Guest: David Hans Schmidt, Robert Strang, Kristoffer Garin, Mary Prevost, Dave Holloway, Robin Holloway
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, Natalee Holloway‘s mom meets the top prosecutor in Aruba, still searching for answers about what happened to her daughter, this as authorities have less than one month to go before they charge prime suspect Joran Van Der Sloot or let him walk free.
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: Good evening and welcome to the show.
Tonight, new developments in the mystery of American groom George Smith IV. We are going to be hearing from somebody who has exclusive information from inside the case. Who are the key persons of interest? And what about those three strange men who may have had a role in the disappearance and possible murder of Mr. Smith? And, finally, how is the FBI going about trying to crack this very difficult case? We have a full report tonight, with the very latest news on the cruise.
But, first, it‘s been another day of twists and turns in the Natalee Holloway story. Now, Natalee‘s mom met with the top Aruban prosecutor in the case, still trying, after so many weeks, to figure out what happened to her daughter.
Let‘s go right now to Aruba and NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski.
Michelle, give us the very latest.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Joe.
Well, ever since Beth Holloway Twitty has come back from a few days rest in Alabama, which were not really rest at all, she has been energized. She has been reinterviewing witnesses, friends of Natalee‘s who were with her the night she disappeared. She has been trying to gather her own information in this case and wanting to give it to prosecutors, to just catch them up, make sure everybody knows everything that‘s been circulating out there.
So, she spearheaded this meeting this afternoon involving her, her attorney and the chief prosecutor. And she left that meeting very much disappointed and saddened. She said it was not satisfying. She basically feels that, ever since the Kalpoe brothers as suspects were released from jail on the Fourth of July, there‘s virtually no new evidence, no new information.
And, at this point, she says it seems like there is not much hope in this case moving forward, not a good meeting with the prosecutor—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Did she go into great detail or tell anybody why she was so disappointed by her meeting? Like you said, she came back from Alabama. She was so charged, so focused. And now she sounds deflated again. What‘s up?
KOSINSKI: It apparently had something to do with the evidence that was shown to her by prosecutors, whatever conversation they had.
And, in fact, she was so upset when she left this meeting that she just did not want to talk about it. And she has been very talkative over the last few days, really charging forward, saying, I talked to this person. This person came up to me. Look what we have been learning about Joran Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoe boys. Look what we have been hearing.
Well, apparently, you know, what she has been hearing is not necessarily evidence, not necessary value to push forward in a prosecution. And that is some of what she heard today, so not real promising, but that doesn‘t mean that she is going to stop here. She is still on this island, and we expect to talk to her very soon.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Michelle, Dutch authorities have now been questioning, obviously, Joran Van Der Sloot for four days. What can you tell us about that?
KOSINSKI: In fact, they have been grilling him every single day this week. We see him brought in from the jail, taken to the police department downtown, and he stays there virtually all day long.
Some days, it‘s a little earlier. Other nights, it will go until 5:00 or later, so we know that they are just pushing him with the questions. We know that the FBI is present, sort of having a stand-back role here. We know that there are also advising the prosecution and the investigation.
But what we have been hearing from top law enforcement sources is, he is not telling them anything—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: And what about the landfill search that we have been following for the past week or so? Any new developments on that?
KOSINSKI: No, and it‘s really frustrating, because every day they have been out there, for a week now, digging through 10 feet of garbage. That witness has been there with them, insisting that he saw what he says he saw, men bury a body, a woman‘s body, with blonde hair out there three days after Natalee disappeared.
So, they have been working this like crazy. Every day, they come back, the searchers, from that landfill covered from head to toe with dirt, but they insist on keeping going. It is winding down, though. One of the EquuSearch searchers is leaving tomorrow, and he has been really spearheading this.
But there are some local searchers, too, on this island who intend to try to keep that equipment going and keep the search there at the landfill until they feel satisfied they have either exhausted the possibilities or found some sign of Natalee.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much. We appreciate it. And please stay with us. We are going to be checking in with you later—later.
Now, the all-volunteer team from Texas EquuSearch continues to dig in the landfill that is located just south of the capital. And Natalee‘s father, Dave Holloway, has actually been an active participant in that search.
He is now back home in Mississippi, and he is with us with his wife, Robin.
Thanks so much for being with us, Dave. We greatly appreciate it.
Robin, thank you, too.
