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NANCY GRACE

Seven-year-old Nixzmary Brown is starved, tortured and murdered by her stepfather while her mother does nothing to stop him. Should the child welfare workers who failed to intervene be prosecuted for her death, as well?

Aired January 19, 2006 - 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, a call to arms. A 7-year-old little girl, now literally an angel, endured years of abuse, months of torture, actually documented by child welfare workers, teachers, police. The abuse of this little girl, Nixzmary Brown, ended all right when her stepfather killed her as her mother stood by and let it happen. Her last words, Mommy, don`t leave me. Child welfare (INAUDIBLE) They let it happen, and tonight we call for criminal charges. Book `em!
And also tonight, a murder in the Midwest, 21-year-old Wisconsin girl Christine Rudy, six months pregnant -- remember her? -- vanished from a Wisconsin roadside. Tonight, the sheriff says he has the killer.

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful 21-year-old Wisconsin girl -- true. Christine Rudy`s remains have been found, but do they reveal enough clues as to her killer? And does the local sheriff have that killer?

Also tonight, the loss of a beautiful 7-year-old little girl, murdered, tortured in her own home by her stepfather. Her mother never lifted a finger! Allegedly all over a missing cup of yogurt. But it`s not just on the parents tonight. Half a dozen child welfare workers disciplined for letting this child`s life slip through the cracks. But wait a minute! Discipline? Paid vacation, reassignment, shuffling them from one desk to another? What about jail, right along with the parents?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES HYNES, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: While Santiago (ph) looked on, he began to systematically beat Nixzmary about the body. He then stripped the little girl naked and dragged her into the bathroom. Rodriguez then carried Nixzmary`s limp, naked body from the bathroom and threw her on the floor of the dirty room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She just said, I wish my mommy and daddy (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She showed me the bruise on her leg and on her shoulder. And I said, What happened? And she said, My stepfather (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will be held accountable for their actions in this tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, you try to do a, you know, good job, you know, preparing her, but you still could tell she was really hurt. They abused her really bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m so sorry. I`m so sorry! I`m sorry I couldn`t help you (INAUDIBLE) I`m sorry! I`m sorry! I`m sorry I (INAUDIBLE) help you! I`m sorry!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: You may think I`m harsh, but I say that`s too little too late. What this child endured for years, months before her death, the whole family did nothing. In fact, with all the stories we cover and bring to you, when this occurred, January 11, I myself could not bear to read the headlines. When it came on the air, I turned the TV on mute. Headlines like this. Now the city acts. Beyond evil.

Straight out to Adam Lisberg with "The New York Daily News." Welcome, Adam. Bring us up-to-date, friend.

ADAM LISBERG, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Good evening, Nancy. This apartment here behind me in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, eight days ago, a little girl named Nixzmary Brown, 7 years old -- she only weighed 36 pounds, which is about the average weight of a 4-year-old -- she was found dead in this apartment. And as police first investigated, they discovered that not only had she been beaten badly, tortured that night by her stepfather while her mother stood by, they found that she had a history of being abused, tortured, allegedly sexually molested, as well, by her stepfather, sometimes beaten by her mother, other times her mother stood by and let it happen.

As they dug deeper, they found that her siblings, some of her siblings, rather, the ones who were not the biological children of Nixzmary`s stepfather -- that they had also been abused to varying degrees. They`d been thrown into a room they called the "dirty room," which was rodent-infested, allegedly, where the children were forced to use a cat box as their toilet. That was a room for punishment...

GRACE: Adam? Adam?

LISBERG: Yes?

GRACE: Wait a minute.

LISBERG: You know, I`ve been working on this for a week, so some of this sounds almost rote to me now, and I apologize because...

GRACE: Wait a minute!

(CROSSTALK)

LISBERG: ... and only gets worse.

GRACE: No, Adam. Adam, you`re doing your job as a reporter. They had a cat litter box for this child to use? Did you just say that?

LISBERG: Yes. That`s what the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles Hynes, said. That`s what the police said. It appears that that`s what happened.

GRACE: Tell me about the night this little girl was killed.

