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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Is I.D. Coming in Caylee Anthony Case?
Aired December 17, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight as all of America waits for the positive identification of the child`s remains found near little Caylee Anthony`s home, stunning news tonight on the condition of her mother, Casey. An exclusive interview with the man who met with her behind bars after she was removed from special psychological observation. Does her state of mind offer any insight into this tragic case?
And the desperate search for Laura Garza continues. Investigators continue to comb the upstate New York woods for the 25-year-old beauty last seen with a convicted sex offender. We`ll speak to one of her best friends and get the latest developments on the desperate efforts to find her. We`ll take your calls.
These issues and more tonight.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s day seven as investigators continue their dramatic and expensive search for evidence at the Florida crime scene where a child`s skull was discovered with duct tape reportedly over the mouth. They also found a trail of bones all just blocks away from the home of little Caylee Anthony, her grandparents and her mother, Casey.
Today authorities dropped this bombshell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN ANGELO NIEVES, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: As we continue to discover items on the scene, we will continue to hold the scene, irregardless of identification. The medical examiner will make that determination as to when it is proper to make a proper announcement regarding identification.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Translation, they have found a treasure trove of evidence, and they will stay as long as it takes to find all the evidence. Authorities expect to be there for at least another day.
With the entire nation on pins and needless, some speculate a proper announcement of the child`s I.D. is imminent.
Meanwhile, stunning new insights from Casey Anthony`s pastor. Just last night he spoke to the young woman charged with murdering her toddler.
CNN Orlando affiliate WCSH had this exclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you talked with her about the recent findings?
REV. SHANE STUTZMAN, CASEY ANTHONY`S PASTOR: We didn`t go into that a whole lot, because really, that`s not my role. That is Mr. Baez`s role. This whole thing is unwinding a little bit at a time. And I know as a pastor I`m going to be there to help them, no matter what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The pastor says he is bound to keep the content of his conversation with Casey Anthony confidential. However, we do know that jail officials asked him to visit Casey yesterday, the very day Casey was taken off special psychological evaluation. She reportedly suffered a panic attack last week after hearing a child`s remains had been found at that location. What does that say about Casey`s current state of mind?
I want to hear your thoughts. Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586- 7297 with your questions or comments.
Tonight we have reporter Kathi Belich with CNN affiliate WSTV in Orlando, Florida, as well as my expert panel. Brian Russell is a forensic psychologist. Sunny Hostin is a former federal prosecutor and managing director of Crowel`s (ph) Business Intelligence and investigations division. And Bill Manion, a pathologist and an assistant medical examiner for Burlington County, New Jersey. Thank you all.
Let`s start with Kathi. The sheriff`s office said it would be at the discretion of the medical examiner as to when to make a proper announcement of the child`s I.D.
Does that suggest, reading between the lines, that they have an identification and they are simply waiting for the crime scene to be released before making any sort of official announcement?
KATHI BELICH, REPORTER: I haven`t heard anything like that. The medical examiner is actually charged with identifying the child. Now, they have sent some remains to the FBI lab in Quantico for DNA testing. When they get those results, they will consider those results, and they will make the identification of the child. I see no correlation between the two, nothing that we`ve heard of at this point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sunny Hostin, is there any rule of law that they must immediately release the identification after they determine it, because this is a subject that`s been hotly debated in court?
Of course, the defense wants access to this, that and the other. And the prosecution is saying, "Hey, we haven`t even identified the body yet, so you can`t have any of that."
So politically, they could be possibly, hypothetically, holding it back, unless there`s a law against that?
SUNNY HOSTIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: There isn`t a law against it, but this is an ongoing investigation, so the ball is in the police department`s court, also in the prosecutor`s hands. But we know that someone has been indicted. She has been indicted. She`s being held. She`s already charged with first-degree murder, and so her defense attorneys are pushing for not only the answer to whether or not this truly is a toddler`s body, but also, they want access to that crime scene.
So my guess is politically this -- this announcement is going to be made quite quickly once it is definitively determined whether or not this is the little girl`s body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sunny, I hope so, because the whole nation is waiting, and people don`t want to go into the holidays without having closure on this terrible tragedy. So many developments.
Brian Russell, you are a forensic psychologist. We need a shrink on this one. A very good friend of Casey Anthony`s, it turns out, five months ago, five months ago told authorities to look precisely in the area where they have now found a skull and remains.
Now, in their defense they went there, and it was underwater. But we always hear about authorities searching lakes and pounds. My gosh. In the Natalee Holloway case, they drained a pond and they searched the ocean.
