Is There a Break in the Missing Groom Case?
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 5, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BOB BECKEL, GUEST CO-HOST: A possible break in the case of a Connecticut groom who vanished one month ago today on the Mediterranean Sea. Investigators are reportedly looking at two Russians and a teen from California in connection with the case.
Joining us now for more is famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden. He's also the author of the book "Remains Silent," and Adriana Gardella, the associate editor of Justice magazine.
All right, I've got to get one thing straightened out. I said this the other night and everybody said, "No, no, no. She passed out in a — the wife passed out drunk in a lounge chair." She now says, after being questioned by investigators, that she, in fact, woke up in the stateroom and said, "I didn't find anything remiss."
Now, wouldn't you think if you just got married, one of the things that might be a little remiss is that your husband is not in the bed or in the bathroom or something?
ADRIANA GARDELLA, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, JUSTICE MAGAZINE: To clarify, she passed out, actually, in a lounge area. I think that was maybe, like, an indoor thing. And then she woke up and, you know, getting the sense there may be early morning exercises, so she wasn't that surprised to not see him and went off to the gym.
BECKEL: OK, now. Adriana, if this woman were as drunk as she was purported to be, I don't want to speak for other people, but, I've just got to think that early in the morning like that, the first thing you're going to do after a big night's drunk is not go to the gym and work out.
And you might be wondering what you did the night before and ask your husband, "What did we do the night before?" I mean, does it not sound strange to you, is what I'm asking, I guess?
GARDELLA: Everything does sound very strange at this point. But for all we know, she went and took a sauna. You know, we just don't have the facts of what she did at the gym. We just don't know.
BECKEL: OK, let me bring the good doctor in. Michael, am I grasping at straws here, or do you find this story getting stranger? We'll get to the Russians and the teenager in a second. But I still want to go back to the setting here. The wife, when she said she found nothing remiss, how do you read this thing?
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: What I read, Bob, is that when people drink a lot, they do funny things and they often distort their memories. They don't know what they remember. And it may be that they had an argument that night. Often people, when they're drinking, a lot might have an argument.
And she may have legitimately not appreciated that her husband was missing in some improper manner. She may not have seen — apparently, there was blood in the room. She may not have seen the blood in the room. And that could happen.
HANNITY: Hey, Dr. Baden, we're hearing the reports out, tonight, that authorities are not suspecting the wife, something that we brought up, here, the other night. That there are particular people of interest. These two Russian men and this American teenager. And that, apparently, they were on the ship partying with a bunch of people, that she had had a lot to drink, fell asleep as Bob has pointed out, in this lounge chair, because she was a little intoxicated.
And these guys took this man back to the stateroom. Now, you've heard this and you've heard that also, the person next door had not only heard the loud arguing, heard the thud, but then saw the three in the hall right afterwards.
BADEN: Well, if this is murder, if he were injured, if somebody injured the groom and then pushed him over the railing, and that's murder, these kind of murders are solved just by eyewitnesses, by statements, from people who heard what happened.
And the fact that they have forensic evidence of blood that's present in the room, on the railing, and on the awning, would indicate that he had been injured before he went over. And that would be powerful evidence, even if a body isn't found, that it could be some degree of murder.
HANNITY: But what their thinking, here, is — and by the way, Adriana, this guy in the next state room was a retired policeman. He called 911. And they think the noise was this guy falling on to the awning, which is where we keep showing this scene where all this blood was. It's beginning to take on at least a believable scenario here.
GARDELLA: Yes, I mean, and we're getting more details about the source of noises coming from that room. Not only loud voices, but also, sort of, cheering that would suggest some kind of drinking game. So, then, furniture almost being dropped. So they're zeroing in on it a little bit.
HANNITY: But these guys go out into the hallway, and this retired policeman sees the three of them. So we now put them at the scene of where they believe the crime had taken place. What are we to think?
GARDELLA: Well, I think that we're thinking what the law enforcement officers are thinking, that these people are certainly of interest.
HANNITY: Dr. Baden, we also know earlier in the day they had this other instance. Are you aware of this?
BADEN: Yes. Early that day?
HANNITY: Yes, that it had been alleged that there had been an incident of sexual misconduct, that it had been videotaped.
BADEN: What I recall is, like, two days later they were kicked off the boat because they had videotaped sexual encounter with another passenger, which looked like a rape, the passenger claims was a rape. The Turkish authorities said, "Well, we can't tell if it was consensual or not." But these guys were kicked off the boat.
BECKEL: Dr. Baden, stand by, here, for a second. We're going to come back with our guests and more on this bizarre case, which has fallen apart every minute, here.
