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Why Did Wrestler Kill Wife, Son, Self?

Aired September 6, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight new questions about what made wrestling superstar Chris Benoit snap.
Could brain damage from blows to the head be a factor in Benoit's strangling his wife and suffocating his 7-year-old son before hanging himself?

Now, Chris Benoit's father in his first live primetime interview on a disturbing new medical study of his son's brain, and on Chris's diary, which he found after the tragedy.

Plus, reports of a breakthrough in the case of 4-year-old Madeleine McCann, missing four months. Police have spent hours today questioning her mother for a second time.

Is there new DNA evidence?

Could there be an arrest tomorrow?

And in Utah, a college student missing for a week -- police say her ATM card was used the day after she vanished. With hundreds of volunteers joining the desperate search, what's happened to Camille Cleverly?

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening from New York.

And forgive the sound of the voice tonight, but we are fighting a heck of a throat infection.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Michael Benoit, the father of pro- wrestling star, Chris Benoit, who killed his wife and 7-year-old son before taking his own life during a weekend in late June.

Joined by Robert Cantu, chief of neurosurgery and director of sports medicine, Emerson College in -- Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass. and co-director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and founding member of the Sports Legacy Institute.

How, Michael, are you coping?


When something like this happens to your child -- I know Chris was a 40-year-old, but he is our son. We loved him very much. When it happened, we just couldn't understand that this was the Chris that we know and love.

KING: How did you hear about it?

BENOIT: Actually, it was through a reporter that used to be a friend of Chris'. I was on my way home from work. It was about 5:00 at night. It's one night that, for some reason, I didn't turn the radio on in my car, otherwise I would have picked the news up that way.

I was just about entering my driveway and my cell phone rang and it was my cousin in Ottawa.

And he said to me, "Mike, is it true?"

And before I could get the words out, the reporter came up to me and said, "He's gone."

KING: When you heard about the whole thing, how -- what do you tell yourself?

What do you -- we spoke on the phone shortly after that.

You were asking me how to explain to you -- how could I do that?

What do you tell yourself?

BENOIT: Larry, we were -- we were searching for answers. The world was so black. Not only did we lose our son, but we lost our daughter-in-law and our grandson. We -- we couldn't...

KING: How is your wife doing?

BENOIT: She's having a very difficult time.

KING: You're not doing well either, are you?

BENOIT: Well...

KING: How can you do well?

BENOIT: You know, I don't think that you ever recover from something like this. We're very fortunate, Larry. We have a daughter that's extremely strong and been very helpful to us.

KING: Now, Chris had two other children, right?


KING: From another marriage?


KING: They're how old?

BENOIT: Ten and 15. KING: And are they with their mother?


KING: How are they doing?

BENOIT: Well, it's difficult to understand how a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old are actually coping with this. We're doing our best to explain to them the circumstances that -- their father's passing and, also, their stepbrother. It was absolutely overwhelming and continues to be, in our life.

KING: How soon before this had you spoken to your boy?

BENOIT: He phoned me on Father's Day.

KING: Which was how far...

BENOIT: The week -- the week before.

KING: Was he in good spirits?

BENOIT: He was. I asked him where he was and he said, "Unfortunately, I'm on the road today." He said, "It's Father's Day. I wish I was home with my wife and family.

KING: Was he a doting father?

BENOIT: Oh, he absolutely adored his children, absolutely adored his children. When he was coming off the road, he would phone us and I'd say, how you doing? And he'd say, really, really tired and his voice was sort of dragging.

And I'd say, how's Daniel and Nancy?

And right away he'd lighten right up and get right into it and tell us how well that they were doing.

KING: Tell me about the diary.

BENOIT: Well, the diary -- we found the diary after the fact. It was actually a neighbor of theirs that retrieved it from the trash. And this is a diary that he wrote over a period of about 10 days back in 2005, shortly after the death of his best friend in the wrestling business, Eddie Guerrero. After I read it -- it was very, very disturbing to me and I thought...

KING: Because?

BENOIT: The way he was writing it. There was a lot of...

KING: Was he depressed?

BENOIT: He seemed extremely depressed. And it's -- it was almost like he was sitting there talking to Eddie. And a lot of quotes out of the bible, which was out of character for Chris. KING: So we come to the conclusion that he snapped.

And did you -- did you -- what did you think it was?

Did you think it was drugs he was taking?

What did you guess?

BENOIT: I -- at that point, in time, we were completely overwhelmed. We didn't know what to think. You know, I liken it to being in the middle of this huge storm -- no light in the sky, just no way out.

