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Witness Says He Saw Oklahoma Schoolgirls Just Before Murder
Aired June 12, 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: Breaking news tonight, double murder in the heartland, two schoolgirls brutally murdered off an isolated back road. Investigators reveal not one but two separate guns used in the shootings. Translation, two -- two -- cold-blooded killers walking the streets. But in the last hours, a new mystery witness emerges, claiming he spotted the girls just before the murders. Tonight, is there a crack in the case?
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police told us today that they had talked to an eyewitness who saw the girls minutes before they were shot. They say that he`s actually helping them establish a critical timeline. And investigators specifically addressed the killer or killers, letting them know that this witness was in the area just before the shooting.
They have said two guns were used on both girls, that both girls were shot with both weapons in the head and in the chest. The bodies were found in an isolated area, so investigators are working with the assumption that the killer or killers are from that area. Officers are looking at tracks, shell casings, shoeprints. They still, though, have no idea why someone would kill two innocent girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girls were five feet apart from each other, so I knew that whoever had killed them, it had to be more than one person. There`s no way they could have had time to put one gun up and grab another gun and shoot the other girl without her running at least 25 feet away. So I knew that it had to be two people that killed them.
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GRACE: And tonight, the mystery surrounding a gorgeous young mom of three who vanishes into thin air, Mackinaw (ph), Illinois, the body of 30- year-old Melisa Cleary discovered just a few miles from her own home. Reportedly, she was bludgeoned to death. Tonight, the investigation in high gear to find the killer. We learn the young mom, in fear for her life, specifically stating, if she ever goes missing, she was murdered.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Although they have a person of interest, police still have made to arrests in the brutal death of a young Illinois mom, the body of 30-year-old Melisa Cleary found Monday under a bridge next to railroad tracks in Lincoln County. And according to family, she suffered blunt force trauma to the head and the neck. Cleary`s estranged husband has been questioned by police, but is not a suspect at this time. Less than 24 hours after the young mom was found dead, Daniel Cleary is found in Peoria with the couple`s three children at a motel, all after an Amber Alert is issued. But tonight, who killed Melisa Cleary?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities haven`t really said why Daniel Cleary took the kids to Peoria, and Daniel Cleary not talking to the press at this point. So it`s kind of an unknown as to why he took off that night. At this point, we believe that the children are in protective custody with another relative of Melisa Cleary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had expressed to us several, several times that if something happened to her, that she was murdered, that her husband had murdered her.
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GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Breaking news tonight, double murder in the heartland, two schoolgirls brutally murdered off an isolated back county road. Investigators reveal not one but two separate guns used in the shootings. And tonight, a new mystery witness emerges, claiming he spotted the girls just moments before the murders. Is there a crack in the case?
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New developments for you in the case of two young Oklahoma girls found shot to death. Officials are interviewing a witness who saw the girls shortly before they were killed Sunday afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officials say the witness drove past 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker and 13-year-old Taylor Paschal just minutes before they were shot dead. The girls were found on a county road by Paschal-Placker`s grandfather. Their deaths have the entire community on edge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s just a lot of mad, crazy people out there. I believe they`re trying hard to find these killers, just for the sake of saving somebody else`s child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now investigators say they`re getting closer to finding the killer or killers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can say now that we have a witness who drove past the girls a few minutes before they were shot. We`ve been talking to him, interviewing him. We do have a witness that was there shortly before the shooting.
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GRACE: The whole community devastated. This case has really struck a chord across the country. Two little girls, schoolgirls, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, walking along an old dirt road. They had walked it many, many times before. They were shot multiple times, as if somebody was using them as target practice, leaving their bodies in a ditch to be found shot to death. It is absolutely abhorrent. Whoever the killer is, whoever the killers are, are walking free tonight.
Out to Kirsten McIntyre with KWTV. What`s the latest?
KIRSTEN MCINTYRE, KWTV: Well, Nancy, the biggest development in this case today is the fact that an eyewitness apparently saw the girls just minutes before they were killed. And in today`s press conference, it was pretty cleared the OSBI, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, wanted the shooter or the shooters to know that they do, in fact, have an eyewitness. They told us they would not identify who that eyewitness is. They told us the eyewitness did not give them any names. And when we asked about, Did this eyewitness give you any information regarding suspect vehicles in the area, we got the no comment at this time.
