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Rape Accuser Not to Press Charges Against Roethlisberger; Searcher on for Orlando Girl, 11

Aired April 12, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, day four in the furious search for 11-year-old Nadia Bloom. The only clue, her abandoned bike. Cops say the girl suffers from mild autism and may have been inspired to go on her own camping adventure by a character in a book. Where is Nadia?

Then, a huge announcement clears NFL star Ben Roethlisberger. A 20- year-old student who accused the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback of sexually assaulting her last month has decided not to press charges, but questions still linger about what happened at that Georgia nightclub. So why did this woman back down?

Plus, a possible break in the case of missing Brittanee Drexel. This beautiful teen vanished nearly a year ago vacationing with friends in Myrtle Beach. Now the case cops once fear was going cold has heated up, with new tips leading to three or four persons of interest. Are police about to make an arrest? We`ll talk to Brittanee`s desperate parents.

And more shocking reports about the "Survivor" producer whose wife turned up dead at a lavish resort in Mexico. New allegations of an affair between the producer husband and a Hollywood casting directing. Mexican authorities point to gaping holes in this Hollywood hot shot`s story. Are police closing in on Bruce Beresford-Redman?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Big Ben Roethlisberger is off the hook. The shocking announcement made just hours ago by a Georgia district attorney. And in just moments, we will bring you a new on-camera statement from Big Ben himself. It`s coming in right now.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old coed in the bathroom of a nightclub after a night of hard partying last month. So why was the case dropped like a fumbled football? Well, listen to what the D.A. said about how an emergency room doctor described the victim`s injuries.


FRED BRIGHT, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, OCMULGEE CIRCUIT, GEORGIA: A superficial laceration and bruising and slight breeding in the genital area. Everything else in the medical examination was normal. The doctor stated that he could not say that these were or were not from any kind of trauma or sexual assault.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where did they come from? Lacerations, bruises, bleeding. There was some physical evidence, but authorities say it was not enough to file charges.

Turns out less than two weeks after the alleged assault, the woman told the D.A. in a lawyer letter she was not in favor of prosecution. But the letter says the woman is not recanting her story, leaving the door open for a possible lawsuit.

TV station KDKA reported that Big Ben admitted to cops that he had consensual contact with the woman but not sexual intercourse. And what about the booze? The D.A. says Ben and this girl had both been drinking heavily that night.

So do you think the D.A. made the right call not to prosecute? Did Big Ben get a pass? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Joining me now, John Lucich, veteran criminal investigator; B.J. Bernstein, defense attorney and former sex crimes prosecutor; and Ryan Smith, entertainment and sports attorney and host of "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV.

Ryan, we begin with you. The alleged victim didn`t want to move forward. But is it really up to her?

RYAN SMITH, HOST, "IN SESSION": No, it`s really up to the prosecutor. So in this case, they felt that they didn`t have enough physical evidence to make this thing work.

Now, you always want to have the victim in your corner, and you always want to have them backing this. You want to have them as a potential witness at any trial that might happen. So it`s probably a factor. But the real issue here, Jane, is that they didn`t have DNA evidence to really connect him here, and the big issue here, the fact that the story wasn`t necessarily consistent. Alcohol being involved. All are very tough things for a prosecutor to be able to prove this kind of case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The D.A. went into substantial detail about what physical evidence they did and did not have against Big Ben.


BRIGHT: The initial testing found human male DNA present. Additional extensive testing was done. But because the sample was so minute, it would not yield a profile.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So here is my big issue. Did Big Ben Roethlisberger get a pass? TMZ reported that security footage from the Capital City nightclub about two hours outside Atlanta was somehow mysteriously erased. TMZ says that claim contradicts the bar owner`s claim that he had the video.

Let`s go to the -- OK, Big Ben is speaking right now. Let`s listen.

BEN ROETHLISBERGER, PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER: I know without a doubt it was the right conclusion. I don`t intend to discuss any details related to the events in Georgia, and I`m happy to put this behind me and move forward.

I am truly sorry for the disappointment and negative attention I brought to my family, my teammates, coaches, the Rooneys, and the NFL. I understand that the opportunities I have been blessed with are a privilege and that much is expected of me as a quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community, and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust, and I am committed to improving and showing everyone my true values. I am excited to get back to work with my teammates, and I`m more determined than ever to have a great season. I intend to make my family, friends, and the Steeler nation proud on all fronts.

