CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Alleged Mistress Telling Tales about Tiger; Gray Wolf in Danger After Protections Removed

Aired December 4, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, mind-blowing new details in the Tiger Woods sex scandal. Radar Online is now claiming Tiger and his alleged mistress did drugs before having sex. Rachel Uchitel allegedly told friends she and the billion-dollar golfer popped sedatives. Radar Online is reporting these so-called friends claim Rachel called it, quote, "crazy Ambien sex."

Meanwhile, TMZ is reporting Uchitel canceled her tell-all press conference out of fear and that she didn`t take a dime from Tiger. But there are other reports of deal talks, so what is going on here? We`ll try to sort out this mess.

And disturbing new twists and turns in the search for Jennifer Kesse. This beautiful woman vanished without a trace nearly four years ago. Police have no real leads and virtually no suspects. Today, a man accused of posting a video on YouTube confessing to the murder has his day in court. Is he a total hoaxster? And how will this affect the case?

Tonight in an ISSUES exclusive, we`ll go one-on-one with Jennifer`s distraught parents as they continue their desperate search for their precious daughter.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, sex, money and drugs? New allegations that Tiger Woods` extramarital trysts included the insomnia drug Ambien. According to Radar Online, a friend of alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel says Rachel claimed she and Tiger, quote, "have crazy Ambien sex," end quote. We have absolutely no independent confirmation of these claims, but could Ambien explain why Tiger was snoring moments after crashing his SUV last week?

We`re also hearing conflicting reports about whether Rachel Uchitel was paid to keep her mouth shut. She and attorney Gloria Allred abruptly canceled a news conference yesterday. It happened just hours after Uchitel reportedly spoke with Tiger over the phone. "The New York Post" says -- let me see, I got it right here. Yes. "Tiger`s ready to shell out seven figures to keep Uchitel quiet," while TMZ says she is walking away without a cent.

What would it take for Gloria Allred to cancel that news conference? Her daughter, CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom, has an idea. Here she is earlier on HLN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (via phone): It would have to be a deal in place for her to have canceled. That`s the only possible explanation. And I would say, knowing my mom and the kinds of cases she takes on, only very significant cases, it would have to be in excess of $1 million. I can`t see her canceling a press conference in a case this big for anything less than that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In excess of a million dollars.

As for Tiger`s wife, Elin, she could land a multimillion-dollar payout, whether she kicks Tiger to the curb or not. We`re going to take a closer look at the insane -- and I mean insane -- amounts of money this sex scandal could cost the world`s richest athlete.

Now, straight out to my fabulous expert panel: Steven Striker, Las Vegas insider who says he knows Rachel Uchitel; Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist and addiction specialist; Jennifer Brandt, family law attorney. And we begin with Melanie Bromley, West Coast editor of "Us Weekly."

Melanie, you have been all over this story. What is the very latest?

MELANIE BROMLEY, WEST COAST EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": Well, it`s developing all the time. What I can tell you actually, talking about Rachel and why this press conference was canceled yesterday, was "Us Weekly" has been working on this story for a couple weeks now. I personally have been speaking to Rachel myself for weeks, trying to get her to admit to this affair. She was consistently denying it, and yet we had six sources saying that this affair took place.

What I do know from Rachel and how smart she is -- she`s an incredibly smart woman, as is Gloria, as we know -- is that this press conference would not have been canceled, Rachel would not have walked away from this, unless there was something in it for her. And what she got out of canceling it, why she decided not to talk, is what we at the magazine are still working on right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And let`s take a look at the headlines here. Again, let me show you "The New York Post": "Tiger`s Green Fees." They always have something funny to say. "Mega-bucks to Hush up Rachel."

And here`s another one. "Daily News": "Show Me the Money." But that`s referring to Mrs. Woods.

TMZ is reporting that Rachel Uchitel called off her news conference because she`s, quote, "scared" for her safety. Sources say she knows too much about Tiger and other women. And fears that could make her some kind of target from somebody, not Tiger, but somebody.

Famous divorce attorney Raul Felder doesn`t buy it. Here he is on last night`s ISSUES with his analysis of why Rachel canceled her news conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAUL FELDER, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: You asked what it`s about. My guess, it`s about $100,000 or so. Money changed hands, I would suppose. One unforeseen circumstance could have happened, that he begged her not to go on the air. That she got religion, she made a trip to Lourdes, I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I cannot say whether money changed hands, but please, she is now claiming it was canceled because she`s scared? If she is scared for her safety, why on earth would she schedule a news conference in the first place? Does that excuse pass the smell test?

