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Rape Epidemic in Daytona Beach; Details Emerge of Jess James Stripper Sex Scandal; Laura Vogel, Missing in Paradise; Natalee`s Remains Found?

Aired March 22, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, young, drunk and under attack. The war on women targets spring break. At least six women raped in one city in just one week. Cops in Florida say it`s just the tip of a horrifying iceberg.

And a stripper sex scandal rocks Hollywood. Sandra Bullock`s celebrity husband accused of cheating on his wife with a heavily-tattooed stripper. Did Jesse James really cheat on Sandra Bullock with this?

Plus, seismic developments in the ever-baffling search for Natalee Holloway. A couple vacationing in Aruba now believe they found a skeleton that could be Natalee, and they`ve got pictures to prove it. Is this Natalee Holloway?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A spring break rape epidemic is tearing through a Florida city. Six rapes have been reported in just one week in Daytona Beach. It is a spring break nightmare. Police say predators are lurking in those crowds of party-going coeds, looking for young, drunk or stoned girls to sexually assault.


CHIEF MIKE CHITWOOD, DAYTONA BEACH POLICE: Just because you`re drunk doesn`t give you the right to take advantage of her. And that`s what we`re -- that`s what we`re seeing here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say drugs and alcohol were factors in five out of the six rape cases. Cops believe some of the victims were completely unconscious when they were sexually assaulted.

Now, spring break usually goes hand in hand with alcohol. We all know that. Take a look at this video posted on YouTube just to give you a general idea of what spring break is like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Let`s do this for real! Oh! Here it goes. Now you, sweetheart.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, so far there`s only been one arrest. Donco Mitrov is a local man is accused of raping a woman who was already drunk when he met her. He allegedly gave her more booze, got her completely liquored up, and then raped her twice at a beach-front hotel. This man has been charged with sexual battery.

Police have upped patrols in the area, but predict there will be more rapes this spring break season. The police are predicting more rapes. Is that what it`s come to?

Women beware. Don`t forget about the war on women, just because you`ve tossed back a few on spring break. We have to be aware of our surroundings.

I want to hear from you, parents and spring breakers. Call me: 1-877- JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks; psychologist Brenda Wade -- we need you tonight, my dear; criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh, who is Florida based and has probably been to a few spring breaks himself, right, Mark?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we begin with a contributor for the news blog True Slant, coming to us from Orlando, David Disalvo.

David, I`m almost afraid to ask. What is the very latest?

DAVID DISALVO, CONTRIBUTOR, TRUE SLANT: Well, the latest as of today, there`s still six rapes reported to police, but according to a rape crisis center in Daytona, there have been ten rapes in total. Or total for that week. And...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. Ten rapes in this one town? Daytona Beach?

DISALVO: That`s right. And the -- so the trend is definitely heading upwards. And last year there were 41 rapes reported during spring break in just the city of Daytona. So there`s no question that the numbers are going to go higher. And if the first week was any indication, they`re going to exceed last year`s.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can`t believe we`re sitting here talking, and we`re basically saying as we speak there are probably young women being raped right now because -- when does it end? David, when is this over?

DISALVO: Well, you know, I think it`s a combination of things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I mean when actually does spring break end?

DISALVO: Oh, I`m sorry. Well, I think the official end of spring break in Daytona Beach is at the end of March. But, you know, there`s -- there`s some that are going to stay for a few weeks after that. So probably more like the middle of April.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. So that`s why I could see it could get up to 41.

So far in these six cases there has been just one arrest. Cops say this local man -- there he is -- gave a woman who was clearly drunk already more booze, then raped her twice. Cops say hotel employees caught him in the act of raping the woman in a hotel hallway.

In another case, a 37-year-old woman was not intoxicated, was assaulted at the Ocean Center, walking to a restroom. A man grabbed her, pulled her into the men`s restroom and raped her in one of the stalls.

And then there is one suspect who has been identified, but he`s not yet been caught. A 20-year-old woman told cops she met a man outside a club. She passed out after drinking and taking Xanax and then woke up naked in his bed. He told her they`d had sex the night before.

So we`re going to talk about the challenges of prosecuting some of these cases. Mark Eiglarsh, if a man is caught in the act of raping an unconscious woman, I think that would be an easy win for a prosecutor, because an unconscious woman cannot consent. But what about a woman who wakes up and the guy tells her, "Hey, we had sex last night," she just doesn`t remember?

