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New Jersey Firefighter Mom Still Missing After 10 Months
Aired September 3, 2007 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, a beautiful young firefighter mom disappears from an upscale New Jersey home, vanishing into thin air, leaving behind three little children, her 6-month-old baby girl left home alone. Friends and family say no way would the 29-year-old firefighter, Margaret Haddican-McEnroe, leave her baby home alone. Tonight, the desperate search for Margaret Haddican-McEnroe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom Margaret Haddican-McEnroe went missing, and then he waited. Husband Tim McEnroe waited 48 hours to report his wife missing, a delay some fear may have cost precious time in the investigation, time investigators will never get back. Runaway? Foul play? Investigators don`t know for sure. But three little children do know they want their mommy back.
This quarry was the latest anonymous tip in the search for Margaret Haddican-McEnroe. She would have been 30 years old just a few days ago, but instead, searchers were combing this quarry with dogs and on horseback for any search (SIC) of Margaret.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, the mystery surrounding young mom of two Lisa Stebic, who reportedly goes for a jog, the upscale Chicago suburbs, then never heard from again. Police reveal foul play now suspected. Police officially name Lisa Stebic`s husband a person of interest. The couple, in the middle of a bitter divorce, still living under the same roof when she goes missing, all the while, Stebic`s husband blocking police`s efforts to interview Stebic`s children about the day their mom goes missing. Tonight, where is Lisa Stebic?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Plainfield, Illinois, mother of two leaves home, never to return again. And police have little to go on again. Four months ago, Lisa Stebic left her house around dinnertime with her purse and cell phone but no car. Her husband, Craig Stebic, says she went to work out. And her children were among the last people to see her alive. Craig Stebic, a person of interest in the case, isn`t talking. And he isn`t letting police talk to his children, either. The case has taken investigators out of state, but still no sign of Lisa Stebic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. First, a firefighter mom vanishes from an upscale New Jersey home without a trace. Where is Margaret Haddican-McEnroe?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The morning of October 10, his wife allegedly called him, saying she needed baby formula. He went to the supermarket. He got it. He brought it home. He says that`s the last time he ever saw her because he went to do a landscaping job after that, from 1:30 to 3:00. When he got home, she was gone. But he did not report it to police until 48 hours later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are really two scenarios. One is that she simply walked away. Her husband told investigators post-partum depression. She had even been talking about a divorce. Cops tell us there were no signs of foul play in the house at all. Nothing was turned over, no forced entry in the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day before she disappeared, she had come to our house. She made a phone call. And she was pacing and quite agitated. And I asked her, you know, Who`s on the phone? She said, It`s my bleeping husband. I should divorce him. And then the next day, she disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually think that she -- she wants to come back now, but she -- she might be afraid to. A lot of people are looking for her, and she might be a little freaked out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening, everyone. Where is Margaret Haddican-McEnroe? Straight out to Ed Miller with "America`s Most Wanted." What`s the latest?
ED MILLER, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Hello, Nancy. The latest is, as you said, Margaret is no damsel in distress. Let`s make this perfectly clear. This woman is a soldier. She is a boxer. She`s a volunteer firefighter. This is a woman who probably could take care of herself.
The latest is, my sources tell me that police are zeroing in on a timeframe from the husband. They`re keeping all their options open, but they`re still zeroing in on this particular timeframe. He was seen at a grocery store, and then after that, there`s a rather large open window of time in which they are saying he could have come back to the house, done something to Margaret and then go back to his landscaping job. So that`s the latest.
GRACE: Ed Miller, how do we know that ever went to the grocery store? Is there a receipt? Is there a witness? Is there video footage of him in the store at that time?
MILLER: There is some sort of documentation. I believe there`s witnesses, according to my sources, at the grocery store.
GRACE: Why did he go to the grocery store?
MILLER: Again, he said he went for some errands, to pick up some errands, whatever it was. But again, the key part here is that large open window. After that, there`s a huge period of time that no one can vouch for where he was.
GRACE: Straight out to Eric Martin, search manager at the Central jersey Technical Rescue team. I understand there has been movement in the search. Tell me about it.
