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Fugitive Marine Indicted for Murder

Aired January 24, 2008 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. A gorgeous young Marine vanishes into thin air, Camp Lejeune, eight months pregnant when she goes missing. The burned remans of 20-year-old Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child found in the backyard of suspect co-Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean.
Just hours ago, a secret grand jury hands down indictments against Laurean. As of tonight, in addition to murder one, Laurean accused of forcing the pregnant Marine to withdraw nearly $1,000 from an ATM just before being bludgeoned to death. As the FBI zeros on in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Onslow County DA takes the death penalty off the table in exchange for Laurean`s capture in Mexico. After the military`s unprecedented second autopsy on Lauterbach, we await tests on lung tissue from the unborn child. Was the baby alive at the time of the murder?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New developments in the death of that pregnant Marine. A grand jury has indicted a fellow Marine on murder and other charges in connection with the killing of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach. The suspect, Corporal Cesar Laurean, apparently has fled to Mexico. Lauterbach`s charred body was found buried in his backyard. The other counts in the indictment result from the theft of Lauterbach`s ATM card and include fraud and robbery. Prosecutors are telling the Mexican government they will not seek the death penalty if Laurean is extradited to the U.S.


GRACE: And breaking developments in the death of Hollywood superstar Heath Ledger, Ledger found unclothed, unresponsive, face down in bed inside his exclusive Soho apartment. Over-the-counter, six other prescriptions, plus medications brought to the U.S. from Europe, all near the star`s body.

Tonight, grainy video emerges, the last known images of Ledger just before his death. And tonight, a top forensic expert says no way was this an accidental overdose. How was Ledger alive and well at 1:00 PM, then dead in his own bed just two hours later? And now, we learn additional calls to Mary-Kate Olsen before calling 911. But why a cover-up?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actor Heath Ledger`s body is now at a funeral chapel. Police now say no evidence of drugs -- that is, illegal drugs -- turned up on that rolled-up $20 bill that was found on the floor near the actor`s bed. Investigators found no illegal drugs in the apartment, though six prescription drugs were found -- three of them had been prescribed in Europe -- and included anti-anxiety medications, sleeping pills and an antihistamine. The drugs, kept in bottles and packets, were found in the bedroom and bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heath Ledger`s ex-fiancee and his daughter are now back in New York, following the actor`s death. And while the family has sought seclusion in their home to mourn, it didn`t stop a crowd of paparazzi from showing up.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. First tonight, a secret grand jury indicts fugitive Marine Cesar Laurean, Laurean still on the run.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this is something the prosecutor felt he had to do at this stage of the investigation. The first degree murder charge, that`s no surprise. There are four other charges. One is stealing Maria Lauterbach`s ATM card, attempting to steal her ATM card, fraud -- in other words, pretending to be her when he used that debit card, allegedly. And he is also indicted for robbing her with a dangerous weapon. Remember, they say that she was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Now, the prosecutor explained why he added that last charge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s my understanding that when we do extradite him from Mexico, we have to present them all the charges we plan on trying him on, and therefore we want to go ahead and charge him with this armed robbery because we felt that after talking with law enforcement officers, there was sufficient evidence to charge with him armed robbery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, of course, while all this is happening, the search goes on for Cesar Laurean.


GRACE: First of all, I want to go straight down to Mexico City, Mexico. Standing by, the CNN Mexico City bureau chief, Harris Whitbeck. Harris, thank you for being with us tonight. Harris, tell me, have the authorities, law enforcement authorities from anywhere contacted you yet, since you and your crew were the first ones to find a witness placing Laurean in Mexico?

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely no contact, Nancy. And the last time we spoke to the family in Guadalajara, which was about 24 hours ago, they told us that they had not been contacted by the authorities, either. They also said that they were not going to be answering their phone anymore. They were concerned about the attention that they were getting after their revelation that Cesar Laurean had, in fact, visited the cousin and his aunt about a week ago. So no, no contact.

The last we heard from the authorities was that they had received a request fro cooperation from the United States, but no sort of formal arrest warrant, meaning that only if they happened upon Cesar Laurean somewhere in Mexico, getting him on a traffic violation or something like that, could they detain him. But that does not empower them to launch a proactive search for this individual -- Nancy.

