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Millionaire Web Site Sex Scandal
Aired October 24, 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 new wave of high-tech crime on the rise. It claims to be the single largest dating hub to catch a millionaire, but tonight, Millionairematch.com implicated in multiple violent attacks on women, women looking for Mr. Goodbar, asking that age- old question, how to marry a millionaire. Tonight, a prominent realtor under suspicion as a possible sex predator.
And tonight, live to North Carolina. Are remains found in a heavily wooded area near Fayetteville those of 23-year-old Michelle Bullard? At this hour, testing under way to determine cause of death, Bullard missing since January. Tonight, her mom speaks out with claims investigators refused to follow crucial leads.
But first to California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The women, 22 to 40 years of age, tell almost the identical story of how they met Garcia, two of them on the Web site called Millionairematch.com based out of Toronto. And because a Web site was used, the district attorney fears there may be many more women out there victims of Garcia and just too afraid or embarrassed to come forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, a new wave of high-tech crime on the rise. Implicated, a Web site claiming to be the number one hub for finding, catching and marrying a millionaire.
To Court TV`s Jean Casarez for the latest. What happened?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, it is a seven-count felony complaint out of Orange County, California, and it is alleging that Joseph Raymond Garcia committed six counts of sodomy by force and one count of forcible rape against three female victims.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On judge`s orders, our camera was not allowed to show the face of Joseph Raymond Garcia as he appeared in court today, but the district attorney`s office did release his booking photo. He faces dozens of years in state prison, charged with seven felony counts, all related to sex crimes, forcible sex on three women, two of which he met over the Internet.
The women, 22 to 40 years of age, tell almost the identical story of how they met Garcia, two of them on the Web site called Millionairematch.com based out of Toronto. And because a Web site was used, the district attorney fears there may be many more women out there who are victims of Garcia and just too afraid or embarrassed to come forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to our reporter with "The Orange County Register." Joining us is Scott Martindale. Scott, thanks for being with us. I understand, taking a look at these formal charges I`ve got in my hand, that there are three separate Jane Does. What was the MO, the modus operandi?
SCOTT MARTINDALE, "ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER": I`m sorry. What?
GRACE: What was the MO, the modus operandi? I understand there are three separate victims.
MARTINDALE: Right. There are three victims in this case.
GRACE: To Jean...
MARTINDALE: And they`re identified as Jane Doe 1, 2 and 3.
GRACE: OK, Jean, what`s the MO in the case?
CASAREZ: What the prosecutor is saying is that Joseph Raymond Garcia would take these women out on a date, and then he would take them all to his home and that`s where he would allegedly commit these sexual assaults against these women.
GRACE: Back to Scott Martindale with "The Orange County Register." I understand at least two of his victims actually met him on the Millionaire.com (SIC) Web site. Yes, no.
MARTINDALE: That`s correct.
GRACE: And what else can you tell us about these victims?
MARTINDALE: We -- the prosecution hasn`t released a lot of information. We know that they`re between the ages of 22 and 42. And he met them over a 19-month period beginning in March of 2005.
GRACE: Scott, do authorities believe that there are other victims?
MARTINDALE: They haven`t ruled out that possibility. They`re certainly looking at -- because of the nature of the way he met them, it`s quite possible that there`s a number of other victims. Investigators are looking at the profile that he had on Millionairematch.com and trying to determine whether there are, in fact, other hits (ph) and other women that might have come into contact with him.
GRACE: Interesting, Scott. What was his profile?
MARTINDALE: I`m sorry?
GRACE: What was his profile on line?
MARTINDALE: We don`t know that. What we do know is that he had a profile on line, and he was trying to meet women through that site.
GRACE: And apparently, met at least three of them.
Out to Mark Brooks. Mark is with us with Onlinepersonalswatch.com. The phenomena of on-line dating really doesn`t come with any warnings, does it, Mark.
MARK BROOKS, ONLINEPERSONALSWATCH.COM: Not really, no. Unfortunately not.
GRACE: And regarding this site, Millionaire.com (ph), it clearly reaches out to women, trying to lure them to meet a millionaire. But how does the Web site itself work?
