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Acid Attack a Hoax

Aired September 16, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Setting fire to a prominent Connecticut family. Horrified jurors were so sickened they needed to go home early. Will this heartbroken father, the sole survivor, get justice in the torture death in his wife and two daughters?

Then a choked-up sheriff says they`ve uncovered information so disturbing about Kyron Horman`s disappearance even cops wish they didn`t know it. What are these toxic secrets haunting police? We`ll dive into it.

And a war explodes within the family of missing mother Julie Ann Gonzalez. Yesterday the attorney for her estranged husband, who`s under suspicion in the case, fought for his client`s reputation, right here on ISSUES. Tonight I`ll get the other side as I talk to the missing woman`s devastated mother. Are police any closer to finding her missing daughter?

Plus, Casey Anthony drama-rama. Two investigators are in the hot seat as fireworks erupt. That as Casey`s defense team gets the go ahead to dive into search records. So just what is the defense looking for? A prime- time exclusive interview, tonight.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news about that recent acid victim in Vancouver, Washington. There are reports that, in fact, it may have been a hoax. Police holding a news conference right now as we speak.

Let`s go to the news conference and hear what they have to say.

CHIEF CLIFFORD COOK, VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT: As chief of police for the city of Vancouver, I want to express my appreciation to the media, to the community, and to citizens across the state of Washington who have been patient with our department and allowed us the time and ability to take a thorough and complete look at this alleged attack.

I want to reassure the citizens of Vancouver that Esther Short Park and the surrounding area is a safe area of our community and they should not assume that this alleged attack reflects upon the safety that they`ve been able to enjoy while visiting that park.

As chief, I also would like to express my gratitude to our detectives who worked in a very professional and diligent manner to successfully resolve this investigation. And at this point, if you have any questions, I`ll turn this over to Commander Shuman (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ... this attack? Have you been able to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has made some statements in regard to what motivated her. We really can`t release that right now, because we`re still doing the investigation. In fact, the detective is still with other people involved in the investigation doing interviews. So...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve gotten some anonymous calls that she may have seen a plastic surgeon, like, weeks or days before this attack. Do you...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not heard that. I`ve not heard that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was her demeanor today during the -- and the interview?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is extremely upset. She`s very remorseful. In many ways it`s something that just got bigger than what she expected, and so she has shown that this has affected her a great deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you define the substance that caused that injury in her home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That I`m not sure of. Scott?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re listening to this news conference, but the big headline is, it was self-inflicted. It was a hoax, OK? Nobody threw acid on this woman`s face. It was self-inflicted.

Look at those injuries. Cops are saying this woman, Bethany Storro, did it to herself.

The entire nation sympathized with Bethany Storro when she held a news conference behind heavy bandages. Watch this.


BETHANY STORRO, CLAIMED TO BE VICTIM OF ACID ATTACK: You know, in time I`m going to forgive her, because if I don`t then it`s hard to move on with my life. So that`s the biggest (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It really is the biggest reference for me to have is to forgive her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what really upsets me about this, Vinnie Politan? It`s that she also said that, oh, her attacker was an African- American woman. She went out of her way to say that. Now it turns out it was all made made-up, according to cops. She threw acid on her own face.

VINNIE POLITAN, "IN SESSION": Jane, it`s outrageous, but there`s part of me that is like, oh, my goodness, what would make a young girl do this? What is going on her mind? And I understand all the damage that she`s done. I understand that we may have a copycat here.


POLITAN: But at the end of the day, with this young girl, my first thing is like, oh, my goodness. My heart drops. Why would someone mutilate themselves like she did?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go back to the news conference. They`re telling us that they found out that this was self-inflicted by the splash pattern on her face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk a little bit about the fear that this attack instilled in the community? I mean, for a while we thought there was a crazy woman running around town.

COOK: And I think that`s an understandable reaction from the community. Unfortunately, for whatever reason that Ms. Storro may have had for making this false report, it has had an impact on our community. It`s brought negative attention to our community that`s undeserved.