What do you do?

KING: How did Dr. Cantu come into the picture?

BENOIT: Well, what happened was on the fourth day, I got a call from the chief medical examiner saying that they were releasing the body. And so I called the funeral parlor in Atlanta. I was going to have Chris' remains cremated and then brought home.

So I called the funeral parlor, made the arrangements and that afternoon -- Thursday afternoon -- I got a call from a fellow by the name of Chris Nowinski. Chris explained to me that he thought perhaps there might be brain damage there because of concussions that Chris would have suffered in the ring.

I was somewhat skeptical at first. I kept looking at the phone, looking for was it the "National Enquirer" calling?

Was it "The Globe?"

I -- you know, I was -- I really didn't know what to believe. But at least there was straws there that I was grasping at.

KING: Had an autopsy been done?

BENOIT: But we didn't have the results at that point in time.

KING: So you were going to cremate without the results -- before the...

BENOIT: Yes. Well, they...

KING: But the results would have been the same.

BENOIT: They had -- they had the tissues. The autopsy had already been completed. So we were just going to cremate.

KING: So you didn't cremate?

BENOIT: Well, what happened was, when Chris called me, he said -- he asked me for this and I said, "You know, you need to send me more information. I can't just tell you that it's OK to take my son's remains over the phone." So he sent me two articles that were in the "New York Post" and he also sent me a letter saying to sign off so that he could take the remains.

I called him back and said, "Chris, this really is incredible. There's no company name. There's nothing on here that would associate you with the Sports Legacy Institute. I said I could do it on my home computer. He said how about I give you some doctors' names that you can call?

And at that time, he gave me Dr. Cantu's name. He gave me Dr. Bales and he also gave me Dr. Kris Sperry, which -- who was the chief medical examiner for the State of Georgia.

KING: Let me get a break right there.

And when we come back, we'll bring Dr. Cantu in and get his summation as to what happened to Chris Benoit.

Dr. Gupta will join us later, as well.

Don't go away.



CHRIS JERICHO, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: This is not about steroids, Russ. This is about a man who had some severe mental, damaging, horrible issues in his head that he kept bottled up inside and it exploded into this horrible, violent act. And I'm sure there's many factors for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Benoit can damn sure weaken the 500-pounder.

JOHN CENA, WWE WRESTLER: What we have is an unexplainable tragedy.


BRUNO SAMMARTINO, FORMER PRO WRESTLER: What's wrong with wrestling that it has all of these deaths?

All these deaths.




KING: Michael Benoit remains with us now.

Robert Cantu, M.D. what's your summation here?

DR. ROBERT CANTU, SPORTS LEGACY INSTITUTE, EMERSON HOSPITAL NEUROSURGERY CHIEF: Well, Larry, prior to Chris Benoit's brain being examined by Sports Legacy Institute, four prior brains had been looked at and all four of them had chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- brain damage due to concussive and cumulative subconcussive brain injuries. All four of these were in National Football League players.

Chris Benoit's brain was similarly studied by the neuropathologist within the Sports Legacy Institute, Dr. Ben Omalu, with the special immunohistochemical stains that look for abnormal tile protein deposition.

KING: Break it down for me what you mean.

CANTU: Well, there is normal tile protein that all brain cells have and there is an abnormal form of it which occurs in certain neurodegenerative diseases and also occurs with brain damage due to brain trauma.

KING: So you're saying that a man who receives severe -- many concussions as a football player or a wrestler would -- could cause him to do something he would not normally do?

CANTU: Yes. The tile protein depositions in Chris Benoit's brain were far more extensive than in any other of the brains that the Sports Legacy Institute has examined.

KING: There's no way anyone could have then done something about this, right?

How would you have known?

CANTU: Well, the final definition clearly is a neuropathological definition, looking at immunohistochemical staining of the brain tissue. But any individual with a history of traumatic brain injuries -- especially multiple ones -- who exhibits behavior consistent with cognitive impairment, depression and erratic emotional behavior -- that's kind of a triad that fits with chronic traumatic encephalothopy and then he...

KING: And, therefore, something could have been done?

CANTU: It would lead one to suspect the problem and hopefully pull one away from the activities that would lead to progressive damage.

KING: Stop wrestling?

CANTU: Yes, in this case.

KING: Does this at all satisfy you, Michael?

