Return to Transcripts main page
Nurse Accused of Murder by Bleach
Aired March 07, 2012 - 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, Houston suburbs. A string of patients dead at a high-end medical center. Cops zero in on a young female nurse. Did a so-called angel of mercy turn angel of death, stalking the hallways with syringes dripping with lethal dosages of raw bleach straight out of the mop and pail?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a video deposition, an elderly woman described the smell of bleach as "powerful" and "undeniable." According to the dialysis patient, Kim Saenz used the same bleach to fill two syringes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shot directly into their bloodstream.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elderly woman says she watched the former nurse fidget as she filled the needle with bleach.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Injected straight into the IV lines of fellow patients.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A clinic nurse now charged with injecting the bleach into the lines on purpose. Federal investigators examine blood tubing, IV bags and syringes from the clinic tainted with lethal bleach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, small town, Petoskey. A happy young couple, owners of their own business, their life-long baby dream finally comes true when Mommy gives birth to now 4-month-old baby boy Joshua. Then the whole family vanishes into thin air.
Breaking tonight. Last seen by relatives at a family birthday party. Investigators entered the family`s home to find everything -- clothing, food, computers, paperwork -- all left as if they`d be back in minutes. Tonight, where is the Medsker family?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a baffling disappearance, a small Michigan town, a young couple who never missed a day working at their successful cleaning business suddenly gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last seen at a birthday party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Completely vanished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would never leave their customers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom Sabrina Medsker, dad Timothy Medsker and 4- month-old baby boy Joshua all vanish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This family has disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police and their families want to know what may have led Timothy and Sabrina Medsker and their 4-month-old son to vanish without a trace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is 100 percent out of character and very concerning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say it`s likely they left suddenly in the middle of packing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All their personal property, computers, clothing, food. It looks like something spooked them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reportedly last seen at a birthday party for their niece.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eleven days later, Timothy called his mother. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were going to get a gift for the shower. So they were planning on coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight. Live, Houston suburbs. A string of patients dead at a high-end medical center. Cops zero in on a young female nurse. Did a so-called angel of mercy turn angel of death, stalking the halls with syringes dripping with lethal dosages of raw bleach she apparently got straight out of the mop and pail.
You know, nearly half a million people in this country every day get dialysis. It`s a miserable thing to go through. You`re hooked up for hours and hours on end. To top it all off, in the Houston suburbs, they`ve got to worry about this?
Straight out to Joe Gomez, senior investigative reporter, KTRH. Joe, what can you tell me?
JOE GOMEZ, KTRH: That`s right, Nancy. Investigators say that Kim Saenz injected up to 10 patients with bleach, 10 dialysis patients with bleach. Five of them died, as a result, Nancy. Five others were injured.
In one terrifying case, a witness says they actually saw this evil nurse apparently trying to get bleach into a syringe, looking around suspiciously to make sure nobody saw her. And then she injected it -- this according to two witnesses -- injected it into two dialysis patients, Nancy.
GRACE: Let`s go backwards. Let`s go backwards. To Clark Goldband. I want to hear the facts. Who is this woman? She`s what, in her 30s. She`s had a history, a fairly good track record of working in medical situations. And everyone seemingly liked her a lot -- cute, bubbly. Everyone liked her there at the medical facility. It`s a very high-end facility with a high volume of patients.
What do we know about her, Clark?
CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: She started nursing, Nancy, in 2004. And here`s the thing. This wasn`t her first time at the radio -- first time at the rodeo, rather. But she only worked at this facility, according to reports, for eight months, Nancy.
And about five months prior to that, they started noticing a high level of patients started dying. Nineteen patients were found dead in the last five months this nurse worked there. It set of a whole bunch of red flags for authorities who closely monitor this facility.
And it was during one of those times this facility was being monitored that not one but two patients sounded the alarm and noticed this nurse allegedly injecting bleach, raw bleach, from a mop pail into the lines of the dialysis patients.
GRACE: You know, it`s my understanding, Stacey Newman, that an anonymous letter months ago was begging authorities, begging authorities to investigate this facility, this medical facility. And it`s Davita. It`s all over the country, Davita is. And it`s very high-end with a very high volume of dialysis patients.
Tell me about that anonymous letter, Stacey.
