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Nancy Grace

New Information in Murder of 25-Year-Old Photographer

Aired December 13, 2005 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, we want answers in the death and disappearance of a Houston doctor and mother of a 2-year-old boy, Dr. Melinda Superville. Was the discovery of her body staged -- staged -- to look like a suicide? And tonight, new evidence could make or break the state`s case on 25-year-old amateur photographer Teresa Halbach. Legal eagles are circling the state`s case like wolves tonight. And also tonight: Help us. Help us find a missing 10-year-old girl out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, breaking news in the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. New leads cause police to seize a bookshelf from suspect Steve Avery`s bedroom. How can a bookshelf solve the case? And also tonight: Help us find 10-year-old Alejandra Gutierrez, missing nearly a week now, last seen, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on her way to a school bus stop. Didn`t the school notice a 5th-grade girl was missing?

But first tonight: Can medical examiners crack the case of Dr. Melinda Superville? Remember her? Was her body staged to look like a suicide, staged by a premeditated killer?


TOM SUPERVILLE, MELINDA`S HUSBAND: She`s my world! And I`ve asked everybody I can, What do you do? And nobody has any answers.


GRACE: I want to go straight out to KTRH radio reporter Scott Braddock. He`s been on the case from the get-go. Scott, bring us up to date.

SCOTT BRADDOCK, KTRH RADIO: Well, good evening, Nancy. There are so many questions here. And as you said, they`re waiting for the medical examiners to rule, and they may not do that for four to six weeks. We are told that the body that matches the description of Melinda Superville was found in an abandoned home, with pills nearby and a gun nearby, and no cause of death yet. We`re going to have to wait.

GRACE: No cause of death yet? The other night, when we first broke the story, we were told it was due to a single gunshot wound to the head. Now, Scott Braddock, a doctor I`m not, but I know a gunshot wound when I see one. How is it that, suddenly, we are being told she had an OD of pills? That`s a far cry from a gunshot wound to the head.

BRADDOCK: Well, yes, ma`am, and the police now telling us that the gun that was found in the home with her was never fired, so it looks as though that can`t be the cause of death. So the police are telling us they`re going to have to wait for the medical examiner to tell us whether or not it was the pills that she might have taken.

GRACE: Take a listen to what Dr. Superville`s husband, also a doctor, had to say.


SUPERVILLE: I`m doing any and everything we can to help find my wife, Melinda. When she went missing, I notified the Houston police. They`ve searched my house and the office -- our house and the office. They`ve looked for her. The church has a volunteer search group. And today, Texas Equusearch began an intensive search for her.

I returned from lunch shortly before 1:00 o`clock and drove by the office to our house, which is one block behind the clinic, on the residential street behind the strip center. I went to the house and unloaded a Christmas tree, went in, washed my hands and checked the house - - the bedrooms to see if Melinda was maybe laying down, taking a nap, and see if she was at home. And she was not there, so I left the truck there and I walked back to the office. And as I walked up to the office, Melinda`s keys were dangling in the lock.


GRACE: Straight out to medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Arden. Dr. Arden, I`m a J.D., not an M.D., but I know this much. When people discover her body and they say she died from a gunshot wound to the head, and suddenly, we`re hearing an overdose of pills, something`s not right, Doctor!

JONATHAN ARDEN, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, I couldn`t agree with you more. Something clearly is not right. There should not be any way to confuse a gunshot wound with a drug-related overdose. Somebody clearly was way off base when they made that premature and early statement concerning a gunshot wound, and I think that led them on an entirely wrong path, which, of course, is not very good for any kind of death investigation, homicide or otherwise.

GRACE: Here is what her husband also had to say.


SUPERVILLE: It`s been extremely traumatic. I have to try to maintain a positive outlook that there`s been no evidence of anything bad. Of course, there`s no -- you know, the authorities and I even suspect, you know, as they say, foul play or something bad. But again, for my son and for my well-being, I have to continue to hope that Melinda is OK.


GRACE: Apparently, the husband in seclusion tonight, not speaking to Melinda`s Superville`s family. Don`t know what his contact with police has been.

To KTRH radio reporter, Scott Braddock. What is his contact with police tonight? Are police deciding this -- has it been decided it was a suicide?

BRADDOCK: Well, they say that they are going to wait for the medical examiner. And we`re told that the husband has not been talking to the police. He did take a polygraph, but we`re told it`s one that he paid for, not a police polygraph.

