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Nancy Grace

Missing Florida 2-year-old and Mother Sought. Missing Virginia Tech Student`s Movements Traced; Search for Somer`s Killer

Aired October 29, 2009 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. A beautiful young Virginia Tech co-ed keeps tickets to a Metallica concert for six months taped up on the fridge, goes to the concert with all her friends. Just before the band takes the stage, she goes missing, missing from a packed arena of 16,000 people. And nobody knows what happened? Found in the parking lot, her purse and cell phone, battery removed.

Breaking tonight, new credible sightings of the girl, a new timeline tracking 20-year-old Morgan Harrington up until 9:30 PM, across two parking lots, then a bridge. But then it all grows cold. This after grainy concert video surfaces of a girl fitting Morgan`s description. Tonight, with us live, taking your calls, Morgan`s parents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between the hours of 8:20 PM and 8:30 PM on October the 17th, someone matching the description of Morgan Harrington was on the exterior of the John Paul Jones Arena.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Morgan was not the kind of person that would take off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 8:48, we can confirm that she did have a phone conversation which was initiated by her friend to check on what she`s doing, where she was at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that she did tell them that she could get a ride home, is what we believe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 9:10 and 9:20 PM, we can confirm that someone matching Morgan`s description was in the Lanigan (ph) Field, which is adjacent to the track and to Copely (ph) Street bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not behavior that we`ve ever seen from Morgan. I think she was taken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that what happened from 8:30 until 9:30 is very relevant for us to go in the right direction and to receive additional pertinent information that will help us resolve this case.


GRACE: And tonight, live, Florida, a little 2nd-grader, looks like an angel, walks the 10-minute walk home with her sister and little brother, all their little friends. She runs ahead, gets separated just moments, broad daylight, 7-year-old Somer Thompson never seen alive again. At 4:00 o`clock, one hour later, mom rushes home, flags down police. No good.

Police trail Somer`s Orange Park trash truck 55 miles to the north, sifting through about 100 tons of garbage, spot the little girl`s legs sticking out of that filthy garbage. Tonight, investigators release a detailed behavioral profile of the killer. There are clues to finding 7- year-old Somer`s killer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday was about Somer Thompson. Today is about her killer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 7-year-old girl laid to rest while her killer is on the loose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She met up with her brother and sister to take the mile walk home that they take on a regular basis. The last time she was seen was in front of an abandoned house about 500 yards away from the school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a child killer on the loose, and that`s why we`re going to catch this person and bring him to justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will not sleep until this person is found. I hope they get you! And I hope they make you pay!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s still a sense of terror because Somer`s killer is still out there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s no person of interest. There`s no suspect at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did conclude our work at 1080 Gano Avenue, where the victim, Some Thompson, was last seen. A lot of evidence was collected at that site and it has all been transported for processing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People close to the individual responsible for this offense may have noticed unexplained injuries, such as cuts, bruises, particularly on the head, arms and hands.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. A Virginia Tech co-ed keeps tickets for a Metallica concert six months taped up on the fridge, goes to the concert with all her friends. Just before the band takes the stage, she goes missing. As we go to air, new and credible sights of Morgan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between the hours of 8:20 PM And 8:30 PM on October the 17th, someone matching the description of Morgan Harrington was on the exterior of the John Paul Jones Arena. From 8:30 until 8:48, we have established that someone matching Morgan`s description was, in fact, outside the arena. At 8:48, we can confirm that she did have a phone conversation which was initiated by her friend to check on what she`s doing, where she was at.

From 8:48 until about 9:00 o`clock PM, we have witnesses who observed someone matching her description who say that she was still in the area of the arena but on the exterior. Up (ph) to 9:10, she was seen walking with a black purse through the University Hall parking area. Between 9:10 and 9:20 PM, we can confirm someone matching Morgan`s description was in Lanigan (ph) Field parking area, which is adjacent to the track and to the Copely (ph) Street bridge.

