Hard Break

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Tonight's show airs out of Washington, D.C. I have been in New York City for two days but I am leaving for the airport shortly. I was warned by my New York colleagues to leave early for the airport to avoid all the traffic problems when the police shut down 5th Avenue in NYC for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. (As an aside: Happy St. Pat's Day! Even with a name like Van Susteren, I have lots of Irish blood. My mother was 100 percent Irish!) Because I am leaving early, the blog will be short... I have to rush.

Thursday night's show was a difficult show to do because of the topics. It often isn't until the show is actually underway that I realize some difficult transitions between guests and topics. Last night I spoke to two sets of parents — one couple looking for a missing daughter and the other looking for the killer of their daughter. I also spoke to a newlywed whose husband (Toby Beaugh) was murdered in front of her and who is looking for his killer. As the show developed, I found it difficult to transition from one topic to another. Plus, I ran into a hard break and had to cut off the woman whose husband was run down in New Orleans. I hate cutting off anyone and a grieving family member is the worst to have to cut off. However, if I don't cut the person off, our computer does and that is even worse.

It seemed very awkward talking to these grieving guests since I feel terrible for them but don't think there is an adequate way to express it. I am not trying to cause them greater grief. At best, we can help publicize their personal tragedy or grief hoping that it will help provoke information to solve the crimes or find the missing person. It has not happened yet that we have helped solve a crime but I am always hopeful. Doing nothing is not OK. We need to try to help. On a personal note: We speak to these families often and they are grateful for any help we — or anyone in the media — can give them. I only wish we could do more or be more effective in our help. When they thank us, I think, "I have not found your daughter/son or solved a crime... but sure wish I could."

Now for two e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Thank you for covering Toby's case. Toby was my brother's best friend, his best man at Toby's wedding to Melissa and the eulogist at both the funeral and the memorial service. It means a lot to us that you devoted time and attention to Toby's case.
An issue not addressed but that needs to be addressed is why national media attention is being sought. The driver of this truck is at large and could be at large anywhere in the United States. New Orleans is full of transients now and at the time of Toby's murder. The driver could be a contractor from out of town, a college student in for Mardi Gras, a former or displaced citizen in town for Mardi Gras, a visitor or a New Orleanian. We are asking every American to look for the driver because the driver could be their neighbor. If someone had a truck that matches the description that suddenly disappeared after the weekend of February 25-26, or a conversation is overheard that resembles the events around Toby's death, or a viewer is almost run over or tailgated by a truck that matches the description — that could be the driver. And that driver could be in New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas, Boston or Seattle — anywhere.
Please add this vitally important detail to any further news coverage on air or the Web. We truly appreciate your coverage tonight and hope that this will help bring Toby's murderer to justice.
Sincere thanks,
Amanda Phillips

E-mail No. 2

Missing Stivers family — Oregon — motor home — I am retired law enforcement and continue to work on missing person cold cases.
Two past cases involved people taking short cuts: one in Oregon, one in CA. People take the road less traveled, get caught in the snow, nobody thinks they are there in the middle of a closed road, there they sit freezing to death.
Another scenario: They turn the motor home over to be driven by someone who is not familiar with driving the vehicle, they go over the side and are pinned in the vehicle or the vehicle catches fire. If this occurs in a snowstorm, most likely someone is not going to see them and the new snow will cover and conceal the vehicle — searchers have to look very carefully to find the vehicle. Vehicle would be extremely hard to see from the air.
More than likely, with this number of people, it is a crash over the side in a snowstorm and circumstances do not permit these people to escape where they are at.
Bob Penkivich
Redding, CA

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