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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Caylee Confirmed Cremated; Bounty Hunter Claims Casey`s Fingerprints Found on Caylee; Grandfather Speaks about Missing Haleigh
Aired February 12, 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 Caylee Anthony case craziness. First, bounty hunter Leonard Padilla makes a startling claim.
LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: I heard this morning that there were fingerprints and that the prints are Casey`s.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will this really be the incriminating evidence that ties Casey to the murder of her little girl? We`ll investigate.
Then a Caylee Anthony memorial in a park? That`s what Anthony family representatives plan to do to honor little Caylee.
And the family now confirms they`ve cremated Caylee and stored her remains at a secret location, fearful they would be stolen from the home. Has it really come to that?
And finally, an answer to the CMA mystery.
LEE ANTHONY, UNCLE OF CAYLEE ANTHONY: CMA, I miss you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who was Casey`s brother talking to? Who is CMA? We`ll have the answer.
Plus, a desperate family plea for the return of little Haleigh Cummings.
CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD, HALEIGH`S MOTHER: All I want is my baby home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, investigators are operating on the assumption that Haleigh was abducted and are not excluding anyone as a suspect. The massive search effort expands as teams of search parties descend on central Florida, including some of the very same people involved in Caylee`s search. We`ll have the latest.
And octo-mom, about to octo-pop as the controversy surrounding the single mother of 14 continues to balloon out of control. You`ve got to see this.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking developments in the new Florida missing child case the whole nation is watching. Five-year-old Haleigh Cummings vanished from her bed early Tuesday. Her anguished grandfather will join me in just moments.
But first, a look inside the agonizing decision the Anthony family has made regarding little Caylee`s final resting place. After a flurry of conflicting reports, Anthony family attorney Brad Conway now confirms that Caylee`s remains have been cremated.
The shocker: Caylee`s ashes are not at the family home. They fear somebody might steal them. Has it really come to this? Apparently, it has.
Conway also reveals that George and Cindy`s decision to defy their daughter`s wish that Caylee be buried and cremate her instead was not taken lightly. They were concerned that a headstone might be a target for vandals. What a shocking commentary on how ugly this case has gotten. Conway added the family plans to build a Caylee Anthony memorial in a park to honor her memory.
Plus, the question surrounding Lee Anthony`s use of the initials "CMA" at Caylee`s memorial are finally answered. The family attorney says Lee was talking to all of them.
Also tonight, remember the duct tape that was reportedly wrapped around little Caylee`s head. Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla dropped this shocker on HLN`s "NANCY GRACE" last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PADILLA: I heard this morning that there were fingerprints and that the prints are Casey`s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stunning new evidence, but how will it impact Casey`s murder trial?
And Casey`s attorney, Jose Baez, has reportedly dumped the mysterious three-headed Todd Black and hired a new media rep, Marti MacKenzie. She is known for repping high-profile defendants, like former astronaut Lisa Nowak. She, of course, is the love triangle astronaut who drove cross country wearing a diaper. You cannot make this stuff up.
Let`s go to my expert panel. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and law professor at New England School of Law; Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney; and Leslie Snadowsky, investigative reporter.
Leslie, what is the very latest?
LESLIE SNADOWSKY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: George and Cindy Anthony`s attorney, Brad Conway, has come out and saying that Caylee Anthony`s remains have been cremated, but no, they`re not at the Anthony home. The Anthonys are afraid someone is actually going to bust in and steal them.
And this type of mentality is leading them to different decisions when it comes to what are they going to do with them eventually. You would think that maybe they would do a regular burial site with a head stone. But no, they`re afraid that might be vandalized. So they`re thinking on a grander scale, maybe a public memorial at a public park.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it sounds like a good idea. Now, since little Caylee`s remains were found, one of the key forensic questions has been were Casey`s fingerprints on that duct tape that bound Caylee`s head? In fact, it was over the child`s mouth, and it had a heart sticker on it. Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla said this on "NANCY GRACE" last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": Leonard, what do you know, if anything, about sources reporting fingerprints were lifted off the duct tape?
PADILLA: I heard this morning that there were fingerprints and that the prints are Casey`s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Wendy Murphy, I have with me right now some duct tape. Let`s see. We`ve got it right here.
It was so hard, first of all, to get the duct tape off, to peel it off. This was after a couple of minutes. But would it come down to whether it`s on the outside -- if it`s on the outside, there could be an argument, "Well, this was taken from the home by the mysterious Zanny with the nanny or whatever." And along with all the other things, the bedding and yada yada. And that Casey had touched it previously.
But if it were on the inside, OK, especially if it was way on the inside, wouldn`t it be hard to argue that that was something that was put there previously?
