Guest: Ron Fischetti, David Soares, John Aretakis, Bob Doyle, Joe Huston,
Bob Gordon, Beth Holloway Twitty, Paul Reynolds, Cari Gerlicher
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, a 42-year-old Catholic high school teacher, the wife of a prominent banker accused of having sex with students in her home and at school.
ABRAMS (voice-over): Beth Geisel accused of having sex with a 16-year-old. Three other boys say she slept with them too but they were 17, old enough to consent.
Plus could the man charged with kidnapping and molesting 8-year-old Shasta Groene and murdering her family also be responsible for another unsolved murder? Authorities say yes.
And the lead suspect in the Natalee Holloway case gets grilled by a team of behavioral specialists looking for any clues. We'll talk to Natalee's family as her mother returns to Aruba.
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Before we get to all that we've got some breaking news in the Martha Stewart case. Martha Stewart was supposed to have that electronic monitoring bracelet that she has to wear taken off in the next week. Remember, she's still serving time. Home confinement. Well, in the last 10 minutes we have gotten a one-sentence letter from her lawyer, Walter Dellinger, saying Martha Stewart has agreed to an extension of the terms of her home confinement until August 31. That means she's agreed effectively to serve more time, three weeks more time.
Joining us now by phone defense attorney Ron Fischetti, who is a close friend of the attorney representing Martha Stewart. What do you make of this, Ron?
RON FISCHETTI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY (via phone): Well, obviously, they concluded that she violated the terms of her home confinement. You remember there was some publicity about her riding a jeep around her property, and then what happens is the probation department can file a disciplinary action indicating that she violated the terms of her probation and she's entitled to a hearing about that before the judge, but in order to obviate that you probably can, in certain circumstances (UNINTELLIGIBLE) settle with probation, and the U.S. attorney, and agreed to some form of extension and they did that here.
ABRAMS: Now was this for—do you know, was this for riding the off-road vehicle around her property or for showing up at a yoga class nearby as the “New York Post” had reported?
FISCHETTI: I don't know. I assume that's what it is. That's what was reported in the papers. But it was some type of violation that extends the time for home confinement. You have to understand it's still a prison facility...
FISCHETTI: ... her home, and the judge, earlier on, when her attorneys moved to take the bracelet off was not convinced at all and entered an order saying hey look, you're still in prison...
ABRAMS: So what is she doing? I mean how can Martha Stewart, the most scrutinized home-confinement prisoner ever, have done things where she's going to end up with more time? I mean didn't somebody say to her, “hey, Martha, you can't do this and you can do this”?
FISCHETTI: Well, sure, of course. But you know sometimes, you know you're in home confinement but you're out of prison and she gets a certain amount of time out, as you know, per week to take care of business things, and even personal things, so I mean sometimes people violate things like this. I mean she's just such a high profile prisoner that anything that she does is reported in the newspapers...
FISCHETTI: ... and then when it's reported in the newspapers people make a big deal about it and you know people have to act, but I don't think it's a very serious violation.
ABRAMS: But the bottom line is that by agreeing to this extension of her home confinement, it's basically saying, “yes, I'm guilty of violating the probation in some way and I'm willing to serve extra time”?
FISCHETTI: Well, if you want to say guilty, Dan, I guess you can say that but basically, it obviates the need for a hearing and I'm sure now for the next three weeks she's going to be super careful.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right, Ron Fischetti, good to hear from you.
Thanks a lot.
FISCHETTI: OK. Bye.
ABRAMS: All right, now to the latest teacher sex scandal. This 42-year-old Catholic school English teacher from suburban Albany, New York, the wife of a prominent banker, the mother of four children leaving court after posting $20,000 bail accused of having sex with one of her 16-year-old students and he may not have been the only one.
NBC's Mike Taibbi has the story.
MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sandra Beth Geisel may be free on $20,000 bail but her reputation is in tatters. The 16-year-old junior at the heart of the case is telling police Geisel's alleged misbehavior started at a party she threw at her home where she was aware that kids were drinking. Later in her bedroom, the boy said, “the teacher laid a blanket on the floor. We took off our clothes and had sex. She told me she knew it was wrong but she had been thinking about me.”
