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Murder of Brooklyn 16-year-old still Unsolved
Aired January 1, 2007 - 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 special investigation as we go inside still unsolved murders and disturbing missing person cases 2006. First, a 16-year-old straight-A student thrown away like garbage on a neighborhood street, Brooklyn, New York. Months pass, no clues, silent witnesses in the murder of Chanel Petro-Nixon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixteen years old, so barely starting your life, you know? Unbelievable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they don`t have the person who did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s unbelievable. That`s even more unbelievable. Nobody saw them dump that garbage bag over there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that body was brought from someplace else and put here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Is it open season on young girls? We read about it, one after the next, after the next. Here`s a little girl who never missed church, honors student. She wanted to become a nurse to help other people. Look at this girl. She was always at home, always studying. She only left that evening to go and apply for a job. She never made it to the local Applebee`s. Take a look at Chanel Petro-Nixon.
Straight out to Jon Leiberman with "America`s Most Wanted." Jon, what happened to this girl?
JON LEIBERMAN, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Well, I`ll tell you, Nancy, there is a predator on the loose in New York. We need to track him down. This little girl, like you mentioned, straight-A girl, honors student, she leaves her house on Father`s Day to go meet a friend and then apply for a job, and she`s never seen. It`s almost like she vanishes. It`s a busy street. There`s a lot of foot traffic, but nobody ever sees anything happen. And then four days later, she`s found, like you said, thrown out with the trash.
GRACE: OK, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! That`s not possible. It is not possible that nobody saw anything!
LEIBERMAN: Well, this is part of the problem, Nancy. So far, no one has come forward. No one is talking to police. There are signs up all around Brooklyn that says, Somebody knows something, and we need to get to that somebody tonight because, like you said, somebody did see something, and there`s a monster out there.
GRACE: And what`s disturbing me is that this little girl was put in a garbage bag and left on the side of the street. And I don`t mean down a darkened alleyway. This girl, a 16-year-old girl, was put in a garbage bag and left on a heavily traveled street, on the sidewalk. For those of you that are unfamiliar here in New York, the garbage is left out on bags on the sidewalk, and they come pick it up. Somebody wanted this child, a little girl, to be disposed of and out in some dump, some landfill by tonight.
So Jon Leiberman, how was she discovered?
LEIBERMAN: Well, that`s what I was going to say. Somebody wanted her disposed of so nobody would ever know anything about this little girl. A woman looking out of her apartment window, always looks to make sure the trash men take all of her trash -- well, that morning she was looking out the window, 7:00 AM, and the trash man goes to lift up one of the garbage bags, and it`s too heavy. So the trash man leaves it there. This woman comes down from her apartment. She wanted to separate it into three separate bags to make it lighter, so they would take it. And she finds this sweet little girl in this bag, stuffed in there like trash. Sickening.
GRACE: Joining us right now, one of our own producers has gone out to the scene, Rupa Mikkilineni, who`s joining us, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. You know, Rupa, it`s hard for me to imagine somebody actually putting this girl in a garbage bag like she`s trash, a little honors student on her way to try to get a job for the summer, for Pete`s sake, and leaving her out there. Look at that smile! Rupa, tell me what you see.
RUPA MIKKILINENI, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, I see a neighborhood and a community that`s torn, Nancy. I canvassed the area today. I actually am standing out here right now in front of the place where she was found. This is the building, 212 Kingston. It`s a brownstone building approximately six floors high. And the trash bag, much like the one I`m holding in my hand, actually, industrial-strength size, was found right here on the sidewalk, right near the post with all the pictures, as you can see.
GRACE: Wait a minute. Were the pictures put up for Chanel when the bag was there?
MIKKILINENI: This I`m not sure of. I definitely know that this is the lamppost where the garbage bag was sitting.
GRACE: Everybody, I`m holding up to you what I have of Chanel Petro- Nixon, just 16 years old. These are the flyers that are all over town. There is no way -- and I`m drawing on a lot of experience with murder cases and detectives working on murder cases -- that this child was there for four days. As you see on these posters that say the reward is $22,000 -- that reward is now up to $33,000.