Between 9:20 and 9:30, we have interviewed people who called us, who described seeing someone matching Morgan`s description on the Copely Street bridge near the intersection of Ivy (ph) Road. The last confirmed sighting of someone matching her description was at that location.


GRACE: Everyone, before we take you to Morgan Harrington, first live to breaking news Florida. Police say a 2-year-old baby girl in extreme danger. Her young mother also missing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida police are desperately searching for a 2- year-old girl who`s considered missing and in danger. Winter Haven police say 2-and-a-half-year-old Masaraha Ross was last seen in the company of her mother, who is also missing. The pair were reportedly last spotted at a Wal-Mart on October 18th. Reports surface that the mom came to pick up her daughter, who was visiting with relatives. When family members did not hear from the mother, they called police.

Cops say there are conflicting stories as to the last known location of the mother and her daughter, but police believe they are in the Winter Haven or Haines City areas. Police will not say why the child is considered in danger.


GRACE: Out to Mark Williams, anchor/reporter joining us out of Daytona Beach, Florida. Mark, I don`t get it. If the little girl was last seen with her mother, then why is she in extreme danger? What do you know?

MARK WILLIAMS, ANCHOR/REPORTER (via telephone): Well, right now, Nancy, police in Winter Haven aren`t saying much. They just issued a missing persons report late yesterday afternoon, within the last 24 hours. And since they`ve been missing, no one has heard from either (ph) the mother, and police say Masaraha is in danger, but won`t say what that danger is, Nancy.

GRACE: Do we know, Ellie Jostad, whether the mother is the custodial parent? Is there some problem with the mother? How did the mother get the little gill girl anyway?

ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: We, Nancy, don`t know if the mother has custody. But the way the police are wording this report is very interesting. They`re saying that they believe the little girl is with her mother and they`re saying that the mother is missing, but it is the girl who is in extreme danger. Apparently, the little girl was staying with relatives. The mother came to pick her up. They left, never returned and the relatives never heard from her. And that is why they became concerned and called police.

GRACE: Well, I can tell you right now there`s a reason the little girl, this 2-year-old little girl is not with her mother or father. She`s living with relatives. She`s with the mother, and police have put out a very cryptic message that this child is in extreme danger and the mother is missing. Not that the mother is in danger, the child is in danger.

The tip line, everyone, 863-291-5858. Take a look at Masaraha Ross.

Back to you, Mark Williams. Again, where were they last seen specifically? Rosie, put up a map, if we`ve got one, please.

WILLIAMS: Yes, Nancy, they were -- there`s conflicting reports. A detective for the Winter Haven Police Department says the pair was last seen at a Wal-Mart in neighboring Haines City, just the city over from the Winter Haven area, but then there was a second report they were last seen in Winter Haven itself. Those reports still up in the air, but I`d go with the detectives saying that they were last seen at that Wal-Mart in neighboring Haines city.

GRACE: Mark Brooks, former fed with the FBI, I don`t like it. I don`t like the way this has been worded. It`s not explaining to me what`s going on. It`s making me very suspicious of the mother. And I also don`t understand why we don`t have an Amber Alert. But what`s your take, Mike Brooks?


GRACE: Something stinks!

BROOKS: You know, and look, either -- OK, the child is in danger. If the mother is involved in this, they should just come out and say this. And if that`s the case, why doesn`t it meet the criteria to put out an Amber Alert? If she`s in danger, I think she does, and we should hear about a tag number, a car, something like that.

GRACE: Well, maybe they don`t have a tag number. Maybe they don`t know what car she was in. Hey, Brooks...

BROOKS: You know what? But video at Wal-Mart should...

GRACE: Exactly.

BROOKS: We have always seen great video coming from both inside and outside of Wal-Mart. Was she with anyone else? What kind of car? Couldn`t they enhance it to get a tag number, all these kind of things. But nothing so far, Nancy.

GRACE: Hey, Mark Williams, this is your neck of the woods. Is there a bus stop in front of that Wal-Mart? Did she necessarily have to have a car? Because I`m telling you, Target and Wal-Mart, they could teach NASA a thing or two about their surveillance video. If this woman was in a car, they should have video. And I still don`t get it, Mark. Why is there no Amber Alert on this baby girl and why is she in danger if she is with her mother? There is something way wrong with this.