GRACE: Tell me, Kirsten, what do you know about the area where they were shot? Is there a curve on the road? Is there a clear view from where the witness states he saw the girls forward, if he had looked in his rearview mirror, and backward? I mean, from what I`ve seen of the scene, it`s a straight shot. If it was just before the shootings, how could he have not seen a vehicle coming up behind him or ahead of him?
MCINTYRE: Well, again, they have not really given us a lot of information regarding exactly what the eyewitness saw. I think today, they just want to get that message out there, that, in fact, there was an eyewitness.
Now, you asked about that area. You`re right, it is a very remote area, a pretty straight road. But it does kind of curve off down by the bridge that we talked about last night on the show. There is a bridge down there. But the area where the girls were actually found murdered, it is a straight road.
GRACE: Joining us also tonight, Jessica Brown, public information officer with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Officer, thank you for being with us. What more can you tell us about this new witness that emerged?
JESSICA BROWN, OKLAHOMA STATE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We think this is very hopeful in our investigation. He came forward earlier in the day to give us some information. We can`t get into how much he`s been able to help us, but we do think it`s very positive. Also, we`ve got some good evidence we`ve taken to our crime scene lab. So that will help us when we finally can get that back, and that could take a few more days. So we are hot on these people`s tails, let me tell you.
GRACE: Out to the lines. We are taking your calls live. To Carrie in Wisconsin. Hi, Carrie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What took the witness so long to come forward when they`re asking for all this help?
GRACE: Interesting question. What about it, Jessica?
JESSICA BROWN: He was not able to come forward. We`ve checked out his story, and he is completely legitimate. He was just not able to come forward at the time, but he came when he could.
GRACE: When you say not able to come forward, how can that be?
JESSICA BROWN: I really can`t get into it with you. I really wish I could. But we checked out his story. He`s completely legitimate. We believe everything he`s told us.
GRACE: And another thing. If he did not realize what had happened until that night or the next day -- you know, a lot of times, people see significant evidence -- they hear it, they see it -- but they don`t know what they have witnessed until much later. They don`t -- just seeing two little girls on the side of the road, who would think, without knowing, without seeing the news later that night -- who would think that they had witnessed anything to do with a double homicide?
JESSICA BROWN: Nancy, that`s why it`s so important to continue along with this story, because we`re going to get more and more people coming forward.
GRACE: You know, Jessica, in so many cases that I prosecuted, it`s very elementary. If you don`t believe you can help, you can never help. If you think maybe you`ve seen something, heard something, know something, you can help. Jessica, another question. Did anyone hear the gunshots?
JESSICA BROWN: Not that we`re aware of. Now, the reason being, perhaps, is because the nearest home, to my knowledge, was Taylor`s home, which is about a quarter mile up the road. Now, if you`re inside the home, you have the television going or radio or maybe even the vacuum cleaner, you may not hear those shots. And hearing shots out there is not that unusual. And the wind was blowing the opposite way very strongly. So we don`t know of anyone right now who heard any gunshots.
GRACE: Jessica, how do you know that, that the wind was blowing the other way very strongly at the moment of the gunshot fires?
JESSICA BROWN: Well, the wind has been blowing very strongly here in Oklahoma the past week or so, and it doesn`t change directions that drastically here. So we feel confident that that is the case. Now, if anyone wants to come forward and say they did hear them, we`d be more than happy to take their witness statement.
GRACE: So it certainly nailed down a timeline.
Out to the lines. Jennifer in Canada. Hi, Jennifer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. Thank you for calling in. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy, I was just wondering -- first I want to say we love you here in Canada.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I just wanted to know, is there any sign of assault or sexual assault on the girls, by any chance?
GRACE: Jennifer, that was one of my first questions when I was delving into motive. Now, as you know, Jennifer in Canada, the state does not have to prove motive in any case. Never does the state have to attempt to get into the mind of a killer or a perpetrator and show their thinking. However, it is important, when you present a case to a jury, to be able to give them a motive, because a lot of times, they say, It doesn`t make sense. Why would he/she have done this?
I want to go back to Jessica Brown, PIO with Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Officer, it`s my understanding the girls were fully clothed and there was no molestation.
JESSICA BROWN: We don`t know for sure yet there was no molestation. We have not gotten the final autopsy report back yet. Right now, our thinking is they probably were not, but we have an open mind. We will not go into this with blinders of any sort.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Aaron in North Carolina. Hi, dear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. Just want to say we love you and those beautiful twins of yours here in North Carolina, too.