EIGLARSH: That creates more challenges for prosecutors. The law here in Florida and throughout the country is, if the woman is physically incapable of consenting, then, guys, you can`t do what you want to do. And in those types of cases, it`s going to come down to whether there`s proof beyond a reasonable doubt that she did not consent. And when in doubt, fellows, stay away.

BROOKS: Hey, Mark, what about the -- what about the three cases, a 14-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old from Indiana of these original six, Jane, these three are not cooperating with police. They`ve reported it, but they`re not cooperating with investigators.

EIGLARSH: That`s common.

BROOKS: So Mark, you know -- exactly. Because they might have a boyfriend at home. They don`t want any publicity. But Mark, what happens with that case? Is it just unfounded?

EIGLARSH: They don`t...

BRENDA WADE, PSYCHOLOGIST: It`s more than that. Those women don`t report, because this is the only crime in which the victim is forced to participate and then shamed because she was forced to participate in the crime. It`s a terribly emotionally traumatic experience for a woman. and very often women would rather go away and heal those wounds without being faced with the additional trauma of being in the legal system.

I think it was Winston Churchill who said the true mark of any civilization is a status of the women in that civilization. I would say women are held at a pretty low status in this civilization when things like this happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, if they -- but also, if they put themselves in a vulnerable position. I never want to blame the victim. But when you are scantily clad and you`re wearing just a little tiny bikini...

WADE: Jane...

EIGLARSH: Jane, Jane, Jane.



EIGLARSH: Wait a second.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Respect the gavel. Respect the gavel.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sixty seconds and I`ll be right back to hear you. In a minute, 60 seconds.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Spring break has been a source of controversy for years. Even when I worked in Florida -- and I hate to admit it, but it was in the late `70s -- there was a movement going on to ban spring break. Somehow, women exhibiting hypersexuality has become synonymous with spring break. Take a look at this clip from "Girls Gone Wild."




VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, guess what? We`re going to show it to you in a second. That`s not the clip. But the creator of "Girls Gone Wild," Joe Francis, was even accused of exploiting young women, and he pleaded guilty back in 2006, admitting his company failed to make sure the girls who were baring all on "Girls Gone Wild" were over 18.

Now, getting back to you, Mark Eiglarsh, I just have to say, full disclosure, I`m very happy that "Girls Gone Wild" did not exist when I was a teenager, because I was out there partying just like those other girls. And...

EIGLARSH: And thanks for the image, Jane. We appreciate it. Better than you threatening me with your gavel.

Here`s what I did want to say. Before we went to break, I was going to preach that we`re not going to stop these predators, but we can decrease the instances of this happening by women being more responsible about their drinking. But I was going to fear as -- as you just said, that the psychological burka that these women are forced to wear, why shouldn`t they be able to dress scantily -- as scantily clad, and then you`re saying that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: May I respond?

EIGLARSH: Go right ahead. It`s your show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I think that there`s a difference between a woman who`s walking alone on a country road being abducted and never seen again, as we see happen so often. A woman who is at home, like the beautiful Tennessee anchorwoman, minding her business, where some creep breaks in and rapes her and kills her. And these women, who are drinking excessively on the beach, wearing G-strings, and engaging in hypersexual behavior, like doing that dance where they`re simulating sex. I think that we have to distinguish between those two groups of women. And the psychological...

EIGLARSH: I agree. I agree.

WADE: I agree that there is a responsibility, but I also think men have to be part of the solution. And I think that any man who is a friend, a brother, of any of these young women should be very, very vigilant and say, "Look, I will be the responsible one tonight. If you just have to get drunk and have that experience, I`ve got your back. I`ll look out for you." Because women have to be part of the solution, but so do men. And wouldn`t it be nice if we could teach our young men to respect young women and to protect them?

BROOKS: But, Brenda, what is law enforcement to do when you have a woman who does decide to go ahead and report the rape and then, after she makes the report, she refuses to cooperate with investigators?

WADE: This is so common. I have to tell you...

BROOKS: I know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, please.

WADE: Yes.


