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Missing Boy Unreported by Mother; Search for Missing House of Blues Hostess
Aired January 06, 2014 - 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. Off the top to Fitchburg. A 1st-grader tells her teacher her baby brother hasn`t come home in weeks. But he wasn`t reported missing? After repeated calls to child safety, did they drop the ball? As the governor threatens to clean house, Mommy, Daddy, child safety all scrambling for answers. But forget about them. Where is 5-year-old baby boy Jeremiah Oliver?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 5-year-old boy, Jeremiah, gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to find this boy. We need to find him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police searched the child`s Fitchburg home on Kimball Street. Next-door neighbors say they`ve noticed an odor for months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your biggest fear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s probably -- who knows, probably dead. I don`t want that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The renewed call for tips, leads and hope in finding Jeremiah Oliver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, live, Myrtle Beach, and the desperate search for a 20-year-old restaurant hostess who disappears after a dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Her Dodge Intrepid turns up nearby, abandoned. Tonight, time is running out. Where is Heather?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This nightmare of trying to find her, it`s hard. It`s very hard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen Heather Elvis? The 20-year-old beauty reportedly vanishes after a date. She`s never heard from again, her car found parked at a boat landing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please help us find our daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, we go to Oakland. A parent`s worst nightmare comes horribly true when their little girl has her tonsils removed. Hours later, inexplicably, little Jahi pronounced brain dead? What? Tonsils removed, brain dead? Those two don`t fit together! And I don`t buy what the doctors are selling tonight! Tonight, I want answers!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She smiled when she walked into this hospital, and I told her, This surgery is to make you better!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jahi went in to have her tonsils removed. Doctors said it was to help her with her sleep apnea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) went into cardiac arrest and died! And they brought her back, and now she`s brain dead!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And to Pine Hills, Florida. A quiet neighborhood in shock tonight when they hear Daddy forces his 5-year-old little boy to do push-ups until the boy drops dead? Are you kidding me? I want justice!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) was sent home from school for misbehaving. His father, who shares custody, took the boy home to his Pine Hills apartment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Punishes him by hitting him in the rear a few times, and then forces the child to do push-ups and squats for 20 minutes. But by the time authorities arrive, the boy is dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of animal does that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight. We go to Fitchburg. A 1st-grade girl tells her teacher her baby brother hasn`t been home in weeks. But he was never reported missing? After repeated calls to child safety, did they drop the ball? Tonight, as the governor threatens to clean house totally, Mommy, Daddy and child safety all scrambling for answers.
But I don`t care about them. I care about 5-year-old baby boy Jeremiah Oliver. Where is Jeremiah? Why was he not reported missing? Why did his little sister have to show up at school, her 1st grade teacher, going, Where`s my brother? He hasn`t come home. I haven`t even seen him in weeks. And he was never reported missing?
Take a look at Jeremiah Oliver. Is there a chance to save this boy? Tip line 978-345-9648. Fitchburg police need your help.
Straight out to investigative journalist Rita Cosby. Rita, I`m sick. I am sick! And I -- one thing I`m happy about is that several employees at child protective services have been fired because they allegedly dropped the ball on this little boy.
But let`s start at the beginning, Rita Cosby. What happened?
RITA COSBY, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, what happened was, suddenly, the sister, the 7-year-old sister of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, goes to school and says, I haven`t seen my brother. He`s been missing. But she also says that the mom`s new boyfriend -- they`ve only been together for a few months -- has been beating and bruising the mother and also beating her, also her two brothers.
One horrific story, Nancy, where she says that one of her brothers may have even had his pinkie missing because of this boyfriend! And now the search is on. Where is 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver? They don`t know.
GRACE: You know what? Out to Jeff Gold. I`m going to release (ph) at least one of the defense attorneys, Jeff Gold, defense attorney out of New York. Why is the mother standing by and letting this happen, according to accounts? Why would you bring in a man and choose what, sex with some live-in guy you hardly know over your children? Why?
JEFF GOLD, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, these...
GRACE: It`s her house. And it`s a nice house. Why does she keep him there?
GOLD: You know, Nancy, these things happen over and over and over again.
GRACE: I don`t care!
GOLD: And maybe she was the victim of domestic abuse herself.
