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Geisel Walks Free After Four Months in Jail
Aired December 15, 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, breaking news. Convicted sex offender, Catholic school teacher Beth Geisel tonight walks free after just four months behind bars after a possible 16 years behind bars, Geisel guilty of sex with a minor and suspected of the same with other male students, as well.
And tonight, more breaking news. After two weeks of intense searching, we believe the body of a 12-year-old Texas girl we profiled here, Teke Buggs, was found today in the Brazos River, Texas.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, breaking news. We received word that there may be an end to the search for a 12-year-old Texas girl, Teke Buggs, a child`s body discovered in a river near her home, Orchard, Texas, Teke last seen sleeping on the sofa in her own home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARONALD FOY, TEKETRIA BUGGS`S MOTHER: Right now, they`re saying that everybody is a suspect. And I told them that I don`t care if I`m a suspect, I`ll do whatever they need me to do and go wherever they need me to go to get my baby back home to me!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: But first tonight, Catholic school teacher Beth Geisel, who pled guilty to molesting a student, walks out of jail after just four months.
Right now, I want to go straight out to Albany bureau chief of "The Daily News," Joe Mahoney. Joe, four months? Raping a student? How did that happen?
JOE MAHONEY, ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF, "DAILY NEWS": Well, this was statutory rape, in the view of the court. There was no force involved. She was allowed to plead guilty to this charge of a third degree rape. And now she`s out, as you point out. She`s going into a rehab clinic. Her lawyer has claimed all the while that what she really needed was drug and alcohol rehab, and that`s exactly where she`s going.
She will be on the New York state sex offenders list now for 10 years, but people won`t be able to find out where she lives here because in New York, if you`re considered, quote, "a low-level sex offender," people can`t find out where you are living on the Internet.
GRACE: But to Gerry Boyle, veteran defense attorney -- he also defended another teacher sex scandal, Melissa Bittner (ph) -- it really doesn`t matter when a minor consents. Minors can`t give consent, just like they can`t enter contracts, just like they can`t get cigarettes and alcohol. They don`t have the ability under our law to consent. So the fact that this little boy consented to sex with his teacher doesn`t mean a hill of beans!
GERALD BOYLE, SANDRA GEISEL`S ATTORNEY: Doesn`t mean a thing at all, Nancy. It means that our society recognizes that people and the public wants that, that they`re not supposed to be involved in things like that. And when they are, somebody`s going to have to pay the fiddler for it.
GRACE: Well, you`re euphemistically saying "things like that." It`s child rape, for Pete`s sake!
BOYLE: Yes, it`s rape within the concept of the legal word of rape. But whether or not it`s rape within the psychological word is something that somebody else has...
GRACE: Oh! Oh! Oh! Don`t start, Boyle! I just want to point out, before we go back to Gerry Boyle, he didn`t have a problem defending Jeff Dahmer! Remember the cannibal? So we`ll be right back with you, Mr. Boyle, so you know, you can talk about morally correct and legally correct, but the reality is, this is a boy in the eyes of the law.
Back to Joe Mahoney. What time did Geisel leave jail?
MAHONEY: She was out at dawn, very cold morning here in Albany, walked out of the Albany County jail into a waiting car and was apparently driven straight to this rehab place. But it was right at the crack of dawn, Nancy.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAE D`AGOSTINO, ATTORNEY FOR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS ACADEMY: Obviously, we all know that Mrs. Geisel has a problem. The alcohol, I`m sure, explains what happened, but I don`t think it excuses it. As between Mrs. Geisel and a 16 and a 17-year-old boy, the teacher should have been in a position to say no.
Right now, this school is not involved in any legal action. But of course, there is always the possibility of that. We hope that the young men and their families involved will not bring an action against CBA. We hope that they will understand that. This teacher obviously had a breakdown at some point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Why is it when a man rapes a little girl, he goes to jail -- which I`m all for, by the way -- but when a woman rapes a boy, she had a breakdown? I`m going to go to Pat Lalama. We just heard this representative say it was all about the alcohol. You know what? Maybe the first time, but what about the second, third and fourth young boys. What about that? Was she drunk for a year?
PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, the alcohol doesn`t explain anything. I mean, I think it would be fair to say that probably because of the fact that this woman has sexualized her life in a very, very unwise way, there was probably some childhood trauma going back, you know, who knows when. But who really cares? The point of the matter is, she used a position of authority and did what she did.
