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Nancy Grace

Balloon Boy`s Parents Want Sheriff Charged; Police Search for Somer Thompson`s Killer

Aired October 30, 2009 - 20:00   ET


MIKE BROOKS, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight. It was the balloon seen around the world, the whole country glued to their TVs, thinking a 6- year-old little boy was trapped in the flying saucer-like balloon zipping across Colorado, the FAA, National Guard, local police and fire departments scrambling to rescue the little boy. But when the finally balloon lands on the ground, the little boy is nowhere to be found. He`s actually hiding at home in the attic. Mommy admits to investigators everything was a hoax, all to make the family look famous.

After their hunger for fame blows up in their faces, the Heenes now pointing the finger at the local sheriff. Give me a break! They want him investigated. And it`s all as shocking as the home video of the Heene boys emerges. Tonight, we have the videotapes.


911 OPERATOR: Is the flying saucer gone, as well?

MAYUMI HEENE, MOTHER: Yes, about 20 minutes, I think.

911 OPERATOR: It`s been -- they`ve both been missing for about 20 minutes?



MAYUMI HEENE: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! (INAUDIBLE) my son!

RICHARD HEENE, FATHER: Did you hear us calling your name at any time?


RICHARD HEENE: You did? Why didn`t you come out?

FALCON HEENE: You had said we did this for a show.

MAYUMI HEENE: It got loose or something, so it`s flying!

RICHARD HEENE: He`s in the air!

911 OPERATOR: He`s in the air?

RICHARD HEENE: Yes. He`s only -- he`s only 6!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that`s good, and your hand`s in the way! Oh, God, Richard!

RICHARD HEENE: Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.


RICHARD HEENE: Oh, Bradford. Bradford. Hey, Bradford. Hey, Bradford. Bradford. Bradford. Bradford. Bradford.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sing a song to him.

RICHARD HEENE (SINGING): Mary had a little lamb, little lamb...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bark like a dog.



BROOKS: And breaking news in the case of a little 7-year-old Florida girl who vanishes while walking home from her elementary school. Forty- eight hours later, the body of Somer Thompson found thrown away like trash, 55 miles to the north at a Georgia landfill.

Major developments tonight. Could a Georgia sex offender accused of trying to lure young children into his van be linked to the murder of little Somer?


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Who killed Somer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news in the case of 7-year-old Somer Thompson, who was abducted and murdered before her body was found dumped in a Georgia landfill. Is the arrest of a sex offender in Georgia linked to Somer`s case?

GRACE: Investigators say that 90 sex offenders have been interviewed, but they didn`t say any of them have been cleared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Georgia man was arrested this week for allegedly trying to lure two young boys into his van as the children walked home from school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody had a window of opportunity to grab her. I don`t believe he had a vehicle, he`s coming through town when he could have taken her and then zipped right out of town, 10, 20, 30 miles and thrown her body in a ditch someplace. This guy had to throw her in a dumpster right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The district attorney in that case says it`s geographically feasible that the offender also may be connected to Somer Thompson`s murder, noting that the MO is similar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t take from somebody. You don`t -- you didn`t take her from just me, you took her from my family. You took her from all of these people. And you don`t do this to a little baby and put my baby in the trash like she`s nothing! It`s not OK! It`s not OK.


BROOKS: Good evening. I`m Mike Brooks, in for Nancy Grace. It was a balloon seen around the world. Now Mommy admits to investigators everything was a hoax, all to make the family famous. After their hunger for fame blows up in their faces, the Heenes now pointing the finger at the local sheriff. They want him investigated. And it`s all -- a shocking home video of the Heene boys emerges. Tonight, we have the videotapes.


RICHARD HEENE: My family and I made an experimental flying saucer. It wasn`t supposed to fly.


RICHARD HEENE: We thought we had this thing tethered down.


RICHARD HEENE: And my -- I think my 6-year-old boy...

