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Analysis of Murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett

Aired December 20, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the horrifying case of a Kansas woman accused of killing an expectant mom named Bobbie Jo Stinnett and kidnapping her unborn baby. Joining us from Topeka, a friend of the accused, Lisa Montgomery, and her husband, Darrel Schultze who saw the Montgomerys with the stolen baby Lisa claimed was her also. Also in Topeka the pastor of the Montgomerys' church, the Reverend Mike Wheatly. From Maryville, Missouri, near Bobbie Jo's hometown, the lawman who helped crack the shocking case, Nodaway County Sheriff Ben Espey. In Kansas City, FBI special agent Jeff Lanza and the man who will be prosecuting the case, U.S. attorney Todd Graves. All that and more next, on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Let's start with Jim Flink in Kansas City, Missouri of KMBC TV. He's reporting on this story from the start. Give us the gist of it, Jim.

JIM FLINK, KMBC-TV CORRESPONDENT: Larry, the gist of it is this -- a woman by the name of Lisa Montgomery meets up with a woman by the name of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. They have apparently had an online conversation for a year where they are both members of a rat terrier breeders club. They have this online conversation. Unbeknownst to Bobbie Jo Stinnett, they've talked about their pregnancy, they were both pregnant, they've talked about their pregnancy online. The day before the murder, a woman gets online and introduces herself as Darlene Fisher. She says she wants to buy a dog from Bobbie Jo Stinnett in Skidmore, Missouri. They set up a meeting online. That person, Darlene Fisher, ends up being Lisa Montgomery. Lisa Montgomery is accused of showing up at Bobbie Jo Stinnett's place, murdering her, ripping the baby from the womb, driving two hours back to Kansas, calling her husband on the telephone and saying she has given birth to the child that he was expecting her to have. Then he comes and picks her up. The next day, everything starts to blow up. We find out Bobbie Jo Stinnett has been murdered in Skidmore, Missouri, two hours away. Lisa Montgomery has been charged in the case. It is shocking for two very small towns.

KING: Now clear up something. Was Lisa Montgomery pregnant?

FLINK: Lisa Montgomery was, according to authorities, pregnant. Apparently had lost that pregnancy somewhere around the sixth month of the term but apparently had not told anybody. Even her husband was unaware she was no longer pregnant. KING: Lisa was the one on the Internet with the victim for the year but used a different name when she came to the house?

FLINK: Correct. Lisa was a rat terrier breeder as was Bobbie Jo. They knew each other. They had even attended dog shows together, according to some witnesses who are now coming forward. At first we thought these were two strangers who had somehow met over the Internet. We come to find out now that they knew one another. Then in order to set this up, allegedly, Lisa Montgomery creates this fake identity, this Darlene Fisher. Fisher for to arrange this meeting. She asked for directions to Bobbie Jo Stinnett's home in Skidmore. Shows up last Thursday. That is where the crime allegedly takes place.

KING: Sheriff Espey, how were you able to arrest or find the accused so quickly?

SHERIFF BEN ESPEY, HELPED TRACK DOWN ACCUSED WOMAN: Well, I organized a team of people that are specialized in this with area law enforcement agencies involved in it. They worked 24 hours around the clock. They didn't quit and go home. They stayed after this case until we had information that the baby was still alive and they had babies in our hands.

KING: The killing occurred in your jurisdiction. Then she moved it to Kansas, right?

ESPEY: That's correct.

KING: OK, so how -- did she come back to Missouri?

ESPEY: Not to my understanding. Once she left Missouri, Skidmore, she stayed in Kansas.

KING: Is that where she is now?

ESPEY: She's with the Kansas authorities right now.

KING: Is Missouri going to try to bring her back to Missouri?

ESPEY: That's my understanding. That's what will need to happen in this case.

KING: Sheriff, what do you make of this?

ESPEY: It's pretty tragic. It's really tragic for the family to lose a 23-year-old mother. It's just really tragic. The only light spot in this is the fact that the baby was found alive.

KING: Darrel Schultze and Reverend Mike Wheatly are in Topeka, Kansas. Darrel is a friend of the family of Lisa Montgomery, the woman accused. He saw Lisa and her husband with the newborn on Friday. Reverend Mike Wheatly is pastor of the First Church of God which is attended by the Montgomery family. Darrel, when you saw Lisa with the baby, what did you think? DARREL SCHULTZE, FAMILY FRIEND OF WOMAN ACCUSED: My first reaction to her was, what's this? Where did it come from? I had seen her the Friday night before at the high school gym at a ball game. It was parent night, senior night. And she was up there and I asked her, where did this come from? I had no idea that she was this close to delivery. And I was astonished that they had a baby.

