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Search Continues for Missing 5-Year-Old Michigan Girl

Aired June 3, 2009 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. A 5-year-old Michigan girl vanishes into thin air from a local playground, the tiny tyke all set to start kindergarten in the fall, riding her scooter along with a little friend. Moments later, she`s gone. Only clue, her scooter left behind. Is Mommy`s connection to a registered sex offender linked?

Tonight, the person of interest demands an apology. Yes, he demands police apologize for naming him a person of interest, and then goes on to whine, whine about the food behind bars. This as Mommy takes to the airwaves to defend her sex offender boyfriend -- yes, you heard me, to defend the sex offender. We have Mommy on audiotape. Investigators working around the clock to locate two vans, one silver, one green, parked at the playground where Nevaeh goes missing. Tonight, the reward climbing as police plead for tips. Nevaeh -- "heaven" spelled backwards. Where is 5-year-old Nevaeh?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re learning more about the mother of a missing Michigan girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The little girl came in and she said, Nevaeh is playing outside. So I go outside, and I go to tell her not to play in the road, to stay on the sidewalk, and I couldn`t find her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, you must have called the cops right away, and so even that night it was -- must have just been chaos.

JENNIFER BUCHANAN, MOTHER: Well, not exactly right away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Local media report her mother was on probation for home invasion.

GRACE: Home invasion? A lady being part of a home invasion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2006, she went to prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jennifer Buchanan`s been criticized for defending her relationships with convicted sex offenders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kennedy is a person of interest. I can go no further.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nevaeh`s dad says detectives aren`t the only ones with questions.

SHANE HINOJOSA, NEVAEH`S FATHER: Oh, I`m furious. I asked, you know, Why are you, you know, letting her hang around this guy, George Kennedy? And the only response that she had is she looked down and shrugged her shoulders.

BUCHANAN: I feel that it really doesn`t matter. Not all offenders reoffend. No one ever knows if a person is a sex offender or not unless they are labeled.


BUCHANAN: Anybody could be a sex offender.


GRACE: And tonight, Hollywood superstar Billy Bob Thornton`s daughter charged in the blunt force trauma death of a Florida girl, 1-year-old baby Olivia, the star`s daughter claiming accident, that the baby simply fell just 28 inches from a playpen.

But there`s a little problem, the autopsy report, the report revealing a blunt force trauma fracture to the skull, subdural hematoma, and severe bleeding to the baby`s tongue, injuries the autopsy claims are inconsistent with the baby-sitter`s story. And why -- why -- did a full two hours pass before calling 911? We have that 911 call. But after the medical examiner rules the baby`s death homicide, only one charge of child neglect? Is that what baby Olivia`s life is worth? No!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a baby over here, and the baby`s not moving, not reacting to anything.

911 OPERATOR: (INAUDIBLE) look in the baby`s mouth. Is there any food or vomit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see any food or vomit in the baby`s mouth, baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She threw up earlier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She threw up earlier, but...


911 OPERATOR: OK, you`re sure the baby`s not breathing, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m pretty sure. I don`t know.

911 OPERATOR: No, no, no. Look at the baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the baby breathing, honey?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not that I can see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can`t see if it`s breathing or not, no.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Clear the baby`s mouth for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear the baby`s mouth first, baby.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s got vomit coming out still.

911 OPERATOR: Check the baby`s mouth, though, for me (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said take the finger and clear the baby`s mouth out, honey.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s doing it. She`s doing it.


911 OPERATOR: Tell your wife we`re getting help out there.



GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. A 5-year-old Michigan girl vanishes into thin air from the playground, only clue, her scooter left behind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation continues into what happened to 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, who police believe may be in extreme danger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She come in the house, changed her clothes. She told me that she was going back upstairs to her friend`s house. And that`s the last time I saw her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told her, I said, Jenny, she`s 5 years old. Well, she has the mind of a 10-year-old. I said I don`t care about the mind. She`s only 5.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mother was also reportedly involved with a sex offender, who`s been questioned by police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weren`t you quoted as saying that George Kennedy was -- served as a father figure?

BUCHANAN: Yes. Yes. But there`s also a lot of times that I knew that he wasn`t allowed to be around her. I wouldn`t have her around. But there`s a few times that he has seen her, interacted with her. But I was there.

