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Illinois 5-Month-Old Kidnapped by Teen Baby-Sitter
Aired June 8, 2009 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Mommy heads out for baby clothes, leaving her 5-month-old baby boy safe at home with the sitter, or so she thinks. When Mommy gets home just hours later, the house empty. Tonight, police on a multi-state alert for the alleged baby-sitter turned kidnapper, a baby-sitter who secretly wanted a baby of her own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An Amber Alert has been issued for a 5-month-old boy allegedly abducted by his own baby-sitter. Little Cortez Rose was home with baby-sitter Danielle Medina while the boy`s mother was out shopping for him. When the mother returned, the baby and baby-sitter were gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My main concern is the safety of the child. She was left in care of the child and was last seen with the stroller, with the baby and a diaper bag (INAUDIBLE) and pushing the baby toward (INAUDIBLE) She has no cell phone, and they`ve had no contact with her since she left with the child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little Cortez, along with the baby-sitter, Danielle Medina, were spotted at a bus stop headed for East St. Louis. Authorities are asking for the public`s help in tracking down Medina and little Cortez, who police believe could be in danger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Also 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.
Tonight, live to Michigan. Police confirm a child`s body discovered along the banks of the River Raisin, Monroe County, Michigan, likely that of little Nevaeh, the remains matching the 5-year-old`s description and clothing Nevaeh was wearing the day she disappears. Police, FBI, crime scene techs converge after a local fisherman stumbles on a shallow grave with cement poured directly onto the pre-schooler`s body.
Bombshell tonight. The killer, in a show of total disrespect and lack of remorse, callously throws a used beer can in the grave with the dead toddler. That`s right, he buried her along with his trash, never to be found. But did he unwittingly leave behind his own DNA? Forensic tests being conducted on the beer can at this hour.
Tonight, is Mommy`s connection to a registered sex offender linked? This after Mommy takes to the airwaves to defend her sex offender boyfriend. That`s right, Mommy defends the sex offender. Nevaeh -- "heaven" spelled backwards. Tonight, her mother, Jennifer Buchanan, with us live. Tonight, we want justice!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Days of searching and prayers for 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan of Monroe ends with more tears and heartache.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After spending hours going over every square inch of this steep embankment and small landing where the little girl`s body was found, all trace evidence has been packed up and shipped off to the state police crime lab in Northville.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like a suspect?
JENNIFER BUCHANAN, MOTHER: No. No. Because I know I`m completely innocent. I know I had nothing to do with my daughter`s disappearance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sheriff says he believes her body was buried on the banks of the River Raisin off a country road for a reason. It wasn`t a random location.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that George Kennedy or anyone associated with George Kennedy had any involvement with the disappearance of your daughter, Nevaeh?
BUCHANAN: I`m pretty sure that probably someone associated with George or his girlfriend or a few others. I don`t know. I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI is all over the area, looking for places that sell 90-pound bags of quick dry concrete, checking receipts, looking at store surveillance tapes. Sources tell us a pair of gloves was recovered near the gravesite, but it`s unclear whether that`s significant tonight. The autopsy is being handled by the Wayne County medical examiner, and while cause of death is key, perhaps just as important will be time of death. Investigators tell us they are taking a hard look at the timeline the day Nevaeh disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully, now that we recovered the body, we can focus more on the actual perpetrator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has George Kennedy said to you since Nevaeh has disappeared?
BUCHANAN: I haven`t talked to him since she`s been gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hold him responsible in your eyes?
BUCHANAN: In my mind. Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, Mommy heads out for clothes for her baby, leaving the 5- month-old boy safe at home with a sitter. When she gets home, the baby and the sitter both gone. Police on a multi-state alert for the alleged baby- sitter turned kidnapper, a baby-sitter who secretly wanted a baby of her own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are desperate to find a 5-month-old boy who was allegedly abducted by 17-year-old baby-sitter Danielle Medina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The circumstances, as we understand it right now, are that the infant was being watched at the house by a transient. We subsequently identified the transient as Danielle Medina, a black female, 17 years of age, 5 foot, 120 pounds. The actual (ph) last whereabouts of Ms. Medina was in Granite City (INAUDIBLE) boarding a bus (INAUDIBLE) St. Louis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby-sitter is reportedly wanted in New York on felony warrants for alleged child endangerment, as the family holds out hope little Cortez can be brought home safely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can guess, a 5-month-old child (INAUDIBLE) pretty upset. I mean, there`s a frantic -- as the hours are passing, of course, it`s getting worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to Nicole Partin, investigative reporter. Nicole, what happened?
NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (via telephone): The 16-year- old mother, Makeela King, leaves her 5-month-old baby around 2:00 o`clock on Saturday to do some shopping with this would-be 17-year-old baby-sitter, whom we have learned has been living in the home for the past couple of months. When the mother returns home from the shopping spree, she finds no baby, no baby-sitter. We`ve also learned that the baby-sitter has no cell phone. She has no car. The only thing she has at this point is the baby, a stroller and a diaper bag.
GRACE: To Clark Goldband, also on the story. Clark, what more can you tell us?
CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, there`s some late- breaking information that we`ve just gotten in a few moments before the show. It now appears 17-year-old Danielle Medina -- now, the baby-sitter - - apparently moved from New York about two to three months ago, but just moved into this house on Friday night. So she started to baby-sit Saturday. Apparently, she didn`t baby-sit for all that long.
GRACE: Clark Goldband, it`s my understanding the mom got the baby- sitter through an acquaintance. That`s how I have my baby-sitter, through an acquaintance that I trusted. Where did this baby-sitter come from?
GOLDBAND: Exactly right, Nancy. There are some reports out there that she obtained the baby-sitter through an acquaintance. We believe it is a friend of the family.
GRACE: Joining me right now is special guest police chief Steven Shelby. Chief Shelby, thank you for being with us. Chief, tell me, where was the mother when the baby-sitter and the baby vanished?
CHIEF STEVEN SHELBY, MADISON POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): What she`s telling us is that her and her mother went to East St. Louis to pick some clothes up for the baby.
GRACE: Everyone, you are seeing a shot right now of baby-sitter Danielle Medina. When Mommy gets home from getting the baby clothes, baby- sitter and baby gone.
Chief, again, thank you for being with us, Chief Shelby. What can you tell us about the baby-sitter secretly wanting a baby of her own? Did she tell people she wanted her own baby?
SHELBY: Through our investigations, Miss Grace, we learned that she has been making those statements. I haven`t heard it myself. Some of the officers have, but I can`t substantiate that. But we have heard the same rumors, yes.
GRACE: Chief, if she`s only got -- no cell phone. I doubt she`s got a lot of money. She`d only been working there a couple of days. How is she traveling?
SHELBY: She`s using public transportation, and that -- again, that is a big concern for us. We`re concerned for the baby`s health and wellbeing. I mean, she -- the weather down here is not very good. It`s raining. It`s thunderstorms. There`s lightning. She`s got a diaper bag. She`s got a stroller, maybe two diapers in there. She has no money. So that is a big concern for us.
GRACE: This little baby, 5-month-old Cortez Rose, is in severe danger. Back to you, Clark. What can you tell me about this baby-sitter telling people she wanted her own baby?
GOLDBAND: Yes, Nancy. There was a report that surfaced a few hours ago that says, in fact, that the child, according to the mom, had been -- or I`m sorry -- the sitter, according to the mom, has been saying, I want my own child, and was, in fact, telling people she was pregnant.
GRACE: Was she pregnant?
GOLDBAND: Not that we know of.
GRACE: OK. Problems. Out to the lines. Debbie in California. Hi, Debbie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Thank you for taking my call.
GRACE: Thank you for calling in, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I just wondered if this -- if they had traced any convictions on her for babies, you know, doing anything before this?
GRACE: Well, as a matter of fact, Debbie, you`re dead on -- Clark.
GOLDBAND: Yes, Nancy. She`s been convicted in New York of child endangerment. Now, it`s our understanding, according to reports, there are also outstanding warrants on her for robbery.
GRACE: And you know, this is what`s so crazy. Let`s go out to Eleanor Dixon. Her specialty as a felony prosecutor is crimes on women and children, joining us out of the Atlanta jurisdiction. Eleanor, when you get a reference for a baby-sitter through an acquaintance, you don`t think to run their rap sheet. And frankly, most civilians don`t know how to know about getting a rap sheet, if it dawned on them they needed one.
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR You`re exactly right, Nancy. And this mother herself was only 16 years old, a teenager. She certainly wouldn`t have the resources to do that. I mean, it`s not like she`s sitting at home, drinking martinis. She went out shopping, left her baby with somebody she thought she could trust.