GRACE: Straight to criminal profiler Pat Brown. Pat, can you make some sense of this? I mean, you`ve got a woman, a doctor, with a 2-year- old little boy. We know that there had been calls for police to come to the house. We have those police reports, right, Ellie (ph)? And why, Pat, would she walk to an abandoned home?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: I believe it`s past...

GRACE: Did she have to pass a crack house, Ellie?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, this was a house that vagrants were known to use. People were in and out of that house (INAUDIBLE)

GRACE: OK, people in and out of the house, Pat Brown. First it`s a gunshot wound to the head, now it`s an overdose of pills. Why was a gun lying beside her body? And if -- what I`m being told tonight by my source is that she had regurgitated, she had thrown up, and the searchers found her there with vomit on her face. If she threw up, then how did she die of an overdose?

BROWN: It`s pretty confusing. I think we`ve got a lot of mixed information, and we`re really not going to be able to discern much until we get accurate information. But I`ll tell you, it`s pretty strange that a woman of this caliber would go hide in an abandoned building to kill herself. It doesn`t quite seem right. It does look like a staged scene. And if it is a staged scene, then you have to look for somebody who wants to make it look like somebody else did it. And of course, that`s why her husband is going to become the number one person of interest because...

GRACE: Now, why do you say that? Why is it that the husband, the boyfriend is always the number one person of interest?

BROWN: Well, in this particular case, nobody is going to stage a scene by putting her in that house. There`s no reason. In other words, if you have a vagrant guy who`s going to kill her or some serial killer`s going to grab her, there`s no reason to stage a scene.

GRACE: Exactly.

BROWN: They don`t care if it looks like a murder.

GRACE: Exactly.

BROWN: Right. And it`s between her house and the office. Awfully strange that her keys are at the office, and her purse is at home -- almost looks like...

GRACE: And her yogurt.

BROWN: And her yogurt...

GRACE: Her yogurt sitting there on the desk, according to her husband.

BROWN: Right.

GRACE: He told me that the other night, sitting on her desk, waiting to be eaten.

BROWN: It almost looks like something happened in one location or the other, and then there was a staged scene, and things are being set up to look like she got to one location or was on her way to another location so something could happen. So her husband, of course, as I say, they`re going to look at him carefully because it looks too odd. Doesn`t mean he`s guilty. They`re going to have to really put the evidence together and see whether we have a murder here or some absolutely bizarre, bizarre suicide. But it doesn`t look like it to me. It looks like a staged homicide.

GRACE: I had one of our producers -- Stef (ph), you looked up all this research, correct, regarding suicide. Everybody, suicide in our population can be broken down to age, race, sex, and determine what mode of suicide is most likely. And I`ve got to tell you, Pat Brown, this is off the chart. This doesn`t make a bit of sense.

BROWN: It looks like overkill. It`s like maybe she went to this place and took some pills and brought a gun, just in case it didn`t work. Most people don`t go to that much work, especially when they know they can be someplace where no one will find them. If you`re in an abandoned house, the pills will do it. If you`re in an abandoned house, the gun will do it. You don`t need two things in an abandoned house. So that -- that`s why it seems like way too much, like somebody`s trying to fake a scene and didn`t quite know how to do it.

GRACE: To Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst. Explain to me the theory of staging a suicide.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, in terms of staging a suicide, I mean, she may have been extremely desperate, and that`s why there would be both pills and a gun.

But you also talked about somebody else staging a suicide for her. I`ve been looking at her patient population. You know, she was a health care provider, and patients often fell in love with their doctors. And I would be looking at the population and see if anybody had a restraining order against them...

GRACE: Bethany! Bethany!

MARSHAL: ... in other cases.

GRACE: Bethany! Bethany! Please! So you`re telling me a patient falls in love or whatever...


GRACE: ... gets obsessed with her, takes her to an abandoned house, where a bunch of crackheads stay, force her to ingest...


GRACE: ... ingest a medication. She throws up.

MARSHALL: I`m just saying...

GRACE: And just for safety, they`ve got a gun lying by her?

MARSHALL: No. Hang on. I`m just saying if it`s a staged scene, this -- you know, we talk about looking at the husband because one third of all women who are murdered are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands, but you have to widen the net a little bit and look at the patient population, too.

But look, if this is suicide, what I really think is there could have been a psychiatric disorder that was undiagnosed and untreated. And what really makes a person vulnerable to suicide is depression. I mean, people with major depressive disorder are 20 times more likely than anyone in the general population to kill themselves.