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, what that says to me, Jane, is that you always look at the people who know someone best. And this is somebody who apparently knows Casey very well and thought that there`s a chance that authorities might find the child in a place where Casey had frequented as a younger person and may have thought to go back to conceal something.
That says a lot to me. If somebody who knows somebody best feels that that`s a possibility, that tells me a lot about that individual.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Bill Manion, you`re a pathologist. You`ve seen many of these cases. My question is, if a good friend says, "Hey, we used to hang out there all the time. That`s the area where we spent most of our time. You should go and look at that area." And month after month they can`t find the child anywhere else, isn`t there something they can do to drain that area, since they can obviously look for bodies underwater in rivers and lakes and oceans?
BILL MANION, PATHOLOGIST: Absolutely. In such a high-profile case, I would be afraid to ignore a piece of evidence like that, just because it would come back to bite me. And it`s coming back to bite them now.
I think when you have a piece of good evidence like that from a close friend, certainly, that area could have been drained, and thermal cameras could have been used to look for any decomposition. Cadaver dogs could have been brought in. It could have been, you know, found months ago, in other words, if it was there.
RUSSELL: The body would have been in a lot better condition.
MANION: Absolutely. Absolutely.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But the argument is, among those who are the professional searchers, well, we didn`t want to go in there, because if we went in there looking while it was underwater, we could have unintentionally crushed some evidence. I mean, do you buy that, Doctor Manion?
MANION: No. You can drain these areas. You can drain ditches. And it takes a little bit of time. Takes a little bit of work, but certainly, there would have been the capacity to do that in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Sunny Hostin, is this going to be used again them now by the defense when this goes to trial, that essentially, the evidence was allowed to sit there for months and get deteriorated?
HOSTIN: There`s just no question. And that is why the defense attorneys have filed motion after motion after motion, trying to get access to the scene. They want photographs. They want their own experts there.
I mean, if this is determined to be her body, the little girl`s body, they are going to be all over that crime scene. And their biggest defense is either it wasn`t her or it isn`t her, or I think, more likely, they screwed up the crime scene. It cannot be relied upon in court. Although, I have to tell you, you don`t need a body to prove a murder charge.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, what`s fascinating to me is that sometimes the evidence is right there in front of you, and you don`t see it. And of course, listen, I`m not an investigator. I couldn`t do the incredible work that any of these people are doing. They deserve kudos. They`ve been out there in the rain. They`ve been out there in the mud, sifting through an entire acre. I`m not trying to put them down.
But I am saying that isn`t it fascinating, Brian Russell, that somebody actually told them look there five months ago? This reminds me of a case I covered in Beverly Hills when they were searching for a child that went missing at a party. And the little kids ran up to police and said, "Look in the pool. Look in the pool."
And the authorities said, you know, "Scram. Scram. We`re busy. We`re adults busy with important business."
They searched for the child for days. Where do they eventually find the child? At the bottom of the swimming pool, where they had failed to look because there was reflection from the sun. Brian Russell.
RUSSELL: Yes, that`s absolutely right. I think a lot of times -- I agree with you. I think these are professionals and they do the best they can to do the best job that they can. But I do think sometimes they discount -- they`re not looking psychologically, like I am, at the fact that those who know these defendants the best usually have a lot of good, rich information to give.
And I think sometimes the investigators in their -- in their zeal to do the best job they can kind of -- kind of discount some of that if the person doesn`t seem to have direct eyewitness, You know, "I saw Casey take Caylee to this place," then they kind of push them to the side when there`s a lot of good, rich information, psychologically, to be gleaned from that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kathi Belich, take us to the scene and tell us what`s been going on today. My understanding is that prosecutors actually visited the crime scene and looked around where they`re looking for further remains, which is fascinating to me because obviously, the defense has wanted in there, and they`ve been told no, they can`t go.
BELICH: Well, listen, those investigators and the prosecutors work hand in hand. It used to happen a lot more often down here. Prosecutors would go to the crime scene. So it`s not unusual. It`s not unheard of. What`s been going on here today, the sheriff`s office brought anthropologist, a bone expert, a bug expert and a botany expert here. They`re looking at the soil. They are looking at bugs, any clues that could lead them to possible remains, either some sort of growth, fungal growth perhaps, that could pop up on human remains or also the types of bugs that might feed on human remains.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very quickly, do you think they`re going to wrap it up tomorrow? That`s what we`ve been hearing.
BELICH: They told us just about an hour or so ago they plan to be here probably most of the day tomorrow. That`s their plan at this point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So there`s no way to really predict. We`d have to have a crystal ball.
