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Latest In Case of Missing Groom; Day 68 of Search for Natalee Holloway

Aired August 5, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news in the missing groom case. Twenty-six-year-old George Smith and his bride tied the knot in a lavish ceremony and take off on a dream trip, a Mediterranean cruise honeymoon. Well, just days into the trip, the groom vanishes into thin air. The only trade? Blood in his cabin and on the side of the ship.
And we go live to Aruba, day 68 in the Natalee Holloway missing girl case. And questioning continues for the prime suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot. The Aruban judge`s son could walk free in less than one month.

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. And I want to thank you for being with us tonight.

Day 68 -- that`s right, 6-8 -- in the Natalee Holloway missing girl case. Judge`s son and chief suspect Joran Van Der Sloot still behind bars, undergoing police questioning. If there is no break in this case, Van Der Sloot could walk free in less than a month.

But first tonight, breaking news in what appears to be murder on the high seas. Newlywed George Smith and his bride set out on a European dream cruise. Then the groom vanishes into thin air, the only trace, blood. No eyewitnesses. No confession.

Tonight, in New York, defense attorney Alan Ripka; in West Palm Beach, Florida, defense attorney Joe Episcopo; in New York, forensic psychologist Dr. Michael Nuccitelli; and "A Current Affair" correspondent Harris Faulkner.

First to Harris, bring me up-to-date, Harris.

HARRIS FAULKNER, "A CURRENT AFFAIR" CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, first of all, there`s been a lot of talk about whether or not the family of George Allen Smith and his bride, Jennifer Hagel, have been cooperating with authorities.

I want to say that, from talking with the FBI personally, I can tell you that they have made themselves available to the investigation, but they`re easily accessible to FBI authorities. I do want to say that we in the media may not have heard from them, but that is not an indication that this family is not doing all that it can to help solve the mystery of their loved one.

GRACE: You know, Harris, I`m glad you said that. Just because someone doesn`t take to the airwaves and bear their grief does not mean they are a murder suspect.

But, you know, naturally, very often, Dr. Nuccitelli, police often look at those closest to a murder suspect or a kidnap suspect. You look at the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the husband, the wife, because, statistically, that`s who`s responsible. That is not proven in this case.

DR. MICHAEL NUCCITELLI, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: True. But, I mean, investigators always look in concentric circles, just like you said. They start off with immediate family. And then, slowly, as they weed out any possibilities, they work their way backwards.

But exactly. Just because they`re not coming out and talking about what`s going on doesn`t necessarily mean that we should be suspicious.

GRACE: I want to go back to Harris Faulkner. She is with "A Current Affair." Harris, take a listen to this.


KAREN DRAKE, PASSENGER ON CRUISE SHIP: That morning, before I got off the ship, I saw no one, no investigative authorities on the ship or -- didn`t see anyone. When I got back on the ship later that afternoon, the deck had already been cleaned up.

I thought it was very strange that no one was asking any questions, since my room was so directly in front of the blood, until finally, on day ten or so of our trip, we did get a letter in our state room asking us to come to a board room to be questioned.

I`m worried, definitely, that there was some kind of serious foul play. Unless you were playing king of the world, you know, it`s just not possible to fall over. And I just -- there was so much blood.

And the distance from his balcony to that deck was not that great, you know, to generate that kind of injury. So, you know, I`m worried that something terrible happened to him and he was pushed overboard. That`s what I`m worried happened.


GRACE: Back to Harris Faulkner with "A Current Affair." Harris, tell me about this balcony. What I`m trying to figure out is, how high is the railing, where you would have had to have leapt over the thing to leave blood on the outside of the boat? I mean, the guy`s not a high jumper. I know he played football in high school.

FAULKNER: Right. He`s about 6`4". He is a big guy. But that railing, Nancy, is almost five feet tall, the better part of 50 inches in height.

And I want to say, Karen Drake and many people who were near the cabin have similar stories to tell about waking up the morning of and not necessarily having seen any investigative authorities on the ship yet. Remember, it took a while before this was actually brought to the attention even of ship authorities.

A passenger, a 16-year-old girl, spotted that blood. And the photos that we`ve been seeing, right up until this woman came forth with yet a second photo, the original picture that we saw of this was taken by a 16- year-old. She and her older 18-year-old sister and mom were the first people to see that bloody overhang.

They went to ship authorities. So, some time passed, lagged on, before that blood was even spotted and an investigation started as to who`s cabin was above that, who`s missing, so on and so forth.

GRACE: Well, another issue, Harris, is there were about 2,500 passengers on this ship. It`s amazing to me -- although we have been in touch with Royal Caribbean cruise lines. We invited them on tonight. They declined to answer our questions.

