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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Casey`s Attorney Denies Entertainment Deals; Newly Released Evidence Raises Questions
Aired January 21, 2009 - 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, more than 100 pages of bombshell discoveries in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation released. We`ll have all the latest shocking findings, including how Caylee`s killer appears to have placed a little heart sticker on the duct tape wrapped around the child`s skull.
Also, Casey`s defense team goes on the defense. That`s right. The Florida Bar Association reportedly looking into how Casey`s lawyers are handling her case. Lawyer Jose Baez says it`s all a sham. Someone with an ax to grind. So are they not being given a fair shake in this case?
And new reports that a movie is secretly being shot on the case already. What do you think about this? Give us a call.
Plus, where is Jennifer Kesse? The desperate search for answers in a baffling missing persons case, also out of Florida. Now the search goes to an unlikely place: prison. That`s where a convicted killer meets Jennifer`s dad in person and sheds shocking light on the case that was quickly going cold. Not anymore.
We`ll talk with Jennifer`s parents about the details of this stunning tip.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, unbelievable developments in the Caylee Anthony murder case. Hundreds of pages of new documents are released. The most shocking of all, a list of items found at the location where little Caylee`s body was discovered last December.
Documents filed by the Orange County sheriff reveal that her remains were originally inside a cloth laundry hamper bag placed inside a black plastic garbage bag.
Also, a piece of silver duct tape had been put over Caylee`s mouth. It was attached on both ends to her hair, which they had to cut just to get the tape off. This is the sickest part. They found residue on the duct tape in the perfect shape of a heart. They found the heart sticker nearby. That`s right. The killer appears to have put a heart sticker on this child.
Other items from inside the bag: a toddler-sized shirt, a small pair of white shorts with vertical stripes, size 24 months, and a Winnie the Pooh blanket. The outfit is different from what grandfather George Anthony says she was wearing the last time he saw her alive.
Meantime, investigators also found a stainless steel knife.
Also tonight, Jose Baez, the lawyer for Casey Anthony, lashing out at the media. I mean lashing out. In a press conference today, Baez blasted reports that he might have a secret entertainment deal in the works.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: I want to state for the record and be clear I have absolutely no book deals or no entertainment deals or any contingency fees of the kind with anyone, and any implication of that is just simply a false rumor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So much to talk about. Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Let`s get right to my fantastic panel. Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist. We need one tonight; that`s for sure. Laura Brevetti, defense attorney and former federal prosecutor; and the one and only Rozzie Franco from WFLA 540-AM.
Rozzie, what is the very latest on the stunning documents and the Baez blowup?
ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA: I`ve got to tell you, it`s a matter of where you want to begin tonight, because I`ll tell you, the documents came out yesterday as we spoke.
And we know investigators went back into the Anthonys` home to find that very duct tape. Also receipts and other items: the trash bags that could possibly have linked Caylee -- Casey, rather, to Caylee`s murder.
And also Baez addressed the media today, and he would not talk about this new discovery. But what he would say is that he`s merely there to defend his client. And he wanted to establish his integrity and debunk any rumors that there was any kind of deal made or any kind of contingency fee out there. And basically said that -- in a press conference -- he wasn`t trying this in the media.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he was upset to put it mildly. This was a very unusual news conference. Apparently, you talked to him afterwards, as well?
FRANCO: Sure. Absolutely. I spoke to Baez, and I said to him, you know, because I felt his demeanor was a little different when he was addressing the English-speaking media as opposed to the Spanish-speaking media. He was -- he was a little less abrasive.
I said, you know, "Is there something here? What is it with the Latin angle?"
And he says, "I feel like I`m a representative to the Latin community." He says, "A lot of Latin people come up to me and say that they`re impressed, the fact that he`s trying such a high-profile case." In a quote, he said to Univision, you know, "When is the last time you`ve seen a case like this?"
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, one of the reasons why he may not be scolding the Latin media is that they`re not the ones coming up with these reports that he is so upset about. It`s the English-language media that seems to be lambasting him.
Jose Baez called himself, actually, public enemy No. 2 -- we all know who public enemy No. 1 is -- during that news conference hours ago. Take a listen as he puts teeth into a threat against members of the media who get into his crosshairs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAEZ: I don`t care how much criticism I face personally. I don`t care what type of speculation is out there. However, if it gets to the point where it`s defamatory and could be considered tortious interference.
You all remember, when this case will -- this case will come to pass one day. And I will be still a member of this community. And I want to be remembered as someone who fought for their client through the highs and the lows and did his job to the best of his ability.
