Return to Transcripts main page
Missing "People`s Court" Mom`s Cellphone Found
Aired December 08, 2011 - 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, live, Orlando. A gorgeous mom of three fights it out on "The People`s Court" over a luxury diamond engagement ring. A stormy relationship with her ex plays out in front of millions. Just hours later, she`s gone, her black Hummer found at a complex just down from her home.
After Michelle`s ex says he`s, quote, "too busy" to look for her, he lawyers up. Michelle`s 11-year-old tells cops Daddy hits Mommy in front of all three children, but the custody judge gives the 3-year-old twins back to Daddy, now named the prime suspect in Mommy`s death or disappearance.
Bombshell tonight. In the last hours, a crack in the case. After days combing through thick Florida underbrush, police find Michelle`s cellphone, the iPhone 4 still in her pink, black and white case, in good condition. This as Smith, Jr.`s, mom and dad forced in for police questioning.
As we go to air, alleged sightings of "People`s Court" mom as far away as Daytona Beach. This as time stamped on surveillance video torpedoes the timeline. And tonight, did a trucker spot suspect Dale Smith, Jr., looking surreptitiously as he leaves a heavily wooded area? Tonight, where is missing mom Michelle?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a blessing, a big miracle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A big break in the case. Michelle Parker`s iPhone...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was found? This literally makes my hopes skyrocket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A black and pink iPhone was found.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s exciting, but it`s scary because, you know, why was that phone where it was?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother of three vanished after she appeared on an episode of "The People`s Court" with her ex-fiance, Dale Smith, Jr., now the prime suspect in her disappearance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From day one, I thought it was Dale. From day one, I thought he did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What clues it may reveal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It wasn`t found with her, so it wasn`t where it was supposed to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he planned it, staged it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! I hate that I have to do this. Like, whoever has her, let her go!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re being relentless in this investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is killing me!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, live, Indianapolis. Does Mommy use Craigslist to abandon and dump her 13-month-old baby boy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know why this (EXPLETIVE DELETED), (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I owe you money (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This ad (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Cecilia Long (ph) first answered that ad from a mother known to her only as Jen, she thought she`d be receiving $75 a day to watch a 1-year-old boy inside her Indianapolis home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got $10 total from her. And I bought milk for the baby. I texted her, Hey, I`m sorry, I have an emergency. If you`re at work, I have to leave town. And she said, It`s not my problem. I can`t (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With nowhere to turn, Cecilia says she contacted police. But when an officer responded and tried to call the mother, the police report says Jen told the officer, quote, "Quit calling my bleeping phone." She then disconnected the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During that conversation, the officer could hear some loud music going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know why (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you`re calling (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I owe you money (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight. A gorgeous mom of three fights it out on "People`s Court" over a diamond engagement ring. Just hours later, she`s gone.
In the last hours, a crack in the case, finally. After days combing through thick Florida underbrush, police find Michelle`s cellphone. This is a huge blockbuster in the case. What does it lead us to?
Not only this, we discover the prime suspect, the father of her 3- year-old twins -- his mom and dad forced into state questioning. And has there been a sighting of the missing mom as far away as Daytona Beach, Florida? A trucker says he spots Dale Smith, Jr., surreptitiously leaving densely wooded forest, this in the last day, allegations he may be hiding evidence.
We are live and taking your calls. Straight out to Alexis Tereszcuk, Radaronline.com. First of all, are police revealing where they found the iPhone 4? Let`s see a picture of the iPhone 4, Liz.
ALEXIS TERESZCUK, RADARONLINE.COM: They are not revealing where they found it, but they did say they have it and it is in good condition. Her family is so relieved. This is the first break they`ve had in this case. Michelle has been missing for weeks, and finally, the police have something that is a direct connection to her. And it really could have a lot of evidence. It could have a lot of communication that she`s, hopefully, had since she went missing.
GRACE: You know, here`s -- here`s the deal. Pat Brown, criminal profiler, author of "The Profiler," yes, I`d like another -- I`d like another tip. Yes, I`d like a credible spotting. Yes, I`d like anything more than what we`ve got. But what people don`t realize is that finding this iPhone is a huge break in the case. In a nutshell, boil it down, Pat. What does this mean?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I think the most important thing it means, Nancy, is where it was found because who would have put that iPhone in that particular place? Could Michelle have done it herself, or was this the person who took Michelle and did something to her?