And I`d be asking, Was she not eating, sleeping, and having difficulty concentrating prior to this? I`d talk to her internist. I`d talk to her friends. And I`d also want to know was there a significant life stress, or did she get a big tax bill? Did she find out she was being cheated on? Did she have a substance abuse problem that she was struggling with that was untreated?

GRACE: Take a listen to what the husband had to say.


SUPERVILLE: I`ve been so wrapped up with the volunteers, with Texas Equusearch, people calling me with concerns. I really haven`t spoken to the police. They -- the -- the police were talking to my family. My son, it`s kind of heart-wrenching. Two nights ago, he really wanted to go home. He`s 2-and-a-half. He`s very bright. Yet his doting aunts have pampered him and concealed from him that his mom is missing. So he really hasn`t been crying for Mom yet, but he`s wanting to go home.


GRACE: Back to Dr. Jonathan Arden, forensic pathologist. Dr. Arden, just -- this scene is almost too bizarre to believe -- the pills, the empty house, the kicked-in back door. She left her yogurt on her desk, the keys dangling in her office door, and suddenly just went into a trance to go to an abandoned house and kill herself? And oh, yes, she just happened to pack along pills and a gun? I mean, Doctor Arden, also, regarding the pills, if she threw up, Doctor, then how did she OD?

ARDEN: Well, first of all, I do want to say, yes, you know, there seem to be so many elements going on here that we can`t put them all together, and that just doesn`t make sense. Something doesn`t add up. Either way, look at it. Homicide, suicide, another person involved, whatever -- she is -- something is not complete here. We`re missing some vital piece of this picture.

Now, as the other guest said, yes, sometimes people take multiple methods of committing suicide, and I`ve even seen examples where people have used multiple methods on themselves.

GRACE: Like what?

ARDEN: Oh, like cutting themselves, like hanging themselves and shooting themselves, two or three things in one...

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait! Hang yourself and shoot yourself? Explain.

ARDEN: Well, actually, I had a case years ago in Baltimore where a poor fellow cut himself. That didn`t work. He hanged himself and broke the pipe he was hanging from. And when he finally got to the point of saying, I want to do this for real, he shot himself.

GRACE: Well, catch this, Doctor. I had a case where a woman -- it was believed that she committed suicide until I got to looking at the bedsheets and found blood spatter marks under her pillow, which means the scene had been staged! She was murdered, and it was set up to look like a suicide. Get it?

ARDEN: Well, that`s exactly what we`ve been...

GRACE: You can`t have spatter under a pillow!

ARDEN: You can`t have spatter under the pillow, and that`s the problem. Is this a staged scene or is this a bizarre scene that she was able to create herself that would throw us off of the right track? Now, I`m not sure, at this point, but having the gun there has me very confused because I don`t understand why she`s got the gun if she`s taking the pills.

You asked me the question about vomiting. If you take enough of some kinds of medications, that will make you vomit, and you may have already absorbed enough of the medication to cause injury or death. So that`s a possibility. But there`s a big, gaping hole here in the information, and this doesn`t add up to a pattern at all yet.

GRACE: Well, another thing -- everybody, with us renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Jonathan Arden. Dr. Arden, I still have a hard time -- even though volunteers found her, they were not professionals -- when they found her, remember, she couldn`t be immediately identified because there was a gunshot wound to the head? Look, I don`t care how violently she regurgitated. That does not disfigure you, all right? Even if she threw up as she was lying there. This does not make sense.

ARDEN: Well, unfortunately, I think somebody made a grossly bad judgment and went prematurely public with that, and I think that led everybody down the primrose path, and now everybody`s talking about gunshot wounds and self-destructive acts by women that don`t usually happen with guns. And we`re all going the wrong direction because somebody said something entirely unsubstantiated. And that clearly isn`t what we should be looking at now, at this point.

GRACE: You know what? You`re right, Doctor.

Very quickly, back to psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall. Bethany, when females in this age range commit suicide, how common is it that they go to an abandoned crack house to lie down and go to sleep and never wake up?

MARSHALL: Well, that -- to my mind, that seems like a very unusual setting unless you take into account that she had a little boy and that she had this chiropractic office nearby...

GRACE: Which she did. Which she did.

MARSHALL: ... and that she may have wanted unconsciously to find a place that was somewhat in close proximity but far enough away that she wouldn`t be discovered right away.

