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Rita Projected to Become Category 4 Storm

Aired September 20, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Hurricane Rita category 4 by tomorrow afternoon. Is Rita headed straight to New Orleans? Plus, breaking news on a major sting operation. The littlest victims of Katrina -- children. Tonight, perps land behind bars for identifying little children victims of Hurricane Katrina orphaned and in shelters. Why? To lure them and molest them.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace, and I want to thank you for being with us tonight.

Tonight, the desperate search for 17-year-old college freshman Taylor Behl, last seen 15 days ago by her roommate at Virginia Commonwealth University.

And tonight, the mystery of the missing groom intensifies. Twenty- six-year-old American newlywed George Smith vanishes into thin air on his honeymoon cruise. Only trace, bloodstains.

But first tonight, a major sting goes down, and it couldn`t happen to more deserving people. As hurricane Rita threatens the Southland, tonight, perps arrested for allegedly targeting Hurricane Katrina`s littlest victims, children orphaned from their parents, in shelters, and trying to lure these children for sex. Is it just the tip of the iceberg?

And while all of this is going down, we have hurricane Rita threatening the people of New Orleans. Very quickly to Jim Kosek, senior meteorologist with Accuweather. Tell me the latest.

JIM KOSEK, ACCUWEATHER: Well, Rita is a category 2 hurricane at this hour, Nancy, but what we`re looking at in terms of pressure, falling a couple millibars or inches of -- points on the inches of mercury scale just over the past hour, hour-and-a-half, it`s almost on at border of going category 3. We`ve been discussing this ever since its inception. While it has the size of Ivan, it`s almost like when Charley did the buzzsaw technique across Florida last year. It jumped from a category 2 to a category 4 very, very quickly. Wouldn`t at all be surprised if this is a similar scenario with Rita.

Everything is favorable for development in advance of this storm system, and it most certainly could be the biggest hurricane ever to come to Texas.

GRACE: Very quickly, joining us now from Kenner, Louisiana, CNN`s Anderson Cooper. Anderson, what`s the likelihood this is going to hit New Orleans?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, they simply don`t know. I mean, there are all sorts of different projections. But I just talked to the mayor of New Orleans. They are taking this thing very seriously. Just moments ago, we learned that the governor of the state of Louisiana has formally asked the president to declare Louisiana -- to declare a state of the emergency in Louisiana in preparation for this storm.

Obviously, Galveston right now is in the main track of this storm, but they`re not taking any chances. Category 4 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you got these levees which are weakened and clearly not ready to hold up to, you know, category 4, let alone, you know, to even a category 3 or category 2 storm. So there`s a lot of concern here. We`re going to have to watch it very closely.

The mayor says this time, they`re prepared. I pushed him. I said, Do you got buses? You got bus drivers? Because we all know, last time, they knew there were 100,000 people in this city without cars, and they didn`t have the buses and they didn`t have the bus drivers. They say said that is fixed this time.

But the problem is, they don`t know, Nancy, how many people are still living in the city, and they don`t know how many even first responders are in this city. So it`s not clear they have an accurate sense how many people they need to get on buses

GRACE: Here`s what the governor had to say.


GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO (D), LOUISIANA: I`m here to continue to encourage citizens to watch the weather reports very carefully, to make your plans to evacuate, if that becomes necessary. And it may have to happen on quick notice.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: As far as Rita is concerned, the hurricane is currently a category 2, but conditions are favorable for it to strengthen. Right now, the forecasts are showing it to still be headed just west of us, you know, maybe to the Texas coast, but there`s still a possibility that it could turn north. And we`re going to continue to monitor it over the next day or two to decide what we need to do as far as adjustments.


GRACE: Back to Anderson Cooper. Anderson, after you what you have seen there, I just don`t believe these levees can handle rain, much less a flood, much less Rita.

COOPER: Yes, you know, I went up in a helicopter with a guy named Ivor van Heerden, who was the guy who predicted what was going to happen here a year ago, when they did a model simulation. And he said, Look, it wasn`t just a matter of, you know, the water was too high for these levees and the levees weren`t high enough. He says, No, this was catastrophic structural failure of these levees. These things just weren`t built for that level of storm. They were built to sustain a category 3 storm, and they haven`t been up-kept. They haven`t been updated. These things are not strong.

