this tragic tale.
But, first, for the first time since she disappeared, we hear Natalee Holloway speak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALEE HOLLOWAY, MISSING TEENAGER: The beach was a blast. I had the best time of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And we are going to see a lot of that chilling tape in just a minute.
But, first, Joran Van Der Sloot was grilled by Dutch authorities for almost nine hours today, as the search of the landfill resumed.
For more on that and other late-breaking developments out of Aruba, we go now to MSNBC's Michelle Kosinski.
Michelle, let's start with the interrogation today. What happened?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT: This was a marathon session, from 8:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening.
Early this morning, we saw Joran let out of jail and taken downtown to the police department here in Aruba, where he was interrogated. Of course, though, the big question is, did he tell investigators anything at all? We know he does have the right to remain silent. We also know his attorney was present during this. That's one of the privileges Joran has, being a juvenile in the system.
But his attorney has complained in the past that he just hasn't been notified of these interrogations. So, he has also been fighting in court, that he would be interrogated at all. And he has told us, you know, everything that this kid has to say, he says he has already told investigators. That could be an indication of how things went today. A source with the FBI tells us it's unlikely that he said anything else.
But you have to keep in mind, these are some tough investigators and interrogators. We have the FBI, yes, present today. We have top Dutch interrogations experts that were flown in from Holland specifically to try to get some more information out of all three suspects. The police are telling me they also want to question the Kalpoe brothers. Of course, they would had to ask them to do that voluntarily, but they want to try to get that done within the next few days. Whether we see that happen or not, we will just have to wait and see—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Michelle, of course, we are always being reminded every day, this is not America. Interrogation techniques can be different. What can these interrogators do that have been flown in? How much can they beat up on this guy, not physically, but mentally?
KOSINSKI: Well, in the words of one of the attorneys involved in this case, they can't torture the suspects, but they said everything else pretty much is open. They can withhold food for a period of time. They can have interrogations, as we saw today, last eight hours or more. They can lie to the suspects. They can try to mislead them.
We have also heard of a technique that is used sometimes where they put the person in a room and surround them with pictures of the victim, huge pictures, different scenes, things like that, to try to break them down in different ways. And they can, you know, question them for hours and hours at a time using psychological methods. And we also know that one of these experts that was flown in from Holland is a behavioral specialist, so they are using some psychological methods on these guys.
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, Michelle, we always forget. I mean, this is a 17-year-old kid. He is about to turn 18 years old. Before this broke, he was a beach bum. I mean, we—we have those all across Northwest Florida, people that hang out at the beach, go out to bars at night, not the strongest characters of the world. I can't believe that if they hammer—start hammering this guy, that it's not possible that he will break.
Let's move on now to the investigation, though, outside of the interrogation. Talk about the possible crime scene, the landfill. We have a witness that says they believe they saw a body dumped in that landfill. The search continues, not by the Aruban authorities, but by Texas EquuSearch. Bring us up to date with the very latest tonight.
KOSINSKI: No, we know that witness did talk to police, and that police were out there at one point early on.
But it's EquuSearch working with people on this island that are really continuing this. And they have had a tough time of it. They have had a hard time getting the equipment to get out there and dig through 15 feet or more of garbage. Today was the fourth day they were out here. And it's also a manpower issue.
All of EquuSearch, except one man, is left on this island. He is working with three dog teams, but they are all leaving within the next few days. But this one man says he is intent on staying here with the heavy equipment. They are just going to clear out the area that they have been working on over the next few days. That's an area of some 25,000 to 30,000 square feet. He just wants to excavate it and prove that there's either something there to be found or there's not—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. NBC's Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much, as always.
Now we want to go back to the tape of Natalee Holloway, back in Alabama, laughing and clearly enjoying life. Now, this is the first time we have seen anything like this since Natalee vanished two months ago. Here's Natalee as her family and friends know her best.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, today.
HOLLOWAY: It's Hootie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hootie-hoo-Holloway.
HOLLOWAY: Hi, friends. Just, you know, sitting in the back, cruising over to my place, and...
HOLLOWAY: ... an excellent job. And I just want to say happy birthday. You know, you look like a new woman, and I am sure you feel like one, too. And the beach was a blast. I had the best time of my life. And, you know...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you properly buckled, Hootie?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you are not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I will tell you what. You know, you look at her, and I don't know. I think most Americans could relate to this young girl. Certainly, being from Northwest Florida, going to University of Alabama, I mean, she looks like so many people, so many people that I met growing up in high school and in college also. It really—it brings home the tragedy personally.
