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Van Der Sloot Challenging Peruvian Court; Mel Gibson`s Ex Accuses Him of Assault

Aired June 28, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, an explosive court ruling sends shock waves from Peru to Aruba. Joran Van Der Sloot`s desperate plea to have his confession thrown out has been rejected by a judge. The confession stays. Tonight, a defiant Joran vows to take this case to the American Court of Human Rights. Good luck with that, Joran.

And bachelorette behind bars. Bizarre new love letters just released in the Casey Anthony case, including marriage proposals from complete strangers. Tonight we`ll get a firsthand look at Casey`s personal prison mail, including letters from her heartbroken dad, accusing Casey of destroying the entire family.

Also fast-breaking twists and turns in the desperate search for adorable little Kyron Horman. The 7-year-old boy vanished from inside his school hallway. His step-mom was the last person to see him alive. Tonight, cops have searched her truck, her house, and interrogated her for six hours. Are they closing in on step-mom?

Plus, new trouble for Mel Gibson. Shocking allegations that he punched his ex-girlfriend in the face, knocking out her teeth. Tonight, Mad Max fires back, saying this violent story is completely made up.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got some stunning new twists and turns tonight in the Joran Van Der Sloot case. A judge rejecting Joran`s desperate attempt to bust out of a Peruvian prison, ruling Van Der Sloot`s confession stands. That`s right. Van Der Sloot`s confession stands.

Joran admitted to Peruvian police that he elbowed 21-year-old Stephany Ramirez hard in the nose, banged her head against a wall, strangled her, and smothered her with the shirt right off his back.

But then he took it all back, claiming he was tricked and that his rights were violated. Joran told a Dutch reporter he was confused, scared and even threatened with torture when he signed on the dotted line. Tonight a Peruvian judge calls Joran`s accusations baseless, upholding his bone-chilling, emotionless confession. That`s right. We can count that confession, people. It is in.

But Van Der Sloot isn`t giving up yet. His attorney vows to appeal. He says he will take it all the way to -- are you sitting down? -- the American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica, if he has to.

Joran`s attorney said he will do everything in his power to, quote, "paralyze the process." But is Joran`s fate already sealed?

Prosecutors have his confession on the table. There`s surveillance video of Joran and the victim going into his hotel room and only Joran coming out. Plus, as we speak, skin found under Stephany`s nails is being tested for DNA. Here is the really sick, grisly crime scene photo of her hand.

We`re going to talk more about all of the gruesome evidence. And I want to hear from you at home. Call me. What do you think about Joran`s latest maneuvers: 1-877-JVM-SAYS? That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. And we begin with June Sarpong, reporter on TruTV`s "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura."

June, what is your reaction to these latest developments? The confession is in, and Joran and his attorney say they`re going to appeal all the way up to some international body that fights for democracy in the Americas.

JUNE SARPONG, REPORTER, TRUTV`S "CONSPIRACY THEORY WITH JESSE VENTURA": Well, I think I completely agree with you. I think good luck with that. I think in this case -- yes, completely. The evidence is overwhelming. He has confessed. And thank goodness in this case justice will be served. And I`m sure Natalee Holloway`s parents will be just as thrilled as Stephany`s parents. This man needs to be stopped.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He really does.

SARPONG: He does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ve got to say, now that a judge has ruled Joran`s confession was not forced, I think it`s a very appropriate time to take a look back at all the evidence piling up against Joran.

The most damning, I think, is of course, the videotape. I mean, come on, people. We`ve got surveillance cameras capturing Joran going into his hotel room with Stephany. But who leaves? Joran leaves alone. Joran -- let me say that again. You have two people going into a hotel room, which I believe is on something like the third floor. OK. That`s the hotel room. And only one person leaves. And that person is Joran, and he leaves alone. Nobody else, from what we know, is seen going in and out of that hotel room. So unless Spider-Man is involved here, it looks like game, set, match for Joran.

You know, the final thing that Joran says to hotel employees, as Stephany lies dead in his hotel room, as he walks out is, quote, "Don`t wake up my girl," end quote.

There is no sign anyone besides the two of them entered that room that night.

Crime scene photos show Stephany`s bloody sneakers. And as we speak, they are testing the skin found under Stephany`s nails.

