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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Mother Kills Autistic Children; Tapes Show Accused Teen Killer Threatened Victim
Aired July 22, 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 horrifying family violence rips through Texas. A mother admits to brutally murdering her two young children, and her jaw-dropping confession is caught on tape. Tonight, we`ll play the gut-wrenching 911 call.
And a twisted love triangle ends in bloodshed. A woman is accused of stabbing her rival to death because they were both in love with the same man. Tonight we`ll take you inside the emotion-drenched courtroom as crucial eyewitnesses break down in tears.
Plus, a family fights for justice. A hot-shot TV producer is accused of viciously murdering his wife at a lavish Mexican resort. Cops in Mexico have issued a warrant for his arrest. So why in the heck is he still waltzing around Hollywood a free man? Tonight I`ll talk to the victim`s frustrated, furious family members.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, incomprehensible horror in Irving, Texas. A mother calls 911 and tells the operator she murdered her two small children. Why? She says it`s because they were autistic and she wanted, quote, "normal children."
And just as disturbing, she says she tried to kill them not once but twice. Here is this mom -- can we call her that? Yes. Thirty-year-old Saiqa Akhter held without bond tonight. I would hope so. She is accused of strangling her 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, total innocents, to death using a wire.
I`ve got to warn you ahead of time: we`re going to air this 911 call, and it is very, very disturbing. Cops say they found the two children in the bedroom. Here is a portion of that chilling 911 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAIQA AKHTER, MURDERED HER CHILDREN: I kill my kids. My children. I kill my children. Killed them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You killed your children?
AKHTER: Yes, I killed them, both of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So sick.
The woman`s family says they knew she was depressed, and they say she was hearing voices. They also insist that she still doesn`t believe she killed her kids. Well, believe it. It happened. Listen to her uncle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WASIMUL HAQUE, UNCLE: When I talk to her, she talked to herself, and she say, "I don`t know what`s going on. I didn`t kill my babies. Some invisible source killed this baby."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: If they knew she was having mental problems, why didn`t someone in her family get her some psychiatric help? We know Child Protective Services visited the home at least once. Was this mom overwhelmed? She stays at home. Dad works all day, something with computers. She`s got two small kids she says has autism. Where did things go wrong?
I`m taking your calls on this one. I want to hear from you. This is an outrage. These poor little kids didn`t have to die. 1-877-JVM-SAYS. 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. But first to criminal profiler Pat Brown.
Pat, what do you make of this horrific double child murder?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, it sure sounds, Jane, like another Andrea Yates case. And I think she`s going to be using the Andrea Yates defense, which worked fine for Andrea, because now she`s in a mental institution instead of on Death Row.
She`s basically saying, "At the time I killed my kids because I didn`t want them. I just wanted normal kids. So they were in my way. Getting rid of them, ha ha." And now she`s saying, "Oh, I heard voices, and I didn`t kill my children." She`s going for a defense -- an insanity defense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you bring me right to my big issue tonight. Will this mother`s lawyer go for the insanity defense?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: After all, Saiqa Akhter did call 911 and confessed to killing her children, so so much for pretending someone else did it, right? Like Susan Smith.
Her uncle says she has shown signs of mental illness in the past. Once again, let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAQUE: She cries like -- I`m not -- what`s going on with me? Over here, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you must be psychic, Pat Brown. Because we`re asking the question, will this woman`s lawyer take a page from the Andrea Yates case? Also out of Texas, Yates also said she heard voices that commanded her to kill her five children. She was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Mark Eiglarsh, the mother in this case, however, told the 911 operator what she had done. She confessed to killing her kids, and she offered a reason, albeit a hideous and ignorant one, but that`s a little different from hearing voices that tell you to kill your kids, when you say you don`t want your kids because you want normal kids. Does that mean she knows right from wrong, and will that rule out an insanity defense?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, no. It`s the million-dollar question, but 100 percent certainty there`s no other defense here. There`s no self defense. It`s not a whodunit.
For sure, the issue will be whether she knew right from wrong. That`s the only defense. And unfortunate for her, she`s in Texas. They have the most restrictive insanity defense in the nation. It`s almost rarely used. And when it is, it`s not generally successful.