I want to go to Steven Striker. You`re a Las Vegas insider. You`re CEO of Striker VIP and you say you know Rachel. Give us an insight into her mind and why she would cancel this news conference, if not for a lot of money.

STEVE STRIKER, LAS VEGAS INSIDER: You know, again, I`m not here to throw anybody under the bus. This is Vegas. Vegas is a crazy town. Crazy things happen. A lot of celebrities here, a lot of people looking for 15 minutes of fame. That`s all I can say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s not in Vegas, is she? She`s -- I mean, wasn`t she meeting with Gloria Allred in Los Angeles?

STRIKER: You know, that, I don`t know. I know that she works in Vegas for one of the most amazing nightclubs in the world, Tao nightclub. That`s probably the environment in which they met and probably shared in services, using the nightclub as a backdrop. That`s all I really know about that.

I do know that what happens in Las Vegas doesn`t stay in Las Vegas any longer. It ends up on YouTube.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that`s the new -- is that the new phrase?

STRIKER: Absolutely. What happens in Vegas...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happens in Vegas ends up on YouTube?

STRIKER: Ends up on YouTube, Twitter, Skype.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just answer me one question. What exactly does she do? I`ve been reading all these articles where she says, "Well, I often travel with bottle service customers." What the heck is that? What`s a bottle service customer and why would you travel with them?

STRIKER: I don`t know about the traveling. Again, I`m not privy to that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is a bottle service customer?

STRIKER: A bottle service customer is a high-end VIP guest who gets a reserved section in the VIP rooms, and they are the inside looking out. So everybody that walks by can`t get into that section. They`re excluded from the paparazzi. They`re excluded from just anybody. They pay a lot of money for those sections. They get a lot of high-end service from a lot of very wonderful people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess so, if you`re willing to travel to a foreign continent because somebody buys an expensive bottle and sits in a special table. I don`t get it.

STRIKER: Welcome to Vegas, baby.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly.

BROMLEY: I know exactly what Rachel does, because we`ve spoken about it. Right now, she travels with businessmen. She is a host to them. They`ll go places, and she`ll kind of take them to the best nightclubs. She`ll make sure that they`ve got the best service that they`re going to the best restaurants. That`s what she does.

She`s not actually linked to any nightclub or any organization at the moment except her own. I think she`s in the process of setting up her own company to do that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re getting some bizarre new details about Tiger`s Thanksgiving-night SUV crash. Tiger`s neighbors, who called 911, described his condition to police. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he conscious, unconscious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that point, he was snoring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was snoring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was actually snoring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Did she say anything to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I mean, at this point, she was actually very quiet. Just kind of in shock. You know, just kind of sitting there. She wasn`t very verbal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Snoring? How could you possibly fall asleep on the street and start snoring after you crash your car? Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist and addiction specialist, you`ve heard everything we`ve said so far. What do you make of it?

DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST/ADDICTION SPECIALIST: I think this is fascinating. Ambien, which is being possibly reported here, is a sedative. It`s used for insomnia. It`s used to help you go to sleep. It`s a good drug, and a lot of people are on it.

However, I`ve had many, many patients that have reported sleep driving, sleepwalking, sleep binge eating, late-night phone calls to all those random people you don`t want to call. Ambien can do strange things to people. It does something called disinhibition. Disinhibition basically means things that you would normally not do, because your brain`s like "not a good idea," you might do on Ambien.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you a question. Is there such a thing as crazy Ambien sex?

KARIM: No. There`s no such thing as crazy Ambien sex. What there is is crazy sex because you`re disinhibited, and you don`t care what you do sexually. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like crazy Ambien sex to me.

KARIM: Yes, but it`s not -- it`s crazy sex. Crazy sex is crazy sex. Yes, but it`s interesting, because what this drug might do, and it`s not known -- it`s not a sex drug. It has nothing to do with desire. It has nothing to do with any of that. All it is, is a basic drug that`s used for sleep that, in some people, can cause them to just do things they wouldn`t normally do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. I know that people take Ambien recreationally. You know how I know that? I lived in L.A. For 18 years. That`s how I know that.

