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NANCY GRACE

Unsolved Crimes

Aired November 25, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, two unsolved crimes that maybe you can help crack. Johnia Berry, a beautiful 21-year-old girl, a fantastic future ahead, brutally stabbed to death in her own bed by someone who entered her Tennessee apartment. And Jacob Wetterling, just 11 years old, riding his bicycle with his brother and friend and then out of nowhere, a masked gunman appears, orders the boys of their bikes, taking Jacob, never to be seen again. Tonight, we seek answers and justice.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, horrific crimes that must be solved. Three little boys, two of them brothers, ride bikes to the local 7-Eleven and then suddenly a gunman wearing a mask forces the boys off their bikes, kidnaps 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling. 16 long years later, the case unsolved. And tonight, police and Jacob`s family still want answers.

But first, tonight, 21-year-old Johnia Berry, just out of college, she had top grades what a beauty. Engaged to be married, but asleep in her own Tennessee apartment, minding her own business, somebody went into Johnia`s bedroom, stabbed her to death, stabbing that beautiful face, her chest, her head. Johnia found dead in the hallway after she banged on doors of neighbors, begging for help. The attacker fled and a nationwide manhunt ensued. Tonight, in Atlanta, Johnia`s father Mike Berry and her mother Joan; in Knoxville, Tennessee, county sheriff, Tim Hutchison; in New York, clinical psychologist Dr. Patricia Saunders; in Bristol, Virginia, "Bristol Herald Courier" reporter Matthew Laken.

Matthew, bring us up to date.

MATTHEW LAKEN, "BRISTOL HAROLD COURIER" REPORTER: Well, Nancy, so far the case has not really -- does not appear to have progressed a lot. A main clue is a sample of blood that was found at the scene. Authorities seem to believe it came from Johnia Berry`s attacker. They`ve been doing DNA tests on inmates in jails around the state, around the country, but so far no matches have turned up.

GRACE: You know, to Sheriff Tim Hutchison, he`s with the Knox County Sheriff`s Office, that`s why we need that DNA data bank, Sheriff, because it would immediately be matched up to any felon in that data bank.

SHERIFF TIM HUTCHISON, KNOX COUNTY, TN: Well, that`s correct. It is one of those things that it should have started several years ago in Tennessee. It has started and it started in `98, but it`s only for those individuals convicted of a felony. It`s not for everyone that is arrested and not for al of those cases where it is a felony and then it is reduced down to a misdemeanor later. So, you know, yeah, it needs to be expanded.

GRACE: Well, Sheriff, tell us what happened that night.

HUTCHISON: Well, from what we know, it was not a break-in, there was no forced entry. From what we can see from what we have gone through, and we`ve gone through a tremendous amount of evidence, and the attacker got the knife there at the residence. It was her knife, came out of the kitchen. It was left at the scene. There was a roommate there. And the roommate was also stab stabbed and he then fled the apartment, Johnia was just stabbed multiple times. And after that, she just tried to crawl for help. She crawled outside banging on doors and trying to get someone to help her.

GRACE: Well, you know, sheriff, it sounds to me that that is someone who had been watching Johnia, that knew the layout of the apartment, that came in unplanned they did not bring a weapon in with them. What do you think?

HUTCHINSON: Well, we`re not sure which direction it`s going right now. And we go back and forth. Sometimes it leans toward yes it may have been someone that knew her that knew the apartment complex. And at the same time, it tends to go toward some young people that may be out in neighborhoods breaking in cars, trying to feed their drug habit. And so, you know, we retrieved DNA from a lot of individuals, about 74, so far.

GRACE: I want to go to Joan Berry, this is Johnia`s mother. She`s joining us from Atlanta tonight. Joan what has it been like all these years waiting and wondering?

JOAN BERRY, JOHNIA`S MOTHER: It is unreal. There`s no words to explain what we`ve gone through in the last eight months and how this has affected every aspect of our life. She was just the center of our life. And I just can`t -- just no words to tell you how this has affected us.