WADE: It`s very common, because it`s an additional trauma for a woman who`s been traumatized to go through the legal process. One of the things that does help is that we actually have -- and I hope you do in Florida, a rape crisis counselor, who help the woman follow through with the charge by giving her very badly need emotional support.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. All right. Chris, Pennsylvania, your question or thought?

CALLER: My name is Chris, and I used to be a bouncer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And a lot of the -- what`s going on is -- my opinion is once it happens, you kind of -- it`s very hard to get women to come out and -- and actually work with police and a lot of times it`s he`s said, she said. So a lot of it is prevention.

What I told one of your guys in the back room was, you know, going to a new place, spring break, you`re going to be in a large, unfamiliar area. So go to the areas where you`re familiar with. Make sure you stay in large groups. Go with at least one or two people that are sober. If you`ve never been to the bar, make sure you go to the bar initially sober and not drunk so you have a familiarity to what the territory. And, you know, stay away from being alone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chris, those are excellent suggestions. You know, parents do have to warn their kids, don`t put your drink down because you can get a date rape drug.

WADE: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Travel in packs.

But the problem is psychologically, Brenda, you -- you feel like you know all these people. You`re partying with them. I`ve been there. You feel like you know them all, because, oh, it`s this school and that school. You don`t realize that maybe an older guy has snuck into the crowd, and he`s really not another student from your college.

WADE: Exactly. That`s why I love Chris` call, because he`s saying there should be one person who`s sober who`s watching out, who`s got your back. You need that responsible person on board. And it has to be a guy.


BROOKS: You need responsible parents who aren`t living vicariously through their kids.

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody stay right where you are. The war on women targets spring break. We`re taking more of your calls on this: 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

Plus, it`s been a mystery for five long years. Tonight, has Natalee Holloway`s skeleton finally been discovered in the waters off Aruba?

But first, spring break has now turned into a playground for sexual predators preying on young women who are drunk. What can these co-eds do to stay safe?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I try to stay in a group, you know, or at least with a couple close friends at all times so that I`m not alone and that I don`t have to worry about that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, smart young woman. I wish they were all acting that way. That was a reaction to the fact that there were six rapes. Now it`s possibly up to ten. And they say they expect a lot more before spring break is over in Daytona Beach.

My big issue tonight: is spring break becoming a predator playground, literally? Police say men are using spring break as a hunting ground.

I`m the last person to blame the victim, but when you combine lack of clothing, hypersexual behavior, alcohol and drugs, it does leave a young woman vulnerable to a predator. Watch this.


CHITWOOD: Girl meets guy, consensually leaves a bar with him, passes out, wakes up and realizes they had sex.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: When there is so much alcohol involved, it`s a tricky situation, because some of these guys are saying it was consensual. And if you blacked out, you actually might not remember that you were a willing partner at the time. That is a blackout boomerang. And that can happen.

It`s something that can happen because, when you`re blacked out, you`re still functioning sometimes. You`re not unconscious. You`re moving around, but you just don`t know what you`re doing the next day. You have no memory of it.

Barbara, Florida, your question or thought?

CALLER: I`m from Panama City Beach, and we`re having our current influx of the young people on spring break. Unfortunately, what`s happening is the girls are walking around scantily clad, which should be their choice. Unfortunately, if someone has an ill intent toward them, there`s going to be very little obstacle to deal with. Inhibitions are relaxed. The force of the person that`s going to inflict upon them is going to be much greater than they`re going to be able to resist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Barbara, let me ask you this, because I know, having worked in Florida, that there`s always these repeated, over and over again, efforts to crack down. They never go anywhere. And part of it is that this brings in a lot of money. This is about making money. Each one of these kids you`re looking at here is bringing in a lot of money for this community. And isn`t that the reason why they let it go?

CALLER: That`s part of the reason, I think, that a lot of it is -- like the girls I`m observing are walking around with next to nothing. Yet the young men are walking around with shorts, T-shirts, caps. So there`s a big gap between the male and the female presentation on the beach.

And the girls, like I said, for how young they are, they`re much more built and -- than what I remember. I`m in my later 50s.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, you know what, Barbara? Thank you for your call.

Mike Brooks, look, here`s the thing. I will say this as a recovering alcoholic. And it`s embarrassing to me to say it, but I`ve been in a blackout and I don`t -- you don`t remember. This was 15, 20 years ago, whatever, but you don`t remember the next day. But then you kind of have shards of memory, and it`s like, "Oh, yes. Oh, yes, where did we go after that?"