MARK BROOKS: Well, pretty much like any other Web site. They`re looking for people who are earning six-figure incomes, and from that, they extrapolate that they must be close to millionaires. The membership runs pretty much the same range as other dating sites -- $20, $30 a month gets you a membership. Other sites run as much as $50 a month. So it`s an average sort of Web site, except that it`s a niche dating site that is targeted at men who are edging towards being millionaires and women who are interested in meeting them.
GRACE: And is there any way under the sun, Mark Brooks, to verify what men are putting in as their personal information?
MARK BROOKS: In terms of them being millionaires, no, it`s more the honor system. In terms of them being convicted felons, there are sites and services that would allow dating services to check, do a background check. National background data is available now to check against. But the market generally isn`t willing to bear the cost, as a mass market. Those -- a good background check runs upwards of $100. A very basic background check -- you can get a basic background check for on the order of $20 these days.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
OK, we`ll go right back to that. To Jean Casarez, we know of three alleged victims laid out in the formal complaint. But regarding the MO, he would meet them on this Web site, Millionairematch.com. Apparently, there`s no way to verify what anybody puts into the Web site. Then the women would actually go to his home?
CASAREZ: That`s right. Well, prosecutors are saying they believe the first victim he actually met at the Post Office, Nancy. Then the other two alleged victims he met on Millionairematch.com. But with each and every one, they`re saying that he would take them to a restaurant, he would go out with them on a date, and then they would go back to his house. And that`s when, allegedly, sodomy by force and forcible rape would occur.
GRACE: To Steve Rogers. He is a detective with the Nutley (ph) Police Department, a computer specialist. Steve, what type of information will police be able to mine from his home PC?
STEVE ROGERS, COMPUTER SPECIALIST, NUTLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, I`ll tell you, Nancy, one of the pieces of information the police are looking for are, as you said in the broadcast when you opened, is other victims. How many people did he meet? How many women did he meet? They`re going to be able to find what we call electronic footprints that are on his hard drive, trace back through the server to whoever he was in contact with.
So you know what? The prosecutor in California is absolutely right. There may be a number of victims who are embarrassed to come forward, but maybe after your show tonight, they will come forward.
GRACE: Out to clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Macari. Thank you for being with us, Andrea. How common is on-line dating?
ANDREA MACARI, PSYCHOLOGY INSTRUCTOR: Besides all my friends doing it, half of my patients are doing it. There`s a site for everyone, including a site for the mentally ill. So everyone is doing on-line dating.
GRACE: And what dangers do you see, Andrea?
MACARI: Well, I think the danger is, is that everyone`s so anxious to find their soulmate that they neglect their own safety. We have to remember, whether you meet a man in a bar or on a blog, he`s still a stranger. So just because you`ve IM`d him a bunch of times or saw a couple of cute pictures doesn`t mean that it`s safe to be alone with him.
GRACE: Let`s unchain the lawyers. Joining us tonight out of New York, Randy Zelin, defense attorney, and Sunny (ph) Hostin, defense attorney, as well. To you, Randy. What are the defenses?
RANDY ZELIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Consensual sex. Let`s start from the get-go. They meet on a Web site consensually, where...
GRACE: Wa, wa, wait, wait! Consensual anal sex? I think you left that part out.
ZELIN: Well, that can be also.
GRACE: Well, that`s what`s alleged in the indictment.
ZELIN: But the reality is...
GRACE: So let`s just call it what it is.
ZELIN: Let`s do that. You`re talking about -- they meet on a Web site where the sole criteria -- talk about really looking for a serious relationship -- how much money does the guy make? They meet consensually. At some point, they exchange personal information because the Web site won`t give that out. So there`s a consensual exchange of information. There`s a consensual agreement to go on a date. There`s a consensual agreement...
GRACE: I`m waiting~!
ZELIN: ... to end up at the defendant`s house. Everything is consensual, except we don`t know what took place behind closed doors. Now, couple that with the fact that two of these women didn`t come forward for months, how much more reason do you want for reasonable doubt?
