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Marine Murder Crime Scene Photos Released
Aired January 21, 2008 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: A gorgeous young Marine vanishes into thin air, Camp Lejeune. Kicker? She`s eight months pregnant when she goes missing. The burned remains of 20-year-old Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child found in the backyard of suspect Corporal Cesar Laurean.
Bombshell developments. Tonight: caught on tape. Surveillance video shows Laurean at the local Lowe`s hardware on a shopping spree with the murdered mother-to-be`s ATM card. Yes. That shopping list includes paint, cement blocks, shovels and a wheelbarrow. Tonight, the manhunt goes into high gear, new sightings of Laurean in the western U.S., the FBI chasing leads south of the border.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother of a murdered Marine calls her daughter the perfect victim. Mary Lauterbach told an Ohio newspaper Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach was vulnerable because of her struggles with telling the truth. She says Lauterbach had problems with occasional compulsive lying. Cesar Laurean is the chief suspect in Lauterbach`s killing, and CNN`s obtained this video of him buying supplies at a home improvement store two days after Lauterbach was believed to be killed. The video shows him buying paint, concrete blocks and a wheelbarrow. Police say some of the blood at Laurean`s home was covered by fresh paint. They think he probably fled to Mexico.
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GRACE: And tonight, live to Nevada as search teams fan out after the disappearance of a beautiful 19-year-old coed. Brianna Denison falls asleep on a girlfriend`s sofa, then vanishes, leaving behind purse, cell phone, even her shoes. Only clue, blood evidence found on the pillow where Brianna Denison slept the night she vanished.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This much we know. Nineteen-year-old college student Brianna Denison was celebrating winter break with friends. After a night out in Reno, Nevada, Brianna headed back to crash on a friend`s couch. Later that evening, Brianna disappears without other girls in the house noticing. Bloody fluids found on Brianna`s pillow. But Brianna`s purse and cell phone still remain and the teddy bear seemingly the only thing missing, other than Brianna.
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GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, the search for a college coed who disappeared while she was sleeping in Reno.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s actually Lowe`s video from the Lowe`s store in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Just to the left on your screen is supposedly Cesar Laurean, according to authorities, coming there to buy supplies such as paint and concrete blocks and a wheelbarrow. That supposedly is Laurean wheeling out those cement blocks, and then his friend right behind him with a wheelbarrow. This tape was taken on December 16, which would have been two days now after authorities say that Maria Lauterbach was killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They know there was a withdrawal from her account or some type of activity on her account on Christmas Even. And what we have is this picture that they say is Cesar Laurean walking up to the ATM machine. What`s significant here is that we got this search warrant, where they wanted -- authorities want to look at the Western Union bank account of Cesar and Christina Laurean, his wife, because they know that there was a transfer made into their account sometime between December 10 and January 12.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, really?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very significant. She was dead as of the 14th of December, and they know someone used her account.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, more bombshells in the story of Maria Lauterbach. Not just a story, it`s about a missing and murdered mom-to-be, her little unborn child found along with her in the back yard of a fellow corporal, burned, her charred remains. Now we learn police say the murder took place in Corporal Laurean`s garage, while blood was found all over his home. Also at the same time, emerging video at a local Lowe`s hardware store, a real shopping spree for Corporal Laurean, buying paint -- we know his home was freshly painted -- cement blocks, a wheelbarrow.
Let`s go out to Susan Candiotti, CNN national correspondent joining us. Susan, what`s the latest?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest are these new photos that we have seen now released by the sheriff`s office that show us for the first time some pictures shot inside Cesar Laurean`s home, photographs that include his living room and also inside his garage. We don`t know the particular significance of why they released these photographs at this time, only that they show his living room, as well as pictures of paint cans inside the garage.
Of course, you also see a picture of the firepit that we`ve all heard so much about and have seen by now. Of course, we saw that firepit when it was being dug up by authorities, when they unearthed the body of Maria Lauterbach. But this is a photograph we are also seeing of what the firepit looked like before police knew for sure, evidently, that that is where she was buried. So these are new photographs.