Ken [SIC] Penhaul, CNN correspondent, you have covered -- Karl, you have covered the Natalee Holloway case at length. What -- I mean, even Sherlock Holmes would have a hard time coming up with another suspect and another explanation for the evidence we`ve just laid out.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And with that issue of the confession, you know, there is on paper, of course, due process in Peru. But what happens in a lot of these South American countries, what happens on paper, what happen in reality are two different things.

And the Peruvians aren`t going to mess around with shades of gray. They`re going to say, "Look, you said this. You signed this confession. This is what you said. Now let`s not mess around with all the legal niceties of back and forth and why you said it and why you didn`t say it." As far as the Peruvians are concerned, he said that, and that is going to court. That is going to be the evidence that really hangs Joran on this one.

But, you know, as to whether Natalee Holloway`s family will be pleased with this or not, my guess there -- and I haven`t talked to them lately. But I would guess that neither them nor the people of Aruba will be content with this, because they still need to find out exactly what happened to Natalee. It`s not good enough just to convict this guy for the murder of a Peruvian girl. But also, they need full closure and full disclosure on what happened to Natalee.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to get to that in just a second, because that`s my big issue tonight. But first Laura, Washington, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Jane, thank you for taking my call.

I was just wondering. Since he has -- since Joran has such a wonderful self impression of himself, thinking so little of women, is it possible he was targeting women in the countries he went to, that he would classify as barflies or casino girls? And maybe he didn`t know that Stephany came from such a well-respected family and figured he could get off scot-free again?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to go back to Karl Penhaul because, again, you have covered the Natalee Holloway case. Now that we know this, are international authorities or American authorities tracking his movements where he has been in the last five years and trying to figure out whether there might be other victims out there?

PENHAUL: Well, that`s certainly a good question because I`m normally based in Bogota and Colombia. And on his way to Peru from Aruba, Joran did make a stop over in Bogota. And at some point there, the Colombian police were looking around to see if any disappearances coincided with the timing of Joran`s visit. It seems that that was not the case, that there`s nothing suspicious in Colombia.

But it is certainly something that police authorities have begun to ask themselves where Joran has been traveling around the world. Are there any missing girl cases at a time when he`s been present in the country?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Jean Casarez, correspondent for "In Session" on TruTV, you are in Peru. We heard some reports that there were some missing girls in Colombia and that he might be connected with that. But then those reports were immediately shot down as bogus. What do you know, Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION" CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, that`s exactly right. Interpol told us that he did not leave the airport in Bogota, Colombia, that he merely changed planes so could have no relation to those girls.

But here`s what`s interesting, because the currency of 12 different nations was found on him when he was arrested. And Jane, because of this case, this is the first time that I know of that his DNA has been collected. So now there`s a record of it. And if there was investigations in these other nations, they would have something to go on now with the DNA database.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s pretty scary if Aruba never even collected his DNA.

I mean, Karl, the Aruban authorities had to at least have collected his DNA if they were searching high and low for Natalee.

PENHAUL: From my recollection -- and again, you know, we`re talking about details of some time ago -- but that is a major detail. But my belief is that they probably did collect his DNA at that time, along with the DNA of other suspects in the case such as the Kalpoe brothers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Les Levine, you`re the Van Der Sloot private investigator. You`ve been listening to all this. I think that it`s absolutely astounding that Joran Van Der Sloot now says he`s going to appeal all of this up to some international body that tries to assure democracy in the Americas. I mean, how grandiose is that?

And is he shooting himself in the foot, given that we`re not dealing with a jury system in Peru. We`re dealing with three judges who can send him to the slammer for a good part of his natural life. And yet he continues to spit in the face of Aruban authorities, accusing them of every misdeed under the sun. What in God`s name is he thinking?

LES LEVINE, VAN DER SLOOT`S 2005 PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, I don`t think that the fact that he has taken back his confession doesn`t change the fact that it may, in fact, have been coerced.

And, you know, I sit here in amazement, because what I hear is they`re trying to pin every crime in the century on this guy, including the Natalee Holloway situation. Why can`t you just let the Peruvian crime stand on its own and let the evidence speak for itself? Let the defense lawyer attack his confession and try to prove that what he claimed happened, in fact, did not happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, June. June, what`s your response to that?

SARPONG: Well, my response to that is, I think in the Natalee Holloway case, I don`t think it was completely properly investigated. And Joran`s family are a very prominent Dutch family, and there were lots of alibis in that situation.