GRACE: I want to go to a special guest joining us tonight, Dewey Hudson. He is the Onslow County district attorney, the elected DA in that jurisdiction, who has basically been forced to make a hard, hard decision, and that is to take the death penalty off the table. It`s not even in the mix anymore for a possibility for Corporal Laurean, who is now facing charges of killing 20-year-old Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child, then burning the body in his backyard underneath a barbecue pit.

Out to Dewey Hudson. Mr. Hudson, thank you for being with us. Are you shocked, stunned, disturbed, concerned that, apparently, nobody`s doing anything to bring Laurean back home for you to prosecute?

DEWEY HUDSON, ONSLOW COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, good evening, Nancy. And I think the terms -- all the terms you used are accurate. I am dismayed that there`s been very little effort in Mexico to apprehend Mr. Laurean.

GRACE: Well, true, but what can the U.S. do? What can we do? What power do we have, Dewey Hudson, to find him on our own?

HUDSON: That`s a question that I think would be better asked to the FBI and the U.S. Marshals. Nancy, I`ve been a prosecutor 30 years. This is the first time I`ve ever had to deal with trying to extradite someone from Mexico and basically conceding (ph) the death penalty if he`s apprehended.

GRACE: Yes, I took a look at your record, Mr. Hudson, and I know this must have been a very difficult decision for you. But the reality is, what choice do we have? And it sounds like, according to Harris Whitbeck, who happened to be the only one so far to find Cesar Laurean, or the most recent sighting of him -- maybe you should let Harris Whitbeck go find him.

Dewey Hudson, have they told you anything? Has the FBI or the feds, the U.S. Marshals told you anything about the search for Corporal Laurean?

HUDSON: The information I have received -- and I received that last week, when we prepared this request for a provisional extradition from Mexico last Friday -- that basically, Mexico was not going to do anything until I filed that request and it was -- went up the channels of command in United States and through the Mexican authorities and ultimately end up in a judge`s courtroom and the judge had issued an order for arrest, a warrant for arrest, in Mexico before anything was going to be done.

GRACE: Well, it`s my understanding as we went to air, we are still waiting on a judge to sign an arrest warrant. Has one been signed?

HUDSON: I have not been notified if one has, and I was in consultation with Washington today and they were hoping that it would be resolved soon, but (INAUDIBLE)

GRACE: Soon. Soon. Soon.

HUDSON: That`s what they told my.

GRACE: OK. Yes, what does that mean in Mexico? Let`s take a look at the map. Laurean was sighted there in Guadalajara at a liquor store, according to Harris Whitbeck, who basically tracked the guy down that far. But it`s just a hop, skip and a jump to Guatemala, Honduras, to Nicaragua, Costa Rica. This guy doesn`t even have to rent a boat. He can just take a walk across the border.

Speaking of walking across the border, Harris Whitbeck -- Harris joining us, the CNN Mexico City bureau chief -- how did he get across the border anyway?

WHITBECK: Well, it`s actually very easy, and especially if you come in by bus. The Mexican authorities only request one form of identification. That does not necessarily have to be a passport, as long as they have some sort of ID. And as you well know, it`s not that difficult to get false identifications in the United States.

The other thing is that many of these buses, once they cross the border, they usually travel for about 20 miles or so before they come to the actual checkpoint where papers are checked, but not all vehicles are always checked. It`s usually just a random thing. So it`s quite possible that if, in fact, Laurean did -- was on one of those buses, and that`s what everybody seems to think now -- it`s quite possible that his ID wasn`t even checked.

GRACE: So he just got on a bus and crossed the border. That`s what you`re telling me, Harris.

WHITBECK: That`s what everything seems -- the evidence seems to point to that, at this point, yes. In fact, I believe Susan Candiotti was talking to the bus company in Florida and had some confirmation of that, that he, in fact, crossed the border last Sunday.

GRACE: Speaking of, let`s go straight to Susan Candiotti, CNN national correspondent who`s been on the case. Susan, thank you for being with us. What can you tell us about that?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we didn`t -- the bus company, yes, we`ve been in touch with, and we`ve been trying to actually talk to the bus driver himself. But we have been able to confirm from a law enforcement source, and actually, Mr. Hudson, the district attorney has acknowledged that he got on a bus. A law enforcement source tells me that he paid only $170 to buy that ticket to cross over from Houston into Mexico. And in fact, this law enforcement source also thinks that the same bus company even gives discounts to people who are in the military.