GRACE: You know, Susan, I`m taking a look at these just-released photos of the firepit. I mean, you can tell that there is freshly dug earth, or I think I can tell that, around it. Here`s a look at the newly released photos we`re telling you about. And it`s amazing to me that these photos are now being released while the photos of Laurean on the run stayed -- well, they weren`t released, and a picture of her was not released until many, many days after she went missing. But Susan, that aside, what can we learn from these photos?
CANDIOTTI: Well, I mean, that`s what we`d like to find out, of course. But it`s interesting to look at these paint cans. So for example, when we look at those in the garage, the question is, Is this the same paint that we have heard they found fresh coats of paint inside the house that covered traces of blood? Police have said they discovered blood covered over by fresh paint. So is this the paint that was purchased at that Lowe`s? Is this the very same paint that was used to cover up, apparently, the blood stains that have not yet been officially identified as belonging to Maria Lauterbach. But nevertheless, is -- this could be, obviously, very significant.
GRACE: You know, I`m taking a look. Can we match up the paint cans with the color on the wall in the home?
CANDIOTTI: Those are the questions we`d like to know. We`ve been trying to find that information out from the sheriff`s office, but so far, they have not responded to those questions, not commenting specifically on that evidence.
GRACE: Out to Lori Mack, North Carolina correspondent at Westwood One Metro Networks. Lori, thank you for being with us, along with Susan Candiotti. Lori, what can you tell me about this guy that went on the shopping spree with Laurean there in the Lowe`s hardware?
LORI MACK, WESTWOOD ONE METRO NETWORKS: Well, not much information has been released yet about the guy. A lot of people have been asking, but authorities have not released much information about who the guy is and what part he played in this whole tragic scenario.
GRACE: You know, another thing I`ve learned is that, Lori Mack, there apparently were more -- there was more than one bonfire in the backyard over the Christmas-New Year`s holiday. What do you know about that, multiple fires in the backyard?
MACK: Well, I know the neighbors, the Allanders (ph), they told an Ohio newspaper that there was a bonfire set on Christmas Eve, and then the Laureans, Christina Laurean and Cesar Laurean, had a party on Christmas Day and they invited friends over and fellow Marines. So apparently, there were two fires in two days.
GRACE: Lori Mack, I`m familiar with those two. Susan Candiotti, I understand there was a third fire. And I`m just wondering, has anybody canvassed the neighborhood? This guy, was he a pyro? How many fires did he build in the backyard? We were told there were three, Susan Candiotti.
CANDIOTTI: Well, I, frankly, only know about the one on Christmas Day, according to neighbors, who said they remember seeing that barbecue. So now this is additional information about another bonfire that might have taken place, and possibly a third one, as well. I don`t have that information, Nancy.
GRACE: I`m going to get that for you. Out to Mike Brooks. Sightings of Laurean in the West. What does that mean? And why are police being so tight-lipped about where he is? Don`t they want the public to help find him?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They do want the public to find him, Nancy, but they want to make sure that these sightings are credible sightings. It`s just like remember back during the sniper shootings in Washington, D.C., they talked about one car, it wound up being another car. You want to make sure the information that you`re getting out to the public is correct and true because the FBI...
BROOKS: ... still thinks he is in Mexico. So you want to make sure that all the leads they`re running down are credible before you put that out that he was seen in a certain part of the country.
GRACE: Right, because we may have lost very valuable time when the Shreveport sighting came out...
GRACE: ... the Shreveport, Louisiana, sighting, when actually, he had been sighted, we believe, in Texas. What do you make of the new evidence? And Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI, why are police at this juncture releasing these brand-new photos of the garage and the interior of Laurean`s home?
BROOKS: I don`t know. That`s a good question, Nancy, because these pictures look like basic establishing pictures I would take if I went in and was doing a search warrant. You take pictures when you go in to show where everything is, and then you take pictures -- after you seize all the evidence, then you take pictures upon your exit. What value these have right now, I really can`t say. But you know, we see those blocks out there in the backyard, where that firepit is. Maybe it`s just to say to someone, If you did see this -- you know, but right now, I don`t see really anything that would progress the case with these particular pictures.