"Well, don`t you remember? You said, `Let`s go here`." So...

BROOKS: And it goes - it goes both ways. You`ve got a guy and a girl waking up in the morning. "What did we do last night?" You know, and "Well, did we have sex?" "We don`t know." I`ve heard that happening, too, Jane.

But you know, when you have a population like Daytona Beach, you know, David could tell you, it just almost triples, if not quadruples its population. You`re going to have predators down there, sexual predators. And you`re also going to have other predators who are there to relieve you of your money.


BROOKS: So it`s -- it`s both things. But you`ve got to have education starting off. And I think Mark will agree with me. You know, where are the parents? Much of these kids, you`ve got a...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t take your parents to spring break.

BROOKS: No, but you know what? They need to educate you a little bit. Where are you getting all the money? It`s not all theirs.

EIGLARSH: We`re not dealing -- these are not high schoolers. I mean, I agree with you, the parents...

BROOKS: A victim is 14, a victim is 17, a victim 18. They`re high school as far as I know, Mark.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are starting to sound like a butch of spring breakers.

All right. Thank you, fantastic panel. Great insight, everyone.

You know, it`s been a month since Laura Vogel went missing in Hawaii. We`re looking for answers and speaking exclusively to her family tonight about what they`re doing to find her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hypocrisy comes to a head tonight in the Jesse James sex and cheating scandal. Shocking revelations about Jesse`s second wife. She`s a former adult film star who thinks she`s now got a shot at getting partial custody of their 6-year-old daughter. Janine Lindemulder is jumping at the chance now that her ex, Jesse James, is smack in the middle of a nasty split from Sandra Bullock.

Jesse James was allegedly caught cheating on Sandra with this dubious catch, Michelle "Bombshell" McGee. And if we drop the graphic for a second, you`ll be able to see. There, look at that, Nazi regalia. OK? This is the winner -- not -- who he`s allegedly hooked up with.

TMZ also got a hold of jaw-dropping stripper video. Here`s "Bombshell" McGee writhing to a song, "Tainted Love," at a club called Pure Platinum in San Diego just about a week ago.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. That`s not all. This topless version also from TMZ speaks for itself.

Can you blame Janine for making a play for custody of her kid? Keep in mind, however, Jesse James originally got custody because of Janine`s spotty past, which includes porno. Oh, my gosh.

Straight out to Carlos Diaz, correspondent for "Extra." Carlos, I can`t keep up with this mess. Tell me. What is the latest with this crew?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Well, you know, I mean I`m hoping that Sandra Bullock surfaces and says, "You know what? I`ll take Sonny. I`m the only sane person in this entire group." You know?

I mean, it`s -- this is the sad thing. You know, when all this came down, people were shocked, because Sandra Bullock, of course, is America`s sweetheart. She should be right now in the spotlight for winning the Oscar. Instead, she`s canceled another appearance at the red carpet for "The Blind Side" in Germany.

But the bottom line is this. You have Jesse James, who has -- who has hooked up with this Michelle McGee girl. You notice, I don`t say "allegedly," because I`ve talked to people in San Diego who said Michelle McGee she basically, you know, was bragging about it to everyone that she could.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you know, Michelle McGee might be bragging. I say "allegedly" because who knows what this girl is bragging about? You know? She`s also wearing Nazi regalia.

DIAZ: Exactly, but here`s my -- here`s my thing. If it didn`t happen -- and you`re right; it still might not have. But what`s Jesse James apologizing for, then? If she`s apologizing for something that hurt Sandra and the family so much, well, what happened?

And, you know, you need to clarify so that we can kind of get -- the only source we have right now is Michelle McGee in this entire situation.

But the bottom line is Sandra has to go through seeing these videos. I mean, and right now, there are two or three that we -- that I`ve seen online. There are 30 or 40 more videos out there that -- that are going to be popping up in the next few days of Michelle McGee, you know, stripping and doing these things, because that`s what she does. I mean, she`s a dancer. She works for This makes it all the tougher for, A, Sandra Bullock to handle this and, B, you know, even thinking about taking Jesse James back at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s what I don`t understand. Very briefly, why would she cancel her appearances? She`s done nothing wrong. Sandra should hold her head high.

