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Worst Fears Realized for Jessie Davis

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A few hours after I arrived home in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, I received word that Officer Bobby Cutts had confessed to the murder of Jessie Davis and her baby. One of my producers had remained behind in Ohio so that we could still closely follow the story and he kept me up to date as the early news was breaking. Yes, it is what we all suspected but we had — until that news — harbored a small piece of hope that Jessie had been kidnapped and was still alive. Murder seemed most likely, but we all hoped it would be one of those freak cases like Elizabeth Smart where the most predictable was just plain wrong.

As you know, on Thursday and Friday we were in Ohio. I have posted some still pictures that will give you a good idea of what our Friday was like as we covered the story... step by step.

Click here to check out my photo essay

We wanted to speak to the friend (owner of a barber shop) of Officer Cutts who was with him at the bar the night Jessie last spoke to her mother on the phone. So, we went to his barber shop early in the morning to see if we could get an interview. We numbered about seven with our camera crew and audio, and did not want to overwhelm him as we all entered so as to eliminate any chance of an interview. Thus, we sent Ted in to see if he could get the interview for us and we waited outside a short distance away.

We waited in a grassy and un-kept area and found a broken down picnic table to set up as our "office." See the pics. While in our outdoor office, a yellow cat found us. See the pics. She was extremely friendly. Since we had some time on our hands, we dispatched one of our group to go to a store, buy a cat dish and some cat food. In the pics you can see that we left a very grateful cat. We debated whether to take her to an animal shelter, but the cat was so friendly that we decided she lived in the area and was merely curious about us. The cat was not wild.

Click here to watch the video blog: you get a glimpse of this cat in action.

Note: it just occurred to me that we seem to find lots of animals when we are on the road: A monkey in Aruba that we fed daily; a puppy that we rescued from a roof while we were in New Orleans covering Katrina.

After spending a few hours waiting to get an interview with the barber, we gave up. The barber said he would only talk to us for money — which seemed a bit odd since he maintained that he was a friend of Bobby's and that Bobby did nothing wrong. Of course we offered no money. We finally left the barber shop late morning (to return later) and went to lunch with the crew. See the pics. After lunch we moved to our second "office" — the parking lot of the Bob Evans restaurant (see pic). Gathering in the parking lot, we strategized about what we should do to continue to cover the missing Jessie Davis story. We decided to interview one of Officer Cutts' prior girlfriend's lawyers (see pic) and then go back to the barber shop late in the day to see if our luck changed with the barber. The barber was important since he was with Cutts Wednesday night. We were immensely curious what Officer Cutts was like on Wednesday night at the bar, when he left and with whom. I wanted to know if he talked about Jesse while he sat at the bar... and, if so, what did he say? Yes, we went back... and yes, no interview from the barber.

About 6 p.m. we returned to the fire department which was ground zero for the searchers. You can see the pics of the firehouse with the searchers and the ton of donated food and water. The fire department is where we decided to do our 10 p.m. show because it was the location of our satellite truck (which we need for transmission for the show.) I can't say enough good things about the searchers: the volunteer fire department and Texas Equusearch. Texas Equusearch has the search down to a science. They are extremely well organized, which you must be when the area to search is vast and you have about 2000 volunteers.

Friday night on the show we read some of your e-mails on air and answered them. As I read many of those emails I thought, "Why didn't I think of that?" One that stands out is the e-mail that mentioned that because the "event" (now murder) probably occurred in the second floor bedroom, it seemed reasonable to assume that she knew the person well enough to let him not only in the house, but upstairs to her bedroom. This would mitigate against her kidnapper (now known to be murderer) being a stranger. This thinking was not proof that it was a known person to her, but rather important analysis and — of course — it turns out it was true.

I am sure you read that a second person has been arrested in connection with the murder of Jessoe, we will tell you more about it tonight on the show. (See article posted below with details about the second arrest.)

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Greta,
Are people stupid? I just don't understand why people murder others and think they can get away with it. Yes, it happens from time to time, but with the technology we have now, cameras all over… chances are they will be found out. Are they just so screwed up (besides the obvious fact that you have to be very messed up to murder in the first place)? I just don't get it.

