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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Body Discovered Near Drew Peterson Home
Aired May 21, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, an explosive gruesome discovery could throw the Drew Peterson case into a tailspin. A cleanup crew finds a decaying body in a river just miles from Peterson`s home. Is it his missing fourth wife, Stacy? In a shocking twist, a blue barrel is found only a mile downstream. Could that be the blue barrel that Drew`s stepbrother said he believes Drew used to dispose of Stacy`s body. As the autopsy on the mystery corpse got under way, Peterson faced a judge, pleading to reduce his $20 million bail on charges he murdered wife No. 3, Kathleen Savio.
And if the newly-discovered remains are not Stacy Peterson`s, could they be Lisa Stebic? Lisa disappeared more than two years ago from a nearby Illinois town. Her estranged husband is a person of interest but has not been charged with a crime. So could this chilling discovery be a break in that case?
Plus, the massive dragnet for a cancer-stricken 13-year-old and his mother escalates into a frantic race against time. The two fled after the family rejected chemo that could save the boy`s life. Authorities now say they could be sprinting south of the border to get controversial treatment for the dying child. I`ll have the very latest breaking developments in this harrowing case.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a gruesome discovery threatens to throw the Drew Peterson case into total chaos, and the timing couldn`t be any more chilling. A badly-decomposed body, reportedly with no head and no arms, was found on the shore of an Illinois river late yesterday, the very day after the grand jury investigating the death -- the disappearance and presumed death of Stacy Peterson, Drew`s fourth wife, called it quits without indicting Drew for her murder.
The grisly find made by a nonprofit environmental group that cleans rivers, believe it or not. The remains were less than 20 miles from Drew Peterson`s suburban home in Bolingbrook, Illinois. The body was only one mile from another possibly significant piece of evidence, a mysterious blue barrel. Remember, Drew`s stepbrother suspected that he helped Drew dispose of Stacy`s body in a blue container.
But we have some breaking news on that front. We`re going to bring it to you in just a second.
All along, Drew has said he suspects Stacy ran off with another guy. But her friends and family have never bought that story for one second. And neither does Drew`s stepbrother, who testified before the grand jury. He spoke to ABC`s "Good Morning America" back in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS MORPHEY, DREW PETERSON`S STEPBROTHER: He said, "How much do you love me?"
I said, "I do."
And he said, "Enough to kill for me?"
And at that point I was in shock. I said, "That`s not something I can live with."
And he said, "Well, can you live with knowing about it?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, as investigators scramble to identify these remains, prosecutors who are going after Drew for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, are declaring a victory. They wanted a new judge, and today they got one. Could this be more bad news for dodgy Drew?
I want to know what you think about all of this. Give me a holler.
Straight out to my fantastic panel: Andrew Abood, who is one of the attorneys for Drew Peterson. Great to have you tonight.
ANDREW ABOOD, ATTORNEY FOR DREW PETERSON: Hi, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bill Manion, noted forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner for Burlington County, New Jersey; Lisa Bloom, anchor on the legal network In Session and CNN legal analyst; and Michelle Segona, national correspondent for "America`s Most Wanted." And joining me by phone, Joe Hosey, reporter with the "Herald News" and author of "Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson."
Joe, I understand you`ve got some new information, breaking news about the barrel. What is the very latest?
JOE HOSEY, REPORTER, "HERALD NEWS" (via phone): Hi. I spoke to someone I know is very close to the investigation, and he told me that the barrel that was located near the body did not match the description given by Thomas Moore to the state police. So it`s unlikely that it`s the barrel that he helped Drew carry out of their house and believed Stacy was hidden inside.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, that -- that -- for those who have been so on top of this case, Lisa Bloom, and who feel that Drew Peterson has to be held accountable, even though he has not been charged in this case. That could be bad news. Without the barrel to connect the dots, do prosecutors have a weak case, even if this turns out to be Stacy Peterson`s body?
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, IN SESSION: I think if this turns out to be Stacy`s remains, and it could take weeks, as I understand it, for those bones to be tested to make that determination, that`s very bad news for Drew.
Because keep in mind, he didn`t just say, as Scott Peterson did, "My wife disappeared. I don`t know what happened to her." He tied himself to a story from the very beginning, the story is, "She ran off with another man. She called me and told me that. Therefore, I`m not concerned." If she turns up dead, this is bad news for Drew Peterson, with or without the blue barrel.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s do a time line here, because that`s very significant. Stacy`s sister has never believed Drew`s version of events that Stacy left with another man.
Cassandra Cales, Stacy`s sister, says the last time she saw her sister was Saturday night, October 27, 2007, the night before Stacy disappeared. The sister says Stacy had recently told her, quote, "If anything happens to me, he killed me. It wasn`t an accident," end quote.