Now, we don`t know right now whether he said he was in the military. We do know, according to law enforcement sources, that he was using an alias. And in fact...

GRACE: That`s not all he`s using, Susan. He`s probably using the dead girl`s money, after having forced her to use her ATM card to give him money. Susan, could you and Harris Whitbeck please pass your information on to the FBI, OK, because they apparently don`t know what`s going on in the case.

I want to go back to Susan Candiotti. Speaking of money, what can you tell me about the indictments handed down today regarding robbery?

CANDIOTTI: Right. Well, involving robbery, they said that they have indicted him for robbery using a blunt force object. Now, authorities are not, for the record, identifying what that blunt force object is. But as you know, there have been media reports that they are testing a crowbar. We do know that they are testing a possible murder weapon. We don`t have the results of that yet. But presumably, that would be what they are accusing him of doing.

GRACE: Susan, what bus company is it that we believe he used to cross the border?

CANDIOTTI: It`s called the Tornado Bus Company, and we spoke with them at their headquarters in Texas, actually. And if you`re ready for this, Nancy, when we finally got through to a company representative this day, that representative, spokesperson, said to us that he was totally unaware that any of this had happened, that the company had any role in it at all -- of course, not a role in helping him get over, except that they sold him a bus ticket -- but were clueless until we told them about this.

GRACE: Dewey Hudson, Onslow County district attorney, how can that be? How can we allow a company doing business here in America, be it incorporated here or just DBA here in America, cross the border with a guy wanted for the murder of a 20-year-old girl, her unborn child, and basically having a barbecue on top of her body in the backyard? No checking papers, using false ID, even giving him a military discount to cross the border! Mr. Hudson, thoughts?

HUDSON: Well, I`m appalled that -- I`m just shocked how easy it was for him to leave Jacksonville, and apparently, within 48 hours enter -- leave this county and enter into Mexico. I`ve been told that it`s very difficult to get from Mexico to the United States, but apparently, it`s not that difficult to get from the United States to Mexico.

GRACE: Elizabeth, show me a picture of Maria Lauterbach, please. Not the defendant, I want to see her. This is the girl whose blood was found all over Corporal Laurean`s home, from room to room. Her blood was all over the walls, throwback blood up on the ceiling, her shoe outside, where she struggled, she struggled to save her life and the life of her unborn baby. But she didn`t win that struggle. She died, her body buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of the suspect. We know that much. And what kind of justice is she getting? What are we doing to find the alleged perpetrator of this crime? What is her life worth to us? That`s what I want to know tonight.

Out to the lines. Jamie in New Mexico. Hi, Jamie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Congratulations on your beautiful babies.

GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question that I have is this. If they can bring him back from Mexico and they can convict him, and hopefully, get murder one, can they also get murder one on the baby? Because unlike Scott Peterson, they went for murder two with Conner -- but could they possibly get it for the baby on this one?

GRACE: Jamie, I`m sorry to tell you that in North Carolina, there is not a statute that considers the unborn child to be a separate being. So they cannot get a murder one conviction, an indictment, even charges against him for that. And to make matters worse, Mr. Hudson, is basically -- the elected district attorney there, is basically precluded from seeking the DP, death penalty, on the heinous murder of this young girl. That`s the price you have to pay to extradite from Mexico.

Out to Deborah in Tennessee. Hi, Deborah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey. I wonder, if they arrest him in the United States, is it possible that the district attorney could go back and seek the death penalty?

GRACE: Well, Deborah, first of all, generally speaking, absolutely correct. If he is found in the U.S. and is brought back to North Carolina, that`s a possibility. But typically, seeking the death penalty is something you announce well past the time you hand down an indictment, Susan Candiotti, reporting that indictment just handed down hours ago.

Let`s go to the source, Dewey Hudson, the Onslow County district attorney. Mr. Hudson, if he is apprehended in the U.S., would you consider seeking the death penalty against him, if Mexico is not extraditing him?

HUDSON: Absolutely. Without a doubt. If he`s apprehended and caught in the United States or any other country where we don`t have a like -- a similar extradition treaty, I certainly would. Of course, in North Carolina, you have to have -- not only do you have to prove a person guilty of first degree murder, but you also have to have at least one of our -- one statutory aggravating factor. And we -- and I contend that we do in this case. And if we do apprehend him in the United States of America, I can assure you that we will try this as a capital case.

