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Nancy Grace

Investigators Seek to Interview Cop`s Children in Missing Mom Case; Galveston Police Try to Identify Toddler`s Remains

Aired November 06, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAT LALAMA, GUEST HOST: Tonight, a young mom of two, the fourth wife of a veteran police sergeant, vanishes into thin air in the Chicago suburbs. Family and friends say no way would 23-year-old Stacy Peterson leave her children behind. As search and rescue teams comb nearby woods and waterways for any sign of the young mom, the state`s attorney now wants to talk to Peterson`s stepchildren about her disappearance, Peterson vanishing just days after an e-mail emerges hinting at a troubled and abusive marriage and telling family she was afraid of her husband and even wanted out. Tonight: What happened to Stacy Peterson?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hunt intensifies for missing mom Stacy Peterson, last seen by husband police Sergeant Drew Peterson. Family members claim Stacy told her husband she wanted a divorce just two days before disappearing, local reports claiming Stacy was scheduled to see her divorce attorney the day after she went missing. Now investigators want to interview her kids. Why do police want to interview the children? What could they know?


LALAMA: And tonight, the mystery surrounding a little girl whose body found stuffed in a plastic storage box that washed ashore in Galveston Bay in Texas. So far, police know Baby Grace is a white female between 2 and 3 years old standing 32 to 35 inches tall with blond or light brown hair, wearing light-up sneakers with purple flowers. An autopsy reveals the baby girl left in that storage box for at least two weeks with a skull fracture. But tonight: Just who is baby Grace?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI helping Texas police to sort through hundreds of leads in trying to solve the mystery of baby Grace. They`re hoping these sketches you`re seeing right now will help them figure out who this little girl was. A fisherman found her remains in a plastic storage box that washed ashore in Galveston Bay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have adopted the name of baby Grace because, there again, that`s part of the emotional part of this case for us. She`s more to us than a case number, more to us than just an unidentified body. She is very much a human being, and looking at this box that she was found in, this is not a way for her to end her life.


LALAMA: Good evening. I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. First tonight, what happened to young mom of two Stacy Peterson, vanishing into thin air in the Chicago suburbs?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news. As the search for Stacy Peterson continues, investigators want to interview Stacy`s kids. Could the children hold answers in the disappearance of their mom? Police think it`s worth a shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stacy Peterson is just 23 years old, her husband 53 years old. They`ve been married four years, and he (SIC) is her fourth wife. And her family is really expressing a lot of suspicion about the husband, Drew Peterson.

Stacy was first reported missing on Sunday of last week when she did not meet her sister. Her husband does not believe that she is missing, and he says that he believes that she has left with another man. But friends and family discount that. In fact, in one e-mail to a friend named Steve Cesare, she apparently wrote that -- she described her husband as controlling, manipulative and abusive.


LALAMA: We`re talking about something very complicated, that`s interviewing children when it comes to a potential murder case. I want to go right out to Mary Frances Bragiel from WBBM radio. What`s the latest on that? Any clue as to when they might be able to interview those children, or if at all?

MARY FRANCES BRAGIEL, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780: At this point, no, there isn`t any clue. Illinois State Police investigators are the lead investigators on this case, and they are saying virtually nothing to the media about what exactly is going on.

LALAMA: Kathy Chaney, reporter for "The Chicago Defender," where is Drew Peterson tonight, do we know? Have you talked to him?

KATHY CHANEY, "CHICAGO DEFENDER": No, we don`t know where he is. This is about the third or fourth day that he is at an undisclosed location, but he is not at his home at all.

LALAMA: You know, before we discuss this issue of interviewing the children, I first want to go to Tim Miller, our friend from Equusearch. And you are involved in the search now. Briefly tell us what you`ve got going, Tim. And hello.

TIM MILLER, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: Well, we got called by Cassandra, Stacy`s sister, over the weekend. When we heard her voice on the other end of the phone, we said that, you know, we just have to help. So I flew up here Sunday night, met with them all day yesterday, visited with law enforcement, let them know resources we have, what we can do, and that we`re only a resource to help on the search. And I think we`re all on the same page. We know that they`re running an investigation. They`re working very hard at it.

LALAMA: And you`re going to be right there with them.

MILLER: We`re doing the search. And we`ve got a lot of resources, I think, that could be very helpful in this case.

LALAMA: Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner, just very quickly -- you know, as it gets longer and longer, how does that compromise any hope for finding the body, and what kind of state the body might be in, if she is, in fact, deceased? We don`t know that yet, either.

DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: The condition is going to be environmental-dependent, and because it`s a colder climate, it`s up in the north around Chicago, the cooler temperatures will help. It will slow down and decrease any decomposition, and that will help the investigation.

