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North Carolina 3-Year-Old Vanishes From Flea Market
Aired May 19, 2008 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, Amber Alert. A beautiful little Raleigh, North Carolina, boy just 3 years old -- was he kidnapped from a local flea market, shopping with his mom just a few feet away? Hundreds of volunteers join the FBI and police, all in a desperate attempt to locate this little boy. As you know, the first 72 hours after a child`s kidnap are literally life or death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police issue an Amber Alert for a 3-year-old boy in North Carolina. Siraj Davenport was with his mother at a flea market near Raleigh Sunday morning. When the boy`s mother was finished loading goods into her car, she turned to discover he was gone. The young child was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt with a yellow truck on the front, blue sweatpants and Adidas sneakers. The Johnston County sheriff`s department and FBI are assisting in the search for the young boy, and authorities aren`t sure if he wandered off or was abducted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raji is happy, sweet, polite, fun-loving. He had the cutest little smile. It was unforgettable. You know, that`s why he`s just stuck in our hearts, and that`s why we`re here wanting to help, wanting to do something, because he is a special little boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight: The single biggest child protective bust in U.S. history, 463 children, 100 women rescued from an isolated Texas compound, allegations of systemic marriage and childbirth forced on girls as young as 13, abuse of young boys behind compound walls, 41 known children with broken bones.
Headlines tonight. Finally, the Lone Star State cranks up legal battle in court. Today, simultaneous hearings, multiple judges, multiple courtrooms, virtually shutting down the courthouse. At issue, head-to-head legal combat over who will take custody of over 400 polygamy compound children, children as young as a few weeks old. Each side squares off to lock horns, the state of Texas versus a centuries-old cult-like religion, the polygamist FLDS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Texas, two hearings a day in five courtrooms over three weeks. That`s what judges will face as child custody hearings begin in that widespread polygamy case. The fates of 464 children removed from a Texas polygamous compound will have to be settled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These parents are being presented with a series of guidelines and goals that they must meet to be able to get their children back. One woman, a mother of eight, stood before the judge and said, you know, I will agree to all of these terms and do everything that is asked of me, as long as it doesn`t interfere with my religious beliefs. And at that point, the judge kind of cut her off and said, Look, you know, your religious beliefs are trumped by the law in this case. So you know, you can really get a sense of the contentiousness and the different sides that are battling out here in San Angelo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of these moms are going to have to leave that polygamous compound, basically become single moms, get a job, get job vocational training, get some counseling, then they might get a chance to get their kids back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of your kids are spread throughout the state?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it`s outrageous. I think it`s sick and pathetic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My oldest son just hung onto me. He said, I`m not -- I can`t leave you, Mother. You`ve got to do what they say. It`ll work out better. So just cooperate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Amber Alert, a beautiful little Raleigh, North Carolina, boy just 3 years old. Was he kidnapped from a local flea market, shopping with his mom just a few feet away?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 3-year-old boy vanished from a flea market yesterday. Mom said she was loading groceries into the car. This happens all the time. She looks down. This is what does not happen that often. Her boy was gone when she looked down. Police closed the market, did an extensive grounds search. They also searched the river nearby. The FBI is also helping out, but so far nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are desperately searching for a 3-year-old boy last seen with his mother Sunday morning at a local flea market. The boy`s mother told police she was loading goods into her car, and when she was finished, the boy was gone. The FBI has joined in the search, which includes ground, air and water, for the young child. Police describe the boy as an Asian male, 3 foot tall, about 35 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes, wearing a light blue shirt with a yellow truck, blue sweatpants and Adidas sneakers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Where is this 3-year-old little boy, shopping right there with his mom walking through a local flea market? She`s loading up to leave, turns around, the boy gone.
Out to reporter with WPTF radio Gurnal Scott. What happened, Gurnal?
GURNAL SCOTT, WPTF RADIO: Well, that is, basically, what you said. The mother was putting the produce in her car as she stopped at the Brightleaf flea market in Johnston County in the town of Smithfield, and when she turned around, like you said, the child was missing. Now, at that point, they didn`t know if the child had been abducted. They didn`t know if the child had just wandered off. And police are continuing to treat this search in both ways, looking at both possibilities with the Johnston County sheriff`s department and the FBI involved.
