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CNN Larry King Live
Expert Panel Discusses Runnion Murder
Aired July 17, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CARONA, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF: Don't sleep. Don't eat because we're coming after you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, an all out hunt is on for the kidnap killer of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion. Authorities fear her murderer will strike again. Why did an innocent little girl die in such a horrible way? And where is the person who killed her?
From Samantha's hometown of Stanton, California, the man in charge of the case, Orange County sheriff, Michael Carona. Then, to help us go inside the mind of a monster, from the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, Galen Sabean. Also, here in Los Angeles, forensic psychologist, Dr. John Deirmenjian. In San Francisco, Marc Klaas. His daughter, Polly, was abducted and murdered in 1993 and he crusades against crime to protect kids. And of course, California-based defense attorney Mark Geragos, "Court TV's" Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor.
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Another horrible story of child abduction, this one involving murder. We have our panel assembled. We'll tell you more about each of them later as we go through, but let's start with Sheriff Michael Carona in Orange Country.
We understand, Sheriff, there is now a $60,000 reward? Is that correct?
CARONA: Larry, it's actually significantly more than that. The mother's company, British Petroleum, put up $50,000. The governor of the State of California has offered another $50,000 and additional rewards have come in.
KING: So it's going to go well up over like $150,000 right now?
CARONA: Yes, my sense is we're probably pushing 200 to $250,000 as we speak.
KING: Do rewards work?
CARONA: Say again, sir?
KING: Can rewards work?
CARONA: Yes, sir. The public sometimes is motivated by a number of different things and one of them is money. And if a reward helps bring information that leads to the arrest and conviction of this individual, we're happy to pay it.
KING: First on an update, what killed Samantha, sheriff?
CARONA: The coroner's review is completed. We know that she died of asphyxiation and that occurred some time on Tuesday, July the 16th.
KING: And do we know if she was sexually assaulted before being as asphyxiated?
CARONA: We do, Larry. She was sexually assaulted before she was killed.
KING: And it's also reported that the assailant spent several hours with her before she died. How do we know that?
CARONA: Larry, one of the things that has occurred in this particular case is a quit response by not only the sheriff's department but law enforcement locally and the FBI. We were able to gather a tremendous amount of forensic material here at the scene, at the crime scene, in Riverside County. And after sifting through all of that, we have a pretty good feeling as to what took place. And we know, at least in part, that the killer spent a few hours with Samantha before she was murdered.
KING: Do we also know that she tried to fight him off?
CARONA: Larry, we don't have that information yet. But I can tell you that we're analyzing a lot of that data and my hope is by tomorrow afternoon I'm going to have more information not only for the press but for the public.
KING: What made you state, Sheriff, that this killer will act again?
CARONA: We started working late yesterday afternoon when the body of Samantha was found in Riverside County, about 3:00. The FBI has made a lot of resources available to us. One of the resources is their profiling bureau in Washington, D.C. We shared with that group of individuals the data that we had, where the body was positioned, pictures of the body and they worked through the night.
Early this morning, we had a pretty good profile as to what type of individual would commit this type of crime. It is probably a sexual predator, one who has acted this way before, maybe a serial- sexual predator or serial killer. And based upon that profile, he or she may act again. In this case, we believe it's a man and that he would have the potential of acting very quickly again. KING: This description, Sheriff, of a Hispanic male, 24 to 40 years old, black greased back hair, thin black moustache, powder blue button down shirt, does that all come from Sarah Ahn, Samantha's 5- year-old play mate?
CARONA: Yes, sir, it does.
KING: A 5-year-old can be that explicit?
CARONA: Sarah has been an incredible witness for us. She was there at the scene and she listened to Samantha when Samantha said, "Go tell my grandmother," as she was being driven off by her assailant. And Sarah -- God bless her -- has been a spectacular witness for us and has got us a lot of information that we were able to get to the public to move this case forward.
KING: Is she under special protection?
CARONA: Sarah is being guarded. Most of that is because of the media attention around this case. We have to deal with a 5-year-old little girl and I don't care who you are, if you're 5 years old, this much attention starts to scare you. And we don't want to impact our witness, so it's not for her safety but more for her security and peace of mind, that we were working with her and family.
KING: Sheriff, once you use a word like "serial killer," "serial predator," are you therefore saying to residents of Southern California, "Watch doubly extra your children?"