Cassandra says Stacy was supposed to call her the very day she disappeared. She did call a friend at 10 o`clock that Sunday but never called Cassandra, who became very frantic when Stacy didn`t show up for plans to help paint a friend`s place, as promised.
After calling Stacy`s cell phone repeatedly, Cassandra then called Drew Peterson. Now, here`s where it gets very interesting, because Cassandra claims Drew then accused Stacy of having an affair and running off, on the phone. And Cassandra says Drew was out of breath, claiming that he was running around in search of her.
Michelle Segona, as you listen to this, what do you make of it? Would Cassandra Cales, if this goes to trial, if it turns out to be Stacy`s body, if Drew turns out to be charged with her murder, and those are big ifs, would she be one of the key witnesses in this case?
MICHELLE SEGONA, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Absolutely, I do, in fact think that she would be brought into the courtroom, just as Kathleen Savio`s family, Kathleen`s sister specifically, was.
If you remember, what is all very interesting, is that Kathleen actually voiced her concerns, saying that, "If anything ever happens to me," and gave a suitcase over to her family and said, "Look, here`s a suitcase full of all kinds of items inside of here. Items, for instance, letters that I wrote to the state about my fear of Drew." A letter from -- to Santa Clause from her children. Her children were begging Santa clause to `please let my mommy and daddy get a divorce,` because they were scared of their father. There was all kinds of other paperwork inside of there of what Kathleen tried to do to protect her own safety.
So if this, in fact, is true, of course, I do think that the courts would allow her to come in, to be able to voice this concern. Especially because there`s this same sort of, you know, thing going on in the Kathleen Savio case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we have Andrew Abood, who is one of Drew Peterson`s attorneys.
You`ve been listening to all of this. Pretty damning evidence. And we`ve got more of it to come. What do you say on your client`s behalf, vis-a-vis Stacy, given the fact that this body was found 20 miles from where Drew Peterson lived, about 20 miles from where Stacy disappeared? They`re testing it; it could be weeks -- we`ll get to the details of the forensics in a second -- before we know for sure. But what about this damning evidence?
ANDREW ABOOD, ATTORNEY FOR DREW PETERSON: You know, somebody -- somebody out there is going to find -- or be related to this body. And obviously, that`s a terrible tragedy. But I`m confident that Drew Peterson had nothing to do with whoever that is out there.
Certainly, you can talk about what the evidence is. But evidence is what`s admissible in a court, after it`s been examined by a judge. None of the statements that Stacy Peterson may have said, that we dispute the credibility of, would be admissible under any statutory provision or rules of evidence in a court of law. And quite frankly, the statements, I think, when examined closely, are just simply not credible.
BLOOM: What about the law that was passed in Illinois in November of 2008, in part to address the Drew Peterson situation? I mean, Stacy`s comments and Kathleen`s comments may be admissible under that law.
ABOOD: Were not -- were not applied to the statements that Stacy made. Read the statute. It doesn`t apply under that circumstance.
BLOOM: I have read the statute. If somebody is -- if somebody is killed to prevent them from testifying that they`re being killed because they`re a witness, as Stacy would be...
ABOOD: What would she be testifying -- what would she be testifying to?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How about this?
BLOOM: She would be testifying that Drew told her that he killed Kathleen Savio, that she was a witness to him coming home that night with the bloody clothes, and she helped him maybe...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about this?
ABOOD: On what case? A case that doesn`t exist?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... say Pam Bosco is saying that Stacy told her she wanted to rent a place because she wanted to get the heck away from Drew Peterson. And she was going to hire a divorce attorney. And this was also right before.
ABOOD: The mention of -- anything that Stacy said, unless she shows up to court, is hearsay. That`s the definition of hearsay.
BLOOM: Well, that law was enacted specifically to get this kind of evidence in, potentially.
ABOOD: No, it wasn`t. The law is very specific. And it has to be done to prevent somebody from testifying in another case. There was no case pending at the time for them to testify in. There wasn`t even an investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Manion, you`re the forensic pathologist. We`re hearing now no head, no arms, just a torso. How do you identify a badly- decomposed body that`s been in a river?
BILL MANION, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, it is -- it is a difficult challenge. And I was busy this past week. I had a heavily-decomposed body myself.
And in the case of this body, of course, the first thing the forensic pathologist wants to find are teeth. And here there`s no -- there`s no skull, there`s no teeth. So we can`t have a forensic dentist look at it.
The second thing that we like are the extremities. And maybe if they`re decomposed, we can still get fingerprints. They`re gone.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. So we`re going to -- when we come back, we`re going to talk about the torso. And you`re going to tell us exactly how they`re going to identify this body.
More on the explosive discovery of remains in just a moment. Do you think Drew`s lawyers have gone into crisis mode: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1- 877-586-7297. Let me know what you think.
