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'Scarborough Country' for August 25

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guest: Susan Casey, Louise Pennell, Leonard Padilla, Adriana Gardella, Robin Holloway, Dave Holloway, Pam Bondi

LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  I‘m Lisa Daniels, in tonight for Joe.

And we have breaking news, as Hurricane Katrina rips her way across South Florida, walls of rain, 80-mile-an-hour winds, two people already dead.  And it‘s just the beginning, folks.  We have live reports. 

Then, Aruban suspect Joran Van Der Sloot behind bars, his explosive temper, screaming, cursing at his mother, we will have that and the very latest on the search for Natalee. 

Police, Olivia Newton-John‘s longtime boyfriend still missing.  Now we uncover some secrets from his past.  Did he just run?  Is he faking his own death?  We have got the very latest on Olivia‘s lost love.  

But, first, breaking news, Hurricane Katrina pounding South Florida, the Category 1 hurricane already dumping a lot of rain and blowing dangerous winds.  The storm is already being blamed for the deaths of two people who were hit by falling trees. 

NBC‘s Jay Gray is in Ft. Lauderdale with the very latest on the ground


JAY GRAY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, good evening, Lisa. 

And we are taking a thrashing here in Ft. Lauderdale.  No question this is in the strike zone area.  In fact, Ft. Lauderdale is where those two people were killed as a result of Katrina.  The winds just so strong, they pushed over a tree that killed the driver of a truck.  The second man was killed when another tree fell as he was out taking a look at this storm, not a good idea, because we have seen very intense winds here, gusts over 80 miles an hour, in fact, one gust clocked at 92 miles an hour a bit earlier. 

We are getting the backside of this storm now and a lot of rain, something they don‘t need in this area.  It‘s already been a very wet summer, and now some areas here in Ft. Lauderdale could see 10 to 15 inches of rain.  We are already having reports of flooding in the low-lying areas here in Ft. Lauderdale Beach.  We have seen standing water on the other side, away from the beach here.  We have also seen palm fronds ripped from the trees and pushed around.

The facings of many of these buildings have been pulled away.  We have been without power for several hours.  We are told that three counties in this area are now without electricity, more than a million people without power, and no clear indication of when it may be restored.  Again, we are seeing very intense winds here.  The rain (AUDIO GAP) picked up.  You can‘t see the waves at this point behind us.  It‘s just too dark.

But I can tell you the their crest (AUDIO GAP) So, you talk about this become a Category 1 storm, and a lot of people said, hey, we are going to hunker down and ride this thing out.  They‘re probably (AUDIO GAP)

DANIELS:  All right.  Obviously, we are having a little trouble getting that shot because of the hurricane.  But we thank NBC‘s Jay Gray, who is obviously live in Ft. Lauderdale.  And we hope that he stays safe. 

And we will be tracking Hurricane Katrina throughout the show.  So, stay with us for full coverage. 

Also tonight, we are still on the case of missing honeymooner George Smith IV.  Did cruise line mistakes in the early hours in the investigation mean that the family of the missing American groom won‘t ever get the answers they so desperately need?  Well, we continue the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY investigation by talking to the experts, who are going to go through the evidence piece by piece. 

But first to Aruba and the shocking new information about prime suspect Joran Van Der Sloot‘s explosive temper. 

Let‘s go live to Aruba and NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski, the only journalist to see Joran behind bars. 

And, Michelle, it was really your interview with the warden yesterday that raised these new questions about Joran‘s explosive temper.  Tell us what he told you. 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, basically, the director of prisons that said Joran did seem to have some anger issues when he first got to the jail. 

And, keep in mind, he is jailed, but he is being held in this prison.  He‘s being held with other kids his own age, up to the age of 23.  So, he is in the juvenile division. 

But the warden said that he had some problems.  He got into a fight with an inmate.  He kept kicking one boy, didn‘t stop until he was punched in the face.  Also, he resisted officers, refused to let them take him out of his cell for questioning.  Those were in the beginning.

Here‘s some more of what that warden told us. 


FREDDY MADURO, ARUBAN PRISON WARDEN:  When he doesn‘t get his way, he gets—he gets very angry, and he even slap his mother—no, not really hit her, but used a lot of bad language. 

KOSINSKI:  And did you see some of his temper here in prison? 

MADURO:  In beginning, yes, with the policemen.  But then, afterwards, the policemen really rough him up and cuff him.


MADURO:  And then took him to the police station. 


KOSINSKI:  Since those incidents, the warden says he hasn‘t been involved in any problems.  He hasn‘t been fighting.  And they haven‘t had any authority problems with him. 

He has been obedient.  Also, we should tell you that that warden, after this incident, has been suspended from his job for six weeks.  Tonight, he issued an apology to Van Der Sloot‘s family, also to his boss, and anyone else he may have offended.  In letting us have access, he said he didn‘t think he was doing anything wrong.

