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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Girl Killed in Reality Show Police Raid
Aired May 19, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, an explosion of controversy over a police raid gone terribly wrong. A beautiful, innocent 7-year-old girl shot dead in Detroit sparks an intense investigation. The grieving family claims authorities have staged a cover-up, but did reality show cameras rolling at the scene cause police to amp up the drama? We`ll debate it tonight.
Plus shocking new developments in the "Survivor" murder mystery. The family`s nanny now says Monica Beresford-Redman was asked by her husband to take out a life insurance policy just days before her fateful trip to Mexico. The Hollywood producer, a suspect ordered to remain in Mexico. What`s the next stunner we can expect in this case?
Then a desperate family searches for Julie Ann Gonzalez, missing for almost two months now. Tonight, new claims her estranged husband failed a lie-detector test. I will talk one on one to the polygraph expert about what he learned testing George De La Cruz.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Escalating controversy and haunting new revelations tonight in the horrific shooting of a beautiful 7-year-old girl by a Detroit cop. We are learning more about the officer who shot little Aiyana Jones. The victim`s family says there`s been a police cover-up.
Also, did the presence of a reality TV show affect the behavior of the cops that night?
Little Aiyana Jones was sleeping peacefully on her couch in her family`s home just after midnight Sunday when she was shot in the neck during a police raid. Cops first tossed a flash bang grenade into the home to create confusion. Guess what? They accomplished that. All hell broke loose.
Tonight, two conflicting stories about what really happened. According to local media, the man at the center of it, Officer Joe Weekley. He is featured on the A&E Web site as a reality show SWAT team member. Cops say his gun accidentally discharged after a tussle with the grandma. Cops were searching for a murder suspect. And tonight there are questions about whether they went into the wrong apartment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN JACKSON, WITNESS: Policemen came to the wrong door, literally to the wrong door. And they should have went to the left when they went to the right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops ultimately arrested the fiance of Aiyana`s aunt in the apartment upstairs. The distraught family is now suing. If police had gone to the suspect`s door first, would little Aiyana still be alive tonight?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFFREY FIEGER, FAMILY`S ATTORNEY: This type of activity by a police force is unacceptable in America. What is equally unacceptable is the cover-up that has occurred since the time of Aiyana`s passing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did the presence of camera crews with A&E`s reality show "The First 48" make the cops more aggressive that night? And should justice be a form of entertainment?
Give me a call on this one: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky; Sunny Hostin from "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV. Glad to have you. And a very special guest tonight, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is no stranger to controversy, even making his inmates wear pink. And he was also featured on his own reality show, "America`s Toughest Sheriff." There`s some footage there.
The former attorney for Aiyana`s family, Kerry Mitchell, joins us by telephone. But we begin with another very special guest, the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Reverend Al, thank you so much for being here tonight with us here on ISSUES. We know that you will be giving the eulogy at Aiyana`s funeral on Sunday. So what is your take on this tragedy?
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL WAR ACTIVIST: Well, no matter what comes out of the investigations, let us begin with the fact there`s an innocent girl, 7 years old, that is dead, and she`s dead as a result of police action. Now, whether those actions are deemed later to be accidental or not, I think clearly, the community and the family has the right to demand some serious answers, and the outrage that`s being expressed is completely justified.
No matter what scenario you come with, there is no way to justify that you`d have this kind of behavior that would lead to the death of a 7-year- old girl. She was innocent of anything at all.
And I think that this outrage is something that is clearly speaking to the fact this 7-year-old young lady is dead. We do not see this type of behavior done in other neighborhoods. And clearly, I think the people in Detroit are responding to this kind of behavior in this particular neighborhood.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s talk about the cop who reportedly fired that shot. We have new information on a 2007 incident involving officer Joe Weekley, who local media outlets say is the officer who shot little Aiyana. Now here he is, that officer, on another A&E reality show, "SWAT Detroit." Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE WEEKLEY, POLICE OFFICER: And build it from scratch as far as physical -- the physical training. These guys are in good shape, but they need to be in great shape, because you have to be in tip-top shape to do this kind of job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Weekley is prominently featured on the A&E show "The First 48." He`s nicknamed Brain. His bio says he`s a 14-year veteran of Detroit P.D. He`s been on special response team for six years.