At the time the boy went missing, they shut down the flea market, checked each car as it left the premises to see if they could find this boy, if he had wandered into another car, but nothing. And that search continued today with all those agencies in a ground, air and water search.
GRACE: With us, Gurnal Scott with WPTF. Gurnal, the flea market -- where she was, was she inside that aluminum structure, or was she out beside her vehicle? Where was she when the boy went missing?
SCOTT: As we understand, she was -- had her car parked outside of the structure, went in to get some produce that she was going to pick up, and that`s when -- that moment, as anyone says, when you have a child in the car, it`s that moment when you turn your back that something could happen, and it indeed happened in this case as the boy either was kidnapped or wandered off.
GRACE: Also with us, Carter Rabil, investigative reporter. Carter, so she was outside and she walked all the way back into the structure, or did she just turn around? I mean, how fast did this go down?
CARTER RABIL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It is my understanding that she was outside and was loading the car with papaya and mangoes that she had just purchased. And she walked around to the -- one side of the car to the other, and then when she turned around, the child was gone.
GRACE: And to Marc Klaas, president of Beyondmissing. Marc, in no way am I suggesting -- even if the mom had walked back in and come back out, that is not to suggest she in any way is part of this little boy missing. In fact, when a mom can`t walk in for one minute and pick up some apples or oranges or whatever she was getting and come back out, it`s a sad day. But that is this day. What more can you tell me, Marc Klaas?
MARC KLAAS, BEYONDMISSING.COM: Well, I think that there`s another scenario that has to be explored, as well, and that is the scenario that this is an entirely concocted story because, Nancy, from everything that I`ve read, nobody else besides the mother has placed the little boy at the flea market. And I would hope that there might be some surveillance cameras or some witnesses that is would come forth and say, Yes, I indeed, I did see that little boy.
This would not be an unprecedented situation. In 1994, little 7-year- old Christina Holt (ph) was reported missing at a flea market, and it turned out several days later that her mother and the live-in boyfriend had, in fact, murdered the little child and then created a scenario to get themselves off the hook.
GRACE: Back to Gurnal Scott with WPTF radio. Gurnal, what can you tell me? Marc Klaas is bringing up a very disturbing theory, but what do we know? Could it be supported?
SCOTT: There is every indication that this could be either just a simple child wandering away, could be an abduction, but the police aren`t ruling out any possibility in this case. Marc Klaas could indeed be right. And we`ve seen this kind of thing happen before, as he`s just pointed out. And look at the lay of the land in that area where the flea market is, surrounded on one side by a river behind it with a very thick, wooded area. If you look at that and at that possibly being a scenario for having a child lost and creating a plausible story, it could possibly happen.
GRACE: Back to Carter Rabil, investigative reporter joining us right there in Raleigh, North Carolina, Carter, tell me, how packed was it? Sometimes when you go to these flea markets, I mean, it is so packed, you can very easily get lost in people.
RABIL: I`ve heard two figures thrown out there, that there was possibly as many as 1,000 to even 2,000 people there yesterday. It is a very large flea market. It`s right there on the Neuse River, less than a tenth of a mile from the Neuse River, and it is teeming with people on Saturdays and Sundays.
GRACE: Have you heard -- has the mom or the father -- oh, no, the father is away. Has the mom given a public statement?
RABIL: Not that I`m aware of. I do know that she has been in the Smithfield Police Department, in the station. The last I heard, she is still in there. She`s been there probably seven to eight hours.
GRACE: Why is she still there?
RABIL: She is being interviewed by the Smithfield police, and I understand possibly by the FBI, and as well as SBI.
GRACE: We are taking your calls live. A beautiful little boy, little Raji -- take a look at him. He is said to be fluent in a couple of languages. He is only 3 years old, incredibly intelligent. The father is apparently overseas. The mom is there at a local flea market when the boy goes missing.
Out to the lines. Wendy in Ohio. Hi, Wendy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.
GRACE: Thank you, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, why would you even take your eyes off of a 3-year-old child like that? That`s my question. Why would you not make sure he`s either in the car or have something where you`re holding onto him, like one of those little -- I guess those little leashes that I call them, to where they cannot wander like that? He`s 3 years old. I mean...
