Up next, nonstop shocking news all today in the case of the missing 4-year-old Madeleine McCann. Her parents are now suspects in her disappearance. And we're going to hear from the little girl's aunt, who broke the news of the mother's plea deal today. And she's next when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news. A surprise twist. The parents of missing Madeleine McCann named suspects in her disappearance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A stunning turn of events in the investigation into the disappearance of 4-year-old Madeleine McCann.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're being told that detectives have offered a deal if she admits to her guilt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We haven't heard, until now, about possible blood found in a rental car used by the McCanns.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A sudden and astonishing shift in the case of Madeleine McCann.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Her story begins innocently enough. Kate and Gerry McCann, a British couple, take Madeleine and her twin 2-year-old brother and sister on vacation to a resort in Portugal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, Gerry, we're on holiday.
COOPER: On the evening of May 3rd, after the children were asleep, Kate and Gerry left their ground floor room and the kids alone to have dinner at a restaurant about 300 feet away. A short time later, Kate went to check on the kids and says she discovered Madeleine was gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And that story continues to get more bizarre all the time.
Joining us in Liverpool, England is John Corner, a friend of the McCanns, parents of the missing little girl, godfather to Madeleine's younger twin siblings. And he has been speaking with Madeleine's mother, Kate.
In Salt Lake City is our friend, Ed Smart, the father of Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped and recovered. He's become a friend of the McCanns and has spoken with the father, Gerry.
In Portugal is Robert Moore, the ITN correspondent who's been covering this from the start. And on the phone in Scotland is Philomena McCann, who is Gerry's sister and who broke the news today that there was some sort of plea bargain offered to the mother.What can you tell us about it, Philomena?
PHILOMENA MCCANN, MADELEINE MCCANN'S AUNT: Well, just what I said, you know, (INAUDIBLE) she would confess to a claim that she (INAUDIBLE) would be given a sentence, you know, very reduced, like two years or even less, if she just said that she accidentally killed Madeleine, something that she's never going to say because there's no truth in it whatsoever.KING: What do they tell you, your brother and your sister-in-law, about all of this?
MCCANN: Well, just that they -- as much as possible they've been helping the police. And they can't believe how this has turned right around with them becoming suspects in this case and the fact that all of their attention now seems to be focusing on them, and Madeleine has not been looked for with the vigor and intensity that they want.
Madeleine is still missing. They're still looking for her and yet the police are not.
KING: What do they think happened?
MCCANN: Well, the police are trying to suggest that some kind of ridiculous accident and then that they have kept Madeleine's body hidden, to move her around 25 days or so later, and put her somewhere else. I mean the speculation is utterly stupid. And not just that, it's insulting. Gerry and Kate have been watched by the world media since the day that started. To even suggest such a ridiculous story beggars belief.
KING: Philomena, remain with us.
We're going to call on you for a few more moments here, in addition with our panel, if you can hang with us.
Robert Moore, you've covered this from the start.
Is that -- are they both through with being questioned?
ROBERT MOORE, ITN CORRESPONDENT IN PORTUGAL, HAS INTERVIEWED BOTH PARENTS: Yes, they are now. They both have gone home and have left the police station. But, yes. I'm hearing the same from my sources here, essentially, it is extraordinary how the Portuguese investigators have handled Kate McCann, in particular. They simply said to her if you confess to killing Madeleine, we can guarantee that you'll have two or three years in prison. They even suggested that she'd be out free again after a year, she'd be able to see her twins grow up.
And Kate just was shocked by that and completely rejected it out of hand. She sees it emotional blackmail, as intimidation. And she is adamant, as is Gerry, that they are innocent of all connections to the disappearance of their daughter.
KING: John Corner, you're a friend of the McCanns.
Isn't it logical, though, for the parents in a case like this to be initially suspected?
JOHN CORNER, GODFATHER TO MCCANNS' TWINS, HAS BEEN SPEAKING WITH MOTHER: Yes, you're right, Larry. It's procedure. And right at the beginning of Madeleine's abduction, both Kate and Gerry were very, very carefully and rigorously questioned. And you get a sense that you're questioned, it's cleared, you can move on and you can start the actual campaign, the search, the fight to find Madeleine, who is missing, who is still missing.
And to have come full circle in this way, after four months, is bizarre, quite frankly, and flies in the face of common sense.