GRACE: Now, the mom said he was never alone with her. But the child was out playing on her scooter, completely unsupervised. So how do we know who she was with?

HINOJOSA: I asked the same questions. You know, Nevaeh wanted to go upstairs and play with a friend of hers. Well, I asked Jenny, I said, well, You should have went and knocked on the door and asked the parents, Is it OK if Nevaeh plays with your little boy? But she didn`t. She just let her go on by herself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did you realize that she was missing?

BUCHANAN: It was, like, within 20 minutes. I got up and went to go outside to look for her. Haven`t seen her since.


GRACE: Straight out to Matt Zarrell. This mother is spending her time defending her sex offender boyfriend. I`ve just gotten my mitts on his criminal history. Explain.

MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, less than 24 hours after the stunning radio interview where the mother says that this guy, George Kennedy, is a father figure to Nevaeh, we learn more about why he`s a sex offender in the first place. Apparently, he lured a young teen to the side of a gas station, where he forcibly...

GRACE: Wait. Stop. How old was the teen?

ZARRELL: Somewhere between 1 and 15. They don`t reveal the age.

GRACE: Go ahead.

ZARRELL: OK. So he forcibly raped her in his vehicle on the side of a gas station. Then later, as they`re investigating other cases where Kennedy attacked other victims, including a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old, they learn of this rape, and he`s eventually convicted. He`s sentenced to jail. He only does 13 months for rape.

GRACE: Thirteen months for rape. And what year was that, Matt Zarrell?

ZARRELL: The first incident occurred in 1999. She did not report it until three years later, when authorities were investigating the other incidents that occurred in the area.

GRACE: The other incidents. How many incidents, as you are euphemistically calling them, Matt Zarrell -- how many incidents -- translation, child molestations -- do we have?

ZARRELL: There are at least three assaults that we know of, the one in 1999, there was a 13-year-old who he forcibly tried to stick his tongue down her throat. He also offered her marijuana in order to have sex with her. There was also a 15-year-old who he grabbed her buttocks and also tried to force himself on her.

GRACE: Now, this is George Kennedy, the man the mom says is a father figure to the little 5-year-old girl. Yes, no.


GRACE: We are taking your calls live. Out to Rob Davidek with WWJ Newsradio 950. Aside from the sex offender boyfriend, father figure to the missing 5-year-old girl, Rob, what can you tell me about the search for Nevaeh itself?

ROB DAVIDEK, WWJ NEWSRADIO 950 (via telephone): Investigators following up -- day 11 now for Nevaeh, and investigators following up now more than 900 tips that have come into the tip line of 734-243-7070. And right now, they have been able to talk with an ice cream truck driver who they wanted to look for. They are still looking for the person of a green mini-van and a silver mini-van who were in a playground near the apartment complex where she went missing.

GRACE: Liz, let`s show a shot of the silver and green mini-vans. Everyone, they are believed to be a late model van and they were parked near or at the playground where Nevaeh goes missing, the little 5-year-old girl vanishing, seemingly into thin air.

Out to the lines. Kathy in Florida. Hi, Kathy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank God these victims have you to talk for them.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a mom, and I just became a grandma, Nancy. I want to know how these mothers -- or it can work the other way, too. Shouldn`t they be charged for allowing these children to go with people like these sex offenders?

GRACE: You know what? Not only that, Kathy in Florida, for leaving the child alone -- leaving the child alone!

Let`s go to the lawyers. Let`s unleash Renee Rockwell, defense attorney out of the Atlanta jurisdiction, Alan Ripka out of New York. Renee, leaving a 5-year-old child alone -- you`ve got nieces and nephews that age. What about it?

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t know that she was under any condition, like he may have been, to stay away from younger children. But certainly, she could be criticized, Nancy, and even charged...

GRACE: I didn`t say criticized!


GRACE: ... charged for child neglect.

ROCKWELL: If I can finish? And charged with some type of neglect.

GRACE: Ripka?

ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it depends on the circumstances, Nancy. Leaving someone out in front of your house, playing on the lawn for a little while, does not necessarily mean child neglect. It depends where the child was, how far away the parent was, and what`s expected in the neighborhood.

GRACE: What about subjecting your child to a registered sex offender, Renee Rockwell?