They did, however, say that the cabin was sealed off, that it was tested forensically, that there were people questioned. But what`s concerning me is we`re getting our best evidence from a little kid and her fun cam?

FAULKNER: Well, we`re getting our pictures of that evidence from a 16-year-old. And now, yet, another woman who has come forward.

And really, Nancy, so much of the information from this case has come from passengers who were yet to even talk to authorities. "A Current Affair" was the first to talk with them.

But I do want to say this, in having spoken with the person who works directly with the media for Royal Caribbean, they did not clean up that scene until authorities had released the scene. So I was told that FBI agents, Turkish authorities, so on and so forth, went there.

But here`s an interesting point, Nancy: Days later, weeks later, just this past weekend, we got a tip that the FBI was back on the boat. I called Royal Caribbean. They confirmed it. So now we`ve got a situation, all those weeks later, with a moving crime scene. They`re going to go back and reconstruct the crime at this point. The FBI has a big job on its hands.

GRACE: Well, I can tell you this much. Maritime law, very confusing. You`ve got a boat that`s between -- isn`t it between, Ellie, Mykonos...


FAULKNER: Between Turkey and Greece, right.

GRACE: Between Turkey and Greece. All right. And you`ve got a boat that is -- they do business in Florida, but they are registered in the Bahamas. Now, here`s the deal, when it comes to the law, will it be Turkish law, Greek law, Bahamian law or Florida law?

Believe me, nobody wants to touch this with a ten-foot pole until it`s solved. Then everybody will pile on. Speaking of maritime law, take a listen to this.


JAMES WALKER, MARITIME ATTORNEY: The ship shouldn`t have left port. They could have taken the passengers off, refunded their money, made a claim for business interruption insurance, and not be out-of-pocket anything. That ship shouldn`t have left Turkey.

They should have had a team of forensic people on it, doing it at an appropriately early time. And what they did is they just turned the ship around, and took off, and kicked the band up, and passed out pina coladas, and the party continued.


GRACE: He`s got an excellent point there. They did, however, seal off the cabin. We can give them that much.

Very quickly, back to Harris Faulkner. Harris, we don`t want to bury the lead. There have been a lot of reports that there are three persons of interest. Now, nobody is going out on a limb and calling anybody a suspect. We here at NANCY GRACE have not been able to confirm that.

But tell me about these three persons of interest.

FAULKNER: Well, between three and five that we know of at "A Current Affair." And, Nancy, I would say that we have been able to name at least one or two of them, a couple, on our air, but we`re reserving, you know, naming everybody at this point until we can get more confirmation.

I will say this: The reason that anybody would be interested in talking to these young men is because they are known to be the last people to be with George Allen Smith.

Now, you`ve heard the stories, the final night, July 4th, in the wee hours of July 5th, a bunch of guys hanging out in the bar. You`ve got Jennifer at the bar. You`ve got George at a table doing some kind of alcohol shots, according to witnesses, very many people now that we`ve talked with at "A Current Affair," doing alcohol shots with a group of guys.

Jennifer and George getting into some kind of a spat, an argument. George wanting him to join him at the table. She won`t do that. She leaves the bar in a very intoxicated, witnesses say, state, kind of ping- ponging off the walls, if you will.

George stays behind. And then, witnesses say, he was kind of helped out, escorted out of that bar by the guys at that table. The description of those men at that table, those young men, is now fitting the sort of persons of interest group that we`re hearing about.

Why are they important? Because if, in fact, they were the last people to see George Allen Smith, they might know something. Not blaming them, not naming them, but just want to know what they know.

GRACE: Well, do we have any idea of what the spat was about, the argument between newlyweds?

FAULKNER: Well, from what witnesses said, it seemed that Jennifer was so intoxicated, she was kind of leaning on a couple of guys at the bar. One of the people we talked with, on-camera, on the record, said, "She leaned on me. It might have looked like she was flirting, but, in fact, she was too drunk to stand up."

When George came over and said something to the effect of, "Jennifer, come back over to our group at the table," and she didn`t want to do that, they had words. We have witnesses who say that Jennifer then kicked him in a private area. He was bent over in pain.

GRACE: Hey, hey, hey, that`s not so private. I know what you`re talking about. Go ahead.

FAULKNER: He bent over in pain, and then retreated and went back to the table. So this was, you know, one of those things where you scratch your head and you say, "Honeymoon? What`s going on?" But they were both very intoxicated.

GRACE: Now, what time was this? What time was this allegedly, Harris?