911 OPERATOR: What`s wrong?

RICHARD HEENE: He got inside and it took off!

He says he was hiding in the attic and -- because I yelled at him. He scared the heck out of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The act was convincing.

RICHARD HEENE: I`m really sorry I yelled at him!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First there was the tear-filled post-attic news conference. And then, to top it off, you had the 911 call where quiet Mayumi Heene gave quite a performance.

MAYUMI HEENE: We were doing experiment of the flying saucer made -- we made it here. And it`s supposed to be tied down so it`s just floating and it`s 20 feet up. But I don`t know what happened to the ties!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meow like a cat.

RICHARD HEENE: No. My other one will get pissed. Hey, Bradford! Bradford, look! Pay attention. Pay attention when I`m talking to you, son! OK, we got to pull the bottle away. Now, look. Bradford. Bradford. Now, what you go to do -- hey, pay attention when I`m talking to you! Hey, hey, hey. I`m talking over here. Hey, buddy.


BROOKS: I`m Mike Brooks, in for Nancy Grace. See that little baby right there? That little baby is Bradford, who is now 10. So how long has Richard Heene been messing with his kids? You must be kidding me! Now he`s pointing the finger at the sheriff who locked him up. You must be kidding!

I want to go straight out to Nia Bender, news director of 710 KNUS radio, joining us by phone from Denver. Nia, what is this now, Richard Heene wants the sheriff investigated?

NIA BENDER, 710 KNUS (via telephone): Well, actually, not only does he want it, but the sheriff is being investigated at this point. At this point, Sheriff Jim Alderden is being accused of disclosing that social services is investigating the balloon boy family and that that`s a violation.

BROOKS: A violation. But he suggested that.

You know, straight out to Ellie Jostad, NANCY GRACE producer out of New York. Ellie, now, OK, social services should have investigated this family a long time ago. So you know, what is his attorney saying now?

ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Right. Well, his attorney is saying that the statute that he`s violated is a Colorado law that prohibits anybody from releasing information reports about child abuse, child neglect that under law, those are all supposed to be kept quiet. So by even just saying that he`s asked CPS to investigate, the sheriff has violated the law.

BROOKS: Well, you know what? Richard Heene has been putting his kids out, showing them being abused for years! I mean, he`s even sent in to CNN iReports about them storm chasing and had his kids right out in the eye of Gustav! So how is this -- how is that not a violation and what the sheriff is allegedly doing? How is -- you know, let`s bring on the attorneys. Joining us from Atlanta, Penny Douglas Furr, defense attorney, and from New York, noted defense attorney Paul Batista, an author of "Death`s Witness."

OK, Paul, help me understand how they are now saying, Hey, sheriff -- you need investigation.

PAUL BATISTA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. What they`re saying, Mike, is that the sheriff violated a specific Colorado statute that keeps these things very secret. Michael, it`s a lot about nothing in connection with this particular aspect of this story.

BROOKS: No kidding. You know, it`s just -- it`s what else is he going to say? He`s facing charges of felony, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, felony, attempt to influence the actions of a public servant, conspiracy, which is a misdemeanor, and false reporting.

So Penny, you know, how`s he going to defend himself now that we know and now his wife has flipped on him?

PENNY DOUGLAS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, his wife signed an affidavit. She`s never been cross-examined. I don`t know much about the wife, but I`ve heard the ex-wife on this show. And that new wife is most likely a pleaser-type individual. And we don`t know that she just didn`t sign the affidavit just to get out of there. I would like to cross-examine her and find out if what she really said is on that show is true.

And as to the sheriff, he`s not allowed to break the law just because Mr. Heene did. And I have the statute here and it clearly says that the identifying information is confidential and it shall not be released to the public.

BROOKS: Well, he didn`t -- he didn`t release any information about the family!

FURR: You`re not supposed to give the name of whoever`s being investigated, according to the statute, 19-1-307.