KING: Reverend, what do you make of it? Do you know her a long time, Darrel?

SCHULTZE: No, I haven't known her a long time, no. Just a few community connections and what have you. I've known Kevin for several years. They've been together there in Melvern over four years. I've known her those four years.

KING: Did you know her in the early stages of her pregnancy?

SCHULTZE: Yes. But we heard about her miscarriage a year ago. You can't keep up with your time line, you forget how long ago it was. We prayed for her when she had her miscarriage there in the church. Then we heard at a later time, maybe a month or two, that she was pregnant again is how we heard it. And expecting. And you sort of lose your time line. And when she was supposed to have it. And that's why -- of course, seeing her last -- a week ago Friday at the ball game and then seeing her a week later that she had a baby, why, we were just sort of shocked.

KING: Reverend Wheatly, this family prays at your church. What do you make of this story?

REV. MIKE WHEATLY, FAMILY PASTOR OF WOMAN ACCUSED: Well, after I saw the baby, I was shocked like most of the community. But I -- I'm stunned just like the rest of the community is. We're pulling together, though, to come together and surround the Montgomery family with love. Because they all go to our church. They've gone there for years. And we're praying and willing to wrap our loving arms around the Stinnett family as well, even if we have to do it from long distance.

KING: The Montgomery family consists of her, her husband, and who else?

WHEATLY: Her husband's parents, and then they have seven kids between the two of them from earlier marriages. Kevin and Lisa do.

KING: Have you spoken, Reverend, with anyone connected with the family since?

WHEATLY: I've been the spokesperson for the family for the last three and a half days. Yes, I speak to them all.

KING: How are they taking this?

WHEATLY: Well, as you might expect, Kevin -- they were at our house the Friday morning with the baby. My wife and I held the little baby. At the time, we thought her name was Abigail. It's since been changed to Victoria Jo by the rightful relatives. But when she was there on Friday morning, she was a beautiful baby. And Kevin was absolutely grinning from ear to ear. He wasn't going to come out of the clouds for a very long time. His smile wasn't leaving his face for a month. He was a very proud papa and Lisa was a very tired, what you would expect to be tired mother who just had delivered.

KING: When they came to arrest her, were you nearby, close by when she was taken into custody?

WHEATLY: The day they were arrested, I wasn't aware of anything. Even when they were there that morning. I was not aware of any of this. As far as I knew, everything was just perfectly normal. The only question we had in our mind at that time was why she would have a brand new newborn baby out, showing it off that day. But it was -- it wasn't until about ten minutes before the evening news that evening that I knew anything about it. In fact, it was Darrel that called me and give me a heads-up about it, and asked me if I was in the middle of it all.

KING: We'll continue with our panel. Your phone calls later. Other guests joining us. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 36-year-old Montgomery was arrested Friday and allegedly confessed to the crime. Neighbors in Melvern, Kansas say Montgomery and her husband were showing off the baby as their own. After surviving the tragic ordeal, the infant has been united with her real father. Zeb Stinnett has named his daughter Victoria Jo in memory of her mother. And says she's truly a little miracle.



KING: Darrel, when she said it was her baby and you only knew her at six months, wasn't that strange to you?

SCHULTZE: Yes. Like I said, I didn't follow the time line that close. I just know I'd seen her a week before and she didn't look pregnant, and here we had a baby. Knowing the family and knowing -- not knowing -- I wasn't aware of the Amber Alert or anything. But knowing the family, I had no reason to doubt them. That's why it was such a shock to the community. We feel so bad that this happened. And knowing the family as we do, it just -- it's just hard to understand for us.

KING: Sheriff Espey, have you met any of the people involved? Either victims or assailants?

ESPEY: I've met all the victims, Larry.

KING: You have met all the victims.

ESPEY: Yes, Larry, I have. KING: OK. And how are they dealing with this, Sheriff?

ESPEY: It's just been extra difficult due to the circumstances of it. It's just really hard for them.

KING: Do you know the family?

ESPEY: Yes, I do. I know several of them personally.

KING: Jim Flink, have you met any of the family members? Have you tried to contact them for reports?

