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Sen. Craig Recants Guilty Plea to Airport Restroom Solicitation/Mother of Three Missing, Husband Attempts Suicide

Aired August 28, 2007 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: Breaking news. A U.S. senator pleads guilty to soliciting sex in a bathroom. But now, after the guilty plea under oath, he says he didn`t do it.

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong, and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans. And for that, I apologize.


GRACE: Then why the guilty plea?

And tonight, mystery surrounding a young mom of three who vanishes into thin air, Emerson, New Jersey. Liza Murphy, last seen at her upscale suburban home, never heard from again, no credit cards, no cell phone activity. Friends and say no way would she leave her three little children behind. And in another bizarre twist, after she goes missing, her husband throws himself into a high-speed four-lane. Police and cadaver dogs on a massive search covering every inch of a local reservoir and a heavily wooded area. Tonight: Where is Liza Murphy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About the only thing clear in the disappearance of Liza Murphy is the mother of three is missing, husband Joseph Murphy telling police his wife left home after an argument.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her husband -- actually, he didn`t report it to police. An anonymous tipster reported her to police. And the husband was questioned and said, Look, we had an argument, she left the house without her wallet, without her cell phone, and I haven`t seen her since.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just days ago, Liza`s husband tried to commit suicide, jumping in front of a car. Cops also say husband Joseph Murphy`s not cooperating with the investigation. Police have no evidence of foul play, while three children wait for their mother to come home.


GRACE: And tonight: It pit the U.S. against Cuba and created an international crisis, the sensational Elian Gonzales case. The 6-year- old`s Cuban-born biological dad takes on U.S. officials to bring his son home in 2000. But tonight, the battle erupts again over a 4-year-old little Cuban girl, the legal showdown between wealthy Florida foster parents and her birth father back in Cuba. And what perks will the girl`s father get back home if he`s successful against U.S. foster family? At stake, the little girl being forced back to communist Cuba.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s hard not to draw comparisons to Elian Gonzalez when one of the main players in this latest custody battle is the man seen here tossing a baseball to then 6-year-old Elian. Former Miami sports agent Joe Cubas and his wife are foster parents to a little Cuban girl, who at the request of a judge, the media has agreed not to identify.

Unlike Elian, the girl`s Cuban father didn`t object when his daughter moved with her mother and 13-year-old half-brother to Miami in 2005. But soon after arriving, the mother attempted suicide and the state of Florida judged her unfit to be a parent. The mother lost custody of both children. Ever since, the girl`s father, a farmer in Cuba, has been fighting to take his daughter home.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Before we go to that mystery surrounding the disappearance of a mom of three, Liza Murphy, a senator pleads guilty under oath to soliciting sex in a public bathroom. But now he says he didn`t do it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gay rights groups call Senator Larry Craig the worst kind of Jekyll and Hyde, conservative in public but something very different in private. Then he was arrested in a men`s bathroom and convicted of disorderly conduct comes as no surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just thought, Here`s another one of these anti- gay bigots that`s caught with his pants down.

CRAIG: I am not gay. I never have been gay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Craig has repeatedly denied he`s gay, and he has denied it again, saying his plea of guilty was a mistake caused by stress from media scrutiny.

CRAIG: In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis because of the stress of the "Idaho Statesman" investigation and the rumors it has fueled all around Idaho.


GRACE: Sir, you have not been charged with being gay. That`s not a crime. Soliciting sex in a public bathroom? That is a crime.

Let`s go straight out to Carol Costello, CNN correspondent. Carol, explain to me what`s happening. I mean, I`ve got the plea right in front of me. And whenever you enter a plea, be it in traffic court or a major felony, you`re typically under oath when you say, Yes, I did it. Give me a break.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and not only that, Nancy, but there are five things on that plea agreement, including, "I have reviewed the arrest report." "I understand the charges." "I now make no claim that I am innocent of the charge." And Senator Craig signed that.

GRACE: You know, I`m taking a look at this plea, everyone. I`ve got it right here, the state of Minnesota, county of Hennepin versus Senator Larry Edwin Craig. And the reason that this is making so many waves is because this particular senator has voted against every gay measure that has come in front of him.

And the one that really disturbs me, Carol -- after I prosecuted a hate crime against gay people back home in Atlanta -- where hate crimes won`t apply if they are directed at gay people. You know, so you kill somebody or you shoot them or you sexually assault them or you rob them, whatever, because they`re gay, that won`t be a hate crime. That`s the one that really disturbs me.