WILLIAMS: Well, most Wal-Mart stores that I know of, there is usually a public bus stop, the county runs a public transportation system. And yes, the photos that come out of Wal-Mart are just breathtaking sometimes. But let me -- let`s go back to the Amber Alert thing. There has been -- in Amber Alert, the criteria is when an abduction has taken place. They haven`t even said anything about an abduction yet. And that`s one of the...

GRACE: Hey, hey!

WILLIAMS: ... components of an Amber Alert.

GRACE: They said extreme danger, a 2-year-old child, extreme danger. Masaraha Ross, 2 years old, black female, black hair, brown eyes. She`s only 38 inches tall, 30 pounds. Tip line, 863-291-5858. Tonight, police are in fear for her life. They simply say the mother is missing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The search continues in the case of a missing 2- year-old Florida girl believed to be in danger. Police say 2-and-a-half- year-old Masaraha Ross was last known to be with her mother, who is also missing. The two were reportedly last seen at a Wal-Mart store in Haines City on October 18th and haven`t been seen since.

Reports are the mother came to pick up Masaraha, who was visiting relatives. When the family didn`t hear from the mother, they notified cops. Police will not say why the child is considered in danger but are desperate to find her. Police say there are conflicting reports as to the last known whereabouts of the pain, but say witnesses place them in either the Winter Haven or Haines City areas.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a young lady who`s 20 years old. She`s a white female. Her name is Morgan Dana Harrington. She has long blond hair and blue eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say that she met up with friends at JMU on Saturday before coming here to the John Paul Jones Arena for a Metallica concert. Now, police say she became separated from her friends around 8:40 PM Saturday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops have found her purse, along with her cell phone. The family`s pastor says what`s really odd, the phone`s battery has been removed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not behavior that she would have. You know, she, to our knowledge, did not have a boyfriend. And you know, there may be circumstances we`re not aware of, but you know, I think Morgan was pretty transparent with us, you know, and this is just not something Morgan would do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is as beautiful inside as she is outside. She has family and friends that love her and miss her. If there`s any information that anyone can offer that would help us find her, we would appreciate you contacting the police.


GRACE: Straight out to Jaclyn Piermarini, reporter with WINA Newsradio. Jaclyn, it`s my understanding police have a lot of new information in the search for this girl, credible new sightings of her, tracing her, tracking her up until about 9:30 PM across two parking lots and a bridge?

JACLYN PIERMARINI, WINA RADIO (via telephone): Yes. They have just released a timeline based on information they`ve gathered from tips from bystanders. They can track her from about 8:20 until 9:20 or 9:30, when she`s last seen on a bridge. It`s based on people walking by that see someone that matches Morgan`s description.

We know she left sometime before Metallica began, told her friends she was going to the bathroom. She has a brief phone call with them, telling them not to worry. Last reported sighting of her was on a bridge a quarter of a mile from the arena, hasn`t been heard from since. Police have shifted their focus from what went on inside of the arena to what happened outside. They`ve received approximately 300-plus tips since the case began. There`s leads coming in all the time, but no break in the case so far other than that.

GRACE: We are taking your calls live. And joining us tonight, special guest Dr. Dan Harrington, Morgan`s father. Doctor, thank you for being with us. Doctor, I don`t understand something. Was she outside the arena when she called her friends and said, Don`t worry?

DAN HARRINGTON, MORGAN`S FATHER: Yes. Yes, she was outside the arena. She had gone to the bathroom, and somehow, for whatever reason, left the arena and could not get back in. And that`s when she made the last phone call to her friend, Sarah (ph), inside the arena.

GRACE: That`s what I don`t understand. If she was just going to the bathroom, then why did she go outside the arena? Have they looked at her cell phone? Did anyone contact her and lure her out?