BROOKS: Yes, OK, 19-whatever. Penny, look, Richard Heene put his family out there in front of the media and put -- he`s put his family in danger before.

FURR: I agree. He`s not allowed to violate the law, but neither is the sheriff.

BROOKS: The sheriff`s not violating the law! Richard Heene...

FURR: The sheriff is...

BROOKS: They ought to come after Richard Heene with -- you know what? The sheriff ought to come after him, both guns blazing and make him pay back every cent that was spent!

FURR: Oh, I don`t disagree with you. However, the sheriff has violated the statute and he`s not allowed to do that.

BROOKS: Hey -- well, we`ll...


BROOKS: You know what? We`ll wait and see what -- we`ll see what the special investigator says about this. It`s going to be -- Ellie, how long do they say it`s going to take for this special investigation of the sheriff now?

JOSTAD: Well, they think it`s going to take at least two weeks. And this is actually the DA the neighboring county, the Boulder DA, that was appointed to look into this.

BROOKS: Now, when do we expect, Ellie, charges to be brought against the Heenes?

JOSTAD: Well, that is the big question. It`s been almost two weeks now since those felony charges were recommended by the sheriff against the Heenes. On Monday, earlier this week, the sheriff`s department actually presented their case to the DA. Apparently, the DA there in Larimer County said that they needed more information from the sheriff`s office.

Now, we don`t know what information that was. We don`t know how long it`s going to take them to get that information. But we`re still waiting to find out if there are going to be any charges against the Heene parents.

BROOKS: Well, I`ll tell you what information he has. He has information that Richard Heene put the lives of police, fire and EMS and the National Guard all in danger because he wanted to be famous. The helicopters that were trying to find his balloon, they could have crashed. The officers chasing this balloon across the field, they could have flipped over. People could have been killed. The guy needs to be brought to justice!


MAYUMI HEENE: And we can`t find the 6-year-old, Falcon. And my other son said that Falcon was at the bottom of the flying saucer. He said he was in there. But anyway, I can`t find him anywhere!





RICHARD HEENE: Bradford? Hi, Bradford. Bradford. (INAUDIBLE) Hey, Bradford.


RICHARD HEENE: Hey, Bradford!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell him to turn the TV on and take the beer. Take this.

RICHARD HEENE: Bradford. Hey, Bradford.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him to look at the TV. Now get him to look at you.

RICHARD HEENE: Bradford. Bradford.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that`s good. Your hand`s in the way. Oh, God, Richard!

RICHARD HEENE: Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the way he`s fondling the bottle.

RICHARD HEENE: Oh, Bradford. Bradford. Hey, Bradford. Hey, Bradford. Bradford. Bradford. Bradford.


RICHARD HEENE: Hey, Brad. Bradford.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sing a song to him.

RICHARD HEENE (SINGING): Mary had a little lamb, little lamb...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bark like a dog.

RICHARD HEENE: Woof, woof.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meow like a cat.

RICHARD HEENE: No, my other one will get pissed. Bradford, pay attention when I`m talking to you, son.


BROOKS: I`m Mike Brooks, in for Nancy Grace. Well, isn`t that nice, father of the year. Some of the first words he`s teaching his kids, little Bradford, now 10. Bark like a dog. Yes, that`s real nice. Father of the year, Mr. Richard -- Mr. Richard Heene.

Well, folks, look, I know I seem like I`m a little upset about this. It`s because I am. After spending 26 years in law enforcement -- and I also was a volunteer assistant fire chief out in Fairfax, Virginia, and my dad was a fireman. You know, I know what first responders go through. And I know all the resources and assets that were wasted on this idiot and his actions of he and his wife, who he met in acting school. So -- but they still are -- it`s just disgusting.

But keep in mind, folks, what brought us all to this, then who blew the whistle on his parents, little 6-year-old Falcon Heene. What do they say? Out of the mouths of babies come gems. Take a listen.