GRACE: Thank you very much. And I would like to reiterate how grateful I and my whole family have been for all of your continued prayers for us when we were in the hospital and after. Thank you very much. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re certainly welcome, Nancy. My question is this. Now that we have established that both of these girls were shot with two separate guns, is it possible that the shooter could have only been one person who shot both of the kids with different guns?
GRACE: You know what? I`ve been toying with that scenario. What about it, Pat Brown? Pat Brown joining us tonight, criminal profiler and author of "Killing for Sport." What about it, Pat?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Oh, I don`t think so, Nancy. There`s definitely two shooters and two guns. I think we have a thrill kill duo here. And I`m concerned about the fact those girls walked that street back and forth quite a lot. And this gives an opportunity for these guys to notice that and perhaps either hide in the woods and shoot at them or drive by when they`re there. But they probably planned this, that they knew those little girls were coming by.
GRACE: Back to Jessica Brown. I want to follow up on a theory that Pat Brown has just reiterated. Jessica, the possibility that someone was hiding in the woods, knowing these little girls, or somebody -- not necessarily these two, two little girls, 11 and 13 years old, walking down the street. Were the girls shot from in front or from behind?
JESSICA BROWN: We believe they were shot from the front. Now, that is one theory among many we`re looking at, and that`s why today our crime scene investigators not only went back to the scene, but they took a bird`s eye view so they could see in the thicket of trees there, to see if there was any place where someone could hide.
GRACE: Well, have they determined the angle of the trajectory, the angle of the bullet? Because if that were true, someone shot from above, you could clearly see the angle entry, exit at the lower back.
JESSICA BROWN: We do have a good idea of the trajectory at this point in time, but I can`t get into further details with you. But we`re looking at everything. We`re not taking anything lightly here.
GRACE: Well, obviously, based on what you found at the autopsy, you think that`s a possibility, or else you would have not had someone out there today to determine that. But you`re saying from the front to the back. Here`s another question. From the angle in which they fell, Jessica, could you determine if they were shot right there?
JESSICA BROWN: We believe they were shot there at the scene, not shot elsewhere and taken there. We don`t believe they had time to run away, to move, to get out of the way of these bullets.
GRACE: OK. Next question, to Jessica Brown joining us from the State Bureau of Investigation there in Oklahoma. If you know where they were at the time of the shooting and you know entry/exit, you also know which way the vehicle was traveling if the perpetrator was in a vehicle, yes?
JESSICA BROWN: We have a good idea.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Justin in Illinois. Hi, Justin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. Illinois says hi. My mom watches you every night.
GRACE: Well, hello to Justin, your mother, and all of the show`s friends there in Illinois. Thank you very much. And what`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A quick question and a follow-up. The area, really wooded -- - and this came to me last night. It`s hard to get in -- but a hunter. And if there is one exit wound, then possibly maybe was shot accidentally and then came upon the girls.
GRACE: Justin, I hate to crack your theory. Both girls were shot multiple times about the head and the chest, multiple times, two different weapons. Not that it would bring them back, but the thought that it was an accidental hunting shot would -- that would be the best case scenario, Justin, Illinois. Instead, what we have, two separate killers, most likely, that basically used these little girls as target practice. And whoever they are, they are walking free right now.
Let`s unleash the lawyers. We are taking your calls live. Joining us tonight, Susan Moss, Sandy Schiff, Michael Mazzariello. To you, Sandy Schiff. Before I start firing questions at you, I`d like to say how much we missed you...
SANDY SCHIFF, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
GRACE: ... and that you are one of the bravest people I have ever known. Sandy has been fighting, fighting a battle with cancer, and as you can see, she is winning.
All right. Down to business. Weigh in, Susan Moss.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: The real question is, was this a thrill kill? Was this a botched abduction? Was this a mistaken identity? Did these kids walk into some sort of drug deal gone bad? Once we figure out what the answer to that question is, we`ll find these people.
GRACE: You know, Bethany -- Dr. Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author. Dr. Marshall, we keep hearing the phrase "thrill kill" thrown around. Explain.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: I think what that means is a budding serial killer who`s had a lot of homicidal fantasies because the idea of that type of power is fused with sexual excitement. So what they do...