On another day, he says, there was sex with his teacher in the press box of the football stadium at Christian Brothers Academy. And then, he said, she had sex with other boys. In fact, while Geisel is only charged in connection with her alleged sexual relations with one student, others have come forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are interviewing everyone, and at this point in time it's really premature to state with certainty exactly what charges will end up being presented to the grand jury.
TAIBBI: At least four students have told police they had sex with a married teacher who also provided them with alcohol and who now stands charged with felony rape and endangering the welfare of a child.
Mike Taibbi, NBC News, New York.
ABRAMS: As a condition of her bail Geisel has been given a 10:00 p.m. curfew. She has to undergo psychological evaluation. She's been ordered to stay away from the 16-year-old victim.
Joining us now is Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who is prosecuting Beth Geisel. Thanks a lot for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
DAVID SOARES, ALBANY CTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You're welcome.
ABRAMS: All right, so the 17-year-olds who have come forward, there's this 16-year-old who says that he had sex with her. That's what she's being charged for. Three other 17-year-olds are coming forward and saying oh, we had sex with her too. They can't be charged, right?
SOARES: That is correct. Sixteen, statutorily you cannot consent as a 16-year-old and therefore that is the only viable charge against the defendant at this point in time as it relates to the 16-year-old. However, we are still interviewing the 17-year-olds and all students who have information that is pertinent to us because right now it's still very premature to say what exactly we are going to present to a grand jury. There is a lot of information out there, allegations that certain conduct was engaged in, as a matter of fact, in different jurisdictions within my county, and therefore, we are still investigating this case.
ABRAMS: Here is what, in the deposition, the 16-year-old said. “She came home in a cab. She was drunk. She started to rub my chest and just suddenly kissed me. I was shocked. She told me she knew it was wrong but she had been thinking about me for a while. We then took off our clothes and had sex.” But apparently it occurred more than once, correct?
SOARES: That is correct.
ABRAMS: How many times?
SOARES: That is correct. At this point there are three incidents that we know of and again, we are still investigating this case to determine whether or not there were other individuals that were under 17 years of age, for us to, again, get this case packaged and presented to a grand jury, so there may be additional charges. There may be not. That all determines—that is all determined by our findings.
ABRAMS: Now just—I'm sure you know about this, but Beth Geisel's attorney has been saying that most of them actually didn't want to be involved in this. The 16-year-old became involved after he was expelled from school, that his father threatened the school unless the kid came back in and here is what he said on a radio show this morning.
DONALD KINSELLA, BETH GEISEL'S ATTORNEY: I'm not saying that there was physical force involved with each of the incidents with the 16-year-old. There are other possibilities concerning coercion that don't amount to force and she's 43. She does have some problems. Alcohol is involved and poor judgment is involved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
KINSELLA: But it doesn't necessarily mean that she should be criminally prosecuted.
ABRAMS: Sounds like what he's saying is that the 16-year-old is to blame here.
SOARES: That's what it sounds like he's saying. However, I would point out that counsel here is an experienced attorney, and he's doing his best to at this point in time shift some of the focus from his client, which is exactly what I believe he's paid to do. However, it still doesn't diminish the fact...
ABRAMS: Anything to support that though? I mean anything...
ABRAMS: ... to support the allegation that somehow the 16-year-old may have gotten some of these other people involved and that he was effectively coercing her, et cetera?
SOARES: Nothing that's come across my table to indicate that that is in fact the case.
ABRAMS: All right. Thanks very much. David Soares...
SOARES: Thank you.
ABRAMS: ... Albany County district attorney. Appreciate it.
ABRAMS: All right, attorney John Aretakis represents one of the 17-year-old students who says that he had sex with Beth Geisel. Thanks very much for coming on the program. We appreciate it.
JOHN ARETAKIS, ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me.
ABRAMS: So your allegation is that the school basically should have known about this, right, that there had been reports in the past about problems with this teacher?
ARETAKIS: Well Dan, this sordid tale starts approximately six months ago on a trip to Florida where several of these CBA boys were on. On that trip, it's uncontroverted that Beth Geisel provided alcohol for these boys on the trip. She drank alcohol with these boys on the trip and on occasion became so inebriated that she had to be basically carried home.
The faculty became aware and the administration became aware of these stories of what went on in Florida and there was no discipline. And my point, since the beginning, has been that had they taken appropriate action she would not have had sex with any of these boys in May 2005.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you, as a legal matter the 17-year-old who is your client is not considered a legal victim. Does he feel abused or is he pleased? I mean this is a consensual act according to the law.