GRACE: Mr. Oliver (SIC), what -- you have several aggravating circumstances, one of which must be met before you can seek the death penalty. Which one would you consider relying upon in this case as an aggravating circumstance?

HUDSON: I`m sorry. Was that question addressed to me?

GRACE: Yes, sir.

HUDSON: Nancy, I feel like at this time it`d be inappropriate for me to...

GRACE: OK. Yes. You`re right. Why jeopardize your case? Let`s unleash the lawyers, Gwen Lindsay-Jackson, former military prosecutor, Richard Herman and Mickey Sherman. Mickey Sherman, I`ve got 30 seconds. Why can`t we monitor fugitives crossing the border on public transportation, the Tornado bus line?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do you think there may be a list that somebody would check? But I got a better question, Nancy. We don`t we -- why don`t they hire somebody like Dog the Bounty Hunter or somebody else to go kidnap him, like they did with Andrew Luster?



HUDSON: I initiated a request for provisional arrest and extradition with our Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., for the arrest of Cesar Laurean in Mexico. I was informed that Mexico would not arrest or allow extradition of Mr. Laurean to the United States unless they were assured that the death penalty would not be imposed. Reluctantly, I agreed to their demands.


GRACE: That is the elected district attorney in Onslow County, Mr. Dewey Hudson. He is with us tonight.

We are taking your calls live. Out to the lines. Beverly in New York. Hi, Beverly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Welcome back. We missed you.

GRACE: Thank you. I missed you, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, how was -- do we know how he was able to get her PIN number in order to use the ATM?

GRACE: Let`s go back to Susan Candiotti, CNN national correspondent. Susan, I know he`s charged with robbery with a weapon. What do we know?

CANDIOTTI: Well, specifically, we don`t know how he got the PIN number. Of course, one can conjecture it`s possible that he watched her use it in the past. He might have gotten the PIN number that way. Or she might have told it to him. Maybe she wrote it down someplace and he saw it in a logical place when she was at his house the night in question. So we don`t know for sure.

GRACE: I want to go to elected DA Dewey Hudson. He`s the Onslow County district attorney. Mr. Hudson, your indictment lays out a charge of robbery with a dangerous weapon. What weapon do you believe that to be?

HUDSON: Nancy, I cannot talk about that.


HUDSON: I wish I could.

GRACE: Right. I don`t want to jeopardize your case. Is the money he allegedly took by force, that money, the $700, from the ATM?

HUDSON: Well, we allege that it`s money that she had on her person at the time.

GRACE: OK. So not specifically the 700 bucks?

HUDSON: Correct.

GRACE: OK. Everyone, we are taking your calls live. To Linda in Kansas. Hi, Linda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Congratulations on your twins. Enjoy them while you can.

GRACE: I sure will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They grow up fast. My question is, is someone - - are they monitoring her, Laurean`s wife, as she comes and goes from the military base, in case she may try to go to where he`s at?

GRACE: Lori Mack, North Carolina correspondent with Westwood One Metro Networks. Lori, is she under surveillance, do we know?

LORI MACK, WESTWOOD ONE METRO NETWORKS: We don`t know. Authorities haven`t said. The only thing that they did say about Christina Laurean is that she did report back to her duties on the base. And this morning, Mr. Hudson did refer to Ms. Laurean, and he said that she continues to be a cooperating witness. So at this point, that`s all we know about Christina Laurean.

GRACE: She better cooperate because it sounds like she`s into it up to her neck!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initial results of the military autopsy reveal Lauterbach`s fetus wasn`t alive when she died, although the DA tells CNN the military is doing more tests to see if there was oxygen in the baby`s lungs. And if, indeed, the infant took a breath, the DA says that establishes life. It could be Laurean could face a second murder charge.


GRACE: Welcome back. Still on the run, fugitive Corporal Marine Cesar Laurean, wanted in the death of Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child.

Out to Gwen Lindsay-Jackson, former military prosecutor. I understand that the military regards an unborn child as a separate person. Is there any way they have any responsibility in prosecuting this case?

