Guests: Richard Walden, Marty Evans, Marilyn Musgrave, Beth Holloway
Twitty, Nail al-Jubier, Matt Behl, Franki Phelps, Linda Wilson, Duane “Dog”
Chapman, Rick Martinez, Sandra Catena
RITA COSBY, HOST: Tonight: Millions spent to house hurricane victims on cruise ships, but why are more than half those rooms empty?
And we have exclusive details on the Natalee Holloway case. Find out who her mother is turning to help for now.
Plus, did a hospital take a payoff to put a transplant patient at the top of the list? Wait until you hear who picked up the tab.
But first tonight: When Americans saw the horrors left by Hurricane Katrina, they donated their hard-earned dollars to help those in need. But is your money really going to help those who desperately need it? The Red Cross says they have received nearly $1 billion total. But tonight, the head of another relief organization, Operation USA, is taking a big aim at the Red Cross. In an opinion article in “The LA Times,” the head of that organization claims that victims will be lucky if the Red Cross gives them a doughnut. The Red Cross is outraged, saying these allegations are totally false.
We‘re going to hear from the Red Cross president, Marty Evans, in just a minute. But first, the man who wrote that very controversial article, Richard Walden. He‘s the president and CEO of Operation USA.
Rich, before we get started, I want to show a quote that was in “The LA Times.” This is something that you wrote—very strong comment. It says—it says, essentially, “I doubt that each victim under the Red Cross care will see more than a doughnut, an interview with a social worker and a short-term voucher for a cheap motel, with a few miscellaneous items such as clothes and cooking pots thrown in.”
That is a very strong charge for an organization that‘s trying to do a lot of good. What do you base this on?
RICHARD WALDEN, OPERATION USA PRES. AND FOUNDER: Well, actually, I said they also give them coffee and they give them comfort, but that was edited out. But I think it‘s very important for the public to understand what the Red Cross does very well, and is irreplaceable, and what it does not do.
And unfortunately, there‘s a primal need among the American public to feel secure by sending the money to the Red Cross, which is fine if it‘s the tsunami and they have 35 percent of all money. They now have 75 to 80 percent of all public donations. And by their own president‘s explicit statements all over the media, they‘re going to stop as soon as the emergency is over. Well, those communities have to be rebuilt, and there are thousands of small non-profits and community foundations and clinics that need help. And that money won‘t be there.
COSBY: But is that...
COSBY: Is that what this is about, that sort of professional jealousy, that you want this money...
COSBY: ... to be coming to groups like yours?
WALDEN: Not a bit. No. We‘re a small group. We don‘t even do what the Red Cross does. We think they do a pretty good job. And other than the U.S. Army, they‘re probably the only group in America that can shelter people. But they are first responders. They are like the police, the fire, the emergency medical services. They‘re quasi-governmental in nature. They‘re reimbursed for some, not all, of their work by government. They choose to keep that from the American public, and the public goes and gives them most of the money.
COSBY: Let me show...
WALDEN: It‘s not about...
COSBY: Let me show one of the claims that you‘re making because you‘re saying, essentially, FEMA and the affected states are reimbursing the Red Cross under preexisting contracts for emergency shelter and other disaster services. But the Red Cross says this is absolutely false, that there are no preexisting contracts to reimburse the Red Cross for shelter operations. Where are you getting your facts?
WALDEN: Well, today‘s “Washington Post” said there was a verbal contract to reimburse them $100 million, between FEMA and the Red Cross, for their hotel and motel vouchers. The office of emergency services in every state works with the Red Cross and deploys them. When asked why they weren‘t in New Orleans, the Red Cross president said, Because FEMA tasked us to do something different.
Do you seriously think if the public gave no money, the Red Cross wouldn‘t still be there? Of course, they would. It‘s their job. They would be there...
COSBY: But I got...
COSBY: I got to interrupt you, Mr. Walden, because you‘re making the claim that the money isn‘t trickling down to those who need it, when you say they‘re not even going to see a doughnut. Are you saying that the money is not going to go to the folks that desperately need it? The Red Cross is saying that‘s false.
WALDEN: No, I didn‘t say that. I think there‘s a lot of money...
COSBY: Well, that‘s what you‘re alluding to. Let me—let me put your statement again.
COSBY: You said, “I doubt each victim of the Red Cross will see more than a doughnut.”
WALDEN: Well, no, keep going—“and a voucher for housing.” They‘ll be getting...
COSBY: Right, but that‘s...
COSBY: But you‘re essentially saying the money isn‘t going to trickle down. Is that what you believe?
WALDEN: That has happened in other cases, like the San Francisco earthquake and the 9/11 crisis, where there was a billion dollars that came in and there was a limited amount that the Red Cross did until Senator George Mitchell came in as an outsider and forced that money to be spent on victims, their families and rescue workers.
So yes, it‘s very important to push the Red Cross to make sure that that money is spent on Rita, Katrina, and wherever it‘s needed. But I want them to change their policy regarding funding small community-based groups in the rebuilding phase, and especially...
COSBY: All right, let me—let me bring—let me bring in the Red Cross because they‘re coming up, and I will ask them specifically that. And Mr. Walden, I do thank you. I think you make some good points.
