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Nancy Grace

Can Aruban Prosecutors Keep Joran Van Der Sloot in Jail?

Aired August 23, 2005 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, the countdown is on for the jail door to swing wide open for prime suspect in the disappearance of the Alabama student, 18-year-old Natalee Holloway. Can Aruban prosecutors pull it together and submit a case to the court to keep judge`s son Joran Van Der Sloot behind bars?
Plus, we go live to a Montana homicide trial, where it`s alleged tiny infants, babies, were force-fed cold medicine at Tiny Tots Day Care. Why? To make them shut up and take naps until baby Dane Heggem suffocated in his sleep.

And now a decade-old mystery of a missing 19-year-old Emory University student, Shannon Melendi, comes to a head in court.

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace, and I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight: Dane Heggem, just 1 year old, spent his days at a Montana day care, Tiny Tots. Did this baby die after being force-fed over-the-counter cold medicine to make the baby take a nap? Tonight, Tiny Tots` owner on trial for homicide.

And Emory University sophomore Shannon Melendi vanished 11 years ago after leaving a softball game. Tonight, former umpire Butch Hinton III on trial for murder. Hinton`s cellmates tell the jury today that Hinton confessed the demon inside him made him kill Melendi.

Here`s a clue. If you go to jail, so does the demon.

But tonight, to Aruba, day 86 in the case of missing Alabama beauty Natalee Holloway. The clock is ticking for a courthouse meltdown, just 11 days left until suspect number one, judge`s son Joran Van Der Sloot, could walk free. Tonight in Aruba, Jossy Mansur. He is the managing director and editor of "Diario" newspaper. Natalee`s mother is with us, Beth Twitty. In LA, defense attorney Debra Opri. In West Palm Beach, defense attorney Michelle Suskauer. In New York, forensic scientist Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky and psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere.

But first, let`s go to WBMA-TV reporter Anastasiya Bolton. Anastasiya, bring us up to date, friend.

ANASTASIYA BOLTON, WBMA-TV: Nancy, first of all, a judge made a ruling today. When it comes to the defense asking prosecution to give them more or all access to all materials in this case, the judge denied that request, although prosecution has been saying all along that the defense in this case has access to all the materials necessary for them to give appropriate defense to their clients.

Also, no questioning still today for Joran Van Der Sloot. If you remember, it was the Thursday before last when the questioning ceased. So far, there is no timeline when the questioning will resume. Dutch behavioral specialists are back on the island, ready to question him. Again, no timeline when that will resume.

Also, the jogger, the latest witness that police are talking about -- this is supposedly the man who called police from a public phone several days after Natalee Holloway disappeared, saying that he saw the car with the Kalpoe brothers and Joran by the racquet club the night that she disappeared. Police are still looking for him. They`re not able to find him because the man, again, called from a public phone and did not leave his name -- Nancy.

GRACE: You know, that was a question we had last night, Jossy, as to why the Aruban police could not trace that phone call from a jogger, a jogger escaping the heat on the island of Aruba the night Natalee went missing. That`s the apparent explanation of why he was out jogging at that time of the night. Jossy, if this is true and he called from a public phone, true, police cannot trace who he is, but it would also give credence. Was that public phone near where Natalee Holloway disappeared?

JOSSY MANSUR, MANAGING EDITOR, "DIARIO": That`s what I understand, that this jogger also saw the same car parked at the same spot by the racquet club. However, he did call from a public telephone, and I don`t know whether the police can trace it or not. But according to information I have, they cannot.

GRACE: Well, they already know it`s from a public phone. They know where it was. Take a listen to this.


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE`S MOTHER: I fully believe that he knows exactly where Natalee`s body is. I do. And you know, that being said, whether she`s alive or not, yes, because I can`t -- I honestly cannot -- cannot say that I definitively know. But I do know that Paul Van Der Sloot, yes -- yes. I know he knows.


GRACE: Natalee Holloway`s mother is with us tonight. Beth, thank you for being with us. Why are you so sure that Paulus Van Der Sloot and Joran Van Der Sloot know where Natalee or her body is?

TWITTY: You know, Nancy, Joran and Paul have done this to themselves. You know, they`ve -- they`ve had -- they`ve done the lies all along. You know, if they would have just come forward from the beginning, never changed their story, you know, we wouldn`t have these suspicions. But there -- you know, there`s no reason to tell a lie and -- you know, if you have no involvement or you don`t know where she is.