He just wanted people to see how things really were in the jail.  And he said, actually, he is proud of the way he runs his jail, and he doesn‘t think he did anything wrong—Lisa. 

DANIELS:  Well, Michelle, obviously, you were invited to all those different sections of the prison.  But you talked to Joran.  You saw him.  Put down your journalistic hat for a second and just tell us what he was like as a person. 

KOSINSKI:  Well, he saw us, maybe before we saw him.  We could see him across the room.

And then we were thinking, you know, is that Joran Van Der Sloot?  Are we in the area where they are holding him?  And we could see him reading a book.  He was sitting in a chair, just very calmly and quietly.  He looked up at us a few times.  And then, when the warden asked us if we wanted to approach, he didn‘t mind.  He was very polite to us, cordial.  He answered all of our questions, which were brief answers.

And the questions were not in-depth, basically, how are you in here; are you having any problems; are things going OK?  But he didn‘t try to stop us from talking to him.  He didn‘t try to hide.  He didn‘t exhibit any anger.  He was just very polite and very quiet at that moment. 

DANIELS:  All right, NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski—Michelle, thanks so much for that report.  Appreciate it. 

And now let‘s turn to our experts.  Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI profiler, also an MSNBC analyst.  And Pam Bondi is a Florida prosecutor. 

And, Clint, you have been there for a week.  Is that pretty much what you have been hearing, that this guy has a temper?  He is a hothead, basically? 


It seems that a number of people have that opinion of him.  When you listen to Michelle‘s interview of the warden—and, you know, a big deal has been made about whether they shot or did not shoot video of Joran in his cell.  You know, as far as I am concerned, cut that piece of video out, give it to the defense and be done with it. 

What‘s important is the interview that Michelle got, where the warden talks about, he has known this young man for quite a few years.  He knows the family.  He tells us about what appears to be long-term issues with anger, you know, if you listen to the warden‘s words.  So, this is something that the investigators have to consider as they try to piece together this case and say, could this young man have anything to do with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway? 

DANIELS:  Pam, you have prosecuted many sexual cases like this one.  Does he fit some type of profile, from your experience, that this guy may end up being a sexual predator, if what these women are saying is true? 


And, you know, something we do see a lot is, once one big case comes out in the news, other victims frequently come forward and say, hey, this has happened to me, like these two young women have done in this case.  And, certainly, I think his anger issues add to any type of profile that, yes, he could be some type of molester and, of course, that he would be capable of killing this young woman. 

DANIELS:  Clint, you got to wonder about Aruban justice at some point, that the prison warden agrees to sit down with a journalist and start telling him—her or him what this guy is about.  It just doesn‘t seem like anything that would happen here in America. 

VAN ZANDT:  No, I don‘t think it would. 

You know, again, though, I have heard other networks suggest that NBC, MSNBC, did something wrong.  I mean, when someone invites you to come in, you know, when the—FOX or, in this case, MSNBC, is invited to come into the chicken house, and then someone says, please, here are my eggs, help yourself, I mean, it would be ridiculous.  Any journalist worth his or her salt, number one, would do the interview.

And, number two, if they were told, go ahead and take pictures, you‘re welcome to it, would take those pictures.  But, again, what‘s important is what Michelle was able to get.  And, you know, if the Aruban government is mad, I think they are mad because the warden may well have given us an insight into Joran Van Der Sloot‘s background.  And it may establish something about his personality, that others could say, well, I could see how he might be involved in something negative concerning the victim, notwithstanding whether we have video pictures of Joran sitting there reading a book or not. 

I don‘t think that‘s important.  What‘s important is the characterization of someone who has known him for quite a while and now suggests there are some significant anger issues in his background. 

DANIELS:  Well, I agree with part of that, Clint, but, on the other hand, this guy is reading a book.  He has got his legs.  He is kicked up.  He‘s relaxing. 

What happened to all this stuff, Pam, that we heard about authorities trying to crack the case?  I am not saying torture the guy, but there‘s a happy medium here. 

BONDI:  Well, I think, in Aruba, as well as in the United States, they

the authorities have to follow certain protocol.  I mean, we often have motions to suppress confessions based on the lack of sleep or lack of adequate facility.  They didn‘t eat properly. 

But I see what you are saying.  Should he be allowed to sit there and read a book and watch cable television?  Well, that‘s how it happens in our country and in many other countries. 


DANIELS:  Pam, don‘t forget that, for the last three weeks, this guy has not been interrogated   We have heard rumors that he put his hands to his ears.  And interrogators basically haven‘t been doing anything. 

Clint, is this what Aruban justice is all about? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know, the Arubans, I think, missed their chance.

And the initial chance to break this case was when they had Joran Van Der Sloot and the two Kalpoe brothers.  They had them in custody.  They weren‘t represented by counsel.  They didn‘t have to be under Aruban justice.  That‘s the time, I think, the penetrating interview style that you would see most U.S. police detectives and other people.  I think they could have been able to perhaps get some information from these young men.

