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CNN Burden of Proof

Brother of Joyce Chiang Speaks Out; Sioux City Police Chief Comments on Search for Alleged Murderer

Aired August 31, 2001 - 12:32   ET



JOHN CHIANG, BROTHER OF JOYCE CHIANG: There is strong evidence that foul play was involved. I think those comments where my sister committed a suicide are incredibly irresponsible and insensitive. Let's just draw upon the facts. First of all, my sister disappeared from Dupont Circle. Her body was found a considerable distance away from where she first disappeared.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CO-HOST: On January 9, 1999, Joyce Chiang vanished from the same neighborhood where Chandra Levy was last seen. Chiang's body was found three months later on the bank of the Potomac River. Suicide or homicide? And why can't the police make up their mind? Chiang's brother joins us today on BURDEN OF PROOF.

ANNOUNCER: This is BURDEN OF PROOF, with Roger Cossack and Greta Van Susteren.

VAN SUSTEREN: Hello and welcome to BURDEN OF PROOF.

The two cases are strikingly similar: Chandra Levy and Joyce Chiang, both young women working for the federal government, disappeared from the same area in Northwest Washington. The search for Joyce ended in tragedy. Her body was found by a canoeist on the rocky shoreline of the Potomac River.

This morning, her brother met with Washington police Chief Charles Ramsey. Roger Chiang joins us today here in Washington from the center of our studio panel -- to the left, Stephen Samaniego (ph); and on the right, former Washington detective Trevor Hewick, now a private investigator.

Roger, I'm sorry. Your last name is Chiang.


VAN SUSTEREN: Chiang, yes.

Roger, tell me, when was the last time you saw your sister?

R. CHIANG: I actually saw my sister the morning that she disappeared on January 9, 1999. We were both in our apartment. We shared an apartment together in Dupont Circle. And she was all bundled off and headed off to work on that cold Saturday morning.

VAN SUSTEREN: And was there anything unusual about her that day?

R. CHIANG: Absolutely not. And that was my point to Chief Gainer when I met with him earlier today, is that is no D.C. detective bothered to investigate or to talk to me during the course of Joyce's disappearance and death.

And for them to make conclusions about my sister Joyce, I think, without even interviewing me, her brother, her roommate, I thought was a lax in part of their investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but I want to talk a little bit about the facts of the disappearance and subsequent finding of her body. But let me talk about this morning.

When you met with Chief Gainer, what was the point of the meeting?

R. CHIANG: The point of the meeting: Chief Gainer and Chief Ramsey have been saying two different things to me and to the press. And so I just called him up last week after some of his initial comments were printed and reported on the media, and I wanted clarification. And so he called me up yesterday and invited me into his office.

We talked for a good 40 minutes this morning. And he explained to me why he came to his conclusion about saying Joyce was probably a suicide, even though nothing has been official and yet there are some things that also indicate a homicide. So he was just clarifying the police's position and the police's statement on my sister's case.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think it was suicide or homicide?

R. CHIANG: I really -- I frankly believe it is homicide. And I've talked to Chief Gainer this morning. And I presented him with some of the evidence that I was briefed upon by the FBI in regard to Joyce's case.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is? I mean, what makes you say it's a homicide?

R. CHIANG: There was a tear in my -- what do I believe that makes me believe this was a homicide?


R. CHIANG: A tear in my sister's jacket that was found along the crime scene. My sister received an anonymous page from a pay phone at Dulles the night that she disappeared. My sister -- there was this message that I showed to Chief Gainer, this picture that I brought to him this morning, this message painted on a board, on a brick wall behind a Starbucks that says: "Good day, J.C. May I never miss the thrill of being near you." The police never investigated it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where was this Starbucks?

And you are holding up the picture now. I don't know if the camera can pick it up.

But where is this Starbucks where this message is?

R. CHIANG: Sure. The Starbucks is at Connecticut and R streets Northwest.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is near the point where your apartment was and where she disappeared from, right?

R. CHIANG: Right. My sister was headed to that Starbucks for cup of tea that night. And that was the last place anybody had placed her. And then I also presented him with one final piece of evidence, which I think is really the most compelling of evidence that suggests foul play. My sister disappeared on January 9. A couple found her government American Express card at that park, at the crime scene on January 10, and turned it into Park Police.

