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More Witnesses Deposed in Casey Anthony Case; New Organization to Protect Children from Predators

Aired April 2, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, as America braces for the release of another stack of sure to be shocking evidence, Casey Anthony`s defense is on the attack and not letting up. Jose Baez grills three corrections officers and controversial private eye Jim Hoover, who`s made shocking claims about the Anthonys.

Meantime, did Casey experience a personality transformation after giving birth to Caylee? That`s what Casey`s childhood friend told the "National Enquirer". Kiomarie Cruz claims Casey started drinking and doing drugs. We`ll analyze.

And the disappearance of little Haleigh Cummings. More shocking claims about mystery man Greg made on our show last night.

KIM PICAZIO, LAWYER FOR CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD: He continues to maintain he was not with Misty that night.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But other reports claim Misty was with a man around the time little Haleigh vanished. Does Misty know more about Greg than she`s letting on? I`ll examine their alleged relationship and see if it could hold the key to Haleigh`s disappearance.

Then, a frenzied search under way for beautiful California girl Sandra Cantu. The 8-year-old vanished in broad daylight, just minutes from her home last Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring her home. I love you, honey. Please come home soon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are cops following up on one man who admitted he kissed little Sandra on the lips? I`ll have the very latest developments.

Plus, two parents who lived through the terror of having their own children abducted turn heartache into a revolutionary new idea. And I`ll speak to Ed Smart and Erin Runnion about their dynamic new plan.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Outrageous shockers in the Casey Anthony case. More crucial depositions today as we gear up for the murder trial of the 23- year-old mom. Her attorney, Jose Baez, grilled three potentially damaging witnesses.

Former Anthony family private investigator Jim Hoover could be the most treacherous witness of all. Hoover claims he originally got involved to help the Anthonys.


JIM HOOVER, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I`ve been a body guard previously, you know. I just thought these people needed help. I went down there to offer my help as an independent citizen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But is Hoover just a turncoat opportunist now spreading ugly rumors about Anthony family? Here is Hoover, who seems to like to gossip, claiming he saw signs of an intimate relationship between Cindy Anthony and another private eye, Dominic Casey.


HOOVER: They were, like, holding hands and doing this kind of thing, and she was talking about he`s -- he`s her rock. If it weren`t for him, she wouldn`t be able to get through him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was George doing if they were holding hands? My God.

HOOVER: I`m sure he was uncomfortable. And then of course...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who started rubbing whose arm?

HOOVER: It`s -- you know, it starts out like, you know, holding hands and patting the hands and doing this kind of thing. But, you know...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you saw that, what did you think?

HOOVER: I`m thinking -- I`m thinking you wouldn`t be doing that with my wife.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? With friends like these, who needs enemies? Just how is Jose Baez going to punch holes in Hoover`s accusations?

Meantime, Casey Anthony`s former friend, Kiomarie Cruz, who was deposed yesterday by Baez, has been spilling lots of Casey Anthony`s dirty laundry. Listen to what she told the "National Enquirer" before her deposition.


KIOMARIE CRUZ, FORMER FRIEND OF CASEY ANTHONY: I saw her (UNINTELLIGIBLE)). She started drinking and doing stuff that I would never do in my entire life. She was also smoking weed at one point.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So along with liar, thief, add drug user to the potentially devastating allegations Casey`s defense team will have to deal with. But will the fact that Kiomarie sold her story to the "National Enquirer" take the wind out of her sails?

So many issues. And we`re taking your calls. Give me a holler: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

First, my fantastic expert panel: Debbie Magids, psychologist; Darren Kavinoky, defense attorney, also known as the voice of reason; Robert Castelli, professor and former investigator with the New York state police; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor. And joining us by phone, the one and only Rozzie Franco, a reporter for WFLA in Florida.

Rozzie, what is the very latest?

ROZZIE FRANCO, REPORTER, WFLA: Jane, today Casey Anthony`s defense turned their attention to three correction officers and also private investigator Jim Hoover. He was focusing on the jail sergeant, Billy Richardson, and grilling him for close to three hours today.

Richardson was the individual who took Casey to the jail nursing station whenever she learned that Caylee`s remains were discovered back in December. Now fair to say that video cameras from the nurse`s TV recorded her doubling over and hyperventilating.

Also -- also, they spoke to a corrections lieutenant, Tammy Unger (ph), who was responsible for telling investigators about conversations she heard between Casey and her attorney, Baez. And corrections officer Marlene Baker, who handled the letter that Casey wrote to former Orange County sheriff Kevin Berry in request to speak to her father, George Anthony.