And also, we know that Joran has -- you know, he admitted these sexual assaults that he performed on Natalee. That has never been a secret. And you know, Paulus Van Der Sloot has changed his story. He admitted to us on the night of the 31st that he picked them up at 4:00 AM, and then when I was in his home one day, I think that was maybe June -- oh, I`m not sure if it was June 21 that I was at the judge`s home -- and he changed the time to 11:00 PM on the 29th.

I mean, you just don`t do that. A grown man cannot keep changing the times if he has nothing to hide or no involvement.

GRACE: Beth, you stated that Joran Van Der Sloot had confessed to a sex assault with Natalee. What did he say?

TWITTY: I cannot repeat them, Nancy, but he did admit to these sexual assaults that he committed against Natalee.

GRACE: Well, you know what? Very quickly, Debra Opri, I know that you are typically a criminal defense attorney. But here you`ve got this guy with Natalee Holloway the night she goes missing, and he confesses, allegedly, to a sex assault on the girl. What`s the story, that after he assaulted her, somebody else came along and either kidnapped or murdered her? Ridiculous!

DEBRA OPRI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you`re missing a major point here. We also know that there have been many contradictory additional confessions coming out of these people, additional statements. And if they contradict each other, which statement do we believe? You`re hanging your hat on one statement. I don`t think that`s the way to go, Nancy. We should cumulatively look at all of their statements and find out which of those statements match the other people`s.

GRACE: Beth, response?

TWITTY: Well, I knew that was going to be a question, and there is a specific reason why I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that these sexual assaults were committed against Natalee, but I cannot disclose it because it`s part of the investigation.


GRACE: You know what, Beth? You know what, Beth? I have found after many, many years, more years than I even want to say, of prosecuting felony crimes, when a victim`s family believes something, I have found it more often than not to be true. Why? The victim`s family wants the right perpetrator. They don`t want to see an innocent person framed and the real perpetrator walking free. With us tonight from Aruba is Natalee`s mother, Beth Twitty.

I want to go back to Jossy Mansur with "Diario" magazine. Jossy, I want to get everything I can from you that you know about this jogger. Could you just tell me, what night is it the jogger calls police about what he saw?

MANSUR: I think it was two or three nights after Natalee disappeared. I don`t know. I don`t have any of the answers to that. I don`t know any of the facts involved. I know that the police have put out a call for him. They`ve requested us to publish it, where we did publish a request for this man to come forward. And they`ve been on the radio and everywhere else, asking for this jogger to show up, to give his testimony.

GRACE: You know, Jossy, last night, right as we were -- were going to a commercial break, you told me divers were going to start diving again today. And I asked you, For what? Anything specific? And you said, Remains. Where did you get that information? What are you talking about?

MANSUR: I got it from the people that are organizing the next dive. I got it also from Art Wood, who is with another search team down here voluntarily with some kind of specialized equipment that he has that can detect bones or things similar to that of human beings at any distance.

So he did make his tests over that. He did find some item of interest. And they went Sunday. They did the first dive. I know because my son is involved in it. Both my sons are involved in it. Then they came back, they studied the area, they plotted the area again, now much larger. And they`re going back this week sometime, either Thursday or Friday, to do the real diving, to search for whatever this man found on this machine.

GRACE: OK, would it be side-scan sonar? Is that what you`re talking about?

MANSUR: I don`t know what kind of an equipment it is, Nancy, but...


MANSUR: ... I understand that he could identify something down there.

GRACE: I want to go to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. Doctor, do you think they`re referring to side-scan sonar, that was used in the Laci Peterson search?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Yes, it`s quite possible. You know, I got to say, Nancy, the reason that this whole thing is so frustrating is there have been so many ups and downs. There isn`t even enough information to charge Joran Van Der Sloot, let alone get a conviction. And I think that unless something happens within the next few days, it`s going to be a continuation of what we`ve heard day in and out. No change.

GRACE: Well, I don`t know if I agree with that because I really believe, at some juncture, the Aruban government is going to make good on the theory that they would retake the Kalpoe brothers back into custody after this gardener gives his sworn statement.