RICHARD HEENE: Did you hear us calling your name?




RICHARD HEENE: Why didn`t you come out?

FALCON HEENE: You guys said that we did this for a show.


BROOKS: Well, there you have it. Then the father goes, Uh-huh. Then you see the other children -- ruh-roh! What do we do now? What do we say? And then the next -- this was from "LARRY KING LIVE." Wolf Blitzer was doing the questioning. And then Richard Heene wants to say, Oh, well, you know, why did you ask these questions, after he, as a respected journalist, was just trying to ask follow-up questions!

I want to bring in our psychologist, Susan Lipkins, joining us from New York. She`s a psychologist and author of "Preventing Hazing. Susan, thanks for being with us.

SUSAN LIPKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Thanks for having me.

BROOKS: You know, you look at these two parents -- you know, you look up the word narcissist and you`re going to see Richard Heene`s picture in the dictionary. But what effect is it going to have on these kids down the road?

LIPKINS: Well, it seems to me that their parenting is really disturbing. And we -- you know, this one event, the balloon event, will be something that we will all remember as a hoax. But all those pictures, starting from when he was an infant and the YouTube songs that they were singing, it really indicates that there`s very, very poor judgment. And I`m glad that CPS is going in to investigate this family. The whole thing really smells and it`s very scary. And I hope it send a message to everybody else to not to treat their children like this.

BROOKS: Well, you know, Susan, I mean, it`s -- look how long it`s been going on. We saw the video of little Bradford, you know, Bark like a dog, with the beer bottle and with the cigar. You know, people take home video. I don`t want to -- you know, I don`t want to say, Oh, you know -- I`m not -- I`m not a purist. But you know, he`s been doing this for a long time.


BROOKS: And then, now, as the kids are growing up, he`s putting them in the middle of a hurricane! He`s endangered these children!

LIPKINS: He`s endangered the children, and as you said, he`s endangered everybody else involved in this. And he deserves to be brought to justice.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him to look at the TV. Now get him to look at you.

RICHARD HEENE: Bradford. Bradford.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that`s good. Your hand`s in the way. Oh, God, Richard!



BROOKS: I`m Mike Brooks, in for Nancy Grace. Well, these are the Heene boys, and they`re only doing what their parents are telling them to do. They`re making a little video, Mom and Dad trying to make themselves and the boys famous. They`ve been on "Wife Swap" twice. He calls himself a science detective. I take offense to that because I was a real detective. And you know, and this guy is a meteorologist? Please. Please!

I mean, this balloon, this flying saucer -- you know, you see the video of him kicking around in the back yard, and one of the kids has got to be shooting the video! I mean, I remember the day this happened. I get a call from CNN, Mike, are you near a TV? Can you get near a TV? Tell us how are they going to rescue these guys? How are they going to bring this little boy down? So you know, he`s facing felony charges, but the FAA could also be investigating.

I want to bring back the attorneys, Penny Douglas Furr joining us from Atlanta and Paul Batista. Paul, the FAA is looking in to see if they can charge him with anything. Now, I know the FAA, their violations are called FARs, Federal Aviation Regulation violations. Now, I know I was a manager with Delta Airlines, and they can be charged civilly and it could go in front of a judge, administrative law judge. But they could still be fined, correct?

BATISTA: You know, Mike, hold onto your seat. Yes, they can be. Hold onto your seat, Mike. Everything that we`ve seen is stupid. It may be dangerous. But this a matter that should and I think ultimately will be handled civilly. Let him pay the fines. Let him pay the costs. But we cannot criminalize every piece of stupid behavior in this country.

BROOKS: Paul! Paul!

BATISTA: So I disagree with your approach.

BROOKS: Paul, they had to redirect air traffic at Denver International Airport!

BATISTA: Very expensive. Very stupid for Heene to do. But it`s a civil matter. Let him pay for it.

