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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Body Recovered of Missing Pregnant Ohio Woman
Aired June 23, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DENISE STRZELCZYK, WOIO CORRESPONDENT: From everything that I've been able to gather, this is a guy who was quite the ladies man and had quite a few girlfriends. From what I here, though, his wife for whatever reason, did not move out of their home until recently.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: So presumably he has this two-year-old, Blake.
KEILAR: And then reportedly this is the unborn child of Jessie Davis. Chloe was the name that she had chosen. Do you know the ages of the other kids? Just trying to get a sense of if he was involved with these women at the same time.
STRZELCZYK: You know, I wish I could help you out with that. I don't know much about the California woman.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: We do know about another woman, though. We do know that an ex-girlfriend of his has said in the past and on the record, by the way, to several sources, that she believed all throughout the investigation that he was capable of doing something like this.
SANCHEZ: She described him as a conniver. In fact, Denise, you know more about this probably than I do.
STRZELCZYK: The thing is that we were at the Jackson township police department recently, and the chief there told me that they do have at least one domestic violence police report against him from a few years ago. So we know that that's on record. You know, we just have to be very careful what we say and what we speculate about. But I heard what you heard. All I know is there are in fact at least one - there is at least one report of domestic abuse that police have on file.
SANCHEZ: Well, Denise, thanks for hanging in there with us. We appreciate the information. What we want to do for our viewers now is let them know what we've got and that is the information that there's been both the finding of a body and an arrest in this case that really has intrigued so many people around the country. It harkens people back to other stories we follow like this. You were mentioning a while ago -- KEILAR: The Laci Peterson case, obviously that's something that really comes to mind and something that we saw with these thousands of people coming out and searching. No doubt they were prompted by the memory of this case.
SANCHEZ: A pregnant woman.
KEILAR: A pregnant woman received so much press of course a couple of years ago. And we just saw thousands of people -- I think it was nearly 1800 people who came out looking for Jessie Davis. Really Equsearch that was doing this search, just really overwhelmed by how many people came out. A lot of people really touched by the story and obviously hoping to see a good end here. But of course we know with the developments today, this is really the terrible end that everyone feared but nobody hoped for. Just to bring you up to date to this point, police authorities there in Canton, Ohio, have found this body they believe to be of Jessie Davis, the 26-year-old Ohio woman who was nearly nine months pregnant when she went missing about 10 days ago.
SANCHEZ: It's now just two hours, two minutes after the hour of 7:00. Let's try and take you through these developments in tis story now because they really have been somewhat startling. First of all, what we know at this point, Jessie Davis' body has been found. Her boyfriend has been charged, two counts of murder, according to police. They've been questioning for quite some time. And we understand that Bobby Cutts is, according to police, responsible for this and also, according to officials, was the person who would be the father of her unborn child. Let's do this for you now. Let's try and bring you up to date on what police said and as they said it. This is now roughly about an hour ago where they first briefed reporters with this startling announcement. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF DEAN McKIMM, CANTON POLICE: Since this is the first opportunity I've had to address the media, I'd like to make a brief statement and introduce myself. My name is chief Dean McKimm of the Canton police department. First let me start by expressing my sincerest sympathy to the family and friends of Jessie as well as those of the community who have suffered as a result of this regrettable crime which brings us all here today. In expressing these condolences, I know I speak also for the many dedicated members of the Canton police department. It goes without saying that we all hoped for a different outcome to the disappearance of Jessie. And the announcements today bring deep sorrow to not just Jessie's family and friend but to countless others who have worked on this in a law enforcement capacity or followed this case throughout the media.
I want to thank the sheriff's department and the FBI for their hard work in these recent days as well as the hard work which inevitably faces law enforcement in the months ahead as we undertake the task of steering this case through the justice system. Additionally, I want to thank those many fine members of the community who have shown the support for the family of Jessie and in doing so demonstrated their own intense desire to see that justice prevails in our area.
While the Canton police department has kept its professional distance from this investigation and despite the major developments you are learning about today, I want to make it perfectly clear that just as we have since the discovery of this tragic crime, the Canton police department stands ready, able and anxious to continue our cooperative efforts with the FBI and the sheriff's department through the conclusion of this case.
As you might expect, I've followed this case rather closely since its inception. While the crime itself is not unfortunately unique, the many angles and nuances have certainly struck a cord with the public and, therefore, the media at large. I would just remind everyone that this case, as it continues to progress, no one wants a quicker resolution to this crime than law enforcement. But time will be required. In the end, I believe that justice will be served and members of the community will reap the benefit of another professional and cooperative effort by their local and national law enforcement agencies.