Thank you, and God bless.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. B.J. Bernstein, former sex crimes prosecutor, you just heard Big Ben moments ago saying he thinks it`s the right decision, but then he apologizes. What do you make of it?

B.J. BERNSTEIN, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Well, I think what Fred Bright, the district attorney, said really says it all. When he made, in his comments dismissing this case, that he didn`t have a criminal case, but that morally there may be some issues here. And I think that`s what Ben was getting at.

Again, you have him at a bar, late night, serving shots, drinking, a lot of things going on, such that it doesn`t place him in the type of character that we look up to from anyone and, even more so, our athletes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: B.J., the woman had superficial lacerations, bruises and slight bleeding to the genital area. My ears perked up when I heard that. And the D.A. then proceeded to say in the next sentence, but other than that -- it`s like, well, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

BERNSTEIN: Well, the thing is this. In working in these cases -- and as you well know, there actually can be some of those injuries during consensual sexual contact as well as non-consensual. And then the other part...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? I don`t want to get graphic here, but...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think we -- I think any person who is not a virgin could say that, nine times out of ten, sexual contact does not result in bruising and lacerations. I mean...

BERNSTEIN: But they use the word "superficial." In other words -- and that is a medical term indicating that it was slight, as opposed to something overwhelming that we would all wince at.

And that -- and, again, that`s enough -- the problem is, it`s not enough under Georgia criminal law. Besides lack of consent, there has to be force. And force is usually more than just the sexual act itself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I want to point out no charges are being filed against Ben Roethlisberger. He says that this was the right decision, although he`s apologizing for other behavior that night.

Nevertheless, John Lucich, you`re the former criminal investigator. As a woman, this was all very hum-drum until I heard those three words: the laceration, the bleeding, the bruises.

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Jane, I agree with the prosecutor. Mainly from a standpoint is, if you don`t have the evidence and you don`t have a cooperating witness, you`re all uphill going nowhere with this.

There`s no doubt about it. This guy has got to clean up his act. And he`s got a long way to go if he wants to be some kind of role model, like he says, but the prosecutor didn`t say a criminal act didn`t occur. What he did say was that there was no evidence to support the charges for a criminal act.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s face it, Ryan. Alcohol is a big factor in all of this.

SMITH: Yes, absolutely. It`s a huge factor. And, you know what, Jane? The problem is, when you have a victim, at least under Georgia law, when you have a victim like this who was, as they say, highly intoxicated, it becomes hard to have a case against Ben Roethlisberger, because you`ve got these two people in a bathroom. No one knows what`s going on except the two people in there. We don`t know what her state is, his state is. It becomes hard to put together a case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Ryan, on top of that, there -- the D.A. -- correct me if I`m wrong -- said that he was giving her shots. So he was allegedly intoxicating her.

SMITH: But even if he`s giving her shots, can we prove -- this is what the D.A. is looking at. Can I prove, with the evidence, I have that a crime was committed?

So giving her shots, all that kind of stuff, as a person under 21, maybe that`s a whole separate issue under Georgia law. But here for the crime of assault, it`s tough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, getting drunk is no reason to be violated. But I will say the message to women is, when you do get drunk, you don`t only get trashed, you trash your credibility as a witness, as well.

More on the Ben Roethlisberger breaking news in just a moment. And we`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

A year after Brittanee Drexel`s disappearance in Myrtle Beach, her family still doesn`t know what happened to her. She vanished. We`re going to hear their frustrations with the investigation.

Plus, something definitely happened between NFL star Ben Roethlisberger and a young woman in a bar bathroom, but the D.A. says whatever it was, it`s not enough to prosecute him.


BRIGHT: We are not condoning Mr. Roethlisberger`s actions that night. But we do not prosecute morals. We prosecute crimes.




BRIGHT: The police officer said, "Wait a minute, let me hear it from her." She`s obviously intoxicated. But he said, quote, "Did he rape you?"

And her response was no.

Next, the first officer said, "Did they have sex?"

And she said, "Well, I`m not sure."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s what you call intoxicated.

Big Ben Roethlisberger off the hook. No criminal charges will be filed against the Steelers quarterback in the wake of an allegedly unwelcome sexual encounter in a bathroom at a Georgia nightclub.

