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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Wrong-Way Crash Controversy
Aired September 1, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive -- the man whose wife killed their daughter; their three nieces; three men, strangers in an incoming car; and herself in a horrific wrong way crash is here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did not do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The medical examiner says she was drunk, maybe high on pot, when she drove head-on into tragedy on a New York highway.
But her family and friends say there's another explanation to this heartbreaking story and they say they've got evidence to prove it.
But how do they explain a bottle of vodka in her van?
Did she use drugs?
Could she have kept a secret from those who knew her best?
All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Before we begin, we'd certainly like to offer our condolences to the families and friends of all eight people killed in the crash we're going to discuss tonight.
On Sunday, July 26th, Diane Schuler, while on her way home to Long Island from a campground, drove the wrong way on New York's Taconic State Parkway with a minivan full of children. Eight people in all were killed, including Schuler, her 2-year-old daughter, her three nieces and three people in an oncoming SUV.
Now, authorities say that she had more than twice the legal amount of alcohol in her system at the time and evidence of marijuana.
Joining us in New York are Daniel Schuler; Daniel Schuler's husband, Jay Schuler; Daniel's sister-in-law and Diane's very close friend. And Dominic Barbara, the Schuler family attorney.
We thank them all for being with us tonight.
Daniel, you lost your wife, your little girl, three nieces. How are you doing?
DANIEL SCHULER, DIANE SCHULER'S HUSBAND: I'm taking it day by day. There just isn't no words for it right now. It's hard.
KING: How's your little 5-year-old son, Brian?
DANIEL SCHULER: He's doing a lot better. Thank you.
KING: He's the only survivor of all of this, right?
DANIEL SCHULER: Yes, sir.
KING: What is his condition?
DANIEL SCHULER: He's got two broken arms and a broken leg, but he's going to make a full recovery.
KING: Now how, let's get into all of this.
How do you feel about the losses on the other side -- the people in the other car?
DANIEL SCHULER: My heart goes out to them and I'm very sorry to everybody.
KING: All right, let's go back to Sunday, July 26th. You're wrapping up a few days vacation with the family at a campground.
And what sort of mood was everyone in that morning?
DANIEL SCHULER: Very good. Very nice. We were looking forward to getting -- going home, to beat the traffic. Everybody was happy and doing good.
KING: You left in separate vehicles, right?
You -- she had several children with her.
Why separate cars?
DANIEL SCHULER: Everybody wouldn't fit in -- in my truck. So we had to take another car.
KING: Who went with you?
DANIEL SCHULER: My dog.
KING: Did you have any concerns about them at all?
DANIEL SCHULER: Absolutely not. They were with my wife. They were in safe hands.
KING: And she stops at a McDonald's along the way. Left there about 10:45 a.m.. According to everything we've been able to find out, she's OK, right, at that point? DANIEL SCHULER: Absolutely.
KING: Now, four calls were then made to and from Diane's car en route. In one of those calls, she apparently sounded fine, discussing future plans with her sister-in-law.
What can you tell us about that?
DANIEL SCHULER: Well, Dominic you would have to...
DOMINIC BARBARA, SCHULER FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, the four phone calls that are made, the first phone call and the second phone call are fine. By the third phone call, from what we understand, she sounds as if she's had some sort of a psychiatric or a stroke type issue. She is unable to see clearly. And she is saying words in a very strange -- not in an alcoholic fashion. And I think, if I may, Larry, just to digress for one moment so we all know where we're heading, the chief medical examiner, Dr. Highland, tells us -- and I've never had this happen in 40 years -- says: "She has no signs of alcoholism, chronic alcoholism. Her liver, pancreas and every other part of her body, including the esophagus, shows no alcohol abuse."
So when he leaves the campground, we know she's fine. They have decided not to prosecute my client because they believe, clearly, that he had no knowledge of anything that would make him think she was not going to drive safely and carefully. You know why they choose her as the driver, because she's never had a traffic ticket.
KING: All right, Daniel...
KING: All right, hold it, Dom. Hold it, hold it, hold it, Dominic.
KING: Daniel, you know, your wife well.
If something were happening to her -- something strange -- why didn't she pull over?
DANIEL SCHULER: I don't know. She probably thought she was fine.
KING: Yes, but other people are reporting she's not, she's not sounding right, something's wrong.
Wouldn't someone -- wouldn't her own intelligence tell her to pull over?
DANIEL SCHULER: Well, maybe medically she was messed up with whatever what was going on.
KING: Jay, you were a close friend of Diane's, right?
JAY SCHULER, DANIEL'S SON-IN-LAW, DIANE'S GOOD FRIEND: Yes. And she's my sister-in-law.
What do you make of this?
