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Body of Missing New Hampshire 11-Year-Old Found

Aired August 1, 2011 - 20:00:00   ET



JANE YOUNG, SR. ASST. NEW HAMPSHIRE ATTORNEY GENERAL We discovered the body of Celina Cass in the Connecticut River in Stewartstown. I would like to extend my sincere condolences on behalf of the state police, the FBI and the attorney general`s office to the friends and the family of Celina Cass, as well as this community, who loved her and who cherished her. We are treating her death as a suspicious death at this time.

Fish and Game divers who were doing a search discovered her body approximately a quarter of a mile from her house and approximately a quarter of a mile from this location. That area was secured. The police began processing the area. Dive teams were sent in and Celina`s body was recovered.

We`re treating it as a criminal investigation based on what we know at this juncture. We have brought Celina home not the way we wanted to bring her home.


DEBORAH NORVILLE, GUEST HOST: Breaking news out of New Hampshire tonight in the search for a 5th Grade little girl who vanished from her own bedroom. Celina Cass was last seen one week ago tonight around 9:00 o`clock in the evening playing on her computer. Her stepdad says he wished her good night, and the next morning, 11-year-old Celina was gone.

This evening, a stunning development, investigators confirming they found a body in the Connecticut River about a quarter of a mile from her home. The body has been identified as that of Celina. The search for Celina Cass has come to an end, but the question now, how did she die?

Good evening, everybody, and welcome. I`m Deborah Norville from "Inside Edition," sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace.

It is a tragic end for a little girl gone missing. Just about two hours ago, officials announced that Celina Cass has been found and she is dead. And so for the very latest, we go straight to the scene, where Charlie Jordan, editor with "The Colebrook Chronicle," is standing by to give us the latest.

Charlie, it was about 5:00 o`clock that they pulled that little girl`s body out and they were able to identify her pretty much in short order. What else can you tell us?

CHARLIE JORDAN, "COLEBROOK CHRONICLE": Well, it was really the way we hoped things weren`t going to end, but they did develop that way, unfortunately. It went from a missing persons, Deborah, to a suspicious death. I mean, this is going to be very hard for the community. In back of me is the school that Celina was going to be entering 5th grade in this fall. So it`s a very sad situation.

NORVILLE: And what do we know about the time from when Celina was supposedly last seen by her stepdad, 9:00 o`clock on Monday night one week ago, and when her body was found? Have investigators given any indication as to when they think she might have been placed into the river?

JORDAN: Actually, at this point, they`re very tight-lipped. I mean, this is, you know, an ongoing investigation. But it is -- it would indicate to me that she has been in the water probably since last week because of the condition. They did not identify immediately that it was a young girl. They said they had what they believed was a human body. And it took them about three or four hours to confirm that it was -- you know, it was this girl. So you know, that tells us a little bit about the situation, I think.

NORVILLE: We know the assistant state attorney that we just heard from has said that there will be an autopsy taking place tomorrow morning at 9:00 o`clock in the morning. When do they expect autopsy results to be released?

JORDAN: I would guess we`ll probably see something later tomorrow. The -- you know, the attention paid on this has been so intense. Law enforcement has been here from all over New England. And also, we`ve had a lot of search and rescue committee people in the picture, as well. They were here during the press conference. I just think everyone`s heart and hopes were that this girl was going to be found. So the more information they can get out to help the community begin the healing process, I think the better.

NORVILLE: And it`s important that information about how this death took place -- it is being called suspicious. We can`t say it`s a murder -- but to get information about how the information we do know about Celina and her family and her whereabouts has been unveiled by police. What we know about her disappearance comes from the stepfather. What do we know about her stepfather, Wendell Noyes?

JORDAN: Well, this is very much a blended family. There are several brothers and sisters from different fathers in the household. And I think -- you know, we`ve heard some troubling things about the stepfather, and we`re just hoping that this was not part of it.

But one of the things that was kind of telling, as far as we`re concerned, is about 48 hours after she was reported missing, they put the home into a police circle, you know, or yellow tape. That lasted for about 48 hours. And then Friday, the tape came away and the family came back. Today, with this new development, the tapes went back up around the home just down the road from here. So that again makes you wonder. We did ask at the press conference what to make of that. And they said, Well, that was the last place she was seen, so of course, we`re going to continue our investigation there, but...

