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Pistorius Charged With Premeditated Murder; Special Needs Girl Missing for Two Years

Aired August 19, 2013 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. Olympic superstar Oscar Pistorius, AKA "blade runner," shoots to fame breaking world records, even running on prosthetic leg blades.

Bombshell tonight. In the last hour, the Olympic icon in court crying, sobbing while in front of a judge. But police say he wasn`t crying the night he gunned down his girlfriend while she barricades herself in the couple`s bathroom.

Multiple shots fired through the bathroom door to gun her down dead. Reports they fought bitterly, the Olympic star raging jealous over texts from another man. This just before Reeva`s brutal death. But because he`s a star, he is walking free tonight on a low bond.

Defense, the star claims the lights were out, it was dark, he thought his own girlfriend was an intruder, that he acted in self-defense.

From his own girlfriend hiding in the bathroom? No way!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oscar Pistorius is fast and he has the athletics world in a spin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Olympic athlete known as the "blade runner" is accused of murdering his girlfriend on Valentine`s Day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "She got into bed, and we both fell asleep."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prosecutors call it a case of premeditated murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Olympic star is charged with the premeditated murder of Steenkamp. She was shot and killed by Pistorius inside the bathroom of his home on Valentine`s Day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The allegations are chilling. Authorities say Pistorius shot to death model Reeva Steenkamp inside his estate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I heard a noise in the bathroom and realized that someone was in the bathroom."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pistorius says it was a tragic accident, that he thought she was an intruder. The state says it was murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I grabbed my .9 millimeter pistol from underneath my bed. On the way to the bathroom, I screamed the words to the effect for him, them, to get out of my house."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say Steenkamp was shot four times. The killing took place behind the walls of this gated community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who am I not to forgive him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s Reeva. She was even more beautiful on the inside.


GRACE: And tonight, live, North Carolina, a special needs little girl vanishes into thin air. That`s bad enough, but here`s the kicker. Little Erica vanished two years ago, and nobody -- repeat, nobody -- reported her gone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is such a precious child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A teenage girl missing nearly two years but only now reported as missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been nearly two years since anyone in Rowan (ph) County has seen Erica.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My thoughts as a mother would be that I would hope for a safe return for this child.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.

Bombshell tonight. Oscar Pistorius, AKA "blade runner," shoots to fame, breaking world records, even running on prosthetic leg blades. But in the last hour, the Olympic icon in court sobbing, crying, nose running in front of a judge. But police say he was not crying the night he guns down his girlfriend while she`s barricading herself in the bathroom. And why -- why -- is he out walking free on a low bond? The judge must be very impressed with the Olympics.

We are live and taking your calls. I want to go straight out to Andre Neveling, editor with "The Heat," who interviewed Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend just before the shooting. Andre, thank you for being with us.

What do you make of his defense that he thought someone had broken into his home, into his bedroom, the lights were off and it was dark, so he guns down his girlfriend?

ANDRE NEVELING, `HEAT" (via telephone): Well, Nancy, that is a very good question. And what a lot of people here are saying is that if there was going to be an intruder getting through the bathroom window, why would they do that when the balcony sliding door was open? It`s so much easier to just climb up and there`s a whole open door for you. Why would you crawl through a window in a smaller area? So it is a bit strange. It is a bit bizarre.

GRACE: Well, I would say it`s more than strange. Out to Mike Walker, senior editor with "The National Enquirer." What exactly is his story about the night of the shooting?

MIKE WALKER, "NATIONAL ENQUIRER" (via telephone): Well, his story is ridiculous, Nancy. Oscar Pistorius and his very beautiful girlfriend -- you know, law school graduate, she`s a model, she was slated for a reality TV show, so famous, in fact, that this golden couple were photographed that Valentine`s Day night. As they arrived at his home, a news crew came out to take pictures of them.

OK. Now, a few hours later, neighbors hear screaming and shouting and fighting coming from the house. Police are called. Investigators...

GRACE: Whoa, whoa! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Mike Walker with me, senior editor, "National Enquirer." So you`re telling me neighbors heard screaming and fighting.

WALKER: That`s right.

GRACE: But this is what I want to clarify. Did they just hear Pistorius or did they hear a woman screaming, too?

WALKER: Oh, no. They heard -- they heard -- it was a lovers` spat. That`s how they -- they -- they described it, and the police went out to investigate and said, Well, you know, everything was fine and they left.