CARONA: Yes, sir. We put that information out to the viewing public here in Southern California, but it's not bad information across the nation. Parents need to watch their children. And we believe this particular person may strike again and within a relatively short period of time. But frankly, the information that we put out for children to stay away from strangers, if they're contacted by a stranger and they try to take them into their home or their car or with them, children need to fight that off. They need to tell their parents, yell, scream do whatever they possibly can. But that's an age-old comment that has been made by parents to their children.
KING: Do you fear, Sheriff, in all of this involvement in the Internet, all of this going on, people talking to people, even 5-year- olds?
CARONA: Well, Larry, I think the Internet has probably changed the way we do business not only in America but across the world. We don't have anything that leads us to believe this case has anything specifically to do with the Internet. But I can tell you that we're following any and all leads. And your comment is not something that we haven't thought about and it's not something that we're not examining.
KING: So right now though, it looks like a random person going down the street. He spots a girl. He says, "Help me find my dog" and he takes her?
CARONA: Yes, sir. It was a very impulsive act and again, that meets the profile for the type of individual that we're looking for.
KING: Doctor Deirmenjian, what is a forensic -- is it psychiatrist or psychologist?
DR. JOHN DEIRMENJIAN, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Psychiatrist.
KING: So you're a doctor, M.D. as well?
KING: What is forensic psychiatrist?
DEIRMENJIAN: It's a psychiatrist who specializes in legal aspects that pertain to psychiatry, for example, criminal or civil. Within criminal, it involves sexual predators, competency to stand trial...
KING: You might testify in cases?
KING: You would analyze and consult sessions with people accused of same?
KING: Can you give us a -- help with us the most puzzling of all, who or -- why is someone a predator?
DEIRMENJIAN: Well, it's a complicated question and the answer is not easy. Basically, a predator is somebody who has sexual urges, fantasies or behaviors that involve intense sexual, sexually aroused behaviors, involving prepubescent children.
KING: And why, though, do they kill?
DEIRMENJIAN: Well, they don't always kill. It's an obsession that needs to be resolved by a compulsive behavior. And the compulsive behavior is usually the sexual act, the molestation. Unfortunately, what's included with this is sociopathy and the criminal act. And that's the difference between sexual predators and other types of obsessed, addicted people.
KING: So a sexual predator is not necessarily a sociopath but becomes one when he kills?
DEIRMENJIAN: There is sociopathy involved with sexual predators, but definitely when they kill.
KING: Any female predators?
KING: We're going to take a break and come back with the entire panel. The sheriff will remain with us, your phone calls later. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: You know Marc Klaas, of course, and Mark Geragos and Nancy Grace. Let's get in with Galen Sabean. Galen is the California-based case manager for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children based in Alexandria, Virginia. He's managing the Samantha Runnion case for the center. He retired from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, spent 20 years in homicide. About 1984, he started a departmental program for missing and abducted children.
What got you interested in the children aspect of this?
GALEN SABEAN, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: Our department, at the time -- we're very broad based with a lot of sub stations and at that time, each station had their own control of missing and run away and abducted children. There was no nucleus. And as a result of that, we had no center of control for that problem. So...
KING: You centralized it.
SABEAN: ... I came in and we centralized it.
KING: Can you explain to me, since tragically, Samantha is no longer missing, what do you do in a case like this?
SABEAN: As far as the national center?
KING: You, yourself.
SABEAN: We are a support group. We assist the law enforcement agency as well as families in advertising, the media resources, a poster to get the word out throughout the country or the region at least where this crime occurred. And how we, you know -- how we can help to get -- to funnel information to law enforcement.
KING: Do you know how many kids that are sexually exploited every year?
SABEAN: Sexually exploited, no, I don't.
KING: Would you guess?
SABEAN: There's roughly in -- I can say in the State of California, there is 57 non-parental or non-family abductions in the year 2001.
KING: A little over one a week. SABEAN: That's correct.
KING: How many result in death?
SABEAN: I don't have those figures.
KING: Most don't, though, right?
SABEAN: Most of the 57, I couldn't say that over 50 percent, no. It would be much, much less than that.
KING: Sheriff, when you have a case like this -- are you a father, Sheriff?
CARONA: I am, sir.
KING: Do you tend to take it personally?
CARONA: I take it very personally. As a father, my heart goes out to the family. I've spent a lot of time with Samantha's mother, her stepfather and her grandmother. And it breaks your heart. As a cop, I'm angered, but I can do something to help. I may not be able to heal the family's wounds, but I can catch Samantha's killer. And we're putting out every resource down range to make sure that happens.
KING: Marc, no one suffered on this entire panel like you did. What do you say to the parents?
