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Natalee Holloway Still Missing After 31 Days; Inspiring Stories

Aired June 29, 2005 - 21:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, GUEST HOST: Tonight, where is Natalee Holloway? It is day 31. That's right. A solid month of anguish since the Alabama star student disappeared from the island of Aruba. Her fate? Tonight unknown. Her mother and stepfather, Beth Holloway Twitty and Joe Twitty here with us from Aruba. Tonight they hope against hope and are begging for your help. We have the latest on the search for Natalee.

And, she was a model and actress and secretly married to a TV star. But then a tragic crash nearly killed her. Doctors told her she'd never walk again or move from the neck down. But she defied the doctors.

Plus, he was born nearly disabled. But he became an athletic champion. He is a star on the court and off.

Then at 17, she had it all, from cheerleading pom-poms to the president of a high school class. But a drunken car crash put her in a wheelchair. How did Carlina Stone Lawson (ph) save herself? Here's a hint: never give in, never give up.

And she's a talented songwriter and singer. She lost her leg to a horrible and random crash. But Theresa Sareo still stands tall when it comes to living large and making music.

We share inspiring stories of winners, winners against all odds. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Hello, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace from COURT TV and HEADLINE NEWS in for Larry tonight. And I want to thank you for being with us. Before we go to those inspiring stories of people who won against all odds, let's go down to Aruba and the latest in the case of a missing 18-year-old girl from Alabama, Natalee Holloway. Standing by, CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul.

Karl, today the release of the party boat DJ Steve Croes. Explain.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he was released just on Monday. In fact, and today we sat down and talked to him. And basically, what it comes down to is that Steve Croes is telling us that he overheard a conversation in an Internet cafe where one of the other suspects, Deepak Kalpoe, works. And then Steve Croes went along to the police and repeated that overheard conversation as if he knew it to be a fact. That landed him in trouble. It also landed him in jail for 10 days. But finally a judge looking through the evidence said, no, I don't believe Steve Croes has anything to do with this. There's no evidence to back that up, and then decided to release him -- Nancy.

GRACE: So, Karl Penhaul, it sounds to me that he's at the Internet cafe, this DJ. He overhears Deepak Kalpoe cooking up some story on the phone about what they're going to tell police. He ends up telling police, but why did they arrest him?

PENHAUL: Because then when the story of three suspects who last saw Natalee Holloway outside of Carlos 'n Charlie's Bar, Joran Van Der Sloot and the two Kalpoe brothers, as their stories fell apart under interrogation and Steve Croes, the DJ, had told investigators the same story that the boys initially told investigators, i.e., that they had dropped Natalee off at the holiday inn, then investigators assumed that Steve Croes actually knew more than he was letting on.

But when you talk to Steve Croes, what he's basically saying between the lines is, me and my big mouth have gotten me into trouble. I was just repeating something I overheard. I have no firsthand knowledge. But investigators thought he did have first-hand knowledge -- Nancy.

GRACE: And, Karl, Croes told me that he has now lost his job over this?

PENHAUL: Indeed. When we talked to his boss, Marcus Wiggins, he's the owner of the Tattoo party boat, Marcus Wiggins was singing Steve Croes' praises, a good employee, always on time, a loyal employee. And now what Marcus Wiggins has told Steve is given his him marching orders. He says, no, you are fired and don't come back to work.

GRACE: I want to go quickly to Tim Miller. You all have met Tim before. He's the director of the Texas Equusearch crew. He has volunteered to go to Aruba and help find Natalee Holloway.

Tim, welcome and tell us about the search.

TIM MILLER, DIRECTOR, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: Well, you know, the search is moving along, Nancy, and thanks for having us here again tonight. Yesterday was a down day. We're going to have highs and lows. And last night I was, you know, just wanting to kind of halfway throw in the towel.

I think we generated some things today and I certainly won't elaborate on them at all, but I think that we literally got an area to go to that I'm real excited about it. It's -- you know, it's got us some new energy right now. We'll probably be up at 2:00, 3:00 again in the morning, you know, putting this plan together, and how we're going to make it work.

But I am truly excited about some new stuff that we've -- that we're doing right now.

GRACE: Tim Miller, did I hear you say throw in the towel? Did I hear those words come out of your mouth? I don't think I did.