ERIC MARTIN, SEARCH MANAGER, CENTRAL JERSEY TECHNICAL RESCUE TEAM: Well, there`s been movement in the search that it`s ongoing. We had been planning to search segments that we were unable to search previously, when she first went missing. There was also an anonymous tip that led police investigators to kind of allow us to go out and search those segments in order to clear other areas.
GRACE: Why couldn`t you search them until now?
MARTIN: Well, the civilian search component, Nancy, should complement the law enforcement investigation process. So you know, they`re looking at a number of plausible scenarios, and you know, we do not want to complicate that process. We treat every search as a crime scene until proven otherwise, just in the event that some foul play has occurred with Margaret.
GRACE: Apparently, there is a recent search for Margaret Haddican- McEnroe based on an anonymous tip. Ed Miller, what can you tell me about the tip and the search of a local quarry?
MILLER: Well, first of all, it`s a very mysterious phone call, as you said, an anonymous tip to police that her remains might be found in this quarry that`s not too far from her house. And police told me this was a perfect opportunity for them to go back and re-search the area, not just the quarry but the area all around the home.
We should remind people that this is about 40 miles -- or 40 minutes outside of New York City. It`s a rather rural, rocky, wooded area, very dense, and lots of places to hide. But they did not find anything.
GRACE: You know, I`m very -- I`m very suspicious of this anonymous call, Ed Miller. Don`t police have star 69?
MILLER: They -- yes, of course, they do. But again, they`re not saying whether or not they were able to trace this call. They`re simply saying it was an anonymous tip.
GRACE: Well, if they can trace it, then won`t they find out who made it?
MILLER: Yes, ma`am, they will. But they told me it was simply anonymous. I did get the thing in there about that open window, though, that open period of time. And that`s what they`re saying is the new development.
GRACE: The open window of time where he goes to the grocery store, then comes back. Another thing I don`t understand -- to Dr. Jeff Gardere, psychologist and author -- why he waited 48 hours to call police.
JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, this is a very strange happening. And in fact, you would think someone who is married to this person, who claims that they have some sort of a very good relationship, though we know some other things about that that are contrary, would not wait 48 hours, even if, in the past, he claims that she used to disappear, Nancy, every -- for two or three days every once in a while.
GRACE: Ed, what corroboration do we have that she had ever disappeared in the past?
MILLER: What friends and family have said. But to add to that point, which is really, really important, about the 48 hours -- that apparently is a huge basis of the argument that police have that they`re tilting toward the husband. Again, because why would he wait those 48 hours? He says friend and family told him to wait. Who? What friends and family told him to wait, and why? What would it possibly be over? What would you accomplish by waiting?
The only thing I can think of is that he was afraid, since the baby was left alone, that somehow there would be child neglect charges brought against her. But again, weighing that against the fact that your wife is missing, which is worse?
GRACE: Ed, what can you tell me about the progress of him taking a polygraph? And again, this guy has not been convicted. We`re just looking at the facts. Ed, what about the polygraph?
MILLER: Very good question, Nancy. I`m so glad you asked that because he says that he will take a polygraph, but he is not going to take a police polygraph, that he wants an independent person to give him the polygraph and that he wants it administered not in a police setting, not in the prosecutor`s office, because, quote, he feels that is too intimidating.
GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us out of the Atlanta district, Renee Rockwell. Out of New York, Alan Ripka. Alan, what`s holding him back? Nobody`s stopping him from going and getting a private polygraph.
ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, Nancy, obviously, a polygraph test is always the best tool for the prosecutor. It doesn`t help the defense because even if you pass it, they could still come after you. They don`t exonerate you if you pass it. And he may feel that giving it up and -- and...
GRACE: Yes? Alan, go ahead, please.
RIPKA: He may feel that -- you know something? He may have a guilty conscience. He may be stalling, and he`s afraid to take it, Nancy.
GRACE: To Renee Rockwell. He can go out and get a private polygraph. And I disagree with Alan Ripka. It does make a difference. When a prosecutor sees that a defendant, a suspect, has gone out and taken a private polygraph and has passed, that makes a difference.
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, but Nancy, he may have already taken a private polygraph. We don`t know.
GRACE: No, he hasn`t.
ROCKWELL: But I`m just saying he may have already done it without...
GRACE: Hold on. Let`s see Renee Rockwell and Alan Ripka. There`s no "just saying." We`re not just saying. He has not taken a private polygraph. He says he wants to. That`s his statement.