In just a few moments, we`re going to be joined by Chanel`s parents. We really need your help tonight. This case sat there for weeks with no notice, no comment, nothing. Take a listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police have done a lot of searching. They`ve combed both districts, the apartment complex. We have a lot of flyers out, a lot of posters out. The reward is up to over $20,000. And we are glad that the media is starting to pay more attention to this situation, and hopefully, we will get the suspect or suspects arrested so that they will not be able to do any other kind of act like this.
Someone noticed an unusual amount of garbage, or what they thought was garbage in the trash bag, and when they went to the bag, they found a body and they contacted the police. And she now had been missing for two or three days. The family had -- actually, about -- yes, two or three days.
The family had called the police on Father`s Day, when she did not appear when she was supposed to appear. And because of that, they, I think, classified her as a runaway first and not a missing person. And then they got some effects from her body, I guess, a bracelet and some other things, and showed it to the family, to indicate that they might have found their Chanel.
GRACE: I had not even heard about this case until I read it in our local paper, "The New York Post." There had been no coverage about this girl`s disappearance whatsoever. But now I want you to know the tip line, 1-800-577-TIPS. The reward up to $33,000.
Joining me here on the set, Chanel`s parents, Garvin and Lucita Nixon. Thank you for being with us.
LUCITA NIXON, CHANEL`S MOTHER: Thank you.
GRACE: Ms. Lucita, question to you. All this business about her being investigated as a runaway -- had this child ever run away?
LUCITA NIXON: Never.
GRACE: What happened that evening?
LUCITA NIXON: That evening, I was on a trip on Panama. I was away for three days. I came back about 5:30 that evening, Father`s Day. And we spent about an hour. She just asked me if she could go out to meet her friends. I told her, yes, she could. She got a call about maybe 6:18. I heard when she said, Are you there already? And I guess the person must have said yes. I knew who she was supposed to be...
GRACE: At Applebee`s, correct?
LUCITA NIXON: At Applebee.
LUCITA NIXON: And she went and she got dressed, not really dressed, fixed her hair up. She came to the kitchen. She kissed me good-bye and she left. Never seen her...
GRACE: What time was that?
LUCITA NIXON: I would say about 6:30, no later than 6:30 she left.
GRACE: When did you become concerned she had not come home?
LUCITA NIXON: OK, when I got up -- because I work nights -- I got up about...
GRACE: Where do you work?
LUCITA NIXON: St. Vincent`s Hospital.
GRACE: Are you a nurse?
LUCITA NIXON: No, I`m a mental health worker.
GRACE: Now, do you think you affected her decision to want to be a nurse?
LUCITA NIXON: Me, my sister, my mom, we`re all in the medical field. So her family -- most of us in the family work in the medical field.
GRACE: OK, so that night, you went to work.
LUCITA NIXON: I went to work. I called (INAUDIBLE) because my husband was trying to call her about 7:30. He didn`t get in touch with her. Her phone was off. When I got up...
GRACE: What do you mean her phone was off?
LUCITA NIXON: It was off. It went straight to the...
LUCITA NIXON: ... to the voice-mail.
LUCITA NIXON: And that`s unusual because even if her battery was low and she knew who was calling her, she would have borrowed her friend`s phone to get in touch with us.
GRACE: Now, OK, did she have a boyfriend?
LUCITA NIXON: No, friends. Friends.
GRACE: And she was going to meet this group of people at Applebee`s.
LUCITA NIXON: Right.
GRACE: Never showed up.
LUCITA NIXON: Never showed up.
GRACE: When did you report her missing?
LUCITA NIXON: Monday, when I got home from work, I said, This is not Chanel.
GRACE: Why did you wait so long to report?
LUCITA NIXON: Really, I thought that we had to wait 24 hours before. That was my mentality, was to wait 24 hours before you -- to report missing.
GRACE: To Doug Burns. Doug, you`ve handled a lot of cases. That is a very common belief. Why do so many people believe the person`s got to be gone 24 hours before you can report them?
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, unfortunately, that is promoted very often by law enforcement, Nancy, where they turn around and skeptically say -- and it`s unfortunate -- Look, they`re probably going to turn up. So that`s why they go with that type of grace period.