NORVILLE: We also know that certain items were taken from the home, specifically the computer on which Celina was last seen playing. There`s also been talk about a vehicle having been impounded. The state attorney, Ms. Young, said that that`s all part and parcel of anything that would have been in the vicinity of where she was last seen.

JORDAN: I think the thing that`s kind of telling here and one of the -- you know, the real concerns is that computer. Here was an 11-year-old girl, you know, ready to enter the 5th grade, and she was on FaceBook with an open FaceBook account. And that was one of the very first things that they apprehended.

Now, I don`t know -- my guess is they probably came up dry because of the level at which they were requesting the public to continue the search, any information. They had over 400 tips on this. There was a $25,000 reward offered over the weekend for anything. That tells me that they were at a complete loss. But again, she`s on a major road here in New Hampshire, and it wouldn`t have been too difficult for someone to know of her whereabouts and say, Step outside your house for a few minutes, and stepped into, you know, a disaster.

NORVILLE: Also with us this evening is Alexis Weed. She is a producer here for the NANCY GRACE program. Alexis, you`ve been looking into this blended family, as Charlie was describing it, and specifically the stepdad, who, as he mentioned, has had some mental health issues. What can you tell us, Alexis, about this family, with Celina, her mom, and she lives as well with her sister and her stepdad?

ALEXIS WEED, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, we know that in 2003, the stepfather was facing some charges on trespassing, on making threats to an ex-girlfriend. We also know that he was during that time examined by a doctor who deemed him to be a schizophrenic and also deemed him a threat to himself, as well as others.

NORVILLE: And because of that, he never stood trial. Because of the finding that he was incompetent with respect to that particular domestic violence accusation, there never was an actual legal proceeding with that. And here we see Mr. Noyes walking today, one of the local reporters up in New Hampshire talking to him.

Later today, he had an episode and was taken to the hospital. What can you tell us about that, Alexis?

WEED: Right. So there was a photograph shown of him outside of the family home, on his stomach, his head down. It was some time after that that he was taken away by ambulance to a local hospital. We don`t know why, however, he was taken away and what his condition exactly was.

NORVILLE: Yes, we see him being loaded into an ambulance and being escorted to the hospital for, we presume, further treatment and medical assistance.

There can be no worse news for any parent to get than the news that the family of Celina Cass received today. And with us today on the telephone is her grieving father, Adam Laro. Mr. Laro, our hearts go out to you. I can only imagine yours is broken. And we share your grief. Thank you for being with us, sir.

Mr. Laro, what message do you have for our viewers tonight?

ADAM LARO, CELINA`S FATHER (via telephone): I want to say thank you to all the authorities and all the people that have put the time and effort to look (INAUDIBLE) putting their time and effort in looking for my daughter and being able to find her under the circumstances which we were hoping we weren`t -- it wasn`t going to turn out this way. But I -- a lot of thanks to get to a lot of people, and even the townspeople that have put their time in there for putting signs up and stuff for me and for the family to help us all out.

NORVILLE: Yes. I know it`ll -- and probably easier, sir, if you have somebody turn down the volume on your telephone -- on your television, rather, while we`re talking. It might be a little easier for you to hear.

Have you had a chance, Mr. Laro, to speak to your ex-wife, Celina`s mom?

LARO: No, I haven`t.

NORVILLE: Have you spoken to her during this week-long period that Celina has been missing?

LARO: No, I haven`t.

NORVILLE: I know you`ve had medical problems of your own. You were hospitalized at the time that she went missing and found out while you were in the hospital that she had disappeared. I`m curious why you haven`t spoken to her mother.

LARO: It`s a hard question to ask me because I was so worried about where my daughter was, you know, missing, and you know, trying to put two and two together where she could be, you know? And I couldn`t believe that -- you know, that she was the type of person that would walk (ph) and leave the household, especially a household that supposedly gave her great love, you know? And that`s what she always told me, you know? And that`s -- you know, how can you question somebody (INAUDIBLE) to me, she`s always been a good mother to her, to both the girls.

NORVILLE: Every picture we see of your daughter, she`s got these beautiful eyes, long brown hair, and often a big, happy smile that we see right now. How do you remember your daughter this evening?

LARO: Beautiful. Beautiful. (INAUDIBLE) wonderful-hearted person and just someone who`s loving and caring to a lot of people, not just one (INAUDIBLE) individual person, and (INAUDIBLE) love towards her family, friends, everything.

NORVILLE: What can you...

LARO: And...

NORVILLE: Go ahead, sir.

LARO: That`s how I would like to remember her.