DAVE HOLLOWAY, FATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s talk about, first of all, that meeting that Beth had with prosecutors, obviously, very disappointed. Do you have any information about that meeting that you can share with us?
D. HOLLOWAY: Joe, I don‘t have any information about the meeting. You know, I came back late last night and tried to get back into my regular routine. I have not spoken with Beth since I left.
SCARBOROUGH: What are—what are your questions, though, tonight from prosecutors? You have been following how they have been handling this case for some time. Back in Mississippi right now, with a chance to reflect on what you have seen down in Aruba, what recommendations—recommendations do you have? Do you think they are doing everything they need to do, or do you still fear that a cover-up is going on in the Caribbean?
D. HOLLOWAY: Well, you know, I couldn‘t comment on whether there‘s a cover—cover-up or not, but I do know this, that the boy has the answers, and possibly the other two along with the father.
And, you know, they know what happened. And, you know, he has been interrogated for, what, almost two months now? He is hardened, and they have brought in some, you know, more firepower to break him. And I just feel like they are going to have a hard time doing it.
SCARBOROUGH: So, you really don‘t think...
D. HOLLOWAY: Especially since...
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead.
D. HOLLOWAY: Well, you know, he has got his father coaching him. And when I met with him at the prison several weeks ago, you know, he stated one thing that I really believed. I don‘t know whether I can believe everything he said, but one statement he made was that he could understand my position, but, as the father of Joran, he would do everything he could to protect his son. And I believe it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Dave, it sounds tonight like you are disappointed, obviously, in him, and also, more importantly, that you are afraid that we just may not ever get the answers that you need and that Beth needs and that the families need about Natalee. Are you fearing that‘s the case tonight?
D. HOLLOWAY: Well, I do. What I fear is that the fact that the father is able to coach his son and have the daily visits and then go through the interrogation process, you know, this kid is an athlete. And he is used to coaching. And, you know, all—all he needs to do is pay attention to his father, and he may walk.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s unbelievable.
Robin, talk about the ups and downs that you all go through, the emotional roller-coaster ride on this investigation, where you hear about a great lead, the draining of a swamp, the searching of a landfill, witnesses coming forward, Dutch authorities tightening the grip in the interrogation process, and yet, at the end of the week tonight, again, no positive leads. How do you all handle the up-and-down roller-coaster ride of this?
ROBIN HOLLOWAY, STEPMOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Oh, first of all, I
am so proud of Dave. He has done so much.
And, you know, I get my strength from him and just—I mean, he has done everything he could physically to help find Natalee. But, yes, we have our ups and downs. And, you know, this latest, I guess this is true, just during the interrogations, I hear he is putting his hands over his ears. I mean, if he would not even listen to the questions, then I feel like he is not going to give any answers.
And I hope they bring the brothers back in for questioning, because, obviously, I don‘t think we are going to get any answers out of Joran. And it‘s just frustrating. Natalee, she is supposed to be starting college. Her birthday is coming up. There‘s just so much she is missing out on.
It‘s just—it‘s not fair. It is so not fair.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Dave, how do you handle it? How do you handle that? Obviously, Natalee‘s friends all packing up, leaving their homes, going off to college, and, of course, her birthday coming up. What do you do? Do you just pray to God for more strength? Do you have some days that are just harder than others? How do you get by?
D. HOLLOWAY: Joe, you said it. It‘s an emotional roller-coaster ride.
And, you know, if it wasn‘t for the fact that, you know, you have got God and you pray every day that you will have that strength to get through the day—you know, it‘s gotten easier. You know, being around family and friends and back home, in your own comfort zone, makes it, you know, a lot more bearable. You know, I was in Aruba for 50 days, and it was, you know, depressing, going around looking for your daughter in a landfill.
And, you know, it‘s just hard to take that that‘s a possibility. And, you know, I am just glad to be back home, but then you reflect sometimes of, you know, she is supposed to be going to college, and, you know, a birthday coming up and all this kind of stuff. And just to think that, you know, she may be buried at sea or even in a landfill, it‘s just hard to cope with.
SCARBOROUGH: It just has to be unbearable.
What about—we look at these pictures of the landfill, and it really does look like everybody is looking for a needle in a haystack. I mean, do you have any hope that there may be a good lead that comes forward from that search? Are you afraid that that search is going to come to an end very soon?