And if this trucker who supposedly saw Smith coming out of the woods, and he doesn`t know where that phone was and the two are connected together, that would be a huge break.
GRACE: Pat, you`re right. You`re right. And let me remind everybody -- I`m sure that the defense attorneys, Penny Douglas Furr and Peter Odom, are going to argue with me. But the law is that circumstantial evidence is just as significant in court as direct evidence. If Pat Brown is right -- or is correct and Smith, Jr., was seen leaving this densely wooded area by a trucker, and that`s where the iPhone ends up being found, that is a circumstantial but powerful connection from Smith, Jr., to this phone. Right now, cops not revealing where the iPhone was found.
We are taking your calls. We are live on the scene. I want to go right now to Ben Levitan, telecommunications expert. Ben, first of all, not everybody has an iPhone, OK? I don`t have an iPhone. And whenever everybody does have an iPhone around me, my son John David steals it and runs off with it like a little monkey to play on it. So the iPhones are very, very different from other phones.
Why is the iPhone different from other phones or BlackBerries, Ben Levitan?
BEN LEVITAN, TELECOMMUNICATIONS EXPERT (via telephone): Well, Nancy, the phone is basically a computer. It`s a small computer that is connected to the Internet by the cellphone. If you remember back in the old days -- and I say 1980 -- we used to dial up our computers to get to the Internet. And that`s essentially -- now we can dial up our cellphones to the Internet.
It`s very important. There`s a lot of information here because the beauty of the iPhone, it`s very aware of its location by GPS and by cell towers. But if this phone was not forensically handled properly, this could turn out to be a great clue that`s gone bad, Nancy.
GRACE: OK, whoa, whoa, wait! Wait, wait, wait! Back to you, Ben Levitan, telecommunications expert.
Everybody, the bombshell right now is, other than Smith, Jr.`s, mother and father being forced in for questioning pursuant to subpoena, a sighting of Mommy in Daytona Beach, Florida -- we`ll find out if that`s credible or not -- we also learn that in the last hours, Michelle`s iPhone 4 has been discovered. Remember, police have been looking for that since day one.
And I want to go through it with you, David Lohr, senior crime reporter, HuffingtonPost. The reason that this iPhone 4 is so significant in this case -- break it down for me, David. Why?
DAVID LOHR, HUFFINGTONPOST: Well, I think this is a huge break for police. I mean, she had the phone on her at the time she went missing. And what`s also very telling is if you listen to the family when they talk about being shown the phone by police, they said it was in perfect condition.
So to me, that`s saying this wasn`t found in a wooded area. It wasn`t under water. It was obviously somewhere where, you know, it was kept free from damage or anything. So did they find it in somebody`s home or vehicle? It`ll be very interesting to find out where police located this phone and you know, what, if any, information they`ve gained from it so far.
GRACE: You know, another thing that is so significant. I`m going to go to Brad Parker, joining me right now. Everyone, this is Michelle Parker`s father. As you will recall, he got one of the last messages from Michelle, where she was calling him, leaving him audio messages about getting together with him the day she goes missing.
Remember, this young mom of three, just absolutely stunning, fights it out on "People`s Court" with her ex over a luxury diamond engagement ring. The show airs that afternoon. That afternoon, she goes to drop her 3-year- old twins, boy, girl, off with their dad, the man she fought it out with on "People`s Court." There she outed him as allegedly being emotionally, physically, mentally abusive. Within two hours, she`s gone -- not a trace of Michelle Parker.
Brad Parker is with us. He`s taking your calls. I`m going to go straight to the calls in just a moment. But Brad, I can`t really convey the significance of cops finding the iPhone 4. Michelle loved this cellphone. She texted all the time, according to her brother.
What are cops telling you about their discovery of the iPhone? Are they telling you where they found it?