FLINK: Larry, we did try to contact Zeb Stinnett, which is the father of Victoria Jo. We contacted him, or tried to, about the time that the story had broken that the baby had survived. He has gone to Topeka. So we had talked to some other relatives about how they were doing.

Larry, you have to realize, this is the third member of this family to be murdered in the last four years. Two cousins were murdered. One in 2000, Wendy Gillenwater (ph) was stomped to death by her boyfriend. Then Branson Perry (ph) disappeared two years ago.

This is a town of 300 people, and three members of this family have been brutally murdered in the last four years. So a lot of people, they're used to having media members come around, for all the wrong reasons. And it was a very, very difficult situation. Not just for the town members, the residents, but also for journalists who were there, and there were a lot of us there.

KING: What can you tell us, Reverend Wheatly, about Lisa Montgomery?

WHEATLY: I can tell you that she was a person who pretty much was -- a person that would like to talk about herself a lot and her children. She -- if you wanted to talk about Lisa, she was mighty happy. But she was also a person who cared a lot about her children. And my wife and I decided she could have qualified as a pioneer woman, because she was quite capable of not having all the amenities that we have today and still surviving and teaching her kids how to do that. She was just a homebody. She went to work, she went home, took care of her kids. She was kind of quiet most of the time.

KING: So Reverend, in the continuing saga of the humankind that boggles us, how do you explain this to yourself?

WHEATLY: You know, I try to -- I stand at the pulpit and I try to explain things to people every Sunday. And it's difficult, very difficult for -- for me to explain it to myself. I looked at that little special baby in my arms and had no idea any of this was happening at the time. And she's had an effect on all of our lives. Any of us that have touched her, she's had an effect on us. And we're very sad for the family that lost this little girl's mother. That was taken from her. And we're very sad for the Montgomery family, because they too have lost someone they cared about, especially her children.

KING: Is the town going to do anything, Darrel, for the Stinnetts?

SCHULTZE: Yes. We've met in town, several of us. And we've opened an account at the Linner (ph) State Bank, the branch bank there in Melvern. And we want to do -- this is what now we feel like we can do, and we have an account there at the bank open for them. So we're raising money. And I think Melvern's a very generous, loving town. And I think that people will come through.

KING: How is Mr. Montgomery handling it, Reverend?

WHEATLY: Kevin is handling it very, very difficult. He can hardly get a word out. He did finally speak to the press today. But it was very brief because he was very emotional, when they had the first court appearance today. For the most part, I've been doing it for him. And it's been very difficult for him. He's had a tough time.

KING: How old, Reverend, are the other Montgomery children?

WHEATLY: They're all teenagers. They're all either in upper junior high or high school. So they're all teenage kids.

KING: How are they dealing with it?

WHEATLY: They're, as you can imagine, especially Lisa's kids, are having a very tough time with it. They're being uprooted and they're -- and they miss their mother, and they want their family back together again. So they are very disturbed by it.

KING: Jeff Flink, where is Lisa right now?

FLINK: Lisa is in federal custody in the state of Kansas at this hour. And she'll have another court appearance, Larry, on Thursday. Obviously there's going to be some sort of transfer here between -- because we've gone over state lines, from western Missouri into central Kansas, eastern central Kansas. And so at some point, she will be returned to the Western District of Missouri, where U.S. Attorney Todd Graves will be prosecuting the case. But right now she's in Kansas custody.

KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, Jeff Lanza, a FBI special agent, will join us. So will Dr. Lucy Puryear. Later, we'll have a short interview with Todd Graves. He won't appear with the others because he's got to prosecute this case. We'll also be including your phone calls. We'll be right back.


KEVIN MONTGOMERY, SUSPECT'S HUSBAND: My heart ain't broke just for me and Lisa and her kids. It's them too. That was a precious baby. I know.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Our panel remains. Joining us now in Kansas City, Missouri, is Jeff Lanza, FBI special agent. And in Houston, Texas is Dr. Lucy Puryear. She is a psychiatrist and former director of the Psychiatric Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine. She testified for the defense in the famous Andrea Yates case, the woman convicted of capital murder in the drowning deaths of her children.

Now, Jeff Lanza, where does this stand? Is this an FBI matter?

JEFF LANZA, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Yes, it is, Larry. And I'd first like to take the opportunity to express our condolences to the family of Bobbie Jo and all the others affected by this tragic crime. It is an FBI case, because once a kidnap victim is taken across state lines, it does become the possibility of a federal jurisdiction takes hold. And that's what happened in this particular case.

KING: The kidnap victim is the baby?