But let me bring in, if we could, Marty Evans. She is the president, of course, and CEO of the American Red Cross. Marty, first let me just get to you direct what Mr. Walden was talking about. Is there a sense that you‘re going to follow through and that you‘re going to go to some of these, you know, communities that really need it and follow through with the money?
MARTY EVANS, AMERICAN RED CROSS PRES. & CEO: Well, Rita, we are gratified that the American public has chosen the American Red Cross as their vehicle for compassion. We have to date sheltered over 400,000 people in over 1,000 shelters. We‘ve provided feeding for countless more beyond that. We‘ve also provided emergency family financial assistance to over 600,000 families. That‘s perhaps as many as 2.5 million people. So I think the public can be certain that the American Red Cross is following through.
We‘ve received just about a billion dollars in pledges and in payments and contributions. We have spent now and committed over a billion dollars. We still have a long way to go because there are thousands and thousands of people still in shelters. There are hundreds of thousands of families that still need support, and we‘re helping them.
COSBY: How do you juggle the fact, too, that—I mean, it seems that there‘s not enough money coming in. You‘ve got these enormous emergencies. How do you juggle it all?
EVANS: Well, it is a challenge. We are confident that the American public will continue to support us, though I have to say I am concerned that the outflow of funding to help people who are in such enormous, dire need is exceeding what is coming in on the daily basis. But we have been heartened by the public‘s support.
COSBY: Let me show a comment, if I could, Marty. This is our Matt Lauer of NBC. We, of course, we partaking in some of the concerts and some of the fund-raising relief. And he asked just that question. Let‘s watch a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “TODAY”: Bonnie, a lot of people have a question, and you‘ve heard this before. They want to know, if they donate money, how can they be sure it goes to the people they want it to get to?
BONNIE MCELVEEN-HUNTER, AMERICAN RED CROSS CHAIR: I can assure you that the employees and the over one million volunteers take very seriously their fiduciary and stewardship responsibility to the people of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And Marty, of course, after 9/11, there were a lot of questions. Did the money trickle down? How can Americans be sure—and particularly, that it‘s a continued effort, too, you know, as Mr. Walden was pointing out?
EVANS: Well, we are totally transparent in our operations. We will -
we have reported already the progress we‘ve made. We will continue to report. We will provide a six-month update with respect to how we‘ve spent the money.
And we honor donor direct—donor intent through our donor direct program. We understand what the donor wants done with the money, whether it‘s specifically for Katrina and Rita or it‘s for more general disaster relief programs—we respond to 70,00 disasters a year—or it‘s for our international programs. We communicate with the donor to make sure we have a clear understanding, and we commit to that donor to do what they want done with their money.
COSBY: All right, Marty. Thank you very much. I appreciate both of you coming on tonight. Thank you very much.
And in the rush to house Katrina victims, FEMA decided to place some evacuees on cruise ships. But now lawmakers say the deal is just way too expensive costing taxpayers $236 million. And to make matters worse, the ships are less than half full. So is your taxpayer money being wasted big-time here?
We‘re joined by Congresswoman Republican Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado. Congresswoman, I was astounded at this number. I want to show, if we could, just some of the numbers on the board -- $192 million buys 7,100 berths for six months. Plus, then they pay, what is it, $44 million for fuel, electricity, waste disposal. Tons of passengers, of course, about 100,000 customers, were canceled that were normally on the cruises. But the price tag, $236 million. Is that extraordinary? And why are we spending so much money?
REP. MARILYN MUSGRAVE ®, COLORADO: Well, that‘s what I want to know. The price tag really is a jaw-dropper for me. I know that people had to be housed. They had to figure out ways to do that. But getting these three cruise ships, which are sitting there with this enormous price tag, certainly warrants investigation. They‘re not out on the sea. They‘re not using a lot of fuel. I certainly doubt if there‘s any entertainment going on.
And what I‘m concerned about is families that have been devastated that really need help. And we now have passed legislation, of course, I‘m sure you‘re aware, Rita, over $63 billion, and who knows how much more to come. But this amount, $236,000 for these three cruise ships—as you say, a couple of them are half empty, and one is nearly totally empty, and probably rescue workers and very few victims even on the ships.
So I‘m asking that we look into this on behalf of the taxpayer and on behalf of the people who that really need help. There really is a finite amount of money, whether it seems like it at this point or not.
COSBY: Yes, let me show—this is the cost of the cruise. It‘s costing, based on sort of the price tag—as you point out, there‘s 7,100 berths. Only 1,700 people are actually aboard, so it‘s even less than half. I mean, it is staggering that they‘re not even using it.
COSBY: The price tag for the cruise per evacuee, based on these numbers—and this is even if it‘s full—and again, it‘s not full. It‘s about more than $1,200 a week per evacuee. You can go on line and just book a Caribbean cruise for 599 bucks, if you go out of Galveston. Is Carnival overcharging? Was FEMA just in too much of a rush to just put these people somewhere and just take whatever deal? And Congresswoman, should we be going back to Carnival and saying, Let‘s reevaluate this deal?