ROCKWELL: How do you know?
GRACE: Because his statement is, Renee, I want to take one that`s not in the DA`s office or the police." He has not gone and taken it, period. He`s made that very clear.
ROCKWELL: But can I tell you, any time I`ve produced my client for a polygraph, I`ve already tested them prior. We just may not know it. He may not test well. He may have an attorney giving him advice, saying, I don`t suggest that you take it. Polygraphs are not admissible, Nancy, unless you waive the fact that they`re not admissible and you stipulate that they`ll come in.
GRACE: That`s absolutely correct. Alan, agree or disagree? A polygraph can come into evidence if both parties stipulate pre-polygraph, up front, that the results will come in.
RIPKA: That`s right. You have to agree to it because since the results are so unreliable and tests have shown they`re unreliable and different factors can changes the results, you have to agree ahead of time that they`re coming in.
GRACE: I mean, do I have to say O.J. Simpson, who made, like, a negative 40 on his polygraph and the jury never knew about it? Not that would have made any difference to them.
I want to go to a specialist joining us tonight. Joe Trimarco is with us. He is a lie detector expert. He wrote -- excuse me -- Jack Trimarco - - lie detector expert. He worked with the polygraph unit, he was the chief there with the LA FBI and a former FBI interrogator. Jack, thank you for being with us tonight. Explain to me the common fear amongst suspects and defendants about taking a polygraph.
JACK TRIMARCO, FORMER POLYGRAPH UNIT CHIEF, LA FBI: Well, Nancy, first of all, we have to differentiate between Mr. McEnroe`s situation and a polygraph that might be given by a defense attorney to find out if his client can actually pass the polygraph. It`s my experience in the private sector these days that all defense attorneys want to believe that their client didn`t commit the crime, but they don`t know for sure. And so before they give them up to law enforcement for a polygraph, they find someone who`s credible and someone who`s got a great reputation and they polygraph. If the client fails, then no one finds out about it. And of course they never give him up for a law enforcement polygraph.
If he passes, their first step is to try to impress the DA or the United States attorney`s office that their client passed the polygraph, and therefore, he didn`t do it. The DA will say, Who polygraphed him? And if the reputation is in place, then they will accept that many times and not go any further, and not discount the person but put them off on the side for a while. The investigative focus will change.
GRACE: So Jack Trimarco, at this juncture, would you agree with me that either he has, A, not taken a private polygraph, or B, taken a private polygraph and failed?
TRIMARCO: Absolutely. He either hasn`t taken one or he took one and failed. However, I should tell you that the FBI policy, and many law enforcement agencies across the country, is within those first 48 hours to polygraph, in a missing child case, mom and dad, the person who was last with the child and the person who reports the disappearance to the police. In the case we`ve got here with Mrs. McEnroe, it would be the next significant other, the last person to have been with her, and the person who reports the disappearance to the police, who, in this case, is her husband in all three instances. I can`t believe he hasn`t been asked to take a polygraph in those first moments after she was reported missing.
GRACE: Back to Ed Miller with "America`s Most Wanted." Are we sure at this juncture, to the best of our knowledge anyway, that he has not taken a poly?
MILLER: To the best of our knowledge, he has not taken a polygraph.
GRACE: Has he been asked?
MILLER: He has been asked to take a polygraph test. As a matter of fact, I think this is another point of contention. It`s been back and forth. He`s been publicly asked to take a polygraph test, and through his attorney they are saying, No, we`ll take one. We will take one. We just don`t want to take one of the police ones. We want to take an outside one.
GRACE: Out to William Morrone, medical examiner, forensic pathologist. Dr. Morrone, if we`re taking the worst case scenario, we are now talking about what category of remains?
DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: There are basically six stages of decomposition. There`s fresh, there`s early decomposition, there`s putrefaction, there`s black putrefaction, where the remains get real dark. Then there`s a fifth stage called butyric fermentation. And the sixth is called dry decay. That`s bones. That`s what we`re talking about here, bones.
GRACE: Why are you so convinced?