Now, Nancy, what really boggles my mind is that the judge in the case even indicated that perhaps she may have been somewhat of a victim herself, that perhaps used by this group of young boys, that she was this vulnerable woman in a very, very precarious situation. Now, to his credit, he did say that really didn`t have anything to do with right and wrong. But he did bring that up. And I`m sitting here thinking, Oh, Lord! There is a double standard in these kinds of cases.
GRACE: You know, I always thought Lady Justice wore a blindfold.
Back to Joe Mahoney, Albany bureau chief with "The Daily News." You know, it`s not as if this were a gang attack on this school teacher. For those of our viewers that are just learning about the Geisel case, everyone, a Catholic school teacher got just four months behind bars for sex -- translation under the law, child rape -- with a boy student. Could you outline the other suspicions, as well?
MAHONEY: Well, there was an allegation that she had sex in a car with a 17-year-old, and that was not prosecuted at all, of course, because in New York, 17, a youth can consent. So that was not considered rape. And it was by virtue of the fact that this other boy, this child, was just 16, he could not legally consent. And that`s why she was prosecuted at all. But the judge did try to say that she was a victim herself of the boys, and that outraged some people. Some people agree with the judge here.
GRACE: Well, why was she the victim? She was the teacher and they were the students. Wasn`t the 17-year-old one of her students, as well?
MAHONEY: Right, but the judge, in his view, thought that these boys took advantage of her alcoholism, and they peppered her with phone calls, and that is part of the evidence in the case, Nancy, that the...
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What! How can a phone call be abuse? I`m sorry, maybe I just disconnected. What did you say? They peppered her with phone calls?
MAHONEY: Yes. Called her up repeatedly...
GRACE: There`s a little thing called hang-up!
MAHONEY: Well, they tried to get a hold of her, by their own admission, for sex, and that was part of their statement.
GRACE: So they call a grown woman, a woman in a position of authority, and ask her for sex. She`s their teacher, they`re the student, and she goes along with it, and she`s the victim? Wait! Is that what you just said Joe Mahoney?
MAHONEY: Right, that`s what the judge said in court and...
GRACE: Whew! What is his name?
MAHONEY: ... of course -- his name is Steven Herrick (ph). But a lot of people agree with him here. They did not want to see her in the state prison. According to many people I`ve talked to...
GRACE: What people? What people was that? What people is that?
MAHONEY: Well, throughout the community of Albany. And in fact, if you listen to talk radio, it was split almost 50/50.
GRACE: Talk radio?
MAHONEY: Some people agree with you...
GRACE: Can I ask you one question?
GRACE: And don`t -- don`t get me wrong, but would those talk radio hosts happen to be old white guys?
MAHONEY: Exactly. And in fact, some of them said, Don`t you wish you were that boy? So you know, that kind of attitude was out there, too, that a lot of older men were saying that they wished that they were the boy, which...
GRACE: OK. You know what?
MAHONEY: ... outraged a lot of advocates...
GRACE: You know what? Gerry Boyle, I want to go back to you, high- profile defense attorney joining us out of Milwaukee. Gerry, of course, I usually disagree with you, but take off your defense cap just for one moment. This romanticism of child rape is so deadly to child victims. It fits hand in hand with, She wanted it, it`s a schoolboy`s dream, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth. It perpetuates the fact that -- the belief that victims are not victims, Gerry.
BOYLE: You`re right, Nancy. Everybody agrees with what you`re saying. Nobody`s going to say it`s OK for teachers, females or males, to have sex with students. I mean, it`s absolutely absurd.
But if you don`t quit yelling at me, I`m going to resign as your president of your international fan club.
GRACE: Hey, look, you`re already on double secret probation. You can`t go anywhere!
To Lauren Lake. What`s your defense in this case? I mean, this woman was facing 16 years behind bars per count, and she walked out of jail. Do you have that shot, Elizabeth (ph)? I can`t get over this. Geisel walks after four months.
LAUREN LAKE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, you`re about to get mad at me because I`m one of those people that feels like she did her time. Four months? That`s just about enough.
You`ve got to look at the sexual experience and the role that these boys had to play, their age, their actions, when dealing with sentencing issues. And I`m here to tell you, these boys were calling. There`s evidence that they were manipulating and making fun and asking her for sex. I`m not saying this woman doesn`t have a problem. We`ve pretty much settled that.