GRACE: Well, listen, Wendy, as soon as my twins can walk, they are going to be on a leash. And before I had the twins, I thought they were just horrible. I would see them. I would give the parents the dirtiest looks I could muster. But after covering all these stories -- you know, to Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and author, do you think people just get careless?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You know, I think mothers get very overwhelmed, especially if she`s managing the household alone and her husband is overseas. It`s very easy to get judgmental, but the bottom line is, life can get very hectic and sometimes we`re not paying 100 percent attention to our children.
GRACE: And back to Gurnal Scott. Were there other children with her or was it just little Raji?
SCOTT: As we understand it, it was just little Raji. There were no other children involved, but -- and maybe that`s why she thought that maybe just, If I turn my back just for one second, he`ll still be there when I turn around...
GRACE: So was the baby -- Gurnal, was the baby in her vehicle, or was he in a stroller or a shopping cart beside the vehicle?
SCOTT: From what we understand, he was inside the vehicle. And then when she went to get the produce, he either made his way out and made his way off, or still they`re trying to investigate whether it was the fact that maybe someone took him.
GRACE: Out to Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI. What do you think, Mike?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I tell you what, Nancy, it`s -- I think Marc brought up a great point. You can`t rule that out. You can`t rule out possible abduction or has the child wandered off. But there`s also something that bothers me, Nancy, is there was a -- about an hour delay. She decided to go with some of the customers and some of her friends, apparently, to try to look for this boy on her own. You know, that kind of bothers me a little bit.
But this is also a great case -- if the FBI is involved, I`d like to see them bring in their forensic K-9 team out of Quantico, Nancy. These are bloodhounds. Even though there was bad weather, they can still find some possible scent evidence there at the scene for days beyond.
GRACE: Oh, please! Please! Mike Brooks, remember the bloodhound followed the scent of Laci Peterson all the way from her home, down her driveway, down the interstate to the San Francisco Bay, all right? And there was very bad weather. So if they could do it there, they could do it here.
BROOKS: Absolutely. And just to prove the point, Nancy, that the little boy was, in fact, there at the flea market and at the farmers market.
GRACE: Oh, now that`s an excellent point I hadn`t considered yet. To Joey Jackson and Alex Sanchez, both veteran defense attorneys. To you, Alex Sanchez. When I first heard about the story, I didn`t immediately factor in the mom as even a possibility.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, but you know something? I think that -- you know, I understand Marc Klaas has had some problems of his own with his child, and that`s very unfortunate. But you know, there`s people that target kids...
GRACE: Well, I hardly -- I hardly would consider the kidnap...
SANCHEZ: No, that was...
GRACE: ... and assault and murder...
SANCHEZ: Yes, that was a horrible tragedy.
GRACE: ... a problem.
SANCHEZ: But you know something? There`s people that target kids and families. They ride around these supermarkets or flea markets. They`re waiting to see some vulnerable situation take place. They see an opportunity. They`re in a car. They drop by. All it takes is one second and that`s it.
GRACE: I just don`t see it being in that scenario. If there are up to 2,000 people clogging that roadway, the in, and the out -- let`s see a shot of the flea market again. They get incredibly congested.
And to you, Joey Jackson. The scenario that the little boy just wandered off -- you know, he`s 3 years old. How far could he get?
JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know what? That`s true, Nancy, but I`m not prepared at this point to say that it`s a concocted story and she`s making it up, by any means.
JACKSON: It`s too early at this point to make that suggestion. We live in a world, unfortunately, Nancy, where this is the reality of our time. Women do indeed get overwhelmed. Parents get overwhelmed, men and women alike. And if you take your eyes off of a child for just a mere moment, disaster can strike. We know that.
The last thing, Nancy, is this. The reality is, is that simply because there was a delay in her reporting it to the police, to me, that`s not unusual at all. People say, Look, we`re not expecting the worst case scenario. Let me look for my child. Let me see if I can determine where they are. And oh, my God, I can`t! So let`s get the police involved.
GRACE: I agree with you that the hour of them searching is understandable. But the reality, Marc Klaas, is what, as each hour passes, when a child is missing?
KLAAS: Well, I think it was stated at the beginning of the hour that within three days, 74 percent of all children that are murdered as a result of an abduction will be dead already.