And a lot of people are always, why are you doing this story? Why are Americans so fascinated with Natalee? Well, you know, the answer is simple. Americans are fascinated with Natalee Holloway because, as you can see in that picture, she is everybody's daughter. She is everybody's sister. She is everybody's friend. She is everybody's church mate. This is—this is an all-American girl that we all know, that we have all met in our neighborhoods.
And let's face it, friends. It is a fear of so many parents watching tonight, a fear of me, that this could happen to them. It could happen to their family.
With me now is private investigator Art Wood, Art, of course, hired by the largest newspaper on the island of Aruba. Mr. Wood has not only been able to find new witnesses, but he is here tonight with a very interesting photo.
Thank you so much for being with us, Art.
Tell us about the photo.
ART WOOD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I'm happy to be here, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell us about the photo, and tell us about the possible significance of this Van Der Sloot character wearing boots in this photo that you found.
WOOD: Well, Joe, I want to begin by telling you that, seconds before going on the air, I received a telephone call that puts this—the date of this photo in question.
When I came forward with this photo, I was led to believe that it was taken the night Natalee disappeared at Carlos 'n Charlie's. Now, there's a sequence of photos that I have found at the newspaper that show not only Natalee. They show Joran dancing at Carlos 'n Charlie's.
The police have been looking for a pair of blue and white size 14 tennis shoes that they believe Joran did not come home with on the night that Natalee disappeared. The police believe that he came home barefoot. When I discovered these photos in the files of the newspaper, I immediately noticed that he was wearing caterpillar boots, or Herman Survivors, not tennis shoes.
SCARBOROUGH: And obviously, Art, just so we can say, the significance of this is, if it was on a different night, no big deal. If it was, though, in the end—and, again, people are going to be debating this, I'm sure, as we move forward—on the same night, then, obviously, you ask the question, why does he change his shoes? Why does he go back to the place? Why is he wearing boots?
And, again, could raise 1,000 different questions. We will be talking to you about that in the coming days.
I want to ask you right now about the investigation, though, that's going on at the landfill site. EquuSearch has been complaining that they are not getting the equipment they need, they are not getting the manpower they need, that they believe, based on witnesses who have come forward, that Natalee could be buried in that landfill. What can you give us as far as an update on the latest on that search?
WOOD: I would be happy to give you an update, Joe.
First of all, let me tell you that there's only two people working at that landfill, Eduardo Mansour (ph), who is my partner at the “Diario” newspaper, and Joe from Texas EquuSearch. We put an ad in the paper. We put a request for people to come forward to help us, to bring equipment, bulldozers, backhoes, and so forth.
I understand that, beginning tomorrow, we are going to have some extra equipment and some extra people, which should very much help in tearing that landfill up and getting to the bottom of that particular aspect of this investigation.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Art, this is what—this is what we don't understand in America, Art, OK? I mean, obviously, you have been in law enforcement for such a long time. What we don't understand is the fact that the witness has come forward, has said that they saw somebody possibly dumped, possibly buried in this area that matched Natalee's description, and yet law enforcement down there are just sitting back doing nothing, making you all do all the heavy lifting.
What is going on in Aruba tonight? Why is this happening?
SCARBOROUGH: Why the continued foot-dragging?
WOOD: Well, I am not going to bad-mouth the Aruban police, because they are trying hard to solve this case.
They think that this witness that we have is not credible. They have already talked to him, and they're—they're—they question his credibility. I can tell you, I interviewed the witness. He thinks he saw what he saw. So, we are going to dig that landfill up and make sure whether or not she is there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, Art Wood. As always, we greatly appreciate you being with us tonight.
Now, there is some good news out of Aruba tonight, as we learned that EquuSearch, the team from Texas, has finally obtained equipment they need to continue searching that landfill near the airport for at least until the end of the week.
But, friends, I got to tell you, once again, this is a shocking thing.
We saw all last week the search of the swamp. The swamp was being drained. And then we were told dogs were going to be brought in, that they were going to continue to search this entire area. Well, of course, today, Natalee's dad comes out angry, because that search is not being done, right?