GWEN LINDSAY-JACKSON, FORMER MILITARY PROSECUTOR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not with the murder case, not with that particular situation because the crime occurred off base.

GRACE: To Richard Herman. Would this bus company, Tornado bus lines, have any liability for letting a fugitive, without even checking the papers or the ID, cross the boarder?

RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, we don`t know what this bus company did. He had fake ID. He got across the border. Stuff like this happens all the time. It`s outrageous! These borders have to get tightened up. This is ridiculous!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The search goes on for Cesar Laurean and CNN, as you know, was the first to confirm a sighting at least a couple of days ago that he is in Mexico. We have also confirmed with the law enforcement source and authorities now acknowledge that he purchased a bus ticket. He traveled first from Raleigh, North Carolina to Houston, and then bought a bus ticket for $170 to go into Mexico. First going to one city and then winding up in Guadalajara.

We interviewed a cousin of Laurean who says that he saw him there early last week.


GRACE: Out to Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author.

Bethany, thank you for being with us. You know, it takes quite a bit of, let me just say, hutzpah, to put it euphemistically, to cross a country on a Greyhound bus then take another bus straight across the border, not worried at all that he`s going to be caught.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR, "DEALBREAKERS": Well, I mean, sociopaths notoriously have low levels of anxiety about getting into trouble and getting into caught, also -- and getting caught. And so, usually -- I mean, they`re not very solution oriented.

Think about Scott Peterson and the killing of a pregnant woman. Men who kill pregnant women are not solution oriented. They don`t think about stepping up to the plate and getting a job to support the child. They don`t think about marital counseling, they don`t think about getting a divorce. All they want is the woman dead.

So this lack of solution oriented thinking is probably what`s going to get applied to him being on the lam and he`s going to be very single-minded and I wouldn`t be surprised if that single mindedness lands him back near his family or near his mother and that`s what he`s thinking about at this point.

GRACE: Joining us out of Boston is Tom Shamshak, private investigators.

Tom, is there any alternative to bringing him home other than with the cooperation of Mexican authorities?

TOM SHAMSHAK, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, unfortunately, as much as you and I and the viewers would like to have the FBI unleashed and go down there on their own, they have to work in a partnership with Mexican authorities and they have to work out of the legal attache office in Mexico City.

But what we could do here is convince the Mexican authority that it`s in their best interest with all of these wars going on along the drug border, this is a fellow that`s violent, heinous, bring him to justice and perhaps it might be a little better PR for us.

But we could raise the level of surveillance down there with posters and make it uncomfortable. This is a guy who`s six feet tall. He`s going to stand out. He has unique, distinctive personal identifiers in some of the tattoos. He should be easily found.

GRACE: To Howard Oliver, former deputy medical examiner and forensic pathologist, joining us out of L.A., Dr. Howard Oliver, thank you for being with us. You know, the preliminary results of the second autopsy indicated the fetus was not alive at the time of the killing. How can they tell that?

HOWARD OLIVER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, FMR. DEPUTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Good evening. You can tell it`s microscopically by examining the lungs there. If the air spaces are full, then the baby had taken a breath. That would signify that it had been born alive.

GRACE: You know, Dr. Oliver, it was interesting that one of the causes stated any way for the military to perform a virtually unprecedented second autopsy, one, to reconstruct the skull, but two, to test the lung tissue of the unborn child to see if it had been born alive. If the child was still inside the uterus, why would they have opted to do that test?

OLIVER: Apparently they -- it`s just completeness of an autopsy. You have to make sure that the baby had not been taken out of the uterus, had not been born. So it`s something that should have been done.

GRACE: To Dewey Hudson, the Onslow County elected district attorney.

Mr. Hudson, was the fetus still inside the uterus?

DEWEY HUDSON, ONSLOW COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Nancy, I have not received a complete copy of the autopsy from either the military or Chapel Hill at this time. So I cannot answer that.

GRACE: To Tom Shamshak, private investigator, Tom, the blood in the home apparently had been painted over in the hopes that that would destroy the blood evidence.

Explain to me how does the blood evidence survive a coating of paint.

SHAMSHAK: Well, the unique properties to, you know, to the blood, they`re going to linger on whatever transfer items are there. And, you know, he didn`t go through any great process other than merely pointing over it and with contemporary field utensils and chemicals, we were able to, through Luminal testing, identify the blood spatter about the house.