KING: Ed Smart, as I remember it, you were -- well I don't know if you were ever a suspect. You were questioned, though, in the disappearance of Elizabeth, were you not?
ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART, SPOKE WITH GERRY MCCANN TODAY: Oh, yes. I mean family members -- I was considered a potential suspect. You know, it's not unusual at all. I mean that's the first place they've got to check.
The thing is that this has gone on for, what, over 100 days. And, you know, the -- I spoke with Gerry this morning and he was absolutely outraged that the police could come to this point, when they haven't really done any of the things they should have done. Initially, there was a person who said they saw a man carrying off a young girl. And they could have done a forensic artist's rendering on that and that has never been done.
When Gerry and I spoke before, I said, you know, Gerry, have they brought in a specialist?
Have they brought someone to take a look at the whole investigation and see where somebody might have overlooked?
And he said no, they wouldn't even consider that.
SMART: That wasn't even a possibility.
KING: How have you become friends with them?
SMART: One of my friends at the National Center put us in touch. And in July, we talked for some time. And we've been in touch. I've been in touch with them two or three times in the past week. And I mean my heart just goes out for them. I just think this is outrageous.
KING: And you have complete belief in their story?
SMART: I have complete belief. I mean why would a parent, one, subject themselves to the criticism of having left their children and then to stay on in Portugal for four months -- for four months looking for her?
If they were a suspect, why wouldn't they have just gone home and kind of let this die out and not care?
They care very much. And I know, I know in my heart that they are absolutely not the ones. And, you know, somebody's got to get in there and be able to help the police see that they cannot have the tunnel vision that they have, because they are missing what could be out there.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with lots more on this.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": This is a small police agency in Portugal that has never dealt with a case of a missing child, has very limited resources, is having all kinds of scrutiny from the media throughout the world. It's not unusual for them to focus back in on the family when they're frustrated and don't have any other suspects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Philomena McCann, we're going to let you go because I know how tired you are, but one other thing. Did your sister-in-law, Kate, say anything to you about the possibility that she would be charged?
P. MCCANN: She just said that it remained a possibility, but -- and that was all she knew. But she wasn't about to be charged. And I'll tell you that's totally underestimated Kate. She's not going to take this lying down. She's going to continue to fight and hunt for Madeleine, and they'll be fighting the Portuguese police if they have to because it's an outrage.
KING: How are the twins doing?
P. MCCANN: The twins are doing plenty well, actually. And my mother's been out here helping and my sister, and they just love having the extended family around them. The kids are coping remarkably well.
KING: Thank you. You're doing a noble job. Philomena McCann.
We welcome now to our panel John Corner, Ed Smart and Robert Moore remain, Dr. Cyril Wecht, the famed forensic pathologist and attorney, former coroner of Allegheny county, and Candice DeLong, former FBI profiler joins us from San Francisco. Dr. Wecht, what do you make about this blood report in the car?
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, it is possible that blood from a garment or some other inanimate object could have been transferred to a car subsequently. I have read -- been told that the car was not rented until 25 days later. The point that I want to make here, Larry, is this. A dead body is not something that you flush down the toilet, throw in a garbage can, burn like a piece of paper or hide as if it were some piece of paper, a document. A dead body decomposes. It gives off a powerful odor. These people were under scrutiny. The news media were there.
The timeline is very tight. Did this accidental death occur before they went to dinner? How much time elapsed from the time that they were last seen before they went to the restaurant? With whom were they dining? What was the time that elapsed from the time that they left the restaurant until they got back and they called into the police? Where is this dead body?
There was limited time presumably for them to have disposed of the body, and so there's a geographic area that certainly should have been searched with utmost meticulous scrutiny.
KING: Does this mean, Dr. Wecht, that you doubt their guilt?
WECHT: Yes, I do. Where was this body for all of these days? And they were remaining there, and there is no way that they could have taken a little jaunt and thrown that baby somewhere, from the little I know about the Algarve area. This defies my olfactory senses as a forensic pathologist.
What does it do to our former profiler Candice DeLong? What do you make of this case?
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, a lot of the information we're talking about tonight really has not been confirmed by the police. One of the things that I would like to say is regarding this lengthy interrogation that the parents are now suspects, the parents didn't just become suspects. They've probably been -- should have been at least considered as possible suspects from the very beginning. And Larry, the reason for that is, in the vast majority of cases of missing children of this age, not all, the vast majority, it turns out that they are missing and were murdered by a parent. Approximately 75 percent.