MILLER: Nancy, a little bit of sleep goes a long ways too. We've not had much and last night, you know, again, there's these highs and lows and stuff. And last night was a real low. One of our searchers got hurt. Another one got sick. And, you know, he was dealing with a lot of different obstacles, and, you know, you -- emotions go one way or the other and I think everybody was just emotionally beat up.

We've taken this case so serious and we've loved this family so very, very much and they became our -- they're our family. Natalee is my daughter now. We've all adopted Natalee. And I think we just didn't feel like we were doing enough and we was letting everybody down and the family down.

And, you know, a little bit of sleep and some new thoughts and certainly a lot of prayers. Oh, my God, the prayers that are coming out. I truly believe that we have generated something today that I am certainly excited about. And again, it's going to be a very, very difficult task, a very dangerous task, I think. And we're up for it, and I am hopeful within the next couple of days we have Natalee.

GRACE: Tim, you are the director of Texas Equusearch, but it's more than just a job to you. Can we talk about Laura, your girl?

MILLER: Yes, we can.

GRACE: Can you tell me about her?

MILLER: You know, I went through the same thing, and it wasn't any better where I was from. They said Laura was a runaway. I did everything I knew how to do, but I was paralyzed at that time. There weren't any search teams. There wasn't any support from law enforcement. And unfortunately, 17 months later, you know, the remains of Laura and another girl that's still unidentified were found 60 feet from each other and only a couple of miles from our house.

And the grieving process, of course, was painful. I was the fortunate one, I got Laura back. I've got a place to put flowers to and I have been truly blessed. And Laura's picture is my office and it's behind me. I feel as though that Laura's death wasn't in vain by no means. It wasn't in vain and...

GRACE: Hey, Tim?

MILLER: ... I think the reason her picture is behind me is she's behind me on everything we do. So she's behind me now. We've got some energy and determination that we're going to bring Natalee home. I truly feel in my heart we're going to do that.

GRACE: Tim, you told me that you are not going to divulge what inspired you today to keep going. But could you tell me where you were searching today?

MILLER: We're -- I'll say this. We're going to be in the water, for sure. And it's not going to be an inland water. So just pray for us, Nancy.

GRACE: Oh, yes, sir. I've been doing that and I'll continue. With us, Tim Miller, the director of Texas Equusearch.

And when we come back, just hooked up on the satellite is Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, and Natalee's stepfather, Jug Twitty. They are going to be speaking to you in just a few minutes.

Welcome, friends, we'll all be right back.


GRACE: Welcome back everybody. I'm Nancy Grace from COURT TV and HEADLINE NEWS in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. We are live in Aruba and the latest on the missing Alabama girl, 18- year-old Natalee Holloway. And joining me now, Natalee's mother and her stepfather.

Beth Holloway Twitty, thank you for being with us. Jug, thank you. Beth, tell me where the search went today.

BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER: Nancy, I'm not able to disclose where they are searching, and we know it's part of the investigation, and I think that they've got now cooperation between the authorities and Equusearch. So it's really not anything that I need to be kept aware of, of where they are surfing.

GRACE: Yes, ma'am. Beth, what did you do today? I know you are working every single day to bring Natalee home. You have vowed not to leave the island without your girl. How are you spending your days?

B. TWITTY: Well, that's a good question. Today we really kind of looked at it as just regrouping and coming up with a different direction tomorrow. And we -- you know, I love children and we want to be involved in the community. So tomorrow we're headed to a school here in Aruba and we will begin making the hope bracelet for Natalee with a group of school age children.

And tomorrow we're also forming a -- we're doing a human chain from the Holiday Inn to the Windham Hotel, and just a prayer vigil for Natalee. So just, you know, every day right now is a little different. We're taking a few just different directions.

GRACE: What time is that prayer vigil tomorrow?

B. TWITTY: Tomorrow it's from 2:45 and will end at 3:00 at the Holiday Inn with a prayer for Natalee.

GRACE: Ms. Twitty, are you on the same time as we are here, Eastern Standard Time?



GRACE: OK. So you said 2:45, correct?


GRACE: Ma'am, did you move into Natalee's room there at the Holiday Inn?

B. TWITTY: I did, Nancy.

GRACE: Tell me about that.