But I agree with the doctor, the pathologist, about the extreme desperation that leads patients to take multiple measures. I had a patient that overdosed, tried to overdose on drugs, and then put a bag over her face to ensure she would stop breathing. So it`s desperation.

GRACE: Everybody, so many clues, but yet the case grows murkier and murkier in the appearance, then death of Dr. Melinda Superville. And I want to point out one other thing before we go to break on this case. We have her family (SIC) here on the show when he was desperately searching for her. He has not been named a suspect in this case. He took a private polygraph immediately after she went missing. He had the foresight to take a private polygraph and apparently passed it while people were out looking for his wife. He is not a suspect in this case.

Very quickly to tonight`s "Case Alert." Family of missing groom George Smith -- Smith disappeared from a honeymoon cruise, remember -- finally breaks their silence, demanding Congress crack down on the cruise ship industry.


BREE SMITH, SISTER OF MISSING GROOM: As you know, my brother, George Smith, went missing on July 5 from the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. We believe he was murdered on his honeymoon with a lifetime of happiness and a promising future ahead of him. George is very missed by his family, as well as his many friends.


GRACE: Bloodstains found in Smith`s stateroom, but FBI still has not found a body, nor have they charged anyone in Smith`s disappearance.



SUPERVILLE: I came up to the clinic and I walked up, and her keys -- car keys, office key, house key -- were hanging from the door. And I thought, Well, that`s odd. Maybe the phone rang when she came up or her hands were full. So I came in the office, which -- I pulled her -- got her keys, came in the office, turned on the lights, the radio, started the therapy equipment on. And her yogurt was sitting at the front desk, that she usually eats for breakfast, but it wasn`t real cold. It had been sitting out a while. But no sign of Melinda.


GRACE: Her husband looking for her desperately, Dr. Melinda Superville, a 43-year-old chiropractor, married, a 2-year-old son never to see his mom again.

Welcome back, everybody. Again, thank you for being with us. I`m Nancy Grace.

Straight back out to KTRH radio reporter Scott Braddock. Does Tom Superville have a lawyer?

BRADDOCK: We don`t know if he has a lawyer at this point, but he does have family in the legal business. One of his brothers is a judge here in town, and he`s been getting legal advice from him, Nancy.

GRACE: Do police have any suspect or person of interest yet?

BRADDOCK: At this point, they don`t. They told us that they`re waiting to find out what the cause of death is before they make any kind of a move like that.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


JOE HUSTON, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: We sent a team down to check out an abandoned house. One of the members of the team happened to be Melinda`s brother. They went around to the back side of the house. There was a door that was basically kicked in.

They walked in, and when they get approximately to the first bedroom on the right, the brother saw the body. One of the other members of the search team also saw the body. She was dressed as she was reported to be, with the red sweater and bluejeans on.


GRACE: And so Scott Braddock, what exactly are we waiting on from the crime lab?

BRADDOCK: We`re waiting now to find out exactly what the cause of death is. They say they have to sort out whether or not it may have been pills that she possibly ingested...

GRACE: You mean toxicology.

BRADDOCK: Exactly.

GRACE: Toxicology.

BRADDOCK: Exactly. And they tell us that that`s going to take at least four to six weeks.

GRACE: Whoa!

To medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Arden. Six weeks for a toxicology? I mean, that doesn`t disturb you, six weeks to analyze blood for toxicology?

ARDEN: Well, it disturbs me to some degree. Of course, you have to have some allowance for the fact that a busy laboratory may have some turnaround times, lots of cases working simultaneously. But I will tell you that the average routine toxicology shouldn`t take four to six weeks. And I`ll also tell you, as somebody who has run a busy medical examiner`s office, you have a case that has the highest profile, the public scrutiny, the biggest mystery, the biggest questions about whether they should be looking for a murderer or not, those kinds of things, that`s where your priorities go. So I would be -- if I were running this lab, I`d be moving this up to the front of the queue, and I`d be looking to get some results out of here in a week or 10 days, or maybe two weeks at the most.

GRACE: Tell it, Doctor!



KEN KRATZ, CALUMET COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Because the DNA evidence was found on the key and Mr. Avery`s blood was found inside of Teresa Halbach`s vehicle, it is no longer a question, at least in my mind, as the special prosecutor in this case, who is responsible for, in this case, the death of Teresa Halbach.