Also, the frantic hunt continues for a mom and her cancer-stricken boy. They`re on the run. They could be in Mexico. I`ll tell you why cops think they are headed south of the border, for sure.
But first, Stacy Peterson`s been missing since 2007. That`s two years. Many hope the discovery of this body will finally provide answers. Cops make it clear they`re not racing to conclusions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASTER SGT. TOM BUREK, ILLINOIS STATE POLICE: We`re not identifying whether or not it`s male or female. It would be very premature to do that. Nor are we making an attempt to associate with any current investigation. It would be very premature to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PETERSON, ACCUSED OF MURDER: How about this bling, this bling? Three squares a day and a spiffy outfit, how can you beat that? Look at this bling, my God!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew Peterson joking about bling, which are also known as handcuffs. After court today Drew`s attorney called him a model client, saying even though he clowns around for reporters like you see here, he behaves in court. But Kathleen Savio`s family says Drew waved at them and mocked them in court.
Now another body. Could this be missing wife No. 4? And will that finally wipe that smirk off his face? We`re going to go to the phone lines in a second.
But Dr. Manion, forensic pathologist, finish telling us, apparently, reportedly no head, no limbs. How do they identify this body? How long will it take?
MANION: Well, I was also disappointed that they said that the femur bone was only partial left and right femur. The femur is the thigh bone. And in the case I had this past week, I did have the thigh bones intact. And I was able to take a bone saw and cut out the middle of the thigh bone, where there is plenty of marrow.
Now, the bone marrow contains a lot of cellular elements that help make red blood cells and white blood cells. So with that marrow, we`re able to get a lot of DNA and be able to analyze the DNA and help with the identification.
Here, the femur bones were destroyed. So now they`re going to be working with the rib cage and the vertebral bodies. And I think they`re going to have to drill into them and try to obtain marrow from those bones. They`re not the best bones. But hopefully, the forensic people are very, very sophisticated.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Give us an educated guess. How long do we have to wait to find out whether or not this is Stacy Peterson?
MANION: The tests are being done on an expedited basis, so probably two to three weeks.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Two to three weeks we have to wait. That is astounding. OK. Phone lines lighting up.
Pam in Florida, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Yes, I believe Drew Peterson is narcissistic, and he was much in control. Coincidental how both women, Savio and Stacy Peterson, were both trying to divorce him, and he wasn`t going to have that. I think he abused his powers as a cop, as well. Isn`t it something how he knew that if you go up far enough on the femur, that he was going to eliminate some real good evidence if the body was found?
My heart says it`s her. And I pray for the families of all this stuff, that I`d like to see this guy fry over it. I just hate seeing these men abuse women this way, you know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we do have a crisis with intimate-partner violence in this country. In fact, when a woman is killed, the first person that authorities look at is the significant other, because that`s how bad it is, in terms of intimate partner violence. One of the leading causes, if not the leading cause of death of pregnant women is murder at the hands of the man who impregnated her.
Joe Hosey, I`ve often wondered this about Drew Peterson. What happened in his childhood? I mean, is there any clue as to why he is at this level of dysfunctionality?
HOSEY: As far as his childhood, no, I don`t know. I don`t know if anything horrible happened to him. He likes getting married, though. He`s on his fourth and apparently wants to marry a fifth one, Christina Raines, still visiting him in jail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh, you`re right. OK. What do you know about that? He`s got a fiancee. On again, off again. Girlfriend. Her dad is not happy with that situation. What`s the latest on her, Joe?
HOSEY: I talked to him yesterday. He`s very afraid that there might be reduction in the bond, the $20 million bond and Drew`s going to get out and that his daughter`s going to go back to him. He`s very apprehensive about that.
BLOOM: But Jane...
BLOOM: ... not so fast. He`s still married to Stacy. He can`t legally marry Christina Raines or anybody else until he gets that divorce. I don`t see any progress being made in that divorce, nor do I think that`s a smart thing for him to do right now. He`s under investigation. He`s a suspect in her murder. I think getting a divorce right now would look very bad for him in that criminal case. And that`s probably why he`s not pursuing it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But with his arrogance, I mean, he`s not done things that are necessarily in his best interests.
BLOOM: But he`s under the control of his lawyers now, Jane. He`s shaping up a little bit.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Did they -- did they control him in court when he was...
ABOOD: He`s under the control of the Will County Sheriff`s Department.
BLOOM: Yes, but you guys are telling him how to behave. You`ve made public statements that you`re telling him to tone it down.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he didn`t tone it down at his last court appearance. According to the Savio family, he waved at them and mocked them in court, even though he kept his mouth shut.
ABOOD: He -- Jane, he was shackled. His feet were shackled. His hands were shackled.
