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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
What Happened the Night Haleigh Disappeared?
Aired February 17, 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, have investigators reached a turning point in their frantic search for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings?
CAPT. STEVE ROSE, PUTNAM COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: We were able to come up with several good leads that we are following up on today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What exactly did they find this might shed light on this perplexing mystery? How is the sleeping child whisked away from a locked home with no apparent forced entry? And the search now focuses on a flood of tips as Haleigh`s family struggles to stay positive.
RON CUMMINGS, FATHER OF HALEIGH CUMMINGS: It is not time to give up. It`s time to -- there`s still time to look.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, I`ll speak to the Cummings family pastor.
Then breaking developments in the Caylee Anthony case, as mountains of evidence are turned over to mom Casey`s defense team. But now conflicting reports about a crucial piece of evidence. Were Casey`s fingerprints on the duct tape that was found on Caylee`s remains? Original reports said yes, but now at least one source says no. I`ll have the very latest.
Plus more fallout from Octomom Nadya Suleman. Famed psychiatrist Carol Lieberman files a complaint with the city of Los Angeles, charging the octuplets will be endangered unless they`re adopted immediately. I will speak to Dr. Lieberman tonight.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Major breaking news, just in moments ago, involving the desperate search for missing Florida girl Haleigh Cummings. A flurry of conflicting reports about 17-year-old Misty Croslin, the last person to see Haleigh before she vanished. Was she even at home?
CNN affiliate WJXT now reporting that authorities are looking into the possibility, based on a lead, that Misty was not at the trailer with Haleigh, but the lead investigator in the case says, quote, "We have no evidence to believe that she, Misty, was not home."
If the girlfriend, however, wasn`t home, this is a huge development that casts a totally new light on this very mysterious case.
Misty herself says she was sleeping in the home with Haleigh and Haleigh`s 4-year-old brother, and police have said she is cooperating fully with their investigation.
Also tonight, authorities previously believed Haleigh had been wearing a pink shirt. Earlier today they dropped this shocker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF RICK RYAN, PUTNAM COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: We obtained information through our investigation that young Haleigh was in fact not wearing a pink shirt as reported at the time of her disappearance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s the significance of all of these developments? We will examine that.
Meantime, authorities say they have been flooded with 1,200 new tips. They also say they`ve gotten significant new leads that came from neighborhood interviews.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSE: What we did last night, we utilized a source of federal, state and local officers to conduct an area canvass, a neighborhood canvass of Haleigh`s neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhoods. We were able to come up with several good leads that we are following up on today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what does that say? That this is perhaps not a stranger abduction?
Also Haleigh`s family has some theories of their own as to what might have happened. Haleigh`s paternal grandmother, Theresa Nevis, said this to the CBS "Early Show" earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Teresa, where do you think she is?
THERESA NEVIS, HALEIGH`S GRANDMOTHER: I think that somebody has her, I hope inside a house where they at least feed her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it`s someone that she knows, that your family knows or a complete stranger?
NEVIS: I don`t really know. My son works nights, you know, and we`re thinking that it would be somebody who would know that. They wouldn`t come to the house with my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So many developments. I am going to take your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
But first my expert panel, Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney; Dr. Gaby Cora, psychiatrist; Joe Navarro, former FBI agent and profiler; and Jennifer Bauer, a reporter with WJXT-TV.
Jennifer, what is your station reporting tonight?
JENNIFER BAUER, REPORTER, WJXT-TV: We are reporting that more than 1,200 tips so far have come in to the Putnam County Sheriff`s Office, Jane, about this investigation.
And we have learned that one of those leads that they are looking into as a possibility is that 17-year-old Misty Croslin, who is Haleigh Cummings` father`s girlfriend, was not home the night the 5-year-old disappeared. Now, again, in the same breath when we talked to investigators about this, they remind us that they have gotten 1200 tips and this is one tip that they are looking into as a possibility.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I wonder if that is, Jennifer, when they are referring to the significant new leads that they got after talking to people in the neighborhood, if that was the tip that they`re referring to.
BAUER: Well, you know, Jane, up until this point we are on day eight. Police have not gotten specific with us about those tips and leads. And when I called investigators just about 25 minutes ago and talked to them about this new information, they said, quote, "It is a possibility. It is something we are looking into."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew Findling, this is a 17-year-old girl. And again, the investigators are saying at this point they have no reason to believe she wasn`t there, but apparently somebody is claiming that she wasn`t there and they`re investigating it, but at this point does this young lady need to get lawyered up? She`s not considered a suspect, I want to stress that, but it`s a 17-year-old girl, the center of a national storm.