BRAD PARKER, MISSING WOMAN`S FATHER (via telephone): No, they`re not telling us where they found it. They`re not telling us what`s on it, what`s in it. That`s going to be confidential. I can understand. But I`m so glad they found it. There`s going to be so much information on that phone that`s going to maybe fill the puzzle up where Michelle was last seen and gone. I thank dear Lord for having the police department, whoever found it, found it.
GRACE: You know, you`re so right because the only way they found this phone, the only way cops found the phone, Brad Parker -- everyone, this is Michelle`s father -- is through hard, hard work, all right? That`s the only way that they found this phone. So everybody that wants to deride and insult the cops, this would not have been possible if they had not worked 24/7 to find this break in the case.
This phone is so important to Michelle. Explain how she used it, Brad.
PARKER: I mean, she used it for everything. I mean, when she texted, I mean, everything was perfect. And the last text she did wasn`t perfect. So someone else texted besides Michelle. I mean, she loved it. I mean, my ex -- I mean, Gail (ph), my wife now -- I mean, wherever she went, she`d text Gail, I`m here, or, I`m going, I`m leaving, I`ll see you, you know, I`ll be there in 45 minutes. And she was right on the money every time.
GRACE: Everyone, in the last hours, a major break in the search for "People`s Court" mom Michelle Parker. The young mom of three goes missing hours just after the "People`s Court" episode airs. On national TV in front of millions, she outs her ex as being mentally, physically, emotionally abusive. Within two hours, she has disappeared. That cellphone, the iPhone 4, may crack this case wide open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first big break in the case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This literally make my hopes skyrocket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After weeks of searching and combing area lakes, Orlando police called Parker`s family to identify a cellphone. It was hers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And right now, it`s huge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A woman don`t disappear in broad daylight, especially with a Hummer and as pretty as Michelle is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s still missing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her brother got that very cryptic one-word text message, and then she hasn`t been heard from since.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, why was that phone where it was? You know, we`ve been searching for that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have not told them where or how her iPhone was found.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no reason to believe that she`s dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To describe Stewart (ph) as she searches for her daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here`s a miracle that`s going to happen, and I just can`t wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question remains, where could Michelle be?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then when she came home, there was a cut on her head and her feet were cut up. And it was through -- I think it was through some concrete where she had been. I don`t know if she was dragged or what, but her feet were bloody.
Our hearts go out to Michelle`s family. With Shannon (ph), we knew where she was. She was brain dead, on life support, but she was in a hospital bed and we could go to her. I can`t imagine what they`re going through!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That is the family of Dale Smith`s ex-wife speaking out on NBC`s "Today" show, describing abuse, allegedly, at the hands of Smith, Jr.
In the last hours, a major break in the case. A missing mom of three, the "People`s Court" mom, Michelle Parker -- her iPhone 4 has been found. The implications in the evidence in this case are far-reaching.
Joining me right now, Michelle`s sister, Lauren Erickson. Lauren, thank you so much for being with us.
LAUREN ERICKSON, MISSING WOMAN`S SISTER (via telephone): Thank you, Nancy.
GRACE: Lauren, is it true police asked to you come identify the iPhone?
ERICKSON: They did. We were actually on a search out in the woods, just checking through some areas, and we got a phone call and they just asked us to come up. It was nothing earth-shattering, but to come up and they wanted to run some stuff by us. And when we got there, they just put a picture down on the table and they said, Can you tell us what (ph) this is or is not Michelle`s phone? And my heart literally stopped. And I mean, it`s her phone.
GRACE: Lauren Erickson is Michelle`s sister. We are taking your calls.
Lauren, I can remember when my fiance was murdered. I saw his shirt. I saw it in court when I was a witness at the trial. And my heart stopped. I was walking by the counsel table and saw it. And immediately -- it was just a denim shirt, but I knew it was his shirt.
Tell me what happened. You said your heart stopped when you saw that phone. Tell me exactly what happened.
ERICKSON: Yes, I mean, they put that picture on the table. And it was myself, my mom and my stepdad, and all of us were just -- our jaws dropped and our eyes got wide. My mom was literally, like, Thank you, God, with her hands up in the air.