GRACE: You know, as each month passes by, do you lose hope that the case will ever be solved?

J. BERRY: No. I don`t -- I can`t believe that in my heart because I just -- I won`t give up. We have to -- we have to believe that somehow this will be solved and somebody must know something and would want to do the right thing and help get this person off the streets. I mean, he could do this again and again, so you never think it is going to happen to your family, but it could happen to anyone. So we just need to really work together and try to -- try to get these people off the streets.

GRACE: Joan, do you member when you first learned of what had happened? What happened?

J. BERRY: It was about 5:00 a.m. in the morning and my cell phone rang and someone asked to speak with Michael, and it was the UT Hospital. Said that they had a young lady there and they thought it was our daughter, but she had no identification on her and they needed someone to identify the body. So we were four hours away from Knoxville, so it was just a nightmare. I have a son that lives there and one that lives Bristol, and a sister, so they got there in about an hour and a half, but it was just -- it was just horrible.

GRACE: Joan, I know that you went up there directly. At the very beginning, what did you think had happened?

J. BERRY: Well, I guess my prayer was that it wouldn`t be Johnia, you know, I kept saying, god, please, but I guess the longer, you know, the time went on and I didn`t get a call from either of my sons that I knew it was probably her.

GRACE: Joan, I have to tell you that was my same exact reaction when murder entered my world. I kept thinking, the same thing, that -- it wasn`t him. I`ll find out in a few moments that there has been an accident and there has been a mistake and -- because your mind tries to make sense of what has happened and it is just too much to take in. I can`t even imagine that drive, four hours, and the whole time trying to get through on a cell phone. What happened when you got there?

J. BERRY: When we got to the hospital, my son -- my two sons met us in the parking lot and Kelly said, "It`s Johnia, mom." So, you know, you just have to do the next step and get her body home. Johnia was an organ donor, so that took a little longer to -- you know to get her back home and the things that the sheriff`s office had to do. And I think the person that did this didn`t just kill Johnia, he`s killed a lot of people in our life, all of Johnia`s friends, we have had some wonderful support from my family our family and our friends.

GRACE: I want to go to Johnia`s father Michael Berry. Mr. Berry, Johnia was killed December 6, 2004. You know, it`s not so -- it`s not -- this is not the time to give up for justice and I hear her mother so heart broken. You absolutely cannot give up. Sometimes it takes years to solve cases.

MICHAEL BERRY, JOHNIA`S FATHER: Oh, I know that, Nancy. But we haven`t given up. I mean, nothing that we can do is going to bring our daughter back, but what we`re doing now is trying to get her murderer off the street and trying to change the system a little bit. I think the system needs change, and the DNA system itself.

GRACE: With me, along with the sheriff and a local reporter, two very, very special guests, Michael and Joan Berry, they are Johnia`s parents, still searching for answers in their daughter`s death. Rosy, can we go out with a picture of Johnia, please? I want everyone to see what a lovely girl this is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. BERRY: I`m satisfied with the work they`re doing. To be honest, like any mother or any parent I would like for it to have been in the day of, to have found a person that did this, but I understand these things take a while. And that we have to be patient.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: That`s Johnia`s mother speaking out. Johnia, a beautiful young girl, murdered in her own Tennessee apartment, an unsolved mystery we want to crack. Will you help us? Very quickly, I want to go to Matthew Laken with "Bristol Herald Courier." What about the roommate that was there that evening? Now, there was no romantic connection between them, it was a male roommate. Was he cleared?

LAKEN: That`s my understanding, yes. He told police that he was wakened a little after 4:00 a.m. when he heard Johnia screaming. He said he went to the bedroom door, a man punched him and stabbed him in the face. He ran about half a mile to a convenience store where the clerk called 911.

GRACE: Well, speaking of 911, here is a portion of the 911 call. Take a listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GAS STATION CLERK: There`s a man who just walked in the store who`s heavily bloodied (INAUDIBLE). It looks like he`s been in a fight.