Luann, Pennsylvania, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. I`m a die-hard Steeler fan. As far as I`m concerned, he has disgraced the Steeler franchise. It`s not -- if that was somebody low-income, I think they`d be sitting in jail right now. This man -- two times in a row. And he talks about being, you know, a role model for children? As a parent of three, I would never want my children to look up to him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I love your call. B.J. Bernstein, that was my big issue when we got the news conference in. Did he get a pass? Was he treated the way every other American would be treated in a similar situation?

BERNSTEIN: Well, what I do think is there was a more thorough investigation here. And in fact, in most cases, as much as happened here should happen in other cases.

In other words, a lot of times a woman complains. That happens at night, and then by the next day, they`re arresting someone. And even though we want to give credit -- you don`t help a real victim by arresting quickly. And you also don`t help a defendant who may not have appropriate charges against him.

So I do think that his good lawyers and his -- the attention given to the case meant good law enforcement techniques.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t they have -- Ryan Smith, didn`t they have off- duty cops there that night, hanging out with him?

SMITH: Yes. Supposedly they had off-duty cops with him that were friends of his, and they were sort of -- sort of backing him, going around as a crew, bar-hopping with these girls. Unbelievable.

You know what, Jane. We heard him talk in his press conference about, "I hope you can see my true values." You know what he cares about? He cares about the NFL and his franchise and keeping his job. And his buddy, Santonio Holmes, another guy who was involved in a bar altercation, was just traded. So his perspective right now is let me make sure my team and my city knows that I`m a good guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And apparently, he`s going to meet with the NFL commissioner, and the commissioner has the latitude to discipline him. So this is not necessarily over. And there could also be a civil lawsuit.

But listen to this. The D.A. said these two, Roethlisberger and the woman, did not know each other before the night of the assault. They met up at different bars and they participated in conversations of a, quote, "sexual nature."


BRIGHT: Mr. Roethlisberger invited them into the VIP area, where he provided shots of alcohol for them. Everyone agrees that the victim was highly intoxicated due to consuming alcohol. One of the bodyguards guided the victim down a back hallway. Mr. Roethlisberger followed her down the hallway into a small bathroom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Booze, bodyguards and a small bathroom. John Lucich, why would a bodyguard guide this drunk woman down a back hallway with Roethlisberger following her and then the two of them ending up somehow in a bathroom?

LUCICH: Well, you know, he`s -- the -- Roethlisberger is probably behind the body guard, so the bodyguard couldn`t see him. He was probably making sure that she got to bathroom without hurting herself.

The fact that Roethlisberger followed this girl into the bathroom and the bodyguard -- if that bodyguard saw that, he did a disservice to the player himself.

I think the biggest pass, if he gets away with this, is going to come from the Steelers and the NFL, because this -- bringing such disgrace to his teammates who have worked so hard to achieve what they`ve got is the worst part of this whole story here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ben`s attorney held a news conference after the D.A. was done where he was bombarded with questions about whether Ben planned to sue the accuser. Watch this.


ED GARLAND, ATTORNEY FOR ROETHLISBERGER: Fortunately, I can say my job is done. This is over, and so is the press conference. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... pursuing any civil action against...

GARLAND: I`m not going to answer any questions about anything. I`m not going to answer any questions about any of those matters. My job is done.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There he is, backing out of the news conference. Fascinating. You know, Ben is currently being sued by another woman who alleges he raped her in 2008 while in Nevada for a celebrity golf event. Roethlisberger responded to that with a countersuit against that woman, calling her allegations false and vicious.

So, B.J. Bernstein, are we likely to see that pattern repeated in this case: suit, countersuit?

BERNSTEIN: I`m not so sure, because the plaintiff`s attorney, who`s very, very reputable here in Atlanta, did do this letter and really talked about this young woman wanting privacy. And when you file a lawsuit, it`s anything but private. And I think the -- the same goes for Ben. The bottom -- so I don`t necessarily think we`ll see any more litigation out of this.

And really, what we need to do is -- I know an issue that`s important to you, Jane, which is broader than this case, is our societies look at alcohol and what we consider fun and entertainment and that young men, when they`re in high school...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but B.J., let me say this. Is bad judgment only the province of frat boys? Women cannot make a mistake? They cannot get drunk?