GRACE: To Susan Candiotti. At Lowe`s hardware, do we know whether he purchased the items on a credit card? Did this friend with him -- and are the two definitely together? Did the friend buy the items? Why was the friend along?
CANDIOTTI: We don`t know that, either. These are all the questions, of course, we have asked, Nancy. I do know this. I was told by the sheriff`s office spokesman that they have what he called "documented evidence" that those purchases were made there. But beyond that, he wouldn`t comment. So do they have receipts that indicate a credit card receipt, perhaps, found from the store itself and/or from Laurean`s home, that he made those purchases or did this evidence come from only the store or from the person that was accompanying him to the store? All good questions.
GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers -- Eleanor Dixon, prosecutor out of Atlanta, Pam Hayes, defense attorney out of New York, Jeff Brown, defense attorney out of Tampa, Florida. First to you Eleanor Dixon. The purpose, why I`m asking about the Lowe`s receipt, is it could definitely go to premeditation in getting a murder one conviction.
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: You`re exactly right. And what`s so important about that credit receipt, the tape of the credit receipt, it`ll have the date. It`ll have the exact time. It`ll have the exact items that were purchased. Obviously, excellent evidence to show the premeditation, the planning of trying to cover up a crime. You know, the paint, the blocks you might use to cover a body, all those things are very important. I love the shovel and the wheelbarrows.
GRACE: And the other thing, the cinder blocks -- if you take a look at -- the cement blocks he bought, if you take a look at the so-called firepit in the backyard, it`s nothing more than these cement blocks placed in a square. And regarding the fires Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year`s Eve, he was a firepit fool over the Christmas holidays. Didn`t the neighbors notice anything unusual, Eleanor?
DIXON: Oh, I know. I mean, he wasn`t obviously just having a backyard barbecue for those days because there was a burned victim that was found in his backyard. And this was obviously highly significant, when he built that firepit and how often he actually used it before this murder.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Shelly in Rhode Island. Hi, Shelly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Congratulations on your miracles.
GRACE: Thank you. Thank you. I`ve got some photos for you later on in the show. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ducky. I`m wondering, are the authorities checking surveillance, phone records for this monster`s parents, his family?
GRACE: You know, Mike Brooks, there was a time that I would have said, Of course they are. But after I learned that the local district attorney referred to the alleged rape as a, quote, "minor" -- excuse me, the sheriff -- as a "minor incident" -- the alleged rape a "minor incident" -- and the district announced he was concerned about false accusations, now the woman is dead -- you know, I don`t know what they`re doing. But standard police procedure would be what, Mike Brooks?
BROOKS: Right now, Nancy, we know that they do have warrants for his mom. It`s to a telephone number with the area code of 702. That`s in south Clark County, near Nevada. That`s his mom`s. They also have warrants for his cell phone, his wife, Christina`s, cell phone and also those Western Union receipts. And keep in mind, Nancy, now with the interstate nexus and you`ve got wanted by the FBI, you`ve got them involved, they`ll make sure that this case is managed properly.
GRACE: Back to Susan Candiotti, CNN national correspondent, joining us on the story. Susan, I understand, contrary to what the wife, Christina, had said earlier, that she woke up, her husband was gone, she found this note -- now we learn that there was a confrontation between her and the dead victim, Maria Lauterbach. What happened?
CANDIOTTI: A confrontation between the two of them? Again, Nancy, sorry, I` not aware of a confrontation.
GRACE: Susan, it`s just -- it`s just coming out right now. Lori Mack, do you know anything about his confrontation?
MACK: Yes. Her mother actually told an Ohio newspaper that -- she was listing a list of harassments that her daughter had been going through, and she said that her daughter had a confrontation with Christina Laurean on the base. And she said that Christina Laurean called Maria Lauterbach the B-word, I won`t say it. And then she said, quote, "What are you doing to us?" That`s what Christina Laurean said to Maria Lauterbach.
GRACE: This said to the dead woman in the firepit in the backyard.
Out to the lines. Pat in Maryland. Hi, Pat. Pat, are you with me? Last call for Pat in Maryland. Pat?
To Natasha in Delaware. Hi, Natasha.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Welcome back.
GRACE: Thank you, dear. I`m happy to be back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, is how can she have been buried in the firepit and nobody smell burned flesh?