Hang tight, everybody. I will be taking your calls on the Caylee Anthony case. Dial 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. What do you make of Casey`s pastor`s visit to her jail cell? We`ll tell you more about that at the moment.
Now, listen to these tense 911 calls placed when the remains were found last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is Orange County utility emergency dispatch. We found a human skull.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. We got -- is it a meter reader?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to let you speak right now with a representative from our field services. Hi. Everything is recorded. Here he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing? It smells foul. I believe it`s human.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s the location?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s right off of Suburban and Chickasaw, the Caylee Anthony area, right by the...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIEVES: We expected that it might have been late this afternoon that this scene might have been able to be cleared. As we continue to discover items on the scene, we will continue to hold the scene. Irregardless of identification, the medical examiner will make that determination as to when it is proper to make a proper announcement regarding identification.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got some breaking news to tell you about just moments ago out of Florida. New reports that there were clothes in the bag that was discovered along with the remains. Clothes in the bag. That`s the new report. We`re going to get to the significance of that in a moment from our expert panel.
But first, the phone lines are lighting up. Julie in Minnesota. Your thought or question, ma`am.
CALLER: Hi. I have heard that Xani is a nickname for Xanax. And I was wondering if they could test the hair samples to see if Xanax has been used on her? If that would show up in, like, hair samples or the toxicology report?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. Before we get the analysis, let`s go to Kathi Belich and get the facts on the Xanax and what role that plays in this entire saga.
BELICH: Well, investigators are still trying to find that out. The answers to her questions are yes and yes. Yes, Xani is a nickname for that drug, and yes, they will be testing the hair and any other remains they can for Xanax and chloroform and anything else that`s been mentioned as a possibility in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kathi, wasn`t there some word that Casey herself was suspected of possibly taking Xanax? Correct me if I`m wrong.
BELICH: There was an e-mail where she had asked a friend of hers, might have been her ex-fiance, about Xanax. There was a conversation about that, an e-mail. And I think that`s all -- that`s the only reference that we know of.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
Madeline from New York. Question or comment.
CALLER: Good evening, Jane. This comment goes to a couple of different things. It may be water under the bridge, but remember the cell phone pings they found all around the airport are? I wondered if that was that ever followed up on to see if that was where she actually was? And then there was the man that saw her coming out of the woods and the cross that they say she hung on the tree in that area that they were searching.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you`re obviously taking very careful notes there at home. Thank you, Madeline.
We`ve got to go back to Kathi Belich on this. Everybody had thought perhaps it was near the airport, a densely wooded area. Somebody had seen Caylee around there, but that turned out to be a red herring.
BELICH: Well, they have searched around the airport. If these are Caylee`s remains, then yes. The reason they did that was there was a spot near the airport. It`s very remote. It was a place where she had never been before and a place they couldn`t explain why she would have been there then. But again, you know, they searched it anyway.
As far as someone seeing a woman come out of the woods, they searched that area, as well, and didn`t find anything. So she might have been in those areas and might not have been in those areas.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Dana in Washington. What`s your thought, ma`am?
CALLER: I love your show. I think you`re terrific.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. I hope you come back.
CALLER: I sure will. My question is, the grandparents have decided that they want to cooperate now with the police and federal investigators, is brother Lee going to cooperate and give the fingerprints, just like the grandparents do?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very -- very good question, ma`am. Let`s go out to Sunny. You know, Lee did give his fingerprints but only after being subpoenaed. What does that tell you? Because I would think that, if he`s 100 percent innocent, why -- why force a subpoena? Why not do it voluntarily, the way the grandparents Cindy and George did?
HOSTIN: Sure. I mean, it definitely is evidence of guilt. The prosecutors will look at that. And when you do have to force someone to do something, it tends to make you think that that person has some sort of involvement.
But it is time for everyone that could possibly be involved that has information, it is time for those people to step forward. But the prosecution certainly has subpoena power, and it`s a very strong power. And you can really get any information from anyone, whether it be physical information, verbal information. You know, the prosecution will be able to do that.
And one thing I want to mention, you know, this prosecution team, as well as the investigators, really have done, in my view, a pretty good job in trying to make sure that this is a very complete investigation. They spent a lot of time at this crime scene. They really are connecting the dots. We know they`ve looked at her computer. They followed up on all the leads. They really are being quite careful on this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. I mean, they`re doing an incredible job. Just to do this job for one day, imagine going through one acre like an archaeological dig. I mean, this is -- this is not glamorous work. This is very hard work. We applaud them all. But we have to ask these questions.