This is a community that`s very proud of what`s happened with the Esther Short area and the neighborhood surrounding it. Our department tries very hard to ensure a safe environment for families and citizens in our community, and it was a disturbing report to me.

More so, I think, the important factor here is that people realize that that is a safe area of our community and not allow this incident, in and of itself, to prevent them from enjoying what we consider to be a jewel of our city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will she be charged?

COOK: That will entirely be up to the prosecuting attorney`s office. The detectives will complete their investigation. There`s still much work to do. And then, once that`s done, a case will be referred, and the charging and prosecution decisions will be made by the Clark County prosecutor`s office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many hours did you spend on this case?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t even estimate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn`t even speculate right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, yes. One of the reasons they found out that this was a hoax, they say, is because, a, some homeless people in the area said, we were watching when she went down, and she appeared to be completely alone when she fell down and started screaming.

Also, there were reports that she had said that a similar thing happened to her recently. And so the police department where she used to live in Idaho was called, and they said no crime was ever reported that was similar in nature and also would be very strange if the same thing happened to her twice.

Victoria Taft, you`re a big name in that area. You have a talk show in that area. What is your reaction to the fact that police are now saying this woman made it up?

VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: First of all, I`m deeply saddened that somebody feels that they have to do something like that, Jane. I think we can appreciate and empathize with the fact that this is a -- this is a woman who needs some help.

Secondly, I`m not surprised, and I`ll tell you why, because the first week it happened I was talking about it on my program on KPAM, and a police officer called and said he thought it was a hoax. And he said at the time that he thought she -- it looked as if she`d almost painted the acid on her face.

And it was at that point that I started going, "Aha." And then I looked at closer pictures, and I looked at her lips. And there`s nothing on her lips. Her lips were unscathed, along with her eyes. If someone poured acid on someone or flicked it into their face, you would at least expect some dripping or what have you. And there`s none of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did this woman raise any money? If she did, I would assume she better give it back right away.

TAFT: Well, there was an athletic club that did do a fund-raiser to help defray some of her costs. And I don`t know that she`s ever been in receipt of that money. But you and I both know that if, in fact, they did hand over the money...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently we just heard that they are going to give that money back. You say you feel sorry for her. OK, I do feel sorry for her, but I`m also super angry. You know why? Four days after this incident...

TAFT: I know exactly why.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. An Arizona woman reported having a woman throw acid in her face. And we talked to Derri Velarde exclusively here on ISSUES. Let`s listen to that second victim.


DERRI VELARDE, ACID VICTIM: I thought for a split second, I thought she threw water at me until it instantly started burning. My skin was just on fire. It was the most intense pain. And I just started screaming. I jumped out of the car. And I saw her just kind of almost casually jog away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say, there was speculation that this second attack might have been a copycat. So if I`m the second victim, that woman Derri Vellarde, I would be livid, if indeed a hoax, which is what it appears, inspired somebody to pull off a real attack.

And I`ll throw that to Casey Jordan, criminologist.

What, Casey?

All right. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist. Robi, your reaction to the fact that this fake attack inspired a real attack.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, you know, if what motivated the original hoax was to get attention, you know, sometimes people commit crimes to get attention. I mean, there are a lot of people out there who feel that their only way to validate their existence is to do something that makes it on the news. So of course, it`s horrible that this hoax inspired a real attack.

But it`s really horrible that this woman felt she needed to do this to her own face in order to resolve whatever internal conflicts she`s going through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Jordan, a fake attack inspires a real one, it may seem. That is sick. In fact, there were two real attacks that came after this fake one.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Right. And I really don`t think Bethany for one minute in her moment of decompensation or self-loathing, or whatever, attention seeking, whatever motivated this -- her to do this to herself, I don`t think for a minute it occurred to her that it could inspire copycat crimes that were similar. And perhaps that`s why she finally broke down and has told the truth.

I don`t -- I think her worst enemy at this point is herself. She has to live with herself. She clearly is emotionally disturbed. She`s going to need a lot of help.

But you`re right: we as a public have a lot of resentment about how much time was wasted looking for an imaginary culprit.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me ask you a question. On the other side of the break, everybody on the panel think about it, what should she be charged with for pulling this off?