GRACE: You know, somehow, Bethany, you drag sex into everything. I don`t know how you do it. I don`t care what the murder is...
MARSHALL: Well, can I add, even if the girls weren`t molested, there`s some research that shows that sex and aggression is processed through the same neural nets in boys. And so with sociopaths, the two experiences get fused and at the moment of inflicting great cruelty, that in and of itself is sexually exciting. If I were the investigators, I`d be looking for some boy in this community that has been inflicting cruelty on animals, or a duo that`s been engaging in a lot of target practice, or two guys in the community who are thick as thieves and hanging out together way too much.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t seen the medical examiner`s report, but just based on the verbal reports I`ve received, I can say that both calibers were used on both guns -- or both girls. In other words, if we have two shooters, than each of the shooters shot each girl -- if we have two shooters.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t seen the medical examiner`s report, but just based on the verbal reports I`ve received, I can say that both calibers were used on both guns -- or both girls. In other words, if we have two shooters, then each of the shooters shot each girl -- if we have two shooters.
We`ve got quite a bit of evidence. And as that evidence is analyzed, I feel like that that`s going to help clearly identify who it is, once we have something to compare it with. For instance, if we have a fingerprint or a DNA sample, we have to have someone to compare that with, no matter how good that sample may be. So that`s where we`re at. We just need somebody, a suspect or something, so we can go talk to them, test them, see if they can be truthful, if we have the evidence that can physically place them at the scene as the shooters.
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GRACE: Let`s go over what he just said. Out to you, Michael Mazzariello. You`ve got to have prints or DNA, as he said, to compare it with. Explain quickly.
MICHAEL MAZZARIELLO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. We need somebody that has been arrested, that has given a DNA sample and/or fingerprint, whether it was in a high school, college, wherever, that is on record and then they can match it with the crime scene, Nancy. And hopefully, they`ll get it.
GRACE: Because, Sandy, even if you get perfect prints and perfect DNA from the crime scene, unless you`ve got something to match it up to, you`re nowhere. But you don`t have to be a criminal. I had to give fingerprints to work at the district attorney`s office.
SCHIFF: Many bonded jobs, the security agents who guard stores, have to give fingerprints.
GRACE: So it`s very possible to get a match to.
Ella in Mississippi. Hi. Ella.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. How`re you doing?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to know why would anyone let two young girls walk on a remote road like that because I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old niece that lives with me, and I`m afraid for them to walk anywhere. So much bad things happening now.
GRACE: You know, Ms. Ella, when I was raised up, we could walk around like this, but in this day and time -- what about it, Bethany?
MARSHALL: Well, a point to Ella is a part of good mental health is living with the illusion that the world`s a safe place. That`s actually a good thing because, like, here in California, if we all of the time imagine that there was going to be an earthquake, well, there might be, but if we thought about it all the time, we`d have an anxiety disorder. So I mean, the parents have to make the children feel that the world is safe, as well as to protect them. It`s a tough and delicate balance.
GRACE: Everybody, quick break. We are taking your calls live.
But I want to give you an update. A soldier caught on tape flinging a puppy off a desert cliff, flying through the air, plummeting to its death, has been kicked out of the Marines, the grainy video emerging on YouTube resulting in over 100,000 hits. And to top it all off, the Marine laughs it off to another Marine, actually taping the whole thing. Well, both have been disciplined, but tonight, no formal prosecution or jail time. Why?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this morning, a group of the crime scene agents returned to the scene. They were doing additional investigations around the riverbed and the area where the girls were found. We also had an aviation unit of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. They assisted in the examination down there, and I don`t know what all they`ve done. They haven`t been back here yet for debriefing, but they`ve been down there since about 8:00 o`clock this morning.
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GRACE: We are taking your calls live now. A mystery witness emerges. His name has not been revealed. He states that he observed the little girls walking along the road just before they were murdered.
I want to go out to Jon Leiberman with "America`s Most Wanted." Jon, what more can you tell us? And how can this witness help crack the case?
JON LEIBERMAN, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Well, this witness is incredibly important because he`s going to help police put together a timeline of exactly what happened here. We know when the girls left the house. We know when the witness says he saw the girls. And we also know that the girls only made it 300 yards down the road before they were killed. So this helps police form a timeline, and hopefully, crack the case.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mom of three, Melisa Cleary, found dead with severe trauma to the body, about three days after she is reported missing. Foul play now suspected and police on the hunt for who killed the devoted mom.