BENOIT: Well, we now have an understanding of why, because the Chris Benoit that we knew was incapable of doing this. The man that we loved, the man that was our son, would never do this. I mean he talked of his love for his wife and his children.

How could this possibly happen? KING: Did you ever buy the stories about steroids?

BENOIT: Well, steroids themselves are pretty rampant in sports today -- pro-football, baseball, track and field, the Tour de France. We're hearing it all the time.

The difference that -- between professional wrestling and these sporting events is that in professional wrestling, the outcome is -- it's scripted.

KING: Right.

BENOIT: So, in other words, they script who's going to win. So the wrestlers aren't cheating. And I'll give you an example of -- my description of steroids is that his mom had read an article about tanning booths one time, phoned Chris up and said they're very dangerous, why are you doing this?

And he said mom, I can't go in the ring looking like a plucked chicken.

So steroids were being taken for the look.

KING: Can steroids, doctor, cause someone to do like what Chris did?

CANTU: I think there's significant debate within the medical community about that, whether steroid rage really exists. And I realize here we're dealing with actions over a three-day period that clearly were not just rage reactions. There was deliberation that went on, at least for part of it.

There -- most importantly, Larry, there is no evidence in the medical literature or science to suggest that the steroids lead to the traumatic encephalopathy brain damage changes that were present in Chris's brain.

KING: So severe brain damage as could occur from constant concussions in wrestling can cause someone to do something horrific?

CANTU: Yes. Four out of -- three out of the other four cases committed suicide.

KING: The NFL players?


KING: LARRY KING LIVE asked the WWE, the wrestling organization, for a statement in connection with tonight's discussion of the findings about Chris Benoit's brain tissue.

This is what they said.

The WWE referred us to a statement the organization issued on Tuesday. It reads: "Today's attempt to explain Chris Benoit's murder of his family was possibly caused by some form of dementia as a result of alleged concussions is speculative. WWE can certainly understand the anguish of a father having to deal with the fact that his son allegedly murdered his wife and young son, as Chris Benoit is alleged to have done. We respect the desire of the father to do whatever he can to find some explanation as to why his son might commit such horrible acts."

When we come back, our CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, joins us.


TED DIBIASE, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Nothing about Chris Benoit's character says that he was capable of doing this. I mean he was a man's man. He was a stand up guy. He was a guy that all of the other wrestlers looked up to and admired.

JERICHO: If you lined up a thousand guys and said which guy would do this, he would be the last guy that I would guess.

BRET HART, FORMER PRO WRESTLER: You know, maybe one of those kind of guys that everybody would lean on. This was a guy that was really loved by the industry. He was loved by the fans. Everyone would have reached out and helped this guy and maybe tried to change this from ever happening.


KING: We're back with Michael Benoit, the father of the late Chris Benoit and, of course, his grandson and daughter-in-law killed, as well.

And Dr. Robert Cantu.

We're joined now, also, across the way in our studios, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, himself a neurosurgeon and CNN's chief medical correspondent, who's been following this story.

What more can you tell us, Sanjay?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, sometimes, Larry, a picture is worth a thousand words. And Dr. Cantu was sort referring to this.

we got a very unusual glimpse here. You know, oftentimes we don't get this sort of detail after someone has passed on, to get a chance to look at their brain. And then maybe I can explain a little bit about what you've been talking about this.

Larry, look over here. This is a normal brain. Take a look at some the cells here. You just see the normal borders around these cells. That's what a normal brain looks like under the microscope when you do a pathological examination. What Dr. Cantu has been talking about here -- and this is Chris Benoit's brain, a piece of it -- and they actually are looking at these specific deposits of protein. And, I think, Larry, even to the untrained eye, people can see that these are unusual. These are different. And these are the deposits of this tile protein that seems to be of such significance here.

When you get deposits like this, several things happen. It can approximate someone having dementia, someone having memory loss, someone having behavioral changes. Again, you might expect these sort of changes in someone of advanced age who had Alzheimer's Disease or some sort of dementia like that, but we're talking about a 40-year-old man.

So I thought maybe just showing these pictures like this, Larry...

KING: Yes, that's great.

GUPTA: ...might tell you what -- give you a little of the story.

KING: Dr. Gupta, do you buy the theory that someone, through constant brain concussions, having a brain like that, could cause the horrific acts that Chris caused?

GUPTA: I don't know, Larry. It's that -- establishing that cause and effect relationship -- I guess I'm not prepared to say that for sure.