DELONG: So that's why the parents always have to be looked at. That certainly does not mean they did it.
KING: What's the typical motive?
DELONG: Well, oftentimes what we see when very young children -- and we're just talking here, we're not talking necessarily about Madeleine -- when they are murdered by a parent, the motive more often than not is that it was an accident. Oftentimes we see children that are murdered by a parent were hit so hard that they died having to do with blunt force trauma to the head. And what you're looking at when you see a child killed that way is the results of a parent that lost control of their temper and hit a young child way too hard. And sometimes the parents that this happens to, they call the police, and sometimes they stage the crime scene and try and make it look different. And sometimes they try to get rid of the body.
KING: The longer this takes, Dr. Wecht, is it going to be harder to find who did it and find her?
WECHT: Yes. Larry, to be realistic, I believe this amount of time having passed, that it is extremely unlikely that the remains will ever be found. And what remains may be found if they are not out in the ocean will skeletonized. You will not likely find a cause of death. And after this amount of time and assuming that the search has been done with some diligence and thoroughness, it doesn't seem that the body is going to be found.
And I just want to point out, too, and I don't say this because I'm a physician. Physicians can and have been guilty of some terrible crimes. But these are both physicians. And with regard to the comments that were made with which I agree, remember, blunt force trauma inflicted to the head by physicians is an injury that they would be quite cognizant of. And to inflict that kind of severe trauma such as to produce death from an intracranial bleed is something that you just would not expect from physicians.
KING: Thanks, Dr. Wecht. Thanks for joining us. As always. And when we come back, John Corner, Ed Smart, Robert Moore and Candice DeLong remain. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE'S FATHER: Never, never, ever jeopardize the investigation. And I think it's critical for people to realize that.
KATE MCCANN, MADELEINE'S MOTHER: We will do anything to cooperate with the police to get Madeleine back.
G. MCCANN: We hope and pray for her every single day that today will be the day that Madeleine will be found.
K. MCCANN: We beg you to let Madeleine come home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Robert Moore, how is the -- before we meet some other panelists joining us -- how is the Portuguese media treating this?
MOORE: Well, frankly, we're a tidal wave of rumor. And frankly, many of the Portuguese newspapers are openly saying that they believe that Kate and Gerry are involved in the disappearance of Madeleine. You know, I spoke to a source close to the investigation. I was asking how Gerry has dealt with the questioning. And she said, well, just imagine how an angry Scot is defending the honor of his wife. In other words, Gerry is giving as good as he gets to the Portuguese detectives.
There have been some very, very angry exchanges in this police station behind me. You know, certainly it's becoming a high-octane questioning of both Kate and Gerry. They are trying to defend themselves every inch of the way now.
KING: We're joined by two of our legal regulars, Stacey Honowitz, the Florida assistant state attorney. She is in Miami. And in Los Angeles, Mark Geragos, the criminal defense attorney. Mark, how does this look to you? Does it look like a railroad or what?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, actually, it happens so often, it's surprising to me that it's not publicized more often. The reason that most people aren't jumping on the bandwagon in this case is because both of these people have acted right, if you will. I mean, generally, if you don't act right, that's when the police start to focus on you, and then that's what the media starts to kind of blitzkrieg you, if you will. In this case there hasn't been anything anybody's ever suggested where either one of these people have ever acted differently than they should have, and consequently, I think that's why there's been so much support. Clearly, the -- anybody who's at least watching what's going on, some of the things that have been suggested, at least by the police in the investigation, just appear to be ludicrous on their face.
KING: Stacey, how do you view it?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, I think what viewers have to remember is they're not charged with anything yet. They're just listed as suspects. And under Portuguese law, in order to go from a witness to a suspect, you have to be declared a suspect because that will forge you more rights. Because if they want to ask you deeper questions, which they think might incriminate you, you have a right to remain silent, as we do here, or to have a lawyer assist you.
And in this case, although they are questioning them more thoroughly, they did get lawyers, and it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be charged with a crime. So right now all we have is rumor. We don't know what the evidence is. We're going to have to wait and see what comes out of this.
GERAGOS: Yeah, but Stacey, having defended thousands of people, I can tell you something. It's extremely difficult, once you've been named a suspect, to ever get that back, especially if the case is never solved.