Then, you have got this EquuSearch—then, you have got this EquuSearch search at this dump going on. And, again, the Aruban authorities not stepping forward, doing what needs to be done to help out. I don't understand it. Maybe Paul Reynolds can help us out.
Of course, Paul is Natalee's uncle, who is down in Aruba right now helping with the search.
Paul, thank you, as always, for being with us tonight. We greatly appreciate it.
PAUL REYNOLDS, UNCLE OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: You know, we are so fortunate to have Texas EquuSearch helping us.
You know, coming up from Houston and bringing in all the manpower and equipment that they have has been incredible. You know, we just hope that we can gain some additional equipment from people here on the island that can come forward with heavy equipment that will help with the search.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Paul, help us out here, though, OK? We heard today, obviously, Natalee's dad very angry because they drained the swamp last week. We covered it. We heard the police dogs were going to be brought in. And then they just abandoned the search. What's going on there?
REYNOLDS: What we heard was that the equipment failed, and they said the search was over. Certainly, that should not have happened. They need to finish that search, bring in some new equipment and finish draining the pond, so that they can complete that activity. You know, there's a—there's...
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead.
REYNOLDS: You know, there's an element on the island that is in denial that something has happened. You know, a lot of people here still think that she is out running around.
And that's just—I wish that were true, but it's not true. And, you know, we need to get to the bottom of this. You know, we need the father to quit giving his son bad advice. If there was an accident that occurred, he needs to come forward and say that. He is going to ruin his son's life by encouraging him to continue lying.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Paul, stay with us, because I want to continue. There's so much to cover tonight.
We, of course, got the swamp search last week. That was just abruptly called off. Tonight, we are finding out, again, that EquuSearch, a Texas firm, a private Texas firm, is having to do this investigation. Also, we hear about the tough interrogation techniques today. Why did it take eight weeks for them to come to the island and ask this guy the tough questions?
We are going to get the answers when we come back in SCARBOROUGH
SCARBOROUGH: We are going to be going back to Aruba in a second and talk about a Caribbean cover-up, also, more exclusives in the case of missing honeymooner George Smith. We're going to take you to his hometown coming up next. And later, you are going to hear from a passenger on that cruise with an incredible story about how it was out of control.
Stick around, more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Let's bring back Natalee's uncle Paul Reynolds.
Paul, you know, we were talking about a lot of things going on down in
Aruba that just don't add up. And, of course, all right let's talk about -
· we can talk about the search, but let's talk about the interrogation today, Dutch authorities bragging that they beat him up for eight hours straight. Why does it take two months to get the best experts in from Holland to interrogate this key suspect?
REYNOLDS: It's a little hard to understand.
Of course, he has been in custody now for close to eight weeks. And, you know, a lot should have happened in that time frame. You know, I still hope that a lot of information was obtained in the first few weeks, and even going back to the first interrogation or the first questioning the couple of days after Natalee was missing. The—the confessions that were reported have to hold some clues there.
And, you know, we need to get to the bottom of it and continue the questioning. He knows the truth. He will come forward with it if pressed enough.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, and I'll tell you, he will. I mean, he is a 17-year-old kid. I think he is turning 18 this coming weekend. I can't believe, if they lean on him, if they go through all the inconsistencies, they can't find the truth here.
Hey, thanks a lot, Paul Reynolds. As always, we greatly appreciate you being with us.
You are looking at pictures of George Smith and his wife on a cruise celebrating their honeymoon. It ended up being a bloody honeymoon. They had plans to start a family, and George hoped some day to take over his dad's business. But his bright future ended as abruptly as friends and family got word that George had mysteriously vanished.
Tonight, another SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive. MSNBC's Lisa Daniels travels to Greenwich, Connecticut, just outside of New York City, to find out more about this 26-year-old and the community he called home.
Now, Lisa, usually, if I were to say somebody traveled to Greenwich, Connecticut...
LISA DANIELS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: ... they would say, hey, that ain't a tough assignment.
DANIELS: No, no, no.
SCARBOROUGH: But this...
SCARBOROUGH: ... is a tough assignment, because nobody is talking.
DANIELS: Nobody is talking. And we called up so many people to get them to talk, to share their stories.
And, finally, after a lot of homework, we tracked down one friend who was willing to share his story in the hopes of finding his friend. So, here it is.
DANIELS (voice-over): It is a photo from a happier time, the Greenwich High School prom, 1996, George Smith, the teen know for his good looks and easy-going style, now know as a missing person.