GRACE: You know, we were talking to Bethany Marshall, talking about the arrogance of this guy. Basically, not hiding out at all. Running in plain sight on Greyhound buses and other buses.

Out to the lawyers, Richard Herman, Mickey Sherman and Gwen Lindsay- Jackson.

First to you, Richard, North Carolina allows the death penalty for any premeditated murder. However, in this case, there may be difficulty in showing premeditation. He can argue that it was a spur of the moment act and that all the planning was done after in the cover-up.

What do you think?

RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And that`s all the evidence that we have so far, Nancy. You know that as a former prosecutor. That`s exactly what they`re going to argue.

This guy`s going to be back here soon, a week or two, a month. He`s going to be here and they`re not going to be able to prove a premeditated intentional killing. Any of the leads that they`re getting from his ex -- his wife as a cooperating witness are going to be marital privilege and not admissible at trial. This is a very difficult case and everyone is speculating what happened in that house. We don`t know.

Mere speculation is not going to get a premeditated intentional killing conviction. Prosecutor better have some lesser included charges to this jury.

GRACE: I disagree with you.

But Mickey Sherman, what about the possibility of arguing he lured her to the home, lured her to the home? That would be premeditation.

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The problem is you`re going to have such moral outrage here and that, I think, is going to outweigh the technicalities of law as I think they`re just going to pronounced them which is true.

The fact that she is buried in his backyard, that the body has been burned and manipulated and mangled, that sometimes works very well to fill in the gaps of the technicalities in the state`s case.

GRACE: And also to you, Gwen Lindsay-Jackson, speaking of his mode of escape in plain sight, if he puts one more toe back in the U.S., do we think we`ve got premeditation to go for the death penalty?

GWEN LINDSAY-JACKSON, FMR. MILITARY PROSECUTOR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If he physically gets into the United States and he is not extradited, yes, we do. All bets would be off because we heard the prosecutor say that they`re going to go for extradition. However.

GRACE: Right.

LINDSAY-JACKSON: .they`re not going to seek the death penalty if Mexico turns him over by way of extradition. He comes over the border voluntarily, all bets are off. We can still go forward.

GRACE: To Jennifer in Connecticut. Hi, Jennifer.

JENNIFER, FROM CONNECTICUT: Yes. A security cameras shows Laurean shopping before he fled to Mexico and it looked like some men were with him and Laurean`s cousin in Mexico said he had four buddies with him.

Does anybody know who these guys are and could they be considered accomplices to murder?

GRACE: To Harris Whitbeck, the CNN Mexico City bureau chief.

Harris, who were those guys that were with him in the liquor store?

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN MEXICO CITY BUREAU CHIEF: No idea, Nancy. The cousin says that -- in fact, the cousin can`t remember exactly how many people were with him. He told us there were three or four guys identified by Laurean as buddies of his, but then he told another journalist that there were only two.

When I spoke to him again yesterday, he said he couldn`t remember if it was two or three. But he did say that the entire time that they were talking, which is only about 10 minutes, his buddies were always facing the street and giving their backs to him so he could never really see their faces.

That struck me as a bit odd. But again he says that he was so taken by surprise by seeing his cousin in the first place that he didn`t really concentrate on trying to identify the people who were with him.

GRACE: Harris, were the men with him Americans?

WHITBECK: He wouldn`t say. I asked him if they looked like Americans or Mexicans. He said he didn`t know. He said all he saw was their backs.


To Belinda in Tennessee. Hello, Belinda. I think I`ve got Belinda. Belinda, are you with me?

Let`s go to Toni in South Carolina. Hi, Toni.

TONI, FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: Nancy, I love you. Your show is wonderful.

GRACE: Thank you.

TONI: My question is, is it possible that he could have kidnapped her from the base and that`s why they found her phone on the road, on the side of the base?

GRACE: What about it, Susan Candiotti?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don`t know how she got to the house. All we know is that she was at the house, police believe, on December the 14th.

Was she kidnapped? Did he lure her there? Did she go over on her own to have a chat with him? We don`t know. We only know that she left behind a note saying she was fed up with the Marines and wanted to leave.

GRACE: To Lori Mack, can you shed any light?