E-mail No. 2

Greta,
My heart is aching for this girl and her family. I had a very similar experience in my ninth month of pregnancy but am fortunate enough to be able to speak of it. It was July 4th 1978 a day that will always stand out in my memory. It was probably the most frightening night of my life; though there were many. It was a precursor of what was to come in a bad relationship.
He too was married with a child. Right now I am shaking with sadness and post trauma, there is very little warning to this kind of violence. It just seems to erupt, usually alcohol is involved. God Bless this family and a little boy who now does not have his Mommy. I am so sad.
Darlene
Long Island, NY

E-mail No. 3

Greta,
I've just watched the news conference with the horrific news. Another Lacey Peterson , this time in the state I live. I've had strong suspicions about this Bobby Cutts since the very beginning just like everybody else. However, you'd have to admit that Jesse was NOT smart at all. Why would she get pregnant, have baby showers, and show anticipation for her due date whereas she knew this "bad apple." Very well. Apparently, Jesse had to take Bobby to Court for child support. Not to mention Bobby's rap sheet within his own police department. Jesse's family appears to be well put together. Why would they allow Jesse to "commit" suicide by getting pregnant again after Blake when the guy was still married. It has also crossed my mind that perhaps the unborn baby was not Bobby's after all.
Susan
Cincinnati, OH

E-mail No. 4

Will he also be charges with child endangerment because he left his son alone in the house? Minor point but I was curious.
Thanks,
Rosemarie Ross

E-mail No. 5

A white man Christopher Vaughn of Joliet Illinois, killed his wife and three kids, then shoots himself for cover. At the same time a black man Bobby Cuts kills a white lady, and that's all the media focuses on. That's a racist media.
James Avant
Las Vegas, NV

Finally, some articles that caught my attention:

• Olympic sprinter Marion Jones is broke

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven years after winning a women's record five Olympic track and field medals and snagging multimillion-dollar endorsement deals, Marion Jones is broke.

The sprinter is heavily in debt, fighting off court judgments and down to a bank balance of about $2,000, according to recent court records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Last year a bank foreclosed on her $2.5-million mansion in an area of Chapel Hill, N.C., where Michael Jordan was a neighbor. She was also forced to sell two other properties, including her mother's house, to raise money.

Jones' financial woes were revealed in a 168-page deposition in a breach-of-contract suit she filed in Dallas against veteran track coach Dan Pfaff. Pfaff countersued and won a judgment against Jones for about $240,000 in unpaid training fees and legal expenses.

Legal bills have plagued Jones since 2003, when suspicions of drug use emerged and she was linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) after a federal raid. Jones retained attorneys for her BALCO grand jury testimony, for negotiations with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in her fight to avoid being banned from competition, for a defamation lawsuit she filed against BALCO founder Victor Conte, who accused her of taking performance-enhancing drugs, and for taking on Pfaff in her breach-of-contract suit.

Last year, a Jones urine sample tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO. Jones immediately quit a European track tour and returned to the United States. Although she was cleared when a backup sample tested negative, she missed at least five major international meets, forfeiting an estimated $300,000 in appearance and performance fees.

In her prime, Jones was one of track's first female millionaires, typically earning between $70,000 and $80,000 a race, plus at least another $1 million from race bonuses and endorsement deals.

In 2000-01, she competed in 21 international events, including the Sydney Olympics, where she won five medals — three gold.

Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

• Elizabeth Edwards says she supports gay marriage

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elizabeth Edwards — the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards — kicked off San Francisco's annual gay pride parade today by splitting with her husband over support for legalized gay marriage.

Elizabeth Edwards announced her backing of same-sex marriage, saying she is completely comfortable with it.

She made the remark almost off-handedly in answering the final question from reporters after delivering a standard campaign stump speech during a breakfast hosted by the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club — an influential San Francisco political organization.

California's presidential primary is Feb. 5, one of the earliest contests in the nation.