GRACE: I`m sorry. I can`t hear what you were saying. Didn`t come forward what?
ZELIN: How much more reason...
GRACE: No, no, didn`t come forward until when?
ZELIN: For two of these women, one of the women, they got together in March of `05, came forward. This guy was only arrested last week. The other one came forward in August, only arrested this week. They knew his name. They knew his address.
GRACE: Hold on just a moment. I think you`re wrong on the facts. To my understanding -- correct me if I`m wrong, Jean Casarez -- two of the three known victims came forward to police the following day, not even 24 hours past.
CASAREZ: Immediately. That`s right. Now, the first victim that he allegedly met at the Post Office, she didn`t come forward for 30 days. But remember, she didn`t have a picture. She didn`t possibly know who he was. But then the match.com women came forward immediately.
GRACE: Back to the lawyers. To Sunny Hostin. So other than the "blame the victim" defense, what have you got for me?
ASCUNCION HOSTIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it`s not necessarily the "blame the victim" defense. It`s a consensual sex defense. These are...
GRACE: Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-wa! Wait, wait, wait!~ Again, repeat, fellow counsel, consensual anal sex.
GRACE: Don`t lead the viewers on to think that -- anything other than what is actually charged in the indictment. Please continue.
HOSTIN: We`ve got a forcible rape charge, so that`s consensual (ph) intercourse, and then we also have the sodomy charges...
GRACE: The other six charges!
HOSTIN: ... which could be consensual oral sex or consensual anal sex. And there are people that consent to that type of sex. These are women that are shopping for men on Millionairematch.com, not shopping just for men but shopping for millionaires. And I have to agree with my cohort over there, Randy, that they`re on these Internet Web sites looking for people. They met this man at a restaurant. They were wined and dined and they went to, you know, his home.
GRACE: So bottom line, you two -- let`s take a look at our two lawyers, our members of the bar weighing in tonight. Joining me, Ascuncion, AKA Sunny, Hostin and Randy Zelin. Your defense is they went out to dinner, they may have had some drinks, it was all consensual. All right. We`ll see how far that goes.
Let`s go to the lines. John in Arizona. Hi, John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hiya. How`re are you doing?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is, How do you do the background check?
GRACE: You know, I think the way that Mark Brooks is referring to the background check is typical to one done by police. You can actually get them yourselves by going to local law enforcement. It`s not private information, it`s public information. But it`s a really good point, John, because these Web sites -- out to Mike Brooks joining us, former D.C. cop and former fed with the FBI -- the public can get this, but these on-line sites are not offering them. All the Web sites that say you can find your soulmate, you can find -- they have Jdate (ph) for Jewish daters, Christian dating sites for Christian daters. There`s every Web site you can imagine for matches. None of them to, my knowledge, do background checks or criminal histories.
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Nancy, I`ll tell you, on-line dating -- it could be -- it`s a crap shoot. It`s a dangerous crap shoot for on-line dating. That`s the bottom line. Well, you know, there are a couple of states that have bills, that actually have legislation to try to get through -- I think it`s Michigan, Texas and Florida -- that will post the names of convicted felons. They want the people`s names run. They either post the convicted felons` names there and have them banned from the sites. But privacy advocates are going to tear that apart, most likely, Nancy, you know?
But the bottom line is here, if you`ve got to date, if you`re desperate for a date and you do meet somebody, get to know them first. Go out on your first date in the daylight. Take a friend with you. Get to know the person before you go out with them. And then you go back home to their house, that is not the safe thing to do, Nancy. Not at all. It`s a crap shoot out there.
GRACE: Joining us, a special guest, the district attorney, the elected DA there in Orange County, Tony Rackauckas. Tony, Thank you for being with us.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It`s my pleasure.
GRACE: Have you seen very many of these particular types of cases, based on Internet conduct?
RACKAUCKAS: Well, you know, we see a lot of forcible sex cases based on, you know, different -- different conduct. For example, we were getting a lot of them when people were answering those personal ads that you used to see in the newspapers, like The Free Press, where they would put -- you know, where they would put those advertisements, you know, Boy wants to meet girl and that kind of thing. So I think that the Internet gives a -- maybe a wider-ranging opportunity, so we`re seeing a lot of it now, yes.