BROOKS: No, no, no, no! I tell you what, the FBI is also looking to see if they can charge him criminally with a federal violation! And I hope that they can.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, how long has the 8-year-old been missing?

R. HEENE: Just a few minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the flying saucer in the backyard?

R. HEENE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So it obviously has electronics which he can know how to work and he gets it up off the air, off the ground?

R. HEENE: No, he doesn`t know how they operate.

Hey, Bradford. Bradford. Hey, Bradford.


R. HEENE: Hey, Bradford.

Turn the TV on and take the bear. Take this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was, like, a master of mental warfare. He put us down, hollered at us a lot. He pushed me one time over a couch and then flipped the couch with me and the children on it, threw things at me. And sometimes the things, you know, would not hit me, but hit them. He flipped us over the couch and flipped the couch and he left marks on me from throwing things.


BROOKS: I`m Mike Brooks in for Nancy Grace.

Well, Richard Heene pointing the finger now at the sheriff, wanting the sheriff, and who`s now, apparently, under special investigation for possibly violating the law dealing with social services. But personally, I don`t think so.

I want to go straight out to Dr. Marty McCarry, joining us from Washington, D.C., physician and professor of public health at Johns Hopkins.

Marty, good to see you again.


BROOKS: We`ve seen -- we saw in the interviews, little Falcon, before we found out that all this was a hoax. You know, the father, he didn`t want any more interviews, but again he took him in front of some of the morning shows. And this little boy was so stressed out that he -- that he threw up twice, that we saw. I mean, this little boy must be stressed out for him to become that sick.

MCCARTY: Yes, I mean that`s not a normal reaction for anybody. But you put someone in front of a lot of lights, in a stressful situation, I mean, they`re in way over their head. There`s a response where your body gets nauseous, and you don`t know what to do, and you just throw up.

They`re definitely going to be looking for other signs that these kids have been affected in a mental capacity. The standard Child Protective Services checks. They`re going to be looking for dislocations, burns and bruises in places where they can`t reach.

BROOKS: That video was from the NBC`s "Today Show," showing little Falcon Heene throwing up while he`s being interviewed. You`ve got to feel sorry for this poor little kid, especially Falcon, who -- they`re probably, after he blew the whistle on Mom and Dad`s little escapade, he probably got chastised pretty severely, after some of the video we`ve seen from "Wife Swap" and some of the other antics we`ve seen of Richard Heene.

I want to go to Pat Brown, criminal profiler, also joining us from D.C. She`s also author of "Killing for Sport."

Pat, when you interview little children like this, wouldn`t they probably take them both and separate, you know, take the parents one place and talk to them, and take the kids another place and interview them?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Mike, it all depends on the laws, because that`s a very tricky situation. And the poor kids are between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they want to tell the truth; on the other hand, they`re ratting out their own parents, putting their own living situation in jeopardy, because they don`t want to go to a foster home. And that`s what they`re worried about.

I want to say one thing, Mike, about that false reporting thing. That false reporting thing needs to be definitely criminalized. False reporting on race, false reporting on a gun missing. Definitely got to do something about that.

BROOKS: Absolutely. And, you know, there -- the sheriff said, just in Latimer County alone, just one -- just alone in that county, 85 first responders.

And he went -- as that balloon was ripping across Colorado at a high rate of speed, not knowing where it was going to come down, you had National Guard helicopters trying to track it, because they thought this 6- year-old little boy was inside this flying saucer-like looking balloon. It just -- it just makes me ill.

But, we also had Mom who`s involved in this. We talked a lot about Richard Heene, but his wife, Mayumi, she also had called 911. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it was an experimental plane?

M. HEENE: Yes, it`s a flying saucer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a flying saucer?

M. HEENE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that`s gone too, right?

M. HEENE: I`m sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long -- is the flying saucer gone, as well.

M. HEENE: Yes, about 20 minutes I think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been, they`ve both been missing for about 20 minutes?