HARRINGTON: It does not appear there were other calls to Morgan during that period of time. There was some texting of Morgan to a young gentleman that she was friends with, but it was no one in Charlottesville. It was further away and so -- but he`s not a suspect at all at this time.

GRACE: Right. So they were just probably texting about what, the concert, that she was at the concert, stuff like that?


GRACE: OK. And he was in a different city?

HARRINGTON: Yes, that`s right.

GRACE: To Stacey Newman, our producer on the story. Let`s go through what we know. And first of all, we`re saying that there are new and credible sightings. Is all of this based on eyewitness eyewitness alone, or do we have any surveillance video, anything?

STACEY NEWMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: There is no surveillance video at this time that we know of. And we do know investigators have combed through every piece of video that they have. No sight of Morgan. All of these -- this timeline, the tips are all based on eyewitness reports, but cops are confident that these are credible sightings.

GRACE: OK, but I don`t understand that. Pat Brown, you`re the criminal profiler -- Pat Brown, author of "Killing for Sport." They must have had some type of interaction with Morgan to make sure that these are credible. She maybe asked them a question, a direction or something, because just saying, Yes, I saw a girl that looked like that, that`s not really knocking me out.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Yes, it`s not working for me, either, Nancy, because, I mean, there are so many girls that all look so similar. I mean, if you think about a concert area...

GRACE: Wait, Pat!

BROWN: ... tons of people.

GRACE: It`s the location of the pocketbook that`s bothering me. Listen to this, Pat. Dr. Harrington, her pocketbook is found outside the arena in the parking lot, correct?

HARRINGTON: Well, it`s actually found beyond the parking lot. It was found near some athletic fields, which is close to the bridge where she was last apparently seen.

GRACE: OK, that makes more sense to me. Pat, what do you make of it?

BROWN: One of the questions we have is why she went outside the arena and why she would keep going away further and further away from the arena while she was trying to find some way to go home. Whether she just thought she`d just run into somebody she knew, I don`t know. but maybe she was a little confused at that point and frustrated.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a very empty place, a Morgan-shaped place in our hearts, as well as at home right now. One of our children is missing and we want her back.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlottesville and central Virginia is, you know, an area that is generally considered safe. And of course, you know, the Metallica concert drew people from all over the East Coast. But you know, this kind of thing occurs all over the country, and it`s usually someone who knows the area, someone who`s comfortable with, you know, the roads. And it`s not generally going to be someone who`s just out of the blue, you know, driving through town and decides to do this.


GRACE: To Stacey Newman, our producer on the story. Stacey, again, explain to me where the purse was and where all the cops have tracked her walking up until 9:30 outside that arena.

NEWMAN: OK. The purse was found in Lanigan Field. This is a grassy sort of overflow parking area known where RVs park. That`s where the purse was found, Nancy, with of course, that cell phone. Cops tracked her from about 8:20 until 9:00 around the arena, trying to get back inside. They told her, No, you can`t get back in, you don`t have your ticket. Then about 9:00 o`clock to 9:10, she`s seen walking through, I believe it`s the University Hall parking lot. Then from there, 9:10 to 9:20, she is seen walking through Lanigan field. Again, that`s where the purse was found. And then up to 9:30, last known sighting of Morgan is at this bridge.

GRACE: OK, that`s where I`ve got the problem because her pocketbook and purse are obviously taken from her there at Lanigan Field. But yet after that, these eyewitnesses state they see her walking across a bridge, over a railroad track.

Dr. Harrington, what are cops telling you about that discrepancy, that her pocketbook was back at the second sighting, and then she`s seen after that walking along?

HARRINGTON: I think we don`t know whether the parking -- the purse was with her on the bridge or could something...


HARRINGTON: ... have happened and taken her to the parking lot and then the purse being thrown out from there.

GRACE: Got it.

HARRINGTON: I think that`s not clear.

GRACE: To Laura in Massachusetts. Hi, Laura.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. How are you, Nancy?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anyone know if law enforcement has checked out her computers both at home and at school?

GRACE: Good question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe she`s met somebody on line and had arranged to meet them in...