FAULKNER: Well, the lights were on in the bar. So the estimation of the witnesses, say sometime after 2:00, 3:00 in the morning.

GRACE: Whoa, hold on!

FAULKNER: Because it was very, very late.

GRACE: OK, you know, Alan Ripka, first of all, CNN has not been able to corroborate this story. It`s floating everywhere. We have with us Harris Faulkner tonight with "A Current Affair."

Alan, are you with me dear?


GRACE: OK, listen: You put -- we were told last night that what they were drinking is something that`s about -- what was, Ellie, absinthe, it`s about 160 proof?


GRACE: I don`t even know what it is. It`s not sold here in America. Everybody is drinking absinthe. It`s 2:00 am in the morning. Sure, they`re honeymooners, but the reality is, you have a couple rounds of that firewater, it`s 2:00 am, there`s going to be a fight, given. So that means absolutely nothing to me that they had a spat.

RIPKA: Well, it may mean nothing now, Nancy, but when you get back to the room, the next-door neighbor, the witness, who indicated they heard arguing and heard a thump, this may lead to evidence of what occurred in that room.

GRACE: Now, that, to me, is much harder evidence. To Joe Episcopo, defense attorney, I find it much more significant who he was last seen with, Joe.

JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. And that`s the three individuals we`re all talking about, the three that brought him back to the room. And there`s where the fight occurred, either over money, who knows? Maybe somebody tried to put the moves on his wife and he tried to defend her.

In any event, he got beat up and got thrown overboard, probably killed accidentally in a manslaughter, but you`ve got a dead body, you got three guys. What do we do? They throw him overboard.

GRACE: To Dr. Michael Nuccitelli, see, no one wants to cast blame on this woman. She`s a brand-new bride. And I tend to agree with that. Then you throw in alcohol, you know, there`s an argument.

Here`s the fly in the ointment: Whatever went down went down in their cabin. Is there a possibility, Dr. Nuccitelli, they`re arguing on their honeymoon, she leaves and doesn`t go back to the cabin, that`s why she doesn`t know what happened?

NUCCITELLI: Well, there`s a whole variety of possibilities. The one thing that we do know is that there was a lot of alcohol that`s involved. When you talk about the absinthe -- that`s 160 proof -- what you`re saying is, for every one shot, that is two shots of a vodka, of a whiskey.

So, I mean, they were ossified. And whatever happened thereafter, we have several guys. We have her. We have...

GRACE: What is ossified?

NUCCITELLI: Ossified is highly intoxicated.



GRACE: That must be a medical term.

NUCCITELLI: Ossified, no, it`s a...

GRACE: I`m sorry. They didn`t teach me that in law school.

Very quickly, before we go to break, to Harris Faulkner with "A Current Affair." Harris, the reality is, the family has not given any statements. What more can you tell me about these alleged people of interest?

FAULKNER: Well, what we do know -- and this is coming now from two witnesses that I just interviewed live on "A Current Affair" today -- and this is really interesting, Nancy, because these were a couple of women who took pictures of the FBI investigating on the boat, OK? So they had their eyes and ears open.

According to them, they witnessed, you know, the guys who had been with George Allen Smith, kind of rebel-rousing on the boat. These two young women says it was obvious they were on the boat.

These were big guys. They were loud. They were drinking a lot and, you know, frequenting the nightclub, frequenting the casino. You`ve got to remember, too, there were only about 20 to 30 people, according to these young women, who were within that age group of 18-to-30 or so, kind of hanging out together.

And so she said, you know, they all kind of knew who the others were, if not by name, at least by sight. And, according to them, one of the young people, they met their parents. One of the young men, his parents met these two girls who I interviewed today.

And according to their parents, his parents, rather, they felt like they were the last ones to see George Allen Smith. And we do know that authorities talked to at least one of those three young men, according to the two women that I talked to today.

And we`re getting a little confusing here, because I can`t mention their names. "A Current Affair" has learned their names, but we`re kind of talking around them until we can confirm all of this for sure.

GRACE: With us, Harris Faulkner, from "A Current Affair," along with Alan Ripka, Joe Episcopo, and Dr. Michael Nuccitelli. We`ll be right back. This guy was just 26 years old, a computer whiz, a football star in high school, a newlywed. His wife may be a widow tonight. Is it a murder on the high seas?


WALTER ZALISKO, POLICE OFFICER, FELLOW CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: It`s physically impossible for someone to go over that railing without some assistance. On the balcony, they actually come up to chest height, and there`s no way that you can fall over, particularly if you`re drunk, because the first thing that gives when you`re drunk are your legs.



GRACE: A formal statement from the Royal Caribbean cruise line. We invited them on tonight. They would not come. But they have assured us that the scene was correctly processed.