ROCKWELL: Well, Nancy, if she knew about it and she knew the child was in danger, I`m sure that she may come under criticism. But what -- the tables are going to turn -- if she`s already admitted that she`s left this child alone with him or the child`s been in his presence, he may have some complications and some repercussions because he may not be able to be around children that age.

GRACE: Take a listen to what the mother had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things that you were quoted in one of the papers throughout this eight-day investigation, that you were getting - - you were getting irritated with anybody asking you about having known people like George and Roy, that they had been registered sex offenders, and you said that that really didn`t even matter at this point. Do you...

BUCHANAN: I feel that it really doesn`t matter. Not all offenders reoffend. No one ever knows if a person is a sex offender or not unless they are labeled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. When one...

BUCHANAN: Anybody could be a sex offender.


GRACE: He was labeled, Jennifer Buchanan, and you subjected your 5- year-old little girl to him!

Back out to Matt Zarrell. Isn`t it true that one of the persons of interest is actually complaining and wants an apology from police?

ZARRELL: Yes. James Easter, the third person of interest, is demanding an apology. He says he was targeted by cops and that he was put in a horrible cell with no bed, no pillow. He wants an apology now.


GRACE: How did you lose custody to start with? Was it over not paying child support?

HINOJOSA: No. Not at all. I mean...

GRACE: How did you lose it?

HINOJOSA: I just don`t know why I didn`t get custody. I guess in the state of Michigan, it`s the grandmother, you know, after, you know, something went wrong.




GRACE: Five-year-old Nevaeh simply out on a playground with a scooter. She has not been seen in days...

BUCHANAN: Very completely -- very worried. Very. It just makes me sick to my stomach. I cannot imagine. She`s never the type to wander off, so I`m almost 100 percent sure that she got snatched. It was just so quickly that I don`t think -- I know that she had to have put up some kind of fight because she is loud. If she screams, she is loud, whenever she screams. But I really don`t -- I think they put their hand over her mouth, maybe put her in the back, something. I have no idea. And I really don`t want to think about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your friend, George Kennedy -- had you -- had you even thought about George the night that she was missing, to go over and check to see if he was with her or had seen her or anything like that?

BUCHANAN: No comment. I don`t want to talk about nothing else but my daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I mean, I thought we were, but...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you getting the sense from the investigators that they`re closing in on anything at this point?

BUCHANAN: I have a feeling that they have to know something, but I -- as far as what, I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a tough part, being -- you know, being the mother in a situation like this, is that there`s a lot that they won`t share with you?

BUCHANAN: I feel like there is a lot that they`re not telling us and they won`t at this time, so it`s -- no matter how much I ask, they -- you know, they won`t.


GRACE: Joining me right now, the 5-year-old little girl`s biological father, Shane Hinojosa. Sir, thank you for being with us. What more have you learned? Have police told you anything? Have you learned anything more about the investigation?

HINOJOSA: No. They`re not telling me anything right at this moment. A detective did call me this morning, and the only thing they said to me is that they`re still searching out there and the -- the cops, they did put a $20,000 reward out, so...

GRACE: Mr. Hinojosa, do you know where they are searching for 5-year- old Nevaeh?

HINOJOSA: All that I know, they`re searching everywhere in Monroe County, woods, ditches, creeks, everywhere that I could think of.

GRACE: Could you explain to me -- do you know anything about your ex failing the polygraph? Both she and her sex offender boyfriend failed the polygraph.

HINOJOSA: Yes, she did fail one question. The question was, Are you still involved with George Kennedy? And she did fail that question.

GRACE: So that`s the question she failed, not anything about Nevaeh?


GRACE: What was the question he failed?

HINOJOSA: I have no idea. I haven`t heard anything about that...

GRACE: How did you find out that was the question she failed?

HINOJOSA: She told me. Jennifer told me.

GRACE: OK. And you`re taking her word for that?


GRACE: Uh-huh. OK. What does the grandmother say happened the day little Nevaeh goes missing?

HINOJOSA: She -- I haven`t talked to her. She was at work, so she really don`t know.

GRACE: OK. Who was keeping the child? Who was the sole caregiver that day?

HINOJOSA: Jennifer. And she had a friend over, and they were the only two at the house at the time.

GRACE: A friend. Who was the friend that was over?

HINOJOSA: Her name was Lisa (ph). That`s all I know.