GRACE: Out to the defense attorneys, Peter Odom, Atlanta jurisdiction, Hugo Rodriguez out of Miami. This baby-sitter`s in a whole lot of trouble, Odom.
PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She is, Nancy. Under Illinois law, she could face 37 years if that baby`s not returned in good health.
GRACE: And even if the baby is returned in good health, Hugo Rodriguez, it`s felony kidnapping of a (INAUDIBLE)
HUGO RODRIGUEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is.
GRACE: ... a 5-month-old baby. You know, when I had the twins, I wouldn`t even take them out to a restaurant. They went nowhere for many, many months after they came home from the hospital. At best, this baby`s out on public transportation, according to Chief Shelby.
RODRIGUEZ: If Danielle Medina...
GRACE: The swine flu, for Pete`s sake! People are dropping in New York...
GRACE: ... like flies!
RODRIGUEZ: Nancy, if anyone is close to Miss Medina, knows where she`s at or has any contact with her, what they should advise her to do is contact a lawyer immediately, whether in Illinois or somewhere else, so that we could arrange for the return of that child. We`ll deal with the other things later.
GRACE: Five months old! This newborn is missing. Tip line 618-876- 4300.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The actual last whereabouts of Miss Medina was in Granite City boarding a bus to East St. Louis. Her ties in the area (ph) we know of are just East St. Louis, Granite City, and some Missouri (INAUDIBLE) It`s just kind of strange that she hasn`t made any contacts with anybody. I mean, she knows the numbers. She`s been staying at the house for maybe two or three months now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Danielle Medina, a black female, 17 years of age, 5 foot, 120 pounds. She`s from the New York City area, we understand. It`s possible she may be on the run from maybe some charges up in New York City. She was left in care of the child and was last seen with the stroller, with the baby and a diaper bag in Madison, pushing the baby towards (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother of missing 5-month-old Cortez Rose reportedly says Medina wanted a baby real bad and was going around telling people she was pregnant. The mother says she never thought Medina would take her child. Authorities are asking for the public`s help in tracking down Medina and little Cortez, who police believe could be in danger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to the lines. Barbara in Texas. Hi, Barbara.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank you for taking my call.
GRACE: Thank you for calling in, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just wondering, since she only had known this person a couple of days, could it possibly be that they`re cousins or something?
GRACE: That who`s...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean...
GRACE: Wait. That who`s cousins, the mom and the baby-sitter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GRACE: Good question. To you, Clark Goldband. Was there any relationship between mom and baby-sitter before this happened?
GOLDBAND: The mom tells us that, in fact, the sitter was friends with Mom`s sister.
GRACE: OK. So there is a family connection...
GRACE: ... only through being an acquaintance, right?
GRACE: To Chief Steven Shelby, chief of police, Madison Police Department, joining us from Madison. Chief, why did the mom wait so long to report the baby missing, nearly 24 hours?
SHELBY: That`s the million-dollar question, Nancy. I wish I had an answer for you. I want to think maybe she was embarrassed after what happened and thought maybe she could go out on her own and try to locate the child. But unfortunately, it gave her a day on us.
GRACE: Chief Shelby, did the mom go and look? Did she, for instance, go to where she thinks the baby-sitter lives? Did she call her sister? What were the mother`s efforts to find the baby?
SHELBY: That was my understanding, that the family decided that maybe there was some miscommunication. The godparents were supposed to pick the child up. I think a lot of things came into play. But she did go out and start making calls, and again...
GRACE: Well, Chief Shelby, I mean, the mom -- it wasn`t like she was going around the corner to Target, where a lot of us do our baby shopping. She was actually driving to East St. Louis, I believe, to get baby clothes from a family member?
SHELBY: That`s correct.
GRACE: So how long would that trip have taken?
SHELBY: And that`s a good question, too. We`re trying to nail that down. The last time the baby was seen was at 1:00 o`clock on Saturday, the 6th. Again, they did not report it to us until 1:15 on Sunday, the 7th.
GRACE: I understand, in a way, the mom`s confusion. If she was driving a distance to pick up, I believe, hand-me-downs for the little 5- month-old, maybe when she got home, she thought, Well, wait a minute. Did she think she was supposed to keep the baby overnight? What`s the confusion? But all that aside, Police Chief Shelby, the baby-sitter was spotted alone with the baby at where, a bus stop or a train stop?
SHELBY: A bus stop.