LANZA: The kidnap victim is the baby, that's correct, Larry. And the young girl was taken across, from Missouri into Kansas. And once that occurs, we have the possibility of federal jurisdiction, federal prosecution. And of course, it doesn't mean we wouldn't get involved anyway. We'll always be involved in a case when a child is missing. But when a child is taken across state lines, then you have the additional avenue of prosecution at the federal level.

KING: We'll ask Todd Graves, but will there be a jurisdictional fight here? Does Kansas want to try her, Missouri want to try her and the feds?

LANZA: Yes, actually, the crime took place in the state of Missouri. And I think -- Todd Graves will probably address this point. But I think the prosecutors will get together and decide who's going to prosecute the case. And I think he can address that issue.

I must say, Larry, this is a very interesting case, because when the baby was taken into Kansas and brought to that home, you have to understand, when this crime took place, no one -- we didn't have much to go on. The sheriff's department, the Missouri Highway Patrol, the FBI. They had a possible person with blonde hair as a suspect. A possible color of red as the car they were driving. And that's all they had. So within 23 hours, when you have agents and police officers show up at a house in Kansas and you think there might be a baby in there, you don't know if there is a baby, you don't know if it's the right baby, is the baby alive, is the baby healthy, all those things start to come true. You know how elated the agents and police officers were at that point.

KING: And obviously, Sheriff Espey and his crew in gathering, did a hell of a job.

LANZA: They did a fantastic job. All the law enforcement agencies worked together. And one of the keys in this case, Larry, was getting that Amber Alert out. And the sheriff did an excellent job at pursuing that and being persistent about getting that Amber Alert out over the system, because that resulted in some key information that led to the solution in this case, along with some computer forensics that were done at a crime lab here in Kansas City.

KING: Sheriff, do you care where she's tried?

ESPEY: No, I don't. Just as long as she gets tried.

KING: All right, now, what do you make of this, Dr. Puryear? You've seen a lot of cases, I'm sure, none like this. What do you make of it?

DR. LUCY PURYEAR, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, it's obviously a heinous crime. And even for a psychiatrist, it's pretty difficult to imagine what would cause a woman, a mother, to do something like this.

KING: All right, now, also, you're a doctor, right? As a psychiatrist, you're an MD?

PURYEAR: Correct.

KING: How would she know what to do? How was she able to cut to get a live baby, healthy baby, out?

PURYEAR: That was one of the questions I had. Maybe by watching television and seeing C-sections. The fact, though, is doing a surgery like that, it's often very difficult not to injure the baby by cutting into the woman's abdomen. So it's remarkable.

KING: Sheriff Espey, what did the mother die of?

ESPEY: The -- what we got from the autopsy and the medical examiner, she died of strangulation.

KING: So it wasn't the cutting.

ESPEY: Well, I'm sure that played a big part in it. But what the ruling is, the cause of death, is going to be strangulation.

KING: Jeff Lanza, there's obviously -- I don't know how law enforcement deals with this. And I'll ask Todd Graves. There's a mental problem here, isn't there?

LANZA: Well, Larry, I can't go into the state of mind of the suspect at this time. That will be -- that will be for a later proceeding. That's not something I can talk about.

KING: But it is boggling to you, isn't it? As a law enforcement officer, you can't have seen one like this before.

LANZA: Well, it's a very strange case. There's no doubt about it. I think this is -- this type of thing, for all the officers that worked on this case -- I mean, we get our heart strings tugged on from time to time, but this really yanked on them pretty hard. And even the most hardened FBI agent and sheriff's department officer that's been around a long time can't help but feel the effect of this tragic case.

KING: Jim, how are the communities dealing with it? FLINK: Larry, I mean, to say -- we use the word "shocking" a lot in media reports, and to say that these two communities are in a state of shock is such an understatement. I mean, here you have Skidmore, this small town of 300 in northwest Missouri. It has seen its share of crime through the years, and certainly it isn't a stranger to it, but when you have three members of the same family murdered in four years, and when you have this young girl whose family lives in this town, they were dazed on Friday when we were up there. They were absolutely in a state of shock.

Then you have Melvern, where everyone that we talked with about Lisa Montgomery said, she's a normal person. She's just like you and I. We talked to a parishioner by the name of Ruth Silver (ph) at Reverend Wheatly's church. And she said, she's not a bad person. Something broke, but she's not a bad person. So people are puzzled. They're lost. They're confused. All sorts of emotions.

