tv CBS Evening News CBS February 20, 2016 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
so this changes the profile. huang: instead of looking for one parent we're probably looking for a couple. reasonably well off. responsible enough to get medical care for their baby. that explains why she's a month old. mother probably never thought about doing this till she fnd out the baby was sick. people like this, they wouldn't have kept their kid a secret. no, t they're probably covering up her disappearance. they might have relocated at the time of her death
i'll check with the center for missing and exploited children. in the meantime, any idea how we can pick up their trail? yeah, tay-sachs is most common among certain ethnic groups, particularly the jewish community. same old story-- when a else fails, round up the jews. it's also common among french-canadians and cajuns. genetic screening has drastically reduced the amount of tay-sachs babies. both parents need to carry the gene and they were probably never tested. if i had a kid with some rare disease, first thing i'd do is find a doctor who specializes in it. man: it's a horrible disease. worse than most parents can possibly bear. and how close are you to a cure? years away. tay-sachs patients are missing a key enzyme. without it, a fatty substance builds up in the brain causing progressive loss of function and eventually, death. would our victim have shown any symptoms? nothing the parents would have noticed until about six months. then why did they have their baby tested? the cherry red spots in the eyes your me found can appear as early as two days tebirth.
during a well-baby checkup. do you have any patients who died suddenly or missed appointments, haven't come back? my work is in research. i don't treat these children myself but even if i did, you know i couldn't tell you about them. okay. are there any places the parents can go for... help? fortunately, this disease is rare. there's only one support group in the area. man: not everybody comes to every meeting. we get people from as far away as maine. stabler: these parents would obably be local. child born about a month ago. there was a woman from manhattan. came to a meeting a few weeks ago, but never came back. any idea why? she seemed disturbed when she saw the child of one of our parents. can't say i blame her. stabler: you remember her name? sorry. benson: well, what about a list of members, or, uh... sign-in sheet? can't give that out. rabbi... we're pretty sure that the parents that we're looking for murdered their baby because she had tay-sachs. oh, god... stabler: and with all due respect, there is no law protecting
i'm only trying to protect what little solace the members of this group have left. i'm sorry. we'll have to get a subpoena. okay. okay. here's the list. i'll fax you the sign-in sheets. but there's no guarantee the woman you're looking for is going to be on any of them. we don't require parents to sign in or even tell us who they are. benson: do you remember anything else about this woman? where she lived? who referred her? now that you mention it, yes. her pediatrician, judah platner, sent her. he belongs to our congregation. stabler: we're not asking for records. we're asking for the name of the woman you referred to the tay-sachs support group. well, that's the same thing, isn't it? besides, i haven't had a tay-sachs patient in a couple of years. rabbi birnbaum mentioned you by name. yes, i know. he visits patients here all the time. it's easy enough to mix me up with another pediatrician. dr. platner, a child has been murdered. if you know anything at all... i would tell you. the law requires me to report any abuse of a child.
yes. a five-year-old boy. neuroblastoma. just last month. doesn't happen often, but never gets any easier. any you've sent for genetic testing? detective, stop wasting your time and mine. believe me, i'd help you if i could. national center for missing and exploited children came up with squat. same with missing persons in all five boroughs and the rest of the tristate. moth goes to a support group, she gets the kid tested. you've got all of this media coverage. someone who knows them is not suspicious that this baby has gone missing? i mean, why hasn't anyone reported them? because everybody knows the baby died. they just don't know how. yeah, and somehow they covered it up. maybe with help from your dr. platner. benson: what did you find? vital stats had the death certificate on that cancer patient. but he signed one just last week on a month-old girl. that's funny how he forgot to tell us that. cause of death? asphyxiation pneumonia. little girl's name was sarah brown. parents, andrea and daniel. woman: the funeral was wednesday. we're still sitting shivah.
we'll take as little of your time as possible. dr. platner was sarah's pediatrician, wasn't he? yes, but how would you know that? benson: we have a list of all his patients. what exactly is this about? stabler: we're investigating a complaint against dr. platner d we're following up with all of his patients' parents. i'm sorry. may i use the bathroom? sure. it's through the bedroom. pardon the mess.