LISBERG: The authorities say that Nixzmary somehow became the scapegoat for this family, for things that other children did, and she was the one who was picked on. She was the one who was abused the most. Her parents didn`t give her enough food, apparently. And that night, when her stepfather, Caesar (ph) Rodriguez, came home with some containers of yogurt, he gave them to all the children but her.

The children later that night discovered that one container of yogurt was missing, and the other children pointed -- either the other children or her mother, perhaps -- I forget the details -- pointed to Nixzmary and said, She`s the one who took it. So she was thrown in the dirty room.

Later that night, her stepfather found that his computer printer was broken. Once again, he brought all the children together. They stood and they pointed at Nixzmary as the one who did it.

So this is over a cup of yogurt and a computer printer, but this was - - if you believe the allegations in the indictments, this was only the culmination of months and months of abuse.

Her stepfather was enraged, took her into the bathroom, somehow -- turned on the cold water, stripped her naked, and somehow in the process, slammed her head -- I don`t know if he punched her or if he slammed her against the wall, against the faucet, but she sustained a serious head injury, and she was held under the freezing cold water. And then he...

GRACE: With me -- go ahead. Go ahead.

LISBERG: Yes. Then, as you heard in the opener from the district attorney, he -- the stepfather threw her on the floor and left her there, moaning in pain. She was crying, Mommy, don`t leave me. That`s what her mother told reporters at the jailhouse interview. And her mother did, in fact, leave her, just listened to these cries for hours until eventually, they stopped.

GRACE: Adam, I`ve got a question for you.

LISBERG: Yes. Sure.

GRACE: You know, when I try cases, it is very, very difficult in cases like this, especially when children were the victims, to keep a straight face in front of a jury and continue on for the state, for the people. How do you do it? How do you just give that rendition and not just slit your wrists?

LISBERG: I tell you, it`s -- in the last eight days -- usually, newsrooms are places with a lot of joking and a lot of wisecracking going on. In the last eight days, those of us at "The Daily News" -- my editors and fellow reporters -- we`ve all been morose about this. It`s something that there`s been -- just an absolutely solemn mood covering this story. That`s why we`ve put her on the front page every single day because we don`t want anyone to forget what happened to her and...

GRACE: Absolutely not. And Adam...

LISBERG: ... and we hope it makes a difference.

GRACE: ... the list of children that have been abused at the hands of foster parents and adoptive parents -- there`s Kayla McKean, died 1998. I will never forget that case. The list goes on. Alfredo Montez, 2002. Lisa Steinberg -- no one will ever forget Joel Steinberg and Hedda Nussbaum (ph). Elisa Izquierdo, 1995. There`s Lisa Steinberg again. This is just such a long -- now, Bruce Jackson was in New Jersey. This young man right there was actually a teenager and had been starved to that stunted growth. Faheem Williams -- you know, all of these cases also include -- there we go, Dahquay Gillians -- all of these cases include starving, beating.

And most important tonight, we can`t change what happened to Nixzmary, but we can do something about this. To my friend and colleague Pamela Hayes. Pam is the former chief of the sex crimes force in the Brooklyn DA`s office. Pam, welcome back to the airwaves, friend. We have missed you.

Pam, you know, you and I have both handled a lot of felony cases, you on one side, me on the other. But Pamela, child welfare defects (ph). They had been to the home, Pamela. They never took action. The police had been there. Teachers saw the little girl come in with a black eye. You know, Pam, I really believe that tonight -- and we`re going to give you all a Web site so you can contact your representative and senator. These child welfare workers that stand by and let these children be murdered, be starved over a period of time, they need to be booked along with this mother and father, Pamela!

PAM HAYES, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR, BROOKLYN DA`S OFFICE: Nancy, I know it seems crazy, but you`re absolutely right. This is a total outrage. And I`m thinking that 13 years ago, that would have been in my bureau, my case, when I was the chief of the sex crimes bureau.

What the problem here is, is nothing is ever done. We always take the easy way out. We indict the criminal. We find them guilty. And so what? But you have to stop the process. I`m so outraged. I mean, I couldn`t even bear to listen, but I made myself listen to that rendition. So many of our children are suffering coast to coast, not just in Brooklyn, not just in New York. This is a routine occurrence, and it is time for the mayor...