Now the defense is accusing the jail officers of serious violations, including violating the attorney/client privilege. The defense says Casey`s right to privacy was absolutely violated.

And lastly, we know Baez deposed private investigator Jim Hoover. Hoover says the other private investigator who was working with Dominic Casey had inside information to where Caylee`s body was found.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So much to cover. Let`s start with Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor, about this meltdown. I mean, obviously prosecutors would love to use this video of her doubling over and melting down, hyperventilating and asking for medication on the day the remains were discovered while she was sitting there in front of the TV set watching the breaking news, but long before those remains were identified as being her daughter, as consciousness of guilt.

Can they do it? And what questions should Baez ask today or did he ask today, do you think, to try to punch holes in that plan?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, something very interesting that people have to remember. Sometimes what appears to be great relevant -- not relevant, great evidence for the prosecution has to be handled with kid gloves. Because you have to understand something. This type of evidence can cut both ways.

The prosecutor, as a prosecutor, would say, this is consciousness of guilt. Look at her reaction. Look what`s going on. The defense is going to get up on the other side and say this is a mother who now is grieving because possibly, it is the remains of her daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but can I jump in?

There were other times where we thought we had found remains. and there were other breaking news days. And those turned out to not be true and accurate, and she didn`t seem to have the same reaction.

I think the prosecution is going to say, look, this particular time, when it turned out to be Caylee`s remains later, she has this reaction because she knows that she buried the child there.

HONOWITZ: That`s exactly what the prosecution -- you make a very great argument for the prosecution. And certainly they might try to do that.

But sometimes, Jane, you have the remember something. In this case, there is so much -- there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence. Does the prosecution really need this piece of evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she killed her child? That is the strategy that they`re going to have to sit and wonder before they try to admit this evidence. It could be crucial, but it could go the other way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I also want to ask you about all of this circumstantial evidence, because we have poured over it for so many months now. Have we robbed it of its shock effect? In other words, everybody feels like they`ve already gone through the trial, so when the prosecutors actually present all this evidence at trial, is it going to be a big yawn?

DARREN KAVINOKY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that is one of the dangers. And, of course, when we`re talking about circumstantial evidence, we must remember that there are special rules that generally apply to it. So before we can draw any inference from evidence, the -- the thing that -- from which we draw the inference must be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt.

But let`s not forget, and your question really goes to this. Are people going to have issue fatigue? Are they going to be bored of this stuff because it`s all come out already? And trials really are a theatrical experience, orchestrated by the attorneys that are putting it on. It`s a real danger for prosecutors here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Also deposed today, by Baez, private eye Jim Hoover. He`s the one who made that controversial videotape of another Anthony family private eye, Dominic Casey, searching the woods where Caylee`s remains were later found, about a month later.

Hoover says he volunteered to help the Anthonys out of the goodness of his heart, because they were being attacked in their own home and he saw it on TV and he got in his car and drove over to help them. But in his previous depo, he was already starting to churn up rumors. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George ever tell you that he thought that he and Cindy were probably going to be divorced when this thing was over?

HOOVER: He -- well, he used the term -- the term he used was they wouldn`t be together.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Debbie Magids, what do you make of this guy who was deposed by Baez churning up all of this gossip and insinuating himself into this case? Does he also sort of rob himself of any credibility because he seems to be nosy?

DEBBIE MAGIDS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, clearly this guy is an opportunistic guy. And he is -- is robbing himself of all credibility, because once you start getting in the middle of gossip and starting to sell your story all over the place, who can really listen to you anymore? I think, you know, the defense can really dig holes in this guy for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Bob Castelli, you`re the former investigator. It seems like every single witness for the prosecution has some big problem that could make them toxic, essentially.

BOB CASTELLI, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: Absolutely. I mean, this -- this becomes soap operatic, rather than, you know, a great murder case here.

But you know, the importance thing to remember is for the defense`s part. All they`ve got to do is make sure that there is some form of reasonable doubt established here.

And while this has become a circus in many ways, the fact is, a lot of the stuff here that is circumstantial -- and I might add, having investigated cases like this, I`d rather have a good circumstantial case sometimes than a highly technical case. The prosecution may have a very good case here, but the circus atmosphere of this is continuing to put the -- the potential for the reasonable doubt in a lot of people`s mind here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz?

HONOWITZ: This circus won`t be taking place in court. In other words, all these things that we discuss, that we hear about, these witnesses, these depositions, doesn`t mean that any of this evidence is coming into the actual courtroom. And you better hope that these jurors that are picked have not been listening to this stuff, because that`s exactly what...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, good luck with that, Stacey.