We`re learning that he was reportedly involved in a 2007 raid that had a controversial aspect. Lawsuits filed last year claim police shot two dogs without justifiable reason in a room near a child. The lawsuit claims the officers had guns pointed in the direction of a child and infant.
Now the officer`s attorney defends the police action, saying that police acted reasonably and that none of them were disciplined.
In what appears to be a separate incident, Detroit`s assistant police chief says Weekley was involved in one other shooting last summer that involved a barricaded gunman. He was cleared in that shooting, as well.
But I want to ask you, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the family`s attorney is claiming that there was a cover-up. He claims that initially cops tried to get another cop who didn`t have a previous shooting on his record to accept responsibility for this tragedy that night. What are your thoughts on the claims of the family`s attorney?
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY: Well, I don`t know. The only thing I can say, let the facts come out. Let the police department do their internal affairs or what have you. And don`t rush to judgment. Just because Reverend Sharpton is blasting away like he`s been doing against me on alleged racial profiling for over a year. So let`s let the system take its course.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but -- and I`ve got to bring Reverend Al back on this. The family is, A, concerned that videotape might be erased. The family`s attorney says he`s seen three minutes of videotape that he claims shows a totally different story from the one police gave. Namely, they said that they had a tussle with the grandmother inside the home. He claims he saw videotape of the shot being fired from the porch before entry, and he`s now afraid that that tape`s going to be erased.
And he`s also afraid that the Michigan police doing the investigation is too closely aligned to the Detroit police to come up with an independent, impartial conclusion. Your thoughts on those criticisms?
SHARPTON: I think that clearly Geoffrey Fieger, who`s a very prominent attorney, is protecting the family. If he did not go public and raise what he has heard, there is the possibility those tapes could be tampered with.
If, in fact, we`re going to have an investigation, if we`re going to do what Sheriff Arpaio recommends, we`ve got to make sure that we protect all of the evidence that is available. And I think that the responsible thing to do is to go public so that no one can get rid of things.
When you have a pattern of incidents that this officer has been accused of, if they`ve proved to be so, this is part of an investigation. If you have -- you have some officers who have never been accused of misconduct. If he`s been accused of two or three other incidents, one where children also were close, I think that has to be part of what is considered.
And in all due respect to Sheriff Joe, I don`t know how you compare the death of a 7-year-old girl to me and him having this debate about racial profiling in Arizona.
ARPAIO: No, no, no.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. One at a time. Sheriff Joe, you can respond.
ARPAIO: No, because he has a tendency to go public, make big issues, not knowing all the facts. That was what I was trying to say.
SHARPTON: That`s what I`m asking here for is the facts. That`s all I`m asking for.
ARPAIO: OK, good.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what? I`ve got two gavels here, one little one and one big one. The viewers have told us they don`t like people talking over each another. So let`s do it one at a time.
First of all, I don`t want to just have a name calling thing tonight. We`re trying to talk about this issue, not the personalities of the people on the panel.
ARPAIO: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I want to go -- maybe we should go to a caller right now. Karen in New Jersey, your question or thought?
CALLER: Yes, hi, Jane. I called in because I was looking at this and the thing is, it`s terrible that a small girl lost her life. But the police had to raid the home looking for a murderer. If the man wasn`t there and if he didn`t -- if he wasn`t there in first place, the adults wouldn`t have been at risk, the children wouldn`t have been at risk. Yet no one is talking about what he did.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very good point. And Kerry Mitchell, the former attorney for the Jones family, there is a question, though, about which apartment they went in. The suspect was arrested and has since been charged with murder one, was in a different apartment in the same building.
KERRY MITCHELL, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR JONES FAMILY: Correct.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Everybody, stay right where you are. Is this a big police cover-up? Or is it just a tragic accident? What really happened that night in Detroit? We`re taking your calls on this. We`re just getting started: 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, a young mother vanishes in Austin. She was going through a divorce. Her husband was the last person to see her alive. Now he`s reportedly taken a polygraph test. So did he pass?
But first, a family demanding justice. Seven years old, killed by cops. Is this a police cover-up or an accident?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mother-in-law. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my 7-year-old grandbaby. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES JONES, FATHER OF AIYANA: I`ll never be the same. I`ll never be the same again. That`s my only daughter. She`s the only thing that can make me happy. That was my only daughter for a reason. She was my happiness. She was my joy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aiyana`s father talking about his little girl, killed by a Detroit police officer. The family`s attorney has filed two lawsuits on behalf of Aiyana and her grandmother.