GRACE: So whether you want to throw a stone at the mother for getting her wires crossed or not reporting the baby missing in a timely manner, it doesn`t matter. The baby-sitter has been spotted with this baby. And Chief Shelby, where it was again the baby-sitter was spotted?
SHELBY: At what we call -- it was a metro bus stop. It`s just a local bus that travels throughout the metro area.
GRACE: And how far away from the home was that bus stop?
SHELBY: It`s probably a three-mile distance.
GRACE: So she was already three miles. Did she have access to a vehicle, Chief?
SHELBY: No, she does not.
GRACE: So she either did that though a bus or on foot with the baby?
SHELBY: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: When she was spotted at the bus station, Chief Shelby, was the baby with her?
SHELBY: Yes, she was. Yes, the baby was.
GRACE: And was the baby in good condition? Was the baby crying, was it awake, alert, or do we know?
SHELBY: We do not know. We`re right now in the process of reviewing some video surveillance tapes of the bus depot, and hopefully, we`ll come up with something on that.
GRACE: So it was actually a depot. It wasn`t one of these things you just drive up to on the street. It was in a depot?
SHELBY: That is correct.
GRACE: Did she buy a ticket at the depot to go anywhere else?
SHELBY: No. We do know that she boarded a bus that was headed to East St. Louis, Illinois.
GRACE: East St. Louis, Illinois. And how far away is that from the home?
SHELBY: That`s probably about a seven to ten-mile drive.
GRACE: We`re taking your calls live. To Camille in Michigan. Hi, Camille.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy. How`re you doing?
GRACE: Well, I`m a little disturbed right now because, you know, I got my own baby-sitter through an acquaintance. No, I didn`t think at the time, although I`ve checked them all out since the original hire -- most people don`t think to run a rap sheet, Camille. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. My question was, I thought you said that the girl just went off to the house on Friday, but then the other man said that she`d been staying there for two months. I wanted to know, which one was it?
GRACE: Yes. You know what? You`re right. Clark, which one is it?
GOLDBAND: Nancy, it`s our understanding -- we just got some new information in, and that, in fact, she had been staying there for the past 24 hours or so, had moved to the area within the past few months from New York.
GRACE: H. OK. I want to go to now special guest Marc Klaas, founder and president of Klaas Kids Foundation. Marc, what do you think?
MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Well, I believe that they should probably focus their search on teen shelters, on homeless shelters. They should be looking at transportation depots, like bus stations, truck stops. They should be looking in low-rent motels. They should probably go across the river into St. Louis, which is the largest urban area in the neighborhood, and focus on those kinds of establishments there, as well.
GRACE: And to Dr. Janet Taylor, psychiatrist and M.D. -- Dr. Taylor, it`s very disturbing this baby-sitter had been telling people how she wanted a baby of her own and that she was pregnant when she wasn`t.
DR. JANET TAYLOR, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes. I mean, that really changes the situation because it heightens her desperation and enlightens you to the fact that maybe there`s something psychologically wrong with her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn`t report it for one day. They waited one day. I thought maybe there might be some confusion about maybe about Ms. Medina took the child and was coming back. But they haven`t heard from her. She has no cell phone. They`ve had no contact with her since she left with the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An Amber Alert has been issued for a 5-month-old boy allegedly abducted by his own baby-sitter. Little Cortez Rose was home with baby-sitter Danielle Medina while the boy`s mother was out shopping for him. When the mother returned, the boy and baby-sitter were gone. Reports are the baby-sitter was seen with the baby at a local bus stop, headed towards St. Louis. The baby-sitter is reported wanted in New York on felony warrants for alleged child endangerment, as the family holds out hope little Cortez can be brought home safely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to the lines. Betsy in Florida. Hi, Betsy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy, hi. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, my question is, is there a father in the picture?
GRACE: Good question. Nicole Partin, what do we know about the father?
PARTIN: We don`t know much about him, Nancy. We do know that, of course, police are investigating, but at this point, not much information at all has been given to us about the father.
GRACE: Chief Shelby, has the father turned up?
SHELBY: The father is currently incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He`s doing a two-year sentence.
GRACE: Well, at least we know where he is, Chief.
Regina in Michigan. Hi, Regina. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. How`re you doing?
GRACE: I`m good, dear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister, Terry (ph), and I want to thank you and Susan Moss for being such wonderful advocates for the victims. And your twins are beautiful.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, does the baby-sitter have enough food to sustain the baby, like formula and other foods?
