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CNN Larry King Live
Interview With Ed Smart, Diane Sawyer; Panel Discussion
Aired August 28, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight a bizarre twist in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case. Potential suspect Richard Ricci, the ex-con turned handyman, fights for life after emergency brain surgery.
What does this mean to the search for Elizabeth. Her anguished father, Ed Smart, will speak out.
Plus another kidnapping. Armed gunmen snatch Nicholas Farber from his father's home earlier today. Police are treating it as a stranger abduction, want to question the boy's mother.
Then, will it be death or life in prison for the man convicted in the kidnap murder of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam? The penalty phase in the trial of David Westerfield is underway. We'll hear from Marc Klaas, who lost his daughter Polly to a brutal crime.
Court TV's Nancy Grace, herself a former prosecutor, defense attorney Jan Ronis and others. With a powerful story combining heartbreaking grief and the gift of new life, Diane Sawyer of ABC News. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius will also be joining us later as well, but we begin now with Bob Doyle, the sheriff-elect of Riverside County. He's coming to us from Palm Desert, as is Ted Garcia, covering the Farber kidnapping for KTLA TV. In San Francisco is Marc Klaas, the founder of the Klaas Kids Foundation. In New York is Nancy Grace, the anchor for "Trial Heat" on Court TV. And in San Diego is Jan Ronis, the criminal defense attorney who did commentary on the van Dam trial for Court TV.
Sheriff-elect Doyle, you want to get us up to date on the Michael Farber story. What happened and where are we at now?
SHERIFF-ELECT BOB DOYLE, RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Well, Larry, it's a pleasure to be here with you this evening. About 2:00 a.m. this morning, as you know, we had an abduction. Nicholas Farber, a 9-year-old taken from his home where he was staying with his father. And two men kicked down the door at gunpoint, went in, beat up the father and took Nicholas from the house and left in a white SUV type vehicle. And we've been looking for that vehicle all day.
In addition, we've developed some new leads and we are looking for at this time, a gray vehicle, a GMAC three-quarter ton pickup with a crew cab. The license on that is a Colorado paper license, Henry 121 or H12197. KING: How does that come into the picture?
DOYLE: It is a witness vehicle at the point. It is not a suspect vehicle. We're looking for the people in that vehicle in order to question them. It is affiliated with the mother. It is not her vehicle. And earlier today we made a plea to Debra Rose, the mother of Nicholas, to please contact us. We need to talk to her.
KING: Is she considered -- are they divorced?
DOYLE: Yes, sir, they are.
KING: And was there a custody fight of some kind? Was the boy in the custody of his father?
DOYLE: Well, apparently at this point in time the boy was in the custody of the father. They are divorced and it is unclear in the divorce papers just who had physical custody.
KING: Is the suspicion -- it would sound the way it's going, that the mother somehow hired people to do this? Is that the suspicion?
DOYLE: Well, Larry, that would be a leap at this point. We're checking all leads. At this point we just need to talk to the mother. Because she is the mother of Nicholas. She could have valuable information for us. And so, you know, we're checking enormous amount of leads at this time. This is certainly one of them.
KING: She's not at home anywhere? You can't find her?
DOYLE: No, we cannot locate her. She is not at her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
KING: Ted Garcia, why is it called a stranger abduction? Why is that the -- is that a certainty?
TED GARCIA, KTLA: Well, I think because the sheriff is basically saying that nobody is a suspect at this point, so he's saying that we want to talk to the mom. She may have some information. But they're not labeling her as a suspect yet.
So if it's not a family member or somebody they're familiar with, they haven't named, then we can only assume this is a stranger abduction, even though everything seems to point to the fact that whoever took Nicholas probably knew him very well or knew his family.
KING: Marc Klaas from afar in San Francisco, what's your read on this sketchy information to begin with?
MARC KLAAS, DAUGHTER POLLY ABDUCTED & MURDERED IN 1993: Well, I don't think that whoever physically came in and took this little boy knew the family very well or the father would have been able to recognize him. Certainly the boy would have been able to recognize him as well. So I think that's where the stranger part of it comes from. Larry, in every case that I've ever been involved in or that I'm aware of, whenever a child is taken at gunpoint, both parents immediately contact law enforcement whether they are -- whether they're estranged, whether they hate each other, whatever their personal relationship, they want law enforcement to go out and bring the kid back.