MUSGRAVE: I think we need to examine the contract very carefully. You know, are they paying corporate income tax? What are we getting for our money here? And I know, again, that it was a dire situation where housing had to be found quickly. But I really want to know the details of this contractual agreement. And as you know, we can anticipate that we will have more hurricanes, e disasters in this country, and we want to be prepared in a way that we make the very best decisions on behalf of victims and on behalf of taxpayers.
COSBY: Absolutely. Let me show, before we close, just Carnival‘s response because we did ask them to respond to this segment. And they said that, “In the end, the company will make no additional money on this deal versus what we would have made by keeping these ships in service.” But it certainly does look like it needs to be looked into. Congresswoman, thank you. Keep us posted.
MUSGRAVE: You‘re very welcome.
COSBY: And meantime, new signs of life tonight in New Orleans, as residents begin to come home. And late today, Mayor Ray Nagin says even more areas will soon be open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: Starting Friday, we are allowing people to come in, residents, for a look and stay. So come in, inspect your property. If you want to stay, you‘re free to stay. We‘re also allowing people to come in to look and leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: NBC‘s Donna Gregory is live in New Orleans with the very latest tonight—Donna.
DONNA GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Rita. You know, there was some talk that perhaps Mayor Ray Nagin may be thinking about resigning. We are not getting that sense here. In fact, as you can see from the little sound clip you showed, he‘s a man who‘s taking charge. He wants businesses to reopen.
And we‘ve got some pictures of some of the business going on in the French Quarter even as we speak. Keep in mind, there is supposed to be a, quote, unquote, “curfew” from 6:00 PM to 8:00 AM. However, I think in this district, people are looking the other way. Police are not forcing people to shut down their businesses. There are bars open. There are restaurants, 536 food establishments have been inspected and OK‘d to do business. There is live music. People are on the streets serving barbecue. Things are happening.
It‘s very slow, and it‘s certainly not the New Orleans that tourists are used to seeing, but there are small signs. Someone described it once as a patient that you thought had flat-lined all of a sudden having a pulse. So a few things are happening, and as each day progresses, they‘re hoping more and more businesses will open. And they‘re trying attract some of the locals to these businesses.
Now, in terms of structure, there is an interesting tidbit to report about the levees. The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to seek some outside help with engineering help. They‘re asking German and Dutch engineers from Holland to help come and redesign the levees. Back to you, Rita.
COSBY: Sounds like they can use all the help they can get, at this point, Donna. Thank you very much.
And stay with us, everybody. There‘s some new developments in the Natalee Holloway mystery. And that‘s not all we‘ve got coming up on the show.
Still ahead, we‘ll tell you how Natalee Holloway‘s mother is about to take on the entire island of Aruba. She‘s getting big-time help to solve the mystery of her daughter‘s disappearance. Beth Holloway Twitty joins me LIVE AND DIRECT.
And is this the man who killed a 13-year-old girl because she told police he was molesting her best friend? We‘ve got exclusive home video of the murder scene and new leads, as her family waits for justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We‘re afraid, if he does come back, you know, he might want to finish the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And is a hospital guilty of selling a donated liver to the patient with the deepest pockets? Wait until you find out who paid the bill. That‘s LIVE AND DIRECT.
COSBY: And we have exclusive new information in the Natalee Holloway case tonight. We‘re learning about new members of the team that will not give up in their search for Natalee on the island of Aruba. Beth Holloway Twitty joins me now live from Philadelphia. She‘s also joined with philanthropist Joe Mammana, who has donated a lot of money in support of finding Natalee.
Beth, first to you. Why are you in Philadelphia? I understand you now have a new addition, an attorney, in the case. Tell us about it.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF MISSING GIRL: Well, I did meet with an attorney today, Rita. And you know, we really just don‘t want to leave any stone unturned. And if there‘s any other avenue that we can pursue, you know, we want to do that. We just really don‘t—we just really haven‘t been able to look at any of our options here. So you know, that‘s kind of where we are, and we‘re just beginning this process.
COSBY: Now, this attorney is Marty Trichon. Tell us a little bit about him, if you could, Beth or Joe, either one of you.
JOE MAMMANA, PHILADELPHIA PHILANTHROPIST: Well, how‘re you doing, Rita? Marty is one of my attorneys, who‘s been on retainer, works with my company. He‘s a former prosecutor. He‘s hard-core, doesn‘t leave any stones unturned. And he‘s a little different than I. He always believes I over E—intellect over emotion. So intellectually, he‘s putting everything together. He‘s going to circle the wagons in both directions and sit and we‘re going to review what is the best option to move forward.
We‘re also bringing in a gentleman named Eliot Curson (ph). We‘ll be meeting with him tomorrow in Philadelphia. He was involved in 1980 with President Reagan and his—I guess his reelection campaign. So we‘re bringing a public relation person in. And again, we‘re going to put a team together that will be second to none, and we‘ll follow their advice.
COSBY: And Joe, what are some of the options that both of you are looking at?
MAMMANA: Well, you know, I can speak for myself. I won‘t speak for Beth. But my options are—personally, I would like to go after the island of Aruba in every way possible. These people have not been honest. They have not been fair. I personally want to boycott it and go for a national boycott of the island of Aruba.
I want this little smug punk named Joran, or whatever his name is, to realize, to get the little grin off his face, and that light that he sees at the end of the tunnel is a train coming head on. I am not going to until we know where Natalee Holloway is and until Beth Twitty can put her head on a pillow at night and go to sleep peacefully.