Yates didn`t get her freedom from prison the first time. She was convicted. It took a jury the second time, after a conviction was overturned, for her to get ultimately placed in a mental institution as opposed to prison. It`s not the best defense, but it`s the best one she`s got.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And -- and I remember covering that case. It was the voices that Andrea Yates heard that she was able to finally, on the second trial, convince the jury that she thought she was doing something good, because she was all upside down, talking to God, talking to the devil, talking to who knows what? And they were talking to her in her mind.
Now, we don`t know if that`s the same situation here. Just because the uncle suddenly says that this woman was hearing voices; maybe he reads the paper and he read the Andrea Yates case, if you know what I mean.
Stephanie Lucero, you`re a reporter with KTXA out of Dallas, Texas. You`ve been all over this story. What is the very latest?
STEPHANIE LUCERO, REPORTER, KTXA: Well, here`s the latest today, Jane. The two children have now been buried, two children in two days. Today right behind me here they buried the little girl, 2-year-old Faryaal. Yesterday they buried here right beside her Zain, 5-year-old little boy who was killed in this case.
Also, the mother has been appointed a court-appointed attorney. His name is Richard Franklin. He`s a well-known Dallas attorney who has handled many death penalty cases here, so it`s most likely that he will stay with her through the remainder of this case.
The mother apparently told that uncle that you talked about that she also heard some kind of invisible forces coming out of the apartment where they live that were boding [SIC] her to do something evil. That was another mention that she made that alerted the family that there might be mental illness involved.
She now is in jail in the Dallas County jail. She was transferred last night. And she`s being held on $1 million bond.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Robi Ludwig, in the Andrea Yates case -- you`re the psychotherapist -- there was a lot of testimony about whether or not Andrea had gotten the proper amount of medication and also her relationship with her husband, Rusty, and whether he had turned her into a baby-making machine by repeatedly impregnating her and she couldn`t handle it. Are we going to see the same kind of thing in this case, an analysis of this entire family?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You know, it`s not clear. But the insanity defense exists for a reason. There are some people who are truly insane at the time of the crime. And I think Andrea Yates certainly fits that description.
It`s not clear if this woman is psychotic to me. It definitely sounds like she has a clinical form of depression that went untreated. And there are forms of depression with psychosis. So again, it`s impossible to diagnose somebody on the air. But it`s not going to look good that she called 911, stating that...
LUDWIG: ... she killed both her kids, and she wanted normal kids. That doesn`t look good. It looks like she had an understanding of what she did and why she did it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ve got to say, the ugly details of this crime will make your skin crawl. Again, I have to warn you. This is so disturbing. The mother told the 911 operator she also tried to poison her own children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AKHTER: First I tried to kill them with the bathroom cleaner. I put it in their mouth, but they don`t drink it. I want them to drink it. They don`t drink it. So there`s a wire there, so I just grabbed their neck and then I tried so many times and then they are no more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to Kim Stagliano, managing editor for "Age of Autism."
You have autistic children. And I have to say, as soon as I heard this, I said is this a hate crime? Could this be considered a hate crime based on discrimination against a possible disability? They don`t even know if the 2-year-old had autism. The 5-year-old apparently had some speech problems that he was getting help with.
KIM STAGLIANO, EDITOR, "AGE OF AUTISM": I haven`t heard the hate crime possibility. It`s certainly not a crime of passion. It was -- when you move on from plan "A" which fails to plan "B," you can`t use the crime of passion defense. A hate crime is an interesting point of view on it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m asking you as a mom -- as a mother of autistic children. I mean, this makes everyone who has any compassionate bones in their body just nauseous. But as a mother of autistic children, this must be truly nightmarish for you.
STAGLIANO: It`s unthinkable. I wrote about it this morning, and I was really angry. We all understand the stress that we`re under and how difficult it can be to have children on the spectrum of any age. But we aren`t allowed to kill them. It`s not an excuse for murdering them. There are other options.
I can`t possibly condone what looks to me like a premed -- a well- thought-out murder. It`s not a crime of passion where she was...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And not only that. Children with autism can lead productive, wonderful lives. I mean, this is really ignorance. It`s tremendous ignorance.