GRACE: Yes, she`s a criminal. That`s her problem.
LAKE: We pretty much -- she is a criminal. But I believe the judge was right. You admonish these young boys and you say...
GRACE: What? What? Wait!
LAKE: ... Look, this woman may be a criminal.
GRACE: Admonish them?
LAKE: Yes, you do, because this woman may be a criminal, but I`m here to tell you that some of these acts that I`ve read about here in this evidence, you young boys need to get your act together because you do not do the things that you are doing to a woman who obviously has problems. I think the judge was right. Bottom line is you got to let these little boys know, Don`t have this kind of behavior going on anymore. Because you know what? Maybe next time, it won`t be a grown woman. Maybe it`ll be a young woman. So he was right to admonish them.
GRACE: And according to you, you see a difference in a grown woman and a young woman. And why is that?
LAKE: No, I do see a difference...
GRACE: And why is that?
LAKE: ... between a grown woman -- I see a difference between -- of course, we believe that adults and teachers...
GRACE: My question was why?
LAKE: And I`m answering it. The point is, is that as an adult and as a teacher, we expect her to know better. But the bottom line is, Nancy, out of all these cases you`ve covered, you know good and well that it`s a whole bunch of adults out here...
LAKE: ... that don`t know better...
LAKE: ... and they don`t do better.
LAKE: And she went to jail...
GRACE: I asked you -- I asked you what`s the difference between an adult female -- and I`m going to go to Dr. Patricia Saunders on this. Lauren Lake, defense attorney, said it`s a lot different when it`s adult female and a minor female. And there is the problem. Adults are held to a different standard.
LAKE: And she went to jail, Nancy!
GRACE: I directed this to Dr. Saunders!
LAKE: She went to jail.
GRACE: Thank you, Lauren. Why is it that people can talk out of this side of their mouth when it suits them and this side when it doesn`t? You can`t have it both ways. You either protect the child or you decide that sex with children is OK. Apparently, this judge, Herrick, thinks it`s OK. Patricia?
PATRICIA SAUNDERS, PSYCHOANALYST: I`m just mind-boggled by this, Nancy. It`s -- and what Lauren said just reinforces all of the stereotypes that we have of boys will be boys, and it`s OK when a boy is the victim. In answer to your question, research biology shows us that the brains of 16, and yes, 17-year-olds, and particularly boys, are not well developed enough to have mature judgments. That`s the difference between an adult woman or an adult man and a young or minor woman or man.
GRACE: And Dr. Saunders...
SAUNDERS: They don`t have the judgment...
GRACE: Dr. Saunders, when you hear, for instance, these radio talk show hosts saying, well, this is a schoolboy`s dream -- when they -- how would this affect them when they grow up?
SAUNDERS: It locks them into a corner because of all the gender and sex stereotypes we have in this very puritanical country, that, Oh, the boy got lucky. So if the boy is injured and is hurt by this, he can`t talk to anybody because then he`d really have a problem, and he wouldn`t be very manly.
There is -- even in the psychological community, there are mixed reviews and mixed studies on this, but many studies show that there are boys later in life who are very injured psychologically and in their relationships with women by being exploited sexually by an older woman.
GRACE: Well, I can tell you this much. I can tell you this much, Joe Mahoney. Joe is the Albany bureau chief for "The Daily News." If these young men and this boy were mine, I would consider them victims and there would be no place to hide for this woman or this school. Oh, yes! are there going to be civil lawsuits, Joe?
MAHONEY: That`s unclear yet. There`s been no lawsuits filed. But she will be coming back to the Albany area when she gets done with rehab. I`m told that she will still have custody of her four kids or share custody with her estranged husband.
GRACE: Quickly to tonight`s "Case Alert." Tonight, we ask for your help. Take a look at 15-year-old Justin Harris who vanished without a trace, Casper, Wyoming, Feb, 2004. If you have info on this little boy, call the Casper police, 307-235-8278.
Also tonight, Leslie Marva Adams still missing. Adams disappeared out of Wilbur (ph), Georgia, October 21. Just days before her disappearance, she filed a restraining order against a boyfriend, not named a suspect in this case. There`s a $25,000 reward. If you have info on this beautiful young girl, Leslie Adams, please call 770-513-5300.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beth Geisel had nothing to say as she turned herself in to Colonie police to face felony rape charges. Geisel is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student twice in May, once at her Colonie home and once in the press box at the football field at Christian Brothers Academy.