Brian Russell, as far as Lee demanding the subpoena in order to give his print, why would he do that? Is that possibly implicating him, that he might know more than he`s saying or he might have had some involvement, or is this some of psychological show of solidarity for his sister?
RUSSELL: Two nights ago on this show Ashleigh Banfield made a very insightful comment. And this is why you have to watch ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL every day. She said that it is very difficult for folks to be relatives of a victim in a case like this and also to be relatives of a defendant. And that is so true psychologically, and it looks like these people are both.
And so it`s very hard to say -- there are lots of ways to interpret their behavior. I looked at some of the videotapes of Lee talking with Casey in the jail. And he seemed to me to be very supportive. He seemed talked to her almost like her lawyer, like he was trying to grasp at straws for something that he could use to -- to not implicate her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But who won`t he give the prints? I mean, if his prints don`t show anything, is it just fear? I might be afraid, with a crazy case like this, that`s going to get me involved? I don`t want to give my prints.
RUSSELL: Yes, it`s possible. But what it seems more, and I`m speculating here, but it seems more likely to me that maybe what he`s trying to do is show solidarity with Casey, show Casey that he`s trying to do everything he can not to buy into the prosecutor`s theory that it`s her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang tight everyone. I will be taking more viewer calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. Tell me what you think about Casey`s pastor being called to her cell. We`re going to talk more about that.
And listen to this infamous phone call Casey made from jail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ANTHONY, CAYLEE`S GRANDFATHER: Do you think case Caylee is OK right now? CASEY ANTHONY: My gut feeling? As Mom asked me yesterday and (INAUDIBLE) last night and the psychologist asked me this morning that I met with through the court, in my gut, she`s still OK and it still feels like she`s -- she`s close to home. GEORGE ANTHONY: OK. CASEY ANTHONY: So I mean, that`s still my best feeling at the moment. (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We`re talking preservation, preservation, preservation. That`s across the board. We`re going to go out there and fight, fight, fight and try and get everything that we need. If we can`t get it now, we`ll get it later. But we`re going to get it, and we`re also laying our record in the meantime, just in case this evidence and the preservation of evidence becomes an issue later on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And speaking of evidence, new reports just in moments ago that they found clothing in the bag in which the skull was contained at the scene of the remains, which is kind of a shocker, because earlier reports had said no clothing. And of course, Casey Anthony at one point reportedly said things to the effect of, they haven`t even found the clothing she was wearing, which led everybody to believe that she separated the clothing, allegedly, from the actual remains.
So Dr. Bill Manion, what can the clothing tell us, if there is clothing in that bag, as just reported?
MANION: Well, the clothing can be helpful, because by studying the tags, studying the manufacturer, they can trace back to see where this clothing was bought. Perhaps there are other items of clothing similar in the home of the child. And they can have more evidence to try and match the clothing back to the -- to the home.
In addition, we already know that they took out sweepers, carpet sweepers. There will be fibers in those sweepers and perhaps fibers from the clothing match fibers that are found in the sweepers in that home where the child lived. So this is just more evidence that can be helpful.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, there was also a report today that authorities took sheets, Caylee`s sheets from the Anthony home. And of course, there were reports earlier this week that an unknown covering was found along with the garbage bag. So there are a lot of reports about a lot of things coming in in that garbage bag. We`re going to have to wait and see if all of those reports are right on the money.
Let`s go to the phone lines: Ann Marie in Washington. Your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane.
Actually, I was wondering, Casey is on tape being asked by detectives when was the last time she spoke to her daughter. And she went into great detail about the day that her mother had called 911 to report her missing. She went into detail about what they talked about and all this and that.
Well, now that they have a body and if it turns out to be her, they may be able to prove that that baby was killed before that date. So, I mean, wouldn`t that just kind of seal the deal on a conviction?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s so many dates here that we`re talking about. Sunny Hostin, it was on July 15, a month after the child actually went missing, that Cindy Anthony, the grandmother, called 911 to report the child missing. That`s the famous call where she says it smells like there`s a body -- a dead body in the damn car. What are your thoughts on the whole time line as it applies to the prosecution?
HOSTIN: Well, the time line at this point really favors the prosecution in this case. I don`t know any mother of a 2-year-old that would have not reported her child missing after one day, let alone 31 days.
And so I think the time line in terms of the grandmother calling and saying, "My daughter won`t tell me where my granddaughter is," the mother indicating that she hadn`t seen her daughter for over a month, all the conflicting testimony, or rather statements that she`s made to police about dropping her off at a babysitter and dropping her off at an apartment that was vacant. That sort of time line and all that information really leads positively towards the prosecution. If I were the prosecutor in this case, I`d have a big board in my office.