I have to ask you, Reverend Al Sharpton, before we get to the rest of our panel, what about that caller? She`s essentially saying what about the initial crime that police were looking to solve? Eventually, they did arrest in the unit next door to the unit they raided, next door to where the girl died, that -- this man was arrested. And he is now charged with murder one. We don`t know if he`s guilty. But we do know that he is reportedly the fiance of Aiyana`s aunt.
So if you -- and he`s a habitual offender, according to published reports. If you`re involved in criminality, can you expect to put your entire family and their relatives at risk?
SHARPTON: Well, I think, first of all, the caller`s right. No one should forget the 16-year-old young man that was killed.
The two people we know that are innocent in this is the 16-year-old young man that was killed and the 7-year-old Aiyana. And I think that we`ve got to really let both of them -- I called the young man`s mother today and gave my condolences to her. And I`m going to go see her when I come in to do Aiyana`s funeral. No one should disregard what happened. No one condones it.
But we should expect that the police are coming in to protect people like Aiyana from criminals, whether this ends up being the right person or not, not to then come in and have two wrongs trying to make one right, if this proves to be wrong.
But we, at this point, we`re demanding a full investigation so we knows what happens. I don`t think like anyone within their right mind would defend what happened to this 16-year-old man and not say it`s horrific. And I don`t think anyone should therefore also say that we`re going to defend, therefore, police should act in a reckless way that would cause the death of this young lady, 7 years old, if in fact, it proves they were reckless.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, here`s my big issue tonight. Unspoken pressure. Any patrol show is interesting because no matter where you go, you`re going to find something out there on the street. "Cops" on FOX is one of the most well-known cop shows. It`s exciting. Good TV. They`re on patrol. They always find something, even if -- if it`s a traffic stop.
But on a show that`s about investigations and rape, it`s different. Investigations often involve hours and hours and hours of waiting. The big elephant in the room is that they need to make some exciting TV.
My question, Sunny Hostin: does that put undue pressure on the cops to make something dramatic happen?
SUNNY HOSTIN, TRUTV: Well, I don`t think so at all, actually, Jane. I think the bottom line is they certainly are on their P`s and Q`s when they know that they`re being videotaped. I think it makes them more careful rather than more reckless.
And again, this is really about that videotape. We don`t know what happened. We have two completely different stories. And we really do have to get to the bottom of it. I think it`s way too early to be harshly judging the police officers involved here. I think we have to wait and see.
Police officers have a very difficult job, and they were investigating a murder. We have to keep that in mind. We cannot rush to judgment. This has been a tragedy, but again, I think the fact that they were on camera makes it more likely than not that they were being extra careful.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me say this. We all know that reality shows aren`t reality. There have been many charges with other reality shows of staging.
For example, take "Jon & Kate Plus 8" before they split. Kate`s sister-in-law claims to MSNBC that that the entire show was staged. The maintained the family never randomly did anything.
You know, here`s my take. Once you inject a profit motive into something that`s supposed to be blind justice, you taint the impartiality of it.
Now Sheriff Joe Arpaio, you`ve had your own show, "America`s Toughest Sheriff." You`ve weathered controversy over it. How do you defend the presence of TV cameras?
ARPAIO: Well, first of all, I don`t know what you`re talking about. There`s a reality show on FOX. I was one minute in the show.
But we have cameras in our jails constantly, TV crews filming our officers and the inmates. We just finished another ten-part series following our female deputy sheriffs around. We don`t have any concern. Our people are professional.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t, but what about the people on the receiving end? Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Do you really mean to tell me that the presence of TV cameras has no impact on officers? Are they not human beings?
ARPAIO: Officers know what they`re doing, like the lady before you said, actually, you`re more cautious knowing you`re being filmed. So I don`t see any problem with that. Let`s not bring that into this equation of the sad situation that occurred. You have to understand...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney, I`m bringing it in, because I`ve been in television for 30 years. And I can tell you, nobody acts exactly the same when there`s a camera rolling, compared to when there`s not a camera rolling. That`s just a fact. We all know that the presence of cameras impacts behavior.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, and I`m still sitting here stunned, knowing that Sheriff Joe and Reverend Al both appear to be very moderate on this situation and are both saying the same thing, essentially, which is, "Let`s do a full investigation and let the chips fall where they may."