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well on the one hand, she has a concern if she misled officers and there`s a variety of misdemeanors that you can be charged for making a false statement. On the other hand, hey, she`s 17 years old. That`s in my estimation an 11th grader. We have another strange issue. What is she doing with an adult man living there?
Really, she has no custodial issues regarding caring for this child. She`s not really looking at criminal charge if she wasn`t there. She may have problems with her much-older boyfriend. But in terms of criminal conduct for taking off and going to a party, it`s very different than going to a party, like Casey Anthony when your child -- it`s your child is missing and you`re the adult that`s responsible for her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I`m hearing you say, Drew, is that even if this is true it leads more to a conclusion of negligence or irresponsibility not that she is responsible for the disappearance of this child in terms of her doing something to the child.
FINDLING: That`s exactly right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Let me ask you this question, Joe Navarro. We also hear that they originally thought little Haleigh was wearing a pink shirt and now we`re hearing she was not wearing a pink shirt. They have found the pink shirt they thought she was wearing.
Does that dovetail with the idea that perhaps somebody wasn`t there watching the kids, because if you were there you would know exactly what the child was wearing when the child went to sleep?
JOE NAVARRO, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, you know, that`s a good question. And a lot of times parents will because they`re nervous, the tension and so forth may not remember exactly what they were wearing.
But, you know, I go back to that interview you did a few days ago of the grandfather who said -- basically, he said, you know, this doesn`t pass the stink test. There`s so many things that are weird here.
Why are we getting information that, you know, that doesn`t match up? There were -- everybody seemed to have been in that room, and yet somehow this child was magically abducted, and nobody heard it. The doors were locked. Nobody seems to know the complete story. There are so many things here that are irregular which really makes you wonder, what is the true story? Why is it constantly being changed?
And why is it being parsed out? It seems like it`s being parsed out on a daily basis. Usually, when you get a complete and truthful story, it all comes out together at once. You don`t get it in these small packets.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Joe, precisely to that point, Misty Croslin, Ronald Cummings` girlfriend, has given many different accounts of where Haleigh was sleeping the night she went missing. Now, first I want you to listen very carefully to Misty on the CBS "Early Show" this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were the last person to see Haleigh alive. She was sleeping in the same room as you when she vanished. How far away was she sleeping from you, Misty?
MISTY CROSLIN, GIRLFRIEND OF HALEIGH`S FATHER: Like, four feet away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how is it that she could have disappeared without you waking up?
CROSLIN: I don`t know. She just -- she wasn`t there when I woke up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She looks like a child in that video. Now she said Haleigh was four feet away. I want to play you now two clips of Misty from last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you all in the same bed?
CROSLIN: No. She was in her bed in front of the TV, and me and Junior were in my bed.
I gave a little sheet to cover up with, and she fell asleep. And I came in there to put a blanket on her and then I lay down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSLIN: Gaby Cora, these are not necessarily completely conflicting stories. It`s just a totally different description of the same event.
However, there have been conflicting stories out there. We heard at one point that all three were in the bed together. Then we heard that she and the little boy, Junior, were in the bed and Haleigh was in another bed in the same room. I mean, it keeps changing, and that`s one of the reasons why there is suspicion about whether she`s being 100 percent truthful.
GABY CORA, PSYCHIATRIST: Jane, there seem to be very conflicting story around this one story, but the bottom line is that parents are responsible for the safety of their children. And if they leave anyone in charge of their children, they should really be trusting them with their dearest treasures. So this is a very sad and complex story where kids are taking care of kids.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I ask you a question, Jennifer. Have you heard this new report that I read? And remember, we get stacks of reports from all sorts of different sources, so I don`t know the source of this and it`s certainly not confirmed.
But there`s a new report now claiming that Ron said Haleigh, little Haleigh, got up to use the bathroom and when she didn`t return Misty went to look for her because originally we heard that it was Misty who went up to use the bathroom and never got there because she saw that the light was on and realized the child was missing.
BAUER: That`s right. I have not heard that story, Jane, but I can tell you we have asked numerous times whether or not it was a possible they Haleigh got up herself or if maybe she walked out the backdoor. I even asked investigators if the kid sleep walks, but they kept saying over and over, she will not leave and she will not get up and get out of bed, because she is extremely afraid of the dark. That is what investigators and the family have told us numerous times.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew Findling, why doesn`t the sheriff and the people who have been speaking twice today, just come out? Why don`t they just come out and clarify this all? I mean if Misty passed the lie detector test, why not say she passed the lie detector test? She says she passed it.