GRACE: To Chanel`s father. Sir, had she ever left the home before and not called back?
GARVIN NIXON, CHANEL`S FATHER: No.
GRACE: What time does she usually come home?
GARVIN NIXON: She comes home before dark. If she`s about to stay a little longer, she would call and ask. If she`s with friends or family and her friends wouldn`t be bringing her home, I would go and meet her and bring her home so...
GRACE: You would go get her?
GARVIN NIXON: Yes. And I started to worry 7:30 because I was out. And I call and I ask -- I call the house and I ask if Chanel was home and what she was doing, and they said she went to met her friends at Applebee`s. So I started...
GRACE: Did you call the friends?
GARVIN NIXON: I started calling...
GRACE: Did you know who the friends were?
GARVIN NIXON: I knew who the friends...
GRACE: What did they say?
GARVIN NIXON: They said, they was calling. They was calling almost every half an hour, every 40...
GRACE: She even then was already missing?
GARVIN NIXON: Yes.
GRACE: You know, interesting. To Allison Gilman, defense attorney. Let`s think about this just for a moment. What do we know about Chanel missing? A, I can tell you she was not in that bag for four days, sitting on the sidewalk, all right? Someone killed her and had her in an apartment, a car, a car trunk, something, and then in the night, put her on that sidewalk. Now, that leads me to believe it was someone in that apartment building or right around it. She never even made it to Applebee`s, Allison.
ALLISON GILMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I absolutely agree with you, Nancy. I think that maybe it was someone that she knew because no one`s coming forward saying they saw something unusual. It may have been just a contact with someone, and there was no screaming, no yelling, and she went with them willingly, and it turned out bad. So I agree with you, it may have been right around where she was living, and it wound up with this horrible tragedy.
GRACE: To Andrea Peyser, who first opened my eyes to the existence and the disappearance of Chanel Petro-Nixon. What captured your -- you see a million stories a day, Andrea. Why this girl? And why didn`t anybody know about this girl? Is it because she`s black? Is it because her parents aren`t millionaires? Is it because she wasn`t on an expensive vacation? What? What`s the difference between this girl and everybody else?
ANDREA PEYSER, "NY POST": You know, nobody likes to cry racism. I mean, this family, this lovely family has not said that. However, I see such a difference in the way -
GRACE: You said it!
PEYSER: Yes. I see such a difference in the way this case was treated from a lot of other cases, where girls disappear, and you hear about it within 24 hours. It`s all over the media.
In this case, the parents waited 24 hours. The father was out there with pictures, with flyers. He was at subway stations, on the streets. Have you seen my daughter? Do you know what happened to her? People in the streets, the gang members, Senator (ph) Andrews told me that he gave her picture to gang members. And they said, Yes, we all have daughters.
And it really did not capture the attention of the media. The police, it did capture their attention, but they were slow to really -- I mean until the reward was announced, and this was a couple of weeks, it really didn`t get that much attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: When we come back, how can a 16-year-old simply vanish on a busy neighborhood street without one witness?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have to catch who did this. She was a good person, from a good family. But regardless, she`s a child, and we have to protect our children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the kids out there need to watch out who they talk to on the Internet or where they go. They need to keep watching around their surroundings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In any incident where there`s a crime committed, especially a this -- a crime like this, there has to be someone who knows something, even -- even though we`re looking at the -- trying to get the criminal, there has to be some kind of association because you just can`t move that kind of body and transport it, you know, by yourself. And also, more importantly, you -- we feel that one would not keep a secret (INAUDIBLE) Someone has to have communicated to someone that they did this or that they were involved in it or some capacity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Sixteen-year-old Chanel Petro-Nixon disappears on her way to apply for a summer job at a local Brooklyn restaurant. The girls turns up, her body, strangled, stuffed into a garbage bag on a side street, thrown away like garbage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This is an outrage! A 16-year-old little girl, honor student, never missed a day of church, wanted to become a nurse to help other people, goes to meet her friends at a local Applebee`s to give a job application. She`s never seen alive again -- 16 years old! And what`s so heinous about it tonight is that someone in this neighborhood knows what happened to little Chanel. Tip line 800-577-TIPS. The reward climbs tonight to $33,000.
