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Searching for Clues to in the Jennifer Short Kidnap Case

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, August 16, 2002. Click here to order the entire transcript of the show.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Now, more on the disappearance of Jennifer Short. Cops are desperately searching for her and the killer who shot her parents. Joining us from Spokane, Washington, former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman. Mark is the author of Murder in Spokane: Catching a Serial Killer. And in Washington, D.C., Lou Hennessy, former commander of the D.C. homicide squad. Welcome to both of you.

Mark, first to you. Where do you start in a case like this?

MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER DETECTIVE, LAPD: Well, I think it's -- I think they're probably doing a pretty good job looking at the family. What were they involved with, business dealings. I mean, when you look at this, this was -- definitely, the mother and father were the targets for the violence, obviously. They were both shot in the head. There's no indication that there was any other violence in the house.

I would say that when they indicate that he knew the family or the suspect knew the family or had been in the house, it's because there's no struggle. They were the target. He went from room to room. He used the same weapon. You brought up ballistics. Well, even if the bullets were so disfigured from the close contact wound to the heads, going through the skull, they still probably have casings.

I think early this morning, the sheriff's public information officer, about 6:30 this morning, made a statement that he would not release the caliber of the weapons. That indicated to me that they couldn't have done an autopsy yet, but they probably had casings, which meant an automatic. Those casings can be compared. They know it comes from the same weapon. Then I would say you've got one suspect.

VAN SUSTEREN: Lou, where would you -- how -- how would you go into this crime scene? What would you do?

LOU HENNESSY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there's a couple interesting things in this case. First of all, the scene is of paramount importance in this case. I mean, you're going to be able to tell a lot from the scene -- whether there was forced entry, whether there was a struggle, whether there was anything missing in the house that could maybe give you some indication as to who possibly committed this offense.

Now, it's not unusual for things to be missing from murder scenes, but the fact that we have a child missing from this scene makes this case very, very unusual.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Mark, what strikes me as sort of -- as odd about this case -- and of course, we don't have all the information, but that the sheriffs seem to think that there might be one person involved, one gun. And it seems to me so strange that you could kill one person and the other person wouldn't at least by shot out in the yard trying to flee. It almost sounds like that -- I mean, that there was -- almost like a hostage situation within the house, that the person could kill the two.

FUHRMAN: Yeah, I think it's very important in this to -- for them to find if there's any evidence of restraints or tape used on one person's wrists, maybe waiting for the other one, the proximity of death between the mother and the father. Now, if they were killed within minutes -- and they do know this. They know that they were last seen at midnight, found at 9:00 o'clock. That's a nine-hour window. In a controlled environment in a house where the temperature is probably about 68 degrees, they could either do, you know, an estimation...

VAN SUSTEREN: Body temperature.

FUHRMAN: ... of death -- body temperature. They do a liver temp, and then they can do some simple math, get within a couple of hours, or even, you know, the stages of rigor mortis setting in. They can get pretty close. So they know that. And they know the caliber of the weapon. They probably know it's one suspect.

And I would say that this is not an abduction of a pedophile or a rapist. You don't need to go to this length to get a child. We see them being abducted in the front yards of homes. We see them in parking lots of grocery stores being abducted. You don't need to kill the parents.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's funny, Lou. I mean, it's a terrible thing, but everybody's in sort of the ring of suspicion in this, including the person who discovered the body. If you're the homicide detective on this case, and this person makes the call, how do you talk to this person? Because the person obviously -- I mean, the person may be 100 percent innocent, but nonetheless is a suspect like everybody else.

HENNESSY: He's someone you're going to try rule out and rule out quickly.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you do that?

HENNESSY: By trying to get an alibi for him, where he was during the time of the alleged offense, and find out whether or not he had any potential motives. Ask if he'd submit to a nitric acid swab of his hands to see if possibly he's fired a weapon. There'd be a number of things you could do in a very quick period of time, particularly when you have him in a controlled environment where you'd be able to check out a number of things. You'd begin to feel comfortable. They'd also probably ask him to submit to a polygraph examination, as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about relatives, Lou?

HENNESSY: Oh, they're obviously talking with relatives. And one of the things that I commend the sheriff from Henry Country -- I know that the media doesn't like the interview that he probably gave, but he kept pertinent details and crucial details about that crime scene quiet. And now, when they get tips and somebody's able to provide information about pertinent details to that crime scene, they'll be able to immediately recognize that tip as being a valid tip, or one that should be given priority, as opposed to, you know, other tips that don't have details from the scene that only the perpetrator would know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mark, is it becoming almost impossible to resolve this or to solve this case, if it's simply someone pulling off the highway, going in, making a double hit, stealing a child and then leaving, as compared to if it's someone like a business partner or relative or acquaintance?

FUHRMAN: Well, Greta, you know, most people involved in a murder, that are the suspects, are involved in some way and some connection, even if they're hired. I mean, this is -- I mean, let's be real frank about this. This is an execution-style murder. It was very efficient. There's not much evidence for them, obviously. The target was the mother and the father. What were they involved in? I mean, this smacks to me of, you know, somebody paying somebody back. This is not a love triangle. They killed both the principals that could have been involved in the love triangle. So it would go to business, to me. It really -- it really gets my suspicions up of something to do with revenge or drugs.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, Mark, there's the problem is that maybe this young child was the eyewitness, and therein lies the huge risk for that child.

FUHRMAN: Well, it certainly wasn't a kidnapping. There's no ransom note. There's nobody to send a ransom note to. So it's not a kidnapping. The child was taken or maybe chased. We don't know the circumstances. I mean, murder scenes and crimes happen in all bizarre ways. If she wakes up and runs and one suspect can't control the whole situation, didn't expect the child to be there -- I mean, there's a million scenarios. But the child could have ran away. They could have abducted her, then not know what to do with her after that.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, if anyone has any information on this child or the least bit suspicious about anything should contact local police or the FBI.

Mark, Lou, thank you both very much...

FUHRMAN: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... both very experienced crime scene detectives.

Click here to order the entire transcript of the August 16 edition of On the Record.

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