B. TWITTY: You know, some people might think that's odd, but, you know, Nancy, I'm so submerged in Natalee anyway. You know, and I find it comfortable, so I've just chose to stay there.

GRACE: I don't think it's odd at all. Doesn't it make you feel closer to Natalee?

B. TWITTY: Oh, it does. I'm so comfortable there. I don't think I would be comfortable at this point anywhere else, Nancy.

GRACE: To Mr. Twitty, this is Natalee Holloway's stepfather. Jug, thank you for being with us. What are you doing to bring Natalee home and how are you helping keep her mother strong?

J. TWITTY: Well, today I spent time with the people that came in from Atlanta that had the new voice analysis overlay. I'm not sure the name of it. But they have the capability of taking tapes, and it's similar to a polygraph. But I spent time with my attorneys, with them going over some tapes that they've got that they had from news crews.

I am asking -- I asked the prosecutor yesterday if we could use this equipment to look at some of the tapes that they have on the interrogation because I realize it's not going to be anything they can use in court or anything like that, but that's not what I'm looking for. All I'm looking for are the answers and I know that the three boys in there changed their stories several times.

This would help us pinpoint who is telling the truth and who is not. I don't see where it will hurt. I'm asking for all the help I can get from the United States, from the Dutch government. I talked to a friend of mine from Mississippi. He called me today. He's friends with Trent Lott. He called the embassy today. I know Beth talked to Senator Richard Shelby today. I mean, all of them are very, very concerned, it's just very, very hard to work through the system down here.

GRACE: Well, Jug, it's my understanding -- Karl Penhaul told me earlier tonight, that this judge's son, this alleged judge's son, Joran Van Der Sloot, has now changed his story eight -- one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight times. Did you know that, Jug?

J. TWITTY: I knew that he had at least three or four, but I did not know eight. But it doesn't surprise me. I mean, I've already faced him face to face that night. I faced his father face to face. And you can look at somebody, Nancy, and tell if they are lying or not. And he's just -- it's pathetic.

I don't understand how they can't break one of these three boys. Maybe not him because I think he's a psychopath or something. But the other two, I promise you, if we had some people from the United States down here that break hardened terrorists, that they could do it in no time.

GRACE: Jug, one of Natalee's uncles, Paul Reynolds, has said he is afraid that the Aruban officials are just trying to make the case go away, sweep it under the rug. What do you think about that?

J. TWITTY: Well, they can try that. I mean, there's a couple of people here that were kind of -- I'll just say they were kind of our friends in the beginning here, and I thought the they were helping us along and all of a sudden it seems like they've switched gears. It only seems like they want us to go home. But I think the true Aruban people know that we're here to find Natalee. And we're not here to say bad things about their island because I'd love to find Natalee and come back next year and every year after that.

But we're not going home. I mean, all I'm asking for, and that's why I wish they would take -- I mean, I don't care what they use on the boys in there to get the answers, because as soon as we find Natalee, we will go home. I don't care, with their justice system, they can do whatever they want to with the boys. All we want to do is take Natalee back to Birmingham, whether we find her alive, which we hope, or they can give us her body, we're ready to go home. And I don't understand why it is taking so long for them to break these boys.

GRACE: And to Michael Cardoza, defense attorney out of the California jurisdiction, Michael, say Van Der Sloot cracks and he gives a confession now. As a defense attorney, how would you attack that?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I'll tell you, Nancy, there have been -- and I'm not saying it would happen in this case, but there have been a lot of cases where you get false confessions because people or the police keep people in custody for such a length of time.

I mean, remember what happened in the Central Park jogger case? You had teenagers there, I think it was five of them that confessed to a crime and 13 years later we find out somebody else did it. There was one down in Escondido, California, Michael Crowe, who confessed to killing his sister, and it turned out somebody else did it.

I understand what the Holloways are saying, what the Twittys are saying. We don't care how you do it, get us the answer. And I understand that and I'm on their side with that one. But looking at it from a lawyer's standpoint, you have got to be careful if you want to use that confession in court.

And I really hope the police there are taping every time they talk to Joran so if they do get a confession they can use it in court and nobody questions, is this a false confession, because false confessions do happen.