She conceded her support puts her at odds with her husband, a former U-S senator from North Carolina who she said supports civil unions among gay couples — but not same-sex marriages.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

• Sprinklers douse passengers at LA airport, prompt evacuation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A terminal at Los Angeles International Airport was evacuated temporarily this morning after sprinklers malfunctioned and showered passengers with water.

There was minor flooding in Terminal One's baggage and screening areas, and some flights were delayed.

Officials blamed the problem on a broken water pipe.

Passengers described a chaotic scene during the evacuation as people knocked over rope lines to rush to the exits.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

• Ex-classmate of murder suspect in pregnant-woman case arrested

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A former high-school classmate of the man suspected of murdering a pregnant woman was arrested Sunday on an obstruction of justice charge, the FBI said.

Myisha Ferrell, 29, was arrested in the death of 26-year-old Jessie Davis the day after sheriff's deputies and FBI agents with a search warrant broke down the door of her apartment Saturday night, agent Scott Wilson said. She was not at home during the search.

The Stark County Sheriff's Department said she is charged with obstructing deputies and agents but provided no other details, saying any information made public would hurt their case. Ferrell was to be arraigned Monday, Wilson said. The maximum penalty for obstruction of justice is five years in prison.

The Summit County medical examiner on Sunday identified a body found in Cuyahoga Valley National Park as that of Davis. The dead, nearly full-term fetus was still in her womb.

Davis, of Lake Township near Canton, was reported missing after her mother found Davis' 2-year-old son, Blake, home alone, with bedroom furniture toppled and bleach spilled on the floor. Blake gave investigators their first clues, saying: "Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in rug."

Thousands of volunteers searched for Davis for several days, while investigators questioned Bobby Cutts Jr., 30, a police officer who is Davis' boyfriend and has an estranged wife. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Davis' relatives have said they believed Cutts, of North Canton, was the father of both Blake and the fetus Davis was carrying.

Justin Lindstrom, 27, an upstairs neighbor of Ferrell's, said officers spent two hours searching the woman's apartment before leaving with several full, brown paper bags and bottles of bleach from the basement.

Lindstrom said he had not seen the downstairs tenant on Saturday or Sunday and rarely spoke to the woman, except to ask her to turn her music down. He said he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary around the time Davis disappeared. Lindstrom said Ferrell lives with her 11-year-old daughter.

Lindstorm said the two of them never hit it off.

"She's not exactly your ideal neighbor. She and I haven't gotten along since day one," said Lindstrom, who moved into the building in January. He said she had parties every night.

"We're talking carloads at a time — four and five carloads — and until 3 or 4 in the morning," Lindstrom said.

Wilson would not describe what the deputies seized or say how Ferrell might have been involved.

There was no immediate response to messages seeking comment Sunday from Davis' family members and Cutts' lawyer. Cutts' pastor, the Rev. C.A. Richmond, declined to comment as he entered a services in Canton on Sunday.

Davis' body was found in an area known as Top O' the World because of its elevation. The area contains a dirt road, a small dirt parking area and a couple of benches overlooking a grassy field.

The body was found in that field, said Roger Riggins, an investigator for the medical examiner's office.

Just down the road, someone posted a sign that said, "God bless you Jessie and Chloe, forever in our hearts." People had placed flowers and red and yellow ribbons just below a sign identifying the park.

Associated Press Writers Rachel Hoag and John McCarthy contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

• Birds' nests cause delay in bridge construction

TIGERTON, Wis. (AP) — A handful of swallow nests might hold up construction work on a Shawano County bridge indefinitely.

Work on the Tigerton bridge was scheduled to begin tomorrow.

But on Friday the contractor found a number of nests on the structure's underside. That caused a delay until state officials could decide how to work around them.

Federal law prohibits destroying the nests. So construction has been delayed until the county gets permission from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The county highway commissioner says officials didn't expect to find nests because county workers had installed nets in April to prevent birds from nesting there. He says there was a hole in the netting — but he didn't know whether it was weather-related or vandalism.

Officials don't expect a big delay. They note that even if the workers can't disturb the swallows, there's other work they can still do in the meantime.

Information from: Shawano Leader, http://www.shawanoleader.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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