I think the fact that the mother hasn't done this is extremely telling. She certainly can't say that she's unaware, because people in Saudi Arabia are aware of this little boy. In many respects, cable news has become America's national Amber Alert.
KING: Well put. Nancy Grace, do you buy that same suspicion? This looks a little weird, if the mother doesn't come forward?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV/ANCHOR: Well, to me it looks very obvious. It's now been since 2:00 a.m...
KING: In the morning.
GRACE: Yes. And the other thing is this. Even if she had not -- even if she's been living in a cave, Larry, and she hasn't seen any of these appeals on the media, the worldwide media, you'd think she would have tried to talk to her son at this point, nearly 24 hours have passed. She's disappeared. Her car was parked in front of her home. She wasn't there. The vehicle had a Colorado tag.
She's in Colorado, affiliated with the vehicle. And there were TROs, temporary restraining orders, out against both parties. There's bad blood. Clearly, in my mind, the mother's linked.
KING: Jan Ronis, though, does that give you the hope that this boy is probably alive?
JAN RONIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right, Larry. I think the suspicion you expressed to the sheriff certainly isn't the leap of credulity that he expressed in rejecting that. And I think all indicators are perhaps this was is in retribution for the custody bottle that was going on, and hopefully this young boy will be found alive. It seems to me like this was a job that perhaps the mother undertook to regain custody of the child. Ill advised but nevertheless that's what it looks like.
KING: Ted Garcia, as a man covering, doesn't it look that way to you right now?
GARCIA: I can tell you it looks very suspicious. A lot of the reporters, people out here are saying it just seems to be too much of a coincidence that the witness vehicle that they're looking for has Colorado license plates. The boy had lived in Colorado with his mother. She currently lives there but nobody can find her. So it really seems to me that there is something definitely that connects these kidnappers to the family or to the little boy.
And one of them, we are told, had a stocking mask on, so even if he did go to the door, maybe nobody recognized this guy. But it just seems like a coincidence.
KING: Sheriff Bob Doyle, the sheriff-elect of Palm Desert, does this starting to sound like -- I know you said it is a leap. But is this starting to be a case where if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, it is probably a duck?
DOYLE: Well, Larry, it's certainly a lot of strong information that points in that direction. But in law enforcement, we have to keep an open mind and pursue all leads. And we're doing that. But certainly, you know, this is a strong lead. There is a lot of coincidence here that certainly would, you know, lead you to believe that the mother is involved in some way.
Our main concern at this point is to get Nicholas back safely, to locate the people that have him and make sure that he is safe.
KING: What does the father think?
DOYLE: Well, he's had a very busy day. He was traumatized. He was beat about the body and the head. He was released from the hospital earlier today. He's been in constant contact with our investigators and is assisting in the investigation.
KING: Thank you, Sheriff Doyle. Thank you, Ted Garcia. Marc Klaas, Nancy Grace and Jan Ronis will be joining us in a couple of minutes when we talk about other items, and they'll be joined by Jo- Ellan Dimitrius, and we'll also be joined by Steve Fiorina of KGTV in San Diego.
When we come back we'll talk with Ed Smart, whose daughter Elizabeth is still missing as we approach three months.
Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE from Salt Lake City, Ed Smart. He, of course, is the father of Elizabeth Smart who has been missing since she was abducted from their home on June 5. Good grief, we're approaching three months.
The news today about Richard Ricci, of course, Ed, the ex-con and former handyman for you, hospitalized in critical condition after surgery to remove pressure on the brain.
Have you been told exactly what the condition is now?
ED SMART, ELIZABETH'S FATHER: You know, I don't know what his current situation was. I had understood that he went into surgery and that -- I heard on the news that his situation had improved a little, but I don't know what that means.
KING: They apparently think it was some sort of aneurysm or some type of stroke. Is that what you heard, too?
SMART: That's what I heard also. KING: The police are saying that it's very important that Richard live. Do you agree with that?
SMART: You know, I think that it is -- that he is a key factor in this investigation. And last night when I heard that this had happened, I just couldn't believe it. I mean, it was like the most bizarre -- the most bizarre situation I -- you know, I just couldn't believe it.
KING: In a whole bizarre story, just another bizarre chapter?
KING: Yes. You also said that your first thought was that he'd been poisoned. What made you think that?