JASON AYMAML, JOHNIA`S ROOMATE: I just felt someone stab me right in my chest.

911 OPERATOR: Somebody stabbed you?

AYMAML: .and hit me in the face. And the first thing I did was get up and run.

And she was screaming very loud. I didn`t have any time.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

AYMAML: I just got out of there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: To Matthew Laken, how was it that he got away, and she died?

LAKEN: That`s a good question. He said that he did not have time to try to help her. He just ran and with somebody in there with a knife.

GRACE: OK, so he made a run for it, went to a local 7-Eleven. Here is a picture of it. Made a call to 911, the timing did work out that the roommate went to the 7-Eleven and you time back on a 911 call and find out exactly when it was made.

To Michael Berry, what are your thoughts on the investigation so far? You say you want to change the system. How?

M. BERRY: Well, Nancy, I think the world of the sheriff`s department and all the work they`ve done. And they have some good evidence and I know the killer will be caught. But the DNA system the way it is set up now -- you know, it takes anywhere from eight to 10 weeks on a minimum to get a DNA sample back. And, you know, then you areas where you had a case the other week where DNA sample came back in 10 days. And that`s just the system is broke, I mean, if my daughter`s murder is walking the streets and it takes 2-1/2 months to get DNA sample back, that should be a little higher up the priority list. Whether it`s my daughter or anybody else`s daughter.

GRACE: Well, Sheriff Hutchison, he`s right. Why so long to get a DNA result back? We all know it takes three days.

HUTCHISON: It does only take three days, but in this case, we pulled so much. They were going through all of it.

GRACE: Oh, I see.

HUTCHISON: We pulled around 74, actually, from 74 different individuals we had taken samples and some of it went to different labs, we even sent it out to private labs to try to expedite that as well. But, tat is one of those things -- yeah, this is one of those areas that is just now starting to expand across the nation and it`s one of those things that we`re going to se a lot faster in the future, but right now it takes some time.

GRACE: If you`re comparing 74 different people, suspects, I now understand the wait, but that is still a long time. Sheriff Hutchison, where did you get the DNA that you used to compare? I mean, we know some of this was Johnia`s blood, but where did you get the other blood?

HUTCHISON: Well, the suspect DNA we do not -- we know it is third party not the roommates, not Johnia`s, was found in two different locations in the apartment and one outside the apartment, out back.

GRACE: Where in the apartment?

HUTCHISON: One in the -- a little bit in the bedroom and there was some in the living room and then some just outside the back door.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY BURKE, JOHNIA`S BROTHER: It is a shame that they had to rush out and put flier out saying please, you know, "rest easy it was a domestic situation," which it wasn`t. But yeah, it was very -- it was very hard for us to take and I think our whole family was angry about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: To Dr. Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist. Doctor, what would you advise the families at this juncture. I mean, it`s been a period of months and it is just so hard to get any type of any significant closure when you still don`t have the perpetrator.

DR. PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I don`t know that the family`s ever will have closure, Nancy, even when they have the perpetrator. I think the families of murder victims feel at least that justice was done. As her folks said, it won`t bring her back. They need to keep on doing exactly what they`re doing, supporting each other and the billboard that they put up, and her dad speaking out about changing the system, that`s taking action instead of lapsing into feeling awful helplessness.

GRACE: To Joan Berry, Johnia`s mother, tell me what you`ve been doing, yourself, you and your husband to solve this murder.

J. BERRY: We talk with Knoxville every day to find out if there`s anything new. When we found out about the DNA laws, I said, well, I think it needs to be changed. Maybe we should work on that. So, I immediately, you know, started to see what I could find out, and the law in Virginia and New York and Illinois, they have the law that we`ve been trying to get. And I talked with some senators and representatives in Tennessee and they`re going to carry it to the floor in January when they go back in session. I didn`t get it there in time to make it this time, but they`ve assured us that it will be done in January. We know it`s not going to help Johnia`s case, probably, but maybe some other family that wouldn`t have to go through all of this.