Joe Darula, George's high school buddy, is one of the few friends speaking out about the tragedy, and that's because he wants answers.
JOE DARULA, HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND OF GEORGE SMITH: Someone knows something. It's just strange how people weren't getting interviewed for like four or five days after, and then now everyone is coming out with—like, why didn't that happen right away?
DANIELS: And so, Joe is telling the world about his friend, the man behind the mystery, hoping somebody will come forward with information.
J. DARULA: He's just a nice all-around great guy, a gentle giant, pretty much.
DANIELS: Joe's father, Bob Darula, was George's high school football coach.
BOB DARULA, HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH OF GEORGE SMITH: He was very likable, yes. He was warm, you know, personality, that, a little quiet sometimes, but everybody liked George, you know.
DANIELS: The gentle giant was a star linebacker with the Greenwich High School football team, the senior in high school with ambition. His high school year book reads: “All men are great in their dreams. Reality just narrows the competition. I am better than my reputation,” ironic words coming from a man already with a stellar reputation, not to mention his family's.
(on camera): The Smith family is well known here in Greenwich. Almost anybody you talk to knows somebody in the Smith family. George's great grandfather was a Major League Baseball player who lived here in Greenwich. And his grandfather was a local dentist.
(voice-over): George's father runs this liquor store in the center of town, one of the oldest in a town famous for its wealth and ritziness. The plan was for George to take over his dad's store. And before he left on his honeymoon, George was already working long hours there. It was here that a chance encounter brought Joe and George back in touch. The two had drifted since high school.
J. DARULA: It was kind of eerie, because I saw him like three weeks before. I was in his liquor store. And I was going to a graduation party, so I was buying some things. And I just talked to him. And he was like, we got to get together when I get back. And I was like, yes, give me a call.
DANIELS: That call never happened. The only phone call Joe got was from high school friends, and they had horrifying news.
J. DARULA: I could tell in their voice something was like—something was wrong, because they were, like, just call me back when you get a chance, real solemn tone they had.
DANIELS: For Joe, the tragedy is difficult to understand.
J. DARULA: He wasn't known as, you know, get out of control or anything. I mean, he just never did anything wrong. So—and that's why it's more shocking, you know, that something like this would happen.
B. DARULA: I couldn't believe it, you know? And being a parent, I am thinking, what is the parent thinking? His wife, you know, newly married, and what a way—what a way to have a honeymoon, to lose your husband and lose your child, you know?
DANIELS: For Joe Darula, he is waiting for news about his friend. In the meantime, the photos bring just sadness and guilt.
J. DARULA: Not that I regret, but, you know, I wish I—I stayed in touch with him more and I—what—we were, because we were corresponding through e-mail and stuff. And we were going to hang out after he got back from his honeymoon and things like that. So, you know, it would be great to have him back.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Lisa, George, again, described as a gentle giant.
SCARBOROUGH: And such a—such a great guy. Why are his friends so hesitant to talk to you and other people about him?
DANIELS: Well, I think, Joe, it's because the family hasn't spoken.
And, remember, this is Greenwich, Connecticut, where people follow protocol.
SCARBOROUGH: Very tight, yes.
So, until the family speaks out, people are being very hesitant. But that said, you would be amazed how many people came up to us on the streets and said, I don't want to speak on camera, but how is the family doing? How is the investigation going? So, I think there's a lot of interest.
They are just unwilling to speak.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Lisa Daniels, thanks a lot.
SCARBOROUGH: Greatly appreciate it.
Now, a number of people have called us and written us and thanked us for our coverage of the story. And many have also asked to hear from the family and friends of George Smith and Jennifer Hagel.
We've been in touch with some of them. And I want to read you one of the e-mails we received today. It's from a friend of his who wishes to remain anonymous—quote—“We've known George for the better part of our lives and can honestly say this whole event is truly disturbing. He comes from a great family and he really was, is an amazing person. One of my friends who is a best friend of George has said time and again what a wonderful person Jen is and how perfect a couple they make. I'm very thankful that MSNBC has chosen to report all new findings, as people in town really don't know much about what has happened, other than what has been stated in the local newspaper.”
And you know what? That's exactly what Lisa was saying, that people in George's hometown don't really know what's going on either.