SMART: Well, I've just heard that, you know, with him being in prison that, you know, if he got out into the general population there, that with him being looked at as a child kidnapper that his life probably would not be long.
And so I just -- you know, I wondered. But I've been told that aneurysms aren't induced, so...
KING: Yes. You also said that if he survives this near-death experience and that -- the next 24 hours, we understand, to 48 hours will be critical in that, you hope it softens his heart.
In what regard? Are you saying that Richard knows more than he has told us and that maybe now he will tell us?
SMART: I believe he knows a lot more than what he's told us. And I have been -- I, along with so many people, have been praying that his heart would be softened, that he would tell us, you know, just bring an end to this nightmare.
KING: Have the police told you what he has said to them?
SMART: No. I mean, I've heard different things, but they haven't told me everything. I mean, I don't expect them to tell me everything that they know.
KING: You don't think you're entitled, as the father, to know everything?
SMART: Well sure, I feel like I'm entitled. But I know that parts of their investigation they're not going to share with me. You know, there are certain things that they're working on that they won't tell anyone. So I don't -- you know, I'm hoping that they have some things that they're working on.
And, I mean, one of my biggest issues is with the garage, the auto repair center where Richard left the center, crossed the street and headed down the street with someone. And I desperately want to know who that person was that he walked down the street with.
KING: We have never known that, have we?
KING: And also there was a sketch artist who talked to your young daughter who gave them some kind of description. That's never been shown. We often thought that the purpose of sketch artists is to show the sketch. You know why they haven't?
SMART: You know, I've kind of left that in the polices' hands. It's one of those things that is part of the investigation that I can't talk about.
KING: Are you happy with the police work so far, or is "happy" the wrong word?
SMART: You know, I feel that they have been very diligent, along with the FBI, in working. You know, at different times we're at odds.
But we -- you know, I feel the only way this is going to be solved is by cooperation of everyone's help. And I am so grateful to them and the FBI for their help. I may have had words with them at times, but I truly and sincerely am very, very thankful for them. And I appreciate all the help that they've given us, and that they continue to.
And I just feel that this is going to be solved by a joint effort. It's not going to be handled and solved by one person.
KING: What, Ed, is the emotional status of you and the family now, as we approach three months?
SMART: Well, you know, we're just very frustrated that Elizabeth isn't back home. You know, we don't know what her status is, where she is, what kind of shape she's in. So it's very hard. It is very hard. It's an emotional roller coaster that I would not want to see anyone go through.
KING: Does it make it worse when you hear about the Oregon girls or other cases? Does that make it harder for you? Does it make you pessimistic?
SMART: You know, I guess it tells me that this could go on for some time without knowing. You know, the odds, from what everyone has told me are that, you know, that she may not be alive. But I still feel that she is and that she needs our help. She needs the help of those people who have not come forward yet to tell us what they know.
And I am just continually pleading with them to please come forward.
KING: And you continue to be in everyone we know's prayers, and we hope that your optimism reigns true and that Elizabeth comes home.
Thanks again, Ed.
SMART: Thanks Larry. KING: Ed Smart from Salt Lake City.
When we come back our panel will discuss Ed's comments, and then we'll look at the beginning of the penalty phase of the Westerfield trial.
You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.
Jerry Lewis will be with us Friday night, his only appearance in advance of the Labor Day telethon.
Don't go away.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GRACE: ... also the fact that one man, Neth Maool (ph), that was the assistant at the garage -- the auto repair shop. He had no reason to lie. The odometer on that car backed up his story that Ricci was up to something around the time that girl disappeared.
KING: So to you, he is still the prime suspect?
GRACE: Definitely. He's is at least part of that story.
KING: All right Jo-Ellan, tell us the process of this penalty phase.
DIMITRIUS: Well, the penalty phase in the Westerfield case involves hearing testimony from witnesses from the prosecution side, those people that will give reasons that he should be killed.
DIMITRIUS: Executed, thank you.
And on the defense side, it would be all the reasons why he should receive life without a possibility of parole.
Typically, the prosecution will show pictures of the body. I suspect they'll probably show the pornographic information that was shown earlier. If there's anything else in his past that may come forward to show that...
KING: Because they will build a case.
KING: They'll put on the parents, right? They already announced they were going to do that.
KING: They're going to put on a host of witnesses, he said.