NORVILLE: Yes. What can you tell us about her stepdad, your ex- wife`s present husband, Mr. Noyes? How long have they been married?

LARO: That I`m not sure. I think a year. I think it`s been over a year...

NORVILLE: About a year.

LARO: ... that they`ve been married.

NORVILLE: And how well did you know him? Did you ever have occasion to see him when you would be visiting your daughters?

LARO: Yes, I went up a few times to visit the girls and he was there. And one time, he showed me the girls` -- had the girls get me their report cards and show me their report cards and stuff like that. They always did (ph) good with me, you know? I have no bad reports of bad things to say about anybody, you know? You know, it`s just -- it`s just -- I still to this day still can`t believe what`s gone on. And you know, it`s just -- I have no fingers to point at and anybody to point them at. I just -- you know -- you know, I hope -- I hope that there will be some answers, you know? That`s what I`m asking for.

NORVILLE: What do you think happened, sir, to your daughter? What do you speculate happened?

LARO: I can`t give an answer on that. Could have been anything.

NORVILLE: All right. We`re going to take a short break. We`ll be back talking with Adam Laro, the father of Celina Cass, and the rest of our guests this evening. A tragic night in New Hampshire as a little girl has been found and lost.


YOUNG: It was treated as a routine search because of the proximity to her home. As I indicated the other day, we were looking at bodies of water with dive teams. This was the next area that we were looking at as part of that routine and not leaving any stone unturned in trying to locate her, which we did, unfortunately not the way we wanted to bring her home.




YOUNG: She was located in the water, so we are trying to determine how her body was put in the water. There was a canvas being done as part of the ongoing investigation. That continues today. We have made no determination on where her body was eventually put in the river. We are trying to do that now. That we have located her body, we are able to hone the investigation to make that determination. So you will see searches conducted in different areas. But now we have a much more specific and generalized area to look at.


NORVILLE: You heard assistant state attorney general Jane Young talking about -- she was describing that the body of Celina Cass is being transported to Concord, New Hampshire, where tomorrow, it will be autopsied beginning at 9:00 o`clock in the morning.

Joining us now to talk about this very sad situation -- whether it is a crime or not remains to be determined -- is Woodrow Tripp, a former police commander, also a polygraph expert.

Sir, give us a sense of what is going on right now in respect to going back to that river, as Jane Young was just talking about, and trying to triangulate where the body was found and where the body may have entered that body of water.

WOODROW TRIP, FMR. POLICE COMMANDER, POLYGRAPH EXPERT: Well, and it`s very methodical at this point. There`s a lot of things that have to be covered here, and specifically how that body got there. Where did it come from? You know, was it brought to the bank and put in there? Was it dropped off a trestle, which I understand at some point goes over that body of water. So there`s a lot going on -- tire tracks, footprints.

And again, what you have to deal with, I as an investigator, is trying to separate the first responders, your media, and everyone else there from the actual perpetrator who brought the body there. So there`s a lot going on there right now.

NORVILLE: And will there be evidence, forensic evidence, found on the body? Also joining our discussion is Dr. Michelle Dupre, who is a medical examiner and forensic pathologist. Oftentimes, Dr. Dupre, we assume that the body in the water means that very little forensic evidence will be found. But that`s not always the case, I understand.


NORVILLE: What might be found in this particular situation? We know at whatever point she went in the water, it was not for more than one week`s time.

DUPRE: There may be evidence under the fingernails. There may be other evidence on the body that did not get washed away.

NORVILLE: And what kind of evidence could that be?

DUPRE: It could be any kind of trace evidence. There would also be maybe evidence of any kind of trauma.

NORVILLE: And how does the water affect decomposition? It is chilly up in New Hampshire, but it`s still summertime.

DUPRE: That`s going to depend on several things. The temperature of the water will be a great factor. The cooler the water, the more slowly the body will decompose. If there were any injuries before death, that would speed up the decomposition.

NORVILLE: So how long will it take, in your professional opinion, for the medical examiner to be able to determine a cause of death and perhaps a time of death?

DUPRE: The cause of death likely will come from the autopsy itself, whenever that is performed. The time of death is really going to be a range. It`s not quite like it is on television. So there would be a range of time from the last time she was seen until she was found.

NORVILLE: OK. Woodrow Tripp, back to you. The FBI has been a part of this certainly during the search aspect of this case. What do they bring to the table now?

