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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Memorial Held for Caylee Anthony
Aired February 10, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CINDY ANTHONY, GRANDMOTHER OF CAYLEE: Caylee Marie has brought thousands of strangers from all religious backgrounds together.
GEORGE ANTHONY, GRANDFATHER OF CAYLEE: I`m thankful for everyone that`s here today to pay tribute to a beautiful little girl who not only meant the world to me, but meant the world to my family and so many of you that never got a chance to actually hug her.
LEE ANTHONY, UNCLE OF CAYLEE: This family is united. But this family is incomplete. I`m incomplete. I`m broken.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tears fell, emotions overflowed. Today the nation finally said good-bye to Caylee Anthony. More than a thousand mourners flocked to the First Baptist Church in Orlando. Many more watched from home. It was all to honor the memory of little Caylee Anthony and to offer support to her grieving family.
The memorial service was heart-wrenching, the most riveting moments came when we heard from Cindy, George and Lee Anthony in their own words and on their own terms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. ANTHONY: CMA, each day, you continue to teach me about life and about the way it should be lived. Each day you give me the ability to be strong or to be weak. That`s been so long since I`ve been able to see you or to hug you or to tell you how much you mean to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: George Anthony, Caylee`s grandfather, after all he`s been through painted a loving and detailed portrait of life with his beloved granddaughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G. ANTHONY: It`s going to make you laugh when I tell you this, but I was fortunate, and I am still fortunate to live in a house with three very determined women in my life.
Sure, Caylee may be in God`s heaven right now, but her presence is still at home with me every day. I can close my eyes, and I can see her coming from her bedroom with her silly little glasses on, her beads, whatever it might be to make me laugh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Caylee`s grandmother Cindy got a standing ovation, and her eulogy came with a message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY: It shouldn`t take the death of a child to love our God and our fellow man. Think about it, go out and make a difference in someone else`s lives. Do something positive. Watch it grow into something big. Let`s stop the negativity and the speculation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is a lot to talk about and, of course, I`ll be taking your calls. I want to get your reaction to this memorial service.
But first, my wonderful panel. Judge Jeannine Pirro, former district attorney and host of "The Judge Jeannine Pirro Show"; Thomas Luka, Lee Anthony`s attorney; Erin Runnion, an activist for children, whose own beautiful daughter was tragically murdered; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney; and Rozzie Franco, reporter with WFLA 540.
Rozzie, you were there at the memorial service. What touched you the most?
ROZZIE FRANCO, REPORTER, WFLA: I`ll tell you, Jane, it was just very somber. The -- it was very intense to watch everyone congregate and come together in the area and really find the love for this little girl that is no longer with us.
And I`ll tell you, some of the folks said that they actually came out because they felt so connected to Caylee and her family. And they wanted to meet George and Cindy Anthony and actually wanted to meet the people behind this tragic situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erin Runnion, we watched the Anthonys, but we don`t know what is going on inside them. After tragically losing your beautiful daughter you had a very, very large memorial service at the famous Crystal Cathedral in California. What is it like to go through something like this? What does it feel like inside? What`s going on on the inside?
ERIN RUNNION, DAUGHTER MURDERED: Well, for me, it was that I wanted everybody to know Samantha, you know? I think that the public -- the benefit of the public memorial is that you have everybody really focusing on your child, on this beautiful little girl today. And that helps the family, I think, to recognize that this is bigger than themselves. It`s bigger than their own grief. It`s a whole community and a whole nation grieving.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to talk about some of the aspects of this memorial that were truly fascinating. Cindy Anthony carefully organized the service for Caylee down to every last detail, but even so some parts of the eulogies raised an eyebrow or two. Let`s listen to Lee Anthony in particular.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. ANTHONY: CMA. CMA, each day, you continue to teach me about life, and about the way it should be lived. Each day you give me the ability to be strong or to be weak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I think Lee sends a very beautiful and heartfelt message, and it was for me the most emotional part of the entire service.
But Tom, you`re his attorney, a lot of people are asking, why did Lee decide to use initials as opposed to saying Caylee`s name? Because those also happen to be the initials of his sister, Casey Marie Anthony, leading some to wonder if he was actually directing his comments to Casey, who`s in jail, or perhaps sending out a dual message.