And that videotape really will be the crux of the evidence in this case about whether or not the police behaved appropriately. And after all, at the end of the day, that`s going to be the ultimate issue in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Stay right where you are. We`re just getting started. What happened inside that house? Why the military-style raid in the dead of night?
Plus a reality show producer accused of killing his wife, but he`s still running around Mexico tonight a free man. Will new evidence be enough to put him behind bars? As his wife`s family mourns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIEGER: What`s really a tragedy is to see that little girl being carried out with one hand like a rag doll. They got her out of that house so fast, there could never have been a confrontation with the grandmother, because there`s the grenade that goes in, the shot. They walk in the front door, and they grab the girl and bring her out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I believe these TV cameras we`re talking about from A&E and Detroit P.D. and perhaps neighbors in the area hold the key to this case. When are we going to see all the videotape? Phone lines lighting up.
Don in Kansas, your question or thought?
CALLER: My question is -- is that -- my thought and question is that, one, the tactical unit that SWAT is designed for is to make sure that no innocent civilians are hurt. And I want to know where was the intel for the fugitives that they were at large looking for and a night -- a night suppression team that goes in when a 7-year-old girl is killed and all of a sudden dragged out immediately straight after, because they know they messed up, and they don`t want the cameras to see it?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheriff Joe, I got to ask you this question. There were toys all over the front yard. A cousin says -- he`s told this on camera -- that he repeatedly warned the cops, "There are kids in there. There are kids in there." Doesn`t that have to factor into the reasoning when you`re throwing a flash grenade?
ARPAIO: You know, I`m not going to second guess what happened there. I believe that Detroit -- is that the murder capital of the country? They have a high number of murders. I think police have to be very cautious when they go into residences on search warrants. Many police officers are killed during these type of circumstances. So it`s tough for the police officers, too. You have to understand that.
But I don`t know all the details of this case. Let`s look at that video that you have, that you`re saying is evidence and see what happens.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I wish I had the video, but I don`t, sir. Go ahead.
KAVINOKY: No, I was going to say, Jane, this is something that may ultimately tip the scales in favor of the plaintiffs in this, in that if the police were conducting surveillance on the home for several hours, as it`s been reported, and if the front yard is indeed littered with toys and other indicia of children in the house, and if people from inside the house are indicating, there`s kids here, then that`s -- all of these are very, very important facts that can turn the case in favor of the plaintiff.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reverend Al...
KAVINOKY: As you pointed out, that videotape really will hold the key.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: As well as the fact that when have they used -- do they use these kind of flash grenades before? Let`s go with Sheriff Joe`s point. If they`re saying that it`s so dangerous, and it is, then are they using procedures they`d normally use? Whatever happened to calling for people to come out, putting lights on, warning, surrounding?
If you, in fact, felt that you knew where the suspect was and had them under surveillance, do you immediately just go in and throw a grenade and firing into a house? I mean, there`s a lot of very serious procedural questions here that just don`t smell right to a lot of people. And we`re committed to finding out the answers, and we`re committed to getting justice for this family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
KAVINOKY: The argument...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to stay on top of this case. I will say this. I think that the video should be released. Let the people see. Because there`s nothing like keeping something from people to make their imaginations go wild. I think it`s better to just release it, release all the video and let the people decide what was going on. Thank you, fantastic panel.
Murder in paradise. A hot shot reality show producer accused of killing his wife.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shocking new developments in the "Survivor" murder mystery. The family`s nanny now says Monica...
* VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shocking new developments in the "Survivor" murder mystery. The family`s nanny now says Monica Beresford-Redman was asked by her husband to take out a life insurance policy just days before her fateful trip to Mexico. The Hollywood producer, a suspect, ordered to remain in Mexico. What`s the next stunner we can expect in this case?
Then, a desperate family searches for Julie Ann Gonzalez, missing for almost two months now. Tonight, new claims her estranged husband failed a lie detector test. I will talk one on one to the polygraph expert about what he learned testing George dela Cruz.