WENDY MURPHY, LAW PROFESSOR: Yes, but in this case, the defense has made crazier arguments. It`s a harder argument to make. But, you know, the chance that a jury with a brain would ever believe that her fingerprint just happened to be on the inside of the super sticky part of the tape and it was because she touched it when she was doing lawn work months earlier and it, oops, just happened to also be the same piece of tape that landed around the face of her dead child. Oh, reasonable doubt, I don`t think so.
Look, I`m not shocked to find out that her fingerprint is on the tape. The child`s decomposed body parts were in her trunk.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. It obviously would be the coupe de gras to all the other forensic evidence that has been gathered against her that the prosecutors plan to present when this case goes to trial, whenever that might be. And you just hit on one of them, the smell of death in the car, the hair showing signs of decomposition that reportedly matched the hair taken from the skull. The list is long.
But let me ask you this question, Drew Findling. This is what Leonard Padilla is saying. Now, we know that 300-plus pages of discovery were released just a couple weeks ago. It wasn`t in there. The remains were found in mid-December.
Wouldn`t this have gone through the system and been released to the defense`s discovery and then, by extension, given to the public, this information, at this point, or not?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you for that question, Jane, because that is the central issue here. You know, this defense team has been fighting for discovery, fighting for the opportunity to conduct scientific testing. The law is very, very specific and strict about that.
If this took place, and if these results are in, and somehow this profiteering bounty hunter has access to that information before the defense, who hasn`t even conducted their own test, you could be assured that the court is going to come in, and they are going to be sanctions flying out of that judge`s chambers like crazy.
MURPHY: This just drives me crazy, that Drew would say, "The defense is going to have lots to say about this." It`s terribly unfair that the truth about the fingerprints might come out when the defense, from one shill to another, from Cindy on every damn talk show she could get on, to make us go chasing these fake Caylee sightings. So the defense can lie with impunity.
FINDLING: Cindy is not a defense attorney.
MURPHY: I don`t care.
FINDLING: And Cindy is a mother without constitutional rights.
MURPHY: The defense has filled the public with nonsense.
FINDLING: Casey has constitutional rights, and her rights are evoked through her attorney.
MURPHY: The defense has no constitutional rights. Nonsense in the court of public opinion. And then forget about it when the truth comes out.
FINDLING: We don`t care about the court of public opinion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Calm down, everybody.
FINDLING: We don`t care about the court of public opinion. We care about...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in with a question. And you can just ask yes or no -- answer yes or no. Wendy, if in fact it is true that Casey Anthony`s fingerprints are on the duct tape, is it game, set, match for the prosecution?
MURPHY: No, because the defense is entitled to come up with an explanation that they think is innocent. I don`t think it will be a plausible one, but they`re entitled to make that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Drew, I don`t understand how they could come up with an innocent explanation. You could argue that the mystery nanny, which prosecutors say doesn`t exist, took the bedding and took things, the dolls, all the other stuff that was found, like the toy horse, because that`s what a nanny would have.
But duct tape? I mean, a nanny doesn`t walk around with duct tape from the Anthony home.
FINDLING: Well, Jane, as you know better than any of us, from your coverage of O.J. Simpson, there`s a thing called residual doubt. And when you have people make drastic mistakes, like if this were -- is her fingerprints, leaking it to this bounty hunter before the defense team, that`s the kind of thing that kills investigations and kills prosecutions.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to get to this. This is important. Cindy Anthony organized the memorial service for Caylee. And remember, Lee Anthony raised some eyebrow with this. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. ANTHONY: CMA, each day, you can 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. It`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: OK. Wendy Murphy, Brad Conway is now saying that Lee was referring to all of them. Casey Marie Anthony, Caylee Marie Anthony, and there are claims that we haven`t been able to clarify that Cindy`s initials are also CMA.
MURPHY: We know it isn`t Country Music Awards, I`ll tell you that. You know, frankly, I know it`s a sad thing, but as I said on your show last week, this was at least in part just an offensive infomercial for the defense. Between him sobbing around CMA and Cindy...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? I have to disagree.
MURPHY: I know. I know, Jane. Let me say something.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This was a beautiful memorial. I cried when I watched it.
MURPHY: There were times -- there were times when the defense exploited a beautiful memorial. When Cindy said, "I know how much you loved your daughter, Casey..."
FINDLING: She`s not a defense attorney. She`s a mother! She`s not the defense attorney.
MURPHY: That was a defense P.R. move.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that -- I agree with Drew. She`s a mother, and a mother has a right to say whatever she wants about a daughter.
MURPHY: She should not have said that out of respect for her grandchild. Shame on her.
FINDLING: You should have stopped at Country Music Awards. That`s my opinion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll leave it at that. That`s a good way to wrap it up.