TRIPP: Well, all of their forensic capabilities, the laboratory and everything that goes with that, their mobile crime scene labs, the ability to obtain DNA and analyze it, the ability to look for -- search for fingerprints, for footprints, to take casts. They bring all of that, and there`s -- that`s the best there is.

NORVILLE: Also joining our discussion is someone who can understand so well what Adam Laro is going through. Marc Klaas`s daughter, Polly, died after she was abducted. He has since become the president and founder of the Klaas Kids Foundation.

Marc, when you hear a story like this and now you hear the outcome this evening, what thoughts go through your head?

MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Well, I certainly want to offer my condolence to Mr. Laro and the rest of Celina`s family. This has got to be the most heartbreaking day of their lives.

Deborah, the thing that I wonder about right now and I think is equally as important as anything else in this investigation is what drew that young girl outside of her home. Did she leave by herself or go with a friend? Was she taken out by a family member, possibly the stepfather? Was she lured through the computer? Was it a stranger or was it a registered sex offender? It`ll be very important to make that determination.

NORVILLE: The question, how did Celina Cass leave her home? What prompted her to go out? Was she taken? Was she lured? We`ll explore those questions when our discussion continues.



YOUNG: At approximately 10:30 this morning, Fish and Game divers who were doing a search discovered her body approximately a quarter of a mile from her house and approximately a quarter of a mile from this location. That area was secured. The police began processing the area. Dive teams were sent in and Celina`s body was recovered approximately an hour ago.


NORVILLE: Eleven-year-old Celina Cass was a typical little girl -- afraid of the dark, loved her two kitties, was playing on her computer, and according to the police report, last seen when her family wished her good night around 9:00 o`clock a week ago. Today, her body`s been located and she`s dead.

What is your best guess on what happened? Our callers are with us now. We`re going to go first to Nancy, who`s with us tonight from Illinois. Nancy, what do you think happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the hydroelectric -- isn`t that water warmer? And did she -- was there any evidence of problems with her stepfather? And we still miss you in Chicago.

NORVILLE: Oh, well, thank you for that. I appreciate that. Michael Gast is with us from the National Academy of Police Diving. Mr. Gast, any idea about whether that electrical plant would have increased the water temperature, and thus impacted the ability of the medical examiner to make determinations about cause of death and time?

MICHAEL GAST, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF POLICE DIVING: I think the water is flowing down through the plant. I believe she was found on the north side, so it may not have made it much warmer, except on the downward side.

NORVILLE: Is it conceivable that that would have been an ideal placement, if you wanted a body to eventually be eliminated?

GAST: I would not choose that as a place because of the dam. You want it somewhere where someone`s not going to be able to turn into a small area and be able to search a specific area.

NORVILLE: And Adam Laro, you`re still with us, Celina`s dad. And we so grieve for you. Were there any problems that you are aware of with your daughter and any of her family members?

LARO: No, none whatsoever. She always got along with all of us. And she always was a very good girl. She loved -- like you said, she playing with her kitties, and she -- you know, she was very active. You know, she`d come over -- when she came over to me, we`d throw a Frisbee or go on a four-wheeler ride or do something, or go fishing in the back pond. And I`d spend personal time with her, both the girls.

NORVILLE: One of the things that struck a lot of people is that an 11-year-old little girl was on line and was on FaceBook. Were you aware that she was using the computer in this way?

LARO: No, I didn`t.

NORVILLE: Would you have accepted that or approved of that, if you had been aware?

LARO: I would have spoke it over with them a little bit better, about what`s going on, you know, what I -- you know, what she should have been doing and what she shouldn`t have been doing. You know, because there`s so much going on with computers today, it`s hard to tell who`s on line anymore.


LARO: And it is scary, you know?

NORVILLE: One of the messages -- we just saw it on the screen, and perhaps we can put it back up -- it`s a message that Celina has on her FaceBook page. It says, "You can`t stand to live with your family, but you can`t stand to live without them," certainly poignant words on a night when a family and a community is grieving.

How could something like this have happened in a community of less than 900 people? They thought it was safe. Was it or wasn`t it? Our discussion will continue as we look at the sad passing and death of 11- year-old Celina Cass.



JANE YOUNG, SENIOR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: We discovered the body of Celina Cass in the Connecticut River in Stewartstown.

I would like to extend my sincere condolences on behalf of the state police, the FBI, and the attorney general`s office, to the friends and the family of Celina Cass, as well as this community who loved her and who cherished her.