I think there`s no way you cannot link the two, because these are two missing women, and obviously, in Stephany`s case, a body has been found, and now there`s the DNA testing going on.

But this is a man who`s clearly very dangerous, clearly very disturbed. His own mother has said how disturbed he is. So I think there`s no way you can`t link the two.



LEVINE: But -- but -- but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to continue this debate on the other side after a short break, everybody. Stay right where you are. From Peru to Aruba we are all over this investigation and taking your calls: 1-877-586- 7297.

Plus, explosive abuse allegations rip through Hollywood. What is superstar Mel Gibson being accused of this time?

But first, the confession stays. Is this game, set, match for Joran Van Der Sloot?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea is for him to cooperate, because he`s doing nothing right. In Peru, if you cooperate, you`ll get a better deal.




CASAREZ: This is the small courtroom that Joran Van Der Sloot was in when he made that formal statement before the judge asserting a violation of his due process rights. It`s very small, and normally cameras don`t capture it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight fast-breaking news. Joran Van Der Sloot`s confession stays. A Peruvian judge ruled Joran was not tricked into signing a confession that he said he beat, strangled and smothered 21-year- old Stephany Flores Ramirez.

And we are just smack in the middle of a debate over whether there`s a witch hunt and a lynch mob mentality when it comes to the Joran Van Der Sloot case which apparently Les Levine, Van Der Sloot`s private investigator, feels there is.

Les, you wanted to make a point?

LEVINE: Yes. You know, there`s a misconception out there that the Aruban authorities did not investigate this case. The FBI investigated it. The Aruban authorities investigated it. The Dutch authorities investigated it. And God knows how many private organizations.

And the mistake that was made was they were of single purpose, trying to prove that Joran was, in fact, the culprit in this case to the exclusion of anybody else. And they were not able to do it. But it was a very, very, very thorough and methodical investigation done by the Aruban authorities. And this concept that Paul Van Der Sloot was all powerful in Aruba is just not factual.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Karl, you want to weigh in on that?

PENHAUL: There are a certain number of things that Les says that are absolutely true. I mean, the investigation was very thorough, and Papa Van Der Sloot wasn`t the all-powerful figure.

But nevertheless, you know, it is totally absurd to suggest that you can`t in some way, shape or form, link what is happening there in Peru to what happened to Natalee in Aruba. You`ve got the same man, who was the last person to see two young women alive for the last time. No other known person on this planet saw either Natalee Holloway or Stephany Flores alive after Joran Van Der Sloot saw them. So on the balance of probability you have to ask the question...

LEVINE: But you -- but you...



LEVINE: With all due respect, you cannot make that statement. Because the evidence does not show that Joran was the last person.

PENHAUL: But the evidence says with all is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. Let`s see the panel. Hold on a second. I`ve got to bring out, look, the big gavel. Because I`ve got the little one and the big one. OK, one at a time. Say what you have to say, Les, and then Karl can respond.

LEVINE: Look, Joran`s story or one of the stories he said was he left her on the beach, and the Kalpoes supported that.

I was in those beach bars. And I can tell you, I can take care of myself. But at 2 a.m. in the morning I myself was nervous. If somebody had found that poor child on the beach, God knows what could have happened to her. And to make the definitive statement that Joran was the last person to see her alive is just not necessarily factual.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The last known person. Let me weigh in here. He was the last known person to see her alive, and he told innumerable stories.

LEVINE: I accept -- that I accept.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He has lied repeatedly. And you bring me to my big issue tonight. As Lady Gaga would say, poker face? You know, this playboy gambler has a fantastic poker face, but he doesn`t seem to realize that the whole world can see the cards in his hand and he`s got nothing.

Joran has been using the same ace up his sleeve for five long years, playing the Natalee card so often that it`s really weakened his ability to use his leverage, because nobody believes him anymore.

And I have to go back to Karl on this. Do you think, Karl -- or I`ll throw it to June -- that Joran has an inflated sense of his own power to get out of this predicament based on his previous ability to manipulate people and important people in the past?

PENHAUL: I mean, that`s a key...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold it. Let her speak.

SARPONG: One hundred percent; 100 percent. I think he completely has an inflated sense of self. And in -- and in the psychoanalysis reports that have been done on him this has come out. This is a very disturbed individual who has an issue with women, who has an issue with authority. And I think at the end of the day, his -- his killing days are over, and this time around there is no get-out-of-jail-free card, thank God.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Julie, Massachusetts, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: I actually have two questions. The first one is how can his lawyer appeal to the American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica if he`s a Dutch national? And the other question is, when he was arrested, didn`t the Dutch consulate give him a lawyer?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go to Jean Casarez.

