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Body Found in Reno Field Identified as Brianna Denison
Aired February 18, 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: Breaking news tonight. Human remains found in an open field positively identified as 19-year-old coed Brianna Denison, Reno, Nevada. Cause of death, strangulation. Denison abducted from off-campus housing, snatched from her own sofa. Four other girls home that night never heard a sound. And now shock waves reverberate through the college town as police announce not one, not two or three, but now four sex assaults linked to one single assailant.
Did a DNA backlog at the crime lab hinder the investigation? How many other rapes are connected? With the manhunt in high gear, when does rape escalate to murder? Tonight, who murdered 19-year-old coed Brianna Denison?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The city of Reno, Nevada, and especially its college campuses, are on high alert tonight, looking for a rapist who has escalated to murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The remains of that female discovered in the field are those of 19-year-old Brianna Denison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nearly four weeks after Brianna Denison disappeared, hope that she could still be alive is now gone. Police say they now know Brianna was strangled in what they call a sexually motivated crime. Her body was found Friday in a brush-covered vacant lot, left there amid garbage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a full-fledged investigation. Police are holding nothing back as they search for the suspect who kidnapped Brianna Denison, strangled her and left her in that field in south Reno.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And also tonight, very few clues in the case of a beloved Texas teacher who vanishes into thin air. Where is Kathy Gutierrez?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kathy Gutierrez was a teacher for some 30 years, and out of the clear blue sky, she goes missing. It`s been six months and dozens of family members and search teams hunting for clues. One of them, Kathy`s car, found abandoned at a credit union 10 days after she disappeared, her credit cards and wallet still inside, her cell phone left behind at her home in northwest San Antonio. Diagnosed as bipolar and on medication and just one day before her 58th birthday, still no sign of Kathy Gutierrez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Human remains found in an open field now positively identified as those of 19-year-old coed Brianna Denison. Cause of death, strangulation. A serial rapist turned killer now stalking the college town, striking consistently once a month. Tonight, police scramble to stop the next attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The campus of the University of Nevada at Reno is on edge this morning. A serial rapist is on the loose after police link a woman`s death to at least two other attacks in the area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nineteen-year-old Brianna Denison`s body was found in a field on Friday about a month after she disappeared. Police say she had been abducted and strangled. They say the attack was sexually motivated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspect, a white male at least 5-feet-6, with a long face and brown hair. The university president is advising students to lock their windows and doors and to never go out alone at night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody who`s in that area at night should travel in pairs. Young women should not be out in that area of town singularly at this point in time late at night. I`m worried that this guy is still out there and I`m worried that somebody else is going to get hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a very real fear, and I think it is very -- it is a justified fear. He comes from behind. That`s another thing. He comes from behind, so these girls never really see him. We know from the one particular foreign exchange student, who is the one that we got most of our information from, that he grabbed her from behind with one arm. And then his left hand, he cuts off the oxygen, blocks the nose and mouth so she can`t breathe. And that`s his technique.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The possibility that four separate sex attacks related to one single perpetrator has police scrambling in the college town Reno, Nevada.
Straight out to Jaclyn O`Malley, crime reporter with "The Reno Gazette Journal." Welcome, Jaclyn. What can you tell us tonight?
JACLYN O`MALLEY, "RENO GAZETTE JOURNAL": Well, the police are still trying to find whoever killed Brianna. Her body was found Friday in a field. Saturday, an autopsy revealed that she was strangled. And there`s just a manhunt to find who did this.
GRACE: Out to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." Michelle, what can you tell me about the similarity of attacks?
MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Well, these are all students, Nancy, from what we know. DNA has conclusively linked two other attacks, one in December, another one in November, and possibly one from back in October.
And basically, the attacker is basically striking early in the morning, from what we have learned. Brianna actually -- she was abducted and went missing sometime between the hours of 4:0 AM and 9:00 AM on January the 20th. The other attacks happened between 3:00 and 6:00 AM.