So that`s the night that some strange guy takes to break into the house right after the police have been there for this thing? That`s his story.

What happened later was, the police say, that -- and here`s the key, Nancy. Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend in a fit of rage because she told him that night she was pregnant. It was a shock to him, and the reason it came out was he was accusing her of fooling around with a very handsome soccer player named Francois Hougaard. And she had been dating him, you know, months ago, but it -- months before, but it was all over. And he gets all jealous and he says, You were texting him. And in fact, police did find texts between them. And she said...

GRACE: OK, wait a minute! Wait a minute!

WALKER: ... and then sort of to defend herself, she says...

GRACE: For those of you just joining us, I`ve got Mike Walker with "The National Enquirer" with me. Just in court in the last hours, an Olympic icon known as the "blade runner" because even on prosthetic blade legs, he shatters world records, incredible -- but then his girlfriend found dead, shot three times after four gunshots fired as she barricades herself in their bathroom.

Their bathroom, isn`t it correct, Mike Walker, is right off the bedroom? It`s my understanding...

WALKER: Yes, it is.

GRACE: ... Mike, he says -- he`s in bed, she comes and gets in bed, but the lights are off. Take a look at this reenactment. The lights are off, so he says he gets up to shut the curtains and get back in bed. But then he hears something, that he keeps a .9 millimeter under his bed, and goes in there, blasting, you know, guns a`blazing, and has no idea it`s really his girlfriend in the bathroom.

I`ve kind of paraphrased it, Jean Casarez. Jean, what is his defense?

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I`m listening to what you`re saying right there. His defense is, it was an accident, mistaken identity, thought it was an intruder. But what you said that his story is, is inconsistent with what we are learning today.

The prosecution has witnesses, many witnesses that are neighbors in this very exclusive area, that said at 3:00 AM in the morning on Valentine`s Day, they heard a female screaming. They heard silence, and then they heard shots.

GRACE: You know, unleash the lawyers. Joining me tonight, Darryl Cohen, defense attorney, Atlanta, former prosecutor. Also with me, Alex Sanchez, defense attorney, New York. Hello, gentlemen.

First, I`ll start with you, Darryl Cohen. I once had a defense attorney -- who I might add is now an elected district attorney -- that`s hard to take in. But I was trying a murder case against him. He was defending, of course. And his defense was that his client actually meant to murder a drug dealer instead of an 11-year-old little boy, OK, transferred intent.

Oh, I meant to murder a burglar who was hiding in the bathroom. I mean, the moment he goes after the burglar, he becomes the aggressor, does he not, Darryl Cohen?

DARRYL COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, Nancy, he does not. He had a burglar who he believes put him in danger. As you probably know, he was burglarized before, and as a result of that, he took (ph) what reasonable people would do. He shot to kill and to make sure he killed, he...

GRACE: Put him up!

COHEN: ... used the gun four times.

GRACE: Did you just say reasonable people, that`s what reasonable people would do? You know, I think...

COHEN: So would you, Nancy.

GRACE: ... reasonable people would make sure that the other person in bed was not the one in there on the commode, using the bathroom, before they unload a .9 millimeter.

Out to you, Sanchez. You got anything better than that for me?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. You know, transferred intent has absolutely nothing to do with this case. Transferred intent applies when you are engaged in some criminal activity, like you`re trying to kill somebody criminally, and you miss and you hit a wrong person. That`s not the case here.

GRACE: Well, that`s what he`s saying here.

SANCHEZ: No, no, he`s saying he was trying to kill a criminal. And if somebody comes into your house at night, they could be armed. You have a right to try to kill them. It`s unfortunate if he killed somebody else by accident.

GRACE: That`s -- you said, if somebody comes into your house at night.


GRACE: Nobody came -- Mike Walker, is there any evidence in the record that anybody came into that house? Isn`t it true he had a fence, a very high fence, all around his property and it had not only barbed wire but electrical currents in it?

WALKER: It`s highly unlikely. And also, remember, we`re all forgetting the cricket bat that Pistorius hit her with, covered with blood. OK, what did he do, first hit the burglar with the cricket bat, and then burglar runs into the bathroom and closes the door and then he shoots the burglar through the door? I mean, it`s just insane. It makes no sense whatsoever.

GRACE: OK. Tell me about the cricket bat, Jean Casarez.