GRACE: Dr. Harrington, I`m sure the cops have looked at her computer and her text messages, right, Doctor?

HARRINGTON: Well, yes. The computer has been taken by the state police, and I`ve not heard any word on that, but it is part of the investigation.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have reason to believe that there are individuals who have yet to come forward who may know or associate with the offender in this case.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police put the entire neighborhood on alert. They believe someone knows something but is not coming forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People close to the individual responsible for this offense may have noticed one or more of the following behavioral changes or scenarios -- leaving the area unexpectedly for what seems like a very plausible reason, such as going to work or to visit a friend or a relative, missing work or other routine engagements, particularly on the afternoon or night of the incident.

An unnatural interest in the status of this investigation, paying close attention to media reports, talking about this incident with others, friends, families and co-workers.

DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER THOMPSON, 7-YR-OLD GIRL FOUND THROWN IN TRASH: All I want is to happen is that my baby didn`t die in vain and that we catch him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday was about Somer Thompson. Today is about her killer. My sincere hope is that the Thompson family found comfort from the outpouring of love and support that was demonstrated by all who was there. But now I turn my attention to finding Somer`s killer and serving justice. And to do that I need help from certain people.

People close to the individual responsible for this offense may have noticed one or more of the following behavioral changes or scenarios especially since October 19th, 2009. Leaving the area unexpectedly for what seems like a very plausible reason, such as going to work or to visit a friend or a relative, missing work or other routine engagements, particularly on the afternoon or night of the incident. Unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises, particularly on the head, arms and hands.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, police are saying there`s a killer among us and he can be identified. That there are clues all around us as to who killed this little girl. Her body found 55 miles north of her home. Police following the local trash truck to a dump and sifting through about 100,000 tons of garbage. Until they see the child`s legs.

Who killed Somer? Out to Tiffany Griffith with WOKV Radio. Tiffany, what is -- what are police trying to tell us about the killer?

TIFFANY GRIFFITH, REPORTER, WOKV RADIO: They`re trying to give us a profile, who we should be aware of in our surroundings. Like we heard from the sheriff giving those details of who this sheriff could be, just to make the public a lot more vigilant and aware of what happened that day, because we`re still trying to track down who could have done this.

GRACE: Well, Pat Brown, criminal profiler, author of "Killing for Sport," it all happened so quickly. I mean, she is walking home with her friends, her sister, her little twin brother. They`re with the rest of the neighborhood friends. She runs ahead just for a few moments. She`s never seen again. Mom did everything right. She raced home from work 4:00, flagged down police, to no avail.

So give me your deductions, Pat Brown. Who do you think is responsible? Use all that gray matter you`ve got up there and tell me what you think.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": Well, I do agree with the police that it is a local person.


BROWN: Somebody right around.

GRACE: Wait. Wait there, why?

BROWN: Absolutely. Because, first of all, for somebody had a window of opportunity to grab her. I don`t believe he had a vehicle, he`s coming through town where he could have taken her and then zipped right out of town 10, 20, 30 miles and thrown her body in a ditch some place. This guy had to throw her in a dumpster right there. That means he had -- really no way to move it some place else.

GRACE: Why? Why? Why are you saying it was too far away from an interstate? Why?

BROWN: He may not have had a vehicle, that`s one possibility. Or he may have -- just not had time to leave. He had -- maybe he`s doing this on his -- he had to go home perhaps. Somebody expected him. He had to go to work.

GRACE: You know your theory is corroborated by the fact that her body was likely disposed of right there in the area.

BROWN: Exactly.

GRACE: Because that trash was from the neighborhood trash. Yes, it traveled 55 miles to the north, but it came from that neighborhood.

BROWN: Exactly. But I do want to warn the public about what the police have put out. This person may exhibit one or some of those -- the behaviors they are talking about. But on the other hand, he may exhibit absolutely none of them. So please don`t say wait a minute.

GRACE: Why are you so sure it`s a he? Because we`ve just seen in another case it`s a 15-year-old girl.