HANNITY: We have continue with more on the investigation into the disappearance of Connecticut groom George Smith. We are rejoined by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, and the associate editor of Justice magazine, Adriana Gardella.
All right, Dr. Baden, I want to go back to you. So, if we believe this, the woman sleeps in the lounge chair that night. Now, the blood, the suspicion, was reported to the captain first by the cleaners.
She says she got up, I guess, out of this common area lounge chair, went to get her clothes, didn't notice that he was missing, didn't notice the blood that the cleaning crew found, that they reported, and then she just got dressed, her new husband, and went out to work out.
BADEN: Well, I'm sure she realized her husband was missing, but she thought it was some innocent reason, perhaps. But the key here, Sean, is you have the three people leaving the room. Did the other people in the adjacent cabins, the police officer, hear the thud before or after they left the room?
And I think the young boy is the key to this whole thing. What did they do when they brought Smith back to his room, and how did he get injured? Did they injure him? Or did he fall down, get injured, and then accidentally fall over.
HANNITY: Now, his dad's a lawyer. He has gotten legal counsel. According to reports, now, there are inconsistencies in the story, although they were pretty much trying to say the same thing, but there were inconsistencies.
Now, you are the forensic pathologist, Dr. Baden, and I've got to believe that, in fact, is all that blood that we've been showing people. And if it's believed that, you know, that thud was him falling onto that awning, which yields where that bloody print is that we've all seen, and these guys have this history of being allegedly being involved in this sexual misconduct that has been filmed.
We've got ourselves, you know, the unraveling of the mystery very quickly here, no?
BADEN: Right, I think so. But I think the important thing is the statements that are going to be made by the witnesses, the ear witnesses and the eyewitnesses, and to see what that young man has to say.
HANNITY: But what evidence would you be able to get from this?
BADEN: Well, the young man will say, "Hey, we got in a fight with this guy, Smith, and I saw somebody push him over." Or, "We got in a fight with him, he was drunk, he was falling down, we left him, and then he fell over."
HANNITY: But if that all happened — you see the pictures of the blood and you hear the report of the retired officer in the next cabin who saw them in the hall and will identify them, according to reports. Does that mean — is there any doubt in your mind there will be forensic evidence that will be able to prove this?
BADEN: I think the interrogation is going to be more important. The forensic evidence shows that he was bleeding before he went over. That he got some kind of injury before he went over, and how did he get that injury?
BECKEL: OK, Adriana? I was born at night, but not last night. Now, I'm coming back to this story. I'm telling you — forget the wife for a second. A cop, a retired cop next door. He hears a loud voices, he hears a big thud. He opens his door and he sees two guys, three people, walking away from this room, right after he hears this thud.
He calls the equivalent of 911 on the ship. He's a cop, right? Heard a big thud, three big guys walking out of the door, and the three guys get off the ship two days later and nobody does anything. Now, what is going on, here? I mean, you've got a cop calling, saying, "I heard this thing."
First of all, you wouldn't have looked and said "I heard a thud." What's the thud? Maybe they don't want to look out the window, don't want to see the blood. OK, say that's dumb. But you can't be that dumb and not have a cop say that and not, at least, look into the three guys, do you?
GARDELLA: But, Bob, I believe that's what they're doing right this moment.
BECKEL: Yes, but how'd they get off the boat? I don't mean to be so excited about this, but I'm excited about it. How'd they get off the boat without being asked questions?
GARDELLA: I believe they were by Turkish authorities, and then they boarded the ship and did ask questions of a group of men. We don't know who that group might be, and the FBI is certainly questioning them now, so I think your concerns may be a little premature.
BECKEL: No, no, no. I'm telling you, I'm on this one. There's something going on here. Dr. Baden, do you think that in — let's say it's a hotel room in New York City and this same situation happens, right? A guy, cop, hears this thing. Do you not think that these guys would have been apprehended right away?
BADEN: Oh, yes. I think they would have been held — these cruise ships are different. Cruise ships don't want to stop. They don't want to preserve evidence. They don't want to slow down their voyage. So cruise ships are notoriously bad for keeping evidence or keeping suspects.
BECKEL: But they're good for keeping people on board, right?
BADEN: Yes, the...
BECKEL: The same suspects?
HANNITY: Dr. Baden, we've got to run. But I'm going to tell you something, we'll have more on this, I'm sure, Monday. This seems to be a big break in the case. Thank you, guys, for being with us.
Adriana, thank you for being with us. Dr. Baden, thank you, too.
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