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Stepmom `Prime Suspect` in Kyron`s Disappearance

Aired September 3, 2012 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, strong words from a judge involved in the case of missing 7-year-old Kyron Horman. For the very first time a judge is calling Kyron`s stepmom, Terri Horman, quote, "prime suspect."

Tonight I will speak with Kyron`s father, Kaine Horman, and get his reaction to this latest development. Plus, we`ll find out where the search stands for this adorable little boy who`s been missing for more than two years. Where is young Kyron?


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, is there finally a break in the hunt for missing little boy Kyron Horman? And who did a civil judge name as, quote, "the prime suspect" in the child`s disappearance? In an exclusive interview, I`ll talk to Kyron`s dad about what he thinks happened to his precious son.

And it`s like straight out of a soap opera. The man accused of faking his own drowning is now turning the tables and blaming his own son. Were they in cahoots to cash in on a life insurance policy, or is the son just the victim of the dad`s alleged scheme? And why did the soon-to-be ex-wife have husband Raymond Roth thrown in jail? I`ll talk to the lawyers on all sides tonight.

Plus, "JVM`s Most Wanted" tackles a brutal and unsolved murder. A woman known as the other Laci, gunned down in her car, and her killer still on the loose. I`ll talk to the desperate mother about the hunt to find her daughter`s murderers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The 7-year-old disappeared from his school science fair.

DESIREE YOUNG, KYRON`S MOTHER: Kyron is still alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terri Horman, his stepmother, the last person known to seen him, told police they attended the Skyline School science fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he walked by the hallway, I`m like, "Hi, Kyron."

He`s like, "Hi, I`m going to see this cool electric one."

I`m like, "All right, bye." And that was the last time I saw him. He never did make it back to class.

YOUNG: Please do not be afraid, because the police are going to find you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terri Horman`s cell phone records indicate she was not where she said she was on the day the 7-year-old went missing.

YOUNG: We implore Terri Horman to fully cooperate with the investigators to bring Kyron home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terri Horman has refused to answer investigators` questions, and she`s been evasive on a polygraph.

YOUNG: I`ve known her a long time. I know she`s lying.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a new development in the ongoing search for 7-year-old Kyron Horman, who vanished from his elementary school more than two years ago, a case that garnered national attention.

For the first time in legal documents, somebody is now calling Kyron`s stepmother, Terri Horman, a prime suspect in little Kyron`s disappearance, and tonight in an exclusive interview, I will get reaction from none other than Kyron`s father, Kaine Horman.

This very sad saga, this mystery, began June 4, 2010, when little Kyron vanished from the school science fair. Kyron`s stepmom, Terri Horman, had brought Kyron to school that day, but the little boy never made it to class somehow. Kyron`s parents never knew anything was wrong until Kyron didn`t come home on the school bus that afternoon.

At first Kyron`s parents, who were divorced and both remarried, appeared to be united in their search for Kyron, standing side by side at the news conference. But that would be the only time they would appear together. And now it`s come to this.


YOUNG: I believe that Terri Horman knows where Kyron is. I believe that Terri Horman is responsible for where my son is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kyron`s biological parents both believe that Terri Horman had something to do with their son`s disappearance, although she has never been charged.


KAINE HORMAN, KYRON`S FATHER: I believe that there`s some form of involvement. I don`t know to what level. It could be directly involved. And she`s responsible and she acted alone that day, or someone else is involved, either with her or even maybe potentially without her in light of something not breaking, coming forward quickly. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. This could go on for two, three, four years, potentially, without closure.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops gave Terri Horman two polygraphs. They searched the house and her vehicle, and they told the public they doubted that this was a stranger abduction.

Then court documents revealed Terri was allegedly plotting to kill her husband Kaine Horman with a gardener she`d been sexting with while young Kyron was missing.

Throughout all the saga, one thing remained constant: Terri Horman never spoke out about Kyron`s disappearance. She never defended herself even. So where does the investigation stand now?

I`m joined by my very special guest, Kaine Horman, Kyron`s father.

Kaine, I know you`ve never stopped searching for your son. My heart goes out to you. What you have endured defies description. First of all, what do you make of this judge in the civil suit filed by your ex-wife, Desiree, against Terri, calling her a prime suspect? Do you think it changes the dynamic here?