STACEY NEWMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via telephone): Well, as Clark had just said, Nancy, emergency crews have been called to this clinic as many as 30 times in one month alone.
One of those fire officials who was dispatched during this rash of calls sent an anonymous letter to the state health department begging them to inspect this clinic because many of these emergency workers said they had never seen anything like this, where time and time again in one month, they were called to this clinic 30 times. That`s how this investigation started.
GRACE: We are taking your calls. We are live in the Houston suburbs. A string of patients found dead after this nurse starts working at a high- end health facility. The young and bubbly brunette seemingly had no problems, no cares, reporting daily to work on time, efficient, until an anonymous letter begs authorities to begin an investigation into the facility.
To Dr. Bill Manion, medical examiner joining us out of Philadelphia today. Dr. Manion, I`m reading the legal documents here, and it refers to sodium hypochlorite.
DR. BILL MANION, MEDICAL EXAMINER: That`s correct. That`s...
GRACE: Is that common bleach, like Clorox?
MANION: Yes. That`s the chemical name for bleach, sodium hypochlorite. I would imagine it would cause an immediate shift in a person`s pH, in other words, their blood chemistry, their acid level. Normal pH of the blood would 735 to 745. If you`re injecting bleach, that`s going to drive the pH up, I believe, and just throw your whole metabolic system out of whack. You may start coagulating proteins.
And the thing that scares me, though, is I wonder if we would even test for bleach. I mean, it`s so bizarre. We wouldn`t even probably look for it in an autopsy unless someone told us the person, you know, swallowed bleach to commit suicide or something like that. So I`m not sure it would be picked up on a regular tox screen.
GRACE: So what you`re saying, Dr. Manion, is that these patients could have died and no one would have ever known the cause of death because why in the world would the medical examiner test your blood for Clorox? It`s like Clorox bleach, right?
MANION: Exactly. Exactly. There would be no need to unless you had, you know, a history, that somebody -- you know, in an emergency room, sometimes children will come in that swallowed bleach. And obviously, we`ll, you know, flush their stomach out, try to treat them. But if you don`t know that history, then nobody would really be looking for it.
GRACE: OK. Dr. Manion, while I`ve got you -- Dr. Bill Manion, medical examiner joining us out of Philly tonight. Dr. Manion, what -- of course, I`m just a JD. I`m not an MD like you. But nobody needs to tell me that injecting or swallowing bleach will kill you. I can figure that out just by the smell of the bleach. Instinctively, you know not to consume it.
But what would the victim go through? What would they experience physically by having bleach injected into their system?
MANION: You know, that`s a...
GRACE: What would they feel?
MANION: (INAUDIBLE) first impression, it would probably be very painful as your body`s acidosis and alkalosis shifted. It must affect the heart.
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! I -- I -- you`re losing me. I don`t know what you even just said. But I know this. When you have an allergic reaction, you break out in hives. You hurt. Some people can`t breathe. They itch. You get a violent headache. I can only imagine the reaction if your body was suddenly injected with bleach.
I want to go back to Stacey Newman, on the story. Stacey, there is a string now of 19 individuals. Could somebody tell me why I see this woman decked out in fancy clothes, a big crucifix, and a jewel-encrusted crucifix, walking free? Why isn`t she behind bars? What`s happening?
NEWMAN: Well, Nancy, she`s actually at this point out on bail. And what we know is she is charged with one count of capital murder, which in that jurisdiction should be death by lethal injection. So you`re right, it is very surprising to see her walking around carefree right now.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. Joining me out of Miami, Ken Padowitz, former prosecutor, Dwane Cates, defense attorney, L.A., Holly Hughes, defense attorney, former prosecutor, Atlanta.
All right, what I don`t understand is why she`s only charged with one count, Ken Padowitz. Explain.
KEN PADOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, apparently, this is a very difficult case to prove. It`s based on circumstantial evidence. Luckily, they don`t have but one, they have two eyewitnesses who actually see her injecting this poison toxin into these individuals.
So they put together a case, and they`re able to prosecute her for first-degree murder. But apparently, based on that, there`s a number of different things that they have to look at, and that`s why she`s still walking while they try this.