GRACE: Well, so far we know he's changed his story at least eight times. Quick break, everybody. When we come back, not only Natalee's mother is with us as well as her stepfather, but her aunt is with us, Marcia Twitty, who is leading a battle of her own to find Natalee. Please stay with us.


GRACE: Hello, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace, in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. Before we take you to some stories, incredible stories of survival, winning against all odds, I want to take you back down to Aruba. With us in addition to Natalee Holloway's mother and stepfather, her aunt, who is leading a crusade all on her own.

Marcia, tell us about it.

MARCIA TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S AUNT: Hey, Nancy. We're here in Birmingham, and pretty much what we've been doing here is spending a lot of time doing fund-raising events to raise money to keep Jug and Beth and the Holloways and everybody in Aruba for as long as it takes.

So one thing we've started that we're asking from people today, everybody asks us, what can they do? And we would like everybody to just spend 37 cents and write a very supportive, nice, kind letter to the Dutch ambassador of the United States, asking for continued support from the Holland government to let them know how incredibly important this investigation is to the American people.

GRACE: Well, can you give us that address?

M. TWITTY: Yes, I can. It's the Dutch ambassador to the United States, The Royal Netherlands Embassy, OK? 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20008.

GRACE: OK, Royal Netherlands Embassy, 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20008. Got you.

M. TWITTY: That's it.

GRACE: Will do. Straight back down to Karl Penhaul, CNN correspondent standing by. Where does the search go tomorrow, Karl?

PENHAUL: Well, we understand also that Dutch Marines may be getting involved in the search as well. The prime minister has signed off on that. As far as Equusearch, again, for strategic reasons, are playing their cards a little close to their chest.

In general terms, one might say on the northern side of the island, but nothing more specific than that. Obviously on the northern side of the island, a mixture of terrain. It's a very dry, hard terrain there, a lot of rocks, a lot of cactus. And then as you go down to the shoreline itself, a very rugged coastline indeed with a lot of waves splashing into the shore there -- Nancy.

GRACE: Karl, is the northern end of the island where that lighthouse is?

PENHAUL: The island is on the northwest tip. That's where the -- at the point of the island and beyond that you've got some sand dunes. Off to the west there's an area of beaches. And way further west, open ocean, and west towards Panama several hundred miles away. And the ocean currents tend to drift westwards on the northern side. Then again the ocean currents are still coming west and would tend to slam into the northern side of the island.

GRACE: Is that where the lighthouse is? The lighthouse, remember, Joran Van Der Sloot mentioned the lighthouse, that he took the girl to the lighthouse?

PENHAUL: Indeed, that's on the northwest tip. So just on the right-hand side of the lighthouse as you look out to sea is the north coast. On the right-hand side of the lighthouse is the west coast -- on the left side, sorry.

GRACE: I want to go back to Beth Holloway Twitty, this is Natalee's mother with us. Beth, when you wake up in the morning, what's the first thing you think?

B. TWITTY: Oh, you know, Nancy, I used to wake up every morning thinking that today will be the day. But, you know, when the day would end and we hadn't found Natalee, I was -- oh, it was such devastation and the deepest hurt I've ever felt. And I've had to stop doing that, Nancy.

I can't look at today as the day. I look at we're always hoping, but just giving myself this assurance that we'll get through this day. And, you know, not putting a timeline on it because I'm not giving up, Nancy.

GRACE: Before I go back to Natalee's mother, I want you to know, Larry King requested interviews with the Van Der Sloots or their lawyers. No response. The lawyers for the Kalpoe brothers declined Larry's invitation to appear tonight. We're told they have advised their clients' family not to speak with the media.

Very quickly back to Natalee's mother. When you wake up feeling that way, how do you get yourself geared up, not just to get ready to walk out the door, but to walk out the door and fight another day to find Natalee?

B. TWITTY: You know, Nancy, as each day passes, I really just become even more and more determined. And -- you know, and I know with my faith and trust in God, I know he is supporting me, and everyone in the United States, and, of course, you know, Natalee's community of Mountain Brook, Alabama. That is what is carrying me through this. And each day I'm able to do it and will be able to do it.