BROWN: No, Jane. It was a hate crime. She hated her husband; she hated her life; she hated where she was living; and she hated her kids. It`s a hate crime.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you. That`s the first thing I said. This is a hate crime.
Everyone stay right where we are. Elizabeth in Indiana, we`ll get to you right on the other side of the break.
How could anyone do this to two innocent little children who have done nothing but love their mommy? We`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, a twisted love triangle turns deadly. A young woman brutally kills her romantic rival. But was it self defense?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) murder you. That is what Rachel Wade told Sara Ludemann 7 1/2 months before she took a knife and stabbed her right through the heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAQUE: She always talked. "It looks like something is going on here when I get inside the home. Something is doing -- forcing me to do something bad."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the uncle of the Texas woman who called 911 to say she had killed her two precious children because she claimed they were autistic.
Her family is now saying that she started showing signs of mental illness during a visit to Pakistan three years ago. Why is it that these red flags always seem to come to light after something horrific occurs?
Elizabeth, Indiana, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Well, I just want to also say that that mother had no right doing that to her own kids like that. And, also, that she needs to get the life penalty and don`t even think about getting out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, if she`s found not guilty by reason of insanity, Mark Eiglarsh, she goes to a mental hospital just like Andrea Yates did, and she gets to stay there for how long?
EIGLARSH: Well, until they deem that she`s safe and she`s well. Remember, Hinckley ultimately was released after his 1981 acquittal. The law fortunately has changed. The defense now has the burden to show that they knew right -- I`m sorry. The defense has to show that they didn`t know right from wrong. The burden has shifted. So she has a very tall order in somehow getting to a mental hospital, especially in Texas.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Family members say the 5-year-old boy was autistic, but the 2-year-old girl was not. The boy had a speech problem, but he was actually getting therapy and improving. So autism -- autism seemed to be all that this woman could think about when she was calling 911.
I have another warning about the disturbing nature of this phone call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you do this?
AKHTER: They both are not normal. They are autistic. Both are autistic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both are what, dear?
AKHTER: Autistic. I don`t want my kids to be like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stephanie Lucero, reporter on the scene, could this autism motive be a cover story? We had heard that she had recently moved to this new apartment in Irving and that she was depressed about that. Perhaps she`d had to leave friends and she was isolated. And is it possible that she`s using this as a cover story?
LUCERO: Well, we did go to the other apartment where she lived, and there was a large community of people from the Middle East, from India, Budapest, from Pakistan, and they all appeared to know each other. They seemed to be a very tight-knit group. They knew her, and they said that she was a very attentive mother, that she was always walking with her children, never left them alone. While some mothers would be inside, she was always outside when the children were outside.
One of the things that we wanted to have answered is we wanted to talk to the father. And we know he`s just grief-stricken right now. That`s very obvious to us. But one of the things we wanted to know is we know the 5-year-old is autistic. The thing that we don`t know, is the 2-year-old?
Could it be possibly that the 2-year-old was diagnosed with autism recently, and that`s why she says both of her children are autistic? We asked the uncle that question yesterday and today. And he just believes -- you know, he kind of shakes his head and says, no, that the younger child was not autistic.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kim Stagliano, you`re the mother of three autistic daughters, and you wrote a book about it. What are your thoughts on that?
STAGLIANO: When I had my children, I gave birth to children. I didn`t buy appliances at Sears. Children don`t come with warranties or guarantees. It could be autism. It could be cancer. It could be diabetes. These aren`t excuses for murdering your children, period. They are not reasons to murder your children.
My kids have severe autism. They`re the lights of my life. We have a beautiful life together. It doesn`t have to be a dreadful life. Not at all. So I can`t -- I can`t wrap my head around the "I killed them because they had autism." It`s simply not an excuse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it also betrays a tremendous arrogance, as if somehow she is superior to them because they have this condition which they have no control over, if they even have it. We don`t know if the youngest had it.
And I just think there`s a lot of misinformation out there about autism, and children with autism can lead wonderful, productive lives. They`re human beings. They deserve respect, and they deserve compassion. And that`s why I think this is a hate crime. I really do. I think it`s a story of ignorance and arrogance.
Tracy, New Jersey, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Hi, Jane. Nice to see -- nice to speak to you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You, too.