And I mean, I know it`s her phone. It`s -- there`s a video that they have of her with a phone with a pink case, but it`s not actually that one. She had changed it around Halloween. And it`s a Hurley (ph) case that`s on it, with pink and blue kind of plaid. And it`s the phone.
It was a little bit dirty and kind of scratched up, but not really in bad shape. I mean, it`s fully intact. So I have full faith that they`re going to be able to get some information out of this thing.
GRACE: Everyone, with me and taking your calls -- I see the calls lining up. I`m going to come straight to you. A major break in the search for missing mom Michelle Parker. In the last hours, we discover her iPhone 4 has been found by hard-working detectives scouring Florida underbrush for days now.
The phone emerges. What will we learn? The tip line to help find the missing mom, 1-800-423-8477, as the reward climbs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As an investigator, what you do is, you look at the whole area and you say, Where might the body be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Start strangling someone, they lose consciousness in about 10 to 15 seconds. You maintain the pressure to two to three minutes more, and they will stop breathing and are essentially dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Physical and mental abuse that he gave to her. She was pretty upset. She had never been treated like that by anyone. I`d have known more about this guy before, he ain`t have never stepped foot in the house, let alone see my sister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That is the family of Dale Smith`s ex-wife -- Dale Smith, Jr.`s, ex-wife -- speaking out on the "Today" show regarding physical, emotional, mental abuse on that ex-wife.
We are taking your calls. To Stephanie in Michigan. Hi, Stephanie. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank you very much for taking my call.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to try to understand how a judge could give custody to someone who has obviously in the past been violent, was violent to a reporter, and came to the court, and a judge heard that and just said, Well, the kids can go with you?
I think it`s absolutely ridiculous. And if anything happens to those children, that judge should be responsible because those children are not in a safe environment. If he is under the thumb, under the police radar, they should be removed and given to her parents.
GRACE: Stephanie in Michigan, don`t move. Somebody just said, Oh, is the caller stuck on that? I`m stuck on it, too, Stephanie in Michigan!
Everybody, the breaking news tonight is that Michelle Parker`s iPhone 4 has just been discovered. With us, Lauren Erickson, Michelle`s sister, who went to the police station to identify it. But Michelle in -- Stephanie in Michigan is right. What`s the judge`s name? Is it Judge Turner, as I recall? Liz, tell me. I`m listening, listening, waiting for the answer. It is Turner, Thomas Turner. Thank you, Ellie.
Let`s go very quickly to Peter Odom, Penny Douglas Furr. Now, guys, this is not the time for an appellate argument, all right? What we`ve got here, Peter Odom, is that the son tells police -- he`s saying Daddy hit Mommy. We`ve got the family of the ex-wife describing the abuse.
We have the daddy coming into court. Roll that video, Liz, please, of him shoving a reporter who was not putting a camera in his face, Peter, out of the way, on the way in to court. And he gives custody to the twins. He`s the prime suspect in Mommy`s death or disappearance.
Peter, I know you`re a defense lawyer, but I don`t understand this!
PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the law has a strong presumption, Nancy, for a natural parent. And he`s not been convicted of any of these things yet, and the court is required to give him preference.
GRACE: The court is required...
ODOM: That`s the law.
GRACE: ... to put the children first, Penny!
PENNY DOUGLAS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Judges are just human. They make mistakes all the time, Nancy. And they have immunity. There`s not a thing you can do about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD PARKER, FATHER OF MISSING "PEOPLE`S COURT" MOM MICHELLE PARKER: It don`t surprise me one bit. From day one, I thought it was Dale. I mean Michelle dropped those -- the twins off and Michelle disappears in broad daylight. I think he planned it, staged it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Michelle Parker`s mom hugs and kisses the main suspect in her daughter`s disappearance, Michelle`s ex-fiance, Dale Smith, Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hugged Dale to tell him that my grandbabies, I wanted to be able to see them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe if he had nothing to hide, he would have taken a polygraph test. Because I would have.
GRACE: His time line isn`t standing up to the police.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There are pontoon boats, jetskies, about 25 people searching on --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Well, he was also linked to a murder case when he was just about 20 years old. He was charged with battery because he kicked one of the victims` friends in the head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Although we do have a suspect, is that -- our main focus is to find my sister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are back with a bombshell in the search on missing mom Michelle Parker.