KING: And this, Dr. Puryear, is classic? Right? Every other person says she's normal.

PURYEAR: Well, it's hard to know, again, what the cause of her doing something like this. You know, if she really did have a miscarriage or had a still birth at six months, it's possible she was depressed or experiencing some other traumatic phenomenon. But it's also possible that something was going on in her life that she felt desperate about needing to have a child. And that almost caused her to do something outside the norm of what most people would consider feasible. It will be interesting to find out what the story is.

KING: Sure will.

We'll take a break. We'll come back, introduce the whole panel. I'll spend a few moments with Todd Graves, the U.S. attorney who will prosecute this case. And then we'll go to your calls. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say two threads of information clinched this case. First, an Amber Alert putting out a call for a red car. It almost didn't happen. The other, the FBI tracked all communication on the victim's computer, which led right to the doorstep of Lisa Montgomery.



KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE."

I'm going to reintroduce the panel. Then we're going to spend some time with Todd Graves and then go to your calls.

In Topeka, Kansas, Darrel Schultze, friend of the family of Lisa Montgomery, he's on your left. The woman accused of killing Bobbie Jo Stinnett and kidnapping her baby. He saw Lisa and her husband with the stolen newborn on Friday. Reverend Mike Wheatly, who's become a spokesperson for the Montgomery family. A pastor of the First Church of God.

In Maryville, Missouri, Sheriff Ben Espey, sheriff of Nodaway County, Missouri. The killing and kidnapping occurred in his jurisdiction and he helped lead the team that broke the case.

Jim Flink of KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Missouri, has been reporting on the story from the start.

Also in Kansas City, Missouri, is Jeff Lanza, the FBI special agent.

In Houston, Texas, Dr. Lucy Puryear, psychiatrist and former director of the psychiatric clinic at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Joining us in Kansas City, we'll spend moments with him alone, Todd Graves, U.S. Attorney for the western district of Missouri. He will prosecute the case.

Is that definite, Todd, that this will be a federal case only?

TODD GRAVES, U.S. ATTORNEY: I'm working in conjunction with Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney David Baird, and I've also been in contact with my counterpart in Kansas. And this base has been filed in the United States District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, and that's where it will move forward.

KING: It's federal because of the baby being kidnapped?

GRAVES: Yes, it's federal because it goes all the way back to the early part of the last century, the Lindbergh Law. When there's a kidnapping and someone dies as a result, there's federal jurisdiction. And It's something we have some experience with in Kansas City. We have a state line that divides our city. And so,this isn't the first case that crosses the state line that we've dealt with.

KING: What are you going to charge her with?

GRAVES: She's charged with a violation of Title 18, United States Code 1201, which is very simply kidnapping resulting in death. And that is a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole or the possibility of the death penalty in the appropriate case.

KING: Is it your decision whether to ask for the death penalty?

GRAVES: No, that's not my decision alone. That's something -- we have elaborate procedures. It's not something that's taken lightney (ph) -- lightly. And in the Department of Justice, that is something that we will be. There's a deliberative process and that decision will be made. But we have a history of cases like this in this area. And it's not anything really -- the case certainly is unusual. But the nature of the charge isn't really anything out of the ordinary for us.

KING: Does it get as high as the attorney general on a decision of death or not?

GRAVES: You know, the department speaks with one voice on these issues. And that's something that does go very high in the department. But as to the specific procedure, that's not something that I'm really comfortable sharing.

KING: Are there many death penalty federal cases?

GRAVES: I think there are approximately 30 or a few more than 30 prisoners on death row that have gotten the federal death penalty. And there are all sort of different crimes that can apply to. Drug trafficking crimes. Killing of a federal agent. Killing of a federal witness. There are numerous statutes. We have to have a very specific statute. We have specific jurisdiction, not general jurisdiction. And so there are a number of crimes but it has to fit within one of those categories.

KING: The affidavit says she confessed. Is that correct?

GRAVES: She made a statement. That information is contained in the affidavit. And I'm not really comfortable as a prosecutor elaborating on that.

KING: The average person would say, don't you think, Todd, this person's got to be a little nuts? So, how do you deal with that as a prosecutor -- mean, obviously, this can't be a normal act.

GRAVES: I'm not sure that any act of violence that results in a death would be considered a normal act. And that is all information that calls for speculation, that at this point I couldn't begin to get into. This defendant has made her first appearance in Kansas City, Kansas. There are procedural rights. She'll be brought back to Kansas City, Missouri, where she'll have attorneys appointed. All those sorts of questions are way down the road for us right now.

