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Missing Memphis Baby`s Mother Arrested
Aired September 22, 2010 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RITA COSBY, GUEST HOST: And breaking news tonight. As we go live to Tennessee, major developments in the case of a mother who claimed she gives her 9-month-old baby to a complete stranger. Then the beautiful baby is never seen again. But there`s one problem. Mommy doesn`t call police for eight full days.
Homicide detectives and cadaver dogs searching Mommy`s apartment, real-life CSIs seizing multiple bags of evidence, including baby Lauryn`s carseat, her little walker and her toys. And this just in tonight. It looks like the mom`s story is not adding up. The missing baby`s mother has just been arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Admitted she gave her baby to a stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother says the baby actually was handed over to a stranger.
COSBY: The woman who says that she gave her baby, a 9-month-old baby, to a stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did not seem distraught in the slightest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole story stinks.
COSBY: This smells fishy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This stinks from the get-go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reports that police are not buying the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Homicide detectives, crime scene technicians and a cadaver dog here on the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Searching the apartment for some kind of forensic evidence to see if there was anything done with the child.
COSBY: Lauryn Dickens, a precious 9-month-old baby girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As of now, the mother, Shakara Dickens, is not a suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did see them remove some small paper sacks and some baby`s toys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think something very, very tragic has happened to this child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And also tonight, EMTs rush to a Georgia home after a frantic 911 call, reports that a 2-year-old girl is severely injured. The baby- sitter claims the toddler falls from a bed. She then picks up the baby, puts her back in bed and just gives her apple juice. But moments later, the 2-year-old is pronounced dead, the baby-sitter claiming it is all an accident, but the autopsy reveals blunt force trauma to the head, torso and even the buttocks. How does all that happen from accidentally falling off of a bed? And in another stunning twist, the baby-sitter is only 11 years old, an 11-year-old charged with murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just horrifying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see my baby laying in the bed. She was really turning blueish! (INAUDIBLE) in the bed like this!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an image Ashlea Collier is having a tough time getting out of her head. She saw her 2-year-old daughter, Zeyda White, near death in her co-worker`s apartment. The 11-year-old and her mother were baby-sitting her daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girl never said that (INAUDIBLE) when I kept asking her, she said that (INAUDIBLE) she put her back in the bed and gave her apple juice and that was it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zeyda was rushed to the hospital, where she died. An autopsy reveals Zeyda didn`t die from a fall from a bed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The result of the death appears to be blunt force trauma.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t understand how anybody could do anything like that. She`s only an 11-year-old girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The medical examiner says she died from trauma to her head, torso and buttocks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zeyda`s mother wants the 11-year-old to face the harshest penalty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She took my daughter`s life. I feel that that girl should do life. (INAUDIBLE) that girl should not have freedom. She shouldn`t be able to do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And good evening, everybody. I`m Rita Cosby, in for Nancy Grace. Breaking news out of Tennessee. A mother who claims her 9-month- old baby goes missing after she gives her own baby to a stranger -- well, she has just been arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine-month-old Lauryn Dickens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Missing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her mom is locked up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nineteen-year-old Shakara Dickens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say she`s being detained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claims she gave her baby to a total stranger more than a week before she reported little Lauryn missing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has not been officially charged with a crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A crime scene technician removed a number of paper sacks and baby toys from the apartment. The police cadaver dog hit on a scent.
COSBY: What kind of a mother gives her baby away to a stranger?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, when the detectives went and spoke with her, they didn`t believe her story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw the dog enter the apartment after police made entry and heard the dog bark at least two or three times, which means that they did detect some sort of scent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And let`s go to the latest through Jason Miles. He`s a CNN reporter at WMC at the jail. Jason, fill us in on the case.
JASON MILES, WMC CORRESPONDENT: Rita, I can tell you tonight that I`ve just heard that Shakara Dickens may be transferred, as we speak, to the women`s jail facility here in the Memphis area. She`s been here at what we call the criminal justice center all day, talking, presumably, to detectives about this case, who are still focused on finding her missing 9- month-old child.
Police put this press release out earlier today, insisting this continues to be classified as a missing persons case. They put in all caps, "At this point in the investigation, no charges have been filed."
You mentioned the 19-year-old mother was taken into custody, arrested, booked into the jail here. But so far, no charges have been filed. The charge on which she is being held is aggravated child abuse. It`s what`s called a 48-hour hold, meaning police have 48 hours to charge her or set her free -- Rita.
COSBY: Let`s go to Nicole Partin, our investigative reporter with the show, who`s also in Nashville. Nicole, last night -- and we were live on the show. I remember we had great items that were being taken from the apartment. Can you tell us what they seized from this woman`s apartment?
NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (via telephone): Good evening, Rita. It`s great to be with you again. Yes, yesterday, police investigators, homicide detectives, cadaver dogs, combed the apartment where 9-month-old baby Lauryn lived before her mother supposedly gave her away to a stranger. Items were removed, such as a high chair, the walker, the carseat, brown paper bags filled with items. Neighbors are saying they saw police and investigators carry out toys and belongings of this little 9-month-old baby.
There was no body discovered, but yet those crime scene investigators were there. They had the cadaver dogs there. And then shortly thereafter, around four minutes after 6:00 last evening, the mother was booked. She now is in jail. As we`ve been told, she`s there being questioned on this aggravated child abuse charge, very serious charge in the state of Tennessee. This is a class A felony in our state. And due to the age of the child, this alone carries a sentence of somewhere between 15 and 60 years just if she`s found guilty of the aggravated child abuse.
COSBY: So it`s something significant. So is the sense there, Nicole, they`re trying to squeeze her?
PARTIN: I do think so. I believe that they`re -- you know, the pressure is on. They`ve gone in. They`ve obviously collected a lot of evidence, and it was after that evidence was collected, after the detectives spent most of the afternoon there, that she was arrested.
COSBY: Let`s go to Steve Kardian. He is a former police detective, also self-defense expert. You know, Steve, when you hear this -- and we heard the items that Nicole was talking about, you know, bringing out the baby seat, the walker, bags, black -- you know, brown bags being carried out -- what does all this say to you? What are they looking for?
STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE: Rita, they`re looking for DNA evidence, hair and fiber evidence, anything to indicate that there may have been something done to that child that would show up in forensic testing. And that coupled with the dog giving a positive indication that there was a cadaver scent in there, it`s a good indication that they likely have information that they have that they`re holding very close to the vest, thus the reason that she`s being held and charged.
COSBY: Let`s go to Dan Horowitz, defense attorney, my dear old friend. Great to have you with us. Dan, you know...
DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s great to see you, Rita.
COSBY: ... this stuff so well. You know cadaver dogs. You know -- you know, sort of, these typical cases. How accurate are cadaver dogs? Are they able to detect it`s a dead person versus a living person, Dan?
HOROWITZ: Well, in the general sense, yes, Rita. But I`m not so enthused with them, as many people are. I think that if there`s a dead body in rubble, they`re great. But if a body has just been dragged through, like in the Peterson case, I don`t see how the dogs are very reliable in picking up very faint scents. You know, I think about, what does a cadaver dog do in a cemetery? Does it go to the freshest grave or a grave so old that it sees nothing? Same thing in this case. And particularly in the child`s home, I think it`s not going to reveal much.
COSBY: You know, Sue Moss, attorney, I got to ask you about this. They smelled something unusual in the apartment. That`s according to neighbors. A neighbor said that it smelled, it stunk. There was some foul odor. And when they asked what was it -- he said it smelled like something was dead inside.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely. The defense of Dickens is slim pickings. What`s her excuse, that Zenaida Gonzalez was no stranger? Didn`t she learn anything from this show? The fact that there was the scent of death that was found by these dogs is going to be devastating. She`s certainly not get out of jail after she`s charged with this felony child abuse! She`s going and going long to jail for a very long time!
COSBY: Yes, they`re clearly trying to squeeze her. They`re trying to get her in there for something and hope that she`s going to crack on something else, if that`s the case.
Let`s go to Alex Sanchez, defense attorney. Alex, you know, we`re also hearing she gave conflicting stories. Your child is missing, and you can`t keep your story straight?
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, giving inconsistent stories is always a problem for the defense because if they...
COSBY: Yes, I would say it`s a huge problem!
SANCHEZ: If they go to trial later on, the prosecution is going to say, Wait a minute, you said one thing at one point and said something else at another point. But Rita, I think the authorities are giving conflicting information. Either she`s charged with a crime or she`s not charged with a crime because in this country, you just can`t hold and detain somebody. This is -- you know, we`re not -- this is not Afghanistan or another country where you can just hold somebody.
COSBY: But wait a minute!
SANCHEZ: She must have...
COSBY: Alex! Alex!
SANCHEZ: ... some type of criminal offense against her...
COSBY: Alex! Alex, she...
SANCHEZ: ... that she`s been charged with.
COSBY: ... did! She -- first of all, she didn`t report her child missing for eight days. I understand -- I understand the law. But don`t you kind of zero in? Clearly, cops were onto her from day one. You wait eight days, you give your baby to a stranger?
SANCHEZ: Fine. She may have done something wrong.