Naturally, much has been made of the fact that an officer of the Canton police department has been charged in this investigation. There is no denying that this has resulted in giving our department a black eye, in the opinion of the local community, as well as the opinion of the people across the nation. A fair discussing (ph) addressing the reasons for this officer involvement are well beyond the scope of this press conference. What I do think is important is that people of this community and those across the nation not be so quick to judge any law enforcement agency by the isolated acts of a rogue officer. Doing so denigrates all of the many selfless acts of law enforcement personnel who daily put their lives on the line to protect and serve the citizens in their community.
No organization comprised of people can ever promise perfection or guarantee that one of their own won't go astray. The real measure of an organization, especially in regard to law enforcement, is how they react when a problem like this arises. Since I've been chief and even before, the Canton police department has made it a priority to be open and fair in dealing with wrongdoing by its officers. This instance was treated no differently. I believe if you look beyond the tragic loss of life, which is certainly the central focus of this case, you'll find another story, which is one with a very clear and specific message. That message is regardless of who you are or what position you hold in Stark County, law enforcement will pursue justice and hold guilty parties responsible as the facts dictate. Finally let me just add that despite the fact that law enforcement's best efforts could not return Jessie safely back to her family, I sincerely hope that the closure this information brings and the promise of pending justice allows her family to return some semblance of normalcy to their lives as quickly as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Listen now (ph) to the CNN NEWSROOM, let's bring you up to date on this story that of course we've been following for days now. Police authorities there in Ohio have found a body, a body they believe to be that of Jessie Davis. That's of course the 26-year-old Ohio woman who was nearly nine months pregnant when she went missing 10 days ago on June 13th. You can see in this video here from our affiliate WKYC what appears -- this is the body that they're removing from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, an area near that park, anyways. And the other development here today is that police have also arrested Bobby Cutts, Jr. Bobby Cutts, Jr., was the boyfriend of Jessie Davis, the father of her two-year-old, presumably the father of her unborn child and he's also a Canton police officer. Right now he's been charged on two counts of murder, one for Davis, one for the unborn child.
SANCHEZ: Jim Acosta has been following the news conference that police gave about an hour ago. He's joining us now by phone to bring us up to date on what he's learning about this investigation. Jim.
JIM ACOSTA: Well, I'm not on the phone, Rick. I don't know if you guys can pick me up on the live camera.
SANCHEZ: We can. We were actually given some bad information. We apologize for that.
ACOSTA: No problem. Yes, we are in Stark County at the sheriff's department where this press conference just concluded yes and as Brianna just mentioned, we just got word from the FBI just a few moments ago that she was found or this woman who is presumed to be Jessie Davis was found in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. That's about an hour north of here, it's north of Akron. And it's unclear as to when she was found specifically during the day today and when police got some sort of tip as to this is where they should look and who directed them there. There are lots of unanswered questions at this point as to how this body was recovered. But we do know that Bobby Cutts Jr. will be in court on Monday morning for an arraignment hearing charged with two counts of murder, one for Jessie Davis and one for her unborn child.
SANCHEZ: But, Jim, we do know that prior to police making this announcement and just prior to finding her body, just to lay out the time line for our viewers, they were interviewing him, because they had said so, right?
ACOSTA: We understand -- well, I'm not sure about that, Rick. I'm not sure if they were interviewing him earlier today. I do know that they placed him in custody around the time of the discovery of the body. But it's not clear, and they were not willing to divulge this information as to which came first. However, as you've been hearing from these local reporters who have been following this all week, as well as we have, that they have talked to Mr. Cutts at various points during this week and that what they've been telling us all along throughout this investigation is that he has been cooperative, he has been answering their questions, he has allowed investigators into his home, into his car. And as you were seeing and hearing in that audio clip, he was denying this. Earlier this week there were pictures of Mr. Cutts in front of his home seemingly distraught and traumatized by what had happened. He had gone to the Canton police department and said, I can no longer perform my duties because of what I'm going through. But even during that point, was not at all presenting any kind of information that he was involved in this.
SANCHEZ: Just to be clear, Jim, I was quoting the Associated Press, just for the sake of nailing this thing down. The Associated Press has been reporting throughout -- in fact, prior to this news conference, the news that I had received was that this man, who fathered a missing pregnant woman's child was questioned again and again by authorities this Saturday, by the police departments and a task force there, while nearly 1,600 searchers picked through the rural area. So police are saying that they were, I guess, interviewing him throughout the course of this morning and even into the afternoon. Obviously, what we can't draw as any kind of quid pro quo at this point is whether that interview led to them finding her body. Correct?
ACOSTA: That's right. We don't know exactly who directed them to this body. And we don't know what exactly he said during that time. I mean, it's possible that they went to him and he said, I had nothing to do with this and then they arrested him. It's also possible that he said, well, now I'm willing to tell what I need to tell and come clean here. And I think one of the reasons why we're not hearing everything at this point is because it is possible, I suppose, if we were to speculate here, that there may have been other people who were aiding him or assisting him. And if the police want to nail all of that down and make sure that they've gotten everybody into custody who needs to be brought into custody or questioned about this, then they're not going to tell us exactly if, yes, we have all of our suspects at this point or Mr. Cutts is now our lone suspect.