LALAMA: Lee from Pennsylvania. Hi, Lee. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Hi, Pat. And congratulations to Nancy. My question is, if they were to do an autopsy today on the third wife, would the embalming process have altered any kind of findings they could? And was there water in her lungs, when they keep saying her body was found in a dry tub?

LALAMA: Dr. William Morrone, that`s one for you again.

MORRONE: OK. Here`s what happens. When you embalm a body you remove the blood, and the organs are rearranged. So that`s not going to help right now, if we did an autopsy today. But there are a lot of other things that come back. Sometimes bruises come back after embalming, and broken bones are consistent. There are a lot of things in the autopsy that bring a lot of questions. I don`t see any evidence or radiology. There`s no mention that the calvarium (ph), the cup that the brain is, is intact, but there`s blunt force trauma on the top of the head and there`s abrasions on the body. So there`s a lot of questions.

And the other thing is, the body`s reported to have lividity, blood pooling on the front with an injury on the back. Those two things are inconsistent. And there will not be any water in the lungs, but there are signs of drowning or asphyxiation.

LALAMA: OK, more to come on that. Very interesting. I want to get back to this issue of interviewing children. Pat Brown, criminal profiler, in your years of experience, have you had to deal much with children and criminal investigations or potential criminal investigations?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, children can hold a lot of clues, Pat, and yet be very, very careful when you talk with them because, obviously, you don`t want to lead them into saying something that`s not true. But in this particular case, what is so important about it is if Stacy went missing about 10:00 o`clock in the morning and no one saw her for -- well, she wasn`t even reported missing for, like, 18 hours -- during that 18 hours, where were the children?

So if their mother was injured in the home, they might have seen it. And if the father, Drew Peterson, was involved in anything here and took the body and drove it someplace, were the children left or were they taken along for the ride? So the children might have a whole lot of answers, and I`m sure that`s why the police want to talk to them.

LALAMA: Yes. Very, very interesting. Becky from Tennessee. Hi, Becky.


LALAMA: What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think you just answered it, sweetheart.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know why they cannot talk to these children. Why is he hiding the children and keeping them away from the cops and the reporters and the people that want to talk to them?

LALAMA: Well, as I understand, we don`t know that he`s done that yet. And this is going to be the big issue. And I want to go right to Eleanor Dixon, prosecutor. It`s not that simple to get to the kids, is my understanding. You can`t go and say, Hey, give us the kids.

ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: That`s true because if they`re in the custody of the father, legal custody, he has the right to say, No, you cannot interview my children. However, if they go into custody of department of family and children`s services or maybe the mother`s side of the family, then perhaps they would allow the children to talk to the police.

LALAMA: All right. Well, then, let`s go to our defense attorneys. First out is Ray Giudice. Did I say that properly?


LALAMA: I hope. Thank you. What`s your take on the children? I mean, it seems to me if they -- and these are teenagers, by the way. They`re biological -- the biological children that he had or has with Stacy, they are not involved in this. They`re very, very young. What do you think? Would you keep those kids away from the cops, if you had to?

GIUDICE: As defense counsel, first thing I would do is talk to these children. Keep in mind these are the children of the prior marriage. They may have absolutely no insight as to this relationship. They may have no evidence to offer. As the guardian, the father can prevent them being interviewed at this stage of the investigation.

What I would probably do, if I was his counsel, is have law enforcement present me some written questions that I would speak with the children and provide some information and some answers to try to satisfy law enforcement.

LALAMA: Alex Sanchez, are you on the same page with your colleague there?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: At the present time, I`m not. I would be very concerned about letting my children speak with the investigators because, listen, there`s a lot of pressure to crack this case. And this is a police chief. (SIC) He knows that when police are under pressure to crack a case, they`re going to come down with a lot of influence and a lot of force on those kids.

If they want to speak to those kids, it has to be under controlled circumstances. Maybe it needs to be videotaped. Maybe there needs to be some psychiatrist or psychologist present, or at least a representative of Mr. Peterson. But to simply throw them to the police -- you know, these kids could be greatly influenced by the police and start uttering things that are not accurate.

LALAMA: Get in there, Eleanor. How do you see it from a prosecutor`s point of view?

DIXON: I can`t even believe he`s saying this. There is a way to interview children, especially children under the age of 16.

LALAMA: Right.

DIXON: It`s a forensic interview. It`s done a very specific way. It`s videotaped. The police aren`t going to come down on these kids. They`re conducting an investigation. And the defense not allowing them to talk to these kids says a lot to me.

LALAMA: Ray, what do you say?