COSBY: Fine? Beyond fine!
SANCHEZ: But they have to -- they have to charge her in order to continue holding her. And from what I`m hearing, they haven`t charged her with anything. So what`s the legal grounds to keep her in jail?
COSBY: Yes, they had to have something that they`re justifying. They also had to have something to justify the search warrant, too.
Nicole, do we know what they used to justify the search warrant going in and what they had to sort of base that they`re holding her on?
PARTIN: All we know, according to the police authority there in Memphis, is that she has not been charged. They keep stressing that to us. But she is being held for questioning, and they keep going back to this aggravated child abuse investigation. And they`re basing this on the fact that her child was missing for eight days, then she calls the authorities and says, I have given my child away. And therefore, you know, according to the state code of our law for this charge, she has endangered her child by misplacing or giving the child away or losing a child for eight days.
COSBY: Very interesting. Let`s go to Jason Miles, who`s right there on the scene at the jail. He`s a CNN reporter with WMC. I understand there`s some big new development just happened.
MILES: Forgive me if I`m winded, Rita, but we saw Shakara Dickens being led out of 201 Poplar (ph), as we call it here, the criminal justice center behind me, by some detectives. She was put into a squad car. I asked her some questions as she was being cuffed and stuffed, if you will. She answered none of them -- like, Where is Lauryn? Did you have anything do with her disappearance? Is there any foul play, Shakara? She answered no questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, the conversations that she had with the police have alerted them to the fact that this whole story is bogus. They don`t believe anything. The cadaver dogs are an indication of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities say the mother, 19-year-old Shakara Dickens, told them she gave away her daughter, Lauryn, to a total stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initial report of this missing baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn`t report it to police for eight days.
COSBY: For eight days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eight days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For eight days.
COSBY: Eight long days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight days after the mother says the baby.
COSBY: This beautiful baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was handed over to a stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: White female, 40 to 50 years old, eyeglasses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, the mother is coming out with a story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something happened to this child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) shoulder-length straight hair, khaki capri pants, white closed-toe sandals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The child wasn`t given away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s panicking and moving to cover her tracks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since then, the mother has not seen any sign of little Lauryn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And some more developments literally as we`re here on the air. Let`s go to Jason Miles, who`s the CNN reporter at WMC. He`s right outside the jail. You just got a look at the mom. What did she look like? What was her demeanor like?
MILES: Well, Rita, I got a tip that she may be coming out. It appears to be a simple transfer from this jail to the women`s jail facility here in Memphis. She had her head down as she was taken to a squad car nearby. She did not answer a single question I threw at her, including, you know, Do you know where baby Lauryn is tonight, Shakera, or Shakara? We`ve heard both pronunciations. I asked her if she had anything to do with the disappearance, if there was any foul play afoot, does she have anything to say to all the people now nationwide concerned about the welfare of her child. And again, she said nothing to me, Rita.
COSBY: Let`s go to Wendy Walsh. She is a psychologist, expert on Momlogic.com. You know, Wendy, when I hear this and I hear the demeanor that Jason says just seems sort of, you know, lackadaisical -- he also spoke with her a couple of days before also. She seemed sort of, you know, not hysterical. What kind of a mother, first of all, doesn`t report for eight days that their child is missing, if that`s true? And then what kind of a mother is not frantic?
WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: A teenage mother who`s completely detached from her infant and probably resents the fact that she`s been burdened with one. I mean, this young mother is 19 years old. If you do the math, that means conceivably, she could have been impregnated when she was 17. From what I understand, the baby daddy is in jail.
And my big question is always, Where`s the extended family? There should be four wise adults who have a biological interest in this child besides the parents. They`re grandparents. Where are the aunties? Where are the cousins? Where`s the support for a teenage mom?
Not letting her off the hook by any means, but explaining how she`s in some kind of state where she`s emotionally not able to be attached or even seem to show any caring for her child. So I want to know what`s going on with the whole family.
COSBY: Yes. And also, by the way, if you have a trouble with your child, you know, you can`t handle it for financial, emotional reasons, as you`re talking, Dr. Walsh, then give it to somebody who loves the child! Give it to a relative. Give it to a dear friend, not some, quote, "stranger," which I don`t buy the story whatsoever!
Let`s go to the callers, if we could. Let`s go to Anita from Maryland. What`s your question tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Ms. Cosby. I have a comment and a question. These women that are having these babies, thinking a man is going to stick with them at the expense of all these children, and they`re killing them -- what makes them think they`re going to get away with in, all this forensic stuff going on?
But my question is, did she have any history of -- through her family or, you know, brothers and sisters, of any mental problems? And what happened to the brother of the little girl who`s missing?