HORMAN: I don`t think it changes it at all. I think it`s probably just a language thing. Probably more of an overreaction or, we`ll say, reading into records that are just indicating things that I think we all already know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How have you held up over these last couple of years? This was a saga that captured the entire nation. Everybody identified with your pain and wanted to find out what happened to little Kyron. We covered it repeatedly. And then it seemed like the case just went cold. What have these two years been like for you, Kaine?

HORMAN: Well, I`d say just from, I guess, the inside, looking -- you know, looking out, is -- the case has been far from cold. It`s been extremely busy. The investigators have been extremely active in following up with leads and tips that continue to come in, even over two years later. They haven`t given up. There`s been just a tremendous number of projects that they`ve worked on.

I think the difficulty is without the information leading us directly to where Kyron is, it`s more of a process of elimination than just going straight down the one path that leads to where he`s at. So for us it`s been, you know, it`s been a long two years, but it`s been a very fast two years. We`ve stayed very busy with projects and other things, like attending events in the different communities around the state and up and down the West Coast trying to keep involvement with the case, keep his name active as possible, in standing up with all of our fellow -- everyone in the communities that are supporting him and together just trying to keep this thing going and not letting it go.

And I think it`s been not just in our state or the West Coast but across the U.S. there`s communities all over who just don`t want to let this go. They want to see resolution just as badly as we do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kaine, let me -- let me jump in, because I know you`re working very hard. But from the outside it seems like, well, there was a grand jury. There was all of this sort of anticipation that something was going to break, and then nothing did break that has been publicly revealed. Let`s recap and review what happened the day your son vanished. And then we`re going to talk about why you feel that progress has been made. Because from the outside we can`t see it, and we want to bridge that gap.

Kyron vanished from his school science fair on June 4, 2010. His stepmother, Terri Horman -- she`s got the red hair -- took him to school that day, and it wasn`t long before Kyron`s parents, biological parents, realized they didn`t know if Terri left him at the school or not. Listen to this.


YOUNG: We know for sure that Terri dropped him off. That`s what we know for sure.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Those are Kyron`s biological parents.

So here`s how the day unfolded. Stepmom Terri Horman reportedly left the school at 8:45 a.m.

At 9 a.m., Kyron is seen by another student.

At 1:21 p.m., Terri posts photos of Kyron on Facebook.

And then at 3:30 p.m., Kaine and Terri Horman meet at the school bus, but Kyron is not on it.

Now, we called and e-mailed Terri Horman`s attorney, but we never heard back.

So to go through that day, Kaine, you`re the father of this missing boy. We know that there were searches of a nearby island; saw the island. We know that there was a grand jury where a whole bunch of people, including a friend of Terri Horman`s, appeared. They were -- they were questioned. How come you`re saying there`s progress when we can`t see it from the outside? Is there any lead?

HORMAN: Well, again, it`s tough to answer. It`s all about -- it`s all part of an ongoing criminal investigation, and the details really are things that we can`t talk about. The investigators, while they`re looking for Kyron, it`s either a direct path there or it`s a process of elimination to get there. And like I said, without the person knowing where he`s at coming forward with that information, it`s extremely difficult to locate where he is.

So they`ve been working leads and tips. They continue to do that, and they`re trying to rule out other people at the school that day, other scenarios that could have played out that afternoon and really get down to what`s...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you -- can I jump in? I just want to jump in. We`re looking at pictures of Terri with the red hair and your son. Do you believe that Terri Horman, your estranged wife -- and we`re going to talk about your divorce proceedings in a moment -- is responsible for your son`s disappearance? He disappeared on her watch, so to speak.

HORMAN: Yes, I do. I do believe that she`s involved with his disappearance. Even more so now than we did in the beginning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what do you think happened? What do you think happened? I mean, she was back at the house with you in the afternoon when your son didn`t get off the school bus. There`s only a narrow window of time there. What do you believe happened?

HORMAN: It`s either one of two things. And until they give us information, it`s hard to say. But either she took him from the school that day and did something with him or she took him from school and handed him off to somebody else. And until we -- until the criminal investigation determines what happened, we`re not really at liberty to say which way we`re leaning toward in the investigation at this time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



YOUNG: The time has come for Terri to take responsibility for what she has done and to tell me and my family where Kyron is and how he got there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news: Kyron Horman`s biological mother -- you just heard from her -- Desiree Young, has filed a civil lawsuit against Terri Horman. Terri Horman`s attorneys asked for the lawsuit to be delayed. The judge denied that request. Once again, the judge called Terri a prime suspect in the disappearance of Kyron in the court paperwork. Authorities have never said that, and she hasn`t been charged with any crime.