KARIM: Welcome to my world here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Exactly. So is this claim that Ambien was used recreationally outlandish or is it something that seems credible to you, Doctor?

KARIM: It`s absolutely plausible that Ambien in this case could be used recreationally. I have had many patients in the rehab world that I have had to treat for Ambien addiction in an in-patient rehab facility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Guess what? We are just scratching the surface of this scandal. More on the Tiger Woods sex scandal in just a bit.

And a beautiful young woman vanishes without a trace. Now nearly four years later, she is still nowhere to be found. Tonight, I will sit down with her parents to get the very latest on the investigation.

But first, we`re sorting through this Tiger Woods mess. We may never know exactly what happened that night, but take a look at this hilarious Chinese animation as they try to recreate Tiger`s infamous car wreck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Chinese)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened? What`s wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a neighbor, he hit the tree. We came out here just to see what was going on. I see him and he`s laying down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hit a tree? You mean there was an auto accident?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. There was an auto accident. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a neighbor of Tiger Woods, reporting on his mysterious SUV crash Thanksgiving night.

Check out this wacky recreation of what happened that night from a Chinese news agency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Chinese)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that`s the funny aspect of the story, but it`s very serious, as well. We are talking about the Tiger Woods scandal. The latest development, claims -- and I say claims, I have absolutely no independent confirmation of them -- that Ambien use could have been involved in one of his alleged trysts.

Melanie Bromley, West Coast editor, "Us Weekly," what do you know?

BROMLEY: Well, sources have told us, and we put in this week`s issue that there was an e-mail that Tiger has sent to Rachel in which he talked about a dream he`d had and he also said, he ended the conversation by saying, "You know what? I can`t sleep, I`m going to take an Ambien." And that was how he ended it. So we knew from that, according to our sources, that he might be an Ambien taker.

Also, when I had a long, long, long conversation with Jaimee Grubbs on Monday evening, who of course, is the other mistress, I asked her outright if Tiger Woods took Ambien, and she refused to comment on that to me. But she did admit to me that Tiger suffers from insomnia. It`s one of his problems that he has.

So when you link it all together, that does seem to be some evidence here mounting up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Reef, now that you`ve heard that, your thoughts?

KARIM: Well, again, we`re just speculating, but it would make total sense for someone to come out of their house at 2:30, 2:45, whatever the time was in the morning, be kind of out of it because they`re on a medication like Ambien, be disinhibited, get into their car, because sleep driving is a possibility with this medication in a small number of people, and be completely out of it. It makes a lot of sense, actually. It makes a lot more sense than some of the other stuff that`s been postulated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s talk about another aspect of all of this. Remember Ashley Dupre, the infamous call girl caught with New York Governor Eliot Spitzer? She is now furious that the media is, according to her, not being as hard on Tiger`s alleged mistresses as they were on here.

She, in fact, texted "The New York Post," quote, "Here you have all these girls accepting gifts, money, trips from Tiger in exchange for sex. Now they all can`t wait to tell their stories, in exchange for even more money from the tabloids. And I was the hooker? At least I kept my mouth shut."

Wow. She really thinks we`re going easy on these women.

Jennifer Brandt, you`re the family law attorney. It`s shocking to me that money is such a big part of this story. Reports in "The Daily News" citing "The Daily Beast," saying that word is that Mr. and Mrs. Woods are renegotiating their prenup and that she could get upwards of $80 million if she toughs it out and stays with him for seven years. I mean, is that what marriage in America has come to?

JENNIFER BRANDT, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, there`s a quid pro quo here, because she has to promise not to say anything about him, so that`s his angle on this.

And you know, unfortunately, especially in a high-profile marriage like this one, sometimes it does come down to dollars and cents. You know, there`s a prenup outstanding. She would only stand to get $20 million. And now if she walks out the door, she can get a big book deal for all the secrets that she must know, and sort of the inside story about this.

So he needs to pay to keep her quiet and to keep her with him and keep some semblance of a family, although at this point, I think it`s really a joke.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just don`t understand. I really don`t. Melanie Bromley, explain this to me. If they`re negotiating this prenup that, according to "The Daily Beast," if she stays with him for seven years, she can get $80 million. So in other words, stay in an unhappy marriage.