But the style of interview-taking is, what happened?  Thank you very much.  Have a good day.  Close the book.  And when they finally got around to bringing in some very experienced Dutch detectives who came over from Holland to do the interview, they weren‘t able to get the information. 

DANIELS:  All right, Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler, and Pam Bondi, a Florida prosecutor, thanks so much.  We will see you a little bit later.


DANIELS:  Up next, we talk live with Natalee‘s dad and stepmom. 

Plus, we are still watching Hurricane Katrina.  We are going to get you all the latest.

And next, Olivia Newton-John‘s boyfriend, two months, absolutely no sign of him, new allegations now of spousal abuse and nonpayment of child support.  Did this guy just run?  We are going to ask the experts. 

And then, sharks.  We take you to a place where greats white gather, and you are not going to believe how close it is.  That story is a little bit later.

Stay with us. 


DANIELS:  We are tracking Hurricane Katrina.  It has already turned deadly, as it travels across land, the very latest—that is live from South Florida—coming up.


DANIELS:  Welcome back.  I‘m Lisa Daniels, in tonight for Joe. 

In Aruba, does crime suspect Joran Van Der Sloot have an anger problem? 

Let me bring in Natalee‘s dad, Dave Holloway, and his wife, Robin, and get their reaction to what we have learned about Joran over the last couple of days. 

Thanks so much for being here.  Always appreciate it. 



DANIELS:  So, Dave, you heard in this NBC interview with the prison warden, the prison warden saying, hey, this guy has an anger problem.  We had prison officials who weren‘t really to handle him.  He has an anger problem.  He‘s a hothead, basically.  And I know, Dave, that you were face to face with Paul Van Der Sloot.  Did you hear anything about that coming from this man‘s mouth? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  No, I didn‘t.

But, early on, I had heard through rumors and various news reports that he did have an anger problem.  And, evidently, your news media captured that to be a fact, so...


DANIELS:  I was going to ask you, though, we heard that he was a model student, that he was a perfect guy.  Now, all of a sudden, we are hearing all of this.  You have got to feel vindicated at some point. 

D. HOLLOWAY:  Well, the truth is starting to come out, and more and more people are starting to come forward to reveal the truth. 

You know, I wonder about this incident today.  If that would have been a regular Aruban citizen, would the warden be suspended?  You know, I think not.  And I know NBC is—they can realize now what they are up against, because the prosecutor has been just, you know, one motion after the other.

And, you know, these nine lawyers that he has defending him, surprisingly, that—that they were able to get NBC in court and get a restraining order the same day, and that gives you an idea of what the prosecution team is up against. 

DANIELS:  Robin, when you hear what the prison warden said about Joran Van Der Sloot, do you feel more optimistic that the truth may eventually come out? 

R. HOLLOWAY:  Here we are, 88 days, and he is still not talking.  I mean, just—yes, I hope this will help give us some answers, but we are still desperately waiting.  And just—I don‘t know why he hasn‘t been interrogated in three weeks, and just—that we just hope and pray that he does not get out on September 4, because there‘s still so many answers that he holds.

DANIELS:  Dave...


R. HOLLOWAY:  ... we have got to find out. 

DANIELS:  I have heard your family try to cooperate with Aruban authorities.  And the Aruban authorities are saying, hey, we are doing everything we can.  Now we have a very different picture of what‘s going on in prison. 

We have Joran Van Der Sloot, his feet up in the air.  He is reading a paperback novel.  He seems to be enjoying the easy life.  Is this what Aruban authorities say is their best attempt to get this guy to talk? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  I don‘t know.  You know, he hasn‘t—he has not been interrogated in approximately two weeks. 

Maybe they have interrogated him all that they can and that‘s all the information they are going to get out of him.  I don‘t know.  You know, we are just hoping for a break in the case, Lisa.  In fact, we have received approximately 2,000 e-mails as a result of some information we put out that we are looking for information. 

A couple of days ago, I put out an e-mail address,  And, basically, all we are looking for is just investigative leads or information regarding Natalee‘s disappearance.  We are not looking for any theories or anything like that.  We are looking for real solid leads and facts that may break this case.

And over the last couple of days, we have received two or three leads that we feel like that may be important.  In fact, I have offered those to our attorney, who will then, in turn, provide them to the prosecutor.  I sent one to the FBI, that they could follow up here in the states.

So, we are hopeful that everyone will come forward with any information, whether it may seem insignificant or not.  Every little bit helps. 

DANIELS:  Well, you know, everyone is wishing for the very best and that you get Natalee back. 

Dave and Robin Holloway, thanks so much for being here tonight.  We really wish you the best. 

D. HOLLOWAY:  Thank you. 

R. HOLLOWAY:  Thank you, Lisa. 

DANIELS:  Well, it‘s been almost two months since Olivia Newton-John‘s boyfriend disappeared from an overnight fishing trip.  Patrick McDermott was last seen on board the Freedom—that‘s the boat—out of San Pedro, California, the night of June 30. 