GRACE: To Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner and forensic pathologist joining us out of Madison Heights, Michigan.
DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes?
GRACE: Dr. Morrone, how can that be?
MORRONE: Well, she wasn`t on the top. And aromas and smokes come up. She was under. And it would be the same thing as baking a turkey in a roaster. All the heat was above her and she was trapped. The two...
GRACE: Dr. Morrone, you can smell a turkey in a roaster.
MORRONE: Except that the roaster is contained an oven in your house. And even though the nose is very sensitive, outdoors, it`s mixed with the regular shrubs, the wood and wind. And wind has a lot to do with it.
GRACE: Back to Susan, Susan Candiotti. Susan, do we know how deeply she was buried?
CANDIOTTI: No, we don`t know how deeply. I mean, obviously, they did some digging. You could see some evidence of it. The only evidence we have is visual evidence from the video that we saw the day that she was removed from the bottom of that firepit. They did tell me only today that it would take several more weeks to get a DNA test result back to determine paternity of her unborn baby.
GRACE: You know, I was just looking at video, Susan Candiotti, about what you were speaking about, where they were lifting the remains of Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child out of the dirt. And it looks as if when they reached down to pull her up, that they are dug down about to knee length. So that`s a couple of feet. And I`m just wondering, Susan, I don`t understand how you can have a fire on top, say two feet above, and the body still gets charred. I don`t -- do you know anything else about the mechanics of her burial?
CANDIOTTI: I don`t, only the pictures that I have seen...
CANDIOTTI: ... of how deeply they appear to have gone -- to what lengths they went to bury that victim there. And frankly, it`s just too horrifying to think about what took place there with barbecues that took place and what people may or may not have been able to determine from standing there around that body.
GRACE: Susan, I understand the search is in high gear for Cesar Laurean. They believe he`s in Mexico. But we keep hearing there are sightings in the western U.S. OK, that is inconsistent. Which one is it?
CANDIOTTI: Well, certainly, we`ve asked authorities about the number of tips they`re getting, where they`re coming from. And these tips of possible sightings have been coming in from literally all over the United States -- that`s the best way they`ll tell us -- including the far West and across the border into Mexico. It`s hard to determine which ones are credible.
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DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: We started a bus protest that literally electrified the nation. That was the day that we decided that we were not going to take segregated buses any longer. And you know, when we planned the bus boycott, we said if we could just get about 50 or 60 percent of the Negroes of Montgomery not to ride buses, this would be an effective boycott.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some more surveillance video of him trying to cover up the camera, using a cloth and trying to prevent it from actually capturing his face. But they do believe that`s him. One quick thing I want to mention about the wife is that authorities are now saying that they had some early leads and some new information from neighbors, saying that they saw Mrs. Laurean, Christina Laurean, actually painting the inside of this home sometime in the last month, in December. So that could be very significant.
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GRACE: Welcome back. Just released police photos show the garage and the interior of the Laurean home. Was recently purchased paint and cement blocks used in the murder and the coverup regarding Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child?
Out to the lines. Brooke in Kentucky. Hi, Brooke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy. I love your show.
GRACE: Thank you, dear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it possible that she could have pressed rape charges because maybe she wanted him to leave his wife and he wouldn`t, since they did have consensual sex before?
GRACE: Brooke, anything is possible. But I can tell you this much, Brooke. A cloud of suspicion hovered over this girl and her whole story after her family told people she was a compulsive liar and had bipolar disorder. Now the family is backing off that, saying that that was a paraphrase of what they said. In any event, that, in my mind, slowed down the entire investigation.
Out to Mike in Florida. Hi, Mike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing Nancy?
GRACE: Hi, dear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back. Congratulations.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is, Christina, where was she during the alleged attacks, the alleged repainting of the house? Doesn`t she look suspicious in this whole ordeal?
GRACE: Mike, she looks extremely suspicious to me. Susan Candiotti, where was she during all these times?
CANDIOTTI: Well, that`s what we`d all like to know. She did tell authorities that the night that her husband says that Maria came over to the house that she was at a Christmas party, a Marine Christmas party, but that her husband never showed up for it.