This attacker, this person, this man, this monster, has pretty much come out of nowhere. And he`s described as a white male, probably 28 to 40 years old. He is known to have a truck, possibly an SUV, something that you have to step up into.
And Nancy, another thing, this guy, he doesn`t have any kind of particular smell to him. He doesn`t smell like alcohol or cigarettes or anything like that. And you know, his clothing is very plain and he`s known to wear hooded sweatshirts. So there`s a lot of details out there about this man. And we have got to zero in on him and find him tonight.
GRACE: To Jaclyn O`Malley with "The Reno Gazette Journal." Jaclyn, do we know if it was a manual or a ligature strangulation?
O`MALLEY: Nancy, police are not revealing any information about the manner of her death.
GRACE: Back to Jaclyn. Jaclyn, how was Brianna discovered?
O`MALLEY: There`s a man who works at a business in a nearby industrial field who usually goes on a lunch hour walk. He usually goes to the field where she was found, but recent snow in the area caused him not to go over there. Friday, he went on his normal walk and went through the field and made the discovery.
GRACE: My question is regarding the snow. Had that field been previously obscured with snow?
O`MALLEY: That`s what they think, Nancy, that she had been there and then the snow had fallen and basically was hidden.
GRACE: Back to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." Michelle, is there a possibility that the killer held her alive for a period of time? Have they been able to in any way date the time of death?
SIGONA: Well, here`s what I can tell you, Nancy. I know that her body -- what investigators feel that she has been in that -- she was in that particular area for more than a week. So for at least a week, you know, her body has been in that field. Where she was at those few weeks before that, it`s just too -- they don`t know yet.
GRACE: Let`s go out to Dr. Michael Bell, medical examiner, chief medical examiner, joining us out of Palm Beach. Dr. Bell, thank you for being with us. How is it that they can determine the body has been there a week?
DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH COUNTY CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, probably the most likely way they did so is if somebody remembers the field being empty for a period of time. And then up until the time when it was - - the body was discovered, there may have been witnesses who have seen the field empty, and then the body turns up, so they may be able to narrow down the time when the body appeared.
GRACE: Well, Dr. Bell, what I`m asking you is more of a forensic or scientific nature. When a body begins to decompose, is there a way to determine how long it has been decomposing when you get to a point where you`re talking about a week?
BELL: There`s no reliable way to determine how long somebody has been dead once the body starts to deteriorate. And a lot of that is dependent upon the temperature, the environmental temperature in which the body is discovered.
GRACE: How would snow or ice affect the deterioration of the body, Doctor?
BELL: Well, definitely, a cold temperature will slow down the amount of deterioration, so the snow will help keep the body cold.
GRACE: Back to Jaclyn O`Malley with "The Reno Gazette Journal." Was she clothed?
O`MALLEY: Nancy, they`re not releasing any of that information at this point.
GRACE: I find something very unusual. To Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author of "Killing for Sport." Pat, the police are saying that this was an attack that was sexually motivated, but they are not saying whether there had been a sex attack. Explain.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: I`m guessing if there is DNA to match, if there was semen DNA, that would be a sexual attack. And also, the fact that when there`s been three rapes and this guy has taken this woman away and ended up strangling her, that is usually the sign of a sexual killer.
GRACE: Joining us tonight is a very special guest. Brianna`s uncle is with us, John Zunino. He`ll be shortly joining us. But right now, to Jennifer Bushman, the Denison family spokesperson. Jennifer, thank you for being with us. I know the family was holding out hope that Brianna was still alive. How were they alerted that these remains were, in fact, Brianna?
JENNIFER BUSHMAN, DENISON FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Well, it was interesting because the media actually ended up making a call, and we knew at that point that the police were on the way to the family and were going to discuss with them the discovery that they had made on Friday.
GRACE: Were they truly still holding out hope? Did they really believe that she was still alive, or was this a complete shock, or did they suspect that this was coming?