But, remember, if you have anything to add to this story, we want to hear from you, whether you are a friend of George's, a friend of Jen's, or whether you were on that cruise. And that's really where we are getting the most information, from people who were on the cruise with George and Jen that night and have been talking to us every night, coming to us first, telling us what really happened that night.
And we are piecing information together, and it's making a big difference. You can make a difference in helping us crack this case by sending me an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com.
If the cruise lines don't want to talk about it, we will.
Now, we have got a lot more to come on this story, another exclusive. We are going to talk live to another passenger who was on that cruise. And you are not going to believe what he has to say about what was happening on the ship at the time.
And, also, a fiery crash landing today, amazingly, no deaths. We are going to get you up to date with the very latest on that developing story.
And later, long before Natalee Holloway, an eerily similar case.
Coming up, one family's fight for justice, as another is lost in paradise.
SCARBOROUGH: Another SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive. You are going to be hearing live from a passenger on the same cruise ship as the missing groom George Smith. And he has a story to tell about what was happening on that ship and what happened to his own daughter.
But, first, here's the latest news that you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Her name is Claudia. And, like Natalee Holloway, she is lost in paradise, but, instead of in Aruba, she vanished from Jamaica. And now five years later, her family is still searching for answers. Tonight, they're here to tell us their story.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. That story in just minutes.
But, first, back to the case of missing honeymooner George Smith and another SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive. He and his family were on the same cruise as George Smith, and he has got an unbelievable story to tell. He is Bob. He is from New York, and he has agreed to join us tonight by phone.
Bob, welcome, and thanks a lot for speaking with us tonight and talking about this cruise.
Now, I understand you aren't a rookie to cruise lines. You have actually been on up to 20 trips before, but you said this one was different from the beginning. Tell us about it.
BOB, PASSENGER ON CRUISE SHIP: Good evening, Joe.
Yes. Yes, I'm—been around a few cruises, 20-plus, and never had anything like this. It—definitely a cruise to remember, and not a lot of great memories, but still a cruise to remember. I guess, in a nutshell, what I can tell you that I know took place on that ship—I don't know if I know it all, but I can tell you what I do know.
Other than the grand story, which is the individual supposedly falling off the ship, there was also an alleged rape that we were told by crew members. My own daughter was harassed and stalked. And another person I spoke with, her daughter was harassed and had to be escorted back to her cabin by security the following night after my daughter was harassed.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, again, for all of—Bob, for all of the cruise ships you have been on, it sounds like this one was an exception, that it really was out of control. You had rapes, reports of Russian men raping women, and them being videotaped, being taken off the cruise, your daughter being harassed.
And—and didn't somebody on the ship say that this was one of the most out-of-control cruises they had ever been a part of?
BOB: Oh, those were the words of the staff captain that I spoke to.
His words were exactly that: This is the worst cruise I have ever been on.
SCARBOROUGH: The staff captain said that to you. And, of course, this was, again, at the same time that George Smith disappeared, your daughter being stalked, reports of these Russians raping a woman, videotaping them, being yanked off.
And I understand your wife actually saw something as you all pulled into Naples. Talk about that.
BOB: Well, after departing Kusadasi, which is where George Smith was off the ship, our next port was Naples.
And, yes, my wife did see, going through the centrum, a contingency of battalion police and a large stack of suitcases. And not putting two and two together right then and there, later on, we heard that there were Russians involved—and this is all hearsay, from, you know, what we have been told—Russians involved in a rape that took place on the ship that was videotaped, and they were thrown off for that and handed over to the Italian police.
SCARBOROUGH: So—so, talk about what you learned regarding George Smith, what other passengers learned about George Smith being possibly tossed overboard, the bloody scene, of course, a picture that we obtained first here. Did other people get a chance to see that bloody crime scene, or did the cruise liner's authorities clean it up before you all got a shot at it?
BOB: Well, I didn't see it at all. And I don't know how many people did. You would have to have a balcony room on that side of the ship.
And so, it is limited on that side and that end of the ship. So, it would be in plain view for everybody. But, certainly, dozens and dozens of cabins would have the exposure to it.
SCARBOROUGH: But—but were you—were you told about his disappearance, about the bloody possible crime scene?
BOB: It was never regarded as a crime scene on the ship. In fact, we didn't hear about it until days later, about the blood. We had just had concern that somebody had fallen overboard and lost at sea.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a lot people right now are saying to themselves as they watch this story that cruise lines are not safe. Again, you have been on a lot, many of them. But talk about your situation here, where your 19-year-old daughter was stalked.