Everybody, new development, incredible. We`re going to have much more on this hoax, a woman throwing acid in her own face.

Plus, another twist in the Kyron Horman case brings the sheriff to tears almost. We`ll examine what shocking new details are choking up cops. And I want to hear from you on all of this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.


SHERIFF DAN STATON, MULTNOMAH COUNTY: I`m not going to call this scaling back. I do not want the term "scaling back" to be utilized in this process. We are not scaling back.




COOK: During the interview, Ms. Storro admitted that her injuries were self-inflicted. The attack itself did not occur as she had previously reported.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. A woman in Washington who says a woman approached her and said, "Hey, pretty girl, want to have a drink of this?" and then threw acid in her face, she is now admitting it`s all made-up. She threw acid on her own face. You see those injuries right there? She inflicted them herself, extremely painful injuries.

The news conference is still going on. Let`s listen in for a moment and then get reaction from our panel as we get new details in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We contacted a few individuals based upon tips that we received from the public and tried to document where they were on the day of the attack. And there was a few people that were actually contacted subsequent to tips. That was -- that was a whole ago, and that kind of activity really ceased for us several days ago.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So, you know, we`re getting some tips, Victoria Taft, that there were homeless people in the area. And I think it all started to fall apart -- we`d been hearing rumors about this for a few days, but we didn`t report it because we don`t report rumors. When we heard, oh, she canceled her appearance on "Oprah." Homeless people in the area said she appeared to be alone when she fell down screaming.

And now we`re hearing from the cops that this was a hoax.

What`s the Scooby Doo in your area? Because you`re a talk radio host in this vicinity.

TAFT: Well -- well, for instance, you asked us to take a kind of look into our conscience to find out what you think she ought to be charged with, and filing a false police report is where it starts.

But I also think that she should be doing a lot of community service, and she should not only do it for the greater Vancouver area but she should be doing it for the African-American community. She chose to put a person who`s African-American, made a big deal about the fact that this was, quote, an African-American. And I am offended by that. And I think she owes them -- I mean, whatever African-American community that exists in Vancouver, they`re owed an apology, and they`re owed some community service hours. This was outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Kind of reminds me -- it`s not the same kind of crime. It was an even more serious crime that Susan Smith committed, killing her own children. And she claimed that she was carjacked by an African-American man. And turned out she had made the whole thing up.

Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, I`m trying to get an insight into this woman`s cuckoo mind, as to why she would not only throw acid in her face but then claim an African-American woman did it to her, saying, "Hey, pretty girl, want a drink of this?"

LUDWIG: I mean, it is so hard to know what is going on in this girl`s mind. It`s almost like she wants to be the poster girl for what it`s like to be a victim that can overcome a very heinous crime. And yet none of it was true.

I think, in part, because she probably sees a lot of, you know, African-Americans getting shown in the news as being perpetrators of crimes, so in her psyche, that seemed to be a good way to create her whole story. It seemed believable. But I feel very offended by that, as well, how aggressive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I thought of?

LUDWIG: It almost sounds seductive. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It really hit me -- I thought about this the very day it happened. I said, "Well, that`s kind of self-congratulatory to say, `Hey, pretty girl`." Like it kind of -- go ahead.

TAFT: Jane, let me just tell you something. Did you hear the question in this conference? A reporter asked if she had consulted with a plastic surgeon just days before the attack?

Now, let me -- let me just float this out there, and I know this is speculative, but this is something that I`ve been thinking about for several days now. This is a beautiful woman. If you had to find one flaw in that woman, it would be her nose. Now, where are...


TAFT: ... is the most acid dripped?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. Vinnie, I`m going to toss that hot potato out to you.

POLITAN: Yes. Well, you know, I can`t get into her mind, but I can talk a little bit about the law here, Jane. And this is what I think should happen.

You charge her with as many things as you can. Then you have her evaluated and you have an independent psych evaluator find out if she was in fact insane at the time.