BERNSTEIN: No. Absolutely not. I don`t think it should be open season on women either, but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. Yes, and let me say this. In this letter, which I`m reading here, the lawyer says, "This decision does not any -- does not reflect any recanting of our client`s complaint but simply a realistic personal decision as to what`s in her best interests, given the media."

BERNSTEIN: And that`s a really real concern for someone, because as all the facts and details come out, and eventually people will get hold of these police reports, it may not be flattering to anyone.

And the reason I`m concerned -- and I think you understand this, as well. That we have a society where young people starting in high school, they binge drink, they`re going out, something happens wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but when...

BERNSTEIN: It goes on to college and then it gets worse when you add money and fame.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but, you know, boys binge drink; girls binge drink. There shouldn`t be different consequences for each.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

A former reality show producer, a suspect.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A frantic, desperate search tonight for a young girl missing near Orlando. Dogs picked up the scent of 11-year-old Nadia Bloom today. The big question: could she be lost in an alligator-infested lake, or did somebody abduct her?

Her family thinks Nadia might have gone out on her own for an adventure fantasy based on the book "Lanie" in the "American Girl" series and also possibly to make a nature video. Police say she recently did read this book.

Nadia is mildly autistic. She disappeared last Friday.


SOPHIA SARBASA, NADIA`S FRIEND: I`m really sad because she`s my friend and I`ve known her for a really long time. And I really hope that we find her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Searchers did find her bike and her helmet. Her sister says she had a new video camera and a still camera in her backpack.

Investigator John Lucich, we`ve heard that search dogs picked up Nadia`s scent today, but this is a very, very dense area with thick brush as well as alligators. This has got to be an incredibly difficult search.

LUCICH: Absolutely. And you know, the fact that it`s going four days troubles me that they haven`t found this little girl yet. We`re talking about a small little girl. She can`t move very fast. She`s not going to move very far. So why hasn`t she been found?

At the initial scene right where they have her bicycle and her helmet, you know, it doesn`t look like a scene where she`s been abducted. It looks like she carefully placed that helmet on her bicycle and then walked away.

So I think that the theory -- what the parents are thinking is correct or is possibly very correct, but the fact that she may have succumbed to some type of injury or other incident out there is growing every day that she`s missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I think it`s -- you could read any number of things from that bicycle. If an abductor approached her and said, "Hi, little girl," and then she gets off her bike and takes off her helmet, and leaves it there, I don`t know that you can extrapolate...

LUCICH: He`s not going to wait for that. He`s going to take her with the helmet. He`s not going to allow her to put her helmet on. It doesn`t happen that way. People want to grab that little girl and run away as quickly as possible. It`s not going to be a neat crime scene.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I hope you`re right. I want her just to be missing and found somewhere in the brush, certainly not abducted. There`s a missing child alert out for Nadia. But police don`t have specific enough information to make it an Amber Alert. Listen to this.


CHIEF KEVIN BRUNELLE, WINTER SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Because we know we have a missing person, they`re doing everything that you would do if we knew we had an abducted child, but we can`t call it an abducted child, because nothing tells us she`s been abducted.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So far they have conducted dives in six different bodies of water. They`re using sonar and cameras, dog teams and ground teams. They`ve searched by helicopter 12 different times.

Police are treating this as a live person rescue until they have reason to believe otherwise. I just -- given the resources, John, that have been put on this case, I`m just astounded that, if she is in the area, they haven`t found her. I mean, I`ve done stories on -- when they use that technique from the helicopter, where they look for hot spots, and they do find people. If there`s somebody down there, there will be a hot spot.

LUCICH: Absolutely. In fact, the fact that they picked up on her scent is very promising. But like you said, it`s troubling that, if they picked up on her scent, where is she? Why isn`t she in the immediate area? It`s almost like someone could have planted her bicycle there, could have placed her helmet there to make it look like she was there, and then not being there. So this story absolutely can go either way. I`m really hoping for the first one, that -- where she`s brought home safely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is a mystery. We`re going to stay on top of it. We won`t let this little girl`s story go.