MORRONE: Because of the amount of time and the speed. When a body is exposed to the environment, that`s the fastest speed of decay. And a medical examiner might be helpful, but a forensic anthropologist that studies bones will definitely be part of the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s hard to get a real feel to what this quarry is like until you come here in person. You can see dense, thick shrubs and trees all the way in the back, hills, a little mountainous region back there. And then it just flat turns into concrete and drops. Searchers combed this area for nine hours on an anonymous tip for Margaret Haddican- McEnroe. Unfortunately, the search turned up empty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re all concerned, very concerned. And if she`s out there, we really hope very much that she`ll get in contact with someone, she`ll get in contact with the police, she`ll call us. We all love her. We want her home. We want her back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: You would think by now Margaret Haddican-McEnroe, gone for several months, if she was going to make contact, she would have. Back to Ed Miller with "America`s Most Wanted." I want to talk about what he has volunteered. Didn`t he tell people she had post-partum depression? I`m talking about the husband.
MILLER: Yes, absolutely. He told people that she had post-partum depression. He may have been using this as an excuse to say, you know, she had post-partum depression, she may have wandered off simply on her own, and maybe that`s why we should wait and not report her missing. Again, this 48 hours business -- I want to say this one more time -- is a huge problem for police because they keep saying, Why would you wait 48 hours, leaving baby -- leaving a poor baby, 6-month-old baby, in the crib all by itself? That raises lots of questions in the minds of police.
GRACE: And back to Eric Martin with the search management team. Eric, even a few hours that pass without someone being reported is extremely detrimental to an investigation. Explain.
MARTIN: We lose clues. I mean, you know, we`re living on her prints leaving the house so we can have a direction of travel. We`re living on scent that she`s giving off, our dogs have basically tracked. The longer the time goes, the longer we lose those clues, based on the elements and the environment.
GRACE: To Dr. Jeff Gardere -- Dr. Gardere, this throwing it out there -- he won`t talk to police, he hasn`t cooperated, or let me just say spoken to them since early on in the investigation -- why throw out post-partum depression, like she would just wander off with no idea where she was going?
GARDERE: That`s very odd, isn`t it? We`re talking post-partum depression, where a person really becomes very, very sad after the birth of a child. Sometimes they become despondent. But we`re not talking about post-partum psychosis, where someone would just completely be out of their minds. So even if she was experiencing post-partum depression doesn`t mean that she`d be missing for 10 months. At some point, she would snap out of it and return. So it just does not make sense. Post-partum depression is not a reason that this woman would leave.
GRACE: Especially the suggestion that she would, quote, "wander off." That`s much more than depression, to wander off and not have any idea where you are.
GARDERE: Absolutely. Again, we`re talking about someone who may have been psychotic. But Nancy, let`s be straight about this. This is a woman who got medals for valor as a firefighter. She rescued people. So even if she was depressed, she was a tough lady who could take care of herself and would get the help, from what we can see from her psychological profile.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have hope that she`s alive. But it`s a little more difficult as time goes on. You keep hoping and you keep hoping and you keep hoping. And after a while, you know, you start feeling a little depressed that there could be some sort of foul play involved. But you just keep hoping that she`s out there and she`ll return.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She could be almost anywhere. She`s got friends and family throughout the country. We have our share of problems, but everything seemed to be working out with my stepdaughter and stuff, so it seemed very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Where is firefighter mom Margaret Haddican-McEnroe? Friends and family say no way would she leave her children behind, including leaving a 6-month-old baby girl home alone. Her husband, who is not a suspect -- an official suspect -- in this case says he was out running errands when she went missing.
Question, Ed Miller. What about a cell phone or credit cards, any use?
MILLER: No, no use whatsoever. And we should remind people, by the way, in any relationship, as you well know, there`s bound to be disagreements and quarreling. That`s all healthy. But fighting, not so healthy. And the day before she disappeared, police were called to the house over a domestic disturbance that did require police intervention. In other words, it was fighting, not simply disagreements.
GRACE: To Jack Trimarco, lie detector expert. He was the polygraph unit chief with the LA FBI unit. Jack, I`m still hung up on him, the husband, not taking a polygraph that we know of at this juncture. Explain to me how the location or the administrator of the polygraph can make a difference as to whether you`re telling the truth or not.