COSBY: You know, Anita, those are both great questions. Let`s go to Nicole Partin, who is our investigative reporter, who`s on the scene there. Nicole, do we know any history whatsoever with this woman, any mental history? And also, what`s the state also that she was bringing up, Anita, in terms of the son? There was another boy. I think he was around 4 or 5.
PARTIN: Yes. We don`t know much about her as far as a mental past. But we do know that she has a prior arrest in 2009. She was arrested, apparently, with the father of the child, Benjamin Norfleet, during a car theft crime. Now, charges against her were dropped. But she does have That on her record.
As far as another child, neighbors are saying and confirming that there was a young boy, 4 to 5 years old, who was living in the apartment. I have tried to contact both Shakara`s family, as well as the father of the young child, Benjamin`s family. All of those numbers have been disconnected. We don`t know where this little 4 or 5-year-old boy is, if he is a biological brother, a biological sibling. We`re not sure of that. We don`t know where he is at this point.
COSBY: Let`s go to Vicky from Arizona on the line. Vicky, what`s your question tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually have two, Rita. First, I would like to know what did take the investigators so long to get their search warrants. And number two, could she be being held just until the cops can develop her case or bring upon additional charges?
COSBY: Both are good questions. And I do believe that they`re using to squeeze her. This is a typical scenario. And also, why did it take so long? They had to piece it together. They got to be careful. Before you accuse somebody of anything, they got to be real careful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lauryn Dickens was last seen wearing a brown onesie with one pink flower and pink dots. She stands 1 foot, 9 inches tall, and weighs 17 pounds. Memphis police say Lauryn Dickens`s mother, Shakara, admitted she gave her baby to a stranger and did not report it to police for days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shakara Dickens reported Lauryn missing eight days after she says she willingly gave the baby to a middle-aged white woman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did have a conversation with her last week through the door of her apartment. She did not appear upset at all. She said she was interested in finding her baby, didn`t know where the baby was and didn`t know anything about the lady who supposedly took the baby. But she did not seem distraught in the slightest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And tonight, 19-year-old Shakara Dickens, who, again, waited eight days to report that her baby is missing -- well, tonight you can see the shot there. She`s wearing a nice orange jumpsuit as she`s being moved after she was having a nice discussion with homicide detectives and then they walked her over to the jail. She is being held now on possible aggravated child abuse charges, and again, at this point, is being investigated, looked into, given the fact that her daughter has not been seen for some time.
Let`s go to our callers, if we could. Let`s go to Dale from California. Dale, what`s your question tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Rita.
COSBY: You`re welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is her family? If they`re not living with her, are they in the area? Are they outside the area? I mean, it seems that she is entirely alone, so...
COSBY: Well, Dale, the baby daddy is behind bars. This is a really nice character. He has a rap sheet a mile long, in fact, for a burglary, a whole bunch of different charges.
But let`s go to Jason Miles. He`s our reporter with the CNN affiliate WMC, who`s outside the jail. Where`s the rest of her family? Where is her mother, father, sisters, brothers?
MILES: It`s the question that keeps coming up, Rita. And I can try to explain here from what I`ve heard from other friends and acquaintances, neighbors in the apartment complex, what we`ve heard from tips to our station. I understand Shakara`s mother has the custody -- in a loose way, perhaps, not a legal way -- of her other child, an older boy, I understand, between 3 and 5 years old, Lauryn`s older brother.
The rumor is -- and this is unconfirmed right now, just speculation -- is that Shakara asked her mother to take care of Lauryn. The mother says, I`m already overwhelmed. I have basically taken care of your son. I don`t have the, you know, resources for this. And that`s kind of when all this other stuff started. I don`t know if she was looking for a way to get out of this situation with her young daughter. But that`s what we`ve been hearing through the grapevine, if you will.
COSBY: Oh! Still no excuse. I mean, this is just shameful! No excuse! Let`s go to Wendy Walsh, if we could, psychologist. You know, like you said, this is sort of like the excuse, Let`s get rid of -- I covered the Susan Smith case, and you know, it was, Oh, woe is me, I was having these troubles. No excuse!
WALSH: Well, no excuse for sure. But let me tell you, she is a teenage mother who probably had baby at 14. I mean...