We do know several things, though. We know, for example, concussions to the brain become exponentially worse. So while one concussion is bad, a second concussion is exponentially worse, a third concussion and so on. So, as you -- as you get more and more concussions throughout your life, you can cause significant brain abnormalities.

And we also know that we're starting to get emerging evidence about what that does to your brain. Larry, in the 1920s -- you may have heard of it. They called it Punch Drunk Syndrome, from boxers, right?

KING: Um-hmm.

GUPTA: And it was the same thing. We just didn't know what it was, exactly. We couldn't look at it in this level of detail.

But to take that and put it to the next step about this cause and effect relationship -- the cause being this, the effect being violent, vicious behavior -- I think it's very hard to establish that still.

KING: Are you open to the possibility?

GUPTA: Yes, I think we're open to the possibility. And, you know, Dr.

Cantu is referring to five patients now that have been studied who, as a result of these concussions, have had depression. They've had marital problems. They've had financial problems. Some have committed suicide.

So we're starting to be able to recognize something that really hasn't been recognized before.

Alzheimer's, for example, is a recognized condition.

Could this be a recognized condition that is just starting to emerge and the scientific evidence is building?

Perhaps. I don't know that we're quite there yet, though, Larry.

KING: Do you have any questions for Dr. Cantu?

GUPTA: Dr. Cantu, one of the questions I had, you know, we talk a lot about this looking like the brain of an Alzheimer's person.

Are you surprised, with all your work that you've done, that Chris Benoit didn't have more symptoms that might resemble dementia prior to what happened?

CANTU: Well, Sanjay, as a fellow neurosurgeon, thank you for your comments.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CANTU: I certainly am interested.

With regard to the symptoms Chris did or didn't have, I don't think tonight we have all the answers to that. The diary is certainly suggesting -- and the diary antedates his death by almost two years -- that symptoms and erratic behavior were being experienced some years before. There's other evidence that we have seen that suggests that he's had cognitive difficulties, as well.

So I don't really think his problems came about just at the end. I think there is a track record that goes back several years. And as it's more exhaustively studied, it may actually go back more than two years.

KING: Sanjay, I guess you can certainly understand Michael's desire to put a close to this.

GUPTA: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, I think that, obviously, you want to be as accurate as possible. And, you know, and what we're looking at is the brain of a 40-year-old man that obviously is very abnormal. And, most likely, this is not due to steroids, as I think Michael -- Mr. Benoit -- sort of alluded to. This is most likely due -- based on everything we know -- due to those repeated concussions. And something clearly happened in his brain and you can see it very clearly here, Michael.

KING: Should wrestlers, pro-football players and others who deal with this be looked at more often, Sanjay?

GUPTA: I think so. And this is something that we've done quite a few stories on.

As you know, Larry, I would say not only should they be looked at more, but they probably should be looked at at the time of the injury and maybe even be grounded or kept off the field or kept out of the ring maybe more diligently.

A first concussion, as quickly as someone may recover from that and actually get back to the level of play, what has happened to their brain at that point?

And what will happen to their brain if they have a second concussion?

We know now -- and I think Dr.

Cantu would agree with this -- that it's exponentially worse. So we've really got to be diligent as doctors, as trainers, as people who help monitor this sort of thing, whether or not we should let these players back on the field.

KING: Obviously, Dr. Cantu, looking at what we're looking at there, it can't be beneficial to your health.

CANTU: No, not at all. And I think...

KING: Hitting a board with your head.

CANTU: And I think what you also saw there was the neck being snapped very violently.

KING: Yes.

CANTU: The head, it's -- at the end of it, concussive blows can be imparted by whiplash.

KING: Did you like the fact that your son wrestled, Michael?

BENOIT: That was my son's passion. He loved to wrestle. What bothered me about the wrestling industry was the extremes that they went to. Wrestling is a work and a work means that it's an illusion. What you see in the ring is really not happening. People aren't killing themselves in the ring. But once they introduce the chairs, the ladders, the tables, this is real.

I once asked my son, I said, "When you get hit with a chair, does it hurt?

He said, "You're damn right it hurts, dad."


KING: Yes. You look at it and it seems crazy.

Thank you, Michael.

BENOIT: Well, thanks. KING: The best of luck to you.

We'll be talking to you again.

BENOIT: Thanks so much.

KING: Dr. Cantu.

Sanjay, thanks for joining in on this.

GUPTA: Thanks, sir.

KING: And thanks for that look at -- the look at the brain. I've never seen anything like that.

You have our deepest sympathies, Michael.

BENOIT: Well, Thank you.