GRACE: OK. Take a look at that video I just saw. Liz, let`s roll it again. I think this is a huge error, a tactical error by the defense. Not that video, the video of her in court. I would not want my client standing beside that medical equipment, Holly Hughes. Why put that in the jury`s head? There she is hovering over the equipment. I would take that away pronto, Holly.
HOLLY HUGHES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Nancy. You know, it`s like when you used to prosecute, you always wanted to get the defendant up to hold the gun, and that just freaks the jury out.
So no, you do not want her next to what the jury is going to call the instrument of death. I would absolutely not have her anywhere near it. And if the prosecution tried to get her to do it, I would object like nobody`s business. Kill the visual, Nancy. Keep her in her seat.
GRACE: And another thing, Holly Hughes, another reason that I think is a tactical decision to go forward with just one murder, because if they are dead set on getting her on a death penalty case, why put all the murders together? If they fail on one murder, there`s always another to try her on the death penalty.
That`s the tactical thinking, I guarantee you, that went into their decision to try her on one murder to start with, Holly.
HUGHES: Absolutely, Nancy, because this case is not as strong as everybody`s making it out to be. We hear that there`s two eyewitnesses. What we haven`t heard is that their stories are inconsistent, they keep changing, and they`re not credible.
GRACE: Yes, I don`t know about that, Holly Hughes. But what I do know, Dwane Cates, is you don`t -- you don`t get -- you don`t get Clorox bleach in your system by accident, Cates. This is intentional.
DWANE CATES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is intentional. I mean, it may be intentional. You don`t know. Here`s the deal. They got to put the syringe in her hand. They got to put her there doing it. Now, they`ve got a couple witnesses that say they saw that, but you know what? One of those witnesses is almost blind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least five patients now dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five patients who ended up dead after their nurse allegedly hooked them up to IVs full of bleach, lethal bleach shot directly into their bloodstreams. A clinic nurse now charged...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Testified that she saw Saenz fill two syringes while she was at the clinic for dialysis treatment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tainted with lethal bleach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Upscale Houston suburbs. This woman, a young brunette nurse, now under suspicion of poisoning patients at a high-end medical facility. One by one, they dropped dead. Police never thinking, MEs never thinking to search the blood for Clorox bleach.
We are taking your calls. The three attorneys would have you believe that this is a very, very weak case, made on circumstantial evidence. Two eyewitnesses were old, were in poor health, one was nearly blind, who say they saw her draw bleach, Clorox bleach, straight out of the mop and pail and inject it into the medical equipment.
Unleash those lawyers, Ken Padowitz, Dwane Cates, Holly Hughes. Let`s put them to the test. They think the case is so weak. OK, Holly Hughes, a yes/no for you. I know we`re all lawyers, and it`s hard to answer yes/no, but I`m going to test you.
Holly, if I were to seize -- pursuant to warrant, of course -- your laptop computer, would I find searches that said, bleach poisoning, can bleach be detected in dialysis lines?
GRACE: Would I find that search on your laptop? OK. Dwane Cates, would I find that search on your laptop computer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I had to do research for this show.
GRACE: Before today, Cates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not on my computer, no. And I think this is a strong case, Nancy. I agree with you. I don`t think it`s a weak case.
GRACE: I think you`re right, Padowitz. OK...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you wouldn`t have found it on my computer before today.
GRACE: I`m glad to hear that. I`m glad to hear that. Stacey Newman, let`s break the news to the two defense attorneys on the show about what was discovered on her computer.
NEWMAN: Well, Nancy, it all comes back to good old Google and Yahoo! searches. Investigators, when they seized Kim Saenz`s computer, say saw searches for "bleach poisoning." And get this, it was only one day after the first two patients died.
Then a couple weeks later, another search, this one a lot more specific, "can bleach be detected in dialysis lines?"
GRACE: Can you imagine sending your ailing mother, father, grandmother, child, to this facility only to learn a young brunette nurse systemically murdering patients one after the next by injecting deadly doses of raw bleach into their equipment, bleach straight out of the mop and pail?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least five patients now dead after federal investigators examine blood tubing, IV bags, and syringes from the clinic tainted with lethal bleach.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two witnesses swore under oath that they witnessed Kim Saenz fill syringes with bleach. She saw Saenz fill two syringes while she was at the clinic for dialysis treatment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty-eight-year-old nurse Kimberly Saenz says she`s not the one to blame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking your calls. Straight out to Renee in Ohio. Hi, Renee. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Nancy. How long had this been happening to these people? How long (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: You know, that`s a good question. Let`s find out. Joe Gomez, KTRH, this is how long we think it`s been happening. Go ahead, Joe.