GRACE: but you know, Pam...

HAYES: ... of the city of New York to do something!

GRACE: Pam, let`s break it down. And it`s not just -- I agree with you about the mayor and New York, where, PS, the death penalty is a thing of the past! Forget about it! You could be a mass killer here, and you will die of old age behind bars, with me paying for your food. But Pam, here`s the thing. Why can`t these defects (ph), child welfare workers, go to jail?

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: They can`t. You have to get your elected officials to make an example out of them, to prosecute them for endangering the welfare of a child. There are crimes and statutes on the books that all affect these people. And if you start prosecuting them for lying and not doing their job and covering up, it will stop soon.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HYNES: While Santiago looked on, he began to systematically beat Nixzmary about the body. He then stripped the little girl naked and dragged her into the bathroom and turned on the cold water from the bathtub faucet and thrust her head underneath the freezing water. While Rodriguez had Nixzmary in the bathroom, loud banging noises and her screams or cries "Mommy" could be heard throughout the apartment. Rodriguez then carried Nixzmary`s limp, naked body from the bathroom and threw her on the floor of the dirty room. Several hours later, her mother went to check on her daughter and found her cold and unresponsive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: I think this should be a multiple indictment, everybody, the mom, the dad and all of these child welfare workers that had been on Nixzmary`s case for so long and done absolutely nothing. Here she`d come to school with a black eye, she misses weeks and weeks of school, nobody does a thing. She comes to school on another day with her body covered in bruises, nobody lifts a pinky, and now this little girl is dead.

I want to go to Richard Wexler, executive director with the National Coalition Child Protection Reform. Why don`t child welfare workers who let children like this die go to jail? There`s such a thing as criminal negligence, homicide.

RICHARD WEXLER, EXEC. DIR. NATIONAL COALITION FOR CHILD PROTECTION REFORM: Because if you want to do that, then I can think of no better way to guarantee that you will wind up with more dead children because what you`ll do then is you will terrify every worker. They won`t just take away children in cases like this, where despicable parents allegedly did horrendous things...

GRACE: Richard...

WEXLER: I`m not done! Despicable parents did allegedly horrendous things...

GRACE: Well, I didn`t ask you for a sermon! I asked for an answer...

WEXLER: And I`m giving you...

GRACE: ... on the law.

WEXLER: And I`m giving you an answer but you don`t want to hear it because it wasn`t what you wanted to hear. The workers will be terrified. They will tear away huge numbers of additional children. They will then be overwhelmed. Then the workers can`t make good decisions. They will miss more children in real danger, and more children will die! If that`s what you want, go ahead. You can vent or you can find real solutions that will help kids. You can`t do both.

GRACE: Well, you know what? If you take a look at the fact that 1,500 children died in this country, 2003, because of abuse, your approach isn`t working very well, Either, Richard!

WEXLER: On the contrary. In the city of New York...

GRACE: Straight back to Pamela...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: I was not quite done!

WEXLER: ... in their own homes with...

GRACE: I was not quite done, Richard!

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: I`d like to go back to Pam Hayes. Pam, if you adopt Richard Wexler`s theory, why wouldn`t that work with drunk drivers and dope addicts and kleptomaniacs? They know there`s a penalty, but they keep doing it!

HAYES: The theory is outrageous. You have to hold people responsible. Every time something happens doesn`t mean that someone did something wrong. But in the instances where they haven`t done their job, where they have glossed over the facts, where they have made misstatements, you have to do something. And just disciplining them is not enough. I think that District Attorney Hynes should get the grand jury and find out whether there was criminal activity here.

GRACE: But you know, Pam, before we go to break, I think it`s very simple. If a child dies in this manner, in this horrific manner -- and when we come back, we`re going to be joined by a neighbor that overheard screams and pounding next door. If you can show that you went to the home and you did your job and you saw nothing amiss, then fine. But if you fail on your job and you allow a child like this to be tortured and killed, you are going to answer!

Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." A serial killer, Carla Homulka (ph), a female killer, who helped her husband rape and murder a string of young girls, including her own sister, will now be immortalized for a movie set for release tomorrow. Controversy surrounding the film. Homulka is portrayed as sad and desperate, making excuses for murder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) profoundly disturbing. I wish I hadn`t seen it out of respect for the parents, for the family. It`s not worth it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And tomorrow night, a NANCY GRACE exclusive primetime interview with George Smith`s family as they prepare to board the cruise ship where their son and brother, George Smith, disappeared. Tomorrow night live, 8:00 o`clock Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People should pay more attention, you know, when things like this come up, and especially when they see a child bruised. You can`t always believe the parents, you know, when they say, you know, they fell or it was an accident. They should really investigate that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) a finger on the -- on the city and the mother because she allowed that. She allowed that to happen to her child, and she should have stopped it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: The most recent statistics have not yet been assembled, but in 2003 alone, 2.9 million cases of child abuse. And I can tell you, I`ve only had to leave the courtroom in a middle of a trial one time, and it was during intense child abuse case. It was so disturbing.

Back to Adam Lisberg, reporter with "The New York Daily News." Adam, I want to get something straight. Tell me about the involvement of the child welfare workers because I firmly believe, with the knowledge of the law, they can and should be indicted.

LISBERG: The city Department of Investigation, which is -- it`s sort of internal investigations arm -- is taking a look at if there`s anything criminal done in this case. So far, we don`t have any indication that the case workers broke any law.

GRACE: What was (INAUDIBLE)

LISBERG: And Nancy, I do have to preface this by saying that most case workers I think do a good job. They do a tough job for not a lot of money and...

GRACE: Really...

LISBERG: ... the ones who do their...

GRACE: Do you really believe that, Adam? Because...

LISBERG: Yes, I do. And Nancy...

GRACE: ... every case I prosecuted...

(CROSSTALK)

LISBERG: ... to tell you, the ones who do a good job are the ones you never heard about.

GRACE: Every time I prosecuted a child molestation or abuse case, almost every time, there had been calls to child welfare and they do nothing.

LISBERG: Yes, that is -- and that`s certainly what happened here. "The Daily News" got an exclusive look at the case files on Nixzmary Brown, and what they show is that child welfare workers were notified of allegations. They saw enough hints that they should have dug further, but they didn`t. And it doesn`t sound like it was a deliberate attempt to ignore something but just that she fell through the cracks. After...

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait! What do you mean it wasn`t their intent to ignore, she just fell through the cracks? That`s their job!

LISBERG: That we see no indication in the documentation we`ve seen that someone said, Let`s ignore Nixzmary Brown, but...

GRACE: They just did!

LISBERG: ... she fell through -- yes. Yes. I`m just trying to draw a line between intent and what happened here. And as a prosecutor...

GRACE: Well, you know what?

LISBERG: ... you know what that involves.

GRACE: Yes, I certainly...

LISBERG: But anyway, let me give you...

GRACE: ... do!

LISBERG: Let me give you the rundown on what happened here, Nancy.

GRACE: OK.

LISBERG: On December 1, a teacher -- I`m sorry, a social worker at Nixzmary`s school noticed that she had a cut above her eye and she had a black eye and she`d been missing some school. So she notified the state child abuse hotline. Report came into the -- it`s called the Administration for Children`s Services, ACS, in New York City. They immediately dispatched the case worker and a supervisor to her school. When they got there, they talked to her, her siblings, her mother and her stepfather, eventually. All of them but one said that the injury was caused just by slipping and falling on a piece of wood while playing. Nixzmary`s little sister, she was the only one who pointed a finger at the stepfather.

The case workers didn`t pursue that angle. When -- they ended up coming back here to the apartment to take a look around, and when they went into the adults` bedroom, they found something really disturbing. They found that Nixzmary`s mother...

GRACE: Hold on, Adam. Adam? Adam, we`ve got to go to break. But one question, yes or no. When this child was found dead, did she weigh 37 pounds?

LISBERG: Thirty-six is what we heard.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Nixzmary Brown, 7 years old, tortured to death by her stepfather, mother watching on, after repeated calls to child welfare. The response? To shuffle child welfare workers around from one desk to the next, to suspend some of them. That`s it. Tell your congresspeople! You can reach at this address, senators and representatives. Pleas, for Nixzmary, make a difference tonight.