GRACE: Let`s go the lines. Mark in Indiana. Hi, Mark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing, Nancy?
GRACE: I`m good. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was wondering about this Web site. I thought I heard you say that they didn`t check this individual, if he was actually a millionaire or not. Does this Web site have any responsibility in this?
GRACE: My question exactly. They -- but in this case, a criminal act may be superseding anything the Web site did. However, it does purport itself to match you up with millionaires. I hardly think his financial record has anything to do with the crime. But you`re right. Is there any way that this Web site bears any liability, Mark Brooks?
MARK BROOKS: In a word, no. You`ll find in the terms and conditions, you know, the sites bring people together but they rely on their own good judgment if they decide to meet in real life. As I said, people shouldn`t share their contact information on line and make sure they feel very warm and fuzzy about somebody before they agree to meet them for the first time.
GRACE: To Randy Zelin. I understand that that`s what`s in the fine print. I understand that. But just because someone writes that down doesn`t make it so. That`s like you signing away all liability before you do a bungee jump. That doesn`t necessarily make it so, just because they write it in a contract and you pay a $15-a-month fee, Randy.
ZELIN: Well, the big issue is the fact that the Web site doesn`t do a lot of affirmative disclosures. For example, had they agreed to do a background check on someone, now they`re exposing themselves to liability because if it turns out that they were wrong about the person -- let`s say saying that the person had a record when they didn`t...
GRACE: But -- right.
ZELIN: ... they could be open to libel.
GRACE: John is asking about...
ZELIN: Or the other way.
GRACE: ... even the money issue. They do purport to introduce to you millionaires. They do. They do say that.
ZELIN: Well, if you go onto the Web site, and I have, it talks about you could make more than $150,000 a year, which would mean that you`re a millionaire. But even if you make less, they will still take you. So they have plenty of wiggle room to avoid liability if, for example, someone really isn`t a millionaire.
GRACE: Well, Randy, I understand what you`re saying with the black and white letter of the Web site. The bottom line is going to be up to a jury if a civil lawsuit is filed. And believe you me, there will be one.
Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." The two-year search for a Texas teen, 16-year-old Joanna Rogers, comes to a sad end tonight with the discovery of Joanna`s remains. She went missing from her Texas home May 2004. Resendo Rodriguez (ph) confessed to strangling her and disposing of her in a suitcase. He is also charged in the death of a 29-year-old girl, Summer Brown, her body also found in a suitcase at the same landfill where Joanna Rogers was found.
GRACE: Welcome back. Dangers of dating now takes on a high-tech risk. Out to Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop. Mike, you`ve got three women now claiming forcible sodomy, one of them also claiming forcible rape after just one date with this apparently well-known realtor there in California. The majority of his victims seem to be meeting him on a Millionairematch.com Web site, and it does, in fact, purport to introduce women to millionaires. So what do you think regarding their liability? And how expensive are background checks, including criminal background checks?
MIKE BROOKS: They`re not that expensive, Nancy. You can go on a number of different Web sites, and it depends on what you want to find, anywhere from $45 to $100, $150, you can find out a lot of information about someone. If you have a name, an address, you can put that in there. It pops up with a lot of different things on property owned, date of birth, those kind of things. There`s even ones you can go on line, one called Zabasearch (ph). You go on, you punch in somebody`s name, it`ll come up and it`ll give you a name. You can go by state. You can go across the United States and find out about someone. And it gives you options on how much you want to pay to find out exactly. You want to do a real estate search, you want to do income search, you want to do real property -- whatever you want to do, you can buy it on line, Nancy.
GRACE: To Jean Casarez. What do we know about this defendant, Garcia?
CASAREZ: We know he`s 47 years old. We know that he`s a commercial real estate agent in Newport Beach, a very exclusive area in southern California. We know he`s divorced and he has children, and we don`t think those are adult children. They could even be minor.
GRACE: Back out to Scott Martindale with "The Orange County Register." He was in court today. Did he enter a plea?
MARTINDALE: No, did he not.