SANCHEZ: Just to be proper about this -- I think the best thing we can do as journalists following a story like this is reveal whatever sourcing is out there. WOIO, which is a television station that's been following this in Ohio, told us that one of their sources inside the police department has told them that he had somehow led police to the body. So that's where it's coming from. And we only report it because it was reported here when we were interviewing one of the reporters with WOIO, just to clear that matter up and do some housekeeping. But thank you, Jim. We appreciate it.
KEILAR: We're going to have more on these developing details, more on this breaking story straight ahead after a break. Stay with us in the CNN NEWSROOM.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez here with Brianna Keilar. We're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Those pictures you're seeing right there are part of a developing story, breaking news that we brought you here about an hour and 16 minutes ago when police announced to us that they had in fact had a major break in this story. They say they've arrested a suspect and they have found the body of a missing woman, Jessie Marie Davis, nine months pregnant, this Ohio woman. Police say Canton police patrolman Bobby Cutts Jr. 30 years old is in fact responsible.
And we're getting some other information right here now. This information handed to us a little while ago just coming in also from the FBI. The FBI is confirming that the body was found in the area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You know, they wouldn't confirm exactly where it was found, whether it was buried, whether it was found above ground. But we do have some pictures. In fact, guys, let's go to those pictures, if we can now, of the actual body as it was found in the area. By then it was all wrapped up, taken away from the area. This is what so many in that area had waited to find out one way or another. There you go. It's being taken out of this area, described to us as a heavily wooded area. FBI officials saying that it was found in Cuyahoga.
As you can see here, the body will then be taken in the back of a vehicle. Those are some of the searchers and some the investigators. They're going to be looking for forensic information in that area to see if they can try and nail down this case and make a case obviously, as investigators do, against Bobby Cutts in this particular situation. So there you have it. You're caught up. We're expecting more details, more information. We're expecting to talk to some of the experts there, and we're also expecting to dip into some of the local stations there in Ohio that are following this story and bring you the latest as their reporters work the story from the scene as well.
KEILAR: This was a case that began 10 days on June 13 when Jessie Davis first went missing. Since then, thousands of people have been out there in Ohio looking for her, searching desperately for her. Of course, a very terrible end today, but we want to take you through this story from the very beginning through the end. Here is a report from Anderson Cooper on the time line of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Patricia Porter, the pain is unbearable.
PATRICIA PORTER: It feels like you have fallen into hell and you're hanging on trying to crawl back out, because you cannot believe that anything could happen to such a beautiful girl.
COOPER: But something did happen to her daughter, 26-year-old Jessie Davis. Nine months pregnant Jessie's due date is July 3rd. Last week she and her unborn child vanished. Here's what we know from her mother and police. Wednesday night Jessie and her mom talked on the phone. It was the last time anyone heard from her. On Thursday at 8:15 a.m., a worried co-worker sent Jessie a text message but got no reply. Throughout the day Jessie's mom repeatedly tried to reach her daughter. By Friday, growing increasingly concerned, Jessie's mother headed to her home. What she said there, led to this 911 call.
PORTER: We need help at 8686 Essex
911 DISPATCHER: 8686 what street?
911 DISPATCHER: What's the problem?
PORTER: My daughter is gone. She's due in two weeks and my grandson's alone and this whole house has been ransacked.
911 DISPATCHER: How old is your...
PORTER: My grandson is two.
911 DISPATCHER: And he's gone?
PORTER: Here's here alone.
911 DISPATCHER: OK and how old is the child that was alone?
PORTER: She didn't leave him alone, my God, something's wrong. She's due in two weeks and she's just missing. Her car's here, her purse, her house is trashed and she's not here.
COOPER: This is Jessie's son, Blake. He was found by himself on the first floor. Upstairs in the master bedroom, the scene was chilling.
PORTER: Her comforter was off and her mattress was pushed over, her night stand was knocked over, the lamp was knocked over. And somebody had poured bleach all over her carpet.
COOPER: The evidence is disturbing. So were the words of two- year-old Blake. During a local TV interview with the grandmother, Blake can be heard in the background saying mommy's in the rug.
PORTER: (INAUDIBLE) Mommy's in the rug. He keeps saying it.
COOPER: Police are still treating the case as a disappearance but say foul play is expected.
WHITNEY DAVIS, SISTER OF MISSING WOMAN: There's a hole there and it's just -- it hurts my heart, because I -- I mean, you know, she's the one that you look up to. She's your big sister. And she's such a strong person and you can't imagine that anything would ever happen to her. She didn't have any enemies. She didn't -- she'd never done anything wrong.