With us, and taking your calls, her sister Lauren Erickson. In addition to the discovery of Michelle`s iPhone 4, we now learn the time stamping on surveillance video.
Let`s see that surveillance video, Liz, of Michelle driving along the day she goes missing, and her black Hummer, may be wrong. The time line has been established on this video time stamp.
With us, Lauren Erickson, Michelle`s sister.
Lauren, what do you know about the time stamp on this video possibly being wrong and what is the significance?
Let`s see the video, Liz.
Go ahead, Lauren.
LAUREN ERICKSON, SISTER OF MISSING "PEOPLE`S COURT" MOM, MICHELLE PARKER: Initially, you know, that video came out. And I can`t remember if it was in military time or what. But I don`t know if the time was correct or not. I mean if the time is correct on that video than Dale had initially told us, that, you know, Michelle has dropped -- dropping the children off around 4:00, but I mean that -- that doesn`t coincide with the time on that video.
So either the video time is wrong or somebody is not telling the truth. I -- really -- I`m not exactly sure on that one.
GRACE: OK. The -- it is military time, Lauren Erickson. You`re absolutely correct. It`s 151820, 1500, 18, 20, which is of course 3:18 p.m., 20 seconds.
Now, Lauren, are you telling me that you believe the time stamp is wrong because of what Smith Jr. said?
ERICKSON: As of right now, that`s all I have to go off of for it being wrong. So I mean, either he is saying that it was dropped -- that she was dropping the kids off at 4:00 and that`s correct or that time on that video is actually correct and he is not telling the truth. I don`t know which one was correct, honestly. So the police have investigated that. I would assume that they know but I myself don`t.
GRACE: Hey, Lauren Erickson with us, Michelle`s sister.
Let`s see the video one more time, Liz, please.
Lauren, could you identify from looking at that video where Michelle was at the time the video was taken? Where was that taken?
ERICKSON: That`s in the neighborhood where Dale`s house is. And the way that that neighborhood works is, a lot of people have asked why don`t they have video of the vehicle leaving if it came in. Well, it`s a loop around. So when you drive in, you would drive up to the house and then it just loops back around to leave out of the gate. So that`s why the vehicle is actually not seen leaving because normally she just went around the loop so --
GRACE: Oh, I see.
GRACE: I was wondering about that. OK. So everybody -- I want to see it again. We`re confirming right now from Lauren Erickson, this is Michelle`s sister, that that video is from the neighborhood where Dale Jr. lives.
So you believe that in this picture, she`s bringing the children, the twins, the 3-year-old twins, to drop off at daddy`s and she`s on her way to his place, correct, Lauren?
ERICKSON: Yes. That`s correct.
GRACE: OK. Let me ask you another thing, Lauren Erickson. I know that her 9-year-old son would get home from school around 3:30 in the afternoon. That afternoon, mommy was not there. Is she normally there when he gets home?
ERICKSON: He is actually 11.
GRACE: Oh, thank you.
ERICKSON: But normally -- yes, no, I`m sorry. Normally he gets off the bus. He has a cell phone that he was given for Christmas one year. And he always -- you know he calls when he`s off the bus. If for any reason Michelle is not there, which she normally -- she usually is he calls her and says, hey, you know, I got off the bus, I`m walking to the house, and one of my aunts live right down the road and either she`ll come over to make sure that he`s got somebody with him.
Or Michelle is like, hey, I`ll be home in 15 minutes or I`m almost there. But, you know, for it to come to 6:50 that night and he gets off the bus at 3:45 and she`s still wasn`t home. And that was when he called me to say, you know, have you seen my mom, because she hasn`t been home yet. And she would never leave her kids un-attended like that ever. I mean -- and especially not even call anybody to see -- you know, to make sure that somebody could get to him if she couldn`t.
GRACE: With me is Lauren Erickson, Michelle Parker`s sister.