OK. More on these explosive depositions in just a moment. Who do you think will be the key prosecution witness, the star witness against Casey Anthony? Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. Let me know.

And new shockers in the Haleigh Cummings disappearance. Controversy swirls around a mystery man named Greg. Does Misty hold the key?

First, Casey`s childhood friend says the site where Caylee`s remains were found has special meaning to Casey. Is that why back in July, Casey said her daughter was close to home?


LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY: Do you think Caylee is OK?

CASEY ANTHONY, CHARGED WITH MURDERING DAUGHTER: My gut feeling? As Mom asked me yesterday and they asked me last night and the psychologist asked me this morning that I met with through the court. In my gut, she is still OK and it still feels like she`s -- she`s close to home. So, that is still my best feeling of the moment.




JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: So much negative things. So much inaccurate things. Have been said about Casey Anthony, that I think no one has the first clue of who she really is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Attorney Jose Baez suggesting we don`t really know who Casey Anthony is. Guess we`re going to have to wait until the trial to find out.

I`m back with my expert panel, and we`re taking your calls. So many calls coming in.

Chenna, Connecticut, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Really quickly, whether some of this evidence comes in or not, I don`t think the prosecution needs it. If I was a juror, once I saw the original facts of the case, that those 31 days went by and it was Cindy who ultimately called the police, it`s a done deal for me. She`s done. Guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you are so brilliant in that statement because, Darren Kavinoky, how does the defense -- use your imagination. Stretch it from here to Missouri -- come up with an explanation for why a mother would wait 30 days to report her own child missing?

KAVINOKY: Well, I`ve actually spoken to Jose Baez about this. And he tells me that there is a good explanation for this, and it will be coming out when the case ultimately goes to court. So we`ll all have to wait and stay tuned to hear that directly when the trial happens.

But this is one of the great challenges in this case. There`s all this evidence that`s out there, and it all points to Casey Anthony being a lousy human being on many, many levels. She`s lied; she`s stolen from her grandparents; she`s done drugs. She`s generally engaged in conduct unbecoming to a mother.

And somebody on the defense team has to be able to carry the flag of authenticity. They`ve got to be able to get out there and say to that -- to those jurors, "Look, we know she`s not a great -- a great person for all these reasons that you`re going to hear, but that`s not what she`s charged with. You`ve got to strictly follow the evidence, and that`s where the prosecution can`t meet its burden."

And until somebody can have that authenticity and really carry the day in front of the jury, that`s going to be the problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but, Stacey Honowitz, I love this idea that Jose Baez is keeping this secret of why she didn`t call cops for 30 days. And that dovetails with the fact that he subpoenaed records critical to the defense strategy, but he lost his bid to keep them secret. So now, has he actually focused attention on the very facts of the case that he was trying to keep under wraps?

HONOWITZ: Yes, absolutely. Everybody said at the very beginning, why are you even honing in on one theory of the defense? Why are you married to this theory that the -- the nanny and everything like that? He really kind of shot himself in the leg, I hate to say, because he has only stuck to this.

And right now, he`s keeping it a secret, and maybe it`s because he doesn`t know the answer to that secret. We`re going to have to wait and see in court what is he going to say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to take a wild bet that he`s going to say something like the reason she didn`t report it is that Zanny the nanny had connections to the cops and that she was afraid that, if she contacted the police then Zanny the nanny would find out, and something would happen to her daughter.


HONOWITZ: You`re going to buy into that one?

CASTELLI: You know what, anything is possible with this one. As I said, this is their -- there are so much theatrics here. The fact is, this may not be theatrics in the courtroom yet, but this is a pretty savvy defense attorney. He can bring his theatrics into the courtroom. And I think if he does so, he`s going to create a reasonable doubt there.

HONOWITZ: But, see, the one thing, Jane, you have to remember is you have to create a reasonable doubt as to the elements of the crime. You can walk in there with a ton of stuff and say, well, maybe, well, possibly. You can`t speculate. That`s the bottom line.


HONOWITZ: You have to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt based on the facts of this case, and it`s the elements of the crime that matter, not these other little issues that are going on on the side.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Speaking of issues, rumors have swirled over the identity of the father of little Caylee Anthony and over whether Casey even wanted to have a child. Let`s listen to what former friend -- emphasis on former -- Kiomarie Cruz told the "National Enquirer" back in December.