GRACE: OK. Is your ex working? Is the mom working, Jennifer Buchanan? Is she working right now?

HINOJOSA: No, she`s not.

GRACE: How does she support herself?

HINOJOSA: I have no idea.

GRACE: Well, then, how`s the baby supported?

HINOJOSA: The grandmother.

GRACE: The grandmother works and she supports the child?


GRACE: Where does the grandmother work?

HINOJOSA: She works at Food Town.

GRACE: With us and taking your calls live, everyone, the father of little Nevaeh, Shane Hinojosa. So Shane, police are not telling you anything other than they are still searching, correct?

HINOJOSA: Correct.

GRACE: I want to go back to Rob Davidek with WWJ Newsradio 950. Rob, I understand that this person of interest who`s complaining about being named a person of interest and whining about prison food, he was burning receipts at an odd hour of the day or night?

DAVIDEK: Yes, about 5:00 o`clock in the morning. He was picked up...

GRACE: Whoa! Five o`clock in the morning, he`s burning receipts? Why didn`t he just shred them?

DAVIDEK: Good question. He said he just wanted to go outside and decided to burn some receipts inside of a TV dinner box. And they were -- the police were interested in, you know, some of the receipts. James Easter said he did not burn any of the receipts that the police were interested in. But they put out the fire, and they took him back into custody and took some home movies, a videocamera, and the receipts. And his truck was also towed. And he was quite upset about it. He wants an apology. He...

GRACE: He wants an apology. OK. Does he have a criminal history?

DAVIDEK: Well, he does have -- he was brought up on the arson charge earlier this week, where the judge said he was not a person of interest in this case.

GRACE: OK. Matt Zarrell, does this guy, the one whining about being named a person of interest, does he have a criminal history?

ZARRELL: Yes, he does. He pled nolo in 2000 to indecent exposure. We`re still trying to find out more information about who he exposed himself to.

GRACE: Oh! And he`s complaining that he`s been named a person of interest.

Very quickly, Marc Klaas, president and founder of Klaas Kids Foundation, weigh in.

MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Well, first of all, you know, law enforcement may not be telling the family anything because they really may not have anything. These are some of the most difficult cases in the world to solve.

And I`d just like to tell Shane to stay strong, Shane, because you may be carrying the weight on this case. This whole idea that Jennifer is saying that it`s not important that these guys are registered sex offenders is nonsense. This makes it very, very difficult for law enforcement to move forward, as long as these guys are still there.

GRACE: With me, Marc Klaas, president and founder of Klaas Kids Foundation. Everyone, we are taking your calls live, including little Nevaeh`s father.

As we go to break, congratulations to Martha Heller. At 70-plus, tomorrow she graduates Harvard University with a degree in journalism. I met her my first year of law school, her son, Frank, my study partner of three years. Her chocolate chip cookies got us through many a night of studying. Mrs. Heller overcoming many obstacles, including battling cancer, to not only graduate Ivy League but with honors. And she`s not slowing down, set to further her education. Martha Heller, an inspiration to all of us. Congratulations, Mrs. Heller.



BUCHANAN: I just would like to say that whoever is listening, I appreciate everything that they are doing in concerning my daughter. And thank you is -- is beyond not enough. And Nevaeh, if you`re out there, Mom loves you, and we`re going to find you.


GRACE: Out to Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI. I`ve got a problem. The mom told other people she flunked the whole polygraph because of lack of sleep. But now she`s telling the dad she only failed one question.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. She knows exactly what question she failed, Nancy, because, hey, you know what? This guy had no business being around her or her child. Period.

GRACE: What I`m saying is those are inconsistent, that she failed because of lack of sleep, but she got all other questions right, Mike?



JENNIFER BUCHANAN, NEVAEH`S MOTHER: She come in the house, changed her clothes. She told me that she was going back upstairs to her friend`s house. And that`s the last time I saw her.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: And this is the friend whose house she was going to, this is all in the same apartment complex, I`m assuming?

BUCHANAN: Same apartment building, yes.


BUCHANAN: So technically, she wouldn`t go outside at all, she was supposed to be upstairs at his house.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: Right. When did you realize then? I mean, what time was that, and when did you realize that she was missing?