If they`re unhappy and he feels the need to cheat, as has been alleged, and he has acknowledged transgressions, why not just call it a day and walk away? We already have the scandal. It`s not like the scandal`s going to go away because they stay married.

BROMLEY: But it will get forgotten a bit quicker, I think. I mean, I`m looking back at other scandals, other superstars have been in like ones in England like David Beckham, for example, Posh and David stayed together after that.

I mean, Tiger knows as a happily married man, his image will remain intact. So at least this will be more easily forgotten, you know. And that`s why he`s thinking about his endorsement deals. He`s thinking about the future. He`s thinking about what he can do to kind of make this go away quicker, to make people forget about this a little bit quicker.

If this -- if they end up splitting up, this story is going to become about Elin and her heartbreak. It`s going to become about what potentially could be the most expensive divorce. You know, if they`re fighting, it just could become a much bigger scandal.

BRANDT: And Jane, what you`re forgetting -- what you`re forgetting here are the two children involved in this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

BRANDT: If they stay together, it`s better for the children. He`s going to have access to his children at all times.

If they get divorced, you know, we`re going to then have custody agreements and them fighting over the children and when is he going to se the children. He`s always portrayed himself as a family man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know if it`s better for children, for parents who shouldn`t be together, because they`re not attracted to each other, to stay together for the sake of the children.

BRANDT: Certainly not. But that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me go to Steven Striker. We only have a few seconds. Tell us about this Rachel. You`re friends with her. Is she a good person?

STRIKER: Absolutely. I mean, again, I`m not here to talk basically about Rachel. Rachel`s a good person. I think everybody`s a good person. Please understand...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You think everybody`s a good person? OK. Then I`m sorry. Let me ask you a different question. What -- what sort of person is she like? Let me ask you that.

STRIKER: Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. It`s also adult Disneyland. So what can I say? I mean, people come here to party and have fun. Vegas, you can have and do anything you want when you`re in Las Vegas. There`s a lot of people that are accessible. A lot of people want to help people. This is a fun town. So again...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, fun until you step in a sand trap. Oh, boy.

STRIKER: There`s a lot of traps, obviously.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. There are a lot of traps and a lot of trappers. We`ll have an amazing story for you up next. Hang in there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, is the White House waging war on wolves? The U.S. Interior Department is stripping Endangered Species Act protections from the Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf.

Furious critics are outraged, saying this has allowed for open hunting season on these beautiful, innocent animals in Idaho and Montana. It`s been especially devastating for wolf packs, being gunned down right on the border of Yellowstone National Park.

Advocates for the wolves are fighting to get back these vital protections for these creatures that are, face it, the cousins of our domestic dogs.

Joining me now, Andrew Wexler, director of the National Resources Defense Council`s endangered species project.

Andrew, tell me, why are our tax dollars being used to wage war on these innocent wolves, and how the heck do we stop it?

ANDREW WEXLER, DIRECTOR, NRDC: Well, that`s a great question, and really, wolves are just the tip of the iceberg. The federal government spends tens of millions of dollars a year killing carnivores all over this country.

In Yellowstone, in the northern Rocky Mountains, the real problem are state-sponsored hunts that the federal government is allowing to continue. Idaho alone is planning on killing one of three wolves in the state through a hunt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why? Why is -- let me put this up. OK. Take a look at this. The Bush administration in its final days made a move to remove the wolf`s federal protections.

Now, the NRDC recently ran this full-page ad in "New York Times," which crosses out Bush`s name and replaces it with Salazar, who is President Obama`s secretary of the interior. It now reads, "The Salazar plan to kill the gray wolf," because he put Bush`s plan into action.

Now, during the presidential campaign, a huge controversy erupted because of Sarah Palin`s advocacy of wolf hunting. Aerial hunting in particular showed how these animals are cut down and left to die bloody deaths in the snow. Many voters were horrified by those images.

Now, the last time I checked, Andrew, Sarah Palin lost the election. I expected President Obama would take a peaceful approach to the wolves, but now, the administration is sounding more like their opponents by declaring war on these animals. Why and what can we do to stop it?

WEXLER: Well, the Obama administration has done a lot of very, very positive things when it comes to environmental protection from global...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m talking about the wolves, I`m sorry. But the wolves, why are they doing this to the wolves?