TRIMARCO: Well, Nancy, we have to remember that when folks are asked to take a polygraph test in connection with a missing person, be it a child or an adult, that environment is going to be hell for those folks. They`re wondering if they`re alive or dead. Who`s got them? Are they going to be OK? Are they going to be returned? And when law enforcement or the FBI comes in and says, Listen, we want to eliminate you from suspicion so that you can be privy to the investigative developments, and if you pass our polygraph test, you will be part of this investigative team.
GRACE: You know, interesting -- to Don Clark, former head of the FBI Houston bureau -- Dr. Jeff Gardere brought up an excellent point. The husband put it out there that she had post-partum depression. Knowing that, if that were true, why wouldn`t he report her missing immediately.
DON CLARK, FORMER HEAD OF FBI HOUSTON OFFICE: That`s absolutely right, Nancy, is that if he knows she has these kinds of problems, then why not cooperate with the authorities? I don`t understand the idea of not cooperating with the authority, particularly if you have absolutely nothing to hide in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: April 30th was the last time that she was seen, and she works at a school cafeteria. So she reported for work that day. They saw her. Her husband is the last one that says he saw her late in the afternoon on April 30th. He said that she`d normally leave in the evening to go do exercise. She`d come back 10:30 or 11:00. She was never seen again. Her cell phone, her credit cards, they haven`t been used since that April 30th date.
CRAIG STEBIC, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: It was Monday. She left home here, supposedly to go work out. And as far as I know, somebody picked her up and, come Tuesday morning to go to work, she wasn`t here. And called all of her friends. Nobody`s seen her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Lisa Stebic missing from her suburban home. Out to Ed Miller with "America`s Most Wanted." Explain to me the circumstances surrounding her disappearance?
ED MILLER, REPORTER, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Well, she`s been missing now for over four months. And I know your program has given so much attention to this. She disappeared, as you well know. Her husband is -- you have to take his word for much of this account. But he says that they haven`t spoken, more or less, one word to each other in six months because they were going through this process of divorce, so he...
GRACE: But they lived under the same roof.
MILLER: Lived under the same roof, that he was in the backyard, and he had sent the kids to the store to buy some candy. So, again, we`re getting his version of events. But according to his version of events, he came back inside the house and she was gone. He thought she went for a jog. In reality, she disappeared. No purse, I guess -- with -- excuse me -- she did have her purse and her credit cards, but they have not been used.
GRACE: You know, wasn`t the car still parked right there at the home?
MILLER: Yes. So, in other words, he says that she was either picked up or she left on foot.
GRACE: To Chief Donald E. Bennett, he`s the chief of police there in Plainfield, Chief, thank you for being with us. It`s my understanding that Stebic, the husband, has been named a person of interest. Why?
CHIEF DONALD E. BENNETT, PLAINFIELD POLICE: Our investigation over this four-month period of time has indicated that, with the use of the credit card -- or, excuse me, the lack of the use of the credit card, the fact that no one else has seen her, she`s made no contact, and Mr. Stebic is the last person to see her, that we feel that he has information that`s relevant to our investigation.
GRACE: Chief, had she made any move to have him evicted from the home?
BENNETT: There was documentation through her attorney to have Mr. Stebic removed from the home.
BENNETT: They were in the process, as indicated in the report, for divorce. I think at some point during this encounter that she felt, through her attorney, that Craig was undermining her ability to deal with the children and so forth, and that she felt in the best interest of the family that he should be removed from the property.
GRACE: Ed Miller, isn`t it true she mailed out those documents within hours of going missing?
MILLER: Yes, ma`am. She did. And, again, to go back to what you were just talking about, she had filed papers saying that he was verbally abusive, as well, and undermining the welfare of the children.
GRACE: Explain to me the timeline about those papers, where she was actually petitioning the court to have him removed from the home.
MILLER: Well, to the best of our knowledge, this happened very close to the time that she disappeared. And, again, shortly thereafter, she disappears.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We both had exceptionally positive conversations. Lisa was getting her life together. She was moving on through this divorce. She talked about her children and just the positive strides that she was making and that she was -- she was just getting on. And we had wonderful, wonderful conversations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plainfield police have narrowed the focus of their investigation into the disappearance of Lisa Stebic and now consider Craig Stebic to be a person of interest. Mr. Stebic twice has refused requests by the Plainfield police and the Will County (ph) state`s attorney`s office to talk with the children, to determine whether they have information regarding their mother`s disappearance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Renee Rockwell, Alan Ripka, in addition to all of this, Stebic is refusing to allow police to speak to the children, one 12, one 10. To Renee Rockwell, if the state gives the children a subpoena to a grand jury, I don`t believe there`s any way for him to stop it.