THOMAS LUKA, ATTORNEY FOR LEE ANTHONY: It could have -- you know, to be quite honest, I was not at the service, but I can tell you that Lee Anthony feels very strongly about the situation. He had the unfortunate circumstances to speak first at this memorial service. So all of the eyes of our community were on him first and foremost from the family.
The second thing is that not only was Mr. Anthony talking just about his own family tragedy, but also he was trying to express the feelings of the entire community.
Now, perhaps he thought that by saying "CMA," he was both addressing the case or the situation with Casey and with Caylee. So that basically the community can feel the same way, at least to identify with both of them and their -- and the whole family tragedy that`s going on at the moment.
FRANCO: Jane, I`ve got to tell you, after being there and actually seeing this, I don`t know if he was addressing Caylee Marie Anthony or Casey Marie Anthony. I`ll tell you, he was the most emotional out of Cindy, George and himself. I don`t know that, actually, he was addressing Casey or Caylee.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he`s using particular initials, and I think that nothing was said accidentally.
Now Judge Jeannine Pirro, you have seen it all over the course of their career. This is something that has perplexed people and it`s been the subject of conversation after this beautiful service. What`s your take on the CMA issue?
JUDGE JEANNINE PIRRO, HOST, "THE JUDGE JEANNINE PIRRO SHOW": Well, you know what? I have to tell you. You can call me a skeptic, but there have been -- you know, as we looked at this case we didn`t know if the family was siding with Casey or if it was Caylee and then they started asking for immunity and transactional as opposed to testimonial immunity. Maybe they have something to hide, something to worry about.
So I mean, I`m very concerned about whether or not there were messages, but you know what? Let me give the guy the benefit of the doubt. You know, maybe he was just trying to be eloquent. I mean, who knows?
But I think that the most alarming part of all of this is that Casey Marie Anthony, the mother, didn`t even want to see this broadcast live from the jail, and that`s what the outrage is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what`s interesting? I have to tell you, there`s some breaking news on that that we got in just as we went to air, and I want to explain it to you.
According to the Orange County Sheriff`s Office, Casey Anthony did not make a request to watch the memorial service for her daughter. Now there are no reports as to whether she listened on her radio. If she did, she would have heard her parents reaching out to her. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G. ANTHONY: Casey deserves prayer. She deserves understanding. She deserves love. She deserves letters. Take the time to write a letter to her. Could you say, "Hi, Casey, I`m thinking about you today."
CINDY ANTHONY: It breaks my heart today that Casey is not with us today to honor her child whom she loved so very, very much. Casey, I hope you`re able to hear me today. I love you, and I wish I could comfort you right now. I wish I could take away all of your pain and wipe away your tears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now here`s the breaking news. We were told that she did not ask to watch. She could have listened on the radio, but shortly before this memorial service started, her defense attorney, Jose Baez, showed up at the jail to meet with her holding a laptop. And he was asked, "Are you planning on watching the memorial service on the laptop using a wireless connection, watching a live stream?" And he would not comment.
But hypothetically, if he could get a wireless signal out of the jail, he could actually have shown her this memorial service without her asking to view it. What do you make, Jeff Brown, of that new development that Jose Baez showed up at the very start of the memorial at the jail to visit with Casey? Bad idea?
JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think it`s a bad idea. I think we`re all jumping to some conclusions here by saying, you know, it`s a bad thing that she didn`t ask to watch it. Maybe she didn`t know that she could watch it on TV.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, she knew. I mean...
BROWN: We don`t know -- we don`t -- listen...
FRANCO: She could watch it on TV.
BROWN: No. We don`t know that that was an option for her. Maybe her lawyer told her, "I don`t want you watching it on television."
PIRRO: Well, then Jeff, how do you explain the fact that, according to the Associated Press she issued a statement Monday saying she disapproved of the public service?
BROWN: Well, I`m sure she did disapprove of it the public service, but it doesn`t mean...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why would she disapprove of this beautiful service. That`s what I don`t understand? And why would her lawyer allow her to say that if, in fact, she did feel that way? Isn`t that something that`s going to make her look callous in the eyes of the public?
PIRRO: And in the eyes of the jury, too.