WEXLER: Well, they`re just not following the science. The truth is, there`s not enough wolves in the region. We can`t afford to be killing wolves at this rate, and the administration needs to reassert federal protections for gray wolves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are they, listening to the ranchers? Because isn`t there the concern of the ranchers, they want to get rid of all the wolves so that they can go hunting whatever the prey is for themselves, or they don`t want to have a sheep eaten by a wolf? I mean, these are the arguments that I`ve heard.

So the administration is siding with them? Even though the voters said hey, we don`t like this when they decided not to elect Sarah Palin?

WEXLER: The administration is heeding some bad scientific advice, and they`re getting a lot of pressure from hunters and from ranchers in the northern Rockies. That`s exactly right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want you to see this. CallOffTheGuns.org, CallOffTheGuns.org. People at home, they can`t do anything for themselves. They`re just sitting ducks, targets out there, for people with high-powered rifles. Help these poor wolves. They`re cousins of our dogs.

Thank you, Andrew Wexler. Let`s stop it.

WEXLER: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two parents refusing to give up hope. What happened to Jennifer Kesse? She vanished. We`re going to talk exclusively to the parents.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was straight out of a horror movie. A man claims to be a brutal murderer posting a bone-chilling video on YouTube entitled "Confessions of a Serial Killer. His face is blurred, his voice disguised. He calls himself the "Catch Me Killer".

Take a look at the disturbing YouTube video from MyFoxOrlando.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever one body is found another clue is on and gives you just one small step closer to who I am and where I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The "Catch Me Killer" tells viewers, "Play my game and solve my puzzles and I`ll lead you to 16 bodies one by one." He claimed one of his victims was a case we`ve covered heavily here on ISSUES.

Beautiful 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse vanished from her Orlando, Florida apartment nearly four years ago. Cops say this creep even reached out to Jennifer`s distraught parents on her Internet page with a comment, "Maybe I can help."

Then investigators discovered it was all a sick hoax. The man behind the proverbial mask was this sicko, Andrew Scott Haley. He was indicted for tampering with evidence and making false statements. Today, he is in a Georgia courtroom.

Disgusting.

Joining me tonight: Drew and Joyce Kesse, Jennifer Kesse`s parents; thank you again so much for joining us. My heart is with you. We want to keep your daughter`s case alive.

Drew, this has got to be so painful. How did you find out about this hideous hoax and what impact did it have on you emotionally given that it might have given you false hope even for just a few moments?

DREW KESSE, MISSING WOMAN`S FATHER: Sure. When we first found out from a volunteer, we do have -- there`s about a dozen YouTubes on YouTube about Jennifer, none of which we made up. People just made up. And you can make comments on any of the videos. We were advised of it, went on and simply asked him, "How can you help?" And then he went into his game.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jennifer vanished without a trace. Police believe she disappeared from her Orlando area apartment in the morning before she left for work.

Police have two big clues. This surveillance tape shows somebody driving Jennifer`s car after she went missing. The mystery man leaves her car in the parking lot of a condo complex about a mile away from where Jennifer disappeared.

And then here is the suspect, they actually have the suspect on camera, believe it or not. The man was caught on surveillance camera a second time walking past this gate from the apartment complex. This is a huge clue. Unfortunately, his face is blocked by the post, as you see, and it`s out of focus.

Police believe on Tuesday morning, January 24th, Jennifer showered; she got ready for work but never made it to her job. Police describe the area where her car was abandoned as a drug area.

So Drew, have there been any leads involving this man who was caught on surveillance tape? What do you think happened?

KESSE: There have been leads on the person. In fact, at one point, we thought we actually had found that -- well, police thought they had found that person but it was not the exact person, it turned out.

When you see that, you say ok, we`re going to find this person now. I mean, you can`t just hide; someone`s got to know in broad daylight. However, over three years and ten months plus later, we have found that that is the hardest thing in conjunction with finding Jennifer.

There`s two people that have just simply vanished and it can happen that way.

As part of the sick hoax, the "Catch Me Killer" also claimed to have murdered Tara Grinstead...

JOYCE KESSE, MISSING WOMAN`S MOTHER: Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 30-year-old teacher and former beauty queen mysteriously vanished from Georgia three years ago. "Catch Me Killer`s" first fake clue on his site was about Tara`s disappearance. He claimed to have slit her throat. What a sicko.