Jean, correspondent in Peru, this American Court of Human Rights. We did some research and it could take him years to get there. I mean, you have to really exhaust your violations of rights issue in Peru, and then you can petition the court. And that sounds like a real "hail Mary" pass to me, doesn`t it?

CASAREZ: Yes. Right. And you`re talking about the fundamental liberty to freedom, so it`s supposed to be something that`s decided rather quickly, because you shouldn`t be incarcerated if it`s an illegal detention.

But I think the jurisdiction comes from the Americas. We`re in South America. And so Costa Rica, this court involves all of the civil rights of the Americas in general.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Jean, while we have you, last question. Is this still dominating the headlines? We only have a couple of seconds. Is Peru still just like totally -- I have a feeling it is. All right. Thank you, fantastic panel.

We`ve got Casey Anthony`s shocking letters next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, explosive new assault claims against superstar Mel Gibson. TMZ was the very first to break his story. Mel`s ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, claims Mel punched her teeth out in January and gave her a concussion.

According to TMZ, Oksana went to the dentist after the alleged confrontation. She filed for an emergency restraining order against Mel last week.

Now, we tried to reach Mel`s attorney, but we did not hear back. He told TMZ that Oksana made up the assault story in an attempt to keep Mel away from their 8-month-old daughter.

Here to help us sort out this mess, psychotherapist Robi Ludwig.

You know, I have to say that this all began when Oksana went to court last Monday and got a restraining order, prohibiting Mel from getting near Oksana or their daughter, who`s an 8-month-old child.

And then the next day, Mel`s lawyers went to court and got the judge to modify that order, allowing Mel to have contact with the baby. When you have a struggle over a child, can it get ugly very quickly?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, it certainly can, because there`s a lot of room for disagreement. There`s different feelings about entitlement, what should and shouldn`t happen.

And also, if Mel has an alcohol problem -- I don`t know if he still does. If someone is drinking, that can make certain people aggressive.

Listen, I wasn`t there. I don`t know what happened. But clearly, these two people are very, very angry with each other. We see anger amongst famous people get played out in the media all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Mel has had a slew of controversies in the last few years. In February he called a reporter an a-hole on the air. I think you`ll remember that story. The reporter had referred to Gibson`s DUI arrest in 2006 and that infamous anti-Semitic tirade that was directed at a cop.

Now, we have TMZ exclusive video of Mel at a bar just before his arrest. Gibson later apologized for his rant, calling his behavior despicable. He also acknowledged being an alcoholic.

Harvey Levin, executive editor of TMZ, what do you know about this latest dust-up with Oksana?

HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, TMZ: Well, we`ve been breaking stories on this, Jane, all weekend long. And here`s what we found out.

I can tell you that these are the following stories that we`ve done. No. 1, that last -- a week ago today Oksana went into court. She said that Mel Gibson was a danger to herself, a danger to their kid, got a restraining order against both of them.

The next day Mel`s lawyers walked in and said, "Look, we have an existing visitation right, so modify this order, please, your honor." And the judge did and allowed Mel to see the kid.

What came out in all of this is she said that on January 6, Mel Gibson got into a big fight with her, punched her in the mouth twice, broke one of her teeth, chipped another one.

Mel -- Mel`s people are saying it is not true. She had certain veneers on her teeth that may have come off but it wasn`t because Mel hit her. She may have done something after Mel left.

It has become extremely nasty, extremely contentious. He`s saying he opened the vault to take care of her. She`s saying, "He hasn`t paid me anything in spousal support." She`s saying that she has secret audio tapes of conversations where Mel confessed to this. His side is saying these tapes do not show this. It couldn`t be more contentious. It is an all-out war.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. This is one ugly story. We`re going to stay on top of it. A great exclusive, Harvey. Thank you so much. Thank you, Robi.

We`re going to move on to the Casey Anthony case, which is just as crazy. Fan mail pouring in. People want to marry, men want to marry her. That`s right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bachelorette behind bars. Bizarre new love letters just released in the Casey Anthony case, including marriage proposals from complete strangers. Tonight we`ll get a firsthand look at Casey`s personal prison mail including letters from her heartbroken dad accusing Casey of destroying the entire family.