We are treating her death as a suspicious death at this time. Fish and game divers who are doing a search discovered her body approximately a quarter of a mile from her house and approximately a quarter of a mile from this location.

That area was secured. The police began processing the area. Dive teams were sent in and Celina`s body was recovered. We are treating it as a criminal investigation based on what we know at this juncture.

We have brought Celina home, not the way we wanted to bring her home.


NORVILLE: Welcome back. I`m Deborah Norville from "Inside Edition" sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace. as we look at the sad end to the search for Celina Cass.

We`ve been joined this morning by Celina`s father Adam Laro who has been dealing not only with the tragic loss of his daughter but also some personal medical issues.

We`re so grateful, sir, and our condolences to you and your family on this difficult time.


NORVILLE: What did you know about the medical or mental health history of Celina`s stepdad, Mr. Noyes? Obviously that`s something that`s made a great deal of headlines as people have been looking into the family situation. Were you aware that he`d had a number of troubles of this nature?

LARO: Off and on but I didn`t really pay attention that much because I didn`t think there was any problems because like I said before I would always check with my daughters and ask if there was any problems at home and if there was to have their mother and father give me a call. And if we had to talk or call a family meeting we would.

But you know, when things started unraveling there was more and more news out. (INAUDIBLE) so it got to who do you believe anymore? You know? Who`s speaking the truth? So, you know, as far as being aware of his problem or his past history, I don`t know nothing about it.

NORVILLE: It`s curious. You just referred to him as her mother and father. You don`t refer to yourself as her father?

LARO: Yes, I`m her father. Her stepdad.


LARO: Stepdad because she -- their mother did marry the man, you know. And you know, I say I can`t count him out as not being a parent involved.


LARO: You know?

NORVILLE: When did the girls last live with you, Celina and her big sister?

LARO: I left the home, and Kayla was age 3.

NORVILLE: And so Celina would have been just baby, I guess?

LARO: Yes, she was just a baby. Yes.

NORVILLE: OK. So they`ve really lived outside your home with their mother?

LARO: Yes. Yes.

NORVILLE: How would you -- I know you have other children through other marriages. How will you explain to your own children, your surviving children, this sad loss of their sister?

LARO: Well, my son right now is the oldest and he`s taking it the hardest. He`s -- you know, he`s really, you know, he`s really upset. At times he`s angry and there`s times he`s confused and at times he`s sad. You know? He`s going through the tough experience himself.

And like I said before I haven`t heard much from Kayla. I hope I can shortly see her or talk with her soon. I`d like to know what`s going on and see how she`s doing and make sure she`s OK.

NORVILLE: Have you reached out to your daughter and your ex-wife?

LARO: No, I haven`t.

NORVILLE: But you`ll be doing that or you`ll just wait for them to reach out to you?

LARO: Time will tell. I can`t -- my doctor says not to put too much pressure on me because I`ve been in the hospital for the last 18 days.

NORVILLE: Yes. Well, we certainly understand. And again, sir, our deepest thanks to you for being with us to help us understand the situation from your vantage point and our deepest condolences to you and to your family. We do appreciate you being with us.

LARO: Yes.

NORVILLE: Also with us tonight is Bethany Marshall who is a psychoanalyst and the author of the book "Dealbreakers."

And may be able to give us some insights, Miss Marshall, on what one does say to a child whether it`s to Celina`s surviving siblings or -- I can only imagine that every kid in Stewartstown, New Hampshire, is unnerved and unhinged about this terrible loss.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": Well, I think, first of all, with children you have to make sense for them of the broader context in which this happened. You have to let them know this is a very unusual event. Just because one little girl went missing, you have to tell the other children in her class it doesn`t mean that something bad is going to happen to them.

But certainly, Deborah, something very bad happened in this household. And I am so concerned about this stepfather`s mental health. And it`s not just that he had paranoid schizophrenia. He had a stalking history.

I listened to what Alexis Weed said just now. There was attempted assault, breaking into his ex-girlfriend`s home, then being incompetent to stand trial. That tells me he has the mentality of a stalker. They`re rejection sensitive. They`re rageful. They do not regulate their emotions.

How was someone like this raising a little girl? And the fact that he was deemed incompetent to stand trial tells me he was not compliant with his medications and this week he`s lying face down in front of the house. Is he on medications now? Who is treating him psychiatrically?

Is he compliant with those medications? If not, what does it say about the oversight that this little girl had in that household and the fact that she was 11 years old and had her own Facebook account? Where was the computer? Was it in her own room? Was anyone taking a look at who she was talking with online?