GRACE: Cesar Laurean wanted in the rape and murder of fellow corporal Maria Lauterbach, the death of her unborn child.
Out to the lawyers, Pam Hayes, Jeff Brown, Eleanor Dixon. To Pam Hayes. We learned that the local district attorney has already bargained away seeking the death penalty if this guy is extradited from Mexico. Do you agree with that decision or not?
PAM HAYES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, I don`t agree with the decision because I don`t think that a local county DA should be able to undercut a federal treaty, which I know we have with Mexico. So I have a problem with him or her doing that.
GRACE: But how do you see that as undercutting the treaty?
HAYES: I think one of the things the treaty stands for is, we have to get that country where the person is to return them back to us. If they don`t want to do it that way, it means that they`re circumventing what they agreed to do. The local DA would have a problem because I just think it invalidates some type of federal statute. I don`t think he had to bargain that away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators hunting a Marine wanted for murder could have two critical new clues tonight. Recently released surveillance video shows Corporal Cesar Laurean buying paint and other supplies after his pregnant colleague`s disappearance. And there is this: a picture of a man who is believed to be Laurean using Maria Lauterbach`s ATM card. This is -- from more than a week, almost 10 days actually after she went missing.
One quick thing I want to mention about the wife is that authorities are now saying that they had some early leads and some new information from neighbors saying that they saw Mrs. Laurean, Christina Laurean, actually painting this inside of this home sometime in the last month in December. So that could be very significant.
GRACE: The gall. This guy is accused of murdering Maria Lauterbach, corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child, burying her in the backyard, then having a three-day barbecue on top of her body, charring her body and that of the little baby. Now the man is out at the local Lowe`s Department Store buying -- things on a shopping spree with the dead woman`s ATM. The dead woman`s ATM. There`s the picture. You don`t believe me? There`s the picture. The police say they`ve got documentation, translation, a receipt.
Who`s that guy? Who`s going along with this? And how much did the wife go along with this? Her story is cracking. It is cracking. What does she know? Did she take part in this? Why is she being molly-coddled by the police?
Out to Mike Brooks. You know what, Mike? I was all happy that she was cooperating from the beginning. But at the very beginning it smelled. It smelled. When she said he left at 4:00 a.m. I woke up and he was gone.
MIKE BROOKS, FMR. D.C. POLICE DETECTIVE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Right.
GRACE: Coincidentally he wrote the note at 4:00 a.m. She gave police a head start. That was my first question. Now we find out there was a confrontation, a fight between her and Lauterbach? My god, the woman is eight months pregnant and she`s having a fight with her?
The place was totally repainted. He had three days worth of backyard barbecues. She didn`t know there was a body underneath the barbecue pit?
Mike Brooks, I don`t buy it.
BROOKS: I don`t buy any of it, Nancy. The whole thing -- well, it is a crock right from the beginning. 4:00? You don`t know your husband gets up and goes out of the house at 4:00 in the morning? Come on. Give me a break.
And then, you know, in the initial statement that she gave police, you know, you don`t hear anything about a confrontation and just gives him a little bit of a head start. But what I say, Nancy, get her on the box. Give her a polygraph. Let`s see if she is telling the truth or not.
GRACE: You know, I want to go to Jeff Brown, defense attorney.
Unless they work some kind of an immunity deal with her, I say throw the book at Christina Laurean, Laurean, I`ve heard so many pronunciations of the last name. Throw the book because she held back at a time when this life could have been saved.
JEFF BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, there is a 27-day period. If the time of death is December 14th or 15th, there`s about a 20-day period where we don`t know what she`s doing but something`s going on. So I think they`ve cut a deal with her. And I`m always leery when they do that so early in a case. They ought to convene a grand jury. They ought to bring her in, make her testify in front of a grand jury, because they still have a problem proving premeditation.
I know your other analysts have said and talked about premeditation, but all of this evidence seems to be occurring after the time of death of the 14th and 15th. They still have to prove that this is not a second- degree murder, that it`s a first-degree murder, and that he sliced her throat and it wasn`t something that was done in the heat of emotion as we know as second-degree murder.