ARETAKIS: Well Dan, that's a disconnect. He does not feel like he's been abused. His family and maybe some professionals as well as I feel differently. I think that sometimes the trauma occurs over a period of time.
ABRAMS: But he's 17. I mean it's not like he's 12 or 13.
ARETAKIS: Well, that's true, but having these early sexual experiences with a person who is in a position of trust and a position of power over you, it's odd. I mean, Dan, imagine him having a girlfriend six months from now who is his own age and what does he have to compare that to?
ABRAMS: I don't know. I mean, you know, 17, I mean the only problem is that we're talking about 17-year-olds as if they're all sort of these innocent little flowers, and you know, we know the reality is that they're not all like that.
ARETAKIS: Well, that's true. And I'd also point out that the school seemed to be on notice of Beth Geisel's inappropriate behavior with boys during the school hours in her classroom. As far as I know, faculty complained that she was in her office with the door closed for long periods of time with boys and it was so concerning that the school may have actually constructed a window...
ABRAMS: Yes, I read about that. That's unbelievable to me that if the allegation was that she was going in and they had no windows in her office, so rather than do anything about it they built windows. If that's true that's kind of amazing. But, all right, we'll follow this and we'll see where this goes, but you know I still believe you know if he's 17, legally can consent to it, you may have some trouble here, but we'll see. We'll follow up with you. Thanks a lot, John, for coming on the program.
ARETAKIS: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the man believed to have kidnapped and molested Shasta Groene and murdered her family is now the lead suspect in another child kidnapping and murder case. This one unsolved for eight years. The sheriff joins us next.
And Natalee Holloway's uncle has been doing some of his own surveillance on one of the suspects in that case. We check in with Natalee's family including her mother, who is back in Aruba.
Plus, our series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose” continues. It's our effort to stop sex offenders before they strike. Today Minnesota's most wanted men. Remember that's where college student Dru Sjodin's body was found after she was raped and killed likely by a sex offender.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF BOB DOYLE, RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA: The Riverside County Sheriff's Department would like to confirm today that credible evidence has been developed in the Anthony Martinez case that makes Joseph Edward Duncan of the Idaho case our prime suspect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Unbelievable. Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle tying a notorious molestation murder in his district to the guy accused of kidnapping and raping Shasta Groene. Remember this guy, Edward Joseph—
Joseph Edward Duncan. The Riverside case dates back eight years. The victim, Anthony Michael Martinez playing with his friends in his yard, 10 years old. He was abducted from his Beaumont, California home.
Suspect, a white male, told the kids he wanted to get them some help looking for a cat, took out a knife, grabbed Anthony. The boy's body found more than two weeks later in an isolated canyon, police said he had been tied up and sexually molested.
Bob Doyle is the sheriff of Riverside County, California, where Anthony Martinez was kidnapped and joins us now. Thanks very much, Sheriff, for coming on the program. We appreciate it. So, are you all...
DOYLE: My pleasure, Dan.
ABRAMS: ... are you all pretty convinced that Duncan who was—you know is obviously the lead suspect, found with little Shasta Groene is the same one who killed little Anthony Martinez?
DOYLE: Well in eight years, you know we've looked -- 15,00 different leads, Dan, and this is the first significant lead that we have had, and we've got a fingerprint that's been validated that was at the scene where we found Anthony's body, and that fingerprint belongs to Mr. Duncan.
ABRAMS: Now, he was a registered sex offender, was he not? And so why wouldn't that fingerprint have been able to have been matched earlier on?
DOYLE: Well, you know a lot of it has to do with what we call 10-print cards, how those prints are rolled. You know we had not had any significant—any contact to our knowledge with Mr. Duncan in the state of California, and he did have contact, apparently, in Washington, but you've got to go back to you know when this occurred in 1997, the technology as to where it's at today and it's quite different, but you know he never surfaced in California.
ABRAMS: So this is—this has nothing to do with his encrypted journal? I mean, he had written that—in a blog that he had this journal, he said—quote—“I wish I could be more honest about my feelings. The demons made sure I'd never be able to do that. I might not know if it matters. Just in case I'm working on an encrypted journal that's hundreds of times more frank than this blog could ever be. That's why I keep it encrypted.”
He went on and on. Did it have anything to do with that?