And all the senator is talking about is, I`m not gay. Forget gay. Who cares about gay? I don`t want to go in a public bathroom and have to watch people having sex. That`s my problem, Carol.

COSTELLO: Well, you know what the strangest thing about this is these hand signals and foot signals that the senator was supposedly sending to this undercover cop who was sitting on the john in the stall. Supposedly the senator was in the next stall, moved his foot beside the undercover officer and started moving it up and down against the officer`s foot. And then he slipped his hand underneath the stall, wedding ring on his left hand finger. The officer saw it. And that`s when the officer put his badge underneath the other stall. The senator saw it and said, No.

GRACE: OK, now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let`s explain this. Out to Mike Butts, joining us from Boise, Idaho, political reporter with "The Idaho Press-Tribune." He was at this presser today. Now, wait a minute. Hand signals? Foot signals? Now, how can this undercover officer be sure that that was a signal for sex in a public bathroom?

MIKE BUTTS, "IDAHO PRESS-TRIBUNE": Well, that`s a good question.

GRACE: I mean, that`s like reading an umpire. I mean, excuse me, you know how the catcher and the pitcher, they call these secret signs to each other. And I`m supposed to find somebody guilty based on some hand language?

BUTTS: Yes. Well, the -- supposedly, there`s kind of underground signals that are common in this type of situation, and I think the undercover policeman was familiar with those and...


BUTTS: You know, that`s what he`s alleging, anyway.

GRACE: You know, very interesting. With me, Mike Butts, political reporter with "The Idaho Press-Tribune," and Carol Costello, CNN correspondent.

Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, man, you`ve seen it all -- and former fed. Is there a sign language? I mean, so often, when I would talk to vice cops that would work public parks and public bathrooms, there is a sign language there. There is an unspoken code when people are soliciting sex. Now explain it to me.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely, Nancy. In fact, when I was a young officer, they pulled me out of the academy to be detailed to prostitution and perversion squad for a while. And bus stations, airports, these kind of places are just rife with this kind of activity. In fact, you can go on a Web site and it will tell you where to go. And this location is on one of the Web sites.

Now, the reason this officer was there, Nancy -- I know this airport extremely well because I used to fly in and out of there on a regular basis. They`ve been having a problem there for quite some time. The officer was there. He`s been working undercover for quite some time in these kind of cases, and these are signals that have been used for years.

GRACE: OK, explain it to me. What`s the signal? Because if somebody signalled under the stall to me, I would think they wanted some toilet paper. I would not understand that they were soliciting me for sex.

BROOKS: Right. Exactly. You know, he wasn`t running his hand, Hey, pal, you got any toilet paper over there? You didn`t hear any of that, did you. And he also said that there was a piece of paper on the floor that he was reaching down to get. The officer said there was no paper.

And so what happens, Nancy -- this is the north star cross (ph). It`s right after you come through the security checkpoint. He goes in, he stands outside. He stands outside that stall for almost two minutes. And he`s looking through the crack in the stall. In fact, the officer said, I could see his blue eyes.

So I can tell you there, Nancy, if there was a line and you had to go to the bathroom and go in there and take care of business, you go down towards the gates. There`s plenty of restrooms down there. But this is the spot where they went.

So he went in, put his foot across, and he said he did that because he has a wide stance when he sits down.

GRACE: OK, you know, I`m glad you...

BROOKS: I`m 6-foot-7, Nancy, and I don`t.

GRACE: OK, you know what? I`m not going to make any such comparisons on air, but thank you for your personal input.

Let`s let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us, former prosecutor -- you know her well -- Lisa Pinto joining us out of New York, Jeff Brown joining us out of LA, from the Florida jurisdiction, Ray Giudice out of Atlanta.

Ray, I know you`ve handled similar cases in crowded courtrooms all across the southeastern jurisdiction. Explain how you can base a prosecution on hand signals.

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I will say this much. On these kind of cases, which are typically solicitation of sodomy or public indecency cases, you generally go into a recorder`s court, a lower-level court. Guilty pleas and no contest pleas are taken one after another. People pay fines and go out the door. So there`s not a full jury trial.