There are those of you who are much more -- have much more integrity than others, and there are those of you that just simply don`t care. You know, you`ll be dealt with in -- at its proper time and place. But right now, I`m focused on my client.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you say threat? Jayne Weintraub, this is a very unusual news conference for a defense attorney to hold. Tortious interference: when you prevent somebody from doing their job. That`s what he`s essentially saying that some of these media reports are doing to him. What do you make of this very unusual news conference?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it is unusual, Jane. You`re very right. But I don`t want to second-guess Jose. I think that the best that I could say is that he feels personally attacked. His integrity is on the line.
And there are rumors and there have been reports that he has made a deal with some kind of entertainment network or whatever to sell the story. And that he`s had complaints already filed against him that could come back and bite him, and that the prosecutors are looking to remove him. You know, that`s a whole lot for a lawyer to take.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not only that, but that he`s having -- he made reference to this. He`s making reference to the fact that there were people making rumors about him having some kind of a relationship with Casey.
WEINTRAUB: That`s right. And you know, those are just ugly. But, you know, people that try first-degree murders, you just have to have a thick skin and you have to just be able to bounce them off. Sometimes, unfortunately, they`re very personal, and he felt he had to defend it. And I think that Jose did do just that.
And I`ll tell you something, Jane, as a lawyer, you`ve got to take his word for it. He`s an officer of the court, No. 1.
No. 2, remember, anyone can file a bar complaint. Anybody. Anonymously. You don`t even have to name yourself. So who knows who`s trying to get him off the case. Imagine if the prosecutors had the wherewithal to just go before a judge and say, "Hey, get that high-profile lawyer off the case." And that`s pretty scary.
So let`s let the bar handle the bar and the ethics issues.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Laura Brevetti, you`ve been on both sides. You`ve been on the defense, and you`re a former prosecutor. So we know how ugly these high-profile cases can get. I`ve been -- the Jackson case and O.J., there were practically fisticuffs outside court.
LAURA BREVETTI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. Right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So essentially, is he doing something that is sort of crossing the line in terms of being bizarre, which some other attorneys have said? They`ve attacked him for holding this news conference. Or is he just saying, "Hey, stop it. I`m drawing the line here. I`m going to file legal action if this continues."
WEINTRAUB: You have to give him credit for saying one thing about the discovery. He wasn`t here to discuss the substantive issues, which would be against the rules of professional responsibility. He was there as an ethical lawyer to say, "I`m here. I`m going to try to case."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Jayne, people are attacking him for holding this news conference. That`s why I wanted to get Laura Brevetti`s response to this.
BREVETTI: Look, I feel for this guy. I have been in his position a couple of times early in my defense career, and that`s apparently where he is. He`s not as experienced as many attorneys.
He`s under siege. He`s trying to do a good job. Give him the benefit of the doubt. If there is clear evidence that he has made a deal apart from his client on a movie deal, well, that`s disbarable, and he`s going to have to defend that, but give him the benefit of the doubt.
He`s under tremendous pressure. Let`s forget about this day for him and give him the benefit of the doubt. He`s got a difficult job ahead with one of the most hated, hated clients in recent memory.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And sometimes it rubs off on the attorney themselves when they have a client who`s despised.
I want to talk about some of this extraordinary evidence that was discovered. We need a shrink on this one. Dr. Gail Saltz, this heart sticker is truly ghoulish and sinister. Essentially, they found a sticker at the area where the remains were found. They found duct tape. They found the little outline of the heart on the duct tape that matches the heart sticker. Basically, it appears that the killer put a heart on the child. Your thoughts?
GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: You know, without being inside the mind of the person who did this, obviously there are infinite possibilities.
But the -- the fantasy that this is still somebody`s baby, this is still a child, this is still -- you know, the sticker is -- a sticker is a child-like thing. A heart is a very girly, child-like thing. So, if you will, it`s a label, you know. It`s a label of what this represented to this person. And...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, the prosecutors will say Casey Anthony did this. And this is a sign of her sick, twisted mind.
WEINTRAUB: And they`re going to have to have evidence if they`re going to say that. They can`t just speculate and make stuff up. Because then lawyers are going to attack it and be able to prove that they`re making stuff up.
For example, what I would assume from right now is that, since we`ve had a million leaks in this case and we don`t have any about the heart sticker, and they already went and did a search warrant, and they didn`t find anything, I think two things. A, it was put there by her as a tattoo. I mean, she was a baby or something. I think it was put on her body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was put on the duct tape.