MARC KLAUS, DAUGHTER POLLY ABDUCTED AND MURDERED IN 1993: Well, first of all, I'd like to offer my condolence. I'm getting feedback here. I'd like to offer condolence to the family and also, to her father back in Massachusetts.
Well, what they're going through right now is they -- they're at the emotional depth. I mean, they're in a place of despair from which it'll probably take them many, many years to recover and they will be under a veil of grief for probably the next decade. It's extremely things.
These are kinds of things that break up families on a regular basis. People resort to alcoholism. They resort to drug abuse. They resort to depressions if they're unable to extricate themselves from or they find a way to fight back.
KING: What aspect of this case strikes you?
KLAAS: Well, certainly, Sheriff Carona's entreaty to the people of Southern California to keep their eyes on their children. I hope that they're listening to everything he's saying. This just sounds very dangerous. I don't know that I've ever heard anything quite as chilling as the press conference that he gave today. I just -- you know, this the most no-nonsense press conference I've ever heard. And I just certainly hope that people keep an eye on their children until this madman is caught.
KING: Nancy, what's your read? NANCY GRACE, "COURT TV": Well, Larry, I've been studying the facts of this case and everything the sheriff has said very carefully -- and I agree that this is a serial offender. One, history tells us you rarely kill your first victim. His first victims may have been fondling victims, rape victims, some other type of molestation. So this is not his first victim.
Also, the brazen nature of the abduction and the disposal tells me this man has very little fear of what society can do to him. Also, he had his M.O. down cold. As soon as he saw the child, he was ready to pounce with a line about the dog. He got out of his car, Larry, not afraid to be identified. And last but not least, in addition to an impulse control problem, I don't care what some esoteric psychiatrist or statistical study may tell you, a child molester cannot be cured. He still has the same impulses today, Wednesday, that he had on Monday.
KING: Dr. Deirmenjian, you agree with that?
DEIRMENJIAN: I agree with that.
KING: They cannot be cured.
DEIRMENJIAN: They cannot be cured.
KING: So they must be apprehended and they must put away.
KING: And treated maybe but not cured.
KING: OK. Mark, the defense rests.
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There's no -- there is no defense perspective on this until they catch someone. I mean it's the worst of all possible crimes.
KING: But you said during the break, you think it was not an instinctive thing.
GERAGOS: Right, I don't -- and this term of "impulsive," the doctor and I were talking at the break, that it's more of a compulsive act, I think. I think when Nancy talks about it as being brazen, I would rather characterize this as somebody who I think is disintegrated. I think hat's what gives the FBI and the sheriff their concern, is that somebody who does this, who leaves this body out to be discovered, the fear that they have, and the profile they've developed, I'm sure is that this is somebody who has disintegrated, is in a very bad -- obviously, the sickest and most evil side of -- part of the cycle. And they want to get him and they want to get him before he does it again because this is somebody who probably is watching this, is thriving on the attention. And if they don't get him soon he's going to do it again.
KING: So this is someone who'd be watching this show or others, getting some sort of kick out of it?
GERAGOS: Yes, it would be part -- my guess is that somebody -- part of the whole kind of sick thrill.
KING: Do they ever go back, Doctor, and reverse and not do it for a long while and not get caught, just disappear?
DEIRMENJIAN: It depends on the thrill that they're getting and whether they're satisfied to a certain extent. They may go in -- they may, for a while, stop doing the behavior but inevitably, it will come back.
KING: Do police treat this very harshly, Galen?
SABEAN: Absolutely. When we do an investigation of this nature, you can't get too emotionally involved because you lose focus on what you're there do, and that's to solve the crime.
KING: But it's a child.
SABEAN: But it's a child and all children, especially the age of Samantha and victims like her -- it's very difficult. It's very difficult not to take this home with you to your family and leave it at the office, so to speak.
KING: Why so brutal, Doctor?
DEIRMENJIAN: Again, it's the pathology of the illness. This is a very sick person. And the fact that it was so brutal is a reflection of his illness.
KING: All predators are not brutal, necessarily?
DEIRMENJIAN: Not necessarily.
KING: Can some be kind?
DEIRMENJIAN: It depends on their goal. Initially, they try to engage the child by gaining trust, for example, with the question about "Will you help me find my puppy" -- to try to engage the child. That led immediately in the kidnapping, but in other instances, people will try to be nice to the child to gain some kind of trust.
KING: We'll be back with more. Don't go away.