DIAZ: Well, you know, come on, Jane. You know as well as I do, every question on that red carpet will be about Jesse James. Not one question will be about "The Blind Side," which is an amazing movie, or her amazing performance. It`s all going to be about her husband and what he allegedly did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Carlos, great talking to you. I guess it`s the Oscar curse.

What happened to Laura Vogel? I will talk exclusively to her devastated family next.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Seismic developments in the ever- baffling search for Natalee Holloway. A couple vacationing in Aruba now believe they found a skeleton that could be Natalee and they`ve got pictures to prove it. Is this Natalee Holloway?

Tonight, the desperate search for a woman who went missing in Hawaii reaches a fever pitch. It`s a story you will only see here on ISSUES.

Laura Vogel disappeared a month ago in Maui. There she is; beautiful young girl. The last time anyone heard from Laura is when she texted a friend on February 21st that she was going off on a hike by herself and, quote, "meeting with the locals".

The next morning, Laura`s friends found her van near a homeless camp. The passenger door was open. Laura`s keys were still in the ignition, but there was no sign of Laura`s wallet, no sign of her phone, no sign of Laura herself.

Police searches on foot and in the air have reportedly yielded zero clues; nothing. Ok? It`s been a month.

So now Laura`s desperate family has hired Texas Equisearch.

Let`s here about ground they have covered from my fantastic panel.

We begin with Tim Vogel, Laura`s brother. And Tim joins us on the phone from Maui where he has been searching for his sister. We, of course, have Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst.

Tim, first of all, let me say our hearts go out to you. We want to help with the search. We want to find your sister, God willing alive.

TIM VOGEL, LAURA VOGEL`S BROTHER (via telephone): I appreciate that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we will do everything to keep her face out there in the hopes that somebody on the islands of Hawaii has seen her and can call authorities.

What`s the last thing you`ve heard from cops about their theories?

VOGEL: Well, there have been some developments. They`ve located the gentleman who -- the last phone call went from Laura`s phone to a prepaid phone. That individual has been located and has been questioned. I`d also say that the FBI has been involved and continues to be involved in that portion and -- and the investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me back up a little bit, Tim, and explain to our viewers exactly what you mean by that phone call. Let`s review some of the evidence. What happened to Laura?

She says she was going camping in an area near the cliffs in Maui -- ok -- one of the most beautiful parts of the Hawaiian Islands.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She texted her friend, she was going to meet with the locals. The question is did the locals turn out to be a bunch of dangerous transients who happen to congregate in that area where she was going camping?

The day after Laura vanished, Laura`s friends found her van with the passenger door open and the keys in the ignition. Her cell phone and wallet were missing. And then the back of her cell phone was found near that transient camp.

But as you were mentioning, a check of her phone records turned up two calls placed from her phone to a guy whose number was not in her phone book, somebody you have no knowledge of, a man with a very deep voice.

So, Tim, explain. Did they find that man with the very deep voice and question him?

VOGEL: Yes. It turns out it was a prepaid phone, which makes it very difficult to find. But they did find the individual who was in possession of that prepaid phone. That individual has been questioned. And that`s the most that I`m allowed to say about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean you`ve got to wonder why the heck that individual was holding your sister`s cell phone, whatever it was. Prepaid phone or an old-fashioned phone, why is it in his hands when it was your sister`s phone?

VOGEL: Yes, absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you can`t say anything about that?

VOGEL: Yes, the only other thing I can say is that -- is those questions about, you know, what resources the Maui police are bringing in and they have given me permission to say that the FBI has been involved and they continue to be involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But this is a case of foul play. I remember the first time around we thought maybe she had fallen off the cliffs. And that was what the cops were saying.

And here on ISSUES, we immediately said, "No way, Jose" --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- because nobody goes camping and leaves their keys in the ignition. Have the policed a least admitted now that the chances are that this is foul play?

VOGEL: Yes, I don`t believe that the -- the case has been changed to a criminal case, but there is definite belief that the potential for foul play is there. In the police`s viewpoint and in the family viewpoint, we`re very confident that foul play was involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tim Miller, director Texas Equisearch, here`s my thought. You`ve been looking for her; you`re in Maui trying to find her. We`re talking to you now. Are you -- where are you right now, Tim?

