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Surveillance Video Shows Kansas Teen Abduction

Aired June 5, 2007 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news in the disappearance of a Kansas girl who just graduated high school, shopping at a local Target store. Tonight, we learn new surveillance video just released in the search for 18-year-old Kelsey Smith. A beautiful Kansas girl scrubbed in sunshine, vanishes into thin air, Kelsey caught on video leaving Target for the parking lot on her way home. Did a person of interest follow Kelsey inside the store, then out to the parking lot, the person of interest on video? Tonight, that reward to find Kelsey climbing to $25,000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police are working to enhance a surveillance videotape that shows an 18-year-old girl being abducted. Police say a man forced Kelsey Smith into her car on Saturday night in the parking lot of a Target store. She has not been seen since. Her car, though, was found just a couple of hours later abandoned, with both her purse and keys inside. Police are looking for a young man who was seen in the store at about the same time. They are calling him a person of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the front of the Target store. That is Kelsey coming out, going over towards her car, which is over there in the parking lot. There she is at the car. She`s putting her stuff -- if you look carefully, she`s putting her stuff inside the vehicle. (INAUDIBLE) the back, right there is some kind of activity that takes place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have many, many leads. We are pursuing every one of them. Every officer and detective in this case is proceeding on the assumption that we will find Kelsey safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kelsey was -- you knew where she was, what she was doing at all times. Right now, we`re just going day by day. We know we`re not going to stop until she`s home. That`s bottom line.


GRACE: Also tonight, two toddlers drown in a pond just 150 yards from their Pennsylvania home. Why? The babysitter taking a nap. Now startling allegations emerge. The babysitter`s sleeping, all right, because she was drunk. That`s some nap.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news bombshell. The babysitter supposed to be watching two toddlers who drowned now charged, cops claiming 19-year- old Brittany Stewart was drinking alcohol well into the morning, knowing she was babysitting the toddlers just hours later, the police complaint also revealing Stewart text-messaged a friend less than two hours before watching the kids, the babysitter behind bars this evening on $50,000 bond while two Erie County families are forced to bury their children.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. First, does just released surveillance video hold the key to finding a missing Kansas girl, Kelsey Smith?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What everyone wanted to hear is that police have identified the person of interest in this case, but they have not. What they do say is that they`ve gotten some 200 leads in the case, many from people who think they know who this man is. Eighteen-year-old Kelsey Smith disappeared Saturday night from the parking lot of the Target store at 97th and Nieman (ph). This distant videotape is the last sighting of her. Investigators say when you look closely, you can see Kelsey being forced into her car in the top left corner of your screen.


GRACE: Where is Kelsey? Tonight, video emerges that could hold the key to finding a person of interest. You can see very clearly in newly released video, first of all, this guy apparently hovering near Kelsey inside that Target store as she did her shopping. This young girl just graduated from high school, dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. He comes out just before Kelsey. And notice, empty-handed. Who goes into Target and comes out empty-handed? Then right after he comes out, she comes out.

Then we see very, very disturbing evidence. We see Kelsey come out, in her hand a graduation gift for another person, wrapping paper in the other hand. Then we now find out there is surveillance video of her out in the parking lot.

I want to go straight out to Bill Grady, reporter with KMBZ 980. Oh, wait. Hold on. Hold on. We`re showing new video inside at the checkout. That`s her. There she is, coming out with the wrapping paper and the present.

Bill, what can you tell me about that video surveillance out in the parking lot?

BILL GRADY, KMBZ 980: Well, Nancy, one of the things that Overland Park police chief John Douglass was very careful about this afternoon in his news conference -- it just concluded about an hour-and-a-half ago -- was by stating -- and I think you led off at the top of the program with it -- there is activity at the rear of her car. As late as last night, you had conflicting views as to whether this actually showed this young woman being pushed into the car. The video is very, very grainy, and as you well know, Nancy, any time you`re dealing with video and you blow it up on a large screen...

GRACE: We`re looking at it right now while you`re talking. And it looks pretty clear to me. You see her at the back of the car. She`s putting something into the car -- Bill with us, Bill Grady with KMBZ 980 -- and then suddenly, someone rushes toward her, and then the car leaves.

GRADY: Well, you undoubtedly have a much clearer picture of it than we did this afternoon at the news conference. It was projected on quite a large wall. And so when you have that many pixels or the pixels get spread out, the information was not as clear as it is to you this evening with the release of the latest. But we were told by Chief Douglass that it will be enhanced even further. And they have not as of yet connected the dots between this person that`s been called a person of interest...