Anastasiya Bolton, it`s been several days since the gardener gave his statement clearly placing the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot near the pond, well after they said they had gone home.

BOLTON: That`s right. They promised that they were going to rearrest the Kalpoe brothers if the statements matched up, which they did. But again, everything happens in Aruba on Aruban time. They play by their own rules. So again, we may see the Kalpoe brothers being rearrested, or we may not.

GRACE: To Beth Twitty. Beth, when I hear that Joran Van Der Sloot has not been interrogated since Thursday last, a week ago this past Thursday -- we`re coming up on two weeks -- what`s the hold-up, Beth?

TWITTY: You know, Nancy, who would know? I don`t even think Joran could answer that, at this point. He certainly had early -- early on, he had every opportunity, as early as June 9, to get this over with, to begin, you know, giving a statement. And you know, some people have asked, since it`s gone on so long, Is he able to do it now? Well, you know, Nancy, he had plenty of time in the beginning. He had ample time -- June 9, June 10, June 11, 13, repeatedly. And he chose never to give the correct statement. I mean, he just chose to lie each time.

GRACE: You know, another issue, to Jossy, is Paulus Van Der Sloot. We were talking to Beth Twitty about the various statements. Well, what this gardener, who you dug up, Jossy Mansur, you brought him to light -- this gardener not only directly contradicts the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot`s statement, but the father, the judge, Paulus Van Der Sloot`s statement. I mean, if you`re to believe this gardener, Jossy, Van Der Sloot is lying through his teeth, and him a judge!

MANSUR: That is correct because the gardener`s story that he upheld, that he really stuck to in front of the judge and all these defense lawyers and the two suspects being present, does destroy the alibi and the statements made by Paul Van Der Sloot of his picking up this boy.

GRACE: Beth, what are the locals doing to find this jogger, the anonymous tipster?

TWITTY: I know that they`ve put information in the newspapers and possibly in the local media. And as far as any other additional resource, I don`t know how they`re trying to pursue this individual.

GRACE: And to Anastasiya Bolton, before we go to break -- Anastasiya, I understand regarding, the arm that washed up on a beach in Venezuela, clearly a human arm -- we all know that the ME there knows whether it`s a woman or a man, OK? That can be determined pretty quickly. Why can`t they send a sample of that arm to Aruban authorities, Anastasiya, so we can make a comparison to Natalee`s DNA?

BOLTON: Nancy, there is not an agreement between Venezuela and Aruba. Right now, I`m told that they`re working on diplomatic channels to get a sample for them to test it. But as of now, there is not an agreement that they can exchange this type of evidence and make an examination for themselves.

GRACE: So what do we have to have, then -- very quickly, to Jossy -- an international agreement? I mean, don`t we all want the same thing, the truth?

MANSUR: Yes, it`s true. But they have very close contacts between the police of Aruba and some police corps in Venezuela. I think they`re trying to handle it through personal contacts more than anything else because there is no treaty or accord or whatever between the two countries.

GRACE: Very quickly to "Trial Tracking." Today, Joseph Duncan III arraigned in the case of Shasta and Dylan Groene. It was announced today the registered sex offender will face the Idaho death penalty for the murders of Dylan (SIC), his 13-year-old brother, Dylan`s mother and her boyfriend. Dylan and his sister, Shasta, reported missing the same day their family was found slain in their Idaho home. Tonight, Duncan named a person of interest in three other child murders in two different states.


BILL DOUGLAS, KOOTENAI COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Mr. Duncan just pled guilty to six potentially capital cases. But I think it`s important for us to remember that he is presumed innocent throughout all stages of the proceedings. It`s our intent to give him a fair trial. It is also our intent to file our intent to seek capital punishment. We will file that document tomorrow.




TWITTY: There`s no way that they would have participated in this elaborate lie in front of her -- in front of me and in front of Jug and in front of all of the family members that flew in if they weren`t covering something up. There is no way that you would have the need to do that. And then I only think back to Deepak and how he approached me that night, and I was staring into his eyes and his head was held high that night. He was telling me the lie. But he couldn`t even face me at the Internet cafe.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. We are live in Aruba in the latest in the case of Natalee Holloway, the 18-year-old American girl missing many, many days now.