FINDLING: I think right now they are trying to determine who is a suspect as one issue, but where is the child is another, and I think, you and I have to be convinced. I just am totally convinced that they`re also treating Misty as a 17-year-old.
I listened to what she said and you know what she sounded like? She sounded like my 17-year-old daughter when I said, "So who was at the party last night." I can ask it three different times, and every child 17-year- old is going to give you a different explanation.
And I think these detectives know that they`re dealing with that. Remember, it is not her that has the custodial issue here. It is the parents. The other thing they`re looking into is what kind of behavior did she exhibit during the child in the past?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to get to that right after the break. Hang tight, we have so much to get to.
Don`t forget: Nancy Grace is up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest on the search for Haleigh.
And right here on ISSUES, my expert panel will weigh in on the shocking new developments in the disappearance of little Haleigh Cummings. Do you think police are closing in on a suspect? Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297, and let me know.
But first I want you to listen to the desperate 911 call from Haleigh`s father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUMMINGS: I just got home from work and my 5-year-old daughter is gone. I need somebody to be here now, I`m telling you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to me, listen.
CUMMINGS: If I find whoever has my daughter before you all do, I`m killing them. I don`t care. I`ll spend the rest of my life in prison. I`m tell you, you can put it on record and I don`t care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. It`s OK, sir. We`ve got them on the way. Can you give me any -- what kind of the description of the pajamas she was wearing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) know, I was at work!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINICK PAPE, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT: It`s been a national man hunt from day one. We will take any lead, any place any time. I don`t know where this investigation is going to take us, and every lead is critical. So we will take anyone that will lead us to her recovery or lead us to a subject (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The special agent in charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement emphasizing that the search for Haleigh Cummings has been a national manhunt from the very start.
I`m back taking your phone calls on this case. Give me a holler to join the discussion: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-685-7297. Phone lines totally jam-packed.
Carrie in Florida, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Yes. I remember Casey Anthony`s fiance saying that Casey was jealous because she believed he cared more for Caylee more than her. So I`m wondering, did Misty also have issues with jealousy regarding her boyfriend`s daughter? Was there friction between Misty and Haleigh?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow! That, I have to say, I didn`t know where that question was going, but that is a pretty fantastic question when you think about it, Gaby Cora, because we can never forget about the psychological underpinnings of any kind of criminal case and what the conditions are leading up to something like this.
CORA: And you know, this is -- this is a great question and could hypothetically this be an issue. And yes, it could, but we have to remember that we do not really know if there was that kind of a motivation. On the other hand, we do know that there was a 17-year-old taking care of two young children.
But Drew Findling, by the same token, published reports are indicating the Florida Department of Children and Families is confirming that the agency was involved with this family, indicating a possible investigation involving the children.
Now, this was a published report that we haven`t been able to independently confirm, but we have reached out to the authorities to try to get it confirmed. If it`s true, if the Department of Children and Families was involved in some way, shape or form, and remember, Ron has complete custody, full custody, what does it say?
FINDLING: Well, let`s -- let`s start by addressing the caller, and that is there were two children there. So that`s really not resolving any jealousy issue by one child disappearing.
I think more importantly the reason why you`re going to see child services involved is what we`ve talked about, and that is you have a family where a dad is working through the night and has the equivalent of an 11th grade girl, who`s apparently his girlfriend, caring for two little children, who in my best definition, had she been the mother, which she`s not, would have had them at 12 and 13. Which just indicates she`s not ready to care for children through the night like this.
That`s a statement as to why you need the Department of Family and Child Services from time to time to look into a family like this or, unfortunately, it doesn`t seem at this point possibly to be a good ending to this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Stephanie, California. Question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Hey, I was wondering if they have thoroughly checked all the neighbors within that mobile home park, because we had a case in San Diego County with little Danielle Van Dam.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. I remember her.
CALLER: And it was the neighbor, and he was able to see the schedules of the mom and dad and the kids, and he was able to see the daughter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, interesting that you should say that, because Jennifer Bauer, the paternal grandmother, says that she feels it`s somebody that had to know that Ron was at work at night, because they wouldn`t come in and want to confront a man.
BAUER: Yesterday -- yesterday, local, state and even federal investigators were back out into that mobile home neighborhood, going door to door. They tell us they knocked on some 300 homes and interviewed homeowners.