Leslie, Drew, thank you so much. Wendy, stay right there.
Don`t forget, "Nancy Grace" up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. She will have the very latest on the Caylee Anthony case.
And right here on ISSUES we will update the tragic story of another little Florida girl gone missing. The desperate search for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. I want to hear your thoughts on this mysterious case. What happened there? 1-887-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297 for your questions or theories on the mysterious disappearance of little Haleigh.
Caylee Anthony`s grandfather, George, went to the search area to show support for Haleigh Cummings. Just some eerie similarities in these two cases. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ANTHONY, GRANDFATHER OF CAYLEE: I`m here in support of them. I`m here to bring Haleigh home. Haleigh Marie Cummings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haleigh Ann Marie.
ANTHONY: I`m sorry. I apologize for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MISTY CROSLIN, GIRLFRIEND OF HALEIGH`S FATHER: Three o`clock in the morning, I got up and -- I got up because I had to use the bathroom, but I didn`t make it to the bathroom. I seen the kitchen light on, and I walked in the kitchen, and the back door was wide open. And I didn`t notice about Haleigh then until I seen the back door open. And then I go in her room and she`s gone. And that`s all I know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The desperate search for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings, who disappeared from her bed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, has now entered its third day. No sign of the adorable little girl known to her family as Doodle Bug.
Haleigh`s Florida home is just 70 miles away from where Caylee Anthony lived, and now her family is getting support from Caylee`s grandfather, George. I`ll have much more on that in just a moment.
Meantime, Haleigh`s father has taken and reportedly passed a polygraph. Just hours ago, he made a passionate appeal to the person who might have abducted her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD CUMMINGS, HALEIGH`S FATHER: Just bring her back, anonymous, give her to someone else to bring back. However she gets back, we want her back safe. If you`ve done something with her, tell us where she`s at, if she`s OK, something. We just -- I want my daughter back. That`s it. That`s all -- that`s I want. I want my daughter back. I`m not out for revenge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to hear from you. Give me a call: 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Also, if you have any information, and I mean, any information on the whereabouts of little Haleigh, please call the Putnam County, Florida, sheriff`s office.
First, I am joined by Haleigh`s grandfather, Johnny Sheffield.
Thank you so much, sir, for being here. I know this has to be very, very, very difficult for you, and I really appreciate you taking the time. And hopefully, we can help.
Johnny, it`s been more than 60 hours since little Haleigh disappeared. Authorities now believe she did not wander off. They believe she was abducted. What are your possible theories about what happened to your precious granddaughter?
JOHNNY SHEFFIELD, GRANDFATHER OF HALEIGH CUMMINGS: I don`t know, really. I have to go by what the law enforcement`s told me. They said they`ve done searches. They haven`t found her. I know the father said there are signs of forced entry.
The sheriff told me that there was no signs of forced entry, and I heard the girlfriend`s 911 tape. She said there was no signs of forced entry. And I know the father locked the dead bolt, he said, personally. And I know in order to get through a dead bolt, you`ve got to break the door frame. You`re not just going to wedge it open and open the door.
But I`m not doubting the father didn`t lock the dead bolt. I`m just wondering how somebody got in through a dead bolt and took my granddaughter and just vanished when somebody`s supposed to be there watching her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And with apparently no signs of forced entry. I think you make a very, very good point.
Now, I want to bring this into the equation. The story we`re hearing about Haleigh being abducted in the middle of the night without anybody hearing her or the predator has been slammed by some skeptics. Some are raising eyebrows at Misty, the girlfriend who was sleeping with the two children the time little Haleigh disappeared from her bed.
Listen to Misty, the teenage girlfriend of Haleigh`s father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROSLIN: I just want her home, just have her come home safe. Just drop her off somewhere. I just want her to come home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She meant a lot to you, too?
CROSLIN: Yes. A real lot. I loved that little girl like she was my own.
(END VIDE O CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But to the skeptics, I would remind them to remember the terrible Jessica Lunsford tragedy, also in Florida. In 2005, the beautiful child you`re looking at there, Jessica, was sleeping peacefully in her bed when she was abducted by John Couey, a convicted sex offender, who later confessed to murdering her.
Couey lived in a trailer just 150 yards away. He kept Jessica locked in a closet for two or three days. Tragically, when cops first canvassed that trailer, looking for Jessica, it is theorized that that little girl might have still been alive in that closet.
The reason I`m mentioning that, and it`s an upsetting story, and I apologize for that, Johnny, but it has a point. The point is that so many people are like, how could he come in, take a child and leave without anybody waking up? It happened in 2005.