Speaking of the scene, I want to go straight back to Harris Faulkner with "A Current Affair." Everybody, we are talking about a missing groom, a 26-year-old young man, the world ahead of him. Take a look. A newlywed. They had just had a lavish ceremony in New England, set off for a dream honeymoon cruise.

He goes missing. Nothing left behind except some blood. She claims to have no recollection of what happened at all that night.

Now, see, that`s a problem, Harris, for her to claim she doesn`t know what happened. It raises a red flag and everybody wants the answer. It could be innocent. We`ve got to look at all the possibilities.

FAULKNER: Absolutely.

GRACE: For all we know, she had passed out from absinthe on a deck chair, for Pete`s sake. Another issue I want to bring up to you is the report of an FBI reenactment. Did that happen on the ship?

FAULKNER: An FBI reenactment? The only thing that I know of for sure is that the FBI has been back on that boat in a very small contingent in recent days reconstructing, as we best understand at "A Current Affair," reconstructing a crime scene, re-talking to crew members, so on and so forth.

So that`s part of what they do, go back to the crime scene. But, again, this crime scene`s going to be very different than the way that they left it, even if it is secured, because at least some of the evidence, that bloody overhang, has been cleaned up.

You know, Nancy, you said something earlier that I wanted to speak to. We talked with a deputy police chief who was right next door with his wife. They were next door to the Smith`s cabin. And you talked about whether or not Jennifer might not have gone back to her cabin that night.

This man and his wife overheard loud voices, what sounded like furniture being dragged across the floor, just the oddest sounds all night long, and revelry. Maybe they were partying. And then what sounded less like a party and a little bit more like harsher words.

And in all of that, he did mention -- his name was Clete Hyman. He`s a deputy police chief in Redlands, California. They were next door to the cabin. He mentioned hearing a woman`s voice.

So that speaks to the issue, at least, whether it`s possible Jennifer was right back in her cabin later in the night after leaving the nightclub.

GRACE: OK, that`s not going to help her case. I`m still hung up on the guys that were last seen with him. It wasn`t her last seen with him. It was them.

But right now, nobody is a suspect and everybody`s a suspect. That`s the way you look at a case like this, until you can identify the actual suspect.

Very quickly, you mentioned, Harris, a guy named Clete Hyman. What`s incredible to me is that the media got to him before the FBI did. Hello? What, should they turn in to "A Current Affair" to find out what should be in their case file?

FAULKNER: Well, in fact, I think a little bit of that happened, because right after my interview with Clete Hyman, you could have set an egg timer to figure out how long it took the FBI to call him and say, "Hey, wait a minute. No more media interviews until we`ve had a chance to interview you."

That was last week. They did that on Friday. We talked with him after. He shared with us what he told the FBI, basically what he had said on "A Current Affair." But it was very, very interesting information.

I mean, again, furniture, loud sounds inside that apartment, all hours of the night. And then a loud thump, like couch hitting concrete or something.

GRACE: Quick break, everybody. We are taking you to Aruba shortly. But we are talking about a missing groom who disappears off a cruise ship. Will the FBI intervene?

To "Trial Tracking." Tonight, stunning news in the Michael Jackson child sex case. Sources report that Court TV shows covering the trial featuring, guess who, me, and my colleague, Diane Dimond, were smuggled into jury deliberations. Yes, a video from Court TV.

Well, apparently only a broken VCR stopped the jury from watching. And that`s not all. One juror had frequent communications with Jackson`s mother during the trial. According to sources, they even coordinated their outfits.

Plus -- that was a little tough to swallow -- plus, after Jackson`s acquittal on child molestation, two jurors say they now believe -- now believe -- Jackson is guilty, repeat, guilty. Allegedly, all said to cash in on their civic duty and write tell-all books.



FAULKNER (voice-over): In the early morning hours of July 5th, people report hearing arguments, banging and loud voices coming from the Smiths` cabin, followed by a horrific thud, which awakened other passengers. The next, a large blood stain was seen on a metal awning under the Smiths` cabin.

Had any of these young men been in the room? Do they know what went on? Answers are hard to come by.


GRACE: Twenty-six-year-old man, football star in high school, computer whiz, missing, missing without a trace. The only clue, some blood.

Harris Faulkner with "A Current Affair," what about the DNA? How much longer to get it tested? Who`s testing it? And has the family given his DNA to compare to?

FAULKNER: Well, you know, that was the biggest question from Turkish authorities from the very beginning. They needed to have from the family, Nancy, a formal application to open an investigation. Then they needed DNA samples right away.