GRACE: Hold on. We`re looking at it right now, Bill.


GRACE: She`s at the car. It`s her going in and out, apparently putting something in the back seat or the trunk. Everybody, look at about -- there. Right there. OK. At about 8:45 on your clock, right there, the person runs up to the car. And that`s that.

OK, go ahead, Bill.

GRADY: Well, what Chief Douglass is trying to say -- and I think, obviously, he`s trying to boilerplate this case -- is that they have not as of now definitively made a connection between the person of interest inside the Target store and the person on the videotape. As a matter of fact, I asked Chief Douglass this afternoon myself, you know, Have you really made a connection between those two people, and he said at that time that the tape really wasn`t clear enough to be able to connect those dots. But they are continuing to work on it and so...

GRACE: I`ve got a question for you. Bill, obviously, they`re continuing to work on it. But that is a blurry picture of someone running up to the car. But isn`t it correct that the police did say today the person is wearing the same type clothing as this person of interest?

GRADY: Not -- when I asked Chief Douglass that this afternoon, that was not the case. Now, again, in the last couple of hours, something may have transpired where there is a clearer video image. I`m just going back to the news conference I attended this afternoon.

GRACE: OK. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police are working to enhance a surveillance videotape that shows an 18-year-old girl being abducted. Police say a man forced Kelsey Smith into her car on Saturday night in the parking lot of a Target store. She has not been seen since. Her car, though, was found just a couple of hours later abandoned, with both her purse and keys inside. Police are looking for a young man who was seen in the store at about the same time. They are calling him a person of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, as far as the investigation goes, police say that they have received some pretty good tips about this photograph that they released last night about the person of interest. This is a man that was seen in the Target near Kelsey. He left the store without buying anything, and so they say that is very suspicious and they would like to talk to him. At this point, the police chief says that they still do not have him identified, so they want as many people as possible to continue calling in with tips.


GRACE: Joining us right now, Kelsey`s parents, Melissa and Greg Smith. They are joining us from Kansas City. To both of you, thank you for being with us. Greg, what do you make of what you saw in the video?

GREG SMITH, MISSING GIRL`S FATHER: Well, there`s undoubtedly activity that came from behind her car, and the one logical conclusion is that`s a person that was running up on her. And we always thought pretty much from the very beginning that something like that had to have happened to her, that she had to be abducted, because she just would not avoid calling. She wouldn`t avoid calling us, wouldn`t avoid coming home. That`s just not Kelsey.

GRACE: Well, you have a police background. When you look at the video, do you see -- what do you see? I don`t want to form your answer. What do you see when you look at the video?

GREG SMITH: The only copy we`ve seen of the video is what was shown at the press conference today at 5:00 o`clock. And it -- like Bill was saying, it was very grainy and very hard to see. It`s more -- the video that we saw, it looked more like a light-colored blob that moved towards Kelsey. And even Kelsey wasn`t that clear. So it`s difficult to say exactly what happened. But I know that they`re working on enhancing that video. There`s I think now three crime labs that are working on it, and I`m confident they`ll find out.

GRACE: Let`s go out to special guest Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed with the FBI. Mike, tell us about the enhancement process.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Well, I`ll tell you, Nancy, there are a number of different labs. We heard today -- now we heard from Mr. Smith three forensics labs. Now, the FBI has the capability of doing this. They have also -- they`re now included also in the case, the Kansas state lab.

But also, the Target corporation, Nancy, has an excellent video enhancement lab. In fact, one of their certified forensic video analysts was involved in the Dru Sjodin case. If you recall, Dru Sjodin was a coed who was found dead in -- from North Dakota, found in Minnesota. He gained notoriety in the Midwest because of the enhancement he did for that particular case.

So I have a lot of faith in the people who do enhancements. I`ve seen a lot of cases made on enhanced video, and hopefully, they can aid in this particular case.

GRACE: Well, I`ve got to tell you something. I was very happy when I saw the Target video. I did not realize that Target is a leader in the field of video enhancement. But you rarely see, like at a bank or a convenience store -- most surveillance video, you don`t see the quality of what we see of them there. There`s Kelsey leaving with her wrapping paper and her gift.

The person of interest -- everybody, take a look at this guy. He looks to me to be between 5-7" and 5-11, tall white male, dark brown hair, a goatee. I would place him somewhere between 19 and 25 years old, tall, lanky, wearing sandals, shorts and a white T-shirt.