And this case is just downright bizarre.  There are so many questions. 

Is it possible that he staged his own death? 

Joining me with the very latest is NBC‘s Jennifer London live at the marina in San Pedro.

And Jennifer, I don‘t know what to say.  It‘s very bizarre.  Any progress on the investigation whatsoever? 

JENNIFER LONDON, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Lisa, the Coast Guard, which is the only agency investigating this as a missing persons case, will tell you, no, there‘s no progress.  They have very few clues. 

They did tell NBC News yesterday that they are following up on a few new leads, but they would not give us any details.  And if you talk to some of the folks here who have been at the marina, some of the regulars, the locals here, they will tell you that there are some things that have been revealed over the last couple of days that give them reason to speculate that perhaps foul play was not involved in McDermott‘s disappearance, and perhaps he staged his own disappearance. 

The reason they say that is, some recently uncovered financial documents reveal that McDermott was having money problems.  He was deep in debt.  He had few assets, and he did file for bankruptcy in 2000.  And then, in April of this year, his ex-wife filed court papers demanding that McDermott pay more child support.

So, given that and the fact that the 22 other passengers on the boat and the six crew members reportedly did not see anything suspicious, it is leading some folks here at the marina to talk and wonder if something else isn‘t really going on.  Now, an attorney (INAUDIBLE)

DANIELS:  All right, obviously, we just lost Jennifer, but we thank her for that report. 

And joining now are Louise Pennell, a reporter from Channel 7 Australia, Florida prosecutor Pam Bondi, and Adriana Gardella from “Justice” magazine. 

Let me start with you, Louise. 

Basically, what is the relationship between Olivia Newton-John and this now missing person?  What do we know?  Were they living together?  Were they lovers?  Were they friends? 

LOUISE PENNELL, CHANNEL 7 AUSTRALIA:  Well, the latest development in the Australian newspapers is that authorities are actually questioning Olivia Newton-John about that exact question, what was their relationship. 

What we do know is that they were together for nine years.  Now, there‘s this word, committed relationship, that has been thrown around, whether that was something a publicist came up with or something that Olivia Newton-John used herself, I‘m not sure.  But the authorities are obviously wondering why it was McDermott‘s ex-wife who reported him missing and not Olivia Newton-John herself. 

As I said, they were together for nine years.  Olivia Newton-John divided her time between—or does divide her time between Australia and America.  She has a home in Malibu.  What we know is that McDermott still has his house in Van Nuys, that he spent a considerable amount of time there.  Neighbors have said that he was often there with his son and that he would inform them when he was going on trips.  And, this time, he didn‘t. 

So, whether the relationship was over, whether it was a platonic relationship, that‘s something we don‘t know and that authorities are trying to get to the bottom of. 

DANIELS:  Well, but let me tell you, Louise—and I want to ask this to Pam—if I were in a nine-year relationship with somebody and I didn‘t hear from him in 12 hours, I am going to be calling.  I am going to be wondering, where is my boyfriend?  Where is my lover? 

BONDI:  Sure.  Absolutely. 

DANIELS:  Does this strike you that something is strange here? 

BONDI:  The whole thing is just bizarre.  I agree with you.  The whole thing is just bizarre. 

And I will tell you, we saw years ago in Tampa a man who owned a big restaurant.  He was bankrupt.  He was heavily in debt.  He owed a ton of money.  And he staged his own death, and it was years and years before he was caught.  So, the whole thing is just bizarre. 

But, yes, there are a lot of investigative questions that still need to be answered. 

DANIELS:  Adriana, there are photos of the singer, Olivia Newton-John, and she appears smiling at this environmental gig that she went to.  Then she went on a retreat.  Again, her face looks very relaxed.  I just don‘t get it.  Is there a piece of the puzzle that everybody is not seeing? 

ADRIANA GARDELLA, EDITOR, “JUSTICE”:  There seem to be several pieces of the puzzle that are missing.  I mean, in terms of her looking relaxed, you know, she is an actress.  Maybe she is trained to sort of hide that sort of thing. 

But I also think it suggests that maybe she didn‘t think there was anything odd about him being gone for so long.  And it calls up questions about the nature of their relationship, how often they spoke, just what this relationship was.

DANIELS:  Louise, let me ask you this.  Who brings a passport on an overnight fishing trip?  People just don‘t do that. 

PENNELL:  Well, I don‘t think he was planning on sailing to Australia. 

That is exactly right. 

I mean, there are a lot of questions that really need to be answered.  Why did he leave his wallet, including his credit cards and his passport, on board the boat?  Why was his fishing tackle still there?  Why was his car still in the car park of the marina?  And something interesting with regard to his relationship with Olivia Newton-John.  When he filed for bankruptcy back in 2000, he was $30,000 in debt.  And that was four years allegedly into their relationship.  Now, why didn‘t Olivia Newton-John help him out at that time? 