A beautiful mother of two savagely murdered, her battered, naked body dumped like garbage in the sewer of a Mexican resort. Tonight, was this a violent act of rage or some gruesome premeditated murder plot?
Monica Beresford-Redman was on a family trip to Mexico, a last ditch effort to save her troubled marriage to hot shot Hollywood TV producer, Bruce Beresford-Redman, who Monica thought was cheating on her. The romantic family retreat turned deadly.
Tonight: shocking allegations from a nanny who worked for the couple. In court documents she claims that right before this fateful trip, Monica said Bruce suddenly wanted her to get life insurance. Bruce, best known for his work on the hit show "Survivor" denies any involvement in his wife`s murder.
Take a look at this video of the couple from Radar Online.
Wow, they seem to be having a pretty good time there, hats and all. But after Monica`s murder police say that Bruce`s body was covered in scratches. Employees at the high end Moon Palace Resort say Bruce was violently fighting with Monica the night before she was murdered. Plus a bitter custody battle is now heating up over the couple`s two young children.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: criminal profiler Pat Brown with us tonight along with attorney Darren Kavinoky. But first out to Mary Margaret, senior news editor with RadarOnline; Mary, what is the very latest?
MARY MARGARET, SENIOR NEWS EDITOR, RADARONLINE: The very latest is, again this custody battle between the family of Bruce Beresford-Redman who is obviously a suspect in his wife`s murder and also his wife`s family. Her family is saying that Bruce`s family is controlling the kids, the kids are not happy, and that they should be with her family.
Now, I want to go straight to my big issue tonight, overwhelming evidence. First, you`ve got claims and e-mails that say that Bruce was having an affair with another woman. Then the night Monica was murdered Bruce said his wife went shopping earlier in the day and simply never came back. But Monica was reportedly seen at the hotel later that night and they were arguing.
There`s also the key card. Records show Bruce swiped his hotel key card at least 11 times. And hotel guests say they saw the couple arguing. And finally, police also say Bruce had defensive wounds on various parts of his body.
Now, Pat Brown, criminal profiler -- by the way, congratulations on your new book "The Profiler".
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s quite a laundry list. I mean why is he still waltzing around Mexico and not arrested? It`s been more than 40 days.
BROWN: I wonder about that, too because there`s a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence, but maybe they`re waiting for the physical evidence. And I want to point something out about Monica going down to Mexico. Because people are going to say, even getting a life insurance policy, wouldn`t you want to not go someplace with this guy? But I`m thinking, she might have felt safe in Cancun.
After all, let`s say Chichen Itza, you know, the pyramid you climb up --
BROWN: They won`t let you do it right now, so he`s not going to be able to, you know, trip you or have you fall off. Don`t go scuba-diving so he can pull your mask.
You`re in a nice safe compound in the hotel. Maybe she thought, best place in the world to talk to him that he wouldn`t be able to hurt me. It didn`t work out that way, but I`m guessing that`s what she thought.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now let`s do a little back story. Bruce was accused of having an affair with a co-worker, Hollywood casting agent Joy Pierce. Here they are in a picture from TMZ.
Well, now, Radar Online -- there they are in a picture from TMZ. Well, now, RadarOnline has obtained some e-mails that were allegedly found on Monica BERESFORD-REDMAN`S home computer after her death.
Now, Bruce reportedly e-mailed his mistress that his wife was taking his money and keeping his kids from him. And then apparently Monica, the woman who is now dead, also e-mailed the alleged mistress saying she wanted to, quote, "expose her embarrassing husband."
What can you tell us about these e-mails, Mary Margaret?
MARY MARGARET: One thing that you can gather from the e-mails is obviously that Bruce was in a very agitated state, an alarmingly increasingly agitated state. He would go from imploring loving e-mails to his mistress to giving his mistress his back and saying, "I`m going back to my family. I want to be with my wife."
So obviously, there`s this bizarre discord between what he`s telling his mistress, what he`s telling his wife and also what he`s telling himself. He thinks he`s both in a loving relationship with his wife and one with his mistress. You can`t have both.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, what about the kids? Tonight there is a new controversy, a bitter custody battle brewing for the couple`s two adorable children. Monica`s two sisters want full custody. But get this. Right now, the children are with Bruce`s parents. And he is, according to the Mexican police, the suspect.