Even the mayor says, Look, a strong storm surge or tidal surge and some of these levees could collapse. And a lot of the repairs that have been done are temporary. I mean, they`re not -- they`re not ready to sustain this. If this storm comes to New Orleans, it is going to be very serious indeed. Any amount of water in this city at this time could lead to major problems.

GRACE: Before I take you to the story of the perpetrators now behind bars for attempting to molest children, victims of Katrina in shelters, Anderson Cooper, do you think most people have gotten out, with Rita oncoming?

COOPER: Well, you know, yes, most people have. I mean, the mayor puts the number maybe in the high hundreds to maybe a couple thousand people still in New Orleans. But there`s really no way to know. And you know, there`s also thousands and thousands of animals here who are still running around loose. And there are a lot of fist responders here. And oftentimes, you know, the organization isn`t what it should be. So there are a lot of people to move out of this city.

I saw some National Guard elements leaving already today. But they need to get on this right away. And it seems like they are, but you know, we`re going to be watching them closely because we all know what happened last time, Nancy.

GRACE: Anderson Cooper joining us from Kenner. Anderson, thank you, friend.

COOPER: Thank you.

GRACE: Very quickly, I want to switch gears. The littlest victims Katrina, children in shelters, orphaned from their families, we`ve been trying to reunite them here, and CNN has been doing, as well. There are so many of them, hundreds, thousands of them still without their parents. And now, to top it off, a sting operation goes down today. Men and a woman land behind bars for trying to locate these children in shelters -- in shelters! -- orphans by Katrina, trying to meet them and molest them.

I want to go straight out to Adriana Gardella, editor of "Justice" magazine. I almost hate to even ask you, but bring me up to date.

ADRIANA GARDELLA, "JUSTICE" MAGAZINE: OK, Nancy. The Louisiana attorney general`s office has a high-tech crimes unit, and part of what that unit does, its regular business is, the agents will go undercover and they`ll go on line posing as children and trying to, you know, see if there are other predators lurking on there who are looking for kids.

So what they did was, they were going about their normal business, getting into these chat rooms and what have you, and they noticed a very disturbing trend, which was that there were men on line who were actively seeking out young girls who have been made homeless by Katrina, seeking them out and soliciting sex with them.

So in response to that, what they did was implemented a sting operation called Operation Safe Refuge, and they`ve so far arrested six people, as you`ve mentioned.

GRACE: And what exactly are the charges?

GARDELLA: The charges range from on-line solicitation of sex with a minor, which is a newly created crime as of August 15, to contributing to a delinquency of a minor, and one of the suspects was also charged with carnal knowledge of -- felony carnal knowledge of a minor.

GRACE: Well, let`s just break it down. Carnal knowledge is rape of a minor. These are children that are in shelters following Katrina.

Here is what the attorney general had to say.


CHARLES FOTI, JR., LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We`ve arrested seven people in the last week that on the Internet are preying on children, 13 to 14-years-old girls on the Internet.

BROOK SCHAUB, POLICE SGT. RET. HELPING NCMEC IN LOUISIANA: We`re worried about all the kids that we`ve got missing now. We know -- a lot of these children, we don`t know who they`re in possession. We know that most of your preferential sex offenders are somehow connected to the child. It`s not necessarily the stranger danger. So it could be extended family. It could be neighbors. Until we find out where all these children are and they`re accounted for we can get them back, yes, I`m worried.


GRACE: Very quickly, to Kris Wartelle. Kris is the public information director of the Louisiana Department of Justice. Welcome. Thank you for being with us. What happened that caused DoJ, Department of Justice, to focus on the victims, the child victims of Hurricane Katrina?

KRIS WARTELLE, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Well, we were concerned because the on-line predator phenomenon seems to have grown in the last couple years. Our high-tech crime unit has been actively pursuing predators of children, underage minors, for quite some time. What we noticed in some of our undercover operations was that they wanted to know where the parents were. They`re always asking these kids that they think they`re chatting to where their parents are.

If the child answers back, I don`t know where my parents are -- and in this case, we had undercover investigators acting as children who were displaced by Katrina. So that was just a double insult. And they were saying that their parents might be also evacuated to someplace in Dallas, or even they didn`t know where they were. So it makes it absolutely disgusting, from the attorney general`s point of view, to find out that not only do we have to worry about these predators on a daily basis who are looking for relationships with children, but now they`re taking advantage of children they think are displaced by this storm.