GIUDICE: Well, again, I didn`t say throw them at the children. I said let the lawyer manage the questions in a written form. So I would try to give the law enforcement a little bit. But I disagree with Eleanor. I have seen too many case where the questioning was way too suggestive, way too forceful, and the police and law enforcement get what they want, and then the children can`t backtrack.

LALAMA: Do you guys all remember the famous McMartin pre-school case, where...

GIUDICE: That`s right. A lot of forced interviews.

LALAMA: I live in LA. I know that case very well.

GIUDICE: That`s right.

LALAMA: And the whole issue was the power of suggestion. Now, I think the defense attorneys are saying there`s too much power of suggestion. Eleanor, what do you say?

DIXON: But that`s why, since the McMartin case, we have changed the way we`ve interviewed children to a very specific way, so there are no leading questions that are being asked, there`s not suggestions being made to children. So all this is just a big smokescreen, as usual, from the defense to try to keep the law enforcement away from the truth.

LALAMA: Leslie Austin, psychotherapist, you`re the one who knows how children think and act and work, from a psychological standpoint. Is it harmful? Is it a bad thing to talk to teenagers who may or not have not seen something?

LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Actually, no. I think if it`s properly done -- I agree with Eleanor, if it`s properly done, it can be a relief to them to do whatever they can, to see if they can give any information. They`ve got to be asked properly, no leading questions, in a comfortable environment. It would be helpful if a therapist who`s used to dealing with young children or teenagers is present for that questioning or even does the questioning.

LALAMA: I think it`s Lashaun? Did I get that right, Lashaun in New York?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... in New York. How are you?

LALAMA: I`m good, thanks. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, Mr. Peterson, he is a cop and everything, and I`m sure he knows the law and knows how to do things. Has anyone ever thought about giving him a lie-detector test?

LALAMA: Pat Brown, criminal profiler, the whole lie detector -- well, we know what that`s all about. I mean, we could argue he should come forward and say, Hey, I`m happy to take one. But it`s really not that simply, even if you`re innocent, which he may very well be.

BROWN: Well, that`s what they always say. But you know, I think, absolutely, people should always be willing to do that because they`re trying to get that focus off of them and go after the real person. And so if you take a lie-detector test properly, a polygraph properly, you ask very simple, unambiguous questions. You should be able to answer, Yes, no, and you shouldn`t be confused about anything. And so I think it`s a great idea. But if you`re concerned about how it`s going to turn out, you`re probably going to hide from it.

LALAMA: Candace Aikin, you are Stacy Peterson`s aunt. And I apologize for taking a while to get to you. You`re a very important guest to us. You know, the issue of Stacy, the issue of the stepchildren -- do you want to weigh in on whether you think those children should be talking to law enforcement? They would be your step-nephews, correct? Do I have that correct?

CANDACE AIKIN, STACY PETERSON`S MOTHER: Yes, that`s correct. I think it would be OK. They -- especially if they are thought of to be as keys in this case, then I think -- I think yes.

LALAMA: Candace, are you worried about the little ones, your young nephews?

AIKIN: Yes, I am. Well...

LALAMA: Can you explain what goes through your mind? I mean, you know, again, we got to make it clear this man has been charged with nothing. But you know, now the new suspicion surrounding wife number three, and he`s got the care of four children. It`s something to think about, is it not?

AIKIN: Yes, it is. I`m -- you know, I`m concerned. I think they`re in good hands. I guess I`m -- I just kind of have a fear that if I will see them again because with the third wife, when she passed away, her family was not allowed to see the two older boys. So I guess I have that fear for myself.

LALAMA: Do you have access to your nephews? Do you know where they are, and can you call them and talk to them at will?

AIKIN: I did before. Right now, I do not know. I believe I know where they are, with Drew`s older son, but I don`t know how to get a hold of him or get a hold of my...

LALAMA: Did you have -- I`m sorry if I interrupted. Did you have regular conversations with your nephews in the past, and now suddenly, the wall has come up?

AIKIN: Well, I didn`t talk to the two older boys that much. I mean, I did when I was there. But the two little ones, Stacy and Drew would let me talk on the cell with them every once in a while. But since they`re so little, I couldn`t have, you know, regular conversations, but I was very involved in their lives, yes.

LALAMA: So -- and now you feel that no members of the family really are getting that kind of access anymore?

AIKIN: Right. None of us have had any access to the children since they went with his older son.

LALAMA: And by older son, I think you mean -- he does have an adult son, am I correct in that?

AIKIN: Right. He`s an adult son, yes.

LALAMA: Who is also a law enforcement person?

AIKIN: Right. Yes. That`s my understanding, that they`re with him.