GOMEZ: Well, the nurse had been working there, Nancy, for about eight months. Now, think about that, eight months. In one month alone, there were 30 times that ambulance authorities were called to this clinic to get people that were -- that might have been poisoned. I mean, that`s a long time, Nancy.
GRACE: And to you, Clark Goldband. We know this has been going for that many months, but she`s only been there for that many months. Where has she been before this, Clark?
GOLDBAND: Well, Nancy, she had a job at another nursing facility, where she was reportedly let go for stealing Demerol. This was back in 2005. And we got a copy of her nursing report, where she had to surrender her nursing license. And that charge of stealing the drug Demerol was, in fact, in there at the first facility she worked at.
GRACE: OK. To Sergeant Scott Haines. Haines, help me out. I`ve got the document to which Clark was referring right here in my hand. What in the hay is Davita doing hiring a nurse who`s already been fired for stealing Demerol? Help me out. Would you want her hovering over your bed, Scott Haines?
SGT. SCOTT HAINES, SHERIFF`S OFFICER, SANTA ROSE CO., FLORIDA: Absolutely not. There`s no rationality behind that whatsoever. She was fired, stealing a controlled substance, loses her nursing license, and then they put her in a position where she controls filtering the poisons out of somebody`s body? I would not want her there, Nancy.
GRACE: And Scott, don`t you think, Sergeant Haines, that they need to do a little background check? And I`m not talking about Davita. It`s over for them, all right? They got a string of 19 sick patients, sick or dead. But shouldn`t cops be backtracking her to find out everywhere she`s worked and whether there was a spate of dead patients, Scott?
HAINES: Absolutely. If she was able to sneak through the system somehow and get this current job, I`m wondering why she wasn`t prosecuted for the theft of the Demerol.
GRACE: Hey, she didn`t sneak. She didn`t sneak, Scott! If I can get the document, so could they!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators also seized the nurse`s computer. Thirty-eight-year-old nurse Kimberly Saenz says she`s not the one to blame and just a pawn in the clinic`s failure to maintain its equipment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Five patients who ended up dead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Death of five dialysis patients.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: After their nurse allegedly hooked them up to IVs, full of bleach. A dose of lethal bleach shot directly into their bloodstreams.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Elderly woman says she watched the former nurse fidget as she filled the needle with bleach.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Injected straight into the IV lines of fellow patients. A clinic nurse now charged with injecting the bleach into the lines on purpose. Federal investigators examine blood tubing, IV bags, and syringes from the clinic tainted with lethal bleach.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Defense attorneys then call to question the quality of Davita`s water saying Saenz was new to the clinic and their policies when the incidents happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining me right now is a special guest. A BA and RN, Roberta Mikles, joining us out of San Diego. A retired nurse, dialysis patient safety advocate.
Nurse Mikles, thank you for being with us.
ROBERTA MIKLES, BA, RN, RETIRED NURSE, PATIENT SAFETY ADVOCATE: Thank you, Nancy. What I wanted to address -- I know people have addressed this nurse`s background, but I want to bring to everyone`s attention, yes, she was hired, and had a background check that wasn`t complete or, in fact, wasn`t done. But this facility, in my opinion, had problems before this nurse ever went to work there.
GRACE: I want to address this particular nurse`s conduct and what dialysis patients go through. I know you`re very familiar with the case, Nurse Mikles.
With me, Roberta Mikles, BA and RN, a patient safety advocate, joining us out of San Diego.
Explain to the viewers, there`s nearly a half a million people in America that take dialysis every day. Nearly half a million. It`s a very, very difficult process, a miserable process to go through in order to live.
Roberta, explain in a nutshell to our viewers what dialysis is and why patients must go through it in order to live.
MIKLES: Well, when someone`s kidneys fail, our kidneys, your kidneys, my kidneys, work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When someone`s kidneys fail, their kidneys are not working. Therefore, their kidneys are not filtering out the toxins, the impurities. Their kidneys are not regulating their potassium and sodium. So consequently, in order to live, the patients must go through dialysis.