KING: By the way, we now have a task force number for anyone with a tip on this. It's 714-890-4280. It's on your screen -- 714- 890-4280 for anyone with a tip. And we'll be going to your calls for this program at the bottom of the hour.
Sheriff, what do you make of the leaving of the body in a place where it was easily found?
CARONA: That fits the profile that we have for a sexual predator or a serial-sexual predator. This is a calling card. The nice part about it, for us, in terms of an investigative piece, there was a tremendous amount of forensic evidence that was left behind, both at the crime scene as well as on Samantha. And we're analyzing all of that data. And we believe that's going to help us in a relatively short period of time, get enough information to start working on catching her killer.
KING: Mark, does this tell you he wants to be caught?
KLAAS: Are you talking to me, Larry?
KING: Yes, I'm sorry. We got two Marks.
KLAAS: Yes. Does he want to be caught? No, he doesn't want to be caught. He wants to go out and continue to do what he's doing. I'm a little concerned...
KING: Then why leave all the telltale signs?
KLAAS: Well, he's leaving calling cards, isn't he? And he's doing very brazen acts, as Nancy suggested earlier. But I'm concerned that the doctor's saying that this guy is ill and that he has a sickness, which almost implies that his sickness is controlling him as opposed to him making choices of free will, and I think when you do that, you're able to punch your responsibility and accountability away. And I don't think that we should ever consider that for a second.
KING: It's some kind of sickness, isn't it, Marc Klaas?
KLAAS: Is it a sickness? I don't know if it's a sickness. I know it's evil. And I know it's perverse. But is it a sickness? Does it matter? Let's get this guy off the streets.
KING: All right, let's -- what's its definition? Is it a sickness, Doctor?
DEIRMENJIAN: Well, I think it's both. I think it's a sickness that has...
KING: And an evil.
DEIRMENJIAN: ... and an evil and a crime, absolutely.
KING: And willful and also, something from the inner self, this speaking to this person, right? I mean...
KING: ... it's all of the above?
DEIRMENJIAN: Yes. And by labeling it as a sickness, I am by no means discounting the criminality of this act.
KING: Nancy, do you think he -- these telltale signs are just brazen? GRACE: I think that they are brazen and I think the reason is because earlier, we heard the doctor discuss an impulse control problem. This impulse, Larry, is just like me telling you, "Don't be Larry King." This guy cannot help who he is and what he wants. He has this overwhelming impulse and he acts on it. He can't stop himself. That leads to his brazenness.
KING: All right.
GRACE: And leaving the body there, in this immediate fashion after the attack, I guarantee you, if you look at where the child is abducted, where the body was disposed, it will be a straight line to where he is.
KING: Marc Klaas is saying, Mark Geragos, that that's -- when you say that it makes it an excuse, does it?
GERAGOS: Well, you know, Marc and I have talked about this and the idea of whether or not it becomes an excuse, whether or not you're trying to somehow justify it. I think that there's a distinct here, obviously, when there's a killing. When you've somebody who is a child molester and who kills a child, there is really no going back. I mean that is the ultimate -- the most horrible crime that we have in any civilized society.
We talked about it at the break and we talked about it in previous shows. It's also -- among the inmate culture, you're the lowest of the low. I mean this is somebody who is never, ever -- when caught, I don't even think would make it to the trial because he's never going to survive in custodial facility.
KING: Is that right, Galen?
SABEAN: I believe so. Absolutely, I agree with Mark.
KING: There's inmates that go after them?
SABEAN: They have no respect for them at all, no matter what the crime is they're in for. A child molester, a child killer is an immediate death sentence if they can get a hold of them.
KING: Doctor, I understand you've written on pedophilia and the Internet.
KING: Is it wide?
DEIRMENJIAN: It is very wide, yes. And the more the Internet enters our homes and the more it gains -- becomes such an important part of everyone's every day life, starting with children, the more it allows perpetrators a venue to infiltrate the lives of children.
KING: Could a 5-year-old have been on the Internet?
DEIRMENJIAN: Possibly, possibly. KING: Now does that -- could it have been a connection made that way?
DEIRMENJIAN: Definitely, with a minor, absolutely. And perpetrators can disguise themselves because of the anonymity that the Internet allows. In addition, on the Internet, they can disguise themselves as being children, being minors themselves or being of the same sex in order to gain the trust of a child and then, to enter that child's life.
KING: Sheriff, the use of "my dog," is that -- has that been common in other kidnapping cases, the kind of "come help me?"
CARONA: Yes, sir. Those are typical phrases that a sexual predator will use to lure his subject in. And frankly, it's part of what we're putting into our database, to analyze the type of individual that we have and other M.O.s that this individual may have used in other crimes.