BROWN: Yes. There`s two different questions. One is, is it the right thing -- right way to have handled this, media wise, and I may agree with you as to what the lawyer should have done. But let`s not just jump in her shoes and tell her how she`s supposed to grieve.
I mean, I can`t sit here and say that she should be grieving and be a part of this service. I can`t say that. She`s up -- it`s up to her to grieve how she chooses to grieve. She didn`t want a public service.
FRANCO: Jane, I have to interject here for just a second.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, just a second.
FRANCO: I`m going to tell you, it`s sad how this whole thing played out. I`m going to tell you, I mean, Casey absolutely knew that she could watch this, and she decided not to. And then Lee...
BROWN: How do you know that?
FRANCO: And then Lee Anthony`s attorney, Thomas Luka, who knew he was going to be here today, didn`t even attend the actual event. He didn`t even...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold, hold, hold, hold. You don`t know what the circumstances surrounding -- I don`t know where you`re located, Thomas, you may have a very, very good reason for not being there.
LUKA: Yes. I had another court appearance. Unfortunately, I have other clients other than Mr. Anthony, and I had court appearances that I had to be at this morning.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And...
BROWN: That`s my point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s totally out of line to suggest that that`s inappropriate. But anyway, hang tight, everyone. A lot of passions here on this momentous day.
And just a reminder: Nancy Grace will have more analysis of the Caylee Anthony memorial. She`s up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. Eastern.
And right here on ISSUES we will continue with our special coverage of the day`s events. What are your thoughts on today`s memorial? Give me a call. The number is 1-877-JVM-SAYS or you can call 1-877-586-7297. Let me know what you think.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was Cindy Anthony who organized this elaborate memorial down to the very last details. They will undoubtedly hang onto this day as their memories will likely be tarnished with the hard road ahead. Their daughter`s criminal trial on the horizon.
I am back with my panel and your calls, and we do have some callers now.
Buzzy in Connecticut, your question or thought.
CALLER: When Lee was talking about the CMA...
CALLER: Well, Caylee, the picture of Caylee where she`s laying on her stomach with her cheek on -- her hand on her cheek, if you look at the back of her other hand, it had "CMA" on it. Somebody had drawn that on her -- the back of her hand.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, well, that`s interesting. I -- I haven`t heard that, but you`re very observant, and I congratulate you for picking that up, because it`s been a mystery that everybody`s been trying to solve.
And you know, given everything -- a child`s death, the incarceration of Casey, George saying he didn`t want to live -- it`s really remarkable how Cindy, George and Lee have been able to stick together. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. ANTHONY: Today is the day for this family to unite and display their solidarity and strength. I`ve got to tell you, it is hard to stand up here and be the pillar of strength. This family is united, but this family is incomplete. I`m incomplete. I`m broken.
G. ANTHONY: I stand here today proud to be the grandfather of Caylee Marie Anthony. I`m also standing here today proud to have Cindy by my side, to have Lee up here with me, to have Mallory (ph), to have my mother- in-law, my brothers in laws, my father -- I wish my father was here and my mother can`t be here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, look at this man. Eighteen days ago he reportedly contemplated and even took steps in an attempt on his own life. He only got out of the hospital a week ago today, and look at his strength. What`s your analysis of his ability to come back like this?
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, it`s enormous strength, and can you imagine in this situation one life was lost, little Caylee Marie? But at the same time there are four other lives that have been devastated in the process. And imagine being the father and the grandfather in the situation. No wonder the trauma overwhelmed George.
At the same time I think the memorial today is about healing. This is an attempt by the family and why Cindy had to orchestrate this so carefully. It`s an attempt to bring healing, to bring closure to kind of garner the support of all the people who are there, who also needed closure. A lot of our viewers, a lot of people who showed up, need healing and closure in this situation, because...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it was -- it was even emotional for the reporters who covered this. Our lives have been invested in this for months on end.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was very emotional for me watching it. Another caller, Tracey...
WADE: It is hard for it not to be.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is hard for it not to be. You`re absolutely right. Tracey in Virginia, your thought or question.
CALLER: Hi, Jane. My question is I know they`re talking about the finality and how emotional this was for everyone, but my question is won`t the finality and actual closure be when Caylee is actually buried? Do we know when that`s going to actually happen?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question.