D. HOLLOWAY: Well, you know, I have mixed emotions about it, because, you know, you don‘t want her to be there. But, then again, the witness, you know, I have talked to him several times, and a lot of people believe his story.
He is so believable, that, you know, if he is not telling the truth, he has done a good job of—of concealing it. And we have done some things that I can‘t discuss right now that makes it even more believable. It‘s just that, you know, we are dealing with small equipment on a big job, and it‘s just very difficult for the EquuSearch people to do a proper search.
And that‘s what‘s frustrating for me and them, is, you know, they just don‘t have the equipment to do what we could do here.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, David and Robin Holloway, thank you so much for being with us tonight. Greatly appreciate it.
Again, as always, know that our prayers, our thoughts are with you all. And if we can ever do anything, ever get any word out on this case, let us know. We‘ll do it.
R. HOLLOWAY: Thank you, Joe.
D. HOLLOWAY: Thanks, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Now, coming up, a stunning new theory is emerging from Aruba about what could have possibly led to Natalee‘s disappearance. And, yes, even in this theory, Joran‘s name comes up.
But, first, we go again inside the international investigation of missing honeymooner George Smith IV, new details about who authorities are looking at as prime suspects. The answers may surprise you, a big Friday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, very big. And we are just getting started.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, friends, just like we have been doing from the very beginning, we take you inside the missing honeymooner investigation with explosive new details.
Plus, who is Jennifer Hagel? Tonight, we go to her hometown to talk to those who know her and talk about her missing groom.
SCARBOROUGH: You are looking at some of the last pictures of newlyweds George Smith and Jennifer Hagel. Now, Smith has been missing since the morning of July the 5th on Royal Caribbean‘s Brilliance of the Seas.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
We want to update you now on the latest developments on this explosive case. And we are going to take you inside what investigators are focusing on tonight. According to a source very close to this case, investigators are now intently focused on three men seen with George Smith the night he disappeared. They went to Smith‘s room. There was some kind of altercation and Smith went overboard, that according to reports.
All three of these men have now been interviewed by the investigators. And those three young men, tonight, many believe, are going to be the key to finally solving this case.
Plus, there‘s more. A young woman who was also a passenger on that cruise ship said she was raped by the same men who were seen with Smith that night.
Now, take a look at this article we had translated from an Italian newspaper article. It says this—quote—“The girls claims she has raped by five fellow citizens and has declared these were the same who had been seen together with Smith the night he disappeared. This is what the girl told to Italian prosecutors when the ship docked in Maples on July 9 after the captain had asked for Italian authorities to intervene. They also found no signs of violence on the girl. This evidence forced Italian authorities to exonerate the five on the rape, but the captain of the Brilliance of the Seas didn‘t want them on board, so they were handed over with their families to the American Consulate.”
We are joined now by Susan Filan. She‘s a former Connecticut prosecutor and NBC News analyst. She has been following this case very closely and has gone deep inside the investigation.
Susan, what can you tell us tonight that we don‘t know?
SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, I think what‘s interesting, now we know that the wife is no longer a suspect. She has been cleared. She is not the focus of the investigation.
But you are right. Law enforcement is now focusing on three people, a teen from California and two Russians who live in New York. They escorted George back to the cabin. He was too intoxicated to get there himself.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. Hold on a second, Susan. We are not—we‘re not burying the lead here, because you led with the lead, but I just want to focus on it so much, because, since July the 5th, so many people have focused on this woman, who claimed that she got up early in the morning, didn‘t notice her husband was missing, went upstairs to work out.
We have heard conflicting stories on that. But you are saying now tonight investigators are no longer looking at her. They have cleared her.
FILAN: She is clear.
FILAN: She is not the focus of the investigation.
And I think that that‘s important, because this is one of those few missing-persons cases where you don‘t have a lot of people speaking out about it. It‘s led to rank speculation. We have all been trying to figure it out, sort of spinning our wheels. Well, now we know some very significant information that was not known before. NBC has learned from a source, a law enforcement source, she is not the focus of the investigation.
Rather, they are focusing on these two Russians. And the California teen, apparently, is the key to the case. If he would talk, perhaps this case would be solved. He does have a lawyer now. He has some question as to whether he is going to continue to talk. We need to hear from him. He could be the key to what happened to George that night.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Susan, tell us, what does this kid from California know that could help solve this case, this mystery that many people believe will never be solved in the Mediterranean?
