Big Miss

This is a partial transcript from "At Large With Geraldo Rivera," August 27, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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GERALDO RIVERA, HOST: On the night before Joseph Duncan (search) bought the night vision goggles that he used to stalk the Groene (search) family, ultimately killing four of them, including the 9-year-old Dylan who he allegedly raped and tortured also, Duncan had a run-in with a 13-year-old son of my next guest. In her police complaint, Victoria Santiago's son, Lucien, spotted Duncan starring at him, recognized the monster from the sex offender registry, and raced home to tell his mother. Victoria and Lucien join us from Minneapolis.

Hello to both of you. Now, before we hear your story, Victoria, I'd like to listen to your call, the call you made that day to 911. Here it is.


VICTORIA SANTIAGO, CALLED 911 ON DUNCAN: And I know he's out on bail right now, $15,000 bail for assaulting a 6-year-old in Becker County.


V. SANTIAGO: All right, this guy, tonight, was right near the playground over at Michelson. And, I mean, my son, he told me this.


V. SANTIAGO: And he has looked at the pictures and he's absolutely, absolutely — he was walking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he basically watching children?

V. SANTIAGO: Yes. And my son was the only one there and he said — he just — you know he said, "I was getting ready to leave the park anyway" because it was about 8:00 and he went down the slide one more time and then just got on a bike and then just speeded back home.


V. SANTIAGO: He wiped out. Well, he was frightened by this guy, too. You know he didn't say anything. There was no verbal exchange but he said the guy slowed down and was looking, looking, looking him over. And he said, "He gave me really a good, long, hard look." And then when he came home, he rode like a bat out of hell and then wiped out on his bike. He was hurt, but I mean he's OK. I mean there was no real exchange between this person and him, but I know that a lot of times when these sex offenders are on probation one of the things they have to do is stay away from places where children congregate.


V. SANTIAGO: And, so, if this guy — he's out on bail right now.


RIVERA: Victoria, you have a really aware son who did exactly the right thing. But what did the authorities tell you when you made your complaint?

V. SANTIAGO: Well, they were limited with what they could do. Joseph Duncan, at that point, had not actually broken any laws. And because of that, they could not make an arrest. And I spoke recently, last Monday, to Lieutenant Daley from the federal police force, and they said that they never did follow up with that call and visit with Joseph Duncan or sit with him and talk to him about it at all.

RIVERA: That's appalling. That's appalling to me. You know I've been in Fargo a bunch of times. I like the cops there, but this not following up on a call like that — he's on $15,000 bail for raping two other youngsters. I forget how old they were. I think they were six and eight. And then he goes on to commit these terrible, terrible crimes.

Lucien, how did you react when you heard that this was the very guy who allegedly wiped out that family in Idaho?

LUCIEN SANTIAGO, ESCAPED POSSIBLE DUNCAN KIDNAP: I just, like, sat down and was, like, passed out, like, did not really think it was him at first. But my mom showed me the picture. I saw the news. I was mind- boggled. I was like holy crap. I almost died. I could have died. I might have. I don't know.

RIVERA: You could have. And worse, you could have been tortured by a guy who has no conscience whatsoever, Lucien. You know.


RIVERA: How did you spot him? Tell me in your words what he looked like when he was staring you down?

L. SANTIAGO: Well, he had his head tilted over like this and was looking at me like this.

V. SANTIAGO: Out of the corner of his eye.

L. SANTIAGO: ... out of the corner of his eye. I didn't really recognize him at first. But when he kind of glanced over, you know, like this, I recognized him, freaked out, backed up, got on my bike and zigzagged home and fell on a corner.

RIVERA: And Mom, did you doubt him at all or were you certain, knowing your son, that he saw what he said he saw?

V. SANTIAGO: Well, when he first came home I asked him, I think, three or four times, "Are you sure?" "Are you sure it was Joseph Duncan?" And he said, "Yes, yes." And he actually got a little angry that I seemed to be doubting him. And so then, I went to the North Dakota attorney general's sex offender Web site and I brought his picture up. And I said, "Is this the guy that you saw?" And he said, "Yes. Yes, Mom, that's the guy I saw." And so then I went off-line and I notified the police.

RIVERA: And how close did he get to you, Lucien?

L. SANTIAGO: About seven feet, I'm guessing.

RIVERA: That close?


RIVERA: That close? Man, you're lucky and you're smart. Congratulations to you. And Mom, you want to say something to other moms who hear from their kids that something like this is going on?

V. SANTIAGO: Well, don't be afraid to be explicit with your children when you're talking about sex offenders. One of the things that I did with Lucien was I went and looked up on the sex offender registry, all of the sex offenders that were listed for Fargo, in our community, and then I went individually through each one of their offenses and looked at what their target areas were, whether they had a preference for females, for teenagers, for young girls...

RIVERA: Right.

V. SANTIAGO: ...boys. And when I found a couple of sex offenders that targeted boys, then that's when I brought them to Lucien's attention.

RIVERA: And lucky for him you did.

L. SANTIAGO: And I'm glad that she did that too.

RIVERA: Me too! Me too! I'm very glad she did it. And Moms out there, this is no joke. You're looking at a young man who has a brilliant future right now in front of you. That could have been an entirely different story were it not for the conversations he had openly and honestly with his parents, so do it! Do it too folks. I want to thank you both.

L. SANTIAGO: Don't be afraid.

RIVERA: Victoria, thank you, congratulations. And Lucien.

V. SANTIAGO: Thank you very much.

RIVERA: Thanks for being with us, buddy.


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