Rozzie Franco, we`ve been hearing from Casey Anthony that the remains were cremated, but then apparently, Brad Conway, who is the attorney for Cindy and George, said no the decision hasn`t been made on that yet. So there`s even conflict about whether or not this child has been cremated.
FRANCO: No, actually, Baez said that Caylee Anthony`s remains have been cremated. As far as when her actual funeral will be, we don`t know that yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But what I`m saying, Rozzie, is that`s what he said, Jose Baez. But what Brad Conway, the attorney for George and Cindy...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... said is that decision has been made. So really, we won`t know for sure, because we`re getting conflicting statements from two different attorneys.
And I want to go to judge Jeannine Pirro on predictions. The pundits were way off on two thing. One, they said there were going to be several thousand people there. There were slightly more than a thousand people who showed up. And everybody was predicting it would be trouble; there would be demonstrations. One blogger was asked to leave.
PIRRO: Well, you know, I think that there is, at the end of day, respect for the burial, a funeral service that is about a little girl who was murdered and who is now dead.
This really isn`t about the Anthony family. They can certainly try to put their best foot forward and orchestrate it the best way they want. But I think the public views this as a finality in terms of giving this little baby the decency that she deserves, a funeral, not one where she`s thrown in the ground, not one where she`s got duct tape on her mouth, with some decency, some dignity. And that`s why you didn`t see the fights. That`s not what it was about today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. I think everybody came to their senses, at least for a short period of time. Let`s hope it sticks.
Stay right there. More on the Caylee Anthony case in just a bit. What do you think of the Anthony family`s impressive show of solidarity at today`s memorial? Give me a call at 1-877-586-7297.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY: It shouldn`t take the death of a child to love our God and our fellow man. Think about it. Go out and make a difference in someone else`s lives. Do something positive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: As we try to understand what Cindy Anthony is going through, I want to spend a moment with Erin Runnion. This extraordinary woman has devoted herself to saving children`s lives after her own beautiful young daughter, Samantha, was abducted and murdered in the summer of 2002.
After this personal nightmare, a very public funeral was held for little Samantha. More than 4,000 people filled the famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. More than a thousand others gathered outside, listening on speakers. I happened to be there outside as a reporter, listening on the speakers, and even on the speakers it was very moving.
Erin is the founding director of the Joyful Child Foundation, and I am so grateful she is joining us today on this somewhat momentous night.
Erin, when you went through your horrific experience, did the sense of comfort you knot from the huge memorial last? Were you able to carry that feeling with you as you moved forward, or did you slip back into despair?
RUNNION: Well, certainly throughout any given day for a very long time it -- you just took every moment as it came. But I would say that it did carry over, in that because so many people cared that Samantha had been taken so brutally, we were able to not just transform my own grief, but everybody else`s.
And a lot of those same people who grieved for Samantha seven years ago, still today support the Joyful Child Foundation and all of the efforts to change laws at the Surviving Parents Coalition and the National Association to Protect Children, so it does matter. It does matter that people care.
And if you can`t open your heart when a child is taken like Caylee was, then you`re not really living.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I agree with you, and you said it so well.
Cindy Anthony is starting a foundation in little Caylee`s name. You also created a foundation in the wake of your daughter`s tragic death. It`s called the Joyful Child Foundation.
What is it about helping other children that helps you heal? Because I know the whole issue of closure, that`s such a cliche. But is this kind of a daily reprieve from the pain: if you do some work you get a reprieve that day from -- from the anguish?
RUNNION: Honestly, no. I think it -- I think it actually keeps it a little more fresh, a little more raw. But at the same time you find yourself looking at the world differently. Your whole perspective of your grief changes when you`re looking at the grief of so many other children.
When you know that there are other children who are being abused and suffering violent deaths like Caylee`s, it changes the way you look at your own grief and you stop kind of -- you transfer it from being self indulgent to wanting to do something to protect these children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s fascinating. So it goes sort of from a feeling of pity to a feeling of action?
RUNNION: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think for all those people who are watching right now and who watched the memorial service, there`s lots of things that they can do in Caylee`s honor immediately. They can go to Protect.org and join the National Association to Protect Children so that we can keep changing laws to better protect our kids.