Now, Mike, I know that you have reviewed the video. Of course, you can`t make out any of the characteristics of these people, but we know it`s Kelsey because she`s going in and out of her own car. And you clearly see a white form rushing toward her.

BROOKS: And what they do is, you take it frame by frame. This is digital video that we`re seeing here. And what they do, they take it frame by frame, and they`re going to go ahead and follow and trace exactly from where Kelsey went when she left the store. And they`re also going to go back because this guy left before she did. He apparently came in after her and left before she did.

But also, Nancy, there had to have been some video inside of this store where he was exhibiting some kind of stalking behavior for them to say, This is a guy we want to take a look at. So I`m sure there`s some video from inside the store they`re taking a look at to see exactly what his movements were as compared to Kelsey`s movements were through the store.

And you know, Overland park, it`s not a huge community. So hopefully, someone will be able to see this picture of this guy because, I tell you, it`s a very, very clear image of him exiting the Target store. And my hat`s off to Target for having such a...

GRACE: You`re not kidding.

BROOKS: ... quality digital system there at the store.

GRACE: I want to go back to Greg Smith. Greg, he`s back in two hours. The car is back in two hours, parked at a nearby store that apparently you could throw a softball to. I believe it was a Macy`s parking lot. So wherever they went had to be within 60 miles or so circumference. Are there any big cities? What lies within an hour around there?

GREG SMITH: Well, something like that, you`re talking -- I mean, Kansas City, Missouri, lies to the east, just, you know, 7 to 12 miles away. If you were heading out west, you`ve got Lawrence, Kansas, which is a college town with KU. You`ve got Owaitha (ph) to the south, which is about 12 miles out. So there`s some fair-sized cities around.

But -- and it would depend, too, because Kelsey`s car, when it came out, it turned to the west, which is away from our house, which is one of the indications we had right away that something was wrong. And if they went to the west, that direction they went, you run to a road where you either have to go north or south very quickly. It`s only maybe a quarter mile to a half mile to the first stop light. And then if you go south, you`re going to be on the interstate. And if you North, you`re going to be in Overland Park, driving around on city streets.

GRACE: Question. Do you have any idea how many miles were clocked on the car?

GREG SMITH: I do not know that. I don`t know what the mileage was on her car that night. I hadn`t been in it a few days, so I don`t remember what the mileage was.

GRACE: Got you. What do you know about this guy, this POI, person of interest behavior inside the Target? Because the police said, very frankly, his behavior made him stand out. He didn`t buy anything. I don`t know that he was literally following her through the store, but apparently, she would move to one area, he would move to that area. What do you know?

GREG SMITH: Apparently, what was on that video is he -- there was indications that he was showing interest in Kelsey.

MELISSA SMITH, MISSING GIRL`S MOTHER: She was not in the store very long. She called me at 6:57, and her car is pulling away about 7:07. So for him to follow her that time, she wasn`t there that long.

GRACE: Well, another thing, I notice he comes out before her.


GRACE: And he didn`t buy anything, so he could have seen her going to the cash register and then gone outside and waited for her to exit.

GREG SMITH: Sure, that`s a possibility.

MELISSA SMITH: The other thing we noticed on the video was, we didn`t realize how close to the door Kelsey had been parked. She was not far from the front door of Target at all.

GRACE: And I notice, you know, all these people are going in and out of Target, all this is going down right behind them. It happened in split seconds. It was immediate.

Another question I have for Bill Grady with KMBZ 980. Bill, so somebody brings her car back to the store, basically next door, the Macy`s, and parks it. What do they do, thumb their way home? His vehicle has to be -- the perpetrator`s vehicle has to be somewhere around there for him to hop in and leave. Have we got any surveillance of the parking lots?

GRADY: Well, I`m sure there is surveillance of the parking lot. Now, once again, Nancy, police are being very, very cautious in what they say. This is -- I think as Greg mentioned a short while ago, this is a big, big shopping area. So literally, the number of people coming and going is going to be very, very great, especially at that time of night.

GRACE: But at 9:15? Don`t the malls close at 9:00 o`clock there?

GRADY: Well, they do close at 9:00 o`clock, but you know...

GRACE: Well, this is 9:15.

GRADY: We`re in daylight savings time, so I don`t know -- you know, there are...

GRACE: What does that have to do with anything?

GRADY: Well, it has to do with the fact that the police are not saying very much. They`ve got over 200 leads...