HOSTIN: And I`d have all the inconsistent statements and all the dates.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All the lies. Let me tell you, I`ve got to leave it right there. But we`ll be right back. We`ll be right back. You`ll add it in a second. Stay right there.
I`m taking your questions and comments on the Caylee Anthony case. Dial 1-877-JVM-SAYS. More in a minute.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does Casey Anthony`s state of mind say about this tragic case? Reports are the woman charged with murdering her daughter Caylee suffered a major panic attack the day a child`s remains were found near her home.
Now, she`s off psychological evaluation and waiting along with millions of other Americans for a positive ID to be made. Tonight, we get some insight from an exclusive interview with one of her only jailhouse visitors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: This whole thing is unwinding a little bit at a time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are your thoughts? Give us a call. 1-877-JVM- SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.
We`re back talking about today`s stunning developments in the Caylee Anthony case. New reports just in moments ago say clothing -- clothing has been found in the plastic bag along with the remains. Police also reveal investigators will continue sifting the crime scene where a child`s skull was found at least through tomorrow.
Casey Anthony is taken off a special psychological evaluation and according to Orlando station WFTV, a childhood friend of Casey Anthony`s told investigators to look at the very wooded area that`s now a crime scene five months ago she told them that when it was underwater.
I want to hear your thoughts. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297 with your questions or comments.
Back with me reporter on the scene Kathi Belich, from CNN affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Florida. And my expert panel Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor and managing director in Girl Business Intelligence and Investigations Division. Dr. Bill Manion, pathologist and assistant medical examiner for Burlington County, New Jersey.
And so many callers who have so many questions about this case. Alana from Indiana, your question or comments.
ALANA FROM INDIANA: Yes. About a few months back I had heard that Caylee had a storybook, and one of the character characters` name in it was Zanny. Now does that have anything -- would that be where maybe they got the name Zanny at? Because I heard that on Nancy Grace a few months back.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kathi Belich.
KATHI BELICH, CNN AFFILIATE WSTV IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA: I know there is a children`s book with a character named that Zanny the nanny, but I don`t know that Caylee had that book.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait, this is very fascinating. I must have missed this in all the minutiae about this case. There is actually a character named Zanny the nanny out there somewhere in a book?
BELICH: There is, it`s in a children`s book. I have never heard that Caylee has that children`s book, but there is a children`s book with a character named Zanny the nanny.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, how is it possible that that`s a coincidence? That could be where she got the idea to name this mystery nanny the police say doesn`t exist, Zanny the nanny.
All right, Sue of South Carolina; your question or thought, ma`am.
SUE OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes. I can`t quite wrap my brain around the way Casey behaved after Caylee went missing. Has she been seen by a psychiatrist or a psychologist? Has she been tested?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Russell, add to that the pastor visiting her yesterday, the very day she was taken off special psychological evaluation, and of course last week we are told when she learned that a child`s remains were found in that particular location near her family home. She reportedly had some kind of breakdown or panic attack.
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: First of all, she was seen by a psychologist prior to this because she spoke about it in one of the jailhouse videotapes that we`ve all seen. It`s not unusual given the fact that she was just told that her child -- what looks like her children`s remains have been found, that she would be put on some kind of psych watch or suicidal watch and had another psychological evaluation in the last few days.
But we really don`t know. Like many things in this case, that reaction has a couple of different interpretations. It could be a mother who realizes now that there`s no hope of having her child found alive. Or it could be a mother who knows that now some of the best evidence is likely to land her in prison for life has been found.
We just don`t know. In regards to the pastor, I personally as somebody who sees patients and has to keep things confidential, as much I`m glad that we`re getting this information for us to all talk about here on the show, I`m sitting here going, I mean is anybody else on the panel wondering with me why is this guy talking to the media? If he`s there to help her spiritually, and she`s in a spiritual crisis which wouldn`t be unusual for somebody in her situation, then go in there and help her and don`t come out to the cameras afterwards. Anybody else thinking that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, let me add to that that we also have a letter from the pastor that was sent to us. Dr. Shane Stutzman, and he was asked to be on the shown and declined. But listen to what he says in this letter.
On December 16th, (that being yesterday), I went to visit Casey Anthony in Orange County jail. I have no intention in talking about the findings on Suburban (that`s the location of the remains), or anything related to that part of the case. My role is to be a pastor to the people of Eastside Baptist Church, which includes the Anthony family and others who need Christ in Orlando. I appreciate the fact that many of the media outlets are seeking a story. I am a pastor who is willing to help people learn about the greatest story ever told-Christianity.