GRACE: Good question. Chief of police Steven Shelby, did she take formula with her?
SHELBY: No, she did not. And again, that`s a concern for us because she does not have the resources to buy any of that stuff. She has no money. She has no job. So we are really concerned about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sources confirm 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan`s body was found by a fisherman.
GUY BICKLEY, DISCOVERED CHILD`S BODY; AT SITE WHERE REMAINS FOUND: We went down on the banks and immediately I saw some concrete on the ground off to one side of where we were going to set up to fish. I knew it was skin, not an animal. Slowly but surely, I was smelling things. And as it turns out, it was the little girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you not know that George Kennedy was a convicted sex offender?
JENNY BUCHANAN, MOTHER OF 5-YR-OLD GIRL NEVAEH BUCHANAN: Yes, I knew he was a convicted sex offender.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you found out that he was a convicted sex offender, why did you not just get him out of your life at that point?
BUCHANAN: Because I`m the type of person that everyone deserves a second chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that George Kennedy or anyone associated with George Kennedy had any involvement in the disappearance of your daughter, Nevaeh?
BUCHANAN: I`m pretty sure that probably someone associated with George or his girlfriend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would -- why would they want to hurt Nevaeh or take Nevaeh?
BUCHANAN: George might have owed someone money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that something you know about?
BUCHANAN: No, there`s nothing I know about. This -- just a whole bunch of scenarios run through my head. My mind is constantly running. I cannot eat, I cannot sleep. I toss and turn at night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the body not identifiable?
BUCHANAN: No, no, we can not identify it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST: With us live right now, the mother of little Nevaeh, Jennifer Buchanan.
Miss Buchanan, thank you for being with us.
BUCHANAN: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: Miss Buchanan, you said that authorities cannot identify the body. Why?
BUCHANAN: I`m assuming that she`s too decomposed for anyone to look at her physically.
GRACE: Miss Buchanan.
BUCHANAN: They wouldn`t recommend it.
GRACE: What happened? Take us through the last moments you were with Nevaeh. What happened?
BUCHANAN: The last moment I was with my daughter.
GRACE: The last few moments, yes.
BUCHANAN: She come (sic) in the house. She changed her clothes. After she changed her clothes, she said she was going back to her friend`s house.
BUCHANAN: Grabbed a popsicle on the way out the door, and she, you know -- I didn`t see her -- the last time I seen her was at 6:30.
GRACE: At what time?
GRACE: 6:30 p.m.?
GRACE: Was it getting dark?
BUCHANAN: No, no, not here.
GRACE: What time does it get dark?
BUCHANAN: It doesn`t get dark until approximately around 9:00, 9:30 here.
GRACE: Huh. When did you learn Nevaeh was missing?
BUCHANAN: About a half an hour after she went outside. I had a really good friend of mine and her daughter stay the night with us. And my good friend`s daughter came in and she said, Nevaeh`s outside riding her scooter in the road.
That`s when I immediately got up and I looked for my shoes. It took a couple of minutes, a few minutes to look for my shoes. And then after that, I went outside and I noticed that she was missing and called her name.
Looked through apartment buildings. Went to quite a few of her friends` houses, thinking that she could have been, you know, in one of their homes. I looked for her at least 45 minutes.
GRACE: You stated that it was about 30 minutes later when the little girl came and said, Nevaeh`s outside on her scooter in the road? 30 minutes had passed?
BUCHANAN: Yes. Yes, because she told me she was going back upstairs to her friend`s house. And that`s assuming where she went.
GRACE: Now you stated that you, quote, "got up." Where were you?
BUCHANAN: I was just sitting right there on the -- I was sitting right there on the couch. And I was like, thinking about what I was going to make for dinner because it was around dinnertime, too. And she told me that she wasn`t hungry at the moment, but I knew that she had to eat something.
So she come (sic) in and she grabbed a popsicle on the way out the door. And that`s normally about when I know she`s getting hungry. There`s a lot of times she`s told me no, but you know, she lies.
GRACE: She lies? Did you just say the little girl lies?
BUCHANAN: About her hunger. She lied about her -- normally she lies about her hunger.
GRACE: Miss Buchanan, I was just listening to what you said on the airwaves and the radio interview, and you stated something about George Kennedy may have owed somebody some money?
BUCHANAN: I`m not too sure.
GRACE: How could that possibly.