CASAREZ: Well, that`s been in some accounts, that there was a bat that was very, very bloody. But we know that wasn`t the murder weapon. It was the shots -- four shots, three hit her, one on the right side above the ear, next on the right shoulder, and then on the hip.

GRACE: Everyone, we are live and taking your calls. In the last hours, Oscar Pistorius, an icon, Olympic icon, a star, known as the "blade runner" because even running on prosthetic blade legs, he broke world records. But now he is in court in front of a judge sobbing and crying every time his girlfriend`s name is even mentioned.

Out to you, Andre Neveling. What happened in court in the last hours?

NEVELING: Well, today Oscar got charged with murder, and the pre- murder trial has been set for the 3rd of March. And if he is convicted, he faces a life sentence in prison with a minimum of 25 years.

GRACE: You know, we are taking a look right now at what happened in court in the last hours. Jean Casarez, the trial is set. Why was he in court today?

CASAREZ: Well, the indictment was handed down, so the formal -- he got significant charges information. His defense got this information for the first time today. That`s why we`re learning more about the witness list, which is over 100 for the prosecution.

GRACE: Out to Mike Brooks, law enforcement analyst. Mike, you know if this were anybody but a star or a celebrity, they would be under the jail right now.

He shoots his girlfriend, who`s cowering and hiding, barricaded behind a closed door. It must be one of those bathrooms where the commode is in its own separate little closet area because she apparently was shot down in the little commode area.

And I just don`t see how you run from the bedroom -- by his own words, you run from the bedroom, you run through that adjoining room, like a closet, and into the bathroom to pursue your girlfriend, who neighbors hear screaming. He shoots her, including in the head, three times. The neighbors hear the screaming. And he`s out walking free?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, she was in this little bathroom where the toilet is and cowering with the door locked, Nancy. But his story makes no sense. And you`re right, he should not be out because of all the statements from witnesses, what the law enforcement investigators are saying. He should not be out.

And his story makes no sense. When he went to get the gun under the bed, right there under his bed, why didn`t he just lean over and say, Hey, call the police? But he said that he thought she was in the bed? Oh, no, his story makes no sense whatsoever!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Olympic darling, the double amputee who dares to compete with able-bodied athletes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He brought (ph) us to be, like, you know, what`s it like to (INAUDIBLE) artificial leg, and I`ll be like, Well, what`s it like having a real leg?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oscar Pistorius has been arrested for killing his girlfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Model Reeva Steenkamp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the blink of an eye, Pistorius would go from hero...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be just like him when I grow up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... to murder suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state has officially now charged him with premeditated murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pistorius says he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way."


GRACE: Welcome back. For those of you joining us, in the last hours, an Olympic superstar, Pistorius, also known as the "blade runner" -- that was his nickname because even on prosthetic leg blades, he managed to shatter world records -- in a court of law. He`s claiming even though he guns down his girlfriend, his live-in girlfriend, who was cowering, hiding behind a closed door in the bathroom -- he shoots violently through the door four times, he hits her three times and claims self-defense, that he thought a burglar had come into the home, had gone and hidden in the bathroom where the commode is, and was hiding in there. And he thought to protect himself, he had to shoot through the door, thereby murdering his live-in girlfriend.

We are taking your calls. I want to go back out to Mike Walker, senior editor "National Enquirer." Who is the rugby player? How does he fit into this scenario?

WALKER: Well, Francois Hougaard is a very good-looking guy, and he dated Reeva Steenkamp before she and Pistorius became an item. And but the -- from all accounts, it was long over. She met Pistorius, and then they fell in love and they were, you know, the golden couple and very successful and everything was fine.

What she didn`t know, apparently, was he had had a lot of trouble, you know, with his previous girlfriend. He once confronted a guy who was seen with his previous girlfriend, sent him e-mails threatening to break his legs and was arrested for that. He slammed a door on a college -- female college student`s leg, injured her badly. He spent a day in jail for that.

And he was -- at the time of this shooting, he was -- he had put in requests for gun permits for -- seven gun permits, including one for a machine gun. So he was well known for being...

GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! He was getting a gun permit for a machine gun?

All right, Matt Zarrell, isn`t it true that just before he guns down his girlfriend, who`s hiding in the bathroom, he is tweeting or texting something about how he went to the practice -- he went shooting, and what did he say, he got 96 percent of the head shots?

MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via telephone): Yes, Oscar Pistorius was a very big fan of going to the gun range. In November of 2011, Pistorius tweeted, quote, "Had a 96 percent head shot over 300 meters for 50 shots. Bam."


GRACE: Welcome back. For those of you just joining us, in the last hours, an Olympic superstar, Pistorius, AKA "blade runner," in a court of law sobbing and crying in front of a judge. Police say he wasn`t crying the night he guns down his girlfriend. Why is he out on bond?

Out to you, Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner joining me out of Madison Heights tonight. Doctor, what can they tell from the gunshot wounds to the girlfriend`s body?

DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST (via telephone): They`ve already said that ballistics experts and forensic experts think they have enough. The trajectory of the bullets is going to determine how close and at what angle she was shot. And if there`s gunshot residue on the door, that`s going to show that he went to shoot forward, and that can never be self-defense.

Self-defense is somebody`s running at you and you shoot them. But the bullet holes are going to be examined for what angle the bullet came at her. That will show what he shot from, whether he was coming to the door or on the floor or sitting on the bed. And they said they have enough evidence from that.

GRACE: Out to LA, psychotherapist Eris Huemer. Dr. Eris, how does his disability -- I mean, this guy really excelled in so many ways, it`s hard to imagine his disability affecting him. But did his disability, the fact that he had prosthetic legs, the blades -- did that contribute in any way to his rages and his intense jealousy of other men?

ERIS HUEMER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, it possibly could have if he had low self-esteem because of his disability. But there seemed to be many signs that were building up. If they were having a big fight, an excessive fight the night of the murder, what is his past? Does he have extreme jealousy? Is he insecure because of his disability? Is he insecure because of the gorgeous model? What are all of the different things going on with him and his past? What is his past? It sounds like...


GRACE: Another thing, Eris, we heard Mike Walker, senior editor, "National Enquirer," say that there were reports that she was pregnant and that she had told him that. How would that have contributed to this, if it`s true?

HUEMER: Well, if it`s true that it was Pistorius`s baby or if it was somebody else`s -- like he had said, there were text messages that she had been texting back and forth with her ex. So possibly, Pistorius got extremely jealous and this is where he had the impulse -- lack of impulse control in a moment of rage and he went after her.

GRACE: Well, you know what? You might call it lack of impulse control. I call it murder one, Dr. Eris.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is such a precious child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A teenage girl missing for nearly two years, but only now reported as missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been nearly two years since anyone in Rowan (ph) County has seen Erica.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My thoughts as a mother would be that I would hope for a safe return for this child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Parsons (ph) acknowledge that Erica has not been living here for about a year-and-a-half.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff`s office began investigating the whereabouts of Erica after her stepbrother, James Parsons (ph), reported her missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Parsons went from talking to reporters to speeding away anytime they saw a camera.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m hoping for the best, but I really believe the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the FBI, SBI and Rowan County sheriff`s office conducted a massive search of the Parsons` property...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Erica`s adoptive parents insist the girl has been with her paternal grandmother in Asheville.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Search warrants revealed allegations of mental and physical abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s my fear. If something happened, then nothing -- nobody`s telling us.


GRACE: Outrage. This special needs little girl is missing, but that`s just the tip of the iceberg. She`s been missing for two years. No one reported her missing.

Welcome back, everyone. Take a look at this little girl, Erica Parsons. She is special needs. I don`t understand the convoluted story of she was adopted, she had a biological mom who`s part of the mix. Straight out to you, Clark Goldband, take it from the top.

GOLDBAND: OK, Nancy. This girl, 13 years old at the time she vanished, was adopted at a very young age by these adoptive parents, and they essentially raised the girl. She has special needs. They were receiving over $600 per month from the state as a stipend to take care of her. She grew up in a family with other natural children of the mom and dad. But then the parents claim, Nancy, this 13-year-old decides she wants to live with grandma, a grandma that these parents claim they`ve met, but can`t seem to track down grandma now.

Fast forward almost two years when one of the brothers that lives in the home is upset at the mother. He goes to law enforcement and says, hey, look, this 13-year-old girl, she`s missing. She never came back.