FILAN: Right. Well, this kid was partying pretty heavily with the two Russians, with George and his wife. The wife became so intoxicated that she left and she passed out in a lounge somewhere.
The—George became so intoxicated that this kid and the two Russians had to escort him back to his room. When they went into the room, the wife isn‘t there. They go looking for her. They don‘t know she is passed out somewhere. They take him back into the room. Now it‘s about 4:00 in the morning. The next-door compartment passenger, who is a retired police officer, hears a very suspicious noise, sounds like a thud.
We believe that‘s George on the awning. We believe that gives rise to that photograph with all the blood. He makes the equivalent of a 911 call. He then opens his door, and he sees, yes, this teen and the two Russians leaving down the hall. So, if this is the scenario, that teen was in the room with whatever happened to George that night.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s remarkable.
You know, I want to go back to the wife, because I think this is the remarkable part of the story that you have told us, again, going deep inside the investigation. You find out, the wife has been cleared. You just said something, though. You said, she wasn‘t there. She passed out, which is different from the story we heard as soon as this news broke.
Help us understand, because a lot of people are thinking, OK, this wife has been really the main suspect for about a month now. But she never said anything. She never defended herself. She kept quiet. She concocted the story that she was in the room, when, actually, now we are hearing that she passed out possibly two floors up. What can you tell us about the inconsistencies in her story and why she didn‘t come forward earlier to clear her name?
FILAN: What I can tell you is that, whatever the inconsistencies are and whatever her reasons for not coming forward, are not significant to law enforcement. And that‘s the key here. Law enforcement is trying to solve the key question. Is this a tragic accident or is this foul play on the high seas?
Law enforcement has reason to believe it‘s probably foul play and not a tragic accident. And they‘re so much closer now to solving what may have happened to George that night. The wife is out of the picture. Now she is a grieving widow, and I think that that is significant news.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank God—if, again, she is not involved in this case, thank God the focus can be off of her and she can go back to grieving about this tragedy.
Talk about the Russians. What have you learned by going inside the investigation about these two Russians? Where are they from? How are they—were they, in fact, involved in this alleged rape of this other woman on board? What can you tell us?
FILAN: Well, NBC has learned from a source close to law enforcement that, the very next day, these same two Russians are involved in an alleged incident of sexual misconduct involving another young woman, very, very drunk on the same ship.
Apparently, there is an allegation of serious sexual misconduct involving multiple partners that is videoed. And the Russians are at the center of this, again. She later recants the same day. We don‘t know why she rescinds the allegations, but she does. Nevertheless, now the ship is on to these two Russians. They put two and two together. These are the same two guys that are implicated in the disappearance of the missing honeymooner. These are the same two guys that are now involved in this alleged sexual misconduct.
Ship wants these guys off the boat. Well, when they get off the boat, now law enforcement has all the more reason to interview them. They try to stick to a story, pretty much saying he was so drunk. We brought him to his cabin. He passed out. We left.
The inconsistencies in their own statements and the inconsistencies between the three, the two Russians and the California teen, lead law enforcement to believe this is more likely foul play than a tragic accident.
SCARBOROUGH: So, and final question, again, just getting the time frame. You are telling me these guys may have been involved in the disappearance of George Smith—that‘s what investigators are looking at right now—on the night or the early morning of July the 5th and then, the next day, they were involved in what the woman claimed was sexual misconduct and sexual abuse that was videotaped?
FILAN: That is what my source is telling me.
FILAN: That is what NBC News has learned. It is pretty interesting stuff, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s remarkable, to say the least. Thanks, Susan.
If you will, stay with us. We have got a lot more coming up.
All indications are, again, that Jennifer Hagel is not the focus of this investigation, that from Susan Filan. But who is this woman we have only seen in pictures? Tonight, we are going to go to her hometown and we are going to learn about the woman who appears to be caught up in a terrible, terrible tragedy.
And we go back live to Aruba for details and a stunning new theory about what may have happened to Natalee Holloway. Stay with us. There‘s a lot more coming straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: A honeymoon tragedy in the Mediterranean. Tonight, investigators are saying, the wife didn‘t do it. But who is she? We go to her hometown and find out.