Now, I`ll say Senator Craig -- in the United States Senate, there`s more lawyers than there is probably per square foot than any place on the earth. If he went in that courtroom without good legal counsel and thinks that everyone`s going to accept a guilty plea not being what it is, a guilty plea, that`s a misstep on his part. So you don`t need a lot of evidence to get pleas on these type of cases.

GRACE: You know, Ray, hold on. Carol Costello, is he a lawyer?

COSTELLO: No, he`s not. But you know, the odd thing is, somewhere in that procedure -- you know, this happened three months apart. The incident in the bathroom happened in June. He didn`t sign this plea agreement until August. But sometime in between, he did mention a lawyer to authorities in Minnesota. But now he`s denying that and saying, I never asked for a lawyer, now I`m going to get a lawyer and I`m going to try to change my guilty plea.

GRACE: Let me go to Lisa Pinto, former prosecutor. Lisa, if I were the local prosecutor here, I would say, Fine. You didn`t mean the plea? I will be happy to revoke your plea and we`ll go to trial. And that will settle everything.

Can I hear Lisa? I can`t hear Lisa. OK, Lisa, hold on. Something`s not working. We`ll be right back with you.

What about that, Jeff Brown? Why don`t we revoke the guilty plea and take him to trial?

JEFF BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, that`s a very good topic, a very good idea. I think the prosecutor should do that. But what bothers me here is that you got somebody that`s as educated as a U.S. senator saying that he didn`t think or didn`t want a lawyer and pled guilty, as if he didn`t know there was such a thing as a no contest plea. So I just want the same rules to be applied to this senator as applied to my clients when they try the same thing.

GRACE: Out to Laurie in Pennsylvania. Hi, Laurie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for all the good you do.

GRACE: Thank you. Thank you for watching and for calling in. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you kind of answered it there. I was going to ask you if there was any way he could withdraw his guilty plea, now he`s saying he didn`t do it.

GRACE: How likely -- do we have Lisa Pinto yet, Elizabeth?

OK, I want to go back then to Ray Giudice. How difficult is it to revoke a guilty plea and start from scratch? I`d say, be careful what you ask (INAUDIBLE) you will surely get it.

GIUDICE: Well, that`s problem number one. And you`re absolutely right, he may not want a jury trial. But secondly, he may be procedurally time barred. This is either a city ordinance or a misdemeanor, and you do not have a long time. Generally, it`s 30 days from the date of your plea or conviction that post-conviction remedies are time barred after that. Now, I`m not familiar with this court`s law, but that would be the law in metro Atlanta.


GIUDICE: But if he wants to, he`s going to be able to get it. I mean, Nancy, you know that. If this was your case and the defense lawyer said, Hey, my client wants to withdraw this plea, and the prosecutor, such as you, Nancy, said, Hey, no problem, most of the time, the judge is going to go along with that. So if they really want this -- and they haven`t asked for it, but if they really want this, I`m sure the prosecutor will be just like you, Nancy, and say, Bring it on.

GRACE: You know, so many times I`ve had people come up to the podium to enter their plea, and I was so dead set that they would be under oath when they did it to avoid exactly this problem. If they show any hesitation at all, fine, go sit down, you`re in line for a trial.

Out to Amy in Pennsylvania. Hi, Amy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi Nancy. I`m a gay American, and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that he gets up there and he says that he`s more concerned about being gay, about people perceiving him as being gay, than he is about the possibility of lewd behavior. And it just -- I mean, this is a man who votes against my rights. And I just think it`s horrible. And I just think if these people would stop criminalizing what`s natural for us, then everybody would be a lot better off. What do you think?

GRACE: Well, I was concerned -- it just struck me as odd, maybe it`s because I`m coming from a criminal law background, if I had been accused of a crime, I would be screaming bloody murder, I didn`t do this. But I always say, You know what ? Give me a sinner over a hypocrite any day of the week. I know I`m bad. I know I`m a sinner. I don`t make any bones about it.

But long story short, let`s go to the shrink on this. Psychotherapist Dr. Leslie Austin, why is he so concerned about the possibility someone may think he`s gay, as opposed to committing a crime?

I think I`ve got Dr. Leslie -- OK, don`t have Dr. Leslie Austin.

Let`s go to our political reporter, Mike Butts. Is it a political concern?

BUTTS: Oh, absolutely. Idaho`s an extremely conservative state, and there`s no way in the world he would have been elected to the senate if he was openly gay. And you know, this hurts him very much politically.