If the prosecution, defense can agree, then what you do, you find her not guilty by reason of insanity. You bring her into court every 60 days, and you see how she`s doing. Because she`s obviously sick, a sick young woman who would disfigure her own face to get attention. It`s absolutely troubling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But one bright spot is, I was very upset about this case. I said what`s it come to in America with people throwing acid on each other? And apparently, it`s people, at least in one case, throwing acid on themselves.

All right. Up next, we`ve got Casey Anthony. We`ve got Kyron Horman. A lot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, cryptic confessions from the sheriff investigating the disappearance of little Kyron Horman. He promises to reveal, quote, "surprising things" about this case one day. What could he be referring to?

I wonder if Kyron`s parents know what these details are. They appeared on "Oprah" Thursday, pleading for Kyron`s safe return. He has been missing for three months now.

Listen to what the sheriff said about some of the evidence they have uncovered in the search for Kyron.


STATON: We have a knowledge of things that we don`t want to know about. And that`s the only way I can answer that. We have knowledge of things that we wish we didn`t.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, the big question is, will any of these potentially toxic secrets lead to an arrest and finding Kyron?

I want to go back out to Victoria Taft. You`re there in the Portland area. Any idea what these toxic secrets are that the sheriff is referring to?

TAFT: It could be any number of things, but there is something that sticks out in my mind, and it`s something that I`ve been fearful of. You know, you play around the story for long enough, and you start hearing some stories about the family.


TAFT: And -- and of course -- well, let me just give you a hint. Terri Horman, the step-mom of Kyron, who`s apparently the No. 1 suspect without being called a suspect in this case, was sexting a man she just met at the time that he came to help them find Kyron. In other words, apparently, that`s perhaps normal for her.


TAFT: So I don`t know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Bruce McCain, former captain, take it from there. You -- I wrote a book called "Secrets Can be Murder," and I analyzed two dozen cases based on toxic secrets. And it was always either sex or family or money. But sex was always the No. 1 secret of all the crimes -- Bruce.

BRUCE MCCAIN, FORMER CAPTAIN, MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE (via phone): Well, yes, Jane. As a matter of fact, I was actually discussing this with Victoria today on her show. And I tend to agree, that one thing I don`t believe those comments were directed to was about what actually happened to Kyron himself.

People immediately think, gee, they got some grisly details about Kyron`s demise. That`s not the case. They don`t know what happened to Kyron. They still don`t treat it as a homicide. I think Victoria`s absolutely correct, that this is going to be some unsavory details about all of the adults, plural, that are around this whole sordid mess.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the details would have something to do with sex, is your speculation or hypothesis? Given that she was sexting somebody?

MCCAIN: That`s absolutely -- yes. I think that`s absolutely true. We know about the sexting texting. There`s other issues. Again, the multiple marriages. There`s going to be some unflattering details about all the adults here. I don`t think this is just limited to Terry Horman and her sexting texting. That`s not a surprise.

He said there`s going to be some surprises. We know about Terri. The surprise will probably be the people that we`re not really focusing on right now and some of their details.

But the good news, if you want to call it that, is that this is not sad details about Kyron himself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Robi Ludwig, very quickly, your thoughts.

LUDWIG: You know, I`m just -- I think there`s a lot that we don`t know. Something is not adding up, which means there`s a big piece of the story that none of us know about. You know, I wonder if there`s some swinger aspect THING going on there. But how that leads up to a child missing I really don`t know. Because I`ve worked with swingers, and, you know, it doesn`t always lead to a missing child case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But it could -- oh, there`s somebody out there. Maybe it`s a swinger.

All right. Julie Ann Gonzalez missing, up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A war explodes within the family of missing mother Julie Ann Gonzalez. Yesterday the attorney for her estranged husband who`s under suspicion in the case fought for his client`s reputation right here on ISSUES. Tonight I`ll get the other side as I talk to the missing woman`s devastated mother. Are police any closer to finding her missing daughter?

Plus, Casey Anthony dramarama: two investigators are in the hot seat as fireworks erupt. That as Casey`s defense team gets the go-ahead to dive into search records. So just what is the defense looking for? A primetime exclusive interview tonight.