A lot of people who live in this area don`t live here full time. A lot of what we call snow birds, people who live up north most of the year and then come down to this part of Florida for the winter may not have been here last week. So investigators told us today some 300 homes, they`ve gone back and re-interviewed and talked to neighbors.
Debbie in Michigan. Question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Yes. Jane, I enjoy watching your program.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CALLER: I have a comment and a question. My comment is I had heard on one of the previous programs that Misty was molested by a cousin, and I can understand if that happened to her by a cousin why would she allow him in that house with that little girl? Unbelievable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There have been so many different stories and again, the key is to verify them, Jennifer?
BAUER: Yes, you know, we have not heard anything about that or not been able to confirm anything about that. Of course, we are getting the majority of our information from investigators here on the scene.
And, as you know, for eight days they have been extremely tight- lipped, and not because they necessarily want to be, but because they feel it is just Heard anything about that or not been able to confirm anything about that. Of course, we are getting the majority of our information from investigators here on the scene.
And as you know for eight days they have been extremely tight-lipped and not because they necessarily want to be, but because they feel it is just crucial to this investigation and crucial to bringing the 5-year-old back home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are absolutely right. We have so much more to cover. Stick around. Much more to come on the Haleigh Cummings` case. I want to hear your take. Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
But first, how did the abductor get into the home? Here is the 911 call placed by Haleigh`s father`s girlfriend regarding the crucial backdoor. You`ve got to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the door look like it was pried open?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it look like you had some sort of -- someone tried to enter into your house?
CROSLIN: Um -- hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And another thing, make sure you and your husband don`t touch the door anymore. Don`t mess with the door or anything.
CROSLIN: No, it doesn`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We obtained information through our investigation that young Haleigh was, in fact, not wearing the pink shirt as reported at the time of her disappearance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So much in question tonight. Little Haleigh not wearing a pink shirt at the time of her disappearance as previously reported.
Back with my panel and the phone lines lighting up. Sharon in Florida, question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: yes. Is Haleigh`s father going to be charged with having sex with a minor when this is all over? If he were a coach or a teacher he would be in jail already.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Drew Findling, you hinted at this issue earlier.
FINDLING: Well, he -- there is not going to be a charge for that, because she is of majority at 17 years old. The difference between a teacher and a student is that that is considered sexual assault upon a person in custody, even though they`re not really in custody. That`s what we consider the student/teacher relationship.
So you may be disturbed by the fact that he`s 25 and she`s 17 and he`s leaving her in the care of a 5- and a 4-year-old. It`s disturbing but not illegal, just uncomfortable for all of us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I`ve been thinking about everything, because there`s been so much breaking news. And again, this is only one person`s claim. It`s a tip that police got that they`re checking out a claim that Misty left the house. They say they have no reason to believe that it`s true at this point.
But, if you think about it hypothetically, Joe Navarro, if you`re baby-sitting, let`s say kids, you`re not going to leave them when they`re up. You`re more likely to leave them after they`ve fallen asleep. Hypothetically, to account for the open door, would it be possible, if this is true -- and again, I`m just totally speaking hypothetically -- that the kids fell asleep, she left, left the door open, went outside for whatever reason -- to see a friend or get a smoke or something innocent -- comes back and at that time is when she finds little Haleigh missing?
JOE NAVARRO, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, it`s certainly possible, and like I said, we don`t know all the facts. It is possible.
But look at it this way. If she was in the house, you know, and they live in a trailer. And if you`ve ever been in one of those trailers, they`re very noisy. When you walk through those things the floors vibrate. It just seems inconceivable to me that she was not aware that someone was, you know, inside that residence and has no explanation for the...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, every morning I wake up and I tiptoe around getting coffee, and I don`t necessarily wake up the people in the house. I mean, you can be quiet. And people are asleep. They call it dead asleep because they`re asleep. I don`t think that`s necessarily significant.
Let me get to this, though. Sometimes it`s really hard to know what the police are saying when they come out and they give press conferences in the midst of a search. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSE: The investigation, we feel pretty confident, as to the general timeline when the girlfriend last saw Haleigh to the time when she reported it on the 911 call. That`s the timeline we`re focusing on. But there again, as far as the timeline prior to and afterwards, we`re not releasing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gaby, I have ten seconds. I didn`t understand what he was talking about.
CORA: Well, I`m not particularly clear about that either. But I think -- I think there are so many things about this case that we need to try to figure out and, you know, someone -- an adult wouldn`t know when a child is walking around.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It doesn`t make sense.