It`s our understanding, from what`s been reported at "A Current Affair," that that didn`t happen right away. So that was a delay in the beginning. Now that the FBI is involved, they`ve told me -- at least their spokesperson has said to me the family is cooperating in every way it`s been asked to.

I gather from that that it`s getting what it needs to cross-reference the blood on that overhang, the blood inside the cabin, the blood on the hand railing, with a family member to see if there`s any kind of a DNA match there. And we haven`t heard yet.

GRACE: And, of course, I really do not believe, Harris, that we`re jumping the gun. He`s missing. The blood is in his cabin. Obviously, it`s his. But, you know, the hold up in the DNA sampling may not be the fault of authorities. It may be the fault in waiting to get a comparison.

Harris Faulkner with "A Current Affair," right on top of the story. Harris, please join us again.

Everybody, when we come back, we`re going to Aruba and the Natalee Holloway case. Stay with us.


GRACE: If Joran Van Der Sloot continues to remain silent and no additional evidence is found, he could very well walk free September the 4th.

Welcome back, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. Let`s go straight down to the story out of Aruba. Let`s kick it off with WBMA-TV reporter Anastasiya Bolton. Anastasiya, bring us up to date.

ANASTASIYA BOLTON, WBMA-TV: Nancy, first of all, the judge ruled against the defense attorneys, against the Kalpoe and Van Der Sloot`s attorney, when it comes to not allowing the FBI to participate in this investigation and have access to the files. The FBI will continue to have access to all the materials in this case.

The judge also has asked that he wants a sworn testimony from a witness who says he saw Joran Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers drive by the Marriott at 2:30 in the morning the night Natalee Holloway disappeared. It is unknown at this time when that sworn testimony is going to take place. But what the witness says is that he saw the three men drive by the Marriott. That`s contrary to what Joran Van Der Sloot is saying. He says he was home by 2:30.

Also, the chief investigator in this case says Paul Van Der Sloot may be involved in this case. This is the first time we`re hearing from an official that they suspect Paul Van Der Sloot may be involved. They say something went wrong with the girl. Who do you first call? You call your daddy. Of course, Paul Van Der Sloot was arrested, but he was released. He maintains he is innocent.

GRACE: Now, hold on just a moment, Anastasiya. Everyone, Anastasiya is with us from WBMA-TV. What do you mean, someone has spoken out, an authority, regarding the judge being involved in Natalee`s disappearance, an Aruban judge, Paul Van Der Sloot?

BOLTON: Lieutenant Roy Tromp -- he`s the lead investigator in this case -- he says, quote, "Something went wrong with the girl, and when that happens, who do you call? You call daddy." He would not elaborate on exactly what Paul Van Der Sloot`s relationship may be to this case, but he did say that they are suspecting Paul Van Der Sloot may have helped Joran Van Der Sloot do something with the possible body.

GRACE: Well, you`re taking a look at the judge, Paul Van Der Sloot, on the run. I`m not sure if it was Karl Pendergrass (SIC) or Susan Candiotti chasing him down the alley there, trying to get him to ask -- answer some questions they had asked. And you can see his response. If the apple doesn`t fall far from the tree, Joran Van Der Sloot is reacting the same way during questioning.

Take a listen to this.


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE`S MOTHER: I was able to speak with a witness also that said that Joran Van Der Sloot -- they were offering to give him a ride home at 11:00 PM on the 29th, but he didn`t need one because he had already called Deepak and Satish Kalpoe to pick him up. So that is something that -- you know, we know that Paul Van Der Sloot did not pick him up at 11:00 PM on the 29th. We know now that that correct pick-up time was 4:00 AM on the 30th, and Paul Van Der Sloot stated that he picked them up.


GRACE: So are the father and the son like two peas in a pod when it comes to the truth in this case?

To Jossy Mansur. He is the managing director and editor of "Diario" newspaper. Jossy, is it true that they are giving Joran Van Der Sloot the weekend off from questioning?

JOSSY MANSUR, MANAGING EDITOR, "DIARIO": You know, I haven`t heard anything about it. What I can tell you, though, is that today he did begin to speak and to answer questions to the three Dutch specialists in behavior. He has begun to talk. He has begun to cooperate, as of today. I think it`s looking down at midnight, when his status changes from juvenile to adult.

GRACE: Whoa! Jossy, now, where are you getting your information that he is now talking?

MANSUR: Well, I can tell you this much. Besides the three Dutch behavioral...

GRACE: Experts.

MANSUR: ... specialists, we also have present the Aruba team of investigators, and also some people from the FBI. So we do have contacts with people who are in there, doing the questioning.