I want to go to Debra Opri, a criminal defense attorney out of Los Angeles. Essentially, this lawsuit filed by the biological mother of Kyron, says the judge should order the stepmother to either return Kyron or, if he is deceased, say where his remains are located. It seems unusual for a civil case to make that kind of demand. What can you tell us about that?

DEBRA OPRI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, this is a civil litigation. It is detached and separate from different burdens and standards from the civil -- criminal investigation.

I don`t find it unreasonable or outrageous that the judge would say, "Here`s the foundation of what`s going into this case. I`m ordering you to return this child or tell us where you know he is."

The reason he`s doing that is he`s basically giving her an order. And if she does not satisfy that order and she ignores it, which she probably will, and later on the child is found, and there is a criminal investigation that shows she had something to do with it, she`s now in contempt of court on the civil action.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here are some very bizarre things. We learned in the days following little Kyron`s disappearance that stepmom Terri Horman was a former body-building contestant and that she was allegedly telling people at her gym that she was angry at her husband, Kaine, because he supposedly wanted Terri`s teenage son to move out of the house, and that Terri Horman was reportedly sexting with a gardener while Kyron was missing.

An unsealed restraining order revealed that Kaine was told by investigators that his wife, Terri, had actually plotted, allegedly, to kill him, and that she had allegedly offered the gardener she was sexting with a lot of money to kill Kaine.

So I want to go back to Kaine. This is the woman you were married to and that you had a child with, another child. Not -- not Kyron. Did you ever get a sense that there was other side to Terri Horman? Like you`re living with this stranger who has this dark side?

HORMAN: No. Not at all. No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, how is that possible? I mean, that somebody could be so different, allegedly, trying to get you killed, murdered, allegedly telling everyone that she`s furious that you wanted the -- her teenage son to move out of the house? This is prior to your son`s disappearance. Do you think that could have had anything to do with it? In other words, sort of tit for tat: "Oh, you want my son to move out, therefore -- I`m going to get back at you"?

HORMAN: You know, I don`t know. That information is not correct. So I honestly don`t know how to respond to that. I think that that information was basically built up after the fact. There was never a request, nor did I ever ask for her son to leave the house. That was her choice and her decision based on their relationship.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I hope you understand I`m just exploring this, Kaine, not in any way to put you in an awkward position. These are aspects of the case that have been publicly reported that we`re trying to clear up so that we can understand.

You`re saying, if I understand you correctly, that you believe your son may still be alive and that you feel there are two possibilities, that -- if so, what would the motive be to allegedly hypothetically hand your son off to another individual?

HORMAN: The motive, I don`t know. I honestly can`t say. There`s not been enough information that would tell us what frame of mind she was in and why she conducted herself in the way that she did that day. That`s, I think, something that we`re all curious about at this point. I -- honestly, I don`t know. I really don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where does it stand with your attempts to divorce Terri Horman?

HORMAN: Well, we started the process in late June of 2010. The filings and the responses basically carried over into November of 2010, where we did have hearings about moving forward with the case.

It was determined that we should abate the case, basically putting it on hold for a three-month period until January of 2011, at which time we had another hearing to talk about the best interests of all parties involved. A lot of the circumstances were talked about in the filing by the judge in the latest civil case that was filed yesterday.

And the points were reiterated in there as to why we evaded originally in the divorce proceeding, and we`ve been on hold ever since. That will come up, I believe, this November.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



YOUNG: There is someone out there that has him, and there is someone out there that knows information, and they have not come forward. I want that person to come forward.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: These poor parents. Where is this precious young boy?

Let`s talk about the grand jury that was convened to look into Kyron`s disappearance. Now, the step-mom, Terri Horman, even her friends, at least one of them, were called before the grand jury. It`s not known what they said.

For example, one friend`s home was searched in the days following Kyron`s disappearance, because on that Friday afternoon that Kyron went missing, that friend reportedly left her job and couldn`t be reached for 90 minutes. That friend is not considered a suspect or a person of interest. But everybody even remotely connected to this case was put under the spotlight.

Bruce McCain, former captain of the county sheriff`s office there, can we get this down to plain English in turn terms of where this investigation stands and why is it that it is not a cold case? What are the possible leads here?

BRUCE MCCAIN, FORMER CAPTAIN OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE (via phone): Well, Jane, what we`ve heard so far today from Kaine and everybody else, it`s really nothing new.