BUCHANAN: It was like within 20 minutes. Another little girl come in who had stayed the night with me, and she said that Nevaeh`s riding her bike -- or her scooter in the road. And I assumed it was the parking lot. So I got up, went to go outside to look for her, haven`t seen her since.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: And all you found was that scooter?


UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: There is an article in the "Free Press" today, and it`s talking about James Easter. And this is this third person of interest. First it was George Kennedy, then it was Roy Lee Smith they were looking at, now it`s this James Easter. And what it says, the "Free Press" says, "It`s not known whether James Easter knew Nevaeh before she disappeared on May 24th."

Do you know or can you say if you knew if there was any connection there? Do you know if James Easter knew your daughter?

BUCHANAN: I don`t know if he could have known my daughter. I`ve never seen him before. But he does take care of an elderly lady here, so I`m sure that he`s came across her a few times before.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: But you didn`t know of him whatsoever?

BUCHANAN: I don`t know of him.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Out to the lines. Jennifer in Massachusetts. Hi, Jennifer.

JENNIFER, CALLER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Hi. I was wondering why Nevaeh`s mother is so calm. Why is she not more upset when she talks to the media?

GRACE: To Dr. Joseph Deltito, professor of psychiatry, joining us. Dr. Deltito, she`s absolutely correct. Jennifer in Massachusetts. What do you think?

DR. JOSEPH DELTITO, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY: . about her that raises certain suspicions. But as we know, different people react differently in these horrendous situations. Some people are just in a state of detached shock. But certainly it`s suspicious, the lack of emotion, or how the emotion doesn`t match up to the situation or the words that are being spoken.

GRACE: Dr. Deltito, she`s going on the airwaves defending her sex offender boyfriend. Now she says he`s just a friend, but her family and relatives say that they are dating. Whatever that means. So she has the wherewithal to do that while her daughter is missing? That`s a disconnect to me.

DELTITO: Well, there are a lot of disconnects in this case. And it sounds like this woman is associating with a lot of, let us say, at least unsavory characters. I mean, there are a couple we know about but we don`t know who we don`t know about. But certainly the suspicion there is that the whole environment may be polluted with people of suspicious character.

GRACE: Back to the lines, Trish in Texas. Hi, Trish.


GRACE: Hi. What`s your question, dear?

TRISH: You are so awesome. What would we do without you, Nancy? Two questions. I agree with Jennifer in Massachusetts about her being so calm. If that were my 5-year-old child, I would be hysterical.

Another thing, too, is that she said that the little girl came and told her that she was riding a scooter in the street and she got up to go check on her. So was she sleeping while her little baby 5-year-old girl was out by herself?

And another thing, too, when are we going to get to see the tape on -- what`s her name? Tot mom, about when she saw the video of when they discovered Caylee`s body.

GRACE: You and I both. We`re both waiting to see that tape, Trish in Texas.

I want to go back to Rob Davidek, with WWJ Newsradio 950. She brings up an interesting point. The mom did say, "I got up."


ROB DAVIDEK, NEWS DIRECTOR, WWJ NEWSRADIO 950: Yes, Nancy. We`re not sure if that means she was actually, you know, on a couch just sitting inside her apartment or if she was actually asleep. Police not saying.

GRACE: OK. Rob, what can you tell me about the little girl who came in and told the mom she`s out in the road in her scooter? Has that been confirmed? Has that been corroborated?

DAVIDEK: No. That`s -- from what Jennifer Buchanan was saying in that interview, the police weren`t saying much about that child at all, that you know, she was asked to go upstairs and play with, the person upstairs.

GRACE: So the only person that we can corroborate to have last seen little Nevaeh is in fact the mother?

DAVIDEK: That would be correct.

GRACE: Back to Shane Hinojosa, the father of little Nevaeh.

Shane, I`m a little confused about what she told you. She said she flunked the polygraph because of one question about her relationship with a sex offender. But she told other people she flunked the whole thing because of lack of sleep.

SHANE HINOJOSA, FATHER OF NEVAEH BUCHANAN: No, she just told me that she failed the one question and that was, are you still involved with George Kennedy?

GRACE: You are in the area. Are you actively searching for your daughter?

HINOJOSA: Oh, yes. I`m out. I`m out all day.

GRACE: Doing what?

HINOJOSA: Searching woods. We were on four-wheelers searching a whole bunch of areas. We`ve covered a lot of ground.

GRACE: And what about the mother?