WEINTRAUB: It might have been there before. We don`t know when the duct tape was put there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. You are a defense attorney. I got to tell you.
WEINTRAUB: There`s a fingerprint there. And you can bet your bottom dollar they took ten minutes and they matched or didn`t match a comparison print to Casey Anthony. It did not match, and they`re not leaking that tonight, are they?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Rozzie Franco, briefly, what do you know about this fingerprint?
FRANCO: Well, ultimately, that was the question we had for investigators. And that`s something that didn`t come out quite yet, whether Casey`s DNA was actually on the duct tape, on the sticker. And...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a host of evidence. And it would be astounding if it was not DNA on all of it. The baby blanket, the clothes.
All right. Stay right there. We`re just getting started.
Don`t forget: Nancy Grace will have the latest shockers from these new documents. She`s up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. Don`t miss it.
And of course, my expert panel will have much more analysis on these startling documents in the Caylee Anthony case. And we will take your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Now, take a listen to the Orange County Sheriff`s Office discussing the very same evidence found at the site of Caylee`s remains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re continuing to sift through the wooded area, and recovering significant finds. And that information, obviously, and those items are being sifted through, properly identified, sorted, labeled, and submitted into evidence and working through the FBI and the medical examiner -- examiner`s office, as well as the Orange County criminal -- crime scene investigators, in order to determine where that -- those items will go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY ANTHONY, CHARGED WITH MURDERING DAUGHTER: We miss her, we love her. I miss her, I love her dearly. And I want nothing more than for her to come home and to be safe, and to be where she belongs with her family. It`s obvious that we`ll stop at nothing to get her back. Because I know in my heart, I know in my gut, I know with every ounce of my being that we will be with her again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A rather odd claim by Casey Anthony, especially in light of those new search warrant affidavits. According to the Orange County detective, Casey did not show any, quote, "obvious emotion as to the loss of her child, end quote." Wow.
Back taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Talking about the shocking new details, evidence found at the scenes of Caylee`s remains. Becky in Tennessee, question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Hi, Jane. Love your show.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CALLER: My question is, are the Anthonys in their house? We haven`t seen them go to get groceries, take their trash out. Are they in their home?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good question. Rozzie Franco, where are the Anthonys?
FRANCO: Right. We saw them front and center for so long. After their new attorney, Brad Conway, took over their case and after he had asked for immunity for them, they actually haven`t -- the media hasn`t been present there in front of the Anthonys` home. And they haven`t been forthcoming with the media. So...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where are they? I mean, do you -- are they at home or have they left home?
FRANCO: Right. They`re home. Obviously, during -- when they found out about Caylee`s remains, they were staying at the Ritz-Carlton. We know that. But at this point, all we do know is that they are home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
Among the evidence found by investigators, these new documents are quite shocking. A creepy image with the words "Win her over with chloroform." It was posted on the MySpace page of Casey`s ex-boyfriend, Ricardo Morales. He said he never spoke to Casey about this particular chemical, but that she did have access to it.
We were able to sign -- find, actually, the same photograph. Take a look at this, with better resolution: "Win her over with chloroform."
Now, Jayne Weintraub, we know chloroform is an important factor in this case. On Casey Anthony`s computer, there were searches for chloroform. There was evidence that indicated chloroform near signs of decomposition. So what do you make of this? Win her over by chloroform?
WEINTRAUB: You know, but we don`t know who was using that computer. And we know that the ex-boyfriend is the one posting this. And we don`t know from that ad that you just flashed -- that I happen to have looked up, also, looking at the documents. You know what? That could be like putting a date rape drug in somebody or -- or Ecstasy. That`s the way that it comes across to me.
We just don`t know enough yet. We`re just guessing. It`s not a good fact no matter what it is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me hit you with this one, Laura Brevetti. Because obviously, Jayne Weintraub is the defense attorney of all defense attorneys.
Ricardo Morales told investigators, according to these documents, that Casey once joked about giving Caylee baby medicine, putting her to sleep. There`s a daisy chain here. Baby medicine, chloroform, chloroform evidence.
BREVETTI: Well, I mean, you know, you`re talking about information from people we have no ability to measure their credibility. We have to accept that from the get-go.
These are all little pieces that I hope there is somebody real good in the prosecutor`s office who is putting this together with some good objectivity and a good brain. There`s a lot here. It all looks terribly suspicious. It`s a terribly difficult case for this lawyer to defend on many different levels.