KING: Mark Geragos, is this conducive somehow to California? We keep hearing...
KING: ... California.
GERAGOS: Well, you know, the -- I think the -- Galen gave the statistic of 57 in California in the year of 2000. I think nationally, it was 300 the same year. So that's an awful large percentage of these -- what they call non-parental abductions, stranger-upon-stranger, a parent's worst fear. A lot of people have speculated that the transient nature and the sprawling nature of Southern California, if you will, and of California, is somewhat conducive to it.
But if you put it in perspective, I mean it's an awful, awful crime and it's every parent's worst fear. But it really is a small percentage of the total abductions that you have or you see nationally.
KING: Nancy Grace, do...
KING: Yes, I'm sorry. Who's that? Marc Klaas?
KLAAS: Yes, Larry, I think that we're categorizing this thing all wrong when we talk about family and non-family. I think we should instead be talking about predatory and non-predatory abductions.
The vast majority of children that are victimized in any way, shape or form are victimized by people that they know. And there are plenty of stories of uncles stealing children out of the homes and then raping and murdering those children.
KING: True. KLAAS: So the fact that they're not stranger abductions doesn't make them any less heinous and any less dangerous and put those children at any less risk.
KING: In your studies, Marc Klaas, do you know why they kill?
KLAAS: Oh, I wouldn't be the man to ask that.
KLAAS: I would ask that of the doctor. He would certainly know that much better than I. But there's a thrill in killing, I suppose.
KING: We'll take a break and come back. Back with more and your phone calls.
Tomorrow night, we're going to talk about estrogen and hormones. It made the front page of "Time" and "Newsweek" this week. Dr. Andrew Weil will be with us. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD GARCIA, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: We can say that based on this person's actions, what we find at the evidence scene, what we find as far as how the abduction took place, the impulsiveness of this individual, that this person will strike again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. Joining us in Stanton, California, the scene of the crime, is Sheriff Michael Carona, the Orange County Sheriff. It's his case.
In Los Angeles is Galen Sabean, California-based case manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, based in Alexandria, Virginia. He's managing the Samantha Runnion case for the center.
Also in L.A. is Dr. John Deirmenjian. He's a forensic psychiatrist on the clinical faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine.
In San Francisco is Marc Klaas. His 12-year-old daughter Polly was abducted from her home and murdered 1993. A parole felon was later convicted and sentenced to death. He's founder of Klaas Kids Foundation and he's an advocate for child protection and crime victims' rights.
Mark Geragos is the California-based defense attorney. The criminal side of his defense practice has included abduction and pedophilia cases.
And in New York is Nancy Grace, anchor of "Trial Heat" on Court TV. Former prosecutor, her cases have included child abduction, sexual assault and murder. We'll go to phone calls. Kennebunk, Maine. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, I have a question for the sheriff.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: How far do you think the killer has gotten by now?
KING: Did you hear that, sheriff?
CARONA: Well, the killer -- I did, Larry. The killer could be very close or the killer could be a couple of hours from here.
But I can tell you, because of the response time to this particular incident and the -- our ability to get this out through the media through the care alert and the media contacts that we've had, we believe that he is still within the state of California.
KING: Is it extremely doubtful, doctor, that he'd be on an airplane somewhere, that he's just looking to get away and he's going to commit a crime in Illinois?
DEIRMENJIAN: It's doubtful.
DEIRMENJIAN: Everything points to him being local and staying local, from where he committed the crime to where he left the body. Chances are he's still local.
KING: Very remote that he's a traveling serial killer around the country?
GERAGOS: No, in fact I think the sheriff is right in that they're going to solve this and they're going to solve it quick. They're going to go to either -- and I'm sure they've already done. They've got here in California a sexual offender database that everybody who is a registered sex offender, they've got those names.
They're going to look at those people, see if they fit the descriptions. They've gotten a wonderful witness here in this 5-year- old who not only was able to give a description that gave a wonderful composite but the description of the car as well. I would expect that they're going to find this person quickly, within 48 hours.
KING: Especially if Nancy is right, that he's done some acts before without killing.
GERAGOS: Well, I think Nancy is right on when she says that the killing is not your first time out. I mean, this is somebody who is in the throes of the worst of the worst, and they have got a history, and if they have got a history, odds are they've been released before from custody.
KING: Unless, Galen, he's never been caught?
KING: That would be the other factor, right? But it would have been reported, somebody would have reported him, someone describing him, right?