KING: This obviously, in your career, has to be the most unusual.

GRAVES: Well, it's certainly is among the most heart rending, and it is a very unusual case. I was a state prosecutor before filling this role. And there -- and believe it or not, there are other unusual cases. But this one definitely kicks you in the gut. I happen to be from that rural part of northwest Missouri, so I know a lot of -- I don't know any of the people involved, but I know a lot of the people that live in that part of our state. And this is the heart of America. We are at the geographic and population center of the country. And to have something happen here that gets this kind of attention, certainly is something that we don't look forward to.

KING: Have you talked to the suspect?

GRAVES: I could -- again, that's one of those things that I couldn't even begin to talk about at this point.

KING: And where is she right now? GRAVES: She is housed on the Kansas side, within a stone's throw of the state line in a county jail facility under contract to the state marshals.

KING: So, she'll have to -- got to be a court order moving her, right?

GRAVES: Yes, but it's not like an extradition. We both, federal court in Kansas is of the same system as federal court in the state of Missouri. And so there are procedural rights, but it's not a high barrier.

KING: Thank you, Todd. Thanks for spending the time with us.

GRAVES: Thank you.

KING: Todd Graves, U.S. Attorney for the western district of Missouri. He will prosecute.

Our panel remains. We'll go to your phone calls.

Columbus, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry King, I'd like to know does anybody know when the baby will be released?

KING: What's the status of the baby? Jim Flink, do you know?

FLINK: Yes, Larry. The baby was released from the Stormont-Vail Hospital today in Topeka. And just a few hours ago was heading home with her father, Zeb Stinnett.

KING: Home to Missouri?

FLINK: Correct. Actually, to a small town not far from Skidmore.

KING: Sheriff Espey, do you know Mr. Stinnett?

ESPEY: Did I know her?

KING: Do you know Mr. Stinnett?

ESPEY: I know who he is, yes. But not personally, I don't know him.

KING: OK. Noblesville, Indiana, hello.

CALLER: My question is this, what does Lisa Montgomery's husband have to say about all this? Is he innocent? Is he being charged with anything?

KING: Reverend Wheatly?

WHEATLY: As far as we know, there's no charges that I've heard of. I do know that he's very upset about it all, of course. Of course, he thought he had a baby there for a little while. And he was very happy about it. And now he's not happy at all about any of this.

KING: Jeff Lanza, has anybody indicated to be involved -- other than the defendant to be involved in this crime?

LANZA: Well, the investigation has resulted in charges being filed against one person. Beyond that, I can't make any more comment.

KING: Kansas City, Missouri, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

I want to first say I appreciate all your programming, dedication that you offer every each and every night. And also my condolences go out to Bobbie Jo's family. And Kansas City, Missouri was amazing in finding this baby. And it was a true blessing. I just wanted to find out, how does she come upon that Web site, and get to like the dog page?

how does she know that woman was pregnant?

Like did they communicate so detailed that she would share up all that information at one time?

Or is it just the woman came upon her Web site and then the Virginia lady connected all that together at once?

KING: What do e know? What do we know, Jim Flink?

FLINK: Our sources telling us, Larry, that basically, both of these women were known to communicate on this rat terrier Web site for a long period of time. We have a picture today of the two women appearing at the same dog show roughly a year ago. So we have this belief now from our sources that they did know one another. Whereas just yesterday, we thought that they may have been strangers. Now, authorities know a lot that they can't say or won't say at this point. But they certainly had a relationship where they knew one another, maybe not well. But they knew of one another.

KING: Darrel, did they ever talk to you about the dogs?

SCHULTZE: No. No. I knew that they raised was -- they raised -- I think it's rat terrier dogs and stuff. But no. I never talked to them about that.

KING: Reverend, did they talk to you ever about dogs?

WHEATLY: Most often. Lisa has been to the house several times and showed us pictures of the dogs on the Internet that were here daughter -- one daughter is living now. She's done that a couple, two, three times. And yes, we were aware of her raising the rat terriers. And other people being involved in the same kind of circle that she was in.

KING: Dr. Puryear is that -- I'm sorry who's speaking?