I just wanted to comment before about the heart on the tape. There was a mention that this was a sick thing to have been done, and it sounds like Casey is someone who would do something like that. Let me say this. Anybody who did this, be it Casey or anybody else, is a sick individual. So that`s no measure. We`re dealing with a sick individual, whenever it might be.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And when we talk about this case, Dr. Gail Saltz, she has pleaded not guilty. This is going to trial. But I think one of the reasons that the world is fascinated with this case is that nobody can comprehend a mother killing her children, and that`s what she`s accused of, killing her child.
Now, Andrea Yates killed her children. She was insane, and she was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity. But insanity is not a factor in this case. Should it be?
SALTZ: Well, the question is simply no one has come out to say that she was exceptionally symptomatic when this went on. First of all, she`s not admitting this one. Andrea Yates said, "Yes, I killed my children, because I heard voices. They told me, you know, if I didn`t do this, you know, the devil was going to take me over."
So she so clearly stated from the get-go -- which is what happens when you`re insane. You`re going to say right then, "I`m having these crazy thoughts. I`m in the midst of" -- you know, basically a schizophrenic episode.
But, you know, this is not -- this is not the case at all here. This is a person who`s saying very intelligently, really, "Here`s a whole long story that shows I had nothing to do with any of this. This is a person who can think clearly enough to, you know, come up with a reason that they`re not responsible." You know, that doesn`t sound like psychiatric illness. Now, whether it`s sociopathy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s such a long, long line of evidence that was found at the scene of the remains. Not just garbage bags, but Winnie the Pooh blankets, a toy, the sticker, the shirt. I mean, there is a lot here, and it doesn`t really jibe with the explanation that the nanny took the baby. Because she took a lot with her, if she did, reasonably (ph).
Ladies, thank you.
Could there already be a TV movie in the works about the Caylee Anthony case? I`m going to tell you about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your right hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you solemnly swear or affirm that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAEZ: I want to state for the record and be clear, I have absolutely no book deals or no entertainment deals or any contingency fees of the kind with anyone, and any implication of that is just simply a false rumor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Casey Anthony`s attorney, Jose Baez, just hours ago, denying all allegations that he`s involved in selling her story. He also addressed reports that the Florida bar now has a, quote, "active case" on him. He claims it was filed by people with an ax to grind, but that he understands why they have to investigate. By the way, Florida prosecutors say they`re not investigating Baez.
Meantime, sources say that a London-based production company is reportedly already shooting a made-for-TV movie about this case. So wouldn`t it be to late to make a movie deal anyway?
With us now, my dear friend, TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin.
Harvey, so great to have you on the show. Does the claim that Baez is trying to sell the story even make any sense, given the story`s already out there and they`re already making a movie on the Casey case right now as we speak?
HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "TMZ": No, you know, it doesn`t surprise me. I mean, if you remember back, Jane, with O.J. Simpson, I mean, there were a bunch of deals made over that.
And, you know, when you look at what`s gone on in the last ten years in television, you know, "Law & Order," they often take things ripped from the headlines. And even if there`s been a movie or a book or anything else, it`s still interesting to people.
If it`s a really interesting story with an interesting take, it doesn`t mean that once the first movie is out, everybody loses interest. I mean, "Titanic" was not the first Titanic movie made, and it made a lot of money. I mean, it`s the same principle.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there are these Son of Sam laws that say convicted felons cannot profit from their crime with a book or a movie deal, but does that apply to lawyers? Where do we draw the line here?
LEVIN: Yes. I mean, look, this is a slippery slope. There`s no way of making that law air-tight. There are all sorts of ways around that law. That`s simply the fact. And I don`t think you can legislate it.
I mean, sometimes at a point when you have people making deals around that who are not themselves felons, I mean, for crying out loud look at what happened with O.J. Simpson. Everybody under the sun wrote a book in that case, and some of them knew O.J. Simpson well, but they weren`t the criminals in that case. And so they were free to do it. And you could say that pretty much about any case. I don`t think you can legislate it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the reasons this is coming up is because Jose Baez won`t say how this amazing dream team is being paid. You have Dr. Henry Lee who`s very famous. You have Linda Kenney Baden. The list goes on and on. How do you think they`re getting paid, or are they doing it for free?
LEVIN: Well, look, I mean, we`ve seen this now in the last ten years. There are so many lawyers and others connected with these cases who would give their right arm to get publicity.