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, he`ll have to bring them. But you know what, Nancy? There`s no grand jury that`s been impaneled for this. But once they do, then this investigation is going to take off, because obviously the children are there. And, Nancy, they`re of age. They could be a great amount of help to the prosecution. I don`t understand what they`re waiting for.
GRACE: What about it, Alan Ripka?
ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think the investigators don`t think the children have much to add. They know that it was a tumultuous relationship, so they don`t want to be intimidating to these children.
GRACE: Why would you say that, Alan Ripka?
RIPKA: Well, from what they know, they were involved in an ugly divorce. There were problems. So what are the kids going to say? That mommy and daddy...
GRACE: What happened that day, what the father said when he told them to go to the candy store, to get candy by foot, a 10-year-old and a 12- year-old, how often that happened, where their mom was the last time they saw her. Was she crying? Don`t you remember just recently a 2-year-old little boy was able to say, "Mommy was crying, Mommy was in the blanket," and basically revealed to police what happened, a 2-year-old, Alan Ripka! So how can you say with a straight face a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old have nothing to add?
RIPKA: Well, my feeling here, Nancy, is if they do have something to add, the investigators are waiting for the right time and the right place in order to question them.
GRACE: Well, it`s been several months. Let`s ask the chief, Chief Donald Bennett, about that. Have you considered using subpoena power through the district attorney`s office to talk to the children?
BENNETT: Yes, we have. We have had discussion with the state`s attorney on that issue.
GRACE: I want to go to Dr. William Morrone. At this juncture, it`s been over 100 days, if she has been lying out in the elements, what would have happened to her body?
DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER: If she`s exposed to the air, we see the same scenario. One word: bones. But if she was in water or if she was in soil, there`s a chance that they may have some remains.
GRACE: To Don Clark with the -- formerly with the FBI Houston bureau, have you ever had to subpoena children? I have.
DON CLARK, FORMER HEAD OF FBI HOUSTON BUREAU: Yes, we have had to get children. And children make very good witnesses, Nancy. It`s just a matter of getting the right people to talk to them, putting them in the right setting, and you know what? Children will tell you the truth. So you`ve just got to get them, and you could use them, and they could be instrumental.
This whole scenario doesn`t make any sense. Why would she walk away with him there? She could have walked away at any time when he wasn`t there. So something is wrong with this story. And no polygraph and any of that to go on makes it a difficult task. So why not talk to the kids? Because you can get some real, truthful information.
GRACE: You know, to Dr. Jeff Gardere, in a lot of jurisdictions, the law is a child under, for instance, age 12, has to be qualified to testify. In other words, before a jury can hear their testimony, the child must display to the judge that they know the difference between wrong and right, between telling the truth and telling a lie. A lot of jurisdictions have gotten rid of that. I have found child witnesses to be some of the best and most truthful witnesses I`ve ever put up. They don`t always have the guile that adults have. How traumatic would it be for them to relive the day their mom went missing?
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it would be extremely traumatic. And Craig Stebic says, hey, listen, at one point when the kids were being interviewed, one of them actually broke down, so I`m trying to protect them. But I think good testimony can come from the kids, not just accurate information, but just a psychological state of mind. What they`re saying would let us know: Maybe there was foul play or there wasn`t.
GRACE: But, Dr. Gardere, don`t you think, as they age, they will feel stronger and more empowered by the fact that they helped law enforcement instead of being forced mute?
GARDERE: Absolutely, great point. The older they get, the more empowered they get, the more control they have over their lives, less control by their dad, so that they can say what is in their hearts, what they`ve seen, what`s on their minds.
GRACE: A very dear friend of Lisa Stebic`s, Kimberly Young, is joining us from Chicago. Miss Young, thank you for being with us.
KIMBERLY YOUNG, FRIEND OF LISA STEBIC: Hi, Nancy, thank you.
GRACE: Yes, ma`am. Why is it you believe Stebic refuses to allow police to talk to the children?
YOUNG: I don`t know. I don`t know why, if he was the last one to see her, he wouldn`t come forward with any information he has to where she might have gone or what happened to her. If you`re the last one to see her, why not help the police with your information?