GRACE: To Tony Rackauckas, the district attorney there in Orange County. How many potential victims do you believe are out there?
RACKAUCKAS: You know, it`s hard for us to tell. We`re certainly going to do all of the research and investigation that we can to find out. I want to say this, though. I really do want to praise the victims who called us and came forward because it`s very, very important that they came forward and made these complaints to stop this particular person from continuing to be a predator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not do any Internet dating because you can never trust, you know, people, and you don`t know who might the other person be that you`re communicating to. You know, nobody gives their, you know, real identity on the Internet, you know, so you`ve got to be careful who you`re dealing with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, we know of at least three women that are claiming forcible rape and forcible sodomy while looking for Mr. Goodbar at a dating Web site called Millionairematch.com.
To psychologist Andrea Macari. Andrea, question. Why do people perceive on-line dating as safer than answering ads in the newspaper?
MACARI: Because a lot of these web sites and profiles contain extensive information about the person. We see tons of pictures. Really successful people put pictures of their dog or they have little pictures holding a baby. The person looks nice. Those are the ones you respond to. So they feel a deeper connection with the person, but this is a false sense of security, Nancy.
GRACE: And why do people have their guard down on line?
MACARI: I don`t know. I guess because the computer is really in the house, in the bedroom. We feel that the person is almost sort of with us right there. We feel comfortable in our own home. And I think a lot of these cues are really tricking people into thinking they`re safer than they really are.
GRACE: To district attorney Tony Rackauckas. Did any of the three women go to have a rape kit done, Tony?
RACKAUCKAS: Well, yes, the last two, certainly. But I -- you know, I think that -- well, the answer is yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN RIOJAS, MOTHER OF MICHELLE BULLARD: Over the last few months, the more persistent we became for the searching for the truth, the resistance we felt became even stronger by those employed to find our daughter. We felt continually blocked from the investigation. We had to show up on our own accord and make phone calls to plea for information that would lead us to our daughter. I don`t want another family to have to go through the nightmare that we have been living the last nine and a half months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: A 23-year-old girl sitting in her own home watching television with friends, suddenly a home invasion. She vanishes. Month after month after month passes, no answer. Tonight, near Fayetteville, North Carolina, remains found and identified as those of Michelle Bullard. Cause of death: We`re waiting on that forensic answer as we speak.
To Jean Casarez, how were the remains found?
CASAREZ: Well, they were found by a hunter in a very remote area, but they were found three to five miles where her purse or her wallet was found, days -- about a week -- after she went disappearing. And there were a lot of searchers and law enforcement, and there was her body, but nobody ever found it.
GRACE: Amazing how close it was to her other belongings. Any explanations so far?
CASAREZ: You know, I don`t think there is, because it appears as though law enforcement and volunteers went in force in that entire area in January of this year but found nothing until the hunter several days ago.
GRACE: Here`s what Michelle`s mother has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIOJAS: Over the last few months, the more persistent we became for the searching for the truth, the resistance we felt became even stronger by those employed to find our daughter. We felt continually blocked from the investigation. We had to show up on our own accord and make phone calls to plea for information that would lead us to our daughter.
In fact, Doctor Maurice Godwin, a national forensic profiler, criminal profiler, provided out of his own goodness a grid that provided to be 100 percent accurate as to where my daughter`s whereabouts would be, but apparently was ignored by investigators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us in just a moment, Michelle`s mother is with us tonight speaking out. She feels police intentionally did not follow certain leads, refusing to -- maybe that`s a better way to put it -- causing long months of suffering. Joining us right now with WWGP and WFJA Radios, Margaret Murchison. She`s been on the case from the very beginning.
Margaret, it`s amazing to me that these remains were actually so close to her other discarded belongings. It`s amazing to me that tracker dogs couldn`t have found her remains before now, after all these months.
MARGARET MURCHISON, WWGP AND WFJA RADIO: Well, it is strange, but, you know, I asked the investigators about that, and they told me that that part apparently had not been searched. It was not very well-traveled. As a matter of fact, very few people even used that road.