COOPER: By Saturday, volunteers were out looking for Jessie, putting posters up across the neighborhood. On Sunday the search continued and officials said the father of the boy and unborn child, police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. as well as his estranged wife are cooperating with the investigation. Tonight there is still no sign of Jessie and as the desperate hunt goes on, a plea a mother should ever have to make.
PORTER: I just want my daughter to come home.
COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN, New York.
SANCHEZ: That's interesting and now the very latest developments. We pick it up basically where Anderson left it off and that is that her body has been found and her ex-boyfriend is being charged in this case. Also the father of her unborn child, according to police officials as well is being charged in this case. And two charges or two counts of murder. He's going to be arraigned on Monday. There's some of the video that's coming in once again. And, now, we go back to -- you probably watched in Anderson Cooper's report where you saw that young man say, "mommy's on the rug." and in the middle of the interview, she stopped. There has been some talk that that had led police to start looking into this case and looking seriously at Mr. Cutts.
KEILAR: And this is a story where we've got new information coming into the NEWSROOM every few minutes. And at this point we're going to bring in Cleveland civil rights attorney Avery Friedman. He's a law professor and a contributor to CNN and he has some additional information. Avery, what can you tell us?
VOICE OF AVERY FRIEDMAN, ATTORNEY: What we now know is at about 1:40 this afternoon, Bobby Cutts Jr. and his attorney made contact with the FBI and law enforcement and advised them where the body of Jessie Marie Davis was there in Stark County. They drove to a contiguous county, Summit County, where a body was found. And within one hour, around 3:30 today, the Stark County sheriff's department, along with the prosecutor, charged Bobby Cutts Jr. with two counts of murder.
SANCHEZ: Avery, we just missed the very beginning of what you said. Would you repeat again? I think you're telling us how police were led to her body. Were you?
FRIEDMAN: Yeah. Is this Rick?
SANCHEZ: Yes. Go ahead.
FRIEDMAN: All right. What happened was about 1:40 this afternoon, Bobby Cutts Jr. through his attorney contacted the FBI and other law enforcement, met with them and took them to the site of the body. It was in a contiguous county, in Summit County, Ohio. And within an hour after that, Rick, the prosecutor's office charged Bobby Cutts Jr. with two counts of murder. He was placed under arrest at that time.
SANCHEZ: And you said he took them there personally? Walked to the scene with them?
FRIEDMAN: Took them to the site. Well, it was a fairly substantial drive, roughly an hour.
SANCHEZ: Yeah. You were telling us that he actually took them there. Originally, we had information that it was a lake. But it's not a lake, right? You're probably pretty familiar --
FRIEDMAN: It's Myers (ph) Lake Rick but that it isn't the lake. It's a community in Summit County.
SANCHEZ: And that's how he got them out there. What are you hearing about whatever deal, if we can call it that, that he has made with police?
FRIEDMAN: That would be conjecture. At this point, I think by working with law enforcement, by arguing that it was not premeditated -- he's clearly going to be looking for a deal. But what's very important is that in addition, the night that he went to the home, to Jessie Davis' home, he claimed -- he said to another person -- reported to this anchor here in Cleveland -- that her eyes rolled back and she simply died and Bobby contacted a high school friend, a young woman, to assist him with the body.
SANCHEZ: So you're -- I'm sorry. Let's nail that down, because I hadn't heard that before. Where is that coming from?
FRIEDMAN: That's coming from a call made from a Cutts family member to an anchor here in Cleveland.
SANCHEZ: That he said he was there when she died but he had nothing to do with it?
FRIEDMAN: He said -- what the confession was -- it wasn't his but it came from a third person, was that when she went to the house, she, Jessie Davis, was tugging on his pant leg, she then -- her eyes rolled back and she died. He got frightened and contacted a woman that he had dated at one time and she came over and assisted in the removal of the body.
SANCHEZ: Given information like that, why has it taken police so long to make this arrest?
FRIEDMAN: Actually, from the time they got the information, the arrest took place within about 90 minutes.
SANCHEZ: Oh, really?
FRIEDMAN: Yeah. All this happened after about 1:40 this afternoon, Rick. So they -- law enforcement has actually moved quickly. They got to the site. The body was picked up by an ambulance, taken back to Stark County and he was charged.
SANCHEZ: Wow. Avery Friedman, law professor, one of our analysts here, joining us to bring us up to date on what is new information on this case. Avery, hang on for just a minute.
KEILAR: And that's really interesting, because during the press conference, authorities there in Ohio were asked, might -- if he is the suspect -- obviously, he's been charged -- was there a second party, was there somebody else who may have been a suspect? From what I heard, they didn't comment on that. They weren't in a position where they would tell reporters whether or not that was true. I'm sure we'll check back in with Jim Acosta shortly and see what he can tell us about that. But at this point let's go to Sharon Reed (ph). She's a reporter I believe, can you guys correct me if I am wrong, out of WOIO. Is that right?