CRUZ: We were sitting there, and she was saying that "I was with a guy" and she said that the condom broke and that she didn`t think anything of it. And she did get pregnant from it, so she was panicky. And she said she didn`t tell her mom and then she kept backing out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kiomarie saying the condom broke and Casey got pregnant, afraid to tell her mom. And Nancy Grace suggested that Casey was even considering an abortion. And eventually, we know she wanted to give her child up for adoption.

All of this strikes me, Debbie Magids, as a prosecution argument that she didn`t want this child.

MAGIDS: I was going to say, I think this friend actually works towards being emotionally towards Casey. What young teenager or young person who gets pregnant doesn`t think about maybe they don`t want the baby, maybe to give it up for an abortion. It`s a pretty scary thing to happen. This isn`t an unusual thing. And I think the defense can use this to their liking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Judy, quick question or thought from Florida.

CALLER: Hi. My question is this. I`ve been wondering why Morgan has the ability to ask questions that are so far-ranging away from the Zenaida Gonzalez, the reason he`s having the deposition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey, take a crack. Ten seconds.

HONOWITZ: Well, depositions are very different from court. In depositions you really are allowed wide latitude to -- it`s an expedition. You want to find out every piece of information that this person might know. Doesn`t mean that that`s coming into court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it there. Thank you to my excellent panel. Come back soon.

Two families live through the nightmare of having their precious kids abducted, but now these courageous activist parents, Ed Smart, Erin Runnion, turning their heartache into a revolutionary new plan that every parent needs to know. I`ll speak to them.

Beautiful 8-year-old Sandra Cantu vanishes in broad daylight in California. The very latest from the search, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight, an all-out war on those who prey on the helpless. Two parents who were once victims themselves have now joined forces to fight for the safety of all of our kids. As two of the nation`s leading child advocates, they are here on ISSUES tonight to announce a new groundbreaking effort called "It Takes a Community."

I am so honored to have with me the national spokesperson, Erin Runnion. Her 5-year-old daughter, Samantha, was tragically abducted and murdered by a known sexual predator. And Ed Smart, his daughter, Elizabeth, was abducted from their home but miraculously recovered nine months later.

Erin, Ed, thank you so much for being here.

ED SMART, IT TAKES A COMMUNITY: Thank you for having us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erin, you suffered the ultimate horror of losing their precious, beautiful daughter. How does this new concept you`ve created train kids to protect themselves from abduction?

RUNNION: Well, we are using the radKIDS, the personal empowerment safety education program. And it teaches kids -- it doesn`t just tell them how to be safe. So our children actually become empowered to recognize, avoid, and if necessary, escape a dangerous predator.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but do you scare them in the process? I mean, these are young, impressionable kids. Can they end up becoming terrified of any stranger?

RUNNION: Really not. You know, Samantha had gone through a stranger danger program and that terrified her. That scared her a lot. And for a long time, I was afraid to teach children, because I didn`t want to scare them the way that she had been frightened.

But the truth is that with radKIDS, what I have seen is that children come out of that feeling like the boogie man was taken away. They took away his power, because they now realize their own power and ability to stop them.

Samantha was told to scratch and kick and scream, but she wasn`t told where to scratch and kick. And when we actually teach our children and practice with them, they learn how to do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ed, is there enough prevention on the offender`s side? Every time we catch one of these monsters, it seems like their history shows they were a ticking time bomb from early on. Shouldn`t we do more in schools?

I`ve suggested publicly group therapy in schools, teaching peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution, try to spot the violent kids early on so they can get help before they become killers.

SMART: You know, that would be a wonderful thing. I think that is one of the things that this concept does. It`s about taking Internet safety, the radKIDS` program, including the parents into watching their neighborhood, and also child I.D., wrapping it all into one program. We`re trying to get it into the school system so that our children can have an idea.

I think the biggest No. 1 issue is that children don`t know how to say no. They don`t know that it`s not right for somebody to touch them in the wrong place or how to deal with the situation. And that is what this program is all about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Erin, we`re so scared to teach our kids these life tools. I mean, reading, writing, arithmetic is great, but the primary thing has to be keeping your kids safe.

RUNNION: Exactly. You`re absolutely right. You know, we teach our children to buckle themselves in a seat belt, but we don`t teach them how to get away from somebody if they try to grab them.

And the fact of the matter is, that 90 percent of crimes against children are perpetrated by somebody the child knows and trusts. And that makes it so important to do just as Ed said, to say no, to resist that first attempt to be inappropriate with that child.