GRACE: Is that your defense? Is that your defense...
GOLD: Maybe she was the victim of...
GRACE: ... these things happen over and over?
GOLD: Look, I`m -- I`m not telling you it`s right, I`m telling you maybe -- it happens all the time.
GRACE: Put him up!
GOLD: We see this again and again.
GRACE: Put him up!
GOLD: The boyfriends that end up doing this...
GRACE: What I don`t understand right now is, I ask you about this case, and you`re, like, Hey, it happens all the time. You know what? It`s just that attitude, it`s just that attitude that you are displaying right now that is contributing to this fiasco! Everybody goes, Oh, it happens all the time. Well, that doesn`t make it OK!
GOLD: Doesn`t mean I did it, Nancy! I didn`t do anything in this case.
GRACE: Nobody said you did.
GRACE: But what I don`t understand is why the mother stands by and lets some man she hardly knows -- she`s been with him a couple months -- beat her children.
GOLD: Maybe he`s...
GRACE: I don`t understand that!
GOLD: Maybe he`s beating her, Nancy. We don`t know what she`s going through or what she`s gone through.
GRACE: That`s why you go 911...
GOLD: We don`t know.
GRACE: ... 911, and put that bad boy behind bars!
Back to you, Rita Cosby, investigative journalist. I want to get back to what the little girl says about Jeremiah Oliver. Please tell me -- please, Rita, tell me that the little girl is in foster care tonight. That`s what I want to know.
COSBY: Yes, thank goodness, Nancy. She`s in state custody, along with her older brother. But it is horrific what she reported.
And again, the last time family members saw this beautiful little boy was September 14th. The daughter, the sister, reports it early December, and then department of child services knocks on the door. They hear voices. No one answers. They come back again. No one answers. Meantime, they were supposed to be doing monthly visits.
GRACE: Well, isn`t it true that they could hear voices -- Yes.
GRACE: ... on the inside? Child protective services would go to the door, and they could hear people.
Oh, there`s Mommy. Let`s see if she`s got a couple Kim Kardashian selfies we need to look at. There`s Mommy. Mommy`s more worried about taking sexy selfies of herself rather than taking care of Jeremiah, her 5-year-old child.
COSBY: It`s disgusting!
GRACE: You know what, Rita? You`ll see when you have children, Rita. Listen to me. Five years old, you still have to help them get on the commode. You still have to put their socks on them. You still have to let them blow their nose on you. They can`t take care of themselves at age 5.
What -- what is that?
COSBY: It`s unbelievable!
GRACE: What am I -- Liz, what is that? What -- that`s the mother? Justin Freiman, is that the mother I`m looking at?
JUSTIN FREIMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via telephone): That is the mother.
GRACE: Where`s Justin? Do I have Justin Freiman with me anywhere? Justin, is that the mother?
FREIMAN: Nancy, that is the mom right there in that picture, taking a selfie.
GRACE: OK, so she`s in her nice home taking selfies of herself while her children are being beaten and abused.
Rita Cosby, what are police saying tonight about the whereabouts of this child? Nobody noticed he was gone?
COSBY: Yes, and that`s the most disgusting thing. You pointed out at the top, Nancy, one of the things I think is the most horrific here is department of children and family services -- there was a supervisor who was supposed to knock on the door and check on this family because there was a history of abuse. You talked about the neighbors, other family, even the child, the other sister reported it before. They were supposed to do monthly checkups. They did not!
And right now, they do not know where the children are. (sic) The parents, or now the boyfriend and the mother, are now behind bars. The kids -- the other two kids are in state custody. But they do not know where this child is.
And the good news in all of this is three social workers have been fired. Ironically...
COSBY: ... the one who was supposed to knock on the door...
COSBY: ... was supposed to get a promotion!
GRACE: You know, Rita, there are a few words that are illegal to say at our house, and one of them is hate, the "H" word, as the children say. Then there`s the "G" word, which is gun. There`s a lot -- you know, it may be a handful of bad words.
But I`ve got to say tonight that I absolutely hate child protective services. Explain to me what they were supposed to do to check on this child.
COSBY: It is disgusting, Nancy! They were supposed to check at least once a month to make sure that all the kids were taken care of properly. They did not do it for many months. Then the family actually moved, and the new department of family services did not check, either. So for months, this family, which was known to have abuse within the family, was not checked.