They in turn never gave it back to me or called me until January 20. By the time the FBI got to the crime scene, there was an additional piece of evidence dumped on the scene, wrapped in newspaper dated January 11, two days after my sister disappeared, and a day after some of the evidence was found. And the FBI has indicated to me that that is perplexing to them. And that may signify that someone went back after the fact to dump that piece of additional evidence.

VAN SUSTEREN: What was Chief Gainer's explanation to why he thinks it is suicide?

R. CHIANG: Well, he says that there was an ongoing investigation into my sister at her place of employment. And that may have caused her to be depressed or unhappy at the time.

And my point to him was, again: You never questioned me. I saw my sister the night before she disappeared. I saw my sister the morning she disappeared. And her state of mind was fine, nothing outstanding that would make her unhappy. And, actually, she was feeling good that day. And so I countered that suggestion.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, we talk about the investigation. She was a lawyer at the immigration service here in Washington, the federal government.

R. CHIANG: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And from what I understand, is that she apparently had had some relationship with a co-worker. That relationship had soured or broken up -- and that she was upset about that relationship.

Did you ever see any sort of upset or sadness in her about that relationship? R. CHIANG: Well, the fact of the matter is that that was an old relationship. And they had broken up months beforehand. And nothing in the months after that indicated anything bad. Nothing lingered from that breakup.

And the police and the FBI say that they questioned the ex- boyfriend. And they ruled him out as well. So I don't know where that whole situation stands, frankly. And I think that's an additional part that can be probed as part of the overall investigation into Joyce's case.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Stand by for a second, Roger.

We have an important update on the Sioux City, Iowa murders. This is the case of the five children and two adults who were found dead last night. As we've told you, police have identified the suspect as 23-year-old Adam Matthew Moss.

CNN has now learned that nine days ago, Mr. Moss was charged with domestic violence, with assaulting a young boy who has his last name. We are checking to confirm if that boy is one of the victims. An order of protection was placed against Moss on that day of the assault. And a court hearing was set for yesterday afternoon. Obviously, Mr. Moss never showed up for that hearing.

Joining us from Sioux City is police Chief Joe Frisbie.

Chief, thank you very much for joining us day. Can you give us an update on the manhunt for this person?

CHIEF JOE FRISBIE, SIOUX CITY POLICE DEPT.: Well, obviously, we are still running down leads that we keep getting on this individual. But to this point, they have all been dry wells. We haven't -- we obviously haven't found him yet, but we are still hoping.

VAN SUSTEREN: Chief, big question in my mind is: Does he have money and transportation so that he can get far away?

FRISBIE: We don't know of any transportation at this point. And we are not sure about the money. We know he's made several attempts to get money in different places. Like I say, we've had sightings on the west side of town. And he was on foot at that time. So we're going to be having a news conference today about noon. We're trying to put together some money for a reward for the apprehension of this individual.

And we hope that for those who haven't called in yet, maybe it will help speed this process up a little bit.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, that news conference will be 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Chief, what's the possible motive, at least your theory, for why this young man would kill all these people?

FRISBIE: Well, I'll tell you, right now we're still -- until we talk to this person, we're really not going to discuss motive at this time because that's going to be part of the investigation, OK.

But I can tell you this, when anybody calls -- when anybody kills five children, I don't know if there is a good motive for that. But there are other things that we're pursuing on this that, quite honestly it would damage the investigation if I talked too much about them at this point.

VAN SUSTEREN: Chief, if someone does have some information, where should that person call?

FRISBIE: If they can call the Sioux City Police Department emergency number 911. And also, if it's of general nature, we have a crime stoppers number, and I'll give you that here -- hold on one second...

VAN SUSTEREN: As you -- go ahead.

FRISBIE: Our crime stoppers number is area code 712-258-8477. So they can call that number as well if they have any information for us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Chief, before I let you go, is it your understanding that he is currently armed, that he might pose a danger to others?

FRISBIE: The way I've been phrasing this is he's potentially armed, and he certainly should be considered dangerous.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Chief Frisbie, thank you very much for joining us today.