Tonight -- shocking new testimony. Could cops have stopped the vicious sadistic torture and triple murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two young daughters in Connecticut? A devastated father breaks into sobs as the jury looks at photos of his dead children. The pictures are so heart-wrenching they leave the jurors in tears. They have to call off court early.

Prosecutors also released photos of Dr. Petit`s injuries. And I have to warn you, these are terribly graphic. Here is Dr. Petit`s head bloodied and battered. Look at that. He was beaten with the baseball bat.

The captors forced Jennifer to go to the bank and take out $15,000. She tells the teller, "My family is being held hostage." And then there`s a 911 call.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house. She says they are being very nice. They have their faces covered. She is petrified.

911 OPERATOR: Ok. Is she still in the bank?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight -- stunning testimony. Cops knew the Petits were with being held hostage but they waited for more than 30 minutes before they tried to enter the house. In that half hour, Jennifer, 17- year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela were murdered.

All right. I want to go straight out to Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor. Certainly it does not in any way exonerate or (INAUDIBLE) the hideous nature of these crimes, but it is disturbing that the cops waited more than 30 minutes when they had a description of the vehicle and knew the direction the vehicle was going in.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, absolutely. Like you said, it`s not going to change, probably what the outcome of this trial is going to be, but there is speculation, what could have been done?

Cops got to the scene and they believe they followed proper procedure. They didn`t see activity in the house and they pretty much set up a perimeter around the house. But the question is looming, could they have been saved if they charged into the house at that time? Again, this is a side issue that will be at the trial. It doesn`t take away from any of the overwhelming substantial evidence that they have in order to get these two guys.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Christian, you`re a producer with "In Session". You were in the courtroom. What`s the buzz about this whole delay issue and the fact that the teller at the bank gave a description and a direction the car was going in when she left the bank with the $15,000 and got into a car with her captor, but they didn`t follow that car?

MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, PRODUCER, "IN SESSION" (via telephone): Well, I think Stacey is right, Jane. I think this is going to be a side issue. We certainly heard about this in the trial, in a peripheral basis. And the defense likes to bring it up because it certainly, you know, makes the cops look bad. It makes the prosecution look bad by extension.

But it`s really not the core here. The police insist -- I mean, they said the word absolutely -- that they absolutely followed protocol and that they didn`t really know in this kind of a hostage situation who might be in the house, who might be in danger.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they call the house? Did they call the house, Michael?

CHRISTIAN: I`m not aware that they did.


CHRISTIAN: Or, they called and nobody answered. They may have called and nobody answered. Actually, I think that`s what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Well, I mean the whole idea that they didn`t call the fire department. Look at the flames that engulfed this house. They were fighting it with a garden hose, were they not?

I`m not condoning -- what happened was sick, horrific nauseating. It`s one of the worst crimes that we`ve covered in years, really. It`s one of the most sadistic, vicious crimes and it`s kept the death penalty issue alive in Connecticut.

But I`d just like to establish this because it is a cautionary tale. This is a small-town police department that doesn`t deal with heinous crime very often. It`s a very affluent, very safe area. So they`re going by the book but sometimes, maybe it`s a cautionary tale that, hey, when you hear about a hostage, just follow the car and intercept it. Don`t set up roadblocks a block around the house.

CHRISTIAN: Well, they knew that it was Mrs. Petit`s car, but they didn`t know -- the bank teller did not get a license plate as she called 911. So they didn`t have that at the very beginning. They just had the Petit name.

And I`ve got to say one thing about the fire, Jane. The fire when it exploded, it exploded so quickly. There was an accelerant used. And all of a sudden, boom, there`s a lot of smoke and flame. But it wasn`t like a smoldering fire where police had seen ahead of time that this was happening. This house did not go ablaze, no sign of smoke or anything, until the two defendants were literally running out the front door and Dr. Petit had already gone over to the neighbor`s house and called for help.

So it`s kind of all happening at the same time. It`s not like somebody saw smoke and didn`t do anything.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, go ahead.