Out to Dr. Holly Phillips, joining us. Dr. Phillips, now, this sidewalk had been combed by her father many, many times. He had walked up and down it until 1:30 in the morning, handing out pictures of his little girl. When suddenly, there appears a garbage bag, two or three of them, with this child inside, thrown away like trash on the side of the street. So how is it that the police know that she had only been dead for 24 hours?
DR. HOLLY PHILLIPS, INTERNIST: Well, the forensic pathologists who are involved in examining the corpse would be able to identify not only the mode of death but also how long she had been dead.
GRACE: To the lines, Liz, if you don`t mind. Let`s go to Mary in Tennessee. Hi, Mary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. My question is, Can fingerprints be lifted from plastic bags?
GRACE: Yes, they can. In fact, that`s an excellent surface for fingerprints. What about it, Jon Leiberman?
LEIBERMAN: An excellent, excellent surface for fingerprints. Police don`t want to release, at this point, what they got from those bags, but let`s just say they have some physical evidence that, hopefully, could help match the killer.
One thing they`re trying to do right now is do a profile of this guy. Did he have a car, Nancy? And if he had a car, why didn`t he drive the body out to another borough?
GRACE: No, I`m not seeing a car in this because if he had a -- exactly. This killer is between the apartment and where the body was found.
LEIBERMAN: Right. Then is there a crime scene somewhere in that neighborhood where he put Chanel for a couple days in there, and then he hand-carries the bag and drops it off there? But if he hand-carries the bag, somebody`s got to see that. This is 100 pounds of weight in a bag. Somebody must see him put the bag down, unless he does it in the dead of night.
GRACE: Describe the neighborhood, Andrea.
PEYSER: Well, Bed-Stuy, I mean, it`s come a long way. I`ve lived in New York for a long time now, and you know, it`s not what you would consider a glamorous neighborhood. It`s not Park Avenue. It`s not Manhattan. It`s not the Upper East Side. It`s not even the Lower East Side. It`s Bed-Stuy. However, we have seen crime drop tremendously around there. And I suppose that whoever did this might think that people thought this happens all the time there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Next, we hear from Channel Petro-Nixon`s family. They want justice.
GRACE: Local leaders and Chanel Petro-Nixon`s family want answers, pleading for witnesses to come forward with information on the death of their 16-year-old girl. Flyers distributed on public streets say it all: Somebody knows something. And I couldn`t agree more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Caryn Stark, listening to Andrea Peyser joining us -- she`s the one who broke the story in "The New York Post" -- where I first read about it, anyway -- Caryn, listening to what she`s saying about the neighborhood and analyzing the crime scene, what do you make psychologically, Caryn, of someone putting a body of this little girl in a trash bag?
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I think, Nancy, psychologically, that this is somebody that -- it`s the kind of killer who you really can`t understand what he`s doing, kinds of collects people perhaps. Makes me wonder also whether he knew her because he got her so quickly after she left her apartment that maybe it really was somebody who was stalking her, and clearly, somebody that is really, really difficult to profile, as we say.
GRACE: Oh, I just think it says something on such a psychological level that you would throw a child out in a garbage bag.
Back out to Rupa, Rupa Mikkilineni joining us there at the scene. Rupa, police have tried and tried to speak to passersby, to people that live in the area. Why aren`t they speaking to police?
MIKKILINENI: Nancy, I spoke with people that actually live in the very building where her body was found, and they indicated to me -- it was a father and a daughter, actually, and they indicated to me that they were afraid. They`re terrified of retaliation. And then when I said, Look, the tip line is anonymous, the police assure us of this, and they said they don`t trust the system. And they`re worried that it`s -- they think -- they themselves did not know anything, but they fear that it`s a concern of people in the neighborhood.
GRACE: With me here on the set, her parents. What was your normal routine with her? What was your family life like with her?
LUCITA NIXON: We were a happy family. We trusted each other. We respected each other. She respected us as her parent. A lot of trust was with us.