What`s happened here is people go through dialysis three times a week for between 3, 4 1/2, 5 hours, three times a week, which 15 hours a week is certainly not comparable to 24/7.
GRACE: This woman who is a nurse has been fired from a previous facility for stealing Demerol. Even I can get those documents. And what`s so stunning to me is that they hired her anyway.
To Dr. Leslie Seppinni, clinical psychologist. Dr. Seppinni, when you go into a medical care facility, or a hospital, you are counting on the doctors and the nurses, not only to take care of you medically, but to care about the outcome of your case. Weigh in, Seppinni.
LESLIE SEPPINNI, PSY.D., CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, absolutely. You know, you care and you want to know that you`re in a safe place. That that`s why you`re there. You`re there for treatment. And for safety. The issue here, though, is that patients on dialysis in the first year, about 20 percent, pass away, in the second year, about 50 percent.
So when you have police getting 30 reports 30 times, people saying, hey, go check this place out, they`re looking at what the death rate is which is different than, say, an emergency room situation. And the second point I want to make is, we`re not looking at somebody who`s just a killer. We`re looking at a serial killer.
GRACE: You know, in the scheme of it, a serial killer puts it in an entirely different light.
Let me remind you, this is a death penalty case. And the mode of death, ironically, is lethal injection. This young brunette on trial for allegedly murdering one patient after the next by lethal injection of Clorox bleach straight out of the mop and pail.
Out to the lines. Peggy in Ohio. Hi, Peggy. What`s your question?
PEGGY, CALLER FROM OHIO: Hi, Nancy. How are you doing? Love your show.
GRACE: I`m good, dear. Thank you.
PEGGY: I have a question. The fact that they have all the information on the computers, will that help, like, execute, like, the death penalty in this case?
GRACE: You mean the computer searches? I think that it would.
To the lawyers. Ken Padowitz, Dwayne Case, Holly Hughes.
I want you to take a listen to this summary of what the state hopes to prove.
Out to you, Clark Goldband, what does the state have against this girl?
CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, COVERING STORY: Well, Nancy, the state says they have those multiple eyewitnesses that saw her inject the bleach. Also according to reports, since the facility noticed that patients were all of a sudden dying and becoming ill, they saved a lot of that tubing and a lot of that equipment. So that can be tested as traces for bleach.
Also the state has those two very significant computer searches that we know of. Now, Nancy, on the other hand, the defense seems to be arguing they`re not disputing the fact that some patients may have seen her injecting this bleach, but it was only to measure the proper amount of bleach to clean the machines.
The defense also complains that the amount of chlorine in the water was 15 times higher than an acceptable limit.
GRACE: Back to Nurse Roberta Mikles. Roberta, I understand that sometimes the bleach solution is used to clean the dialysis machines. But wouldn`t that cleaning be done at a different time than when the patient is hooked up to the dialysis machine?
MIKLES: They`re hooked up to a machine, the blood -- they have two sites. One needle goes in one place, another needle goes in another site. That`s what`s called a fistula, where an artery and vein are connected. The blood goes out into the machine. It`s cleaned. It goes back into the patient`s body.
GRACE: And how long does the process take?
MIKLES: It can be -- it`s individualized. Generally it`s around three hours. It could be four hours. It could be 4 1/2 hours. Three times a week.
GRACE: We are taking your calls. A young brunette nurse now under suspicion of being a serial killer.
Back to Stacey Newman. Stacey, there must be hundreds of patients now concerned that their loved one died out of this clinic because of this nurse.
STACEY NEWMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, that`s something actually investigators are probably looking into. I mean, my grandfather did dialysis for years before he passed away, so if I had a loved one at this facility, I`d be demanding investigators look into that. Five patients dead. Five injured. Many grandparents. Many great-grandparents, Nancy.
GRACE: And Clark Goldband, isn`t it true that one witness says they saw her draw out Clorox bleach straight out of the mop and pail?