JAY SCHULER: I really don't -- I think something medically had to be wrong with Diane. She would never jeopardize the children. She -- you know, she felt -- if she knew that something was wrong, she would pull over and stay there. She -- I don't -- we're just confused. And that's why we need answers by having this investigated, because this isn't Diane.
KING: All right. Now authorities...
JAY SCHULER: Diane is a...
KING: Authorities said she was drunk, evidence of marijuana in her system.
Let's listen to what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM AUGUST 4, 2009)
MAJ. WILLIAM CAREY, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: The toxicology from that autopsy shows that Diane Schuler had a blood alcohol content of .19 percent. The legal limit for intoxication in New York State is .08 percent. Toxicology also reveals Diane Schuler a high level of THC. THC is the active ingredient contained in marijuana. In conjunction with the Collision Reconstruction Unit's detailed examination of the Schulers' van, investigators recovered a broken 1.75 liter bottle of vodka.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Daniel, how do you explain the vodka?
DANIEL SCHULER: Usually we keep it in our camper throughout the whole season, one bottle.
JAY SCHULER: You know, you have pina coladas. You...
DANIEL SCHULER: Sitting by a campfire, cooking marshmallows.
JAY SCHULER: Right. With a campfire. This is...
BARBARA: Larry, I don't want you to think that they're talking about having a new bottle every week or day. They have one bottle for the season.
JAY SCHULER: This bottle would last from May until October because that...
Now are you -- are we saying here -- Daniel, are you saying that the authorities are lying when they say there was .019 of alcohol and evidence of marijuana?
Are you saying they're lying -- they're making that up?
DANIEL SCHULER: I know my wife was not drinking. She doesn't drink. Very rarely.
KING: So why -- why would the authorities say that?
JAY SCHULER: There's an error.
DANIEL SCHULER: There's an error somewhere.
KING: An error?
OK. We'll take a break and come right back. More on this in a moment with Daniel Schuler, Jay Schuler and Dominic Barbara, the Schuler family attorney.
Our Quick Vote question tonight -- the drunk driving laws in my state are too lenient, too strict or right on?
Pick a chose, go to cnn.com/larryking and tell us what you think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not familiar with any crashes that reached the magnitude of this tragic accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the aftermath of one of the deadliest car crashes in New York State history in recent memory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a bombshell finding by the medical examiner, solving what had seemingly been a mystery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The revelation that Long Island mother Diane Schuler was stoned and drunk when she plowed into the Bastardis' SUV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been with the state police for 24 years and this is probably the most horrific accident, mainly because of the children involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Daniel, did you ever see your wife drunk?
DANIEL SCHULER: No. No.
KING: Did you ever have a party where you may have all had drinks together?
DANIEL SCHULER: Sure, a drink or two at a family barbecue.
KING: Was she drinking the night before?
DANIEL SCHULER: No.
KING: So this is a total mystery to you?
DANIEL SCHULER: Absolutely.
KING: How about do you explain the marijuana?
BARBARA: Well, if -- to ask him whether or not she smoked marijuana that morning the answer, of course, is no. And whether or not she had ever tried marijuana in her whole life, we're not able to answer that at this moment. Remember, not only is my client -- client a member of the police department, we have a little boy that we want to get home.
So I'm not going to let him answer that area. But, clearly, the police...
KING: Well, also, he wouldn't know, would he?
I mean you don't know what she's doing when you're not with her.
BARBARA: That -- that, of course, is also a possibility. However, Larry, when you raise what happened that morning, whether it be the phone calls or not, you know, Mr. Ruskin is also here today and he...
KING: We're going to meet him in a minute.
KING: I know. He'll be on.
BARBARA: And he has a great deal of information about other places she went to.
KING: OK. We'll get to that.
A spokesman with the New York Police Department told us today that levels were indicative of Mrs. Schuler smoking marijuana anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour of the accident.
Now, since he won't discuss marijuana, Dominic, how do you explain that?
BARBARA: Well, first...
KING: Now, you know the New York City police are not lying.
BARBARA: Well, first, it's the state police, number one, Larry. But number two, I can assure you that if it ever occurs -- and it probably will never -- that if I cross-examine that expert, you're not going to ever hear that there was marijuana smoke -- smoked within that short period of time.
However, what is most difficult, frightening, most difficult to understand is here's a woman who never drank. Here's a woman who -- who loved these...
KING: No, she drank occasionally, he said.
BARBARA: Oh, Larry, you're talking two pina coladas a year. Without making a joke, I would think some of the newspaper people drink that much in a night.
But the -- but the answer is here's a woman who never drank, never had a traffic ticket and all of a sudden, if you believe the facts the way they are, she had to drink nine ounces of alcohol straight, because that which they found in her stomach was six of it and nine ounces were pure.
KING: All right, Daniel.