There were few clues in Tara`s case. The one that stood out the most was a single latex glove found on her front lawn.

Let me ask you this, Joyce. Tara`s case has no new leads. Your case has not gotten any new leads recently. You both have become advocates for missing persons. How are you keeping this case alive with no new leads?

J. KESSE: You know what, for the love of your child; pure and simple. It`s the love that we have for Jennifer. It`s the love that Tara`s parents have that how can you as a parent not fight hard as hell to find your child.

D. KESSE: Also, Jane, if I may say, leads are still coming in every week. We had one yesterday that was incredible, if you ask me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was it?

D. KESSE: Well, it was a young lady that called in and honestly, Joyce doesn`t even know this because the police took over on it, but a young lady called in and said that she was with a gentleman that she knew, that knew something about Jennifer`s taking. That he had seen her with two men the day of. And once they started speaking about her case again, he went to her picture and said that is the young lady I saw with these two men.

So they`re checking that out. Those are the things that seem to come in...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are police doing about that lead?

D. KESSE: I wish I knew. We`ll find out when that`s all over. I don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shouldn`t they keep you posted?

Joyce, I mean, given the fact that you`re in agony, I think about you two often, because we have covered your case so many times. And I think they`re still there waiting for their daughter, day in, day out. How do you -- it`s mind-boggling to me. It`s overwhelming for me to even think about it.

J. KESSE: It`s overwhelming, honestly, to live this journey, but you know, what`s the alternative? Forget Jen? That`s not an option.

I just, you know, completely appreciate, Jane, your support this evening in wanting to help let people know Jennifer is still out there. She needs to be found. And you know what, we had said we`re never going away. We both have big mouths, we know how to use them, and we will do everything within our power to give her the best chance of being found.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, there`s a war on women in this country.

J. KESSE: Oh, absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is an absolutely perfect example of it. Here on ISSUES we talk over and over again about this war on women, that we all live with psychological burqas.

Here`s a beautiful young woman doing her job, never getting in trouble, getting ready to go to work, getting dressed to go to work, and disappears. You can`t say she was out partying, you can`t say she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was doing exactly what she was supposed to do as a citizen, and yet, she was abducted.

This is the war on women and it has to stop, and I pray that this case certainly, the tragedy and the horror that this case is, is not in vain. That we as a society wake up and realize we need some huge changes in how we conduct not just our criminal justice system, our education system, everything. It`s all intertwined.

D. KESSE: Yes. Absolutely.

J. KESSE: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to do something about it.

J. KESSE: We really do.

D. KESSE: It does start, Jane, at the family. The family is so important with this and the children have to learn very young, and that`s what it`s going to take. It`s going to take a couple generations at least to turn the tide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If we start now.

The only substantial lead that has panned out thus far in Jennifer`s case is a possible connection between Jennifer`s disappearance and the disappearance of another Florida girl, Tracy Ocasio.

Now this man, James Hataway, has not been charged in that case but he was allegedly seen leaving a bar with Tracy right before she disappeared. Hataway`s ex-girlfriends told detectives he had a morbid interest in vampires, cannibalism, serial murderers. Hearing these details terrified Tracy`s distraught mom.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH OCASIO, MOTHER OF MISSING GIRL: I hope she didn`t suffer but with the way things are going and the more we learn about him, I don`t know if that is true or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police say Hataway is a suspect in Tracy`s case but he has not been charged. So Drew, is there any kind of a connection, because Jennifer worked near where Hataway lives.

D. KESSE: You know, yes, there`s connections. There`s three or four of them, where he worked. He actually, the Taproom was actually two properties away from where Jennifer used to live two months beforehand. I have said many times, I have been in the Taproom myself handing out flyers. I believe he was from Tampa area at one point also, which is where Jennifer grew up. Yes, there are some commonalities there.

But we have to wait. He`s a bad guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I pray, I pray that we get a break in this case. We`re not going to let it go. We`re staying on top of it.

J. KESSE: And thank you. Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Anthony Sowell pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. This monster is accused of killing 11 women and keeping the rotting corpses inside his house. How will this play out in court?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A person like that shouldn`t even be on the street at all, shouldn`t even see daylight at all, because just to say if he did get out again, just imagine what else would happen. It could be more lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, the so-called Cleveland strangler, Anthony Sowell, in court today pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges against him. This guy allegedly killed 11 women and lived in his house with the rotting corpses. So does he possibly have a case? That`s next.