HONOWITZ: Mark, I'm not -- listen.
GERAGOS: That follows you around the rest of your life.
HONOWITZ: I'm not saying that they won't always be listed or people might think that they were involved, but that doesn't mean they're going to be charged with the crime. You can never get your reputation back, that's true.
GERAGOS: Why do the police have to reveal it? Why do they have to let this out? Why is this something that needs to be out there in the public realm?
HONOWITZ: Quite frankly, I don't know if they did reveal it. They went to them early in the week. I think on Monday they called them and said we want to question you more thoroughly. That's -- and then on Wednesday, the lawyer went and said, we're going to go in and represent them. I don't know what the police did.
GERAGOS: Right. In response to the leaks.
KING: Let me get in one more question for Candice DeLong who is going to be leaving us. Candice, do you believe this case will be solved?
DELONG: Well, I agree with Dr. Wecht. The longer it goes on, the less likely is that it will. I do believe that if Mrs. McCann had nothing to do with this, and certainly she -- I can't see this as the type of person that would say -- will take a plea agreement just to end it, if she is truly innocent. It's pretty unlikely, statistically, that Madeleine was taken by a stranger for some kind of nefarious reason.
DELONG: But we'll see.
KING: Thanks, Candice, as always. We'll come back, John, and Ed Smart. Will rejoin us and be heard from again.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTINE MCGUINNESS, MCCANN SPOKESPERSON: She's a loving and caring mother. And anybody who knows Kate would know that she wouldn't hurt a fly.
JOHN MCCANN, MADELEINE'S UNCLE: Put the facts on the table. Let's see what they are. Because anybody who knows Gerry and Kate knows that to implicate them in any way is ridiculous.
SUSAN HEALY, KATE MCCANN'S MOTHER: What everybody forgets is there's a missing child. There's a child that's taken from an apartment. Who's doing anything to find this child?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: John Corner, does it hurt you to the core when you hear an FBI profiler say that the odds are 75 percent that the parents did it?
CORNER: It's very unusual to listen to, Larry. It's more unusual to listen to them talking about Madeleine as a dead body because we truly believe she's out there, and she's still alive. And certainly Kate is holding on to that belief and so is Gerry. I can just say, though, I think as far as the investigation goes, I think there's a tremendous amount of hindsight going on.
Nobody could have ever imagined that the media profile would have become as huge as it is. And I think it's becoming a national embarrassment for the Portuguese. I think there's a real pressure on the police to wrap it up. And there's also a cultural difference as well because the Portuguese mindset is very much that this is a British problem that's been imported into their country. And I think this focus on the family is part of that, that cultural attempt to wrap it up as a British issue.
KING: Ed Smart, you, too, had to listen to reports of your daughter's death.
SMART: I did. And Elizabeth was and is alive. And Gerry truly believes that Madeleine is still alive, and this is diverting the attention from where it needs to be. And this morning when I spoke with him, he was so concerned that the Portugal police were under such pressure, he says, "Ed, I would not be surprised if they, you know, don't plant evidence in the car, you know, to have them think that there's DNA in this car that I rented after the fact is just outrageous, and what could they possibly have? There's no chance in the world." And you know, he is just ...
KING: Boy. You'd go berserk if you didn't do it.
SMART: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I really feel in my heart there's not a chance that they were in any way involved. You know, the police have got to wake up and realize that they have got to focus where the focus needs to be, and they need to do this forensic artwork this they need to get the picture out there. The public is what creates awareness, what brings children home. And if they are focusing on things that are nonproductive, which is what they're doing now, then, you know, Madeleine is somewhere.
KING: Mark, have you ever defended a parent accused of killing a child?
GERAGOS: Yes, as recently as last week.
KING: And if they were innocent, isn't that the hardest thing to live through, not only is your child gone, but you're being accused?
GERAGOS: Well, it's twofold or maybe even threefold what the problem is here. First of all, you're being accused. No parent, as we've discussed before countless times, ever wants to even imagine that their child is going to die before them. I mean, it's the worst thing you could ever have.
Then when you have the police -- when you cooperate with the police and then when the suspicion starts to get focused on you or the accusation's on you, that compounds matters, and it compounds just the sense of confusion and shock. But then when you're this far removed from that initially and you see that they're wasting their time and their resources on you, you want to reach out and choke somebody. It's just ridiculous at a certain point.