COSBY: You know, Wendy, I don`t care! I don`t care! I don`t feel sorry for her! I don`t care!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Nine-month-old Lauryn Dickens is still missing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A Tennessee mother who allegedly gave her baby away to a total stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Stranger. Stranger. Stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Didn`t report to it police for eight days.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The whereabouts, a complete mystery.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: 19-year-old Shakara Dickens.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Her mom is locked up.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Told cops she gave her 9-month-old baby away to a stranger.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Unknown female, white, 40 to 50 years old.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Just hours after the baby`s father allegedly told Dickens to give the child to an unknown white female.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hand off.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The baby`s mother says the woman came to her Raleigh apartment complex that day.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Cops say Dickens claims she gave baby Lauryn to the female without knowing who she was or where she lived.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police say she`s merely being detained, not officially charged with a crime.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Lauryn Dickens was last seen wearing a brown onesie, 1`9" tall, 17 pounds.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Now reports emerged police are investigating whether the baby`s father, who is currently behind bars on unrelated charges, knows where Lauryn is.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He told police he knows nothing.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
RITA COSBY, GUEST HOST: And tonight that mother, if you call her a mother, is being walked. You can her there in the orange jumpsuit, being walked after being talked to by homicide detectives back into jail.
She has not been charged yet but could be possibly facing charges of child endangerment and child abuse.
Are they trying to squeeze her? Do they clearly believe that there is much more to this story?
Let`s go to Dr. Leigh Vinocur. I`ve got to ask you a question, Dr. Vinocur, because I find it interesting. They searched the home. We know that they got a hit from a cadaver dog. We know that they took things out. They took the walker. They took the baby seat. They took brown bags full of items.
If there is some DNA in there of this beautiful little baby, would they to be able detect that? Would investigators be able to point that out?
DR. LEIGH VINOCUR, M.D., UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I`m sure if the child lived there, there is some DNA there, right there --
COSBY: But knowing that it is a dead child, unfortunately. I hate to use that word.
VINOCUR: Well --
COSBY: I mean --
VINOCUR: Yes. I mean, I guess they`re going to look for DNA and things related to blood and those types of things. And then also look for prints that don`t match, you know, the parents or the grandparents, supposedly if this woman came, did she come into the house.
But there will be DNA evidence because the child is there. But to actually to find tissue or blood is some of the stuff that they are hoping to find.
COSBY: And Steve Kardian --
VINOCUR: Well, now hoping.
COSBY: -- former police detective, also self-defense expert, it does make it more complex because the child lived there. By taking the car seat, of course the child would have been in the car seat. The child would have been in the walker.
How do you make the distinction that there was actually a crime that took place?
STEVE KARDIAN, FMR. POLICE DETECTIVE, SELF-DEFENSE EXPERT, LEAD INSTRUCTOR AT DEFEND UNIVERSITY: They`re going look for body and tissue samples. Something that may indicate that the child was murdered. They could even -- like in the Caley Anthony case, they found dead hair in the back of that trunk. So those are the items that they`re going to be looking for at that location.
COSBY: Let`s go to Janita from Indiana who`s on the line.
Janita, what`s your question tonight?
JANITA: Well, my question tonight is, is there any way they could ask and check into her financial situation? Maybe she came into a large sum of money from selling the baby or something.
If this child is not dead, the family is awful quiet for no one to be coming forth asking the police to find my child, my grandchild, my niece, my nephew, something. So maybe this child is sold. Maybe the father behind the bar has something to do with it.
COSBY: Very interesting. Let`s go to Dan Horowitz, defense attorney.
Dan, I`m sure they`re looking at her financial records. I`m sure they`re looking at a lot of records right now. And speaking of the dad, the dad claims -- by the way, we spoke to the attorney tonight for the dad.
And the attorney said that the there was no communication, that they didn`t speak by phone, there were no visits, and what`s really significant, Dan, by the that, I think, is that she claims she spoke to the dad and the dad said someone is going to show up tomorrow, a friend, give the baby to this person, and then this, quote, stranger shows up.
So she`s blaming it on the dad. But if we can prove that there was no phone call, no visit, no communication, she is sunk.
DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: See, Rita, you`re so right. You also raise the point of the squeeze play here. I think they`re risking the whole case with the squeeze.
And I`ll tell you why. If they have a cadaver dog saying that there was a dead body n that house and that`s part of the reason they arrested her, not for murder, but to child endangerment, an attorney could go in there, plead her guilty to the child endangerment, which is a much lesser crime, and that might be double jeopardy and block any murder charge because it has the element of the child`s death as part of the reason for the arrest.
And it also might be an illegal arrest because everybody knows that she didn`t endanger that child. She either killed the child or someone else did. She didn`t give it away. So it`s a phony reason to arrest her. It`s a squeeze play. But it`s manufactured. It might not hold up under scrutiny.
COSBY: But, wait a minute. Alex Sanchez, wait a minute. Alex Sanchez, she gave the child away by her own admission to a stranger.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, but you know --
COSBY: How is that not endangering? And she -- by the way, she gives us -- you know the bizarre description, closed toed sandals, you know, gray hair parted in the middle. I mean too exacting. There`s something so fishy about this story.