GRACE: What exactly would it achieve?

J. BERRY: That there would be more DNA in the database, and -- there is just not enough -- they don`t take DNA from, you know, I wouldn`t be surprised if the person that did this to Johnia has probably walked in and out of a jail, you know, several times and it`s just -- something needs to be done. I mean, we can`t just sit back and say, OK, Johnia`s dead. I just can`t do that. We have to work to try and make things better for everybody.

GRACE: To Joan and Michael Berry, Johnia`s mother and father. I find it hard to believe you two are going to sit back. They`ve taken out billboards, they`re trying to change the law, they send out fliers. And tonight they`re asking you for help to solve their daughter`s murder.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. There is a $10,000 reward for any information regarding the death of a beautiful 21-year-old girl, Johnia Berry. I want to quickly go back to Sheriff Tim Hutchison. Do you have a person of interest and what can you tell us about that night?

HUTCHISON: Well, what we know of that night is, again, there was no forced entry. The weapon that was used came from the apartment. So, you know, it can go two directs, whether it was someone that actually knew her, or someone that actually was just checking doors and breaking in cars and things out in the parking lot, which happens periodically.

GRACE: But why would they go in? Someone that was just breaking into cars, go in and take a knife out of the kitchen. I mean, why would they do that?

HUTCHISON: Well, we don`t know all the answers. I would hike to have more answers. But for instance, they do -- a lot of these young kids that do break in the cars, they`ll check homes. They`ll check the garages. They`ll go from garages in too.

GRACE: But it seems to me, Sheriff, if they were just breaking into to steal something to get drug money, once they found out somebody was in there they`d hightail it.

HUTCHISON: Not always. And especially if they were confronted and from talking to Johnia`s mother and father, she`s a real fighter.

GRACE: Oh yes.

HUTCHISON: And they said she probably would have confronted these individuals if they just had got into the apartment to break in.

GRACE: Sheriff, what about a suspicious vehicle the night before?

HUTCHISON: We don`t know about that. There`s within individual that mentioned that. That has not panned out. We haven`t seen it anywhere else and we checked it through her work. We`ve literally interviewed hundreds of people.

GRACE: To Joan Berry, Johnia`s mother, who`s speaking out tonight, asking for your help. I want to know about her. What do you want people to know about your girl as you ask for help?

J. BERRY: Johnia was a very ambitious person. she a very hard worker. She had plans for herself. She loved helping people. She loved children. She -- not because she was my daughter, but she was a very smart girl, she decided she wanted to go to law school. She was the youngest female accepted into Thomas Cooley Law School. She went for a couple of months she decided she didn`t really like that, she`d rather work with children, so that`s the reason she came back to Knoxville. She was working at Peninsula Hospital with adolescents.

GRACE: You know, Joan, that speaks so much that someone would give up all the money lawyers typically make to work with children. What a blessing she was in your life.

We are reaching out tonight on behalf of Johnia`s parents. You`ve met them. Joan, Michael Berry they need your help. We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help in our own way solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Tonight, take a look at Asha Degree, just 15 years old when she disappeared from Shelby, North Carolina, February 2000. Her parents saw her sleeping in her bed 2:30 a.m. Two hours later, motorists saw her walking along a North Carolina highway, Highway 18. No one understands what happened. If you have any information on Asha Degree, please, call Cleveland County Sheriffs, 704-484-4822. Please help us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VIRGINIA CHA, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hello there. I`m Virginia Cha. Here`s your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

Well, the bodies of a 9-year-old girl and her father have been pulled from a pond in Wisconsin. Sheriff`s deputies say the girl fell through the ice while skating and her father fell in while trying to save her.

Black Friday shoppers are braving long lines and chilly temperatures today in an effort to grab some of the hottest holiday bargains. And so far, retailers are happy with the results. Wal-Mart, Sears and Macy`s say they`ve drawn bigger crowds today than a year ago. Analysts say electronics and clothes have been top sellers.