BUSHMAN: I think that, in a sense, they did suspect that it was coming. But there was a lot of talk, particularly amongst the detectives and with the family, that if anyone was going to survive, it was going to be Bri (ph). She had survived and really had parented, in a lot of ways, this family after her father`s death. She was majoring in child psychology. So there was a sense that maybe she could have talked her way out of this. And there was hope because this man had brought someone else home. So although it was only an abduction for three hours, there was still hope that maybe he wasn`t capable of killing her.
GRACE: Back to Pat Brown, criminal profiler. Jennifer brought up a very interesting, intriguing and unique point. And that is that, allegedly, one of these attacks, the perpetrator actually brought the victim from where they were to a home setting, sexually attacked her, then returned her. Why?
BROWN: At that point, I`m guessing that he did not believe he would be able to be identified, and he thought it was too much work to kill her. But perhaps as time has gone on, he`s realized that leaving a witness alive isn`t too bright a move, and now he`s moved on to -- escalated on to killing, which means we now have a serial killer in Reno and not just a serial rapist.
GRACE: With us, Denison family spokesperson, Jennifer Bushman. Jennifer, again, thank you for being with us. Jennifer, how in the world did this guy manage to go into this off-campus home, four other girls there, asleep that night, each one in their bedroom, except for Brianna...
GRACE: They didn`t hear a thing.
BUSHMAN: Well, I mean, I guess you have to say that, you know, a lot of people sleep more soundly than others. They were certainly out for the evening. One of the things I can tell you -- Brianna was one of these kids where she called her mom several times a day. She called her -- you know, her brother would call her, actually, when her mother was late picking him up when she lived in California. She was always the designated driver.
But can I tell you what our sense is? Probably, there was drinking that was going on during the night. They came home very late into the early end of the morning, and they probably were, you know, sleeping very, very soundly at that point.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Marilyn in Alaska. Hi, Marilyn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Love your show.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is -- I guess I`m a little confused with the DNA samples. Is it standard procedure that they do not -- the police department does not run tests on those and they get this backlog and then ask for donations? I think if it was my family, I would be outraged that taxes aren`t paying for those tests or something to where maybe none of this would have even happened.
GRACE: I`ve got to tell you something, Marilyn. I`m stunned. I am absolutely stunned. And very often, we hear from crime labs around the country, There`s a backlog. There`s a backlog. I remember when I was prosecuting and I would be trying to get ready on a case, and I would call the crime lab, Do you have the results? I`ve got to send my discovery today. And the crime lab wouldn`t have the comparison. Once I would call, it would get the ball moving.
But the reality is -- to Jaclyn O`Malley with "The Reno Gazette Journal" -- if a DNA comparison had been made earlier, this perp may have been caught earlier and Brianna may very well still be alive today. Tell us about the backlog so bad that the police had to raise $150,000 to try to get the backlog eradicated at the crime lab.
O`MALLEY: Sure. Well, it all started in October, when a law was mandated that all felons, not just some, submit their DNA to be processed into the database. It was unfunded, so the backlog just continued and continued. At the point that Brianna disappeared, there was a backlog of 3,000. Because it was such a horrible case, there was a possibility it was a serial criminal out there, it was kind of an off-the-cuff idea, Hey, let`s raise some money to get the backlog cleared. And now the process is taking place right now.
GRACE: Jaclyn, who raised the money?
O`MALLEY: It was business leaders, community members, politicians, grandmothers, people from across the nation who just felt that they really wanted to contribute and help out to this.
GRACE: I mean, whose idea...
GRACE: Whose idea was it initially to raise money to clear the backlog at the crime lab? Whose idea was that?
O`MALLEY: It was actually some Reno police homicide detectives discussing the case with crime lab officials. When they learned of the backlog, they said, Hey, why don`t we just raise money to get rid of this, and let`s see if Brianna`s kidnapper and ultimate killer is in that backlog.