GRACE: What would she like to do?
LUCITA NIXON: She was quiet, very laid back person. But at the same time, she wasn`t scared or afraid to voice her opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Next: Still missing. To New Jersey and the case of a firefighter mom who vanishes into thin air.
GRACE: A New Jersey fire-fighting mom disappears, seemingly vanishing into thin air, leaving behind three little children, including a six-month- old left home alone. Where is Margaret Haddican-McEnroe?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was on the phone or she was trying to make a call, and I just said, "Who are you talking to? Who are you calling?" She just said, "My f-in` husband. I`m going to divorce him." Put that in perspective. Margaret has a very explosive temperament, and she says things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had our share of problems, but everything seemed to be working out with my stepdaughter and stuff, so it seemed very good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a dispute up there. The extent of it, I can`t get into. I don`t want to talk about it. Either the ex-husband or the current husband`s criminal background.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: A 29-year-old firefighter mom of three vanishes, seemingly into thin air, leaving behind the three kids, including a 6-month-old child alone at home. What has become of Margaret Haddican-McEnroe?
Out to you, Jean Casarez, what is the latest on the search for this mom?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: This is day 29. And investigators just really don`t know what the situation here, because it`s one of two things. Either she left three young babies at home or there is foul play.
GRACE: Take a listen to what her own father had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did you start to think that something was wrong?
TIMOTHY MCENROE, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: Well, I had to pick up my two daughters, and that`s when I called my mother to come over. But I was a little bit concerned because my one baby was upstairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the baby was here alone?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that wasn`t a normal thing?
MCENROE: No, I figured she might be just outside somewhere, but she wasn`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had she caused you earlier in the day to tell you that there wasn`t formula and to bring a formula?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: OK, that was the husband. Now, let`s take a listen to the father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK HADDICAN, FATHER OF MISSING WOMAN: We never heard a word, a negative word in regard to the marriage. The only thing negative that we`ve ever heard was when she was cursing Tim the day before she disappeared. And as I said before, that`s -- when things don`t go right, she has a little bit of a temper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To Eric Martin with the Central New Jersey search and rescue team, he has led the search for this 29-year-old woman. Not a problem in the marriage. But the day before she goes missing, there`s a domestic call to the home.
ERIC MARTIN, SEARCH AND RESCUE, NEW JERSEY: Well, I`ll be very honest with you, Nancy. At this point, you know, we`re focusing on the search effort for Margaret. There`s a lot of variables that are coming into play, into light. There`s an ongoing police investigation that should complement the search effort.
And we at this point are still -- you know, your effort is an active, passive, indirect search tactic to try to make people aware that she might be out of New Jersey. But we`re still focusing all of our resources on the ground in the Warren...
GRACE: OK, Eric, let me rephrase the question. Was there a domestic call? Did police go to the home the day before she goes missing?
MARTIN: Yes, ma`am, absolutely.
GRACE: What happened? What was the allegation?
MARTIN: You know, at this point, we are not privy as to civilian search and rescue side of things so what actually took place with the law enforcement at that particular disturbance.
GRACE: OK, I accept that.
To Vito Colucci, private investigator with Colucci Investigations, what are your thoughts on the investigation so far?
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: Well, you know, Nancy, very strange case for a lot of reasons. You have this young man that waits two full days before he calls the authorities to report his wife missing. Now, meanwhile, then he tells authorities that she has threatened to commit suicide, number one, and, number two, she`s suffering from postpartum.
But yet you go to sleep for two full nights by yourself, not in a rural area, not knowing where your wife is? Doesn`t make any sense at all. They have the big argument the night before. He goes two full days. It doesn`t make any sense. And then he refuses, Nancy, to take a polygraph. So what does all that mean?
GRACE: To Eric Martin, has the husband been out searching?
MARTIN: No, and I`ll tell you, we`re not really sure what took place prior to the nine days when we arrived on the scene. But we really don`t want the family actively going out and participating in the search effort.
And to the remark your previous guest just made, there was no real, formal document stating that she was going to commit suicide or even had that mindset, so we`re still keeping all the avenues open.