Well, and I think that's the concern everyone has to have going on a cruise nowadays. I certainly had a wakeup call, that you come aboard these great big vessels. The first thing that you are going to be greeted with is security and metal detectors. So, you come on board, and you have this certain sense of, you know, security on this floating island. And that's really not true.
A lot can go wrong, as this cruise has proven.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Bob, thank you so much. We greatly appreciate you being with us and offering your insights.
And I will tell you what. What Bob has said, we are hearing from so many people that were on this ship. And that is that, really, you just don't have the type of security that you need there. Last night, we had a former security guard, a former security official for one of these cruise liners saying, they don't even teach these guys, they don't teach these men, they don't teach these women how to properly take care of a crime scene.
Maybe—maybe they weren't covering up this bloody crime scene.
Maybe they just washed it away because they were stupid. We don't know. But, regardless, the crime scene was contaminated, and it's going to be harder to find out what really happened that night to George Smith IV because of it.
Now, let me bring in sex crimes prosecutor Stacey Honowitz and also DNA expert Lawrence Kobilinsky.
Lawrence, let me begin with you.
What do you do when a crime scene is contaminated by the cruise lines, they wash away the bloody scene of the crime, and basically leave you with nothing to work with?
DR. LARRY KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: Well, this is an exceptionally difficult situation, because without a body, you cannot determine the cause and manner of death.
But what you do have is blood. And you have blood in a number of locations. The problem is, is you don't have experts recording the scene or collecting the evidence. This photograph that the—that we are looking at right now happens to have been taken by an amateur. There's no ruler or scale. You can't tell if the awning is tilted or not. And we can only guess that there's a concentration of blood in one place.
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, Doctor, everybody that we have had on the show since we first broke this—broke this story and had this picture, they are looking at this picture and they're saying, well, you may be able to tell this about it, you may be able to tell that about it.
Bottom line is, you really can't tell anything, because, again, it's an amateur shot.
KOBILINSKY: That's absolutely correct.
And to be more specific, the place to look is in the cabin, because, presumably, whatever injury, trauma took place started there. That's the first place you have blood. And, apparently, from this picture, you can see a great deal of blood, so it's likely that this was trauma to the head or a highly vascularized region of the body.
Somehow, he either hit himself and fell overboard—it looks like there's criminal activity here.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, it certainly does.
Stacey Honowitz, if there's criminal activity, how in the world do you build a case? You find somebody you want to prosecute, whether it's the wife, whether it's one of these Russian guys, and you decide to go after them, what in the world do you do? What—what's the first step?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Well, I can tell you, Joe, that, honestly, this is a pathetic sight, to see that this was a crime scene that was basically washed away.
The FBI should have been notified right off the bat, flew guys in, and really portioned off this area as a crime scene. But, in this case...
SCARBOROUGH: Stacy, is that criminal? Is that criminal? If somebody in the United States of America, under U.S. jurisdiction, wiped away a bloody crime scene like that, could they be thrown in jail?
HONOWITZ: Well, sure, if you tamper with evidence, if there was—if there was some evidence there that could be used later on, and you tamper with it, of course you could be prosecuted. And, in this case...
SCARBOROUGH: So, because it was on a ship, if somebody walks up to me, stabs me in the heart, I die, bleed to death, and Carnival Cruise Line or somebody else comes out with a mop, cleans it up five minutes later, they are not busted.
HONOWITZ: Well, yes.
You know, for some reason, they play by different rules on the cruise ship. They think, because, as your other guest said, it's a floating island, they don't feel like they have to play by the rules. And they do, because, just because you are out there at sea, doesn't mean that a crime can't be investigated.
And, in this case, Joe, what I think is so crucial, which people aren't talking about, is the wife is the one that was with her husband last. If anybody has any idea about what kind of activities were going on that night or whether or not they were intoxicated or being followed or being stalked, it's the wife.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Stacey, good point.
HONOWITZ: And it's my understanding, she is not talking.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Stacey, then that's—that's a good point.
I was going to ask you the next question. Let's say I'm your boss. I come to you and say, you know, I don't care what you do. I want this case prosecuted. What do you do, focus on the wife?
I mean, certainly, you can't fabricate any kind of evidence, but what you are going to do is, you are going to focus on the person who was the missing person last. And it's her. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to talk. She has information. She was in the room with him. It was their honeymoon. I doubt they were separated one night while on their honeymoon, so she has permanent information that the FBI needs to know about.