CALLER: I just want -- I`m a single mother of a 24-year-old child that was born disabled. Never have I ever considered putting my son in that kind of situation. This mother needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent.
And anybody at all in her family who knew that she had some kind of emotional issue and they did nothing about it, they should all be charged as accessories to the murder of these young children. This -- this should not have happened.
EIGLARSH: I don`t know about that.
LUDWIG: Jane -- Jane, I just want to say something.
EIGLARSH: I don`t know about that, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me see the panel. Let me see the panel.
EIGLARSH: Jane, let me respond to that last caller.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me -- OK, but let me talk. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, weigh in.
LUDWIG: Well, I think that we need to understand that, whenever you have children and especially children who have certain challenges, it can be very, very frustrating for a parent. And there is somewhat of a denial that when you have a child, that you become automatically the good enough mother.
Also, this woman comes from a culture where I don`t know if they recognize mental illness. So I don`t know if that contributed to the denial in terms of this woman seeking help when she was isolated.
Clearly any woman, mother, in their right mind would not do this. There`s something wrong with her. Now, whether she needs jail time or hospital time is not clear yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I know what Mark was going to say. No, we can`t blame the entire family. Twenty-twenty hindsight is always perfect. Thank you, fantastic panel. We`ll pray for those poor children.
A hot-shot TV producer accused of brutally murdering his wife. Why isn`t he locked up? Tonight I will talk to the victim`s family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a teenage love triangle ends in tragedy. A young woman is charged with murder in the vicious stabbing death of her rival. Both girls were intimately involved with the same guy at the same time. Their eight-month-long feud went from ugly to plain-out deadly.
Just hours ago, a Florida jury heard shocking messages left by the defendant on the victim`s voicemail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL WADE, ACCUSED OF MURDER: I told you to watch your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) back and not to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) chill with him. Now your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is mine. And I`m guaranteeing you I`m going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) murder you. I`m letting you know that now, because you know what? Josh might have played me, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), but I`m going to play your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out, too, so watch. You`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fat (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and I`m going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kill you. I swear on my life. Watch out your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) when I get off work tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Prosecutors want to send 20-year-old Rachel Ward to prison for life. Rachel`s camp insists she was acting in self defense when she thrust a knife through the victim`s heart.
Beth Karas, correspondent with "In Session" on TruTV, joins us live from Clearwater, Florida.
Beth, you`re covering the trial. What is the very latest?
BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, tomorrow, the jury is going to begin deliberating the fate of Rachel Wade. She`s now 20 years old. She took the stand today and was very teary and remorseful throughout her testimony today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow! I would say that you better get some water works going if you want to get the jury`s sympathy after a -- after a call like that, a voicemail like that.
Now, jurors also heard a disturbing and very dramatic 911 call. Let`s play a clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They stabbed her. Is the knife out of her?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what (EXPLETIVE DELETED) said. The knife is out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So the knife is out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get her. Get it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do I do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there serious bleeding right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s bleeding. Sarah, stay with her, Sarah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Beth, they had exchanged these voicemails, and then they met up in person and that`s when the violence erupted?
KARAS: Yes. This was an eight-month feud between the two women who were both seeing the same man at the same time, Josh Camacho. He also testified today.
The voicemail messages that were left on the victim`s telephone were left between five and nine months before the stabbing. And the one where she says, "I`m going to murder you" was in August of 2008. The stabbing was April 2009.
Rachel Wade says that on that day, she really didn`t mean that she was going to kill, although that`s for the jury to decide tomorrow. But she felt totally threatened by Sarah Ludemann and two other women who were in her car. She said they came at her. She had the knife. She never intended to use it and didn`t even realize that she had stabbed her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t she stab her twice, though?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, all right.
KARAS: She stabbed her twice. One wasn`t a real deep wound. The second one went in a couple inches and hit her heart.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me get to this. Let`s listen to another portion of the messages left on the victim`s voicemail. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WADE: You`re a dumb (EXPLETIVE DELETED) for real. If you`re (EXPLETIVE DELETED) lying, I`m going to find you, and I`m going to beat your (EXPLETIVE DELETED). If you`re not lying I`m going to find you and beat your (EXPLETIVE DELETED), OK? You keep playing (EXPLETIVE DELETED) games. You`re a pathetic little (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and you are a little (EXPLETIVE DELETED) girl. Honestly what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you have that`s going for you that Josh wants you over me for?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Beth, I know you and I have covered so many of these cases, and what I have wonder is why is it that teenagers today are resorting to violence to resolve their interpersonal disputes? What would have been maybe an argument 20 years ago now seems to turn into a stabbing.