I think, though, I`d like to further make a point that law enforcement did a marvelous thing by activating an Amber Alert without any evidence that the little boy had been kidnapped because of all the possible things that could have happened. And I think another thing in favor is the fact that there are many excellent search and rescue teams in North Carolina that will be able to bring the cadaver dogs to the river, be able to use sonar in the river...
GRACE: Oh, man, man. Wait, wait, wait. Wait.
GRACE: Marc, I just -- looking at this little kid, I`m not ready at this juncture to be talking about cadaver dogs yet.
KLAAS: Well, but the reality is, is that they have to explore all of the possibilities if they hope to recover him at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I plead that you just send him back home safe and sound, as safe as he was when you got him. You know, she needs prayer. And she needs to loosen (ph) up, you know. The family needs to loosen up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are desperately searching for a 3-year-old boy last seen with his mother Sunday morning at a local flea market. The boy`s mother told police she was loading goods into her car, and when she was finished, the boy was gone. The FBI has joined in the search, which includes ground, air and water, for the young child. Police describe the boy as an Asian male, 3 foot tall, about 35 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Look at this little boy, little Raji. He speaks two languages, one of them being English. He`s said to be incredibly bright. Allegedly with his mom there at a local flea market, possibly up to 2,000 people flooding the flea market, the mom loading and unloading, the boy gone.
We`re taking your calls live. Out to Jeanette in Florida. Hi, Jeanette.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I wish you`d run for vice president.
GRACE: With who? Who do you want me to run with? Which one of the three?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say McCain, but that`s just me.
GRACE: What do you think about this case? I`m very flattered. But what do you think about this case?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyway, it said the daddy was, I believe you said, overseas?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they married? And if they`re not, could it maybe be something of a custody battle, you know, with the other in-laws or something, and could they maybe be following her, like, stalking and just took the child?
GRACE: Jeanette, excellent question. Gurnal Scott, what do we know about the father`s whereabouts and their status?
SCOTT: We have heard and we have been hearing that the father is overseas. Really, in this entire investigation as it has gone over the past couple of days, we really haven`t heard that much referred to about the father from the investigation. Of course, the police not really saying a whole lot outside of what they are doing to investigate this child`s disappearance. But as far as the father, it`s still kind of a mystery at this point whether -- even how much he knows about it or what his role in this would be.
GRACE: Carter Rabil, do you know any more about the dad`s whereabouts and their marital status?
RABIL: I do believe they are married. The father, he is with Eco- tours (ph) in Vietnam. He has seven university students with him, as well as two college professors. I don`t know which university they represent. But they are in Vietnam, and he is trying to book a flight to get out of Vietnam to return to Smithfield.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A highway patrol helicopter hovers over the woods and river near the flea market as the search continues for 3-year-old Siraj Davenport, known as Raji. Raji disappeared from this flea market around 11:00 o`clock on Sunday morning. His mother says she was loading produce in her car, looked down and he was gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A full day of searching, and still no sign of 3- year-old Siraj Davenport. As more time passes, family friends fear the worst. For now, the FBI and police are investigating all possible scenarios, including abduction. A Johnston County search team combed through wooded areas along the river today. Raji`s mother has spent several hours at the Smithfield Police Department today, answering questions and waiting on any word of her son`s safe return.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Please help us find 3-year-old little Raji. The tip line, 919-989-5729.
Out to the lines. Dixie in North Carolina. Hi, Dixie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I want to know something. I live in North Carolina, and they said -- the Amber Alert said he was an Asian child. But I just saw his pic today, you know, on your show, and he doesn`t look Asian to me, and I`ve been looking for an Asian child. My question is, is there any more information that officials can give on this child`s appearance so people can keep a lookout for him?
GRACE: Yes, I see how you may have thought that. I believe that he is of Indian descent. What about it, Gurnal?
SCOTT: I believe when they say Asian, they mean Indian descent. I mean, you look at him, and you clearly see the Indian influence there.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Jennifer in Michigan. Hi, Jennifer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the people that were there at the flea market, is there anyone that can corroborate hat the little boy was with her?
GRACE: Carter, what about it?
RABIL: I can`t confirm that. But the little boy is Malaysian. His mother is Malaysian. His father is American. He is -- they met over here and she`s been here about since August `07.
GRACE: The mom at police headquarters still, up to seven hours now.