stabler: anything? well, not in the medicine cabinet but there was an empty vial in the garbage can-- something called imipramine. i've never heard of it. when was it filled? last week. two days before the baby turned up. for andrea richman-- must be her maiden name. prescribed... by dr. platner. well, how often does a pediatrician write a prescription for the parents? benson: the me confirmed imipramine is the tricyclic antidepressant that caused sarah brown's death. parents probably used what they needed to put the baby to sleep and flushed the rest down theoilet. if the doctor gave them the pills to do this, he's just as guilty as the browns are. i'll get a warrant to pick up that pill vial. our baby was found in a cooler. are we saying these parents buried an empty casket? i checked out the funeral home that the browns used. there are, you know, multiple heath department violations. the browns could have paid them off.
why not just bury it? we're not going to know until the parents give it up. we can't prove the browns are the parents wiout their dna. which we can't get without more evidence. we got the pill bottle. is that enough to dig up the kid's grave? i'll run tests on the lining, but i'm pretty sure there's never been a body in this coffin. woman: i see a selfless act of mercy, not a murder. the law doesn't make that distinction, counselor. a jury will. they'll never convict. juries don't like defendants who kill their own children. if this was dr. platner's idea and you agree to testify against... it was my idea. i-i, but i couldn't bear to hurt sarah. so you had your husband do it? he had nothing to do with this. andrea, please, don't say anything else. no, i need to tell them i didn't know what to do so i asked dr. platner for help. benson: and you wrote andrea the prescription.
i've seen many children die. children born without brains, riddled with cancer. this time, at least i was able to do something before that little girl suffered. what about your oath? to do no harm? i couldn't even make sarah comfortable. her mother wanted to spare her years of torture. now would it have been less harmful to make her go through that? a jury will see him as an angel of mercy. or an angel of death. our version goes down a lot smoother. we'll consider a plea, if there's no time involved. cabot: your client provided the murder weapon. we're not going to send the message that you can kill a terminally ill child and get off with a slap on the wrist. stabler: you're loong at 25 years to life. attorney: not after the jury hears her story. you fed sarah the drugs. dna proves that little girl in the river is your daughter. she was my baby. you could ner know how hard this was. instead of suffering...
ah, a classic case of who dunnit? luckily, jay chews trident to help clean and protect his teeth, so he can claim his innocence with a convincing grin. that's it jay, they'll never know. trident. cherish your teeth. another day, and i'm still struggli with my diabetes. i do my best to manage. but it's hard to keep up with it. your body and your diabetes change over time. your treatment plan may too. know your options. once-daily toujeo is a long-acting insulin from the makers of lantus . it releases slowly to provide consistent insulin levels for a full 24 hours. toujeo also provides proven full 24-hour blood sugar control and significant a1c reduction. toujeo is a long-acting, man-made insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. it contains 3 times as much insulin in 1 milliliter as standard insulin. don't use toujeo to treat diabetic ketoacidosis,
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then the disabled-- where does it stop? defense is going to argue that andrea did this out of love. it doesn't matter what intentions this road is paved with, alex. it only leads to one place. platner: i was andrea's pediatrician since the day she was born. but you were more than just her doctor, weren't you? well, andrea's father, joel, died while she was about 12. i was sort of her surrogate father when she was growing up. we lost touch from the time she went to college until sarah was born. how did you learn that sarah was sick? at her two-week checkup, i saw the red spots in her eyes. i told andrea she had to get the girl tested. and when the results of those tests came back? i told andrea and danieltheir child had tay-sachs. they felt terrible guilt because they had not been tested themselves. did you tell them what sarah faced? yes, i did. would you tell us? well, at about six months,
her vision would progressively deteriorate until she went blind. her brain function would slowly disappear. she'd lose the ability to sit up and swallow. she would need a feeding tube to stay alive. i told andrea and daniel that their beautiful little child would die a terrible death before she was five. how did they take the news? as bad as you would expect. they couldn't stand the thought of sarah suffering and then losing her. doctor, at any time did you advise andrea or daniel brown to euthanize their daughter? absolutely not. then why did you prescribe the tricyclics that andrea used to put sarah to sleep? andrea said that she was going to euthanize sarah with me or without me. you see, i knew what sarah was going to go through. i just wanted it to be as painless as possible for the both of them. thank you, doctor.