But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: What happened to Natalee Holloway? After more than two months, her family and friends remain deeply frustrated about the ongoing investigation, or lack thereof, and now a disturbing new theory that‘s emerged in Aruba and America. And it too involves prime suspect Joran Van Der Sloot. We will have that shocking story in a minute.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Glad to have you with us tonight.
First, we focus now on George Smith and what may have happened to him.
But, tonight, we want to take a closer look at his bride, Jennifer Hagel. As we have reported, it now appears that investigators believe she is innocent, that she, too, is a victim here and had nothing to do with her husband‘s disappearance. But we don‘t know much about Jennifer, because she and her family have declined all media requests, understandably.
But we went to her hometown of Cromwell, Connecticut, to talk to some of the people who know her best.
MSNBC‘s Lisa Daniels has that story—Lisa.
LISA DANIELS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was the teenager with the golden future, a model student, a star athlete, a young woman blessed with movie-star good looks. And those who knew Jennifer Hagel say her future was as bright as her ever-present smile.
DEAN MAURO, HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COACH OF JENNIFER HAGEL: That‘s
her right there.
DANIELS (on camera): That‘s her again?
DANIELS: It‘s the smile that Jennifer‘s high school basketball coach, Dean Mauro, remembers most.
MAURO: She was just a happy person. She loved life, a very positive person. She was someone that, you know, everybody just enjoyed being with.
DANIELS: That charisma made Jennifer easily the most popular girl at Cromwell High, according to her friends. But unlike the stereotypical snob, Jennifer was of a different breed.
MAURO: She liked everyone. She tried to include everyone, you know, whether they were the lonely freshman on the team to the popular senior. She made everybody feel—feel good about themselves.
DANIELS: Including her parents. Their message in her high school year book, “Jen, we are all very proud of you and know you will always make people smile,” words from a prominent family, whose name is plastered all over Cromwell, Connecticut. Even to an outsider, the family‘s presence is hard to miss.
Jen‘s mother is arguably the leading realtor in town. Her father, a former police officer, now heads the family‘s construction company. And so, nobody was surprised when the girl with everything married the boy with everything, George Smith, a handsome young man from ritzy Greenwich, Connecticut. But the couple‘s union would be short-lived.
MAURO: My initial reaction was shock. You know, when I saw the name Jennifer Hagel on the screen, I was thinking, no, that can‘t be the same Jen Hagel. And I just thought of it being a tragic accident. In no way do I think, you know, Jen would have anything to do with this.
DANIELS: Neither do people in this wealthy community, but most of them refused to speak on camera. That‘s not the way things are done here. Protocol is everything.
(on camera): Just like the Smiths in Greenwich, the Hagels are well known here in Cromwell, and many say they will not speak out until the family does.
(voice-over): Until then, residents say, they won‘t violate the family‘s silence, except to point out the obvious.
NICOLE MEGOS, RESIDENT OF CROMWELL: I wish them the best. They are a
wonderful family. And I hope they can work through this mess.
MATT RANDAZZO, NEIGHBOR: I just know them as friendly, we wave to each other as we pass by in the morning, and that they are just—just good people.
DANIELS: But even those from the best of families experience misfortune. And the importance of overcoming challenges was something that Jennifer seemed to understand. Her high school yearbook reads, “To be the best of the best means you make mistakes and then go on.”
But going on may be more difficult to do than this talented woman has ever imagined.
DANIELS: Joe, some of Jennifer‘s friends spoke to us off camera, but they won‘t go in front of the camera until Jennifer‘s family speaks out, and some of them even told us that they don‘t see the need at all. After all, Cromwell knows Jennifer‘s good reputation already, and they don‘t feel the need to share it with the world.
So, Joe, that‘s the very latest from here.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Lisa. Greatly appreciate it.
Now, let me tell you something, friends. I just want to stop right here. And, you know, so many people in the media want to keep pushing and get people on camera and try to demand, squeeze all the information they can out of people that are going through a grieving process. I think it‘s absolutely great that these two communities that have been impacted by this tragedy refuse to speak on camera until the families speak on camera.
You know, I call that character. And I think it‘s a great thing, and I commend them all for it. Even though we can‘t get the information, I just love the protocol. Until the families speak, we are not speaking. I think that‘s the way it should be.