They can go to the Joyful Child Foundation and start a Samantha`s Pride neighborhood child protection program. They can do all kinds of things right there in their own neighborhood to protect the children in their lives.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erin, I want to thank you so much for joining us. It`s just really wonderful to talk to you and get your insights.
Back with more on the Caylee Anthony memorial in just a moment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Welcome back to our special coverage of the Caylee Anthony Memorial.
I`m back with my wonderful panel: Judge Jeanine Pirro, former district attorney and host of the Judge Jeanine Pirro Show; Thomas Luka, Lee Anthony`s attorney; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney and Rozzie Franco, reporter of WFLA 540 AM.
A lot of people calling in wanting to express their thoughts. Laura, Indiana, question or thought, ma`am?
LAURA FROM INDIANA: Question, actually. I had heard that Leonard Padilla was supposed to have a memorial service of his own, and I was just curious if he did have it and if he had a good turnout or if he had any turnout at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he did have it. He had about a hundred people and we are going to show you that in just a moment. We are actually going to get to that in just a second because we had cameras there and we videotaped it and apparently 100 people showed up. So pretty fascinating stuff there and as you see it come up, we will get to it.
Julia in California.
JULIA FROM CALIFORNIA: Good afternoon, Jane. I understand that Jose Baez went to the jail with his laptop and it`s a possibility that Caylee (SIC) was watching the memorial on his laptop. There has been so much talk about how she didn`t request to watch the memorial so if in fact that happened, it`s a positive thing. Why wouldn`t they want people to know that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess what you`re asking and maybe we`ll go to Jeff Brown on this. Why all the secrecy surrounding whether or not she watched this? In other words, Jose Baez has said that the media doesn`t leave us alone and they`re always hounding us and yet, here was a very simple question that he could have answered. She`s not going to watch it, she is going to watch it.
He did say she disapproved of the ceremony and the memorial yesterday which is something that I don`t think really a lawyer has to do act like a publicist or a representative, a spokesperson for their client and repeat everything that they say to the media.
And yet, when the media asked him is she going to watch this we get these cryptic responses, no comment. So we can`t figure it out so we end up talking about it. Then he says we`re always talking about her.
JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The problem is that everything that happens, we`re scrutinizing everything she does. When she`s in the courtroom, we scrutinize her and saying is she showing enough emotion, or too little emotion? Is she watching the funeral or not watching? Did she ask to see it or did she not ask to see it?
That`s a huge problem for the defense lawyer. I think we do become publicists in a case. I do not approve of the way he`s handled this. Either you take a position where you will not comment on anything and you`re not going to allow any of this information to get there or you begin to try to change it in some direction so it`s a little bit positive.
He is playing both sides of the fence here. At one point he`s saying she`s not going to watch this, she`s not going to watch it. But then he gives a cryptic answer that she`s against it and maybe she watched it on a Dell laptop. He`s not handling this correctly, I think from a defense point of view. But it`s a problem here because everybody cares about what she`s doing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Thomas Luka, you`re in a parallel representation and you represent Lee Anthony, and yet I don`t see you doing that kind of maneuvering. You`re pretty straightforward with sticking with the facts, I guess.
THOMAS LUKA, LEE ANTHONY`S LAWYER: Thank you, Jane. And again, Mr. Brown, I think, made a good point in that attorneys are not supposed to be publicists. We`re supposed to be lawyers, but we`re advocates for our client but we`re not advocates to the public, the general public. That`s not our job.
So I don`t know what Mr. Baez` motivation was. I can only tell you that it`s highly unlikely that he in fact used his laptop into the Orange County jail to let Miss Anthony see that. The only reason is there are strict rules governing the Orange County jail when it comes to cell phones or any external communication that you`re bringing into the jail.
So one of those things like cell phones are not allowed and Internet access or an the ability for an inmate to talk to someone else on the outside without going through jail personnel and the jail folks.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you just answered it very clearly. So now we than there is a very good chance that Casey Anthony did not, in fact, see this as we had originally suspected. The only caveat is that she may have listened to it on her transistor radio and we are told that we`re are not going to be told whether or not she did that, maintaining the mystery that will continue to obsess us somewhat.