KING: Up next, is a breakthrough due any time now in the missing girl case that's made headlines around the world for four months?

The latest from Portugal, when we come back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There have been dramatic new developments today in the case of missing Madeleine McCann.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN, "AMERICAN MORNING" CO-ANCHOR: And the latest development also comes amid some reports, at least over in the U.K. that arrests could be imminent following a "forensic breakthrough."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...will be quizzed again by the Portuguese police. Tomorrow it will be her husband Gerry's turn.



KING: Welcome back. More than four months after British 2-year- old Madeleine McCann went missing while she and her family were vacationing in Portugal, Maddy's mother was questioned by police today, and that's the first formal questioning since right after the 4-year-old was first reported missing.

And it comes on the heels of reports that forensic tests on evidence gathered in the disappearance have just been completed.

Our panel in Washington is Michelle Sigona, correspondent with "America's Most Wanted." In Portimao, Portugal, Robert Moore, ITN European correspondent, he's been covering this case from the get-go.

In Pittsburgh, Dr. Cyril Wecht, the forensic pathologist and attorney and former coroner of Allegheny County. The defense attorney, Julia Morrow, is in Philadelphia, and the prosecutor, Pam Bondi, is in Tampa.

Robert, bring us up to date on the latest with the questioning of the mother. What's it all about?

ROBERT MOORE, ITN EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, Kate McCann came here at 2:00 this afternoon local time. She left at 1:00 in the morning. In other words, she was in the police station here for a full 11 hours.

The police are still saying at least publicly that both Kate and Gerry McCann are witnesses to a crime, not suspects. But it is fair to say there is now open speculation about whether some of the forensic work down at the laboratory in Britain might be implicating Gerry and Kate.

There's no hard evidence for that, but certainly the circle of suspicion is narrowing. And that, of course, is going to be not only a legal problem for them, but it's a public relations disaster for their campaign to find 4-year-old Madeleine.

KING: Michelle, what do we know about the forensic test results?

MICHELLE SIGONA, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: What we know, Larry, is a couple of weeks ago investigators went back into the hotel room where little Madeleine went missing from and where her parents were staying.

They collected a bunch of new evidence, a bunch of things that they have not released, unfortunately. They did send that evidence off to a lab, Larry in England, and they were waiting for those results, those results which now have been returned back.

And that's why all of this new questioning is taking place. That's why Kate has been brought back in. That's why Madeleine's father will be brought back in tomorrow again for questioning, Larry.

KING: Dr. Wecht, what do you gather they're looking for?

CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, obviously, they're looking for, first of all, was this Madeleine's blood and they've done DNA testing.

We talked about this some weeks ago. Supposedly they may have some hair and saliva samples or at least they're looking for that. What puzzles me with regard to the questioning of the mother is that she was a resident of that apartment.

Obviously, anything found there that might belong to her including even blood, doesn't really tell us anything. So insofar as the DNA evidence is concerned to be correlated and factored into the investigation and possible incrimination of the mother as some rumors would have us believe, I am very skeptical about that.

The finding of blood can be important because one does not have to injure a 4-year-old child to abduct her. And that is a very telling sign and a very foreboding one because if there is blood there, then it certainly depicts some kind of a physical struggle.

KING: Yeah.

WECHT: And the possibility of injury to the little girl.

KING: Julia, should the parents be seeking an attorney?

JULIA MORROW, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. They kept that woman in a place station for 11 hours questioning her? I'm surprised she wasn't there with an attorney. But, again, you know, I have to tell you, the fact that she endured that and cooperated with them like that without an attorney, to me, shows that she has nothing to hide.

KING: And Pam Bondi, as a prosecutor, what does it indicate to you? And I realize Portugal has different laws than Florida, but what does it tell you?

PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Larry, it tells me they're doing a very, very thorough investigation. As Dr. Wecht said, they got the DNA evidence back. Perhaps it was consistent with the way the mother remembered some part of the incident.

This is all just part of a very good investigation. She came in on her own. She stayed into the hours of the night, completely cooperating. And right now we really have nothing to implicate these parents at all. They've been extremely cooperative. And that's one thing that law enforcement looks at.

KING: Robert Moore, what's the mood there? The media, the press in covering this in Portugal?

MOORE: Well, I mean, there was just a media frenzy around Kate McCann when she emerged. She really looked visibly drained, physically badly shaken by the 11 hours she was in there.