BLOOM: He could still wave.
ABOOD: They`re the only ones that saw it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Julz, Illinois, your question or thought?
CALLER: Jane, thanks for taking my call. I watch you every night. I just think you`re just awesome.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CALLER: For keeping all the public involved. It`s just awesome what you do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CALLER: I have a few questions, and I`ll make them quick.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pick a good one.
CALLER: One, has he been notified? Has Drew Peterson been notified in jail of these allegations of the body being found? If he has, what is his reaction to those? Do we know what his reaction is?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question.
BLOOM: Is it like Casey Anthony?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And three? All right. We`re going to do one and two. Andrew Abood, you`re one of his lawyers. Was he told and what was his reaction, if so?
ABOOD: Jane, I think you`re awesome, too. I just want to second that, by the way.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right back at you.
ABOOD: We don`t -- we don`t discuss what we talk about with Drew Peterson. And we don`t discuss what his emotions are. That`s confidential and privileged.
ABOOD: We do discuss all aspects of the case. But how he reacts to it, I can tell you what I said before. Drew Peterson has always been a model client to us and acted very professional with us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me -- let me talk. Very briefly, Michelle, we only have a couple of seconds. There was a pastor who also claimed publicly that Stacy had a conversation with him where she said that Drew admitted killing wife number three.
SEGONA: This is true.
ABOOD: I know nothing about it.
SEGONA: Well, this is true. There was a conversation that did take place. The pastor did come forward, did come out in the open. Not too long after...
ABOOD: Said nothing about it. There`s been absolutely nothing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to come back in a minute with more insight. Sit tight, panel. More analysis.
And if this newly discovered body is not that of Stacy Peterson, it could bring closure to another family. Lisa Stebic vanished from a nearby town in 2007. That investigation has gone cold. But could this be Lisa Stebic?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight, another missing persons case, also near the very spot where those mystery remains were discovered. Lisa Stebic disappeared six months before Stacy Peterson. But these cases have striking -- and I mean striking -- similarities. Lisa`s family says the mother of two would never just leave her children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIE GREENBURG, LISA STEBIC`S COUSIN: The same way that we know that Lisa would have never left her children. This family is adamant that Stacy would never have left her two small children. And she adopted Drew`s older children, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Craig Stebic denies any involvement in Lisa`s disappearance. The cops say he is a person of interest.
Meanwhile, reports claim Lisa said she feared for her life and even warned neighbors to call the cops if something happened to her. Her case was being considered by the very same grand jury that investigated Stacy Peterson`s disappearance. So could these remains be Lisa Stebic`s, as opposed to Stacy Peterson?
Joining me is Lisa`s cousin, Melanie Greenburg.
Melanie, thank you so much. I know this has got to be very rough for you right now. We just saw an interview with you from 2007. Your beloved cousin has been missing for two long years now.
What would it mean to your family if these remains turn out to be Lisa`s, and what is this waiting game of now, we`re hearing, a couple of weeks for identification? What`s that got to be like?
GREENBURG: Thank you, Jane.
You know, this is a very difficult time for all the families involved, because, you know, the towns of Plainfield and Bolingbrook are very close together. Any place that we would search for Lisa, you would also search for Stacy Peterson. And when we heard about this body, both families, you know, are cautiously optimistic that we might have closure.
If this body turns out to not be Lisa, I sincerely hope it is Stacy Peterson, so at least one of our families will get some resolution.
You know, the two women are similar size. They`re both about 5`2". They both weighed about 100 pounds. But the problem is, from what I`m hearing of the preliminary reports from the coroner today, the body is in such poor condition that we`re going to have to wait a very long time. It`s going to seem like an eternity to wait two or three weeks until those DNA results come through.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Set the stage for us in terms of what was going on in Lisa Stebic`s home at the time of her disappearance. Obviously, she was having marital problems. I`ve heard reports she was trying to get her husband evicted from the house. Tell us about that.
GREENBURG: She was going through an acrimonious divorce. They were sharing the home, but barely speaking to each other. And the day, the very day that Lisa went missing, she had signed and mailed papers to her lawyer to have Craig evicted from their home.
She vanished, seemingly out of thin air. Her car was still in the garage. She had her purse and her cell phone with her. She left about 6 p.m. in the evening. Her children had gone to the store to get candy, and Craig was the only one at home. And he claims he was the last person to see her, and that he saw her being picked up while he was in the backyard of their home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he say who picked her up?
GREENBURG: No, he didn`t. And, you know, the story seems to have changed a few times, as well. So we don`t know exactly what she might have been wearing when she vanished. Because the only person that is telling us is Craig. So I know that she was wearing jeans earlier in the day...