NORVILLE: Let me add one thing to that, too. In the criminal investigation of 2003, the judge ruled, quote, "He was a potentially serious likelihood of danger to himself and to others."

We`ve got a couple of attorneys with us. I want to bring them in because this sounds like a legal issue to me.

Alex Sanchez, you`re a defense attorney. How could it possibly be that someone with this kind of judicial pronouncement on their record would be able to be in this close proximity with another individual`s children?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m very alarmed at what I`m hearing here because for a judge to rule that a defendant is mentally incompetent to stand trial, that`s a very high threshold. That means the person does not understand the nature of the charges that have been brought against him or understand how to assist in his own defense. You have to be really out of it to be ruled incompetent.

And as far as him being allowed to be around children, hey, if there was no prohibition against him marrying somebody and there was no order blocking him from being around children or anybody else, he went and did it and that`s what happened.

NORVILLE: And Charlie Jordan is still with us. He`s the editor of the "Coolbrook Chronicle."

Charlie, give us a little sense of what you know about the Internet usage both in terms of 11-year-old Celina having a Facebook account and what might have been entered into her account, and also any Internet usage that you`re aware of as a reporter covering Mr. Noyes, the stepdad.

CHARLIE JORDAN, "COLEBROOK CHRONICLE": Well, it`s impossible to ignore these sources, potential sources, and we looked a the both Facebook accounts very closely. Celina had 35 listed friends and we were able to establish about three or four were real friends and the others were very suspicious. I mean I don`t know how to describe them. But --

NORVILLE: Suspicious like how?

JORDAN: You know, pictures of women in suggested --


NORVILLE: The little girls have sexually explicit friends` photos?

JORDAN: It was -- it was under friend. Now I don`t know that a 11- year -old would know what she`s clicking on but they had some very questionable identities and profile pictures. And the stepfather -- again I`ve heard a lot on both sides of this issue, but just looking at his Facebook page is a very disconcerting experience. A lot of very suggestive pictures of women friends. So those are concerns.

But I also want to say it`s interesting to hear Mr. Laro say that Celina herself said she had a very good household there. I`ve heard that from other people. I`ve heard that, you know, he looked after her. He`s on disability and was taking care of her while the mother, you know, was the breadwinner, working. So at this point, you know, you hear both. Btu again that police tape around the house tonight is kind of telling us something, I think.

NORVILLE: Joe Gomez is a reporter with KTRH News Radio.

Joe, where does this investigation go from here?

JOE GOMEZ, REPORTER, KTRH RADIO: Well, I think that they`re going to have to really, you know, look into the history of -- you know, her Internet conversations with all these guys on Facebook. I mean I`ve certainly covered a lot of stories in the past where cyberpredators have created phony Facebook profiles to chat with little kids.

I mean this is a beautiful 11-year-old girl. I`m sure there`s probably a lot of bad people out there in the Facebook world that would try to talk to her or -- and try to convince her to go meet them or do something like that. So I think that`s where investigators are going to have to focus a lot of their time now -- becoming Web sleuths and trying to find out exactly who she was reaching out to in this Internet world, Deb.

NORVILLE: Yes, but you know what I don`t get about that, Joe, is she lived in a town where she only had nine classmates. This community is about as small as you can get and still have a zip code. Is it possible that a predator would have gone all of the way to New Hampshire to meet this little girl he`d been chatting with?

We`ll explore that when we come right back.


YOUNG: At this juncture we are looking at all facets of this investigation. Now it`s a criminal investigation and not as a missing persons investigation as we had previously done.

We are again looking at all facets of this investigation. That includes where she was last seen. So this is routine as we would do in any criminal investigation.




JANE YOUNG, SENIOR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: It`s with sadness that I report earlier today we discovered the body of Celina Cass in the Connecticut River in Stewartstown.

I would like to extend my sincere condolences on behalf of the state police, the FBI, and the attorney general`s office, to the friends and the family of Celina Cass, as well as this community who loved her and who cherished her.

We are treating her death as a suspicious death at this time. Based on what we have seen visually we are treating it as suspicious.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was her body wrapped in anything? Was it in bag or free floating in the river?

YOUNG: I`m not going to --


NORVILLE: As you hear there, we have very little specifics about the condition of Celina`s body when she was found but we do know the 11-year- old`s body was pulled from Connecticut River this afternoon at 5:00. An autopsy will be conducted beginning tomorrow morning at 9:00 in Concord, New Hampshire.