GRACE: Eric, speaking of the search, one of the reasons very often -- and we can`t cast an aspersion on the husband on that matter, for not searching, because, say, for instance, a witness in a case finds evidence. That`s never a good thing.
Out to the lawyers, Anne Bremner, Jason Oshins. You don`t want a possible witness, a person of interest, a suspect, anybody to do with the case to find evidence. Why, Anne?
ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, because then -- then because if they`re guilty, then presumably they`re going to taint it in some way. And if they`re part of the scene, anybody being part of the scene that`s not an official searcher in the case, can be looked at as someone that could contaminate the scene. Scenes need to be sacrosanct, and you know that. Everyone does. But having the suspect there -- but remember Scott Peterson? I think he was part of the vigil, but not the searches.
GRACE: OK, this guy is not a suspect. The husband is not a suspect.
GRACE: But to you, Jason Oshins, if somebody in my family were missing, I would be out there looking or manning the hotline. P.S., that tip line, 888-577-TIPS. So that is very unusual in my mind, Jason.
JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, look at it two ways. You might do something independently, as we were just talking about with the Scott Peterson. He certainly gave the impression that he was out there and trying to assist in some way.
But obviously, law enforcement doesn`t want anyone out there except their own. And if there are volunteers, there are law enforcement with them, so in case there is evidence found, it is not tainted, and it`s maintained in the proper chain of custody.
GRACE: To Jean Casarez, with Court TV, frankly speaking, if it`s a volunteer search effort, there`s really no reason the husband can`t be out there with the other volunteers, but maybe he`s home manning the lines. There could be a myriad of reasons why. He`s got these three kids to contend with, one being 6 months old. But, Jean Casarez, I need to nail down the time line. Why did 48 hours go by before he reported her missing?
CASAREZ: Well, what he said was that she had done this before and that he thought she was coming back, and so he didn`t want to call in authorities until she came home, because that`s what he thought was going to happen. And I think also, if they were having domestic problems, they could be an air of humiliation right there that he knows she`s coming back and doesn`t want to humiliate himself by going to the police.
GRACE: I don`t know why that would humiliate him, Jean.
CASAREZ: Well, I think that, if they were having problems, he thought she was coming back, he just didn`t want to air their dirty laundry with officials.
GRACE: Out to Christine in Ohio. Hi, Christine.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. How are you tonight?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
CALLER: My question is, if she left on her own accord, why would she have left her cell phone? I mean, if I go any place, if I just go out the door to even just check the dog, I take my cell phone.
GRACE: You know what? I have the very same habit, but maybe everybody`s not like us. But interesting, Christine in Ohio. Her cell phone was totally destroyed. Yes, no, Eric Martin?
MARTIN: And also, Nancy, I want to make sure that you understand, there`s two types of volunteers. There are the trained career volunteers that -- we basically are very, very conscientious of all the evidence. We don`t allow any of our saritechs (ph) to touch any evidence. We mark it, and we give it to the police enforcement agencies.
Now, you have the emergency volunteers also...
GRACE: Cell phone.
MARTIN: ... come back -- and absolutely. I mean, there`s just so many pieces that aren`t coming together.
GRACE: Cell phone. Cell phone. Cell phone. Was the cell phone destroyed?
MARTIN: Yes, it was.
GRACE: Did you see it?
MARTIN: No, I did not.
GRACE: Next it, we hear from Margaret`s family.
GRACE: What happened in the days leading up to the disappearance of a New Jersey firefighter mom, Margaret Haddican-McEnroe? Conflicting reports from her father versus her husband. The husband, the last person to see Margaret before she goes missing.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST CO-HOST: A tragic mystery in New Jersey as a beautiful, really beautiful 29-year-old mother of three goes missing, vanishing without a trace. Her husband says he came home to find their infant baby girl all by herself.
The husband also says his wife, Margaret Haddican-McEnroe, had been suffering from post-partum depression, but the missing woman`s father says he saw his daughter the day before she disappeared, and she didn`t seem depressed but was instead agitated. The dad claims his daughter told him she wanted a divorce.