LALAMA: OK. And do you know if Drew is there with his elder son, as well?

AIKIN: No, I do not. I have no clue where Drew is right now.

LALAMA: Is there anything that you would do legally to try to get access to your young nephews?

AIKIN: Yes. I would like to try when -- you know, or just -- I guess just depending on how this case goes, or you know, how the older son feels about -- you know, for me to see the children.

LALAMA: There are reports that Stacy has actually said things as strong as, if I go missing, it`s no accident. Have you ever heard anything like that?

AIKIN: She never said that to me, but I did hear that through many people. But she never said anything so strongly to me.

LALAMA: OK. We`ll be right back with you, so hang in there for a moment.

To tonight`s "Case Alert." The search for a 9-year-old Missouri girl police now believe may be the victim of foul play, Rowan Ford, last seen at this Stella home Friday night. Now, her stepfather claims he left the little girl home alone while heading out with friends and did not bother to check on her when he returned. But since then, police have impounded the stepdad`s car. The girl`s mother, who works the night shift, arrives home the next morning to discover her daughter missing. Little Rowan is just under 4 feet, weighs 62 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. If you have information, please call Newton County police. That`s 417-451-8300.

Tonight, as we celebrate the births of Nancy and David`s new twins, head to the Nancy Grace baby blog -- exclusive photos, never-before-seen video and even some messages from Nancy herself about Lucy Elizabeth and John David. And right now, there`s a special new message from Nancy. So go to and click on Nancy`s brand-new baby blog.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Illinois, cadaver-sniffing dogs and mounted teams are joining the search for 23-year-old Stacy Peterson. Peterson, a mother of two, was last seen by her husband, police Sergeant Drew Peterson, October 28, two days after he claims she told him she wanted a divorce. Now, she`s his fourth wife. Sergeant Peterson is not a suspect at this point.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. I want to go to Mary Frances Bragiel from WBBM Newsradio. Now, we heard Tim Miller talk about his search, and we just learned about those aspects of the search. What have they got planned? What does law enforcement have planned in the future?

BRAGIEL: They`re not really saying much about what law enforcement has planned. They told me yesterday that they have got about nine searches going on. They wouldn`t confirm whether it was in-state or out-state. They virtually would say nothing.

Over the weekend, they did -- some of the volunteers gathered and they did have a search of the pond and nearby woods and that area. And last week, a search warrant was executed for both the home and the cars. The cars were taken away. And at that point last Thursday, you know, they took out three rifles and computers and a bunch of boxes out of the Peterson home. But at this point, Equusearch has taken over the search.

LALAMA: Pat Brown, what do you see here in this case as a profiler? I mean, what do you start looking at when you don`t have an answer yet to where she is?

BROWN: Well, you look strongly at the behaviors, and I say Drew Peterson is exhibiting some odd behaviors. You look at who possibly could do what. And here`s the real problem with disposing of a body that -- you know, the search right now is in the local area, but when you have a lot of time between when the person disappears and when anybody knows about it, you can get in your car or in her car and drive that body, oh, an hour away, two hours away, and put it in a culvert someplace or in a ravine, and then drive back. And nobody`s looking over there because there`s so many acres of land in the state.

LALAMA: Yes, and you know, just very interesting, Kathy Chaney. We only have a few seconds. He`s got a light plane. I know it`s a two- seater. And he`s taken his wife in that plane before. But you know, is it true that they didn`t have to keep any kind of a log of what planes go in and out of that little local airport there?

CHANEY: No, I don`t believe that they do. I don`t think it`s as stringent if they were going out of O`Hare or Midway or another local airport.

LALAMA: So just thinking out loud here, if he flew the plane some time over the weekend, we really wouldn`t know, correct?

CHANEY: No, we wouldn`t know.

LALAMA: OK. All right.

As you`ve probably heard by now, Nancy`s twins are here. For an inside look at exclusive video, photos and even the latest messages from Nancy about Lucy Elizabeth and John David, go to and click on Nancy`s baby blog.



STEVE CESARE, FRIEND OF STACY PETERSON`S: She wouldn`t have left her kids, period. I know -- I know for a fact she was depressed over the summer. She was very close with her sister, Tina, and I was hurting, too. I mean, Tina was a very special girl. But she wouldn`t have left her kids.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. Candace Aikin, you are Stacy`s aunt. You know, I`m making no judgment, I`m casting no judgment about your niece, but she was so young when she hooked up with Drew. I mean, she was just 17. Did the family have some concerns about that at the time and why she would gravitate to someone so much older?