FRISBIE: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Up next: Is there a serial killer running through the streets of Washington, D.C.?


A federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida's law banning homosexual couples and individuals from adopting children is valid. The law was allowed to stand based on the state's argument that it is in children's best interests because heterosexuals provide more stable homes.



VAN SUSTEREN: Joyce Chiang's body was found in the Potomac River three months after her disappearance. Her family has been critical of investigators. This morning her brother Roger, who has joined us, met with the Washington police.

Trevor, you were a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, investigated lots of cases. We've heard Roger talk about his -- the tragic story about his sister, of Chandra Levy. Do you think there could be a serial killer here in D.C.?

TREVOR HEWICK, FORMER D.C. POLICE DETECTIVE: I wouldn't rule it out, sure. I would have to investigate that aspect of it. I don't have all the information that the police department does, but the four murders of the young ladies...


HEWICK: Four over the past two years have -- I actually don't -- i don't know about Chandra, but Chandra is one of the four. I'm not saying she's dead; right now I assume she's dead.

But they have some of the same characteristics: attractive, single females living alone on Dupont Circle area. Go to health clubs, professionals...

VAN SUSTEREN: How many -- describe for -- for the viewers, describe Dupont Circle area. There's been so much discussion about Chandra living there, and Roger's sister there. What is Dupont Circle?

HEWICK: It's -- Dupont Circle is a nice community to live in. It has everything you want in an inner city. But it also has sexual predators. And with all the young women that we have living in the Dupont Circle area, in condos, in apartments, in houses that are broken into apartments, they become targets of these individuals. And I believe that's what's happening here, because we have too many stalkers in that community watching the young women.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you know that? How did you know you have stalkers watching women in Dupont Circle?

HEWICK: Well, I do have a client -- obviously I can't give you my client's name -- but I've been in the Dupont Circle area investigating condos, apartments, doing security checks and trying to identify some sexual predators that have stalked women before at certain locations.

Now, I've come up with some individuals that we're going to be investigating for doing just that: stalking women, following women. And it's really involved -- I don't know how much you want me to get into...

VAN SUSTEREN: I've -- I think I've got the idea. I mean, there certainly is a lot of suspicion in the area.

Let me go out, though, to California, CNN's Bob Franken, who's standing by in Modesto, California.

Bob, the idea of, perhaps, serial killers -- let me just read for viewers a portion of the letter that Gary Condit sent to his constituents which says, in part: "Some suggest that not talking with the media could mean I," meaning Condit, "had something to do with Chandra's disappearance. I did not. I pray that she has not met the same fate as the other young women who have disappeared from the same neighborhood."

Does the Condit camp believe that this -- that Chandra's disappearance is truly linked to a serial killer?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well first of all, no, he's not saying that. He's just saying that other young women have disappeared from an urban area of Washington, D.C.. And, of course, the police say young women are among those who disappear from any urban area any time.

And the suggestion -- they go on to say that there is a serial killer. Remember, a serial killer is an individual -- is countered by the fact that even if there are stalkers, plural, in this particular urban area, it does not suggest a serial killer.

They're saying they have no indication, none whatsoever, that this matches the profile. They've run it through the FBI database on this, and this is not one of their primary operating theories.

VAN SUSTEREN: Bob, you've covered this story both coasts -- Washington and out in California. Do the police -- have they indicated to you here in the District of Columbia, their view about whether Joyce Chiang and Chandra Levy could be the victim of the same person?

FRANKEN: Well, actually they've said repeatedly that they have no evidence of that whatsoever. Of course, we've heard now Chief Terrance Gainer -- Assistant Chief Terrance Gainer -- he's gone on the record -- was just seen on television -- saying that, in fact, many agents believe that because of the personal circumstances of Joyce Chiang that it might have been a suicide. That it did not have, in their view, anything to do with the disappearance of Chandra Levy, for one big reason, because it occurred about two-and-a-half years before the Chandra Levy matter.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, we're going to take a quick break.

When we come back: Did police drop the ball in the Chiang case, and has the trail of this tragedy gone cold? Don't go away.