STEVE HEIDER, CHIEF, COLONIE POLICE: Unfortunately it`s a part of our sexist part of society, in that typically, a lot of young males are looked upon as not being able to be victims, that it is a matter of conquest instead of victimization. And in the social services field and law enforcement field, that`s just not the way it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Yes, maybe I`m jaded, everybody, after all those years in inner-city Atlanta handling child molestation, child rape cases and seeing what cases like this do to children. Maybe I am jaded.
Back to Joe Mahoney, Albany bureau chief with "The Daily News." What were the conditions of her probation the judge put on her? What was the name of the judge again, Joe? I`m sorry, I don`t think Joe Mahoney can hear me. Elizabeth, can you get us hooked back up?
In the meantime, I will go to investigative reporter Pat Lalama. Pat, what is the judge instructing her to do while she`s on probation?
LALAMA: Well, the first and the most important thing is that she has to register as a sex offender. You want serious, that`s serious. That will affect her life forever. She has to do drug and alcohol treatment.
And you know, I just want to throw in one thing here, the issue of the custody. My understanding is that the husband, at this point, has custody of the four children, for which I say amen. I don`t know whether she`ll be able to get them back.
But Nancy, did you know that while all this was going on, her own teenage son was a classmate at that school with these other boys? I mean, I just don`t see why it ends right here. This is a person who needs to be strictly monitored. She has far deeper problems than just alcohol. And what really scares me is that these people get teaching positions in high schools. How do they slip through the cracks? How do we...
Oh, one other thing. This is really important, as well. There was talk -- and this actually did happen, but no one`s exactly sure why. There was concern at the school that she was spending too much time behind closed doors in her office, where there were no windows. And she was with students all the time during these hours that no one could account for. They put a window if her office.
GRACE: They constructed a window in her office because they were worried?
LALAMA: Yes. Now, Nancy -- Nancy -- Nancy, hello! Red flag! I mean, I just...
GRACE: I smell a big, fat multi-million dollar lawsuit!
LALAMA: Thank you.
GRACE: And you know, Jonna Spilbor, would you explain to the viewers why we suddenly are saying, Uh-oh, there`s a lawsuit.
JONNA SPILBOR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh. Well, any time you have a crime that involves especially a child, and especially a school, which will have a deep pocket, the parents are going to go after the school for -- under some theory of civil liability to get the money. And so this case is going to be absolutely no different.
GRACE: Well, don`t you practice civil law, as well, Jonna?
GRACE: Well, don`t you file money cases?
SPILBOR: You only file money cases!
GRACE: Well, you`re acting like there`s something wrong with it.
SPILBOR: Well, I just -- you know, we have to...
GRACE: Because you are!
SPILBOR: Right. We have to assess what this kid`s damages are. And I`m sorry...
GRACE: Well, what...
GRACE: That`s not even the question.
SPILBOR: Yes, it is.
GRACE: What I was saying is the school suspected something going -- something illicit to the point where they installed a window in her office. They knew something was wrong. When somebody comes in and breaks through sheetrock and puts a window in your office, clearly, they think there`s a problem. But they kept her on.
SPILBOR: Yes. They clearly had notice that there was a problem, and that`s going to go a long way in finding the school liable. But you can`t award money if the kid`s not damaged. So what we`re going to have to figure out is how was this 16-year-old victim damaged? And I say he`s not going to be damaged that much.
And I really -- I have a question for Dr. Saunders. If a 16-year-old kid has sex with another 16-year-old kid, is he going to suffer some irreparable psychological damage for the rest of his life? I don`t think so. So why...
GRACE: But wait! I thought you were asking a question.
SPILBOR: I am.
GRACE: OK. Let`s get that answered, Dr. Saunders.
SAUNDERS: OK. When a 16-year-old has sex with another 16-year-old, there`s very little question of exploitation or coercion. When a 16-year- old has sex with a 42-year-old woman, OK, the boundaries of generation...
GRACE: And -- and -- and your classmates with her son -- Gee, your mom is hot. OK. That`s a whole `nother can of worms.