Beth Karas, thank you so very much.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Getting away with murder. A hot-shot TV producer accused of killing his wife is still in L.A.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A twisted love triangle ends in bloodshed. A woman is accused of stabbing her rival to death because they were both in love with the same man. Tonight we`ll take you inside the emotion-drenched courtroom as crucial eyewitnesses break down in tears.
Plus, a family fights for justice. A hot shot TV producer is accused of viciously murdering his wife at a lavish Mexican resort. Cops in Mexico have issued a warrant for his arrest, so why in the heck is he still waltzing around Hollywood a free man? Tonight I`ll talk to the victim`s frustrated, furious family members.
A horrifying murder in paradise: tonight a family demands justice. It has been four long months since Monica Beresford-Redman, the wife of hotshot Hollywood producer Bruce Beresford-Redman, was brutally -- and I mean brutally -- murdered.
Monica`s nude body was beaten, strangled and dumped in the sewer at the swanky Moon Towers resort in Mexico. The couple reportedly went to Mexico on vacation with their two children to try and reconcile after Monica accused Bruce of cheating on her. But Monica did not make it home alive.
Bruce told police his wife went shopping in the morning and never returned. However, multiple witnesses say they saw the couple fighting later that night and Bruce allegedly had scratches all over his body.
Bruce somehow managed to slip out of the country -- we`re talking Mexico -- and return to Los Angeles, even though Mexican authorities had taken away his passport. Now there`s an arrest warrant out for him in Mexico for murder. So why the heck is he roaming around the streets of Los Angeles a free man?
Tonight we are joined by Monica`s furious, frustrated, heartbroken sisters who are tirelessly fighting for justice for their deceased sister. First of all, our hearts go out to you for your loss. It`s -- I know what you`ve been through has been absolute hell for these months. You marched for justice today. What is the exact justice that you seek? And I`ll put that question to Carla.
CARLA BURGOS, SISTER OF MONICA BERESFORD-REDMAN: Well, we want -- if they ask him to be arrested, we need them -- him to be arrested. We want him to pay for what he`s done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean, what do you want to see in terms of justice?
JEAN BURGOS, SISTER OF MONICA BERESFORD-BERMAN: Well, he has been arrested for the murder of my sister in first degree in Mexico. Mexico had requested the U.S. Authorities to -- for his provisional arrest in the United States so he can wait for the extradition process to start. And we would like for the U.S. authorities to be diligent about this case and take the steps towards what needs to be done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You bring me to my big issue tonight. Why no arrest? Bruce has been videotaped repeatedly walking around Los Angeles. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bruce, how are you? How are your kids feeling?
BRUCE BERESFORD-REDMAN, ALLEGEDLY KILLED WIFE: Sorry, guys. (CROSS TALKING)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you invited to the (INAUDIBLE).
BERESFORD-REDMAN: Sorry, guys.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So we`ve established every tabloid reporter and paparazzo can find this guy. He`s been walking around in plain sight. Yet Mexican authorities have not been able to arrange to have him picked up? He`s not in hiding.
Allison Triessl, you are the attorney for the Burgos family. Explain why this man is not on his way on a flight back to Mexico or back in Mexico right now.
ALLISON TRIESSL, ATTORNEY FOR BURGOS FAMILY: Well, Jane, that is the question that we have. The frustration level, four months -- it`s been nearly four months since she`s been murdered. It`s been a month since the Mexican government has asked the United States to extradite him. And we have nothing. We are no further along at all.
We`ve called the Justice Department without any response. We`ve called the State Department without any response. And we`re wondering why this American citizen -- this woman who died, who is a mother of two who was brutally, brutally murdered was an American citizen. We have reciprocity with Mexico. And why aren`t the United States government and its agencies responding to Mexico`s request? It doesn`t make any sense to us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: On top of that, there`s a heated custody battle over Bruce and Monica`s two children, 5-year-old Camilla and 3-year-old Alex. Right now -- are you sitting down -- Bruce`s parents have temporary custody of his kids but Bruce and his parents are reportedly living together. So the suspect is with the children of the victim every day.