I mean, what happens is you get paid. Publicity is a currency. And if you have a really famous case and everybody out there says, "Wow, that`s a really good lawyer. I`d like to hire that lawyer," you get paid like crazy. So you know, it`s kind of like a loss leader in the front end. And I`m not saying that happened here, but it`s absolutely not out of the realm of possibility.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It really is. And, Harvey, thanks so much for joining us. Isn`t it amazing that, even before this case goes to trial, there`s already a movie being made and it`s a two-parter. Maybe before the trial and then after the trial.
Another horrible story out of Florida. Jennifer Kesse went missing three years ago. I`ll have her parents on in just a bit to update us on the search for...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More than 100 pages of shocking documents released in the Caylee Anthony murder case. Finally, some answers. Will these latest discoveries discredit Casey Anthony`s account of her final days with her baby girl, Caylee? And why a little heart sticker could have been placed by the killer on the duct tape found wrapped around the child`s skull.
We`re back, talking about the hundreds of pages of evidence released today in the Casey Anthony case. I want to hear what you think. Give me a holler. 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297 to weigh in.
Still with me: Laura Brevetti, defense attorney and former prosecutor; and Rozzie Franco from WFLA 540 AM in Orlando.
Phone lines lighting up. Claudia, Arizona, question or thought, ma`am.
CLAUDIA, CALLER FROM ARIZONA: I have a question on the sticker on the duct tape. Does anybody know when they were taking all the stuff out of the house, did they find any stickers that are the same as the -- as that one?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rozzie Franco, we certainly know they went back to the house and presumably they were looking for other stickers that would match it up.
ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA 540 AM: That`s right, Jane. And all they`re saying right now is all that evidence is going to forensics right now. And whatever they took out is going to forensics and that should surface at some point. But we don`t know at this point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you see all the stuff they`re taking out of the house: pesticides cans, vacuum cleaners. It was after the remains were discovered that they went back.
Kim, North Carolina, question or thought, ma`am.
KIM, CALLER FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Yes, hi, Jane. Thanks for taking my call. My question is toxicology, when will the toxicology tests come back?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rozzie Franco, what do we know about that? Because some of the toxicology tests have, in fact, come back. That`s why we know there was decomposition. Air samples that were sent to the body farm --
FRANCO: That`s right, Jane. They did say that there was chloroform in the trunk of that car. And then they determined that the DNA that was found from the hair that was left in the car and the stain belonged to Caylee. But they haven`t actually linked the two together. We haven`t had that link actually surface in a report yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, let`s talk about change of venue. Jose Baez spent a lot of time today talking about what he wasn`t going to talk about. Take a listen to what he says regarding speculation that he`d like the case to be moved. He could have tipped his hand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The last issue that you guys have been very concerned about, and that is the change of venue. That will be heard very shortly. Where we are asking to go is, in my opinion, I do not believe it should be disclosed. Quite frankly, because it -- I don`t want that specific area tainted. If it`s disclosed, it won`t be disclosed by the defense. I`ll say that much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCO: That`s interesting, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Okay, yes.
FRANCO: No, he -- actually I talked to (inaudible) yesterday and he said that they had filed for a change of venue weeks and weeks prior. That was sealed. They said that they had actually went through focus groups to find wherever that location was. But he wouldn`t disclose what the location was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Laura Brevetti, do you buy it that revealing the location that they want to move the trial would poison the jury pool in that particular city?
LAURA BREVETTI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do. I do. I think he`s doing the responsible thing here, both in bringing the motion in the first place and in not revealing it. I really do think he`s doing the right thing on that. It would poison -- because then the -- you know, the journalists, naturally, and the media would then focus on that county or that area.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what`s interesting about this long list of evidence that they found near the scene of the remains, Rozzie Franco, this is where the Anthony family could really come in handy. They could say, for example, oh, yes, that is our laundry hamper. And, in fact, it`s missing. Or not missing. Hey, it`s not our laundry hamper. We`ve got a laundry hamper here that looks like it, but that`s not the one they found with the remains.
But they`re not apparently talking. My understanding is their attorney is seeking immunity for them, correct?
FRANCO: Sure. They could clear up a lot of things. They could answer a lot of questions. But we know they flip-flop all together. We`ve got Cindy Anthony who said there was a -- smelled like a dead body in the back of her car. We`ve got George Anthony who says he knows what a dead body smells like. And then we`ve got them retracting those statements on national television.
I mean, if we`re looking for answers, we`re not going to find them from them right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right. All right. Thank you so much Laura and Rozzie. Please come back soon with more insights for us. Love to have you.