And then they go knock on the door, they hear voices, don`t do anything. A couple days later, they come back, and then they arrest the mother and the boyfriend. But for months, it went unchecked, and this was a known history of very vicious, brutal abuse.
GRACE: I want to go out to a special guest joining me tonight. It`s Dr. Charles Sophy. He`s the medical director of the LA County Department of Children and Family Services, and he is author of a very important book, in my mind, called "Side by Side."
Dr. Sophy, you know, I know this is not your jurisdiction, but you`re in charge of child services in LA County. And I don`t mean to use you as a punching bag, but I don`t get it, Dr. Sophy. I don`t get it.
Their job -- when I was a prosecutor, my job was to handle 150 brand-new felonies every week. Whether it was a plea or a trial, something had to be done. And I couldn`t just let the file disappear. It was on me to do the right thing.
How can you go to the door and you hear Mommy and the children in there. You know they know it`s you, child protective services. They won`t come to the door, and you just go away? Why? How could this happen, and why does it keep happening? This child may very well be dead.
DR. CHARLES SOPHY, MEDICAL DIR., LA CTY. DPT. OF CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES: Absolutely. You`re 100 percent right. It`s unacceptable work. The work product stinks. We got to get rid of those kinds of workers. And luckily, these three are gone.
But the bottom line is workload impact, as well. So if they can skirt an issue and not fully look at a case, they`re going to go on to the next crisis, and that`s not a good way to be and that`s not a good work ethic. That doesn`t keep kids safe.
GRACE: You know what, Sophy? This is what I don`t get. All the time, I look in the paper, I watch the news, and I see everybody living high on the hog up in Washington, D.C. They`re having dinner parties. They`re having functions, state functions. They`re flying all over the world. They`re spending God knows what for vacations for themselves.
And we don`t have enough money for child protective services workers? We don`t have enough of them, and the ones we do have are below par? I don`t understand that reasoning that`s going on.
I`m hearing in my ear, joining me right now from Fitchburg is a volunteer leading the search for little Jeremiah. With me is Miguel Fleitas. Miguel, thank you so much for being with us. Miguel, how did you get involved in the search for little Jeremiah?
MIGUEL FLEITAS, VOLUNTEER LEADING SEARCH (via telephone): Well, I saw the uncle, Sandrino, have a huge plead (ph) in front of the courthouse, very upset, asking for anybody to help him and help him in finding little Jeremiah. So I kind of went over to the first search that was done, and just stood back and just watched how the search was being done and who was doing the search and if it was organized or not.
And I realized that it was not being organized, and I decided to give my services to Mr. Sandrino and the father.
GRACE: With me is a volunteer leading the search for Jeremiah Oliver. He`s joining me tonight from Fitchburg, where a little boy has gone missing.
How can a little boy be missing for weeks on end and nobody notices? Nobody notices? I just got back from a birthday party with my children. It was one of those indoor jumpy houses. I was a nervous wreck because I couldn`t find Lucy for about eight minutes, OK? Then the same thing immediately happened with my son. You know, they were up on the jumpies. I couldn`t find them -- the panic in my chest.
What I don`t understand is how this child could be missing, Miguel Fleitas, for weeks on end and nobody notices!
FLEITAS: Well, I -- I cannot speak about how he disappeared, and I cannot speak about why, who didn`t -- you know, who dropped the ball here or not. All I`m saying is that I reside here in the community. It is my community where I reside, too. I have children...
GRACE: Where have you been searching, sir? Mr. Fleitas, where have you been searching? What searches have you guys done for the boy?
FLEITAS: I have concentrated my first search near the area where Mr. Alberto Sierra lives, the boyfriend. It is all wooded area back there. I thought that he would be familiar with that area in order to do whatever he wanted to do, you know, drop evidence or even, you know, little Jeremiah.