As far as the criminal investigation, there never has been an identifiable crime scene. We`ve talked about this over and over and over, which makes this case so frustrating for all in all.

Now what`s happening, you just mentioned the grand jury of two years ago. What`s going to happen in the civil case, Jane, is that Elden Rosenthal, the civil plaintiff`s lawyer, is going to start deposing some of these familiar names like DeDe Spicher. And they`re going to be put under oath to talk about everything they know.

And we all know that Terri Horman is never going to be deposed in the civil case. She`s got the right against self-incrimination. However, Jane, her words that she`s spoken to other people are going to come out. And while Kaine and Desiree, and the sheriff`s office, the D.A. and the public all have the same goal in mind, to find out what happened to Kyron, at some point the civil litigation is going to cross swords with the sheriff`s investigators and the P.A. over access to those criminal files and subpoena deputies into the courtroom.


MCCAIN: So there`s going to be a point where there`s going to be a collision. And that`s where it`s going to get quite interesting here in Multnomah county.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Debra Opri, criminal defense attorney, usually we hear about, for example, a wrongful death trial after a criminal trial, like the O.J. Simpson case. This is happening before any criminal case, because there is no suspect.

OPRI: The state of Oregon is interesting. Unlike the federal courts in most of the states, when you assert your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, you cannot infer anything from your assertion of that constitutional right.

I agree and disagree with Mr. McCain on two levels. First, we have a civil action which you`re going to take depositions, but if they didn`t tell the police then, are they going to tell anybody now?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ve got to give Kaine the last word. Our hearts go out to you. Ten seconds. What do you want to tell America?

HORMAN: That our son is still missing. We`re doing everything we can to find him. And the pressure continues to be on. And don`t give up. We`re going to -- we`re going to get this done. We`re going to find him.

And Kyron, we`re going to find you. We love you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I pray that you are right. Thank you, Kaine Horman. Our hearts go out to you.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy, Raymond Roth, was pulled over for speeding in Florida last week. Everyone thought the 47-year-old was dead, drowned in Long Island Beach.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The tangled web of deceit unravels, a son arrested for allegedly helping his own dad fake his death and clean out the family bank account.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both Raymond Roth and his son Jonathan are charged with insurance fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that Raymond Roth, the father, is saying he knew nothing about it -- "my son is at fault" -- is despicable. What father would throw the son under the bus in such a fashion?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your client, the son, says, "My dad abused me. Coerced me into doing this."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dad says, "No way. I just wanted to disappear. I wanted out of life."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raymond Roth`s wife believed he had drowned until she found e-mails between father and son exposing his plan to disappear to collect insurance money.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the fake death hoax that turned into a hot mess. A New York man who admits trying to fake his own drowning death says he just wanted to disappear, not break the law. But cops say he did it to collect lots of insurance money. And now the dad is blaming whole thing on his son.

Not only that. The very not-dead Raymond Roth appears to be doing everything he can to keep his wife away from the money. The 47-year-old Roth, who is very much alive, was arrested twice in 24 hours. The first time accused of insurance fraud. The second for allegedly contacting his estranged wife in violation of a court order. She doesn`t want anything to do with him anymore. He bonded out both times.

This all started when the 22-year-old son, Jonathan Roth, called 911 about a month ago to report his dad missing. Jonathan told cops his dad went swimming off Long Island and never came back. Rescue crews searched but only found his clothes, cell phone, and his wallet, which was curiously without his driver`s license.

Well, five days later the missing father gets a speeding ticket in South Carolina, 750 miles away. Cops tell him, hey, did you know you were reported missing in New York. Roth said, "Hey, it`s all a big misunderstanding, and I`m headed home."

Guess what? He didn`t go home. He drove to Florida to hide out in his brother`s timeshare. When he did come back to New York, Roth admitted himself into a hospital for psychiatric treatment.


EVANA ROTH, WIFE OF RAYMOND ROTH: He`s a horrible person. He`s an alcoholic. He`s just an abuser in every which way.

BRIAN DAVIS, RAYMOND ROTH`S ATTORNEY: He`s not an ogre. He does have psychiatric issue. S.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did I mention that Roth`s wife says she was betrayed and her husband also cleaned out the family bank account after he skipped town. Evana Roth filed for divorce right away. Now Raymond has done the same thing reportedly to keep his estranged wife away from his severance checks. He was recently fired, reportedly.