A teen vanishes during spring break. A year later, no arrests. Will lie detector tests finally blow this case wide open? We`re talking to Brittanee Drexel`s parents next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A possible break in the case of missing Brittanee Drexel. This beautiful teen vanished nearly a year ago, vacationing with friends in Myrtle Beach. Now the case cops once feared was going cold has heated up with new...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A possible break in the case of missing Brittanee Drexel. This beautiful teen vanished a year ago vacationing with friends in Myrtle Beach. Now the case cops once feared was going cold has heated up with new tips leading to three or four persons of interest. Are police about to make an arrest? We`ll talk to Brittanee`s desperate parents.

And more shocking reports about the "Survivor" producer whose wife turned up dead at a lavish resort in Mexico; new allegations of an affair between the producer husband and a Hollywood casting director. Mexican authorities point to gaping holes in this Hollywood hot-shot`s story. Are police closing in on Bruce Beresford-Redman?

Tonight: a family`s desperate quest to solve a grim spring break mystery. What happened to Brittanee Drexel? It has been nearly a year since the New York teenager vanished in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She went there for spring break without her parents` permission. We`re now learning that police are looking at three possibly four people from South Carolina who they are calling persons of interest.


VINCENT DORIO, MYRTLE BEACH DETECTIVE: People that we`re looking at, I feel really good about because all of our little pieces of evidence haven`t been tied in yet, but they`re all pointing in the same direction, towards certain people.

CHRIS BAILY, GEORGETOWN COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: They are suspected of being present with Brittanee, knowing her whereabouts or possible whereabouts.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a huge break in this case. Detectives told us today that two of those people have taken lie detector tests, but police would not tell us the results or whether they were close to making an arrest. So after countless searches and interviews, police still cannot give Brittanee`s family any hard answers as to what happened to her.

Investigator John Lucich is back with us, but I want to get straight to my very, very special guests, Brittanee`s parents, Dawn and Chad Drexel.

I just want to say first of all, from everyone here at ISSUES, our hearts go out to you and your family. Our thoughts are with you. We`ve thought of your case often in this last year. And we don`t want to let the story of your child -- your precious daughter`s disappearance -- die out. Thanks for joining us.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us -- I`ll start with you, dawn, what has this last year been like for you, not knowing what happened to your daughter? And what`s your impression of the three or four people detectives are now focused on?

D. DREXEL: Well, the past year has been hell. You know, we -- we`ve been going on with our lives, you know, as far as taking care of our children. But, you know, someone in our family is missing. And we have no idea what happened to her.

When the police called us the other day, we were a little surprised when they called us because we weren`t sure, you know, what they were calling us in reference to. But, you know, after we had watched the footage that they had put out, we were a little appalled, you know, when they had stated that the -- that they didn`t think that Brittanee was alive because there was nothing that points to Brittanee not being alive.

They have no evidence. They don`t have a body. You know, and -- I mean, the family has just been -- we`ve gotten phone call after phone call. We have friends that are upset, family that is upset. You know, and -- you know, how dare they, you know, do this to us? Do you know what I mean?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s -- it`s rough. It`s terrible. Again, we have no comprehension of what you must be going through. What we want to do is be a force for positive change and hopefully help solve this case.

Brittanee and her friends drove about 700 miles from Rochester, New York to Myrtle Beach. Like so many teenagers, they had no adult chaperons.

Police say hours after Brittanee vanished, her cell phone sent out a ping in Georgetown County, South Carolina. Unfortunately, that clue did not generate any solid leads.


DORIO: We could use that one person or that one piece of evidence that comes forward and tie everything in together to make a solid arrest, which leads to a solid conviction.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chad, what are authorities telling you about these three or four persons of interest? The fact that her cell phone was found inland to me would indicate that somebody down there in South Carolina is responsible as everybody else was at the shore and they were from New York. So it would make it -- it would make more sense that somebody who lives in South Carolina would go inland. What do you know?

C. DREXEL: Well, when the authorities told us about these suspected people, I asked specific questions.

First off, you say you`re treating it like a homicide. Why are you treating it like a homicide? There`s a couple of things they told us. Number one, they`re trying to keep the investigation and utilize their references and all their tools by using that word. They`re able to do so. Number two, it upsets the family. I told them that. We don`t know if she`s dead or alive. That was my question.

Ok, you have suspects or persons of interest. Did they tell you that -- or is the story they`re telling you or the story that you got to get these people, is that leading you to believe that my daughter is dead or is my daughter -- do they have her somewhere or do they know where she is?