That search did not produce Jeremiah, but it did produce what I thought was potential evidence, and I turned that evidence to the detectives of Fitchburg police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am frustrated because I have to take this into my own hands because we haven`t found him. We need to find this boy. We need to find him. And she knows where he`s at. She knows (INAUDIBLE) could be in peace. (INAUDIBLE) he`s alive or if he`s dead to we can bury him and be in peace. Somebody please help us find him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: When we come back, tonight, the desperate search for a 20- year-old hostess at a local restaurant. She disappears after going out for a Mexican dinner. Her car, a Dodge, turns up nearby abandoned. Tonight, where is Heather?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was seemingly just another day for a 20- year-old makeup artist and House of Blues hostess. She dropped by her parents` home to pick up mail, and went out on a date later that night. But since about 3:00 AM, she`s never heard from again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s hard. It`s very hard. So anyone, if you know anything, help us put this nightmare to bed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m scared. I mean, really, really worried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her cell phone, radio silent. Group searches turn up nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, we go live to Myrtle Beach and the desperate search for a 20-year-old girl. She`s a hostess at a local restaurant. She disappears after a night at a dinner, a Mexican restaurant. Her Dodge Intrepid turns up nearby, abandoned. Time is running out in the search for Heather.
We are taking your calls. Straight out to Rita Cosby, investigative journalist. You know, that evening, she had a very normal evening. She goes out to dinner at a local restaurant. She calls her dad around 10:30. And she even, I think, texts him a photo of her driving a stick shift, saying, Look, hey, I`m finally driving a stick shift.
She gets home to the apartment she`s sharing near where she works there at the House of Blues restaurant. And she had been on a date with a new guy. He is not a suspect. He`s totally cooperating. She comes home from the date. She calls her friends, talks about how much fun she had on the date, talking about her new boyfriend.
Boom! That`s it, Rita.
COSBY: Yes, it`s a bizarre story. And the last communication, which you just pointed out, Nancy, was around 3:41 in the morning, when she called her roommate to say, Hey, I had a great date. The boyfriend or the guy she went on the date with said he saw her car parked at the apartment. That`s significant because what happened was, the next day, a cop saw her car abandoned about 10 miles away at a spot she used to hang out, and that`s when they learned she was missing.
GRACE: Guys, this girl is just 20 years old. She is a student. She`s working, also studying. With me tonight, making a plea for your help, her parents are with us live, Debbie and Terry Elvis, joining us from Myrtle Beach.
First to you, the father, Terry, thank you so much for being with us. You heard from her that night. What was it, around 10:30, she sends you a picture, a text of her driving a stick shift? Is that how it went?
TERRY ELVIS, FATHER: Yes, ma`am. She texted me a picture, and she had a smile on her face, just normal. I mean, she was having a good time. She -- the only caption below it said, Look at me, I`m a pro. I`m driving a stick shift. It was something I had tried to teach her before, and now she was doing it. She was very proud of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The area searched by air, by land and by water, even horseback and ATV brought in. But no sign of Heather.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m asking to you keep looking because this is my family and this is my sister, and she`s my other half, my better half. And I just want her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to the lines. Michael, Virginia. What`s your question, Michael?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was wondering, were there any cameras around where she was working?
GRACE: Any surveillance cameras? Good question. Let`s go to Heather`s mom. Debbie Elvis is with us tonight. Everyone, her parents are joining me and asking you for your help in finding their girl, still their baby. She`s 20 years old. She`s a student. She`s working, helping put herself through school.
And with me tonight, her parents. With me, Terry and Debbie Elvis. Ms. Elvis, what about surveillance video, anywhere around that little apartment that she was sharing that`s close to where she works at House of Blues? Any surveillance video at all?
DEBBIE ELVIS, MOTHER: I`m not sure if there was at her apartment. I know the police department, Horry County police and all the different agencies that are working with them, have looked for every surveillance video that she might have been in prior to her going missing, and then again after. And they`ve got help going through the hours and hours of surveillance video that they`ve collected.
I haven`t heard anything that`s turned up from any of them. I`m not sure where they`ve been collected from. I just know that they`re searching everywhere, every place she could have possibly been.
GRACE: OK. Let`s go out to Michael Smith, the editor of "The Carolina Forest Chronicle." Michael, it`s a real pleasure to have you with us tonight. Michael, did the roommates notice her leaving? I mean, the date brought her home. He`s been very cooperative. He`s talked to the parents. He`s talked to police. He`s distraught. He`s helping search.
Did the roommates notice, did she go back out? Was she supposed to be at work the next day?