We`ll all be right back, but very quickly to tonight`s "Case Alert." Heading into the holidays, we here at "NANCY GRACE" want to make an extra effort to find missing people and reunite families. Take a look at William Douglas, 60 years old, last seen Osceola (ph), Iowa, Feb, 2004. If you have info, please contact Carol Sund Carrington toll-free, 888-813-8389.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEIDER: Unfortunately, in our society, our society probably precludes a lot of young men from reporting because it`s been felt that it`s a conquest and not a victimization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Children, whether they`re male or female, can be victims of predators in our community, and it shouldn`t make a difference if the victims are, in fact, young boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. There have been a string of teachers, of adult women that got in trouble for sex with minors. Of course, Beth Geisel, who we`re talking about tonight, Pam Turner (ph), Pam Smart, Mary Kay (SIC) Lafave, Mary Kay Latourneau and Debra Lafave, just to name a few.
Very quickly, to Joe Mahoney. Let me try him again, Albany bureau chief with "The Daily News." Could you clarify what her terms of probation are after her whopping four months behind jail for child rape? And what are those conditions?
MAHONEY: Well, she can never teach again. She can never work at a school. So she`s done in terms of being in the classroom. She has to be on probation now for 10 years, and she has to report as a sex offender. But that information on the state`s on-line registry is not available to the public because she`s considered a level one sex offender. So she has to register, but people can`t find out where she`s living.
GRACE: So Joe Mahoney, what about alcohol? What about drugs? What about urinalysis?
MAHONEY: Well, that`s also part of it, Nancy. And she does have to complete a three-year rehab program, and that`s where she`s starting out today. And that`s where she went immediately after she was let out of jail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is really nothing that the school could have done to stop this. And again, once the school had any knowledge of it, she was immediately fired from the school, told never to come back. And the police began an investigation and continue the investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Oh really? Well, what do you think about that window treatment, Pat Lalama? Explain that one more time.
LALAMA: OK. My understanding is that there was concern amongst the hierarchy at the school.
GRACE: Concern? OK.
LALAMA: Well, that`s the best we can do right now. But I`m sure it`s going to get better. That there was too much time spent behind closed doors in the office when students were in there, and so that a window was constructed.
Someone at the school said, "Well, that`s not true. It was for another reason." But the general consensus was that it was a way to sort of monitor what was going on. And take what you will from that, Nancy, but I know where I`m going with it.
GRACE: Where are you going?
LALAMA: Well, are you telling me -- look, how does this -- I can`t be that out of the loop and that far beyond reality that this -- I mean, I`ve got to believe that this kind of stuff cannot go unnoticed, that somebody, especially in a small Catholic school, has to know that behavior seems off- base, the behavior -- I mean, come on, remember school? Any little rumor of anything gets around. Somebody had to know something.
And I hope that somebody can dig it out of those administrators. I am convinced that school knew something was going on.
GRACE: To Gerry Boyle, criminal defense attorney, as well as civil attorney, Gerry, you have tried more cases than most of us put together, of course on the wrong side, but you have tried a lot of cases.
BOYLE: Wait a second. I was a prosecutor for five years.
GRACE: Says you. I haven`t found a record of it.
Gerry Boyle, here`s the reality: I smell a civil lawsuit. It`s going to be to the tune of millions of dollars. And is there any way you think this school did not know what was going on? Come on, Gerry, they broke through the sheetrock and put a window in her office so she couldn`t be in there alone with boy students. And you really think the 16-, 17-year-old boys didn`t talk about it?
BOYLE: I think they talked about it a lot. And I`ll tell you what, I think the lady who spoke earlier about what the damages are going to be hit the nail right on the head.
What damages are these guys going to have? Can you believe the psychiatrists and sociologists coming and talking about how much they`ve been harmed and what money...
GRACE: That`s true.
BOYLE: ... they`re entitled to. They`re not going to get any money. A jury isn`t going to award them any money. They were messing around with a 42-year-old woman. They were both wrong. Both sides were wrong. Everybody`s wrong.
A jury ain`t going to reward those boys and say, "Oh, the poor boys had sex with a woman." They didn`t have to get involved; she shouldn`t have gotten involved. So they`re not going to -- this is not a frail young lady of 13, a young girl of 13, being pursued by a man or a woman teacher. This is...
GRACE: So the rules are different when the victim`s a boy?
GRACE: OK, Gerry Boyle, you have lived down to my expectations. Thank you.
BOYLE: ... you want to ignore the reality. Damages are being to be an issue here. Believe me.
GRACE: You know what, Gerry? You may have me -- you got me over the barrel on something. You know what? That may be the reality, but you know what? It`s not the law.
BOYLE: I know.
GRACE: That is not the law.