DOYLE: No, I mean we basically—the FBI in Idaho has the case that they're dealing with back there and in conversations during interviews with Mr. Duncan the name Martinez came up, and—in southern California—and they called us, and we sent two investigators back to Idaho, got debriefed by the FBI and we also asked, you know, if Mr. Duncan would speak to us.
He refused to speak to us as it related to the Martinez case, and we did have some—there were prints on file for Mr. Duncan, but the prints were—they were like off of a 10-print card which they're not necessarily full prints, and a Department of Justice analyst had looked at those prints, and he needed—he had a suspicion that it may be the suspect. We went back, got a search warrant with the help of the FBI for Mr. Duncan's prints there in Idaho.
We got full prints, and by doing that we were able to make a confirmation. The analyst was, on a thumbprint that was definitely Mr. Duncan's.
ABRAMS: All right, Sheriff. Thanks for coming on the program. We appreciate it.
DOYLE: My pleasure.
ABRAMS: Now to Aruba, the investigation into Natalee Holloway's disappearance. Behavioral specialists from Holland spent another day grilling Dutch suspect Joran van der Sloot focusing on his body language and mannerisms and looking for inconsistencies in his version of what happened the night of Natalee's disappearance over two months ago.
Also Joran and another suspect, Deepak Kalpoe, in court for a hearing this afternoon. NBC's Michelle Kosinski joins us now. All right, Michelle, the attorneys for the suspects seem to be trying to prevent the FBI from getting access to the evidence in this case. Explain this to me. If their clients are innocent why wouldn't they want the FBI to help put the investigation on track?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well we asked them those same questions and they always say it's a matter of principle; they don't want another country's investigators coming in and just having open access to all of the files. And they always insist this is just a regular case; this is not a case of international importance or anything. They call it just another case that happens to have been expanded in the media.
That's how they picture this. That's at least what they tell us. So they don't want the FBI just coming in and in a sense taking over. That's what they're afraid of. So they have been fighting that in the court system. Today, they argued before the appeals court that. And it's interesting because we already know that there has been some sharing, and a lot of sharing between the FBI and prosecutors here so we asked them, you know, what is the point?
They have already been sharing information. But they say that in court today prosecutors say no, we didn't share documents with the FBI, we simply shared audiotapes. But then the defense attorneys counter well we find it hard to believe that audiotapes and interviews that may have been done in Dutch would be given to the FBI with no transcripts. So we're really fighting details here, documentation and opening the files to a foreign body.
ABRAMS: All right. Michelle Kosinski thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Joining me now is Joe Huston with EquuSearch, the Texas-based team of volunteer searchers who have been scouring the island, in particular a landfill as of late. Thanks a lot, Joe, for coming on the program. Appreciate it. So...
JOE HUSTON, EQUUSEARCH VOLUNTEER: Thank you. You're welcome.
ABRAMS: ... searching in a landfill is very difficult, grueling work, is it not?
HUSTON: It's extremely difficult from the fact that you are dealing with human waste. You're dealing with animal waste. Just all kinds of material both hazardous and non-hazardous. It's just—it's a dump, basically, no pun intended.
ABRAMS: And have you found anything relevant to the case?
HUSTON: Not at this time. We have already spent five days in there. We have a witness who is fairly adamant about exactly where Natalee or a body was put. We have—today we had two backhoes out there and are still looking for additional equipment. We're trying to find a sponsor to get us two bulldozers. If we get a couple of bulldozers we'll be able to get this thing done in the next couple of days. But we're digging layer-by-layer staying within the timeframe and we know we are doing a pretty good job because when we get down to about 15 feet we run into garbage from 2004.
ABRAMS: Joe, I know you literally just returned. Some of the equipment that you have been using, do you have it with you?
HUSTON: Well, what I brought today was I basically brought a mask that we use to help filter out suspended particulates along with organic vapors, chlorine, hydrochloride, things like that to try to get those out of the system. You can see probably from looking at me I seem fairly dirty. And before we had these a lot of us have come down with respiratory problems—sore throat, runny nose, not feeling good. Last couple of days we have had these filters and it's actually been a lot—has done a lot better for the people that are out there working. It's helped to keep our breathing going and also keep the stuff out of our lungs.
ABRAMS: I just want people to remember as they're looking at you with that in your hand that you are a volunteer doing this and...
HUSTON: Yes, I am.