GOLDBAND: That`s right, Nancy. She said that pail was usually on the floor. This time it was on the counter and saw her draw the syringe with this Clorox bleach solution. The defense says she was just preparing to clean the machine later with the syringe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Breaking news out of Michigan.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police in Michigan are trying to track down a missing couple and their infant son.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thirty-four-year-old mom, Sabrina Medsker, 33- year-old dad, Timothy Medsker, and 4-month-old baby boy, Joshua, all vanished.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Despite repeated attempts to track them down since that call, no one has heard from them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police conduct searches of the home and computers but still no leads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All their personal property, computers, clothing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police say it`s likely they left suddenly in the middle of packing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like something spooked them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Family and friends are extremely concerned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And very concerning.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The family is asking for an e-mail, a letter from them, a call, any sign that they`re OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please just call somebody and, or write or e- mail. Just let us know you guys are OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: A family disappears just after their baby dream comes true. Now 4-month-old baby Joshua with the parents. When police go into the home, they find everything intact, just as if family meant to be back in moments.
Joining us right now, ABC News correspondent, Reena Ninan.
Reena, thank you for being with us. What do we know about the family`s disappearance?
REENA NINAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Nancy, when we spoke to the mother and the sister yesterday. They told us this is 100 percent out of character. And the police are saying something clearly must have spooked them. On February 5th, it`s the last time that the family gathered together, in fact, it was for their niece`s birthday party, everything seemed completely in order. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
The last time the mother had any contact with her son, Tim, was on February 16th. There was a phone call. They talked about going to a baby shower, actually this weekend, and she said nothing seemed suspicious.
The problem began when this cleaning company that they own, it`s called Ardvark, they didn`t show up for cleaning services. And they are known, a reputation of working 80 hours a week and showing up on time promptly. That was their reputation in the small little town. That`s when their family became concerned and knew something was up. That was the really big red flag at the start of all of this, Nancy.
GRACE: With us, ABC News correspondent Reena Ninan.
Reena, how did the cops get into the home and what did they find when they went in there?
NINAN: Well, they say the biggest thing that kind of threw them off was the fact that it seemed like they were in the middle of packing. There were bags of clothes laying around, computers, personal papers, even food. That`s why they kind of thought that something must have scared them off. They noticed that their wallet, her purse was also missing, and that their family car was gone. So these were the first clues, Nancy, that something must have driven them away.
GRACE: Highly, highly unusual for this family. They had been together for years. Owners of a successful business, and their baby dream just comes true. Last seen at a family birthday party. Didn`t mention a thing to anyone about leaving town.
To Andrew Keller, CNN affiliate, WPBN. Weigh in, Andrew.
ANDREW KELLER, REPORTER, CNN AFFILIATE WPBN: Yes, you know, this is a very odd case. Petoskey has about 6,000 people in it and, you know, I`m sitting out in front of the house right now and what`s very odd about this entire situation is they have surveillance cameras. They have cameras that look at the front door. They have a camera up in the upstairs, it`s almost like an attic area, staring out in front of their house.
So, you know, you hear the fact that they may have been spooked away and it`s a real possibility that they were spooked away. We have no idea what the reason they have these cameras in their windows for.
You know, in the backyard you can see where they have their brand new baby`s new toys. It`s kind of like a swing set type of thing. And, you know, it`s a very odd situation. Especially in this small town of Petoskey in northern Michigan where stuff like this, you know, you hear it, but it`s true. Stuff like this doesn`t happen, it seems.
GRACE: Joining me right now, special guest, Chief John Calabrese, Petoskey Department of Public Safety.
Chief, thank you for being with us. How did police manage to get into the home, and what did they find when they got in?
CHIEF JOHN CALABRESE, PETOSKEY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Nancy, we obtained a search warrant on two different occasions to, the first time, to go in and look for the family members, the second time to look for information or evidence that might shed some light on where they may have gone.
GRACE: And what was their behavior at that family birthday party, Chief?
CALABRESE: From all indications, everything was fine. Family seemed to be getting along fine, and there were no indications that anything like this was going to happen.
GRACE: And how long have they been a couple, Chief?
CALABRESE: I think they`ve been together for about 15 years. So they`ve been a couple for quite a period of time.
GRACE: To Alexis Weed, also on the story. Alexis, nothing amiss at the birthday party. The home looked as if they meant to come back in minutes. And also, speaking with knowledge firsthand, it`s very difficult to travel with a little baby. It -- I mean, if you care about the baby, you`ve got to take everything. If they`re taking a bottle, sterilizers, formula, blankets, diapers. The works. What do we know, Alexis?