We are all here, taking your calls. I want to go straight back to the line of calls that is cueing up. But take a listen to what was on the "Today" show just this morning. Relatives, close relatives of Smith Jr.`s ex-wife speaking out about domestic violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The physical and mental abuse that he gave to her, she was -- she was pretty upset. She had never been treated like that by anyone. I don`t know more about this guy before, and he never set foot in the house, let alone seen my sister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: So if the family members on the "Today" show are to be believed, and I have no reason to doubt them, these are family members of the ex-wife describing injuries they observed on her at the hands of Dale Smith Jr.
What does that say about what happened to Michelle Parker? Tonight the bombshell that her iPhone has been found. But let`s take look. When you don`t know a horse, look at his track record.
Unleash the lawyers. Peter Odom, Penny Douglass Furr. Will this evidence ever see the light of day, Penny Douglass Furr?
PENNY DOUGLASS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It should. If he goes to trial for murder, absolutely it could come in as a similar if he beat a prior one, absolutely it will come in.
GRACE: All right, Peter, come on, give me something other than second verse, same as the first where you always say he`s presumed innocent. Yes, we know that. Give me something new. Hit me.
PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I mean it`s these prior offenses that have made the police focus on him. But the fact that he did something in the past --
GRACE: No, it`s not.
ODOM: -- doesn`t mean he did this one, Nancy.
GRACE: Put him up.
ODOM: And it`s very doubtful in my opinion at least that this stuff is going to be admissible at a trial. Now I know that in Georgia where Penny practices and I practice law, the courts are very liberal about allowing prior offenses in. Most courts are very restrictive about it.
ODOM: And I doubt there`d be --
GRACE: There you go. This as I mentioned earlier is not an appellate argument. His past allegations of domestic abuse, wife beating, all right, is not what led police to him and naming him prime suspect number one.
What led police to him is that he was the last one to see her by his own admission. And then she goes missing leaving behind her 3-year-old twins with him. All right? And their stormy relationship.
ODOM: I agree with all that.
GRACE: That she detailed on the "People`s Court" that aired that afternoon.
Everybody, I`ll be back with the lawyers and taking your calls. But very quickly, our family album is back. Send us your favorite photos. Go to iReport family album and they could be featured on a special segment right here.
You go to HLNTV.com/NancyGrace. And click on Nancy`s Family Album.
And very quickly, tonight`s case alert. Suspect in the death of a 7- year-old little girl snatched from a playground in court. Seven-year-old Jorelys thrown away like trash, just a block from home. Blunt force trauma to the head.
20-year-old Ryan Brunn, maintenance worker, in court today charged with murder. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So you`re be aware of any threats -- death threats?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not aware of any -- I`m not aware of it now.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you talk about the vest he`s wearing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was bulletproof vest, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: That`s because of the nature of the crime? That`s not with every defendant, every suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it`s been a hot issue in the community. We don`t want to take any chances. Certainly we`re in charge of his security and that`s why he`s wearing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. A major break in the search for a missing mom. "People`s Court" mom Michelle Parker. IPhone 4 just discovered by police after days of combing thick Florida underbrush. The phone is found. What does it reveal? We know the mom had the phone up until the time she went missing.
The "People`s Court" episode of her fighting it out with her ex over a luxury diamond engagement ring airs that afternoon. Within two hours, she`s gone. Allegations on prior domestic abuse emerge this morning on NBC from Dale Smith Jr.`s ex family.
OK, very quickly, to Alexis Tereszcuk, Radaronline.com. We know her cell phone was powered down at 8:00 p.m. that evening. Do we have any reason to believe, Alexis Tereszcuk, that it was cut off prior to that? Or are they going to be able to trace where that phone went? All the way up to 8:00 p.m. that evening.
ALEXIS TERESZCUK, REPORTER, RADAROLINE.COM: We don`t have any reason to believe that it was cut off prior to that. You`re absolutely right. She in fact was sending a text to her brother which is what really started off the alarm. She sent a one-word text that says Waterford. She usually is very chatty on text messages. That`s what everybody has said including her dad, so he was very concerned and this was where her car was found.
Then she was also texting with her current boyfriend saying, I`m hearing a song on the radio. It makes me think of you. And he wrote back a cute little smiley face. So she was in constant communication.