Now, Smith‘s wife does appear to be an innocent victim. But to talk about investigators—to talk about who the investigators are now focusing on, we are joined by a panel of experts. We have got Robert Strang, a former DEA special agent, defense attorney Mary Prevost, and Kristoffer Garin. He‘s an author of “The Devils On the Deep Blue Sea.”
Greatly appreciate you all being with us.
Robert, let me bring you in first.
ROBERT STRANG, FORMER DEA SPECIAL AGENT: Sure, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: We heard—we heard about the fact that the wife has now been taken off the list of possible suspects by investigators. What do you do now to focus in on these three men, these two Russians and this one California kid? What do you do to get them to talk, to figure out what really happened to George Smith IV?
STRANG: Well, Joe, keep in mind, those three individuals have really been suspects from the very beginning, , even if the wife had some knowledge or some involvement, if you take a look at the size of George, in order to actually pull that off, you know, she would have needed help.
And, so, right from the very beginning, they knew that these three individuals were prime suspects. But keep in mind, you have a very contained crime scene here, a very contained investigation. You have swipe cards for the doors that show what time you are in and out of the cabin. You have cameras not only in the casino, but in other parts of the ship itself. You have the same group of people that you have dinner with, the same bartenders every night, the same people running the casino.
So, when you look at this from an investigator‘s perspective, it‘s an easy case. Not only do you have everyone on site, the CCTV, and the swipe cards, but now you can also talk to these people, because everybody had to pay for this trip with a credit card. They had to pay through their travel agent. They were—there‘s a record of where to go find them, where to talk to them.
So, it‘s really very, very easy to get this and pull it together. And that‘s what the FBI is doing right now. So, it‘s really two things happening at once. It‘s the crime scene, the forensics that the Turkish took, and also whatever the people—security from the actual cruise line had taken, along with the actual investigation itself.
And you want to know something? It‘s coming together very nicely. I think, within a few days, we are going to know exactly what happened to him.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Mary Prevost, we have been hearing for some time that, because the cruise line allowed the crime scene to be cleaned up, because they allowed the bedroom to be cleaned up before—before people were able to come in and do what needed to be done, we—we understand that, you know, it was going to be hard to piece this back together. And we have been hearing for some time that this case is not going to be solved.
Now you got three people. We understand the California kid has already lawyered up. And the—the question is, how do you make these three talk? That‘s question number one. Question number two, why haven‘t they already brought them in?
MARY PREVOST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, how do you make
them talk? The answer is that—is, you can‘t make them talk.
But, if the prosecution or investigators want to get one of them to talk, perhaps the one they think is the least culpable, perhaps the California teen, they may decide to offer immunity in exchange for what he knows, because there are only three people that we know can speak today, because George is gone, who know what happened in that room that evening. And it‘s the two Russians and the California teen.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Mary, let me read you a statement, Mary, that we got from the California teen‘s attorney, gave it to us first.
And this is what he said—quote—“We have been cooperating with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney‘s Office in their investigation into this matter and will continue to do so. However, we have been asked by the authorities not to speak with the media while the investigation is pending and we intend to honor that request.”
It sounds like this California teen may be flipping and offering evidence that authorities need to crack this case.
PREVOST: You know, and that‘s exactly—I would hope that that‘s exactly the case, because, when this first started, I thought it might be a terrible, tragic accident. I really thought that it was very possible.
But after these new reports have come in from Italy that you first reported here about the two Russians being involved in the sexual misconduct the next day, my attitude changed dramatically about what might have happened in that room that night. And if you can get the one who is the least culpable, perhaps the one that had nothing to do with it or witnessed what—what might have happened, then you very well may crack this case.
And it sounds like, from the attorney, that the teen is cooperating. Under what terms and circumstances, we don‘t know, and we are not going to know. And that attorney won‘t divulge that right now. But it may be later under an immunity agreement, or it may be that his attorney has already polygraphed him. There are a lot of things that might have happened, but it sounds like it may be coming together. And the focus is probably going to be on the two Russian-Americans.
SCARBOROUGH: Susan Filan, let me ask you, you have been inside the investigation. You have got contacts in the investigation. What are they telling you about these two Russians and how they plan to crack them, first of all? And, secondly, if they have inconsistent statements, why haven‘t they brought them in?
FILAN: Well, I think it‘s premature right now. I think the investigation has to develop. Sometimes, if you bring somebody in too early, you stand more to lose than you do to gain.