Daniel, since this is a terrible tragedy -- your wife is gone; the little kids are gone; your son was, thank God, saved; three other totally innocent people are dead -- why don't you just let it go?
Why hold a press conference?
Why -- why appear here?
Why question whether -- she's gone. You can't bring her back. We're never going to know the truth, really.
So why -- why are you carrying on?
DANIEL SCHULER: We will know the truth and I know my wife. She's not an alcoholic. She would never drive with kids in her car...
KING: But I mean -- OK, but we'll never know.
And since we'll never know, why keep on doing this?
DANIEL SCHULER: The truth -- the truth will come out.
JAY SCHULER: But, Larry, you have to understand, Danny doesn't want the other families to think that a drunk driver killed their families. That's why we are out to prove that she tried to prove that she wasn't drunk. And we wanted -- we want testing. We want further testing to be done to show that -- to show we're make this effort because there's no way possible that we will believe that she was drunk when she got in that car or while she was driving that car with those children. Absolutely not.
So the other families need to know this. And we're not going to let it go. KING: OK. I've got it.
For the record, we asked the medical examiner's office for a comment. They provided us with this statement today: "We stand by the findings of the medical examiner's report."
That's from Donna Greene, the medical examiner's office, Westchester County.
The other families are also speaking out to us and we'll talk about that and question this more.
Back in 60 seconds.
KING: Dominic, what's your theory as to what happened?
Do you think she suffered a medical problem?
What do you -- what do you think happened?
BARBARA: Well, we're not sure totally. One thing we have learned is that her body was charred. And I read from the medical autopsy report that there was charring of the body because there was a fire. And I found -- my doctors have found numerous cases where you can actually have the sugar in the blood turn into alcohol.
But I don't know if that's it.
What I really believe occurred is a TIA, which is a type of a stroke that would not have shown up necessarily. And I know later we're having a medical expert on. But TIA driving can -- can cause a lot of the things that happened here.
What she tells us we know is that A, she couldn't see; and, B, that she was having problems speaking. Yet, she gets back in the car. That is so not right for this woman.
BARBARA: Weird is a -- is a -- it's a good word. And she leaves her phone on the bridge.
KING: All right, Dominic...
BARBARA: ...the Tappan Zee Bridge.
KING: I -- I'm going back to the original that I asked Daniel. And we may repeat -- I don't want to be repetitive. It's -- it's all gone. Everybody is gone.
Why are we continuing with this?
BARBARA: Well, I think that's...
KING: What -- where are you going to take this to?
BARBARA: Well, A...
KING: Where is he taking it?
BARBARA: A, I think, that's a very fair question, Larry.
Number one, this man -- and we've spoken about this for hours with his family. He refuses to accept -- he refuses to accept that she was drunk at all. He -- he just will not accept that.
KING: OK. All right.
BARBARA: But beyond that...
KING: All right.
So why can't we leave it at that?
BARBARA: But beyond that, he also wants the answers to how and why all this occurred. And I believe that -- and it's occurred, as the public gets involved -- and, by the way, through a poll, 60 percent of America now believes that she did not intentionally get drunk and cause this accident. Sixty percent of America.
And number two, what's most important is, if you know, everything about her -- and this is not a case where she's a hidden alcoholic or a secret alcoholic or she drank once in a while in the closet. That never occurred.
Why did she get back in that car with the people she loved more than anyone -- her nieces, three of them, and her own children?
BARBARA: What happened?
KING: A number of families have been impacted by this tragedy. More on that, their statements and more questions after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM AUGUST 6, 2009)
IRVING ANOIK, BASTARDI FAMILY ATTORNEY: Inconceivable, at least from my vast experience as a lawyer, that nobody in this -- of the deceased, the driver's family, was aware of the fact that she had a drinking problem or a drug problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We received this statement, guests, from the attorney for the Longo family. Here are the first public comments from them since the accident: "The scientific evidence indicates that Diane Schuler was intoxicated and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash. Any claims denying her responsibility for this tragedy are wholly unsubstantiated. And the Longo family thinks -- feels -- finds these claims appalling, offensive and hurtful. They have lost a loved one to a senseless tragedy and these claims do nothing but add insult to injury."
How would you respond to that, Daniel?
DANIEL SCHULER: We all lost loved ones and she wasn't drunk. It's a tragic accident.
KING: They're saying that you're hurting them...
DANIEL SCHULER: ...something happened.
KING: They're saying, in a sense, Daniel, that by -- by doing this press conference and appearing here tonight, you're prolonging their agony.
DANIEL SCHULER: Larry, if you lost a loved one, wouldn't you want to find out the truth of what happened?
DANIEL SCHULER: I know the truth.
KING: Would I...