Marc Klaas is the president and founder of KlaasKid Foundation.

Marc, when something like this happens, oftentimes family members stand in front of the cameras tearfully say, please help bring back my child. I know I remember when your daughter Polly disappeared. One of the first things you did was hop over to the police station and say, give the polygraph, let me prove I had nothing to do with this.

Should we read anything? Is it unfair to read anything into the lack of public statement on the part of Celina`s mom and stepdad?

MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: I think it is unfair. I think that people react very differently in these types of high stress situations. I had no problem going to the police, going to the media, being as upfront as I possibly could but not everybody is like me.

Some people are camera shy. People are -- are more reserved than I was. So I think it`s helpful to do it. I think it creates a public perception that you are more engaged in your -- in locating the missing child, but whether that`s truly the case or not, I`m not really prepared to say.

I don`t think anybody should be condemned simply for the fact that they refuse to look into the camera.

But Deborah, I`d just like to say one thing. This whole idea that this 11-year-old girl had a Facebook page, you know you`re supposed to be 13 years old to have a Facebook page and that indicates to me that there was no control or very little parental control over her Internet use.

And I think it`s instructive whether this had anything to do with her disappearance or not, that parents need to know what`s going on with their children`s online lives. Simply because there are bad elements out there and children can become vulnerable to them.

NORVILLE: I couldn`t agree with you more on that.

Anne Bremer is a defense attorney.

Anne, in the event that there are leads that are generated from any of the computers in the family`s home, how will prosecutors be able to use them?

ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I mean they`re going to be able to take a look and see -- I mean everyone is a suspect right now, Deborah, and no one is a suspect. But they`re going to be able to see who she was talking, who could have done there, you know, potentially. But you correctly point out, a little town. Nine classmates.

I mean it`s not the kind of place someone would come and abduct an 11- year-old necessarily, but also how were things in the home? How was she talking about things with her stepdad?

We`ve heard a lot of about her stepdad having some issues in the past. What we know is that (INAUDIBLE) which is dangerous to self or others is really just a -- it`s a standard for commitment in the mental health court. So we don`t really know that there`s anything there with him but it`s going to give them a whole latitude, a whole area of things to look into, to look at what really happened to this little girl in this horrible tragedy.

NORVILLE: We don`t know where in New Hampshire Cindy is from but Cindy is with us on the line from that state.

Cindy, welcome to that program.

CINDY, CALLER FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Hi, Deb. Thank you for taking my call. I had a question about Celina`s mother. I was curious of where she works and does she work evenings because I believe the stepfather went to wake Celina up between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning.

NORVILLE: Yes, that`s correct. I believe the mom works in a consignment shop.

Alexis Weed, our producer here on the NANCY GRACE show, has been looking into the family situation.

Alexis, what can you tell us about the mom`s work, the stepdad`s disability, et cetera?

ALEXIS WEED, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Right, Deborah. That`s what we`ve been told. That the mother works at a consignment shop. It`s said that that morning when the stepfather went to wake her around -- between 8:00 and 8:30, the mother had already gone to her job at this consignment shop.

NORVILLE: All right. Cindy, thank you so much for calling from North Carolina.

Bethany, I want to get back to this whole thing about 11-year-old kids on Facebook. It`s not going to bring Celina back. But surely there are some important lessons that all of us can learn from this particular aspect of this case. What are they?

MARSHALL: Well, your child should never be online unsupervised, as Marc said, under the age of 13. Never allow your child to have a computer in his or her own room. The computer should be in the living room or a family area with the monitor facing outwards. Instruct your child never to give out any identifying data like telephone numbers, addresses.

Teach your child to crash and tell. If anyone approaches your child online asking for specific information for a relationship, that child should just turn off the computer and go straight to a parent.

And most importantly, your child is vulnerable. Your child will form a relationship with someone online and that person is going to diss you, the parent. He`s going to try to alienate your child from you, and once the child allows himself or herself to be manipulated, they will feel guilty, complicit and then go along with the predator.

NORVILLE: Of course, it`s from a pure speculation that an Internet connection had anything to do with this.

But real quick, Charlie Jordan, is it possible someone could come through this community and not be noticed?

JORDAN: Very much so. This is a main thoroughfare. We`re about halfway between Montreal and Portland, Maine. And the other day when people were handing out flyers, I would say a third or more were to (INAUDIBLE) Canadians. I mean this is a main thoroughfare through our region.