Jennifer, Gaby, thank you so much. Drew, Joe, stick around. Coming up, breaking developments in the Caylee Anthony case. New inconsistencies, bombshell evidence could be revealed tomorrow.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Five-year-old Haleigh Cummings now missing for eight days as investigators focus tips and new leads, the family holds out hope she`ll be returned safely. In just moments I`ll speak to the Cummings family pastor to see how the family stays positive.
But first, breaking developments in the Caylee Anthony case: Mom Casey`s defense team is given access to mounds of evidence. How will this affect their strategy? And conflicting reports emerge about a key clue in the murder that could make or break this case.
The interview with Haleigh Cummings` family pastor in just moments, but first, major breaking developments tonight in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation. Exactly how was Caylee Anthony murdered? Did she suffer? The answer to those crucial questions could be revealed tomorrow as a mountain of discovery is expected to be released.
Tonight, WFTV reports we should expect, quote, "bombshell information tomorrow that could be very damaging to Casey." Could it bring the death penalty back into play? Were Casey Anthony`s fingerprints on the duct tape over Caylee`s mouth?
Tonight some sources say yes, others no, some say there`s no answer yet at all. We should know more tomorrow and we will bring you it all tomorrow right here on "ISSUES."
Also tonight, word of another hospitalization: this time it`s Casey Anthony`s defense attorney, Jose Baez who has been in the bright hot spotlight almost as much as his client. Baez checked into the hospital Friday for stomach pain two days after he received the stack of evidence.
Is there a connection? Could it be stress? Tonight he says he is still fully capable of defending Casey in court.
Joining me now to discuss all this: Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney; Jill Davis, criminal defense attorney; as well as Joe Navarro, former FBI agent and author of "What Everybody is Saying: An ex- FBI`s agent`s guide to speed reading;" plus investigative reporter Leslie Nodalski.
Leslie, what is the very latest?
LESLIE NODALSKI, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well Jane, these new documents basically will show how investigators think little Caylee Anthony was murdered and if she suffered at the time of her death. It`s going to show information about what they took from the Anthony home after Caylee`s remains were found.
There`s also going to be reports about the crime scene, what evidence was taken from there and sent to FBI labs and their reports on that evidence. There`s going to be witness statements and there`s going to be computer evidence and now is the time to place your bets on the fingerprint evidence.
As you know, there have been reports out there that, yes, Casey Anthony`s fingerprints were found on the duct tape that was found around Caylee Anthony`s head.
Now, some media outlets in Orlando are saying, yes, their sources are saying Casey`s fingerprints are all over the place. Some outlets are saying no, they`re not there and then some of course are saying the tests haven`t even been done yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it is so fascinating to me, Joe Navarro, when we get all sorts of sources leaking completely conflicting information. We have diametrically opposed stories from different sources about the fingerprints.
How does that happen? I mean, is that like -- well, the defense leaks something and then the prosecution leaks something totally different?
JOE NAVARRO, FORMER FBI AGENT & PROFILER: Well, big cases, big leaks and who knows where all this information is coming from. In the end, what it boils down to is what is filed in discovery and what`s filed before the court in a trial. And that`s really all that matters, but I`ve got to tell you, defense has to be considering the weight of the government`s evidence in deciding do we want to go through this whole event or do we need to be thinking about possibly making a deal?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Plea bargain.
DREW FINDLING, ATLANTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think it`s any time to be even thinking about a plea. We don`t know what the evidence is going to show tomorrow.
And in answer to your question about these sources, I think that these sources are people that seek attention. Whether it`s a bounty hunter that wants to get his face on TV so he gets his face on TV by saying --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We know who you`re talking about and we`re going to get to that in a second.
FINDLING: Ok, by saying he knows about the fingerprint evidence. It`s just people that are seeking attention and unfortunately taking advantage of a horrible situation like this to get attention for themselves.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Jill Davis, I do think though, if this evidence that is released tomorrow is as bad as this one local station is saying it`s going to be, shouldn`t there be consideration of a possible plea bargain or perhaps putting Casey on the stand? How about putting Casey the stand to discuss it?
JILL DAVIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If the state really does have duck tape that has the mother`s fingerprints on it I think it changes the whole dynamics of how this case will go forward.
Before that, issues about the death penalty in any kind of plea bargain, where so speculative but if they had duct tape that has her fingerprints on it then, again, the whole dynamic of this case will change. But then again, we`ve had the attorney, the defense attorney going to the hospital.