When we come back, the biggest child protective bust in U.S. history. Today the sides square off in a Texas courtroom, virtually shutting down that Texas courthouse.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Child custody hearings started today, 463 kids. Where are they going to go?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Today is the first day in a massive and complex series of child custody hearings that is expected to last about three weeks. There are five different judges, five different courtrooms, all operating simultaneously, and essentially it`s the first chance that many of these parents and these children have had a chance to go before a judge and tell their stories, their individual stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re going to need to say who the father is. They`re going to need to submit to DNA testing. They`re going to need to submit to parental -- parenting classes and psychological counseling.
UNIDENTIFIED FLDS MEMBER: Five of my children were taken from me.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Where are your children?
UNIDENTIFIED FLDS MEMBER: I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED FLDS MEMBER: We just want our children back. We need our children.
GRACE: The issues continue to mushroom and the Texas battle against the FLDS, the polygamous group locked behind compound walls. At stake -- 400-plus children. Who will have custody?
Straight out to Paul Anthony with the "San Angelo Standard-Times." In court today, Paul, what happened?
PAUL ANTHONY, SAN ANGELO STANDARD-TIMES: Well, as you know, Nancy, we have these five district judges hearing basically about 40 to 45 cases all day long today and they`ll keep doing it for the next 2 1/2 weeks, as the sound bite said, essentially shutting down the courthouse for business for these next couple of weeks.
They -- these were all fairly short hearings between 30 minutes and an hour depending on the size of the case and how many siblings were involved and essentially it was the state`s attorneys and the parents` attorneys coming together talking about this service plan that the state has set out for the parents to follow and the judge signing off on it.
Nothing groundbreaking came out as far as decisions or that sort of thing. It`s going to be repeated every day now for the next 2 1/2 weeks.
GRACE: To Michael Board of WOAI Newsradio -- Michael, that`s a pretty good chunk, 45 out of a little over 400. What was the gist of the hearings, Michael?
MICHAEL BOARD, REPORTER, WOAI NEWSRADIO: Well, it`s basically the judges saying to some of these lawyers and some of their clients that, yes, in Texas we have laws and if you want any chance of getting your kids back, you`re going to have to follow the laws of Texas.
These service plans that were given out to the parents, the road map for them to get their kids back, say you have to provide a home free of abuse. Now what does that mean? Well, it`s up to anybody.
GRACE: Wait, wait, wait.
GRACE: Stop just a moment. This sounds a lot like, eh, go home and write a 300-word essay and I`ll let you out of jail. This -- no -- are you telling me they`re giving these families a service plan? In other words what they need to do in order to get their kids back?
BOARD: Yes, and that`s the goal of CPS is to reunite as many of these kids with their parents as possible if the situation is something that is good for the kids. Now it`s hard to believe that any judge that`s involved in this case will give a child back to a parent if they go back to living on this ranch where some of these homes are one-man, nine wives, 24 kids, possibly some child brides who are either with child or already have a child.
It`s hard to believe any judge will give the kid back to the parent in that case.
GRACE: To Paul Anthony again with San Angelo Standard-Times, is it true that one or more of the mom said, "Well, I`ll follow your plan unless it violates my religion," and the judge responded, "I want you to follow your religion but if it violates the law when it comes to raising children and child abuse, the law rules in this courtroom"?
ANTHONY: Yes. That`s correct. At least one mother, I believe Nora Jeffs, said that she would only sign if it would not conflict with her religion and the judge said that while he was sympathetic to her religious beliefs that he just couldn`t promise that because of the fact that if their religious beliefs conflict with the law, that`s just not going to work. He said he has to be sure that she`s not going to abuse her children.
GRACE: Joining us tonight is Natalie Malonis. She is the attorney representing Pamela Jessop. That is a mom that CPS now acknowledges is 18. She is from the law firm Elsey & Elsey joining us from Dallas, Texas.
Natalie, thank you for being with us. What were the hearings like today?
NATALIE MALONIS, REPRESENTING PAMELA JESSOP, FLDS MOM ALLOWED TO STAY WITH NEWBORN: Nancy, I wasn`t in the hearings today.
MALONIS: Mine don`t start until Wednesday. So I mean, I can give you my perspective on.
MALONIS: . what -- kind of what`s happening and what these were all about.
GRACE: OK. Go ahead.