My purpose in visiting Casey is to help her in this area of her life ONLY (in caps). As a pastor, I am willing to do that for every person that God places in my path."
Appropriate or not, Sunny Hostin?
SUNNY HOSTIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I knew you were going to come to me on this. I have to tell you, of course, there`s the attorney/client privilege and so that information, discussions she`s having with her attorney we`re not going to hear about.
But discussions that she`s having with her minister, I think that is valid. I think that the prosecution may even -- the government may even be taping her meetings with the pastor. I don`t think --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh wait, wait. Is that legal? Is that legal?
HOSTIN: If it`s a jailhouse meeting, it is very -- there`s no expectation of privacy in prison.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, what about back in the O.J. case, when was it Rosie, what was it Grier, Grier, help me out here.
RUSSELL: Hey what about the pastor?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you know what I`m talking about? And he talked to O.J. and there was that whole secret conversation that everybody said was incriminating but it couldn`t get out. Because I think it was Rosie Grier? Is that the guy`s name?
HOSTIN: In certain states as we all know the law varies from state to state. In certain states the priest/penitent or minister/penitent, privilege does not apply. And so and I have to say, people are surprised at this all the time. There`s no expectation of privacy in prison.
If you`re in prison and you`re talking to your friend on the phone or you`re talking to your brother on the phone or you`re talking to your pastor in a room, it is quite probable and possible that the government is listening in.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, not only listening --
RUSSELL: I can say pastoral --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`ve been taping everything that she`s -- every conversation she`s had with her family.
HOSTIN: Of course.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s why the family says we can`t go down there and talk because it`s going to end up on the news tomorrow.
RUSSELL: I just say pastoral press releases are a little smarmy. And that`s actually, I`ve seen a lot of cases and covered a lot of cases on a lot of shows, and this is a new one to me; pastoral press releases.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Chris in Indiana, your question or thought.
CHRIS IN INDIANA: Yes, Jane. I wanted to know has anyone thought that maybe Casey is innocent? Maybe somebody did kidnap her daughter and maybe that`s why -- maybe it`s somebody else? Maybe she is actually telling the truth?
I know all of her other stories were like all up in the air and lying, but maybe she is actually innocent. Has anybody ever thought about that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. I mean, certainly her defense attorneys and her family and the family`s attorney and the spokesperson, but Dr. Bill Manion --
RUSSELL: And the constitution.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And yes and the constitution.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s presumed innocent. She`s only been charged.
Dr. Manion, when they find exonerating evidence at the crime scene, what do they do with that, along with the incriminating evidence?
DR. BILL MANION, PATHOLOGIST: Well, you have to turn over all the evidence. You have to catalog all the evidence, and that has to be available to the defense and to the other side, to the defense pathologist, any exculpatory evidence, any evidence that might clear a defendant has to be turned over.
I can`t hide evidence when I do an autopsy. I can`t hide a bullet or hide a piece of a knife or something like that. It`s all laid out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now listen, I want to talk about this search a little bit more, Kathy Belich, because I think that it`s extraordinary. I don`t know if you`ve ever dug a hole, but I actually had to dig a large hole outside a condo I had once for a reason I won`t bore you with. The rains were coming and it was a long story.
But it took me so long, and it was such hard work and there -- you hit rocks and it was unbelievable. I was really shocked at how compacted the earth was. When we look at them going through an entire acre, and they have to dig deep because the bones were taken by animals and buried, this has got to be unbelievably grueling work.
BELICH: It is, it is. And what I understand is they`re using sifters of three different sizes to get even the smallest of bone fragments. So they are sifting that dirt three times by hand looking for any sign of remains of this child or any other clues, any fragments of clothing, anything else that they could possibly find in there. And they are going over it.
As I said earlier, they have a bone expert, they have a bug expert, they have a botanist back in there. Spent the last day or so back in there with them; they`re actually looking for particular bugs in the dirt as well as possible bone fragments.
BELICH: So very tedious, meticulous, painstaking work.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It sure is. And hats off to all those folks working around the clock. Kathi.
MANION: In a lot of crime scenes like this, the body is buried in the shallow grave, and it`s animals that come along and smell the decay and dig the body up. And spread the bones.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. We`re going to have to leave it right there. Kathi, Bill, Sunny, thanks.
Brian, stick around.
And don`t forget, Nancy Grace is up right after the show at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. She will have all the latest bombshells in the Anthony case. Don`t miss it.
It has been two weeks since 25-year-old Laura Garza was last seen with sex offender Michael Mele. Cops said, several items linking Mele to Garza`s disappearance. You will not believe what they have found.