GRACE: I want to thank all of my guests that are with us tonight from Aruba: Karl Penhaul, CNN correspondent; Jug Twitty, Natalee's stepfather; and her mother, Beth Holloway Twitty; and last, but not least, Tim Miller, who, partially in honor of his own daughter who went missing and was killed, is there searching for Natalee.

Please stay with us.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace from COURT TV and HEADLINE NEWS in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. Tonight, the inspiring stories of people won against all odds.

Let me introduce them to you. From L.A. Angela Rockwood Nguyen, actress and model. She was left a quadriplegic just weeks before her wedding date. Isn't she beautiful? I'll tell you her story in just a moment.

Joining me from Sacramento, Roger Crawford. Roger was born with a rare genetic defect. And he has gone on to become a star, both an athlete and a motivational speaker and author. Incredible. In L.A., Carlana Stone Lawson. She was a high school cheerleader and class president. A traffic crash left her without the use of her legs. Is she not a beauty. And inspiring to boot?

Here in the studio with me, here in New York, Teresa Sario, a New York City singer and songwriter who lost her right leg three years ago. And I've got right here with me one of her CDs. Incredible.

I want to go quickly to Angela Rockwood Nguyen. Angela, tell us your story.

ANGELA ROCKWOOD NGUYEN, MODEL AND ACTRESS: I was traveling up to San Francisco with two of my bridesmaids to meet my maid of honor in San Jose, And it was Labor Day weekend, about the same time as 9/11, September 4. And I was returning back to Los Angeles.

We left San Jose about 7:00 at night, and we were returning. I was sitting behind the driver. And my other girlfriend Tue (ph) who is no longer with us, she was a passenger. And we left about 7:00. And it took us about three hours until we hit the area where I got into the accident.

But we stopped twice. Once for gas and once for snacks. And normally -- I'm 5'9 and normally I sit in the passenger seat. And that night my girlfriend called shotgun, so I sat in the back seat. And I -- something was whispering to me to wear my seat belt and to keep it on. And it's that little voice that you have to trust.

I deliberately put my seat belt on twice, once when we stopped for the gas and for snacks. And about three hours into the drive, the story started getting juicy, so I unfastened my seat belt, I got into the center and pulled myself forward to get closer to both of my girlfriends.

And at that moment, the car started drifting to the left, and just like I'm sure everybody has experienced it, where they hit the little grooves and you automatically assume you are going correct the car and you're going to get back on the road. Well, all of a sudden, this force grabbed the car and it yanked it and pulled it to the right. And at that moment, I jump back into my seat, and I brace myself by holding on to the back of my girlfriend's chair. And I could feel the car violently swerving. It was fishtailing back and forth. And that's where I put my head down and I started praying. And I was just basically praying for our safety. And that I didn't want to die.

And at that moment, the car swung around and the back of the car hit the side of the mountain. And the impact forced me forward where the top of my head hit the back of the seat. And then that's where I snapped my neck.

And after that, the car continued to flip five times. And I catapulted out of the triangle window, where I landed on my head. And then I was face down paralyzed on the side of the road.

My girlfriends hit the railing -- the Two of them were still in the vehicle -- and they flew over the bank and the second mountain stopped them.

My girlfriend Thuy Trang, who is no longer with us today, she had internal bleeding. So, the moment that they stuck the trach down her throat, the blood started gushing out. And she was dead on arrival when the helicopter had picked her up.

And as myself, I actually was transferred through the ambulance to King's Hospital in San Luis Obisbo. And when they found out I shatter by C4-C5 vertebrae, they put me back in the ambulance and transferred me Sierra Vista Hospital.

GRACE: Well, Angela, I just want to tell everybody, as they are looking at you, they may actually recognize you. Angela appeared in the Vin Diesel film "The Fast and the Furious." She's landed a guest role on Pam Anderson's TV series V.I.P. tell me about your physical health now.

NGUYEN: My physical health now? Well, the doctor told me when I woke up from the surgery, he told my father and my husband that I had three to four percent chance of moving or feeling anything from the neck down.

And thank God that because of my athletic background, I wasn't hooked up to a trach. And I had transferred to Rancho Los Amigos where I had done my rehab for three-and-a-half months. When I returned home, I did rehab there for about six months. And I continued doing my rehab at this place in San Diego called Project Walk.

And I would say that my health now, it's not 110 percent, but I am getting there. And I would say it's about 90 percent.