MALONIS: This is a statutory hearing within 60 days after the state takes custody of children. They`ve got to have -- it`s really an update for the judge to give the judge an idea of how the placements are going, if there are educational needs, medical needs, and for the judge to review and sign off on these service plans.
And I heard you commenting on the term service plan. It`s called that because the department or CPS offers services, so it`s just -- it`s a -- it`s kind of a laundry list of the services that are going to be offered and expected to be complied with by the parents.
So no big decisions are going to come out of any of these hearings and I really doubt that any of the judges are going to hear any issues collateral to these service plans.
GRACE: You mean such as alleged child abuse or child bride issues? You don`t think they`re going to hear anything about that?
MALONIS: Not at all.
GRACE: Interesting. With me is Natalie Malonis. She is joining us from Dallas, Texas with the firm Elsey & Elsey.
And I want to remind everybody that a lot of these lawyers are working for free representing various of the moms, the children that have been taken off that compound.
I got a question for Dr. Robi Ludwig, very quickly, and we`re going to be taking your calls live.
Dr. Robi, I`m concerned that these moms -- and you know, I`m totally leaving out the dads because they`re basically all no-shows, all right? I`m not validating it or condoning it. It just it is what it is.
These moms have had years and years inducted, inbred in this system where polygamy is OK, 9, 10, 21 wives OK. The treatment of the children, it`s all OK. How do we expect with these service plans that Natalie Malonis is describing for us -- how can that change years, decades of a way of life?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST, AUTHOR OF "TILL DEATH DO US PART": They really need to be re-educated because you bring up a brilliant point. These women have no really individuality. That`s been stomped out. So we can`t trust they know what the difference is between abusing a child and not abusing a child is. I think we need to assume that`s the case.
GRACE: And very quickly, we`re about to take your calls but I have to ask one question to Dr. Marty Makary, physician and professor of public health at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Makary, it`s my understanding that there are still around 100 children that have not been matched up to a biological mom and dad. How hard can it be? When I was prosecuting you get DNA back in three days.
DR. MARTY MAKARY, PHYSICIAN, PROF. OF PUBLIC HEALTH, JOHNS HOPKINS: Well, Nancy, the test only takes one hour but the human element in processing the result follows such a strict protocol because a mistake would be catastrophic so that`s what they`re waiting on.
GRACE: I don`t understand it, Michael Board with WOAI Newsradio. Still 100 kids, nearly 25 percent of these kids, have not been matched up. Now we are already in court. It started. It kicked off today. Why don`t we know who the parents are? Does it have anything to do with the parents leaving town or not showing up for DNA tests?
BOARD: Well, we already know a bunch of the fathers didn`t even bother to show up to get their DNA tested. We don`t know who`s there on the compound, we don`t know if they`ve already left. They could have fled to Mexico. They could have gone back to Utah or Arizona. We don`t know. There`s no accounting practice. It`s not like they`re being held in custody.
They could be long gone and to see this fact that more than 100 kids they don`t know who the mom and dad are, that`s a good sign that some of them probably left.
GRACE: Can you imagine being a kid, sitting there in foster care right now, and they can`t even tell you that they have found your mom and dad.
Out to the lines in Novalee in Vermont. Hi, Novalee.
NOVALEE, VERMONT RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy. How are you? Congratulations on your twins.
GRACE: Thank you, and I`ve got some new pictures for you that I took today.
Novalee, what`s your question, dear?
NOVALEE: My question is this compound, if you will, fears our world. That`s their way of life. Having said that, why don`t they fear receiving welfare checks and why don`t they fear the attorneys representing their kids?
GRACE: What about it? Out to you, Paul Anthony. What about they fear the outside world but they`ll take our checks?
ANTHONY: There are a few -- I don`t know if you want to call them inconsistencies but some of those idiosyncrasies with that. And it`s -- you look at the items seized from the ranch, a lot of laptops, a lot of iPods, a lot of electronic devices that you would think that those who shun the outside world would not be using but, obviously, there is some acceptance there.
GRACE: Yes. You`re right. It`s quite the conundrum.
Everybody, as we go to break, we are taking your calls live but as requested, and I am grateful that you want to see them, here are brand-new photos of the twins. Little Lucy and baby John David. Here they are today. We had just come in from a walk outside for over an hour, early, early this morning. This is about 7:30 a.m. this morning.