FLINK: Jim Flink here. I might point out that it was a woman who was on the rat terrier Web site in North Carolina who had seen this exchange between Bobbie Jo Stinnett and this woman Darlene Fisher. She had seen that they had arranged this meeting. When she heard about the Amber alert in North Carolina, it is our understanding she contacted the FBI and said, you might want to go to this Web site. The FBI then very quickly was able to track this Darlene Fisher's domain name back to Reston, Virginia, and then track it down to Melvern, Kansas, where it was registered to Lisa Montgomery, the Darlene Fisher name was.

KING: Jeff, does Jim have it right?

LANZA: We ought to put him on the FBI payroll. I think he's got a lot of information that's very valuable to this investigation. I'm not going to comment on the specifics of the case. But as you can tell, Jim's been doing his homework.

KING: Boy, has he. We'll be back with more and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.


TERRI HOWARD: I believe that he probably doesn't know what he's feeling right now considering I don't know how somebody could be so happy to have that happen but be so sad at the same time to have such a tragic thing happen. But I do feel that he will have a piece of Bobbie with him for the rest of his life and I'm so very glad that they got his daughter back.



KING: We're back. Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Larry, we love your show in Vancouver.

KING: I can't hear you, are you there? Go ahead.

CALLER: My question is for the reverend. OK, I've never killed anybody in my life. According to many Christian people that I know, I'm going to go to hell because I don't go to church and consider myself a Christian. Now, here was a church-going woman who was probably considered in the community a good Christian. Is she going to go to hell for murdering and kidnapping a woman?

KING: Reverend?

WHEATLY: If she doesn't repent of this crime. If she actually did this crime. It's still alleged now. If she doesn't repent of it, yes she's going to go to hell.

KING: Pictou Landing, Nova Scotia, hello.

CALLER: I want to say merry Christmas to you and all. I want to send condolences to the families. My question is, I'm a ranger. The question I'm asking is, did this lady have any medical background? Does anybody know? And whether the baby was born -- or during -- was the baby born before?

KING: What do we know? What's the condition of the baby?

LANZA: I've heard the baby's been released from the hospital. So I assume the condition is pretty good at this point.

KING: Sheriff, do you know if the suspect had any training at all?

ESPEY: No, I don't know if she did or not.

KING: Dr. Puryear, what would you guess?

PURYEAR: Probably not. To perform a surgery like that, there's not -- as I said before, it's difficult to not hurt the baby if you don't have experience. But it's not a difficult procedure.

KING: Nor is it surprising the baby is healthy, then?

PURYEAR: No, at eight months, about 36 weeks of gestation, she's very close to being full term. And it's not at all surprising that the baby's doing well.

KING: Ohio, hello.

CALLER: My question is for anybody on the panel, especially the doctor. Four years ago, not far from where I live, a similar incident happened with a little baby Oscar. And it was noted, it was learned that the woman that committed this crime learned how to perform this or to remove the baby from the computer, to do the C-section off the computer. And so what I was wondering, if anybody's going to check her computer to find out if that's where she got her source of information from.

KING: You think so, Dr. Puryear?

PURYEAR: Possibly. But you can watch a television show on almost a daily basis on cable and actually see a C-section performed. There's really only a couple of layers to go through in the abdomen. The uterus is very close to the abdominal wall and the baby's right there.

KING: Billerica, Massachusetts, hello.

CALLER: Hi, how are you doing. I'm calling to question -- to see if there's a death penalty in Missouri. And if there is, will they be seeking that? I mean, if anybody -- I mean, any circumstances, this would probably constitute the death penalty.

KING: The U.S. attorney was on, Jeff, and that decision hasn't been made. That's made by higher authorities than the attorney general, right?

LANZA: I think that's what he indicated, that's correct.

KING: Does Missouri have the death penalty, Sheriff? ESPEY: Yes, it does.

KING: Does Kansas? Kansas, there's a trial going -- isn't there a court case involving Kansas and the death penalty?

FLINK: There is, Larry, right now. It's going on right now.

KING: So Kansas is not executing -- but this is going to be federally tried, right, Jeff?

LANZA: That's what the prosecutors at this point have agreed upon, for a federal trial in this particular case, yes.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more moments on this astounding story. Right after this.


KING: Before we take our next call, Reverend Wheatly I understand has seen the baby. What can you tell us?

WHEATLY: Actually, sir, I thought the baby was in excellent shape. Before she went to the hospital, I had the privilege of holding her for about 15 minutes, my wife for about 45. And she looked beautiful. She had a little mark on her cheek. It looked like she might have gouged herself, could have passed it off as that easily. And she had a little bruise on her hand. But other than that, she was absolutely beautiful. It was hard to believe she was even a newborn.