Admittedly, no one was in the bed with little Jessica Lunsford, but she was taken from a house in Florida and removed while she was asleep and abducted. So it does happen.
Your thoughts on all of that, sir?
SHEFFIELD: Well, I know my granddaughter. And I know that when she wakes up, she goes to screaming and crying. She`s going to her mama or her daddy, or she`s at our house, she`s coming to somebody`s door to let us know that she`s up. And if she happens to wake up in the morning, she goes to the couch and watches TV, if she -- if her father`s not up. But usually her father is up by the time the baby`s up.
I find it hard to believe that somebody could just go in there and grab Haleigh, because Haleigh was a solid little girl. She was a close -- she was hard for me to pick up. And for her to -- somebody to reach in the bed and take her out without waking that girl up, I don`t know how it could be done, because most kids, when you pick them up, they have a reaction to either jump, jerk, or say, "Where am I going," or something. But Haleigh, somebody got her out without her saying nothing?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now very quickly, only have a couple of seconds, was your daughter`s relationship with the father of Haleigh rocky, as some of have said?
SHEFFIELD: My daughter and him has been separated for several years, so -- I mean, of course, a couple years ago, it was like rocky when they was going through this custody battle. But here lately, as far as I know, everything was, you know, going smoothly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And it turned out that he got custody of the child, and it is a very, very tragic case.
Johnny Sheffield, I want to thank for joining me. I`d love to have you back. We hope that we get a happy ending here. We`re going to do everything we can in our power to find your little granddaughter.
We have much more to get to in the search for Haleigh Cummings, and I want to hear your thoughts. Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF JEFF HARDY, PUTNAM COUNTY, FLORIDA: We`ll expand the investigation as far as it needs to go. As far as whether or not Haleigh is still in the area, that is an unknown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the sheriff presiding over the search for 5- year-old Haleigh, who has been missing since early Tuesday.
Jennifer Bauer, a reporter with CNN affiliate WJXC-TV in Jacksonville, Florida.
Jennifer, tell us what is the very latest in terms specifically of the lie detector test and then the more detailed story now being offered by Misty, the young woman who was sleeping with the children when Haleigh disappeared.
JENNIFER BAUER, REPORTER, WJTC: Well, today we heard from the sheriff, and he told us that the investigation is continuing. They are interviewing people who know the little girl. They`re even interviewing people who don`t know the little girl. The sheriff told us this morning that they have issued lie detector tests. And he said they are willing to offer them to anyone who wants to take one.
The father, Ronald Cummings, Haleigh`s dad, tells us himself he took one. He tells us he passed. We talked to his 17-year-old girlfriend, Misty Croslin. She tells us she also took one. We asked her how she did. She says she believed she passed. We are also told that the mother, the biological mother did not take one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What did the sheriff say? OK, what did the sheriff say?
BAUER: The sheriff will not comment. Jane, he`s not giving any details about who took them or who has them. All he will tell us is that they were administered, and he`s telling us that they are being offered to anyone who`s willing to take them. So the only information we are able to get about the polygraph is from the people themselves who took them, and that`s all we`re able to get right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Give us a rundown of what Misty is saying specifically. Because the story is getting more detailed. There`s lights that go on. There`s a door that`s ajar. There`s going to the bathroom. Give us the quick lowdown on what she`s saying exactly happened.
BAUER: Well, as you know, Jane, today was the first time that we heard from Misty Croslin. We`ve been out here for three days. And today was the first time that she came out and talked to our station one on one for a very lengthy interview.
She told us, first of all, that the most, I think, alarming piece of information was that Haleigh was in a different bed. Now, we`ve been hearing all along from detectives that the 17-year-old girlfriend, the little brother, and Haleigh were all in one bed. Now we`re hearing that Haleigh was in her own bed.
She also told us that she got up to go to the bathroom, and the light in the kitchen was on. That`s also new information that police have not been able to confirm for us.
And detectives are telling us that they have taken evidence out of that home. They won`t tell us what, but they say they have collected evidence.
She also, Misty Croslin, in her interview, referred to that brick. Remember yesterday when we listened to those 911 tapes, she said on the phone call, "There`s a brick. The door`s propped open. It`s open. Someone took the little girl out the back."
But police tell us that there was a cinder block there and that apparently about 50 feet from their home, there was a pile of cinder blocks and one of those blocks, they believe, was used to prop open that back door.
But again, Jane, we`re getting a lot of conflicting reports. And I asked the sheriff himself, you know, why the conflicting stories? And he said, "You have to remember, you`re talking about a 17-year-old girl. And sometimes there`s issues with young kids when you`re dealing with them and questioning them" as from a detective`s standpoint.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The grandfather says that he just doesn`t understand how anybody could have gotten out of there without signs of forced entry. We only have a couple of seconds. Any insights on that?