To David Schwartz, defense attorney. David Schwartz, in this case, explain to me why the charges on the father are murder two, not murder one.

DAVID SCHWARTZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, unfortunately, the murder one statute just doesn`t apply the way the statute is written right now. Murder one in New York state involves the killing of a police officer, the killing of a corrections officer, the murder of a judge. And if the murder...

GRACE: Oh, like, judges are more important than this child? Whoa!

SCHWARTZ: Nancy, I agree with you, the statute has to change. The children are the most vulnerable of all. But I must disagree with the statement that was made before. You know, I`ve dealt with these case workers a lot, both as a former prosecutor in Brooklyn and as a defense attorney, and I have to tell you that some are pretty good, but the majority, not the minority, but the majority of case workers are incompetent. This system is a disaster. The family courts of New York are a complete disaster also, and there needs to be major, major reform, Nancy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES HYNES, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Nixaliz Santiago, it`s murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, assault in the second degree, unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a minor.

And as to Ceasar Rodriguez, murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Please, District Attorney Hynes, don`t stop reading there. Add on those child welfare workers who knew this little girl was being tortured and did nothing. Now she`s dead.

And if you are anything like me, for days now, I couldn`t read the papers. I saw the front, I put them away, because it is so ghastly, so horrible what happened to this little girl.

And now all the family is crying and screaming and throwing themselves at the coffin, for what? What did they do while this girl was being tortured? What did DFACS, child welfare, do to save this girl`s life? I`ll tell you what they did: nothing.

Right now to a neighbor of Nixzmary`s, Ms. Elizabeth Roberts is joining us. By the way, Adam Lisberg is with us with the "Daily News." They are there outside Nixzmary`s home.

Ms. Roberts, thank you for being with us.

ELIZABETH ROBERTS, SEVEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL`S NEIGHBOR: You`re welcome.

GRACE: Ms. Roberts, what, if anything, did you hear going on in the apartment where Nixzmary lived?

ROBERTS: Well, in passing, as I told the reporter, in passing -- I heard it was during like the summertime -- the mother yelling at the little boy. And it stood out to me. And you know, when I saw it on the newspaper, when I heard and saw what was going on, she came right back to me, you know. So it`s a day that I would not -- I would not forget...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: Did you ever say anything to them about the way they carried on with their children?

ROBERTS: No, because that day that I saw her it was in passing. I`m a neighbor, I`m passing by. It`s not that -- you know?

GRACE: Right. Now, I understand there was also an incident out in the street where you heard the mom yelling at the children?

ROBERTS: Yes.

GRACE: What happened then?

ROBERTS: Well, I went my way, you know, but it stood with me. It stood with me that she could speak to the child, a little boy, in such a manner. It was horrible. I have to stop and take a good look at her and look at the little boy. I couldn`t believe that that was a mom talking to the child like that. So this incident, it stands out.

GRACE: Were you surprised when you found out Nixzmary was dead?

ROBERTS: No, I wasn`t surprised.

GRACE: Oh, oh. I want to go to psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall joining us. Bethany, why is it that good people, good people stand by and do nothing?

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, it is the leading problem in this whole child abuse thing. Nancy, to put this in perspective, four children die on average every day from child abuse and neglect. And 80 percent of these children are under the age of four. They`re littlies. They`re our most vulnerable population.

And the people who are primarily responsible -- besides the abusers, who, by the way, for the most part, are the children`s parents -- are the friends, relatives and the neighbors who stand by and do nothing. Underreporting is a huge problem.

And think about child abuse. It`s neglect. It`s emotional abuse, yelling at a child. It`s sexually abusing a child and physical abuse, which is beating, touching, you know, kicking, hitting a child. And when you really think about this, a lot of children are abused. Relatives, friends and neighbors must step forward. You can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD, even if you`re suspicious.

GRACE: And very quickly, Michelle Suskauer, give me your best defense for these child welfare workers. They definitely need to be booked, and tonight.

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, I don`t think that we`re going to rise to the level of criminal negligence here, Nancy. I`m sorry; I don`t agree. And I don`t think that...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: See? You said you`re sorry. You said you`re sorry because you know we`re right. You`re sorry you don`t agree.