We have to wait and see what she has to say. She could be the key to this whole investigation.
SCARBOROUGH: Doctor, I am going to ask you the same question—question. How do you reconstruct a crime scene obviously wiped away? Do you just throw up your arms and if I tell you, I want this case investigated and prosecuted, you come back to me and say, tough luck?
KOBILINSKY: Well, first, you clearly look for close relatives and other people on the boat that may have had some interest in his death. I know that they were both at the casino. I know that they were having some problems with other people.
There may have been an incentive to get rid of him. I think it's—although it may be likely that the wife knows something, that may not be the case. She was very inebriated.
SCARBOROUGH: And I want to ask you....
HONOWITZ: But at least she could talk about the amount of alcohol they had that night. She could at least—even if she was inebriated that night, she could talk about what led up to the drinking. Maybe she does...
SCARBOROUGH: Stacey, what about these Russians? We keep hearing about Russians who were on the ship at the time. It seems to me that's one of the biggest problems with this investigation. You come into port, and everybody scatters across the globe. How do you piece it together? How do you get all these people in all these jurisdictions to possibly nail these Russian guys, if they were the ones responsible for his death?
HONOWITZ: Well, it's like doing any kind of investigation. You see how—how you can round people up that might have information. But you are right.
Jurisdiction—when you're on the high seas, really, nobody has jurisdiction. What happens is, you are supposed to notify the U.S. Consulate and get the FBI involved. And I don't think that was done right away. Had that been done right away, you might have been able to talk to these people and interrogate them. So, from the bat, from the get-go, the investigation was tainted, and you are going to have a real problem, unless somebody comes forward that actually saw something happen.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot. We greatly appreciate it.
Doctor and also Stacey Honowitz, greatly appreciate you being with us.
Of course, the cruise line is saying that it was done right away, that the FBI was called in right away. I got to tell you this. If the FBI were called in right away, they wouldn't have contaminated that crime scene. They wouldn't have allowed the outline of what appeared to be a bloody carcass to be mopped away, to be cleaned up. It's a disgrace. And it's why, tonight, we are still searching for answers in this case.
Now, long before George Smith IV and long before Natalee Holloway were both making headlines, there was a desperate search for another woman who vanished while in tropical paradise. Tonight, her parents come to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to share their search for justice in a foreign land. And, friends, as we are learning tonight, that is a very difficult search for justice, indeed.
And, also, some are calling it a miracle. A jet full of passengers careens off a runway into a fireball, and there are only minor injuries—the latest on this amazing developing story coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, five years before Natalee Holloway disappeared in Aruba, Claudia Kirschhoch also went missing in the Caribbean. The 29-year-old travel writer was in Jamaica on a work assignment, and was last seen May 27, 2000. Like Holloway, the case was repeatedly bungled by local authorities, and Claudia's parents still don't have any answers about what happened to their daughter.
Her parents, Fred and Mary Anne, are with us now.
Thank you so much for being with us.
FRED KIRSCHHOCH, FATHER OF CLAUDIA KIRSCHHOCH: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: It's remarkable. It is remarkable how often this happens, and Americans just don't know. It seems like this Natalee Holloway story has almost made the scales fall off Americans' eyes about the dangers of sending their children, even grown children, to the Caribbean.
Talk about your daughter.
MARY ANNE KIRSCHHOCH, MOTHER OF CLAUDIA KIRSCHHOCH: Well, Claudia was invited on a press trip to Cuba by Sandals. That fell through. She had to stay in Jamaica. She stayed with another woman, and they decided to stay at a family resort, Beaches.
And she was—she went out to a reggae concert with a bartender. And she told this other travel writer that that's what she had done. And, by Saturday, after the travel—the other travel writer left the island, Claudia was not seen.
SCARBOROUGH: Not seen. And, again, I know you all are looking at the Natalee Holloway coverage and, as Yogi Berra said, it's got to be deja vu all over again.
I understand, this investigation bungled time and time again. Do you think there was a purposeful Caribbean cover-up there, just like in the Holloway case?
F. KIRSCHHOCH: Well, tourism is so big in both Jamaica—in Jamaica and Aruba that there's incentive for them to not to solve these cases, or not have them in the media so much, at least.