DANIELS:  Yes.  That—that is one of the big questions. 

Pam, you are the prosecutor here, just a gut reaction.  Does this strike you as suspicious, that this guy might have faked his own death? 

BONDI:  Well, yes, Lisa, like I said, I mean, we have seen it before, around the country, in fact.

But as far as Olivia Newton-John knowing anything about it, I can‘t imagine that she would in any way be involved in it, if he, in fact, did fake his own death.  And I agree with the fact that, yes, she is an actress.  And, I mean, she probably is as lost as we are in what happened.  And who knows the nature of their relationship.  But I can‘t imagine that she would have anything at all to do with this. 

DANIELS:  And, Adriana, just really quickly, what is your gut? 

GARDELLA:  I am thinking that it‘s either a suicide or he voluntarily disappeared himself. 

And I think that would go to whether you think he was last seen on the dock or on the ship. 

DANIELS:  All right, you think he was on the ship, Adriana, just quickly?

GARDELLA:  I can‘t—I don‘t know. 

DANIELS:  It might have not even been him.  Maybe someone planted it.

GARDELLA:  Right. 

DANIELS:  You just don‘t know. 

Pam Bondi, Adriana Gardella.

Thanks so much, everybody. 

GARDELLA:  You‘re welcome. 

DANIELS:  Appreciate it. 

And stay with us. 

When we come back, they are silent, they are deadly, and they are just off the California coast.  We are going to take you to a place where great white sharks swim so close to a major city, you are not going to believe this one. 

And then Hurricane Katrina, with winds hitting 80 miles an hour, two people already dead, more than a million without any power.  We are tracking her deadly path.  We are going to keep you posted. 


DANIELS:  The mysterious disappearance of American groom George Smith IV, we will go inside that investigation and ask, what did the cruise line did, and, more importantly, when did they do it?

But, first, here‘s the latest news from MSNBC World Headquarters. 


DANIELS:  Did the cruise company hinder this investigation?  And up close and personal with great white sharks.  Wait until you hear and see what major U.S. city they are hanging out near now. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, those stories in just minutes.  Plus, we are monitoring Hurricane Katrina in Florida.  Stay with us for the very latest. 

But, right now, let‘s get back to that mysterious disappearance of Olivia Newton-John‘s boyfriend. 

Joining me now is bounty hunter Leonard Padilla and his partner Rob Dick (ph).  And Louise Pennell is back with us as well.

And let me start with you, Leonard.  You know, we talk about faking a person‘s death as if it‘s easy, like it‘s done in the movies.  This stuff is hard.  What does it take to fake your own death?  It takes planning. 

LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER:  Well, nowadays, it takes a certain amount of planning and a lot of cunning, but it‘s very seldom accomplished. 

It‘s too small a world, and you just can‘t get away with it anymore.  We just recently saw where a man in Utah attempted to do the same thing, parked the car, rode a bicycle to another vehicle, took an airplane to Australia.  He‘s now in a vets hospital in Ohio, when they discovered him.  That was over insurance. 

Here, you have a situation where an individual probably got in over his head and—financially.  And I am not so sure that the relationship between him and Olivia wasn‘t a one-sided situation.  I think he started thinking about something like this in April and said, you know, I have got this child support problem.  I have got a one-sided relationship.  I think...

DANIELS:  What do you mean one-sided relationship? 

PADILLA:  I think the romance with Olivia had gotten to the point where I think it was on—maybe on his side of the table. 

DANIELS:  Are you just saying that based on her statement that she is looking for her treasured friend? 

PADILLA:  No, no.  I just think it was a relationship that had become his—in his mind.  And I think, right around May the 5th and May the 23rd, he started thinking, well, there‘s got to be something I can do that is different than what I am doing.  I am out of here. 

And I think he discussed it with somebody, and it just took a life of its own.  And the next thing is, he went into action, and I don‘t think it was him that went on that boat.  I think it was somebody else in Hollywood.  Anybody can be made to look like anybody. 

DANIELS:  All right, save that thought for a second, because I want to ask Louise about that.

Did he press the eject button?  That‘s the real question here.  Did this guy just get overwhelmed with finances, everything else in his life, and press the eject button?  What are his friends and family saying about his personality, the type of guy that he is? 

PENNELL:  Well, court documents have shown that his former wife has described him as someone with an anger management problem, and that he once assaulted her. 

She described him as a man who was not a fit example to be a father for their 13-year-old son.  Now, that‘s obviously based on Yvette Nipar, the former—actress, his former wife, her statement.  She allegedly was trying to get full custody of their 13-year-old son.  That is a one-sided view.

But neighbors described him as a very sweet man, a man that was caring, that would collect their mail when they were away and vice versa.  So, you are getting conflicting reports on what kind of a man he actually was.  Olivia Newton-John, of course, hasn‘t spoken publicly.  And, interestingly enough, neither has any of her friends. 