I want to show you something that struck me instantly as I watched this memorial today. Listen as Cindy Anthony talks about her memories of Caylee Anthony. Listen carefully.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY, CAYLEE`S GRANDMOTHER: The moment I first saw Caylee Marie, from the instant she was placed into my arms, she stole my heart forever. My heart just melted.
God has blessed me with three children, three beautiful children. I loved them all unconditionally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, psychologist, with all due respect, because this is obviously a pressure cooker for her and a big moment, Cindy has two children.
Now it`s been noted that it was a battle of wills over little Caylee that many felt caused a mother/daughter rift between Casey and Cindy. They had a fight the day before Caylee was last seen. Casey was said to be upset that Cindy held Caylee first after the child was born. Was this a Freudian slip for the grandmother to say I have three children when in fact she has two children?
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: It`s an awfully interesting thing, and I would have to invoke the ghost of Freud for this one. I would say, yes, it was a slip and what that slip means is hard to say, Jane, but certainly there`s a proprietary sense of someone, a Freudian slip reveal what`s is in the subconscious and subconsciously she`s saying Caylee was mine. She was my child.
And I want to hark back to what Erin Runnion said just before she went off air. Erin was talking about the importance of having the grief shared, and I think Cindy was trying to do that with this memorial. She was trying to share her grief, to have people support her. And again, if it`s true, we don`t know, but if it`s true that somehow her daughter is in jail saying I don`t want to watch it, that`s another way of saying, "Mom, I am not onboard with what you think and what you believe. You may need that memorial, but I`m essentially boycotting it in my own way."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. It`s amazing how the psycho drama has sort of played out on the world stage. This sort of very primal mother-daughter rift and we get to watch it.
I think, Judge Jeanine, this is one of the reasons why we`re so fascinated. One thing we all have in common is we all have parents and we all were children and so this touches a deep cord with all of us. I have a great relationship with my mom, but who hasn`t had an argument from time to time with their mother?
JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, "JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO SHOW": There`s no question, but you know what? Have to look at this, Jane and ask some of the obvious questions.
Casey thinks that the baby`s been cremated. We have information that the baby is not. They have not been meeting, the parents and the defendant, and so the issue, it begs the question why? Is it because the family is really angry with her or is it because the family wants to be able to say at the time of the trial that we have not been, you know, sitting making up a story with our defendant daughter.
You know what? I think it is more serious than that and I`m not a psychiatrist, but at the end of the day she doesn`t want to watch it. She issued a statement saying she disapproved and that the coup de grace here is when she says, "I can`t stop my parents from doing what they want. I truly hope it will help them."
I`m telling you my sense here is that there`s a war going on between them. They`re not visiting each other. They`re not talking. This whole public funeral was one that the defendant Casey totally disapproved of, and I don`t know what it is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, hold that thought. Fascinating stuff. We are digging deep.
Don`t forget, Nancy Grace up next at 8:00 p.m. She will have an in- depth look at the memorial for Caylee Anthony.
Here on "ISSUES" we`ll take a separate look at a separate memorial that was held for Caylee today. The bounty hunter who spent countless hours searching for Caylee was banned from attending the church memorial so he held his own service. I`ll tell you about that wild aspect to this very tragic story next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you do when you`re told you`re banned from a memorial? Hold your own. As hundreds mourned Caylee at the mega church, others were told you are not welcome. Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla who spent countless hours searching for Caylee was banned by Cindy Anthony, reportedly, according to him, from attending the official church memorial.
The falling out may have had something to do with Padilla saying publicly that he`s convinced that Cindy`s daughter Casey is the real killer of Caylee Anthony.
Today Padilla held his own tribute to Caylee at the very scene where little Caylee`s remains were found. Nearly a hundred other mourners grieved with him. Padilla explained his intentions on HLN`s "Nancy Grace" last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, ANCHOR, "NANCY GRACE SHOW": I got a little problem with you staging your own memorial at the same time as the grandparents` memorial. Why?
LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: It didn`t -- it`s not a memorial.
PADILLA: It`s just a situation where we`re hoping that the people that weren`t allowed to go to the memorial would just kind of wander on over and maybe it would get the protestors away from the church.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, really? Do you believe that?