Here he is on videotape pushing one of his kids on the swing.
Now, here`s what I don`t understand. Why would a judge give custody to the parents of the suspect and not to the family of the victim? I mean, Bruce is a murder suspect here. An arrest warrant has been issued for him.
Carla and Jean -- and I`ll direct this to Jean. Are you worried that he might run off with these children, given that he did leave Mexico?
TRIESSL: Jane, because there`s a heated -- or there is a custody dispute, I really think that those -- we`re here today to really try and get justice for Monica. It`s a very difficult question because they love these children and they want what is best for the children.
And on the other hand, their sister was brutally murdered. So we`re trying to be very gentle with the custody issues but still demand for his arrest.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But I mean it seems like an upside down custody agreement. Allison, why did the courts agree to let the suspect`s parents have the children?
TRIESSL: Well, at this point, although there has been an arrest warrant issued, there has not been an arrest. There has not been a conviction. I think that`s the court`s ruling. And, again, we want what is best for the children and, at the same time, we need to demand that there be justice for Monica Burgos. She was murdered four months ago.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean Burgos, have you seen the kids? When is the last time you saw them?
J. BURGOS: Yes. I always see the kids twice a week. I saw them last on Tuesday.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So that`s probably very difficult. How are the children doing?
J. BURGOS: They`re doing ok. Just -- you know, under the circumstances.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean, tell us about what you`re going through. What has this been like for you and your sister? What is going on inside of you? I know you`re very stoic; but open your heart and reveal, show us what`s going on inside.
J. BURGOS: Well, you know, I am suffering. I am traumatized. But right now I really can`t go deep inside and expose everything that I`m really feeling and grieve the loss of my sister and all the horrible things that happened to her because really the kids are my biggest concern, and I am putting all my intention and attention to bring justice to this case and to bring to the kids the best for them and an opportunity for them to be happy and healthy on the best way that, you know, that I feel that they deserve.
So I really don`t have time to break down right now and really take care of what is inside of me personally, because I feel that there are priorities that are taking precedence on my life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: My understanding is that there are published reports that claim the children were told a story about how their mother died; a car accident that is a complete fiction. What can you tell us about that, Jean?
J. BURGOS: Well, that`s true. That`s the way they found through a therapist that will be the best way to do it. And we disagreed about that because I didn`t think it was the right thing to do. But I am not a therapist and I wasn`t really had the opportunity to make that decision. So that`s what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that puts you in the awkward position of not being able to be honest with them when you see them.
J. BURGOS: Well, I cannot really be honest to them because the last thing that I wanted to say to those kids at this point is really what happened. And I`m not going to do that. But I really feel there should be a gentler way to really give the message to the kids. But it is what it is at this point and there is not much, unfortunately, that we can do because the damage is done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean, let me ask you this. Are you afraid that Bruce could leave? Let`s leave the children aside for a second. Are you afraid that Bruce could take off, given that he did leave Mexico, even though the authorities took his passport?
J. BURGOS: Well, possibilities. I think there are infinite possibilities. Yes, they flee from Mexico and he was supposed to stay there and his passport was being held there so why not?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have to say we tried to reach out to Bruce`s attorney and we called him and we have not heard back. We want to be fair. They`re always invited on our broadcast. If they have something to say they can tell their side of the story.
We`re not done with this. We`re just getting started. Remember this is a guy an arrest warrant for murder has been issued for him. Yet for weeks now, weeks and weeks he`s been walking around Los Angeles photographed by all these paparazzo and tabloid reporters have talked to him but the cops have not picked him up. Why not?
Stay right where you are.
Next, Lindsay Lohan behind bars, but does that mean she`s going to get clean?
And more on the death of Monica Beresford-Redman; how in the heck is her husband still a free man when the evidence makes him a prime suspect?
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her husband killed her. It`s clear. It`s very clear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody feels better now. I hope she has peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you outraged about an issue you`ve seen on our show ISSUES? Well, then please send me a video rant.