That`s not sitting well with the sisters. Here`s what they told ABC`s "Good Morning America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANE BURGOS, VICTIM`S SISTER: My sister would never in one million years leave her kids a whole day with the father without her cell phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Local reports say a custody hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. Bruce`s father wants nothing to do with these women. He says they were hostile to Bruce during TV appearances. And he does not want custody going to the sisters because he feels that his side of the family will be basically cut off.
All right. Pat Brown, Bruce is suspected -- he hasn`t been convicted of anything and he says he`s innocent -- but he`s suspected of possibly being involved in his wife`s death. Why is it that the parents of the suspect are taking care of the children?
BROWN: It`s pretty appalling to me, too. I suppose it`s because at this point he hasn`t been arrested. He`s only a person of interest. It always kind of upsets me when parents -- and I know they`re maybe in denial, they love their son.
But my God, there`s so much evidence out there. They should be sitting and going, "I hope he didn`t do this, but it might look that way." And I can certainly understand the sisters` position on this. We`ll share; we`ll do whatever we can. Kind of sad when they take that kind of tack on it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And officially we`re being told that he`s a person of interest -- person of interest. And again, he has not been convicted of anything.
Fantastic panel thank you so much.
Josie Ratley leaving the hospital, but it`s not all good news. We`re going to hear from her heartbroken mom next.
Plus, a Texas mother vanishes without a trace. She was going through a divorce and her estranged husband was the very last person to see her alive.
Now he has been strapped to a polygraph. We`re going to tell you the results right after the break.
And we`re taking your calls on this one; 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDRA SOTO, MOTHER OF MISSING WOMAN: She says, I want to see my mom. I want to see my Julie. What can we say? And what can we say, you know? All we can say is she`s working but that`s not working anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A beautiful mother vanishes in Austin, Texas. Now her estranged husband has taken a lie detector test. So did he pass? That is next.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Josie Ratley is headed home. We`re so happy for her. This beautiful young woman was brutally beat nearly to death right outside her school. Tonight, two months later, she is finally getting ready to leave the hospital. But it`s not all happy news, sadly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILDA GOTAY, JOSIE RATLEY`S MOTHER: She`s recovering very slowly. There`s been a lot of things that she doesn`t know how to do. We`re trying to teach her how to read, how to know colors, how to dress herself, how to go to the ladies room or say she needs to go to the ladies room. Those things are very hard for her to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s her devastated mother, still trying to cope with what happened, which is so incomprehensible. Fifteen-year-old Wayne Treacy, you see him right there, accused of kicking and stomping on Ratley`s head. He is being charged with first degree attempted murder. It was all over a text.
Teen violence is ripping through our country. Parents, we have lost control. It`s time to get it back.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".
Turning now to bombshell developments in the case of a missing Texas mom, Julie Ann Gonzalez vanished into thin air March 26th. Her estranged husband the last person to see her, has reportedly now failed a polygraph test.
Tonight, I will talk to the man who administered the test. There`s the husband. Does he think George De La Cruz is hiding something? Check out this clip from Dr. Phil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TV HOST: Two relevant questions, are you responsible for Julie`s disappearance? And did you cause Julie`s disappearance during the month of March?
He answered no to both of those, and it came back that that was deceptive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you do?
GEORGE DE LA CRUZ, JULIE ANN GONZALEZ`S HUSBAND: I didn`t do nothing. I didn`t do anything. I just felt that I should have stopped her.
MCGRAW: Jack feels that he knew what the question was about and that he`s not telling the truth here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please tell the truth.
DE LA CRUZ: I did tell the truth. I don`t know nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: On Friday police raided Julie`s home where her estranged husband is now living. That`s kind of odd, it seems to me. They took several bags of evidence and towed two cars. Will any of it lead to Julie?
George claims the day she disappeared, Julie came to pick up their 2-year-old daughter from his home, but then he says Julie decided to leave without the girl. Julie`s family believes George is hiding something. They told him that when they all appeared right here on ISSUES.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Julie didn`t trust you. And you know that.
DE LA CRUZ: I understand they suspect me because I was the last person. And like I said, if anyone sees someone -- of course they`re going to be a suspect. And like I said, I`ll be willing to do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More questions than answers tonight about this case. Are police any closer to finding Julie?