GREENBERG: ... which it seems -- it appears that this body that was found might have been wearing jeans.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, thank you, Melanie. Please come back. We`re going to stay on top of this case. Expert analysis of this case on the way. Could the gruesome discovery be Stacy or...?
VELEZ-MITCHEL: A gruesome discovery could throw the Drew Peterson case into a tail spin. A decaying body found just miles from Peterson`s home. Is it missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson?
Plus, the manhunt for a cancer-stricken 13-year-old and his mom escalates into a frantic race against time. The family rejected chemo that could save the boy`s life. Authorities now say they could be sprinting south of the border.
Tonight investigators work furiously to identify a badly decomposed body found on the shore of an Illinois River. The grisly discovery could have serious implications for ex-cop, Drew Peterson, already facing charges for the murder of his third wife.
The remains were found just 20 miles from where Peterson`s fourth wife, Stacy, went missing. Could this body be Stacy`s? In a startling twist, a blue barrel washed up near the body.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How concerned is Drew about the discovery of the body in the river?
JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON`S ATTORNEY: Not concerned at all. It doesn`t cause us any concern whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a blue barrel down there as well.
BRODSKY: There`s probably a hundred blue barrels in that river; a lot more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Peterson`s attorneys aren`t worried about the barrel and we`re getting late word that police sources are saying the barrel does not match. Is that a big blow to investigators?
Back with my fantastic panel: Andrew Abood, one of the attorneys for Drew Peterson, great to have you; Bill Manion, forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner for Burlington County in New Jersey; Lisa Bloom, anchor of the Legal Network, "In Session" and CNN legal analyst; and joining me by phone, Joe Hosey, a reporter with the "Herald News" and author of "Fatal Vows: The tragic wives of Sgt. Drew Peterson;" plus, Michelle Sigona, national correspondent for "America`s Most Wanted."
We`re going to get to the phone lines -- they`re jam-packed -- in just a moment. But Michelle, as we wait for an identification, which could take two weeks or three weeks, investigators have tons of work to do. They continue to seek evidence in that river.
That has to be extraordinarily grueling work. And we`re also learning that the corpse was found with partial jeans on, shredded jeans, and U.S. currency in the pockets. How does that help investigators?
MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": This helps investigators tremendously, because at least they have a little bit to go on, although, we do have to wait two to three weeks for those autopsy reports to come back.
They do have a little bit of evidence there to try to figure out who this body belongs to, number one. And number two, the blue barrel that was found just downstream from this body, this is not, you know, abnormal to find these barrels. This has happened before. And it`s had both families on edge to figure out what is in the blue barrels, where did they come from, so on and so forth.
So having that barrel there and having a body there at the same time is what makes this particular instance unique for both of these cases right now. So we`re just waiting and trying to figure out who in fact this body belongs to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, we`re going to get to the callers in a second.
But let`s talk about the barrel. Drew Peterson`s stepbrother, Tom Morphey, has become a central figure in this case. He told ABC`s "Good Morning America" he talked to Drew about killing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS MORPHEY, DREW PETERSON`S STEPBROTHER: I said to him, well, isn`t it going to smell? And what about the smell? And he said it would be in a sealed container. I knew it wasn`t good. He was planning on killing somebody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A friend of this guy, Tom Morphey, has told NBC`s "Today" show that Morphey claimed he feared he in fact helped move Stacy`s body.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER MARTINECK, FRIEND OF PETERSON`S STEPBROTHER: He just told me that he thinks he helped dispose of Stacy`s body.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did he think that he had done this?
MARTINECK: Because when he helped Drew -- that`s what he told me -- when he had helped Drew, take something out of the house, it was warm to the touch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Tom Morphey claimed that something was a blue container. And he also claimed he tried to commit suicide over all this.
So let`s go to Andrew Abood. You`re one of the attorneys for Drew Peterson. What would you say to that series of claims about the blue barrel?
ANDREW ABOOD, DREW PETERSON`S ATTORNEY: You know, I think that there`s significant credibility problems with Mr. Morphey and I`m not here to put him down because he`s related to my client. But unfortunately he has a pretty long history of dependence on drugs and I think ultimately that will play out in court if it ever gets there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but he sounds pretty lucid in these interviews, Lisa Bloom.
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Yes, I mean...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a lot of people who have a history of drug and alcohol problems. I`m a recovering alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety; it that doesn`t mean that I`m not going to make sense as a witness.
BLOOM: And that`s right. And Jane if you`re on the witness stand I`m going on with your testimony girl. And look, Thomas Morphey has been clean and sober...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`m not bipolar and he`s supposedly bipolar.
ABOOD: Tom Morphey is no Jane Velez-Mitchell girls.
BLOOM: Well, let me tell you something, my understanding is he`s been clean and sober for a number of years living a stable life and by the way, bipolar is not delusional.