We understand protestors did not arrive at either service. That`s great news.
Back to my panel now. Judge Pirro, was this a very bad idea on Padilla`s part? Should he have just stayed out of it?
JUDGE JEANINE: It`s a horrible idea. From the start I said the guy was an inter-meddler, you know. And then he says that he`s going to give a reward if the body`s found and, of course, pulls it back.
I don`t know where this guy comes off being even a part of this case. You know what? To do it at the same time is the height of disrespect. This is about a baby. It`s not about whether or not he gets along with Cindy or thinks Casey`s guilty. Everything about this guy has been interjecting himself in a situation where he doesn`t belong.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, the phone lines are lighting up. Kate in Pennsylvania, question or thought, ma`am.
KATE FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Jane. Thanks for taking my call.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks for calling.
KAGE: something has bothered me from day one about this case. There should be a second set of grieving grandparents today at that memorial. We hear very little about who the real father of this baby is. So I`m still intrigued by all of this.
Who is the father? Is there a paternity test that has been done? And where are these other set of grandparents that really should have been given this opportunity today to grieve the loss of this baby?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent points, ma`am, my understanding is the father is unknown. And that`s what it was listed on the birth certificate, correct, Rozzie?
ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA 540 AM: That`s correct. And also Cindy Anthony told me the father will never be found out. Initially Casey said that the father died in some kind of car accident but then later we learned that that was not true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Inez, New York, question or thought, ma`am?
INEZ FROM NEW YORK: It`s a question, basically. I`d like to know how the Anthonys are going to withstand this trial coming up after everything that Casey`s put them through. How can they even think of standing behind her?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this having covered many trials and I`m sure everybody on our panel will probably agree is that almost every defendant if their parents are alive, the parents are there by their side insisting on the defendant`s innocence. They are the last people to go.
When the defendant has no friends and no even extended family the parents are almost always there, and I`ve always said, Jeff Brown, that it`s kind of unfair that these particular parents are attacked for doing what every single parent in almost 99.9 percent of the cases does in a horrible case.
BROWN: Yes, the horrible -- can you imagine the position that they`re in? Their daughter is accused of a killing their grand daughter; I mean, talking about something that just tears a family apart. It`s kind of hard for us to sit back and say how they should be holding themselves out in this. They shouldn`t support the daughter; they should support their daughter.
I think that`s a decision that we need to leave to them. They`re going to be witnesses in this case, though, so they will be called to testify. And I can`t imagine anything more gruesome than a parent have to get on the stand in the trial of a murder case of their daughter or son and have to testify. That`s just -- no parent should have to go through that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The emotional nature -- let`s leave it with Brenda Wade who is the psychologist. What are they facing down the road now that they`ve had the strength of this community comfort, but they`re heading toward this huge trial which some are saying is going to be the trial of the new century.
WADE: You know, it`s a very difficult thing, and I have to be honest with you, Jane. I`m very concerned about George Anthony. He seems extremely fragile. He managed to pull it together today for the memorial, but he tried to kill himself. That`s how overwhelmed he is. That`s how depressed he is with all of this.
And I think it`s very important at a time like this to say maybe this family needs to support their daughter because they`ve already suffered the loss of a granddaughter. Maybe holding on to their daughter whether she`s right or wrong is one of the few things they have left to hold on to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that`s a very wise comment. They`re holding on for their sake and they need it for their sanity and with that, please hang tight while I turn to another story for a moment.
One that on this day in particular I`d be remiss if I didn`t bring to you: an amber alert issued this morning for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings in Putnam County, Florida. She was seen, last seen late last night wearing a pink shirt and underwear. She is 3 feet tall, she has blond hair and brown eyes.
Haleigh`s dad was at work. His girlfriend, Misty Crossland who lives with them says she put the little girl to bed at about 10:00 p.m. She reportedly noticed her missing at about 3:30 this morning and immediately called police. Now we learn at least 25 sex offenders live near Haleigh`s home in Satsuma, Florida.
Joining me now, Laura Mazzeo (ph), a reporter with WJXT TV. Laura, thanks for joining us. What is the very latest in this case?