DANIEL SCHULER: I know the truth of what happened with my wife. She's not an alcoholic. She doesn't drink. She's an outstanding mother.
BARBARA: You know, Larry it's...
KING: All right, one of the...
BARBARA: I'm sorry.
KING: Hold it, Dominic. Hold it, Dominic. Hold it.
BARBARA: Yes, sir.
KING: Give me another explanation, Daniel, for the vodka bottle. You mentioned pina colada. That's made with rum.
JAY SCHULER: No...
KING: And why wasn't the vodka bottle at the camper?
BARBARA: No, they used the vodka for pina colada, by the way. But that's irrelevant.
KING: I asked it of -- of Daniel, Dominic.
BARBARA: Yes, sir.
KING: What was the vodka bottle doing in a car?
DANIEL SCHULER: My wife packed all the bags that day in the camper and leaves them by the door. I carry them from the camper to the trucks. I'm very surprised that the vodka bottle was in there. I had no idea.
KING: Well, does it give you...
DANIEL SCHULER: I don't know why she brought it home.
KING: Does it give you pause to think that maybe -- just maybe she was a drinker and you didn't know it?
DANIEL SCHULER: I've been with her 13 years. Absolutely not.
BARBARA: But, Larry, remember that the medical examiner -- you know, when the case first came out and I got involved and I said she wasn't an alcoholic, I was highly criticized by everyone and made fun of by certain newspapers.
The police and the medical examiner tell us she was not an alcoholic. I've never heard of that being said by a police department and a medical examiner in any case. For them to...
KING: How can they say that?
How would they know?
BARBARA: By examining her -- I'll give you the quote, Larry. It's from their press release that -- by: "Based on the examination of the liver" -- this is from them, not from me -- "the pancreas, the esophagus, the stomach, she was not an alcohol user."
This was not a -- you know, Larry...
KING: Well, then, so you're saying their reports are contradictory of each other?
BARBARA: Absolutely. And I'm not blaming them...
KING: They're saying she used alcohol that morning, but she wasn't an alcohol user. That don't make sense.
BARBARA: Now you're wondering what we're wondering about. And if you speak to (INAUDIBLE) about...
JAY SCHULER: Yes.
KING: So what is it, a plot, Dominic?
BARBARA: No. Of course not, Larry. Please. And the sympathy...
KING: All right. What is it then?
BARBARA: The sympathy that this man feels and his family feels for the other people is so clear. He's cried in my office more than once.
Something happened. My client believes that she never drank at all that day. I hear about the alcohol. Now, there are various things that have caused -- could have caused that testing to be alcohol, but no one yet has been able to prove that. The charring of the body -- I have one case where a state trooper lost his pension to (INAUDIBLE) because he allegedly had an accident drunk. The car burnt. They later found out, "he was not drunk."
KING: Would -- would...
BARBARA: It was a mistake by the fire.
KING: Would we...
BARBARA: But it's almost the...
KING: All right.
BARBARA: I'm sorry, sir.
KING: Would we learn more -- would we learn more -- do you want the body exhumed?
BARBARA: Well, we're going to announce it tonight -- yes.
BARBARA: The body will be exhumed.
KING: You're going to have to pay the costs, right?
BARBARA: Of course. That's not a problem. I'm the one (INAUDIBLE)...
KING: And you're asking the body to be exhumed for more medical -- is that automatic, Dominic?
Will it be exhumed?
BARBARA: No, it's not automatic...
KING: Don't you...
BARBARA: No, sir. I didn't mean to interrupt you, Larry. No, it's not automatic, but we have enough cause and reason to. Remember, one of the issues still left is the child coming home to live with the father, which I am sure will also not be a problem.
But, you know, I think your question is so fair and right from your heart, why do this?
BARBARA: But I know you, Larry, for 40 years.
Let me ask you again, if this -- God forbid -- was your -- your family, would you want to know the bottom line and do anything to find out?
Larry, what's your answer?
KING: I can answer that. I'd be torn, because I'd be in total -- I'd be whacked out. If my wife wasn't a drinker, I would be questioning this. But I don't know how much I'd carry -- frankly, I think I might just go away. If everybody involved is dead and I've got a 5-year-old boy that I've got to raise, I would deeply apologize to those who are dead...
BARBARA: Which he does.
KING: ...and I would put it away. I think I'd put it away.
KING: I think -- I don't know what I'd continue.
What do I gain from it?
BARBARA: There's no doubt he deeply apologizes and has. This is a very simple man.
You know how many times he's been in New York City in his life?
Three times. He lives on Long Island. This is a man who likes to go out fishing and have a simple life.
KING: No, you asked me what I might do. I might just go away.
BARBARA: And yet you might also say I have to know.
JAY SCHULER: Right.
BARBARA: Because I know you...
KING: All right...