GRACE: OK. I can understand that. I can understand that people would not elect him for that -- I understand his fear.

BUTTS: Or re-elect him, for that matter.

GRACE: Yes. Do you believe, Mike Butts, that that`s true? Do you believe if he were openly gay that he would not be re-elected?


GRACE: What is his background? What did he do for a living before he became a politician?

BUTTS: He`s been pretty much a career politician. I mean, he started his career in the state legislature when he was in his 20s, his late 20s. So he doesn`t have a whole lot of background outside of politics.

GRACE: Out to John in New Hampshire. Hi, John.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Love your show.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering if there was any other sexual misconduct that has been brought against Senator Craig before.

GRACE: You know, interesting. Interesting question. To Carol Costello. Weren`t there rumblings along these veins before the airport incident?

COSTELLO: Oh, Nancy, you`ve got that right because, you know, allegations about Senator Craig`s sexuality have been swirling for 20 years. In fact, back in 1982, there was a big scandal on Capitol Hill involving congressmen and congressional pages, homosexual contact between the two. Now, Craig was never charged with anything, and the accusations apparently proved untrue.

But he came forward and gave an interview to NBC News. And I`m going to read you what he said to the NBC News correspondent. He said, "I`ve always been aggressive about what I believe in. I have people telling me a lot of false accusations against my character. It makes me mad as hell."

Now, the accusations about his sexuality didn`t stop in 1982. In fact, last year -- there is this blog site that outs politicians, and his name has long been on it. In fact, his sexuality was spoken about on Bill Maher`s show last year. So this stuff has been swirling around him for years.

GRACE: You know, though, what`s disturbing, Mike Butts, is for anyone to go down over their sexuality because, typically, that`s private. Although once you step into the political arena, I guess there`s nothing private anymore.

Everyone, Mike Butts joining us. He is a political reporter for "The Idaho Press-Tribune," at the presser today. But to me, that`s not the issue. The issue is about breaking the law. How are the voters going to respond?

BUTTS: They don`t like it. I talked to some people already. One man said he voted for him and he said he wouldn`t vote for him again if the election were held today. And it`s more than just the gay allegations, too. (INAUDIBLE) the fact that he didn`t come clean, so to speak, with this, and the fact that, you know, it was 11 weeks before he (INAUDIBLE)



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s a close-knit community. I mean, they feel -- I`m sure they feel sorry for the family, sorry for the children that are involved in this, and they want it brought to an end. You know, we were desperately searching for answers. And I feel confident now, after we completed (INAUDIBLE) there`s about 20 percent left of the search area. When that`s completed, I feel confident that there is -- she`s not (INAUDIBLE)


GRACE: A mother of three goes missing in her upscale neighborhood. Out to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." Where is Liza Murphy? What can you tell me? What are the developments today?

MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Today, the developments are that there were plenty of teams out there searching all day long, Nancy, there`s even one team out there right now that`s still searching the reservoir that`s very close to Liza`s house. Also, there`s a lot of woods, a lot of wooded areas that investigators have been out there on foot, in the air, on the ground, doing everything they can to try and possibly locate a body today.

GRACE: Michelle, explain to me the circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Where was she? Who saw her last? What led up to it? And please, the husband throwing himself into oncoming traffic on a four-lane.

SIGONA: Yes, it`s just -- it`s a crazy story, Nancy. Well, what happened about nine days ago was that Liza and her husband, Joseph, apparently got into an argument. We only know this based on what Joseph told the investigators. He`s the last person to see his wife. And what he says is that they got into an argument, she left the house without her wallet, without her cell phone and without her medication. She does take medication for fibromyalgia. And it`s just not like her to leave and not be in contact with her three children.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Essentially, what we had is a cadaver dog go through first. And we have three teams working this one area. It`s a small wooded area. The teams are broken up to 10 to 12, from what I understand, usually teams of 10. There are three teams here, so approximately 30 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, she has three small children at home that are very distraught, at this point. And if anyone has any knowledge of her whereabouts, to please contact us immediately.


GRACE: The mystery surrounding a disappearing mom. Friends and family say no way would she leave behind her three young children.

Joining me here now on the set, former prosecutor Lisa Pinto. What do you make of the dad throwing himself into oncoming traffic a couple of days after she goes missing?

LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Pretty strange, Nancy, given he`s got three children with no mother to take care of them. And you would wonder why a man would do that under these circumstances. You would also wonder why he suddenly hired a lawyer and refused to cooperate with the police. These are extremely strange signals.