GRACE: Are you still with your husband?

NGUYEN: Yes, I am.

GRACE: He stuck by you through everything.

NGUYEN: Yes, he did. And we are married. And nobody knew that until after the accident because we actually had eloped on Valentine's Day. And, of course, we had to announce it to everybody in the emergency room when my mom wanted to come and take me away, because she thought that we were just dating at the time.

And so that's how -- everybody, of course, was upset, but then they were happy at the same time and relieved when they found out we were married.

GRACE: Well Angela, isn't it true that he retooled the whole house to help you after your original diagnosis and has stuck by you all these years?

NGUYEN: Yes, it is true.

GRACE: Wow. Oh, man. What a story.

Everybody, when we come back, as inspired as you may be by Angela, we've got another story for you. Roger is with us. Roger Crawford with his disability, he turned into a star athlete and now is an author and motivational speaker. I can't wait for you to hear his story. Please stay with us.


ROGER CRAWFORD, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: Hi, I'm Roger Crawford. You just spent a few moments watching me play tennis. And you are probably curious how I was holding on to the tennis racket. Well, I slip my right finger in between the space that you see in the tennis racket. Then I hold the grip to my right elbow with my left hand.

Now, I neglected to tell you that I have the best two-handed serve in the world. Well, I have the only two-handed serve in the world.

Even though I wear a prosthesis on my left leg, you probably notice that I had fairly good mobility on the tennis court.



GRACE: Welcome back. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV and Headline News in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. I'm going to go straight back out to a story everyone said no way and he said way.

Joining me, Roger Crawford out of Sacramento. Now, Roger has a so-called disability. It's called ectrodactylism. What is that?

CRAWFORD: Well, Nancy, it affects me from the elbows down and from the knees down. Doctors really don't know. It was just something random that happened. I have able-bodied parents. And also an able-bodied daughter. So they really don't know what happened.

GRACE: Now tell me, Roger, how did your parents treat you as you were growing up?

CRAWFORD: You know, Nancy, I remember my father saying to me, Roger, we don't live in Pity City. He used to say, take your hands out of your pockets, put a smile on your face, be proud of who you are. I remember, he used to tell me whenever I had my hands in the pockets. He says, you know you're never going to reach higher with your hands in your pockets.

So, to answer your question, they never let me feel sorry for myself. I can remember, you know, asking them, you know, am I gifted. And my dad used to say, don't ask am I gifted. Ask how are you gifted?

You know, I'm a lousy piano player. I had to accept that as a young age. But it allowed me to focus in on the possibilities in my life instead of the problems.

GRACE: Roger, I'm sorry. I was reading, what did you say? Oh, it's a book by you. How High Can You Bounce: Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." Incredible. And not only that, I've got "Playing From The Heart" also by Roger Crawford. I am totally knocked out.

Now tell me, what inspired you to become a star athlete? In fact, you sent another star athlete home packing when he didn't make the tennis team, right?

CRAWFORD: Well, Nancy, I play tennis at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. And I learned that I wasn't going to be the fastest or the most powerful, but if I could hit the ball over the net one more time than my opponent, then I'd win the point.

You know, it's funny, I was watching the video a little earlier. And I think I should tell you, that the video was edited. You notice I didn't miss a shot the entire match.

GRACE: Hey Roger, question: Remember when you asked your dad to write a note to your teachers asking for an extension on a handwritten assignment?

CRAWFORD: Right. I sure do. I remember my dad said to me, you know what, Roger? You have to do the best you can with what you have. They never let me feel sorry for myself.

GRACE: What was it like growing up with your disability?

CRAWFORD: Well, Nancy, certainly there were times that I was discouraged. And times that I felt left out. But you know what? I grew up with the belief that everybody has challenges, Nancy. You know, some you can see and some you can't. You know, I am so inspired by the other guests you have tonight. And I think all of their stories really reaffirm my belief that a broken spirit is a lot more disabling than a broken body.

GRACE: You know, Roger, you became a competitive tennis player in college and then actually went pro. That's a dream millions of people have all across the world. CRAWFORD: Right.

Well, you know, Nancy, people ask me all the time, Roger, if you were able bodied you probably would have been a Wimbledon Champion or played in the U.S. Open. And I'm really not so sure. You know, I had to learn to do the best I could with what I had. And I think that's true for all of us, and all of our life experiences.