Very quickly to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. Doctor, let`s talk about this arm, this severed arm that was found on the Venezuelan coast. Elizabeth, could you throw up that map, please? Doctor, can they determine immediately -- well, just tell me, what can they determine immediately from a bone?

KOBILINSKY: Well, examination of the bone certainly reveals -- I mean, you can see it on the photograph -- that the soft tissue is essentially gone. So obviously, you can tell gender. But in order to go beyond...

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! You said you can determine gender, correct?

KOBILINSKY: Well, the anthropologists can make certain measurements. You can determine the individual`s height and approximate age. There are certain minimal things you can determine.

GRACE: I`m asking you gender, gender. It`s my understanding that you can look at a bone, if you`re an anthropologist, and determine if it`s a man or a woman.

KOBILINSKY: Well, that`s correct, within certain limits. But you know, in biology, there are gray zones, so I can`t guarantee that they can do gender. But one thing is for sure, when they do any kind of DNA testing, they will be able to determine not only gender but if it`s Natalee or not.

GRACE: Well, you know, they said immediately that they could not determine gender, and that is total BS. They can look at the structure of the bone, they can look at the size of the bone, and determine gender. I fully believe that, Doctor.

KOBILINSKY: I think it depends how conservative the analyst is. And in a case that`s high-profile, you don`t want to make any mistakes.

GRACE: You know, another thing I don`t understand, Beth, is why -- the whole world knows about Natalee missing. The world knows. Why can`t we take a sample of this bone and rule out that it`s Natalee?

TWITTY: Well, I hope that we can. It`s something that -- you know, I really don`t have that much information about this. I don`t even know where the bone was found. But I mean, I`m certain that it`s something that does need to be ruled out. We need to find whose it is, anyway, Nancy.

GRACE: I want to go to Jeff Gardere. Dr. Gardere`s a clinical psychologist. I want to talk about this jogger, who may be able to corroborate the gardener. Why, Jeff, am I so interested in that tonight? Because Aruban government authorities still have not taken the Kalpoe brothers and Judge Paulus Van Der Sloot back into custody for questioning. And if this jogger exists, if it`s real, he corroborates what the gardener says, and they both contradict the judge and the Kalpoe brothers.

JEFFREY GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. And I think, in watching this story as we have been, it`s almost possible to surmise that there is a lot of information that is not being given by that government. And perhaps we don`t know how hard they really are looking for this particular gardener. Now, there might be -- one of the reasons he may not be showing up is because he may have some issues as far as citizenship there in Aruba. Maybe he`s afraid that he may be going against the locals, since there has been a rift between the locals and with Beth Holloway Twitty because she has been so persistent in finding her daughter. So there are reasons that he may be kept away from the courts.

GRACE: Gotcha. To Anastasiya Bolton with WBMA-TV -- Anastasiya, September 4, the clock is ticking, Van Der Sloot may walk free. What does the prosecution have to put up to keep the judge`s son behind bars September 4 -- 11 days?

BOLTON: I`ve been told that the prosecution has to present its strongest case yet. Obviously, there`s not been enough evidence yet to charge Joran Van Der Sloot. So on September 4, or days before that, they will have to present enough evidence to keep Joran behind bars, either to, A, charge him, they can release him, or he can be held for 30 additional days, if the judge decides it fit.

GRACE: So bottom line, Michelle Suskauer, defense attorney out of West Palm Beach, Florida, the prosecution`s got to have a little bit more than what they had last time. They got to put up a good case. And I just say that this jogger is additional evidence. Of course, last time, Michelle, they didn`t have the gardener, either, when they got Joran Van Der Sloot.

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you know, we don`t know what the jogger really saw. We only have a little bit of information. And I don`t know whether they`re ever going to find this person. Just like your last speaker said, there may be some intimidation. And I don`t know how -- the gardener`s testimony is just not going to be enough, coupled with speculation and guesswork, to keep this kid in jail. He is going -- if the prosecution doesn`t have anything else, he is walking out on September 4.

GRACE: Very quickly to tonight`s "Case Alert." Graphic new details revealed on the murder of wealthy banker Robert Kissel. His wife accused of drugging Kissel`s strawberry milk shake, then bludgeoning her husband to death with a piece of art. Defense? Friends testifying Nancy Kissel often black and blue from beatings. Nancy Kissel, romantically linked to a local repairman, admits bludgeoning her husband but claims she can`t remember how it all happened.