ABOOD: Not at the time of this -- not at the time of this -- what he`s claiming.
BLOOM: Well, bipolar is not -- there are millions of people who live with bipolar mental illness in this country. My father was one of them. He was not delusional and he did not lie.
ABOOD: I never said he was bipolar...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s the reports -- the reports have said he`s bipolar.
BLOOM: So let`s not just throw everything at him and then throw him out as a witness.
ABOOD: It`s another -- it`s another problem.
BLOOM: He`s going to be coming in and testifying just as he testified in front of the grand jury.
BLOOM: And the jury can assess him.
ABOOD: Warm to the touch...
BLOOM: How much do you want to smear him?
ABOOD: Warm to the touch could have been a million different things.
BLOOM: Yes, but why is he helping Drew at the same time that Stacy`s goes missing? He`s helping him carry the blue barrel...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not only that but according to reports, the vehicle that, according to the search warrant of Drew Peterson`s vehicles, that vehicle had scuff marks on it that were consistent with a blue container.
ABOOD: Well, do they have a forensic expert for scuff marks? This is the thing about it, Jane. There were four children in that house. Two of them are teenagers. And anybody who has teenagers knows that kids come in and out of that house on a regular basis. There`s no way this could have happened in that house, like he is claiming.
BLOOM: We also know the kids go to sleep -- we also know the kids go to sleep at night.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, you know what?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the phone lines they are lighting up. Bird in Louisiana, your question or thought.
BIRD, LOUISIANA (via telephone): Hi.
BIRD: Were they possibly putting lime in there with that body? It would have given off the feeling of heat on the outside of the container. And also, will they bring in the stepbrother as possible accessory after the fact?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, those are two excellent, excellent questions. Let`s go to Dr. Bill Manion for the very first question.
DR. BILL MANION, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, I think if they had put lime in there the first day, it would take some time for that lime to begin to work on that tissue. Maybe over several days we would begin to get some heat. As the body decomposes, as bacteria destroy the body, there is some heat that is generated.
So that, I think if a person was murdered and put in a barrel and then sealed, that body would -- that barrel would slowly come up to the temperature of the body. The body would be losing heat, the barrel would be gaining heat. And if the environmental temperature is 70 degrees, then the barrel may end up 80 degrees, 85 degrees.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Joe Hosey, what about Tom Morphey? Wasn`t he the last person to testify before the grand jury that just wrapped up earlier this week?
JOE HOSEY, "HERALD NEWS" (via telephone): Yes, and he received immunity within days of Stacy`s disappearance, the state attorney visited him. He attempted suicide actually, and after confessing what he had done to his neighbor or to (INAUDIBLE) the state attorneys and the detectives went up to the hospital to see him and granted him immunity for his testimony, which I think indicates how seriously they take it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kirsten in California, your question or thought.
KIRSTEN IN CALIFORNIA: Yes, Jane hi.
KIRSTEN: My question is this, if the remains happened to be Stacy Peterson`s, are they going to go ahead and proceed with a murder charge against him? And what does that mean for the Savio case at this time?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Michelle Sigona of "America`s Most Wanted," give us what happens next if it turns out to be Stacy for example.
SIGONA: If it turns out to be Stacy, at this point, what has happened was the grand jury has already moved forward and has come pretty much to a final close in Kathleen`s case. So my assumption is that they would move forward with that case first.
And if, if this is Stacy`s body, if he is even linked to it, I mean, at this point he`s only a suspect in her disappearance, Drew Peterson has not been charged with anything and then...
ABOOD: That`s right.
SIGONA: ...of course the investigators would move forward in that. So we don`t want to -- we do want to make that clear.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, we are not going to jump the gun here. We have no idea who this individual is. And Stacy disappeared; authorities believe that she is dead.
SIGONA: There`s no evidence, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But there is no tangible independent evidence of that. And that`s part of the problem.
Michelle, California, your question or thought, ma`am.
MICHELLE, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes, my question is for the forensic pathologist. Even though they say that this is going to take two to three weeks to confirm the DNA on the positive identity, wouldn`t they know before that whether the head and the arms were forcibly removed there as proving it`s a homicide, not a suicide?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good question. Dr. Manion?
MANION: Well, that`s a good question. Now, they would look at the bones for marks, like of a knife or an ax. Or if any tool marks we call them. And if they found tool marks, or incised marks that someone was cutting, then that would be evidence that that body was -- that head was deliberately removed.
But with that body in the river there for such a long time, the head can fall off just from decomposition.
ABOOD: Right, right.
MANION: Just from movement and the currents in the water.
BLOOM: Jane, remember, Lacy Peterson in the first Peterson case, it was the same with her remains. The head and limbs were not connected.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely and that was found in San Francisco Bay. I want to thank my excellent panel.