What we want to do is warn parents out there, especially parents who are homeless now, in a shelter or just out of their homes and looking for someplace to live, that your children, you think they`re safe because they`re with you, but the computer is not necessarily the safest place to leave them alone and play. And this is one more thing you have to beware of. It`s very sad to say. It`s despicable to think that this is going on, but it is. And it`s one more thing that parents have to be aware of.

GRACE: Hey, Kris, it`s not that they just went on line and wrote an e-mail that they never intend to follow through on. What else did they do? What were their alleged overt acts in furtherance of trying to have sex with children in shelters?

WARTELLE: Right. Well, what they want to do is arrange a meeting with the child. And what they usually do is talk about where they`re going to meet up. In this case, where they arrange to meet up were places around Baton Rouge. And there were two other towns that we made arrests in. And the agent showed up, instead of the child. So they actually asked for a meeting, went ahead with the meeting and showed up to meet with the child.

GRACE: God in -- Kris, what -- what do they go to, like, the playground in the Burger King or the McDonald playground? Where do they try to meet these children?

WARTELLE: Well, any number of places, Nancy. Some of them would surprise you. We had one case that I can talk about now because it`s a case in the past where a man from Mississippi actually drove to Louisiana to meet a child in the church parking lot. She told him on line that she was going to church.

So it can happen anywhere. It gets worse. The stories, if we were allowed to release chats, the actual chats, the text of the chats, you`d be disgusted. You wouldn`t be able to air them on television. So it`s -- as a mom myself of two young girls 10 and 11 who love to play on the computer, love to visit their friends, IM them and whatnot, it absolutely astounds me that there`s people out there who can actually get away with it.

GRACE: You know, you just remind me of my little niece. When I looked on the computer after her, she had all of her little IMs with her friends. I`m just thinking about what if one of those friends on the Internet was some creep like one of these guys?

So David Schwartz, what`s your defense?

DAVID SCHWARTZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The defense in this case -- look, you got to look at the -- you got to look at the chats, Nancy, OK? To take a piece of paper, to listen to the attorney general, to have them tell you what they say is not good enough for me. You need to look at the chats. You need to look at whether or not there was entrapment on the part of the undercover officers. You need to see whether or not the undercover officers identified themselves as minors to start.

Nancy, there`s some incredibly great computer crime bureaus across this country, but I have to tell you, there`s some inept computer crimes bureaus across this country, as well.

GRACE: David, question...

SCHWARTZ: We have to look at the facts of this case...

GRACE: Yes, yes. I heard that.

SCHWARTZ: ... before we convict anybody. That`s all.

GRACE: I heard that. I heard that.


GRACE: But if you think they were just words typed into a computer, what were these perps doing driving to the playground at McDonald`s? Why were they going there?

SCHWARTZ: I mean, obviously, I don`t know, at this point. However, you know what? You`d have to interview the defendant. You got to look at the facts of this case. Maybe some people want to -- want to...

GRACE: That`s your defense?

SCHWARTZ: ... help these children.

GRACE: Your defense is you got to interview the defendant? That`s the best you can give me?

SCHWARTZ: No, no. The defense in this case is entrapment.

GRACE: OK. You know, before you go one step further with that, I have with me the legal definition for entrapment.


GRACE: And it says, after the definition, There is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law, the agents provide what appears to be an opportunity. "For example" -- and I`m quoting -- "it is not entrapment for a government agent to pretend to be somebody else and offer to engage in an unlawful transaction."

Now, what were you saying about entrapment?

SCHWARTZ: Well, did you look at the file in this case, Nancy? Have you looked at all the police reports? Have you looked at the actual chats, or are you basing your knowledge on what the attorney general and the other newspaper reports are reporting? All I`m saying is, before you convict anybody, you`ve got to look at the facts.

And these chats are very technical, and you have to look at each and every line to see whether or not these defendants are guilty of what they`re being charged with. That`s all.

GRACE: Kris Wartelle, isn`t one of these perps charged with actually having sex with one of the minors in a shelter?

WARTELLE: Yes. Nancy, actually, the -- yes, actually, the investigation led to, obviously, interviews with the arrestees, and that led to more charges being added onto the last -- the last one listed on the list that you have, who`s actually an attorney, by the way.


WARTELLE: So one would think he would know better. Yes. So -- so -- and just to answer the gentleman`s question before...