TWITTY: There have been points where I`ve been so angry, just angry at what all we`ve been through. If you`re the victim of a crime in Aruba, it`s sad and you have no rights. It seems like -- seems like the suspect has all the rights, and you know, poor Natalee has had absolutely none.


GRACE: Truer words never spoken. That`s Natalee`s mother, who is with us tonight.

Very quickly to Jossy Mansur, the managing director and editor of "Diario" newspaper. Jossy, you told me they were going to start diving again today for remains. Why didn`t they start diving today, like you said?

MANSUR: Because they`re putting together the diving team. The diving team is not that easy to gather. I mean, this is a small island. I mean, they`re thinking of gathering between 12 and 20 people to go out there and search.

GRACE: Where is it they`re going to dive, Jossy?

MANSUR: They want to dive to the west of the hotels.

GRACE: Beth, thank you so much for being with us. As always, our thoughts and our prayers with Natalee`s mom and her family. Jossy, Anastasiya, we`ll see you guys tomorrow night.

Everybody, quick break. We`ll all be right back.


THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts. And this is your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

A Peruvian airliner has crashed attempting an emergency landing in a jungle town in that country. Reports say that at least 40 people were killed. The plane went down carrying at least 92 on board.

There could be renewed hope for peace in the Middle East. Officials on both sides say the Israeli pullout from settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank create an opportunity to renew talks. The evacuations were completed today.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he doesn`t know who Pat Robertson is and he couldn`t care less about the religious broadcaster`s call for his assassination. Robertson Monday suggested that Venezuela would become a launching pad for Muslim extremism.

And the fate of 900 military installations across the country hang in the balance tonight. The Base Closing Commission will begin tomorrow morning to vote on those tagged for closing, downsizing or growth. There are 33 major bases up for closure and 29 that may be downsized.

That is the news for now. Thanks very much for joining us. I`m Thomas Roberts. And we take you back for more of NANCY GRACE.


CALISTA HEGGEM, DANE HEGGEM`S MOTHER: She went back into the bedroom, and she said she usually says, "Dane," and then he stands up in his crib. And she said "Dane," and he didn`t move. And she said "Dane" again, and he didn`t move. And she walked looked over and looked at him, and he was lying on his stomach and his lips were blue.


GRACE: The he she is referring to is a 1-year-old baby boy, Dane Heggem. Now, I know millions of you watching tonight take your kids to daycare. I got taken to my grandmother. I stayed there during the day while my mother and father worked.

This little baby boy was taken to Tiny Tots Day Care in Montana. One day, he did not come back alive. Prosecutors now allege the owner of the day care force-fed the children, in day care, cold medicine, for no other reason than to make these infants, these children, shut up and take naps. A not guilty plea has been entered.

In Billings, Montana, Dane`s parents, Travis and Calista Heggem are with us. Also with us, Greg Tuttle, reporter for the "Billings Gazette."

Before I say another word, to Calista and Travis, thank you for being with us. Thank you.



GRACE: I`m going to go straight out to Greg Tuttle, reporter with the "Billings Gazette." Greg, bring us up-to-date.

GREG TUTTLE, REPORTER, "BILLINGS GAZETTE": Hi, Nancy. The trial entered its sixth day today. The prosecution is still presenting evidence. The defense is expected to start its case tomorrow, and we could go through the rest of this week.

GRACE: You know what`s incredible to me, Greg, is that prosecutors were wise enough to think, "Gee, why don`t we test other children?" But how do you test children weeks later?

What they did was they went and they looked in diapers. I`ve never heard of this being done before, Greg. They look in the diapers, and they took swatches of diaper material and tested urine and discovered, according to prosecutors, that there was -- the main ingredient of Diphedryl cold medicine, a generic Benadryl, in all the babies` diapies, Greg.

TUTTLE: Well, you`re right, Nancy. You know, what can you say about their investigative techniques in this case? They went after the evidence where they found it.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In total, from December 3rd, 1999, to January 26th, 2003, how many bottles of Kirkland Diphedryl did the defendant purchase at Costco?