BOYLE: Well, it is the law in damages.
GRACE: Yes, I`m talking about criminal law.
BOYLE: Oh, I know, but you`re wrong. She should pay and so should those boys pay. They were old enough.
GRACE: You know, another issue -- and I want to go back to Pat Lalama. Hold on, Gerry.
Everybody, Boyle defended very high-profile clients, such as Jeff Dahmer, Mark Chmura. That was on a child molestation charge as well. He was acquitted.
Pat Lalama, the conditions of her probation include no alcohol and drugs, right?
LALAMA: Yes, ha ha. Right.
GRACE: Well, you stole the words right out of my mouth.
Boyle, do you really think this teacher`s going to lay off the sauce?
BOYLE: Going to what?
GRACE: Not drink.
BOYLE: Oh, she better be careful. She`ll go to prison far long time if she drinks. She better get the message on that, I`ll tell you.
GRACE: But you know, another issue with that, Lauren Lake, you know how lax probation supervision is, not because probation officers themselves are lax -- I don`t think that at all -- they are overwhelmed with probationers, same thing with parolees.
Each probation officer has hundreds of people they`re supposed to supervise. You really think they`re going to swing by and get a urine analysis from this woman?
LAKE: They are, Nancy, because they know you`re watching, OK?
No, the bottom line is, in my experience, people on probation better watch out, because just when you think you`re about to slip through the cracks, bam, they`ve got your number.
GRACE: Yes, just like John Evander Couey down in Florida who killed Jessie Lunsford, according to prosecutors. He flunked every urine analysis that he was ever given. He left town. You name it. Not a thing happened.
OK, before you tune up on that, hold on just a moment.
GRACE: We`re switching gears to our other topic tonight. Hey, thank you, Gerry Boyle. I know you`re signing off now.
Everybody, we featured the other night here on the show a little girl. Elizabeth, if you could show her picture. There you go. Thank you. Twelve-year-old Teke Buggs, Orchard, Texas, asking for your help.
The girl last seen on her own sofa in her own home. I believe her mom was at work, she was at home with her family. She went missing. Tonight, I want to go straight out to KFNC-TV reporter Belinda Babinec.
Belinda, thank you for being with us. Is it true? Is the body we`ve heard about that of Teke?
BELINDA BABINEC, KFNC REPORTER: It is. They have confirmed that it is Teke Buggs. The family members identified her by the clothing and by jewelry that she was also wearing.
GRACE: Here is what her mother had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARONALD FOY, TEKETRIA BUGG`S MOTHER: ... about 10:30, I told them to get ready for bed. And that was the last time that anybody talked to her.
GRACE: At 10:30.
FOY: At around 10:30 p.m.
GRACE: Where did her stepfather go?
FOY: I`m not sure. I`m not sure. I don`t know. He probably -- I don`t -- I`m not sure.
GRACE: Did he leave the home that night?
FOY: Yes, ma`am. When he came back in, he came in and woke my 10- year-old up and asked her was she -- where was Teketria at? And she just said she didn`t know.
GRACE: Ms. Foy, where did the stepfather go that evening? And how long was he out of the home?
FOY: I`m not quite sure where he went because I wasn`t there.
GRACE: Has he told you?
FOY: No, ma`am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That was Teke`s mother very shortly after Teke went missing. I was grilling her that night on the live-in boyfriend. He had been with the family how long, Ellie, nine years?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, about nine years.
GRACE: He had been with the family for nine years. I was very concerned at that time that he would not state to anyone where he had gone that night.
I want to go straight back out to Belinda Babinec. Belinda, who found the body? When was the body discovered? And did the body have signs of trauma?
BABINEC: Texas EquuSearch was searching the Brazos River. And they actually found the body. And, yes, the body did have signs of trauma, and now police are considering this a homicide investigation.
GRACE: Tim Miller is us with tonight, everyone. He is a regular guest here on our show. He is the founder of EquuSearch. You are familiar with him probably because he volunteered to go down in the Natalee Holloway search.
And he is not just a founder EquuSearch. He is a crime victim himself. His daughter was murdered, as well.
Tim, you are on the boat when Teke`s body was discovered. What happened?
TIM MILLER, EQUUSEARCH DIRECTOR: Well, I actually wasn`t on the boat.
MILLER: Yes, we brought in some special sonar equipment. We flew it in. And then we also had a dog on one of the boats from Louisiana, a water cadaver dog.