Just a reminder, Nancy Grace is up immediately following this program at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. She will analyze the stunning evidence from the new documents in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation.
Now, we heard Tim Miller of Equusearch complain he`d spent so much money searching for Caylee he can`t search for others who are missing. Equusearch did, however, take a break from Caylee`s search in November to look for 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse, all to no avail.
This Saturday marks three years since Jennifer was last seen in her Florida condo when this beautiful and hard-working financial analyst did not show up to work on that January day. A hellish nightmare began for Kesse`s parents, which is still not ended.
Look at this beautiful young woman. This is such a horrible tragedy. Surveillance footage you just saw there shows somebody stepping out of Jennifer`s abandoned car a mile away from her Condo. But this footage is grainy, it has not led to an arrest.
There are no suspects and few clues, although this person who we cannot identify is considered a person of interest is my understanding. Jennifer`s parents have been through hell, but they refuse to give up. Just recently, Kesse`s father, Drew, walked into a local jail to meet with a confessed murderer who says he has useful information about his daughter`s case.
I`m joined now by Jennifer Kesse`s parents, Drew and Joyce Kesse.
DREW KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE`S FATHER: Good evening.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I want to thank you for being here. Your story touches my heart. It makes me sick to my stomach. I commend you both for being so strong in the face of every parent`s worst nightmare. And I`ll make you a promise; we will stay on this story. We`re not going to give it up.
We have something called the "War on Women." We`re going to make sure that people do not forget about your daughter`s case.
D. KESSE: Thank you so much.
JOYCE KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE`S MOTHER: Thank you. And Jennifer thanks you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. Drew, you just met with a convicted murderer.
D. KESSE: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- who saw your daughter`s photo on a deck of playing cards. How did that meeting come about?
D. KESSE: Actually through a letter through his defense attorney was passed on to me. Read the information that he requested and basically he - - he said that he had information concerning Jennifer`s disappearance that may end our hell and her hell. And in order if him to speak with investigators, he requested that I speak with him first to make sure that the information given was directly given to us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what did he say? Did he say essentially there was somebody else who is also an inmate that he was talking to in -- in jail and he got information?
D. KESSE: I believe that`s -- yes, that`s pretty much the gist of it. It`s jailhouse chatter, basically. I truly believe that the inmate, Mr. Russ truly believes what he heard. And the investigators are working through it.
We`ve been on this ride so many times, Jane, it`s -- I don`t know. We`ve had leads from jail before. This is the first time I`ve gone in, which made it very interesting, to be quite honest. But we try not to get too excited about things until something truly comes about and our investigators would tell us that. As of, you know, three or four weeks later now, they`re still working through it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What makes me so angry is that your daughter was a hardworking, beautiful, young woman who did everything right. She wasn`t hanging with the wrong crowd or running around doing anything wrong. And still something horrible happened to her.
Just like the beautiful anchorwoman Anne Pressly who was sleeping in her bed at home by herself doing nothing wrong and yet she is attacked.
J. KESSE: Viciously.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do you deal with this emotionally, Joyce?
J. KESSE: It`s tough. It`s very, very, very tough, but trying to remain as positive as you can, despite the negativity of this surreal three-year state. You`ve got to believe. You`ve got to have faith that you will have the answers. And Jennifer deserves, needs -- as do all the missing -- they need to be found. Their families need to have them brought home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s talk about the evidence a little bit so maybe we can get some useful information out there. When was she last seen? I know this is very difficult. I really appreciate you delving into this horror. What do we know about her car, her purse, her cell phone?
D. KESSE: Well, we know that the cell phone is still missing; actually there`s two cell phones that are still missing. Her car was found two days afterwards, after she was reported missing. The last time that we saw Jennifer was actually her boss on January 23rd at approximately 6:00 p.m. They both walked out of their business together and went home. Jennifer on the way home as well as at home spoke with myself, Joyce, her brother Logan, her boyfriend, her best girlfriend, a couple of girlfriends, all that evening.
And she ended up speaking with her boyfriend, who lives about three hours south of Orlando at 10:00 p.m. He was the last person. They said good night. They were very tired from a four-day trip in St. Croix. And that was it.
D. KESSE: We presumed that she got up to go to work she had showered, she picked some clothes out. Her condo was in perfect condition basically. And as soon as that door closed is when the mystery begins.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, you`ve provided a very good synopsis. Thank you. We`re not going to let this case go. I promise you that. We`re going stay on this.