SHARON REED, WOIO CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm here.
KEILAR: Hi, Sharon, you're with CNN affiliate WOIO. What can you tell us? REED: I heard Avery and he joined us live on the air as well. I did get a phone call -- let me just bring you up to date - around 1:20 this afternoon. Our cameras were there. We were the only ones there as Bobby Cutts Jr. left his home for the first time in days. And we knew something was going on right there. We captured that video and we began to see family members who had been there all week in droves just suddenly take off. Everybody was gone.
At about 25 minutes after that -- remember, that was 1:20, I got a call from a man who was Bobby's close friend, in fact, his best friend. And quoting him -- I picked up the phone. He said, Sharon. He called me on my cell phone. He said, Sharon, he did it. I said, what? The man told me that Bobby had started to apologize for what he put his friends and family through over the past week, that he was indeed behind the disappearance of Jessie Davis and more. I asked about the more. The close friend, who I know for a fact has been at the home of Cutts for days inside communicating with me and with Cutts' mother right now and with the family, told me that Cutts said he found Jessie, quote, laying there, that she began pulling on his clothes, that her eyes rolled back in her head and that she just died.
He panicked, so he called another friend, a woman he went to school with -- I think he said high school -- that he used to date a bit, to help him move the body. And that Cutts and his lawyer are with the FBI right now. That's what he told me. And an hour and 45 minutes later, at 3:30 p.m., the body was found. And our reporters on the scene told us that investigators, they learned told them, no search team led them to the body. So the inference there is indeed that Bobby Cutts led them to the body. And indeed, my source told me that, that Bobby was leading them to the body.
SANCHEZ: Good work, Sharon Reed. We thank you for bringing us up to date. Sharon, can you hang on for just a moment?
REED: I sure will, Rick.
SANCHEZ: We're going to take a break and we're going to come right back on the other side. We're going to continue our discussion with Sharon Reed. This is brand new information that we're getting for the very first time, source information now, as you are hearing it, that Bobby Cutts actually led police to the body and that there may have been a confession involved. This coming from a third party but, nonetheless, we're going to try and delve into this and straighten it out as best we can.
KEILAR: I'm sure we'll have new details for you right after the break. Stay with us.
KEILAR: We want to bring you up to date on some breaking news coming into the CNN NEWSROOM. Authorities there in Ohio say they have found a body, the body they believe to be of Jessie Davis, the 26- year-old pregnant Ohio woman who has been missing for 10 days now, since June 13th. The FBI saying that they found this body in the area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This is about an hour north of where Davis went missing on June 13th. The other big development here is that authorities have arrested Bobby Cutts Jr. He's a Canton police officer. He is the boyfriend of Jessie Davis, the father of her two- year-old son, Blake, and presumably the father of her unborn child. As you'll recall, she was almost nine months pregnant.
Many details coming in on this story but at this point, those are the two developments. A body has been found and there's been the arrest. The arrest of Bobby Cutts Jr., Jessie's boyfriend.
SANCHEZ: We've got Sharon Reed, she's hanging on on the line and we also Avery Friedman, the law professor there in Cleveland and have Mike Brooks, our own security analyst, who is going to join us in just a little bit as well.
We're getting a lot of new information from Sharon in particular, some good digging that she's done on this. And we want to get back to her in just a moment. But first we want you to listen to Bobby Cutts. This is several days ago when he first addressed publicly the issue of his potential involvement in this murder. Here it is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TODD PORTER, "CANTON REPOSITORY": Bobby, did you have anything at all to do with the disappearance of Jessie?
BOBBY CUTTS JR., CHARGED WITH MURDER OF JESSIE DAVIS: No, I didn't.
PORTER: Have authorities given you any indication if you are a suspect?
CUTTS: I mean, they've continued to say that I'm not a suspect, but I mean, I'd be dumb and naive to think that they weren't treating me as a suspect, different things I've had to go through the past couple of days.
PORTER: Have any authorities told you that you've been cleared in this -- in this investigation?
CUTTS: No. They -- they have not told me that I've been cleared, but as like I said on the media, I mean, they said to the media that neither me nor my wife are suspects. But I don't feel that we've actually been treated as that were 100 percent true.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Let's bring Sharon Reed back into this, because there's two outstanding questions now. One of them obviously is what made him break? What changed things? We're watching how he's responding there, and now the story we're getting from not only you but others as well is that somehow something led to him wanting to talk to police either today or recently. The other part of it, Sharon, is that I want to ask you - and I know we'll do this one at a time but just to let the viewers know where we're going with this is, is people don't just mysteriously die. There has to be some type of causality. Have you heard anything about that? We'll start with the what made him break question, though, first.