Children need to know that grown-ups don`t ask kids for help, that grown-ups should not touch them, no matter -- whether they`re nice or not. As soon as they`re inappropriate, that makes them a bad person, and they get to run and tell.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it there. You are both my heroes. Come back soon.

Meantime, a massive search for an 8-year-old child missing in California. An update, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A frenzied search underway for a beautiful California girl Sandra Cantu. The 8-year-old vanished in broad daylight just minutes from her home last Friday. Are cops following up on one man who admitted he kissed little Sandra on the lips?

And to the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings, more shocking claims about mystery man Greg made on our show last night.


KIM PICAZIO, CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD ATTORNEY: He continues to maintain he was not with Misty that night.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does Misty know more about Greg than she`s letting on?

Astonishing revelations in the case of missing Florida girl Haleigh Cummings in just minutes.

But first, another young girl on the other side of the country disappears without a trace. What is going on in this country? Eight-year- old Sandra Cantu vanished Friday afternoon from her mobile home community in Tracy, California, wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt and black leggings.

Family and friends devastated, completely dumb-founded over what could have happened to her.


ANGIE CHAVEZ, SANDRA CANTU`S AUNT: There`s no way she`d run away. This is a happy little girl. She`s eight years old. Where would she run away to?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sandra`s father, Danny Cantu has driven up from Mexico to be close to the investigation and says he`s not seen his daughter in one year. Authorities questioned him and say he`s not a suspect.

Danny Cantu, spoke to reporters and urged everybody to get the story right.


DANIEL CANTU, SANDRA CANTU`S FATHER: I understand what people would think and why they would think it. But before you go and open your mouth about somebody, get your story straight first. And at least make sure that it`s the truth before you talk.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And in perhaps the oddest twist yet, the 60-year-old man who admitted to kissing Sandra on the lips two years ago finally speaks out. Why would any man kiss a 6-year-old child? Could this alarming story be related to this case?

Let`s go straight to our panel: back with me, Robert Castelli, a former investigator with the New York State Police and joining the conversation, Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; also with me, a very special guest Angie Chavez, Sandra Cantu`s aunt; as well as Justin Lafferty, reporter with the Tracy Press and joining us on the phone Lt. Jeremy Watney, a PIO who`s a Tracy Police Department.

Lieutenant, we understand there`s some breaking news you`ve just reported a Hello Kitty T-shirt was found in the trash but apparently we`re hearing Sandra`s mother says it`s not hers. What do you know about all of this?

LT. JEREMY WATNEY, PIO, TRACY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, that`s correct. Yesterday at the transfer station, our volunteers came across a pink Hello Kitty T-shirt. We obviously booked it in as evidence. We showed a picture to Sandra`s mom who said that wasn`t her daughter`s T-shirt, was not her daughter`s T-shirt.

That doesn`t mean that we`re not going to continue to hold the T-shirt and run tests on it just to double check.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, a neighbor named Frank Wohler reportedly admitted to kissing Sandra on the lips when she was just six; this makes me sick to even say. Sandra`s grandmother apparently saw this and then he allegedly admitted it. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you know her? Was she a friend?

FRANK WOHLER, ADMITTED TO KISSING SANDRA: It was in the complex, came over to my space a few times, asked if I needed help. She came to my door a couple of times and said, you want help? I said, no thanks. So she went home and stayed there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they take anything?

WOHLER: Yes, they took a few things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they take?

WOHLER: Well, let`s see a couple of CDs. Things like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CDs? Anything else?

WOHLER: I don`t go into that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the record, you had nothing to do with it?

WOHLER: No. Nothing at all.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Lieutenant, he says he had nothing to do with any of this. Tell us about this man. What do you know?

WATNEY: Well, obviously when somebody starts making claims and accusations -- or claims like that, we`re going to follow that up. He`s been interviewed multiple times and may be interviewed in the future.

What we`re saying right now, is that we really haven`t ruled anybody out. It`s a wide-open investigation. We have ruled absolutely no one out. But obviously when somebody comes and starts making claims like that, we are going to follow up on it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he admit to kissing this girl?

WATNEY: Apparently he did on tape. I can`t get into the specifics of our interview with him, but apparently he did on TV.


Yes, that`s what we`re being told by my producer. Yes, he admitted this on tape. Wow, that is -- Curtis Sliwa, help me out with that. I just don`t even know where to begin. A 60-year-old man kisses a young girl on the lips?

CURTIS SLIWA, GUARDIAN ANGELS: What a sick freak. And yet obviously this situation took place. He lives in the confines of a trailer park, which there are many other young children, younger and a little older than the child who is missing.