COSBY: And she certainly deserves that. But I want to show you a comment because Joran, as you know, did an interview recently with “A Current Affair.” A lot of us were just very shocked at even some of the inconsistencies within his own interview. Let me just show a little clip and get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT, SUSPECT IN NATALEE HOLLOWAY DISAPPEARANCE: Well, obviously, she was drunk. I had stuff to drink, too. But now they don‘t respect that. The Aruban authorities tried to pin it that it was a rape case. She wanted to go with me. I wanted to go with her. It was totally consensual. I had something to drink, and she had something to drink.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Beth, you have seen this case. You know this case inside and out. You‘ve seen the police statements. How many inconsistent statements are—and do you believe there was anything consensual about after they left the bar?
TWITTY: Well, you know, Rita, first, before he begins that statement, he prefaces it with that Natalee was saying a lot of strange things. And I mean, he says that twice, and then he says, Obviously, she‘s drunk. So I mean, it sounds like to me that—that she‘s possibly been drugged, also in how he has her talking. And then in his statements, he describes Natalee as coming in and out of consciousness repeatedly while he is performing these sexual assaults against her. And I just can‘t see how in the world that would be considered consensual.
COSBY: Do you believe that rape charges should be filed, Beth? Because even in light of that, look at what Deepak said. Deepak said, you know, in the comment with Jamie Skeeters (ph), the polygrapher and investigator who was down there—you and I both know—I mean, he essentially said, We all had sex with her. And then we know that he was—you know, in and out of consciousness. Don‘t you think that that‘s enough to even go after possible rape charges?
TWITTY: You know, Rita, I cannot—I just—I have a hard time—I just can‘t believe that they cannot, you know, bring charges against him for rape. I mean, it‘s just so clear—well, no, it‘s not just clear, it‘s crystal clear that these men have committed this crime against Natalee. I mean, it‘s a gang rape.
COSBY: How frustrated are you, Beth, when you see this interview,
too, and here he is in Holland, having a good old time, hanging out, like -
and then he said—there was another, part, too. We showed a little clip (INAUDIBLE) show last night, Beth, where he essentially said, I‘m not going to tell you everything now, I‘ll tell you at some point. How outraged are you? Give us the whole story.
TWITTY: Oh, Rita, it is so difficult to—you know, every time I hear this interview from Joran, I just—I mean, I just can‘t believe that these words are coming from him and—you know, because I‘ve seen his statements, and I‘ve read five of them, or had them translated. And you know, that‘s what needs to be read. And where Joran is describing that he‘s having sex with her at his home and—you know, it‘s just amazing that he still continues to place all the blame on Natalee. I mean, he‘s saying that the reason why was because Natalee was drunk. It was her fault, because she wanted to go with him. I mean, he accepts absolutely none of this responsibility.
COSBY: Yes, it‘s outrageous. It‘s everybody else‘s fault but his own. Beth, what do you hope to achieve, also, with—with these new folks, with Eliot Curson and also Marty Trichon? What do you—what do you hope? Do you hope to call for sort of an overall boycott to maybe try to put pressure for more charges?
TWITTY: Well, you know, Rita, we really don‘t know what all might come from this. And you know, as far as my stand on that, I have been asking the millions of people that have supported our family through this, you know, if they would please consider not traveling to Aruba and other Dutch territories, just until Natalee is returned to us. And they—the island has the ability to make this happen.
COSBY: What do you think is the most important thing, that these two folks, obviously, very capable folks with their strong backgrounds, having them, having Joe—what is sort of the most important priority with this new group for you?
TWITTY: Well, you know, Rita, it‘s how we‘ve done this whole investigation, and it‘s just, hopefully, a new door will open and we will enter. You know, that‘s how we‘ve looked at this. We feel like we‘ve been on a path. And you know, as long as another door can be opened, we‘re going to go through is it and just see what happens. We just don‘t know yet, Rita.
COSBY: Well, both of you, please keep us posted. And our prayers are with you. And you know, whatever we can do, we‘re there for both of you guys. Thank you so much.
TWITTY: Thank you, Rita.
MAMMANA: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: Thank you both.
And still ahead, everybody, shocking new information about a missing college student who vanished right outside of her dorm room. Tonight, police say they now believe the man they arrested is not involved, after all. But they are looking for an unusual license plate. We‘re going to tell you why.
And a 13-year-old girl is killed after telling police that her best friend was being molested. Now the suspect is on the run, and her family is afraid for their safety. They join me next.
And my exclusive interview with the man known as Dr. Death from prison is coming up tomorrow night, that interview with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. We want to know what you think. Be sure to go to our Web page, rita.msnbc.com, and answer this controversial question: Is seven years enough for Dr. Kevorkian? That‘s what he has spent behind bars. And then be sure to tune in tomorrow night at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Be sure to watch my exclusive interview with Dr. Jack Kevorkian from prison and decide for yourself if Dr. Death has served his time or if he should stay put behind bars.
Stick with us, everybody. We‘re going to be right back.