GRACE: Is the daddy, the judge, still sitting in there, too?

MANSUR: No. No. This is completely apart. This belongs only to the authorities in charge.

GRACE: With me by phone is Natalee`s father, Dave Holloway. Dave, thank you for being with us. What`s your reaction to reports that Joran Van Der Sloot is getting the weekend off from questioning?

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE`S FATHER: Well, anything -- that doesn`t surprise me a bit at all.

GRACE: Me, either.

HOLLOWAY: You know, what can I say? You`ve seen everything on TV. You know, he`s got a good coach. His daddy is a judge. And you know, it`s -- all he`s got to do is pay attention to his dad, and you know, there`s a possibility that he could walk.

GRACE: You know, Dave, I know you`re intimately familiar with not only the facts but the law that will govern this case. Dave, September 4, if he doesn`t have a formal charge, he`s out of there. Other date to be familiar with is his birthday. Once he is of adult status, how will that change his case, Dave Holloway?

HOLLOWAY: Well, I`m hoping when he turns 18, he`ll be like anyone else. They`ll limit his access to his father. You know, all along, you know, over the last 50 to 58 days since he`s been in custody, he has almost daily visits from his father. And you know, he`s an athlete. He`s been coached as an athlete, and his father is a coach. And you know, he`s going to coach him not to say anything or lead them off into a different direction. And that`s what`s happened all along is that he`s kept his mouth shut and listened to his dad talk.

So you know, they`ve come in with some behavior specialists. Hopefully, he has not hardened over the last 50 days under this intense interrogation, and maybe they`ll get to the bottom of it. But you know, I fear that they`re going to have some difficulties, as well.

GRACE: I fear that, too. To forensic psychologist Dr. Michael Nuccitelli. Is there a way, after having silence ingrained by his father, the judge, a lawyer -- is there a way for them to crack him?

NUCCITELLI: Well, yes. One way is to not give him the weekend off. I mean, anytime you do...


NUCCITELLI: ... interrogation, I mean, psychologically, the longer you do it...

GRACE: OK, let`s break for lunch now!

NUCCITELLI: I`m sorry?

GRACE: I was saying, OK, let`s break for lunch.


GRACE: Will it be croissants or baguettes?

NUCCITELLI: Oh, yes, you`re right, Nancy.

GRACE: Right.

NUCCITELLI: I mean, to give him the weekend off is preposterous. I mean, I would like to know what the rationale is. It makes no sense to me. Maybe it has something to do with Aruban law, or maybe they have a belief or a strategy, by giving him the weekend off, somehow it`s going to trip him up. I haven`t the slightest idea.

GRACE: To Anastasiya Bolton with WBMA. With this lead investigator saying that the father, the judge, is somehow involved, are you getting the sense, Anastasiya, it`s involved in the sense of helping his son cover up, or that he received some other type of assistance from his dad?

BOLTON: The lead investigator is actually saying that Paul Van Der Sloot has been caught changing his story. So the lead investigator questions, Why would you change your story if you`re innocent? So you be the judge of that.

GRACE: And Anastasiya, there`s been a lot of discussion regarding the possibility Natalee could be on a neighboring island. Hey, Elizabeth (ph), do we have that map that we wanted to show the viewers? How far is Aruba from the neighboring islands and countries? There you go -- Aruba, Venezuela, the Netherlands Antilles.

BOLTON: You can actually see the Venezuelan shore from Aruba. I have heard rumors of those reports, but the law enforcement denies that there`s any truth to that.

GRACE: Hey, hold that map for a moment. I have dived right off the shore of Netherlands Antilles, and all of us could see Aruba. You`re absolutely right, now that I`m looking -- now that I`m looking at that map.

Everybody, we`re going to be right back. But as we go to break, I want to share with you a victory for Lady Justice. Today in Phoenix, the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation presented a $5,000 reward to three brave people who helped police bring two kidnapped Arizona children home. John and Joette Morgan (ph), and another, who remains anonymous, were rewarded for helping locate 18-month-old Brian Cervantes and his 3-year-old sister, Jennifer.


BETTY WILLIAMS, CAROLE SUND CARRINGTON FOUNDATION: We are very honored to present the reward. There`s actually -- there were actually two rewards totalling $5,000 that`s being paid out today for the return of Brian and Jennifer. Thank you so much.


WILLIAMS: We appreciate your courage. Thank you. Thank you.


GRACE: The little children found unharmed in Mexico last month, eight days after their father, Rodrigo Cervantes Zavala, allegedly kidnapped them and killed their grandparents and uncle.