GRACE: Out to Jim Barrel (ph), news director of WBT (ph) joining me out of Charlotte. Jim, how did this family get the girl to start with, No. 1? Why didn`t her biological mother take care of her? And is it true the adoptive family was getting checks from the government for taking care of her because she`s special needs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting with the adoption, it was the result of the biological mother not being able to care for her at a very young age. She was related to the adoptive parents. Erica`s custody was transferred to the adoptive parents, who are now the focus of the investigation. She lived with them up until the time she disappeared, with one exception, and that was the time she was sent back to another family member as a result of being abused by her adoptive mother. And as a result of her disappearance --

GRACE: Wait, wait. You said that at some point, while she`s with the adoptive parents, she`s sent back to her relative because the adoptive parents are abusing her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were reports of abuse in the warrants that were issued last week. Family members and others documented, or at least were able to give information to the effect that every time she showed up at a family function, she had bumps or bruises, and she was small for her age, but she always seemed to be suffering from some sort of abuse.

GRACE: Oh, man. You know, Jim, the thought of a completely normal child being abused is so, so upsetting. If you put yourself in that child`s shoes, imagining somebody three times your size, three times your weight, with all the authority, all the money, all the food, the home, the transportation. You don`t even know how to use a telephone. You`re too afraid to tell anybody, the beatings that you endure and the abuse you go through. And then imagine a special needs child, who gets beaten every time she comes in the door, gets locked in closets and is treated -- and now she`s been missing for two years and it`s never reported? Explain to me, Joe Gomez, investigative reporter KRLD, how has this come to light?

JOE GOMEZ, KRLD: Well, this has finally come to light, Nancy, because the older brother of young Erica, who`s not related to her, by the way, reported her missing finally back in July. Apparently, he claims he told a local TV station that he believes that Erica`s adoptive parents may have killed her and buried her in the backyard. Now, Erica`s adoptive parents say they have problems with this young man and they kicked him out of the house, and that is why she went to go live with the grandmother.

But what gets me, Nancy, is that even though Erica was missing, she was -- the family was still collecting $634 every month from the government for Erica, even though she wasn`t living in the house.

GRACE: Now, is it true, Clark Goldband, that the adoptive parents say she`s gone to live with the grandparents? Now, it`s my understanding, Clark, that this is how this came down, that she was going to go to the grandmother for about three weeks at Christmastime, and towards the end of those three weeks that she called, she wants to stay with the grandmother. And because she`s not getting along with her brother, they let her stay with the grandmother, and then it just turns into a permanent thing. But isn`t it true, Clark, that the grandparents are dead?

GOLDBAND: Nancy, we`ve searched high and low all day for the grandparents, and we believe they are dead. We couldn`t find anyone. In fact, law enforcement also saying they have not found any proof of this story whatsoever. And the girl`s biological mother says both grandmas have been dead, not one, not two, not three, not four, but five years.

GRACE: So the grandparents that she says, the mommy and daddy, the adoptive parents, the grandparents they say she`s living with, they are dead.


GRACE: And two years have passed? OK, Marc Klaas, president and founder, KlaasKids, your specialty is children in trouble. How do you go two years and nobody knows a child is missing?

MARC KLAAS, KLAASKIDS: The little girl that was marginalized, she was isolated from the rest of the world. She didn`t go to school, she was supposedly home schooled. She didn`t have friends. The neighbors didn`t even really know her, so it becomes easy when you have people like this who appear to be sadistic, who appear to have no care or no concern for this child, are able to ultimately -- their sadism maybe took them a little too far, she died, they buried her, they covered it up, they pretended like it didn`t happen until they needed to make an excuse, and then they come up with a cacamamie story that absolutely no one can believe.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been two years, and according to deputies, no one has seen or heard from 15-year-old Erica Lynn Parsons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A teenage girl missing for nearly two years, but only now reported as missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Parsons said Erica decided she wanted to live with her biological grandmother. She was 13 years old when they last saw her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff investigators began investigating the whereabouts of Erica after her stepbrother, James Parsons, reported her missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s my fear, that something happened and nobody`s telling us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And search warrants revealed allegations of mental and physical abuse. The deputies served a juvenile summons on the Parsons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The grandmother says she just wants justice for Erica.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s such a precious child.


GRACE: That`s your fear, that something happened? OK, something happened. Years ago, the adoptive parents say, oh, she`s gone to live with her grandmother, she`s very happy there. Grandma`s been dead for five years. There is no grandma. So what did they mean, that they buried her, just like they buried their grandparents? Is that where this little girl is? She`s a special needs child. I`m reading from the police search warrant. Listen to what this child went through. Erica, when she was 6. Casey Parsons called family members, asked them to take her away because she couldn`t stand to look at her. The family said that she was covered in bruises, quote, all over Erica`s butt, covered in bruises. That Casey Parsons would lose control and beat her. She was very small and was in the first grade and wore 3t-size clothes.