MICHAEL SMITH, "CAROLINA FOREST CHRONICLE" (via telephone): Thanks for having me. We don`t have any information about the roommate. In fact, the police report doesn`t even say if the roommate was home or what that situation was. It did say that they -- as you saw her off (ph), her car was still parked there at the apartment at about 2:00 to 2:30 in the morning. This is from the police records...
GRACE: And that was starting Wednesday, Michael Smith -- Michael Smith, the editor of "The Carolina Forest Chronicle." So she gets home Tuesday night. The date drops her off after dinner. And that`s confirmed. She goes in. She calls friends to tell them about her date. That`s in the wee morning hours, she`s calling on the phone and texting.
But then what happens there, Michael? What happens, Michael Smith? What`s the next known thing, her car turns up?
SMITH: Right. Pretty much. It`s difficult to say. There are elements of the official police report that are still redacted, so it`s difficult to say what else police know, other than that. There is some mention of video surveillance. Where the surveillance came from is also redacted...
SMITH: ... other than that it was a business with a drive-through.
GRACE: Let me go back to you the parents, Michael. With me, Debbie and Terry Elvis. To you, Terry Elvis. I was inundated day after day to help find Heather. And I want to help find Heather. I want you to know that.
Let me ask you this. Have police confided to you about when her cell phone was last used?
TERRY ELVIS: We know that the cell phone was last used 3:41 Wednesday morning, AM. That`s been confirmed. I found that the first night when I -- her phone is actually on our account, and I pulled up the information, and that was the last known use of the phone.
GRACE: Terry, was that pinged back to her apartment?
TERRY ELVIS: At this time, they won`t really confirm where it was pinged to.
GRACE: Did they find her purse and her cell phone at the apartment?
TERRY ELVIS: No, her purse and cell phone are missing along with her. Everything else looks to be where it`s supposed to be.
GRACE: Everyone, there is a $25,000 reward to help find Heather Elvis. She`s just a 20-year-old girl. Her parents are begging for your help tonight. The tip line, 843-915-TIPS -- 843-915-TIPS. Please help us find Heather.
And still to come tonight, a parent`s worst nightmare comes horribly true. The little girl has her tonsils removed. Hours later -- and inexplicably, in my mind -- little Jahi is pronounced brain dead? What? Tonsils removed, brain dead? That doesn`t fit in the same sentence, and I don`t buy what the doctors are trying to sell to me tonight!
GRACE: Tonight we go to Oakland. A parent`s worst nightmare comes horribly true. A little girl has her tonsils removed at a hospital, children`s hospital. Hours later, inexplicably, little Jani pronounced brain dead? What? She had her tonsils removed. Brain dead, tonsils removed? That doesn`t go together, and I don`t buy what the doctors are selling. We want answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a parent. Who wants to know the date and the time their child would die? Think about that, if someone told you on this date and this time, your child is going to die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A mother holding out hope that her teenage daughter, described as brain dead by doctors, can somehow survive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They responded, and I went in there and I talked to her and I said, hey, Jahi, you need to start moving, girl, because you know what this hospital is trying to do to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A hospital in Oakland, California, released the girl and she was turned over-
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: OK, maybe I don`t understand what`s happening, but she goes in to have her tonsils removed. Suddenly this little girl is brain dead, and now the hospital wants to take her off life support and the parents don`t want her off life support? I know she`s being transferred, but my question is this. The hospital where she was injured during a routine surgery to start with, and now they want to take this little girl off life support? Why? What? They need the bed that badly? Insurance won`t pay? No! I don`t buy it and I want to find out what happened. Why does she go brain dead during a tonsillectomy? To Henry K. Lee, reporter with the "San Francisco Chronicle." Henry, what the hay?
HENRY K. LEE, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: The hospital still has not told us because they`re citing confidentiality laws.
GRACE: They are.
LEE: -- in the aftermath of what happened in this tonsillectomy. We don`t know what happened to Jahi McMath after she emerged from surgery. She was fine initially, but several days later, she was considered brain dead. The family has steadfastly declined to accept that diagnosis, and within the dead of night, she`s now been transferred to another facility where they say she`s getting the care she deserves.
GRACE: What do you mean they transferred her in the dead of night?