She was actually attending the 40th birthday party of a very close friend of hers during the time of his disappearance.  And...

DANIELS:  I mean, you talk about conflicting reports.  And I got to tell you, we are getting conflicting reports in every aspect of this case.  It started off just with a newswire, and now there‘s just no sense in this case.  We are going to have to wait and see.

But thanks to all my guests, Leonard Padilla, Rob Dick (ph), and also Louise. 

Really appreciate it, Louise Pennell.

PENNELL:  Thank you. 

DANIELS:  Mystery that, of course, we will keep on following. 

Now to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s investigation into the disappearance of George Smith from Royal Caribbean‘s Brilliance of the Seas.  Tonight, has the official investigation been botched?  Royal Caribbean finally admitting to us that they did clean the crime scene at 6:00 p.m. that evening. 

Now, the question is, was that enough time for Turkish authorities to investigate? 

Let me bring back former FBI agent Clint Van Zandt. 

Clint, let me ask you.  You have been an investigator for a long, long time. 


DANIELS:  The Turkish authorities board the ship, 11:30 on July 5.


DANIELS:  They leave at 3:00 p.m. that afternoon.  I mean, even if you are not a “CSI” fan, that is not enough time to conduct a thorough forensic investigation.  What do you think? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know, that time frame alone would not be.  It wouldn‘t be near long enough for the authorities to come on board and even find out what happened or what is alleged to happen, much less to take a forensic team into the room. 

Now, you know, I have read something that said the room was preserved in the shape it was, that no one else was allowed in and out.  Maybe they put the wife in another room.  If that‘s the case, that‘s fine.  If they preserved it, if the FBI was able to bring their forensics team in.  But, you know, that crime scene, we are told, depending on what report you listen to, we are told there‘s blood on the floor, there‘s blood on the bed, there‘s blood on the wall, there‘s blood on the banister.

There‘s blood, as you show right here, over the side of the banister.  I mean, that is a tremendous amount of forensic evidence that would take a team a significant time.  And if anyone from the ship, either by design or by accident, came in and started cleaning things up, of course, now we have got a contaminated crime scene, that we have seen many high-profile cases.  Once you screw up a crime scene, you lose the ability to relate someone else to that scene. 

DANIELS:  Of course. 

VAN ZANDT:  Maybe someone else who is suspect. 

DANIELS:  I mean, I don‘t have to be an investigator to think that.  I mean, here we have Turkish authorities, Turkish authorities, conducting an investigation that deals with an American. 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  Yes. 

DANIELS:  And the FBI are brought in much later.  At that point, what can the FBI do?  The crime scene has been washed away.  The blood is gone. 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you come in and you do the best you can. 

First of all, you liaise with the Turks and you find out, what were you able to do?  What forensic evidence do you have?  Then the FBI comes in and they do what they can do with the crime scene, depending on what‘s left and whether it‘s been contaminated. 

Another major challenge is, you have a small city.  You have got 2,025 people on board the ship at the time he went missing, plus maybe a crew of maybe 1,000.  That to me, you do the math, you have got 3,500 interviews of potential witnesses who might know something about this crime, about what happened to him. 

Now, I have been on cruise ships.  People come and go at every port.  They come and go when the cruise is over with.  I mean, it‘s a nightmare for the FBI to think of having to track down 3,500 people and conduct interviews of them to see if they know anything about what happened to this man. 

DANIELS:  Well, it‘s almost worse than that, because you have this girl who took photos of the blood scene that we were just seeing.  You have got the next-door neighbors of George Smith saying, hey, we have got some information, Turkish authorities. 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  Yes. 

DANIELS:  Interview us.  And nobody does. 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, and you have next-door neighbors on both sides.  As you know, the neighbors on either side of the cabin, the people on either side of the Smiths‘ cabin heard these tremendous, horrific sounds, banging.  They called security.  They called for help. 

And, you know, the response wasn‘t what you would expect, let‘s say, like, in a U.S. city, where someone says, I hear a major fight going on, people crashing.  Somebody could be hurt.  You know, police officers would feel a responsibility perhaps to go in and find out.  In this particular case, it‘s a different environment.  Security on a ship, they are not police officers.  They have a different level of responsibility. 

So, you know, everybody is going to have their opinion of what should have been done on this one. 

DANIELS:  All right, one more opinion from Pam Bondi, our prosecutor here. 

They don‘t have a body.  Forensics, you could say it‘s sketchy at best.  Can you prosecute this case, if I were to give it to you?  If I were your DA, I hand you this case, do you say to me, I‘m crazy? 

BONDI:  No.  You throw it back and say, we need more information. 


BONDI:  Right now, we don‘t have anywhere close to enough. 

And, unfortunately, that entire cruise ship was a moving crime scene, and they released the cruise ship back out.  And, you know, now they are saying they had sealed off the cabin.  Well, that‘s not enough.  There was a lot more that needed to be done, and I am just glad the FBI is involved in the case now. 