Mike Brooks, she wore 3t, that`s for a 3-year-old. When my children go to first grade, they are going to be 6 and a half, they are going to be 7. They haven`t worn 3t since they were 2. She was that tiny.

MIKE BROOKS: If the other family members witnessed this, why didn`t they say anything? It makes me want to puke also, Nancy. And you know, Casey Parsons, she told law enforcement in the probable cause affidavit for the search warrants, oh, well, I was keeping in touch with the grandmother, Irene Goodman, via FaceBook. But when she was confronted further on that, I can`t find it anywhere on my social media site of FaceBook. And then when law enforcement questioned her about the $634 a month that they were still getting, even though the girl had been gone for two years, they got upset. What did they do, Nancy? They lawyered up.

GRACE: Now I want to point out, for the record, that the parents were never prosecuted for abuse. I`m just reading you what`s in this police warrant, all right? They were never prosecuted for abuse.

Now, unleash the defense lawyers. Alex Sanchez, New York, Darryl Cohen, Atlanta. Now listen to this, interesting, I`m going to go to you, Sanchez, because I can`t wait to hear you explain your way out of this one. The adoptive parents have given a couple of media interviews, and they keep referring to her in the past tense. Thoughts?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know something, if anybody should be brought up on any charges, it`s the state of North Carolina. Where were they for the past two years?

GRACE: Can you address what I just asked you? That the parents--


GRACE: -- refer to her in the past tense, reminds me of Scott Peterson when he says, oh--


GRACE: -- Laci was just an amazing woman. Oops, did I say was? Why are they talking about her in the past tense, Sanchez?

SANCHEZ: They`re talking about her in the past tense because she hasn`t lived there for the past two years. I`m assuming that`s the reason why they have. But again, you`re escaping the real issue in this case. How come North Carolina did not pay a visit to this house for two years to determine if this kid was being treated properly or was receiving proper education or medical treatment?

GRACE: I agree.

SANCHEZ: How come nobody`s asking those questions here?

GRACE: Sanchez, I`m asking them. I`ve already been asking them, and this is what I found out.

SANCHEZ: Well, what are the answers to those questions?

GRACE: This is what I found out, that in this country, you are allowed to home school, that they chose to home school her. A question, another question I have, though, Sanchez, but I can tell you right now, Sanchez, the state of North Carolina didn`t kill her and get rid of her body, all right?

SANCHEZ: They acted negligent.

GRACE: I can`t prosecute them.

SANCHEZ: In overseeing this child`s welfare.

GRACE: And I appreciate you trying to deflect the attention off of the adoptive parents, but Darryl Cohen, even so, when the state is handing out our, the three of us, all of us tax money to these adoptive parents to take care of her, but there`s no followup, we don`t know if they are taking care of the children or not, she`s not in school, she shows up at family functions covered in bruises. Her own mother says she can`t stand to look at her. You know, if somebody said that about my child, I can`t stand to look at them, honey, I`d come after them like a windmill in a tornado, and this is her own mother.

DARRYL COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, this is a tragedy. We know it`s a tragedy.

GRACE: Blah, blah. I know it`s a tragedy.

COHEN: The state did not do what they should have done. The state, when they are giving money, when they are sending money, they have an obligation to take --

GRACE: A 3t, Darryl Cohen. You have children, Cohen.

COHEN: I`ve got three of them.

GRACE: She is in the first grade and she`s wearing 3t.

COHEN: So, Nancy, what does that tell you?

GRACE: They are not even feeding her.

COHEN: That tells you that the state has not done anything they should have done, nothing, not one iota that they should have done.

GRACE: Hey, New York control room, find out what is the mode of death penalty in North Carolina. I really need to know that.

To Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner. A 3t in the first grade, toddler clothes?

DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER: That sounds like malnutrition, neglect, and abuse before murder. That`s unconscionable.

GRACE: Here we are, more in the search warrant, talk to the biological mother, who also speaks to reporters. Spoke of Erica in the present tense and says, she`s my biological daughter. I want her to know that I love her. That was out of WBTV.

Now, interesting that the adoptive parents talk about her in the past tense. Did you tell -- am I hearing in my ear that the form of death is lethal injection? Oh, OK. So whoever killed her can`t be starved to death and then beaten, the way she was? That`s unconstitutional? OK.