AIKIN: Yes, we did have concerns at the time. I think a lot of it had to do with she didn`t have her mom for such a long time. She really didn`t have a lot of guidance. I tried to be as close with her as I could. I`m 2,000 miles away. But she just didn`t have a lot of guidance, and so there wasn`t a lot anybody could say because it was a choice she really wanted to make.

LALAMA: Candace, let me ask you this very quickly, just a few seconds. When wife number three died, was Stacy -- did she question that at all? Did she think it was strange or didn`t even respond to it?

AIKIN: She -- she was -- she didn`t really respond that much. She didn`t say anything to me about wondering what was going on.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re learning about new e-mails Stacy Peterson sent just days before her disappearance. We dug (ph) this one dated 11 days before her disappearance in which Stacy Peterson said, quote, "I have been arguing quite a bit with my husband. I am finding that the relationship I am in is controlling, manipulative and somewhat abusive." She also said, "Keep me in your prayers."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the meantime, there`s a big search going on. Police have used tracking dogs and they have had search parties in a number of places. But so far, there has been no sign of Stacy Peterson.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. I want to go right to Mary Katherine from Ohio. Hey, how are you doing tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m doing well, thank you. My question is, with everything that`s been taken from the house, has anybody talked about maybe the financials, whether there were issues or not? Was there a life insurance policy? Did he get a life insurance policy from that third wife, and was that of any substantial amount of money?

LALAMA: Well, let`s ask Pat Brown. We know that there was a life insurance policy on wife number three. How much does the financial aspect play into your profiling?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, it`s certainly a good motive, and especially in a divorce. It`s not only whether you have life insurance, but the fact that a divorce costs a lot of money. You end up either playing alimony or child support, and some men out there simply don`t like that. And they`d rather, instead of dealing with the problem, make the problem disappear.

LALAMA: Well, apparently, in this case, they were -- even though they were divorced, they were still working out somehow the financial aspects. This is wife number three.

Ashanli in Canada. Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Pat. Congratulations to Nancy from her friends in Thunder Bay here. I`ve got a question.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody know what happened to wife number one and wife number two?

LALAMA: We`ve asked that question every night. So I`m going to take it back to our fabulous reporter, Kathy Chaney. Where is wife number one and wife number two? Where are they, I should say.

KATHY CHANEY, "CHICAGO DEFENDER": They have not been located yet. Reporters are, of course, looking for them, but they have not been located, and they`re not coming forward at this time, either.

LALAMA: Dr. William Morrone, if they want to investigate surrounding the death of wife number three, how hard is it? Or do they need to exhume the body? And you can`t just decide to do that, there`s all kinds of legal machinations involving that, isn`t there?

DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: It usually takes going to court, and it`s a judgment and it`s a long and involved process. But if it`s what`s needed to come up with the information, that`s what they`re going to have to do.

LALAMA: I want to bring some new information to the table here, and it goes like this. During the time that Drew was married to wife number three, we understand from the police department there that there were actually 18 police reports filed altogether, and 10 were of a civil matter, meaning, You didn`t bring the kids home in time? Where are the kids? You kept them too long for lunch -- that kind of thing. Five were domestic, three being verbal abuse, one was battery toward Drew and one was battery toward Kathleen. And the others were informational -- burglary at the house, disorderly conduct.

I want to ask the attorneys this. Eleanor Dixon, is 18 a lot? I mean, I know when people get divorced, they call the cops for everything in a lot of cases. Is 18 a lot?

ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: I think 18 is a lot, especially when one of the parties is a police officer, unless he`s trying to create some sort of record. But I say where there`s smoke, there`s fire. And I`d be very concerned, as a prosecutor, looking at this pattern of behavior. You know, if you want to know what a horse is like, you look at his record, if you`re going to bet on a horse. And this is one horse I`d like to look at.

LALAMA: Well, Alex Sanchez, you know, my understanding from the police chief is that they just wanted to be very, very specific. They didn`t want any stone unturned, and that`s why they were very careful about these 18 reports. Write everything down. Let`s make sure we have it. Is that a good defense for 18 different occasions for having to call the cops?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree. I mean, I would be concerned that there were 18 domestic violence calls. But you know, every case stands on its own. I mean, what are the individual cases that we`re talking about? Are they very egregious, or they`re minor arguments about who`s bringing the kids home?

LALAMA: Well, I think...

SANCHEZ: If that`s the case, that`s a far cry from murder, isn`t it?

LALAMA: (INAUDIBLE) excuse me, Ray Giudice -- I`m sorry if I got that wrong.


LALAMA: I`ll get it right. OK. Go ahead.