DANIELS:  Yes, finally. 

Clint Van Zandt, Pam Bondi, thanks so much, guys. 


DANIELS:  Always appreciate it. 

Well, when we come back, we are talking sharks just off the shores of a major California city.  We go swimming with great whites.  We will take you to a place called the Devil‘s Teeth.  That‘s next.

Then, Hurricane Katrina comes ashore to South Florida.  Two are dead, over a million people without any power.  We are going to have a live report.  And take a look at this video.  It‘s just in.  We are going to have the latest on that coming up.


DANIELS:  Off San Diego, hundreds of leopard sharks were spotted sharing the shoreline with swimmers.  These sharks aren‘t considered dangerous.

But the ocean‘s number one predator, the great white, may be the most feared creature in the ocean. 

Joe recently talked to author Susan Casey about her book “The Devil‘s Teeth.”


SUSAN CASEY, AUTHOR, “THE DEVIL‘S TEETH”:  Well, “The Devil‘s Teeth,” actually, the title of the book refers to a group of islands off the coast of San Francisco.  They are actually technically part of San Francisco called the Farallon Islands, 27 miles due west of the Golden Gate Bridge.  And they look like fans.

They just sort of jet up from the Pacific.  And during the fall, they are home to one of the largest congregations of great white sharks in the world. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what‘s your interest in these island, to the Devil‘s Teeth. 

CASEY:  In the beginning, when I was at “Outside” magazine, we were always looking for stories about wild places. 

And I saw actually a documentary on the BBC about the Farallons.  And when I saw them, I immediately assumed that they were somewhere very exotic, like South America or somewhere very far away, because they looked like almost another planet.  And I became so curious, I kept watching.  And when I found out it was actually a suburb of San Francisco, I was really hooked, and I needed to know what was going on out there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about what you learned about the great whites who go out there. 

CASEY:  Well, the—the scientists that are studying the sharks out there have been studying them for about 15 years, and they have actually come to know the individual animals, which is a very unique situation for great white sharks, to be able to observe individuals over time and see the same sharks coming back every fall and realize, you know, that, say, the females come every other year, and the males come every year.

So, they were able to make observations about great white sharks that nobody had been able to make before.  And they are very mysterious animals.  But one of the things that immediately became apparent to them was that these sharks, they are complex animals.  They are not the kind of diabolical killing machine that “Jaws” showed.  They definitely have a social order amongst themselves.  They are not as solitary as people think, because, sometimes, they see the same sharks showing up in tandem with other sharks, which leads them to believe maybe these sharks spend a lot of time together.

So, with many things with great white sharks, all the observations lead to more questions.  But it‘s clear that they are an animal that we really don‘t understand. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, they are complex animals.  Are they intelligent? 

CASEY:  They are very, very good at what they do.  I mean, sharks, as a class of animal, have been around for 400 -- twice as long as dinosaurs, 400 million years, even before trees, on planet Earth.  So, they have evolved.  And what they are especially adapted to do is survive. 

And so, as hunters, they are absolute masters.  And they do—they do see at Farallons that they adapt their strategies based on what their prey is doing.  So, their intelligence is really relative.  They are very, very good at what they do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They are ruthlessly efficient at killing.  Talk about that. 

CASEY:  They‘re—right.  They are warm-blooded, great white sharks, and I am not sure that people realize that, because it‘s sort of odd for a fish to be warm-blooded.

They—but being warm-blooded, they burn calories at a ferocious rate.  So, they need to be really efficient when they expend the calories to hunt prey, which is one of the reasons why they really don‘t want to eat humans, because, ultimately, we are not going to give them the benefit that a seal or a whale will give them, with all its blubber. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, in Florida, we have, if you go down diving or just go out in the water, chances are good you are going to see bull sharks.  And bull sharks actually do come in and will attack in very shallow water. 

But great whites don‘t usually come into shallow water, do they? 

CASEY:  They don‘t want to be seen.  They are ambush predators, and they come up—they come up from below.  And it appears that they come up at a steep angle.  So, what they really like are not shallow areas, but drop-offs, so that they can remain hidden until they choose to come forward.

But I actually believe that bull sharks and tiger sharks are a more fearsome shark for humans. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, like you said, I mean, these great whites are not the type of killing machines that discriminatingly go after human beings, like, for instance, what we saw in “Jaws” or these other movies.  That is just—that is just Hollywood fare. 

CASEY:  Well, it‘s one side of them.  I mean, they are master predators, but, you know, if they hunted humans, they wouldn‘t survive, because we just—we simply—we aren‘t fat enough for them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, speak for yourself. 


SCARBOROUGH:  How tragic—I mean, you are telling us that these animals are older than trees, have been on this Earth longer than trees have been here.  And we may be a few decades away from causing their extinction.  That would be a great tragedy.  Is that one of the reasons why you have written this book? 