GRACE: Remember photographer 25-year-old Teresa Halbach? Bones and teeth found in a local auto salvage lot are hers. Now behind bars, under suspicion, 43-year-old Steven Avery, and defense attorneys are circling the state like wolves tonight, more like vultures, as they prepare a big defense. It`s all about a frame-up.

To Gil Halstead, reporter with WPR. Explain to me how this could possibly be a frame-up on Avery. And also, why seize a bookshelf? How do you solve a case with a bookshelf?

GIL HALSTEAD, WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO: Well, I don`t know that I can really explain how it could be a frame-up. I can tell you what Steven Avery has said.


HALSTEAD: So far, he`s the only one really to allege that. I mean, he has said that it`s a frame-up because he has filed a $36 million suit against Manitowa (ph) County for putting him in jail for 18 years...


HALSTEAD: ... for a rape...

GRACE: Oh! I`m sorry!

HALSTEAD: ... that he did not commit.

GRACE: That scared me just a little bit. Go ahead. So he was wrongfully convicted. But how is he tying in...

HALSTEAD: Right. That`s their motivation.

GRACE: But how is he going to prove that with a bookshelf?

HALSTEAD: The bookshelf is key because that`s where the police detectives say Teresa Halbach`s car keys fell out of that bookcase while they were searching his -- Steven`s Avery`s trailer, and...

GRACE: Oh, I get it! They`re going to say police planted the key and the DNA. I smell an O.J. Simpson defense!



KEN KRATZ, CALUMET COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Witnesses place Mr. Avery with the victim, Teresa Halbach. Witnesses, that we`ve determined, have indicated that Mr. Avery was the last person to see Teresa Halbach. At least as we know, the last person to see Teresa alive was that of Steven Avery.

STEVEN AVERY, ACCUSED OF TERESA HALBACH`S MURDER: I`m innocent. I wouldn`t do nothing to harm nobody. I can`t figure that out. They hate me that much to frame me for like that? That ain`t me.


GRACE: All that is left of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach, burned, charred bones and teeth. And now Steven Avery, the man suspected in her murder, is saying he was framed, that he was framed by the use of DNA evidence, DNA evidence found in his home.

It sounds a lot like a case out of California. Remember that, the frame-up?

Straight out to Dr. Jonathan Arden, medical examiner. Could you tell me, Doctor, how DNA is extracted from perspiration?

ARDEN: Well, perspiration itself, of course, doesn`t have any DNA, but where do you get the perspiration? If you are perspiring on your hands and you touch something, you may shed the skin cells which then are the source of the DNA. You need very few cells, very little genetic material, in order to recover enough DNA to amplify in the laboratory and to type in the laboratory and to do the kind of matching that they`re talking about here.

GRACE: To WPR`s Gil Halstead, Gil, explain to me again how this bookshelf and this key fit into Steve Avery`s wacky frame-up theory.

HALSTEAD: Well, the reason it does is that the key was not found at Steven Avery`s trailer until the second time it was searched.

GRACE: Oh, ruh-roh.

HALSTEAD: The first time it was searched, it didn`t turn up. The second time they went back, they moved the bookcase, they found it. So this is what leaves an opening for Steven Avery to suggest that, because the were Manitowoc police who were searching in there, and they`re the county that he`s suing, that they may have planted the key there and with his DNA on it. That`s what he is claiming.

GRACE: Here`s what police had to say.

HALSTEAD: He said that recently again in another interview.


DANIEL KUCHARSKI, CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: We collected pornographic material. We collected ammunition that we found in the bedroom. And then, at one point, we found a key that appeared to be from a Toyota vehicle.


GRACE: I noticed how he kind of transitioned to that. First, we found porn -- shock value -- then we found some shackles -- ew -- then, then we found a key covered in DNA.

OK, Joe Lawless, defense attorney out of the Pennsylvania jurisdiction, how I hate to do it, but go ahead.

JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The first thing I do, Nancy, is I get a gag order and I`d shut up the D.A. and the police who clearly are going out of their way...

GRACE: That was at a hearing, for Pete`s sake. Did you see that sound? He was under oath at a hearing.

LAWLESS: Well, did you see the D.A. telling everyone...

GRACE: How can you gag somebody at a hearing?

LAWLESS: ... about he -- did you hear the D.A. telling everybody about how I have this witness and that witness. They`re clearly trying to dilute the jury panel.