BARBARA: ...40 years, Larry. I've got a feeling...
KING: Let me get a break.
All right. Let me get a break.
Daniel Schuler has hired an investigator to conduct an independent look at the crash. His findings have added to the controversy and he's next.
KING: In a moment, we'll meet Tom Ruskin, president of CMP Protective & Investigative Group. His company is investigating the crash for Daniel Schuler.
First, a statement from Joseph Longo, the brother of Daniel Longo, who died in the crash: "Up until this time, my family and I have not given any statement to the press or media. We just want to grieve in private. The loss of my brother, Dan Longo, has left a wound that will probably never heal. I want Daniel Schuler to know that he keeps inflicting more pain on all concerned by once again going to the media to try and paint a picture after perfect wife and mother. Diane Schuler is the one that killed my brother Dan, his friends, Guy and Michael, her own nieces, her own child. The perfect wife and mother who was drunk and high on pot. Daniel Schuler, my family and I pray for your little boy to recover fully from his injuries. Our hearts hurt for him."
For the record, we also asked the Hans and the Bastardi families for statements. They declined to provide them.
All right. Tom Ruskin, you're the investigator on behalf of Daniel. What have you found?
TOM RUSKIN, CMP GROUP INVESTIGATIONS: What we found is everything contrary to the fact that she was drinking that day. We found that she left the campground at around 9:30. Daniel left right in front of her.
At that point in time, they proceeded -- Diane and the kids proceeded to the McDonald's. The police have said that in analyzing the video from McDonald's that day that they see nothing unusual in her behavior.
We know she was at McDonald's until 10:40 that morning. We found, my firm, and my investigators, found in a convenience store right in close proximity to the McDonald's, we found that Diane pulls in with the minivan owned by her brother and enters that convenience store after filling up her car or the minivan with gas.
She proceeds and she looks around the store, looking for something. She then comes back and you see her very clearly on the video engaging the store clerk in a conversation. The store clerk had given us a statement which says that he -- independently remembers Diane Schuler.
He didn't know it was the woman involved in the Taconic Parkway accident. He remembers her. And he picked her out of the video as we were going through the video of that day. He said that's the woman who came in and was looking for Tylenol or Advil gel caps. He didn't have it.
She departs and you see her very clearly walking in and walking out of that store. What appears to be a totally normal walk and gaunt and getting back into the car and leaving. We then know that she proceeded down Route 17 eastbound. KING: All right, Tom.
KING: That's -- that very indicative. And you're a veteran investigator.
KING: So, it's your conclusion that the medical examiner is totally wrong. The New York Police -- the police division, state police, are totally wrong, everybody is wrong but you.
RUSKIN: I'm not -- I'm not saying that she didn't have alcohol in her system. I haven't been able to determine that one way or the other. Daniel Schuler and the Schuler family felt so convinced in -- in Diane's reputation and her background which substantiate so far by our investigation that they went out and they paid their good money for private investigation firm to come in and look at this and take it where it leaves it.
So we had found that Diane Schuler had left the five kids in the car and going to a bar that day, we would be telling the Schuler family that's what we found. We haven't found that, Larry. And in all my years -- and I will tell you that I spent eight years in the narcotics divisions, the New York City Police Department, making hundreds of arrests in my career, and I will tell you that I had never heard someone be able to tell me when someone smoked pot and what their THC levels are and make that indicative that they smoked pot 15 to 30 minutes before.
I've never heard that, in all my years, 31 years of investigating. I've never heard of that.
KING: OK. We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Jay Schuler, I want to ask you. Do you support Daniel's quest to not go away and continue this fight?
J. SCHULER: Absolutely, Larry. This isn't Diane. This isn't the Diane we know. To answer to all the families that are wondering why we are doing this, we're doing it because I -- if that was their loved one, they would want this done, too.
This isn't Diane. She's a wonderful mother, wonderful friend. And Diane would want us to do this, to fight for her, to say that -- you know, she can't rest in peace. We can't have her rest in peace until we can clear her. And make this -- you know, try. Make it happen. That's we hired Tom, we have Dominic. This is what we want because we -- we don't feel she can rest.
KING: Daniel, what about this toothache question?
D. SCHULER: She's had a toothache for a while. A good two months. But Dominic knows a lot more about it.
BARBARA: Well, to mention there's a toothache is -- she had an abscess in the right upper side of her mouth. It was two months old. That day she was looking for -- we can prove -- some sort of medication.
BARBARA: I am not suggesting at all that the Ambosol or anything else is what turned into alcohol. That's the silliest comment anyone could think. But I will tell you how bad that abscess was. And that's what we want to look at, that that might have caused the TIA that we believe she had.
Something happened to this woman. Something created something that caused her to get back in that car -- caused her...