DIMITRIUS: They will. Both sides will, because obviously there's a lot at stake.
KING: Steve, what was the mood there today?
STEVE FIORINA, COVERING THE WESTERFIELD TRIAL FOR KGTV: It was very emotional in the courtroom.
As you say, it's the prosecution's turn today. And they went at it basically with two prongs with their attack.
First off, the horrendousness of this crime. They had Damon and Brenda van Dam both on the stand at length talking about their pain. Not just theirs, but also their two sons' pain.
During Brenda's testimony, and she broke down in tears several times, they played a silent videotape, an homage to Danielle. It had music when they were using it in hopes of trying to find her back in February. They took the music out to, I think, limit the amount of emotion this might have brought.
But still, when it was over, I know several of the jurors very quietly wiping an eye. And one of them requiring Kleenex, an alternate juror.
Again, all 18 are back to hear this in case one of the panel of 12 has to leave.
The jury also heard something of David Westerfield's past. His niece, 19 years old, took the stand to say that back about, oh, 10 years or so ago, she was at a sleepover at uncle Dave's house and she was upstairs with her little sister and her cousin, and all of a sudden she was awakened because uncle Dave was standing over her or kneeling over her with his fingers in her mouth, rubbing her teeth.
And she pretended to be asleep. And she saw him leave and go over and do something over her sister. He adjusted his gym shorts or whatever, came back to her and did it again. This time she bit down on his fingers as hard as she could and held it as long as she could, then he left.
A little bit later she told her mom and then the mom confronted Westerfield about it, and there was never any police charges filed.
But the interesting thing is, he's the one that gave this up. During the police interview when he was a suspect, the detective asked him, is there anything in your past that people might be suspicious of you? And he says, well, there was a possibility of some molestation thing a long time ago. My niece thought that I had done it, but all it was was the kids were having a little trouble in their sleep and I corrected it. There was nothing to it.
And that's where this came from.
KING: Jan Ronis, if one of the ways to help you get life is to have remorse, how do you have remorse if you say you didn't do it?
RONIS: Right, well, a point of clarification. First of all, the prosecution has actually rested in this phase of the trial, the penalty phase of the trial. Now the defense is going.
And again, you're right, Larry, this is going to be a real tough one for the defense because, you know, the first phase of the trial, which was the guilt phase, and everything was geared toward the defendant's denial of guilt. And now the jury has come back unanimously that, in fact, he did it. And there's a big how and why that's hanging out there from the jury.
So unless the defendant testifies, that's not going to be cleared up.
What is at stake is the prosecution is required to cite aggravating circumstances which support the ultimate sanction of society, and that is the death penalty. And now the defense is going to go forward with mitigating factors about Mr. Westerfield's life which will hopefully convince a jury and override those aggravating factors.
KING: Marc Klaas, does this tell us, then, that our thoughts that this would take a week were wrong, that this will be over soon?
KLAAS: Boy, I -- you know, I don't know. I thought -- I would have thought that the prosecution would have gone on for longer than they did.
Boy, I can't even believe it, that we're starting to hear things about his past that implicate him in this kind of activity. Goodness knows how many crimes this guy has been involved in in the past because I don't, for a minute, believe this guy just decided he was going to kidnap and murder this little girl out of nowhere.
KING: Nancy Grace, what do you make of the fact that it only took them one day?
GRACE: Well, actually, yes, it only took one day. They put up less than 10 witnesses. The state's case has rested. However, they wanted to put up more evidence, but a lot of that evidence was called out by the judge after extensive hearings behind closed doors.
I would like to point out that this other victim that came forward today, her face was not shown. She's now 19 years old. This happened 12 years ago when this girl was then just 7 years old, the same age as little Danielle van Dam. Him up there in the dark with his fingers in the child's mouth. That courtroom was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
And another thing, the defense threw a huge motion to stop any music being played during that video montage of little Danielle. It was very powerful. You know what Larry? I bet now they'd rather have their druthers before, because throughout that montage, courtroom silent, the only thing I could hear was Brenda van Dam sobbing. She finally broke down on the stand on a few of these pictures. That necklace we're showing right now, that was one of the identifiers as to how they identified her body. And she broke down on the stand. The jury could hear her crying throughout the video.
KING: Jo-Ellan, what kind of evidence might the judge have not allowed if he's heard a lot of sidebar stuff?