GRACE: Look! There he is! Hold that! Hold that! Hold that~! Oh, we passed him. The guy we just had on -- not him. Keep going. Hold on, Kris. We`re trying to get back to the lawyer. I want to take a good look at him. No, him, carnal knowledge of a juvenile. You`re talking about Michael Aquillard?

WARTELLE: Right. Correct.

GRACE: He`s a lawyer?

WARTELLE: Correct. He apparently...

GRACE: Oh, I`m sure the Louisiana bar is proud of him tonight! Go ahead, Kris.

WARTELLE: Well, apparently, the crime that he committed, allegedly committed, happened in the past, and we don`t know -- well, we know who the victim is. We were able to interview the victim and find out what really happened. But this had nothing to do -- she was not a victim of the storm or a refugee in any way. This was something he had done recently but not related to the storm. So just to make that clear.

But also, computer-aided sexual solicitation of a minor is a new law that we got passed in the last legislative session because we were fighting high-tech crime with old-fashioned laws. And this is something the attorney general himself helped create, went to the legislature, lobbied and passed so that solicitation on line is a crime. Even the solicitation is a crime.



CHARLES FOTI, ATTORNEY GENERAL, LOUISIANA: We have posted the names of all the sex offenders that are missing on our web site, on attorney general of the state of Louisiana.

If they do not register, then we will arrest them. If you have one in your shelter and you know about it, if you would contact us, we will contact the local police and have them taken into custody and bring them back to the state of Louisiana.


GRACE: Thousands of children in shelters after Hurricane Katrina now have a new threat. That`s right, a major sting went down, landing perps behind bars for trying to target and then molest children in the shelters, trying to keep them safe from Katrina. Just hold that thought for a moment. Not only were they targeting these children on Internet -- they do have Internet access in some of these shelters -- they would then actually go so far as to try to meet the children, to try to get the children to meet them, say, at playgrounds, churches, public places so they can molest these children.

Very quickly, to Adriana Gardella, editor with "Justice" magazine. The sting was called Operation Safe Refuge. How did it work?

GARDELLA: Well, from my understanding the investigators would be in the chat rooms and -- posing as children, and there would be communication back and forth. And again, none of us has seen the transcripts. What we do know is that, according to the AG`s office, every single one of the suspects believed that he or she was communicating with someone who was 13, 14 or 15 and had been made homeless by Katrina. The parents were not around. So we know that much.

And then following that, there was some sort of meeting that was arranged, whether it was at a mall parking lot or what have you. And when they went to meet what they thought was this homeless, parentless child, they were instead face to face with the investigators.

GRACE: Kris Wartelle, are the perps still in jail, or have they made bond?

WARTELLE: I believe all of them made bond. In fact, the bonds ranged anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000.

GRACE: Well, that`s good to know they`re all safe back at home with their computers.

To Lisa Wayne. What`s your defense?

LISA WAYNE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, I totally agree with David on this, in terms of entrapment. But more important...

GRACE: Oh, please tell me something...


WAYNE: You know what? More important...


GRACE: ... that I haven`t read the transcripts.

WAYNE: Well, you know what Nancy? More importantly is this, OK? We have a crisis in Louisiana. Instead, we have law enforcement sitting in a room, creating crime. It seems to me that the focus in Louisiana and the Southland should be, Let`s go take a look at all these perpetrators that are supposedly out in the community, that are out there that are real threats to our children, instead of sitting in a room and creating crime.

GRACE: Lisa, I`m so glad...

WAYNE: That should be the focus.

GRACE: ... you explained to me that it`s really the undercover agents who are committing the crime.

OK, to Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst. You know, we usually hear about other types of exploitations of victims. This is totally new.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: It is -- well, actually, sex crimes are crimes of opportunity, so the Internet is just a brand-new opportunity. The defense attorneys are saying that this is entrapment. All the research shows that sex offenders know that they`re breaking the rules of society. And they do prey on victims who are disenfranchised from their families. Seventy-seven percent of children under the age of 14 are approached by a child predator on line, and 3 percent of children are aggressively pursued. And you know, one quarter of these sex offenders who pursue children on line are women.

GRACE: You know, I was just going to ask -- Elizabeth, can you show me the lady? There she goes~! Kylie Ann Bellard, computer-aided sexual solicitation of a minor. There you go!