LORI MACK, N.C. CORRESPONDENT, WESTWOOD ONE METRO NETWORKS: Well, going back to what Susan just said about the notes, I asked the Onslow County Sheriff`s Department when the test results -- because if you remember, they sent those notes, the note that Lauterbach left her -- the guy who was renting her the room and also the first note that his wife received from him, they sent them off for handwriting analysis and I asked about that. And they said it could be several weeks until several months until they get the results back because that could be important to find out whether or not she did actually leave that note.

GRACE: When we come back, the mystery surrounding the death of Hollywood`s superstar Heath Ledger.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 12:30 p.m. Ledger`s housekeeper arrives at his fourth floor Sogo apartment. 1:00, she enters his bedroom. Ledger was lying face down and snoring. 2:45, his masseuse arrived. Around 3:00, the masseuse enters Ledger`s room. She tries to wake him but he is unresponsive.

The police source says the masseuse used the speed dial on Ledger`s cell to call his friend, actress Mary-Kate Olsen. Olsen called a private security team instructing them to head to Ledger`s apartment.

The masseuse called Olsen a second time saying she was calling 911. 3:26, the masseuse makes the emergency call and with the help of an operator performs CPR. 3:33 p.m., paramedics arrive and are unable to revive Ledger. Three minutes later, at 3:36 p.m., Ledger is pronounced dead.


GRACE: More developments in the sudden and unexpected death of Hollywood superstar 28-year-old Heath Ledger.

Tonight, a top forensic pathologist says no way could Ledger have accidentally overdosed. How can that be?

Back out to Howard Oliver, former deputy medical examiner, forensic pathologist, agree or disagree?

OLIVER: I agree if the only thing he was taking were the prescription drugs. We don`t know what his toxicology is like yet. If he were taking alcohol along with the drugs, for instance, it very well could have been an accident. For instance, had he been taking Xanax with the alcohol, he could very well have accidentally overdosed, and taking all these drugs in, you know, could (INAUDIBLE) you have some synergistic activity with these chemicals that could cause an accidental death.

But we`d have to see what the toxicology is before we could make a statement like that.

GRACE: Joining us is Richard Roth, CNN senior correspondent. Richard, thank you for being with us.

Richard, TMZ has reported a list of drugs that Ledger had around his person. Can you tell us what they are?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they include generic versions of Xanax and sleeping pills like that. It`s a very long list. The apartment had pills in both the bathroom and the bedroom.

I just want also update you from what you said earlier, that the police have adjusted their timeline on these calls. They were not just two as we`ve been reporting all week but four from the masseuse to Mary-Kate Olsen who was in California. Three calls and nine minutes before 911 was called then one call shortly afterward, though police believe that he was already dead, not due to any type of foul play before the calls to Olsen.

GRACE: Right now you are seeing video from There you go. Last video -- reportedly this grainy video is the last video of Ledger before his death. There you see it right there.

Back out to Richard Roth, CNN senior correspondent.

Richard, another issue is the rolled-up dollar bill typically used to snort powdered cocaine or some other substance. It was tested. Came back negative for drugs but there was quite a period of time before police or paramedics arrived to the scene. I meant about how much time elapsed before law enforcement arrived?

ROTH: Well, from the third call now we`re talking about nine minutes before the paramedics arrived and they arrived at the same time as the private security people that Olsen had dispatched in her call to the masseuse, Diana Wolozin. They all went up there and then apparently the EMS people kept the private security people outside while they went in to try to revive Ledger and that proved impossible.

And including inside that apartment was the Ambien, Lunesta, Valium, Ativan, a cornucopia of drugs, but it`s still unclear why Heath Ledger died.

GRACE: To Kelli Zink, host with, why all the phone calls? PS, everybody, that video from the movie "Batman the Dark Knight" from Warner Brothers.

Kelly, why all the calls to Mary-Kate Olsen? What could she do to help? Wasn`t she far, far away on the other coast?

KELLI ZINK, HOST, CELEBTV.COM: You know, she was, Nancy. And the interesting connection here is that Heath Ledger and Mary-Kate Olsen were dating and they were sharing the same masseuse. So our thoughts are that the masseuse wanted to keep this private. Instead of calling 911 immediately, she wanted to call someone that was on his speed dial. That was Mary-Kate Olsen.

These two met in 2006 and for the past three or so months my sources tell me they`ve been dating but not seriously so the masseuse wanted to reach out to somebody that could possibly help right away.