And the dog was alertant, but it was real windy. And we really couldn`t pinpoint a spot. And we was just calling the divers, and the boat kept going up and down the river. And they found her. She had floated.
And we`d been in the river every day, and we was determined that we was just going to stay in that river, because we did everything else on ground we knew what to do.
And it`s a very sad day, you know, for the family and for that whole community. And we do a lot of these, but they don`t get any easier, Nancy.
GRACE: Tim, a lot of viewers have heard of cadaver dogs, but you brought in cadaver water dogs. How are they trained?
MILLER: This dog specially trained just for human remains in water. And it`s one of the best dogs in the nation. And Lisa Higgins from Louisiana came over and volunteered her services. And they was out in the water today for maybe two hours when we discovered her.
GRACE: You know, you said it never gets any easier. That is so true. Every time we report on a story like this, it never gets any easier. When you realize that a body had been found, did you know instinctively that it was Teke?
MILLER: Oh, I knew immediately, Nancy. I mean, it was a mile from her house. Nobody else was reported missing. And, you know, it was real hard at that time when we found her, because the biological father was actually there. And we didn`t tell him at that time.
And, you know, then the reports got out and stuff. And, you know, all the -- we`d been on that search every day for 12 days. And talking to the detective last night, he said, "Mr. Miller, can you bring some more stuff in on that water?" And I told him what we was bringing in. And, you know, there`s a lot of effort. And today, we just had that luck to go along with that.
GRACE: You said that -- earlier it was said that there was trauma to the body. Do you know what was the mode of homicide?
MILLER: I don`t know what it is, Nancy.
GRACE: What was the trauma to the body? Was she beaten, was she strangled, what?
MILLER: Who are you asking, Belinda? Because, yes, I don`t know. I think maybe Belinda knows.
GRACE: Belinda, do you know?
BABINEC: I don`t know exactly what they found, as far as signs of trauma. But they are saying that there was obvious signs of trauma when they found her body.
GRACE: Everybody, we`ll all be right back on the discovery of Teke`s remains and where we think that criminal investigation is headed.
We do have some good news. Last night, as you recall, Brandy Shipp came on our show begging for your help to bring her mom home. Not even a full day later, a person of interest in federal custody. Our thoughts with Summer Shipp and her daughter tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOY: I just can`t see somebody coming into my grandmother`s home and taking her and her not trying to put up a fight or anything. She`s too brave.
And I just feel like she had time to put on her shoes. Whoever she left with, she trusted him. She knew him with all her heart. And I am asking (INAUDIBLE) just bring her back to me. I can`t make it without her. Please bring her back to me, please.
She`s a feisty little girl. She`s a very, very feisty little girl. But when I say she can hold her own and has a good heart, that`s her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: I really don`t know how a 12-year-old little girl can hold her own against an adult. That seems to be the consensus in Orchard, Texas. We learned just before air that a body found in the Bravos River near Orchard, Texas, is, in fact, that of 12-year-old Teke Buggs.
I want to go straight out to Dr. Jonathan Arden, medical examiner and forensic pathologist. Dr. Arden, thank you for being with us. This child may have been in the body for almost two weeks. What condition is it in?
JONATHAN ARDEN, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, that remains to be seen. Two weeks down in the water, she can have substantial decompositional changes. There could be obscuring of whatever injuries there are.
On the other hand, it was relatively cold, as I understand. And that may have preserved her, relatively speaking. And she may be in better anatomical condition than she would have been if she had been in the air, or aboveground, or that sort of thing during the time that she was dead.
Now, there`s a host of things that come to my mind, having heard the story as portrayed. First of all, she`s been identified by her personal effects and belongings. This clearly will have to be confirmed by the more biological or medical means, dental work, DNA, that sort of thing.
Second of all, the issue about being injured and having trauma, I say, let`s be very cautious, because the body may have changed. The body may be in a condition where things are not what they appear to be. And so I wouldn`t want to be in a position where somebody over-interprets, goes public with this, and then, of course, we`re going down the primrose path again, as we`ve seen in some other recent cases with some press releases.
But there may be evidence there. There may be clear-cut evidence of injuries, depending upon the state of preservation. If there are any injuries in her bones, those, of course, will be entirely visible the way they would be ordinarily.
So there`s a lot of work to be done here, a lot of trace evidence to be collected. Hopefully, this will be done very carefully, very cautiously, and no mistakes will be made.