OK, everybody, quick break. We`ll all be right back. As if the Katrina victims don`t have enough to worry about.


VICE ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, U.S. COAST GUARD CHIEF OF STAFF: We need to recognize that those who prey upon children seek legitimate access to them. So the last thing these offenders need is total anonymity. So in this sort of disruption, it`s really important that law enforcement, that social services agencies be vigilant, be alert, pay attention to unattended, unsupervised children and watch them.




JANET PELASARA, MOTHER OF MISSING STUDENT: She left her room, her dorm room at 10:00 o`clock and told her roommate she`d be back in a couple hours. She`s just a good kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We consider this case very, very serious. She`s one of our students. We want her back in school.

PELASARA: Good, clean, fun kind of kid, and smart and beautiful. And missing.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. The mystery seems to intensify around the disappearance of 17-year-old Taylor Behl, Virginia Commonwealth University student that went missing on Labor Day. "A good kid" is the way she is described by everybody. Her offense that night? She went out to go skateboarding.

Very quickly, to "Inside Edition" senior correspondent Jim Moret. What`s the latest, Jim?

JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, the latest is that her car was recovered over the weekend, and today it was revealed that that car had stolen license plates which were put on that car. And that changes this case from a missing person to a criminal investigation. And one of the -- one of the persons who`s a suspect -- not a suspect, but rather, a person of interest, is a 38-year-old semi-professional photograph who lives in the area, who she met some time ago and apparently had some sort of relationship with.

GRACE: And we have asked the guy`s lawyer to come on. We have asked him to come on. They didn`t want to answer any questions. One thing I found out just before the show, Jim, is that at this photographer`s apartment where he lived, you could see where Taylor Behl would park. So she could park for free and had a very long walk to where she was going.

We`ll all be right back in the mystery of Taylor Behl. We need your help.



RODNEY MONROE, RICHMOND POLICE CHIEF: We are at this time conducting a track with a dog that has been brought into the area, and he is actually out trying to track a scent from the vehicle. After that is done, we have a team of about 20 detectives that will embark upon this neighborhood in order to start a canvas. That`s where we are at this point.


GRACE: We are looking for 17-year-old Taylor Behl, a Virginia Commonwealth University student, a good kid described by all. She went out the evening of Labor Day to go skateboarding, has not been seen since.

Straight to private investigator Thomas Barnes. What does it suggest to you, Thomas, that there are now 20 police officers on this case?

THOMAS BARNES, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, Nancy, I find it remarkable. I know in Los Angeles -- for a metropolitan police department of the size of Richmond to use that much resources for one individual, they must have a large amount of evidence that they`re trying to sift through or witnesses or some information that can contribute to the case. I can`t find any other reason for them to have that many individuals involved. Of course, there are a lot of sex offenders in the Richmond area, and maybe they`re going through the usual suspects.

GRACE: Back to Jim Moret. License tags switched out on Taylor Behl`s car. Apparently, these Ohio tags stuck on the back of Taylor`s car were stolen from another car, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, two months ago. Now, Elizabeth, are these Taylor`s tags? Is that Taylor`s tags? OK. Can we go back to that? I find it highly significant, Jim Moret, that somebody switched out the tags, put it on Taylor`s car. This is Taylor`s tag number, JPC-2848. The significance, Jim, is that -- where are Taylor`s tag plates?

MORET: Well, you`re right, Nancy. And it`s worse than that because these tags, as you indicated, were stolen a couple of months ago. So this person had those tags and then parked her car about a mile-and-a-half from where she normally parked it. I don`t know if that`s to taunt investigators. It`s really difficult, but it`s clear that there`s some premeditation here. This is clearly a crime. This isn`t somebody who just went out to go skateboarding and now she`s missing.

And that -- as a parent, that would terrify me. Let`s face it, you talk about this person being a good kid. All reports are she is. So something clearly happened to her.

GRACE: I want to quickly go to Bethany Marshall, psychotherapist. Bethany, the plates that were on Taylor`s Ford Escort were stolen two months ago from another student, Ohio tags, which says to me, wherever Taylor is -- where are her tags? She`s missing. Her tags are missing. Are they together? Does this show premeditation in some way?

MARSHALL: Well, certainly, with some type of homicides, the perpetrator has what we call rehearsal fantasies ahead of time, and so he plans -- he plans where he`s going to dump the body. He plans how he`s going to perpetrate the crime.