REED: What made him break? I think the squeeze. Sooner or later, Rick, they were closing in on him. They seized his cell phone. They searched his place several times. They Mirandaized him. There was a report that they put the cuffs on him, that one search warrant even had the word murder in it.
So sooner or later, look, the gig was up. And I'm sure his attorney had a talk with him and it was either going to be, do you show signs of cooperation, some signs -- I don't believe there was ever going to be a deal. And maybe your attorneys and your law enforcement guy can talk more on that. But I think the squeeze was definitely on him.
SANCHEZ: Yeah. He's a cop.
REED: Yeah. He knew they were going to find the body. The search team, Texas Equisearch has an excellent record. Thousands of volunteers coming forward. This case had national attention. This sweet-faced pregnant mother. Something had to give, and Bobby knew, I'm sure, the gig was up.
Now, you talk about a cause, listen, your law enforcement guy asked me off the air in a roundabout way, do I believe this so-called confession given to me by a third party, the best friend, inside the Cutts family compound? Do pigs fly, Rick? No.
Listen, I think things got out of hand, if we're to believe that Bobby Cutts is indeed the perpetrator. He's now charged with two counts of murder. And something went wrong. This thing about her just pulling on a pant leg, her eyes rolling in the back of her head and just dying and him panicking ...
SANCHEZ: Did you ask him that, your source? When he told you this story, didn't it seem somewhat preposterous? Did you say ...
SANCHEZ: How did she, nobody dies because you pull on a pant leg.
REED: Sure. But the source I believe is a stand-up person who I've known for a little while. Just an acquaintance, though. I said to the source when he started to tell me that story, we both know that's not true and that doesn't account for the ransacked place, the broken table, the kid saying "Mommy's in the carpet" and bleach all over the floor. That doesn't add up.
SANCHEZ: Journalistically we're always on precarious ground when we're talking about what a third person says. So we'll just ask you to try to and accredidate (ph) this source for us. What can you tell us? If you don't want to name him, that's fine.
REED: Stand-up guy, best friend. One of his best friends but very, very close. Like I said, with the family right now, has known him for 20-plus years. Has been with him through thick and thin. Said, no way he did this. In fact, I got calls from several friends who said, Sharon, he's being set up -- early on. He didn't do this, help.
I said, I'll do an interview with Bobby. Bring him to my house. I'll do this interview. I'm going to ask him some straight questions, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt if he didn't do this. But something's got to give here.
You know, as somebody said, I think it was on CNN and I listened and I watch your program regularly -- listen if I didn't do it and it was my kid, my unborn child missing and the mother of my two-year-old, I wouldn't care what you wanted to ask me. I would be out searching, begging, pleading.
SANCHEZ: Sharon Reed, you and I have worked together in the past, a lot in the past.
REED: We sure have.
SANCHEZ: I appreciate you hanging in there. Stay with us. We have got a couple other people we want to get reaction now to from some of what you've been reporting to us.
KEILAR: That's right. We've got Mike Brooks also on the phone line. He's a former criminal investigator. And we've got Avery Friedman, who is a law professor out of Cleveland.
And guys, I just want to invite you to jump in whenever you have a chance, whenever you have something to add. We're going to be talking with all three of you at the same time as we go through this.
But Avery, I do want to ask you, in a case like this, is there a possibility that there could have been some sort of agreement so that he would -- so that Cutts would lead them to the body, if that is the case, as we've heard from Sharon and from Sharon's source?
AVERY FRIEDMAN, ATTORNEY (on phone): Well, I have little doubt that the attorney for Bobby Cutts made clear to law enforcement that there's going to be an effort to cooperate. I mean, if you really think about it, if you credit the facts that have been shared with Sharon and which are beginning to surface, it's very difficult to show that there was premeditation. Something happened that night that resulted in the death of this woman.
So I think the attorney for Cutts is working with the prosecutor's office trying to do some kind of deal early on to avoid a capital charge. I mean, we're dealing with two counts of murder because at nine months pregnant, the baby, who would have been named Chloe, was clearly viable. That's where the charges come. And I think the attorney got involved immediately late this afternoon in working with the prosecutor's office in Stark County. KEILAR: So a capital case. Obviously, you're saying if this case were to go to trial, if he were to be convicted, if Bobby Cutts were to be convicted of these charges, he's looking at the death penalty?
FRIEDMAN: All the more reason why counsel got in there to start working with Stark County prosecutors and say, look it, we want to work with you, we want to cooperate and here's what we're going to do for you.
Ultimately, the decision still rests with Stark County prosecutor's office to decide how they're going to prosecute this case. But I have no doubt that as a defense lawyer his lawyer tried to make that deal.