CASEY:  Oh, absolutely. 

Sharks, they are not the cuddliest animals.  They‘re not the easiest animals to love, but do we have this very primordial relationship with them.  Somehow, they mean something to us.  And I love the idea that people might read my book and understand more about them than what they might have known before. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Greatly appreciate you taking time out to share the information with us.   

CASEY:  My pleasure.  Thank you. 


DANIELS:  All right, I will stay away from them. 

We are tracking Hurricane Katrina as it moves across Florida.  You are looking at a live look from Ft. Lauderdale.

And this video just in, a truck teetering on the edge of a bridge right near Ft. Lauderdale, blown over by hurricane winds.  We are going to have a live report on that storm. 

Stay with us. 


DANIELS:  In Davie, Florida, an incredible scene, as a truck hangs precariously on the edge of a bridge after high winds from Hurricane Katrina just blew it right over.  It‘s in danger of falling 200 feet to that road below. 

Now, the Category 1 storm is hitting hard, packing heavy rain along the Miami-Dade and Broward County line.  Falling trees have caused the death of two people. 

NBC‘s Jay Gray is in Ft. Lauderdale, where the mayor just declared a state of emergency. 

And, Jay, it really seems like Katrina‘s force took a lot of people by surprise this time around. 

GRAY:  Yes, I think that‘s a fair assessment, Lisa.

I know that, in this area, a lot of people have told me that, hey, this was going to be a tropical storm, maybe a weak Category 1 hurricane.  We have seen a lot worse.  We are going to ride things out.  We have seen gusts in this area over 80 miles an hour. 

In fact, one at 92 miles an hour clocked at the airport.  So, this has been some intense wind associated with this storm.  We also have seen a driving rain here, very severe rain at times.  The good news right now is, conditions seem to be getting a bit better.  We will see some other bands move through.  We expect more rain.  That‘s really the big trouble they will have here in Ft. Lauderdale. 

It‘s already been a wet summer.  Now some areas will see as much as 10 inches of rain.  We have heard reports of problems with flooding.  You mentioned the three counties that have been most affected.  We know that a million people or more are without power right now.  And there‘s no clear indication of when that may be restored. 

We have been without power here along the beach for several hours.  And I can tell you that, while the winds have died down a bit, we are still getting some pretty strong gusts.  And that video you showed a bit earlier, a glaring example of why.  Like we say over and over again, if you don‘t have to get out in this, don‘t.  And that‘s still the case right now in Ft.  Lauderdale.  They have seen perhaps the worst of Katrina, but there‘s still quite a punch coming. 

DANIELS:  Jay, before the hurricane hit, had you seen homes prepared for it?  Were people taking this one seriously? 

GRAY:  Yes, there were people who put up the storm shutters or the plywood or what have you.  And a lot of sandbags were issued, especially in the low-lying areas.

But, again, there was no mandatory evacuation, so a lot of people decided that they would not leave.  They are probably rethinking that decision right now, of course, nothing they can do at this point.  They just have to stay hunkered down and do the best they can. 

DANIELS:  Jay, are officials saying that they might have made a mistake on this one?  Are they assessing, looking back on their decision, saying, you know, it was a Category 1.  Maybe we should have taken it a little more seriously? 

GRAY:  Yes, I don‘t think that we have heard that.  And, again, they are still kind of trying to assess what‘s going on right now.

So, they will take a look back at what happened maybe a week or two afterwards.  Now, we did hear from the governor, Governor Jeb Bush, earlier in the day, who warned people that, hey, this may be a Category 1, but this is a hurricane, and hurricanes are nothing to play around with.  So, I think that what officials will end up telling us is, we gave stern warnings.

We opened some shelters and gave people the opportunity to leave. 

But, again, this is a Category 1, and they could not force people to leave. 

So, really, that‘s up to the individual.

And just to tell you how people were treating this, even throughout the day, at some of the most intense times during the storm, we saw people, families with children, out along a beach.  And this is when the waves were cresting at 12 to 15 feet, so, that, obviously, not a very good idea.  But what do you do when people decide they want to come out?  The police say there‘s only so much they can do.

And especially when the storm is at its most intense time, they are not going to risk their lives by coming out here to pull people off the beach—Lisa. 


Jay Gray, thanks so much for the report.  Do stay safe and get out of those wet clothes. 

GRAY:  Thanks.

DANIELS:  I know what you are going through. 


DANIELS:  All right.  We‘ll be right back.


DANIELS:  Brand new video just in, damage from Hurricane Katrina as it pounds the Florida coast.  Stay with MSNBC throughout the night and tomorrow for the very latest.

We‘ll be right back.


DANIELS:  And that‘s all the time we have for you tonight. 


Tucker, what is the situation tonight? 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”:  Well, Lisa, there are many situations. 

DANIELS:  I‘m sure.

CARLSON:  You were great tonight, by the way.

DANIELS:  Oh, thank you so much.