GERAGOS: This description is pretty good, the car description is pretty good, and with all the media attention, I just don't think its' going to be that long.
KING: Louisville, Kentucky, hello. Are you there, Louisville?
OK, went to line three and it wasn't Louisville.
Appleton, Wisconsin, hello.
CALLER: Yes, how do we protect our children without creating a sense of fear?
KING: Ah-ha. Doctor?
DEIRMENJIAN: Yes, I believe going back to basics. I think that parental supervision should always be the cornerstone of raising children, either parental or adult supervision, and I think that going back to basics without creating a paranoia within the community can really do the job.
KING: How do you teach your 5-year-old to not go over someone looking for a puppy?
DEIRMENJIAN: Again, don't talk to strangers.
KING: No matter what they say?
You say no, Marc Klaas?
KLAAS: Yes, I'm absolutely saying no. Listen, this whole idea of not talking to strangers is a misguided concept from a time when we didn't have good information. Children have to understand that if they're in a situation that endangers them, they can certainly go to strangers and get help.
They can go to women that they don't know, they can go to mothers with children, other children, police officers in uniform or in a retail situation, they can go to store clerks.
We have to substitute those ideas. I think No. 1, children always have to check with their parents first, they have to be outside with other people, they have to trust their feelings and they have to put distance between themselves and whatever makes them feel bad, but this question can't be answered simply, Larry.
The answer to this question extends from the kitchen table all the way to the cabinet table. It extends from talking to our children to creating legislation that will put predators behind bars and keep them behind bars, where they can never get children again to legislation that will give the children of today opportunities not to become the predators of tomorrow.
KING: I think we're talking about two different things. I think doctor was referring to a stranger pulls up in a car, says come here, kid. You don't go over to that stranger. Of course you'd call a stranger for help.
KLAAS: Right. Right.
KING: You want to say something, Mark?
KLAAS: I was just going to say, there was an article in the "Times" today about the mother, and the mother had said that she had role-played with her girl, with her daughter, and she had role-played about what would happen in a situation like this.
And she had done, by all accounts -- one of the things that makes this so disturbing is that by all account this mother had done everything possible to protect her daughter from this type of situation, and in fact the daughter did what she was supposed to do, which was scream, make noise and say go get my grandma, go get my grandma.
One of the reasons I think that there was such a fast response here is because her 5-year-old friend reacted to that.
KING: Sheriff, what do police telling children to do?
CARONA: Well, I think what your experts that you have as guests tonight, Larry, have given the public, is exactly what we've been saying. If there is a stranger, the children need to move away from that stranger. If the stranger asks them to get in the car, to come with them, they need to say no.
If the stranger puts a hand on them, they need to start yelling and screaming. They need to run, they need to get away from there, and by the way, that's exactly what Samantha did. Her mother trained her that way. The unfortunate part about this is it happened so precipitously that we had a young lady that was already in the car, and she did the right thing. She screamed tell my grandmother, the grandmother did that, within minute, the phone call made, within four minutes we had units at this location, and so, but for the grace of God, we could have solved this one early on.
SABEAN: You know also, that's one of the primary -- one of the primary duties, if you will, of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, is to train parents, and we have classes that we'll put up in community centers.
KING: All over the country? SABEAN: All over the country. We're available. And we want to do this, matter of fact, with the city of Stanton, to bring parents over with the children.
GRACE: Hey, Larry?
KING: Bremen, Georgia, hello.
I've got to get break -- hold it Nancy -- Bremen, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: My question is for Dr. John and also for Nancy Grace, because it's a forensics question.
We know that forensics and DNA has gotten innocent people out of prison. Has it ever been misleading or proven to be wrong to actually take you to the wrong direction and convict an innocent person?
KING: Dr. John?
DEIRMENJIAN: I don't think so, because DNA evidence is so accurate that I think that having false negatives is a rarity.
KING: Doesn't occur, yes.
All right Nancy, we'll pick right up with you.
I've got to take a break, and we'll come right back with more, and more phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We're going to go right back to your calls.
Nancy wanted to make a comment.
Let me give you the task force number again: 714-890-4280; 714- 890-4280.
And the doctor also points out a good thing: schools have to be taught, teachers have to be taught how to -- what to say to children, right?
DEIRMENJIAN: Yes, because children are out of the parents' control, out of parents' reach when they're in school.
KING: A lot of hours.
KING: Nancy, you were going to say? I'm sorry.