You can use an iPhone. You can use a Blackberry. You can also use a flip cam. You just do the video and then you plug it into your computer and you can download it and send it right off to us. Mail it to Jane@CNN.com. We will air the most passionate ISSUES rants live on our show.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: A beautiful woman murdered in Mexico. Now her family hunts for justice. That`s next.
But first here`s my issue today.
Poor Lindsay Lohan, she`s been locked up for three whole days. But don`t worry, the jail is already making special exceptions for her. This is a total joke. Reports say Lohan`s mom and sister waltzed into the jail today and they spent 85 minutes with the Hollywood diva.
I`m sure it was great bonding time for the Lohan gals. There`s just one big problem. It`s a complete jail house violation. Visitors are only allowed to come during the weekend.
Once again Lindsay is getting special treatment. She`s been spoiled her entire life and now even the justice system is telling poor Lindsay, don`t worry, Lins, the rules still don`t apply to you.
When are people are going to wake up? This spoiled and entitled attitude is precisely what got Lindsay in trouble in the first place. I expect these kinds of elitism from Hollywood and from her friends, but the prison system?
People, she`s not royalty. Quit treating her like the queen if you want her to get clean. All right. Start cracking the old whip there -- that`s my issue.
All right, we`re switching gears and going back to a family in mourning, fighting for justice. We are joined once again by the sisters of the late Monica Beresford-Redman, who was brutally murdered four months ago.
And now there is a warrant out for murder for her husband Bruce; that warrant issued in Mexico. So why is Bruce walking free on the streets of Los Angeles?
Allison, you`re the attorney for the Burgos family. Have you been in contact with local law enforcement? What is the process? Isn`t there some kind of process whereby Mexican authorities inform the American authorities and then the American authorities go down and make the arrest?
ALLISON TRIESSL, ATTORNEY FOR BURGOS FAMILY: Yes. We have been in contact with them. Unfortunately, they have not received word from the Department of Justice, and they are as much in the dark as we are.
We have attempted to contact the State Department, to no success. We have attempted to contact the Justice Department, also to no success. It is -- we know for certain that the Mexican authorities sent the request to the United States a month ago and there still has been no action. When we call --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think that -- go ahead.
TRIESSL: -- when we call we`re told, "I`m sorry, we cannot discuss this matter with you. These things take some time."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What takes some time?
TRIESSL: And basically, we`re stonewalled.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, but -- but why should it take any time? Let`s say, for example -- well, who knows. If somebody is a suspect of a violent crime, they -- they are potentially a risk to society.
So, I mean, why -- let`s say there was some serial killer who is running around and he killed many people. Would it still take all this time? No. Because they might say, well, he could kill again so obviously different rules apply to different people.
Do you think they`re being lackadaisical on this for any particular reason? And if so, what`s the reason?
TRIESSL: Well, I am hopeful that they have been thorough that they`ve gone through the evidence. But it`s been a month. And you are right, Jane. Any case where there is a murder suspect at large, this person should be arrested.
Mexico has requested that the United States act and they did so a month ago. There is no reason why the United States should not be acting. If there is a question of proof, it is a question for the Mexican justice system.
Mexico believes that they have enough evidence to charge him. And there`s no reason that the United States government should stand in their way.
Monica Burgos was a United States citizen. And we do fear that because this person is a United States citizen and Mexico has asked for his extradition, he may be getting some type of special treatment, because certainly when there is a Mexican suspect, we have no problem returning them to Mexico.
So we`re very concerned, very concerned.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean, as the victim`s sister, do you think that he may be getting special treatment because he is this famous producer who was once a producer on the hit show "Survivor"? I mean, that`s what first made headlines, the fact that a former "Survivor" producer has been accused of murder.
J. BURGOS: Yes. Yes, sure. I have many concerns. I really feel that it`s not every day that I have a sister murdered in my life. So everything that is happening right now, it`s pretty much novelty. It`s new to me. And I am learning as it goes, it`s very frustrating to me and my family, you know, to be sitting and waiting for something to happen and justice is brought to my sister, an American citizen that has rights.