GRACE: Daylight saving time has something to do with the police not saying anything?

GRADY: I`m not saying that. I`m saying that the mall was very -- you know, does a great business. It`s one of the busiest malls.

GRACE: Yes. Right. OK, so the more daylight, the more people are out shopping at 9:00 o`clock at night.

GRADY: Exactly. Exactly. It was a very nice night.

GRACE: You`re right, I got it.

Out to Elana in California. Hi, Elana.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering if the person who took her could have had some relationship to her of any type?

GRACE: Let`s go to the parents. Melissa and Greg Smith are with us. Do you know this guy? Do any of her friends, her classmates know this guy?

GREG SMITH: We -- our immediate family does not recognize this person of interest. We`ve -- as Chief Douglass said today in the press conference, they`ve had numerous calls, and they`re tracking all these leads down. There are people that think they do know him, but the names that have been given or what they think they know about this person I`m not privy to right now.


GRACE: You know, I want to go back to the lines. Melissa in Indiana. We`re taking a look at a person of interest. Topeka (ph), show him one more time.

Melissa. Hi. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I was just wondering, does Target stand to have any liability in Kelsey`s disappearance?

GRACE: Doubtful. Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us, Jason Oshins out of New York, Ray Giudice out of Atlanta. To you, Jason. Liability on Target?

JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, there`s no liability on their part, as I`m looking at it now. Obviously, if their equipment wasn`t working, someone could look to them and say, When was the last time you checked it? They have lots of surveillance. There was nothing overt inside the store. I think they`ve been a great civic partner in having their equipment working and sharing it with us.

GRACE: What about it, Ray?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Disagree, Nancy. It was just pointed out that the Target people knew that there was something about this guy, that he was following her and stalking her. Is this elaborate videotape equipment to protect Target from shoplifters or to protect the store`s customers?

OSHINS: Yes, Nancy, I think it`s there to give the shoppers a sense of safety and security, to know that someone is out there as a deterrent towards potential crime.

GRACE: A sense of safety and security. Is it a false sense? See, I applaud Target because their video is so great. How many times have I had cases to prosecute where there`s no video, or they`ve taped over it? Remember Chandra Levy? How many other instances where they tape over the video. At least Target didn`t do that. We`ll all be right back, everyone. We are trying to help find this 18-year-old high school graduate, Kelsey.

But let`s go to tonight`s "Case Alert." Good news, a 6-year-old boy vanishing from his Minnesota home found safe. Take a look at him. Search and rescue teams discovered Jacob Lundquist (ph) just half a mile from his home in the woods, where the little boy spent the night, the 6-year-old in good condition, able to walk out on his own.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the video police have released in the case. It shows Kelsey Smith, who was wearing a pink tank top and black shorts, coming into the Target near Oak Park Mall. She`s there to shop for graduation gifts. The video shows her paying at a cash register, but at no point does it appear she`s being followed. Just moments after she passed by this camera, police say, she was kidnapped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re able to see clearly the person run in behind Kelsey as she was getting in her car.


GRACE: And this only a few feet from patrons going in and out of a local Target. We have learned as we go to air that Target is open until 10:00 o`clock at night. So Bill Grady is correct, there would still be shopping going on in and around the shopping area. Also, no live person is watching the video. It was only replayed later, so there`s no way that Target could know contemporaneously that anything odd was going on inside the store.

Out to the lines. Diana in Nevada. Hi, Diana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love your passion for victims.

GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much. What`s your question, ma`am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, I`ve heard that her cell phone and her ATM card were the two things that were missing from her purse.

GRACE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have either of those things been tracked or had any usage?

GRACE: What do we know about it? Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter, also covering the case, what do we know about that?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Apparently, no, they have not been used, Nancy. The ATM was not found in the car, nor was her cell phone, and they have not been used.

And I have to point out that this young lady was incredibly popular. Kelsey is a person who was very, very loved throughout this community, very active in choir, in drama, playing the clarinet, planning on going to Kansas State University. She really is an amazing young lady.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just ask whoever has her, Let our Kelsey come home. And I`d ask the public, Please help us to bring her home. Someone saw something. Even if you think it`s the smallest thing, call the police. And please pray we get Kelsey to come home.


GRACE: That tip line, 816-474-TIPS. The reward climbing to $25,000 tonight. Where is Kelsey Smith?