I want to welcome my fantastic panel. Criminal profiler Pat Brown, again author of the new book "The Profiler". You`ve got to check it out. Jack Trimarco, polygraph examiner with us tonight. He is the gentleman who administered the test to George de la Cruz. We`re delighted to have you sir.
And I am also very honored to welcome Sandra Soto, Julie Ann`s mom. Sandra, you must be just filled with such anxiety. Your daughter disappearing in March, you still have no idea where she is. Have you been speaking with police? Are they keeping you updated on the investigation?
SANDRA SOTO, JULIE ANN GONZALEZ`S MOTHER: I have not been updated on the investigation. I realize that it is an investigation and they cannot share all of their information, but I do feel now that they -- it is a full blown investigation, and I am just letting them do what they need to do.
You know, it`s not fast enough, you know, because my daughter has been missing for too long. But at least I feel comfortable that they are doing an investigation now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you going through emotionally as you wait day in and day out perhaps sitting by the phone hoping for some word? What is it like to be in your shoes?
SOTO: No sleep. Looking at my granddaughter`s little face, seeing my daughter; I see my daughter all over again in her little eyes. You know? And whenever my granddaughter looks at her mom`s pictures, I just see so much sadness in her eyes.
And I just don`t understand. I don`t understand why George lawyered up and he`s not willing to help us find Julie. You know, if he knows something, he said he was willing to help us as much as he could because he`s concerned about Julie.
So then why all of a sudden, George, do you have a lawyer? Why are you hiding behind your lawyer and behind your mother? You need to man up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: George`s own mother appeared very shaken that he reportedly failed the polygraph test. Here`s another clip from "Dr. Phil".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where did she go? Where is she?
DE LA CRUZ: I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me the truth, George.
DE LA CRUZ: I don`t know mommy. I don`t know, I wish I knew, I really wish. Do you think I like this? Do you think that people are thinking that I had something to do with it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: George`s attorney told us, quote, "Obviously polygraphs are not admissible in court because they are not reliable. My client has complied from the beginning. He had nothing to do with the disappearance of his wife."
Jack, you`re the man who administered the polygraph. It is possible that lingering guilt over his broken marriage, guilt over allowing Julie to walk out that day, that those feelings could have caused George to fail on these two questions: "Are you responsible for her disappearance? And did you cause her disappearance?"
JAMES TRIMARCO, POLYGRAPH EXAMINER: No, the short answer to that, Jane, is no. The questions were formulated to get to the heart of the question, and that is responsibility. The term responsibility and disappearance were both explained to him, which he said he understood explicitly.
And what he`s doing is he`s throwing me a bone. He wanted me to be happy with this bone that he felt some type of responsibility because he did not let her stay with him and that he should have protected her. Well, that`s not at all what was going on in that life.
That having been said, it was a wonderful two-hour polygraph test that came to the right conclusion despite what his defense attorney might say.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what is the conclusion that you came to?
TRIMARCO: That he was deceptive to the relevant issue of having been responsible for Julie`s disappearance.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. The same day Dr. Phil did that interview and that it aired, I should say, police executed a search warrant at George`s home, which was formerly Julie`s home. Neighbors say cops left with several bags and towed two cars. Of course, police will not discuss what they found.
As we reported earlier, Julie`s car was found at a Walgreen`s parking lot not far from her home.
I have to ask you a question Pat Brown, criminal profiler. When George was on our show ISSUES and he sat there and the family was also on the show and he talked and talked, a lot of us said well, you know he doesn`t seemed guilty to us because he`s so talkative and he`s open about it and he`s showing up on our show and willing to answer questions.
What do you make of that?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, he either thinks he`s in a big reality show and he`s very arrogant and thinks it`s funny and he`s going to get away with it because he obviously is a good person of interest or he really is innocent.
And I want to mention the polygraph here, I`m not happy with those two questions. I`m sorry. Those are the kind of questions I don`t think should be there. They are vague questions, he could be responsible in some way, he could have felt it caused in some way. Why didn`t they just ask the question, did you kill your wife? Did you dump her body?
BROWN: You can`t blow those.
TRIMARCO: Well, let me respond to that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Jack. Yes.