So who knows?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, yes.
DAVIS: And as far as the --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m getting an ulcer just talking about it. Can you imagine if you were actually the defense attorney handling this case? As you`ve mentioned Casey`s defense attorney Jose Baez checked himself into the hospital Friday complaining of stomach pains. Stress is always a factor for lawyers in these huge cases.
Remember back to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995? Deputy District Attorney William Hodgeman literally collapsed from all the pressure during a prosecution strategy session. He complained of chest pains and began gasping for air. This is Hodgeman; he went to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with acute anxiety resulting from stress.
Drew Findling? Is it possible that Baez`s recent hospitalization was due to a similar type of stress? I mean, just look at him in this video constantly being inundated with media questions and being at the center of really a firestorm?
FINDLING: Jane, I`m disappointed. I thought you`re going to talk about Michael Jackson being in a hospital and coming to court in pajamas -- you let me down, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was there that day, let me tell you. I don`t want to go there. It`s too traumatizing for me, personally.
FINDLING: Listen, this business is as stressful as anything you could imagine. No matter what you may think of the effort that Baez puts in how aggressively he perceives this case. When all is and said done and he puts his head on the pillow at the end of night he knows that this is a life imprisonment case, if not, if there`s aggravating circumstances possibly a death penalty case.
It is stressful, the material, the paper, the forensic you get. When you`re away from the TV cameras and away from the court, that`s when the hard work takes place at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning eating peanut butter raisin cups and drinking 12 cups of coffee, it will wear you down.
DAVIS: Yes but --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
DAVIS: But Jane, he`s only been licensed about three years, I mean when I learned that of course, well of course he`s stressed. He`s not capable. He`s not competent. I mean, I have a hard time believing that someone who is only been licensed for three years or somewhere in that vicinity is qualified to take on a case of this magnitude.
I mean, no wonder he`s stressed out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s an excellent point and there are those who say that we`ve been unfairly and I say we, the media in general has been unfairly beating up on this man and he`s actually done a pretty good job considering. And I think it be very hard to judge how you could do a job like this without actually being in his shoes because it`s got to be really a unique experience.
The question of Casey`s fingerprints on the duck tape has been around for so long. Take a listen to Drew Findling`s favorite guy, bounty hunter Leonard Padilla on "The Nancy Grace Show" last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, "THE NANCY GRACE SHOW" ANCHOR: Leonard, what do you know, if anything, about sources reporting fingerprints were lifted off the duct tape?
LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: I heard this morning that there were fingerprints and that the prints are Casey`s on the duct tape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, there you heard it, Padilla says the fingerprints were on the duct tape. Some news networks agree. Other news organizations now reporting no fingerprints; then there`s another scenario, WFTV reporting that there was yet no clear answer about the fingerprints.
Joe Navarro, this poor child`s body was discovered December 11th. You would think at this point you would at least have a determination of whether or not there were fingerprints there.
NAVARRO: Well, it`s difficult because look when the body was found, look at where it had to be secured photograph process and so forth and you have to determine and sometimes it`s not easy, where on the duct tape are the fingerprints?
Are they on the topside of the duct tape or are they on the mastic side.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But does that take months?
NAVARRO: It doesn`t take month, but you have to remember that a lot of crime labs are very busy and this is one of many very important cases now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to leave it right there. I am so sorry, but I have to tell you tomorrow is going to be a big day in the case and we`ll have the very latest.
So please join us for the release of all that information. Drew, Jill, Joe, Leslie, thank you.
A quick reminder: "Nancy Grace" up next and she will have an update on the Caylee Anthony case.
And here on "ISSUES" I`ll have an update on the disappearance of five- year-old Haleigh Cummings. As police continue their frantic search, family and friends gathered tonight to pray for Haleigh`s safe return.
Up next I will speak to Reverend Terry Wright, the family`s pastor. He led tonight`s service and has known Haleigh`s father for three years. Don`t go anywhere.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In just moments I will speak to the psychiatrist who is filing a complaint against the octo-mom.
But first, the "Top of the Block" tonight.
Police are following new leads in the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings. Meantime, the family is in limbo waiting for answers. I told you we would speak to the Cummings` family pastor. So joining me now by phone is Reverend Terry Wright.
Reverend, you just led a vigil that ended moments ago for little Haleigh Cummings. Tell us about her father, where is he right now and how is he holding up emotionally.