Out to the lines. Jill in Florida. Hi, Jill.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just wondering if the police have reported anything found within the car or in the trunk of the car that would indicate a struggle or that a crime had been committed.

GRACE: Out to Melissa Smith. This is Kelsey`s mom, along with her dad, Greg, joining us. Are you familiar with any of the findings of the car?

MELISSA SMITH: They`re still processing the car right now, but early indications are there really -- no sign of a struggle.

GRACE: Melissa, I know that your husband said he works, works all day on this case, trying to find his daughter. But at night, he doesn`t like it when the house gets quiet. Do you agree?

MELISSA SMITH: Yes, ma`am. Yes. At night, I go around cleaning or something, just to stay busy because you don`t want to think about the fact she`s not there.

GRACE: Greg, so far, what`s been the hardest part for you?

GREG SMITH: The two hardest parts of the day are right when it`s time to lay down and right after I get up. That`s when I think about her the most.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The babysitter, now behind bars, charged today with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Authorities alleging she went on a night of drinking and partying shortly before watching the two victims. 20-month-old Jenna Walker and 2-year-old Maggie Kovski were found in a backyard pond by their babysitter Wednesday. Now the criminal complaint alleging Steward was found asleep by the victim`s mother just hours before the children`s death. The 19-year-old babysitter trusted to watch two toddlers who drowned now in Erie County jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently when she woke up, the kids weren`t there. She started looking around the house, went out to the yard. She saw the two dogs down near the pond, so she headed down that way. And that`s when she found the two children in the pond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The babysitter told officials on the scene she doesn`t know how her stepsister got out of her crib or how the two toddlers got out of the home.


GRACE: Two little toddlers drown about 150 yards from their very own home. Why? The babysitter was asleep. Why? The babysitter was drunk, according to stunning allegations that have just come down, partying until about 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. before taking care of these two toddlers. Straight out to Kevin Miller with KDKA News Radio 1020, what`s the latest?

KEVIN MILLER, REPORTER: Well, the latest is, Nancy, Brittany Stewart is in jail at $50,000 bail, and she has been charged, like you all said, with reckless homicide or with involuntary manslaughter, endangerment. And the community in Erie, Pennsylvania, is very shocked. This doesn`t happen here.

GRACE: What do you mean, drownings don`t happen, or the babysitter getting drunk and allowing the drowning doesn`t happen?

MILLER: Well, what happens here is you don`t have a murder a day in Erie, Pennsylvania. It`s a community about family, friends, and community. Again, you have kids getting drunk, but you don`t have people getting murdered.

GRACE: What do we know about her night before?

MILLER: Well, what we know about the night before is she gave two stories to the police, one, that she had three beers and that she was in bed by midnight. Then, the police went out and spoke with her friends. She was out partying all night long, according to the probable cause affidavit, including text messaging her friend about 0700 to 0800, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., "OK, I`m finally done drinking, and I`m rocked, LOL." She didn`t want to come home because she knew she had to baby sit the next day, wanted to avoid her stepdad, so she wanted to wait until she left so she could baby sit the kids. She was tired, and that`s the description by her friends and people that saw her that day.

GRACE: OK, something still is not jiving with me. To Jane Velez- Mitchell, investigative reporter and author, I`m looking at the probable cause affidavit right now. And according to the mom, one of these little kids, a toddler, could not get out of the crib. She could barely stand up and look over the crib. She could not get out of the crib, so her story is not ringing true. She did not have those children in the crib, and they get out of the crib.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: A lot of things don`t add up. And, of course, Nancy, how did these children go out through the garage door and then walk 150 yards, which is the length of a football field, down a slope to this pond that was a manmade pond for fishing that was unsecured. So to think of them doing all of that in the one hour between when she puts them to take a nap, and when she wakes up and finds out that they`re missing, something doesn`t add up, and she has told a number of stories to authorities.

GRACE: Out to the lines, Diana in Indiana, hi, Diana.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, I love you.

GRACE: Thank you, and thank you for watching.

CALLER: Yes, what my question is, didn`t the children`s parents smell alcohol on this girl or notice her had been drinking?

GRACE: Excellent question. To you, Kevin Miller, what do we know?

MILLER: What we know here is Maggie Kovski`s mother noticed how fatigued, how tired Steward was. She said, "Look, you`re really tired. Why don`t you sleep for a little while? Are you sure you can take care of my kids?" Steward said that she was. Asked her again, "Are you sure? Are you sure?" She was convinced. "Hey, if you have any problems, please call me, I`ll come get the kids, I`ll take care of them." Steward assured her she was OK. She left, and the tragedy occurred.

