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Nancy Grace: FBI searching for suspect in salesman's death

By Nancy Grace
CNN

Editor's Note: Nancy Grace appears on CNN.com's Law Center with an interactive column, "Seeking Justice." Her column appears in conjunction with her hour-long CNN Headline News program, "Nancy Grace," which runs at 8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Grace invites a public dialogue. You can respond to her by sending comments to "Nancy Grace."

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Nancy Grace
Crime, Law and Justice

(CNN) -- A regular feature of Nancy Grace's show is "All Points Bulletin," where a suspect sought by law enforcement authorities is profiled.

The latest: The FBI and law enforcement authorities across the nation are looking for Alejandro Santana.

Santana has been charged in the August 2000 death of a used car salesman in Sacramento, California, and with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. According to the FBI, Santana allegedly shot the salesman during a test drive.

Santana is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. He is considered armed and dangerous.

--------------------------------------------

Suspect in Chicago slaying sought

The FBI and law enforcement authorities also are looking for Roberto Ramirez.

Ramirez is wanted for the January 2005 slaying of a woman in Chicago, Illinois. She was found bludgeoned in her apartment.

Ramirez was charged with first-degree murder and an arrest warrant was issued, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Ramirez is 24 years old, about 5 foot 8 inches tall, and weighs between 160 and 200 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair. Ramirez is considered armed and dangerous.

If you have any information, please call the FBI at (312) 431-1333.

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Government wrong on Rudolph

I am deeply disturbed and disappointed that home-grown terrorist Eric Rudolph has been allowed leniency with his guilty pleas. (More on the pleas)

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft promised the ultimate punishment would be sought in a case where innocent victims were targeted for death.

But when the rubber met the road, the federal government waffled, and Rudolph took a plea, saving his own skin.

Rudolph, full of hate, targeted women in an abortion clinic, as well as their caregivers, patrons of a gay club and visitors from around the world at the Atlanta Olympics.

I was on the scene when the bomb exploded at the 1996 Olympics. I worked into the morning hours, taking statements, studying the scene, analyzing just who would do such a thing.

Two of my investigators were on the scene of the clinic bombings, two bombs set to detonate a period of time apart so that local police would be in harm's way from the second blast. We three survived unscathed.

Others were not so lucky. My prayers are with the victims of Eric Rudolph, and my anger and disappointment rests not only with Rudolph, but also with those who decided to grant Rudolph that which he withheld from his victims: mercy.

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Education key to fight child molestations

On another note, the 2002 disappearance and death of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in Southern California helped bring national attention to a rash of child abductions, rapes and killings.

On the heels of Danielle's case came the kidnappings of a 13-year-old Oregon girl, Miranda Gaddis; Elizabeth Smart, 14, in Utah; Cassandra Williamson, 6, in Missouri; Erica Pratt, 7, in Pennsylvania; and Samantha Runnion, 5, in California.

More than a year after Samantha's kidnapping, molestation and slaying, Alejandro Avila faces a jury on charges he killed the girl. (Background on the Runnion case)

Two things seem disturbing about this case. First, Samantha's kidnap was classic, textbook child abduction, right down to the line police say Avila allegedly used to lure Samantha into his car: She was asked to help find a lost puppy.

Samantha was doing everything right at the time of her abduction. She was playing with a friend in her yard, with her grandmother nearby. It was in daylight hours, and Samantha's mom, Erin, had even schooled her daughter on danger signs regarding strangers.

There is no fail-safe way to protect children. But families and other institutions can make a difference by being more consistent in educating our children about abduction.

And second, also disturbing, is that shortly before Samantha was killed, Avila was arrested and tried on two other charges of sexual molestation with two young girls.

The defense attorney in Avila's first child molestation trial argued that the girls lied and that police planted evidence. The jury returned an acquittal. In light of Samantha's death, how can these jurors look in the mirror now?

I have analyzed the evidence in Avila's first trial as well as his second. I have keenly watched the evidence flow from the witness stand in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial. Classic "grooming" of children allegedly proceeded the purported molestations in a typical manner.

I believe we must raise our voices and be heard. The schooling of children in the classic, textbook maneuvers of molesters should be a mandate for our institutions. We must tackle the distasteful crime of child molestation, the warning signals and the ways for children to try and save themselves. These maneuvers are an old, old story. The only ones who seemingly don't know them are the children themselves.

Finally, I call on judges and juries to treat child witnesses with the respect they deserve. That includes giving them more credibility on the witness stand. Only then will molesters, including those who graduate to murder, be stopped.

Seeking justice,

Nancy Grace

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of Nancy Grace.


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