Loved ones reveal Cleary in fear of her life and close to divorcing her estranged husband. Police issuing an AMBER Alert after Daniel Cleary takes off with the children shortly after their mother is found dead.
The kids now safe with relatives, but tonight, no suspects nor arrests and a family without Melisa Cleary.
BRANDY GERARD, SISTER OF MURDERED MOM, MELISA CLEARY: Saturday morning I got a text message from a best friend who she`d been going and staying with on the weekend, because she was trying to leave her husband. And I knew immediately when I got the text message that she was missing. So we went directly to her house and called the cops on our way there.
GRACE: Straight out to Shaun Newell with WMBC Radio. Shaun, what is the latest?
SHAUN NEWELL, NEWS DIRECTOR, 1470 WMBD RADIO: Well, the latest is Sheriff Bob Houston with the Tazewell County Sheriff`s Department says they`re still trying to follow up on leads at this time and looking into the latest information and waiting on some test results, but still nobody in custody.
GRACE: Man, she is absolutely beautiful. What can you tell me about the cause of death?
NEWELL: The cause of death at this point is not being released by officials around this area due to the fact that they don`t want it to impede their investigation.
GRACE: Well, that`s crazy, because I already know that she was bludgeoned to death, so they`re not keeping that tight of a lid on it.
I want to go to Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author. Pat, weigh in.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": Well, this woman said she thought her husband might kill her. And it`s so sad that when women think that don`t immediately get some protection, get somebody around her, because, obviously, she might have been right.
GRACE: Of course, the husband not named a suspect at this juncture.
I want get back to Shaun Newell with WMBD Radio. You know the husband is not doing himself any favors by taking off with the kids. Give me the timeline as to when she went missing, when her body was found, and when he left with the children.
NEWELL: She went missing on Friday afternoon, late Friday afternoon, then her body was found sometime Monday morning. And it`s believed that he left the house with the children sometime around 5 o`clock on Monday afternoon.
GRACE: And where was he discovered?
NEWELL: He was discovered at a motel in Peoria in the middle of the night, overnight, Monday night, into Tuesday.
NEWELL: Because they issued an AMBER Alert for him and they ended up finding him at the motel.
GRACE: OK. Let me.
NEWELL: He was with his children and his mother were with him.
GRACE: Let me rephrase that, Shaun Newell. Why did he take the children? His wife`s body had just been found. Why did he take the children and go to Peoria?
NEWELL: That`s still unknown. Authorities aren`t saying why and Daniel Cleary not talking about it either to the media at this point.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Ebony in Washington. Hi, Ebony.
EBONY, WASHINGTON RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for taking my call.
GRACE: Thank you for calling. What`s your question, dear?
EBONY: My question first, I don`t know if you had spoke about it, but I don`t know what the age of the children are, but are the children talking? Are they acting normal or are they acting traumatized?
So that was my question, is what are the children -- and how are -- what are they acting like?
GRACE: Joining us tonight, a special guest is Melisa Cleary`s sister, Brandy Gerard.
Miss Gerard, thank you for being with us. How are the children?
GERARD: The children are good. They`re definitely traumatized. They`re definitely not -- they`re OK one minute and the next minute they`re, you know, really upset. They know that Lisa`s gone and she`s not coming back, but they don`t know the details on what, you know, has happened to her.
Definitely not acting normal, as if, you know, mom had gotten in an accident and came up missing. You know they definitely are a little bit standoffish, and they are not -- they have not given us any information, you know, like as far as if they know if anything happened at the house, they`re not really talking to us about it. So they show a lot of fear from their -- for their father, also.
GRACE: What do you mean?
GRACE: What do you.
GERARD: Excuse me?
GRACE: What do you mean, they show fear for or of their father?
GERARD: Fear of their father. Fear of their father, yes.
GRACE: Where were they -- where were the three children at the time of the killing?
GERARD: I don`t know, because I don`t know what time the killing was, but Friday night was the night that she, obviously, didn`t go to her friend`s house and Caitlin stayed at a friend`s house that night, and she`s the oldest, she`s 12. And the two younger were in the house.
GRACE: With whom?
GERARD: With Dan.
GRACE: And tell me again, Brandy Gerard, when was it that it first dawned on everyone that something was wrong?