Here is Laura`s brother pleading for her safe return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN GARZA, BROTHER OF LAURA GARZA (through translator): We need her here with us. I never thought something like this could happen to her. People should pray for her, even if they don`t know her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH ESQUIVEL, LAURA GARZA`S MOTHER (through translator): She`s a wonderful person. My heart is broken. I love her so much. I want her back alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So sad. It`s been two weeks since 25-year-old Texas native Laura Garza was last seen leaving a New York city nightclub with registered sex offender Michael Mele. Garza`s family and friends are not letting up in their desperate search for her. Christy Torres and Jessica Gutierrez spoke about their beloved friend recently on NBC`s "Today" show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA GUTIERREZ, LAURA GARZA`S FRIEND: We just want her back. If anyone knows anything, we want them to, you know, say something, tell us where she is, if they know where she is. Anything. Her mother is heart- broken. Her brothers are --
CHRISTY TORRES, LAURA GARZA`S FRIEND: Everybody`s just destroyed (ph) right now.
GUTIERREZ: It`s unbelievable. It`s a nightmare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those very good friends have set up MySpace and Facebook pages in order to collect any information about her. They also insist that hanging out with a strange man late at night was way out of character for their beautiful friend.
I`m joined now on the phone by Christy Torres and she`s one of Laura`s closest friends. Christy, first of all, thanks for joining. I know this has to be very, very difficult for you.
You believe the media has painted an unfair picture of Laura as out late and drinking that night. Shed some light on Laura`s real personality. Did she go out a lot and drink or not?
TORRES: No, not really. I mean, it was just what a normal 25-year- old would do. She didn`t go out as much as people are making it seem. She never went home with guys. So it`s just -- it`s -- people are making her out to be something she`s not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I`d like to say that I find that completely offensive. Let`s put the blame where it belongs, on the person that submitted this crime, not on some woman who was innocently going out and having a good time and thought she was enjoying herself. And her only crime may have been being too trusting that someone was a decent person when this creep, who she was dancing with and having a good time with, turned out to be a level one sex offender convicted and violated his probation being there that night and drinking.
So you have me. I`m on your side.
Let me ask you this, Christy. She moved to New York just this past summer. Were you worried at all about this young woman, your good friend, being in this big city all by herself?
TORRES: Most definitely. We were all worried about her. Even our mothers were worried about her. We were just like, "you need to be careful, you need to watch out who you hang out with, don`t trust anybody because it`s a big city with many different people who have different thoughts. It`s nothing like from where we live at." We don`t live in a small town, but we don`t live in a big city either.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me what you`re doing with Facebook and MySpace to try to find your dear friend, Laura.
TORRES: We -- well, I made up a group on MySpace -- excuse me -- on Facebook to get anybody in their community and anybody in the New York community to -- I put up pictures and everything to see if anybody has seen her to go ahead and call the police or call the authorities. We put up all the information that we`ve gotten to know these last couple of days.
And we also went ahead and we started a trust fund to help out her family because -- since they`re out there looking for her, they really don`t have much of an income. Whatever help we can get, that`s what we`re trying to do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Christy, you`re a really good friend. Looking at that Facebook and MySpace, you put a lot of work into that. There`s videos, there`s information, there`s pictures, there`s contact information. I think you`re a really good friend, and I pray we find your friend Laura.
TORRES: Yes. I`ve seen everybody`s that`s been helping us so I want to thank everyone as well.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. A good community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Laura`s family.
Unfortunately, yesterday`s snow is not making the search for Garza or any clues that may lead to her any easier. Fortunately, however, police already collected several items of importance including a piece of ripped carpet found near a road they believe that may match the one in Mele`s house.
Let`s turn to our expert Brian Russell, attorney and forensic psychologist; Nicole Deborde, criminal defense attorney; and by phone, Adam Bosch a reporter at the "Times Herald Record." That Middletown New York paper serves the area where Garza was last seen and where Mele, the suspect, lives.
Adam, what is new? What is the very latest?
ADAM BOSCH, TIMES HERALD RECORD: Well, Jane, the latest development is that really the search continues. Over the past few days they concentrated that search more in the area around Mele`s upscale apartment in the town of Wallkill, including some very wooded areas. But today they once again expanded that search to include the area around his girlfriend`s house which is about ten miles away.
But this search is not about to get any easier. Mother Nature is going to throw a wrench in this thing because tomorrow we`re supposed to get -- excuse me, not tomorrow but Friday we`re supposed to get between six inches and a foot of snow. That`s not going to make it easy on the police and the fire and the other investigators out there in the field. Because as you know, snow will cover any physical evidence that`s laying on the roadside where they`re searching.