So, no, the phone was not turned off in the afternoon. So this is a really good thing. It`s a huge, huge lead to have this phone found. It`s going to have everything that the police are looking for.
GRACE: With us today, Dr. Ann Contrucci, joining us out of Atlanta.
Doctor, what do you believe we will learn if we find Michelle`s body? It has been now a couple of week. What if anything can we learn from her body if it is found?
DR. ANN CONTRUCCI, PEDIATRICIAN: Well, I don`t think we`re going to find anything good, Nancy. You know, obviously we`re going to be looking for foul play, signs of trauma. It`s worrisome. I don`t want to -- you know, it`s worrisome that the ex-fiance has the issues prior with abuse and that Michelle even said on TV, talking about being abused by him. So it is worrisome that -- if her body is found that there will be some -- some signs of trauma.
GRACE: And the reality is that depending on the nature, the cause of death, we may not have any evidence as to cause of death at all. And I`m thinking specifically about tot mom Casey Anthony`s case. Little Caylee`s body was so decomposed, we couldn`t get a cause of death on it, Doctor.
CONTRUCCI: Well, that`s correct, Nancy. You always worry the longer a body is decomposing, especially we`re in Florida. We`re not talking about being in Alaska because a body is going to decompose much faster in warm weather than it is in cold weather. So that of course I agree with you.
GRACE: To Detective Lieutenant Steve Rogers. Cops are refusing to tell anyone where they found Michelle`s iPhone. Why?
DET. LT. STEVE ROGERS, NUTLEY, NEW JERSEY, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, they don`t want to compromise the investigation, Nancy. They probably aren`t connecting the dots and very close to solving this case so they`re going to keep things pretty -- under a tight lid until they`re absolutely sure that the direction they`re going into.
It`s simply -- they just don`t want to compromise this investigation.
GRACE: And to Dr. Ann Contrucci, , pediatrician and ER doc.
Dr. Ann, this cell phone may reveal not only evidence regarding where she was, her texts and so forth. But could there actually be forensic evidence such as DNA on the cell phone?
CONTRUCCI: I think it is possible there could be some DNA evidence or there could be at least some fingerprints, or you know potentially some DNA evidence. It just depends on where it was found which we don`t -- we don`t know any of that.
GRACE: Yes, speaking of fingerprints, what if Smith Jr.`s prints are the only ones on that phone.
And also, Dr. Anne, question. Regarding the possibility, I know there`s been a sighting of her in Daytona Beach, Florida. But if that`s not her, what variables would affect the decomposition rate of her body?
CONTRUCCI: Well, as I`ve said earlier, one of the biggest would be the temperature. And you know how warm it is in Florida this time of year. It`s still pretty warm. I think that`s going to be the biggest thing. Temperature, water can certainly affect it. But those are going to be your biggest variables.
GRACE: To Dr. Bethany Marshall -- Dr. Bethany, I know the 3-year-old twins, thanks to this judge, have been placed back with the prime suspect in mommy`s death or disappearance. Right now at age 3, do they understand mommy has been gone for weeks now?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": No, you know, 3-year-olds cannot hang on to the fact of the permanence or the irreversibility of death. So when you tell a 3-year-old that mommy is gone, you have to make it very concrete. Not abstract.
You have to say maybe, mommy is in the cemetery or mommy is in heaven with Jesus. Depending on your religious orientation. And then you have to allow the 3-year-old to ask again and again and again. Maybe for a couple of years. Because they will not get it. The fact that these 3-year-olds were placed with Dale Smith Jr. is abominable because we know abusers will use the child as a pawn against all the other relatives.
So I am worried about what rage he is directing towards them. They already had caretakers. They had the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, there were people who were bonded with the 3--years-old and this is a double loss.
GRACE: To Pat Brown. Pat, recalling Scott Peterson`s case, cops had a GPS locator on his car the whole time he did not know about it. And it would track him back and forth to San Francisco bay where he will look out wondering if Laci and Conner`s bodies have popped up. What do you, in your professional opinion, believe that Smith Jr. is doing right now? And do you think he is being followed or tapped?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "THE PROFILER": Well, I`m sure they`re keeping a very close eye on him, Nancy. But the problem is, whatever has been done, if he did it, is a while back. So at this point he may just tell himself, hey, you know, I`m done -- I`m done with everything. I`m ready to move on.