BROWN: That is true. And of course we have to keep that in mind, just generally speaking it usually is a he. But yes, you should keep in mind the female. But if somebody is psychopathic, you know this cruel person who lies and manipulates, has no empathy, that kind of person, and he doesn`t exhibit these things doesn`t mean he`s not the guy. So pay attention closely to the time of day this happened and say could he have done it even if he doesn`t show all of these signs?

GRACE: With us right now, I`m hearing in my ears a very special guest, Samuel Thompson. This is Somer Thompson`s father.

Mr. Thompson, thank you for being with us.


GRACE: Mr. Thompson, I know that your grief is overwhelming especially because you were in another town. You weren`t there right on the scene when everything happened. I remember when I became a crime victim, I wasn`t on the scene. I was a couple hundred miles away. And I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do, nothing I could do. To change anything. How did you learn Somer was missing?

S. THOMPSON: About 6:25 that evening, I got a call from the Clay County Sheriff`s Department, and the first thing he said was, Mr. Thompson, don`t freak out, but your daughter is missing and we`re going to find her.

So at that time, that`s when I realized my daughter was missing, and I can`t tell you the wave of pain and fear that runs over you -- your body through your mind. You feel like your heart is just going to stop at that time.

GRACE: Mr. Thompson, my whole family -- myself, my husband, my mother, my father -- we were all in a little souvenir store in Florida. And my husband had John David. And all of a sudden I heard him call out John David. And I looked across and I realized he didn`t know where John David was.

S. THOMPSON: Oh, wow.

GRACE: And I can`t even tell you -- I felt it go from here to my toes. I can feel it right now just the fear that shoots through your body. Of course, I found him. He was all the way at the front of the store about to go out the door when the next person opened it. And I can only imagine how you felt. What did you do?

S. THOMPSON: At that moment, you describe the fear and panic that hits you right away. And I`m in a wheelchair. I`ve got a broken leg. I was in a car accident a month ago.

GRACE: And this is after you come home from Iraq, right?

S. THOMPSON: This is after I`ve come home from Iraq. And I`ve been -- I`ve had a lot of doctor`s appointments with the VA for the past two years trying to get my disability. And, you know, trying to make a better life for my children after this. But you know I felt helpless because I wanted to run and grab -- and find her myself.

You know, I wanted to get on my hands and knees and crawl to Florida. But I didn`t have the means or the transportation. And, you know, right after that, as soon as everybody in my community found out, they came straight to me.

Trinity Baptist Church.

GRACE: Did you make it there?

S. THOMPSON: Yes, I made it here in Florida.

GRACE: You`re there. In fact, you`re joining me now from Jacksonville.

S. THOMPSON: That`s right.

GRACE: OK. What are cops telling you? I mean, it all happened so fast. And you and your wife were doing everything right. She was not alone. It was broad daylight. She was with a group of little friends and she just ran ahead. That was it. Boom, she`s gone.

S. THOMPSON: You know, whoever did this had to be watching and waiting for his moment, because, like you said, just briefly she ran ahead and was out of sight. So there were, what, a two or three second window of somebody to grab my child and take her away from us and brutally murder her and throw her in the trash like she was nothing.

So if this doesn`t wake everybody up in America to know that when you feel secure that your children are OK, you need to think again. And you need to protect your children. You need to watch your children. You need to know where they are. Don`t take anything for granted ever again.

We get complacent as Americans and we get in our comfort zone, but now you see that we can`t be that way. This world is different. We need to change our ways. We need to change our laws. The Jessica Law now,, we need to make this part of every state in the United States. And I just hope everybody.



D. THOMPSON: I want you to know that I will not sleep until this person is found. I hope they get you and I hope they make you pay.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: One day after the community of Orange Park buried 7-year-old Somer Thompson, the sheriff leading the investigation into her murder warned the public the killer could be in their midst.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police put the entire neighborhood on alert. They believe someone knows something but is not coming forward.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Investigators believe Somer`s killer is likely exhibiting changes in behavior or giving clues that the people around them might not recognize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises, particularly on the head, arms and hands.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: While the sheriff didn`t expound, that information suggests when Somer`s body was recovered from a Georgia landfill, there may have been evidence she struggled with her killer.