TIM MILLER, DIRECTOR, TEXAS EQUISEARCH (via telephone): Well, I`m actually in Houston, but I do have people in Hawaii right now that are searching. They`ve been there three days. And it`s very, very difficult to search the area.

They`re doing a lot of flying with a drone airplane and organizing foot searches. And we know that the back of her cell phone was found, you know, real close to the cliff that goes down to the ocean. So, of course, we`ve got many, many deep concern.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to interrupt. I want to show our viewers, these cliffs are the cliffs that you would be hiking around so, obviously, it is very steep and you could fall. Nevertheless, the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, the keys in the ignition, her cell phone, her passenger door open suggests foul play even though these are steep cliffs and she could have obviously fallen off them potentially.

But, Mike Brooks, you`ve been listening to all of this. What do you make of this? Something is fishy here.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know it does. It does sound like foul play possibly, Jane.

But I want to ask -- also ask Tim, were they able to get any evidence at all from her vehicle? Was there any sign of a struggle around the vehicle? What do we know about this transient camp? Are these people that are living there all the time? Thus the -- they probably do not since they`re calling it a transient camp. But any evidence at all other than the back of her phone? That`s what I just can`t figure out, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tim, this transient camp, ok, obviously it`s hard to interview people who are transients because they come and go.

VOGEL: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But police have to talk to those transients in that area because if anybody saw anything, they did.

MILLER: Well, it`s -- you know what, they`re not talking a whole lot either unfortunately. We`re not getting a lot of information from them. You know, many of them have criminal backgrounds and stuff. So they`re not being any help to us whatsoever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Tim Vogel, again, Laura Vogel`s brother, what about the possibility -- and I hate to say this because I know it`s got to be very disturbing -- but that she was abducted and that the search in the immediate area is futile because somebody put her in a car and she`s on the other side of the island or perhaps on another Hawaiian island?

VOGEL: Yes, there`s -- there`s a large possibility that that could have happened. But what we -- what we as a family have been focusing on is ruling out the fact that she`s nearby. So we needed to rule that out with a high level of certainty for ourselves.

So we`re letting the Maui police and the FBI really work on the information side of things. They are not doing any more with the local searching so we`ve picked up the ball on that to make sure that we can rule out those areas around there so that she`s not there. And Texas Equisearch and Gene Robertson (ph) who`s flying the drone have been pivotal in really helping us achieve that.

BROOKS: Jane, let me just point out, too --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to say -- we`ve got to wrap it up there. But take look at this face. If you see this woman anywhere on the Hawaiian Islands or anywhere, call police immediately, ok? She`s not there of her own volition in all probability.

Fantastic guests, thank you so much.

Natalee Holloway vanished five years ago. The mystery has baffled the world. Tonight, have her remains finally been discovered after all these searches?

We`re taking your calls on this, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

But first it`s time for an ISSUES celebration. I`ll tell you all about our great weekend in California and the great honor given to this show.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, fast-breaking developments in the search for Natalee Holloway. Did two tourists find her skeleton in the ocean? That is next.

But first, "Top of the Block".

It`s a proud day for us here on ISSUES this weekend. This show was honored with a Genesis Award for Best TV Newsmagazine.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our show won for all of our work investigating animal cruelty. It was a star-studded event with a slew of Hollywood celebs including Pierce Brosnan and Charlotte Ross and many others.

You know, here on ISSUES, we uncover the hellish treatment that beautiful animals suffer from the horrors of factory farms where pigs live out their lives in tiny crates unable to ever turn around to the plight of laboratory monkeys subjected to extraordinary pain. ISSUES is committed to shining the spotlight on cruelty.

This Thursday we`re going to talk to a major Hollywood star about the U.S. government`s reckless roundup of wild horses. And we`re going to tell you what you can do about.

And if you want to see more pictures from this amazing night at the Genesis Awards, become a fan of my Facebook page and check out our Web site,

It was a lot of fun. And thanks to our viewers for supporting those animal stories.

Meantime, heart-wrenching developments for the parents of Natalee Holloway as they relive the horror of their daughter`s 2005 disappearance in Aruba. There are now plans for a new secret underwater search to find out if Natalee`s remains are on the ocean floor.