Little Lucy on the left, John David on the right. Believe it or not, he`s about three pounds more than her and one inch, but he looks so much bigger. I`m going to post these on the Web for you tonight and I hope you like them.
And tonight we salute our troops.
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CANDY ABERNATHY, SALUTING THE TROOPS: My name is Candy Abernathy. My son is Carl Abernathy. He`s in the Marines over in Iraq. He just got his Purple Heart May 1st. I wanted to thank everybody for saluting the troops. I am so supportive of the troops and I appreciate everything you guys have done and I appreciate all the men and women over there and how they respect each other and our country. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: NANCY GRACE brought to you by.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I`m concern the day before this raid came, there wasn`t a single one of them that had posttraumatic stress disorder. But now I think there is a very good possibility that some of them suffer from that. But it`s not because of what happened on the compound. It`s what happened after.
UNIDENTIFIED FLDS MEMBER: We had no contact and they continually boxed us in, boxed us in. They told us we were going to the pavilion to reunite mothers and children. Then they took the mothers away from the children. Only compounding the trauma that the children were once under.
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GRACE: What can we believe? Now these are the same people that refuse to give a last name, they changed the I.D. bracelets on their children, changed their children`s clothes out so the authorities couldn`t tell who went with who.
It`s one big mess.
But I can tell you this much, the legal wrangling has landed in court today. Multiple hearings, multiple judges, practically cutting down, shutting down that Texas courthouse to all other legal matters. There are over 400 children waiting to be heard in court.
Out to the lines, Lucy in Iowa. Hi, Lucy.
LUCY, IOWA RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy. I`ve got a quick question.
LUCY: Why aren`t they going after these deadbeat dads? They`re getting ADC. I mean, in our state if a woman is on ADC, they want to know the father and they go after the deadbeat dads and garnish their wages.
GRACE: Mike Brooks, I would like to know the very same thing. You and I have discussed the theory amongst this polygamous FLDS of bleeding the beast, as they call it -- not my words, their words -- where they hate the U.S. government but they take the money through welfare checks and other governmental assistance from the government, from you and me. So why aren`t they going after these dads?
MIKE BROOKS, FMR. DC POLICE DETECTIVE SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: That`s a great question, Nancy. We don`t see anything at all about these fathers. You know, as you said, they`re basically a no-show. But, you know, the other thing, too, is the government, the U.S. government, ought to be taking a look.
The IRS, follow that paper trail, as we always talk about here, Nancy, follow that paper trail because I think there possibly, possibly could be a case here for welfare fraud.
GRACE: To Paul Anthony with the "San Angelo Standard-Times," where are the prosecutions of the deadbeat dads? Where are the prosecutions for the forced marriages on young girls? What are we waiting on?
ANTHONY: I believe at the moment the key is the DNA testing. You know, the -- once that comes in you`ll have a much better idea especially provable in court who the different fathers are, who`s related to whom, and from there the investigations can move forward talking to local prosecutors here. They believe that there will be prosecutions that will come out of this case and the federal agency, the FBI also investigating.
Not sure because everything`s been sealed what exactly they`re investigating but people have discussed things like welfare fraud and these kinds of allegations. Obviously the FBI is very much into things like the money trail and how this ranch was even funded and built in the first place and whose money was used to do it.
GRACE: What about it, Michael Board?
BOARD: That`s a good question. They`d like to know that. He did say the FBI is involved in investigating. The state attorney general, the Texas attorney general, he`s the one, he`s the main prosecutor in this case. He`s rallying his troops. And he said, yes, he will investigate the group here.
And if it has ties back to Utah and Arizona, I`m told, yes, he will go and try to get people out of Utah and Arizona and charge them with crimes here in Texas.
GRACE: Joining us tonight a special guest, Flora Jessop. She is a former polygamist and child bride and she is the executive director of Child Protection Project.
Flora, it`s a pleasure to have you on. You know, a lot of these FLDS parents are arguing that they are a nuclear family unit, a mother, father, and some children. Why shouldn`t they get their children back?
FLORA JESSOP, FMR. POLYGAMIST & CHILD BRIDE, EXEC. DIRECTOR OF THE CHILD PROTECTION PROJECT: You know, Nancy, it`s interesting to me because even when these women were living on the compound, they weren`t -- they did not have care of their children. These children are cared for as a community. The children are removed from these women at 1 year of age and placed in the care of caretakers.