And I understand, I may be incorrect, but he`s a martial arts instructor.


SLIWA: Do you realize how many parents and guardians probably entrusted their children to his care?

And then I`d be very interested in knowing in proximity to where the child was residing how many registered sex offenders, tier one, tier two, or tier three, actually live within the vicinity of...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have an answer for you. Approximately 80 and that`s what`s so crazy.

And by the way, we have to say we don`t know if that man has anything to do with any of this. He`s not a person of interest, he`s not a suspect. So you know, obviously horrific judgment on his part, but we can`t say anything more than that.

But, yes, Curtis, 80 sex offenders in the area and we have the whole issue of the dad. Now, here is the missing girl`s father talking to reporters about taking a polygraph.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you submit to a polygraph test? Have they given you...



D. CANTU: I could care less about it. Yes, I have no problems with any of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How frustrating is it that as you`re trying to find our daughter you have people saying that you may be to blame? It must make you furious.

D. CANTU: It`s normal. Wouldn`t you think that?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re very honored to have with us tonight Sandra Cantu`s aunt, Angie Chavez. Thank you for joining us.

What can you tell us about the father? I understand that he is not considered a suspect, but where was he -- I understand he drove up from Mexico.

CHAVEZ: Yes, that`s what I understand that he resides in Mexicali. And he drove up and was here on Sunday.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what do you know about him?

CHAVEZ: I don`t know much about him at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You don`t know anything about him?

CHAVEZ: Yes, I don`t know much about him. No, not at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask our reporter who has been covering this. What about the focus on the garbage dump? Now, there are 97 mobile homes in this small community. So obviously this is a huge undertaking.

They got to talk to all the people in all of those mobile homes. They`re searching a garbage dump. They`re also searching waterways. This is a massive undertaking. Justin?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about the undertaking.

LAFFERTY: Well, they said they searched the river earlier today. Again, they said they searched at the dump, they found a Hello Kitty T- shirt, but it -- the mother said it wasn`t the same T-shirt that she had been wearing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, apparently there`s a second man who is not a person of interest and, Justin, speak up, shout so we can hear you because there`s a lot of wind there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a second man who was arrested on Monday on suspicion of interfering with police when they searched his mobile home. And he has some kind of a history. Tell us about the second man.

LAFFERTY: The second man does have a criminal history. I can`t really get too far into it, but he does have other criminal charges. I know they arrested, cited and released him on Monday night.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I understand that he`s been accused of public intoxication and that there have been restraining orders taken out against this guy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. But, again, not a person of interest, not a suspect. These are just -- let me go back to Curtis Sliwa. In a place like this where you have 97 mobile homes, you`re going to have people with histories that pop up. It doesn`t mean they have anything to do with this poor child`s disappearance.

SLIWA: Oh, yes. In a mobile camps for the most part, you have a lot of transients coming through. So you have your stationary families and then transients who are visiting them, staying with them, and then on their way.

So I can imagine from the baby-daddy drama that we just saw where the father is coming up from Mexicali and right away we`re thinking, oh, not another one of these situations where an estranged dad decides to take it out on the baby-mama drama person by snatching the child up and maybe killing the child out of anger.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. We have to be very careful. This man, this father is not considered a suspect.

SLIWA: Oh, I know. But he even said that`s the first thing in our minds.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes, he`s upset that that`s what everybody is thinking right off the bat. And according to the authorities that I`ve talked to he`s not a suspect. Maybe they could really pin-point the fact that he was in Mexicali when this child disappeared...

SLIWA: Oh yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... and therefore unable to have been involved. Curtis, sit tight.

Everybody else, thank you for the great insight. We`re going to stay on top of that case as well.

An update on the "Dancing with the Stars" stalker, a man arrested with loaded guns and love letters to Shaun Johnson outside the CBS lot. Turns out he was pulled over in Alabama five days prior. Did somebody drop the ball?

A cyclone of speculation in the Haleigh Cummings case. Could Misty`s connection to the mystery man named Greg hold the answers? Call me 1-877- JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297 to sound-off on this puzzling case.

But first here`s bounty-hunter Cobra Staubs` stunning claim about Misty.


WILLIAM `COBRA` STAUBS` BOUNTY HUNTER: "My goal is to find Haleigh and I thought that would be your goal, Misty`s goal, and everybody else`s goal. Apparently it`s everybody`s goal except Misty`s."