You know, I kept thinking that, when hunting season came in, I`ll bet Michelle`s body would turn up if she were dead, because usually when the hunters get out there, they can uncover things that maybe others can`t find. But it`s a little puzzling that it was in that same area, but I just always thought it would be somewhere in that area.
GRACE: Joining us now, Michelle`s mother, Karen Riojas. Karen, thank for being with us again. When did you learn that the remains were, in fact, those of Michelle?
RIOJAS: Saturday afternoon about 12:50, I had arrived at a restaurant that my mother and my other daughter and Michelle`s father and his wife were eating. And as I walked up to the door, Julian and his wife were coming out of the restaurant, and we were standing in front of the restaurant talking, and then my mother and my daughter came out.
And about that time, Julian received a phone call, and he sort of just was standing there talking on the phone. I had no idea who it was. And then he said, "Here she is," and handed me the phone. And it was the deputy chief, Kevin Bryant, from the Lee County sheriff`s office that told me that the remains that were found Wednesday had been positively identified as Michelle`s.
GRACE: Karen, how did they make that I.D.?
RIOJAS: I think, Nancy, they made it through dental records.
GRACE: Tonight, you believe that the police could have solved this case so much sooner instead of letting all these months pass by, almost a year. Why do you say that, Karen?
RIOJAS: Well, the morning of January the 2nd, Nancy, everything that could have went wrong did.
GRACE: Such as?
RIOJAS: Such as, when they received the 911 call, they didn`t believe the three other victims in that mobile home. It was just not, I guess, comprehendible that a man could come in with a mask and a gun, tie up four people, rob them, and leave with one of them. So there was no sense of urgency to get out and look for Michelle.
And there was no crime scene tape. They did not even seal off the crime scene. They didn`t have one roadblock put up. Nancy, we know that the abductor took Michelle down to a dead-end road. If they had set up a roadblock on each end of the road that she was abducted on, she would -- there`s a possibility she could still be alive today. They would have caught the man coming out of the dead-end road.
GRACE: To Mike Brooks, former D.C. police officer and former fed with the FBI, Mike, she`s right.
BROOKS: I`ll tell you what, Nancy, I can hear the frustration in Ms. Riojas` voice. And if that, in fact, did happen -- and an independent investigation, an inquiry ought to be going on after all this settles down into why the actions weren`t taken -- if, in fact, these are true.
You know, we see the use of blood hounds here. They`re the best trailing and tracking dogs that you can find. You know, if there was some malfeasance on the part of law enforcement, then they should be made to answer for that.
GRACE: Here is what police had to say at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today completes the third day of our search in the area on the western part -- or the eastern part of the county out there on Bogey Island Road (ph) that we were searching for the young lady by the name of Miss Julia Michelle Bullard who had been missing since January the 2nd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever done that -- and if it`s her, they ain`t no justice good enough for him, because that ain`t right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s tough on a family. And if, in fact, it turns out to be their missing loved one, then they have to totally reorganize their lives to cope with not having that loved one in their life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Jean Casarez, what were her belongings that were found thrown to the side of the road, ultimately not far away from her body?
CASAREZ: That`s right. Well, there was an undergarment, we understand. There was a brassiere. And that`s the first thing that made authorities believe it was a female victim that they were finding close by. Her mother was asked to describe that bra, I believe, and then the forensic testing went on from there.
GRACE: You know, to you, Margaret Murchison, how close again were these items to the remains of Michelle Bullard? It`s not far at all.
MURCHISON: Very close, about five miles, I would imagine. And I understand from sources close to the case whom I talked to after the remains were found, I understand they found what appeared to be Michelle`s sweatshirt, possibly a sweatshirt that she was wearing on the night she was abducted. That along with the bra, I believe, were the clues that they had been looking for. And, of course, as soon as I heard about the sweatshirt, I thought that`s Michelle.
You know, you didn`t want to think it was Michelle, but just knowing all the coincidences, everything, all the things that have gone on, the search from January up until now, and to find those remains, I knew it.
GRACE: You know, Mike Brooks, remember the Scott Peterson case, where those tracker dogs followed from her home all the way to the San Francisco bay? Hello? That was miles and miles and miles.