Tonight I`m going to talk to attorneys for all the main players. It`s going to be interesting. Raymond Roth, his son Jonathan, the estranged wife. Let`s begin with Joey Jackson who represents the 22-year-old son Jonathan. Why have you said that this dad, who pretended to drown Raymond Roth, has thrown his son, 22-year-old son under the bus?

JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR JONATHAN ROTH: Because the truth shall set you free. Why do I say that -- because that`s precisely what happens. First what does he do? He sets up this mentally ill or diminished capacity defense, checking himself into the hospital. Then what`s the next thing? His attorney makes the representation that they`re buddy-buddy. Hey that doesn`t work, so I`ll say I`m astonished to learn that my son has filed this claim. That is nonsense.

The fact of the matter and the reality is, is that my client was enmeshed in this by a father who was abusive, controlling and manipulative. And when all is said and done Jane, I believe that reasonable minds in a place where my client was at that time will agree with the fact that he was enmeshed in something, and this unfortunately he was embroiled in by his father. It will be learned and determined that he has clean hands -- Jonathan does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right after Raymond Roth bonded out of jail he was arrested again for trying to contact his wife three times in violation of an order of protection. Now, CBS News reports the first two times Evana Roth didn`t answer the phone. The third time, he allegedly said, "Evana, you know who this is." I suppose so. They were married for years.

Now here is Evana Roth claiming that she was shocked when she found out that her husband hadn`t really drowned and that she was grieving for somebody who wasn`t dead.


ROTH: He emptied out my account Friday, Saturday morning even up to the time when supposedly we think that this poor man is drowning in the water. He was driving --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Lenard Leeds, you`re the attorney for Evana Roth. I want to ask you how shocked was she when she found out that her husband has been in South Carolina and was headed to Florida? Did she really grieve for this man thinking that he in fact had drowned?

LENARD LEEDS, ATTORNEY FOR EVANA ROTH (via telephone): You know, she came into my office and she was hysterical crying. She came in to actually submit a petition to the surrogate court asking that she be appointed the administrator of his estate. When she came to me, we thought he was dead. And we thought there was a wrongful death action whereby the lifeguards had acted negligently by not going after him quickly enough.

So we spent two days together, maybe 12 or 14 hours, and she was devastated. This was her husband of 12 years. And then, you know, lo and behold she went home. She went on her computer and she noticed that her husband`s e-mails were on. She pulled some of the e-mails and she found that he was alive. We went to the police. We gave them the e-mails and the rest is -- you know, every day is another story with this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s like a made for TV movie except it`s real. The prosecutors say Raymond Roth`s son Jonathan lied about his dad disappearing in the ocean in order to give his father time to get the heck out of town. Now, the son ended up being in jail for a week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did your dad force you to do it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s just scared and really upset. He`s mad at his dad for throwing him into this. And he really thought his dad had drowned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That`s the girlfriend of the son who says, my boyfriend was manipulated into -- that he`s not really wrong here. That it`s the dad who is wrong.

Now Jonathan`s stepmom, Raymond`s wife, Evana says -- as you just heard from her attorney, she discovered e-mails that her husband, Raymond Roth sent to his son that says there needs to be a way for me to find out how things are going. Call me Sunday night at the resort. You cannot call from your phone.

A second e-mail purportedly says "Hey, number one, I need to get to the bank for cash for the trip. Do not allow that expletive to give the house away."

Now I want to go to the attorney of the man who didn`t drown but who pretended he did, Raymond Roth; Brian Davis, thanks for joining us.

How can your client possibly say he didn`t conspire with his son to fake a drowning when there are e-mails that show them communicating after he supposedly drowned.

BRIAN DAVIS, ATTORNEY FOR RAYMOND ROTH (via telephone): Well, I don`t think there`s any doubt that my client attempted to go to Florida and that his son knew about it. Our contention is that there was no plan concerning and no conspiracy concerning the life insurance that was in effect at the time. That`s where we have the big diversion in what happened in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what you`re saying it`s not all about the money because -- wasn`t your client fired before this? And wouldn`t that create a money problem that he was trying to solve through allegedly trying to cash in on some insurance?

DAVIS: Yes, he lost his job. But he also lost a lot of the insurance that went with it when he was terminated. I mean there wasn`t that much insurance around. And the first thing he said when he found out that his son made the application for the insurance was, "What was he thinking about?" An insurance company is not going to pay off on something like this for years. They have to first declare that he`s dead. And then they never declared that he`s dead.