LAURA MAZZEO, REPORTER, WJXT TV: Well, Jane, right now, we`re just told the FBI has been called in on this case and what they`re going to be doing is speaking with all of the sex offenders, the sex predators who are registered in this area. And as you said, some 22, but we are told in a five-mile radius of this area there are about 44 different individuals. And they say the FBI is very good in these cases where they will go in and talk with these people and find out if anything is unusual.
So today they spent the day searching. They were handing out these flyers. The deputies were to all the cars that were passing by through here and they were also searching the cars that came in and out of this neighborhood. They also had divers in the nearby river.
Really they were pulling out all the stops. The helicopter, of course, from above, but right now they say they`re focusing in on the investigation. What they told is they`re going to be talking to everyone who knew this 5-year-old little girl.
And I can tell you, I spoke with the family. They are doing as well as can be expected, but, of course, this is a very, very emotional, and devastating --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: 3:30 in the morning, okay? The girlfriend is asleep, the little child is asleep, they hear a noise. The girlfriend, the adult girlfriend hears a noise, wakes up, goes into the child`s room, the child is missing, the backdoor is open. That`s what we know, correct?
MAZZEO: Jane, what I`m hearing is that the girlfriend went to sleep in the same bed this 5-year-old girl and her 2-year-old little brother. During the night, she got up to go to the bathroom. No one has mentioned anything to me about hearing a noise.
But when she went back to bed, that is when she said she realized that that 5-year-old Haleigh was not there. And of course, she looked around the house and at that point, we are told from the family and from police that that backdoor was wide open.
Now another question about this is, was there forced entry? And initially the investigators said no. But today in a press conference, they didn`t want to comment. But it doesn`t sound like there was in this situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. We`re going to stay on top of this story. We`re not going to let it go. We are going to find this child. If you have any information whatsoever, contact the authorities; the FBI or the Putnam County authorities immediately.
Coming up, my expert panel will return for final thoughts on the Caylee Anthony memorial.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back with final thoughts from my panel about the powerful and emotional gut-wrenching memorial for Caylee Anthony. Final thoughts roundtable, starting with Thomas Luka; you each have about 20 seconds.
LUKA: Thanks, Jane, I don`t know how more disastrous this tragedy can become for the family. I think they`re doing exactly what they should be doing at this time, which is expressing grief for themselves, for the family and for the public at large. And I don`t see anything wrong, or deceptive of what they have done up until now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown?
BROWN: Yes, I just hope that we don`t take that next step and try to impose some sort of grief restrictions or something on, on Anthony and ask. And say this is how she`s supposed to grieve. I think this is a the day for the parents, I think this is the day for that poor girl and I just hope that we leave it at that and let the family have their remembrance.
This is for them and let`s just not look it back and say that how Anthony handle herself during all of this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it is a free country even when you are behind bars. Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist.
WADE: I think for all of us, there is something to be learned from this tragedy, Jane, for the family, for all of us watching. And that is that we can survive and weather storms and challenges in life. This is what I call a love lesson that you do stand by those you love. I`ve even got a free love lesson on my website dotway.com.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you mean by that though briefly?
WADE: Love lesson means that when somebody you love is in trouble, whether they`re right or they`re wrong, you are there for them. It`s an act of compassion. It`s an act of sharing. It`s something like what Erin Runnion was talking about, I`m not alone with my pain.
You`re not alone with your pain. We`re all human beings. We all make mistakes. And we don`t know the wrong or right of this yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Judge Jeanine, final thought?
PIRRO: Look, this really isn`t about the Anthony family. This is about a child who was murdered viciously, thrown into the ground and she got the funeral that she deserved today.
But you know with someone, Jane, who has prosecuted mothers for killing their children for many, many years, what I can tell you is that there are so many angels like Caylee who never ended up having a final burial or a final funeral.
And maybe we can consider this a day for all of those children who have been murdered by a family member.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I agree you. I think it should be a day to consider all children. There are thousands of children around the world who die of starvation and malnutrition every day, completely forgotten. Nobody knows about them.
Let`s open our hearts to all of the children of the world. And then truly little Caylee will not have died in vain.
Thank you so much. Thanks to my fabulous panel. Thank you, at home, for joining me.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. And you are watching "ISSUES" on HLN.