DREW KESSE: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to take a quick break. But please stay right there. We want to make sure all of the facts in this terrible case get out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beautiful 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse, missing three years to the day this Saturday. Her parents join my expert panel in just moments.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Bombshells in what some are calling Italy`s trial of the century: 21- year-old Seattle native Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend on trial for the ritualistic murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.
Kercher was found half-naked and stabbed in the neck. Prosecutors claim it happened during a drug-fueled sex game with Knox, her boyfriend, and a third man when the victim resisted their advances. They say they have mountains of evidence to prove their case.
With me now, Tim Haeck, reporter with "News Talk" 97.3 KIRO FM in Seattle; he`s been following this case since Seattle is Amanda`s home town. Tim, the trial began in Italy on Friday. What is the very latest?
TIM HAECK, NEWSTALK 97.3 KIRO-FM: Not too much to report from the start of the trial in terms of evidence. In fact, there wasn`t any evidence presented at all.
The first day of the trial was a chance for the judge to make some rulings on some things that are important to the people attending the trial, witnessing the trial. He ruled that the court will stay open, but he did close the courtroom to photography. These were a couple of issues that were important to the family of the Kercher family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, the family didn`t want anybody there. Didn`t want the public, the media, anybody and the judge sort of said, well look, I`ll give you something. No cameras, no audio, right?
HAECK: Right. The judge has a little more discretion on those matters than the judges do here in the U.S.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what`s really bizarre about this case, is the Italian court system. The trial began on Friday, but they don`t meet day after day. The next time they meet is February 6th. So with 150 witnesses, how many years is this trial going to go on?
HAECK: Right. Months at least because as you say, they may only meet three, four, or five days out of a month. So they`ll get the trial started. They`ll present some evidence. And then they`ll take a pause and come back.
There are some similarities, though, between the judicial system in the United States and over there --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me jump in here, because I`m looking at the video of this court scene. It`s so fascinating, this has obsessed --
Europe and apparently now prosecutors are saying that this young woman who has become really the focus of so much of Europe because of her sort of good-girl looks and her bad-girl behavior has split personality disorder. That`s what the prosecutors are alleging?
HAECK: The prosecutors have theories, and that`s what the defense is sort of basing its case on. Is that if the prosecution has theories and ideas about what happened in this case, but not a lot of evidence to back them up.
Now, there is evidence. You`ve probably talked about that. You have a knife the prosecutors believe is the murder weapon that has Amanda Knox`s they say -- Amanda Knox`s DNA, they say on the handle. They also have a lot of blood evidence at the crime scene.
And potentially they have the testimony of Rudi Guede, a man from the Ivory Coast who has already been convicted in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you -- yes, he`s already sentenced. Let me ask you very quickly, almost out of time, what exactly do prosecutors say is the sex game they were playing at this time?
HAECK: Well, they`re not specifying exactly what happened. But what they do say is that Meredith Kercher tried to resist, that Amanda and her boyfriend were trying to pursue some kind of a ritual or a sex game and when she resisted, they got violent.
And that`s part of the problem for the prosecution because this is such an evil and violent crime. And there really isn`t any evidence that Amanda Knox has that kind of personality.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ll see. They call her "Foxy Knoxy." And she is the obsession of Europe. Thank you so much, Tim. We will keep our eyes on that one.
Now I want to turn back to the case of missing Florida woman, Jennifer Kesse. I will be talking your calls. Dial 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877- 586-7297 to ask your questions about this horrific case.
I`m joined once more by Jennifer`s parents, Joyce and Drew Kesse and I also want to bring in criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub.
Jayne, I was reading your article several months ago that suggested an up-tick in murders in the Orlando area is making it difficult to devote time and resources to older cases like Jennifer`s. How big of a problem is lack of resources for cold cases?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s not -- it`s widespread. It`s not just in Orlando, and it is a problem. They become the bottom of the barrel for the budgets of the county and the state.
The real issue here -- I mean, as a parent, my heart goes out to these people. I mean, how could it not? And, of course, as a parent you want to see closure.
But there are other resources also, not just these get out of jail free inmates that want to get their sentences reduced.
You know, John Walsh, the "America`s Most Wanted" or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have incredible resources where victims can go or police, law enforcement officers can contact them with any kind of a good lead.
The problem is having the money for the leads.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. What a beautiful young woman this child is; this child of these two parents who are now suffering so much.
Grace in Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am.