REV. TERRY WRIGHT, CUMMINGS PASTOR: Yes hey, Jane. Yes, I want to say thank you first of all for allowing your show to be used to really help keep Haleigh and this case before the American people.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you.
WRIGHT: On behalf of the family, thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, thank you and our prayers are that somehow we say something that triggers something when they`re looking at that child`s face that will give somebody reason to call and provide a crucial lead to get this child back safely.
WRIGHT: Yes, absolutely.
Ronald was here tonight, of course and obviously very moved; a lot of tears, but a lot of hope. The folks are really leaning on their faith right now. And we got together tonight to find our hope and confidence in Christ and his character in his nature. And I can tell you it was an amazing service.
The room was filled. A lot of folks there and a lot of folks from every denomination and every walk of life, you can imagine, and leaders in our community coming together to go before the Lord in prayer and to lean on the character of the Lord and to ask them to intervene in this situation so strongly. Ronald is doing well, but he wants his daughter back.
He`s not sleeping. He`s not resting. He wants his daughter back and that`s understandable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend, what I think is so hard for him to deal with is the helplessness. I mean, he wants to do something to find his daughter. He begged EquuSearch to stay even though they said that they basically have done their job and they packed up and left for the time being.
He went on horseback around the neighborhood looking for his daughter. How do you help him deal with the fact that he is helpless at this point to help his daughter in the way he wants to?
WRIGHT: Yes, boy, I`ll tell you, that is so hard. What we`ve tried to do with Ronald and the whole family is point them to two things. First of all, we have very, very competent and capable men and women on the ground here in our sheriff`s office; very capable people.
The FBI has been here, FDLA has been here. So the first thing we do is we focus on the people who are trained to do this, who have faced these things before and we help them. And then second, we validate the fact that as a dad, he cares more than anyone else.
It is right for him to care more about everyone else. It`s right for him to want to do more to find his daughter than everyone else. So we just say to him those feelings are right, but let`s trust the law enforcement that`s on the ground and then finally let`s trust our faith.
Our faith in Christ that he`s bigger than the statistical facts that we understand that 24 hours the probability is this, at 72 it`s this. But God`s bigger than that and so it`s my job as his pastor to remind him that the character of God is firm and fixed even when the people around him, you know, maybe are not moving as fast as he would like or get any results that we all desire.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Reverend Wright, it definitely sounds like he is in good hands and I want to thank you for taking the time. I want to thank you for your prayer, and I hope you come back and continue to update us. And again, we hope that there is a happy ending to this story and that we can somehow have cause for celebration and find this poor little child alive.
Thank you, sir.
There is yet new outrage over the audacity of octo-mom Nadya Suleman. TMZ.com caught up with her and believe it or not, she insists she`s not a celebrity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADYA SULEMAN, OCTO-MOM: I`m not a celebrity, thank you, I`m not a celebrity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re absolutely a celebrity. You`ve got paparazzi around you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are they coping?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they excited?
N. SULEMAN: It hasn`t been real to them yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do they know how many there are?
N. SULEMAN: Yes. They do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you thinking of starting a reality show when your kids are grown up.
N. SULEMAN: No, I think that`s exploitation of my kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All this as a well known Beverly Hills psychiatrist has filed a 24-point complaint against octo-mom with the California Department of Child Protective Services. Dr. Carole Lieberman wants to make sure those eight newborns are never allowed to step foot in the octo- mom`s home. Claiming they would be in danger there, instead she wants them to be adopted out.
I want to hear from you. The number 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586- 7297.
But first let me bring in my very special guest, Lisa Bloom, anchor of "In Session" and Dr. Carole Lieberman, the very psychiatrist at the center of this latest firestorm.
Dr. Lieberman, a lot of people are upset about this case obviously. You`ve taken it to the next level and you`re actually filling a complaint against octo-mom. What`s your basic argument here?
DR. CAROLE LIEBERMAN, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, I filed it last week and my argument is that the children are in danger. I believe that her children that are at home now, the first six children have already been abused in the sense that they`ve been neglected and emotionally abused because they feel as though they are not enough since she had to go and have eight more.
And certainly the eight that are preemies in the hospital when they come into this environment can`t help, but be emotionally abused and neglected because there is no way that even a mother of the year would be able to have enough love and attention to divide themselves amongst these 14 children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Lisa Bloom, do you agree that these children should be adopted out and I want to say that it`s creating a whole new set of controversies. The octo-mom`s father, Ed Suleman, responded and please forgive me, Dr. Lieberman, don`t blame the messenger. "Lieberman needs a psychologist herself." What do you make of all this?