GARY HATFIELD, INVESTIGATOR: I believe there were 64 bottles here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So from February 2001 up until January 2003, did you ever see Sabine give any medication to those kids other than what the parents had requested?

HATFIELD: No, I never seen her give her any medication.


GRACE: I want to go to Baby Dane`s parents. Joining us tonight, Travis and Calista Heggem. Again, thank you for being with us. And our sympathy and prayers have been with you. As soon as I heard about the case, stunned.

I`ve just got to tell you, Calista, the thought of a daycare worker hovering over Dane Heggem, force-feeding the baby cold medicine, just so he would take a nap, is a scary thought, Calista.

C. HEGGEM: It`s nothing that I ever thought was even plausible. It was nothing that I thought would ever happen.

GRACE: Calista, when Dane went to day care that day, he was fine. He didn`t even have a cold, did he?

C. HEGGEM: He was perfectly healthy the day I dropped him off.

GRACE: And, everybody, take into account Calista Heggem is a nurse. Her husband, Travis, Dane`s father, a schoolteacher. They know what they`re talking about.

Calista, what happened the day you learned Dane had asphyxiated in his bed at day care?

C. HEGGEM: They called the ambulance. They called me at work and notified me that he wasn`t breathing. When they woke him -- went to awaken him from his nap, which I also think is something that is to take note of, that they were awakening children from their naps.

But he was brought by flight -- by the flight team at St. Vincent Hospital, which is where I work, to the emergency room there. And they weren`t able to revive him.

GRACE: To Travis, when you learned how Dane had died, did you have any idea, any even suspicion, that Dane had been given cold medicine to make him take a nap?

T. HEGGEM: No, we did not realize that he`d been given that when he had died. We came to that -- the awareness of that much later.

GRACE: Travis, when did you learn that Diphedryl was in his system?

T. HEGGEM: It was about two weeks later. I was informed by Officer Guy (ph) of the Laurel Police Department.

GRACE: Now, was the baby on any kind of medication that day?

T. HEGGEM: No, ma`am.

GRACE: None whatsoever?


GRACE: Calista, tell me how you have managed to go to court every day.

C. HEGGEM: I just keep trying to put one foot in front of the other. And we`ve waited over 2 1/2 years for this to finally come about. So I think we`re both ready for it, finally. And it`s definitely very difficult to sit there all day long and listen to some of the testimony. But it`s been a long time.

GRACE: You know, I just wonder, Calista, if this case would ever have been brought forward if investigators had not been wise enough to test the diapers of all the other -- of so many of the other children.

C. HEGGEM: Yes, you know, I think the pathologist here in Billings needs to be commended for what he did. I really don`t know what the routine is...

GRACE: We`re showing...

C. HEGGEM: ... on an autopsy of a baby.

GRACE: You know, I`ve got to tell you, I`ve been to a lot of autopsies. But I just don`t think -- I haven`t even been able to think about the autopsy of this little baby.

C. HEGGEM: Yes, it`s very difficult to think about. You know, I don`t think we would have -- it wasn`t our choice to have an autopsy done. They did it on their own.

GRACE: I want to go to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist. What is Diphedryl? What is the main ingredient? Is it like Benadryl?

KOBILINSKY: The chemical is called diphenhydramine. And there are a number of companies that manufacture it. And usually, it`s in combination with some other things that relieve symptoms of colds.

It`s obviously used to block the symptoms of allergies. But it`s also used to promote sleeping.

What`s critical here is that there`s really no safe dosage for children under the age of 6. In fact, the poison control centers have done a study that showed that 27 children a year die from overdoses of this medication. It`s a central nervous system depressant, and it blocks -- it slows down respiration. And in an overdose, it can stop it altogether and result in a cardiac stop -- you can stop the heart from beating, as well.

GRACE: And at the beginning, Calista, the defense was going to be that Baby Dane had some type of a heart issue. But if you look at what Diphedryl would do to a baby, of course it would make the heart stop.

C. HEGGEM: Right. Initially, he thought he had some sort of a heart defect, the pathologist here in Billings. And he actually sent Dane`s heart to United States Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. And they looked at Dane`s heart and said that it was perfectly normal.

I`m sorry, I can`t remember what...

GRACE: Calista, when you heard they had ordered 64 bottles of cold medicine, that must have hit you like a dagger in the heart.