So it would be very easy for someone to find this location and it`s not like going down backcountry road here. So I think it`s a very good plausibility.

NORVILLE: At present the authorities are calling this a suspicious death and an investigation is continuing.

Alex Sanchez, the state of New Hampshire does have capital punishment. Is this a death penalty crime if in fact this little girl was murdered?

SANCHEZ: I think it would depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and whether or not the child was sexually abused in some way or was tortured in some way, whether or not the person had a prior criminal record. There`s a lot of factors to be taken into consideration including the mental health history of the alleged perpetrator, if you know what I mean.

NORVILLE: I know what you mean but we know that there are not persons of interest, at least as far as the police have stated publicly.

Barbara is with us from North Carolina. You`ve been waiting. I want to get you on the line.

Hi, Barbara.

BARBARA, CALLER FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Hi. My question is, did Celina know how to swim and is it possible that she slipped in there and couldn`t get out?

NORVILLE: Well, I thought about that one myself, Barbara, because she lives so close to the river. But remember, Jane Young said that this was a suspicious death. That leads me and I think other experts who know far more about this than me to believe that this wasn`t a little girl who wandered out and just fell into the river. Sad to say.

We`re going to let the last word go to Woodrow Tripp. What do you think the outcome of this case is going to be, sir?

WOODY TRIPP, FORMER POLICE COMMANDER, POLYGRAPH EXPERT: I really think at this point all roads lead back to that house and the occupants of that home. I really do.

NORVILLE: All right. It is a tragic story. An 11-year-old little girl missing one week found dead today. Autopsy results are pending.

We`ll take a short break and be back in just a moment.


YOUNG: The FBI has told me that we have had close to 500 tips in this case. We have brought Celina home. Not the way we wanted to bring her home, but thank you for everything.



NORVILLE: Eleven-year-old Celina Cass was really good at basketball. She loved her friends and she took great pains with her homework. Sadly tonight she has died. The investigation as why she died is pending.

Joining us from the great state of Virginia is Margaret. Hi, Margaret, thanks for being with us.

MARGARET, CALLER FROM VIRGINIA: Hi, thank you, too. I just find it unusual that the biological parents had no contact while she was missing in addition to the fact that she had a -- you know a Web -- Facebook account. And the fact that this pretty child had severe cosmetic dentistry problems which were obviously not treated, I find all of this points to a very neglected child.

NORVILLE: Well, I certainly appreciate your sentiments on that. I know it`s not a particularly wealthy community. And dental work can sometimes be expensive if you`ve ever put a kid in braces.

Let`s go back to Charlie Jordan who`s really been at the epicenter of all of this.

Charlie, how is this community going to go forward now that Celina has been found and the mystery of why she died is still unsolved?

JORDAN: Well, I think the thing is there`s been a real transition tonight. Every night, Deborah, since this happened there`s been vigils in the community. Candlelight vigils. And understand that tonight there was another one but it was more of a memorial service.

They have something, an annual event here called Stewartstown Day which is coming p on Saturday. A parade which normally goes right by this girl`s house. I`m sure it`s going to have a much different composition this year if they even hold it.

NORVILLE: Yes, unbelievable.

JORDAN: It should take awhile to really heal.

NORVILLE: I`m sure you`re right. Yes, the loss of this little girl isn`t just affecting your community, it`s affecting all of us, Charlie.

And so tonight I think my message to anyone is, if you`ve got kids in your home, go kiss them good night, tell them you love them. And give them a really big hug. I`m sure Celina`s family wishes they had the opportunity to do that one more time.

And finally this evening, as of today, 6,149 Americans have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We remember this evening one of them, Army Specialist George Obourn Jr. Twenty-year-old George was from Creve Coeur, Illinois. He`s awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

And a pavilion at a state park in his hometown has been named in his honor and that of his best friend Chris Walker who was killed in action just 36 hours before George.

George Obourn loved playing the trumpet, loved to camp, and plays (INAUDIBLE) game with his brother. He leaves behind his mother and dad George and Deborah Ann., his sister Leanne and his brothers David and Rodney.

George Obourn, Jr., a true American hero.

Our thanks to all of you for being with us tonight. A special thanks to our guests. And thank you for tuning in. We appreciate your participation. I hope you`ll tune in again tomorrow night 8:00 Eastern Time.

Be sure to check out "Inside Edition." I`ll see you there every day. Until then, thank you so much. Good night, be well, and hug your kids.