M. HEENE: Yes.


M. HEENE: Oh, my God, oh, my God, my son!


BROOKS: Well, that`s her call to 911. Hmmm -- let me see. She said it happened 20 minutes ago. Oh, OK.

Richard Heene, what was his first call? He says to the FAA, second call, local TV station. No, he didn`t want any fame. He didn`t want any fame at all.

But Ellie Jostead (ph), hasn`t she now said, "Yes, it was all a hoax"?

Right, Mike. Well, this search warrant affidavit was released. And in it, there`s an alleged confession from Mayumi Heene. They got her separate from Richard so they could talk to her alone a couple days after this happened.

She says that the release was intentional, that she and Richard knew, all along that Falcon was hiding at the house. She says that they did this to make themselves more marketable for future media interests. That they planned it for about two weeks. In fact, they built that flying saucer for the purpose of carrying out this alleged hoax.

Hmm, sounds like game, set and match to me. But, I want to bring back in our attorneys.

Penny, what about in Colorado, if she is to testify, possibly, against her husband, what about marital privilege here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he would be an accessory. But I understand there`s a little change in that in Colorado. And if they work to plan a crime together, she could be forced to testify. But anything else regarding the crime, she would not be forced to testify unless she chooses to testify. So that`s going to be the issue, whether she`s going to choose to testify in this case.

BROOKS: Well, Paul, I would say that putting all this together and the charges they`re facing, possibly they were -- this could be called planning a crime?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it could be. It`s also going to be fascinating to see where the husband and wife ultimately come down, Mike. This would not be the first time, in my experience, that husband and wife charged with a crime, having different interests at stake, decide to turn on one another. This is going to be fascinating.

BROOKS: You know what, Paul, you`re absolutely right. It is going to be fascinating. But I just hope that the district attorney`s office out there does the right thing, brings criminal charges in a quick manner.

I want to go back out to Nia Bender, news director of 710 KNUS Radio, joining us by phone in Denver.

Nia, what is kind of the sentiment, if you will, of the people in Denver now, knowing that there`s a special investigation against the sheriff now.

BENDER (via phone): Well, they aren`t totally thrilled with that. But I think a lot of people are a little confused as to whether he did something wrong or anything. And the sheriff has adamantly come out and said, "Absolutely, I did nothing wrong."

So, you know, some people are upset because -- because they feel as though David Lane, Richard Heene`s attorney, went ahead and did this. At the same time, I think, an awful lot of people here are very upset with the Heene family.

Because if you think about it, they tugged on Colorado`s emotions and they were tugging on the world`s emotions. Think about all many people are sitting around TV sets, watching in, hoping this little boy landed safely in this balloon. And I think he sentiment towards that part of the hoax is, yes. charge him with something, and they should be paying for this.

BROOKS: Absolutely. And, you know, I know you all just had a lot of snow out in Denver. I`d hate to be in the Heene house right now. Everybody all cooped up, not being able to go anyplace. Should be very interesting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has no idea how to turn it or anything, is that right, no instruction has been given to him?

R. HEENE: No, no, there`s no way to turn it, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and he has no idea how to land it or anything, right?

R. HEENE: No, no.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a monster roaming free, and police are now turning to the public to find Somer Thompson`s killer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sheriff leading the investigation into her murder warned the public the killer could be in their midst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone in the community will unknowingly be associated with that offender and may be in a position to observe those behavioral changes of that person.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops in Orange Park, Florida, have released a profile of a possible suspect. Things to watch for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of the things that they were saying that people in the public should look out for are unexplained injuries, or cuts or bruises on the person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Particularly on the head, arms and hands.

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

There are people they believe who have information pertaining to the investigation and they may not know it.

Other things to look out for include anyone who suddenly left the area. Missed work or routine commitments, especially on October 19th, the day Somer was abducted.


BROOKS: I`m Mike Brooks in for Nancy Grace.