This thing is not going to get easier.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, this work is so grueling. We were talking about the earlier case, the Caylee case, and the search of the remains there. This search for Laura Garza dead or alive, but authorities certainly believe that she`s deceased at this point is grueling work.
My question to you, Nicole Deborde, how do they know where to look? Given the time line, that it was a couple of days between when she was last seen and when police arrested him or went to the house, his apartment, to look for evidence, he could have driven anywhere.
NICOLE DEBORDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He really could have but probably they`ve done a lot to analyze what his routine may be, the people that he knows, the people that he was in communication with around the time of the crime.
So that they can find out, did he go and see a girlfriend? Did he go and see a family member? What routes might he have taken to work? Where does he normally go during the day? And these types of things can help him decide where to look and they can`t look everywhere.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Russell, Mele is reportedly behind bars and not talking. He told a friend, "I`m not going to say anything." There were three lawyers involved right now.
What can authorities do when they haven`t found a body, and the person of interest is not talking?
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, another great investigative tool, by the way, is cell phone pings. They can use those to see where he has been if he carries a cell phone. Now, he has a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, very similar to Casey Anthony. But there is some leverage that the prosecutors have during this time when the body has not been found to offer him things in return for his cooperation that will not be offered once that body is found.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You can see the valiant search going on right now. We`re going to have more analysis in a moment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back discussing the latest developments in the Laura Garza case. Straight out to reporter Adam Bosch; tell us about the evidence found thus far. As they search for Laura, they are finding things by the side of the road. Tell us about the carpet, for example.
BOSCH: Right. The evidence that they found so far is a piece of carpet that sources close to the investigation say was bleached. And the reason that is significant is that we know there were sections of carpet missing from Mele`s apartment and court documents also show he was found to be bleaching his house. The other evidence that was found were bite marks on his fingers and scratch marks on his body. There were other items found by the road side that the police have not yet identified, though, so it`s hard to tell how significant those other items are.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, he is in jail on a probation violation. Is he considered a suspect or a person of interest?
BOSCH: He`s considered a person of interest at this point and he is in Orange County jail on $100,000 bail, under 24-hour surveillance.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nicole Deborde, how come he is just a person of interest, given all the evidence we have thus far? Is it simply because they have not found a body yet?
DEBORDE: Well, that may be part of it. And it also may be they`re waiting for the analysis to come back on the things that they do have. On the pieces of carpet they found, they may be trying to determine whether DNA can be extracted and these things aren`t instantaneous. So it`s possible that they just want to keep things close to their vest until they can get answers.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this was a level one sex offender, Brian Russell, and yet he had apparently a girlfriend who has been fantastic and cooperated with authorities and was obviously completely unaware of all of this. How does this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde operate psychologically?
RUSSELL: How sick are we all of missing kids, missing women and then we come to find out that there was a sex offender loose running around in their midst? You know, these people are habitual, they are repetitive, they are not curable in my opinion. I don`t know how many more of these we`re going to have to have before we realize that the only way to keep society safe from these people once we realize we`ve got one is to keep them out of society.
This was unfortunately probably preventable. They have probably got the right guy. And I just want to go back to one thing that you said earlier in the show, and you may jump all over me for this. I don`t blame anybody but the perpetrator either. But I do think when these stories come up that we can help prevent future ones --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. And we don`t have anymore time. But let me say this. I respect and admire you. But let`s not put it on the women. Because what did the case of Anne Pressly show? It showed that you can be in your home, probably sleeping, and still be suffering from a home invasion and beaten to death.
Jane Velez-Mitchell; you`re watching "ISSUES."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Laura Garza, the 25-year-old Texas native went missing exactly two weeks ago today; her family and friends with no word from the beautiful, aspiring dancer since she was last seen in the company of a convicted sex offender. As investigators continue their search, we will continue to bring you the very latest as that story develops.
Right now, it`s time to check in with Nancy Grace. Nancy, what do you have for us tonight?
NANCY GRACE, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR, "NANCY GRACE": Jane, tonight we are waiting for a formal announcement expected at any moment, officially declaring a child`s remains to be that of little Caylee Anthony. More bombshell developments in the search for Caylee; deputies still searching at this hour for more remains.
Tonight, as reports are surfacing, items seized from the Anthony home now definitely linked to evidence at the crime scene, Jane. And tonight, the pastor who visited Casey Anthony behind bars is speaking out.
Nancy has the very latest in the Caylee Anthony case. "Nancy Grace" starts right now.