GIUDICE: But no arrests. And who called the police? Which side? There`s a lot of domestic violence calls nowadays where the husband actually calls because he knows he`s going to be under the microscope when the officers get there. Nine out of ten arrests, if both people are fighting, they arrest the man to take him out of the house. So maybe he was calling. You`ve got 18 police officers coming out there, and nobody finds enough to make an arrest? Give me a break. I don`t see any -- yes, relevance to look at it, but where is the smoke, Eleanor?

LALAMA: Leslie -- hold on, Eleanor. Leslie, come on, you know about these kinds of domestic violence allegations.


LALAMA: OK. I mean, is 18 a lot to you?

AUSTIN: It sure is. And you know, there`s a lot of pattern similarities that I would want to investigate further. The two wives look somewhat similar. There`s nothing like divorce to make people get really ugly with each other and battle, and if he was angry about the divorce from wife number three, and his present, Stacy, was threatening divorce, that might trigger some upset feelings. I would want to investigate this a lot more carefully. It`s a big red flag to me.

LALAMA: Alex, it sounds like it to me. I mean, I`m thinking I don`t care what the circumstances are if you got to call the cops that many times.

SANCHEZ: Yes, but you know something? What`s troubling me is that everybody`s looking at this 18 cases. People are suddenly talking about reopening the prior death of his former wife. They`re talking about everything else except the lack of evidence that exists in this case. In this case, there`s no fingerprint, DNA, hair. There`s no witnesses. The dog cadavers have gone nowhere. They haven`t uncovered any type of evidence linking him to a crime.

LALAMA: Eleanor...

SANCHEZ: And so far, there`s absolutely nothing. And you know, either stick to a case and have evidence, or you simply don`t have a case.

LALAMA: Well, Eleanor, I mean, don`t they have to do what they`re doing?

DIXON: Yes. They have to go through all the steps. First of all, I don`t know what fingerprints are going to tell you at this point because any mutual property is going to have both fingerprints on it. But they`re going to go through it methodically. And you`ve got to remember the press -- or the cops aren`t going to tell everything to the press, so we`re not getting the full picture right now. So they`re going to be methodical. But again, one of the key pieces of evidence would be talking to the children, all of the children at some point, and doing a correct interview of them.

LALAMA: What`s interesting is there is a similar -- kind of similar case not far away. I think it`s just, like, 10 miles -- a guy named Craig Stebic. Now, he is a person of interest, and Drew is not. But his wife is missing, and they`re not -- he will not let his kids near the cops. Eleanor, you know, is that a consciousness of guilt that you won`t let somebody talk to the kids?

DIXON: Well, I certainly would argue it as a prosecutor. Why won`t he let him talk to the kids? Why won`t you let a trained police officer or a social worker, whoever it is in your jurisdiction, talk to them in a correct interview manner? So you`re going to look at those things. And as a prosecutor, that`s something you can argue down the line, if perhaps this person is arrested and put on trial.

LALAMA: Ray, I got to ask you, I mean, the guy -- look, he has every right to grieve in any way he wants to. And not everybody`s emotional and stands in front of the camera. But you know what? He`s not around. We don`t have any clue that the kids are going to be able to talk to the cops. Does that look bad for him?

GIUDICE: Well, you know, at this stage of the game, his problem from defense counsel is not whether he looks bad or doesn`t look bad. We`re not here to win, you know, bonus points with the media or keep Eleanor happy with whether he`s cooperating. If I`m defending him, I`m looking to protect him from being charged and convicted. And that`s my obligation, and just as Mr. Sanchez`s obligation. And I would not -- I would do everything I could to prevent those children from being interviewed.

LALAMA: Pat Brown...

GIUDICE: I`d cooperate, but no more than that.

LALAMA: All right. But Pat Brown, you profilers just sit back and go, Not letting us talk to the kids, and we haven`t him in days. Does that look ugly?

BROWN: It does look ugly. But I tell you, the biggest red flag in this whole case is that phone call that Mr. Peterson claims was made by his wife at 9:00 o`clock at night. I mean, think about this. If she had just run off with her boyfriend and was just missing and then made a phone call, we`d all go, Gee, maybe she`s just hiding out in a motel, or maybe she`s angry, maybe she wants attention. But he says she made a phone call to him. This a man, at this point, she despises and fears, yet she calls him to tell him, I`m gone. Why doesn`t she call any of her relatives or friends and tell them she`s OK? That`s the last call ever made by her, was to him.

LALAMA: And that`s a...

BROWN: Supposedly.

LALAMA: Thank you. That`s a great question for Candace Aikin, who is Stacy`s aunt. She would have called you and said, Look, I`m out of here. Take care of the babies, wouldn`t she?