GRACE: Well, I`ve just got to say congratulations and thank you to the police and detectives that came up with this idea. It`s a crying shame that with all the money that we pay in state, local, federal taxes, they have to come up with the idea to raise money, practically having bake sales, to clear up the backlog at the crime lab. And all the while, this girl minding her own business laying on her own sofa in her friend`s apartment, gets abducted, likely raped and murdered, when we`ve got four full cases linked to one assailant. This guy could have been stopped long ago. So thank you to the cops that came up with the idea. Unfortunately, they had to help raise money -- raise money -- to get rid of the backlog at the crime lab.
Marilyn in Alaska is absolutely correct. And because they did it, tonight we know that there are four victims linked to one assailant. And let me advise you, from my understanding of the facts, this guy attacks around once a month -- once a month -- December, January, possibly dating all the way back to October. Now another woman has come forward. If they had not cleared up that backlog, we wouldn`t know that tonight.
Out to the lines. Sheeba in Illinois. Hi, Sheeba.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. First of all, I just want to tell you God did smile on you, sweetie. And -- he did. And my question is, was she manually strangled or did they use a garrote or something like that where they could perhaps get DNA?
GRACE: Sheeba, you are quite the sleuth. That was one of my first questions to Michelle and Jaclyn. So far, police have not released whether it was manual, by hand, or ligature strangulation. We don`t know yet. But I can guarantee you this much. It will likely be the same MO every time if this is repeated. Remember, so far, it`s just been rape, sex attacks. Suddenly, it has escalated to murder.
To Robi Ludwig, why? Why does it escalate suddenly to murder?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You know, in some cases with these sexual predators, it just escalates for them, so they can no longer get the gratification from just sexual attack. In order to get off sexually, they need to enact a violent fantasy that they have, which sometimes includes murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really hard. We`ve all, you know, become so close, it`s almost like we`re an extended family now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) lifted in prayer because they`re going to need it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you not look at that smile and not love that smile? How could you see this family and not feel deep empathy for the family?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An autopsy today has determined that the remains of that female discovered in the field are those of 19-year-old Brianna Denison. On behalf of the city of Reno, the Reno Police Department and all of our investigators, our condolences and our sympathy goes out to the family of Brianna Denison. Everybody is deeply touched. Nobody can be as deeply touched as the family members are and have been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Human remains found in an open field, Reno, Nevada, are positively identified as those of 19-year-old college coed Brianna Denison. What do we know about the perpetrator tonight? That he is likely linked to four separate sex assaults, one escalating to murder. A backlog at the crime lab caused no DNA comparison to be run until recently to make that discovery. Is it possible he has no criminal history, as his DNA is not showing up in a DNA data bank? Is it possible he lives in the area or works in the area?
To Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." How closely are these attacks on the map?
SIGONA: They`re very close, Nancy -- I mean, within miles of each other. This is all happening within the same area, month after month, as you pointed out. So this person is obviously probably very familiar with the area, number one. Number two, also, from where Brianna`s body was dumped, what investigators are saying is that they probably -- this person probably either lives in that area or has worked in that area. So they know their way around town. People have got to keep their eyes open and be aware.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not just tears and hugs that can be seen at this memorial for Bri. There are hand-written cards like this and signs like this -- "Dearest Brianna, we think about you every minute. We miss you every day."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of the items being left at this memorial are blue. Blue was Brianna`s favorite color, and blue ribbons were used to raise awareness about her disappearance. Through police, her family is asking people to continue showing those ribbons instead to memorialize Brianna`s life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The remains found in an open field are positively identified as those of 19-year-old coed Brianna Denison.
With us tonight from police headquarters, Jennifer Bushman, the Denison family spokesperson. Jennifer, how did the family react to this backlog of DNA comparisons?
BUSHMAN: Well, I mean, I think it was interesting. We were getting a lot of help from Marc Klaas and the Klaas Kids Foundation, as well as the Law Recovery Foundation. And we knew almost immediately that this was a problem that was happening, as you had mentioned, in every city nationwide. So the anger`s not going to be directed specifically towards the Reno police. What we wanted to do was use our contacts, use the ability that we had to raise funds, and make sure it was directed appropriately so that they could do their jobs the best they could.