DIMITRIUS: Well, there could have been other evidence about things that happened in his past, other...
KING: Does anything go in a hearing like this?
DIMITRIUS: Well, I'm certainly not the attorney here on the panel, but they have restrictions, and obviously, there was hard- fought battle in that regard.
KING: Jan, you can't -- I thought anything can come up at a penalty phase.
RONIS: Well, not anything can come up. And I think the judge probably issued, you know, the appropriate restrictions.
What is unique about this case is that, although Mr. Westerfield, until this young girl testified today about this incident about 12 years ago, didn't fit the profile; on the other hand, he doesn't fit the profile of the kind of individual we usually see facing capital punishment because they usually come in with things like, they were abused, they were raped, they were the victims of molest (sic), their parents gave them drugs, they were orphaned, and they have a whole litany of sympathetic factors that Mr. Westerfield doesn't have, which is going to inure to his detriment because, again, he doesn't fit the profile of a normal candidate for capital punishment because he doesn't have this kind of sympathetic past which might sway the jury.
So it's a tough one for him in that regard.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with more.
Diane Sawyer will be with us in a while.
Friday night Jerry Lewis joins us.
And Monday night Mattie Stepanek, the young man with muscular dystrophy that writes all the best selling books of poetry returns to LARRY KING LIVE.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENDA VAN DAM, DANIELLE'S MOTHER: They arrested him. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) called us into his office to let us know that it was happening, and the reason why they were arresting him. And when he mentioned blood I had a major breakdown because I so wanted to believe she was alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON VAN DAM, DANIELLE'S FATHER: She was fun. She was very adventurous. She liked to try anything. She loved to help. She loved to help other people. She loved to be involved; she was so involved with Brenda and I and the things we did. That was really nice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Marc Klaas, Westerfield's lawyer, Steve Feldman said that he will call witnesses to talk about the wonderful, caring side of Westerfield, about how medical devices he invented as a design engineer have helped people. He said, "we will not excuse the crime, there is no excuse, but David Allen Westerfield is not the worst of the worst."
Could that be effective?
KLAAS: He is the worst of the worst. He kidnapped a 7-year-old girl and murdered her. He then mocked the family the first time he was on TV by talking about his shiny forehead. He then unleashed his lawyers on this family and just basically tried to assassinate their character for, what, four or five months in a row, and then basically tried to throw some of the blame onto his own son by saying it was his own son's kiddie pornography.
It doesn't get any worse than David Westerfield. The sooner society is done with this piece of garbage, the better society is.
KING: Jan, is the defense up against it here?
RONIS: We'll they're clearly up against it, but I take exception with Marc.
I mean, I could show you the worst of the worst. They just recently finished a capital case in San Diego where the defendant, over a period of days, tortured the victim and cut her up and then had sex with her after her death. I mean, these are the kinds of things that are lacking in this case.
I'm not suggesting that Mr. Westerfield is a poster child for some award. In fact, he's not, and the jury looks like they reached the appropriate decision.
But there is a hierarchy of the worst, and he might be in the lower half of that hierarchy.
KING: Jo-Ellan, when the jury was out that long, some were thinking that two or three holdouts may have, OK, I'll go with this, but he's not going to go to death.
DIMITRIUS: Sure. If those folks had been left with any kind of doubt in their mind -- you know, this is a very personal decision that these folks ultimately have to make. They have to decide whether Mr. Westerfield gets death or gets life without the possibility of parole.
And if there's doubt in their mind, you know, they're the ones that have to live with the fact knowing 15, 20 years down the road that he's going to be executed. And that may be enough for them to say, no, I can't go that route.
KING: Nancy, would anyone be impressed by the Detroit case, a man served 18 years, he confessed to a crime he didn't do, and he might have been killed if Michigan had capital punishment.
GRACE: Yes, I was impressed by that. And you know how he was exonerated Larry: through DNA.
So if you want DNA to exonerate, then you've got to accept that DNA can damn you straight to the death penalty.
And I just want to point out that Feldman, the defense attorney in this case, Steve Feldman's mantra throughout the opening statement to he jury today was, he's not the worst of the worst.
Well, you know, I don't think that's very much of a defense of your client when you say, he's not the absolute worst on the face of the planet.