But this is different from O.J. in one very key regard: There are 36 million reasons why this county would like to hang a murder on Steven Avery. DNA can be planted. They`ve still got to prove that he caused the death. And when a prosecutor and a cop are trying a case like this in the media, as much as they are, I immediately become suspect.

I think whoever is defending Steven Avery should go into court tomorrow morning and get a judge to put a clamp on this so that this case isn`t tried in the press any more than it should be. It`s not fair to the prosecution. It`s not fair to the state. It`s certainly not fair to Steven Avery.

GRACE: To David Scharf, trial attorney out of the New York jurisdiction, David, in addition to a gag order that Lawless is advocating, you`ve got the whole issue of the police not finding that key.

This is the key to Teresa Avery -- Elizabeth, can you give me a shot of Teresa, please, the 25-year-old photographer? Remember she went out to -- Teresa Halbach went to Avery`s auto salvage store to take photos of a car for the Auto Trader. She`s never seen again.

Her car was found covered up with trees and limbs and other parts of cars so police couldn`t spot it in an aerial search, an aerial search you`re seeing right now. Her charred remains found behind the auto salvage lot, her DNA found in the car, his DNA found in the car, her car key with his DNA on it found in his bedroom.

Here`s the fly in the ointment for the state, David: They don`t find the key for four days after the initial search. And he is suing those very police for $36 million for false imprisonment, which turned out to be true.

Y. DAVID SCHARF, TRIAL ATTORNEY: And that`s why the prosecution is going out and seizing the bookshelf, because what they want to prove is that that key was secreted in the bookshelf so that it was only discovered later when they...

GRACE: Secreted? Somebody`s been reading too many police reports.

SCHARF: No, absolutely not, Nancy.

GRACE: The key was secreted. OK, go ahead.

SCHARF: It was placed in there by Steven Avery when he was looking to hide the evidence of the crime that he is alleged to have committed. So by looking at the bookcase and seizing it, they`ll be able to determine whether or not there was a further transfer of the DNA, if Steven Avery actually put it in the bookcase.

And that`s the purpose. This is a defensive maneuver by the prosecution, in order to be able to fend off the claim that there`s a conspiracy and that this was planted.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


THOMAS STURDIVANT, WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: We sifted the charred debris on the 8th. The stuff that we had recovered we packaged up and put into a secured trailer. Then, on Thursday, we sifted through that debris again, locating additional bone fragments and teeth.


GRACE: Well, Joe Lawless may advocate a gag order, but I`ll tell you who`s yakking more than anybody, Pat Brown, is Steve Avery himself. Pat, Steve Avery has given multiple interviews since his arrest.

BROWN: Well, he likes the limelight clearly and he thinks he can convince people of things. It`s really funny because if you look back in Steven Avery`s past before he got the wrongful conviction, he was a violent offender already, who tried to abduct women, which is why the police picked him up in the one that he got convicted wrongfully for.

But what`s also funny about this entire scenario is what Steven Avery is really saying -- here, I`m going to be a defense attorney. "I want to get rid of this -- I don`t want to give up the state`s money, so, as a police officer, I`m going to hide out at Avery`s house, wait for an unsuspecting person to come, I`m going to kill that person, and then I`m going to bury her car and stuff so that it looks like he`s hiding it, and then I`m going to burn her body because, no, the police evidence is on her body. And then I`m going to take that key, run in -- I`m actually going to put in the bookshelf and shuffle those books around so that the DNA transferred in the bookcase, and then I`m going to drop it out the next time I go back."

So there you have the whole defense theory. If you want to buy that one, I mean...

GRACE: Hey, well, you know what, Joe Lawless, have you worked up a response to that yet?

LAWLESS: Yes, I have, Nancy. There was a book written...

GRACE: Oh, lord.

LAWLESS: ... called "Guilty but Framed." And if the police...

GRACE: You want the jury to read that?

LAWLESS: It wouldn`t be a bad idea, I`ll tell you. If the police have evidence that Steven Avery committed this murder but then try to put extra icing on the cake by planting evidence, by maybe sticking something in the bookcase so that they can come up with a trace metal find or something...

GRACE: Are you serious? I mean...

LAWLESS: Absolutely.

GRACE: You would argue that? You would argue this guy was framed? Are you serious?

LAWLESS: If you have solid evidence to prove he was framed or suggest it...

GRACE: You mean...

LAWLESS: ... you don`t have to prove he`s innocent.

GRACE: You mean, if you don`t have a single other thing you could possibly argue to a jury, you`ll argue he was framed?