BROOKS: That`s exactly...
GRACE: And they want to tell me tracker dogs couldn`t go less than five miles from where her wallet was thrown out to find her body or, even better, at the time when she was taken to find her alive, Mike?
BROOKS: I have to agree with you, Nancy, because -- but a lot of it depends on the handlers of these dogs, if they actually know what they`re doing. There`s a difference between trailing and tracking. You know, the FBI now has this canine forensic unit that they have in place now that will come out and assist local law enforcement should they be asked.
You know, as I told you, we`re talking about another case a few weeks ago. They actually found a scent that was over 35 days old out in the woods of a victim, and so...
GRACE: Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike...
BROOKS: ... it can be done.
GRACE: ... you`ve been in courtrooms where I had dogs on that could smell underwater, so don`t even start with me that they couldn`t do this.
BROOKS: It`s been proven, Nancy, I`m telling you. And I`ll show it to you.
GRACE: We`ll all be right back.
But very quickly to "Case Alert." A manhunt comes to an end for a suspected cop killer, now in custody, Birmingham. Forty-eight-year-old veteran police officer Mary Smith fatally shot in the chest responding to reports of a simple suspicious vehicle. A second officer, Erick Burpo, arrived seconds later, also shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN BULLARD, FATHER OF MICHELLE BULLARD: Michelle, she`s in a better place. I know where she`s at, and know how I raised my child, and she`s a lot better off than we are. And I`m only relieved of that because I know that, you know, where she`s at today.
RIOJAS: Even though my life has been changed forever by the unnecessary loss of my child, I will never stop fighting for those families who have loved ones missing. I don`t want another family to have to go through the nightmare that we have been living the last nine and a half months.
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GRACE: Remains near Fayetteville, North Carolina, positively identified as those of 23-year-old Michelle Bullard. She has been missing for nearly a year. Did police botch the search? Could her life have been saved?
Out to Dr. Bruce Levy, medical examiner and forensic pathologist. We`re working at this juncture, due to the delay in finding her remains, I`m sure with skeletal remains, no soft tissue, Dr. Levy. What can they do? What can they determine? Can they determine a cause of death?
DR. BRUCE LEVY, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, they can. I mean, and she`s already told us who she is. Now what has to be done first is a meticulous examination of the area where she was found. We need to recover as much of her remains as possibly can be recovered. And then each one of those bones has to be carefully examined by pathologists and anthropologists for signs of trauma. And if you find that trauma, then do you have a cause of death.
GRACE: Doctor, you`re talking like a doctor. What do you mean "signs of trauma on the bones"?
LEVY: Well, if she`d been shot -- he was reported to have a gun -- you would look for signs that a bullet has damaged a bone in the body.
LEVY: If she had been stabbed, you look for that. If she`s been strangled, you need to find those bones in the neck. And if you find the bones in the neck, they frequently will be damaged from a violent strangulation.
GRACE: Really? Doctor, do you really believe that, with a strangulation, that there will be damage to the neck bone?
LEVY: Well, sure. You have a u-shaped bone in your neck caused the hyoid bone.
GRACE: Hyoid, yes.
LEVY: And that is, especially in a manual strangulation, frequently damaged. And if that bone is found, it`s very, very hard to find in these circumstances...
GRACE: In order to get that evidence, would the bone have to be broken?
LEVY: The bone would likely be broken in some way, but it`s such a fine, narrow bone, that it is quite easy to break.
GRACE: OK. OK. To Terry in Illinois, hi, Terry. What`s your question, dear?
CALLER: Hi, I love you.
GRACE: Thank you.
CALLER: Two things. Can they tell by remains how long the body has been there? And the second one, could the body have been dropped off later?
GRACE: To Dr. Levy, what about it? Can we determine the time of death? I don`t see it.
LEVY: In a general sense, you can. You`re not going to be able to tell whether she was alive for hours or days after she was abducted, but you`re going to be able to tell if she`s been dead for that nine and a half months or about that nine and a half months, if she`s been missing. Now, in terms...