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Questions piling up in the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings. Does Misty have the answers? I will have the details.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

An update on that "Dancing with the Stars" stalker, Robert O`Ryan charged with a felony for stalking Olympic champion and "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Shawn Johnson.

At the beginning of O`Ryan`s cross-country journey to see Johnson, he was pulled over in Alabama where cops may have dropped the ball. During that traffic stop, O`Ryan told cops he was going to California to make Johnson marry him.


ROBERT O`RYAN, SHAWN JOHNSON`S STALKER: I know it sounds a little bit crazy, but my intuition tells me that uh we`re going to have a beautiful relationship together.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: When asked if he had ever spoken to Johnson, O`Ryan said only in his dreams. Cops let him go with two traffic tickets.

Five days later, O`Ryan was arrested in California trying to break in to the CBS lot with two loaded guns, duct tape and love letters to Johnson in his car.

Too bad the cops can`t turn back time as the old song says.

That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Now, to Haleigh Cummings and the fall-out from shocking claims about mystery man Greg made on our show last night. He is a man with a long history of drug arrests who some claim is very close to Misty. Police reportedly interviewed this man but will say no more.

Meantime, Haleigh`s maternal grandmother erupts in a rage, fuming to over the very slow pace of the investigation.


MARIE GRIFFIS, HALEIGH CUMMINGS GRANDMOTHER: What`s going on here in Putnam County? Why -- somebody is not doing their job. And my granddaughter has been gone too long now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are police doing to find this child? Should they hold a news conference and tell all? I think so.

Meantime, private investigators filling the vacuum with their own digging. The lawyer for Haleigh`s mother dropped this shocker last night about the mystery man named Greg.


PICAZIO: We have credible information he could have been with Misty. And I had a very short conversation with him while I was here right before I went on the other day and he continues to maintain he was not with Misty that night.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does he know Misty? Is he a friend of Misty?

PICAZIO: He confirmed an intimate relationship with Misty, yes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have no independent confirmation of anything that Kim just said. This is her investigation. But her claim dovetails with what bounty-hunter `Cobra` claims about where Misty was the night Haleigh disappeared.


STAUBS: Ronald`s convinced now beyond any question of doubt that she was not there. She wasn`t home, bro... she was out [bleep] around very possibly, with [bleep] again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we have reached out to Misty again today. We do it every day. We want to hear her side. There is an open invitation for her to come on our show and tell her side of the story.

And by the way, we`ve also reached out repeatedly to Greg, but his phone has been disconnected. We even tried to contact him through his MySpace page but he has not responded. We want to talk to him and get his side, too.

Joining me: Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and author of "The Ripple Effect;" Curtis Sliwa, founder of "The Guardian Angel;" T.J. Hart, program and news director of WSKY FM 97.3 who joins me by phone.

T.J., what do you know about cops and this man, Greg?

T.J. HART, WSKY FM 97.3 NEWS DIRECTOR: Well, cops will tell me only one thing and that was a couple of weeks ago and they`ll tell me the same thing today as they told me everyday in between. Yes, contact has been made with a fellow by the name of Greg.

"We interview a lot of people. We`ve interviewed a lot -- re- interviewed a lot of people and we cannot comment nor will we divulge anything about an ongoing investigation." But my sources have come to the same conclusion as Mr. Staubs and also of Kim Picazio`s investigators, that this man may have some information that may hold the key to the disappearance of this child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s such a complicated case.

We`re going to try to get through it. Some have speculated Ron Cummings, Haleigh`s father, might have been a drug informant.

Listen to this exchange with Geraldo on Fox.


GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS GERALDO EXCLUSIVE: What about allegations of cocaine use, methamphetamine use.

RONALD CUMMINGS, FATHER OF HALEIGH: There`s nothing. I do not do drugs.

RIVERA: You don`t do drugs, all of those arrests were wrong...


RIVERA: Do you work for the police, are you an informant?

CUMMINGS: No, I am not an informant. I do not work for the police. I work for PDM which is a bridge-building company. That`s who I work for.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the reason this arose was because Ron Cummings has had numerous drug charges but has never been convicted. And these charges include possession of cocaine, cannabis, the use of drug paraphernalia, and maintaining a drug vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, morphine, Xanax, possession of a drug without valid prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia.

And this is probably what led some to speculate about various aspects of this case and some of the accusations of his ex and Haleigh`s mother leveled at Ron regarding drugs being in the home.

But again, Ron has said repeatedly, just the other day, I do not do drugs. He said it through his attorney.

So Stacey Honowitz, what do you make of all this talk of drugs surrounding Misty?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Remember you said at the beginning of this block, it`s a cyclone of speculation. That`s exactly what it is. We don`t know.