GERARD: When I got that text message from Nicole, I immediately knew that something wasn`t right because she would have not ever -- first of all, she was the most unindependent person. Like she always had to have someone with her.
And when she -- first of all, she would have never left that house without calling somebody. Second of all, she would have never like -- she wouldn`t have done anything without contacting Nicole, because she`d already expressed to us that if she came up missing with, something bad had happened to her and that -- and call the cops.
If you haven`t talked to me in an hour, call the cops. I mean there were at least seven good friends and the family that she had that was talking to her like every hour on the hour. You know what I mean? Like we were keeping close tabs on her.
GRACE: The husband in this case, Daniel Cleary, is not named a suspect.
Back to Brandy, why did she want a divorce?
GERARD: Because he was -- had several, several, several affairs on her and I can`t really say that he was so much abusive that I know of, unless she didn`t disclose that to us, but like more, like, controlling, like secluded her from everything, like, didn`t like her to have friends, didn`t let her go out, you know, that sort of thing.
GRACE: You know, to Dr. Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author -- Dr. Marshall, let me reiterate that the husband has not been named a suspect in this case, but to be controlling, yet allegedly be having affairs with other women.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": Right.
GRACE: How do those two jive?
MARSHALL: Well, how it jives is that the woman is just an object to exploit, like a mirror to reflect back his own needs. So he controls his wife because he can`t control his own feelings about separation jealousy. He has affairs because he can`t control his own sexuality.
And if she was trying to leave, it might have destabilized him. He might have been become pathologically jealous. Maybe they got in a fight. Maybe that`s -- you know, the head trauma.
I know he`s not a suspect, but that would suggest, when you hit someone in the head, that maybe you don`t want her to be beautiful to other people anymore, or you wanted to take away the thinking part of her or that it became -- it was inactive as a part of a rage attack, because the control was to put a lid on all the rage that was simmering under the surface.
GRACE: Dr. Marshall, explain to me the different psyche necessary to, for instance, shoot someone versus stab or bludgeon them, a close contact killing.
MARSHALL: Well, the shooting is more fish in a barrel, pre-planned. It has more of a cold, callus quality. Strangling has, like, a fondness for the cruelty aspect. Bludgeoning someone in the head is more like you get kind of destabilized and erratic and you get into an argument and you hit them over the head and it`s more primitive.
Like little children, they watch cartoons. What happens in cartoons? You hit the other person over the head to make them dead. So the profile of someone who hits someone over the head is often really childlike, unregulated and primitive.
GRACE: Joining us tonight, Dr. Michael Arnall, board certified forensic pathologist, joining us out of Denver.
Dr. Arnall, thank you for being with us. With a bludgeoning death, can you tell whether a weapon was used?
DR. MICHAEL ARNALL, BOARD CERTIFIED FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: You sure can. And it`s likely that that weapon left characteristic marks and the police are probably now looking for a type of weapon, which matches the marks left on the head.
GRACE: If you have a blunt force trauma injury, how likely is it we`re going to find DNA?
ARNALL: Quite likely. There`s likely to be DNA, blood, or even hair on the weapon even if someone`s tried to clean the weapon off.
GRACE: Everybody, we are taking your calls.
A gorgeous mother of three goes missing. Her body found just a few miles from her own home. And then alarmingly, just shortly after her body is found, her husband takes off with the three children. They have been recovered. They are being protected tonight. No suspects in the case as of now.
But right now we stop, as always, to salute our troops.
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EDITH HARRIS, SALUTING THE TROOPS: My name is Edith Harris from Richmond, Virginia.
We are sending a salute to our son, Sergeant First Class Gerald Lamont Nafer(ph). He is currently serving in Iraq.
We salute you, Gerald, with pride. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice to serve. May God bless you and bring you home soon. We love you and miss you. Be safe.
Love, mom and dad.
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GERARD: She had expressed extreme, extreme fears of him. She knew -- she had been talking to somebody every hour on the hour. And he`s out there and he might have taken her body, but he can`t take her soul. But there`s somebody that can take his body and soul.
UNIDENTIFIED NEIGHBOR: Usually in the afternoon, would sit there on the picnic table and talk and the boys would play ball in the yard and he would get up and play ball with them and interact and so would she.
So like I said, it`s a shock. I`ve never heard a loud noise from over there. I`ve never heard them raise their voice to their children.