GRACE: Well, God bless you. Out to Sheryll in West Virginia. Hi, Sheryll.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Nancy. Your children are absolutely beautiful.
GRACE: Thank you. Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just curious, did they say anything about the teddy bear that was taken when she...
GRACE: Excellent question, Sheryll in West Virginia. Back to Jaclyn O`Malley. What about the teddy bear that went missing the night she was abducted?
O`MALLEY: So far, it`s still missing, Nancy. Never seen again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AMERICA`S MOST WANTED)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As to the attacks, the man grabs them from behind. Using great strength, he holds them with one arm and covers their mouth and nose with the other. One victim was able to scream and scared him off. But the other victim found it impossible to breathe and passed out. She woke up in his vehicle and was sexually assaulted.
Cops now know that the attacker shaves his groin area and police believe that is an important clue. The victim only remembers a radio with red and blue lights, a white baby shoe on the floorboard, and when she got out of the unknown vehicle, she had to step down, indicating she was in a truck or large SUV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Those are incredibly important clues in solving this case. Now one woman dead, a 19-year-old college co-ed, Brianna Denison. Three others possibly linked to the same assailant. Here is his sketch. One of the attacks took place inside this SUV. One of the attacks took place in an abode, in a domicile, be it an apartment or home. He actually took one of his rape victims to his home where he lives, we believe. That gives away an enormous amount of evidentiary proof at trial, if it ever makes it to trial.
Let`s unleash the lawyers. Randi Karmel, New York, Alex Sanchez and Joe Lawless.
First to you, Joe Lawless, if he turns himself in at this juncture, by doing so, would that in any way help him escape the death penalty?
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, AUTHOR IF "PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT": Well, I think, right now, assuming that the DNA does link him to all these crimes, that`s got to be his primary focus. There`s the possibility he could turn himself into a lawyer right now before he actually reveals his identity to the police and have the lawyer try to negotiate that as a way to get him in.
But it`s going to be very difficult for him. He`s got now three prior sexual assaults. There are going to be aggravating circumstances. He needs to find a way to get out from under that. And the best way to try to do it would be try and take it off the table before he gets in there because they don`t have to. This is a guy who I`m sure they want to execute if they catch him. So he needs to find -- he needs leverage. And right now he doesn`t have it.
GRACE: And at this juncture, Alex Sanchez, you tried a lot of cases. All three of you have. DNA is virtually, unless you can argue that it`s been contaminated somehow, it`s virtually irrefutable.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, all evidence can be refuted, Nancy, so I disagree with that. DNA.
GRACE: Oh really? How?
GRACE: Do you not believe in DNA?
SANCHEZ: DNA is only as good as the equipment, the chemicals and the technician that is involved in the processing of that sample. If any of those things are wrong, it could be challenged and it could jeopardize the usefulness of the evidence.
GRACE: But Alex, anybody that knows about DNA knows that if there is a malfunction in any of the three that you mentioned, that simply makes it less likely that there will be a DNA match.
SANCHEZ: That`s correct. So if somebody.
GRACE: So if you get a DNA match, you`re darned sure you`ve got a match.
SANCHEZ: Right. But there`s a difference between the person not being the suspect, one in 4.5 trillion and not being the suspect in one in, let`s say, 100,000. And you know, that`s a significant difference.
GRACE: What about it, Randi?
RANDI KARMEL, CHILD ADVOCATE, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I mean, I think that it`s almost irrefutable. We have DNA now because there were other methods that just weren`t as good. DNA is 99.9996, you know, positive match and I think that it`s going to be a good thing for this prosecution if they find him.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Becky in California. Hi, Becky.
BECKY, FROM CALIFORNIA: Hello, Nancy. Thank you. My question is this. It`s a psychological question. What would make a person rape someone in today`s society when you don`t need to be quite so aggressive to get the sexual gratification that they seem to be searching for?
GRACE: Becky, I believe that from all the rape cases I have ever handled, it`s about power. It`s not about a sex experience. It`s about power.