BUCHANAN: I`m not too sure on anything.
GRACE: How could that possibly be linked to your daughter`s disappearance, the fact that this sex offender, friend of yours, owed somebody some money? How could that remotely be linked to your child`s disappearance?
BUCHANAN: I honestly don`t know. What I do know.
GRACE: Well, you`re the one that said it so you must have known something?
BUCHANAN: All these scenarios are just running through my head constantly. And I think that possibly he might have owed someone money, and then to get to him is through a close loved one or -- you know, anything. All these thoughts are just running through my head.
GRACE: You also stated in an interview that, in your mind, you hold him responsible.
BUCHANAN: I don`t put it past him.
GRACE: OK, if you don`t put it past him.
BUCHANAN: I don`t put it past anyone.
GRACE: If you don`t put it past him, what were you doing exposing your daughter to him?
BUCHANAN: Well, Nancy, I know that I have made -- I have made a lot of bad choices.
BUCHANAN: And who hasn`t? And I know that somehow.
GRACE: Whoa, you know what? You can stop right there. You can just stop right there, Miss Buchanan, because most mothers that I know have never knowingly exposed their little girl, a 5-year-old little girl, to a sex offender. So when you say who hasn`t? I for one haven`t. I haven`t.
BUCHANAN: Well, I just believe that everyone deserves a second chance. And that`s.
GRACE: You know, and that`s an interesting point, Miss Buchanan, you know, because Mr. Kennedy has a rap sheet dating back, we believe, prior to 2001. Marijuana possession, home invasion. There`s criminal sex conduct, accosting children. There is the rape of a 15-year-old girl that he said was consensual. I mean I`m counting it on my hand. That`s.
BUCHANAN: I didn`t learn about all those. I didn`t learn about all of those until after I got to know him, like maybe a couple of months after I got to know him. Yes, I did check him out. I confronted him about it and especially about the other girl. And he completely told me that she was 15, he was 26, and it was consensual. They`re not really.
GRACE: There`s no such thing as consensual sex with a 15-year-old in that jurisdiction. That is rape. All right? Now you just told me that you found out about two months after getting to know him, but even knowing about this rap sheet, this very extensive rap sheet, you still had him around your daughter. Why?
BUCHANAN: Because I knew that I was going to keep her close.
HOLLY HOWERTON, FRIEND OF 5-YR-OLD NEVAEH BUCHANAN`S MOTHER: She was never left alone with him to my knowledge.
BUCHANAN: Never left alone with him.
GRACE: OK, to your knowledge? Really? Miss Howerton, Holly Howerton, friend of Nevaeh`s mother. Miss Howerton, are you there 24/7?
HOWERTON: No, I`m not. I have been with her ever since her child has been missing. And I know she`s.
GRACE: Well, you know what? That`s not really doing a whole lot of good, is it? If you`re not there 24/7, then you don`t know what happened.
And my question is, forget about the sex offender just for a moment. Let`s just suspend our disbelief for a moment. The 5-year-old is out playing, it`s nearly dark outside. I`m just having a problem.
BUCHANAN: No, the sun is still out. It`s not dark at all.
GRACE: Well, you said 6:30. And then 30 minutes later, that puts it at 7:00. Isn`t that correct? You still haven`t seen your daughter. The daughter is gone. You said it gets dark around 8:00 or 9:00, yes, no?
BUCHANAN: 9:00, 9:30.
GRACE: Oh so now it doesn`t get dark until almost 10:00 p.m.? That`s not true.
BUCHANAN: Here, it is.
GRACE: Miss Buchanan, it doesn`t get dark at 10:00 at night in your jurisdiction.
BUCHANAN: Between 9:00 and 9:30.
GRACE: In the Detroit area on that day, the sun set 8:55 p.m. exactly. So your child is out. It`s been 30 minutes since you last saw her. Did you think maybe I should check on my preschooler? See if she`s dead or alive? I mean did that cross your mind?
BUCHANAN: No, because I knew that she was upstairs at her friend`s house until the little girl came up to me and said that Nevaeh was out riding her scooter in the road. That`s the point I`m.
GRACE: How did you know she was upstairs? Did you check on her? Did you go up there ever?
BUCHANAN: No, she`s -- I watched her walk in through the door.
GRACE: Really? Because earlier you said she went out the door.
BUCHANAN: We were just -- we just got home. She changed her clothes, everything else. I went upstairs at one point. I watched her walk in through the door. I came back downstairs. I went -- went inside.