COSBY: And new developments at this hour in the case of a missing Virginia university student. Taylor Behl disappeared more than three weeks ago tonight. Police think they may have a very new clue. Reporter Ray Daudani from NBC affiliate WWBT in Richmond, Virginia, is live now with the latest on this case. Ray, I want to show you—I know that there‘s this license plate. It‘s a very unusual license plate. If we can put it up? It‘s GRN ERTH—obviously “green earth.” Do we have any idea whose this could be and why it‘s significant, Ray?
RAY DAUDANI, WWBT-TV RICHMOND: At this point, police aren‘t saying exactly how they believe that it‘s linked to the case, Rita, but they are saying that they believe that there is some kind of link to the disappearance of Taylor Behl, in part because it was stolen around the same time and around the same area as she disappeared from her dorm room on that VCU campus not too long ago. As you know, she disappeared on the night of Labor Day, around 10:20. That‘s when they say she disappeared.
Now, Richmond police say that they have talked to the owner of the plates. They say he or she has nothing to do with Taylor‘s disappearance. But this isn‘t first time missing plates, stolen plates have come up in this case. In fact, this is video of where Taylor‘s car was found on the night of September 17, about a week-and-a-half ago. They say, at that point, that her car was actually found with stolen out-of-state plates from Ohio and that the plates were stolen from a location not too far from her dorm room about two months prior to her abduction. So in both of the license plates, both the ones that were found on Taylor‘s car back on the 17th, missing, stolen plates in that case, as well, in the case, they are saying stolen custom plates that read GRN ERTH. But at this point, police say this is just preliminary information. They‘re trying to see exactly how that license plate, GRN ERTH, may have anything to do with the missing 17-year-old.
COSBY: Really interesting. Ray, thank you very much. And joining me now is Taylor Behl‘s father, Matt Behl. Matt, do you have any idea with this license plate that Ray was just talking about? Are you familiar with it? Do you have any suspicions about who it could be tied to?
MATT BEHL, TAYLOR BEHL‘S FATHER: No, I don‘t, Rita, and I have no idea where those plates came from. It just seems odd that we‘re all focusing on license plates and Ben Fawley was a collector of license plates.
COSBY: Oh, that‘s a very interesting point, and Ben Fawley, of course, for folks are just joining us, maybe not so familiar—I know we‘ve been covering this story for awhile—he is a photographer who is arrested on child porn charges who also had some sort of a romantic relationship with your daughter.
Now, police are saying they don‘t believe he‘s tied to this case. In your gut, do you still believe there‘s some connection?
COSBY: You do? why?
BEHL: Just a gut feeling.
COSBY: You do. Obviously, he certainly sounds like a questionable character in the sense that nude pictures, child porn charges—doesn‘t sound like a, you know, very reputable man in that sense.
Do you believe that maybe it trickled over into something with your daughter? One of her friends was also saying, I think, Matt, that at one point he obviously had a much stronger affection for your daughter than she did for him.
BEHL: That‘s my understanding of this, Rita, that Taylor was at a point where she didn‘t want to be around Ben anymore and, you know, whether he still had an affinity for her or not, who knows?
COSBY: What do you think may have happened to your daughter? Do you have any clues based even some suggestions or leads that authorities are telling you?
BEHL: Nothing at this point. They are still looking over and going back over interviews and discussions that they‘ve had with people to see if they‘ve missed anything or there‘s other information that they can grasp.
COSBY: Are you satisfied with the investigation? I mean, they‘ve certainly clues with the car, maybe the license plate. Are you getting any sense that this license plate may be significant? And as you point out, I think that‘s really interesting that he‘s a collector of plates.
BEHL: It‘s just frustrating. I think that, you know, Taylor‘s been gone over three weeks now. And every time we seem to take one step forward it seems to be two steps back.
COSBY: Tell us about your daughter real quick.
BEHL: Great girl. Great girl. Beautiful girl. Nice, typical, what I would say a 17-year-old. What would you expect out of her.
COSBY: Well, I hope you get some good answers be soon I hope they can put all of this together. Thank you very much, Mr. Behl.
BEHL: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: And a suspected killer is still on the loose and authorities believe that he may have killed himself. This is another case. Melvin Keeling is suspected of brutally killing a 13-year-old who told police he was molesting her friend. We have obtained this home video that you see here of the little girl who was killed, Katelind Caudill. Let‘s take a quick listen to the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand up and dance. Stand up and dance. Stand up and dance. You‘re not a dummy. Or are you? Are you a dummy? No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining me again tonight is Katelind‘s aunt, Franki Phelps, and also her grandmother, Linda Wilson. Also bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman. He‘s had a lot of successes including getting Matt Facterair (ph) and Drew Luster (ph).
Linda, let me start with you. You were there the morning, of course, when little Katelind—precious little Katelind—was taken and killed. What happened? What did you hear? You heard some gunshots, right?
LINDA WILSON, KATELIND‘S GRANDMOTHER: Yes, I was sleeping and Katelind had asked me to get her up at 4:50 so she could get her shower and put her makeup on. And so I did set my clock. And I went to wake her up and I told her once to get up. And I said, Katie, it‘s time to get up.
And she said, oh, mom, all I want to do is sleep. And I said, well, so do I. I laid back down and reset my clock because I had to be in court that day. And after it happened, I heard he shot her three times. All I heard is two shots. Evidently the first one is what woke me up.