ABRAMS: ... the appreciation that I hope people can show for the fact that you are doing all that work. So the bottom—how does it work? I mean do you literally—are you literally standing there or are you running the machinery?
HUSTON: Well, we have individual on the island, they're actually running the machinery, but what happens is a backhoe will dig through the garbage, pick—take a scoop full up, take it up about 10 or 12 feet and then slowly dump it out. And as it's dumped out, we look at it. After it finishes dumping out we look in the trench that is dug to see if there is anything of any importance. At that time if we see something of any importance we tell the operator to stop, we actually jump down into the trench, see what it is and then check it out. And if it's not important, then come back out and then continue to dig. It's a long process.
A BRAMS: Gruesome, grueling work. Joe, thank you. I know everyone appreciates all the hard work you guys are doing down there.
H USTON: Thank you. I appreciate it.
A BRAMS: As we said, Joran, the chief suspect being questioned by behavioral experts. What exactly does that mean? Bob Gordon is a forensic and clinical psychologist. So Bob, what does it mean that he's being questioned by behavioral experts? I mean are they looking for body movements as to when he might be lying, et cetera?
B OB GORDON, FORENSIC & CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. Dan, there are many different kinds of lies and deceptions. You can tell something that is flat-out untrue. You can state an inaccuracy. You can edit the truth. You can say something that's an exaggeration or an understatement. They're looking for bodily cues, whether they're speech patterns, frankly brainwave patterns and also facial expressions along with posture.
A BRAMS: What do you do with that? I mean let's say you do determine that the facial expressions indicate that he's not telling the truth. What do you do with that?
G ORDON: You look at the, let's say 18 muscle groups in seven different regions of the face and you see what content of the interview is causing him stress or distress and that gives you a sense of it being significant so you would then pursue that further.
ABRAMS: How accurate...
ABRAMS: How accurate is this type of evaluation?
GORDON: It's extremely accurate in terms of hitting something that's significant. Now the most exciting trend has to do with the analysis of brainwaves where you put electrodes on a person's head, it's innocuous and a safe procedure, and it is one of the most promising areas to see whether or not a person has what we call guilty knowledge.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Bob Gordon thanks for taking the time.
GORDON: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up, Natalee's mother Beth is back in Aruba after resting back home in Alabama. She is recharged and fired up. We're going to talk to her in her first interview since she's come back to the island. She says she's got some new information. We want to hear it.
And our series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose,” continues tonight with our focus on Minnesota's most wanted men. We're trying to get these guys before they strike. Remember that's the state where college student Dru Sjodin was kidnapped and murdered allegedly by a sex offender. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
ABRAMS: Coming up, Natalee Holloway's mother's first interview since returning to Aruba. She is fired up, says she's got new information about suspects in the case. She joins us next, first the headlines.
ABRAMS: We're back with more from Aruba where Alabama teen Natalee Holloway has now been missing for over nine weeks. The only suspect still in custody, Joran Van Der Sloot, investigated again today by a team of elite behavioral specialists brought in from Holland. And the EquuSearch volunteers took to the landfill today, digging it with bulldozers and other heavy machinery following up on last week's tip from a witness who says he saw two men dumping a female body there right around the time of Natalee's disappearance.
Joining me now Beth Holloway Twitty, her first interview since she's returned to Aruba after a brief trip back home to Alabama, and Natalee's uncle, Paul Reynolds. Thank you both once again for coming back on the program. We appreciate it.
Beth, I was so pleased to hear from my producer that he said that you feel recharged, you feel energized, and you say you've got some new information.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER: You know, it's really—it's not new information. What's so ironic is it's information that everyone has had all along and I hope that myself just being a speech pathologist and not the only one that come to the conclusion how many times these stories have fallen apart. I mean I know the rest of the world knows.
You know, but when I was looking back through my data I'm seeing just all of these stories that the boys have been telling, Deepak and Satish and Joran have been falling apart since as early as July 1 and have just repeated to be fallen—to have fallen apart.
ABRAMS: And you spoke with some of Natalee's friends again while you were home, didn't you?
TWITTY: I did, and that was a huge help. We were able to really get a clear picture of just exactly what happened that night and I—you know, I have—now I know how Joran and Deepak and Satish got my daughter out of Carlos N' Charlie's. You know Natalee Holloway, she felt—she knew she was getting in a cab. She felt that Deepak Kalpoe will be a cab driver.