And they were being very, very generic and not answering those questions. And they said the reason -- and I asked them, why aren`t you answering my questions specifically? They said because we don`t want to hinder the case.

That`s when I know -- I`m her father. Her mother, her parents need to know what -- where you are on the investigations. If anyone is not going to hinder the case it would be the parents. Anyone else, I could see holding information from. But we`re the parents. It`s our daughter that`s missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you 100 percent. I mean, you -- all they have to say to you is we`re telling you this but don`t tell anybody.

D. DREXEL: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you frustrated, Chad, that they didn`t give you the specifics that you were asking for?

C. DREXEL: Well, of course. I mean, I want closure for not only myself but for her siblings; my 12-year-old daughter and her -- and Brittanee`s 6-year-old brother. I mean, I want closure for everyone so at least give us some hope. That`s the only word that I`ve got to teach both my children is hope.

And I try to instill that in everyone I talk to on every media I talk to, phone, Internet, whatever. You`ve got to have hope.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So suffice it to say that the authorities have not told you anything about these three or four persons of interest?

C. DREXEL: Not at all. They`ve been very generic. They told us just trust us, to believe. The reason they want us to trust them in this is because they want a solid --

D. DREXEL: Conviction.

C. DREXEL: -- conviction to arrest them. I said, ok. Then that kind of made me feel better. However, I`m still -- I would like to know the specifics. And I won`t tell anyone. It`s my daughter. Why would I hinder my own daughter`s case?

D. DREXEL: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Lucich, you`re a former criminal investigator. Briefly, any reason why the cops wouldn`t tell the parents what they know?

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: They never injure a case intentionally. It`s always by accident. They`ve got brothers and sisters they`re close with. They`ve got siblings. They`ll tell them. It will spread.

And by accident, someone says something on the media and it`s out. And then that might hinder the investigation because real quick, if someone knows that a -- let`s say -- let`s talk about a different case of homicide that a person was stabbed to death and then the cops never released that and while they`re talking to a suspect, somebody says that to them, they know they`ve got a suspect.

They cannot release -- and these cops, they`re not trying to hurt the family --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. All right. I hear you. We get your point. Thank you, John.

Brittanee was captured by surveillance cameras the night she vanished. Take a look at it. Here she is walking into the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard. It`s about a mile from the hotel where she was staying.

She went there to see a friend from New York who was staying there with three or four other teens. Ok. Here`s Brittanee leaving a short time later around 8:30 at night. This, I think, is one of the last times along with on the road that she was seen. She vanished after this.

Police interviewed each of those young men and said none of them are suspects. Now, one of them, however, Dawn, did leave at 1:00 in the morning to go back to Rochester, New York, which you found to be quite odd. Tell us about that. No names, please.

D. DREXEL: Well, the person that she was last seen with --

C. DREXEL: He left with a few people.

D. DREXEL: He left with the people that he came there with, that he was rooming with. And had -- came back to Rochester at 1:30 in the morning. Well, left for Rochester at 1:30 in the morning.

C. DREXEL: Dawn and I both believe that he knows something. It`s not that he knows something specifically, it`s not that the guys that went with him know something. We believe one of those kids that went with my daughter or were affiliated around my daughter down there know something or someone or something that would help this case. What hurts us the most is that none of them has stepped up to help anything.

D. DREXEL: Yes. They`ve never come forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We want to say that we`re not letting your story go. We`re going to stay on top of it. We`re going to call the cops. We`re going to make sure that your daughter`s case stays out there.

D. DREXEL: Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We have two seconds.

D. DREXEL: I just wanted to let you know if anybody has any tips or anything, they can go ahead and, you know, send them over to the Q Center for Misses Persons and also on Brittanee`s Web site which is

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you both. Our hearts are with you.

D. DREXEL: Thank you.


C. DREXEL: Thank you.

D. DREXEL: All right, thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The parents of a teen boy who allegedly brutally beat a young girl to a pulp defend their son.