GRACE IN VIRGINIA: Yes. I was wondering if they have thoroughly investigated the construction workers that were working at Jennifer`s new condo. The guy walking by that black picket fence looks like he has on khakis and black work shoes and it looks like he may be connected as like a transient-type worker.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s go back to the parents. Because it`s interesting because this call is coming from Virginia, so I don`t know necessarily that there was construction, but perhaps there was, Drew.
DREW KESSE: Yes, there was. It was a condo conversion, apartment over to a condo that Jennifer had just purchased. And she was only one of three in the entire condo building at the time.
Grace, yes, you`re right.
She was -- Jennifer was very, uneasy with the workers around her. No one ever approached her, but she always got the eye, she made comments to us about it. It was a concern and we told her how to address it, if it ever became anything other than that.
But the problem that we have is we have found out that there were illegals working on property and it`s extremely difficult to try to track down any illegal, exactly who that person truly is.
And I would like to say, honestly, this is not a cold case. It never has been. We get leads every single day. There`s a team of approximately a dozen people that work on her full time, and we have great hope of having her.
JOYCE KESSE: Having Jennifer found.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m so happy to hear that. That is excellent news.
Drew, Joyce, Jayne, stay right there. We`re going to talk more about the search for Jennifer Kesse in just a bit.
But first, take a look at the stills from the 2006 surveillance video. These are the only clues pointing to a suspect in Jennifer`s disappearance.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back discussing the case of Jennifer Kesse, the 24-year-old financial analyst who went missing nearly three years ago.
Phone lines lighting up on this very sad case. Paulina in Texas, question or thought, ma`am?
PAULINA IN TEXAS: Yes ma`am, on the two cell phones that are missing or her house phone, do they show any phone calls coming in after she spoke with her boyfriend? Maybe somebody called her early in the morning?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. Drew?
DREW KESSE: No. No there was not. And in fact, we have come to know that the cell phones were actually powered off. So --.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the answer there.
I want to talk about this man who is in jail, David Russ, who has admitted to killing a woman during a cocaine binge and he is awaiting sentencing.
What did -- was the information useful? Authorities apparently have said they have checked this out before, the information that he relayed and it really didn`t take them anywhere. Do you agree with that assessment?
DREW KESSE: I`ll give it a 90 percent. Having knowledge of what -- let me first say that I think Mr. Russ truly and honestly believed every single thing that he heard. And I truly believe that in his heart he was passing on information that would end Jennifer`s case. I honestly believe that.
Unfortunately, you know, things get said in jail all the time. And to our knowledge, it`s popping up, I guess through the investigation, we`re getting little bits and pieces of it, that this same information has come out before from the same individual. So --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, it seems that this case is not getting anywhere. What should this family and authorities do, do you think, to break it wide open?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB: Well, I think as in any case that`s more than a couple of months old, the best thing to do is get a fresh set of eyes in the homicide department, start over, look back, go back, canvass the area.
I mean, these homicide detectives are experienced, the family knows that. And as I said, if there`s any viable lead to follow up, they`re going to follow up on it.
The problem -- my heart goes out to Drew and to the mom and -- but the problem with these cases is these inmates are con-artists looking to get out of jail free.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, in this case --
WEINTRAUB: This guys are coming up -- I think he`s coming up and he has the benefit --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you know we have to leave it there. In this case that it might be an exception because he apparently is not trying to get out of jail; quite the contrary. Jayne thanks, Drew and Joyce.
We`re going to stay on your story here on "ISSUES" on HLN.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The story of the hero mom from Ohio murdered, trying to protect 4-year-old son from a sexual attack continues. A Montgomery County judge compelled to enter a plea of not guilty for the 22-year-old Charlie Myers, who remained silent during his arraignment.
I`ll have more shocking details from the courtroom tomorrow on "ISSUES."
Right now, time to check in with Nancy Grace. Hi, Nancy.
NANCY GRACE, "NANCY GRACE SHOW" HOST: Hi, Jane.
Bombshells, we obtain brand-new police documents inside the investigation revealing stunning details. We learn little Caylee`s remains, double bagged, it was including a laundry bag, Jane. Is that bag identifiable?
And the child`s heart shaped sticker on the duct tape covering Caylee`s mouth placed there by the killer. We also learned the killer left little Caylee in the elements with nothing but a favorite blanket and toys. What killer would do that other than the mother?
And the tot mom Casey Anthony actually joke about using cold medicine to put her two-year-old girl to sleep?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is shocking Nancy, thank you.
Nancy Grace starts right now.