KING: Stacey, is the prosecutor between a rock and a hard place in something like this?
HONOWITZ: Well, I think what we really are losing sight of is the fact that when you are doing an investigation, if certain leads come up, for instance, this alleged blood evidence found in their car, you have no choice but to go down that avenue. Once again, I'm going to tell you, they're not charged with a crime, Mark.
GERAGOS: Wait a second.
HONOWITZ: They are not charged with a crime.
GERAGOS: OK. Can I just ask you a question here, Stacey?
HONOWITZ: Wait. They have to be able to investigate.
GERAGOS: If they found blood in that car, how are they going to say at this insipient stage of the investigation we know it was an accident, we're going to offer you two years? If they honestly believe that this woman had something to do with it, why are they offering her, you'll be out of this in a year? And how insulting is that that if she didn't do it, she would take that one year and put it behind her? Why? Because she never wants to find her child again? So the investigation will stop? How stupid. It's utterly stupid.
HONOWITZ: I'm not saying what the police did by saying to her, listen, take this plea and we'll get it all over with, I can't tell you why they did that.
GERAGOS: Because they're brain dead.
KING: Let her finish, Mark. GERAGOS: They're brain dead.
HONOWITZ: People are asking questions, why are they interviewing the parents?
GERAGOS: Because they're desperate.
HONOWITZ: If they focus in on the family, they have to. OK?
GERAGOS: They already did. They've had four months. They've had four months to do it. It's obviously pure desperation.
HONOWITZ: Can I ask you one question? Do we have any idea if any of the statements between the mother and the father, and I don't know so I'm not saying -- do we know if there were inconsistencies?
GERAGOS: Of course there's going to be, yes.
HONOWITZ: There could be evidence that we don't know about.
KING: We've got to get another break, folks. Hold it. We'll be right back.
GERAGOS: Of course there are inconsistencies. Nobody's going to be ...
KING: We'll be -- the dynamic duo returns after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MCCANN: Please, please don't hurt her. Please don't scare her. Please tell us where to find her. Or put her in a place of safety and let somebody know where she is. We need our Madeleine. Sean and Emily need Madeleine, and Madeleine needs us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Robert Moore, has the public generally supported this couple in Portugal?
MOORE: Not necessarily in Portugal, but certainly they have in Britain, as you'd expect. I think the key point tonight in many ways, Larry, is we just don't yet know the strength or the consistency of the forensic evidence. You know, but what is clear is two sets of people under supreme pressure. Most, obviously, Kate and Gerry McCann, but also the Portuguese police here. They don't have a body yet. They've been making a lot of accusations. So the forensic evidence had better be pretty good.
KING: Think we're going to solve it, Mark?
GERAGOS: No, I don't think they are. I think -- well, are they going to solve it correctly?
GERAGOS: That's probably a better question. They may solve it, and I'm not so sure that the way they solve it will be the correct way.
HONOWITZ: I don't think anybody knows anything. I hope they find the child alive, that's the bottom line to all of this.
KING: Ed Smart, are they confident -- are the parents confident?
SMART: The parents are very confident that she's still out there. And with that confidence, I hope they're able to move forward and focus on what needs to be focused on and find this girl.
KING: Did you remain confident throughout?
SMART: I did. I felt like Elizabeth was out there. I had these impressions, and I could not give up. And I know that Gerry and Kate feel the same way.
KING: John, you think we're going to find Madeleine?
CORNER: I absolutely hope so. I think Ed's got it spot on there. I think in the U.S., you're world experts on child exploitation and being able to deal with these abduction issues. I think Europe is absolutely decades behind. One thing that will come out of all of this, whatever happens, is that Europe really has to wake up and do something about its boundaries and Pra de Luce (ph) is a very, very sleepy place. It doesn't even have a police force. And I think Kate and Gerry were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
KING: Well said. Thank you all very much. By the way, don't forget to check out our Web site, cnn.com/larryking. You can download our newest podcast, President Bill Clinton. Or you can e-mail upcoming guests or participate in our quick votes. You can even sign up for our newsletter all at cnn.com/larryking.
Next week, Suze Orman will be with us and Rachael Ray. And Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters and Dr. Phil. And now in for Anderson Cooper to host AC 360 is our very own Randi Kaye. Randi?
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