I think they are doing it just right. They know what they are doing it. They are gauging it. They have got a good handle on it. As for how you make them talk, you really don‘t. I think the key is the California teen. It‘s almost like, you know, leverage. If you have got to lift something heavy, you need a crowbar to—to prop it up.
I think that‘s what‘s going on here. So, I am not at all critical...
SCARBOROUGH: And you keep the—and you keep the—yes, you were going to say you‘re not critical of the investigation. We are not either, just asking how it‘s going. So, you try to keep the California teen actually away from these two Russians. They start thinking that he is talking. They start talking, if they think they can implicate him.
All of a sudden, everybody is pointing fingers at each other, and you can crack the case, right?
FILAN: I think you‘re right. I think you‘re right, as always, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: As always. That‘s very kind of you.
Let me bring in right now—I want to bring in Kristoffer Garin.
Kristoffer, a lot of criticism aimed at this cruise line for cleaning up the crime scene. Tell me, is it in the cruise line‘s best interests to do that, or does it—is it something that they just made a mistake? It was inadvertent; there was blood there; they took pictures, and then cleaned it up before authorities came on and could really investigate?
KRISTOFFER GARIN, AUTHOR, “DEVILS ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA”: Well, Joe,
what you really have is a set of conflicting priorities.
I wouldn‘t go so far as to say getting that ship moving again supersedes any interests of justice or security. But, when these ships stop, it costs the cruise lines hundreds of thousands of dollars in just an hour or two, millions and millions of dollars per day.
GARIN: And what you don‘t have in a case when something happens on a cruise ship is a separate body of law enforcement there from the beginning who is sworn to uphold the interests of citizens and to perform the investigation and is not conflicted.
It‘s a tough call for a captain to shut down the ship. And there‘s a lot of pressure to keep it moving. If this happened in Disney World, you know, whatever ride that they found a bloody handprint on would have been shut down right away, would have been a crime scene, and nobody would have come in and out until the authorities were satisfied. That can‘t happen on a cruise ship, simply because there‘s no police.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, I wasn‘t here last night, but I understand a spokesman for the cruise industry came on. They said they did everything according to protocol, did everything according to standards, and believe that, again, they cleaned it up appropriately after authorities came on board.
That being said, Robert Strang, what—what is the next step, so these sort of things don‘t happen as often as we hear they happen on cruise lines? Do you need to put cameras everywhere? Do you need to have a security officer on board that has better training? How do you prevent this type of tragedy from occurring?
STRANG: Well, you have got to remember, you know, they are more focused on the midnight buffet than they are on a crime scene.
I mean, this is a luxury liner. They are not used to having this kind of crime. And, under the circumstances, when I look at exactly what was done here, they did what they needed to do. They had the photos taken. As soon as they pulled into port, the Turkish government came on. They came on with their forensic experts. They were able to take samples.
You know, if you take a look at the investigation happening so many miles out at sea and follow it up with what happened in Turkey, actually, this was not bad. The forensic evidence here is pretty solid. As I said earlier, when you take a look at this case and you look how contained it is, not only with the forensic evidence, but with the witnesses and everything else that is combined here, it‘s going to be a pretty solid case.
And I think we are going to know just in a few days what‘s happening.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Robert, I will tell you what. That is a 180 from what we were just hearing a week ago. I‘ll tell you, some really, really surprising developments breaking at the end of this week. And I agree with you.
If this is in fact the case, we may find that this investigation wraps up fairly soon. Let‘s hope so.
Mary Prevost, thank you for being with us.
Kristoffer Garin and Susan Filan, as always, greatly appreciate you being here.
Robert Strang, stay with us, because we want your take on our next story, a stunning new theory about what may have happened to Natalee Holloway. Could she have been targeted by Joran?
That‘s when we come back. Targeted for what? We‘ll tell you.
SCARBOROUGH: Joran Van Der Sloot underwent a fourth day of grilling by Dutch authorities. Are they asking him about his possible involvement in a recruiting scheme for the porn industry? Reports out of Aruba and America say police are looking for a porn filmmaker who may have had something to do with Natalee‘s disappearance.
Now let me bring in David Hans Schmidt, who makes a living selling racy celebrity photos and pornography. I also want to bring back in Robert Strang. He‘s a former DEA specialist who is now with the Investigative Management Group.
Let me begin with you, David.