TRIMARCO: Let me respond to that. Pat, I respect your abilities as a profiler, as I am also a retired profiler, but my duties in this case was as a polygraph examiner. So far be it from me to criticize your profiling skills.
My -- the reason we didn`t ask George if he killed his wife is, because we don`t know that she`s dead.
BROWN: Yes, but if you asked him that he can either say yes or no and it`ll be a simple answer. If he didn`t have anything to do with her disappearance or death --
TRIMARCO: We don`t know that she`s dead and so that`s --
BROWN: It doesn`t matter.
TRIMARCO: -- an inappropriate issue.
It does -- it does matter. She`s disappearing, she`s disappeared. She`s not around. And so --
BROWN: If he did something to her --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on, one at a time.
JAMES TRIMARCO, POLYGRAPH EXAMINER: We don`t know if she`s alive or if she`s dead.
BROWN: If he did something, she`s dead. That`s a simple reality. If he did something, she`s dead.
TRIMARCO: You stick to profiling and I`ll stick to polygraph.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. One at a time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Listen, I want to get both of your sides of the story but the viewers have told us they can`t understand anybody when both people are talking at once.
All right. I think it`s a fascinating question and, you know, I have to wonder and give you something to think about for the other side of the break, let`s say some of the other big, famous suspects, would we ask them that question? On the other side.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE DE LA CRUZ, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: I want to be part of the investigation and I want to know answers, too. Like I said, my daughter`s here. She suffers a lot for her and it makes me sad to see her cry when she asks about Julie.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: George de la Cruz says he has absolutely nothing to do with his estranged wife`s disappearance. We`re having a debate here over the questions that were asked in the polygraph.
Polygraph examiner Jack Trimarco joining us tonight. You would like to respond to Pat Brown`s questions and criticisms.
TRIMARCO: Jane, I would. Before we started crossing professional lines there, I wanted to say that the first series of questions had to do with responsibility for her disappearance which were both disappearance and responsibility were defined to my satisfaction by George. He understood what those terms meant.
He failed the exam. He admitted that he had responsibility. He said it was out of guilt. He said he knew the polygraph worked, and at that point, Dr. Phil and I asked him if he would then take a second test with the question, did you kill Julie? And he said he wouldn`t take that test.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let me just say a couple of things. One, he is not considered a suspect or even a person of interest. He has not been charged with anything and certainly he deserves the presumption of innocence.
Jarvis, Arizona, you`ve been very patient. Your question or thought?
JARVIS, ARIZONA (via telephone): You know my thing is George de la Cruz out looking for his wife right now?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Sandra Soto, you`re the mother of the beautiful missing woman, what do you say?
SOTO: I don`t think so. He`s not doing anything to help us. He -- I told him, you know, he doesn`t love his daughter as much as he says he does because if he loves his daughter, how come he`s not trying to help us bring Leila`s mother back. We need to bring Julie back.
George knows and he`s holding back information. He`s hiding behind his mother. He`s hiding behind his lawyer and he doesn`t want to talk. Why? You know, I think people --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But I do have to point out he did come on our show and talked at length very openly about the conversation that he says that they had. And let me add this other thing. A few days after Julie disappeared, as you know, Sandra, a friend came forward with information she thought could help.
As you explained on ISSUES, let`s listen to that new development.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOTO: I talked to her on the phone and she said, "I need to let you know something very important. Julie texted me and said that she met some guy named James, who is a web designer, who bought a new house in Colorado, and he`s taking me away for the weekend to show me a good time."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Sandra, is anybody in Colorado, like Colorado police, looking for Julie? Do you know if James exists?
SOTO: I don`t think James exists. All of Julie`s friends, you know, all of our relatives, everybody is being very helpful. There is nobody as far as what my understanding is that anybody else that has a lawyer other than George. George is the only one who has a lawyer. You know, if he`s really concerned about Julie, you know what, man up, George. Get rid of your lawyer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to given you last word, Pat Brown. We do have to give him the presumption of innocence. 30 seconds.
BROWN: Well, he certainly does have issues obviously with his ex there. He should be a person of interest. No question about it. But I`m going to say, still, the polygraph was not adequate in my opinion to make a decision on. So no. That`s why it doesn`t go in court.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Jack, thank you for joining us and we all can agree to disagree.
You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.