LEE: After a week`s long fight, Nancy, this family has been fighting tooth and nail to have her removed from the hospital. The hospital that says she is brain dead.
GRACE: Where is this hospital? What hospital is this exactly? Where is this? Because children`s hospitals have such good reputations.
LEE: That`s right. This is Children`s Hospital Oakland. It has received a good reputation for many years.
GRACE: You said Oakland?
LEE: That`s right.
GRACE: Go ahead.
LEE: In this case, Nancy, they are saying they have done all they can. The family has said the nurses are great, it`s just the doctors, the administration that described to them in one conversation, she is dead, dead, dead, dead, how can you not understand that? Now they are saying she`s getting the care she deserves at a facility outside of the hospital.
GRACE: OK. I don`t understand how this whole thing happened. Do I have Dr. Bill Manion with me, Liz? Dr. Manion is a medical examiner joining me tonight out of Philly. Dr. Manion, how do you go from a perfectly healthy little girl, this girl 12, 13 years old, perfectly healthy. She goes to a Children`s Hospital in Oakland to get a tonsillectomy and she`s brain dead. How does that happen?
MANION: It happens in one out of 140,000 operations. I`ve only heard about a few of them in my 25 years. It is a very rare complication. In this case there was acute bleeding, so we know that a blood vessel was lacerated --
GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, right there, right there. Nuh- uh. No. You said a blood vessel was lacerated. That sounds like doctor talk for the surgeon sliced her blood vessel.
MANION: We all have different blood vessel anatomy, and we all have different coagulation abilities. I`m sure she was tested for hemophilia or any coagulation problems. In fact, there are reported cases where a person starts bleeding a week after their tonsillectomy and dies, because the clot is being resorbed, and sometimes that resuption can break into new vessels and cause abrupt bleeding.
GRACE: Joining me now in addition to Dr. Manion is Omari Sealy. This is Jahi`s uncle. Also with him is Christopher Dolan. He is the lawyer for the McMath family. Sir, Mr. Sealy, thank you for being with us. I don`t quite understand. What is the hospital`s rush to take her off life support? Haven`t they ever heard of miracles?
OMARI SEALY, UNCLE: Apparently not. Apparently, they don`t believe in hope is what it seems like. Even their spokesperson, Sam Singer (ph), says no amount of hope, no amount of prayer will bring this girl back. That`s an exact quote from him.
GRACE: I guess they never heard about Lazarus, did they, coming back from the dead?
SEALY: Apparently not.
GRACE: Let me ask you this, Mr. Sealy. And Mr. Dolan, Christopher Dolan, San Francisco lawyer, thank you for being with us.
CHRISTOPHER DOLAN, ATTORNEY: Nice to be here.
GRACE: What are they telling the mom and dad? Why did this girl go from a simple tonsillectomy to your daughter is brain dead?
SEALY: They haven`t told us anything. All they say is there`s going to be a full investigation, and we feel like that investigation is going to be very biased. But they haven`t told us anything.
GRACE: Are they going to investigate themselves? Is that what they`re saying?
SEALY: Apparently, yes. They`re going to investigate themselves.
GRACE: Oh, honey, they`ve got another thing coming. Christopher Dolan, have you been able to make any sense out of what the hospital is saying, what the doctors are saying?
DOLAN: Sure, I have. I grew up in a common sense world that said you break it, you fix it. In this particular instance, what happened is they put Jahi in this position, and then they wanted to get her out of the position, and they actually fought in court to pull her off a ventilator. I`ve never heard of a children`s hospital --
GRACE: You mean they took it to court? They actually went to court?
DOLAN: We took them to court, because they were saying to the family, they said to the family, we don`t need your permission. We`re going to pull her off the vent whenever we want. And they said, no, you`re not.
GRACE: I can`t believe they wanted this child off the ventilator so badly that they went to court. If the family had said that to me, I would say, fine, let`s keep her on the ventilator, let`s keep trying. They fought you all the way. I don`t understand that.
Unleash the lawyers. With me, Shareen Hormozdi, defense attorney, and Jeff Gold, defense and civil attorney. Shareen, why is the hospital fighting - taking -- why won`t they leave her on life support? It`s their fault what happened. So I don`t understand their problem with keeping the child on life support.