C. HEGGEM: Yes. I mean, you place so much trust with your daycare providers. They were both mothers themselves. They were residents of the Laurel community for many years. And I think there`s many parents that still don`t believe it. I don`t know.

GRACE: Calista Travis...

C. HEGGEM: It`s hard to believe.

GRACE: ... thank you for being with us.

We are watching the courtroom. And I`ve got to tell you that Baby Dane is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen. The picture of him in the little donkey outfit -- Elizabeth, if you could put that back up -- I just hope this jury can see this picture. He`s just a little angel, just a little angel. Thank you.

C. HEGGEM: He was.

GRACE: Thank you so much for being with us.

C. HEGGEM: Thank you.

T. HEGGEM: Thank you.

GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help, in our own way, solve homicides, find missing people. Last week, a family found me on vacation and gave me these pictures. They are desperate to find their girl.

Look at Pamela Kinney, just 19. She disappeared from Apalachicola, Florida, August 14th. She never arrived home. If you have any information on Pam Kinney, contact the Franklin County Sheriff, 850-670-8500. Please help us find Pamela.



LUIS MELENDI, SHANNON`S FATHER: Basically, I`ve been working, trying to keep this man behind bars so he wouldn`t hurt another family. I mean, that`s the bottom line. I can`t bring Shannon back, but I can keep him from hurting another family. So that`s been my goal, keeping him behind bars.


GRACE: I remember, as a prosecutor in Atlanta, 1994, when 19-year-old Shannon Melendi went missing near Emory University. Now, all these years later, her disappearance has come to a head in an Atlanta courtroom. Tonight, in San Jose, California, Shannon Melendi`s friend, Anne Vasquez; in Atlanta, Robin McDonald of the "Fulton County Daily Reporter."

Hello, Robin. Bring us up-to-date, friend.

ROBIN MCDONALD, "FULTON COUNTY DAILY REPORTER": Today is the second day of testimony, Nancy. This is a case that is largely still a mystery. We have a murder trial without a body. We have no crime scene. We have no murder weapon.

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. McDonald, Robin McDonald, mystery? I thought he confessed to a bunch of his jail mates.

MCDONALD: He did. And the testimony from his jail mates is going to be debatable, I think. They are pretty bad characters.

GRACE: What are they accused of doing, Robin?

MCDONALD: We have one who is a long-time bank robber, a member of a gang...

GRACE: Oh, Robin, Robin! There`s nothing wrong with a little robbery.

MCDONALD: Nothing wrong with a few robberies. I`m, at this point, not necessarily defending their accuracy or lack thereof. But you do have to raise concerns and questions about....

GRACE: Oh, yes, Robin. Everybody, Robin McDonald, with the "Fulton Daily Reporter," and they cover nothing but the legal world. She knows what she`s talking about.

You`re right on. That`s the first line of attack by the defense, that the person on the stand is a snitch, they`re an inmate, so therefore they can`t be trusted. You`re dead-on.

So we`ve got the bank robber. Who else do we have?

MCDONALD: Oh, we have fraudsters, we have drug traffickers. And what you have -- people who have been in prison for 15 to 35 years are facing those kind of sentences, all of whom, however, were cellmates of Butch Hinton`s at one time or another, all of whom have made pretty horrific statements that they claim he said to them in connection with...

GRACE: Like what?

MCDONALD: Well, one of the key statements was made yesterday by one of the first inmates up. He said that Butch Hinton woke up in the middle of the night screaming, "I didn`t kill that girl. The demon inside me killed that girl."

Hinton apparently has told another inmate, who will be testifying against him, that he has a weakness for young girls. He also has told them that, in connection with Shannon Melendi, that the police will never find her body, that she was scattered to the four winds.

GRACE: I want to go straight out to Debra Opri, defense attorney. Debra Opri, yes, the snitches are bank robbers, they`re fraudsters, they`re dopers. Who do you think Butch Hinton`s hanging out with, nuns and priests and virgins? No! He`s hanging out with other criminals behind bars.

DEBRA OPRI, JACKSON FAMILY LAWYER: The defense here is very limited. You know, you have to attack these con men. You know, 50,000 con men can`t be wrong. And they all shared a cell at some point in time with him.