And another thing back to Jan Ronis, you were talking about this other client that you know of that was the worst of the worst. You know what? We don't know what this man actually did to little Danielle van Dam, because by the time her body was finally found, Jan, animals had already ripped it apart. It was decaying. So we don't know how long he sexually tortured this child. We don't know why her teeth were down her throat. We don't know why her hair and fibers were all over his bed and all over his RV.
Think about it.
KING: What, Jo-Ellan, is the determining factor? What should a jury -- I mean, what do they do in the courtroom?
DIMITRIUS: They're weighing aggravating versus mitigating -- whether aggravating outweighs mitigating. And they're all going to be talking about all of the evidence that's been presented as to whether or not this, in their individual minds, will result in their coming back with the death penalty.
They have to be able to sit in that jury box when the jury comes back and the lawyers ask for their vote, to look at the lawyers or to look at the defendant and say, yes as to death or yes as to life. That requires 12 individual votes.
And, you know, it's one thing to talk about whether or not you believe in the death penalty, but when you're actually sitting in that jury box and sitting in that jury room, it's such an...
KING: It ain't easy. DIMITRIUS: No, it's not easy at all.
KING: We'll be doing lots more on this, covering other trials.
Tomorrow night as well, more emphasis, and still awaiting sentencing in the Skakel case. We'll be on top of all those issues.
We thank Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Marc Klaas, Nancy Grace, Jan Ronis and Steve Fiorina of KGTV for joining us.
We'll take a break, and when we come back Diane Sawyer joins us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Don't go away.
KING: It's now our great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, and always great to see her, Diane Sawyer, the co-anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America," the co-anchor of ABC News "Prime Time Thursday," and they've got a special edition coming up tomorrow night at 10 Eastern: an hour-long report on 9/11 widows who've had babies. It's titled "Gifts of love."
How did this idea come about?
DIANE SAWYER, CO-ANCHOR, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": We decided very early on when we met the first 17 babies born after September 11 that we'd keep following the families. And all together, Larry, we have 63 babies, 61 mothers, two sets of twins -- 63 babies. And we say, and I really believe, it's as audacious as trying to conquer Mount Everest, but we try to get one photograph of 63 babies all lined up in a row and all smiling at the camera at the same time.
And it's the story of these mothers coming together, many of them meeting for the first time, and what we learn about their year and the surprises of their year and this incredible mixture of heartbreak and joy and death and birth.
KING: Was there a common thread? I mean, all these people then were pregnant, right, on 9/11?
SAWYER: Yes. They were all pregnant on 9/11. Some of them knew it, some of them didn't know it. Some of them learned -- got confirmation that their husbands were dead at the same time they learned they were pregnant. So some of the men died not knowing that they were fathers.
KING: Was there a common thread through them?
SAWYER: There're so many interesting threads. First of all, you know, they said the same thing to us. "Don't talk about -- don't talk about closure. Don't talk about getting over it. People think that because you're pregnant that you're part of the sunny sorority of women who can have baby showers and laugh. But for us it's a very different thing." And you know, I kept thinking it must be some consolation to be pregnant, to know that you have that child.
SAWYER: They all said the same thing, that being pregnant was agony because of being a widow; being a widow was more difficult because of being pregnant. They love their babies, but going through that alone, they said, was -- one woman said it was a kind of torture.
KING: So is this, sort of, the tragedy of grief and joy occurring at the same time?
SAWYER: It is that, and not being able to share in the real joys of the pregnancy because of the loss you're experiencing.
Although, you know, this scene -- you have to see these babies together. We have one baby already walking -- little, sort of, walking. And then we have a 3-week-old baby at the same time. It is a riotous day. The women are laughing, they're so full of love and life and joy, and then at the same time you think they're sitting over in a corner maybe talking about what stroller to buy, and you go over and they're talking about what body part, what remains of their husbands were found.
In fact, one woman told us that her husband was not found, not a trace, but his wedding ring was found in the rubble at ground zero. So she gets the call and learns that only his wedding ring is coming back to her.
So that it's this mixture of stories of baby bliss, and then of this matter of fact reality where they've lived this year.
KING: Lisa Beamer was here Friday night, and she told us you got some parts of her husband.
Are we including widows from Pennsylvania and Washington?
SAWYER: Yes, we have widows from the planes, and also from the Pentagon.
KING: And so, Lisa is on too?