Be sure to tune in to "Nancy Grace" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest on this jaw-dropping discovery.
And right here on ISSUES, more Casey Anthony drama on the way, Casey`s former best friend now says under oath, she never heard Casey mention Zanny the nanny ever. Is that new information going to shake up the civil suit against Casey? And what about the criminal trial?
Plus, a mom on the run with her dying son after they refuse chemo that could cure the boy`s cancer. There are some breaking news developments in this case. They have been spotted possibly in southern California. They could be headed to Mexico. They could already be in Mexico.
Give me a call, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Sound off on the frantic search.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A mother and son on the run after rejecting court- ordered cancer treatment that could save the boy`s life. I`ll have the very latest on the desperate search for that pair.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
A double dose of bad news for Casey Anthony: attorneys in the Zanny the nanny civil suit grilled Casey`s former best friend today. During the deposition, the friend said she never heard Casey mention the name Zenaida Gonzalez.
The friend first heard the name, where, want to take a guess? On the news. This jives with surveillance video showing Lee Anthony saying he never heard Casey mention Zanny the nanny.
Meantime, the Florida Bar is hearing three complaints against Casey`s lead attorney Jose Baez, including one reportedly from the judge presiding over the murder trial. Another complaint involved private eye, Dominic Casey. He claims Baez told him to refrain from calling 911 if he found Caylee`s remains. So could all these complaints potentially set up Casey for a slam dunk at an appeal? We will stay on top of it as always.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Stunning developments tonight as the manhunt for a cancer-stricken 13- year-old boy -- we should actually call it a boyhunt because he`s 13 years old -- and his mom becomes a frantic life or death race against the clock.
Colleen Hauser and her son Daniel fled their Minnesota home after rejecting court-ordered chemotherapy that doctors say could save the boy`s life. There was reportedly a sighting of them, possible sighting anyway, in southern California.
Cops now believe they could be headed to Mexico to seek alternative treatment. They could already be there. Meantime, dad is begging his wife, please, come home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHON HAUSER, FATHER OF DANIEL HAUSER: Please bring Danny home, so that we can decide as a family what Danny`s treatment should be. I know you`re scared. And I feel that you left out of fear maybe without thinking it all the way through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think? Daniel`s cancer is treatable. Doctors say his survival rate with chemotherapy is close to 95 percent, at least right now. But Daniel and his parents say chemo is torture and they sought holistic treatments more in line with their religious beliefs.
So, is his mom in effect signing Daniel`s death warrant by running from authorities and what doctors call life-saving treatment?
Straight to my fantastic panel: Jennifer Hartstein, clinical psychologist; David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; and Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor.
Stacey, here is my concern. The cancer is worsening. So his chances of survival diminish with every passing day he failed to get treatment. So if they do find this boy, ok, at the point where the chance of chemotherapy helping has diminished to, let`s say, whatever, 20 percent, 30 percent, instead of 95 percent, do the courts still have the legal authority to strap this child down and force him to get the chemo?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, it`s very interesting, because here you`re really balancing the government`s intrusion into a parental decision.
But here is the decision that has to be made -- I don`t think it`s been court-ordered. I think what happened was she failed to show up at a hearing to make the determination as to whether or not it has to be court- ordered.
So certainly if they find her and they bring her before the court, first of all, she has a contempt warrant for failing to show.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but they did say, come home and we won`t charge you.
HONOWITZ: Well, ok. Well, that`s to contempt her and just to get them in the jurisdiction. The thing is, the judge then just has to hear the government, or the doctors say this is the chance of survival versus the alternative theory.
And remember, she said, the mother, she`s letting this child with a diminished capacity make this decision. So the court at that juncture will listen to the argument and then make the decision as to whether or not to court order him into chemotherapy. So that`s what they are waiting for.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: David, do you hear what I`m saying, my concern is, every passing day the efficiency of the chemotherapy diminishes as the aggressive cancer grows.
So could the mom actually be creating the worst scenario, where the effectiveness of the chemotherapy goes down, and then the authorities still force the son to endure the chemotherapy at the point where it`s not as likely to help?
DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, an analysis has to be made, what`s in the best interest of the child. There was a full hearing in this case, by the way. There were about five doctors who testified at the hearing. And the judge ruled that it`s in the best interest of this child that he gets the medical treatment necessary.
The judge ruled that there was medical neglect. He also ruled that there was other neglect as well, involving food and sustenance. So -- so the judge made the ruling.
I think this has got to be done on a case-by-case basis. We don`t want the government coming in and removing children from parents because they want a certain type of medical treatment. However, I think in this case, it was warranted.
HONOWITZ: Well, if you want to kill the child, that`s what happens. I mean, if the child ultimately is going to die as a result of the parents` neglect, well then you`re dealing with two issues.