SANCHEZ: You heard what Sharon just said a little while ago. And I thought through this myself and working through plenty of police investigations in the past from the reporter's side. I know it's not easy to move a body. They are very heavy. And according to Sharon's source, he didn't move the body by himself, that he actually called a third person. Let's bring Mike Brooks into this. Mike, is that person now possibly facing charges?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR (on phone): Oh, absolutely, Rick. And I'm sure the attorney also would have said, look, the murder did not occur in the park, because it's a federal park. And then, you know, if the murder had occurred there, he would be facing a federal charge of crime on a federal reservation.
So I'm sure that they worked on it, just as Avery had said, to make sure that they said, OK, here's exactly what happened. But we heard what Sharon was saying and her credible source that she had, you know, what he -- what Bobby apparently told him. She's tugging her leg. That's going to be washed out and they're going to wait for the autopsy.
And after the autopsy, Rick, they're going to be able to say exactly what the manner and cause of death were. And then this whole thing is -- because just as we said, just as you alluded to a minute ago, people just don't die. Yeah, she's a pregnant woman. Apparently she had been at the store, she was in good health. You just don't die.
SANCHEZ: Go ahead, Avery.
FRIEDMAN: This is Avery. There's another critical legal aspect of that. That is that we do have an accessory here. And so whoever is representing this third person that assisted Cutts, if it happened, is clearly working a deal. That individual is likely to be the smoking gun. That person is likely to be the chief witness if they don't have a confession.
Now, what Sharon has has been characterized as a confession. It is really a third person reporting what Bobby said, so that person is a witness, but it is by no means a legal confession.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, but let's be clear. A witness to an account, not a witness -- not an eyewitness.
REED: And if this thing happened the way this account lays out, let's remember this female -- and I do have a name -- would have come in after Jessie Davis was already dead.
SANCHEZ: So she's not an accomplice to the murder presumably.
REED: According to ...
FRIEDMAN: No, no, she engaged in criminal activity if she participated.
REED: Sure. But I'm just saying after she was dead, according to this account, this female -- and I do have a name -- came in to help get rid of the body.
BROOKS: Right. And that's going to be an accessory after the fact. What they're going to do, they're going to take that body also to see if there's any evidence, any trace evidence from her to put her also -- they're go going to make that whole crime scene to see if there's any evidence also from her found back at his house, also at the crime scene.
SANCHEZ: Mike, I'm going to hold you right there. The upshot of this -- and all three of you please stay on the line. We're going to continue the discussion here from the CNN NEWSROOM. We have got Mike Brooks, Avery Friedman. We've got Sharon Reed, who is really breaking new information and new ground on this story.
The upshot of the story, in case you're just joining us is that Bobby Cutts Jr. has been charged with two counts of murder, will be arraigned Monday. Jessie Davis, 26 years old, her body has been found.
KEILAR: And we're going to have more details on this developing story right after the break. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF DEAN MCKIMM, CANTON POLICE: Despite the fact that law enforcement's best efforts could not return Jessie safely back to her family, I sincerely hope that the closure this information brings and the promise of pending justice allows her family to return some semblance of normalcy to their lives as quickly as possible.
There is no denying that this has resulted in giving our department a black eye in the opinion of the local community as well as the opinion of the people across the nation.
I fear discussing addressing the reasons for this officer's involvement are well beyond the scope of this press conference. What I do think is important that people of this community and those across the nation not be so quick to judge any law enforcement agency by the isolated acts of a rogue officer. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A rogue officer. Powerful word choice there by Dean McKimm, he is the police chief there in Canton. And he certainly has had his hands full with this case. It's difficult for him, you're talking about one of his own officers that part of his staff has been investigating and has now been charged in this case with two counts of murder.
I'm Rick Sanchez here with Brianna Keilar. We're bringing you this coverage now all the way through the night. We're going to stay on the air with this story all the way up until 9:00 when Larry King is going to have a special program as well with some invited guests. And then we're coming back tonight at 10:00 to also bring you some news at 10:00. I'll be bringing you that. We also will be delving into this topic as well.
KEILAR: And right now, we've got three people on the line, Avery Friedman, a lawyer from Cleveland, as well as Sharon Reed from CNN affiliate WOIO and Mike Brooks who is a former criminal investigator. They've been giving us a lot of really good, new information. We're going to get to them in a moment.
But first, let's just recap this and let you know where this case stands at this point. Authorities there in Canton, Ohio, say that they have found a body. They believe this is the body of Jessie Davis. You'll recall that Jessie Davis is the 26-year-old Ohio woman. She was almost nine months pregnant when she went missing on June 13th. That was 10 days ago.
And thousands of people have been scouring the area looking for her. The other big development here is that, as we heard from Police Chief Dean McKimm, the authorities have arrested Bobby Cutts Jr. Not only is he the boyfriend of Davis, he's also a Canton police officer. There the reference to them saying please don't judge a law enforcement agency by the isolated rogue acts of one officer.