SAWYER: Lisa is there with little Morgan, little Morgan Beamer. Yes, adorable.
KING: The oldest baby, that had to be someone born almost right after, right?
SAWYER: There were three babies born two days after the attacks, on the same day.
KING: How did those mothers deal with that?
SAWYER: Well, you know...
KING: That's massive grief and joy.
SAWYER: That is massive grief and joy at the same time. And of course, in a number of cases, they are worried about the babies. Because at that moment, the stress alone had led to dehydration. In some cases, they were moved straight into the hospital and kept on watch the whole time.
We had another mother who said she didn't realize everything she had pent up in her. And you know, we have home videos. We have amazing home videos of the births of the babies. And one woman said that as she was giving birth, she screamed so loud that she shocked herself; that everybody in the hospital came to see what was going on. And that it wasn't the pain of childbirth, it was at last the release of all of that sadness she'd felt.
KING: Has it all been put together, or are you going to anchor it live?
SAWYER: We are putting it together as we speak. As we speak, I am going to run and put the rest of it together.
KING: You'll rush back to do more? All right.
Were any of the widows reluctant to appear?
SAWYER: Yes, several of them were. You know, there are more babies out there, and not all of them wanted to come. And not all of them could be found. We suspect there are even more than we know about.
But there was one woman in particular we chronicled over the course of the year, because she's so, in a way, instructive about the course that grief takes. Initially, she wasn't going to come. She said, "I don't want to be part of that sorority, because the minute I'm a part of that sorority, I have to give up my dream that he'll walk in the door one day. And I'm not going to do it." And she was fierce about it.
And we watched her through the course of the whole year. We checked in with her month after month after month; watched her gradually decide that he wasn't coming back, watched her give up her fantasy, and watched her show up with all of our babies and say, "I see, this is where I belong. I'm home here for the first time."
KING: One of the mothers, we understand, is a devout Muslim.
KING: And she has had to deal with the loss of a husband, a new baby, and prejudice and hostility.
SAWYER: That's right.
KING: Boy, that's a roller coaster.
SAWYER: She said walking down the street, people taunted her. And she turned to them and she would say, "I'm a victim too. Don't you know who I am? I'm a victim like you."
And her name is Bara Heen (ph), and she's from a very traditional family. And we show her over the course of a year trying to move on. And she tries to get a driver's license, and sobs uncontrollably, because she says her husband would have been so proud that she's breaking with tradition.
KING: This airs tomorrow night. We'll be back with some more moments with Diane Sawyer of ABC News. The special edition, an hour- long report on the widows and their babies. "Gifts of Love, what a great title. It's on at 10:00 tomorrow night on ABC.
Back with more of Diane Sawyer right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAWYER (voice-over): As they talked, it's hard not to believe that somehow in this room, the men who were lost are still looking down, leaning in, loving. We know that babies often resemble their dads, but it's eerie when you look at these faces, how much we see the echo of their fathers. One woman said to her baby, "You are the gift your father left behind."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAWYER (voice-over): Like the rest of us exchange hellos, they exchange the secrets of a daily attempt to conquer grief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone asks me how I am, I say I'm fine. But fine to me is not the same thing as it is to everyone else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart will never be complete again. There will always be that void in my heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You go out on the streets and you see the happy families together, and you see the fathers with their kids. And that hits me pretty bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hardest part hasn't come yet. I think the hardest part is going to be explaining it to my kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Well this is certainly a must-see. "Gifts of Love," it airs tomorrow night. We're with Diane Sawyer.
A couple of things away from that, and then another question about that.
What do you make of all these -- none the same, it's a stretch, but it's dealing with children -- all these child abductions this summer? SAWYER: Oh, I think we all wake up each day and say, please not another one, not another one. We keep reading the statistics that say that there is not an increase from years gone by, there's simply increased attention. It doesn't seem to matter. Each one is just a dagger in the heart.
KING: Can you figure it out, why people do that kind of horror?
SAWYER: No, I mean, we...
KING: We ask questions, but you don't get good answers.
SAWYER: We ask questions. We're told often that it's abuse going back and back and back, it seems, all the way to Adam and Eve. It never is sufficient explanation, because it seems impossible to imagine that someone could hurt a child.
KING: How do you make a decision, Diane, as to what you cover extensively and what you don't?
