UL alumnus David Begnaud has been very busy working on the Sandra Cantu abduction case, but ultoday.com caught up with him for a brief interview. David talks about the murder investigation, his growing national presence, and how much he values his education from UL.

David Begnaud, University of LouisianaWatch David on the 'CBS Early Show' here.

You've been very busy recently.

I've been very busy.  I've lost track of the days, but I think I've spent 20+ days in Tracy, California.  It's amazing, in the last few months we've had four cases here involving adults abusing children. 

And the last one involves a Sunday school teacher, Melissa Huckaby, who is accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering her daughter's playmate, Sandra Cantu. The Cantu case has gripped the community of Tracy, and the country.  Every day has brought an added dimension of bizarre things, a new angle that seems to puzzle people even more about Huckaby's background, her history, and her makeup.  Today I'm actually doing a piece on her defense team preparing to file for a change of venue, because you can't go within 100 miles of Tracy and find someone who doesn't know about this case in great detail.  Not only does everyone know about the case, and know the names involved, but they know about it in great detail, from the local and national news.

Tomorrow Huckaby will appear in court, and there is a lottery to get a seat in the courthouse.  That has not happened since Scott Peterson was tried for killing his pregnant wife Laci.  Not since then has a court in the state of California had to have a lottery to limit the number of spectators. 

This is all horrifying, particularly for those of us in south Louisiana where families are so close.

It's horrifying for parents everywhere, and I think that's why the story has connected with audiences on a national level.  You have a religion element, a parental element, a youth element, a familial element.  One of the things that's so shocking about this is that from the day the little girl disappeared, police kept saying, "Watch out for him. Talk to your kids about strangers.  We don't know where he is."

David Begnaud, University of LouisianaThe first reality, it's not a he, it's a she.  This has blown the mind of everyone, including the most experienced investigators.  Second, this is not a stranger.  We were looking at transients, at drifters, at truckers.  But it turned out it was a woman that the little girl trusted almost as much as her own Mom, someone who lived five doors down from her house.  That's what has gotten the national attention, this was not a stranger.  It was the mother of the little girl's best friend.

You were on the Doctor Phil show Wednesday.

I did the CBS Early Show on Tuesday & Wednesday, and then the Dr. Phil show.  I did not get a chance to meet him, he sent a crew to Tracy, we filmed for five hours on Tuesday.  I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles for the show, but events here prevented it.

You were the only person outside the studio Dr. Phil personally recognized for contributing.

Yes, that's true.  I really don't like the thought of benefiting from this.  But when I get time to breathe, I realize it's given me a chance to showcase my talents, it's put me before a national audience. 

What role did UL play in your success as a broadcaster?

There are so many ways.  To be honest, more than UL prepared me, the University let me grow. 

UL was so good to me, because they appreciated the opportunity that KLFY afforded me.  They were proud of me.  Every one of my professors was understanding.  If I got called in at 5AM, I still made classes.  I didn't get a free pass, but they understood that I was learning both at UL and on the job. 

So UL gave me an opportunity to pursue a dream, while I was getting a degree.

But my success has also given me an opportunity to talk about UL.  When someone hears a touch of accent in my voice, or wonders about my name, it gives me the chance to say that I graduated from the University of Louisiana.

People think I'm from Spain, the west coast, the east coast-- anywhere but Louisiana. Then I say I'm from south Louisiana, and they say, "Oh, that's the school with that mascot... " and I say, "Ragin' Cajuns."

[Marketing professor] Dr. Geoff Stewart and I talk about how we can get UL out across the country, and make the University of Louisiana a marquis name.  That's one of the things I want to do.

That's my contribution to the University.