That wouldn`t be my angle as a defense attorney. My angle would be the guy`s loony, the guy`s nuts, insanity defense all the way. And don`t forget. He had a prior where his wife caught him in his basement with a 14-year-old local girl tied to the pole. It was reported, and he pled insanity, and he did, I think, 15 or 19 months and he got out.

GRACE: You`re dead-on, Debra Opri. He did 15 months on a four-year sentence.

OPRI: Plead insanity.

GRACE: But he`s already tried that, Debra.

OPRI: These con men...

GRACE: Hold on. Hold on. When he was 16-years-old, he pled insanity for abducting a 30-year-old woman and attempting to rape her.

OPRI: That`s right.

GRACE: So you`ve got the 16-year-old...

OPRI: So he`s insane. He`s insane. Has he been certified?

GRACE: Hold on. Hold on. Now you`ve got him in 1982 abducting -- he pled guilty to abducting a 14-year-old girl.

OPRI: That`s correct.

GRACE: Not only that, there are three other women that have accused him of similar offenses.

OPRI: That`s correct.

GRACE: And he was there at the softball game that night, Michelle Suskauer, acting as an umpire where Shannon Melendi was acting as a score keeper. And the disappearance is very similar to when this 14-year-old girl disappeared.

SUSKAUER: This is a tough, tough case. And this is the type of case the defense is going to lose. There is just no question about it.

And the prosecution is going to use the theory, "This is a bad guy. He did it before, and he`s going -- and he did it this time." And they don`t really even need these snitches. They really don`t. I mean, they have the prior bad acts coming in against him. This jury is going to hate him.

GRACE: True. Very quickly to Anne Vasquez, a friend of Shannon Melendi. Welcome, Anne.


GRACE: Thank you for being with us. Can you recall the last time you spoke to Shannon?

VASQUEZ: The last time I spoke to Shannon was in March of 1994. And it was a chance encounter. And it was spring break. And we had lost touch after high school. She went away to university at Emory, and I stayed in Miami.

We both happened to be on spring break in Daytona Beach. And on one night, amid hundreds of college students, I happened to pick Shannon out of a huge crowd. And we talked for about 15 minutes. And we promised to see each other the next time she would be down in Miami on a semester break, and less than three weeks later, she disappeared.

GRACE: That must have weighed on your mind all this time and also never finding a body. That`s the best thing the defense has going for them. There`s no forensics.

We`ll be right back on this case in just a few moments. Stay with us.


GRACE: Nineteen-year-old sophomore at Emory University went missing in 1994, and now, years later, the case comes to a head in an Atlanta courtroom. Butch Hinton on trial for murder.

Very quickly back to Robin McDonald with the "Fulton County Daily Reporter." Robin, what happens tomorrow? And will the jury know about these so-called similar transactions, these other women that claim he did the same thing to them?

MCDONALD: The jury will find out about two of the other women in the two cases that Hinton was charged with. They will find out about the 30- year-old woman who was the wife of a man he worked for when he was 16. They will find out how he attacked her in front of her 3-year-old and attempted to rape her.

They will also find out about a 14-year-old who was a member of his Sunday school class and a former girlfriend...

GRACE: Man, that really takes the cake, Robin. I can hardly keep a straight face. So the 14-year-old girl was in his Sunday school class, right?

MCDONALD: That`s correct.

GRACE: And he abducted her at the local cemetery, right?

MCDONALD: That`s correct.

GRACE: You know, Shannon Melendi`s car keys were in his ignition. Bet you anything, if this guy`s guilty, he walked her from that softball game over to the car, bam, just like when he got the little 14-year-old girl in his car at an open area near that cemetery, Robin.

MCDONALD: Police believe clearly that Butch Hinton`s past actions are going to reflect on what may have happened to Shannon Melendi.

GRACE: Robin McDonald with the "Fulton County Daily Reporter." I can`t believe the hour has already flown by again tonight. It`s so great to be back with everybody.

I want to thank all my guests tonight, but my biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes. Coming up, headlines from all around the world, Larry on CNN.

My teammates in the control room have something to say. Bye-bye! And tonight, a special good night to Mr. Legs, our camera guy, James Tucci (ph). We can only see his legs and his feet. He`s moving to San Francisco. Walk slow and hurry back, friend.

I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. See you here tomorrow night, I hope, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.