BROWN: The guy who did this is a sexual predator, he is a psychopath, he`s probably manipulative, the guy probably lies, he probably is very narcissistic and he probably has no empathy. If you know a guy like that, regardless of whether you know if he`s done anything shady in the days before or surrounding Somer`s abduction and murder, you should definitely report that to the police.


GRACE: We are taking your calls live. Out to you, Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI. Cops are convinced that someone has the key to this mystery. Who took Somer? Now why are they saying that people have seen something and they don`t realize what they`ve seen?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST; FMR. D.C. POLICE DET., FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Because, Nancy, if it`s someone that you`re close to, many, many times you don`t realize that the changes that you`re actually seeing until someone says, hey, is this person your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend?

Are they acting differently? And you say to yourself, you know what, once they read that, they say, well, you know, he is acting a little bit different. You know, he did just shave off his mustache. You know what, his hair -- he hadn`t gotten a haircut.

And it`s interesting, Nancy, because they say a suspect could have made one or more changes in his or her lifestyle. Again, we can`t rule out a woman in this case.

GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Doug Burns, former fed, now defense attorney out of New York. Carmen St. George, defense attorney, also out of New York.

First to you, Doug Burns. Cops are convinced there are individuals with information that have not come forward. Weigh in.

DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I mean, they`re asking for people to say look, who didn`t show up for work? Who`s acting differently? As Mike Brooks explained, who shaved off.

GRACE: Well, don`t you remember this latest case of Annie Le, the graduate student? Her alleged killer was covered in scratches that day.

BURNS: Yes. No. There`s no question about it. And the fact of the matter is, I`m not -- you know, it`s a fine line between asking everybody to really use their eyes and ears versus, as you`ve highlighted, and I think you may be right, that they really think specifically that somebody knows something. So that`s a tough distinction.

GRACE: Also to you Carmen St. George, you`ve seen plenty of cases like this. Investigators say that 90 sex offenders have been interviewed, but they didn`t say any of them had been cleared.

CARMEN ST. GEORGE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, of course, Nancy. I think those are the main suspects because clearly she was abducted and she was killed. It has signs that somebody had been casing the area, saw an opportunity, took her. She was by the abandoned house. It`s within a three-mile radius, at least 57 registered sex offenders reside.

GRACE: Back to Tiffany Griffith, WOKV, what can you tell us about that abandoned house? What evidence, if any, has it revealed?

GRIFFITH: Well, they`re definitely still testing evidence that they pulled from the house. They have wrapped up with that house at this moment, so all the FDLE trucks have pulled away. Right now they are scanning that evidence and will learn if there`s any connection between Somer`s disappearance and what might have gone on there.

GRACE: I want to go to Dr. Michael Bell. Dr. Bell, the Palm Beach County chief medical examiner. Cops are still waiting on crime scene evidence to be returned from the lab from that home. What do you think?

DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH CO. CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, chances are they may have found some stains, looking for DNA, that they want to compare to Somer or any of the other evidence that they gathered from her body.

GRACE: Well, this is what I don`t get. I want to go back to you. Pat Brown, why are they so focused on that vacant building, that home?

BROWN: Well, I think the main reason is she went missing right there, the home is available to go do something terrible inside of it, and they`ve got that creepy dude as a sex offender working on the house. And we see lots of times that we have these handyman workers or construction guys who just show up for a day or two.

GRACE: What do you know about the worker? What do you know about that?

BROWN: Well, just what we heard before, that he supposedly was a sex offender, but they haven`t said any more about that.

GRACE: To Samuel Thompson joining us tonight. This is Somer`s father. Samuel, what are police telling you about that vacant home?

S. THOMPSON: Well, they`re not telling me a lot. I was told that there was some soot found on her, on Somer and.

GRACE: Soot?