So all this evidence, although a strong evidence that he`s destroying the body or destroying the particulars of the crime, it`s not proving premeditation. They better start focusing on that because they could be left with a second-degree murder before they know it.
GRACE: Jeff Brown, you`re absolutely correct, number one, number two, her throat was not sliced, she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head.
He`s whacky story.
BROWN: Oh it was never sliced.
GRACE: Right. That`s where you got that.
BROWN: Correct. But even a cracked head, I mean, that could still be a potential second-degree.
Pam Hayes, I think Jeff brown has a point. And that is if they cut a deal with Cesar Laurean, they did it way too soon.
PAM HAYES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, yes, absolutely right. I`m not sure who did the murder. You know? I mean I`m not sure. You know, we`re saying he did. You know, she might have well done it. You just got to wait. There`s no rush here. You just have to wait and see. I don`t know who did it for from what they have told us.
GRACE: Well, Eleanor, Eleanor, I hear a defense theory getting cooked up on simmer by Pam Hayes about who did the murder. He`s the one that`s on the run. All right? Not her. So that`s a pretty good indication that he`s the one. And long story short, he`s the one that comes up with a theory she committed suicide by slashing her own throat, right, and he buried the body.
Eleanor, if someone commits suicide, the first you do, call 911, you don`t suddenly have a barbecue pit dug in the backyard, stick them in there and have a three-day barbecue in your backyard.
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: No, you don`t. And think about this, Nancy, you and I have often said this in court, he fled when nobody knew there was a problem. And you`ve heard it so that a wicked man flees when no one pursues, but the righteous stands like as bold as the lion. So she had committed suicide and she was the one who had all the issues. He would have stood there and gladly proclaim that.
GRACE: You know, another issue has come up, Eleanor, and this really is befuddling, the Marines continue to say, they had a TPO, a temporary protective order, keeping him 1,000 feet away from her to protect evidence, not to protect her. That is total B.S. A TPO is to protect a person. Why are they saying all this? Trying to CYA?
DIXON: It could be, Nancy, because you`re definitely right. A TPO is to protect the victim from being around the person. But of course, you and I both know those are sometimes worthless and that paper doesn`t keep a person away.
GRACE: To Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and author.
Doctor, you know, I got to call it like it is. The mom didn`t do anybody any favors by coming out in the initial stages of the investigation saying her daughter was a compulsive liar. Now she`s back, I think, she`s saying she was an occasional compulsive liar. There`s no such thing as occasional compulsive liar. Compulsive means you can`t stop yourself, you do it all the time.
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST, AUTOR OF "TILL DEATH TO US PART": Right. But what her mother could have meant is that she didn`t lie all the time so she only lied when she`s stressed out because when a compulsive.
GRACE: Oh, OK. How does that help? Can you clear that up?
LUDWIG: It doesn`t help at all. But I think what`s interesting here is that maybe Laurean knew that Lauterbach had a problem and that she was vulnerable.
GRACE: Yes. She was raped, that`s the problem.
LUDWIG: Right. But that no one would believe her. Maybe she was seen as kind of like the walking wounded and so that made her more vulnerable to victimization, and also maybe Laurean is just an abusive guy. Maybe he abused not only Lauterbach, but also his wife as well.
GRACE: Do you have any shred, a scintilla of evidence on which to base that theory, anything?
LUDWIG: Well, I do -- if you are raping women, you`re pretty angry with women and you know, there`s a pretty good question.
LUDWIG: .reason to think maybe you`re abusive to your wife as well.
GRACE: OK. Not an entirely leap of logic.
GRACE: To Tammy of Virginia. Hi, Tammy.
TAMMY, FROM VIRGINIA: Hello, Nancy. Congratulations.
GRACE: Thank you.
TAMMY: I have a problem with the mother coming out and saying that -- about her being a compulsive liar. As a military mom myself -- and now her daughter is dead, I don`t understand why a mother would keep saying that her daughter is a compulsive liar, giving these interviews, and knowing that the circumstance is now she no longer has her daughter but can still keep giving these statements.
GRACE: What about it, Dr. Robi? It`s very unusual that a mother would speak that way.