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GRACE: We are taking your calls live out to the lines. Linda in Pennsylvania.
LINDA, PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENT: Hi. How are you, Nancy?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
LINDA: I`m wondering they found him in a hotel room with the kids and a mistress?
GRACE: Oh, it was the mother. The -- mystery woman was his own mother. Go ahead.
LINDA: OK. I can`t understand why he can`t be named a person of interest because if he did have anything to hide, he would come back and prepare funeral arrangements for her.
GRACE: Interesting question. Let`s unleash the lawyers, Susan Moss, Sandy Schiff, Michael Mazzariello.
OK, Sandy, hit me.
SANDY SCHIFF, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: OK. First of all, you can imply consciousness of guilt by a flight because he didn`t exactly run to Mexico. Where did he go? To Peoria with his mother?
GRACE: I didn`t. But the caller clearly thinks it`s very odd you find your wife`s body and he takes off with the kids and hides in a motel.
SCHIFF: Right. Did he use false name?
GRACE: You don`t think that`s weird, that`s your business. But I find it very unusual.
SCHIFF: Who runs off to Peoria with their mother? Leave the state, go.
GRACE: I don`t know.
SCHIFF: Well, the next thing is.
GRACE: Maybe just poor planning on his part.
SCHIFF: Well, certainly he didn`t go immediately. There were 25 witnesses that supposedly saw him pack his bags at 5:00 in the afternoon. He wasn`t running off in the middle of the night.
How come nobody saw it? Where were the 25 witnesses when he supposedly followed his wife to wherever she went and allegedly did this dastardly deed? It doesn`t make any sense. Nothing makes sense. And if he had.
GRACE: Well, no, no, no. You`re trying to make a logical explanation, Sandy Schiff, , out of something that is illogical. And that would be, you find out that your wife has been found bludgeoned to death and you pack up the kids and leave for Peoria.
That is what is illogical. That`s what doesn`t make any sense, Sandy.
SCHIFF: Well, Peoria isn`t out of the state, it`s not the end of the world, and he was in a hotel, presumably, under his own name. Otherwise, how would they find him? If he wasn`t registered in a hotel under his own name, we all would have heard about it and he would have been a fugitive.
GRACE: I don`t know about that.
Shaun Newell, do we know whose name he used?
NEWELL: He -- they found him at the hotel. I believe it was under his name and they were found very shortly after the AMBER Alert was issued.
GRACE: And we still have no idea why he left after discovering his wife was dead?
NEWELL: Well, there was a lot of activity going on in the area of the house. They think police were searching the house and stuff and that might be the reason why he left and went to Peoria.
GRACE: Weigh in, Michael Mazzariello?
MICHAEL MAZZARIELLO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, HOST OF "CLOSING ARGUMENTS": I agree with Sandy, and I`m glad she`s back as feisty as ever. Sandy`s absolutely correct, Nancy.
He went to the hotel, used his own room. Neighbors never heard any kind of physical disturbances, physical threats that this man made, and I think he just packed up his family to get out of the media, police`s way.
GRACE: Michael? Michael?
MAZZARIELLO: Yes, Nancy.
GRACE: Remember the -- let me just say, I can pick from 100 -- the Scott Peterson case. Did the neighbors -- just a yes or no. Did the neighbors ever hear a beating before she was murdered?
GRACE: OK. How about Rabbi Fred Neulander? Do you think the neighbors heard anything in that case?
MAZZARIELLO: No. However, you have neighbors here that said they don`t hear yelling, Nancy. They don`t hear screaming.
GRACE: Did you hear yelling or screaming in either of those two cases?
GRACE: So what`s your point?
MAZZARIELLO: My point is that anything can happen on any day of the week, Nancy. Here we have a man.
GRACE: That`s your point? Anything can happen?
MAZZARIELLO: Well, Nancy.
GRACE: That`s the big legal point?
MAZZARIELLO: The police were there.
MAZZARIELLO: They were searching the home. He`s a prime suspect as the husband. He did the right thing. He put the kids in the car and get out of there.
GRACE: You know what? You`re all.
MAZZARIELLO: And he signed his own name. Sandy`s right.
GRACE: You`re all over the map. The only thing you said that made sense is when you said that Sandy was right. I`m going to give you -- you`re in time-out.
Weigh in, Susan Moss?