GRACE: Well Larry, I think one reason that this case is so chilling and so disturbing is that this girl and this mother did everything right. The child was supervised by a relative, her grandmother. She had been schooled in what to do in the event this should happen. She was not out by herself; she was with a friend. There were neighbors out and about. And Larry, she was only about 150 feet from her home.
And the difficult thing to accept is, no matter how much you prepare, sometimes you cannot protect against violent crime.
KING: ... someone says, I got a...
GERAGOS: Right, and you combine that with the fact, as the sheriff said, that they got there within four minutes; the phone call was made within a minute.
You just can't -- it's almost hard to...
KING: Where did we go right?
GERAGOS: Exactly. It's unbelievable.
KING: Oshawa, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Hello?
KING: Yes, go ahead. I'm sorry.
CALLER: I have a question for the sheriff.
KING: Yes, the sheriff can hear you.
CALLER: And it goes to what's been said already: Why was the child outside unsupervised?
CARONA: Well, according to her grandmother, a lot of children play in this area, and Sarah and Samantha were both outside -- again, about is 150 feet from the house. This was not unusual behavior.
And it was just one of those bizarre circumstances. I don't think she was unsupervised. This is an area where a lot of kids come and play.
KING: Do you agree with that Galen?
SABEAN: Absolutely, yes.
DEIRMENJIAN: Yes, and also that makes areas where there are a lot of children out in the open more vulnerable to predators.
KING: So then what do we do? There are a lot of children, that seems to be self-protective. Of course, there's a lot of children, but it makes them open for predators. DEIRMENJIAN: Exactly.
KING: Do we not have open areas for children anymore? Marc Klaas would say that's terrible; you're confining children.
KLAAS: We can't be putting our kids on leashes, Larry...
KING: Right. I know, you're right.
KLAAS: We can't bow to fear and then let these guys win. We've got to fight back.
KING: Indianapolis, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This for the sheriff, please.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I'd like to know, with all of the forensic evidence that you have, did you know Monday when the body was discovered that that was an actual person that had done this before and would try to do this again?
KING: Did you know it before you knew it was Samantha?
CARONA: Larry, we did not know before it was Samantha. At 3:00 we received a phone call that hikers had found a body in Riverside County. I contacted my counterpart in Riverside County, and the sheriff there allowed our investigators to run that investigation in his community.
We then started downloading a lot of the physical evidence that we had at the scene, as wells digital photographs to the FBI in Washington, D.C. And it was their profilers that gave us the information that we released to the public today.
KING: Since the body was in another county, was it determined that the crime and the killing may have been -- we know the crime was committed in your county, but we don't know where the killing was committed, do we?
CARONA: Larry, we didn't at the time that I made the request of now sheriff-elect Bob Doyle (ph) to allow my investigative teams to come into his county. That's highly unusual; but the sheriff and I have a good relationship. He trusted our investigative judgments coming into his community.
And it turned out to be the right thing to do, because we have had continuity in the investigation, which has led to, again, a great deal of forensic evidence.
KING: Is the morale high on your force very in this case, sheriff?
CARONA: The morale on my force is extremely high.
But I will tell you, Larry, it's not just the Orange County Sheriff's Department. It's all local law enforcement, all of my colleagues have put people into the task force. The governor has weighed in with the State of California. The president has made sure that the FBI and their resources are available, and they have been magnificent. We have over 100 FBI agents out here.
So it is a law enforcement community event that is taking place, and morale is very high here to catch this man.
KING: And the president is aware of this story?
CARONA: The White House contacted me today, offered their support. And so my sense is that, if not the president, clearly somebody in the White House is watching this very, very closely.
KING: Columbus, Ohio, hello.
KING: Yes, go ahead. I'm sorry, go ahead
CALLER: Do statistics show that many of these criminals are addicted to pornography?
DEIRMENJIAN: Yes. There definitely is a high correlation between pornography, especially child pornography, and these types of crimes.
KING: Does that back up -- you've defended people like this.
GERAGOS: Yes, I think there's a clear correlation, especially to child pornography. It's one of the reasons that there has been such extensive efforts to try to criminalize child pornography, why there's such a fight over that.
KING: You agree Galen?
KING: Nancy, you agree?
GRACE: Yes I do. In fact, we're covering that right now in the Westerfield trial, Larry, where the victim is Danielle van Dam. Child pornography was downloaded off the defendant's computer. His neighbor was abducted and killed.
KING: And Marc Klaas, do you agree?
KLAAS: Of course, Larry, absolutely.
KING: Well, it's obvious the sheriff will agree.