And I was thinking, you know, she‘s getting ready for school, we‘re going to school. What in the world has she knocked over or something. And I get out of bed, and as I‘m going through, I have to pass through a couple of room. I‘m thinking, you know, there‘s nothing in the house that would sound like that and, you know, maybe it‘s the furnace blower or something.
So as I passed through the kitchen where I can‘t see the front door at that point, but I heard the door shut, and I thought she had left for school, so I come on around the kitchen to the living room and look down the hall and her light was still on, and I thought she left the lights on. So I walked back there and when I turned—started to turn the light off, she was laying in the floor. And there was blood all over.
COSBY: Oh, it must have been so hard for to you see this little girl who I know you‘ve loved and raised and, Franki, you know, last night you were on our show. And you talked about just this monster, Melvin Keeling. You know, there‘s some word that maybe he may have killed himself. What do you think about that?
FRANKI PHELPS, KATELIND‘S AUNT: I don‘t think that‘s true. I don‘t think that at all. Before he—because he‘s a coward. He‘s a coward and I don‘t think he‘s brave enough to take his own life, because he‘s too scared. I think he just is an insecure—insecure with his manhood that, you know, he has to take what his insecurities out on an innocent child and two innocent women. So what kind of man is that? That‘s not a man.
COSBY: If he‘s on the run tonight, Franki, what do you want to say?
And I hope he is tuning in.
PHELPS: I hope do you die. I want you dead, but I want to you suffer. I want to you feel the pain and the torture that you‘ve done to our family, and I want you to suffer so bad. And I hate you. I hate you for what you‘ve done.
COSBY: You know, Dog, you got involved in this case. Obviously, it‘s horrible, especially when you think of the beautiful young girl. What did you—what just hit this chord with you for you to say, I‘m going to go after this guy?
DUANE “DOG” CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: Well, Rita, we‘ve got hundreds of e-mails, you know, asking us to get involved. And I think the reason is because of our 100 percent success rate in capturing these guys, and I‘ve made statements, you know, all around the world for years that if you mess with America‘s women and children, get ready for Dog and the Chapmans to come.
And, you know, you hear—I mean, I‘m so sorry, Linda, I‘m so sorry, Franki this happened. But, you know, my family is there. We‘re going to help you guys hunt this scum down. We‘re going to catch this guy. Rita, this is like, you know, this is unbelievable! I mean, I can‘t believe this.
COSBY: What would you say, Dog, to the guy who is watching tonight if this guy who didn‘t just take this precious life or this beautiful girl, but also killed, it looks like, two store clerks. That‘s what he‘s wanted for. What would you say to him tonight?
CHAPMAN: Well, I‘ve heard, you know, Melvin, that you killed himself. So we checked coroners all around in the areas where you might be and you‘re not in them. So I would just say this to you, Melvin. You hear what I‘m saying? I, Melvin, will crawl through hell, fire, wire and brimstone, Melvin, to hunt you down. Once you get right here, I think the best thing you might do, Melvin, is maybe take your own life because we‘re coming after you and so is America. You got that, Melvin?
PHELPS: That‘s right.
WILSON: Good, that‘s right.
PHELPS: That‘s right.
COSBY: Well, all of you, our prayers are with you. And I hope he‘s watching and I hope he‘s caught. And Dog, good luck at going after this guy because it certainly sounds he‘s done some horrible, horrible things. And our prayers are with you, Franki and Linda so much. Please let us know what we can do to help you.
WILSON: Thank you.
PHELPS: Thank you, very much.
WILSON: Thank you so much. Thank you, Dog.
CHAPMAN: You‘re welcome.
COSBY: Still ahead, everybody did a hospital put a transplant patient at the top of the list all for money? Plus, you‘ll be shocked to know who paid the big bill.
And did you know that just sitting on a park bench could get you in trouble with the law? A woman slapped with a whopping $1,000 fine. Not just that. That is just stunning, just sitting on a bench. She joins me next LIVE & DIRECT.
COSBY: Well, there‘s a big scandal brewing tonight at a California hospital involving given preferential treatment to a Saudi Arabian patient. The Saudi national was able to jump the line for a liver transplant after the embassy reportedly paid St. Vincent‘s Hospital in L.A. 25 percent more than the normal amount for the liver. And we‘re now learning that at least nine patients at that same hospital were also passed over. The two doctors who performed the surgery are now under investigation. And the hospital has suspended its live transplant program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUS VALDESPINO, PRES. & CEO, ST. VINCENT MEDICAL CENTER: Any breach of integrity regarding established transplant patient procedures is unacceptable! We are conducting a thorough investigation.
DR. JEFFREY KAHN, MEDICAL ETHICIST: It should never be that the organ goes to the highest bidder. And the system is built on the belief it shouldn‘t go to the person who can afford it most. I think it encourages people to go outside the system, and it discourages people from being organ donors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And in a LIVE & DIRECT interview, now Nail al-Jubier of the Saudi Embassy. He‘s here to respond to these claims.
Now, what do you make of these claims, essentially saying that the Saudi government jumped ahead of all these Americans, paid more money, and therefore got a liver transplant for one of its citizens?