S. THOMPSON: Soot, you know, from -- it was a burned-out house.


S. THOMPSON: And I was told one time that they found some soot that possibly came from that house. That she may have been in there. But other than that, you know, the information that they`re putting out over the air is the same information that they`re giving me. You know ? If they had more information, they can`t just put it out there.

GRACE: No, they can`t. They can`t. Although, they are saying, Dr. Lillian Glass, psychologist joining us out of L.A., they are saying that they are sure the killer is watching the coverage, our coverage right now. And it reminds me of the BTK killer, bind torture kill, who had volumes of newspaper articles and actually communicated with the media about the case.

LILLIAN GLASS, PSYCHOLOGIST, AUTHOR OF "I KNOW WHAT YOU`RE THINKING": Exactly. And this is the whole thing. They could be extremely narcissistic, sociopathic. And it`s interesting because this is their only means of communication. They`re getting a vicarious thrill out of this.

GRACE: Freak, freak. Out to the lines, Monica, Georgia, hi, Monica.

MONICA, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: Hello, Nancy. Thank you for taking my call.

GRACE: Thank you for calling in, dear. What`s your question?

MONICA: I have a question, if they`ve done a DNA workup on Somer of any evidence. And I don`t know if the Thompsons are married, if it`s possibly an ex-boyfriend of the mom or someone associated with the family.

GRACE: You know, Mr. Thompson --with us is Somer`s father. That`s where every investigation starts. They look at the parents, the father, the mother. Then it goes out to the neighbors, the relatives.

I`m sure that police have already investigated any, especially, males that are close to that family. Whether it`s a boyfriend, you, the dad, or the milk man. Every man that is connected to this family is likely been investigated by now.

S. THOMPSON: Well, that`s true. The first people who came to my house was the FBI. You know.

GRACE: And you cooperated fully.

S. THOMPSON: Certainly. You know, when you are missing your daughter, anybody who will reach out to help you, that`s who you want. You know? You cooperate and you give them what they need to do their job. To find your lost loved one.


D. THOMPSON: Watch out. We`re coming. We`re going to get you.




D. THOMPSON: I just want them to know that everything they`re doing is not in vain. I mean I`ve had grown men over here cry on my shoulder and tell me they didn`t feel like they do enough. And I don`t want anybody to feel like that. Everybody did so much. It just was it was.


GRACE: Out to the lines, Sheeba, Illinois. Hi, Sheeba.

SHEEBA, CALLER FROM ILLINOIS: Hi, sweetie. First of all, don`t stop what you`re doing.

GRACE: Thank you.

SHEEBA: You are a godsend to so many people. Second of all, I need your prayers. My husband has lost his left leg due to gangrene. Secondly, please tell me she had DNA under her fingernails and she got them...

GRACE: Let`s find out. To Mr. Thompson, have they recovered any forensic evidence from Somer, Mr. Thompson?

S. THOMPSON: Well, I was told that there was possibly skin under her fingernails and there was possibly defensive marks on her. I know my daughter, and she`s a fighter, and she`s got one ounce of my blood in her, she`s not just going to take this lying down. This man probably does have scratches on him, bite marks. I know my daughter. She wouldn`t give up.

GRACE: You know, that is just exactly, Mr. Thompson, what police are saying. That around the day, at the time she was taken, someone wasn`t where they were supposed to be.

And, everyone, we`re talking about Somer Renee Thompson. She is -- was 7 years old, a first grader. There is a $40,000 reward for information about her killer. 877-277-6911. Please take a look. We now believe that she did leave defense -- attack wounds on her killer.

Everyone, let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant Brandon Wallace, 27, St. Louis, Missouri, killed Iraq. Awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, also served Kosovo. Lost his life hours before he was set to return home to get married.

He never met a stranger, dreamed of being a police officer. Loved cooking, photography, singing, playing guitar. Since his death, his parents wrote a song "No Tears" in memory of their beloved son.

Leaves behind parents Ricky and Robin, sisters Vicki and Sarah, fiancee, Dawn, also in the army.

Brandon Wallace, American hero.

Thanks to our guests but especially to you for being with us. I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern and until then, good night, friend.