Little Somer Thompson, thrown out like the garbage, found in a landfill in Folkston, Georgia. Who is responsible for the murder of this little, little, gorgeous little girl? It just -- it just makes me sick.

I want to go straight out to Natisha Lance, producer for THE NANCY GRACE SHOW joining us here in Atlanta.

Natisha, you`ve been down there. You know the latest investigation. What is going on right now in Orange Park?

NATISHA LANCE, PRODUCER, THE NANCY GRACE SHOW: The latest in the investigation is that there may be a break in the case, at least according to a district attorney who is about 200 miles away from where Somer Thompson went missing.

Now, there`s is a man by the name of Kenneth Kellam. He`s 36 years old. He was just recently arrested on about eight charges of trying to abduct two fourth grade boys. Now, among those charges is attempted child molestation. He was just -- he was recently arrested. And this district attorney believes, due to the geographic closeness to where Somer was abducted from, that he could also be connected to the Somer Thompson case.

BROOKS: That`s amazing. And now I want to go straight out to Greg Edwards. He is the Dougherty County district attorney, joining us by phone from Albany, Georgia.

Mr. Edwards, thank you for being with us.

GREG EDWARDS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY (via phone): Glad to be here.

BROOKS: Tell us -- give us some background on this -- on this predator, Kenneth Kellam.

EDWARDS: Some of the information that we have includes the fact that he was released from Florida in 2008. He is a convicted sex offender. And one of the things that struck us in our investigation, relative to what was going on with him here, was his modus operandi. In other words, he was loitering near an elementary school. He had a van that appears, by current appearances, to be set up for the quick abduction and molestation of a child or an adult for that matter.

BROOKS: Now, why do you say that it was set up, you believe, the van may have been set up for a quick abduction?

EDWARDS: Well, there are things that have been revealed from our search warrants that lead us to this conclusion. I can`t get into many more details at this point.

BROOKS: Understandable.

EDWARDS: Because our case is still pending. But we think that the mobility afforded him by his van and the geographic feasibility of his being a possible suspect is why we notified the authorities in Orange Park about our findings.

If you take a quick glance at the map, you can see that, you know, that`s really about a two- or three-hour drive from here, from Dougherty County, from Orange Park, taking the interstate.

BROOKS: No, exactly, not far at all. I used to live, I lived down near Brunswick. When I was at the federal law enforcement training center, I used to come down. I mean, it`s not far at all. You right come down from Albany, down by Aldosta (ph), and you`re almost right there in Jacksonville.

EDWARDS: That`s correct.

Now, the thing is, there had not been a direct connection between what we have and what`s going on in Orange Park, but we felt obligated to pass that information on at that moment, once we -- you know, we gleaned what we could from our investigation.

BROOKS: Absolutely.

BROOKS: And -- and, of course, you know, we just wanted to make sure that the authorities in Orange Park -- we did not have privy to their investigation, but of course, we felt it imperative that they at least get this information. I`ve been advised that they have well over 1,500 or so tips that they were following up on. But of course, we wanted to just let them know what we had.

BROOKS: No, no, and I think -- I`m really glad you did that, because we need to find the killer of Somer.

And we know that this guy is a registered sex offender in Florida. Has a history in the Tampa area. So you draw a line between -- between Tampa, Orange Park, and Albany, and you`ve got a little triangle that cuts all the way across the state of Florida, up into Georgia.

You know, I hope and pray that this guy had something to do with it, because this guy has been a predator for too many years.

Joining us by phone, a very special guest. Joining us by phone from Orange Park, Florida, is Samuel Thompson, the father of Somer.

Mr. Thompson, thank you for being with us, again.

SAMUEL THOMPSON, SOMER`S FATHER: Thank you for having me, very much.

BROOKS: Well, you`ve heard what Mr. Edwards said. What are your thoughts right off the top of your head?