HORMOZDI: I agree with Mr. Dolan, if you break it, you fix it, but unfortunately there is nothing to fix and she`s legally brain dead and medically brain dead --
GRACE: You have a J.D., right, not an M.D.?
GRACE: So I don`t know why you`re saying it can`t be fixed. Do you know something about medicine that I don`t understand?
HORMOZDI: If she`s legally brain dead, then the ventilator is doing her no good. And the judge found --
GRACE: What about the family?
HORMOZDI: They can`t keep her on there indefinitely. What if for example she was not brain dead, just completely dead, heart not working, anything else, could they just leave a dead body in the hospital?
GRACE: All right, Jeff Gold, weigh in.
GOLD: You know, the hospital has a couple of self-interests here. No. 1, they don`t want to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions of dollars, to keep the child in perpetuity in a state where her heart and lungs are functioning, but her brain isn`t. Then moreover, there`s actually a problem with her being dead, it`s cheaper if they have to pay a civil suit than if she`s alive all these years.
GRACE: With me, psychologist Greg Cason. Greg, No. 1, they tell the parents, your child is having a tonsillectomy. That`s what the doctors advised. Now she`s brain dead. Now, over the wishes of the parents, they want to jerk her off life support? What are the parents supposed to make of that?
CASON: Well, I don`t know what the parents are supposed to make of it, but I think any parent worth their salt is going to be extremely concerned and horrified about the fact that they did what the doctors told them to do, and when doctors tell us to do something, we put our trust and faith in them. And when something goes horribly wrong, we lose all hope, and in fact, the parents are holding onto hope is going to be the last thing they have to hold onto.
GRACE: Omari Sealy, why did she need the tonsillectomy to start with?
SEALY: She had sleep apnea, and there was a sleep study done to say that this operation or this simple procedure, rather, would give her a better quality of life. My sister, she was a little apprehensive about it, so she got a second opinion, and they said, yes, she definitely is going to need this. It is going to give her a better quality of life. A simple procedure, she would go home the next day.
GRACE: Kinsey Schofield, social media strategist. How is this shaping up online?
KINSEY SCHOFIELD, SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST: Oh, my gosh, Nancy, this story--
GRACE: First of all, we don`t say omg. First thing. Now you can start again.
SCHOFIELD: Rules of the house. People are very passionate about this case online, Nancy, but the tone is split down the center. Cappa Totally (ph) tweeted "the government is out of control on the rules. Last I checked, brain dead is not equal to dead." Meanwhile, Blair Taylor comments that "faith is all this family has, don`t strip that away from them." On the other side, Jane RN (ph) tweeted, "a lot of non-medical people can`t or won`t accept what brain dead means, making this tragic situation more painful," while Kelly Jean (ph) agrees, "brain dead is not a coma. I don`t understand why the family are doing this to this child."
GRACE: All I know is the parents are being forced to absorb all of this so quickly. And then to jerk the child off life support at this juncture in my mind is wrong. Whatever cost there is, I suggest the hospital eat it.
When we come back. A quiet neighborhood in shock. They hear daddy forces his five-year-old boy to do push-ups until the boy drops dead? Are you kidding me? We want justice.
GRACE: Tonight`s outrage. To Pine Hills, Florida, a quiet neighborhood in shock when they hear that daddy allegedly forces his five-year-old boy to do push-ups until the boy drops dead? Push-ups for a five-year- old until the boy drops dead. Tonight we want justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica Phillips learned her five-year-old son, Darrell Upton Jr. (ph), was beaten to death. Investigators say an autopsy revealed a sickening crime at the hands of his namesake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A five-year-old child is forced to do 20 minutes of push-ups by his father. A punishment for acting up in school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of person does this to a child that cannot even defend himself? He`s a baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible), first dad slaps him to wake him, then hits the Internet for answers. Has a friend come over to help out, and then finally calls 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just can`t believe it. He did this to my son. He didn`t deserves this. No child does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He Googled it before he called 911? Bottom line, this little boy was five years old, kicked his teacher. He kicked his teacher. So the dad goes and gets him and starts to punish him. Punishing the boy by making him do push-ups and squats over and over and over until the little boy is crying and saying that his feet are tingling and that he`s hot. I can hardly stand to even recount the story. To producer Justin Freiman. Justin, what happened?