GRACE: Have the children been around Lisa`s family since she went missing?
YOUNG: Yes, they were able to go on vacation with them. And from what I know, they had a really nice time.
GRACE: Has Craig Stebic helped on any of the searches?
YOUNG: No, ma`am.
GRACE: And did he willingly allow them to go on vacation with Lisa`s family or was that a struggle?
YOUNG: No, he willingly allowed them to go.
GRACE: Willingly allowed them to go. Tell me about her, Kimberly. What were her spirits? What kind of mother was she?
YOUNG: She was great. She was a wonderful person, wonderful spirit, and loved her children more than her own life.
GRACE: Let`s go out to the lawyers. Joining us out of Seattle, Washington, high-profile lawyer Anne Bremner and, out of the California jurisdiction, Michael Cardoza.
Michael, all along, it has been my suspicion that police have not named him a person of interest or a target because immediately, his constitutional rights then apply. But the reality is, he`s not talking. He`s not helping police in any way. He`s not letting the kids talk. So why not go ahead and name him a person of interest and go ahead and lawyer up and clam up?
MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: YI mean, when did this term "person of interest" come into vogue? When I was a district attorney, if the police were looking at you, you were simply called a suspect in the case.
Look, he`s been a suspect since day one. Let`s call him what he is. Let`s call him what he`s been all along, and that`s a suspect. So what are the police doing here? They`re certainly keeping national attention on this case by changing the terminology. It means nothing. He`s a suspect.
GRACE: Michael, finally, I get to answer a question for you after all these years. This is my theory on "person of interest" versus "suspect." As soon as the U.S. Supreme Court started ruling that once you`re officially designated a suspect, as opposed to a defendant -- used to be when you were an official defendant, you had been formally charged, your constitutional rights applied.
GRACE: When you were arrested, your rights applied.
GRACE: Then when they started calling you a suspect and you haven`t been arrested, your rights applied.
GRACE: So then they backed up to person of interest. I don`t know what it`s going to be next here!
CARDOZA: I know. But it`s a game they`re playing. It`s a way to get people not to invoke their constitutional rights. You know what a good attorney will do. We`ll go on and say, Let`s call it what it is. Just like Mike said, he`s been a suspect. He`s got constitutional rights. He`s invoking them, just as he has a right to do, as we all have a right to do.
Do we all think he did it? Probably, because he`s invoking his rights. But remember, these are rights that we fought for. These are rights that we have. These are rights we should protect.
GRACE: Hold on! You got me all wrong.
CARDOZA: So let`s...
GRACE: Anne Bremner, I don`t care if he invokes his rights. Hey, I`d be mad if he didn`t. What I do care about is withholding evidence to the police, from the police. And I`m talking about not him -- his children aren`t targets. His children aren`t people of interest. Why not let them -- and they`re old enough to talk, one is 12 years old -- tell the police what happened to mommy the last day they saw her? It`s not right.
ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, you know, the thing is, Nancy, they called him a person of interest now in their press conference because he`s not letting the children talk. You know, this person of interest -- is he person of interest because he had a bikini-clad reporter in his pool party?
You know, and what changed? That`s the only thing I can see. I agree with Michael Cardoza, my good friend, and everything he said here. But the thing is, we have constitutional rights beyond just 5th Amendment and -- look at right to privacy. Look at the fact that these kids are underage. They`re not allowed to vote. They`re not allowed to have sexual relationships. They are not emancipated.
BREMNER: But Nancy...
GRACE: Wait! Stop! I want to look at Anne Bremner.
GRACE: Are you trying to tell me -- are you trying in some weird...
BREMNER: I`m trying to...
GRACE: ... contortion of defense law, tell me that telling what police -- telling police what you saw the last day you saw your mom is somehow equal to not being able to drink and smoke in America, as well?
BREMNER: No, Nancy, I was trying to get my point out, which is this.
GRACE: That`s totally screwed up!
BREMNER: Nancy, I`m almost done. But you can hear me out on this. The fact is, these kids are not emancipated. He`s their dad. They have rights. There`s no requirement they cooperate with the police. And he`s the one that knows what`s they know. So the fact is, why is it being -- why are they calling him a person of interest, just because he`s protecting his own children? He`s been consistent. He`s not talking. He`s not cooperating. And he`s...