Clearly it's been a harrowing experience for her. She had to negotiate really a lot of British, Portuguese and European cameras. And, of course, Gerry, her husband, the father of Madeleine, has to go through the same process tomorrow.

He is expected tomorrow at lunchtime to go through the same process, maybe many, many hours of investigation and interviewing. So it's going to be a very tough day for him tomorrow, a lot of media pressure on the couple. No question about that.

KING: Michelle, what is mind boggling is why would a couple do any harm to their 4-year-old child?

SIGONA: Yeah. In this particular case, Larry, you know, they're taking a lot of hits here because they did, unfortunately, leave their children alone. They did go 100 yards away to have dinner. That's not something that we would do here in America, but it is something that you would do probably in Portugal, obviously, what they did, and it's pretty common over there from what I've studied and from what I've learned. It's almost like leaving your child 100 yards away and going to the Hamptons, compared to here in America. Things like this just don't happen over there, and they don't have the kind of sophistication and the kinds of plans we have here in America and they are learning and they are educating themselves on. I mean, Gerry visited the United States just a few -- maybe about a month and a half ago, visited the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to be able to bring information back to try to unify, you know, all across the world, that is, when children go missing to have a program like the U.S. does.

KING: It is a puzzle. We'll be back with more right after this. But I want to remind you, you can submit an "I Ask" question via cell phone or Web cam to any upcoming guests. Go to, click on send us a video e-mail. You've still got a chance to submit questions to tomorrow night's guest, financial whiz Suze Orman. Who knows? She might be able to answer your video e-mail on the air. We'll be right back.


GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE'S FATHER: Absolutely nothing that we have known about at any point.

KATE MCCANN, MADELEINE'S MOTHER: We just want Madeleine back, you know. We will do anything to cooperate with the police to get Madeleine back, and there's absolutely nothing we would withhold, significant or not, if we felt it was going to get Madeleine back.



KING: Dr. Wecht, let's assume they found some blood. Why would they need to question for so long a period of time?

WECHT: Well, I think they're delving into other things, possibly relationships with third parties. You see, the fascinating thing, Larry, about DNA is it has no temporal application? Was it deposited yesterday, last week, four months ago or four years ago? You cannot say.

And then, of course, when you do find the DNA pattern, let's say there is somebody there, to whom is it to be matched? There is no -- it's likely probably in that area they don't have a DNA database. You have to know whom you are looking for and try to get a DNA sample from that individual. So there's a lot yet to be learned here. It is very, very much up in the air.

KING: Julia, why are they questioning the parents separately?

MORROW: Well, for several reasons. The first reason is obviously to keep them from being able to conform their stories. If they're sitting in a room together being questioned, they're listening to each other, talk, they're listening to the answers each other gives, and they can conform their stories. A second reason is to divide and conquer. If they think that the parents had anything to do with that little girl's disappearance, they wouldn't be interviewing them separately. They would have them sitting down together, brainstorming, two heads are better than one.

The fact this they have them apart, they're trying to, for lack of a better term, play mind games with them so that each is wondering what the other one's saying. The other one's doing when they're in doing their interview, and it's a divide and conquer, hoping that they can get one of them to crack or one of them to say something incriminating.

KING: Pam Bondi, does your prosecutor's instinct make you suspicious of the parents?

BONDI: You know, Larry, you always look at the parents first or the spouse, if it's a spouse who's killed. But, you know, Larry, it really doesn't. They were the last people to see this little girl alive. The way they've been acting, they've been so cooperative.

And, you know, in the long run, separating them, doing the thorough interview will hopefully help them in the long run and clear both of them. Right now the police still aren't calling them suspects. But, you know, they have no answers. And they were the last ones to see this little girl alive.

KING: Pam, Julia, and Dr. Wecht will remain with us. And we've got another missing person case coming up.

But first, we thank our other guests as well. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper, the host of "AC 360" down the hall a bit at the top of the hour. What's up tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, some breaking news tonight. A new tape from Osama bin Laden. So far it is just an announcement of a tape, but even that brings a lot of questions. Will we see bin Laden for the first time since 2004? And does he still hold the same power over his followers? Our analysts say that they may have the first glimpse of the tape actually tonight. So we'll bring you that.

Also, the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, a report on how prepared we are to handle another terror attack here at home. There's a hint. The government practically flunked in this report. We're keeping them honest after so many billions have been spent.