FLINK: If I could interject something real quickly here, we talked to an OB-GYN today about the dangers of delivering this baby. And that doctor told us that if you didn't have any regard for the mother, the actual procedure of performing a C-section is relatively, in his terms, a relatively easy procedure to perform. It is in maintaining and assuring that the mother and the child both survive that procedure, therein lies the difficulty in this procedure. But if, as the doctor said, if you don't care about the life of the mother, delivering the baby, he said, would be possible for a lot of people.

KING: Doctor, could the mother have been dead before the delivery?

PURYEAR: Sure. Actually, it's not all that uncommon for, let's say, a mother who's been in a car accident to die, and they're able to get the mother to the hospital in 10 to 15 minutes and deliver a live baby. So the baby can survive for a while, even after the mother's died or passed away.

KING: So the charge of strangulation, she might have strangled her and then delivered?

PURYEAR: Correct.

KING: To Santa Monica, California, hello. CALLER: Hello. My question is, has anyone checked Lisa Montgomery's other children to find out that they too were not taken?

KING: Can we go back that far? Darrel, do we know?

SCHULTZE: No, we don't. No. But we do know the father. And there's no reason to speculate that.

KING: Junction City, Kansas, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. Thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: First of all, my condolences to the Spinnett family. I would like to ask the reverend the question about, did Lisa Montgomery show any signs or any significant signs of depression to you? Did she ever talk to you, did you ever see if she was going through a depression? I mean, I know I have some depression in my family, and I know I saw these symptoms very early on, and I tried to help as best I can. I mean, some people do show. That's my question.

KING: Reverend?

WHEATLY: Actually, that's what makes this whole thing so difficult is that she had everybody pretty snowed. I mean, as far as we know, everything was just absolutely normal about Lisa. And she was just doing her working and going home, and back and forth. And there wasn't any sign at all of any difference in her.

But then you have to remember too, we didn't see her all the time either. So, I mean, the last time I saw her was in October when she came by the house and appeared to be pregnant. So that was the only time I'd seen her since -- before the day she came with the baby.

KING: Darrel, did you like her?

SCHULTZE: Yes, she was a pleasant person. When she talked about things -- like I said, she raised -- they raised goats. And she talked about how they could take the wool from them and weave different things. And the kids learned to do that. They learned how to spin the yarn and stuff. So yes, she was a pleasant person.

KING: Dr. Puryear, you wanted to say something?

PURYEAR: I'd like to make a comment about her appearing normal. It's sort of like in the Andrea Yates case, where people who saw her said, you know, she seemed to be fine. It's possible to appear to others to be normal and still be quite mentally ill and have all sorts of crazy thoughts. I don't know specifically about Ms. Montgomery, because I've not examined her, but it is possible for potentially her to be mentally ill and no one would know it.

KING: Halifax, Nova Scotia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thank you for taking my call. KING: Sure.

CALLER: Happy holidays to you.

KING: Thank you. Same to you.

CALLER: I have a question for the doctor.

KING: Yeah.

CALLER: My question is, is that could this accused lady possibly be schizophrenic?

KING: Doctor?

PURYEAR: That's -- probably not. People with schizophrenia usually have odd ways of speaking, odd thoughts, odd behaviors. You know, if she is severely ill, it's more likely that she's having odd beliefs. And I'll give an example. Something like, I didn't have a miscarriage, someone took my baby from me, and I have to go get -- you know, have to go retrieve it. Again, I'm not saying that's what she's thinking, but it would be an illness something like that, where she could appear to be normal but have unusual thoughts.

KING: Thank you all very much. And hopefully in the days and months ahead, we'll learn a lot more. And we appreciate everyone on the panel for participating in this program tonight.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, a major program on the death penalty. And a special show Sunday night. We'll talk -- and he doesn't do any interviews -- with the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Gordon Hinckley, the prophet of the Mormons, will be our special guest on a special Sunday night edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Speaking of special, you know, it's weird to have a show every night and call it special, but that's what we do around here with "NEWSNIGHT." When we talk about "NEWSNIGHT," we say it's special. And that's the reason it's special, Aaron Brown. So what's special tonight, Mr. B?

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": We're going to talk about drugs, again, the legal ones and the troubles they cause. I'm not going to see you for a while. Have a good holiday and safe travels.

KING: You too, my man. Be well.

BROWN: I'll talk to you soon. Thank you.


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