BAUER: All police will tell us is there was absolutely zero signs of forced entry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she said -- she said -- she said she went...
BAUER: Was the door open, was the door closed, was the door locked, we don`t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... when she went to sleep, the door was locked. That`s what she said, apparently.
BAUER: Police tell us the door was not forced open.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
BAUER: Does that mean someone had a key? We don`t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got more in just seconds, and we`re going to take your calls. They`re lining up. Stay right there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here are the latest developments on the Caylee Anthony case. Leonard Padilla, the bounty hunter, claims he has learned cops have collected extremely incriminating evidence against Casey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: I`ve heard this morning that they were fingerprints and that the fingerprints are Casey`s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will fingerprints put this case to bed? The Anthony family reportedly plans to honor little Caylee with a memorial in a park instead of a headstone they fear could be vandalized. And we now know Lee`s reference to CMA was to both of them -- Caylee and Casey.
And just 70 miles from where Caylee`s remains were found, a massive search effort continues for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. We`ll tell you where the investigators are focusing their efforts now.
Back with more on the tragic disappearance of 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings, joining me, my expert panel: Joe Navarro, former FBI agent and profiler; Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, law professor, and author of "And Justice for Some;" Don Clark, former FBI special agent in charge and Jennifer Bauer from WJXT TV in Jacksonville, Florida.
The phone lines are lighting up Gerry in California, thanks for you patience sir, question or thoughts?
JERI IN CALIFORNIA: Hi, Jane, --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, it`s a girl ok, hi.
JERI: I love your show.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
JERI: I have a comment. Being that there was no forced entry could it be possible that it was a previous tenant who still had a key?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very good thinking. Don Clark?
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Well, yes, it could be possible that anybody could have been. But, Jane, here`s the key to this situation. Is that you`ve got several areas that you`ve got to look at. One happens to be the house, and that`s the original point that has to get some attention.
The other place that`s got to get some attention is that 44 child predators that`s in that area. And certainly, and simultaneously, you still have to look at relatives and friends and people who sometimes have access in and out of each other`s homes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and as a matter of fact, we`ve got some maps here that we`re going to show you in just a second that really outline the problem. Here is a Google map of Central Florida. Haleigh`s home is in the small town of Satsuma, just 70 miles away from where Caylee Anthony lived.
Satsuma is tiny, but with a population of 5,400 people, the street where Haleigh lives is near a lake. You can see it right there and as you can see it`s not very densely populated.
I also have to go to what you also said, Don, and that is the 44 sex offenders who live right in the area. This is absolutely fascinating. We have a map of 44 sex offenders who live within a five-mile radius. This is the map that shows that.
I mean, is that the national average, Don Clark? That`s shocking to me. Why so many sex offenders in this particular neck of the woods?
CLARK: You know what, Jane, I don`t know exactly, but I`ve looked at a lot of numbers and I think that`s actually sadly, slightly below the national average, when you start looking at the larger populated areas. And I would suggest that that 44 is, of course, what the law enforcement community knows about.
And that`s what`s the frightening thing, is the ones that they don`t know about.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Elizabeth in Texas, your question or thought, ma`am?
ELIZABETH: Yes, I would like to know why Misty waited to call 911 after the father got home. And the father commented that she had kept calling his cell phone, but he never answered it. I would like to know how many minutes from the time that child was missing until the time the father got home.
And I also think it`s strange, the father commented, he wasn`t aware of any cinder blocks in the backyard and they`re reporting that there was a pile of them 50 feet from the house and he frequently washed his vehicle in the backyard. It does not add up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ma`am, you are taking some very careful notes. I think you need to go a detective school because you`d be a good one. Jennifer Bauer, try to fill us in on all those details.
JENNIFER BAUER, WJXT TV, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: I think the only thing to say is we are hearing a lot of inconsistencies again. I think yesterday, when we were talking to the sheriff, he mentioned that it was a 27-minute lapse from the time that they discovered Haleigh was missing to the time that they called -- or I shouldn`t say they but rather Misty Croslin called 911.
And the sheriff said, you know, you have to cut people some slack. Because unless you`re in that kind of situation, you never know how you`re going to react. As for the cinder blocks, today was the first time we were hearing about a pile 50 feet away.
Again, the family says they didn`t know anything about the pile of cinder blocks. I have personally myself been back to that home, I have stood on their driveway and taken a look at my surroundings. It is extremely wooded, extremely secluded. It is very possible that there could be a pile of anything 50 feet away and you wouldn`t see it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, the fact that they`re using the sheddies (ph) to try to get through the woods, that`s how dense the wooded areas are there.