CANDACE AIKIN, STACY PETERSON`S AUNT: Yes. I believe she would have called me or her sister, Cassandra, for sure. I`m sure she wouldn`t be staring at all this media and having all this attention. She wouldn`t just let this continue on without letting somebody know, either.

LALAMA: Do you buy the story about Drew having spoken to her at 9:00 PM that night?

AIKIN: I don`t -- I don`t know that she would have called him because she was so afraid of him in the first place and she was afraid to leave. So if she got out, I think she wouldn`t call.

LALAMA: Listen, I mean, the question is, Candace, would she leave her babies, no matter what distress she was in?

AIKIN: No, absolutely not. She would not leave her babies. That`s - - she was so concerned. That`s why she was trying to stay together for the family, and if she was going to get out, she was trying to figure out how to take the children.


When we come back, the mystery of a baby girl found dead in a plastic storage box, Galveston Bay, Texas. Who is baby Grace?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authorities say they are optimistic the container will yield some valuable clues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit more information about the container itself may certainly lead us to, one, the identification of the remains, and two, if this is a homicide, potentially, identification of the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a box similar to this one that Galveston County sheriff`s department says the remains of a little girl were found in. Only it was blue with a black handle, the brand name, Sterilite. Major Ray Tuttoilmondo says they`ve gotten several leads since the body was found, but so far nothing has panned out. This little girl found on a marshy sandbar in West Galveston.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace. A tough story to even talk about. We`ll go to Michael Board, WOAI Newsradio. We know that this sketch has generated lots of tips and information. How helpful so far?

MICHAEL BOARD, ANCHOR/REPORTER WOAI-AM NEWSRADIO: Yes, when you say lots of tips, that`s an understatement. the police have gotten more than 170 tips about this case. Now, how many of those are actually credible? We don`t know. They say only a fraction of those are actually real good tips.

But man, everybody is talking about this story. It is a huge story here in the state of Texas just because there`s so many people here. There`s people all over the state who say, Oh, yes, I might have seen that or that girl might live up the street from me. They get tips like that all over the state.

What`s scary to think about -- this is the really frightening thing that we`ve been told about this case, is that they say the description of this girl matches 12 missing girls...

LALAMA: Right.

BOARD: ... all across the country. Twelve girls match this description here in the country. It`s a frightening statistic.

LALAMA: It is. And Major Ray Tuttoilmondo from the Galveston Sheriff`s Department, how do you start sifting through this? You don`t want to alarm some parent. You don`t want to give false hope to others who may be looking for a child. What do you do with all this? Do we have Major Tuttoilmondo? OK. We`ll maybe, hopefully, get back to you in a moment.

But in the meantime, Tim Miller again with Equusearch, you`re involved in this search. And God bless you for all the work that you do. What can you tell us? What are you doing in this case?

TIM MILLER, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: Oh, you know, that case happened only about six or seven miles away from our office, and we was actually been looking for a little 5-year-old girl in the Houston area since the beginning of June, and we thought maybe there was a possibility. Well, it end up that it was not the girl that we looked for. You know, we`ve been searching all over different Web sites and stuff to see if we could get any matches that would help out.

LALAMA: Right. Right.

MILLER: And we just decided that, you know, to make a little cross for her and go and have a little ceremony and...

LALAMA: Yes. That`s so great. That`s so great, Tim.

MILLER: It was incredible.

LALAMA: Pat Brown, you know, I was reading that she seemed to be very well taken care of, very well dressed, healthy, from what we could tell. And my question is, does it sound like a horrible accident and whomever may have freaked?

BROWN: Well, I don`t think this is like a child pedophile because pedophiles typically just sort of toss the body or bury it on their own property. It sounds more like she was in the custody of somebody, perhaps the non-custodial parent, who took off with her. And then you really want to get rid of the body well because he doesn`t want it, you know, to connect back to him.

LALAMA: Right.

BROWN: So that`s why it may be wrapped up in the plastic bags, put in the utility container, and then dumped far away, perhaps, from where he`s expected to be.

LALAMA: And I do believe we now have Major Ray Tuttoilmondo from Galveston. Are you with us, sir?


LALAMA: OK. Great. Nice to speak with you. You know, I know she had some trauma to her head. But it`s not clear what the cause of death is? And if you did have it, you`re not going to tell us, is that true?

TUTTOILMONDO: Well, the cause of death, cause and manner of death has not yet been finally determined by the medical examiner and has not been released to us. Again, that may be a very critical portion of the investigation, depending on when that`s released to us, as to whether or not we`re going to be able to discuss it very openly and not harm the investigation.