Now, for the very latest on this still-unfolding mystery, now in its 22nd day, let`s start with Court TV correspondent Jean Casarez. We`re delighted to have her here in our studios tonight to bring us the very latest on this case -- Jean?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Thank you, Jane. You know, as her husband said -- we just heard him say that the morning of October 10th, his wife allegedly called him, saying she needed baby formula. He went to the supermarket, he got it, he brought it home. He says that`s the last time he ever saw her because he went to do a landscaping job after that from 1:30 to 3:00. When he got home, she was gone. But he did not report it to police until 48 hours later.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, apparently, authorities -- and this is sort of breaking news -- have said that the receipts that they`ve gotten match up with his story, so that, in fact, he did go and get that baby formula when he said he did. So that`s good news for him.
CASAREZ: Exactly. They found the formula in the home. They just needed to make sure he bought it. They said he did. But I think there is a concern that he didn`t report it for 48 hours.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, Jean, let`s listen to the husband himself speak to our show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY MCENROE, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: She could be almost anywhere. She`s got friends and family throughout the country. We had our share of problems, but everything seemed to be working out with my stepdaughter and stuff. So it seemed very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go straight out to Mike Brooks, who is a former D.C. police officer who also served on the FBI terrorism task force. Thank you for joining us tonight. Authorities are asking for our help, this show, the NANCY GRACE show. Apparently, A, this woman enjoyed watching the show. So, theoretically, she could be watching tonight. Also, they desperately want the public`s help. They`ve gotten very few tips at this point.
How effective can the public be in situations like this, based on your experience with past cases?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Jane, it can be very effective, especially if people are watching and maybe they might recall seeing something. They may have seen a woman like this because they said that, you know, she`s only 5-foot-2, 110 pounds. And they the description of what she had on. She had on an Army -- she had on pajama pants, an Army T-shirt.
But what I find interesting, Jane, is that they also said that she had a black Army military-style coat and a bag. A black duffel bag with additional clothes was also missing, which I find very interesting because that -- you know, and law enforcement is going to have to figure out whether or not there was foul play involved or she left of her own volition.
And the other thing we haven`t heard anything about and authorities haven`t said anything, is, you know, was there any sign of struggle in the house? That would be very interesting, and that would lead them to foul play. But law enforcement still have her classified as a missing person.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there are so many bizarre circumstances surrounding this case. Let`s go out to Pat Brown, criminal profiler. First of all, according to her dad, the day before she went missing, she came over to him and allegedly, according to the dad, complained about her husband, saying, I want a "bleeping" divorce, or words to that effect. What does that tell you, as a criminal profiler? Because the husband is saying, No, we didn`t have an argument. She was upset, but she was upset about one of the kids.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, he`s going to say that because, obviously, if he`s going to admit they had an argument over a divorce, then fingers are going to be pointing at him.
And let me tell you, Jane, there`s a ton of red flags flying up here, which the police have got to be focusing in on the husband for these red flags. One is the fact that he says -- you know, he doesn`t report this woman missing for 48 hours. And yet this is a woman he says is depressed and suicidal.
Now, if my wife were depressed and suicidal and walked out of the house, in her pajamas, mind you, not even getting dressed, and walked out in her pajamas to disappear into the neighborhood, I`d be frantic because I`d think, "Oh, my God, she might have gone out to kill herself." How I don`t know because women usually kill themselves in their homes. But I would be frantic. But he`s not frantic. Is he an uncaring husband, or does he know exactly what happened to her and needed 48 hours to cover up all the evidence?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, but don`t we have to be a little bit careful, because sometimes a person can be guilty of bad judgment or just not using their head? Yes, of course, he should have immediately called authorities, but maybe he was embarrassed.
Maybe he wanted to save her embarrassment because she was this heroic volunteer firefighter who was known for rescuing people and having saved lives, and maybe he thought it would look bad for her. So apparently, he did call around to some friends. This is an absolutely fascinating aspect of the case.
And I want to go back to Jean Casarez, because you have covered a lot of trials where this whole issue of not calling authorities right away comes into play. Sometimes it leans towards innocence, but sometimes it doesn`t.