And former FEMA Director Michael Brown has a new job. He`s starting a consulting company to help clients prepare for disasters. You may remember Brown was heavily criticized for FEMA`s slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Brown says he hopes his new company will help clients avoid the same sort of errors that cost him his job.

That is the news for now. I`m Virginia Cha.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Flyers have been posted throughout Livingston County. But police don`t think 12-year-old Jacob Wetterling is staying in the small town of Horace (ph). But they do believe he passed through town recently.

A clerk at this Quik Stop says she saw Jacob last Friday at around 5:00 and remembers the mole on his face. A phone sits directly across the street from the Quik Stop, easily accessible for someone trying to call for help.

Livingston County authorities have reason to believe that the missing boy placed a call from this pay phone last Friday, because that`s the same time that St. Cloud, Minnesota, authorities say they received a phone call from someone here in Horace (ph) claiming to be Jacob Wetterling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: To Jim Allen, Jim, explain to me what happened.

JIM ALLEN, FORMER INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, as you mentioned, October 22, 1989, it was 9:00. And Jacob Wetterling his brother, Trevor, and their friend, Aaron, had gone up to a convenience store, rented a video, and were on their way back home.

And they were confronted by a man who was wearing a mask, dark clothing, had a pistol, gruff voice. And he confronted the three boys and told them to get in the ditch, throw down their bikes, or else he would shoot.

And then, after that, he said -- ordered two of the boys, Trevor and Aaron, to run into the -- run out into the field and not look back or else he would shoot. And I believe at some point Trevor had told me that he did look back and he didn`t see Jacob. And that`s the last we`ve ever seen of Jacob.

GRACE: Well, then the guy with the mask had to be in a car. I mean, that`s wide-open country. Wouldn`t they have seen them running if they had been on foot?

ALLEN: I would tend to think that he was in a car. I think that there would have been physical evidence if they had taken off on foot across that open country.

GRACE: Jim, had there been any similar kidnappings in the area?

ALLEN: There was a kidnapping in the Cold Spring area, which is probably about 20 miles away, that had some very distinct similarities to it.

GRACE: Such as?

ALLEN: Well, a boy was picked up, molested, and then led off on, on a country road and told to run out into the country. And then the driver drove off. So that was -- there were some real distinct similarities to Jacob`s case.

GRACE: Did you say it was a young boy?

ALLEN: Yes.

GRACE: Was the perpetrator masked?

ALLEN: I don`t recall that. But another similarity is that the boy that was molested and then released had just come home from a hockey practice or hockey game, and Jacob was wearing a hockey jersey when he was abducted.

GRACE: Interesting.

I want to go to Jacob`s mother, who, by the way, is running for the Senate. Thank God in heaven, not another politician, a real person ready to work for the people.

Patty, it`s amazing to me that these two cases happened just 20 miles apart. Are police trying to connect them? Or did they at the time?

PATTY WETTERLING, JACOB`S MOTHER: Initially, they looked for similarities. But so much is just on the boy`s testimony. He didn`t see - - in the other case, he didn`t see the man, either. It was night. And he saw him briefly with the car light, that`s all.

And they`ve looked at it now. And certainly, we are doing better now. We have more investigative skills and we have the ability to investigate and get more information than we did in `89.

GRACE: Patty, what happened that day when Jacob went missing?

WETTERLING: Oh, it is that nightmare that everybody describes. We got a phone call. We`d already talked to our kids three times to make sure everybody was OK. And the next time we got a call from the baby-sitter`s dad who lived next door and he said, "You got to come home. Somebody took Jacob."

And we were so confused. This had never happened. That`s what is frustrating. It always seems to happen in a community where they`ve never had a case before. So it catches everybody off-guard.

And we raced home and had to pass the police tape to get home and sat. You know, you want to search, and the police were like, "No, you stay here. We`ll search. We need you to be here. What if he calls?" And it`s that nightmare of not knowing what to do. What do you do with this?