Out to Eris Huemer, psychotherapist out of L.A. Dr. Eris, why do people stand by and let this happen?

HUEMER: It`s absolutely unfathomable, I mean, it infuriates me beyond belief. And working in that mental health industry, I just become so rageful in seeing how certain parents get children for the paycheck. They don`t want the child, they want a paycheck. And this child was neglected and abused, and I`m wondering where social services was. How could they not be interviewing this child or seeing this child? They are just sending this family money, but they are not showing up at the house.

I`m just baffled beyond concern here.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It got the public`s attention right from the start.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been nearly two years since anyone in Rowan (ph) County has seen Erica.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have followed the twist in the case thus far and keep hoping for a good outcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope they find this girl, I really do.


GRACE: Welcome back. For all of you just joining us, a little girl, a special needs girl, take a look at Erica, is missing. As if that in itself isn`t bad enough, this child has not been seen for two years. Help me out, Mike Brooks. Throw me a bone.

BROOKS: Throw you a bone, Nancy? I tell you what.

GRACE: I`m sick.

BROOKS: I`d like to throw something. It`s unbelievable to me. But hopefully law enforcement was able to get a lot of good evidence when they served a search warrant on this house and their vehicle.

GRACE: Mike, Mike, Mike --

BROOKS: To build a case against these two.

GRACE: Please.

BROOKS: I know.

GRACE: I don`t want to talk about a search warrant. Can you even imagine what this child would go through? Wasn`t getting fed. Was getting covered in bruises. And children don`t understand. They don`t understand. Not only that, she`s special needs, but all she knew is the torment. That`s all her little life was, Mike Brooks. That`s it.

BROOKS: All she wanted to do was to be loved by somebody, and all she was, Nancy, was abused and beaten. And possibly killed by these people. I tell you what, Nancy, makes me want to puke.

GRACE: You know, how they could go, Marc Klaas, and cash that check every month, I do not know. How could they do it?

KLAAS: Well, you know, Nancy, there are some pretty bad people in this world. This is very much like the case of Zara Baker (ph) a couple of years ago. Same place, same location.

GRACE: Exactly what I thought of. I just don`t know how they could bring themselves to cash this check, though. And I`m not saying that that`s the crime. To me, that`s just the icing on -- the putrid icing on the poisonous cake, Marc Klaas, that they could continue cashing the check, knowing the way this child had been mistreated, Marc.

KLAAS: They didn`t care about the child, Nancy. The child meant absolutely nothing to them. She was just someone to beat on when nobody else was around. It was always about the money with these people, I would suspect. And I`m sure that that will be found out at some point.


GRACE: Everyone, Labor Day coming up. We celebrate a very special group of workers, working moms. Are you a working mom? Do you know one who deserves recognition? For hard work at home and at work? I want to hear from you. Send us a video explaining why you or your loved one is the best working mom in America. Five videos with the most votes wins my signature handcuff necklace, earrings, t-shirts, the works. Details, go to After you go to the website, send in those videos.

We remember American hero, Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Pape (ph), 30. Fort Wayne, Indiana. Two Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal. Father Mark. Stepmother Sheryl. Sister Kristin. Brother Rich. Widow Amelia. Daughter Monica. Kevin Pape, American hero.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so worried. I`m so worried.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a sad situation. I just hope it works out. I hope they find this little girl. I really do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case has been the talk of the town. And even if the family isn`t particularly well-known, people have followed the twist in the case thus far.


GRACE: Yes, it`s a sad situation, but you know what might make me feel a lot better? For whoever murdered this child, this little special needs girl Erica, to get the North Carolina death penalty. That would make me feel a tiny bit better. Clark Goldband, you claim you know why they cashed the check?

GOLDBAND: Yes, Nancy, these adoptive parents did a long interview with the local newspaper, and they say that they didn`t want to cancel the check because then the girl`s insurance would be canceled, and they could not get medical treatment if the girl went to the hospital. And also, none of this money has been spent, they claim. They say they`ve been saving it. Although they also admit in the newspaper interview they have not sent any of this cash over to the girl or the grandma.

GRACE: Everyone, there is a tip line. If you know anything about the disappearance of little Erica Parsons, please, 704-216-8700. Everyone, Dr. Drew up next. I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern, and until then, good night, friend.