SUSKAUER: No, you know, Nancy, the problem that we have here is all about money. It`s all about budget cuts. It`s about these welfare workers who -- and I`m not excusing them, Nancy -- who are overworked, who have too many cases, and they don`t have enough education and not enough time to work on these individual cases.

GRACE: Yes, right. You know what, Michelle? You`re right. They`re overworked. It was just their job. You know what...

(CROSSTALK)

SUSKAUER: Well, you know what?

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: ... they said that at the concentration camps, too. "Just my job."

SUSKAUER: Let me tell you, I am not excusing them, but these are people who are not properly trained, who have too many cases. And the budget cuts, we have to petition the legislatures to put more money toward these programs.

GRACE: Well, you know, I agree with your last argument. I certainly do. And that`s why I`m urging everyone to log on and contact your representative and your senator about this. If you care about Nixzmary Brown, if you care about abused children, you can go online, www.house.gov/writerep. That gives you a list of everybody you need to know.

A special thank you, before we go to Wisconsin to Adam Lisberg, reporter with the "Daily News." And, Adam, I want to tell you your paper is one of the ones I couldn`t bear to read. I finally did, and I want to thank you for telling us the truth. Thank you, Adam.

LISBERG: Thank you. It`s tough to hear, but I`m glad you appreciate it.

GRACE: You know, it is tough to hear. It`s easy to turn away, but we are not turning away from the facts of Nixzmary Brown.

I want to go straight now to Wisconsin. Elizabeth, do you have that sound for me? Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s our understanding that the conversation began about Christine wanting to spend more time with Shaun. As they progressed down the road, it sounded like the argument became a little more heated. Our understanding, it was just verbal.

And he had pulled over to the side of the road. And Christine had gotten out. We don`t know if, you know, she volunteered to get out on her own. Did he physically remove her? We don`t have any evidence to prove either way about what happened.

Again, Sean`s story is that it sounded as if she had volunteered and gotten out of the car.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Remains of who we came to know as Christine Rudy, a 21-year- old woman, six months pregnant, have been found, but Paul Knoff, a reporter with WCCN Radio joining us from Wisconsin, what have we learned from those remains?

PAUL KNOFF, WCCN RADIO REPORTER: Well, the sheriff`s department today held a press conference basically confirming what I think a lot of people suspected, that they believed Shaun Rudy killed his wife, Christine Rudy, on November 12th. During the press conference today, they said that they believe that Shaun shot his wife, Christine, took her body to an undisclosed location where he dismembered it, and then drove to nearby Chippewa County and disposed of the body in the Chippewa River.

GRACE: Disposed of the body, dismembered the body. So what exactly is it are you telling me they have found of Christine Rudy?

KNOFF: My hunch is that that`s not official yet. They did comment of what state the remains were in. But my hunch is what they have found was not much, because they have not been able to get to a cause of death as of yet. But they have positively identified what they`ve found as that of Christine Rudy.

GRACE: Joining us now, a guest we have come to know, Clark County sheriff`s office Chief Deputy Jim Backus. Now that you have announced a suspect, where do you go from here, Chief?

CHIEF DEPUTY JIM BACKUS, CLARK COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Well, we continued on investigation. We have some more interviews to complete. And once we complete all of those, those reports will then be taken up to the district attorney`s office. And we still await some reports from DCI and the crime lab.

GRACE: Chief, in these days and times, it`s pretty bold for a sheriff to say we`ve got our man, but you are saying this is the suspect. Why are you so sure?

BACKUS: Well, our investigation up to now, with some of the evidence that we have located and, you know, information we have learned through investigation, is assisting us to make this news release today. And as indicated, we...

GRACE: What evidence have you located?

BACKUS: Well, you know, we have numerous witness statements. We have different corroborating information that we have collected and taken to the crime lab.

GRACE: Joining us also tonight, forensic anthropologist working on this case, Dr. Leslie Eisenberg. Doctor, thank you for being with us. How do investigators try to recover these types of remains from water?

LESLIE EISENBERG, FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST: Good evening, Nancy. Thanks for having me on the program.