GRACE: Well, what exactly do you mean by changes in the body after the two weeks in water?
ARDEN: Well, if you`ll pardon me for being a bit graphic, the body starts to break down. The tissues begin to soften. If there is enough overgrowth of bacteria, then there will be gas accumulation and bloating of the body. The skin may start to slip off, that kind of thing. Things may change color. And in that sense, something that is a bruise may not look like a bruise or vice versa. So you need to be very cautious about those things. But...
ARDEN: I`m sorry.
GRACE: Dr. Arden, after this period of time, will it be possible to determine whether Teke Buggs was sexually molested?
ARDEN: Well, that`s a very, very important question, and the answer - - the best answer to give you to be honest is maybe.
GRACE: OK, you know what? Can you do a little better than that?
ARDEN: Of course I can, Nancy. I`m sorry. You can recover biological material in a rape kit or in a sexual assault kit sometimes up to weeks after it was deposited. Being in the water will probably tend to break things down and give a better chance, a greater chance for material to be washed away into the water, that kind of thing. And so...
GRACE: Well, I mean, Dr. Arden, we all know that sperm breaks down after about three days. It starts disintegrating before that. I`m not talking about finding live spermatozoa. I`m talking about evidence of trauma to the body, I`m talking about the possibility that it could not -- maybe there`s not a hymen. I`m talking about trauma to the genital area.
Do you think that that could be determined after two weeks in water?
ARDEN: As a general rule, yes. You`ve got two different things that we`re looking at here. One is more the laboratory approach, not just intact sperm but DNA from male, you can get y-chromosomal DNA sometimes weeks after its` deposited. And that`s much more sensitive than looking for spermatozoa.
And then the other issue is just what you brought up, which is physical injuries that corroborate a sexual assault. If she does have physical injuries to her genitals, such as bruising or tearing, that is likely going to still be visible and something you can ascertain.
If she has any other kinds of injuries that relate to, for instance, binding, something where she may have had control injuries, a gag in her mouth, a binding of her limbs, those kinds of things, that should be still visible, especially internally.
So all the evidence is not lost. It`s just a matter of whether it`s been -- sorry, whether it`s been obscured.
GRACE: Thanks, Dr. Arden. We`re going to go to a quick break and be back with Dr. Jonathon Arden, medical examiner and forensic pathologist.
To tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI, law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Daniel Scaife in connection with the `94 murder of 33-year-old Andres Rivera (ph). Scaife, 33, 6`1", 150 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have info, call 404-679-9000.
Local news next for some of you. But we`ll be right back. And remember, coverage of a university professor`s murder trial, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
Please stay with us tonight as we remember Marine Corporal Anthony McElveen, just 21, an American hero.
GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at Anthony Allen, now 43. He was just 16 when he disappeared, Fort Smith, Arkansas, October 1978. If you have info on Anthony Allen, please call the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation, toll-free, 888-813-8389.
Last week, we profiled a missing 12-year-old girl, Teketria Buggs, Teke Buggs, just absolutely precious, missing out of Orchard, Texas. I want to quickly go back to KFNC-TV reporter Belinda Babinec.
Belinda, anybody, a suspect named officially a suspect in her death?
BABINEC: The mother`s boyfriend is a suspect. Mr. Carrington is a suspect, and he was since the very beginning.
GRACE: Well, I could have told you that that night when he said he didn`t know where he was when she went missing.
BABINEC: Yes, that he left the home and couldn`t tell anybody where he went that night. He is a suspect. He has been from the beginning. But nobody has been charged in her disappearance or in her murder.
GRACE: Well, what is his record?
BABINEC: He has quite an interesting record. He has a...
GRACE: I don`t like the sound of that.
BABINEC: ... DUI, assault, resisting arrest, and various other things, yes.
GRACE: Well, you know, the assault jumps out at me. But the DUI, I mean, half of Manhattan has a DUI under their belt. So he`s behind bars right now, very quickly, Belinda, for what?
BABINEC: He`s in jail on an unrelated domestic violence charge. And that`s what...
GRACE: An unrelated domestic violence -- I`m just guessing, did that happen in the home where Teke Buggs lived?
BABINEC: That information has not been released.
GRACE: OK. Belinda Babinec, thank you so much, Belinda from KFNC-TV. But I want to thank all of my guests tonight. Our biggest thank you here is to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes.
Headlines from around the world coming up next. I`m Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.