But let`s go to the specialist. Dr. Robi Ludwig is with us. What about it, Robi?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST, AUTHOR, "TILL DEATH DO US PART": That`s exactly right. Sex is the vehicle to express the anger and rage. And usually there`s a lot of anger directed towards women, and so the sex act is just a method to discharge the aggression. So it`s about anger, it`s about power, it`s about hatred of women and this is the vehicle to express that rage.
GRACE: Pat Brown, agree?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": This man couldn`t do anything note-worthy in life. He wants to be somebody. And now he is saying, look, I am somebody, I`ve committed these horrible crimes, and while he`s doing it, he gets the thrill of being god and having all the power in the world that he doesn`t have in his regular life.
GRACE: What`s strikingly apparent to me is that he picks young girls that are so innocent. They are so young. Their whole world before them, and it`s not like he`s like many serial killers or serial rapists that pick out, for instance, prostitutes. This guy is getting young girls that are minding their own business. They are not like hanging out at a bar. They`re not doing anything that could be attacked in court by the defense.
They`re truly scrubbed in sunshine, all of these girls, and speaking of their character, joining me right now is the very special guest that I mentioned to you earlier. Also joining us from police headquarters there in Reno, it is John Zunino, this is Brianna`s uncle.
Sir, thank you for being with us.
JOHN ZUNINO, BRIANNA DENISON`S UNCLE: Thank you.
GRACE: I know that this was a stunning blow to the family. They have been holding out hope that Brianna would come home alive.
GRACE: Were they given advance warning before the media found out that this was Brianna`s remains?
ZUNINO: I believe all this could have been avoided of Brianna, back to the DNA testing, if we had the system where people were fingerprinted at birth or driver`s license or passports or like they do even to cash a check that at the very first attack that the DNA would have been -- would have identified this man and Brianna would be with us alive today.
GRACE: You know, sir, I could not agree with you more. And when victims` voices are finally heard, maybe we will see a change in the criminal code.
With us is Brianna`s uncle. He is joining us there at police headquarters in Reno after a massive search for Brianna Denison, her remains have been found in an open field, possibly there for about a week. John Zunino, Brianna`s uncle.
John, she had a very unique relationship with her mother. Tell me about that.
ZUNINO: Yes. Well, Brianna`s father died when she was around 5 years old, and you know, my sister and my parents and myself, you know, we all joined together and I have a daughter and we raised our children together, and Bridget, in particular, kept her kids and instilled in them good morals, good upbringing, respect to elders, all the qualities that I think most good people are educating their children with, and I think this is the reason why Brianna captured people`s hearts across our country, is they can relate to a similar upbringing.
GRACE: She`s just absolutely gorgeous on the inside and the outside.
GRACE: To Jennifer Bushman, Denison family spokesperson, also joining us from police headquarters there in Reno.
Jennifer, what were her plans? I don`t want Brianna to just be another statistic. What was this girl all about? What did she want to be in life? She`s got such a spark of life to her.
JENNIFER BUSHMAN, DENISON FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: It really was incredible, wasn`t it? I mean you could even see it radiating in the pictures that were taken of her. She was worldly. She traveled. She actually lived in Rome for a year with John and Bridget, her brother and her cousin, Ashley. This was a girl who wanted to major in child psychology. She really wanted to help children, particularly as it related to the loss of a parent, just like she had been through.
GRACE: Just looking at these pictures, in the prime of her life. A 19-year-old girl, now struck down by a serial attacker in Reno, still on the loose tonight. Police scrambling to try to locate this guy.
Out to the lines, Lynn in Canada. Hi, Lynn.
LYNN, FROM CANADA: Hi, friend.
GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?
LYNN: God bless you and your twins.
GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much.
LYNN: You`re welcome. With the baby shoe in the SUV, this kind of tells us the guy has had a baby with some woman so there`s a woman out there that knows this guy was shaving his groin, that`s kind of unusual. What do we know about -- is anyone anywhere near close to finding the mother of this creep`s baby?