So he was dumbfounded that his son would be stupid enough to make the application for the life insurance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. According to "News Day prosecutors viewed surveillance video that show at the beach the day that Raymond supposedly dig disappeared. The father and son, Raymond and Jonathan arrived the beach in two separate cars, not one.

So to me -- and I have to go back to Brian Davis, the attorney for the not drowned Raymond Roth -- that shows to me a conspiracy. If they`re pretending that they arrived with one car and it turns out they arrived with two cars, doesn`t that show they`re in cahoots together?

Davis: Look, I haven`t seen all the e-mails. The e-mails pretty much tell the story. You know that is relatively minor compared to the insurance fraud. That`s the serious crime here. Those are C felony and the D felony with a minimum sentence of one to three years. That`s where we have a significant difference in the evidence and what occurred.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fantastic panel. We`ll stay on top of this father/son faceoff and let you know how it turns out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And here`s your viral video of the day. Don`t look away, because you might have something stolen from you. Yes, you got to keep your -- uh-oh, look at that. Ok. Let`s grab some food while we can.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These people are still free, doing to other people what they did to us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight in "JVM`s Most Wanted", they call her "the other Lacy". A 25-year-old woman, beautiful young woman who was gunned down outside a Modesto, California convenience store for no reason; a senseless killing almost nine years ago. And her murderers are still on the loose.

Lacy Ferguson left behind a 3-year-old daughter. They call her "the other Lacy" because of this woman, Laci Peterson, who was also murdered in Modesto, California just one year earlier in 2002 in a case that riveted the entire nation. Laci Peterson was pregnant at the time. Her husband Scott Peterson sits on death row.

But there is the other Lacy and her case is just as important, that`s why we`re bringing it to you tonight. Lacy Ferguson was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was gunned down in a gang-related drive-by. Two other people were shot, too.

And Lacy`s family tonight needs your help to find the men who killed her so that she can have something -- something that approximates closure.

Straight out to HLN contributor and investigative reporter, Jon Leiberman, who brought us this story -- and thank you for doing that, Jon. Where is this investigation today?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Jane, that`s the sad part. This case is in jeopardy of becoming a cold case. We don`t want that to happen.

You`re going to hear from Boni, the mother, and she`s going to tell you, this woman, Lacy did not deserve to die that night. She was simply going into a convenience store. She gets caught in the cross fire of gang violence, and nobody talks because of "stop snitching".

And that`s why we`re doing this tonight because somebody knows who pulled that trigger. It might be somebody looking for a break now, somebody who is in prison after these nine years have gone by. But somebody knows who pulled the trigger that night and who killed Lacy, and we need to find out who it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Laci Peterson and her unborn son were killed about six months before Lacy Ferguson was murdered. Laci Peterson was reported missing on Christmas Eve, 2002. Modesto police spent thousands of hours investigating her death, and rightfully so.

But then in August of 2003, not much after that, Lacy Ferguson was killed. Lacy Ferguson`s mother, Boni Driskil joins me now. Thank you so much for talking to us. Our heart goes out to you. We want to help you solve this unsolved case involving your daughter`s death.

What have these years been like for you and your granddaughter? You see her, this child there, is a little baby. She was three when her mother, your daughter, was killed.

BONI DRISKIL, MOTHER OF LACY FERGUSON: She was three years old the day my daughter passed away. It was her birthday. And it`s been a challenge. It`s been a challenge. It`s been a real challenge of explaining to her how or why or anything. And she`s now in 7th grade and she`ll be 12 this month on our anniversary. And she wants to know why. She wants to know who and she wants to know how come nothing has been done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you say nothing has been done. So, I had asked you about the intensity of the law enforcement investigation into your daughter`s death. I mean, what do you think should be done that hasn`t been done?

DRISKIL: A number of things, composite sketches have not been done, revisiting any of the witnesses. There were some witnesses that came forward. They haven`t been spoken to again since that night. A lot of things I feel that can be done. I believe there`s new testing now that can be done. And I`m aware of new tests that can be done.

I`ve been told that our county has no budget for it. But --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s nonsense. If they have the budget to give somebody a parking ticket, they have the budget to investigate your daughter`s murder.

Police say at least two men were involved in the suspect vehicle the night your daughter was shot. The driver`s described the male with a round face, dark hair combed back. The passenger, round face, lighter color hair long buzz cut. The suspects were in a `97 to 2003 black, four-door, Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla.