HINOJOSA: She`s been in the house the whole time.

GRACE: Doing what?

HINOJOSA: I have no idea.

GRACE: Have you talked to her?

HINOJOSA: I`ve talked to her yesterday, and I -- you know, I just asked her, you know, why are you letting her hang around a sex offender? And she just said, "I don`t know."

GRACE: Why isn`t she out searching?

HINOJOSA: I couldn`t tell you. The media wants to know. A lot of people want to know why isn`t she out searching for her little girl as well as the father is. I`m out day and night. I was out until 4:30 in the morning.

GRACE: I want to go very quickly to Dr. Keri Peterson, with internal medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

Dr. Peterson, thank you for being with us. Dr. Peterson, a bloody knife was found. That blood did not match Nevaeh. How do we determine whose blood it is? Do you think it should be compared to these persons of interest?

DR. KERI PETERSON, INTERNAL MEDICINE, LENOX HILL HOSPITAL: I do think it should be because the only way you`re going to determine whether it is a match is looking at DNA samples. And you`ve got to have a targeted person to compare it to.

GRACE: Right.

PETERSON: Otherwise you`re just going to be looking at random DNA banks.

GRACE: Back to Matt Zarrell, what can you tell me about someone`s yard being dug up? I wasn`t clear on that when I asked you that before. And also, explain to me about this bloody knife that was discovered.

MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE STAFFER, COVERING STORY: OK. Well, the bloody knife was discovered in George Kennedy`s car. Not only did they discover the knife, but in his motel room they discovered a shirt with blood on it as well. Those were both tested.

As far as the backyard, this is James Easter. This is in regards to the fire that he made. They wanted to search the pit where he made the fire, see if any evidence was left over.

GRACE: Very quickly to the lines. Mindy in Texas. Hi, Mindy.

MINDY, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.

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

MINDY: I was just wondering, all the family members and friends that knew this lady was -- had the relationship with a sex offender, aren`t they obligated by law to report that they`re breaking the law?

GRACE: Good question. Renee Rockwell, Alan Ripka. What about it, Renee?

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. No obligation there whatsoever, Nancy.

GRACE: And Alan Ripka?

ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, obviously it may not be an obligation but you should certainly let people know if there`s a dangerous situation lurking in town, Nancy.


UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: Even if George Kennedy never turns out to have had anything to do with this, you know, do you wish you had done things differently when you look back on this as far as having a relationship with him?

BUCHANAN: I never really had a relationship with him.


BUCHANAN: It was just a friendship.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: Well, even a friendship.

BUCHANAN: In 85 percent of the time my daughter wouldn`t even be around.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: I thought, though -- weren`t you quoted as saying that George Kennedy was -- served as a father figure?

BUCHANAN: Yes. Yes. But there was also a lot of times that I knew that he wasn`t allowed to be around her. I wouldn`t have her around. But there`s a few times that he has seen her, interacted with her. But I was there.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: So he`s never alone with her that you know?

BUCHANAN: No. Never alone.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Billy Bob Thornton`s daughter`s in trouble with the law. Amanda Brumfield has been charged with child neglect in connection with the death of a 1-year-old toddler in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to call Heather right now.


UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Is this your baby, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It`s our friend`s baby. We`re watching her this evening. The policemen are administering CPR now.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: All right. OK. Do you know anything about the baby`s medical history at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No medical history, no problems.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: When is the last time you saw the baby?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was fine like an hour ago, and laid down like an hour ago and you know, now -- I just got home from work. I`m a (INAUDIBLE), I got home from, you know, work and I walked into this.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Did your wife pumped the baby`s chest for me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and she`s breathing for it, too.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Right, now pump the baby`s chest 30 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vomit is still coming out.

BRUMFIELD: Olivia? Olivia?

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: All right. Keep doing the breaths for me again. Does the baby have any medical problems?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not that we know of, no. OK. I got the ambulance guys are here. They`re over here on the side door. The side door. Side door.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: The ambulance is there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police are here.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: The police or the ambulance, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, not the ambulance.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK. Right. OK. Continue doing CPR then OK?


UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Continue doing the CPR for me, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t stop doing the CPR.

BRUMFIELD: Here. She just (INAUDIBLE) in here.




UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK. They may need to continue doing CPR, OK?


UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Is somebody doing CPR, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police officers are doing it now.



GRACE: To Tom O`Neil, senior editor with "In Touch Weekly," what happened?

TOM O`NEIL, SENIOR EDITOR IN TOUCH WEEKLY, COVERING STORY: October 3rd of last fall at 11:45 at night Amanda Brumfield was babysitting her little goddaughter, 1 years old. She came out of the kitchen, she said she saw the little girl straddling the side of her playpen and fell. She gathered the child up. She didn`t seem to think the child was harmed. But she did send a text message to the girl`s mother right away.

She then took the child onto the sofa. She said the child appeared fine. She fed her bananas. She painted her toenails. They both fell asleep on the sofa. And then two hours later when she woke up the child was limp and she called 911.

GRACE: To Mary Margaret with What more can you tell me, Mary?

MARY MARGARET, RADARONLINE.COM, COVERING STORY: Well, what`s interesting is, you know, this case really exploded in March when the medical examiner`s findings were released and found that what Amanda had told the police a few days after the incident was completely, you know, not in accordance with what the child`s actual injuries were.

And that`s when -- and that`s when police started realizing that there must be more to this story than what had previously been known.

GRACE: What I don`t understand is why the medical examiner has ruled this homicide. Homicide. There is blunt force trauma fracture to the little girl`s head. The 1-year-old child. There is subdural hematoma, bleeding to the brain, is what that means. And there is excessive bleeding to the tongue.

Now Mary Margaret, correct me if I`m wrong, but is it the woman`s story that the child fell from just 28 inches? 28 inches from a playpen?

MARGARET: Nancy, you`re completely right. That`s her story. And that`s exactly why it was deemed homicidal, was the fact that the story that was given as the reason for this 1-year-old child`s tragic death is completely incorrect in terms of the facts, the medical facts that are there, which is a fractured skull, not only would have been caused by something more traumatic and from a fall either higher or an object that hit her with more force, but also the fact that, you know, what she had -- Amanda had said about painting her toenails, those things completely would not happen with this type of injury. The child would have been crying in pain.

GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. Renee Rockwell, Alan Ripka. Renee Rockwell, do you recall when the twins fell, first John David and then later Lucy, fell from the bed? Remember that? It was after bath time. I turned to get a towel. Boom. In two seconds John David, boom, fell. He fell, I`ve measured it, from 24 inches.

We immediately, that moment, raced, raced -- I was out the street crying. Raced to the doctor`s office. And she looked at it, it wasn`t even red. All right? It wasn`t red, Renee. But still, you can`t be too careful.

Why was there a two-hour delay in seeking medical attention?

ROCKWELL: Nancy, I don`t know if there`s a problem there with the delay but you have to look at the situation.

GRACE: You don`t know if there was a problem with the delay?

ROCKWELL: No. She reacted.


ROCKWELL: I think she texted the mother. And the other thing that -- let me digress just a bit. I think that the mother is behind this young lady. The mother.


GRACE: I`m sorry, I couldn`t hear you. Repeat.

ROCKWELL: The mother of the victim appears to be behind this young lady, which is going to go long and far with the prosecution because you`re not necessarily going to have a victim that`s beating the doors down saying, why isn`t this young lady being prosecuted?

But back to your story, Nancy, people react differently. She probably did not know that the child was injured. She went to sleep with the child on the couch, and she wakes up and the child is limp. The delay.

GRACE: To Dr. Keri Peterson, doctor of internal medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital. Dr. Peterson, the family of the complainant and others are comparing this to the Natasha Richardson ski accident, where she died a day or two later. Is this comparable?

PETERSON: It is similar. There are reminiscent pieces because according to Amanda after the child fell she was still alert, she was interactive, she was eating bananas, she was playing. And this could have been a period of lucidity before the subdural hematoma developed and the bleed got too large. At that time she may have already been asleep.

GRACE: Doctor.


GRACE: You are taking the defendant`s word for that. That there was this painting the toenails, the bananas. That`s not what the autopsy report says. The autopsy report says this is homicide. Now, tell me, Doctor, in your experience, from a 28-inch fall from a playpen could a child get a blow to the head that results in death?

PETERSON: The only way I could see that being feasible is if the surface that she fell on was some sort of marble stone, a very hard surface. If it was a carpeted floor, I don`t -- I can`t put that together as easily.