GRACE: Also with me now, Dr. Leslie Austin, psychotherapist. What does it suggest to you? That is so bizarre that while the children are without their mom, the police are combing a quarry, a huge, massive search quarry, heavily wooded area, he throws himself in front of traffic.

LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It has every sign of somebody who`s distraught or despondent, who knows something that he`s not speaking about and is very self-destructive. It`s certainly not thinking of his kids. It has a guilty appearance.

GRACE: Everyone, when we come back, the attorney for Joseph Murphy, the father of these children, is joining us live. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of people have been combing a wooded area in northern New Jersey, hoping to find a trace of a woman missing for more than a week, 42-year-old Liza Murphy, mother of three young children, gone without a trace. Her husband wasn`t the one to report her missing either. In fact, that tip came into police from an anonymous caller.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Days after Liza disappears, her husband Joseph Murphy tries to commit suicide by stepping into oncoming traffic. Police say Murphy is not cooperating with investigators while he recovers. Murphy told police Liza left their home after an argument.


GRACE: Joining us right now is a special guest. We are taking your calls live as well. With me, the attorney for Liza`s husband. Joining us is veteran trial lawyer, Joseph Rem, attorney for Joseph Murray (sic).

Sir, thank you for being with us. You have a reputation as an experienced trial lawyer. Please explain to me, while I think a husband should be out looking for his wife and helping the search team, he throws himself into oncoming traffic. Why?

JOSEPH REM, ATTY. FOR JOSEPH MURPHY: Nancy, you have to understand this man was under tremendous pressure. This is a self-employed man, a small businessman who worked seven days a week, literally seven days a week to put food on the table and a roof over the head for his family.

Then he finds out over the weekend evidence that this wife had been cheating on him, betraying him and his family. Who then finds that when she goes missing, he`s put under a national microscope and convicted in the court of public opinion of an offense that he hasn`t even been charged with.

He has detectives poking him in the chest and saying they know that he did it, when in fact there`s nothing that he did. How do you fight against innuendo and rumor? The answer is you don`t. And he took a way out that is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Nancy, one thing you should know is that this man, in the moments before he was facing imminent death, wrote three suicide notes. One to his sister, one to his children, and one to his wife. Would a man who`s about to leave the mortal coil -- and shed this mortal coil, would he leave in a final act of deception? He wrote that note to his wife because he believed and still believes that she`s alive.

GRACE: I`m going to go to Chief Michael Saudino, with -- he`s the chief of police with the Emerson Police Department.

This is the first I`ve heard of an alleged boyfriend. Has the boyfriend -- the alleged boyfriend, been questioned?

MICHAEL SAUDINO, CHIEF OF EMERSON, NEW JERSEY, POLICE DEPT.: I have no comment on that right now, Nancy.

GRACE: Has the husband agreed to a polygraph?

SAUDINO: I don`t believe he was asked at this time.

GRACE: Well, I`ll do that right now. Mr. Rem, would you client agree to a polygraph?

REM: Nancy, right now he`s in critical condition. He has just been removed from ICU. He`s in no condition to even hold a conversation.

GRACE: Well, then he`s not in critical condition anymore, if he`s out of the intensive care unit.

REM: OK. Then he`s in extremely serious condition. This is a man that can only lie in a bed and can`t move and barely can stay conscious. Right now no one has asked him to take a polygraph. I`m sure at the appropriate time someone will address that in a way that will please the public that has already convicted him of an offense that never took.

GRACE: Nobody has convicted him. The public cannot convict anybody. I`ve heard defense attorneys say that for many years. The public can`t convict anyone. Media -- do you think a jury in two years from now is going to remember something I or one of our guests said tonight? No.

And I`m still a little concerned about why he jumped in front of traffic when he has got three kids to take care of. Question, I want to go back out to Lisa Pinto.

Lisa, this whole convicting in the court of public opinion, I don`t think that amounts to anything.

LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It`s ridiculous. I think we`re just asking logical questions that everyone reading the story would ask. What I want to know is, why didn`t he -- maybe you can ask the attorney or I can ask him, why didn`t your client get custody of his children after the mother disappeared? What`s that about?

GRACE: Mr. Rem?