KING: Tom Ruskin -- Tom Ruskin, a veteran investigator, former police officer, what's your theory?
RUSKIN: I don't know what my theory is as of yet. We have investigators out every single day taking down the route and going up and down that highway, looking for any type of leads. What we do know is this. At 12:08, she had a phone conversation with her brother's family and during that conversation, not only was Diane coherent, responsive, she was engaged.
They were talking about future plans between the families. Diane was the only person on that two-minute conversation from 12:10 when that phone call ended to 12:58 something happened. Something changed because at 12:58, when Emma, her 9-year-old niece, engages her family in a conversation, she says that there's something wrong with Aunt Diane.
That -- Diane is confused, Diane is slurring, they hear it in the background. Now something happened in that 48-minute period.
KING: You have no theory?
RUSKIN: It sort of defies logic that someone could consume 10 ounces.
KING: All right.
RUSKIN: Ten shots of alcohol -- one shot every five minutes.
KING: Let's ask -- All right, let's ask -- Daniel, what is your theory?
D. SCHULER: I believe...
KING: What do you think happened to your wife?
D. SCHULER: I believe she had a stroke. Something to do with her teeth.
KING: With the teeth?
BARBARA: Larry, you have to remember now, what -- our investigator has not told you yet, that we went to 30 bars, 30 liquor stores. Not one person has ever come forward and said they ever saw Diane drink. Not drunk. Drink.
RUSKIN: Larry, to the contrary, we have interviewed dozens and dozens and dozens of people who knew Diane, who worked with her, who were her bosses, who just knew her casually from stores and other things in the area which they lived.
Not one person, not one, has ever seen her drunk, including her own family. That has to raise...
KING: OK. All right.
RUSKIN: That has to raise your mind.
KING: Obviously. All right, Daniel and Dominic will remain. When we come back, we're going to be joined by Dr. Drew Pinsky, the psychologist, the host of VH1 "Celebrity Rehab" and author of "The Mirror Effect," and our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta who is CNN's chief medical correspondent. Not only that, in addition to being a brain surgeon, he's also a certified medical examiner.
That's all next.
KING: All right. Daniel Schuler remains. Dominic Barbara remains. Tom Ruskin is also hanging around in case another question comes up for him, the independent investigator. And joining us in Atlanta is Dr. Sanjay Gupta and here in Los Angeles, Dr. Drew Pinsky.
All right, Sanjay, you are a certified medical examiner, as well. I didn't know that until tonight, by the way. What -- is an autopsy report, that's it, bona fide, exactly, if they say it, that's it?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, with regard to the toxicology tests which you've talked about quite a bit there, those are pretty reliable tests. And when you're talking about blood alcohol levels, you're talking about THC levels which give you some indication of potential time course of when -- when THC entered the body.
But those are reliable tests. The autopsy results -- I have not seen independently myself, Larry, so it's a little bit hard for me to comment on those. But they do look at all these things that are, you know, indicative of, you know, both short-term and long-term use of alcohol, for example, which you talked about.
KING: Sanjay, would bringing the body up help?
GUPTA: Well, you know -- I guess in part that depends on what the question is that you're trying to answer. You know lots of different theories, I have been listening to your whole show. I'm not sure that you'd answer any of those theories.
Let me give you an example. Transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is something that I heard mentioned earlier. And this basically is a temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain. Now it's transient and that's part of the definition. So you probably wouldn't find anything in particular on an autopsy.
There was a mention of tooth abscess. You may see evidence of an infection around the teeth. But as far as what that potentially caused, I don't think you're going to be able to draw any cause and effect here, Larry.
KING: Sanjay, the New York state police say she had six grams of alcohol in her stomach that had yet to be metabolized. What is that suggest?
GUPTA: Well, you know, when you're sort of trying to measure blood alcohol levels you're looking at what's already entered the bloodstream and this is a statement of what was still potentially going to, you know, cross through stomach lining and enter the bloodstream as well.
So, you know, it basically is just common mechanics here. There was more alcohol that was still possibly going to enter the bloodstream at some point.
KING: Dr. Pinsky, what's your read on this first? You're not a medical doctor.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, "CELEBRITY REHAB": No, I'm a medical doctor. I'm an internist by (INAUDIBLE). It makes me wonder whether or not she became what's called cephlopathic from the infection and maybe impulsively took some substances to try to get relief or because she was disorganized didn't understand what she was doing.
KING: Swallow ahead a bottle of vodka?
PINSKY: She was trying to get pain meds. You know, Dr. Gupta, I'm interested in your thoughts. I mean could she have had an endocarditis, with a mycotic aneurysms and a TIA on that basis? Could she have been encephalopathic from the tooth abscess and then impulsively taken something down?