Also fast-breaking twists and turns in the desperate search for adorable little Kyron Horman. This 7-year-old boy vanished from inside his school hallway, his stepmom the last person to see her alive.

Tonight, Cops have searched her truck, her house and have interrogated her for six hours. Are they closing in on stepmom?

But first, explosive potentially damaging evidence in the latest Casey Anthony capital murder case document dump -- say that five times. Five thousand pages released by the Florida state attorney`s office feature a slew of bizarre letters from fans and Casey haters alike. Casey even gets marriage proposals.

But the most shocking of all, an angry sounding letter from Casey`s own dad George. Quote, "Why, why also destroy Lee? Why, why also destroy mom? Why, why also destroy me, your family? After all I have tried, sacrificed, continued to love you, my daughter, why?" End quote.

Now, this letter was written at the end of March. That`s around the same time we learned that Casey claimed she had been the victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by her own brother and maybe even her father when she was a young teen. Is that why George felt Casey destroyed her own family or could it be this whole saga? What do you think? Will Casey`s upcoming murder trial further destroy the Anthony family?

Straight out to the experts: still here we have got Robin Sax, former prosecutor; as well as Rob Ludwig psychotherapist.

Robin Sax, I begin with you. If you do the math, is George basically accusing Casey of lying and thereby destroying her family? and could that impact the case?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, it certainly sounds like that George is saying that Casey isn`t being honest, as he has said before or as other people have said before. But it could be something -- the beginning in terms of busting the credibility of George Anthony. When he gets on the stand and talks about how amazing she is and how wonderful she, those letters are great impeachment evidence as to any sort of good character on her behalf.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that`s an interesting point. I didn`t think of that. Yes, when he starts singing her praises prosecutors can whip out this letter and say hey, you accused your daughter of destroying the whole family.

Casey`s parents have stuck with her through thick and thin. I think they deserve a medal for how loyal they`ve been. Cindy recently told ABC News she believes Casey is innocent but there`s that other side to the relationship.

Check this out.




CINDY ANTHONY: Casey, hold on, sweetheart.

CASEY ANTHONY: Nobody is letting me speak. You want me to talk and give me three seconds to say something. I`m not in control over any of this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Casey told her parents don`t visit me anymore in jail because those tapes are being released to the public. So they started writing. But I have to say even these letters are making news. George writes, once again, quote, "Why destroy Lee? Why also destroy mom? Why also destroy me, your family?"

Now, Robi Ludwig, here`s my big issue. It`s now George versus Casey. If in fact Casey Anthony is lying that her brother fondled her breasts and her dad may have done so as well -- we know she`s a pathological liar -- why the heck are these parents still sticking up for this girl?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, it`s very hard for parents to come to terms that they raised a sociopath or that their daughter was capable of killing her own child. No parent wants to admit that kind of failure.

So instead of really saying, hey, you know, for whatever reason, we got this evil daughter, they say to themselves, no, we`re going to back her. We believe her. She`s not evil. There must be some explanation to make this all go away.

If you are a parent and you accept your child is a murderer, you have to accept that you are a major failure in your life. And that`s very difficult to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, fascinating. Yes, I agree with you. I think that`s one of the reasons that they stick up for her.

Beverly, New York, your question or thought, ma`am.

BEVERLY, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hi Jane. I want to congratulate you on your awards.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

BEVERLY: You`re welcome. I have a comment. During Caylee`s memorial service George asked the public to please write to his daughter because she needs love, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. So you`re saying he was the one who got these guys who are now writing to her and offering proposals of letter -- love and saying marry me?

BEVERLEY: Right. And her writing back to her father saying that he molested her and whatever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. I mean, Robin Sax, I think the caller`s point is that he was the one who told people write to her. They`re the ones who didn`t want to visit her in prison so they started to write. Why on earth would he write something so inflammatory? Doesn`t he -- hasn`t he learned yet that everything that he does goes into a public file and we end up talking about it?

SAX: You would think he would have that lesson hammered in by now but somehow they think that we`re not going to bother to read any of the material that gets disseminated to us which obviously we do.