GRACE: Very interesting question. I want to go back out to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted". There was a baby shoe that one of the victims observed. What do we know, Michelle?
MICHELLE SIGONA, CORRESPONDENT, AMERICA`S MOST WANTED: We do not know if this attacker has a child or not or if this was a shoe that was just lying on the floorboard. There were a few other items that were inside the truck as well, Nancy, some documents with some writing on it, and the LED lights on the inside of the dash were red and blue. And there was a dome light right above the windshield. So there`s a lot of specific clues inside of this truck, but as far as the child, we`re not too sure yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are holding back information about other items found in this field, a location no longer buzzing with federal and local law enforcement activity. A single officer remains stationed as members of the public leave flowers, a tribute to a girl police say was murdered by a serial rapist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AMERICA`S MOST WANTED)
JOHN WALSH, HOST, AMERICA`S MOST WANTED: One thing police have zeroed in on is this large glass front door. From the outside, you can see right through the door to the couch where Brianna was sleeping. You can even see it all the way from the street. No blinds, no drapes. On the night in question, just the sight of a vulnerable teenage girl. A big temptation for any predator passing by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: What happened to Brianna Denison, the 19-year-old co-ed? Her remains have been found in an open field, Reno, Nevada. Now four attacks linked together.
Straight back out to the lines. Doreen in Minnesota. Hi, Doreen.
DOREEN, FROM MINNESOTA: Hi, Nancy, how you doing?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
DOREEN: Well, my question is, do you know if the Reno police department has done where they take the computer and put the addresses of where the attacks have been, and then it kind of conjures up a three- dimensional area of where this person is most likely to lurk or live?
GRACE: Good question. What about it, Jennifer Bushman? Do we know?
BUSHMAN: You know, well, they`ve done an amazing job actually with respect even to the baby shoe. What they`ve done is actually look at hospital records, gone back, what they approximated the size of the shoe to a 3-year-old or less, and then related that back to the addresses in the area with anyone who might have a child.
So I can tell you, we are, as a group, certainly I can speak on behalf of Bridget to say that we are confident that they`re really tracking down everything in that area that they possibly can.
GRACE: To Jeanne in Oklahoma. Hi, Jeanne.
JEANNE, FROM OKLAHOMA: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
JEANNE: I`m just wondering. Brianna was a tiny little girl, you know, five foot and less than 100 pounds. Were the other victims that have come forward, were they also little tiny girls? That (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: Michelle, were they? What were their descriptions?
SIGONA: I can tell you that the last victim, the victim in December, was a foreign exchange student and that student is actually back in Taiwan right now but is still fully cooperating with investigators. As far as the other two victims, I`m not too sure of their description.
GRACE: I want John Zunino and Jennifer Bushman to know that our prayers and thoughts are with them tonight. The Reno police have their hands full as they scramble to find an attacker that is loose preying on young women there in the Reno area. So far, four attacks linked to one person. We`ll continue to update you on the Brianna Denison story but right now, but right now we are switching to the search for a beloved Texas teacher. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last clue about Kathy Gutierrez`s whereabouts was found here at Security Services Credit Union on La Cantera. This is where they found her car. Searching through high grass and heavily wooded, undeveloped land can be daunting. But Kathy Gutierrez`s family just wants to know what happened back in August.
Helping them with the search is Texas Equusearch volunteers, who concentrated their efforts in the La Cantera area near where her car was found in that credit union parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have already searched over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they found no trace of Gutierrez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Where is a beloved teacher, Kathy Gutierrez? She vanished without a trace in Texas, San Antonio.
Out to Michael Board with WOAI Newsradio. Michael, what happened?
MICHAEL BOARD, REPORTER, WOAI NEWSRADIO: What we last know is that she parked her car there at the credit union. You just saw the pictures of that. That`s where she was financing her car. She parked her car there. She left a note in the car saying she can`t pay for the car anymore. She left her wallet, credit cards in that car, and then she left. We don`t know what happened to her after that.