You know, Nancy, I recently had the opportunity of speaking at Walter Reed to injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. One of my greatest honorers. I met this young man. He had lost both his arms at the elbow. I'll never forget him. He had this infectious smile.

And I walked up to him and said, I'm so amazed by your attitude. And he said something I'll never forget. He looked at his arms and said, I'm just wondering what God is going to do with this.

And I thought, wow, that's somebody who sees the possibilities in his life.

GRACE: You know, Roger, that person that told you you could have been a champion was all wrong. You are a champion, friend.

CRAWFORD: Thank you, Nancy. Thank you so much.

GRACE: His books, "How High Can You Bounce and "Playing From the Heart." Incredible.

I know one thing, I am not going to wake up and complain in the morning. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Although he affected the lives of thousands of kids here in Miami-Dade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Manuel Reyes Sanchez lived here in the heart of Little Havana. He was picked up this morning by police on a number of charges, including sexual battery.

In fact, I've never played wheelchair tennis. But I got a little coaching today.



GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.

Stories of winning against all odds. Inspiring stories. I want to introduce to you now Carlana Stone Lawson. Carlotta was a high school cheerleader and athlete, the president of her class. And then a traffic accident when she was just 17 left her without the use of her legs. But listen to this, she went on to pursue a career as a TV journalist. Then a producer. Not only that, I just heard in my ear, she skydives.

I'm going to hide under the desk. I don't even deserve to be on the same screen as you. Tell me your story.


First of all, I'm really honored and just thrilled to be here amongst all of you. My story was basically like you said it. When I was 17, I was at the pinnacle of my life, or so I thought. I was a cheerleader, a gymnast -- competing gymnast -- and my entire identity was based on my physicality. And in one fell swoop, I was robbed of that identity. And the ripe old age of 17, I was forced to redefine who I was. And that's a tough job for anybody to do. I mean, even in your 50s, you know, when we've lived half of our lives.

But I was surrounded by so many wonderful people and so much love and support. And kind of like Roger was talking about, never allowed to really bask in this pity party. And was really forced to kind of confront the issues and overcome.

But I embarked on this journey to kind of fix myself. And for years, I mean, I traveled to Russia to undergo an operation involving stem cells implanted into my spinal cord. And later worked with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, just seeking that miracle cure to fix me, to make me walk again. Which I thought would make me happy and hole again.

And my life has been an incredible journey filled with opportunity after opportunity. But resulting in the fact that that miracle cure doesn't come in the form of me walking again. It comes in the form of me learning to love and accept and celebrate who I am like I am today. And that is an incredibly liberating place to be.

And, you know, when we're -- I don't care who you are, where you come from, what walk of life you are from. At some point, we're all going to find ourselves in the face of adversity. And we're forced to make a choice, we either choose to give up and become a victim and surrender to that adversity, or we say, never give in, never give up. And we overcome.

GRACE: Carlana, you know, that should be the title of your book. Oh, it is the title of your book.


GRACE: It is, everybody. She's just written this book. How fantastic. "never Give In, Never Give Up."

Very quickly, before we have to go to break, you have pursued so many dreams. One was to be an on-air reporter, right?

LAWSON: Right. Right, absolutely. And that was an incredible opportunity which fell in my lap. I became one of the first on-air reporters for an ABC affiliate down in Miami, where I was for about 2 1/2 years and worked with a wonderful team of people down there.

I must say this book has been a joint effort with my best friend from college, John Di Renzo. And years ago, I kind of grew disconcerted with some of the television that I was producing here in Los Angeles. I just didn't find the right -- the perfect fit as far as a television show.

And with the support of my now husband and John's help, I -- John Di Renzo's help, I decided to write my life story. And John Di Renzo is an incredibly gifted author who can finish my sentences for me and finish my thoughts for me and...

GRACE: I don't know. I don't know. I think I like your thoughts just like they are.

With me, Carlana Stone Lawson, so many things, but now author of "Never Give In, Never Give Up."

When we come back, I want you to meet Teresa Sareo, now a singer and songwriter.

Stay with us.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Nancy Grace, in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.