GRACE: Because in your first version.
BUCHANAN: I knew that she was supposed to be up there.
GRACE: In your first version, you never got off the sofa. She took a popsicle, went out the door. You never said anything in your first version about watching her walk upstairs.
BUCHANAN: Right. I was still -- I was first sitting down. I got back up. I watched her walk up there. She came back downstairs. She changed her clothes. She walked back out the door with a popsicle. And then that`s whenever I was like -- she said, mom, I`m going back upstairs to Austin`s house.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things that was brought up earlier by some of our callers, some of the people that listen to our show is the reason why I think that they think that you might have had something to do with this is that at no time you have shown any emotion. What would you say to them for that?
BUCHANAN: There`s quite a few reasons why I don`t, like -- I show emotion in my own home because I feel like either way I go, I can`t win out of this situation. Like, if I cry, they`re sick of me crying because they think that I`m guilty. If I don`t cry, then I`m completely guilty and not emotional. I`m not sympathetic. I`m not remorseful.
You know all that stuff, and when I go out to actually talk to the camera crew, you know, people want to hear me correctly. I`m sorry that I don`t cry or anything. I do that in my own home.
BICKLEY: The flies just started getting terrible, and they were landing on me. I was shaking them off. And then I saw them landing on the ground down where the concrete had cracked by me walking about while I pushed down into the cracks and it went down and came right back up as if there was some kind of pressure beneath the concrete.
I then proceeded to scrape the little chunks that had cracked off with my toe, and that`s when a small area of skin was visible to both myself and my father. I didn`t want it to be the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to John Stockwell with WJR Newstalk 760. John, explain to me the most recent development that the killer apparently threw a used beer can onto the child`s body in a show of complete disrespect and lack of remorse?
(ON THE PHONE)
JOHN STOCKWELL, REPORTER, WJR NEWS/TALK 760: Nancy, that is correct. There is now a source saying that a beer can was found in this shallow grave. And while the killer may have done that to be disrespectful, police are hoping they may be able to get DNA or fingerprints off of it to give them a lead in this case.
GRACE: To Rupa Mikkilineni, there at the apartment complex where little Nevaeh went missing. Rupa, what more can you tell me?
RUPA MIKKILINENI, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, you know, it`s - - the complex is a u-shaped parking lot in front of the complex itself. You can actually see the parking lot very clearly from Jenny Buchanan`s home, where little Nevaeh was living.
There`s like blinds and you can look and you can watch. Now here`s what I can tell you. There are a couple of things, first of all. There`s a -- what we`re finding out is that when little Nevaeh`s body was found, we`re finding there was a beer can found in the shallow grave.
I`m hearing this from both sides of the family. The police have indicated this. We`re thinking that the beer can may have some DNA or fingerprints and this is being fingerprinted and we`re waiting for DNA evidence to come back.
GRACE: To Matt Zarrell, our producer, also on the story, what more do you know, Matt?
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE STAFFER, COVERING STORY: Well, tissue samples from the body have been sent to the lab. They`re continuing to conduct tests. One thing that`s interesting is experts are saying that because of the temperature outside and because the body may have been close to the water that it`s going to be trouble.
GRACE: Hold on, Matt, Matt, Matt, put your mike back on. Your mike fell off.
GRACE: OK. Hold on. While we`re waiting on that, Marc Klaas, weigh in?
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Well, you know, I think that Miss Buchanan has made some unforgivable mistakes, probably, that resulted in her little girl being kidnapped and murdered by a remorseless psychopath, but I don`t for a minute believe that the fact she`s not crying in public is any kind of an indication of her own guilt.
KLAAS: I know people respond very, very differently to these kinds of tragic situations.
GRACE: Yes, I agree with that, whether she cries for a camera or not has nothing to do with the little girl. And for all we know, George Kennedy, the sex offending boyfriend, didn`t have anything to do with this. But not watching the child, Marc Klaas, not watching the child, that`s the problem.
KLAAS: Well -- yes, and that comes right back to her. And that is truly the unforgivable mistake, having -- allowing that little girl to be outside.
KLAAS: . unsupervised by herself is probably the first no-no of parenthood.
GRACE: To Matt Zarrell, go ahead, Matt.