This case isn`t unique in terms of an inmate, especially a high profile inmate receiving letters and love proposals and all of those marriage things. What is unique is how many times George that has been ostracized by the media by his actions in what he said. And then he continues to keep writing. It almost shows that he`s just as much of a train wreck as she is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well now -- to you point you could file this one under awkward. She`s behind bars and she turns 23 behind bars and George writes a note to Casey that starts with "Hey, beautiful," but includes this line. Quote, "I can see that you have put on a few pounds. I realize you cannot run/workout, but just be careful," end quote.

Robi Ludwig, wow. I mean, for a father to say that to a daughter who is behind bars. And, yes, we`ve all noticed that maybe she`s not real thin the way she was when she first -- but that`s what happens in prison. That`s what happens in jail.

LUDWIG: Right. And also there`s kind of a sexualized overtone. Why does he care whether she`s fat or thin? You know, under the circumstances, it`s like it feels almost inappropriate.

Like what`s the problem? If she`s fat, then she won`t look good. Is there a problem there? It just doesn`t -- it doesn`t sound right under the circumstances.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of inappropriate, Casey is getting love letters, hate letters, and even a marriage proposal. One guy from Massachusetts, Big Al, calls her princess and proposed in February of `09. Quote, "I will be your husband and there for you no matter what. I`m yours," end quote.

Robin Sax, what the heck is wrong with these people? We had Joran Van Der Sloot reporting that he was -- he bragged to a Dutch newspaper that he`s gotten marriage proposals. One gal wanted him to impregnate her.

Scott Peterson had the same thing. He has hooked up with people.

The Menendez brothers. It goes on and on.

What`s wrong with these people?

SAX: You`re stealing my list from me. I was just going to name all these other cases. It happens all the time. It`s unbelievable. And what`s unbelievable is how that can be taken as being empowering for the person who is behind bars that they think, oh, my charm is working on there -- out there. That can get translated in front of a jury.

I wouldn`t doubt for a second that we see Casey Anthony up on the stand trying to play to some of the men on that panel.

LUDWIG: And I also think it`s different for the men that write to women versus the women that write to men. For the men that write to women, I think it has to do with dominatrix fantasies and sexual fantasies versus the women writing to men. Often they have a history of abuse and this gives them a sense of control and they feel that they can be the object of a lot of romanticism.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have some fascinating analysis tonight, Robi. I like that.

SAX: There you go Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian, Ontario, your question or thought quickly, sir.

BRIAN, ONTARIO: I`m just curious as to how the parents are holding up. It`s really sad that her parents are the ones that are taking the heat for all this. They`re there with her through thick and thin, and yet -- it`s just sad. I want to know what`s holding them together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, I think that`s a good point. I have to go back to Robi, the psychotherapist.

How are these people still walking around? I mean we know George contemplated suicide at one point. But how are they still functioning?

LUDWIG: It sounds like they`re supporting each other. They do have the media attention so they at least feel that they can get their perspective out. I`m sure that they have their go-to people.

But it`s probably them clinging to the small chance that their daughter is innocent. And the case isn`t over yet. So for them, there`s still hope.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re probably doing the way we all do everything that`s tough, one day at a time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fabulous panel, so very much for your analysis.

Disturbing new details in the desperate search for Kyron Horman; are cops honing in on Kyron`s stepmother? Tonight his parents speak out.

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


DESIREE YOUNG, KYRON HORMAN`S MOTHER: I look at lots of pictures of Kyron so that I can feel that happiness when he smiles. That`s what I hold on to every day, he`s going to come home.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re tracking down adorable little Kyron Horman. That is next.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

I`ve had enough. I`ve had enough. The oil spill is ruining our lives. It`s ruining our future as Black Death wreaks havoc on the Gulf Coast.

Take a look at this. This is heartwarming. Americans have finally come together and they are taking a stand literally.

Look at this video. People took to the beaches this weekend and they joined hands in solidarity against offshore drilling. The message is simple. We want change. We want clean energy. We want it now. It`s about time, America.

These protests took place all over the nation. But now we have to do a lot more than just hold hands. It`s not just about protesting big oil. It`s about changing our lives every day.

You and me, we`ve got to change our ways. We`ve got to limit our dependence on oil. It`s not just gasoline. You know, Friday I told you ditch the plastic bottle, ditch the plastic bags, ok? These are all petroleum-based products. Ok.

We are talking solutions. It`s very simple. A reusable water canteen, a reusable bag going to the grocery store and carpooling. Ok, what did people do before they had plastic? They used stuff like this. We have to change our ways, ok? We keep fighting to save the Gulf. This is the way to do it. We can save the Gulf by changing ourselves. Every little bit counts.