And, of course, we have no idea if Joran was a spot—or some people say that he may have been a spotter for somebody that was making porn tapes. Let‘s just go general. Do you have spotters? Do you send teenage—not you, but do people in the porn industry send young men in to bars, restaurants across America and the Caribbean, trying to find women who may take the bait and take money and be in porn videos?
DAVID HANS SCHMIDT, PORNOGRAPHY BROKER: Well, you know, unfortunately, in our industry and in other limited aspects to our industry, there‘s—there‘s scouting virtually at every level. And it exists at every level of Major League Baseball, of sports franchises. And it‘s—certainly, the pornography industry is not limited...
SCARBOROUGH: So, that‘s what it‘s called. It‘s called scouting.
SCARBOROUGH: So, if you send a guy—and we are not saying this is what Van Der Sloot was doing, but some are suggesting it may have been. You send a guy into a bar. He is called a scout?
SCHMIDT: Right, exactly.
And what this can do is, is—anybody who is either qualified or unqualified in these situations can either just hit up a young girl, or boy, if you will, and say, that, you know, would you be interested in modeling? They usually start with a tag like that. Then it falls into, gee, would you do nude or racy pictures and then pornography or whatever?
That‘s why it‘s so important that, when young men and women are hit up by agents or producers, that they go straight into a due diligence period and check them out. Take a card, check them out, make sure they are legitimate, make sure that they are for real, before you do any form of conversing or contact with them in a secondary aspect.
SCARBOROUGH: And there‘s just so—there‘s just so much money in it that—and we have seen it with “Girls Gone Wild” and other video, where - - where young college kids will be approached by somebody. And they start handing them cash, and they immediately say, yes, and regret it later, right?
SCHMIDT: Well, that can be in those situations, especially if they are in a drunken stage and they are signing a—if they are signing a modeling release in a drunken state, it usually can‘t be upheld in a court of law.
It‘s a rather underhanded way of doing business. We certainly don‘t pursue things like that in our company. The producers from “Girls Gone Wild” ran into a lot of legal scuttle in doing it from that aspect. But the real harm in our industry, Joe, is when you have people from Third World countries, deep in the heart of Mexico or Guatemala and some of these Third World countries—Aruba could be one as well—that do—are engaged in what is called snuff films.
Snuff films are when they take in—and God forbid this happened to Natalee Holloway, but this is where there are some real sinister people out there that go out and actually recruit people for money to go into a form of pornography filming, and then not only are engaged in rape scenes and high violence, but outright murder. And these are called snuff films. They are on the black market, if you will. You—can be achieved by Internet status. And these are the real mongers out there in the world. And this is what we really have to watch out for.
SCARBOROUGH: So, David, when I was first told about this, I said, come on, man. This sounds farfetched. You are telling me, as somebody, unfortunately, that has seen the dirty side of this industry...
SCARBOROUGH: Heard about it, you are telling me, it doesn‘t shock you, because this actually happens in this region of the world.
SCHMIDT: Well, it does.
And if you look at our Web site, hansnews.com, we actually have a disclaimer right under my masthead that, if anyone approaches or makes an overture to us with this type of film or still photography, that we will immediately report it to federal authorities.
SCARBOROUGH: David Hans Schmidt and Robert Strang, thanks a lot for being with us.
When we come back, we will have our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what, friends. I am still shocked by that last segment, these so-called snuff films. We will be investigating that in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY next week.
By the way, if you want to get information on that and be the smartest person in your workplace, go to my Web site, Joe.MSNBC.com.
We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: This week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion is a New
Hampshire police officer who says he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Officer Jason Morrow was reunited this week with this little 18-month-old boy whose life he saved Monday night. Morrow was an off-duty cop. And he just finished taking his mom out for dinner when he heard screams coming from a woman who was in a car two cars ahead of him. He snapped into action.
He rushed into the car, and he saw 18-month-old Ethan Wong passed out in the back seat, turning blue. Morrow pulled Ethan out of the car, laid him on the trunk and immediately started CPR. And, by doing that, he saved his life. Ethan regained consciousness and spit out a large object that hit the pavement. Ethan was taken to a hospital, where doctors said it was a fever that caused the seizure. A remarkable story.
Thank you so much, Officer Morrow. And Morrow says he was happy he could help. Well, Officer, we say you are a hero, and you are this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Have a great weekend. We will see you Monday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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