ZARRELL: OK, now, experts are saying that determining cause of death is going to be difficult. They`re saying this because of the weather and the fact that the body was close to the river. They`re concerned that determining strangulation, drowning, or some of the other injuries are going to be very tough to determine, and decomposition is also going to be affected by this.
GRACE: Joining me now, Vince Velazquez, homicide detective and hostage negotiator. Vince, weigh in. What about the beer can?
VINCE VELAZQUEZ, HOMICIDE DETECTIVE, ATLANTA METRO AREA, HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: And that`s a great piece of evidence. My only concern would be if this body was covered with concrete and the beer can was covered in concrete.
It would be great if the bee can was underneath her body. Saliva from the opening of the can and prints would be the best piece of evidence that they could look for.
GRACE: To Dr. Michael Bell, Palm Beach County chief medical examiner. Dr. Bell, given the fact that we believe the body is decomposed, Nevaeh`s little body, what do you believe is the most we can hope for regarding getting forensic evidence from the body of the victim?
DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH CO. CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, if the body is as decomposed as everybody seems to be alluding to, I think getting any DNA is probably unlikely. Maybe you get some hair fibers, cloth fibers, something like that, but DNA, probably unlikely.
GRACE: To Dr. Janet Taylor, doctor and psychiatrist. Dr. Taylor, what can you tell me about the act of throwing a used beer can into the grave with the baby?
DR. JANET TAYLOR, PSYCHIATRIST: First, Nancy, I have to thank you for hammering the home -- the fact that we cannot expose our children to sex offenders, boys or girls. But in terms of throwing the beer can it just shows just lack of remorse and depravity and just -- just no thought at all to this child in the act.
GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Eleanor Dixon, Peter Odom, Hugo Rodriguez.
Eleanor, weigh in.
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Well, Nancy, the thing that`s so important about the mom`s story and what happened is we need a time line because that`s going to help narrow down what happened to Nevaeh. So to me, that`s very important in this investigation and not to be overlooked.
GRACE: Peter Odom?
PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, if mom`s story is changing over time, it`s not because anyone thinks that she has anything to do with this child`s death, but probably because she`s remorseful about the fact that she created the circumstances that led to this child`s abduction.
HUGO RODRIGUEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FMR. FBI AGENT: She doesn`t have a lawyer, she`s been interviewed four or five times, they`ve downloaded all her computers, they`ve searched her house. Obviously she`s not a suspect. She`s cooperating in her own way.
GRACE: Well, as a matter of fact, take a look at Jennifer Buchanan.
Liz, can you roll that video? After a few tough questions about exposing her child to a sex offender, this is what she and her good friend Holly Howerton decided to do rather than take your calls about her conduct live, this is their response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us right now, Nevaeh`s father, Shane Hinojosa.
Sir, thank you for being with us. I was pretty tough on her mother a few moments ago. And now let me ask you, sir. You are also not there taking care of the child, why?
SHANE HINOJOSA, FATHER OF 5-YR-OLD NEVAEH BUCHANAN: Well, I live in Toledo.
HINOJOSA: I moved out of Monroe.
GRACE: But why did you leave the child?
HINOJOSA: Well, I left the child when the baby was not conceived yet. She was still in the belly. I left her for a reason. I don`t want to get into that. But I moved to Toledo. I tried to stay in contact with Nevaeh for the longest time. After, you know, the last court date, you know, I just gave up.
GRACE: Have you been paying your child support? Have you been sending child support?
HINOJOSA: I was until I lost my job. Then I stopped paying because the other guy I was working for, he lost all of his property. So at the moment I`m currently unemployed, but when I do have a job, I do pay child support.
GRACE: What are cops telling you about this body? What are they telling you about who they think may be responsible?
HINOJOSA: They ain`t telling me nothing. They keep saying no comment. They`re just waiting for all the DNA and all the lab tests to be done. They told us this morning that they would know Friday, the latest Monday.
GRACE: With me, Shane Hinojosa, he is the father of little Nevaeh.
Let`s stop and remember Marine Lance Corporal Jessie Cassada, 19, Hendersonville, North Carolina, killed Afghanistan. Awarded several medals, including the National Defense Service medal.
So patriotic, knew he wanted to be in the military at such an early age, always smiling, having fun. He loved hunting, fishing, but mostly being with his family and friends. He leaves behind mother, Patricia, stepfather Carroll, sister Lisa, and Crystal.
Jessie Cassada, American hero.
Thanks to our guests, but our biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes. Tonight, God bless little Nevaeh.
Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.