Thanks for listening.

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

Alarming new details tonight in the disappearance of 7-year-old Kyron Horman. "People" magazine examines the intense focus police have put on Kyron`s stepmom Terri Horman. But remember the stepmom has not been named a suspect or even a person of interest.

It`s been more than three weeks and still no sign of little Kyron. His biological mother told "Good Morning America" it`s like he just vanished into the ground.


YOUNG: Honestly, it`s a parent`s worst nightmare. We`ve wracked our brains trying to think of reasons why.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kyron`s stepmother Terri Horman says she was the last person to see Kyron at his school. For that reason, cops have spent a whole lot of time verifying her story.

"People" magazine now reports cops have searched Terri Horman`s house, taken her truck twice and interrogated her for six hours at a time and several times. But friends insist she`s a doting mom who is heartbroken that Kyron is missing.

So is this stepmom getting a bad rap? I`m taking your calls on this, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. And we start with investigative reporter Michelle Sigona. What is the very latest, Michelle?

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I spoke with Lieutenant Lynne Strad (ph) about two hours ago, Jane. And she says this week investigators are back on the ground, going over the 350 forms that were sent in. They`re re-interviewing parents. They`re re-interviewing the staff from the Skyline Elementary School. They`re making sure that they haven`t missed anything.

As far as going back out on leads today and doing actual searching today, she says that has not happened. I asked specifically about the island as well that they spent a lot of time on. But so far teams were not out there today. They`re mainly working on all of those leads that thousands that have come in, in addition to the paperwork that was sent back to the school.

As you mentioned family members did speak out to "People" magazine and they did talk a little bit about Terri Horman Moulton (ph) and her past and a little bit about what they think about the investigation and the fact that investigators have gone into her home a couple of times and that their house has been open, that they`ve been open with police, with any kind of information and anything that they can possibly do to help find this beautiful child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it`s important to point out she`s not a suspect, she`s not a person of interest --

SIGONA: You`re right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- but cops --

SIGONA: You`re right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- do seem to be hinting it`s not a stranger abduction because the sheriff`s office has said the need for the public to be alarmed is very low.

So that does tell you something. Terri Horman`s dad told "People" magazine he believes there`s a 50/50 chance his daughter will be arrested. Again, it doesn`t necessarily mean she`s done anything wrong. She hasn`t been named a suspect.

Now, that doesn`t -- I got to tell you, "People" magazine reports Terri Horman has taken two polygraph tests. Cops had searched her house more than once. They`ve seized her truck twice. They`ve interrogated her for six hours at a time.

Robin Sax, you`ve been outspoken about the fact that Terri Horman is being persecuted. Why do you feel that she is being persecuted?

SAX: You know it`s interesting because actually that was my -- my initial reaction right out of the gate when this case first happened that just because she`s a stepmom and not a biological mom, she was there with her child. We can`t just draw a conclusion because she is a stepmom and not a biological mom.

However, when you start looking at the evidence in the last course of the last few weeks, there`s no other suspects. No one else was with her. And how amazingly tight-lipped the Oregon sheriff`s department had been about the investigation, you start to wonder is she being unfairly persecuted or is there something more there?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue. This is an inexplicable mystery. How do you explain a little boy disappearing from a school hallway?

His biological mother offered this explanation on "Good Morning America." Check this out.


YOUNG: My sister used a phrase with somebody recently. It`s like a portal opened up in the school and Kyron just vanished into it. It`s a mystery, really. It`s very heart wrenching.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Rod Wheeler, here is what I don`t understand. She, the stepmother, does not fit the typical profile of somebody who would harm a child. I mean, she is described as very active parent. She`s always there at the school.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All her friends and acquaintances say she has very good parenting skills. This is not a family where to our knowledge anyway there`s ever been a police call to the house. The Child and Family Services had never visited.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it doesn`t really make sense to me.

WHEELER: Well, you know, Jane, to a degree you`re right. But I think you hit the nail on the head when you said to our knowledge. And to our knowledge is what the police is trying to find out right now. What knowledge do the family have that the police don`t have?

Put it like this. Kyron just didn`t vanish into thin air. Something happened to that child. He didn`t just walk away. And the reason the police have focused on the stepmother is because of the fact that she was the last one that was seen with this kid. And just by virtue of the fact that she was the last one, the cops should focus on her.