And murder in paradise, a high-powered Hollywood producer`s wife turns up dead in the sewer of a luxurious Mexican resort. Are authorities close to arresting him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s always been this warm, you know and very, you know, loving friend for all us. We`re going to miss her dearly.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: With allegations of a steamy affair and inconsistencies in his story, is a "Survivor" producer becoming the prime suspect in his wife`s death? That, in just a minute.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

The parents of the Deerfield Beach, Florida teen accused of beating Josie Ratley are speaking out for the first time. They say the brutal beat down, their 15-year-old son allegedly inflicted on Ratley, was not in his nature. They believe his issues manifested with his brother`s October suicide and grew over time until he just snapped.

Here`s what they told the "Today Show".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn`t impact him very well. Like I mean, how would you like to be 15 and find your only brother hanging in a tree? So I think the impact, you know, kind of -- kind of hit him hard.

MATT LAUER, HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": If you could speak to her, what would you like to say to Josie`s mom?

DONNA POWERS, MOTHER OF SUSPECT WAYNE TREACY: I am so sorry. And my heart and prayers go out to you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wayne`s parents also said their son wanted to apologize and that he wishes he could turn back the hands of time to the day before his brother died. Unfortunately, you can`t turn back the clock.

He believes if he could, none of this would have happened. Or maybe if that teen could have gotten some therapy after his brother`s suicide, maybe this tragedy could have been avoided. Lessons learned. When a kid experiences a trauma, they need therapy. Don`t be afraid of it.

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

Stunning new developments in the murder of a hot-shot Hollywood producer`s wife: her high-powered husband best known for his work on hit reality show "Survivor" is the focus of the investigation.

Tonight, Mexican authorities say an arrest is imminent. Monica Beresford-Redman`s body was found dumped in the sewer of a luxurious Mexican resort. Police say she was strangled and took a massive blow to her temple. Mexican cops claim Monica`s husband had scratches on his face and arms.

And more gaping holes surface in Bruce Beresford-Redman`s story. He insists he last saw his wife when she left to go shopping, but there is absolutely no record that she ever left the resort to go shopping.

Plus, a possible motive: RadarOnline claims -- it`s a claim -- - just a claim that Bruce had an affair with a mystery mistress. RadarOnline identifies this woman as Joy Pierce, a reality TV casting agent. She is furiously taking down her Web sites, her MySpace and her LinkedIn.

Will police question her? She has an open invitation to appear on this show and tell her side of the story. We did reach out to her.

Monica`s sister says Monica knew all about the affair. But she thought it was over. Bruce had allegedly begged her for forgiveness. She tells Radar the couple went to Mexico to kind of work it all out. But this trip in paradise quickly turned into a deadly nightmare. Friends say they cannot believe Bruce is responsible.

Listen to this.


LAURIE WHEELER, BERESFORD-REDMAN`S NEIGHBOR: They were a very wonderful, loving parents. They were -- when I saw them, they were the perfect neighbor, perfect couple. I`ve never seen them argue. I never saw them out of control. This whole thing is just absolutely shocking and my - - our whole neighborhood and my family were completely devastated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight, new information on two mysterious deaths that occurred at this very resort adds new wrinkles to the case.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: also joining me CNN producer Alan Duke who has brand new information. Alan, what is the very latest?

ALAN DUKE, CNN PRODUCER: Well, what we`ve been working on now for the last several days is what`s happened at the resort, the Moon Palace Resort. I reached out to the Moon Palace Resort spokesman, they`ve not responded. But what we have found is that there were other deaths that the families of the victims say were unexplained.

One last summer, a Scottish woman who was found dead in a swamp about three miles from the pool where she was last seen and the other one three years ago, a Canadian man, who police say fell from a balcony, but the family says his skull was crushed otherwise. And so while they apparently have no relationship to the death of this woman, it does raise possibilities or questions about safety of American tourists in Cancun.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We can never assume -- and this man has not been charged with anything yet. The latest inconsistency in Bruce`s story however, authorities confirm Monica never left the Moon Palace Resort to go shopping. Bruce continues to insist he last saw his wife at 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning when she left to go shopping and never returned. There are other holes in the story.

Bruce says he last saw Monica at 10:00 a.m. Monday. But a security guard at the hotel says he saw the couple viciously arguing at dinner Monday night. And claimed Bruce tried to hit his wife.

Then even later that night, several hotel guests allegedly heard loud arguing and shouting coming from the couple`s room. When the hotel sent on employee to check it out, Bruce allegedly told them everything was fine because they were fighting over their two children.