We'll also be talking about Maddy McCann, as you are Larry, the little girl last seen four months ago. Her parents now facing questions from investigators. We'll have all the details on that from Portugal at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: That's Anderson Cooper "AC 360" coming up at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

When we return, another desperate search for another missing girl. A Utah missing college student at BYU, ATM card was used after she vanished. The mystery centers in Provo. That story next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SPERRY, CAMILLE'S BOYFRIEND: I'd just like to speak to Camille. She has ears to listen, and she has the ability to hear us, I love her so much. And our family loves her so much, and this community loves her so much. We miss her dearly.



KING: 22-year-old Brigham University student Camille Cleverley has not been seen since August 13th. She was last seen riding her purple Schwinn mountain bike on August 30th. No sign of Camille, her keys or wallet since that day. Provo Police report to us tonight that they have located a bicycle that might be hers.

Dr. Cyril Wecht remains with us. So does Julia Morrow and Pam Bondi.

Joining us in Salt Lake City is Damon Talbot, operations manager for Destiny Search. That's a project which leads the volunteer search for a missing student, Camille.

And Emiley Morgan, who is the metro editor of BYU's school paper, "The Daily Universe," who's been following this story from the beginning.

Damon, what do you make about the possibility of this bike?

DAMON TALBOT, DESTINY SEARCH: Well, I'm hoping that it will give us some good clues, that would tell us that she was in that area which will give us a lot better idea of where we should start searching a lot -- in thorough or in depth.

KING: Does she live at the school, Damon?

TALBOT: She lives just off campus really close to the campus, really close to the campus though.

KING: Emiley, what do you make of the fact that the ATM machine was used after she was missing?

EMILEY MORGAN, THE DAILY UNIVERSITY: I don't know. I think it's kind of interesting because the last sighting was 6:00 p.m. on Thursday night, like the last confirmed sighting.

And then to have it be used -- not only used but her PIN number as well, which no one would know that information. It just makes me wonder where she could have been Thursday night, and how no one could know where she was that night.

KING: Are they checking people in Provo who are known sex offenders, Damon?

TALBOT: From what I understand, the police have been starting to talk to some of them with the help of the FBI.

KING: Emiley, any leads at all?

MORGAN: Other than the bike, there have been a few that haven't turned up. I know they searched a car wash last night. They had a lead and they ended up searching, but they didn't find anything of importance is what they said today. And other than this bike showing up in Provo canyon, that's the strongest lead they have now. They think the bike is the strongest piece of evidence.

KING: Pam Bondi, is it different when she's 22-years-old and not 12-years-old?

BONDI: Of course, Larry, of course it is. And this is an adult woman. She's a senior in college. The clerk believes that she was the one who went in and used her own ATM.

Of course, she could have been forced to use it, but all she bought were donuts and two fruit drinks. So it's a good sign that she is alive, but yes, when you have small children, it's a huge difference.

And with her, we all remember runaway bride. I mean, you know, people choose to disappear, unfortunately. So it's just good news she's hopefully alive.

KING: Dr. Wecht, what does the pathologist to do at this point? Anything?

WECHT: Well, you hope she will be found alive as a human being. But you do everything that you can through your office, working with law enforcement and the special search team to try to find the body in the event that she has been murdered because getting to that body and trying to find forensic evidence as to the cause, manner, time, place of death, forensic evidence, whether it be hair, saliva, semen, what have you, blood from the perpetrators, these things begin to dissipate and become actually destroyed.

And the exposure to the intense heat we've been having, et cetera, we saw that with the case, the young woman in Ohio, Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, these are cases that regrettably you see did not produce forensic evidence.

And the fact that in the Peterson case, they were still able to move for a successful conviction, it does not, of course, bode well for a case in which you do not have somebody that you knew was there at the time that the individual went missing.

KING: Julia, should we suspect foul play?

MORROW: Absolutely, Larry. Based on what we know about this girl, she did not just voluntarily drop off the face of the earth. Her brother described her as a homesick type who, although not depressed, was prone to the normal ups and downs of a 22-year-old.

She called home frequently. She is not the type of girl who is just going to walk away from her family and her life, based on just what I've heard from her brother, that's not her personality.

I might be prone to think that perhaps this was some tragic accident, you know, a wild animal in the woods attacked her on the bike. That has been known to happen. But the Mac card is what screams foul play in this case. Someone got her PIN, and they got it against her will, and something unfortunately, I suspect, based on these facts, something very terrible has unfortunately probably befallen her.

KING: Damon, is she a Utahan?

TALBOT: From what I understand, she's from Boise, Idaho, but she has been attending BYU for the last few months, and she had attended in the past.