First, "Top of the Block."

It would seem there`s one invite the, quote, "D.C. party crashing couple" is not interested in accepting. Tareq and Michaele Salahi were asked to appear before the House Homeland Security Committee but they were no-shows.

Well, now the House Committee Chairman is asking the staff to prepare subpoenas. The Salahi`s have been accused of attending the White House state dinner without being on the guest list but they fervently insist they did not crash the party.

Now, if they continue to rebuff the committee`s requests, they could be found in contempt of court. We will keep our GPS tracking this dubious duo.

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

The accused Cleveland serial killer pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. Anthony Sowell is charged with 11 counts of murder. He also faces kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and rape charges, just to name a few.

Sowell appeared at today`s arraignment via satellite from prison. Listen to this bone-chilling clip from Cleveland.com. It`s the first time -- the very first time -- we`re hearing this alleged monster speak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, sir, you have the right to be personally present in this courtroom for this procedure. Do you wish to be brought over to the courtroom for this procedure, sir?

ANTHONY SOWELL, ACCUSED OF 11 MURDERS: No, your honor. I`m fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Mr. Sowell, have you received a copy of your indictment?

SOWELL: Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And have you read it?

SOWELL: Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to waive the 24-hour notice in reading and enter a not guilty plea today, sir?

SOWELL: Yes. Yes, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I understand that after consulting with your attorney on the other case, that you are indicating a desire to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, is that correct, sir?

SOWELL: Yes, your honor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Sowell is eerily calm and collected. The assistant prosecutor says quote, "Quite frankly, he`s a psychopath." This case has shaken even hardened prosecutors to the core.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD BOMBIK, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR IN SOWELL CASE: There`s never been anything quite like it. Not even remotely close. I mean, I`ve been here a long time and I`ve done with a lot -- I`ve dealt with a lot of atrocities but this -- there`s nothing quite like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sowell was also charged with a mass murder specification; that means multiple people were killed in a similar fashion. Almost all of Sowell`s victims were strangled. The prosecutor says there`s nothing to indicate Sowell has a mental illness. He says there was a distinct pattern in what he did -- a method to his madness.

But why on earth use the word madness if you`re going to argue that this guy is not crazy? I do not get that.

Sowell allegedly lured women to this house of horrors. It sounds like a gory movie. Cops say the registered sex offender lived surrounded by the rotting bodies of his victims. Ten dead bodies were found in the home, a skull found in a bucket in the basement. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The big question, will Sowell`s insanity plea hold up in court? Again, the prosecutor called Sowell a psychopath but in the same breath argues he was sane when committing the murders. How is that possible? We`re going to hammer it out with the lawyers.

Straight out to my truly fantastic expert panel: joining me tonight, psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer; prosecutor, Stacy Honowitz; Ohio councilman, Zachary Reed. And we are so honored to have joining us by phone tonight, Donnita Carmichael. Her mother is one of Sowell`s alleged victims.

Donnita, thank you for joining us; I know this has to be very, very difficult.

DONNITA CARMICHAEL, DAUGHTER OF MURDER VICTIM (via telephone): Yes, it is. It hasn`t been easy, that`s for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is your reaction to the news that the man accused of killing your mother is trying to say that he should not be held criminally responsible, arguing that he`s insane?

CARMICHAEL: It`s a coward`s move. And my family and myself, we expected him to plead that route, because he knows he has no way out. He has been found out, the evidence is piling up just like he piled the bodies up in his home and now it`s time for him to be held responsible so he`s trying to take the cowardly way out which is to plead the insanity.

But from everything I`ve learned during this, about this gentleman; crazy, no, nowhere near it. Coward, yes, definitely. So we are just going to have to wait and see and make sure that the justice system gives us justice, because we haven`t had any thus far.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, in a sad commentary on this already sick case, cops are still searching for more victims. Yesterday, cadaver dogs scoured a property where Sowell lived before he went to prison. They did not find any bodies, but police believe more victims attacked by Anthony Sowell are out there.

Some may have survived but could be afraid to talk. Police are hoping more women will come forward like this victim.