Natalee Holloway was on her high school graduation trip five years ago when she vanished. She went missing on the very last night of her trip after partying with friends. She was last seen leaving a bar with this man, Joran van der Sloot.

He confessed once again last month in a Dutch newspaper interview that he got rid of Natalee`s body that night. So why don`t they arrest him?

And now there`s this, a story, HLN`s Nancy Grace uncovered, an underwater photo that could show human bones on the ocean floor. A couple on a cruise took the picture while snorkeling, but does it really show a skeleton? Now, the Muldowneys talked exclusively to Nancy Grace.


JOHN MULDOWNEY, TOURIST: I did show that to an awful lot of people, even my doctor, and they all agreed that that is a corpse.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But is it? Is it a corpse? We`re going to know soon enough if this is Natalee`s final resting place when divers head out on their secret underwater search. Her step-dad has long said the ocean was her grave.


DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY`S FATHER: I think this is -- I`ve got a feeling that if she`s in the ocean, these guys are going to find her.


HOLLOWAY: No doubt about it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re taking your calls on this. Call me. 1-877- JVM-SAYS. Do you buy it? Do you think it`s legit? 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic panel: of course we have Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst; Tim Miller of Texas Equusearch joining us by phone. And he obviously became world famous in his search for Natalee in Aruba

We begin with Julia Renfro who joins us by telephone from Aruba. She is the editor-in-chief with "Aruba Today". Julia, what is the very latest?

JULIA RENFRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "ARUBA TODAY" (via telephone): The -- hi, by the way.


RENFRO: The authorities have received the information from the FBI. They have the photographs. They have the information. They have the location. And currently are planning an underwater search, although not by the request of the authorities. Someone has actually gone and re- photographed with a higher-quality camera the location.

From this point -- from this point, it`s going to be up to the authorities whether or not to -- they will continue the investigation -- to confirm whether or not it is the remains of Natalee Holloway or possibly just a rock formation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Julia, that`s new information, you`re saying that -- ok. This is the photo from the couple from Pennsylvania. But you`re saying that someone, possibly the government, has sent out another team that has photographed -- that`s gotten a more high-resolution photograph of this same possible skeleton?

RENFRO: This -- this location has been re-photographed and the information will be sent to Holland to the NFI, to the Dutch forensic institute, who will then review the photographs and make a decision whether or not to send scientists to Aruba to dig up the remains --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Julia, I`ve got to say, it doesn`t make a lot of sense to me. Why not just put on a mask and some snorkels and go down there and find out if it`s for real? I mean, to send all this stuff to Aruba --

RENFRO: You need to be a scientist. You need to be a forensic evidence scientist in order to touch this information because you could destroy possible evidence. And that`s why they do not want anyone to touch this -- this particular --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. You`re making a good point. I stand corrected. I see what you mean. You don`t want to --

RENFRO: I believe Tim Miller will agree with me 100 percent on this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Tim, do you agree that we shouldn`t just put on a pair of snorkels and go down there and just get close enough to see if it`s a real skeleton or if it`s just a bunch of rocks?

MILLER: Who, me?


MILLER: Now, you know what I think that it`s rock formation. When we did the deep-water search over there two and a half years ago, we found many formations that looked like it could be a body. And in the -- you know it Jane, it would be totally impossible for a skeleton to be intact at the bottom of the sea in Aruba with the currents and the waves as strong as they are.

You know, I could see maybe finding a skull or something, but for it to be intact without it being in some type of container, I just don`t see that happening. And I think that Dave is pretty much on the same page as that.

And --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this, Tim. And you can watch this hopefully. Let`s take another look at that undersea photo. You`re also going to see an image by an ISSUES viewer. Who doctored the picture to help us visualized what the original photo might show.

Now, this viewer basically took a skull that she found off the Internet and put it on top of where the skull is supposed to be. And we`re not doing this, but I thought while if a viewer took the time to go to that length to -- to offer that as a possible indicator, we might as well show it and see what people think.

Here they are on the left you see un-doctored photo. On the right, the photo includes the image of a skull. I mean, it does illustrate, Mike Brooks, size-wise it`s possible that the shape is a skull. And, in fact, HLN`s Nancy Grace got an exclusive interview with the Muldowneys whose wife took the picture.