SAWYER: You know, I believe you make decisions with head and heart, and not just with head. If I had a policy, I'd tell you, but I don't.
We wake up each day, I think as you do, and we say, you know, is this a story we learn something from? Is this a story that means something in all of our lives together, and make the decision that way.
And we try to make sure that we are covering rural stories as well as urban stories, and that we're not -- that we're not, you know, just falling into some reflex about one kind of story or the other. But other than that, we pretty much follow our heads and hearts and instincts.
KING: Now we know Aaron Brown, who was there all day on 9/11, your former co-worker at ABC. He's going to be around all day long here on 9/11. We're going to be doing a 2-hour special that night. What are you doing on 9/11?
SAWYER: I'm going to be doing pretty much what I did a year ago. I'm going to be starting out in the morning. Charlie and I are, in effect, in real time going to be taking you through the broadcast as it happened with us, from the moment we heard about it all the way through.
And then I'm going to continue on through the day, you know, that day I worked all night down at Ground Zero. And I'll be reporting back from Ground Zero. I think I'll still be on the air probably at 11:00.
So I'll be the one with the circles under the eyes. You'll see me. You'll notice me.
KING: Do you think that's going to be a tough day for the broadcaster? SAWYER: I think it is, because we don't want to be pompous, and we don't want platitudes, and we don't want to be ceremonial. We want to say things that help, and things that we can really learn from. And yet it feels so much has been said.
So I think it is going to be hard. One of the things that will lead us, though, are the people we met along the way, and dropping in on some of them and saying, oh, what happened to that man who was desperately trying to get a plane so he could try to find his wife? Did he ever find her? And to go back and revisit some of those stories.
KING: How do you explain the strength of these women we're going to see tomorrow night? Because that's such an apt word, isn't it?
SAWYER: It is an apt word, day by day.
You know, I love this poem. It's an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) poem, and it says, life goes on when good men die. Life goes on, I forget just why.
And I think some days they do, except they look at those babies and say, this is the reason I'm alive. This is what I'm going to do today. This is going to get me through this day. And the way they love these children, Larry. And the, as I say, the hilarity of the day we spend. This not -- isn't just all tears and sadness. This is truly hilarious and wonderful.
KING: Are there siblings there too?
SAWYER: There are siblings there, and whacking the babies, and the babies pull on each other. We have 63 babies and...
KING: Where did you have them all gathered? Where?
SAWYER: We gathered them at the Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. And we had each of them in sort of seats, and we put them in and some would just slide out like eels, and we'd be chasing them across the floors. We had a few crawlers, and they were crawling out. Some of them would cry and bop the others over the head.
So then we had every known manner of baby mayhem that we were dealing with there.
And that's, of course, the affirmation of life. And at the end of it you do come away and say, "Life is such a strong force that it has conquered even the sadness in this room."
KING: What do you think it is going to be like for them growing up when they begin to get knowledge and ascertain it?
SAWYER: You know, we ask that question because, of course, we have the tapes; we have tapes that you've never heard before of some of the fathers phoning in and we say, "What will it be some day when this little baby hears that tape?"
And I think in so many cases they're going to feel honored to be the children of those fathers.
KING: Diane, you've continued to do yeoman-like work. It's a great pleasure to be in the same business with you.
SAWYER: Thank you. And you, and I'll be thinking of you on September 11, too.
KING: And I of you.
Diane Sawyer, the co-anchor of ABC News' "Good Morning America." Her hour-long report will air on a special edition of ABC News' "Primetime Thursday," airing tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern on the 9/11 widows and their babies. What a great title, "Gifts of Love."
Diane Sawyer, and we thank Diane very much for being with us.
Before we leave you, some personal thoughts on what could be a baseball strike, and what hopefully will not take place. I'm a great baseball fan, which will come as no surprise.
In 1942, World War II was in full-fledge on both fronts, full mobilization, we were at war, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "Baseball must be played."
They didn't have the best players available, but he thought baseball was important enough to the national psyche to continue to be played. I think the same think exists today.
We have a war on terrorism, baseball should be played. Both sides should come together, give a little on each way for the good of all of us. Don Fehr and Bud Selig met today, how about a co- announcement tomorrow: "Baseball will continue."
It belongs to all of us.
Thank you for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow night. Anderson Cooper sits in for Aaron Brown with NEWSNIGHT.
That's next. Good night.
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