GRACE: Let`s go out to Bob Roberts with WBBM NewsRadio 780. They just brought up a very interesting point. A local reporter apparently has lost her job after a bikini pool party over at Stebic`s house. I don`t care about a reporter reporting on a story in a bikini. So to me, that`s just a big red herring in this case. What`s it all about, Bob?
BOB ROBERTS, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780: Amy Jacobson`s been a reporter for one of the stations here in Chicago for more than 10 years. She`s a Chicago-area native. She`s not a dummy. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa. In fact, she was in negotiations for a long-term contract extension as recently as last week.
Now, she claims that Craig Stebic`s sister called her Friday and invited her to the home to talk about the case. Nobody`s getting that interview. So even though it was her day off, Jacobson says she dropped what she was doing -- she was going to a local athletic club, she says, to take her two sons, ages 2 and 3, swimming -- and headed for Plainfield instead and the Stebic home.
Now, once there, she was caught on videotape by a rival station. They held that tape for a couple of days, but the word got out what they had. And that is what led to her downfall. Her station immediately suspended her. They called her in Monday. They sat down and talked with her. She had an attorney present. And at the end of the meeting, she was fired.
GRACE: What you`re seeing right now is CBS-2 Chicago exclusive video of WMAQ`s Amy Jacobson at Stebic`s bikini pool party. OK, so she`s not working there anymore. She got to him. Maybe he`ll give her an interview. You know what? That would be great, if he would talk to somebody, because he`s not talking to police.
Tonight, "CNN Heroes."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re rolling.
JESUS AGUAIS, "MEDICAL MARVEL": The simplest idea could make the biggest impact, recycling HIV medicine. How many people out there are looking for medicine? And how many people with HIV in the United States have no idea that they could save lives with something that is just a leftover for them?
My name is Jesus Aguais. I`m the founder of Aid for AIDS International. I`m dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with HIV in developing countries.
Early in 1993, I got a job as a counselor in one of the Latino AIDS organizations here in New York. In terms of helping people abroad, there was very little that you could do. There was no medicine at all. Only people with lots of money could come to the United States. The rest, the common people, have to die.
In 1996, the first two protease inhibitors got approved, but some people couldn`t tolerate it, a treatment that cost $1,200 was being thrown away. I just knew it was wrong, purely wrong. I was telling people, why don`t you bring it to me?
We started using the concept of recycling the HIV medicine. All the medicine comes from people with HIV around the U.S. and goes abroad. People can send it directly to us or, if they live in the New York City area, we can pick it up, and we send it on a monthly basis straight to the patient.
This is a matter of saving life. People need this medicine. We need to get it to them. It`s our responsibility. I see it as what I`m here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Alert. This Labor Day, as you are out barbecuing, having swimming parties, tailgating, the end of summer fun, please be aware of the desperate search for missing children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nevaeh Ybarra, just 3 years old from Phoenix, Arizona, one of about 2,000 children reported missing each day.
Mackenzie Miller is missing from Greenville, South Carolina. She has a scar on her left knee.
Now look at 3-year-old Marisa Velasco, last seen December 2006 in Norcross, Georgia.
Six-year-old Isaiah Lovato-Lawrence vanished from Dolores, Colorado, in early August.
Jesus Banuelos-Lira, 7 years old from Blythe, California.
And in Aurora, Colorado, the desperate search for 5-year-old Romeo Salas.
And earlier this summer, 17-year-old Celina Munoz disappeared from Oxnard, California. She`s an endangered runaway and may be in the company of an adult male and her son, Alberto Gonzales, just 1 year old.
If you info on these or any other missing children, contact your local police or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800- THE-LOST.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Sergeant Anthony Vinnedge, just 24, Okeana, Ohio, killed, Iraq. Putting his psychology studies at Miami University on hold, served four years in the Army before joining the Ohio National Guard. He never met a stranger, loved video games, making friends, smiling, and working on his 1988 green Mustang convertible. Favorite restaurant: Buffalo Wild Wings. He leaves behind grieving parents, Michael and Deborah, older brother, Michael. Anthony Vinnedge, American hero.
Thank you to our guests, but our biggest thank you to you for inviting us into your home. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.