I want to play that clip of Misty Croslin again. And like everybody, listen very carefully. She is the girlfriend of Haleigh`s dad. She was with the child at the time of the disappearance.
Listen closely to what she says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISTY CROSLIN, GIRLFRIEND OF HALEIGH`S FATHER: I just want her home. Want to have her home safe. Just drop her off somewhere or something. I just want her to come home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She meant a lot to you too?
CROSLIN: Yes, a real lot. I loved that little girl like she was my own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have to listen carefully Joe Navarro, but she said, I loved that little girl like she was my own. Do we make anything of the past tense? Or is that just a figure of speech?
JOE NAVARRO, FORMER FBI AGENT AND PROFILER: No, we do make something of that past tense. And we shouldn`t let that slip by.
In fact, we had a case here in Tampa, Florida, not that far about seven years ago where the same thing happened. The mother had actually taken the baby, put it in a garbage bag, and put it in a dumpster.
But I`ve got to tell you, Jane --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say, before we go any further, --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- we don`t have any idea that that`s the same thing. I mean, this woman hasn`t been charged with anything, she`s not considered a suspect. And she may very well have simply been asleep when this child was abducted in the same room with her. But go ahead, finish your thought.
NAVARRO: Well, that may be so, but we still have to pay attention to that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, sure.
NAVARRO: The grandfather said something very significant. In essence, he was saying, this case does not pass the stink test.
He`s been to the house, he knows the family, he knows the situation, he knows how they sleep, he knows what noises are made when you walk in, he knows how the doors work, he knows everything about that. And in his own mind he`s saying, this does not pass the stink test.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, just remember that he is the -- on the mother`s side. And the mother and the father are separated and the father is with this other young woman, Misty.
So you never know what the motivations are. And I`m not saying he has bad motivations, but you know how those disputes are, that it can color your perception.
Linda in Texas, question or thought?
LINDA IN TEXAS: Hi Jane, thanks for taking my call.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, thanks for calling.
LINDA: I`m wondering if the abduction of Haleigh Cummings is not some sort of copycat scenario, because Haleigh and Caylee sound alike, both children are from Florida. And I`m wondering, could this be some sort of way to get attention, in some distorted way?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s an absolutely fascinating question and I`m going to toss it to Wendy Murphy.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don`t have my Ph.D. in psychology. I don`t know what makes people do things. I do agree with the previous caller that and other panelists, it doesn`t make sense yet.
If there`s still so much suspicion around the circumstances in the home, doesn`t mean it was a stranger.
But here`s what bugs me Jane, a couple of things, even if you`re a dumb criminal, it`s a really super dopey thing to do to pick on a child and to try to take a child out of a home at 3:00 in the morning.
Because it`s a rare chance --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But criminals are dumb.
Look at the case that we used of Jessica Lunsford who was taken out of her home in the middle of the night in Florida in an area where there were trailer parks.
MURPHY: I understand that --
MURPHY: But let me make a point. Because I think this is interesting. You`d have to be really dopey, because you can`t predict that the child will be quiet or alone. Unlike Jesse Lunsford, she was alone in her own bed and the neighbors knew it. You can`t predict that this child would be alone. And isn`t it interesting that it happened to be a time in the middle of the night when the father wasn`t home.
Could it have been someone who knew that only this 17-year-old nitwit was going to be there alone without the dad present? You know, it bothers me that there`s a delay in her report. I have a kid that`s 17. She wouldn`t wonder where the kid was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`m sure your child is a genius.
MURPHY: No, au contraire. Believe me when I say this.
MURPHY: It takes a real low IQ to say, child missing, 911. My turtle could do this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know if you`ve ever been panicked and had a missing any loved one. I will never -- I`ve used this example before of having a pet run away and how panicked you become. And you start running around and you really aren`t acting in a rationale fashion, Don Clark, a lot of the times.
CLARK: Well, let`s kind of get away from the emotions aspect of this and let`s look at the technical investigative aspect and the forensics and so forth and let`s try to dwell on that aspect. Forget about what this young lady did, because the police --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, Don --
CLARK: -- the police officers ought to be able to identify what her actions were based on other things that they`ve heard.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok and I think that the big question is -- we have to leave it right there, but the big question is, how does somebody break into a house where the door is locked and there`s no sign of forced entry. That`s another mystery.
Joe, Wendy, Don, Jennifer, thank you so much. We`re going to stay on top of this case. We are going to do everything we can to find that little child.
Don`t forget, "Nancy Grace" up next at 8:00 p.m. She will have an interview with Haleigh`s grandmother and the very latest on the search for this little girl.
And coming up on "ISSUES," I will have the very latest, bizarre, and I mean bizarre, details on octo-mom Nadya Suleman. What do you think of her plea for donations on the web?
Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297 to sound off on octo-mom.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You may not want to donate to octuplet mother Nadya Suleman, but you may have to foot her bill. I`ll have the latest octo-mom drama.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: accused $50 billion Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is facing a $5 million fine and 20 years in jail. No worries, he`s busy working with his lawyers on a plea deal that could land him a life sentence.
Why do they want to give him a life sentence? A life sentence if all the money`s gone. What do we get in return of that life sentence? That`s what I want to know.
In the meantime, another key piece of evidence in this case emerged yesterday, showing yet again that Madoff is playing the system. It turns out his wife, Ruth, allegedly withdrew $15 million from her husband`s firm just days before he turned himself in.
This reminds me of when Madoff tried to get rid of a $1 million worth of jewelry, violating his house arrest. Remember that? And when he had $170 million in signed checks ready to hand out to friends. When will the judges in this case realize Madoff is making a mockery of the legal system? For Madoff, this is all a chess game. And unfortunately, he is winning.
More outrage now as we turn to octo-mom Nadya Suleman. She is trying whatever it takes to support her giant brood, and that may mean you, footing her bill. I told you last night about Suleman`s website to solicit donations for her and her 14 kids.
Today we find out the hospital that just delivered eight of them has asked California for reimbursement through the state`s Medicaid program; your tax dollars in action there. Meantime, octo-mom spokeswoman Joann Killeen was on Dr. Phil today. She revealed that Suleman is getting death threats and was forced to move to an undisclosed location.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOANN KILLEEN, SPOKESWOMAN FOR NADYA SULEMAN: Because of the death threats to Nadya and her family, as well as the death threats to me and to my agency, we had to hire personal security and we were in a secure location last week until the death threats subsided.
There was an anonymous donor who provided for the rent for this house, but I will tell you that my client is back home today at her house with her children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Outrage, I can understand, that can be healthy. Death threats, that is way beyond the pale. I want to hear what you think. The number, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.
Right now, let`s bring in my fantastic guests: Andrew Smiley, trial attorney; Katrina Szish, pop culture expert; and Pete Demetriou from KFWB News 980 in Los Angeles.
Pete, what is the very latest?
PETE DEMETRIOU, KFWB NEWS 980, LOS ANGELES: The latest deals with the idea of the death threats itself and the investigation that is going on. LAPD`s West Los Angeles detectives are looking into it. They`re regarding it as what they call an investigation of a criminal threat and that`s a felony.
And now, the question is, are these telephonic threats or the email threats? If they`re email, they can be traced or tracked. There are the means to do that. The question is, literally, which agency wants to handle it and whether there is not only local violations involved -- possibly federal violations.
On the idea of the funding question, well, that`s getting a lot of play from a lot of people. Partly because Nadya`s saying that she`s not accepting public assistance or called welfare. Well, that`s a matter of semantics if you want to look at it.
The state legislators are actually getting a tremendous about of emails and phone calls and saying, wait a second this person shouldn`t get any aid or assistance at all.
And one general aspect that I`ve talked about to 25 people, to tell you the truth --
DEMETRIOU: And I sort of an informal street survey, not one of them would have given her a dime and most say the state shouldn`t anyway saying this is not a question of the social safety net being involved here.
DEMETRIOU: This is a planned incident and the state shouldn`t be dealing with it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pete, here is one reason why everybody is upset. So much speculation, if this woman, Nadya Suleman has had plastic surgery. Now, this is what her spokesperson said on Dr. Phil today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KILLEEN: I`ve received numerous phone calls asking me, would you deny or confirm that your client has had plastic surgery. And obviously, I was spending time with my client in a secure location. And I said, Nadya, have you had plastic surgery? And she just laughed. She said, no, I have not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, maybe she hasn`t, but I want to show you two pictures of octo-mom. This is what I`m calling before and after photo shoot.
Ok, first, let`s look at Suleman in 2006. We see her sitting there, she`s pregnant. But look carefully at her face, and specifically her lips. She looks normal.
Now, look at octo-mom 2009 edition. We see her side by side. Again, the lips, the face, the cheekbones; it does look to some as if she`s had, as they say, a little work done. Again, she and her publicist deny it.
But if it`s true, Katrina, wouldn`t that make it even harder for people to shell out money or feel good about public assistance for her?
KATRINA SZISH, POP CULTURE EXPERT: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this has kind of become Barbie octo-mom, especially her being compared to Angelina Jolie. I mean, she`s really in the spotlight right now as demi-celebrity and the fact that she`s in the spotlight and then still asking people for money and using taxpayers` money to raise her 14 kids is really something else.