SANCHEZ: And now we have this information that you were sharing and the possibility that it was actually Bobby Cutts who led police to the body and that there may have been some kind of confession delivered by him.
What we know is that police were interrogating him or certainly questioning him. They told us as much. And we have Sharon Reed, who has been standing by, who has been bringing us information about how that process may have happened. Curious to find out whether Sharon's source has spoken to police and whether Sharon herself will now be obliged to speak to police about this as well.
We'll bring in Avery. We'll bring in Sharon. And we'll bring in, of course, Mike Brooks to talk about this on the backside. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
KEILAR: The body of missing pregnant Ohio woman Jessie Davis has been found. Coming up tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Larry King is going to have a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE to continue to bring you all of the developments on this story. And there are so many developments on this story. We're seeing them come in every few minutes, so many new facts.
We're going to continue here bringing you all of this new information right here in the CNN NEWSROOM up until Larry takes over at 9:00 p.m.
SANCHEZ: Sharon Reed, the reporter we've been talking to. She's had exclusive access to one of the suspect's friends. I think at one point she described him as one of his best friends who described a scenario where Cutts explained to him what had happened that night.
And it is a little bit of a confusing explanation. But part of the explanation itself may come into question when police start investigating now and putting all their information together. Avery let me go back to you, Avery Friedman, law professor. We've used before as a CNN analyst. And thanks for being with us. Is Sharon or that source obliged to talk to police?
FRIEDMAN: It's a wonderful question. And the Supreme Court last year faced that in, of all cases, the Judith Miller case. And it is significant because Ohio, like most states, has reporter's privilege. Some argue there's a First Amendment privilege that reporters have.
But the exception to that rule is that if a crime is committed, and like talking to a doctor or a lawyer or a priest, the privilege does not extend that far. So the likelihood is that if there is evidence concerning this crime, anyone who has information, if they're questioned by law enforcement, has to turn that information over.
SANCHEZ: Well, are they obliged to go even before they're questioned? Legally. Legally. Not morally.
FRIEDMAN: There's no affirmative duty on the part of anyone to go forward. But if law enforcement -- I mean, look, they're hearing it on CNN, for goodness' sake. I mean, it's clear that sooner or later law enforcement is going to want to find out that kind of information.
SANCHEZ: Sharon, let me just come out and ask you. Has your source or have you spoken to police about what you've shared with us?
REED: I have not, but my source and the rest of those in Bobby Cutts' inner circle and family have been followed and talked to by FBI agents all week. In fact, at one point, some others that I am close to and have associations with, who also are associated with Bobby Cutts Jr. said, whoa, this is getting too close, these are legitimate, even well known people in this area who said, that's a wrap. This is just too uncomfortable, as FBI agents showed up at their legitimate businesses to question associates of Bobby Cutts Jr.
So yes ...
SANCHEZ: So did they talk to them? Did they talk to them? REED: Yes, they did. And since, though, I got this reported -- account, confession, however you want to refer to it -- I know Avery gave us the legal term for it right now. Perhaps I should go over it again for those who are just joining us -- no, not that I know of. But I do know and Denise Strzelczyk who is also a reporter at the station that I anchor at -- I know she's on the line with us -- there was activity after Bobby Cutts Jr. left his home with police showing back up at the home. Perhaps they were looking for relatives, family.
SANCHEZ: Hold that thought. We're going to get to that in a little bit.
KEILAR: In all this talk of privilege, it's very interesting. I'm curious to know if this is going to be a moot point. If as Sharon reported Bobby Cutts helped police go to the body, if he's given them information. We're going to ask Avery Friedman that once we come back from a break.
But stay with us. We'll be right back with the latest developments.
KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta where we have breaking news coming into the NEWSROOM here. Authorities in Ohio say they've found a body, a body they believe to be that of Jessie Davis, the pregnant 26-year-old Ohio woman who has been missing now for 10 days.
The other major development here is that police have arrested Bobby Cutts Jr., her boyfriend, the father of her children, also a Canton police officer there. And of course Davis has been missing since June 13th. This story has been playing out over the course of those 10 days. So let's get you from the beginning of this story to where we are right now. Here is a report from Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): For Patricia Porter, the pain is unbearable.
PATRICIA PORTER, MOTHER OF JESSIE DAVIS: It feels -- it feels like you have fallen into hell and you're hanging on trying to roll back out because you cannot believe anything could happen to such a beautiful girl.
COOPER: But something did happen to her daughter, 26-year-old Jessie Davis. Nine months pregnant, Jessie's due date is July 3rd. Last week, she and her unborn child vanished. Here's what we know from her mare and police. Wednesday night, Jessie and her mom talked on the phone. It was the last time anyone heard from her. On Thursday at 8:15 a.m., a worried co-worker sent Jessie a text message but got no reply.
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