In our case and in the Holloway, they persevered and brought the media in, which we did also. And that's helped keep it alive, and also staying there. As long as they stay there with the media, it will be going. When we went—as soon as we left the island, the investigation would stop each time.
SCARBOROUGH: Just dropped it.
And so, you all have no answers five years later. Your daughter disappears, and it's not like she was a teenage kid going down the week after graduation. She was a writer, a travel writer.
M. KIRSCHHOCH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: And—and—but, yet, again, you have absolutely no information on what happened to her, other than that, from the authorities.
M. KIRSCHHOCH: Well—well, from the Jamaica authorities, no. We do know that there were things that happened at the hotel that were bungled, if you want to use that word, and—because Claudia's cell phone was taken from her room. It was in an inventory that had been collected when we called to find out what had happened to her.
Her—the logs that the hotel keeps of cars coming onto the property went missing mysteriously. They have never lost...
SCARBOROUGH: Never lost that before.
M. KIRSCHHOCH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: And, again, like you all said, because tourism is so big...
M. KIRSCHHOCH: Absolutely.
SCARBOROUGH: ... they have got an incentive...
M. KIRSCHHOCH: Right.
... SCARBOROUGH: to make sure the truth doesn't get out about what happened to your daughter, what happened to Natalee, what happened to George Smith IV.
Let me ask you all, what do you think happened?
F. KIRSCHHOCH: Well, we feel that she was—died accidentally, probably. But the people that she was with, since they were connected to the hotel, feared for—what would happen to them, and so they got rid of her.
And, in some ways, it's sorry to say, it sounds very much like the Holloway case.
F. KIRSCHHOCH: I mean, there's enough evidence, in our opinion and in the FBI's opinion, to have prosecuted at least one person down there, because a search-and-rescue dog indicated that she had been in the trunk of his car. They found...
F. KIRSCHHOCH: ... hair in the back seat of the car. They found mud on his boots that were in an area where she may have been buried. But the police just dropped the investigation.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, that's remarkable.
And, of course, as we know, if they had gone after that one person, then you interrogate them. You get more information. And, five years later, you still wouldn't be wondering what happened to your daughter.
I understand you all wrote to the Holloways?
M. KIRSCHHOCH: An e-mail. We sent her an e-mail, and we gave her a little bit of information. We know that they have been so involved in this, that maybe eventually they will—we will be in touch.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
M. KIRSCHHOCH: But...
M. KIRSCHHOCH: ... like to do that.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much for being with us. We greatly appreciate it, Mr. and Mrs. Kirschhoch.
And we will stay on it. And if you have any more information, let us know.
F. KIRSCHHOCH: Thank you.
M. KIRSCHHOCH: Thank you very much.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks a lot.
When we come back, new details on the story out of Canada. A jumbo jet overshoots a runway and explodes into flame, but everybody survives. You're going to be hearing from one of those survivors coming up in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: You can take the show on the road by downloading our podcast. And, also, check out our morning read. You can find it all at Joe.MSNBC.com.
We'll be right back with amazing shots from that plane crash in Toronto in just one second.
SCARBOROUGH: A terrifying scene on a runway at Toronto's airport today. Miraculously, though, there were no fatalities, though two dozen people were injured in an Air France plane with 309 people on board.
Now, this plane overshot the runway while trying to land during a severe thunder and lightning storm. It was a chaotic scene. Fire and billowing smoke could be seen coming from the aircraft. Emergency crews scurried to rescue passengers and poured water on the burning wreckage. And what a harrowing moment it must have been for those passengers.
Let's listen to one of them talk about the panic that was on the plane as events unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLIVER DUBOIS, PASSENGER: Just before touching the ground, there was like—it was all black in the plane. There was no more light, nothing. And then there were a lot of flames.
The plane stopped. We opened the emergency doors. And, basically, there were lot of flames around. We just tried to escape. There was a lot of panic. We were all running everywhere. There was lots of gas and smoke. I actually—I don't know—I don't know if everybody managed to get out of the plane. We were all running like crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Because the accident is still under investigation, you can stay with MSNBC to get all the latest information.
Well, that's all the time we have for tonight. Make sure to watch Imus tomorrow morning. His guests are going to include CNBC's Ron Insana, of course the host of “Street Signs.”
If you have something to say, e-mail me at Joe@MSNBC.com.
“HARDBALL” is next. Have a great night.
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