But I think it`s important to also understand that she`s not the only one Jane, that the cops have focused on, but the cops are doing exactly what they need to be doing right now by focusing on her, as well as others, but there`s a lot of unanswered questions, Jane, that this lady has to come forward --


WHEELER: -- and tell the cops.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Diane in Missouri, your question or though, ma`am?

DIANE MISSOURI, MISSOURI: Yes, I hate bring this out but has anyone thought about the financial angle. If Kyron comes up missing, therefore the father does not have to pay child support anymore, and I do believe on your show, you mentioned that they had a child together, his father and new wife, and --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, I`m going to go to Michelle Sigona so she can answer that question, ma`am. Go ahead.

SIGONA: Well, basically the situation was that Kyron`s biological mother had to go off to Canada to be able to receive some treatment. So that left Kyron with his father the majority of the time.

As far as the actual custody agreement, if there was something on the records for a physical custody, primary, joint custody, things of that nature, that`s something that we don`t know as far as who was paying child support or who wasn`t. But it appears that they had a very good working relationship --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it there.

A shocker, up next. Shocker.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s spotlight, a horrifying, really revolting story, it`s the only way to describe -- a restaurant owner`s decision to sell lion burgers. The owner says he bought the lion meat to honor the World Cup in South Africa. Huh?

Here`s his take.


CAMERON SELOGIE, OWNER, IL VINAIO RESTAURANT: The packaging is controlled by the USDA. Lions aren`t shot at all and the entire process from breeding to packaging is controlled by the USDA.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wrong Mr. Selogie or whatever your name. The Humane Society told us the meat came from a butcher shop in Chicago, not a free range farm, and HSUS says they have allegedly been in trouble before for selling endangered meat.

Now, let`s switch from the meat to the actual beautiful animals. Look at these animals, ok? These are lions, all right? They do not belong on our dinner plate. I think we can all agree on that.

Straight out to reporter Jose Miguel with KPHO in Phoenix. Jose, I`m almost afraid to ask, what is the very latest here? What`s going on?

JOSE MIGUEL, REPORTER, KPHO, PHOENIX: Well, I can tell you that they did receive quite a few complaints at the restaurant, probably over 1,000 complaints, but they also were very popular. The meals were quite popular. The meals actually sold out before the first plate of lion actually hit a table. They had 40 burgers to sell in two days; completely sold out before they actually started the meal service that evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, this is sick, it really is. Recently on issues, we covered a really wonderful feature story. It involved CSI`s Jorja Fox; she`s a big star on that show. She was part of a group of people who went to great lengths to rescue two lions from a Bolivian circus.

Listen to this.


JORJA FOX, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: Number one, most of these animals are on the endangered species list or on the vulnerable list. We have so few resources left on this planet and I really think it`s our responsibility to care for the ones that we have.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And these are beautiful animals and all these human beings went to great lengths to free these animals and now somebody`s chopping up the very same kind of animals you`re looking at right there and selling them for hamburger.

The real problem here, apparently, is this butcher in Chicago selling this meat. Jose, what do you know about this butcher shop in Chicago?

MIGUEL: Well, what we understand is back in 2003, this butcher, this particular butcher shop, rather, they did face some charges. They were found to have been purchasing meat that wasn`t federally regulated. The owner did have to serve some prison time. He also had to pay some hefty fines.

Again, there`s a lot of questions here, so where this meat may be coming from, is it all authentic as they`re packaging it? And right now we do know that they were in trouble back in 2003. Who knows if they`re going to be facing anymore charges today?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I certainly hope some humane organization, if you`re watching, I hope some humane organization takes action and moves in and tries to find out what`s going on here.

In Los Angeles, there was a restaurant selling endangered whale meat and they did an undercover investigation and they shut the restaurant down. So I certainly hope that somebody is checking.

What were you going to say, Jose?

MIGUEL: We also learned today that the owners decided that they were going to make a donation to a local Humane Society, Arizona Rescue --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what, I can`t handle people killing and then saying, oh, I`m going to give some money. Money cannot erase morally bankrupt decisions, ok?

They`re destroying the Gulf, and when we call to find out what is going to happen with the turtles burning up alive, we were told by the government, oh, BP`s going to give us some money. Money is not going to erase an ethical problem.

Jose, thank you so much.

You`re watching ISSUES.