The only reason that we know she was there is we saw the security tape from that credit union. And the security tape shows her going up there, leaving the car and then just walking off. We don`t know if she walked off or got a ride anywhere, but she just left.
GRACE: Absolutely beloved Texas teacher vanishes into thin air, not a trace.
Out to Tim Miller. You know Tim, he is the director of Equusearch. Tim, what can you tell us about the search for this lady?
TIM MILLER, DIRECTOR, EQUUSEARCH: Well, Nancy, I went over there awhile back and met with her son that`s just, of course, devastated, didn`t know where to turn and we went out there and we did a big search and searched that area around where the vehicle was found. There wasn`t any video of her getting into another vehicle. And you know, it`s a big area around there. We feel as though we`ve done a good job. We are certainly not done with that search by no means, and you know, my fears are in this, Nancy, is it`s been so long that if something has happened to Kathleen, that we won`t be able to determine cause of death and there won`t be any evidence.
GRACE: Well, with me is Tim Miller from Equusearch. Tim, you say that you wanted to search a particular plot of land, but you had not gotten permission. I find it difficult to believe that anyone would withhold permission from you, who are looking for missing people.
MILLER: Well, you know, we ran in that case a few times and only two weeks ago, we did that after searching for a guy five weeks and we finally got in that property and found his remains. And you know, I question that, too, why people won`t allow us to search at times when there`s a loved one that`s missing. And so.
GRACE: Incredible. Incredible to me someone would deny ability for you to search.
To Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted," what else can you tell me about Miss Gutierrez`s disappearance?
SIGONA: Well, here`s what the family is saying. The family is saying that she is bipolar, she`s without her medication. She went missing back in August, on the 14th, and you know, after she left her car in that particular credit union parking lot, and left, she just hasn`t been seen. She`s a school teacher and has been for over 30 years. She`s taught more than 4700 students, and this is definitely not like her to just get up, walk away, and to vanish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was just -- suicidal that day, actually, I looked to her in my room, my bedroom, and just, you know, contemplating suicide, telling me how she didn`t want to live anymore. And basically, she had lost all hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To "HEADLINE PRIME`s" Glenn Beck, hi, friend.
GLENN BECK, MSNBC ANCHOR: Barack Obama says that the Republicans are a mess and Washington is broken. But his own party is just as fractured. There are still questions over the New York primary results from Super Tuesday and Hillary has been on the rampage against those whom she normally counts as friends. More on the Democratic snake that`s eating its own tail in just a bit.
Then a segment on liberal fascism. It`s a great new book that takes an honest look at the history of the progressive movement. You got to know history to know the future. It is a series of interviews with Jonah Goldberg. Don`t miss it, coming up.
GRACE: Where is a beloved Texas teacher, Kathy Gutierrez? Out to her son joining us tonight, John. John, thank you for being with us. Has your mom ever disappeared like this before?
JOHN GUTIERREZ, KATHY GUTIERREZ`S SON: No. No, she hasn`t, actually. Not without any kind of notification.
GRACE: Well, did she leave behind, for instance, her pocketbook, her cell phone? What did she take with her?
GUTIERREZ: Her cell phone was left at my home, but her -- her wallet was taken with her, but later found in the car.
GRACE: If you could get a message to her tonight, what would it be, John?
GUTIERREZ: We all miss her and we want her home, and if there`s something out there that she can`t handle, we would be more than happy to help her work through it and we love her very much.
GRACE: Our tip line everyone, 210-207-7662.
Let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant Kevin Booker, just 25, Vevay, Indiana, killed, Iraq, on a second tour, also served Afghanistan, awarded the bronze star, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal. With a great sense of humor, loved making other people laugh, target shooting, hunting. Dreamed of becoming a cop, owning a new home. Leaves behind grieving parents, Charles and Becky, widow, Betsy and stepdaughter Tiffany.
Kenneth Booker, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but especially to you for inviting all of us into your homes. And tonight, a special happy birthday to Tennessee friend of the show, Martha Dugger(ph).
Everyone, see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, goodnight, friend.