And even if you take her at her word, somebody shows up, here, have my baby. And I`ll wait eight days to report it, Alex? Come on.
SANCHEZ: I got news for you.
COSBY: Yes, please.
SANCHEZ: The police may have made a very serious tactical and legal blunder here. Because you can`t arrest somebody unless you have probable cause. And because she said a stranger -- she gave her daughter to a stranger, I`m not so certain that rises to the level of probable cause.
And you know what that means? That means that any evidence that comes after this, including a full confession, would be thrown out of court if a judge determines that there was not probable cause for the initial arrest. So they may have blown this entire case from the initial -- from the initial arrest of the defendant.
COSBY: But she`s got conflicting stories, Alex. She`s got conflicting stories.
SANCHEZ: Right. But does that rise to the level of probable cause to make an arrest? Shouldn`t they have waited? Where is she going? She`s 19 years old. They should have waited until they developed further evidence.
COSBY: Well, and that`s an interesting point. Sue Moss -- by the way, and again, everybody, she is not a suspect, she has not been charged yet with anything. She is being questioned, obviously, seriously. Including by homicide detectives.
Did they judgment the gun, Sue Moss?
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY & CHILD ADVOCATE: Absolutely not. They had probable cause for child abuse and for felony child endangerment. She gave this child away in a hump but kept all of this child`s stuff.
By arresting her now they have probable cause to do this search, to go in and when they see that all the kids` toys, all the kid`s clothing, all the kids` accouterment are there, they`re are going to know she didn`t give this child away for a stranger.
If you`re giving the child away, if you`re selling the child, you`re going give all the child`s stuff. If the child`s stuff is still there you know this mom did something even more nefarious.
COSBY: Actually, that`s a great point, Sue. The stuff is still there. If you really care about the child, and this doesn`t sound like a wealthy woman, who had like tons of duplicate items why are you giving -- you know, not giving the car seat? Not giving certain particular items, her favorite toys. It stinks.
Let`s go to Phyllis from Ohio. Phyllis, what`s your question tonight?
PHYLLIS, CALLER FROM OHIO: Hi. I wanted to find out if any of her friends have been questioned or anything.
COSBY: It doesn`t sound like she`s got any friends.
Let`s go to Jason Miles, reporter from affiliate WMC. I think it`s a brilliant question. And we also are hearing before, where is her family? Where is anyone coming forward saying I know this woman? I mean the dad seems to have no contact with her. Does anyone have contact with her?
JASON MILES, REPORTER, CNN AFFILIATE WMC: And we`ve tried to get in touch with both her family and the father`s family. I think one of your correspondents mentioned those numbers have been disconnected.
We had a colleague or two go by physical addresses. They knock on doors. No answers. I`m told that Shakara`s mother does have custody of her other child somewhere here in the Memphis area.
Neighbors in the apartment complex where the baby was reported missing really didn`t know Shakara that well. They say she moved in just a few months ago and really kept to herself. In fact when this baby was reported missing, they didn`t even hear from her coming on -- coming by and knocking on the doors. Things like that.
COSBY: Yes. Which I think is just very telling and shameful in and of itself. Even if you believe her story, there are huge problems with this woman.
Let`s go to Haela from Nevada. Haela, what`s your question tonight?
HAELA, CALLER FROM NEVADA: My question was about the car seat. The significance of -- she would need to give it to the stranger for transportation. Unless she`s already came equipped which would be concerning because I don`t think -- you know, she`d had to give it to her.
COSBY: Yes. And you know, Haela, and Sue Moss just brought up this. I think it`s extremely observant. Because if you care about this child and you really believe you`re giving it over to someone who`s going to take care of it, you`re going to bring all the items.
Steve Kardian, who`s former police detective, self-defense expert, I think it`s extremely observant that these particular things were still there. The other thing we`re also learning, Steve, and I think this just further says, you know, fishy, fishy, fishy.
She also tells authorities, according to reports, that she doesn`t ask for the woman`s name. She doesn`t ask for the woman`s phone number. This is a woman who comes over according to her own story. I mean this doesn`t fit.
KARDIAN: Yes, any reasonable person is not going to believe that. She is a bad criminal. That`s going to aid law enforcement. They are holding this case close to the vest. And I`m sure there is a ton of evidence that they`re withholding from the public and the media right now.
COSBY: Alex Sanchez, if you`re representing her tonight, what do you say to her?
SANCHEZ: I know you`re saying she`s a bad criminal. She`s 19-year- old. She`s married to an ex-convict. She`s under pressure with two kids.