Really, forensic anthropologists are really presented with all kinds of cases in the work we do. Some of the cases we work on are found on land. Some are found in shallow graves. And some actually are found in water.

And water presents a number of unique challenges, not only for law enforcement but for the forensic anthropologist, because it`s a different kind of environment. There are different creatures in the water. There may be different currents at different times of the year.

Here, in a state like Wisconsin, where the winters are very cold, you may have a cap of ice on a body of water for months and months and months.

GRACE: Very quickly, Dr. Eisenberg, before we go to break, if Christine`s body has not been found, what exactly are you working with?

EISENBERG: Well, as the sheriff mentioned, the investigation is ongoing. And I have been asked to make observations based on evidence that has been found to date.

GRACE: I am taking this to mean that there is DNA evidence, possibly from a shooting. And my educated guess is at the location of the shooting.

Very quickly to tonight`s "Case Alert," bones found at a salvage yard, Mishicot, Wisconsin, identified as those of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach, last seen at the yard, there at the auto yard, October 31, 2005. The owner of that yard, Steve Avery, charged with murder. He claims it`s a set-up.

And show note. Tomorrow night, a NANCY GRACE exclusive primetime interview with George Smith`s family. They are preparing to board the cruise ship where their son, their brother, George Smith disappeared. Tomorrow night, 8:00 Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The information indicates Shaun allegedly shot Christine Rudy. The investigation revealed the following -- that, following the shooting, Shaun Rudy allegedly removed the body from the scene. He allegedly transported the body to another location and allegedly dismembered the body.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Tonight, some portion of Christine Rudy`s body has been found. How do we know the sheriff has the right man based on that remain?

Very quickly to Rita Smith. She is the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Rita, before we go to our next story, my question is: We know that homicide leading death amongst pregnant women in this country. For women watching tonight, what are the danger signs?

RITA SMITH, EXEC. DIR., NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Well, I think some of the things that one would look for are, you know, is he obsessively jealous? Does he want to account for every minute of your time? Does he want to account for how much money you spend? Does he call you incessantly at work or try to find out where you are all the time, keep track of you, stalking kinds of behavior?

I think that those are some pretty high warning signs. You know, does he get angry inappropriately? And I think that your gut sense would be that something`s wrong. It probably is.

GRACE: I want to thank all of my guests joining us out of Wisconsin, particularly our reporter and sheriff, thank you, gentlemen. We`ll continue on the story.

I want to switch gears quickly to a stunning development regarding the safety of our country.

Elizabeth, can you roll that for me?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I would also like to say that the war against America and its allies will not be confined to Iraq. Iraq has become a magnet for attracting and training talented fighters. Our Mujahedeen were able to overcome all security measures in European countries, and you saw their in operation in major European capitals. As for similar operations taking place in America, it`s only a matter of time. They are in the planning stages, and you will see them in the heart of your land as soon as the planning is complete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: To CNN correspondent Nic Robertson, Nic, welcome. How do we know this is bin Laden?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The CIA says it is. They`ve done a technical analysis. They`ve evaluated this tape, compared it with previous bin Laden tapes. They say it`s him.

GRACE: What does he say about planned attacks on this country?

ROBERTSON: He says he`s going to do it. He says they can do it, Al Qaeda can defeat the security here. He says, "Wait and see it happen." That`s what he says.

GRACE: You know, Nic, how did this tape surface?

ROBERTSON: It came out to Al-Jazeera. They broadcast it about 10:00 a.m. this morning. They were ready. They had their analysts standing by to talk about it. We don`t know how long Al-Jazeera had this tape before they put it on the air, but it seems they were ready for it. They broadcast a couple of short extracts from it, but there was a longer statement. They put that all out on the Web site they have.

GRACE: Hey, Nic, you`ve been on this from the get-go. Can you tell me, have we been able to determine, to glean any clue as to bin Laden`s failing health?

ROBERTSON: That`s been shot down a number of times by different intelligence agents. They say he doesn`t have this kidney failure, this kidney problem that`s been much talked about. They say that other health problems are not correct.

You look at the guy. He seems to be aging, but we don`t see him this time. We can`t make that evaluation, a year since we last saw him. We don`t really know how he looks.