Listen for a moment.

TANJA DOSS, ALLEGEDLY ASSAULTED BY SOWELL: He was choking me and he was like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you could be another (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in the street dead and nobody would give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about you. And I started crying. And I was like why you got to act like that, Tony? He said oh, you think I`m playing? (EXPLETIVE DELETED) take your clothes off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Donnita, police are trying to link Sowell to unsolved cases, at least four of them from the `80s. Do you think he`s responsible for more crimes?

CARMICHAEL: Yes, ma`am. Like I said in the first interview that I did right before my mother was identified and I believe at that time it was six bodies that had been pulled from his home. I said it then, I didn`t think it was just going to be those six bodies. I`m saying it now, I don`t believe it`s just going to be the 11 bodies. And I believe that he is definitely going to be found out that he`s guilty for what went on in East Cleveland right before he went to jail some 20 years ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everyone stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on this horrific case right after the break.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You smell the smells coming down the street. We used to think that it was coming from out of Ray`s Sausage. But...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLADYS WADE, VICTIM OF ANTHONY SOWELL: He`s just twisting my neck, twisting it and twisting it and twisting it. I was gouging his face at the same time, trying to take his eyeballs out. It was like the devil, you know, eyes glowing. You can tell he was demonic or something. You can see the demons in him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was an alleged victim of accused Cleveland serial killer.

Stacy Honowitz, how is it possible that the prosecutor says he`s sane and yet he`s a psycho path?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, listen Jane, I think it`s a matter of semantics in the words that he used. Certainly it is the prosecutor`s job to show that he was sane at the time because quite frankly the only thing they have left is this not guilty by reason insanity plea. So you just can`t walk up into court and say I was crazy and I acted crazy. There a definite test.

I mean, did you suffer from some kind of disease or defect that you weren`t able to appreciate the criminality of what you were doing and you couldn`t really conform your conduct under the law. So there`s a very high standard to show.

So because the prosecutor came out and said, listen, we know he was sane but he was a psychopath. I really think it`s a matter of semantics because somebody that does something like this you might just out there in the vernacular says he acts like a psychopath. It doesn`t mean that he meets the test of insanity under the law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer, you`d almost say anybody who would do this, sit in a house with rotting corpses has to be crazy. What about that argument?

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, I think that what you do when you do a sanity eval on a person like this is there are two parts. One, do the interview and that can be very difficult. Because of course if he is found guilty and not insane he`s looking at the death penalty. On the other hand, an insanity plea that is held up he`s looking at a psychiatric hospital; huge incentive on his part to try to fool the treating psychiatrist that`s doing the evaluation.

But we look at past history here. This guy was in the Marines from 19 to 26 years of age. He got seven "Good Conduct" letters. He got out and he got a job. He was convicted of rape in `89. He served 15 years in the penitentiary. And nowhere during any of that time was there any psychiatric history, at all.

When I look at that, when I go in to evaluate this guy, my suspicion is through the roof that he`s manipulating and gaming the system to try to avoid facing the death penalty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Councilman Zachary Reed. Now all this money and attention is going to be spent on prosecuting this monster, alleged monster. Where was all the money and attention and time when these women were missing?

ZACHARY REED, COUNCILMAN: That`s the question. Where was all this money? Where was all this time? Where was all of the eyes on this particular heinous crime? Probably the worst crime in the history of the city of Cleveland besides the Kingsbury murders and one of the worst crimes in the history of America, period.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Stacy, it seems like our criminal justice system is just backwards. We spend all the money punishing but not preventing or even finding.

HONOWITZ: I mean we`ve discussed that so many times on the show. When you talk about these cases and you hear about these horrific crimes that have taken place and we`ve searched for years and we didn`t come across 11 bodies until years later, you`re right, it sounds horrible.

But you know the criminal justice system does the best that it can, Jane. There`s millions of cases out there. There`s millions of investigators and police officers and prosecutors that are trying to do the right thing and unfortunately in some cases it just doesn`t happen that way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ten seconds, Dr. Dale Archer, do you think he`ll be found not guilty by reason of insanity? Yes or no.

ARCHER: Absolutely not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So he`s going away and facing the death penalty. That`s your prediction.

Thank you, fabulous panel, for joining me tonight.

You are watching ISSUES on HLN.

END