GRACE: Didn`t she even allow the girl to take a 20-minute nap?

MILLER: Yes, she did, Nancy.

GRACE: This 19-year-old babysitter charged with manslaughter. Out to the lawyers, Jason Oshins, Ray Giudice, Ray, involuntary manslaughter, what is it?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it shows that there was an intent to commit a homicide. It`s an act that requires such reckless conduct, such criminal negligence, that the outcome is foreseeable. So here we have children that drowned. The house could have caught on fire because of her inattentiveness. They could have drowned in the bathtub because of her inattentiveness, because she allowed herself to become intoxicated and fatigued and not able to fulfill her obligations, taking care of the kids.

GRACE: Jason Oshins, if she had taken to the street and driven, vehicular homicide, because when you drink until 7:00 a.m., then you fall asleep and the children end up dead in the pond -- and apparently, when she finally found them, Jason, the dog and the neighbor dog were at the edge of the pond yelping and jumping into the pond. I wonder how long those children had been in there.

JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Nancy, this is a tragic accident. You know, you hear it in the reporter`s voice...

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait. What was the accident part, her at a kegger all night long or the children drowning?

OSHINS: Yes, I don`t know that we have any toxicology on her, that we`re so quick to rush to judgment that she was intoxicated...

GRACE: How about her own statement, her statement, "I`m still rocked, LOL"? I don`t know if you know what that means, Jason, but it means laugh out loud.

OSHINS: I know what that means.

GRACE: "I`m still drunk, at 7:00 in the morning."

OSHINS: I`m quite familiar with that.

GRACE: Well, then what`s your problem?

OSHINS: That`s text messaging between friends. And we`re not going to go ahead and take the veracity of that to go ahead and assert that she was drunk.

GRACE: OK. How about eyewitnesses that say she was drinking until 6:30 a.m.?

OSHINS: You could be drinking and wake up in the morning and be fine to lie in your home and be observant to some children and not be intoxicated.

GRACE: OK, Ray, weigh in.

GIUDICE: Nancy, the only thing I want to say is it was just a great question by the last caller. Didn`t either of the mothers of these two separate children recognize that this young girl was intoxicated, was not in a position to take care of these children? They knew she was tired.

GRACE: Well, obviously they didn`t. I can give you the answer right there.

GIUDICE: Well, then, if they didn`t notice it then, was she intoxicated? I mean, there`s a problem with this statement. Either she`s intoxicated and the parents knew about it and yet let her baby sit, or they didn`t notice it because she wasn`t intoxicated.

GRACE: Or how about this? She was intoxicated and came in and acted tired and they didn`t know she was drunk.

GRACE: Nancy, this is a 19-year-old girl...

OSHINS: Since when did a babysitter sleeping while your children are resting in their own beds...

GRACE: She didn`t sleep in front of them.

OSHINS: She did not drink in front of them. We have no reports of drinking beforehand, Nancy.

GRACE: OK, stop. I want to read to you from the affidavit. I don`t know what case you`re talking about, Jason Oshins, but here is the sworn police affidavit that states, "She said she was drinking the night before. She lied to her mom and said, `I`m sleeping over at somebody`s house.` Instead, she was at a bonfire drinking the whole night. Witnesses say she was still drinking around 6:30 a.m.," and she sends a text message saying, "I`m still rocked, LOL." Now, that`s what`s in the sworn police affidavit.

I want to go to Dr. Joshua Perper. You all know Dr. Perper from the Anna Nicole Smith autopsy. He`s renowned in his field, author of "When to Call the Doctor." Dr. Perper, how long, especially with a toddler, would it take for a child to drown?

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, it took only a few minutes, because it`s not just lack of air or so the child inhales large amount of water, which go into the blood and dilute the blood very dangerously.

GRACE: And what is it, when you look at an autopsy, Dr. Perper, that tells you the children drowned as opposed to, for instance, being asphyxiated and then thrown into the water?

PERPER: Well, the diagnosis of drowning is very difficult, and it`s partly circumstantial. There are a certain number of tests in which you can test the specific gravity of the blood or the presence of certain micro shells (ph) -- but those are not reliable, no, you cannot do that.

GRACE: So you don`t look for water in the lungs in a drowning?

PERPER: Yes. Yes. Usually, the lungs are clogged with water, but they may be clogged because of other natural reasons, so you cannot make the determination on this basis alone.