COSBY: Yes. Yes. What a pair they are, huh?
SANCHEZ: And she`s probably a person of marginal intelligence. And I don`t know if she`s such a bad person. And I`m not so sure her stories aren`t true.
COSBY: Come on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police cadaver dog hit on a scent. Nine- month-old Lauryn Dickens is still missing. The crime scene technician removed a number of baby toys from the apartment.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Her whereabouts a complete mystery.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: No body was recovered.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love my baby.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) said her daughter Zeyda was a --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you see the picture of this little girl, your heart breaks.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The girl`s father Tony White said she was a mini version of himself.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: An 11-year-old Atlanta area babysitter -- there is the 2-year-old -- is charged with murdering her.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Her grandmother calls her an angel.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The details are heartbreaking. The toddler`s mother says her little girl was pale and blue when she arrived to pick her up at this apartment building.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It`s hard to justify the loss of a life so young. Harder when it`s another child, an 11-year-old, who`s accused of murdering her.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A 2-year-old Georgia girl is dead and her 11- year-old babysitter is accused of murder. Eleven.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve never seen a child do that to another child. So I don`t have any justification. Actually I`m just numb.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The babysitter told investigators little Zeyda White fell off the bed but an autopsy showed she was beaten in the head, torso and her bottom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The autopsy showed it was blunt force trauma to the head. That indicates a severe head injury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t understand how anybody can do anything like that. An 11-year-old girl.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I`m Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace. EMTs rushed to a Georgia home after a frantic 911 call reports a 2-year-old girl severely injured after falling from a bed. The babysitter claiming it`s an accident. But the autopsy reveals blunt force trauma to the head, torso, even the buttocks.
All those injuries from falling off of a bed? And in a shocking twist, the babysitter is only 11 years old. Charged now with murder.
For the latest let`s go to Eric Jens. He`s the news director with WRGA Radio.
Eric, fill us in on what happened in this case.
ERIC JENS, NEWS DIRECTOR, WRGA RADIO: Thank you very much, Rita. As you said, 2-year-old Zeyda White was left in the care of a 11-year-old babysitter Saturday night.
Sunday morning that young child was pronounced dead at Scottish Rite Children`s Hospital in Atlanta. The babysitter claims that what happened was that the child fell out of a bed to which she reacted by picking the child up, placing her back in the bed, and giving her some apple juice.
However, a preliminary autopsy report indicates otherwise. That`s what led police to these charges. Blunt force trauma to the torso and buttocks as well as a head injury. That led to the charges which police filed and have now led to the arrest of the 11-year-old babysitter. Charge with murder and cruelty to children.
COSBY: Natisha Lance, our NANCY GRACE producer, you know, you`re there on the scene. Natisha, when you hear this, and I was seeing the reports that when the mother of the baby came back to the babysitter the baby didn`t look right.
What -- describe what that baby looked like. This is disgusting.
NATISHA LANCE, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Right. When the mother came back, she found the baby lying in the bed. She said that she was blue, her eyes were wide open, her arms were crossed under her chest -- over her chest and she was unresponsive.
She asked the 11-year-old girl what happened. At first the 11-year- old girl said nothing. Then she asked again. What happened? And that`s when she gave the story that the child had fallen off the bed.
COSBY: Dr. Leigh Vinocur, with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, you hear this. The child is blue. And apparently the other report said that the hands were sort of crossed. The baby was lying on top of the bed.
What does this say to you in terms of what may have happened here? And was that child dead when the mother arrived?
VINOCUR: Yes. Probably. If the child was blue, the child was not breathing. And if the -- it was due to a head injury, probably -- the child probably had died. I mean, CPR probably wouldn`t have made that much of a difference.
And falling off of a bed, there is no way -- I mean, maybe you would have an isolated head injury of such. But blunt force trauma in multiple places and just falling off of a bed, it doesn`t make sense.
COSBY: Dr. Vinocur, that was the question I was going to ask you. You look at torso, buttocks, head. Fall off a bed. Have you ever seen a case like that here? We are looking at this.
VINOCUR: No. Absolutely not that many injuries from a single fall from a bed. You`ve seen kids, they fall, they maybe hit one spot on their head if they hit a dresser and movable object.
They need stitches. They could have a serious head injury from it but you wouldn`t have all of this other trauma, too.
COSBY: Yes. It seems way too much. And clearly cops zero in for them suddenly to make an arrest so quick. There is something else they`ve got, too.
Let`s go to Francesca from Washington state. She`s on the line. Francesca?
FRANCESCA, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: Yes. Hello?
COSBY: Hello there. What`s your question tonight?