GRACE: Well, another thing is, Patty, when you take a look at this country, it reminds me very much of where I grew up, kids always riding their bikes in packs. You never expect something like this to happen, especially in a rural area. That`s why I`m so convinced this perpetrator was the same one that was 20 miles away. It`s so infrequent in areas like this.

So, tell me, Patty, what did police do?

WETTERLING: Oh, they began a massive search. We have a volunteer fire department. They pulled them in right away. The FBI became involved the very first night, because most of the time there`s no witness. We knew he had been taken.

The kids had a good description of, you know, height and approximate weight. But that`s it. He wore a mask.

They began putting out notices to have anybody who had possibly seen anything at all to call in. And the one thing I can encourage people to watch is the photos of missing kids. That`s what gets them home.

If you see a picture of a missing child, and then you see a situation that doesn`t look quite right, that`s what you hope, as a searching parent, that everybody is going to be watching.

GRACE: I want to go to Ron Jones. He is the case agent for Jacob`s case. Tell me the status of the case now, Ron.

RON JONES, CASE AGENT FOR JACOB WETTERLING: Well, the case is, of course, still active with us and also with the police department. I`m in touch with them on a regular basis regarding the case, because the leads that we`re still getting on the case. And, you know, regardless of how minute they might seem, you know, we`re always trying to see if they have any balance on this particular matter.

GRACE: Everybody, take a look at this little boy, Jacob Wetterling. He was just 11 years old when he disappeared from the small Minnesota town of St. Joseph`s.

He was riding a bicycle home from a convenience store. There`s another shot of him and his hockey outfit.

Ron, why do you think Jacob was targeted and the other two boys let loose?

JONES: Well, you know, that`s the irony of this case right here, because of the fact that, you know, this gentleman popped out of what I might call some bushes with a gun and accosted all three boys. And, you know, he looked at all of them and then, you know, told two of them to run, so it was very different. You know, we don`t usually have this kind of abductions and child kidnappings.

GRACE: No, you really don`t.

To Dr. Saunders, Dr. Patricia Saunders, and also the impact, Patricia, this must have on Jacob`s brother and the other little boy that was with him.

SAUNDERS: I`m afraid these kids must have suffered terrible survivor guilt. You know, that`s the feeling of, you know, why am I still here, why am I still alive, and Jacob is gone? The awful feelings of helplessness.

And I know that there are reports that Trevor really had a very hard time, wouldn`t go into the room, couldn`t go into the room, and stayed pretty close to home for a long time, just some normal reactions to horrific, horrific events.

GRACE: Patty, is that true?

WETTERLING: That is true. No child should have to live through what these kids lived through. And that`s part of the journey, is to make sure that this doesn`t happen again.

I`m very proud -- my kids are doing very well now. But it`s taken a lot of work on their part. And they`ll always have things.

He moved out state so he could just be Trevor and not be Jacob`s brother all the time. But it`s a challenge. It`s a challenge to all of the siblings, all of his friends, cousins, the entire community, the entire state of Minnesota was changed forever because of a loss of innocence, what was taken was way more than just our child.

GRACE: Patty, don`t you know that somebody out there knows something, that has the answer to this?

WETTERLING: I do believe that. I do believe that almost every case, somebody has information and it`s time -- it`s been over 15 years -- it`s time for them to come forward and work with law enforcement, tell us what you know, even if it doesn`t seem like that significant.

Every little piece, as Ron said, every piece is part of making a bigger puzzle. And we will never stop. You never give up on your children, ever.

GRACE: Eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling went missing years ago. It changed forever, not only a community, but an entire state. The case still unsolved. Can you help us?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WETTERLING: It has not been my goal to get even or to string somebody up. I really don`t care. I really don`t care about the person who did this. I need to know. I need my son. I`ll let the rest of the world take care of who did this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. We`re asking for your help in a case long unsolved, a little boy. Jacob Wetterling -- Rosie, can you put his picture up please, dear -- went missing in 1989 around 9:15 p.m. in a very rural town in Minnesota. Has never been seen since. He was abducted riding his bike.