FREIMAN: The father went to pick his son up early from school because he was acting up. He brings him home --
GRACE: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. He kicked the teacher. No, I`m not happy about that. But is that the end of the world? He had a little fit and he kicked his teacher.
FREIMAN: That`s right, and he told police he brought the child home, then hit his son on the rear a couple of times. Then he ordered his son to do push-ups and squats for about 20 minutes.
GRACE: And then what happened? He does push-ups -- hold on, I`ve got Debra Roberts in my ear, anchor with the Florida News Network. So the little boy kicks his teacher, they send him home, as they should have. But that`s when everything goes horribly wrong, Debra. What happens?
ROBERTS: It goes horribly wrong, as you just said, Nancy. The father brings his child home early that Wednesday after, like you said, he got in trouble at school. He said he popped his son on the behind. Made him do 20 minutes worth of push-ups. The child started to complain that he didn`t feel well, that he was hot and that his feet started to hurt. So the father ordered him to continue working out, then sent him to a shower. When the child --
GRACE: Ordered him to continue working out.
GRACE: Do we, Debra Roberts, do we know the cause of death yet? It has got to be heat stroke or heart failure.
ROBERTS: No, actually, Nancy, it`s far worse than that. According to the autopsy conducted by the medical examiner, the child died of blunt force trauma.
GRACE: A 5-year-old boy is sent home from school for acting out. His father forces him to do push-ups and squats until the boy drops dead. Okay. Debra Roberts joining me from the Florida News Network, please tell me that the father is going to face the death penalty. Please tell me that.
ROBERTS: I am fairly certain that that is going to be what the state is going to seek, because this was a 5-year-old child, and the circumstance --
GRACE: Where was the mother?
ROBERTS: The mother, well, unfortunately, the father was watching the child. Both he and a 1-year-old sibling at the time of the incident. So that child --
GRACE: But where was the mother? Where was she?
ROBERTS: She was in town, she just wasn`t in the home. She lives separately. They`re not together.
GRACE: So the father had visitation or had a chance to be with the boy, and this is what happens? Question, Debra Roberts, Florida News Network, did the neighborhood or anyone else know of any prior abuse before this push-up incident?
ROBERTS: Oh, yes. There have been several neighbors who have come forward. One specifically who said she witnessed Darrell Upton Sr. (ph) use a belt to discipline the child.
GRACE: Everybody sees this and nobody does anything about it. Justin Freiman, apparently I`m hearing from Debra Roberts that the neighbors knew the father would mistreat the children. No one ever bothered to call police or report the abuse?
FREIMAN: There`s no report that anybody has called police. You know, he didn`t even immediately call 911.
GRACE: Tonight, we need your help in the search for a 30-year-old Michigan medical resident Taleka Patrick. She was last seen checking into a hotel in Kalamazoo, where she was a resident there at the local hospital. Take a look at this newly released video. If you have information, please call 269-383-8723.
GRACE: You know, every day I get lots of tweets and questions from you guys. Here is one New Jersey friend of the show, Kevin Correll (ph). He wants to know do you have to resist laughing when attorney Susan Moss answers your question in rhyme? Do we have that sound, Liz, of Sue Moss? Let`s listen to Sue Moss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUE MOSS: She`s not killing herself in that zoo unless it`s on pay-per- view.
If she really thought that the baby had died, she would have let out a shrieking cry.
If there`s air in the lung, the defense is done.
28 stabs, she doesn`t even have a scab?
Not only that, but he leaves her in the bath. I mean, you do the math.
Apparently everyone in the old cell block is talking to this jailhouse doc.
He allegedly killed his wife after getting her tipsy all so he can spend time with this mistress named Gypsy? You can`t make this stuff up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Do I have to resist laughing? Sometimes yes. And sometimes I don`t resist, but I can tell you, when we`re covering the type of stories that we cover here, I enjoy a good laugh. And if you look at Sue Moss` track record in court, nobody better. Thanks for your question, Correll. Everyone, let`s stop and remember American hero Army Private First Class David Miller, just 19, Wilton, New York. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, loved football and history. Parents Jesse and Leslie. Sister Victoria. David Miller, American hero.
Drew up next, everybody. I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern, and until then, good night, friend.