Q: How did a Texas train thief assist in his own arrest Monday night?

A: After he started the engine, he needed to radio Union Pacific to ask how to release the break, thus alerting officials to his location. He was arrested and faces a felony charge.




We're talking about two cases which are a bit similar: Joyce Chiang and Chandra Levy.

Bob, before I let you go, Marina Ein -- this news about Marina Ein. Who is she? And what's the news?

FRANKEN: Marina Ein was the public-relations person in Washington -- well-established public-relations person -- who was hired by Abbe Lowell, Gary Condit's lawyer, to try and handle the public relations for this particular matter, the Chandra Levy matter for Congressman Condit.

She is no longer going to be involved in this case. We've been told that -- simply that she is not going to be involved in the matter anymore and that all calls should be referred to the Condit office -- no further comment than that. But we know from a variety of people who have been connected that there has been a lot of dissension throughout, a lot of disagreement oftentimes about public-relations strategy.

Oftentimes, we're told by sources, Marina Ein has felt that she has not been in the loop or that her advice has not been taken. And, as a matter of fact, that continues until now. Furthermore, we're being told that the congressman does not plan any particular public- relations push. So Marina Ein is in fact leaving the operation. And that's where it is going to stand now. The Condit office will handle the P.R. questions that come up, if they're not handled directly by Abbe Lowell.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Roger, it's amazing how much attention is on the Chandra Levy disappearance. And your sister was relatively unnoticed until Chandra Levy.

You have complained. Now you have filed a formal complaint in connection with the investigation of your sister. When did you file it, with whom, and what is the complaint?

R. CHIANG: Well, I filed a complaint earlier with week with the D.C. inspector general, based upon the fact that I think the D.C. police conducted a very -- not a very thorough investigation into Joyce's disappearance and death.

And it goes to show -- I mean, I met with Chief Gainer again this morning. And I presented him with some evidence. Again, I gave him this picture. And he didn't know about some of the stuff that I shared with him. So -- and I also...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does he view you sort of a heartbroken brother? Is your sister's case sort of dismissed? Is that the way it is? And is there -- is that how you think


R. CHIANG: Well, what Chief Gainer said to me was that they cannot investigate Joyce's case very much right now because there aren't any active leads in the case.

But I -- we talked about your point, your question. And I said to the chief -- I said, "I hope you don't find me as a nuisance, because what I am just doing is presenting some of the evidence that I believe is relevant to Joyce's case." And I want the D.C. police to take that into consideration before they go out there and say that she probably committed suicide."

And I said to him, "Probable is a very strong word coming from a man in a uniform and a badge. And you need to take this other solid forensic evidence and the other clues into consideration before you make those determinations."

VAN SUSTEREN: Trevor, what do you think about all this?

HEWICK: No, I agree. There are investigative leads in Joyce's death. And when you do run up against that wall, you go back and you research. Someone must have missed something.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think they are not doing that? Is it resources?

HEWICK: Resource is one. I think competence is another.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying they are incompetent?

HEWICK: I think they don't take it seriously enough. Now, obviously, he's hurting. It his sister's death. He attached to the case.

But you are not the only person that gets a cold shoulder. Deaths occur in D.C. and they didn't take it seriously enough.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just so they know, since you are calling the police incompetent, Trevor, let's hear your experience. How long did you work for the police department here?

HEWICK: Twenty-two years.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you do?

HEWICK: I was a detective for 11 years, 4th District. I investigated violent crimes.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you've been around the block.

HEWICK: Oh, big time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Roger, what do you want to happen from this day forward in your sister's case?

R. CHIANG: Well, I want them to investigate Joyce's case thoroughly and carefully. Like I said, I presented all this evidence that Chief Gainer didn't even know about. And he was briefed by the supervisors, by those who investigated Joyce's case. And those investigators never once sat down with me during her time to question me about anything.

And so I think there was a little bit of a lax, a little bit of too much laxation in investigating Joyce's case.


VAN SUSTEREN: And I hope some day that it is solved, as well as Chandra Levy's.

But that's all the time we have for today. Thanks to our guests and thank you for watching.

Join us again Monday for another edition of BURDEN OF PROOF.