LAWLESS: If you have evidence to create a reasonable doubt, you absolutely argue he`s framed. And if you have a strong circumstantial case but then try to fudge it, that can backfire on the prosecution. And if Steven Avery is guilty, he could be found not guilty because they screw up their own investigation.

GRACE: Well, speaking of a gag order, here is the defense`s worst problem. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did not kill Teresa Halbach?

AVERY: Not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn`t assault her in any way?

AVERY: No. I wouldn`t do nothing like that. (INAUDIBLE) I suppose they can`t afford $36 million. Then they don`t like the Averys anyway.


GRACE: Every statement he makes to the press, to the media, will be taken apart, broken down and put back together again, and used against him as ammunition at trial, in what we call cross-examination.

Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." We need your help. We want to bring home these missing people. Take a look at 3-year-old Adrianna Wix. Adrianna disappeared from Cross Plains, Tennessee, March 2004. If you have info on this little girl, Adrianna Wix, call Robertson County sheriff 615-384-7971.

Also missing tonight, 46-year-old Danny DeSimone, last seen in Hilo, Hawaii, April. No trace since. Please, call the Carol Sund Carrington Foundation toll-free, 888-813-8389. Let`s bring these missing home for the holidays.






GRACE: She is just 10 years old. She`s only 4`3". She weighs about 100 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, last seen December 8, 9:15 a.m. How many of you have sent your kids to the bus stop for school? Her family never saw her again. This is Alejandra Gutierrez.

Welcome back, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. And we desperately need your help tonight to find this little girl. I want to go straight out to a reporter with "El Mexicano," Fernando Zapari.

Fernando, bring us up-to-date, friend.

FERNANDO ZAPARI, "EL MEXICANO" REPORTER COVERING STORY: Yes. Oh, my goodness, the whole city of Ft. Wayne, naturally, the whole community of Ft. Wayne is very concerned about her disappearance. She disappeared Thursday, the 8th. She was last seen by her mother at 9:50 a.m.

She was going to take the bus. She never made it to school. And up until this point, there`s no leads, no clues on the whereabouts of little Alejandra Gutierrez.

GRACE: Elizabeth, let`s -- go ahead.

ZAPARI: The police have been working around the clock. We have seen it ourselves, the SWAT team, the FBI, the state police. Everybody seems to be working overtime and volunteering some of their hours, too, here in Ft. Wayne. And like I say, it`s just a great concern here for the city of Ft. Wayne and the community of Ft. Wayne.

GRACE: Very quickly, everyone, I want to go to the time line of Alejandra`s disappearance. 8:50 a.m. that day, school starts. Why late? Snow day, everybody. This was not unusual.

9:50, Alejandra leaves home for the school bus. 3:20 p.m., in all the confusion during the day, the policy is to call home if a child is missing and parents haven`t called in. Nobody calls. The mom is working a night shift. She doesn`t get home until that night, 9:00 p.m., finds out her girl has never been to school and has never come home.

I want to go to a special guest joining us tonight, the older brother of this little girl, Jose Gutierrez, Jr., Alejandra`s older brother.

First of all, Jose, como esta su familia esta noche? How is your family tonight?


GRACE: Very well. I find that very difficult to believe. Fernando Zapari, with "El Mexicano," what is the family trying to do to find this little girl?

ZAPARI: Well, actually, the family is, like my friend here, Jose Luis Gutierrez, very optimistic. But the family is not, you know, doing very well. I mean, they can`t sleep. The mother, I`ve visited the mother. The father, as you can see, their child is missing. They are parents. I mean, they`re just struggling. The father is -- the parents are anger, you know? There was a little slow response sort of by the school system.

GRACE: A little slow response? You`re being so kind.

ZAPARI: Not little.

GRACE: The child didn`t come to school. The parents were not notified. They didn`t find out until 9:00 p.m.

Back to the little girl`s brother -- and, Elizabeth, please show this girl`s picture. This is Alejandra Gutierrez. It`s an anonymous tip line, repeat, anonymous, 260-427-1201.

To Jose Gutierrez, que es el dice la policia? What are police saying to you?

GUTIERREZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The police is working very hard. They have searched everywhere. They`re determined to get Alejandra back. We will get our sister back soon with us.

GRACE: Also, back to Jose Gutierrez -- this is the little girl`s older brother, everyone -- hay una connecion entro su hermano y los muertos de sus (INAUDIBLE) Was there, do you believe, any connection between your little sister`s disappearance and the killing?