GRACE: Out to Mary Margaret,, what was the surface?

MARGARET: It was carpet. So again, you know, there`s a lot of questions that are being raised. It was only 28 inches. It was a soft surface. And as we know, there was nothing obstructing her fall that would have injured her even more.

GRACE: Carpet. You said carpet.

MARGARET: Mm-hmm. Carpet.

GRACE: You said carpet, correct? Carpet.


GRACE: Dr. Peterson, carpet.

PETERSON: That definitely fills in a big piece for me that I was not aware of. If the floor was carpet, I cannot see how the severity of the injury matches the supposed accident.

GRACE: Out to the lines, Theresa in Pennsylvania. Hi, Theresa.

THERESA, CALLER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Nancy. I`ve been trying for months to get on your show. I love your show.

GRACE: Thank you.

THERESA: My question is could she have been watching her, the baby, and got tired of her crying and sort of threw her down to get her to be quiet and caused her injuries?

GRACE: Anything could happen.

Mike Brooks, recall the Louise Woodward case, the au pair case.


GRACE: Where she said the child fell on the bathroom floor. What`s your take?

BROOKS: Nancy, first of all, a severely bitten tongue was in the autopsy report. Now, how`s she going to eat bananas after she has this fall and she`s alert, and OK if she had been severely -- you know everyone knows how much a tongue bleeds when it`s severed.

GRACE: You know, Mike Brooks, that`s an excellent point. The autopsy report says severely bleeding tongue. This woman is walking free with only a child neglect charge.

We`ll be right back taking your calls. But happy birthday to Palm Coast, Florida friends of the show, twins Elizabeth and Lucille Sophia, champions in their community, helping neighbors get assistance from FEMA after recent hurricanes. I also want to thank them for the piggy bank they sent the twins. Aren`t they beautiful?

Happy birthday, Elizabeth and Lucille.



UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Did your wife pumped the baby`s chest for me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and she`s breathing for it, too.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Right, now pump the baby`s chest 30 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vomit is still coming out.

BRUMFIELD: Olivia? Olivia?


GRACE: To Renee Rockwell and Alan Ripka. You say the mother was supporting the babysitter. That was up until the autopsy report came out. Then all that support ended, and now she says she simply wants the truth. Were you aware of that, Renee?

ROCKWELL: I am aware of that, Nancy.

GRACE: So why did you say that? Because that`s not accurate.

ROCKWELL: I`m saying because it does go to her state of mind.

GRACE: But she`s not supporting her anymore.

ROCKWELL: But the mother all along has supported her -- no, Nancy.

GRACE: No. She`s not now, not after this autopsy report.

ROCKWELL: That`s because she`s got evidence that maybe her story`s not matching up.

GRACE: You know what?

ROCKWELL: But it does show.

GRACE: Your story`s not matching up. It doesn`t even make any sense. She`s not supporting her. She wants the truth. She was supporting her until she got the autopsy report. Do not try to mislead the viewers, Renee.

Out to the lines, Jill in Kentucky. Hi, Jill.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

JILL: I am wondering if they`ve tested her for drugs.

GRACE: Excellent question. Tom O`Neil, what do we know?

O`NEIL: She has no history of drugs or any other problems in her past. She seems to be a rather upright mother of two. She has two of her own children, by the way. And she was watching Olivia`s sister that night, too. So she was home with four children that night.

GRACE: And Alan Ripka, best defense?

RIPKA: The bottom line is this. When a child`s hanging on the end of a playpen and falls down and their neck gets whipped and their head hits the ground, they certainly can suffer a very, very deep bruise. And this woman`s story seems to make sense to me.

GRACE: Well, unfortunately, the medical examiner disagrees with you. But my thanks to Renee Rockwell and Alan Ripka.

Let`s stop and remember Marine Lance Corporal Chad Maynard, just 19, Montrose, Colorado, killed Iraq. From a military family, awarded the Purple Heart. So determined to become a Marine he secretly started contacting recruiters at 16.

Leaves behind parents Gene and Cindy, two sisters, two brothers, widow Becky, and a little girl he never met, Lenay.

Chad Maynard, American hero.

Thanks to our guests but especially to you for being with us. And a special good night from Georgia friend of the show, Jordan. He wants to be a prosecutor.

Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night. 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.