dr. platner, when you agreed to help andrea brown kill her daughter... no, no, that's not what i said... please let me finish, doctor. do you ever talk to her husband, daniel? no, i didn't but he was sarah's father. andrea never would have done this if it wasn't what they both wanted. you also falsified the death certificate, didn't you? yes, i did. did you also advise andrea to dump sarah's body in the hudson river? no, no, no, of course not. then why did you arrange for the funeral home to bury an empty casket? andrea was supposed to call me when sarah had gone to sleep, but she panicked. she didn't come to me until after she'd already put sarah in the river. and you helped her cover it up. yes, i did. drplatner, do you think that children who have no chance of survival should be euthanized? objection. overruled. have you ever seen a child with tay-sachs or any fatal disease? and how should we determine
those born with half a brain? deaf children, blind children, maybe? is this necessary, your honor? you've made your point, ms. cabot. move on. dr. platner, for how many other patients have you ended the suffering? none. then why did you do it in this case? sarah was hopeless. i was like a father to andrea. i couldn't let this destroy her, too. nothing further. daniel had to work late that night. i crushed the pills. i put them in some formula. i nursed her one last time, and then i gave sarah the bottle... ( sobbing ): and i, i held her, and i watched her as she peacefully drifted off to sleep.
i lost it. i was supposed to call judah... uh, uh, dr. platner, but, uh... i put sarah in the car and i just drove. i went to the river and stopped at a place where daniel and i used to picnic. did you call your husband? no. i didn't want him to see our baby like that. what did you do? i, i put the... tire iron into the grocery sack. i tied it around the... handle. i wrapped sarah... in a blanket, and i put her inside, and i placed it on the water, and i just... i watched... i watched while it disappeared. andrea, you had other alternatives, didn't you? there was a, uh
and i listened to the parents discuss their kids. they can't move. they can't see. it made me even more determined to do what i did. why? because i loved sarah so much. i could not stand to see her suffer. nothing further. sarah wasn't showing any symptoms of tay-sachs. why didn't you wait until she did? i didn't want her to be in any pain. wasn't this as much about your pain as it was sarah's? i did it to spare sarah, not me. i will be in agony for the rest of my life. you testified that you went to the support group by yourself. where was your husband? i didn't think he could handle it.
and yet, you told detectives that your husband wasn't involved. why did you make this decision on your own? i didn't want daniel to be the one who did it. i know what i did was against the law, but i believe in a loving god and i cannot believe that a loving god would want an innocent child to suffer so horribly. ( indistinct arguing ) ms. cabot... your client seems upset. what's going on? dr. platner asked me to talk to you. why? he wants to make a deal.
i've already testified, ms. cabot. believe me, i'm not hiding anything. i did what i had to do for andrea and sarah. what happened to your noble intentions? alleviating the suering of dying children? i've been taking care of children for almost 40 years. if i'm convicted, i'll die in prison. what are you looking for? man two, five to 15. and this doesn't have anything to do with the fireworks i witnessed outside of court today? there isn't anything that my client knows that he hasn't told you or the jury, and he may very well be acquitted. you didn't let platner cop a plea, did you? we told him we'd sleep on it. all this posturing about euthanasia, and now he just wants to give up? what's he really afraid of? i'm not sure, but platner looked pretty surprised when andrea testified she never told her husband what she was going to do. this was the most important decision of their lives. how could she not include him? she said she didn't want daniel to be the one who was doing it. maybe she was protecting him. not from us. even if he was involved,
and spousal privilege puts that off-limits. well, maybe andrea was protecting him from the truth. about what? every jewish couple i know got tested for tay-sachs before they walked down the aisle. why would an educated couple like the browns roll the dice and take those chances? because they thought there was no chance they could havea tay-sachs baby. if danny wasn't born jewish, he's got better odds of hitting the lottery than carrying the tay-sachs gene. what kind of offer requires the presence of the defendant's husband, but not her? no offer. we have a court order for a dna test for mr. bro. what the hell for? we checked your birth certificate. you were born catholic. yes, but i converted to judaism before andrea and i got married. so what? so, there's very little chance that you carry the tay-sachs gene. ( sighs ) you can't do this. i know my rights. spousal privilege: husbands and wives can't incriminate each other. well, that's not entirely true.