The coroner says Monica was killed around midnight. So, John Lucich, we are getting brand new details that the hotel`s electronic lock system showed the couple`s room was opened and closed at least 11 times Monday. What does that tell you?

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Well, that people were going in and out, that somebody was there. It`s going to come down to a lot of different types of evidence, including the evidence that may be back in the United States on his computer.

When you take a look at the spotty past of this hotel, was he the guy hypothetically who actually chose this because of that to set all this thing up? And it would fit in to what`s been happening to these other tourists. Now, when you --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. You`ve got a devious mind, dude.

LUCICH: -- the one way to find that out is to look at his computer back in the states which I would gladly do.

But by the way, there are three things. I think the case is coming down against this guy`s scratches, the fact that he lied about his wife leaving and them actually finding her on the premises.

I have three major concerns here. The number one is the local government`s ability to protect the integrity of the crime scene and not trample over evidence; the technical resources and expertise available to gather that evidence and process a crime scene like we do here in the United States; and the judicial system, having a reputation for corruption.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. I got it. Coming up, Judge Karen Mills weighs in on the murder mystery.



MARIZA ALYRIO, FRIEND OF MONICA: She was loved. I don`t want to say that she`s passed away. I really don`t want to believe that. Knowing her, her marriage, it seems very happy. She -- you know, she can never wait for him to come home when he goes do his things. I -- you know, if there is any trouble in their marriage, I have no idea.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, murder mystery in paradise. Mexican authorities awaiting an autopsy report before making an arrest in the brutal murder of Hollywood restaurateur Monica Beresford-Redman. But they say an arrest is imminent, the investigation focusing on her husband, Bruce, a hotshot reality TV producer who worked on "Survivor" and "Pimp My Ride".

Coco, Missouri, your question or thought, ma`am.

COCO, MISSOURI (via telephone): Hello. I was just calling in, wondering that you know they said on the news that she had cleared out all her bank accounts.

Death (ph) in America by men killing their wives and women killing their husbands all be a result of women leaving their husbands and accounts to get money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Karen Mills Francis, excellent question. What could be an inciting incident in intimate partner violence?

JUDGE KAREN MILLS-FRANCIS, HOST, "JUDGE KAREN SHOW": Well, I did read that too also on the Internet, that in the past when his wife first found out about this woman that she had taken all the money out of the bank account. But I cannot imagine that this man planned a murder in Mexico.

Of all the places to end up in jail, I think Mexico will be at the bottom of the list of any place you want to go. I mean, you don`t have the same constitutional rights there, a right to an attorney, presumption of innocence, the right to a speedy trial. He`s got to find an English- speaking lawyer there.

And I also question, which may very well be in this guy`s favor if he did it, what did the Mexican authorities do here? Did they take clips of his fingernails? They found the body. She had scratches. He had scratches. Did they take his clothing? Did they go back to the hotel room? Did they take pictures? Was there any DNA or other evidence that was removed from the room?

One of their children is 5 years old. Did they take a statement from the children? We don`t know these things. Why he was released under these circumstances is beyond me because that wouldn`t have happened in an American city. I don`t believe that.

Now, Bruce has just hired a high-powered Mexican attorney, Eduardo Amarena. He is the very same attorney who represented Dog the Bounty Hunter and got dog out of hot water when Dog got into trouble in Mexico. You remember Dog was charged with unlawfully detaining Andrew Luster, a serial rapist and heir to the Max Factor Cosmetics fortune.

Alan Duke, where is this producer, Bruce, tonight?

DUKE: He`s about 200 miles from Cancun, I`m told; under the supervision of the U.S. consulate in a city out of Cancun. He doesn`t have his passport. He can`t leave if they want him to he has to return to Cancun. But he is out of jail, just under supervision by the U.S. Consulate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And briefly, Alan, there is now a custody battle over the kids. Tell us about that.

DUKE: Yes. What I found out today is actually what happened with the kids. We were wondering about yesterday. The sister of Monica flew down to Cancun and got the kids and took them back, and they stayed with her for a day. And then the next day the judge, believe it or not, in the Michael Jackson custody case gave the custody of the two children to the grandparents, to Bruce`s mother and father.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Ok. Excellent reporting, Alan. Thank you.

And thank you, fantastic panel. You are watching ISSUES on HLN.