GRACE: When you look at the lungs, Dr. Perper, in autopsy, when you actually hold the lung and look inside the lung, you can`t tell that there was, for instance, pond water?

PERPER: In some cases, you can, if you find some kind of vegetation, which is also found in the pond water.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Judy in Wisconsin, hi, Judy.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I agree that the babysitter should be held responsible for this. But who gave the 19-year-old the alcohol?

GRACE: I`m wondering the very same thing. What about it, Kevin Miller with KDKA, underage drinking, correct?

MILLER: Underage drinking, and apparently they were all at a restaurant. It was an after-restaurant party where they all worked. And you had a lot of people buying alcohol for underage minors. This has not been brought up in the case, but I expect it to be.

GRACE: And to you, Jane Velez-Mitchell, the endangerment. How did the kids get out of the house? That`s what I want to know. One couldn`t even get out of her crib.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. And there was, in the affidavit, evidence that the child had never climbed out of the crib previously. But somehow, some way, they end up out of the crib, out of the house, down the sloping yard, into this pond. And, as you said, the dogs were yelping beside the pond as the children were found floating in the pond.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently when she woke up, the kids weren`t there. She started looking around the house, went out to the yard. She saw the two dogs down near the pond, so she headed down that way. And that`s when she found the two children in the pond.


GRACE: Why was the babysitter sleeping? She was drunk! Out to Mike Brooks, Mike, given no witnesses as to what happened, the babysitter`s now changing her story for the third time. How do we figure out what really happened?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: Well, Nancy, you`re going to have to go back and try to interview everybody who was with her at this little kegger, if you will, from the time they left that restaurant to the time that they were there. Who took her home? Did she drive herself home? Who dropped her off? You know, who bought the liquor? Did it come from the restaurant where all these people worked or was there an adult to buy the liquor?

Of course, it`s just a misdemeanor, but still you`ve got to find out exactly who did this, try to draw a timeline all the way up until even after the parents left. You know, were the kids even in the crib? Were they just out running around and she passed out? That`s what it sounds like, Nancy. If the one child had not ever been out of the crib, it sounds as if maybe they were just running around the house, she passed out, she wakes up, they`re gone, she goes outside, and she finds them face-down in the pond.

GRACE: I don`t understand why there`s not an underage drinking charge, Brooks.

BROOKS: Well, there most likely will come from this an underage drinking charge. It`s a misdemeanor, but still it`s part of this case and needs to be investigated.

GRACE: I want to go out now to Dr. Susan Bartell, psychologist and author. Doctor, in this particular case, what about the parents? A lot of people seem to be blaming them; I disagree with that.

SUSAN BARTELL, PSYCHOLOGIST: You do? I sort of am falling on the side of some of your viewers. I`m wondering about it. I think that this is very likely not the first time that she has been drinking. I`m sure she`s been binge drinking before. I`m sure it`s not the first time she`s lied to her mother. And I have to wonder why parents would leave her in charge of their little kids, when she`s clearly not a responsible kid by any means.

GRACE: Dr. Perper, what makes toddlers so much more vulnerable to drowning?

PERPER: Well, because you know they are the terrible two, they are really a little explorer. And when they see the water, it`s shiny, it reflects light, and it`s very attractive to try to find out what it is.

GRACE: Doctor, how do you determine the time of death in a case like this?

PERPER: Well, again, this is the determination, which is not really always very reliable. Our clock, so-called death clock, is not reliable. We have signs of rigidity or stiffness. We have changes in the coloration of the body. We have changes in the chemistry of the eye.

But, again, the longer the time interval, the more difficult it is to make the determination. I don`t think that in this case they will be able to make a more close determination than the one which is known from the circumstances and the clinical history.

GRACE: And to Kevin Miller, what`s next? Is there a court date?

MILLER: Yes, Nancy, June 11th at 2:30, there will be a preliminary hearing.

GRACE: Out to Michelle in Michigan, hi, Michelle.

CALLER: Hi, love your show.

GRACE: Thank you, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: Yes, I was wondering, it appears through the pictures that the pond was not secured with any kind of fencing or anything. Is there any laws in that state for ponds or anything like that to be fenced in? And if so, are the parents liable for that?

GRACE: What about that, Kevin? Was the pond fenced in?

MILLER: Not that I`m aware of. I`ve had a chance to check that out and seen the video of the place...