but the privilege doesn't cover dna. we can take you to the me's office right now for the dna test. don't waste your time. i'm, uh, not sarah's biological father. andrea told you, didn't she? about the affair. after she was arrested. but i suspected something when sarah was diagnosed. ( scoffs ) it was with some guy in herffice. how do you know she wasn't just trying to cover up the affair when she killed sarah?
please state your name for the record. steven kellerman. mr. kellerman, how do you know the defendant? i worked with her. what was the extent of your relationship? i'm not sure what that means. did you have sex with andrea brown? it only happened once, after we'd worked late. her husband was away. after that, you transferred to a different office, didn't you? to boston, yes. when did you become aware that andrea brown was pregnant with your child? when i read about the case in the newspaper. so you're saying you never even knew about your own daughter? yes. nothing further. who ended the affair andrea did, immediately after it began. i loved her, but she... loved her husband, and she had a moment of weakness.
sustained. jury will disregard. when you read about andrea in the newspaper? why didn't you come forward? because i had a brother that died of tay-sachs, and i've seen what that does. and if i'd have been in anda's position, i'd have done the same thing. i'm very sorry. emmett: andrea brown's actions had one purpose... one: to spare the child she loved years of horrible agony, leading to an inevitable death. when you go into the jury room, ladies and gentlemen, you must decide if this woman deserves to go to prison for at least 25 years.
ask one of yourselves: "if this were my child, what would i do?" and if that question gives you pause, i pray you decide that andrea brown has already suffered enough. andrea brown ground up a lethal dose of antidepressants and fed it to her baby. the defense doesn't dispute these facts, but they argue mrs. brown acted out of the noblest of motives. let's examine these motives. andrea brown had an extramarital affair and got pregnant. when she found out the baby wasn't her husband's, did she tell him? no. did she tell steve kellerman that he was the father? no.
when pressuring him for a prescription-- an act she knew could land him in prison? no. from the start, andrea brown's primary concern was preserving her marriage, her image, and her lifestyle by hiding at all costs her affair. she knew that the longer sarah was alive, the greater e chances someone would find out that daniel brown was not the father. so she killed her daughter-- a helpless child whhad not yet begun to suffer the effects of tay-sachs-- all of this to conceal the fact that she'd slept with another man. the defense would have you believe this was an act of mcy. it wasn't. this is a clear-cut case of murder.
how does the jury find? we find the defendant guilty. ( spectators murmuring ) ( sobs ) ( sobbing ) good work, counselor. she didn't deserve 25 to life. jury thought so. because i turned her into a whore. it doesn't matter. she killed her child. what if it was your daughter? what would you have done?
captioned by media access group at wgbh acce.wgbh.org narrator: in the criminal justice system sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. in new york city, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the special victims unit. these are their stories. i just don't understand why you never bring your cell phone. a cell phone won't change the fact that you ran out of gas.
the gauge is broken. where are you going? maybe they have a cell phone. wait. you don't know who they are. nobody. now what? start walking. ( loud thump ) whatas that? somebody's in there. get it open. ( muffled groans ) flag down a car. hurry. ( muffled groans ) man: multiple stab wounds. looks like the guy clocked her a couple of times with a tire iron before raping her with it. she's conscious, though. she tell you anything? can't.e superglued her lips shut. she stopped breathing, so we had to crike her. got anything to dissolve that with? er's got a solvent if she gets there. no promises. benson: i'll go. i'll call you if she says anything. we got an id? ( sighs ): no purse, no keys. car's registered to meredith mcgrath. it seems like there's some recent damage to t bumper. so, he bumps into her. she pulls over.