She had no idea. I know that definitively Natalee had no idea that she was getting in a car with three local boys. She felt that she was slipping into a cab with a cab driver.
ABRAMS: Let me—just so we understand that. This is after conversations with her friends; it's become clear to you that she said to them effectively she thought she was getting into a cab?
TWITTY: She didn't say to them effectively she was getting in a cab but I know that definitively and the reason why I know that is you know there are little pieces of this investigation that I have hung onto and I have kept a journal of and when Natalee was leaving Carlos N' Charlie's, when she's waving to her friends as—you know, as you know like I'll see you at the Holiday Inn or I'll see you in just a little bit.
I mean she had no idea, no idea that she would be getting into three boys' car. I know that definitively. And I don't know how Joran was able to slip her out of there so quickly. I'm thinking, though, as the children and I were describing it, it's a mass exodus at closing time. Cabs were lining up. The kids were rushing from Carlos N' Charlie's, you know hopping in cabs and I know that now.
I know how they got her out of there and I know how they got her in that car. She thought she was getting in a cab with a cab driver.
ABRAMS: And again, just so we're clear, this is based on you piecing together various information you had plus additional conversations with her friends when you were back at home?
ABRAMS: Wow. How are you...
TWITTY: It just makes me sick.
ABRAMS: Yes. How does it feel to be back on the island?
TWITTY: Well I'm glad to be back and I mean—you know I came back -
· I mean I'm angry at some of the things—the details of the investigation, but—you know, it's just—but I am glad to be back and I'm glad that Paul is here and hopefully, he and I will transition over the next day so I can continue where he was in the investigation and we can just make a good transition and continue forward.
A BRAMS: And I'm going to talk—I'm going to ask him a couple of questions in a sec, but I just wanted to ask you one more about this issue. It sounds like you have gotten a chance to go home, recharge a little bit, put all the pieces together in your own head and boy, you sound as confident as ever that you have effectively cracked this.
TWITTY: You know, I—that's what I said. I think that—I'm sure the investigators know this. I'm just saying it came to me clearly when I took a 48 or 70-hour break from the island. It really became clear. I was able to clear my head and focus and go back over every detail of the investigation and put it together and talk with the witnesses. That has been a huge bonus for me to speak with these witnesses.
ABRAMS: And the witnesses being Natalee's friends.
TWITTY: Yes. Correct.
ABRAMS: Did they say anything else that surprised you?
TWITTY: Oh, there are a lot of things that I uncovered this weekend, so just—a lot of different details but I'll just have to approach those one at a time.
ABRAMS: Anything else you can share with us?
TWITTY: No, I think I've done enough for now.
ABRAMS: OK. All right. I'll move over to Paul for a minute. Paul, you have actually literally been visiting the workplace of one of the suspects, Deepak Kalpoe and sort of watching him.
PAUL REYNOLDS, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S UNCLE: Not—I wouldn't call it watching him. I went in there as a customer. I just wanted to get to know him a little bit better. He didn't recognize me and we didn't talk about the case. Just wanted to visit as a customer and get a little better understanding about who he was and—you know, maybe try to find out what kind of person he is. But you know, the thing I would like to talk about is what—you know, what Beth has been doing is talking to people at home and interviewing people that were there, and finding out information, and you know, that's what we want the authorities here to continue doing.
We feel like the information is out there that's going to help us solve this case and you know there are so many people that need to be interviewed. It's friends of the three suspects. It's business associates of the family. It's acquaintances that have information, and I'm just as sure as Natalee's friends and the other kids on the trip had information, I know these people have information that can help us.
ABRAMS: Do you think that the authorities have not been questioning Natalee's friends enough?
REYNOLDS: I don't know to exactly what extent they have been questioning but I don't think it's enough. I'm sure there are hundreds of people that need to be interviewed. The casinos. The kids in school. Anywhere they go. Friends. There is a lot of work to be done.
ABRAMS: Beth, let me ask you do you—what's next now? Are you going to take what you have learned and start pushing again on the local authorities?
TWITTY: Oh, absolutely. But I think that they're—like Paul said, there are just so many more witnesses that are going to have to be interviewed, and—you know, it's so funny that as I - as I'm interviewing them and getting all these different pieces, one detail just one minute detail of the whole entire investigation of how Natalee was leaving Carlos N' Charlie's, I mean just think of how many more details that we're going to uncover when we actually go through all this process of the witnesses being questioned.