Even in the FLDS documents, all the documentation they put out about their children`s schedules and things like that, you see that these children are in the care of caretakers and not their mothers. So these women might claim that they are with their children on the compound but they`re actually not.
The other thing that I would like to see is the women in these homes. I hope the women that are over the age of 18 in the homes where there were underaged brides, they get prosecuted right along with their husbands on this case.
GRACE: And explain your theory.
JESSOP: Well, I think every adult needs to be held accountable for the crimes and abuses that were occurring in that home. And when you have these sister/wives, these older sister/wives, they`re the ones that grooming these young girls to become the brides of their husbands. They`re the ones enforcing the laws on the FLDS laws on these young girls.
And so I hope that we can start holding even the women accountable for the abuse of these little children by their husbands and by all the adults in the home.
GRACE: Flora Jessop, you are absolutely correct. And I want to go to our two defense attorneys tonight, Joey Jackson and Alex Sanchez.
Alex Sanchez, in every other child abuse case where, for instance, hypothetical, the father abuses the child and the mom knows about it and is part and parcel of it, she gets prosecuted, too. Why not here? Flora Jessop has a point.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I`d like to know what abuse is actually taking place and what crimes have been committed. I`ve been watching this case for three weeks, and I`m still unclear what it is these mothers are alleged to have done or not done.
Instead we have an improper raid. The kids are taken away and now they have given this so-called service agreement which sounds like something you`d get at a local garage or something like that, basically coerced into agreeing to this particular agreement.
GRACE: It`s nothing like that. You know, you can reduce it down to jokes, but as Natalie Malonis just told us what the service agreement is, this is far from a judge.
SANCHEZ: Yes, but you know.
GRACE: Joey Jackson, weigh in.
JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Here`s the issue, Nancy. My feelings are as follows. I don`t think you could indict an entire community. If there are abuses, by all means, those abuses need to be individualized and they need to be determined. If they are not abuses, they need to match these women with their children. They need them.
GRACE: Right now Texas gearing up for a legal battle, all parties landing in court today. The courthouse practically shut down to handle the polygamous FLDS child custody hearings.
I want to go straight back out to Michael Board. The defense attorneys are arguing the children shouldn`t have been taken because what abuses? What abuses are going on, Michael?
BOARD: Well, I think we know exactly what abuses are going on. We`ve seen the "Bishop`s Papers," the records of who are in which families living on that compound. It`s right there in black and white. There are 46-year- old men who are spiritually married to 16-year-old women and those 16-year- olds are carrying their children.
That`s abuse. That`s polygamy. Two things in Texas law, illegal.
GRACE: Any of that ringing a bell, Alex Sanchez, Joey Jackson? Alex, you first.
SANCHEZ: Well, you know what -- then if that is true, bring specific charges against those individuals. Let those individuals be heard in court. Right now it`s all speculation. It`s a lot of yelling and screaming these people did this and these people did that. But I`m used to charges and I want to see what those charges are.
GRACE: OK. You know what, Alex? Alex, you know, I`ll address this with Joey. You know step number one, Mr. Jackson, is to handle the safety of the children and that is what we see Texas doing.
JACKSON: Now that.
GRACE: Why do you two find fault with that?
JACKSON: You know what, Nancy, it`s not that I find fault with it at all. I just think that you can`t run and raid an entire community and presume everyone is guilty, bring everybody out of there. The fact is, is that I`m sure there are certain abuses and those certain abuses need to be individually dealt with and that`s my issue.
GRACE: Everyone, let`s stop. And a special thank you to Natalie Malonis for being with us tonight representing some of these families.
Let`s remember Marine Lance Corporal Curtis Christensen Jr., 29, Collingswood, New Jersey, killed, Iraq. Awarded the Purple Heart. Left a career as a graphics designer to enlist. Once hiked 1,200 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Loved computers, cross-country trips, California. Leaves behind parents Mary and David, brother Michael, two sisters and widow, Olga.
Curtis Christensen, American hero.
Thanks to our guests. But our biggest thank you to you for inviting us into your homes. And tonight a special good night from Georgia, friend of the show, Chris. He`s an expert caterer.
Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.