FRANCESCA: Yes, my question is if -- the baby had fell from the bed, the baby was -- with all the bruises or the blows to the head or whatever it is, the baby would have been crying.
Why didn`t the 11-year-old mother attend to the baby falling off the bed? And did the 11-year-old even go to her mom and tell her what happened? Because if the baby fell off the bed that hard the baby would have been screaming or crying or in pain.
COSBY: Well -- and that`s a great question. I thought of the same thing, Francesca, because right away, if the baby fell, a responsible person -- and by the way, the mother claims that she thought the baby was not going to be left alone with this babysitter. This 11-year-old babysitter.
That the mother of the babysitter was supposed to be with her, too. She thought there was going to be an adult present. The big question is where was that mother, too? That`s a whole other issue.
But indeed, if she saw the baby fall, wasn`t she instructed, look, if there`s a problem, call? Call your mom. Call me. Do something, call 911.
Sue Moss, attorney, what do you think?
MOSS: She`s an 11-year-old babysitter? What? Were all the sweat shops closed? Where was the adult supervision? The fact that anyone would leave such a young child with another child, that`s also grounds for arrest. That`s absolutely ridiculous and that`s what also led to this tragedy.
COSBY: Alex Sanchez, what could happen potentially? Could any charges come to this mother who is supposed to be with the babysitter, with her daughter? Apparently she`s a co-worker of the mother of this child.
SANCHEZ: Yes, I mean --
COSBY: And she wasn`t there or doesn`t seem -- by the way, there is a report that she showed up to do CPR. How convenient. She`s there for CPR. But we don`t hear anything about a fall, we don`t hear what the mother was doing all this time.
SANCHEZ: I mean, if she had agreed to take custody of that child, and then left the premises in the custody of an 11-year-old, who didn`t have the ability to care for that child, yes, there could be some type of charges against that mother for some form of neglect.
But, you know, one of the possibilities that has come up that I`ve thought about is whether or not this 11-year-old had let some other kids into that apartment. And maybe something happened and she`s afraid to reveal the truth. I think that needs to be looked into.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I seen my baby laying in the bed and she was turning blue. She was in the bed like that. The girl never said that her mom did CPR. When I kept asking her, she said that she fell of the bed and she put her back in the bed and gave her apple juice and that was it.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sandy Springs police were called to an apartment in the Dunnwoody (INAUDIBLE) apartment complex where 2-year-old Zeyda was with a babysitter. The babysitter told police Zeyda she fell from a bed. But an autopsy on Sunday found a head wound that didn`t make sense with that description.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And an 11-year-old babysitter, you heard it right, 11 years old, now charged with murder after saying that the baby fell, the 2-year- old baby fell. Well, authorities say, no, it looks like something much more nefarious. Blunt force trauma to the head, torso and also the buttocks.
Let`s go to Yvonne from Michigan who`s on the line. What`s your question tonight, Yvonne?
YVONNE, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN: Hi, Rita.
YVONNE: Yes. I was wondering why an 11-year-old would be watching a 2-year-old in the first place. And if the mother of the 11-year-old was supposed to be there and she wasn`t, where was she? I wouldn`t have left the baby there in the first place.
COSBY: Yes, absolutely.
Sue Moss, big serious questions here. The mother -- we still don`t know where she is to be found -- she apparently shows up for CPR. Where was she in the critical time?
MOSS: Absolutely. What, were all the 10-year-olds busy? You had to rely on an 11-year-old?
I mean the fact that there was supposed to be adult supervision there, if that is in the case, then that woman may be just as culpable as her daughter in conspiracy for murder. And since the kid may end up just getting juvenile charges, it might leave the mom alone to face murder.
COSBY: And Dan Horowitz, real quick, defense attorney. Because the child`s 11, juvenile, we`re told that it could only be behind bars until the age of 21, correct?
HOROWITZ: Right. And the child gets rehabilitated and taken care of as a wayward child. So it`s not really a criminal charge in the normal sense.
COSBY: Very sad case. Everyone, thank you.
And tonight, let`s stop to remember Marine Corporal Jeffrey Starr, 22, from Snohomish, Washington. Killed in Iraq on a third tour of duty. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal and Combat Action ribbon. He also served in Kuwait.
A climbing wall at a boys and girls club back home has been named in his honor. He dreamed of going to college and eventually joining the CIA. He leaves behinds parents Brian and Shelly, and sisters Hillary and Emily.
Jeffrey Starr, an American hero.
And thank you to all our guests and especially to you at home for being with us tonight. See you tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. sharp Eastern Time. And until then, everybody, have a fantastic evening. I`m Rita Cosby. Goodnight, everyone.