GRACE: I don`t believe there`s going to be any law demanding that it be fenced in, unless it`s public property, such as a retainer, a retainer pond owned by the state. We`ll find that out for you, Michelle in Michigan. We`ll have that as we continue to report.

I want to switch gears right now to someone very important to our show, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and her brand new book, "Secrets Can Be Murder." Jane, what`s it about?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Nancy, this book is called "Secrets Can Be Murder" because secrets can kill. Those little lies that we tell to the people we love, our parents, our children, sometimes even our boss or our lover or even a stranger. Those little lies are to cover up toxic secrets. They can be about sex, or money, or addiction, or family.

But whatever they`re about, those secrets are toxic, and they make us sick inside. And when left alone and allowed to fester, those secrets can erupt in violence. Now, we think of criminals as so different from us. We have some of the very same secrets as criminals.

GRACE: We`ll be right back with Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter and superstar, and her book, "Secrets Can Be Murder." I`m not so sure about that. I`ll let her convince me.

But now, tonight, "CNN Heroes."


DR. TREY WILSON, DENTIST: Every single one of us has that capacity to be of service to others, and I just did something about it. I`m Trey Wilson. I live in New York City, and I provide free dental care and dental education to Kenyans.

Dental care in Kenya is virtually nonexistent. When I arrived in Kenya, routinely, I saw in my clinic 4-year-olds with 20 teeth that needed to be extracted. I bring a team of dentists and volunteers who provide dental care in two clinics that we`ve established, in Kitale, which is the fifth-largest city in Kenya.

When we arrive in the morning, there are already 400 or 500 people assembled, ready to be seen. My organization gives patients the opportunity to have their teeth fixed. We provide dental education, and we hand out toothbrushes to people. There was a woman who waited seven hours to see me because, she said, "I like my smile, and I won`t have anything to smile about if they pull my front tooth."

I think that it would be a good idea to try to save that tooth.

She was so happy that her beauty -- I mean, her beauty really came out.

Give me a hug.

My life would have been a Monday-through-Friday, Madison Avenue dentist, getting in my car and driving out to the country and gardening all weekend. But I had a revelation that, with just a little bit of effort, I could make a huge impact.

All of us are far more resourceful than we ever think we are, and we have much more to give than we think that we have.



GRACE: "Secrets Can Be Murder," that`s what Jane Velez-Mitchell says in her brand new book. So, Jane, you say secrets translate to murder, and you have a lot of cases in here to support your theory. What about Phil Spector?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, Phil Spector is a classic example. Suicide in the family is a very common secret. His defining trauma of his childhood was that his father committed suicide when he was about 9 years old.

Psychiatrists will tell you, in the primitive mind, we always try to undo the biggest traumas of our childhood. He did that by cheating death every time he carried around a gun and waved it at people, a loaded gun, which he did all the time.

Flash forward to Lana Clarkson`s death, the actress he is currently on trial for allegedly killing, and what does he say? He says she committed suicide. And in one interview, he says she kissed the gun. Now, doesn`t that put the whole issue of suicide into a bizarre opposite context? Instead of being an act of death, it becomes an act of love.

GRACE: Exactly. OK, pop quiz, Scott Peterson?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Scott Peterson, another very common secret, infidelity. He was having a secret affair. How many millions of people are doing that as we speak? And, of course, the woman he was dating didn`t know that he was married. But, obviously, what he did was turn the lie that his wife had died into the truth, by killing her.

GRACE: Lightning round. Neil Entwistle?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Neil Entwistle, the big issue there, the secret debt. His wife couldn`t get the straight story from him about where they got their money. I mean, they were spending and spending and living this lavish lifestyle, and he said, "Don`t worry about it."

GRACE: Hey, Jane, how long did it take you to write this book? It`s so much research in it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of research and thanks to you, Nancy, because a lot of these stories are storied that I covered while reporting for you here on the NANCY GRACE show.

GRACE: Jane, I`m so proud of you. Everybody, "Secrets Can Be Murder" in the bookstores right now. Jane Velez-Mitchell, author.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Nancy.

GRACE: Let`s stop to remember Army Private First Class Victor Fontanilla, 23, California, killed Iraq. From the Northern Mariana Islands, he left college to enlist, loved serving the U.S., devoted to his family, just weeks from coming home for the birth of a second son. Fontanilla leaves behind widow, Noel, 2-year-old son (ph). Victor Fontanilla, American hero.

Thank you to our guests, but most of all to you, for being with us. Nancy Grace signing off until tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.


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