One of the things we know about these kinds of crimes, abduction- homicides, is that in 55 percent of the cases, the perpetrator meets and murders the victim within one half mile of her home. We also know teenage girls are at the greatest at risk and that sex is motivater in two thirds of the cases in these crimes.

I would certainly be taking a look at who she was meeting, who she was meeting on line, who were her new friends, who was interested in her, who might she have been dating?

GRACE: But to Janet Pelasara -- this is Taylor Behl`s mother joining us tonight. Welcome, Janet. Thank you for being with us. First of all, our thoughts and our prayers are with you and with Taylor and your whole family.


GRACE: About this being premeditated, and so forth -- I find that difficult to believe specific to Taylor because that was a spur-of-the- moment decision that night. Her roommate had a date over, so she left the dorm room. She decided to go skateboarding. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, so I don`t see how someone could have planned this whole event.

PELASARA: It sounds absolutely suspicious to me. When she goes in and, yes, says she`s going to be back in three hours to her roommate? It just -- none of it -- none of it makes sense to me.

GRACE: What is the latest they`ve told you, Janet?

PELASARA: The police?


PELASARA: That they are trying to take what they, you know, found in the car and match it with anything else that they can to try and link to it something.

GRACE: I understand they got a dog tracking scent, is that correct, Janet?

PELASARA: That`s correct.

GRACE: And is it true that that came from the car and it went to a home, but that was a home that she had visited before she went missing?

PELASARA: I can`t confirm that she had been there before, but it did lead to a home in the neighborhood.

GRACE: Take a look at this, everybody.


MONROE: ... forty-eight hours, and quite nationally, it takes quite a bit of time to do that and to organize those type of efforts.


GRACE: You know, a lot of time was lost right at the beginning, Thomas Barnes, when the university police held onto the case for 11 days before local cops took over. We found the car. What can we learn from the car?

BARNES: Well, Nancy, it`s -- I understand the frustration. I think what we can learn from the car could be coupled with whatever forensic evidence we got out of the room or out of her computer. There may be signs in the car, took, if there was any sexual molestation or any type of activity that could occur. There may be some forensics that could be linked into a criminal activity.

Certainly, they`ve denied or they`ve indicated that this wasn`t criminal, but I find that from the very beginning, they`ve -- when the police department got involved in this, it appears to me that they`ve taken it as criminal by the mere fact that they`ve got search warrants. And I think the search warrants -- it would be telling to find out what was on these search warrants, the affidavits for those search warrants.

GRACE: Very quickly, back to Janet Pelasara, who`s Taylor Behl`s mother. I understand you`ve been in her dorm room. Did you find anything in there out of the ordinary?

PELASARA: Her driver`s license, her purse, her wallet, all of her groceries that we had bought earlier Monday and, I mean, her toothbrush. She didn`t go off planning not to come back if she didn`t take clothes or her wallet or license with her.

GRACE: These are shots of Taylor Behl. You want to get to know her. What a beautiful little girl! This is her when she is 18 months old. Let`s keep watching that.

Janet, what was her plan? What did she want to be?

PELASARA: She had talked about being a international business major. She talked about marketing. She talked about being in entertainment attorney.

GRACE: Now, this was her freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University. Were friends there with her? Did she go on her own to VCU?

PELASARA: She basically went on her own. She had several people from her high school that were going, but she didn`t know them very well?

GRACE: Was she excited about college? Did she have a boyfriend?

PELASARA: She was very excited about going off to college and being a little independent and experiencing the college life. And no, she didn`t have a boyfriend when she came to VCU.

GRACE: Was there anybody she was dating at VCU?

PELASARA: She had met a boy after a couple days of being here, a friend of her suitemates, and they dated on and off.

GRACE: Well, I`m sure police have talked to him. You know what`s interesting, Bethany Marshall, is that, typically, kidnaps, rapes, murders, are by someone that you`re connected to -- husband, boyfriend, ex-lover, grocery boy, delivery man, mailman -- somebody you`ve seen, Bethany.

BARNES: Forty-three percent of all homicides are committed by somebody that the victim knows. And even more astoundingly, 11 percent are committed by an intimate, like a spouse or a lover, which of course, is not relevant in this case. But there`s a great likelihood that she knew the perpetrator of this crime, if, indeed -- I hope this isn`t a case -- but a crime was perpetrated against her.