GRACE: Help right away how?

ZINK: Maybe she could offer some insight into what Heath had been doing. You know, when you`re a celebrity you like to keep things private.

GRACE: Maybe how to perform CPR?

ZINK: Yes, right. As a masseuse, she should probably know how to do this.

GRACE: I`m not understanding this.

And to Richard Roth, Richard, in New York, don`t masseuses -- masseurs have to know CPR?

ROTH: Well, apparently this one may not have even been licensed by the state in order to even perform that function. As I believe that could be part of it. So we`re going to be learning much more about the people who had close access to Heath Ledger in his final hours, the housekeeper and the masseuse.

GRACE: Richard, what about the lividity of his body?

ROTH: Well, the people who were first on the scene seem to conclude that he had not died just in the moments before the calls that were made to Olsen, that it was sometime before. It was about two, two and a half hours before that the housekeeper and the masseuse have reported that he was snoring in the bed, face down, that`s how indeed he was found.

The housekeeper had gone in to change the light bulb and then exited with Ledger still in the bed there. And then the masseuse was the next to going in, even set up, as we reported all week, a massage table, unaware that Ledger was dead right next to her.

GRACE: Richard, how long are authorities now saying he was dead by the time the paramedics arrived?

ROTH: Well, they`re not pinning it down exactly but they seem to be insisting that it was not a close call between the masseuse wasting time by calling Mary-Kate Olsen in California and summoning 911 who came frantically. Seven minutes is not a bad response time inside Manhattan with the way traffic the way it is especially downtown in Soho.

GRACE: Dr. Oliver, how do you use lividity? A, what is lividity? Please tell the viewers. And how do you use it to determine how long someone has been dead?

OLIVER: Lividity is found by looking at where the blood settles in the body. For instance, with this individual, I believe to have been found face down, the blood would have settled in the front part of his body. You can determine how long the body had been dead by the fact that it`s congealed and it won`t move, the blood won`t move when you turn the body over.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actor Heath Ledger`s body is now at a funeral chapel and reports a viewing is expected to be held today. His ex- fiancee, actress Michelle Williams, returned to New York last night and said she`s devastated.

It`s been an emotional few days for Ledger`s loved ones with so many questions still unanswered.


GRACE: Not only do we learn that top forensic pathologist believe an accidental overdose is virtually impossible with these prescription drugs, but now we learn somewhat of a cover-up regarding the phone calls, the multiple phone calls made to Mary-Kate Olsen at the time of the death.

To Richard Herman, Mickey Sherman and Bethany Marshall.

Bethany, why cover-up? How many calls were made to her?

MARSHALL: Well, I think employees like a masseur and a maid -- they may be terrified of losing their jobs so they use bad judgments and they cover up afterwards.

GRACE: What about it, Richard Herman? Are they afraid of a liability of some sort?

HERMAN: You know, the problem is, Nancy, I think you`re seeing too many Indians behind too many trees. You know, celebrities sometimes, they call the police first. They call their fixers like the Harvey Keitel character in "Pulp Fiction."

It doesn`t mean that there`s been bad kinds going on, and overlaying this is a terrible thing.

GRACE: You know what?

HERMAN: .of the homophobia against him from the movie.

GRACE: Mickey, I`m going to pretend I didn`t hear that.

HERMAN: It`s true.

GRACE: Because there`s a dead body. Whenever there`s dead body in the mix, Richard Herman, it suddenly takes on importance what you do in the following moment.

HERMAN: It does, Nancy. But this is a healthy 28-year-old man with a six drug cocktail going there and I don`t believe that the forensic pathologist you referred to knows what he`s talking about. Come on, this is a healthy man and healthy 20-year-old men just don`t die in their sleep.

GRACE: The ongoing investigation unfolds as the hours pass. We`ll bring you up to date as soon as we hear more information regarding the death of Heath Ledger but let`s stop and remember Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Morris, killed Iraq on a first tour, loved handing out candy to Iraqi kids, made friends with the police, playing trumpet, sending his mom roses and letters, dreamed of joining the FBI or the Secret Service. Leaves behind mom Carol, step-dad Donnie, brother John.

Daniel Morris, American hero.

Thank you to our guests but especially to you for being with us. See you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern and until then, good night, friend.