LISA BLOOM, "IN SESSION" ANCHOR: Well, listen I think it`s premature to say those kids should be taken away entirely, but I do agree that an investigation is certainly warranted. Legally the standard is, are they in imminent risk of harm. And I think there`s no question that they are in imminent risk of neglect because she doesn`t just have 14 kids.
She`s have 14 kids under the age of 7 so the older ones --
BLOOM: -- are not old enough to help with the younger ones. She has no visible means of support. She`s on food stamps, for goodness sake and I mean it just does not look like anything good can happen here now.
This can be remedied if she gets mom and dad to help or volunteers from the community are going to come in and help. I mean it can be solved; she can keep those kids because certainly an investigation needs to be done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, depending on the day it`s kind of hard to figure out whether octo-granny is supporting or slamming her daughter.
DR. LIEBERMAN: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen to what she tells CBS "Early Show" about the reaction of her other six grandchildren to the new members of the brood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s talk about the others. How are they? What is their feeling about the new babies?
ANGELA SULEMAN, GRANDMOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: Well, they were actually asked, and they said they didn`t want them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said they didn`t want them?
SULEMAN: They didn`t want them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You just heard it.
DR. LIEBERMAN: Exactly. That`s what I was saying. The problem is, even if Nadya got the best qualified people to help her take care of the physical needs of their children, the changing and eating and so on, she personally does not have the psychological suitability.
We`ve seen her every day, like with the clip that you just showed. "I`m not a celebrity." She`s not a celebrity. And yet she got herself -- she had plastic surgery to look like Angelina Jolie. She said she didn`t know about that. And yet it turns out --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s a liar. She is a proven liar. We have to take a quick break.
BLOOM: We can`t take the kids away from every woman in L.A. who`s had plastic surgery. She clearly has problems. Let`s show compassion to her and those babies.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back in a minute with more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADYA SULEMAN, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: I`m not really talking about it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do you expect to (INAUDIBLE)?
N. SULEMAN: Probably really soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a clip from tmz.com. Sure sounds like octo- mom determined to bring those babies home, despite what Dr. Lieberman wants.
Karen, Maryland; question or thought, ma`am?
KAREN FROM MARYLAND: I`m wondering if there`s a legal loop hole where they can hold the mother (AUDIO GAP) responsible, or at least in this case the doctor?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, do you want to take that one?
BLOOM: No. The father was a sperm donor. He has no legal responsibility for these children, assuming that they did everything the way that they`re supposed to do it. And this is done via a doctor. That`s what we understand.
He would not have the right to seek custody. He would not have any legal rights here whatsoever.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just don`t think we should punish the children, Dr. Lieberman. Wouldn`t it be very traumatic for these eight babies to be -- they wouldn`t be adopted by one person, they would probably be adopted out separately if that happened. And that could be very traumatic for the children as well.
I`m not saying the conditions in the home are good. I think it`s a mess and it`s a problem, but it`s almost like there is no good answer.
DR. LIEBERMAN: First of all, I have a lot of compassion for this woman. She has a lot of deep psychological problems that caused her to have these children in the first place. And she is exploiting them.
What I think is the best solution is that each of these children before they bond with her more and get taken to a home where they`ll be in danger, physical and psychological danger, that they each be given to a home where they can be the focus of attention and get enough love and attention.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I blame the media, Lisa Bloom. For years, I was a local news reporter and anchor, and I had to do these stories, and read these stories, and they always wanted a, just glowing feature about the miracle of birth. You tried to bring up serious issues, stick to the copy, honey.
The media uses these multiple births for their own purposes without discussing the ramifications.
BLOOM: We are all part of that, of course, because we are both media talk show hosts, you and me, Jane. I think in many ways I think she`s become the new boogey woman; the new Willy Horton.
We blame all of our society`s evils on her. She`s soaking up tax dollars. She had all these babies. She had plastic surgery.
This is a troubled woman, no question about it, who has too many kids and it was irresponsible of her to do that. Dr. Lieberman, you should know that before children get taken out of a home, typically there are services provided. Send her to parenting classes. Seat with the members of the community, members of her church can come in and help her with these children. Instead of ripping them away from the only parent that they have.
DR. LIEBERMAN: The point is, preemies have -- are vulnerable to abuse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are out of time. I am so sorry. Let`s continue this debate soon. Come back. Thank you both for joining me.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you are watching "ISSUES" on HLN.