NAIL AL-JUBIER, SAUDI EMBASSY SPOKESMAN: Absolutely rubbish! One thing. We have patients that come here for transplants that stay on the list. We‘ve had people who have died waiting on the list. And they come here, and they have a waiting list, they go back home. We paid a fee. We did not pay, as have been claimed as you just said, the hospitals so they move them up.
We don‘t know where the list is. We don‘t know where they‘re on the list where the patients are on the list. We pay the bill within the range of what is expected. Is it higher than insurance companies pay? Probably, because insurance companies do negotiate with hospitals. We as a government don‘t. That‘s why some insurance companies or some hospitals don‘t accept certain insurance, because of the negotiations that goes on between the insurance companies and the patients. But as far as paying somebody to skip above the line is completely totally ridiculous.
COSBY: That‘s an interesting point you made about the money. In fact, let me show you how much money the “L.A. Times” is saying that the royal embassy, your embassy. Paid $339,000 for the transplant and hospital care plus undisclosed fees to the doctors. As you point out—now it‘s interesting you point out for the reason, 35, you know, maybe 25 percent to 35 percent higher. Do you feel if that‘s the case that you got ripped off?
AL-JUBIER: Well, you see, the cost that was paid went to the hospital. And the liver transplants in this country range between $250,000 to $400,000. And there are other expenses. We paid in one patient up to $2 million because he got a transplant and it failed and there were medical expenses involved. We pay what it takes for our patients. But we will not pay to get anyone moved on the list that is not supposed to be.
COSBY: So, why do you think that did that to the Saudis? Why do you think they did now? Because, you know, even in the hospitals—they put folks on suspension.
AL-JUBIER: I really don‘t know what happened. We were surprised when we saw the wire story a couple of days ago. We looked into it to try to identify who the people are. We‘re looking into it to see whether this is possible, because we had people who were on the list who‘ve died before waiting.
So, having someone jump on the list is simply unfair! I have (INAUDIBLE) who was on or a kidney transplant waiting list. And if she has had to wait, because somebody jumped ahead of it is unconscionable!
There are people whose lives depend on it. And having somebody who just comes in with money and buys is simply unconscionable. Luckily, her kidney transplant was sent in from Saudi Arabia where she was on the list and was then done here in the United States.
But To bring somebody to pay him is simply unacceptable. And we‘ve never participated in it! And when we find out about it we‘ll definitely not deal with the hospital ever again!
COSBY: Nail, thank you very much. I appreciate your coming on.
Thank you very much.
And now to another shocking story. The majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, indicted just a few hours ago on a conspiracy charge by a Texas grand jury.
Joe Scarborough, the host of “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is live in Washington tonight. Joe, are you surprised that this indictment finally came down. I mean, it was brewing for awhile it was going to come down but then it actually happened. Are you surprised?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, I tell you what, not really when you look at who indicted him. This guy has a history of indicting Republicans and other political figures, conservative Democrats also.
But the fact that the D.A. Ronnie Earle went to a Democratic fund-raiser earlier this year, and many believe spoke inappropriately, about his ongoing investigation at a Democratic fund-raiser certainly leads a lot of people that this city believing it‘s a partisan attack.
“The Houston Chronicle” who has never was a fan of Tom DeLay even blasted the D.A. for doing that. But, listen, Rita, the bottom-line is tonight, the Republican party is reeling. You‘ve got Katrina. You have got high gas prices. You have got an unpopular Iraq war, a huge deficit, a huge debt and now you‘ve got the Tom DeLay Scandal. And there‘s one possibly brewing on the Senate side with the majority leader in the Senate dumping his family‘s corporate insurance just a month before—his stocks just before the stocks took a plunge. So, there are a lot of very nervous Republicans on Capitol Hill tonight.
COSBY: There definitely are. And I know you‘re going to be talking a lot about this, Joe. I know you‘re going to be all over this, Tom DeLay and everything and else tonight at the top of the hour. Be sure to tune in, everybody, to “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” coming up in just about 13 minutes or so from now.
And coming up next, everyone, crooks caught on tape robbing a string of hotels. We will tell you how these crafty culprits check out with a big loot. It‘s incredible what they did caught on tape. Stay tuned.
COSBY: And tonight, the hunt is on for the crooks who have been pulling off hotel heists all over California. Take a look. Here it is, and how they do it. This is surveillance video of one of the robberies all caught on tape.
Late today, police caught three of the suspects, but there are more out there, and joining us now is Sergeant Rick Martinez, of the Anaheim Police Department. Sergeant Martinez, you arrested three so far. Why do you believe there are more guys involved?
SGT. RICK MARTINEZ, ANAHEIM POLICE DEPT.: Well, we don‘t know exactly how many people were involved in the string of robberies. We have arrested three. There‘s potentially more suspects, but we have a long way to go because of the distance that these crooks traveled and how many establishments they have actually robbed.
COSBY: Yes, how do they get away with this six months—I think it‘s amazing—from Fresno to San Diego? I spent three years in California. That‘s a bit of a stretch, 29 different communities. How were they able to get away with this for so long?
MARTINEZ: Well, they were hitting at very random times. There was no way that we could firmly establish some sort of a pattern. One day, they would hit a place in Los Angeles County.