REM: Well, my client worked seven days a week. My client was emotionally distraught. Remember, what had happened that weekend. He had just found out that his wife had been betraying him with another man. They had had a confrontation.

PINTO: What do the kids have to do with that? Why wouldn`t he take his kids in their time of mourning? Why wouldn`t he be comforting his poor children? That`s what I`m curious about.

REM: His sister and brother-in-law are extraordinarily gifted child caregivers. And he sees them all the time. But he was in no emotional condition to deal with the children and be under the public microscope and deal with the hours of questioning from investigating authorities with whom he cooperated fully.

PINTO: Except he hired you.

REM: Yes, and I`m sure the Duke lacrosse players hired attorneys too. As did Richard Jewel, the supposed Olympic bomber. Lots of innocent people hire attorneys.

GRACE: To Chief Michael Saudino, has the husband been cooperating, as his attorney says he has?

SAUDINO: There was a point where our investigators were speaking to him at the hospital, for a very short time. And then our investigators were told that he has retained an attorney and did not wish to speak with us.

GRACE: Out to the lines, Carrie in New York. Hi, Carrie.

CALLER: Hi, how are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: Well, you touched on the polygraph, which is what I was originally going to ask. But another question I have is what about the children? Is there any questioning going to be done to see if the children have witnessed anything?

GRACE: That`s an excellent question. Chief, have the children been questioned? And if not, do you plan to question them? What are their ages, Chief?

SAUDINO: I believe 7, 11, and 13.

GRACE: Are they going to be questioned?

SAUDINO: I believe they were questioned -- they were questioned already.

GRACE: Chief, where were they at the time she went missing?

SAUDINO: They were at their home in Emerson.

GRACE: So was that where the argument was, at the home?

SAUDINO: Yes, it was.

GRACE: To Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted," do we know what the argument was about?

MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": No, not at this time. But I can tell you that I did speak with Liza`s father earlier today and he said that Liza and the children were out visiting with the family, just the week before. Up until that Friday, and that Friday Liza and the kids went home and that alleged argument did happen on Sunday.

GRACE: Now, do you have any independent confirmation, Michelle Sigona, of this alleged affair between the missing woman and some man?

SIGONA: No. I do not have any confirmation on that. But I can tell you that according to Liza`s father, that the relationship between Liza and Joseph was extremely strained. And the time that she was on vacation, the week prior to going home, that he was calling her phone four, five, six times a day, questioning her whereabouts, who she was with, where she was going, and actually she had to cut the vacation short and go back home to him.

GRACE: Who was she vacationing with?

SIGONA: She was with her three children. They went out to her parents` house. They live 125 miles away from Emerson, New Jersey, where they are home is.

GRACE: Joining us right now is John Passarotti, he is the deputy chief for the New York Search and Rescue Team searching for the missing mother of three.

Tell me about the search of the quarry.

JOHN PASSAROTTI, DEP. CHIEF, NY SEARCH & RESCUE: The search is centered around the Oradell Reservoir in Emerson. It`s a mostly wooded area, and it measures about 340 acres.

GRACE: And how long did the search go on? How many people were there? And how did you conduct the search?

PASSAROTTI: The search began at 8:00 this morning. We just wrapped up a little while ago. The search went very successfully today. Searchers were able to effectively instrument techniques that we teach to national standards, the National Association of Search and Rescue. And we`re very confident that she was not anywhere in those areas.


PASSAROTTI: I can`t comment on any clues that were found or not found. But -- since it`s an ongoing investigation. But we feel like we covered those areas extremely well and were able to provide that information to the Emerson Police Department.

GRACE: With us, John Passarotti, who has been out searching for the missing mom. Have you used cadaver dogs?

PASSROTTI: We use search and rescue dogs. Our dogs are trained for both live find and for cadaver.

GRACE: Joining me is Dr. Tamara Kuittenin, E.R. physician at New York Presbyterian and Columbia Medical Center.

Doctor, thank you for being with us. This woman allegedly suffered from not only depression but fibromyalgia. What is that and could it have in any way contributed to her disappearance?

DR. TAMARA KUITTENIN, E.R. PHSYICIAN, NY PRESBYTERIAN & COLUMBIA MEDICAL CENTER: Fibromyalgia is a generalized pain disorder that affects the muscles and the skeletal system. There is considerable overlap with major depressive syndrome, as well as anxiety syndrome, and chronic fatigue.