HOLLOWAY: I went out to the prison and spoke directly with Paul Van Der Sloot, and you know, I don`t know whether I believe everything he said, but I did believe one thing, and that was that he would do everything he could to protect his son. And you know, these daily visits that he has, you know, you know as well as I do, he`s going to be in there coaching and pumping his son, you know, just to keep on, keep on, and you`ll eventually get out. Unless they isolate him and not allow him to have any visits with his parents, I just don`t think we`re going to get much more out of him.


GRACE: That`s Natalee`s father, Dave Holloway. We are live in Aruba tonight and the search for 18-year-old American girl, Natalee Holloway.

To Jossy Mansur. Jossy is the managing director with "Diario" newspaper. Jossy, it seems to me that the father`s involvement is looming larger and larger. What can you tell us?

MANSUR: Definitely. I mean, he`s told different stories to the police while they were interrogating him the three days that he was held. We have all the witnesses that, more or less, place him at some places, like, for example, near the landfill. The witness places somebody that looks like him over there. And we know that he is -- besides being a substitute judge, he is also a professor of law at the University of Aruba. So he has been coaching his son very well as to what to say and not to say.

GRACE: To Joe Episcopo, veteran trial lawyer out of the Florida jurisdiction. Joe, do you think there`s any way -- you`ve handled a lot of homicide cases -- to crack this guy after all these days?



EPISCOPO: Well, first of all, let`s talk about these dates.` September 4 can be extended to October 4, one extension. Then he`s released. The true magic date is May 31, 2007, the statute of limitations.

But think about this. Once he`s released, he`s out there free. He may get drunk some night. He`s going to talk. He can`t keep quiet if he`s out there free. But if you got six lawyers telling you in jail to shut up, shut up, shut up, he`ll shut up. But I think if he gets out, he`s going to tell somebody something, and that`s how the case will get cracked.

GRACE: Ain`t it the way? Alan Ripka, how many clients have you and Episcopo had that you could have gotten them off scot-free if they had just kept their pieholes shut?

RIPKA: That`s always what happens, Nancy. They talk too much and they sink themselves. But I`ll tell you this, the way to crack this case is offer one of these suspects a deal that they cannot refuse, whether it be immunity or a short time in jail and probation, and let them stew on that a while, and I think that`ll help.

GRACE: You know, that sounds awfully sweet to me. Listen, sometimes you`ve got to go to hell to get the witnesses to put the devil in jail. It stinks. You`ve got to hold your nose to do it. Sometimes you`ve got to do it.

But Joe Episcopo, in Aruba, you can`t cut a plea deal.


GRACE: They don`t do that.

EPISCOPO: That`s not how it`ll work. Like I say, I think once he`s out of jail, they have their best shot. He knows a lot of people on the island. Everybody knows him now. And everybody`s going to be listening for him to say something. And you know what? It`s pretty hard to keep your mouth shut when you`re out there having fun, drinking and partying.

GRACE: Oh, yes! And we also know, Alan Ripka, this guy, Joran Van Der Sloot, he`s not afraid of a cocktail. Oh, no, he`s not! He may be 18 years old, but was known to party at these casinos all night long, Alan.

RIPKA: Yes, well, he may not be afraid of a cocktail, but he`s kept his mouth closed for a long time, and these guys have withstood some major pressure, Nancy. So I don`t know how easy it`s going to be to hear these guys talking in some local bar.

GRACE: And to Joe Huston with Equusearch. We`re very proud to have him with us tonight, Equusearch there on their own dime, looking for Natalee. Joe, what do you do next? You`re at the landfill now. How difficult is that? And what`s your next plan of attack?

JOE HUSTON, SEARCH DIRECTOR, EQUUSEARCH: Well, the landfill is an extremely difficult place to search for many reasons. One is a hazard to both, you know, humans and dogs. Number two, the size of it. Number three, there don`t seem to be very good records on exactly where things were placed on certain days. We`ve had to search a huge area of the landfill, going primarily off the newspapers. We`ve had to dig down 16 to 18 feet through the topsoil to get down in those areas.

The permit to dig in the landfill, unfortunately, expired at 7:00 o`clock tonight, and the minister who -- the director who`s responsible for renewing it is out politicking today. So we couldn`t get it renewed. It`s my understanding that (INAUDIBLE) is going to be asking an extension starting Monday. And at that time, hopefully, we`ll get better equipment. We`ve been basically doing this by hand with two backhoes, and we`ve excavated somewhere close to 40,000 to 45,000 square yards of garbage in seven days.

GRACE: Joe, is there a number, if people want to donate to your cause, that they can?