GRACE: How would you be able to tell if the remains have been there for six months versus three months versus 10 months?
LEVY: Well, you`re going to look at how much of the soft tissue has been lost. If it`s all been lost, that tells us quite a bit about how long she`s been there.
GRACE: What does it tell us?
LEVY: Well, it`s going to tell us, in an area like North Carolina, depending upon the temperature, that she`s been dead for at least seven or eight months. And you have to remember, this abduction occurred in January. The rate of the body breaking down is going to be very, very slow in the wintertime. Then it`s going to speed up as we get into the warmer months of the summer.
So that`s why it`s such a general sort of thing. You`re not going to be able to pinpoint it, but you`re going to be able to get a general idea of how long she`s been dead.
GRACE: Back to Michelle Bullard`s mother joining us, Karen Riojas. Karen, again, thank you for being with us. And you`ll have to forgive us, please. We are lawyers and medical examiners talking about evidence and what we can glean from it. And I know you`re thinking of Michelle as you knew her in life; we haven`t even slowed down to tell you that we`re sorry. And we are...
RIOJAS: Thank you.
GRACE: ... all of us joining in trying so hard to help you find your girl. Karen, do you believe in your heart, when you hear Dr. Levy and myself talking about the age of the skeleton or how long she had been dead?
RIOJAS: Well, Nancy, I spoke with the hunter Sunday. Me and Julian and both of our families went down to the site. And we got to see where Michelle was found. And we spoke personally with the hunter who found her. And he did give me some insight as to what he saw, because I`ve not been given any details from law enforcement as to what condition the body was in.
GRACE: What did you learn?
RIOJAS: Well, he told me first he saw bones, which did not alarm him because he thought they were animal bones. And then he saw an article of clothing, but he kept walking in that the article of clothing didn`t alarm him. But when he saw the skull, he said he knew that he had stumbled upon a body.
He went back. He called authorities. And I assume he had to lead authorities back to this area where he -- because it was very remote. It was very thick; it was a very deep underbrush. I don`t know how any one person could have got a body that far in the woods by themselves. I don`t see that it was a one-man job, but that`s my opinion.
He said, when he went back, then he saw the brassiere, but there was no skin left, Nancy. He said there was no even hair on the head.
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RIOJAS: I hope that we can create a fund or a foundation in our daughter`s name so that Julie Michelle Bullard`s memory will live on forever.
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GRACE: Remains near Fayetteville, North Carolina, positively identified as this 23-year-old girl taken during a home invasion, which police didn`t seem to believe happened. Out to a guest joining us tonight, Diane Myatt. Her brother, David Earl Wilson, is considered a person of interest in the Bullard case.
Diane, you say in your heart of hearts you don`t believe he was involved before he committed suicide. Why? Diane, are you with us?
DIANA MYATT, SISTER OF PERSON OF INTEREST IN BULLARD CASE: I`m with you. I`m with you, Nancy.
MYATT: In my heart, I don`t believe my brother was involved, just from what I have been told by authorities, and because I have to keep that in my heart. First, I would like to say, Nancy, I would like to -- my family and I would like to express our deepest sorrow to Michelle`s family for their terrible loss. Our hearts go out to them.
GRACE: You know, I`ll convey that right now. Miss Riojas, Karen Riojas, Michelle`s mother, is with us. Response to her belief her brother had nothing to do with this?
RIOJAS: Well, Nancy, I can tell you this: My daughter is no longer alive. She has been murdered. And somebody has to be responsible for it. And maybe by what she`s been told, she`s entitled to her belief. But, Nancy, I have too many coincidence that tell me differently.
GRACE: We are not letting it go. Michelle`s mother fully believing that more than one person was involved in the death of her girl. Tonight we continue to search for answers.
Let`s stop for a moment to remember Lance Corporal Phillip Johnson, Enfield, Connecticut. He dreamed of being a Marine since being a boy. He joined a young marine at age 11, leaves behind grieving parents, Louis and Kathy. Phillip Johnson, American hero.
Thank you to our guests. Our biggest thank you, to you, for inviting all of us into your homes. NANCY GRACE signing off for tonight. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.