ABRAMS: Why do I get the feeling that even if you weren't involved in this case you would have been a great investigator if you had chosen a different...
ABRAMS: ... career route, but let me ask you...
TWITTY: You know, just a mom with a lot of support.
ABRAMS: Yes and you know a lot of support but boy, I think—again I've told you this before, but the determination that you've had in this case I think is just so admirable and so many of my viewers feel the same way. How long are you going to stay?
TWITTY: As long as it takes. I mean I know that I'm looking at September the 4th I believe right now is the date for—as they say, the clock is ticking for charges to be filed. Well, the way I look at it the clock is not only ticking for charges to be filed, but it's also ticking for Natalee to be found.
ABRAMS: Beth, keep up the good fight. Keep up the spirits. I was so glad to just hear that on a personal level that you were feeling recharged, et cetera. When I heard that, it gave me a little bit of raise in my spirits and I hope you keep feeling that way.
TWITTY: OK. Thank you
ABRAMS: Thanks, Paul.
Coming up, this week we're highlighting some of the most wanted sex offenders across the country. Tonight we spotlight the worst offenders in Minnesota hoping we can do something to help police track them down before they strike.
Your e-mails email@example.com. Please include your name and where you're writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, we're working with local law enforcement across the country trying to track down violent sex offenders before they strike. Minnesota's most wanted are up next.
ABRAMS: We're back with our weeklong series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose.” Every night this week we're highlighting some of the most important missing sex offenders in this country with the hope of getting them off the streets before they strike. I'm tired of reporting on stories after the fact.
Twenty-two-year-old Dru Sjodin vanished from the North Dakota mall. Her body discovered months later in Minnesota just blocks from the home of Alfonso Rodriguez, a twice-convicted sex offender who now could face the death penalty if convicted in the murder of Dru.
That brings us to the state we're going to highlight tonight, Minnesota. There are more than 14,000 known sex offenders. Eleven percent of them have failed to obey certain rules. Some are simply on the loose like 28-year-old Francisco Chapa, convicted of the violent sexual assault of two women. He was released from prison in January 2000. Three months later a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to report to his parole officer.
Joining me now is Cari Gerlicher, a director of special investigations for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Thanks very much for coming on the program. We appreciate it. So how dangerous is this guy?
CARI GERLICHER, MN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Well Mr. Chapa is very dangerous. This has been a case that we've worked along with the FBI fugitive task force and the U.S. Marshals since he absconded in April of 2000. The last information that we've gotten on Mr. Chapa is that he possibly has fled to Mexico and we have had no further tips on him, in probably the last six to eight months.
ABRAMS: And what exactly was he convicted of back in '95 and '97?
GERLICHER: Mr. Chapa was convicted of two different cases of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. The latter case in 1997, his victim was a juvenile female in which he actually fled the state for a while before he was apprehended and that juvenile was returned home to her parents. Both victims were acquaintances to Mr. Chapa.
ABRAMS: All right, and again, he has been wanted since 2000, right?
GERLICHER: That is correct. He has.
ABRAMS: All right. We're going to put up the number in a minute that everyone should call. Let's go through a few more of these in Minnesota. James Dean...
G ERLICHER: OK.
A BRAMS: ... I'm sorry. James Dean Van Wyhe, what do we know about him?
G ERLICHER: Well Mr. Van Wyhe also has two convictions for criminal sexual conduct. He's another level-three sex offender that's under supervision by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. He has been on warrant status since February of this year. One of the sexual-assault cases that he was involved with was an adult female acquaintance.
T he sexual assault in the second case was a female that he had known for numerous years. That's a first-degree criminal sexual conduct. There was greater threat of force used in that case. And it should also be known that Mr. Van Wyhe also has an outstanding warrant out of the state of South Dakota for an aggravated assault on another offense that happened after he was put on warrant status in February of this year.
A BRAMS: Gabriel Nathan Hoy.
G ERLICHER: Mr. Hoy is a level-two sex offender in the state of Minnesota. He has been on warrant status since August of 2004. He has one conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree where the victim in his case was an adult female acquaintance of his. He also has a conviction of an attempted robbery from 1998 and he is—the warrant for him was issued because he had a positive urinalysis test for alcohol.