S. THOMPSON: Well, my first thoughts -- my first thoughts are if he`s the guy who killed my little girl, I want the first ten seconds with him.

BROOKS: I don`t blame you.

S. THOMPSON: My second thought is, God says that I have to forgive this man for what he`s done. And I have, in Jesus` name. But, I want him punished to the full extent of the law. And if Florida has the death penalty, he deserves it.

But, if this is not the man who hurt my little girl, then he doesn`t deserve the punishment for what happened to my girl.

BROOKS: Mr. Thompson...

S. THOMPSON: I just want the right person. I want justice to be served the way it`s supposed to be. And, I can`t tell you the pain that this person who took my daughter from me has put me through. It`s almost put me to the point that I don`t want to take my next breath. But God tells me to go on.

BROOKS: You know, Mr. Thompson, I don`t know -- I don`t know how you`re doing it. I really don`t. All my years of law enforcement, crimes against children, it`s just -- the families that are affected by this is just -- it`s just incredible to me.

But I want to remind our viewers, Kenneth Kellam has not been charged in anything involving Somer Thompson right now, but law enforcement officials are looking to see if there`s any kind of link -- DNA, evidence found at the scene, evidence found on the body of little Somer -- is possibly connected with Kenneth Kellam.

And whoever is responsible for this needs to be brought to justice.

And now, tonight`s "CNN Heroes."



Last year, I had the honor of serving on the blue-ribbon panel that selected the top ten "CNN Heroes" of 2008. These everyday citizens who are changing the world are recognized during "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."

As founder of Virgin Unite, which tackles social and environmental problems around the globe, I`m absolutely thrilled to help CNN introduce one of this year`s top ten honorees.

Now, more than ever, the world needs heroes.

BETTY MAKONI, HELPS RAPE VICTIMS IN ZIMBABWE: In Zimbabwe, 10 girls per day, they are raped. They need an advocate to help them break silence.

My name is Betty Makoni. I founded an organization that rescues girls from abuse. When a girl gets to the villages, she`s provided with emergency medication, reinstatement in school, as well as counseling. It gives them the confidence to transform from victims to leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To child abuse, just say no.

To child abuse...




MAKONI: This is the job I have always wanted to do. It gives me fulfillment, and in girls I see myself every day.



BROOKS: Now, a look back at the stories making the rest of the headlines this week.


M. HEENE: Yes. Oh, my god, my son.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a hoax.

F. HEENE: ... that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely no hoax.

F. HEENE: ... we did it for the show.

NANCY GRACE, HOST: The mom confesses to police it was a hoax from the get go. Ex-wife Patty is with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s a normal outburst, several times a week. My kids were terrified.

GRACE: Breaking tonight, a new time line tracking 20-year-old Morgan Harrington up until 9:30 p.m., across two parking lots, then a bridge. But then, it all goes cold.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s grainy video posted on YouTube. But some people think the girl in it fits the description of Morgan Harrington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We learned that the video was not Morgan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted it to be so badly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news in the case of 9-year-old Elizabeth Alton, who was found murdered in a heavily-wooded area behind her home.

GRACE: A 15-year-old girl is the murder suspect. Not just murder: premeditated malice murder one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just reach inside you and pull your heart out. That`s what it`s like.

S. THOMPSON: Just briefly, she ran ahead and was out of sight. So 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.

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

DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER: I will not sleep until this person is found. I hope they get you. I hope they make you pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.


BROOKS: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Private First Class John Borbonus, only 19 years old from Boise, Idaho. After graduating from high school, he trained to be an Army Ranger. He was awarded the Bronze Star for giving up his life to save his fellow soldiers from an explosion.

Once a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, he loved traveling, hunting, fishing and making people laugh. He leaves behind parents Hans and Maggie.

John Borbonus, a true American hero.

Thank you, all our guests and you at home for being with us. See you tomorrow night, 8 p.m. sharp, eastern. Until then, stay safe.