And that is one of the unusual things you sometimes see with people who committed this kind of a crime. That they get bored with this body search thing. They get bored with worrying about it. And they`re like, hey, can we just -- you know, she`s not here. So I just want to live my normal life now. And it`s a very cold attitude. And certainly it puts the focus back on them as maybe they are the person who did something.
GRACE: And Penny Douglas Furr, defense attorney joining me out of Atlanta, speaking of GPS stuck on the car without, for instance, Smith Jr. or Scott Peterson`s knowledge, that is entirely permissible under the law. And cops can follow them under cover wherever they want to. Explain why.
PENNY DOUGLASS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I mean since he`s the suspect, and the other thing, Nancy, is, many times the suspect, if they did the crime, they will go back to the scene of the crime just to see what`s there. And if anything has changed. If they follow him, he may lead them right back to wherever he left her.
GRACE: Right now, switching gears. Did a mom use Craigslist to abandon her 13-month-old toddler?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know why the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you called CPS on me. I didn`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to you. I owe you money, yes, but I didn`t do (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This ad popped up and said, we need this babysitter immediately.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When Cecilia Long first answered that ad from a mother known to her only as Jen, she thought she`d be receiving $75 a day to watch a 1-year-old inside her Indianapolis home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got $10 total from her, and I bought milk for the baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to Joe Gomez, KTRH. What happened, Joe?
JOE GOMEZ, REPORTER, KTRH RADIO: Yes, Nancy, this is a strange one. A mother to 1-year-old baby decided to gets on Craigslist, apparently pick some random stranger to watch her kid while she was -- she says she was going to work overnights, Nancy, at Rick`s Cabaret down the street.
Mommy would leave the baby with this random sitter because she`d been up (INAUDIBLE) for days at a time, only paid her 10 bucks. Then one day instead of trying to get ahold of mommy because she had a family emergency but mommy wouldn`t take the baby back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Cecilia says Jan has been harassing her through phone messages.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know why the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you called CPS on me. I didn`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to you. I owe you money, but I didn`t do (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Long story short, did mommy use Craigslist to abandon then dump her 13-month-old baby boy?
With me Joe Gomez, KTRH, and Ellie Jostad.
Ellie, the scenario, I have reason to believe may have happened before. Where mommy who claims she is a stripper or dancer at Rick`s, whatever that is. Will find a sitter on Craigslist and -- Craigslist and just leave.
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE CHIEF EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Right, Nancy. And when police tried to track this woman down, she picked up her phone and said, don`t call my effing phone, and hung up. Police Could not locate her so the baby was put into Child Protect Services.
GRACE: OK. Any idea where mommy is, Ellie?
JOSTAD: Well, we actually contacted the person we think placed that Craigslist ad. And she tells us none of this is true, she didn`t do what the sitter says and she claims that she`s been home since she left work Tuesday night. So not clear if the police have talked to her, but she says, you know, she is not hiding from this.
GRACE: So, Joe Gomez, do we have computer evidence this is what mommy would do, Craigslist to dump her baby and finally dump him for good?
GOMEZ: Well, this sitter claims that -- I think that she has the ad. Police of course aren`t necessarily involved because this is not a criminal investigation, Nancy. Only Child Protective Services is involved at this point, so if this becomes a criminal investigation, then I guess police will stop, you know, look through all the evidence.
GRACE: Everyone, let`s stop and remember Army Staff Sergeant Nathaniel Lindsey, 38, Portland, Oregon, killed Afghanistan. Awarded Bronze Star, Purple Heart, two meritorious service medals, Oregon distinguished service award. An avid reader. Always had a book in his hands. Loved sports, basketball, fishing, camping, coaching soccer in flag teams. Fondest memory, golfing with his grandfather.
Leaves grieving parents Dan and Donna, widow Joyce, children, Marcus, Kalina (ph), Brandon, and Michelle.
Nathaniel Lindsey, 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.