ABRAMS: But again, you don't know where he is, right?
GERLICHER: No, we have no idea where he is. The last address—area that we had for Mr. Hoy is up in the Duluth, Minnesota area.
ABRAMS: Billy Ray Reynolds, what do you know about him?
GERLICHER: Well Mr. Reynolds has been on warrant status since October of 2001. He has one prior criminal sexual conduct conviction with a juvenile female acquaintance of his. He is on warrant status. The last we knew of him he was in the Saint Cloud area or possible Alexandria, Minnesota area and he also has another pending case for criminal sexual conduct with another juvenile female that took place after he went on warrant status, so we've actually been looking for him quite heavily as we have with all of these offenders in conjunction with federal agencies and other law enforcement agencies within the state.
ABRAMS: Christopher Blake Zemke.
GERLICHER: Mr. Zemke is a level-one sex offender. He has one conviction for attempted criminal sexual conduct that took place in 1997. His warrant was issued because he had failure to contact his agent. The last known area for him was in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. He had an attempted sexual assault in which he attempted to assault an adult female acquaintance of his. He used a knife in the assault. She was able to fight off Mr. Zemke and run for help, but of course the fact that there was a knife involved in any sexual assault is a very serious offense.
ABRAMS: You know I'm just getting so tired of doing these stories where, after the fact, we say, oh, the person was on the run, oh, the person was on the loose, and that's why we're doing this, and that's the number there to call in Minnesota, the Department of Corrections, 651-603-0026, if you know any of these people, there they are. Is it fair to say these are the most wanted of the sex offenders in Minnesota?
GERLICHER: That would be fair to say. We actually have a top 12 fugitive Web site on our Department of Corrections Web address, but these are the top five sex offenders that we currently are looking for...
ABRAMS: Real quick, what is the address people can go to?
ABRAMS: Cari Gerlicher, I hope this helps. Thanks a lot for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
GERLICHER: Thank you. I appreciate your time.
ABRAMS: Our weeklong series on sex offenders on the run continues tomorrow in Florida. It's where 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford was raped and murdered earlier this year.
And coming up, many of you had strong reactions to our series. Your e-mails are coming up.
ABRAMS: We're back. Now it's time for “Your Rebuttal”. On Monday we kicked off our weeklong series, our effort to try and track down unaccounted sex offenders across the country before they strike.
Joan Toptine writes, “I just wanted to thank you for your brilliant reporting and concern for reporting on predatory sex offenders now today and not just waiting for another incident to occur. Thank you for caring about our children and working to bring to light one of the most horrific crimes ever.” Thank you Joan.
Tracy Watson, “I have so often wondered why the media doesn't do more to stop these men before they strike and now you're trying to help. Thank you so much.”
From Richmond, Virginia, Linda Fields, “Good job Dan. It's about time someone was proactive instead of reactive. Criminals beware, Dan Abrams has arrived and he's the new sheriff in town.”
Also on Monday, I had a few words with a Canadian anti-death penalty advocate who's running a Web site for Scott Peterson. Now it wasn't because he's running a Web site. It was because he started to effectively claim that Peterson didn't get a fair trial, so we started debating a bit.
Joe and Kellie from Toronto, Ontario write, “I am also a Canadian and am against the death penalty. However, I was embarrassed as to how he decided to put his views across and whine liberally about poor Scott's rights.”
Your e-mails, abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com. We go through them at the end of the show.
Coming up, just when you think the dryer has eaten your socks, even your underwear think again. It could be the bra and panty bandit, for real, 20 years of it. Our “OH PLEAs!” is up next!
ABRAMS: “OH PLEAs!”—it looks like the heat is off the dryers in Iowa after many Midwest women were left with lighter loads, in particular, bras and underwear missing at Laundromats. For 20 years, they assumed you know as always, the dryer somehow consumed the items. It turns out it was more likely a randy panty pilferer.
Cameras installed in one apartment complex's laundry room led police to 46-year-old Rusty Sills. When the police searched Sills' home, they found hundreds of ladies' lingerie, socks and even shoes. Sills had been arrested twice before for similar crimes and is believed to have been lifting underwear and shoes for more than 20 years.
This is just a guess here, but I'm guessing that unlike most crimes that the women are not going to want the stolen items back. Just a guess. That does it for us tonight.
Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. See you tomorrow.
Have a good night.
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