There was a mass killing, everyone, across the street from the school bus stop. A man killed his wife and three daughters that morning. Jose?

ZAPARI: He doesn`t know anything about it. He doesn`t know if there is any relation, you know?

GRACE: OK. Fernando Zapari is with us with "El Mexicano." Fernando, I find it just logically very difficult to take in -- thanks, Elizabeth -- there`s the school and the bus stop. She was a very short distance from the bus stop, her home.

Fernando, straight across from the bus stop, a man kills wife and three daughters around the same time as the little girl goes missing.

ZAPARI: Yes. The police has informed us that there`s no relation between the two crimes. And they`re very firm on it. It seems to be this huge coincidence.

Actually, I spoke to the father and the mother of Jose Luis today, and it was strange. Yesterday, this very same person that`s suspected of doing this killing...


ZAPARI: ... came along with his wife to visit Jose Luis` parents and to bring them our Lady of Guadalupe image along with a candle. But then again, it`s just like I said, it`s no relation.

GRACE: OK, Fernando, Fernando, very quickly, Fernando Zapari, does this little girl, Alejandra Gutierrez, does she speak fluent English?

ZAPARI: Yes. She was taking ESL classes, but that...

GRACE: OK, so the answer is yes. Fernando, before we run out of time -- Elizabeth, can we pan in and see this photo of Alejandra Gutierrez, please? I want to see the photo. Does this belong to the brother?


GRACE: The photo they`re holding, Elizabeth, the photo they`re holding. Oh, she`s beautiful.

Everybody, this little girl is just 10 years old. Her family having a very difficult time communicating tonight to try to find her. Can you help us? Anonymous tip line, 260-427-1201.

And quickly to tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI, law enforcement across the country on the look-out for Paul Joseph Harmon, wanted in connection with the 1990 murder of 43-year-old Terry Charles Pappa-George (ph).

Harmon, in his 60s, 5`11", 175 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes. If you have info on this man, call the FBI, 702-385-1281.

Local news next for some of you. But we`ll all be right back. And remember, coverage of a university professor`s murder trial, 3:00 to 5:00 eastern, Court TV.

Please stay with us, everyone, as we remember tonight Marine Corporal Joshua Snyder, just 20 years old, a baby, and an American hero.


GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at 29-year-old Hang Lee, just 17 when she disappeared from St. Paul, Minnesota, January 1993. If you have info, call Carole Sund Carrington toll-free, 888-813-8389. Please help us.

Welcome back, everybody. A more urgent case, a little girl, 10 years old. Her family has an language barrier. We need your help in finding this girl, Alejandra Gutierrez.

To Fernando Zapari with "El Mexicano," Fernando, isn`t it true that everyone in the family has taken voice stress tests?

ZAPARI: No, actually, it was only the mother, as far as I`m concerned. And once again, that was done, you know...

GRACE: Only the mother?

ZAPARI: ... today. Only the mother.

GRACE: Are the others set to take?

ZAPARI: No. No. No. At this point, the parents, you know, the family is just -- they`re grieving just like everybody else. The FBI is very comfortable. They know that...


GRACE: Very quickly. Hold on, Fernando.

To Pat Brown, what`s the difference in a stress test and a poly?

BROWN: Well, they`re both different ways of determining if the person is telling the truth or not. They`re always susceptible to those things that we`re not quite comfortable with. What I really wonder is I haven`t heard anything about dogs being out there yet. Have they done searches with dogs?

GRACE: Have they, Fernando? Have they done canine searches?

ZAPARI: Yes, all over town, yes, they have been doing that since day one, canine searches. As a matter of fact...

BROWN: And they came up with nothing on the street?

ZAPARI: Nothing on the streets, garbage, dumpsters, I mean, you name it, they had been truly searching house by house.

BROWN: That`s very interesting, because she left the home walking. You wonder for a three-block walk why the dogs couldn`t discern something. Something happened to happen there.

GRACE: Everybody, one last shot, Elizabeth, please, of Alejandra Gutierrez. She is just 10 years old.

I want to thank all of my guests tonight. But our biggest thanks is to you for being with us, inviting us and our legal stories into your homes. Coming up, headlines from all around the world. I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. And also signing off, a special guest here on the set, my mother, who wants to say goodnight.

Everybody, I`ll see you right here tomorrow night at 8:00 Scharf Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.