Dr. Patricia Saunders, this is really every parents` worst nightmare, I think maybe second to someone coming in your own home and taking the child, because how safe -- you know, when you send your child overseas on a trip, or they take a plane trip to another city, or they`re out of their element, you worry, when they`re doing something dangerous, like Boy Scouts going hiking up in the mountains.

This kid was coming home from the 7-Eleven, for Pete`s sake, with two other kids on a bicycle. Not in a crime ridden area. This is out in the middle of Minnesota, for Pete`s sake.

SAUNDERS: It`s mind-boggling, Nancy. And I commend and I salute his mom for everything that she`s done to help other parents whose children have been kidnapped, abducted. We can`t live with thinking that nightmare could knock on the door at any second; I think we all have to walk around in a certain state of dumbness and naive, in order to function.

GRACE: To Jim Allen -- he is the former investigative journalist that worked on the case -- have investigators ever had any good leads?

ALLEN: Well, it`s hard to determine what a good lead is. I guess a good lead would be something that resulted in something. So I would have to say largely no.

GRACE: How are people reacting to Patty Wetterling`s run for the Senate?

ALLEN: Well, an interesting comment I heard on a talk radio show after she announced for her congressional bid a couple of years ago. People were concerned that her fundraising ability for the Jacob Wetterling Foundation would be compromised because she`d be raising money to run for Congress.

Well, that`s kind of a naive statement, because people who understand politics know that lobbyists love to give money to favorite charities of elected officials. And that`s the only negative thing I ever heard.

GRACE: You know, Patty Wetterling, some people just can`t stand to see you doing good, I guess.

WETTERLING: Well, we`re not done yet. This is kind of a natural progression of the work that we do. We have to build a better, safer world.

I refuse to let the bad guys win. And we`re not done. There`s work to do, and I honestly believe I can be a loud, strong voice for children and families in Washington.

GRACE: Patty, you already are. Everybody, I just saw Patty in Washington, raising h-e-double-l there on Congress asking for stricter laws to protect children. And there`s so much more you can do, Patty. Only you or someone like you can speak as effectively as you do.

But tell me something: When you put your head to your pillow at night, do you believe Jacob is still alive somewhere?

WETTERLING: I believe that he hears my voice. And I don`t know. I honestly believe there is a possibility. Somebody makes up that very small percentage. And I believe that there`s a possibility Jacob`s still alive. Until I have proof, I will continue to fight so that we can bring him home.

GRACE: This is a shot of Jacob. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERNIE ALLEN, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: The reality is that two-thirds of the reported sexual assault cases in the United States involve child victims. The vast majority of the victims of America`s sex offenders are kids. The majority of the nation`s rape victims are kids. And somehow America has missed it.

The vast majority of those who prey upon children are not pure strangers in the eye and mind of the child. Most of them seek legitimate access to children, try to literally seduce children, break down their inhibitions, and then victimize them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: That was Ernie Allen from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a tireless victims` rights advocate.

Back to Jacob`s mother, Patty Wetterling. Tell me what you truly believe is the status of the investigation now. Patty, you know, people will tell you anything just to shut you up. Are they really trying to solve the case?

WETTERLING: Yes, they are. And that`s one of the calls to action I would tell every parent is: Don`t let them put you off. It`s your child that`s missing. And they respond to me very well. They`ve never -- the national center will never quit finding missing children. That`s their job. And they don`t quit no matter how long it takes. And the sheriff`s department has been very good to us about staying engaged.

GRACE: Now, Patty, what about these sketches that have been released? Where did they come from? Did the two boys get a look at the perp?

WETTERLING: No. One of them came from the Cold Spring case that was, you know, prior to Jacob`s kidnapping because he, afterwards, did a sketch. It was dark, but that was one of the suspects.

And there was also a suspicious-looking man in the store that night. And several people came up with a sketch, but the bottom line is we don`t know what the guy looked like, because he wore a mask. So they -- you know, you have to sort of set them aside.