And then if you start thinking about her $50,000 in school loans that she still owes, how much money she`s going to need to raise these kids. The idea that she may have gone off and gotten a little bit of -- little implant, injection or something like that, that`s really going to make people even angrier. And I think those death threats will probably continue.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just hope they don`t. Because I just don`t think that`s any way to express your disapproval.
SZISH: No, it`s not appropriate.
VELEZ-MITCHEL: This woman isn`t a killer, she`s not done -- she`s may be, troubled, and she has made a huge misjudgment, according to the vast majority of people, but I don`t think she deserves death threats, certainly.
Now, take a look at this, eight babies, one belly. Do you want to see what that looks like? Are you sitting down?
TMZ.com has just released this photo -- oh -- of Nadya Suleman, just eight days before she gave birth.
As you can see, she`s as big as a house. Whoa. Is the startling nature of this photo another reason I wonder why people might be repelled by the story? Well, let`s go to the phone lines and find out.
Jennifer, you`re on the line. Let`s get this caller, and then we`ll discuss all this. There`s so much to talk about, Jennifer your thought or question ma`am?
JENNIFER: Hi there, I have a question.
How can she be asking the state to pay for her medical when there`s working families out there that can`t even afford medicals for their own? And why is the state allowing her to take 14 babies to a three bedroom house with no way to provide for them?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pete Demetriou, she has three kids with disabilities and that`s one of the reasons why she`s getting disability payments.
PETE DEMETRIOU, KFWB NEWS 980: That is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently, one has a mild form of autism and one has hyperactivity disorder or something to that effect.
DEMETRIOU: These are the actual payments that are being made to her because of those and those are legitimate ground. But on the question of the medical bills themselves, technically she`s not really asking for money.
What is happening is that Kaiser Hospital is petitioning the state of California through the medical program to reimburse the hospital for the cost of this thing as they have every right to do legally under the law. But it`s the amounts of money that are driving people crazy because as we pointed out in earlier programs, $3,000 to $3,500 per kid per day for treatment in these facilities. One to two months in there, millions.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everyone, stay right there. We`re going to have much more on octo-mom next and the shockers you won`t believe. We have good ones coming up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Octo-mom outrage back with my fantastic panel.
Andrew Smiley, you`re a trial attorney, answer this, obviously NBC scored a ratings bonanza with their interview of Nadya Suleman. A lot of people thought, "Well, they must have paid her." They say absolutely not. They issued a very strong statement. Nothing, not for licensing fees, for photos, nothing, they did not pay her.
Why would this woman give away her story for free when she`s so desperate for money?
ANDREW SMILEY, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, she`s building her platform. This is obviously someone who craves attention to say the least. I mean, it`s amazing; she`s made a spectacle of herself at the expense of these poor children.
She`s clearly planned all of this. I wouldn`t be surprised if she`s already working on the book rights and the reality TV show to follow what it`s like for her with these children. She has a spokeswoman who`s already making the rounds on Dr. Phil.
It`s outrageous how she planned this and put herself in this position and then she`s turning around and asking everyone for help. It`s really -- it`s outrageous that she`s doing this and frankly the public is eating it up. She`s making a spectacle of herself, the magazines --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she`s not making the money. That`s what`s interesting.
Katrina Szish, I`ve talked to, let`s say, people in the book industry who say her price is dropping as her story becomes more freakish. What can she do, given that she has to provide for these kids, to rehabilitate her image and kind of turn the story around before she fritters away really any chance to score big bucks so that she can pay for her kids?
KATRINA SZISH, POP CULTURE EXPERT: It`s interesting. I don`t know, she`s walking a fine line right now. She may have already even gone too far. But I think what she needs to do is really take a few steps out of the media circus that she`s in the middle of and I think she really needs to show everybody that she is making an effort to do as much as she can to get a job, to have a reliable source of income.
She keeps saying that her welfare situation, her food stamps situation is temporary, but what does that mean? And if it is, show us it`s temporary. I think if she kind of, you know, shows us some actions instead of some words then we`ll perhaps give her a little bit more of a break.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pete, we`ve got only 20 seconds, sometimes when you troy to make it better you only make it worse when you`re in the public spotlight, right?
DEMETRIOU: Absolutely. In this case, the more she opens her mouth and runs it the more she`s damaging her image in the public eye.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got to care about these kids. As I look at this story I`m disapproving of this. As an environmentalist, I think she`s a resource hog.
I have a lot of reasons why I find it wrong, but I`m not going to take it out on her kids. Her kids need diapers, her kids need food, so let`s keep that in mind. And I say that to those diaper manufacturers out there, give them some diapers, they need it.
Katrina, Andrew, Pete, thanks for joining me. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you`re watching "ISSUES" on HLN.