You`re dealing with the government coming in, and then you`re dealing with a possible manslaughter charge against a mother who allows this or a neglect charge against the parent.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, if she`s listening tonight, the cops are saying come home now and you won`t be charged. So if you`re listening out there, mom and son, come home now and you won`t be charged because if you stay on the run you could face some very serious charges and not to mention your child could die.
Cops believe mom and son may be headed to Mexico possibly for some controversial alternative treatments. Mexico is a hot bed for those alternative cancer treatments.
Consider the distance. This is wild. They`re from this little town in Minnesota, not far from the Canadian border. They went on the run after missing a court appearance. And they`re all the way -- they were possibly sighted in southern California.
I`m wondering how the heck are they making this kind of time to get down to Mexico when the entire world knows what they look like?
What is going on, Jennifer Hartstein, in this mom`s mind?
JENNIFER HARTSTEIN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think she`s trying to read what her son wants, trying to figure out what`s best for him. And she`s -- I think the father said it in his remarks, I think she acted without thinking it all through and just panicked and ran.
And I think that now she`s got to try and figure out how to back pedal and how to backtrack. And there is this question of diminished capacity, there`s a question of whether or not he can read; whether or not he can make informed decisions. And at 13, it`s questionable all the way around. He can be smart enough but not -- be acting out of emotion and not acting out of logic.
So everyone has to kind of get on the same page. And I think this mother just made a decision and took off and now has to really stand up and make a better decision for both she and her son. And right now they are not there.
SCHWARTZ: Well, I think it`s...
HONOWITZ: But Jane, there`s one thing, Jane. If you know, we talk about his diminished capacity. He is a minor and many people say well people want to make alternative choices, people go -- we saw Farrah Fawcett, she was going Germany.
They are adults, he`s a minor and that`s the difference. She is responsible for his well being, so to leave any kind of decision in his hand at this point is neglect.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I completely agree with you.
All right, more on this really, really bizarre case, tragic case, we hope not, totally tragic in a moment. Cops today beg for Colleen Hauser please come back with your dying son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF RICHARD HOFFMANN, BROWN CO. SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: We`ll make arrangements to return. Please be a shared that we will not take an enforcement action if you have shown a good faith and effort to come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The big piece tonight, Jon and Kate Gosselin racked by rumors of infidelity. Their hit show "Jon and Kate Plus 8" premiers Monday. And we will have full coverage all next week to see what happens behind the scenes with that scandal now that the cameras have started rolling; so much scandal in that case.
All right, we are back talking about this mom and her cancer-stricken son on the run from Minnesota all of the way possible to Mexico.
Phone lines are lighting up. Betty Anne, Arizona, your question or thought, ma`am.
BETTY ANNE: Yes, hello. My question is why is it that people can continue to do these crazy things and then just say, "Oh that it`s against my religion or my religion teaches this?" And we`re just supposed to say, "Oh, you believe in a mythical creature and book of fairytales, that`s fine. You just go ahead and can keep killing your kids."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, well put.
SCHWARTZ: Well, Jane, and I don`t think it`s for anyone to decide what a crazy thing is. That`s why we have courts, that`s why we have hearings.
In this particular case there was a hearing. Sometimes holistic treatments are not crazy. We have to have the medical experts testify in a court of law so judges can make reasonable decisions.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I absolutely agree with you. There are times, listen, there are times when doctors are wrong. There are times when the medical community as been wrong. You take a look at Ephedra and Vioxx and some of the other drugs that have ultimately been pulled by the FDA. But in this case, chemotherapy for this particular type of cancer, Hodgkin`s lymphoma has been proven to be extremely effective if you get to it in time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Laura in North Carolina, your question or thought, ma`am.
LAURA IN NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Yes. Thank you for taking my call.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks for calling.
LAURA: What I think, if I had a child, and I am a mother, if I had a child in this need of medicine and medical care, I would be running, but I would be running to any hospital or anybody to help me with that child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure, of course. And I`ve got to tell you, the lawyers for the family issued a very strange list of objections and it sounds more like a political rant.
They`re saying things like, quote, "It`s a violation of spiritual law to invade the consciousness of another without consent. This is a case of love versus power, love gives, power takes. The state does not have a right." It goes on and on. What do you make of David Schwartz, Stacy Honowitz. What do you make of a lawyer saying stuff like that?
HONOWITZ: Well, Jane, this is all part of -- she`s a member of this holistic kind of natural -- I forget the name of the group and this is all part of what their rantings are. It`s alternative healing and it`s alternative medicine and that`s why it`s been stated that she`s leaving it in the hands of this child who believes in all of this.
All of those things that you see and all of those demands that were made by the family are all part of this ritualistic and holistic...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re out of time, thank you, panel. You`re watching ISSUES.