I mean, it's a bizarre circumstance no matter how you add it up and I start adding up theories like that, because if indeed, you're an alcoholic or drug user, you should see an organ damage which, I guess, they did not on the toxicology.
KING: No liver damage, Dr. Gupta.
GUPTA: No evidence of long-term alcohol use. And Drew brings up a couple of interesting points. One thing, I think, and I think Drew would agree with this, is that it sounds like from the description here, something happened relatively suddenly.
So when you start talking about some sort of encephalitis, or encephalopathy, you know, you think someone who have been sick maybe for some time, if they had an infection, that was severe enough to cause mycotic aneurysms, which are basically aneurysms, weakening of the blood vessels caused by infection.
You know, had she had a significant illness at some point that led to that. I don't know. You know, it is -- you hear this -- description. She was fine up until a certain point. Makes it sound like something relatively sudden happened.
KING: I want to take a break and I want see if you agree with Daniel Schuler continuing to -- want of a better term -- fight this. Don't go away.
KING: Before we get back to the discussions, I want to remind you about our exclusive interview, Chris Brown tomorrow night. Here's a sneak peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: When you look at this, do you feel like you're looking at someone else?
CHRIS BROWN, SINGER: Yes. From the outside looking in. When you see on TV when they're saying this, when they're saying that...
KING: You punched her a number of times.
KING: You threatened to beat the blank out of her. When you got home, also said you were going to kill her. You bit her on the ear and things, now you hear all that.
KING: Obviously, this is always the despair when (INAUDIBLE) -- you don't feel like a violent person at all.
KING: In fact, you appear rather calm. Rather nice. So what happened to you? Do you think?
BROWN: Well, I just have to say, I guess that night, just -- a night I wish I could take back, you know, and I really regret, and I feel totally ashamed of what I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's Chris Brown exclusive. 9:00 Eastern, Pacific -- 6:00 Pacific tomorrow night. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper for what's coming up on "AC 360." Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Larry, we've got new details about the man who allegedly kidnapped Jaycee Dugard nearly two decades ago. We're going to speak with a man who knew that Jaycee and her daughters, and also Nancy Garrido. The woman who married Phillip Garrido in a prison waiting room. What did she know and why didn't she speak out? Details on that tonight.
Also, California burning. A massive wildfire raging out of control. The fire shows no sign of letting up. I'll have a live report from the fire line.
And a"360 Special Investigation." The illegal trade of human body parts. People selling their own organs on a thriving black market. It's against the law, of course. The organs are being transplanted in U.S. hospitals. Details on that and more tonight, Larry, on "360".
KING: Is there ever a dull day, Anderson? Ever?
COOPER: I wish there was.
KING: Anderson Cooper, "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. Before we get back with Daniel and Dominic and their comments on what we just heard from Doctors Gupta and Pinsky -- Dr. Gupta, how unusual would it be for a medical examiner's office to get a toxicology report wrong?
GUPTA: Unusual with regard to these two substances, in particular. Alcohol testing, it's a widely performed test. You usually look at sensitivity of a test to figure out how sensitive and the specificity. It's a good test. You can measure levels and they can do that pretty quickly. It sounds like they did.
With regard to THC, maybe not as good as alcohol but still pretty good. I think it may be hard to tell the exact levels. But you can get some idea of time force as to when these substances entered the body.
KING: All right. Daniel, doesn't this, therefore, puzzle you?
SCHULER: Absolutely, it does. Larry, it's just not true. And I won't rest...
KING: Hold it. Hold it. Dominic, he's her husband. What do you make of it?
BARBARA: Well, I think I'd like to ask both doctors the following question if I may, please, Larry?
KING: You may. But why don't I have Daniel answer my question first?
BARBARA: I'm sorry. I thought you said my name. KING: Daniel -- then I'll get to you.
BARBARA: I apologize.
KING: Daniel, what do you make of it? That's all right. Daniel?
SCHULER: Larry, it's not true.
KING: What do you make of the conflicts?
SCHULER: I don't know what to make of it. Someone messed up somewhere. And I don't know...
KING: All right, Dominic, what do you want to ask our doctors?
BARBARA: I apologize, Larry.
KING: Go ahead.
BARBARA: Doctors, assuming the following, if I may, she doesn't drink. The medical examiner's report said she's not an alcoholic. Yet, to believe all of this she drank eight to 10 ounces of vodka in 10 to 15 minutes. Most of it undigested in her stomach.
Would both of you say something had to happen, whether it was the abscess or some other TIA type of event or something that...
KING: All right. We got it. Dr. Pinsky, what you would say?
PINSKY: I think that is a potential theory. That she impulsively somehow took some substances in an attempt to gain relief from whatever she was experiencing in an altered state. That's a viable explanation.