Jon Leiberman, we have the suspect descriptions but what about other aspects of the investigation? This happened at a convenience store. What about surveillance video from the convenience store? What about other witnesses that Boni referred to?

LEIBERMAN: Well, unfortunately we`ve learned there wasn`t surveillance video. The cameras were not working. How many times do we say that?

But I do know this. I`ve been assured by investigators that they are still taking a hard look at this case. One thing they`ve come up against Jane, which is outrageous, is this whole "stop snitching" culture; the fact that when they did go to question witnesses, a lot of people didn`t want to get involved because of the severe gang problem around the area at that time. And we just can`t allow that.

So now that a little bit of time has passed hopefully somebody won`t be scared anymore, and they`ll come forward with that small bit, any bit of information to help Boni and her family get a little bit of justice here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And take a look at Sini, wow, taking a nap. Brodie getting ready for fall with the pumpkin. These are pets -- Monty smelling the flowers -- that our viewers sent in. Send in your pet pick. Emily, you are gorgeous. We love you.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: These chimps desperately need your help. Tell your congress member and senator, we don`t want our tax dollars used to torture these highly sensitive, highly intelligent cousins of mankind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything we know about chimpanzees now -- you know, it`s a lot like looking in the mirror. Chimpanzees are sensitive, intelligent individuals and it`s morally wrong to inflict pain and suffering on a sentient being.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A major victory for animal rights supporters wanting to end invasive research on chimpanzees. A U.S. Senate committee has just the Great Ape Protection Act. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote. We have got to get this passed. There are about 1,000 chimps still held in research and testing labs in the United States.

Now the 500 government-owned chimps would be retired to a sanctuary. Besides being the humane thing to do, this move could save us taxpayers about $300 million over the next decade. It`s so disturbing that such magnificent creatures are still being held in small cages and used as unwilling research subjects especially since medical experts say it`s not needed.

Last year, the prestigious Institute of Medicine concluded bio-medical research on chimps is unnecessary. Most countries have halted testing on these close cousins of humans. Chimps and humans share about 98 percent of their DNA.

Straight out to Kathy Guillermo, the vice president of laboratory investigations for PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; Kathy, tell us why the Great Ape Protection Act is so important? Why you want Americans to call and e-mail their senators and congress members and urge them to vote for the Great Ape Protection Act?

KATHY GUILLERMO, VP LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS, PETA: It`s crucial for Americans to act right now Jane because hundreds of these chimpanzees have been imprisoned, many of them for decades, in tiny cages that are no larger than a phone booth. And they have lived year after year with hardly any space to move. Not able to enjoy the companionship of others of their own kind.

For the first time now, we`re looking at the possibility that more than 500 of the chimpanzees owned by the government can go to real sanctuaries, can live with other chimpanzees, have space to move. They can go indoors or outdoors. They can have a varied diet. This is the least we can do for animals, who have been caged and poked and anesthetized with a dart gun, pieces of their liver cut out, infected with disease and denied everything that`s important to them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: About a thousand chimps are being held in U.S. research and testing labs right now as we speak. Scientists found that chimps are ineffective as models for human disease. Again, the Institute of Medicine concluded that biomedical research is no longer necessary on chimps.

The Humane Society says life for laboratory chimps is miserable. That they suffer from depression, increased aggression, self-mutilation. The Jane Goodall Institute founded by, of course, Jane Goodall -- such a famous expert on apes -- she is calling for the passage of the Great Ape Protection Act and the end to this torturous research on chimps.

So on the other side of the break we`re going to tell you about a chimp by the name of Wenka who has lived her entire life, more than 57 years, without ever seeing the light of day outside a research facility.

Stay right there. You can help.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Great Ape Protection Act. It`s a crucial time right now. We have got to get this passed. Some chimps have spent their entire lives in research facilities. You`re looking at one of several Web sites including; a whole protest movement is devoted to this one chimp, Wenka, who is reportedly the oldest living lab chimpanzee, over 57 years old. Critics say she`s being kept at the Yerkes Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta.

There`s been numerous demos -- we reached out to Emory University, did not hear back.

Ten seconds, Kathy, why do we need to free Wenka?

GUILLERMO: Because Wenka is an individual. Like every one of the other chimpanzees in laboratories right now and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity for the rest of her life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Great Ape Protection Act. Pass it.