ALEXIS WEED, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Right, Nancy. The police have told us that the home was left as if this couple was planning, as you said, to just return. There was still food in the house, Nancy. Food in the cupboards. It looked as if they had removed only some of their clothing from the dresser drawers in the bedrooms.
So it looked like perhaps they were maybe going on a vacation or planned to return very soon. This couple did have some ties in Chicago. The family thought maybe they just took a short trip to see friends there in Chicago or Indiana where they also have ties.
GRACE: Joining me right now, special guest out of San Francisco, Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation. His specialty, missing people.
Marc, what do you make of it? It`s extremely rare for a whole family to vanish.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Sure, Nancy. This is a little bit reminiscent of the McStay situation last year -- a couple of years ago. You might remember the young family in Fallbrook (ph) --
GRACE: I do.
KLAAS: -- San Diego that has disappeared. I think three scenarios jump out at me. They either went on a trip on their own which seems totally unlikely given that they were so responsible. B, they were the victims of a horrible tragedy, they may have driven into a canal or off of a cliff or something horrible like that, or they were the victims of a crime. I think what has to happen is that the authorities have to subpoena their cell phone records, they have to subpoena all of their banking material to see if they`ve left any kind of a paper trail or a cell phone trail as to where they might be headed.
And then finally I think what you have to do is you have to look out for those locations or you have to put surveillance on those locations where they`re known to have family, friends, or have previously lived.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Deborah, Oklahoma. Hi, Deborah. What`s your question?
DEBORAH, CALLER FROM OKLAHOMA: Well, my question would be, if they were planning on a vacation, would they have maybe withdrawn some money and can someone follow them back? Have they checked the cameras -- the guy said that about having all the surveillance cameras. It makes me wonder what they -- were they scared of something, was there something in their past or something they were worried about?
GRACE: Good question. To Reena Ninan, ABC News correspondent. What of -- what do you make of it?
NINAN: Well, the big clues for the police have been the fact that everything was left behind. We`re not aware of what was found, if anything, on those surveillance cameras. If they were even turned on at the time. But they`re really uncertain, Nancy, about what could have driven them to suddenly leave. The big problem that we`re hearing was they never let their clients down. They showed up every single day on time. They worked incredibly hard.
So what could have made them leave and not allow their family members to even know their whereabouts? That`s the big question that their family wants to know.
GRACE: A lovely family disappears seemingly into thin air after a family birthday party. Tonight, where are the Medskers?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Family says this is extraordinarily out of character.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re worried about you guys.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So far, no leads.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police say it`s likely they left suddenly in the middle of packing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are just getting news on the missing family. The Medsker family. Timothy, 33, Sabrina, 34, Joshua just 4 months.
Straight out to Chief John Calabrese. Chief, what do we know?
CALABRESE: Nancy, we were notified by the family, by Tim`s mother and sister that Tim had contacted them by phone, and that the family is fine. We did have an opportunity to speak to Tim`s mom and sister. They feel very confident and comfortable with the fact that Tim, Sabrina and Joshua are just fine and at this point we`ll be closing our investigation. Here`s the family --
GRACE: OK, wait. Wait, wait, wait. Chief, Chief, Chief. Where are they? Why did they disappear?
CALABRESE: At this point we don`t know why. And we don`t know exactly where they are but they do plan to reunite with mother and sister soon and we hope to get those -- get the answers to those questions.
GRACE: Chief, thank you so much for being with us. You know, it`s so rare in our business that we get good news so we`re thankful for that.
Let`s stop and remember Army Specialist Zachary Salmon, 21, Harrison, Ohio, killed Afghanistan. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service medal, Army Service ribbon, loved sports, boxing, favorite bible verse tattooed on his arm, "Life is but a vapor that appears and vanishes that quickly."
Leaves behind parents Stephen and Sonya Renee, sisters Kelsi and Caitlin, brother Stephen, son Noah.
Zachary Salmon, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but especially to you and a special good night from Army Specialist Cody. Stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
And happy birthday to California friend, Katie, Stanford honor grad working on her Ph.D. in creative writing. Loves to run, her dog, King Charles Cavalier Gus and brother Timmy.
Congratulations to Matt and Michelle on engagement. He proposes on top of Kennesaw Mountain.
Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.