The next day, they would come over to Orange County, and the following day, they would drive up about 300 miles north and hit another hotel up there. So there was no solid pattern that we could establish, and it took us actually a while to realize that we had a serial robber that was taking place.
COSBY: How did they carry out most of their strategies? As we are looking at here, it‘s sort of like one of those hotel carriers that the baggage guys use at hotels. They‘re actually carrying a safe out on it. What were some of their other sort of creative strategies to do these robberies?
MARTINEZ: Well, they were pretty similar in nature in many of the robberies, but in some cases, a primary robber would come in. He would be talking on his cell phone. He would be alone. He would produce a handgun, go behind a counter, rob the place, and then leave with the cash while somebody was waiting outside.
In other cases, as you have just seen, there‘s been situations where two guys actually come in, and go behind the counter after producing a gun, and then just walking away with the actual safe.
COSBY: Is your hunch telling you there‘s more at large tonight?
MARTINEZ: Well, we are not sure exactly what we are dealing with. We know of 41 robberies at this point that have taken place over six months involving 29 cities. Those are just the ones we actually know of.
There‘s been a crime analysis unit that‘s been very instrumental from the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department, that has provided a lot of data to bring these crimes together.
As far as we know, we have all of the robberies, but there‘s certainly the potential now to discover that there‘s other cities out there that we weren‘t even aware that these guys were involved in their crimes.
COSBY: Now putting the pieces together. Sergeant Martinez, thanks so much.
MARTINEZ: My pleasure.
COSBY: And still ahead, a woman slapped with a $1,000 fine for sitting on a park bench explains why she was stunned that she could get a ticket for what she did, a thousand dollar ticket. She‘s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN BENEPE, NYC PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSIONER: It‘s a very important rule in terms of maintaining playgrounds as safe havens for children and for their caretakers, and it‘s a rule that we are consistently asked by neighborhood groups and civic groups to enforce.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, who knew that sitting on a park bench could cost you $1,000. Well, it can if you are in a park that prohibits adults who are there without children. Sandra Catena found out the hard way and she joins me now live. Sandra, this is an amazing story. When it‘s around 1:00, you‘re sitting on a park bench.
SANDRA CATENA, TICKETED FOR SITTING ON PARK BENCH: Yes.
COSBY: Nice peaceful area, and all of a sudden, what? The cops come over with backup and say what?
CATENA: Well, I was sitting and I literally just sat down maybe a minute or two beforehand, and two police officers approached me and said do you have a child that you are accompanied by? And I said no. And they said, you are breaking the law.
And I said, I don‘t know what you are talking about. And he said that in order to be in a children‘s park, I had to be accompanied by a child, and he said he was going to issue me a summons. And I said, well, can‘t you just give me a warning. And he said, no, that‘s my job. I am just doing my job.
COSBY: And then he called for backup.
COSBY: Here you are, you‘re five foot five, you‘re a little bit taller than I am. You‘re a little person. They called for backup on vicious, horrible you.
COSBY: What was your reaction? They actually went for their guns.
CATENA: Well, they were holding on, yes. Well, at first, it was comical, you know, and ridiculous, and I couldn‘t believe it was happening. And then when the one police officer took my license and the other cop just kind of went like this and had his hand on his gun, like he was guarding me like as though I was a prisoner. And when the two other police officers pulled up and got out of the car, it was really strange. It was very, very intimidating.
COSBY: How stunned were you?
COSBY: Because here you are, you‘re sitting on a park bench. A lot of people do this.
COSBY: No kids. There‘s a sign, but who recognizes those signs half the time, unfortunately. What was your reaction?
CATENA: I couldn‘t believe what was happening. I was beside myself, and I begged the cops to just let it go, give me a warning, and I said, I will leave right now. And there was no sign within my scope of vision.
COSBY: And, of course, they say it‘s because they don‘t want to have folks hanging around ...
COSBY: ... questionable characters, pedophiles, those type of characters ...
COSBY: ... the extreme. But they didn‘t ask any of questions, they just went right for you.
CATENA: Yes, they came right at me.
COSBY: Are you planning on fighting this?
COSBY: What do you plan to do? Because $1,000 -- most people are going wow. What are you planning on doing?
CATENA: Well, I have to go to court, and I am going to fight it in court. I am also looking into filing suit with the civil rights, and other places, so ...
COSBY: What has been the response of the groups you have talked to and attorneys you have talked to? Do they think you have a good case?
CATENA: Yes, you know, first of all, I‘ve got an overwhelming response from people. Everybody is supporting me, and a lot of people are e-mailing me and calling me and saying similar things are happening to them, and they are really happy that instead of dropping this, I am going to fight it.
COSBY: Well, definitely keep us posted.
COSBY: You look like a horrible, vicious criminal. I don‘t know how they let you out on the loose. This is amazing. It‘s an amazing story. Moral, don‘t sit on park benches right?
CATENA: Never again.
COSBY: Keep us posted, Sandra.
CATENA: I will. Thank you.
COSBY: Thank you very much—amazing story. And that does it for us tonight. On LIVE & DIRECT, I‘m Rita Cosby. Joe Scarborough starts right now, and you heard, Joe, $1,000 for sitting on a park bench.
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