We do know that he does have a long rap sheet. A lot of drug arrests but we also that a lot of these were never -- they never went to trial, he`s never done a lot of time on them and a lot of them were dismissed.

So we don`t know actually what the allegations are or what kind of drug history he does have. But I`ll tell you one thing if you think that in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, if he was an informant, he was going to on national television, tell everyone he was an informant, you`re sadly mistaken.

There might have been a time where he was, but he certainly is not coming forward and telling the free world, "Oh, guess what, I`m a drug informant. So watch out." It`s never going to happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And once again, he is saying he doesn`t do drugs except for prescriptions, for medications. And that his lawyers are very adamant about this.

And there is a lot of evidence to show that he has been a very caring, loving father who is obviously tormented with grief at this moment. You can see him crying right there.

Hypothetically speaking, Curtis Sliwa, what are the reasons why there was speculation about this drug informant thing is that all of these charges are dropped. So hypothetically speaking, when you see a lot of charges like that dropped, dropped, dropped, dropped, dropped, what do you think of?

SLIWA: Well, you think the guy is dropping dime, he`s joined team America. He`s helped in providing information that leads to the big drug providers so maybe where people are doing hydroponics (ph) where they`re growing and where they`re wholesaling and maybe he was a low level user or low level dealer and he realizes the game.

You`re in there and the cops are sweating you down and all of a sudden you provide information and those charges go away.

That`s how a lot of sheriff`s departments make busts because they don`t have personnel to be able to go out there and bust their shoes like the metropolitan police department.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gail, you`re the psychiatrist. I think a lot of people are wondering, why are police being so tight-lipped. Is there something they know that they`re afraid of revealing to the public?

GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: I think whether there`s something they know that they shouldn`t leak or whether it`s what they don`t know that they shouldn`t leak. If you`re going to do a proper investigation you really shouldn`t be leaking because, of course, as you can see what happens, Jane, there`s tremendous speculation there`s lots of discussion.

It can be very erroneous. It can lead you off on an erroneous trail and it can pressure people to say things that aren`t even true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right back with more of this in a second.



SHERIFF JEFF HARDY, PUTNAM COUNTY, FLORIDA: Unfortunately, in the last few weeks it seems to -- we`ve kind of lost the focus of what our mission is here. It`s just been extremely difficult to try to narrow it and focus it down to where it needs to be.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheriff Jeff Hardy, echoing feelings of some of Haleigh`s family that this investigation has lost focus and is moving too slowly.

Back with my panel. The phone lines are lighting up, but first, T.J. Hart, the mystery man Greg, we did some checking. His name was first mentioned by the attorneys for Ron Cummings, interestingly enough. We found a person with the same name who Crystal Sheffield`s attorney says is the same person. A long list of drug arrests, but also just like Ron, very few convictions.

T.J., what do you make of it? What is your insight being on the scene there?

T.J. HART, NEWS DIRECTOR, WSKY 97.3 FM: Right now, you know, putting all the pieces together here you`re seeing two -- like you say -- two very similar rap sheets with pretty much almost the same thing on them to be quite honest with you. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven different either misdemeanors or felonies combined there.

You`re probably seeing someone who is a low-level operator, someone who is making a quick buck and maybe someone who is also perhaps passing on some information to, you know, save himself and perhaps stay viable, if you know what I mean, as far as being in the business.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Once again, we have no independent confirmation that this is the mystery man or that he was with Misty that night. We want to talk to him and we`d like police to clarify all of this. Too much speculation and we need to get some answers.

Roz, Ohio, your question or thought, ma`am?

ROZ, OHIO: Yes, I`m curious as to why the biological mother is only seeking custody of Junior and why not Haleigh, too? Does she know something?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s an interesting question for the psychiatrist?

SALTZ: You know, at this point, I think it`s probably very painful to think about the custody issue because the question is, is Haleigh still alive? It may be a denial mechanism to sort of not touch that, if you will, rather to have to think about whether there is a child existing to have custody of?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to clarify, Crystal does not have custody of Junior. She would like to have custody but right now Ron Cummings, the father has custody. And Stacey, just a couple of seconds what do you make of that fact that he is the one who is considered the better parent by the courts?

HONOWITZ: Well, we`ve gone over this so many times. I mean, obviously there was something telling in the record that they didn`t want this mother to have custody. It is very difficult for the mother to lose custody and the father to get it.

She`ll go back to court.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to leave it right there. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.