LALAMA: Because it might harm the investigation. It must be a rough one for you in law enforcement, dealing with this. How do you narrow it down? You know, you heard the reporter, Michael Board, talk about all these tips. How do you start sifting through that and determining what`s legit and what`s not?

TUTTOILMONDO: One at a time, I think is the best way to do it. We`re intentionally not trying to narrow where we`re looking at just now because she could literally be from anywhere, and narrowing it down at this point, we could miss something that could be critical later on.

LALAMA: Leslie Austin, psychotherapist, what are you reading into this, a parent or a caretaker or somebody who freaked out?

AUSTIN: Well, my first thought was an adult who was caring for her who either lost their temper, got angry she was crying, she was giving them trouble, or it was an accident and they`re certainly trying to cover their tracks very effectively.

LALAMA: All right, I want to get everybody in here in our short time. First, Dr. William Morrone, you know, with a body that is already deteriorating to some degree -- it`s been, you know, in a box in the water. It`s so horrible. What do you look for?

MORRONE: The wrapping in plastic and putting in a box may actually slow down decomposition. The fact that it was in the water and not dry land, cooler temperatures, there`s more there. You`re going to look for signs of trauma. One of the reports was skull fracture. A different report said multiple skull fractures. X-ray the body, look for other signs of trauma. That`s it.

LALAMA: Right. You know, Eleanor Dixon, isn`t it possible -- we got just a real short amount of time -- but you can track where that box came from, where the clothes came from, like, down to the neighborhood?

DIXON: You might be able to, depending on the serial number on the clothing and the box. And that`s one thing the police are probably going to start doing. And it`s a good thing they`re following all these tips, as well, because that way, they can say they didn`t focus on one particular person or one particular piece of evidence. They looked at everything.

LALAMA: OK. All right, Ray, real quickly, you want to weigh in on this, please?

GIUDICE: Yes. Also, I think what`s -- we need to know what`s been preserved from the body. You`ve got dental records. You may have fingerprints. You may have footprints, where that can be compared to birth records. You`ve probably got every law enforcement agency in this country scouring their records to look for a baby or child that matches this description over the last 30 days.

LALAMA: Oh! God bless her. Alex Sanchez?

SANCHEZ: ... reward that has been offered in this case, and that`s good because there`s plenty of criminals that are motivated by money and there`s plenty of legitimate citizens that are also motivated by money. And hopefully, that`ll be the trigger that unlocks the mystery here.


LALAMA: I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy Grace, and we`re talking about baby Grace. Such a sad story.

Michael Board, you`ve got so much community support, it seems, in trying to figure out this case.

BOARD: Yes, it`s really brought the -- not only the state of Texas together, but the whole world. Everybody seems to see something like this, and it sparks something in them that they`ve seen a child or they know of a child. And I think, moreover, they hear about the circumstances, what happened to this baby girl -- this little girl -- she`s not a baby, she`s a little girl.

LALAMA: Right. Right.

BOARD: And it touches something inside of people when they hear about this, and they`re looking for ways to help out. So obviously, just really sparked something. You know, she`s beautiful -- well, what we see from the pictures, she looks like a beautiful little girl. It`s just sparked something in the community here in Texas.

LALAMA: The good human spirit shines through. Ray Tuttoilmondo, was there any sign of sexual assault in this case?

TUTTOILMONDO: Again, that`s something that`s still being looked at by the medical examiner through lab tests and things of that nature. Don`t have any results like that just yet.

LALAMA: Dr. William Morrone, really quickly -- drifting. How far away could this box have -- I mean, you know, what`s the distance it could have traveled?

MORRONE: A week, hundreds of miles.

LALAMA: Wow. So it could be anywhere. That little girl could be from anywhere just about.


LALAMA: OK. Thank you so much.

And tonight, let`s stop to remember Army sergeant John Mele, only 25, Bennell (ph), Florida, killed in Iraq on a third tour of duty, gave his life saving his fellow soldiers. A dedicated husband and father, remembered as humorous and easygoing, leaves behind parents Michael and Kim, brothers Michael, Nick and Blake, his sister, Jessie (ph), grieving widow Jennifer, and a 6-year-old daughter, Clarissa. John Mele, an American hero.

Thank you to all our guests and to you at home for being with us. I`m Pat Lalama, in for Nancy great. Don`t forget And tonight, as we celebrate the birth of Nancy and David`s new twins, head to that Nancy Grace baby blog, exclusive photos, never-before-seen video and even messages from Nancy herself about little Lucy Elizabeth and John David. Go to and click on Nancy`s baby blog, see how she`s doing.

See you tomorrow night, 8:00 PM sharp Eastern. Thanks, Nancy. Feel good. Until then, have a wonderful evening.