KING: Emiley, is it a close Mormon family?

MORGAN: That's what it seems to be. I know she served a mission in Germany, so she's definitely an active member of the LDS church. But it just seems like the family is really close with her and closely involved in the search, really concerned about where she is. They seem really tight knit.

KING: We'll be right back with more after these words. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was on her silver and lavender Schwinn bicycle, and family members have a better idea of what she was wearing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's missing her green basketball shorts. She'd usually wear workout clothes apparently when riding, and so if we come across those green shorts at all or anything, any part of those, then we want to make sure that people notify the authorities.



KING: Emiley Morgan, is the school involved in this search?

MORGAN: From what police said today, BYU police has been really closely involved and also the school sent a mass e-mail out to students with photos of Camille, a physical description of her.

But actually what I've heard most recently they'll be conducting the search located at BYU tomorrow. But yeah, they've been working closely with BYU police. They've worked extensively where Camille works at the library and they've been doing the best they can to help police with anything they need help with.

KING: What is Destiny Search, Damon?

DAMON TALBOT: What we are is a nonprofit organization that wants to be available so if there is someone that goes missing, we can, on a three-hour notice, show up and start an organized search so people aren't randomly out looking and it can be more organized and that helps law enforcement so there's a record of what has been searched and where. And it's much more thorough and an effective search if you have an organized method of doing it.

KING: Are you searching now?

TALBOT: We closed the search center at 7:00 because we want all our teams in at 9:00 before it's dark. We will be searching again, though, starting at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

KING: And is that Provo and surrounding areas?

TALBOT: We -- our group has primarily been focused in the Provo Canyon area and the foothills above the Provo Canyon, so we're trying to cover all that for Provo police and for the family because we understand Camille used to bicycle a lot up there.

KING: Huh. Of course, we do think Julia Morrow of Elizabeth Smart, and that gives you hope.

MORROW: Yes, actually, it's funny you say that, Larry, because O was thinking of that when I was reviewing the material for tonight's segment. And that's one of the few stories that give us hope, but, unfortunately, that's the exception, not the rule in these type of situations.

KING: Is there a tendency, Pam, to be pessimistic?

BONDI: Of course, Larry, especially, you know, she was 22. She had a job. She didn't show up for work. She didn't show up for the first day of school.

In law enforcement, they've really left no stone unturned. They've brought in the FBI. You kind of have to be -- well, you have to be optimistic for her family, but you have to think the worst in order to complete a very thorough investigation. But, again, I think everyone's praying that she will be found safely.

KING: And there's nothing, Cyril, you can search for forensically now, is there?

WECHT: No. You can just anticipate, have all your ducks in order and be prepared with your test analyses, think it through, considering what the body is likely to look like, and be ready to do every single test and not go back a week or two weeks later and say, gee, I forgot to do this or so on. So preparation in anticipation of what is likely to be the case here is a key factor for the forensic pathologist.

KING: Any information, Emiley, is the people who call the Provo police or BYU? Who do you call?

MORGAN: They've been encouraging people to call the Provo Police Department because they are heading the investigation. And their number as well as the family's numbers is on flyers all over the city. But Provo Police would probably be the best person to call if you have any information.

KING: Thank you all very much and we wish you Godspeed. Dr. Cyril Wecht, Julia Morrow, Pam Bondi, thanks for being with us through the whole segment and the one previous. And Damon Talbot, much good luck and Emiley Morgan, the metro editor of the BYU school newspaper, good luck as well.

Our newest Podcast is now available, President Bill Clinton. You can download it at or iTunes.

And finally tonight, Luciano Pavarotti. The opera legend who also sang with Liza Minnelli, Bono, U2 and The Spice Girls. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer early this morning at his home in Italy. Many consider him the greatest tenor of his time, of all time, larger than life, down to earth. He made the whole world his opera house and I was honored to him here as my guest just a few years ago.


KING: When did you know that you could sing?

LUCIANO PAVAROTTI, DECEASED TENOR: At the age of 4. I jumped on the table. They made the lights turn, and they say my father is a tenor. I am a little tenor. And I began to sing -- with the piano, at age of 18, I was already singing. For $1, $2 performance. With an orchestra, the 29th of April, 1961, the day of my debut. That is a very important day for me because at that time elementary schoolteacher Pavarotti become a tenor.


KING: Pavarotti, the one and only, dead at 71. As one CNN viewer put it, heaven now has a tenor for its choir. And on that note, over to Anderson Cooper and "A.C. 360." Anderson?