So you know, we already know that she had the fibromyalgia and depression. It`s possible with both of those there`s decreased cognitive functioning, just depressed, flattened affect. So it`s possible that clearly the choice to leave home without any money, credit cards, phone, isn`t really a rational or logical thing to do, and you know, demonstrates poor judgment.

GRACE: Joining us right now is a special guest, by phone, Donna, a friend of the missing mom, Liza.

Donna, what do you make of these allegations of an affair?

DONNA WOODS, FRIEND OF LIZA MURPHY: There was one. But it wasn`t sexual.

GRACE: Yes, and?

WOODS: And apparently, you know, he taped the phone and found out and confronted her and an argument began.

GRACE: Donna, do you believe she would have disappeared on her own?

WOODS: Absolutely not. She would not leave her kids. She loved her -- she loves, I should say, her children. She loves them. And she would probably call her oldest daughter. And then she would either call me or my friend Michelle (ph) or Adrienne (ph).

GRACE: When we come back, an international custody battle hits the headlines. The bio dad of a 4-year-old girl wants her to leave the U.S. and foster family to return home to communist Cuba.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just seven years ago when fires burned in the street. Police in riot gear struggled to keep control after Elian Gonzalez was taken from his Little Havana home by federal agents. They seized the boy to return him to his father in Cuba after his mother died trying to bring him to build a new life here in the States.

Now a reversal of sorts. This battle involving a young girl. Her mother, who gave up her parental rights, believes her daughter should go home to Cuba to be with her birth father. The father, a farmer and fisherman, says he wants his daughter with him.


GRACE: Very confusing. She has given up parental rights, he let the child move to the U.S. Now there`s a fight to take the baby away from foster parents. Out to CNN reporter Susan Candiotti.

Explain, Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, boy. How much time do you have, Nancy? Not much.

GRACE: About five minutes.

CANDIOTTI: I know. All right, the father, he is the father of 4- year-old little girl. He is not the father of her half-brother, who is 13 years old. Those two children share the same mother. She moved here to Cuba -- from Cuba, rather. He didn`t object to that. But when this mother`s parental rights were taken away, or rather the state took custody of this little girl after she attempted suicide, that`s when father in Cuba said.

GRACE: After the mother attempted suicide?

CANDIOTTI: The mother attempted suicide once she moved here to the United States. And then the state took custody of that little girl and the 13-year-old half-brother as well. The 13-year-old was adopted. He has a different father. And there was no objection there.

GRACE: OK. So that doesn`t involve this father. And.

CANDIOTTI: It doesn`t.

GRACE: . wasn`t there allegations that the mom physically abused the children? And the father knew about this and let them come to the U.S. anyway with the mother -- the abusive mother?

CANDIOTTI: There are allegations to that extent. But there is no proof so far to back it up. The little boy, actually, the 13-year-old, was on the stand today. He said he told people, but on cross-examination, it was less clear.

GRACE: So long story short, the allegations of abuse against the mom are just that, allegations. But the Cuban father, Trenny Stovall, child advocate, agreed for the child to move to the U.S. Now that she`s with foster parents, he`s fighting for custody. What is this doing to the child? She doesn`t even know her dad. Should she be reunited with the bio dad?

TRENNY STOVALL, CHILD CUSTODY ADVOCATE: We can`t answer that question yet. We know though that moving children back and forth is very detrimental to them, attachment disorder comes from that. There is no bond with her father. Therapists have testified to that repeatedly.

But what I want to ask is, why was this child in care for two years? She came in care in 2005. What did the state do to terminate those rights, to move for permanency for that child? Seems like the state botched this case all the way around. I really want to talk about that.

GRACE: Well, you know, Trenny, that was my original question. Susan Candiotti, the father never gave up parental rights for a foster family adoption, did he?

CANDIOTTI: No, he did not. And he`s saying, look, this is my daughter, and I have a right to my daughter. The daughter belongs with the parent. Forget politics, I`m concerned about the welfare of my child.

GRACE: OK, let me ask you something, Susan. What type of financial perks did Elian Gonzalez` father get when he waged custody war with the U.S.? Isn`t it true they have a much nicer home it`s very hard to get in Cuba, a lot of perks? I mean, Fidel Castro comes to the kid`s birthday parties, now his brother is doing that for him? That`s pretty major.