Tonight: Stories that will inspire you. Here in the studio with me, Teresa Sareo. She is now a singer and songwriter. Take a look at this CD: "Teresa Sareo: Alive Again."

Hey, guys, you've got to roll some of that footage of her, what would you say, a music video?

TERESA SAREO, SINGER: It's a music video, right.

GRACE: Teresa, tell us your story.

Well, I don't remember my accident, but I was delivering a press kit to a booking agent on Fifth Avenue and I was walking back home and I was on the corner of 34th Street and Park Avenue and an impaired driver of an SUV attempted an illegal U-turn, and he didn't make it and a cab struck him. And he struck me on the corner and pinned me to a fire hydrant pole and severed my right leg at the top of my hip.

GRACE: How long were you in the hospital?

SAREO: About two months, initially.

GRACE: When you went to court during the driver's trial, did you ever look at him?

SAREO: No, I couldn't.


SAREO: At that point in time, I wasn't ready to face him.

GRACE: Tell me about your rehab.

SAREO: Rehab started...

GRACE: We're showing it right now.

SAREO: Yes. Rehab, that was me just getting on a prosthetic leg. They didn't know if I would be a candidate for a prosthesis because my amputation is very high up; usually high. I don't have a limb.

GRACE: Did you lose your hip also?

SAREO: I have -- the front of my pelvis is gone and I have no hip socket, no femur bone.

GRACE: To attach the prosthetic to.

SAREO: Right, the prosthesis attaches around my waist like a corset.

GRACE: Got you.

SAREO: Yes. So, it took about a year-and-a-half to really get used to walking on it.

GRACE: Now your CD, "Alive Again," you started writing songs for it before the crash.

SAREO: Right. .

GRACE: I was looking at the back of it. "Alive again, wishing again, amazing, get over yourself, blue skies of Tennessee."

Tell me about it.

SAREO: Well, I started writing it before the accident and then, I finished it after and so, some of the songs are about my emotional experience dealing with this.

GRACE: And you are also Teresa Sareo, I have her pamphlet, "Her Journey of Survival," a motivational speaker.

SAREO: Yes. I was trained by the Amputee coalition of America to be a peer counselor. And with that, I started a volunteer program at Belleview Hospital, which is the largest trauma hospital in the country. And I work with trauma patients who come in with amputations and I also speak at colleges and corporations and with medical students and staff to heighten their awareness of what disability is and what trauma recovery is.

GRACE: You make me want to just crawl under the desk. I mean it. I'm looking at some of your lyrics. "Sometimes I think I'd give everything to change what has happened to me." "I wish I could walk a million miles or simply walk into your arms."


GRACE: It's beautiful.


My story was very courageously told by my friend Gregg Williams for "New York Magazine." And you can read about it on my Web site.

GRACE: Teresa, if you could speak out to people tonight that are suffering, that have gone through trauma like you did, what would you tell them?

SAREO: I would tell them that to reach out, reach out to your loved ones and to have hope, really. You have to focus on what your sense of purpose is in life and that will take you to places you didn't think you could go.

GRACE: And where did it take you?

SAREO: It's true.

It's taken me to the LARRY KING SHOW, meeting you, who I'm a big fan of, and most importantly, it's -- I have this chance to spread my message, which is so powerful and helps me to cope with this experience.

GRACE: Teresa, what was the hardest thing you overcame, when you were there in that hospital bed.

SAREO: Well, like I said, I don't remember the accident, so I woke up to it about a week later and I didn't know what life with one leg was going to look like. And I think that was the hardest part. And it wasn't until some amputees came in to visit me that I started -- they were like my life raft, and I started having more positive feeling about this. And so, that's why I'm doing this now for others.

GRACE: Everybody, again, Theresa Sareo. Her CD: "Alive Again," just the lyrics I'm reading on the back, incredible.

SAREO: Thank you, Nancy.

GRACE: What a pleasure to meet you, friend.

SAREO: You, too.

GRACE: Thank you.

Everybody, I want to thank you for being with us tonight and thanks to Larry for letting me sit in his chair tonight. He'll be back tomorrow night for another edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

And I'll be back on "HEADLINE PRIME," tomorrow night 8:00 Eastern.

Stay here, everyone, as the news continues here on CNN.

Good night, friends.