GRACE: But of course, according to her mother, Taylor Behl has never run away, has never gone missing for any period of time. We have no reason to believe she ran away.

Very quickly, we`ll all be right back. To "Trial Tacking": Day two, 77-year-old Constantine Pitsas, on trial for fatally poisoning a 4-month- old baby boy with arsenic. Prosecutors say Pitsas poured weed killer into Benjamin Glynn`s bottle while the family was at his home for a cookout. The baby`s big sister also drank the liquid, hospitalized two weeks before she recovered. Pitsas`s defense? He stored the jug of diluted arsenic in the basement along with jugs of spring water, mistakenly filled the baby bottle from the wrong jug.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you ask Mr. Pitsas through Mrs. Pitsas during that telephone call?

DOUGLAS GLYNN, BENJAMIN GLYNN`S FATHER: Told her that there was a label on the handle of the jug. It says "total weed kill arsenic" on it. Does that mean that`s what was in the container?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what was the response?




GRACE: Taylor Behl as a little girl, 18 months old. Now she`s 17 years old, and she is missing. This Virginia Commonwealth University student went missing Labor Days. Eleven long days passed before local cops took the case over and began a real investigation.

Very quickly, I want to go back to "Inside Edition" senior correspondent Jim Moret. Jim, the big news in my mind is the search warrants that went down at the home of Ben Fawley. He`s not a suspect. He`s a person of interest, although this photographer, he`s age 38, knew Taylor Behl, age 17. His computers were taken. Some shots of Taylor Behl were submitted by him to a Web site. We`re on that Web site. His lawyer, Chris Collins, told `The Richmond Times-Dispatch" that he thought police considered his client a suspect. We`re not going that far. We`re saying he`s only a person of interest. But what can you tell me, Jim, about search warrant?

MORET: Well, the search warrants -- they were interested in the computer equipment because in addition to having some sort of relationship with Taylor and in addition to taking photographs of her, they`d apparently conversed via a blog on the computer. So police were interested in that. And according to this person`s lawyer, he said that his client was ready, willing and able to take a lie detector test but that he advised his client not to do so. So police are clearly interested in the exact nature of this relationship.

GRACE: OK, everybody, if you have anybody information or you can help in any way, we`re putting up -- can you put that up, Elizabeth, the toll- free number? I believe it is 1-877-244-HELP.

To Taylor`s mother, Janet Pelasara, thank you for being with us. Our thoughts and our prayers with you. Again, the tip line, 877-244-HELP. Please help us bring Taylor Behl back to her mother.

We are switching gears to another uninvolved mystery, the missing groom. Very quickly, to "A Current Affair`s" Tim Green, what`s the latest?

TIM GREEN, "A CURRENT AFFAIR": There really isn`t much latest, Nancy. I mean, we -- the last we heard, we spoke to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines before Katrina hit, and of course...

GRACE: OK, wait. Let me just cut to the chase. What about the video in the hall?

GREEN: Well, that is in the hands of the FBI.

GRACE: What is it?

GREEN: We don`t know because the FBI is not telling anyone and Royal Caribbean says it should show people moving up and down those hallways outside George Smith`s room even late at night. I`ve got to believe that the FBI has got to be closing in on this case. I`m really surprised that they haven`t pulled more people in for questioning, if not made arrests by now.

GRACE: Are you convinced they have the videotape, Tim Green? How many times have we heard, Oh, we played over it. It plays over itself every 24 hours.

GREEN: Well, that -- I guess that`s possible, but we were told by the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines that they did have the videotape from the hallways that night. And the other thing that they`ve got, Nancy, is they`ve got witnesses, they`ve got phone records. The guys who -- the young men who were in George Smith`s room who said they put him to bed also said they left and they went immediately to their cabin and they placed phone calls to room service. So there will be records of that. And those records also were turned over to the FBI.

The FBI has a wealth of information that both you and I wish we had. You know, they`re sitting on it. They`re not saying anything to anyone.

GRACE: Yes. Well, you know what I think they`ve got? I think they`ve got some videotapes that they TIVOed of "A Current Affair" because you guys could go find the witnesses and talk to them and they pop up on your show, then the FBI would quickly write them a letter and go, Hey, hey, hey, talk to us.

Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the early morning hours of July 5, people report hearing arguments, banging and loud voices coming from the Smiths` cabin, followed by a horrific thud which awakened other passengers. The next day, a large blood stain was seen on the metal awning under the Smiths` cabin. Had any of these young men bee in the room? Do they know what went on? Answers are hard to come by.


GRACE: We have invited members of George Smith`s family, his wife, Jennifer Hagel, cruise line representatives -- did not, none of them, want to answer any of these tough questions.

To Lisa Wayne -- Lisa, my concern is this whole thing is going to fall through the jurisdictional cracks..

WAYNE: Well, you know, Nancy, the delay in this case has been incredible, you know? I mean, they heard about this. Law enforcement learned about it. They allowed the scene, the ship, the integrity of that crime scene was compromised, people walking all over. Then the time delay, the time delay. And now they`re sending out form letters.

GRACE: Well, according to Royal Caribbean, they say that they sealed the cabin off and processed it before they let anybody in.

WAYNE: Right. And then we heard from law enforcement that that wasn`t so true. And now they`re sending out letters...

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!

WAYNE: ... like looking for something.

GRACE: What law enforcement told you that?

WAYNE: Well, the FBI said that they weren`t able to process the scene, that they didn`t get to go on the ship. They didn`t get to process the scene.

GRACE: No, no. I don`t think they ever said that.

WAYNE: Well, that`s my understanding.

GRACE: Did they ever say that, Tim?

GREEN: My understanding was that the -- from Royal Caribbean that the FBI was on the crime scene that very next morning. That`s what Royal Caribbean told us.

GRACE: You know, by the end of it, Lisa Wayne`s going to have me convinced the FBI did it.

Very quickly, to David Schwartz. David, what do you think it will take to build a case in this disappearance?

SCHWARTZ: Yes. I think it`s going to take -- we have to start spending money and assets on these cases. We covered two cases tonight, poor Tiffany (ph) and this case, Smith. You know what? Our government -- what kind of value system do we have, Nancy? We spend $5 million or $10 million on the Martha Stewart case because she lied to the government. It`s time that we start getting serious about these cases and the government spends our assets on these cases, not on those -- not on -- not on nonsense!

GRACE: David Schwartz, I appreciate the sermon. I`m certainly a sinner. But when we come back, how about a little hard strategy on how to prove this case. I know you`ve got it in you.

SCHWARTZ: OK. I have it.

GRACE: Very quickly, to tonight`s "All Points Bulletin." Law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Melvin Keeling, wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Ohio girl Caitland Caudile (ph), who was part of a sex abuse case against Keeling. He`s also a suspect in the murders later that same day of 29- year-old Lisa Kendall (ph), 38-year-old Kindora Furr (ph) at an Indiana convenience store. He`s 5-7, 145 pounds, 43 years old. If you have info on Keeling, call Crimestoppers, 888-352-3040.

Local news next for some of you, but we`ll all be right back. And remember, live coverage of the arsenic baby poisoning trial 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.

Please stay with us as we remember Specialist Viktar Yolkin, 24, an American hero.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody.

We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help, in our own way, solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at 27-year-old Otha Liggins, shot to death June, `99, East St. Louis, Illinois. If you have any info on the shooting of Otha Liggins, call the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation toll-free, 888-813-8389. Please help us.

Welcome back, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us.

Very quickly, to David Schwartz. David, give it to me again, not a lecture, not a sermon, how you can build this case, if you`re the prosecution?

SCHWARTZ: Right. I mean, what I was getting at was, you got to -- you got to interview every single person on that ship. You can`t send them letters two months later to find out if they heard something. You needed to get in there immediately. You got to do -- you got to -- you got to see if -- you got to do a comparison of the blood evidence. You got to see if there`s any DNA evidence, and that type of thing, Nancy. You got to get in there!

GRACE: Everybody, we just showed you a missing person, asking for your help. A few weeks ago, I showed you photos of a young girl, Pam Kinney. Her family approached me when I was in Florida with my family. I`ve just gotten word that her body has been found between Apalachicola and St. Joe, Florida. I can`t stress enough to you how much we need your help in finding missing people, especially missing children. So once again, thank you for your help.

I want to thank all of my guests tonight, but my biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes, and now, I have learned, helping us reunite families and helping us find missing people. I only wish we could have found Pam Kinney.

Coming up, headlines from around the world, Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. See you right here tomorrow night, I hope, 8:00 o`clock sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.


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