CASAREZ: You know, it`s very interesting. I did a case in Florida. It was the Warren Gello (ph) case. Court TV viewers will remember that case. And the husband -- and we got to remember, the husband here is not a suspect, he`s not a person of interest. But police are also saying no one is excluded at this point.
But in the case I covered in Florida, the prime suspect that became the defendant was the husband. He did not report his wife missing for about 48 hours, I think. And his reason was that she had done this before and he thought maybe she had left.
Well, that became the thrust of the prosecution`s case. They would put witnesses on the stand to develop the theory that she never left the home, she was never one to veer away from home at all. And in the end, obviously, it wasn`t good for that defendant.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Former prosecutor Lisa Pinto, given what Jean Casarez has just said, shouldn`t one of their first jobs be, "Well, did she ever try to leave home before? Did she ever walk out depressed or suffering from post-partum depression and just take off?"
LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I agree with you, Jane. Let`s not lynch Mr. McEnroe just yet. There are two other men involved in this equation. Remember, there was a custody battle involving the oldest child, the stepdaughter that`s referred to in the video. There was a bitter custody struggle over that daughter. Then there was another father of her second child. I don`t know what their relationship was like.
I certainly would want to know from friends, neighbors, relatives, did post-partum -- for I have had three children, and I can tell you it gets increasingly worse with each child. It builds. You do feel sad, lonely, depressed. Maybe she went for a two-day walk. If she did, Margaret, please phone home and give your family a break.
But I don`t think we can start lynching the husband just yet. He`s not a person of -- he`s not a suspect, he`s not a person of interest. And frankly, he looked pretty credible to me in that interview.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely, he deserves the presumption of innocence. He is not considered a suspect. Let`s listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you tell her if she`s watching?
MCENROE: To call somebody or to have somebody else call someone, anyone, or just come home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if she needs some time away, it`s OK, but just call.
MCENROE: Yes, just call. Let`s -- we all miss you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: October 10, Margaret Haddican-McEnroe was reported missing, actually not reported until the 12th. The 10th is when her husband discovered her to be missing, at approximately 3:00 in the afternoon. On the 12th of October, he reported her missing officially to the Warren township police department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s go straight out to Marc Klaas, who is president of Beyond Missing. He is a crusader for victims` rights, having lost his own beautiful daughter to violent crime. Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Marc.
You yourself experienced this very common phenomenon of when a tragedy occurs with a family, the authorities look at everybody in the family. You experienced that yourself. What is that process like?
MARC KLAAS, FOUNDER OF BEYOND MISSING: Well, it`s a very difficult process, but if law enforcement explains it to you and explains that the statistics are going to move their suspicion in your direction, then it`s incumbent upon you and other family members to do everything you can to clear yourself from suspicion so they can then move their resources into whatever actually did happen.
GRACE: When we come back, those still missing, cases still unsolved.
GRACE: Murders remain unsolved. Searches go on for the missing. Tonight, please, don`t forget them.
GRACE: Tonight, countless missing children across the country, so many cases, so few leads. Tonight, families looking for their girls, their boys who vanished days, months, even decades ago. Tonight, you help us make a difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has to stop. We have to be strong and get these bad guys who are taking our children and our women.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The loss of a child is really -- has got to be the worst experience. It`s been torturous for us. We`ve experienced an overwhelming amount of psychological, emotional and spiritual pain.
MARK LUNSFORD, DAUGHTER JESSICA ABDUCTED AND MURDERED: It`s up to you people to call your legislators, your lawmakers (INAUDIBLE) that you want changes now. Our children are endangered, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, it doesn`t matter where you`re from.
We need tougher laws to keep our children safe. They are our next governors. They are our future. They`re our next cameramen, our next truck drivers, our laborers. It`s all on them. They are what`s going to happen in this world in the future, and we can`t let people take them away from us.
I live a simple life, and I work all my life, and I raised kids all my life. And someone has taken this away from me.
If there`s anything that anybody knows, I just ask you to please help me find my daughter and bring her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Thank you for being with us tonight for this NANCY GRACE special on those still missing and homicides unsolved. NANCY GRACE signing off again for tonight. See you here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.