LUDWIG: I know. It is very odd unless the mother was really trying to be honest in presenting the accurate information about her daughter.
GRACE: OK. Amy in New Jersey. Hi, Amy.
AMY, FROM NEW JERSEY: Hi, Nancy.
I have two ideas and one is, is there any more information about his Lowe`s shopping buddy and his relationship to Cesar, and if he attended the barbecues? And the second is, are we sure that her body was burned because of the barbecues or was she burned and then buried?
GRACE: And then buried. Good question.
To Susan Candiotti, can you shed any light on either of those?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I wish we could. But those are the same things that we`ve been discussing throughout this broadcast and ever since you started covering the story. We don`t know who that other person is in the video. We don`t know the relationship, a friend, an acquaintance, a witness, a possible participant.
Back to you, Nancy.
GRACE: With me, Susan Candiotti. Susan, thank you so much for being with us. We are getting to a break. Susan, thank you.
Tonight, APB, all points bulletin for special moms and dads. If you know a parent who`s an inspiration to others, get that camcorder, go to CNN.com/Nancygrace, click on "i-Report," enter them in the extraordinary parent contest.
And online tonight, pictures of the twins today, during and after their two-month checkup with Dr. Goldstein. I hope you like them.
We take a moment tonight to remember a friend and colleague, Frances Lewine, CNN editor and producer, nearly three decades, a trailblazer for women`s rights in journalism. Her long career started as the AP`s first female White House correspondent. After working in the Carter administration, she joined CNN.
She passed away at 86, one day before her birthday.
Everybody, when we come back, a beautiful coed vanishes while she was sleeping. Tonight, the clues she left behind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful 19-year-old Brianna Denison is a college student with a million-dollar smile, a smile her friends and family want back. After enjoying a night out, Brianna goes to sleep on a friend`s couch. But sometime in the morning, Brianna disappears.
Brianna, five feet tall, 98 pounds, with long dark-brown hair and blue eyes. Investigators say she may be wearing a light blue or a pink sweat pants with her white tank top. Police wanted to question someone who may have critical information about the case. Cops asking if you`ve seen this man, a 45-year-old white male driving this van, a brownish Chevy or a GMC Suburban to call Reno Police immediately.
GRACE: Where is the 19-year-old coed Brianna Denison? These fliers placed al over town looking for the young girl.
Out to Auburn Hutton, reporter with CNN affiliate KOLO.
Auburn, thank you for being with us. What`s the latest?
AUBURN HUTTON, REPORTER, KOLO: Well, the latest right now, they are about to talk to us in about 20 minutes. The police are going to hold a press conference with the families to kind of update us. But earlier today there was a tip to police that the body had been dropped somewhere at the Hilltop Park, which is in a different area of town a few miles from where she went missing. They searched and searched for hours, every corner of the neighborhood and absolutely found nothing. So right now they`re just waiting for more tips and they`re going to resume searching tomorrow morning.
GRACE: Auburn Hutton, what do we know about the guy driving the suburban?
HUTTON: We don`t know much. I interviewed a girl named Katie Hunter earlier. It`s the friend that was sleeping right next to the room where Brianna was taken from. His name apparently is Ian. I didn`t get a last name but he apparently drove the girls home that night from this party that they were attending called the S.W.A.T., it`s the Summer-Winter Action Tours, big college party, a lot of kids drinking, partying, things like that. And he apparently drove the girls home that night. Katie seems to believe he`s completely harmless. She called him a friend and said that he simply was helping them to get home without having to take a cab or drive or anything like that.
So police are looking for him. He hasn`t come forward. But we don`t know much at this point.
GRACE: Joining us also tonight is Commander Ron Holladay with the Reno Police Department.
Commander Holladay, thank you for being with us. What were the circumstances of her disappearance?
COMMANDER RON HOLLADAY, RENO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, we had been summoned to an address on Mackey Stadium around the university early Sunday morning. Brianna had returned home at about 4:00 a.m., went to bed, and that`s the last time that she was seen. At about 9:00 in the morning, people that live in the residence awakened and discovered her to be gone. Her clothes were still there, her personal belongings were still there. It`s quite cold here so those would be very unusual. They subsequently gave us a call and we`ve been investigating it ever since.