HUSTON: The best thing to do is to go on line and look for Texas Equusearch. There`s a place there they can actually donate via phone, and also through a credit car on line.

GRACE: OK, and that is spelled Texas Equusearch -- E-Q-U-U-S-E-A-R-C- H, right?

HUSTON: Exactly, yes.

GRACE: Texas Equusearch.

Very quickly, we`re running out of time. This guy that claims he saw three people dumping something in the landfill, has he been out there directing you to the correct location?

HUSTON: He has -- he has been there Since day one.


HUSTON: And he is so adamant that`s the place where they are -- where they dropped her.

GRACE: Next, in a nutshell, is it true that Equusearch was vilified over a sea turtle egg being displaced? You`re looking for Natalee, for Pete`s sake, and they`re mad about an egg!

HUSTON: I think it was more like 45 eggs. We weren`t even close to the area that they said we were at. In fact, we had three different news crews with us...

GRACE: Joe, save it!

HUSTON: ... that morning...

GRACE: Save it. I will make a cameo appearance as a defense lawyer and defend you on the turtle egg issue.

Very quickly, to Dave Holloway. Dave is Natalee`s father. Dave, what can you tell us about theories Natalee could be on one of these neighboring islands?

HOLLOWAY: Well, you know, we`ve heard that from the get-go, so to speak. But you know, the FBI and the local authorities, within the first two weeks, they indicated that they`re looking at this case from a murder standpoint, rather than a missing person on another island or whatever. I have not heard anything to the contemporary since approximately June the 14th, when they told us -- or June the 16th, somewhere around in there, when they told us that they`re looking at this from a murder.

GRACE: Dave Holloway, our prayers and our thoughts with you, as always, and Beth. And we`ll stay on the case.

Very quickly, to tonight`s "All Points Bulletin." Law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Brian Joseph Cullen, a millionaire businessman wanted in connection with the death of his lover, Iryna Singerman, a married 21-year-old model from the Ukraine. Cullen, 59, 5-11, 185 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have info on Cullen, call the LAPD at 818-374-7721. The coroner`s office confirmed today the decomposed body found in the bed of Cullen`s pick-up is Singerman.

Local news next for some of you, but we`ll all be right back. And remember, on Monday, live coverage of the trial of high school sweethearts mowed down by drag racers, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV`s "Closing Arguments."

Please stay with us as we remember Marine Lance Corporal Michael Cifuentes, 25, an American hero.


GRACE: What a week in America`s courtrooms. Take a look at the stories, and more important, the people who touched all of our lives.


The intense search for Natalee Holloway goes on even after the dredging of a local pond comes up dry, in more ways than one. One suspect behind bars, while two others remain free. Will the Aruban authorities simply let the case go cold on a missing American girl so a judge`s son will walk free?

Joran Van Der Sloot back to police headquarters for another round of questioning by Dutch authorities, so-called experts.

MANSUR: To tell these people that he doesn`t want to even hear the questions, he puts his hands to his ears.

GRACE: Monkey hear no evil, monkey see no evil, monkey speak no evil. I`m sorry, Jossy, what did you say? I decided to pretend I couldn`t hear.

A Catholic school teacher faces rape charges for having sex with young students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Children can be victims of predators.

GRACE: The fact that this kid is 16 years old makes this a crime. Is Lady Justice supposed to take off her blindfold when the victim is a boy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shouldn`t make a difference if the victims are, in fact, young boys.

GRACE: The defense says she`s the victim!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s been going to AA meetings. She`s been in alcohol rehab.

GRACE: Voluntary intoxication -- very rarely a defense. Otherwise, the jail would be empty. Everybody would say, I was drunk!

A 26-year-old newlywed and his wife went honeymooning on a European cruise. But then the groom vanishes into thin air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had a spat.

GRACE: The only trace, blood on the ship`s side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`d been drinking heavily.

GRACE: And in his own cabin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the last they heard.

GRACE: PS, his wife says she doesn`t remember a thing.

The Pennsylvania beauty, 24-year-old LaToyia Figueroa, five months pregnant, goes to a doctor appointment and then vanishes into thin air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not looking for a dead body, I`m looking for LaToyia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s God`s child. The devil can`t have her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s out there somewhere. She needs our help. She`s coming home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want her back. We love her. We miss her.


GRACE: I want to thank all of my guests tonight. And a special goodbye for family and friends all the way up from Georgia, and a member of the Department of Justice joining us tonight. And good night from the control room. Where`s the crazy cam? Good night, everybody!

My biggest thank you is to you for being with us tonight, inviting us into your homes. Coming up, headlines from all around the world, Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. See you right here Monday night, 8:00 o`clock sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.


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