I must say, I mean, there are things -- it's a mystery, let's face it. I mean I -- it's just a horrible situation. And it's still shrouded in mystery. You know alcohol is a substance that people use to hide their drinking. But yet she has no end organ damage to suggest that she is a regular user.
She has something in his vodka...
KING: The vodka...
PINSKY: What did I say? Did I say alcohol?
PINSKY: Yes, vodka is something that people use to hide their drinking of alcohol. And, you know, so there's no evidence that she is a chronic user on the pathology specimens. And yet, I would trust the results if there was something there. But I would try to come with some explanation as to why this woman ...
KING: Do you... PINSKY: ... in an altered state would have done this.
KING: Do you understand why Daniel continues to...
PINSKY: I -- a little bit. But I sort of feel like you. I would just...
KING: He should go away?
PINSKY: I would just -- yes.
KING: Dr. Gupta, what do you make of Daniel's continuing to trying to bring this to some fruition that favors his side?
GUPTA: I -- I don't know, Larry. Emotionally, I'm sure, this is an incredibly -- just a -- I couldn't even imagine what it feels like. So I don't know. You know? And to bring it to some sort of closure seems like will be the right thing to do.
You know, to Dr. Pinsky's point, that, you know, whether -- what the impetus was to try and drink that much alcohol if that's, in fact, what happened, you know, who knows? I haven't heard a TIA, for example, causing someone to become impulsive that way or even a complex partial seizure, again, which a thing that could come up suddenly.
GUPTA: Who knows? Yes. He's right.
PINSKY: Possible. Possible.
KING: All right, Tom Ruskin, while you're still here, are we ever going to get an answer?
RUSKIN: I hope we can get an answer. This is one of those case that's could in a mystery. I'm hoping we can bring some closure. Two other points I'd like to make.
KING: All right. Quick.
RUSKIN: We'll never know if she drank out of that alcohol bottle because the alcohol bottle was broken. And we'll never really know why she took that road down other than at the time was a very unmarked road that she took south to go in the northbound lanes.
KING: We will get a break and come back with more right after this.
KING: Daniel, you have talked to the parents of the nieces who were killed?
SCHULER: Yes, it's my brother-in-law. We keep in touch. We talk.
SCHULER: They're having a hard time with it. But they're managing slowly, day by day, just like I am.
KING: What do they think about what was the condition of your wife?
SCHULER: They don't believe it either, not for a second.
KING: Dominic, is it possible this is going to be an unsolved mystery?
BARBARA: It might be an unsolved mystery. But I want to thank you for bringing on the experts you brought on, because what they've told us is what we've been saying all along. And it just shows what a fair gentleman you've always been. Thank you, Larry.
KING: All right. Drew, what other areas would you look at? Any recent -- stress issue.
PINSKY: Stress issues. Obviously, previous psychiatric conditions.
PINSKY: Whether or not there's a family -- I understand. But he asked what we would look at. I would look at family history, whether there is a history of alcoholism or addictions, something might have been suddenly and sort of catastrophically precipitated. I tell you, the pieces just don't all fit together. I agree with you.
KING: Supposedly she didn't have an alcohol or drug problem. Could that be -- could you keep a secret like that from a family? You're into stuff like that.
PINSKY: Oh, yes. I'm into stuff like that. Nothing personally but my patients...
KING: You can? You could keep that?
PINSKY: Oh, they can.
KING: Ten years secretive (INAUDIBLE) it?
PINSKY: Not a 10-year history. No, there'd be too much progression after that. But an intermittent binging habit, people could keep it. I would hope they could do a hair analysis or something and try to vindicate things that way. There may be -- you know...
KING: You're here with exhuming the body? PINSKY: You know, it's not my place to agree or disagree, but it certainly could potentially be helpful. I would look very hard at that abscess. I would look at her kidneys to see if there's evidence of chronic deep-seated infection.
I would look more carefully to her liver to see what's really going on there in a microscopic way. You know whether or not there's any evidence of any alcohol use. I've seen things in the lining of the esophagus. These are things that could really be -- an independent person, I think, could really shed some light on this.
KING: Daniel, what do you want to say to the relatives of the people in the other car?
SCHULER: Oh, I say that a drunk driver did not do this to your family. Something medically had to have happened.
BARBARA: And as far as the examination of her kidney, liver, everything, microscopically, no alcohol abuse. Something happened. And if someone with five children in a car that you love dearly had to pick a bottle up and literally gulp eight to ten ounces of vodka, no one without a stroke or something occurring would do it.
KING: We thank all of our guests.
BARBARA: Thank you, Larry.
KING: We hope we have some resolution. We appreciate it. Thanks again, Doctor.
Don't forget, Chris Brown is here tomorrow night. Not dull. "AC 360" is next. Anderson?