BROOKS: Right --


NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: To John Muldowney, what do you recall when you first took a really hard look at this photo? How did that come about?

MULDOWNEY: When I looked at that photo, I said, "By darn, that certainly does look like a skeleton." But I started showing it around to different people. Getting comments, what do you think? I just told them to look at this picture. What do you see? And of course, there`s that little snake that Pat was taking on the right side of the picture. And then they`d look and say, "Oh, my God, yes. That`s -- that looks like a -- a skeleton, a human body."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the Muldowneys who`ve took the photo Mike Brooks are convinced. But what about you?

BROOKS: You know, Jane, as a former investigator, I never want to say never in a case like this. You always hold out hope, but I have to agree with Tim.

You know having been a diver, myself, I can tell you that most likely a body would have been scattered by underwater, you know, sharks and other animals underneath the surface of the ocean. And the bottom surge, with all the storms that come through that area, Jane, I find it highly unlikely that it is human remains.

You know, it was a point and shoot, one of those disposable cameras that they had. So let`s get some better pictures and then go down and take a look if they think it really is something to take a look at.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang in there everyone.

Stay right where you are. We`re going to have more analysis of this photo after the break and your calls.


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY`S MOTHER: When I hear Joran, what I`m hearing, though, is he doesn`t know, Larry, if Natalee was alive or not when he decided to dispose of her body. So yes, he is a murderer, Larry, to me. There`s no way a 17-year-old can make a decision whether a young woman is alive or not. She could have been in a coma easily.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Natalee`s mother, Beth, has fought a valiant fight to find her daughter.

Here`s my big issue. And the sea will tell? You may remember, that`s the title of a fantastic true crime book about a double murder on an island in the Pacific Ocean. So I wonder, will life imitate art in Natalee`s case? Will the ocean end up being the best witness and provide clues to solve this horrible murder? Has it been holding Natalee Holloway`s remains all this time?

Phone lines lighting up.

Matt, Tennessee, your question or thought.

MATT, TENNESSEE (via telephone): yes. I wondered, since this new evidence has come forth if Natalee`s parents went to Aruba and if anyone knows where Joran van der Sloot`s location is.

I mean, he`s admitted to killing this young girl. This picture that they`re showing on TV can go either way. But I don`t understand how he can admit to committing this crime and still be walking the street.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you --

MATT: And my heart goes out to the family of this young girl.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Our hearts do go out to Beth especially. Joran van der Sloot has been a key figure in this investigation since day one. His first confession was ruled inadmissible when a Dutch crime reporter allegedly gave him pot and secretly videotaped their conversation.

Here is a portion of that astounding interview from ABC`s "Good Morning America".


JORAN VAN DER SLOOT (speaking in foreign language): He was bent over her and looked. This wasn`t good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (speaking in foreign language): Of course, I understand.

But she could have been in a coma.

VAN DER SLOOT: That possible too. That`s very possible.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Julia Renfro, Joran van der Sloot has reportedly changed his story yet again and said, "Oh, it`s totally different, she fell after a night of alcohol and drugs, we put her body in a marsh." The story keeps changing.

Julia, if this turns out to be Natalee`s skeleton, what happens to Joran? Where is he, anyway?

JULIA RENFRO, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ARUBA TODAY: In this particular situation to answer your guest, the Holloways, nor the Twittys have returned to Aruba after this information, by the way. And then on top of that Joran has told many conflicting stories. The recorded statement that he --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is he?

RENFRO: He is back and forth between the Netherlands and the Netherlands Islands.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So in other words, does he ever go to Aruba?

RENFRO: Yes, he does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he can go back and forth. He has not been banned from Aruba?

RENFRO: No. Of course not. Of course not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. If -- Mike Brooks, let me ask you this. If it turns out that it`s Natalee`s skeleton. I know you`re doubtful of that. But if it does --

BROOKS: I never say never.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Either she`s alive or her body has to be somewhere. And let`s face it. With searches like this, a lot of times it`s the tourists who accidentally stumble upon the body. That happens.

But what happens to Joran if it is her skeleton?

BROOKS: Well, the problem is, is there any evidence -- you know, if it is her, to link her back to Joran? That`s the problem, Jane. He`s been arrested, what, three times I think in the past five years. And he`s still

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there.

You are watching issues on HLN.