GRACE: To Brian Jenkins -- he is a Rand Corporation terrorism expert -- Brian, tell us, how can a tape like this be authenticated?

BRIAN JENKINS, TERRORISM ANALYST, RAND CORPORATION: Well, they do comparisons between the voice on this tape and all of the previous recordings that we have of bin Laden. Over the years, that`s a fair volume of speeches that he has made that have been videotaped, that have been audiotaped and broadcast, as well as direct recordings from reporters who have interviewed him.

GRACE: Well, Brian, what can we gather from this tape? I mean, can we determine when it was made, where it was made, anything else?

JENKINS: There are some clues as to when it was made. He makes reference, of course, to the bombings in the European capitals. And that would include the bombing in London in July. He makes reference to the polls in the United States that indicate growing concerns about the war in Iraq. That would put this somewhere late in 2005 or early in 2006.

At the same time, given the amount of care that is devoted to security in delivering a tape like this, from bin Laden, wherever he may be, to Al- Jazeera, this is not something they simply drive down the street. So I would suspect that there`s a certain amount of time in that. So we would say probably something not more than a month ago and probably not less than a week or so ago.

GRACE: With us, Brian Jenkins and Nic Robertson, both gentlemen returning when we come back.

To tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI, law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Morris Mills, wanted in connection with the 2004 Detroit double murder of 26-year-old Charles Caldwell (ph), 51-year-old Roger Snyder (ph).

Mills, 27, 5`8", 230 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have info on Morris Mills, call the FBI, 313-965-2323.

Local news next for some of you, but we`ll all be right back. And remember, live coverage of a 14-year-old New Mexico young man, now 16, and on trial for shooting his dad, his stepmom and stepsister on a ranch owned by ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.

Everyone, please stay with us tonight as we pause to remember. We remember Sergeant Michael J. McMullen, just 25, an American hero.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at 10-year-old Adreanna Jackson. She went missing Lakewood, Washington, December 2, 2005. If you have info on this girl, Adreanna Jackson, please call the Lakewood Police Department, 1-253-830-5000, or go online, Beyondmissing.com. Please help us.

Straight back out to CNN correspondent Nic Robertson. Nic, I`m trying to figure out -- I mean, I`ve gotten plenty of tapes into court before, authenticated them in that manner, but I`ve never had to try to figure out where in the world a tape was made.

ROBERTSON: And that`s got to be the biggest challenge right now facing intelligence officials, Pakistan and the United States. He`s doing it somewhere. Perhaps there`s some noises in the background that give away some clues, a bird call, who knows what it may be. You can be sure they`re going to be listening to that though. But, again, the quality of this tape is not that good. It`s quite poor.

GRACE: What were the main points, Nic, the gist of the tape?

ROBERTSON: It seems to me, Nancy, that this tape -- bin Laden has watched the public and political debate here in the U.S. about -- the end of last year about pulling the troops out of Iraq. And he said, "This is my time to strike. This is my time to come out of the closet, if you will," after a year of not saying anything and try and sort of divide people, get in where public opinion is split, make that division bigger, get the United States to pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. That seems to be the strategy here, follow it up with a threat, and, hey, throw in the carrot of maybe we can have a truce.

GRACE: You`re right. A year of hiding, like the coward that he is, what did you say about truce?

ROBERTSON: He`s offered a truce. He said, essentially -- he didn`t lay out the terms -- but he said, essentially, you pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have good people to deal with. We won`t stab you in the back. We can all live happily. It could work for everyone.

GRACE: Right. Live happily, after the World Trade Center was attacked. OK.

Nic Robertson, CNN correspondent, Brian Jenkins, Rand Corporation terrorism expert, gentlemen, thank you.

But tonight, I want to thank all of my guests. But, as always, our biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting our stories, sometimes very difficult like Nixzmary, into your home.

Tomorrow night, serial killer convicted. Karla Homolka helped her husband rape and murder a string of girls, including her sister, glamorized and immortalized in a movie set for tomorrow`s release. And an exclusive primetime interview with George Smith`s family as they prepared to go on board that cruise ship.

I`m signing off for tonight. Hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00. Good night, friend.

END

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