SUSAN MOSS, CHILD ADVOCATE, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: This won`t even play in Peoria. Let`s look at the facts. Mom wants a divorce, she`s dead in a ditch from blunt force trauma, and dad`s vacationing in Peoria? What, was Disney World closed?
Come on, when you connect the dot of these case, it looks like a jail cell to me.
GRACE: So Michael Mazzariello, honestly, why aren`t police naming him a suspect? Or at least a person of interest? I`m interested.
MAZZARIELLO: Well, Nancy, you have to ask yourself why. He`s exactly right. He should do the right thing, submit to a polygraph, get exonerated so they can look for the real murderer here. Nobody that commits a murder is going to check into a hotel using their own name, Nancy. Nobody I know.
GRACE: Pat brown, weigh in.
BROWN: I think he would possibly go to Peoria and put his own name on it. I think if he did this crime, he simply wanted to get out of the way and to think about what he`s going to do next. He just wanted to get those children because he didn`t want her to have them.
He wanted to say, look, I can get you and I`m going to get the children, too. That`s the way they think. We don`t know that he`s guilty of it yet, but I`m not surprised he would do that.
GRACE: Well, Bethany Marshall, Sandy brought up an excellent point. I don`t buy it, but there is a point that he did not -- there was a lot going on, police were coming to the house to process it. So he took the kids away.
But if you just want to get the kids out of the house, why not go to your mother`s home or to a neighbor`s home?
MARSHALL: He could have been scared -- you know, really why men do flee after domestic homicide? And I know he`s just -- he`s not even a suspect -- it`s because they`re contemplating the homicide at an unconscious level so they belittle, belittle, they fight, they fight, and all of a sudden they go too far.
And when they realize they`ve gone too far, that`s when they flee.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Alicia in Texas. Hi, Alicia.
ALICIA, TEXAS RESIDENT: Hi, how are you?
GRACE: I`m good dear. What`s your question?
ALICIA: My question is, do we know what his alibi was for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and where the children were?
GRACE: To Brandy Gerard -- this is Melisa`s sister -- do we know that?
GERARD: He -- his alibi would have had to have been at the house with the kids, because the kids were asleep, supposedly, and supposedly he said that Melisa had gone in the back room and fell asleep and he just figured that she was going to sleep in there all night.
So Saturday and Sunday, we were hanging -- we were, you know, looking for her, but he was at the house with the kids Saturday, Sunday. Friday night, I can`t account for.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Authorities haven`t really said why Daniel Cleary took the kids to Peoria and Daniel Cleary not talking to the press at this point. So it`s kind of an unknown as to why he took off that night.
At this point, we believe that the children are in protective custody with another relative of Melisa Cleary.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Roseanne, New York. Hi, Roseanne.
ROSEANNE, NEW YORK RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
ROSEANNE: He`s had so many affairs, I was wondering, have any of the girlfriends been questioned?
GRACE: Excellent question.
Brandy Gerard, joining us tonight, the victim`s sister -- Brandy, do you believe any of those women have been questioned?
GERARD: Not that I know of. No.
GRACE: Well, they should be. Hello, police!
Brandy, let me ask something straight. He said she went into a back room, he presumed to sleep, and he never saw her again. That`s his story?
GERARD: Yes. And the whole plan that day was that she was going to leave. And he knew she was going to leave. Like, she had been leaving on the weekends and staying with a friend, and he said that she went in the back room and fell asleep and the kids -- nobody said they seen her since 5:30.
GRACE: So his whole story is, she goes to the back room and he never sees her again?
GERARD: She goes to the back room, he looked in on her, she was asleep, and he left her there, and when he woke up the next day, she was gone.
GRACE: Again, he has not been named a suspect.
Let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant Timothy Van Orman, 24, Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, killed, Iraq, on a third tour. Also served Afghanistan. Loves hunting, NASCAR, Pittsburgh Steelers, playing trombone. Leaves behind grieving parents, Kelly and Randy, brother, Michael, who was also serving in the army, two sisters and widow, Katherine, baby girl, Hailey.
Timothy Van Orman, American hero.
Thanks to our guests, but our biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting all of us into your homes, and tonight, a special good night from New York friends of the show, two little crime fighters. The sons of veteran defense attorney Michael Mazzariello, joining us tonight Mario and Michael Jr.
I believe that sign says, "We love you, Mommy." So out to you, Elizabeth, have a good evening, dear.
Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.