GRACE: Commander Holladay, what can you tell me about a rape that occurred in that same neighborhood where the perpetrator took the woman away from the home, assaulted her, then returned her back?
HOLLADAY: That case remains under investigation still. We do not have information on a suspect in that case as of yet. There was no indication at this time that those two cases are even related.
HOLLADAY: But that -- we`re not ruling out that possibility either.
GRACE: Commander Holladay, she went to sleep on a sofa there where she was easily as visible from outside in front of, I understand, a glass door?
HOLLADAY: That`s the information that I have, yes.
GRACE: Hmm, and also, Commander Holladay, has anyone been able to locate this mysterious Ian that gave them a ride home?
HOLLADAY: We are in the process of trying to locate him. He may not even know that we are looking for him. All accounts are that he is perfectly innocent and.
HOLLADAY: .simply gave the girls a ride home.
GRACE: Commander Ron Holladay joining us in the Rene Police Department.
Big search tonight, Brianna Denison, 19 years old, missing.
Let`s go out now to another special guest joining us, this is Brianna`s aunt, Lauren Denison is joining us.
Miss Denison, thank you for being with us. Where did all this come from regarding her body being dropped off somewhere? Has the family heard about that?
I think I`ve got Lauren Denison with me, Brianna`s aunt. Miss Denison, are you with me?
LAUREN DENISON, AUNT OF MISSING COED BRIANNA DENISON: Yes, I am here.
GRACE: OK. Well, we try -- Miss Denison, are you with me?
GRACE: Hi, Miss Denison. Thank you for being with us.
DENISON: Thank you.
GRACE: We just heard a report that there is a suspicion a body has been dropped off somewhere in that area. Has the family been advised of this?
DENISON: You know, that would be a question for Commander Holladay. I do not know that.
GRACE: What can you tell me about Brianna?
DENISON: Brianna is my niece, of course, and she`s 19 years old and had come home for winter break. She attends the Santa Barbara Community College. And she`s been home with us and she had attended a S.W.A.T. party which is a party that happens in Reno and it`s a Summer-Winter Action Tour. And she had gone to a concert on Saturday night and went back to the Sands Hotel and that was the last we had heard from her was early Sunday morning.
But like I said, we are very anxious because this is not anything Brianna would do. She is so incredibly close to her mother, so if she was out somewhere.
DENISON: .she would -- and she could call, she would be calling us because that is the type of person she is. She`s very responsible.
DENISON: You know, we hear about young women or teens that aren`t, that is so out of character for Brianna. So that is what makes us feel more anxious. And.
GRACE: Out to Jane Velez Mitchell, investigative reporter also on the case.
Jane, what more can you tell us regarding the search for 19-year-old Brianna Denison?
JANE VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, the family has put out a reward reportedly up to $100,000. They have fliers that they are distributing and one of the most disturbing aspects of the story, Nancy, is that when the girls woke up and went to look for Brianna and didn`t find her on the couch, they did find three blood stains which have been described as the size of silver dollars.
And police reportedly said they were a combination of blood and mucus and spit so that right there is very, very suspicious. And there were also reports that the doors to this home were sometimes left open and that people could actually look through this glass door and see this beautiful young girl sleeping on the couch.
GRACE: Very quickly, everyone, a $100,000 reward regarding Brianna Denison. Tip line, 775-334-2115.
GRACE: Today our nation stops to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the great civil rights leader lost his life nearly 40 years ago in his pursuit of justice for all Americans.
(VIDEO CLIP, DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.)
GRACE: Let`s stop to remember Army Captain Timothy McGovern, 28 from Indiana, killed, Iraq. A Purdue university grad, one month from finishing his second tour in Iraq. In the process of buying a home, McGovern loved history, economics, football, track and field, survived by loving parents, sister and grandparents.
Timothy McGovern, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but most of all to you for inviting us into your home. A special good night and get well to Barbara Jones in the ICU Harry Georgia Hospital. Please get well.
And a special good night for friends of the show, Joe from Florida, Chris from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Everybody, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern, and until then, good night friend.