CANDIOTTI: Well, Nancy, I think it`s safe to say that that man, Juan Miguel, will never have to worry about a job in Cuba, and the boy obviously will be very well taken care of. The question is, will he forever stay in Cuba? Will he eventually say, I want to be reunited with my family here in Miami?

GRACE: Exactly, Susan Candiotti. Out to the lines. Justin in Indiana. Hi, Justin.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

CALLER: I was just wondering, like I know I lost my mom when I was 8 years old. And I don`t know, like, and she don`t know her dad, I didn`t know my dad, and I do not want to go back to my dad.

GRACE: You know, interesting question. What about it, Leslie Austin?

LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I think that the problem here is this is being made political and it`s personal. If this dad lived in Florida, there would be no case, he would have his daughter.

PINTO: Oh, he shouldn`t have.

AUSTIN: Well, you can`t say he shouldn`t have his daughter.

PINTO: Of course I can, when Fidel Castro is.

GRACE: Very quickly, everyone, "CNN Heroes."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did this start?

BOB KUNKEL, "COMMUNITY CRUSADER": The new injured have no idea how dramatic their lives have been impacted. And I have experience in that area, and I knew I had to do something.

I was with the 9th Infantry Division. My knee joint was blown out, so they took the bottom part and welded it to the top. I did not cope well. You name the self-destructive behavior, I did it times 10. Now I view all that experience as training for what I`m doing now.

My name is Bob Kunkel. I have the privilege and honor of being allowed to interact with the new injured at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I function as a friend. I teach jujitsu so that the injured person can become empowered in protecting themselves.

He went that way, so you step here.

There`s a connection. Been in combat? I`ve been in combat.

You`re laughing? They know.

My purpose is to steer someone to make better choices in life. If you`re injured, you`re still the same person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, I feel fortunate to have met somebody like Bob, you know, someone that can kind of understand the disability, but that can also teach me a skill that I can pass onto other people.

KUNKEL: I`ve taken soldiers out for coffee, out for a drive, and dinner. And you can just see people relaxing. It`s my way of showing my true appreciation for their sacrifice.



GRACE: To HEADLINE PRIME`s Glenn Beck. Hi, friend.

GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": Whenever you hear a story about a U.S. senator, an airport men`s room, and an arrest, you know the story`s not really going to end well. We have the details on Senator Larry Craig`s very bad day in Minneapolis.

Then, rocker-turned-activist Ted Nugent told Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to suck his machine gun. No word on the senator, if he had anything to do with that.

And also, a Somali rape case in St. Paul forces us to re-examine the state of law and order in immigrant communities.

And country music legend Travis Tritt, next.

GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. An international incident over a 4- year-old little girl. Back to Susan Candiotti.

Susan, where does the whole thing stand right now? Is this Elian Gonzalez all over again?

CANDIOTTI: I don`t really think so. In this case, unlike Elian, you`ve got two parents. The father never gave up custody of his daughter. He says he wants to go back to Cuba. And guess what, the mother says she wants him to go back to Cuba.

GRACE: She gave up rights, Susan.

CANDIOTTI: . with the daughter. She wants to go back too.

GRACE: She doesn`t leg to stand on. She gave up rights to the children.

Mary in Florida. Hi, Mary. Mary, are you there?

CALLER: Yes, I am.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

CALLER: My question is, would a person have the parental right to take his child back into a virtual prison when our prisoners don`t have the parental right to take their kids into prison with them?

GRACE: OK, I assume that you`re referring to Cuba as a prison, because it`s a communist state.


GRACE: OK. To Ray Giudice, where does it all land in the courtroom?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I think that this judge has made it very clear that she is not impressed with DCF`s (ph) legal arguments. I think this judge is trying to cut this case off at the knees procedurally so there is not a lengthy factual hearing which will inflame the political air.

GRACE: So what are you saying? The father`s going to get the girl? Is that what you just tried to say?

GIUDICE: I am saying that, because that`s the law, not the politics.

GRACE: OK, all right. Had to break it down. Ray Giudice, trial attorney.

Let`s stop and remember Army Staff Sergeant Sandy Britt, just 30, Alpaca (ph), Florida, killed, Iraq. On a first tour. Served four years in Special Forces. Loved soccer, martial arts, surfing and the beach. Leaves behind grieving parents Sarah and Terry (ph). Widow Valerie (ph) and 5- year-old son Taylor (ph). Sandy Britt, American hero.

Thank you to our guests, but most of all to you for being with us. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.