And her rights, I feel, are not being protected, you know. And pretty much we get to a point that we don`t even know what to do because the American authorities are not really giving us any explanation, as far as I know. All the steps that were supposed to be taken --
BURGOS: -- having the request from Mexico be sent to the Justice Department and --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me jump in here, because I want to point out a couple of things. Bruce was instructed to stay put in Mexico, authorities took away his passport but he managed to get back to the U.S. somehow. Bruce`s attorneys have reportedly said he left to avoid spending months if not years in jail while Mexican authorities built their case.
But they do have a ton of circumstantial evidence, Allison. Bruce, according to the cops there in Mexico, lied to authorities. He said he hadn`t seen his wife since the morning. People saw them fighting later that night. His key card had been swiped almost a dozen times that night. He allegedly had scratches and defensive wounds all over his body and quickly, Allison, he was also purportedly having an affair.
TRIESSL: Yes, it is our understanding that he was having a long standing affair that Monica learned about it; that there were serious marital problems before they left for the trip. That Monica and he discussed a divorce. That she had changed the locks on the home.
So certainly all these things are not only suspicious, but they are motive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it there. Thank you so much. Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight the vicious feud between Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva reaches a fever pitch. Mel, under investigation by the L.A. county sheriff on domestic violence charges.
TMZ reports critical new evidence. X-rays taken two days after Mel Gibson allegedly punched her in the face. TMZ also reporting Oksana might be considering a civil suit against Mel`s. Then there is today`s secret custody hearing over their baby Lucia and Mel`s allegation that Oksana was extorting him for $10 million to keep her from releasing the infamous RadarOnline tapes.
Check these tapes out.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mel, you are losing your mind. You need medication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kick up the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) for being a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gold-digging (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) son.
And I want my child and no one will believe you. So (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Straight out to Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ; Mike you guys have the very latest on today`s developments. Bring it on.
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, I think what is really important after you just heard that tape is the extortion, the $15 million settlement for those tapes and what actually just happened with it. Really interesting.
Oksana is now saying not only did she not extort Mel Gibson; it was never about money. The reason that she turned down the $15 million is because in that settlement agreement it said that Mel would get unsupervised visits with Lucia. And she said, I fear for my daughter`s life. I fear for my life. I do not want Mel seeing this child without somebody else around.
So she turned down the money. They actually were told to even raise it. And she said forget it. It is not about money. A lot of people think she is involved in these tapes and that it`s all but the money. So interesting, it is not. She says she just didn`t want her daughter alone with Mel Gibson.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And apparently she is now beefing up her security because she has been getting threats.
WALTER: Yes. Apparently daily threats; she is now beefed up with a number of body guards. We actually got several videos of her just today meeting with attorneys about this new civil case that`s possible against Mel Gibson.
And she has tons of bodyguards around her. She is taking care of that. But Jane, I have to tell you one more thing that I just reminded myself of. You know what? The other really interesting thing about that tape, we are told today, you know one of the things that made him go off, apparently Mel Gibson smokes packs a day of cigarettes and that day he quit smoking.
Now I know it sounds like an excuse. But apparently he has been trying to quit for years. And that day was the day he stopped smoking and he was in the worst mood ever.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have heard of lame excuses. That one has to really take the cake in the lame excuse meter reader.
WALTERS: I just report the news.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I got it.
Mike, get this, Governor Schwarzenegger made a joke tying the BP disaster to Mel Gibson.
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GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: And then you get up in the morning is the first news you hear is good news but there is also bad news. The good news is that BP has contained the oil leak. The bad news is no one has figured out how to contain Mel Gibson.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: One action star dissing another. What is Hollywood saying about all this? You are in Hollywood?
WALTERS: You know what? I mean, you can see how Arnold choked on his words. He couldn`t even say Mel Gibson`s name. You know what -- BP is a lot worse than Mel Gibson, 100 percent I will say that on the record.
But you know what? The reality is in Hollywood that Mel Gibson I think for years now really didn`t need Hollywood. He makes his own movies. He has tons of money. Even when he makes movies he backs his own movie. So, you know what? He really doesn`t need Hollywood. I don`t think he is going to apologize for Hollywood. Don`t think he`s going to do a video soon saying I`m sorry. I`m sorry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But he is toxic, Mike.
You are watching ISSUES.