GRACE: Well, you know, the issue is, Ron Jones, within a month of Jacob`s kidnap, 525 potential suspects had been cleared. Sketches had been released. About 50,000 tips have come in to date. It`s not like police are sitting on their thumbs. I believe they are still trying.

JONES: Absolutely. And that`s part of my job, is to keep Jacob`s and other kids` pictures in the spotlight to let people know that they are out there somewhere, they still haven`t been found. And we`re still searching for them.

GRACE: Patty, at the time Jacob went missing, you were a stay-at-home mom, right?

WETTERLING: I was.

GRACE: You know, a lot of times when children go missing, parents that are working beat themselves up thinking, "Oh, if I had been at the school when he left the school," or, "If I had been at home," they always blame themselves. But there was -- you were a stay-at-home mom. The reality is, nothing could have stopped this. There`s no way you could have stopped this.

WETTERLING: Right. You do kick yourself a little bit. But I remember having a conversation with Jacob. It was like, "Hold on, Jacob. We will find you, but you have to stay strong." And I made a very conscious decision to get out of bed. And every day, I do what I can to make sure that we`ve done everything possible to try and find him. And I thank you for showing his picture again, because that is our biggest hope, is that people will not forget and they will continue to search for our children.

And every day, I have to do that so, when I lay down at night, I know it`s like, "We did it. We did what we could today."

GRACE: And very quickly, Dr. Saunders, why is it that survivors always beat themselves up, always could have, would have, should have, if I had done this, if I had done that, maybe things would be different?

SAUNDERS: It`s a normal reaction. One of the worst things we can experience is helplessness, utter helplessness. So it`s almost easier for us to think, "Well, maybe if I had done something a little bit differently, I could have protected him or this wouldn`t have happened."

GRACE: To tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Carl Mark Maddox, wanted for allegedly fleeing Oregon in violation of probation for attempted sex abuse of a little girl. He`s 49, 6`2", 210 pounds, brown hair, hazel eyes.

If you have info on Maddox, contact the FBI, 503-224-4181.

Local news next for some of you. But we`ll all be right back. And remember, live trial coverage, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern on Court TV`s "Closing Arguments." Please stay with us as we remember Sergeant Nathaniel Rock, just 26 years old, an American hero.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. Eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling went missing from a rural area in Minnesota in 1989. He was with two other little children on their bicycles. Case still unsolved. We don`t know whether Jacob is dead or alive. His mom, Patty Wetterling, has been fighting for years for his safe return and finally has decided she is running for the Senate.

Patty Wetterling, tell me about your run for the Senate and what you want to achieve.

WETTERLING: I bring up a base of knowledge that`s not represented. Nobody really wants to look at child victimization, yet I know it exists. And if we`re going to stop abduction, we have to stop exploitation of children. And I want to be that loud, strong voice and let people know that children are a priority. I can`t think of anything more worth fighting for.

GRACE: Patty, for other victims that are listening tonight, could you tell us how you managed to get through the days, and the weeks, and the months following his disappearance?

WETTERLING: It`s about reclaiming your life. Your whole life has turned upside down and you have to gain control, as the psychologist said. And you know what`s inside. It`s in every fiber of your being, what you`re fighting for.

And my encouragement is: Don`t give up. You know that -- you know what these children, the potential they had and the gift that they are. And we will fight forever for that.

GRACE: Patty, how did you get through it at the beginning?

WETTERLING: I got through it through a lot of prayers from people all over the nation. I got through it through great support from our community and tremendous effort on law enforcement, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was such a gift.

So then we began reaching out to other parents, so we`ve started a Team Hope program that connects people. And you just look for people who understand and will stay there with you, no matter what the distance, no matter what the time.

GRACE: Rosie, if you could show us a shot of Jacob again. Everyone, there is a $200,000 reward for his safe return. This little boy went missing in 1989. His mother still searching. Tip line: 1-800-THE-LOST.

A special thank you to Patty. But I want to thank all of my guests tonight. My biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting all of 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 next time, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

END

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