I'm sorry Marc, go ahead.
KLAAS: Well, one of the problems, Larry, is with the Internet it's so easy to get. I mean, this whole issue of child porn was almost dead before the Internet came along. But my goodness, it just becomes increasingly easier, not only to get it, but also for the pedophiles to network with each other.
GRACE: And it's their disposition, Larry. I mean, if you think about it, what grown man is going to enjoy looking at pornography where a little 7-year-old girl is getting raped, and then tell me he's not prone to commit a crime on a child?
KING: All right, let me get a break and we'll be back with our remaining moments. Don't go away.
KING: Let's take another call. Little River, California, hello.
CALLER: Hello Larry.
CALLER: Thank you for your show, and for taking my call.
CALLER: My question has to do with the very sophisticated technology that we have available today, such as GPS systems and tracking devices for our cars. Couldn't someone develop something that would fit in a belt or shoe or a necklace, or even be small enough to be implanted in a child so that when a child is taken we could immediately have the police find that child, based on the tracking device?
KING: I've had tons of people mention this to me. Sheriff, is there such a thing? Or Marc Klaas, do you know...
KLAAS: Yes, I do I know. In fact, there is a company called Wherify -- W-H-E-R-I-F-Y -- that is in the final stages of developing just such a GPS tracking device.
Now, the problem with this over time has been that, although the GPS technology has existed for a long time and they've used it for lowjack and other various types of locater systems, they've never been able to come up with a power source that you can put into a device small enough with the integrity that can be guaranteed over long periods of time that can then be utilized for children.
But it is very, very close now. And I think once it hits the market an awful lot of people are going to be interested in pursuing that.
KING: Sheriff, wouldn't you say it would be almost mandatory if that was safe, that you could implant something and know where a child is, it would be automatic to have it?
CARONA: Well, it should be a great tool for parents, and clearly a great tool for law enforcement when we have a situation like this.
The flip side of that, Larry, that always comes up, is being able to watch this child, then, no matter where they go, and the intrusion that comes along with it. And so I'm sure civil libertarians will weigh in on the other side of it.
But from the parents' perspective and from a law enforcement perspective, it's a valuable tool.
KING: By the way, we just received this item just in. In Inglewood, California Officer Jeremy Morse, the officer who, as you know, rather roughly handled that young, black youth in an arrest procedure -- you see it there -- has been indicted in Inglewood, charged with assault under color of authority.
What is that, Mark Geragos, assault under...
GERAGOS: Assault under color of authority means that, as a police officer, as a law enforcement-type, that they've committed an assault. It gives you an enhanced penalty under the law.
What they've done is they've gone to the grand jury here. There's been testimony in the last couple of days. And apparently what you're reporting is that they've got a sealed indictment. I would assume that they'll take him in or ask Mr. Barnett, his lawyer, to surrender him tomorrow in department 100 downtown.
KING: Is that the same term you have in New York, Nancy: assault under color of authority?
GRACE: Yes. And it's actually considered to be much worse than a regular assault, because not only are you committing that same assault, you are using your position of authority to get away with it.
One more quick call. Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Hello. My question is: If our children find themselves in this situation, is it better for them to struggle, or should they stay calm and say, this is not my father, this is not my mother?
What is the best way for us to teach our children if this should happen to them, how do handle it?
KING: Galen? Good question.
SABEAN: Well, I think families should -- the kids, the children should scream, should holler, no, no don't touch me, this isn't my father. If they can break loose, then go to another stranger. Go to a stranger in the area, because there's not two abductors in the same area.
And don't just holler at them, grab on to them, grab around their legs and say help me, help me, call the police.
KING: Sheriff, do you agree?
CARONA: Absolutely, Larry. I've got to tell you, when a child makes a lot of noise, everybody watches. And the best thing a child can do is to let us...
KING: I'm sorry, we lost the connection there with the sheriff.
Marc, quickly, what did you want to say?
KLAAS: Well yes, Larry, what I was going to say, that if in a situation like that these guys get these kids into the cars, despite all the screaming and crying, they can pull a button off of their blouse or their shirt and, if possible, put it in the ignition where he would put the key, if the key is not in the ignition, and he will be unable to start his car.
KING: Thank you all very much. I hope that this is solved tonight. We appreciate all of our panelists for being with us.
We'll come back and tell you about tomorrow right after this.
KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, we look at the subject of estrogen, and our special guest is Dr. Andrew Weil, always welcome in these parts. We'll keep you up to date on all breaking news events as well, as we do 24 hours a day here at CNN.
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