HONOWITZ: The interesting thing is, Jane, if the defense continues to bring this up somehow, you know, it`s a real turnoff to jurors. Basically jurors are going to say, who cares? Look what we`re looking at. Look at this evidence. Look what happened.

So if the cops would have gotten there, maybe, maybe, it`s all speculation. And I think that if you continue to try to interject this in the trial, it`s really going to, you know, sort of backfire. And this could backfire anyway, but --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It doesn`t in any way exonerate these sickos -- these really, really sick, awful men. But it is interesting.

And I just want to show you before we go and switch to another story we have some horrific evidence that most of it was too graphic to show you.

But here is some of the evidence that was submitted in court today. We`ve got a pole in the basement that Dr. Petit was tied to. We`ll show you that in a second. And it`s covered in blood.

Well, we`ve got some evidence here that was really, really, really disturbing to the point where the jurors, over the last couple of days, have been crying. Dr. Petit has been crying.

The only one who is not crying, apparently, is the suspect, but he apparently had a seizure in jail last night and urinated on himself. Well, let`s hope that his humiliation is compounded by the truth coming out in this horrific, horrific case.

Thank you all.

All right. We`re switching gears.

Tonight -- a missing mom`s desperate family fires back at her estranged husband. They think George De La Cruz is hiding something about his wife`s disappearance.

Julie Ann Gonzalez`s mom joins me right now. What does she think about George`s so-called watertight alibi on the day her daughter went missing?

Julie and George were together the day she vanished six months ago. The couple, who has a young daughter, was going through a very bitter divorce. Police named George a person of interest and told us he`s no longer cooperating with the investigation.

George failed a lie detector test on Dr. Phil. After learning the results, he had this emotional exchange with his mother.



GEORGE DE LA CRUZ, JULIE ANN GONZALEZ`S ESTRANGED HUSBAND: You`re with me this whole time. When did I have a chance to go and do anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where is she?



DE LA CRUZ: I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me the truth, Georgy.

DE LA CRUZ: I don`t know, mommy. I don`t know. I wish I knew. I really wish.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are police any closer to finding the truth about Julie? What details are they sharing with her heartbroken family?

I`m grateful to have Julie`s mom, Sandra Soto, with me tonight along with her attorney, Ron dela Rosa.

First of all, Sandra, I don`t know if you watched ISSUES last night, but his attorney was on, basically saying, George has an airtight alibi. There`s no way he could have done this. What`s your reaction to his insistence that they`re pointing the finger at the wrong guy?

SANDRA SOTO, MOTHER OF JULIE ANN GONZALEZ: Well, my reaction is, how convenient that all of a sudden they fabricated a time line after the fact that the information was released from the search warrant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you think that he`s making up sort of an explanation of events after the fact?

SOTO: I`ll let Ron answer that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Ron?

RON DELA ROSA, ATTORNEY FOR SANDRA SOTO: Well -- that`s fine. If you would look at all the videos that he had beforehand where he said that he was the last person to see her, not once did he ever say, like you would think he would say, is that when she left Leyla that she also left me the credit card.

I mean, I think that would be a pretty important piece of information to tell the police when you tell your story that yes, there was something wrong with her, with Julie. She said that she would pick up the child after the weekend. By the way, she left me her debit card, which didn`t make very much sense. He never said that.

Now that a search warrant had been released --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in because, for our viewers, we asked them last night, how come you were seen using the missing woman`s debit card? And he said to us, through his attorney, oh, that`s because I wanted to buy some diapers. I didn`t have any money and she gave me her debit card. You`re saying you just are hearing about the story now?

DELA ROSA: Yes. That was released when the results of the search warrant were released. That information came out then. The information about the video that he was seen shopping at the Wal-mart using that credit card, why didn`t -- you`ve seen all the videos of him, all the interviews he did. Not once did he ever say that she gave me this credit card. Now that the information came out -- after the search warrant information came out, all of a sudden now they have an excuse for that. Oh, she left me that credit card to use. Not once did he ever say that before until just now.

And then, the part about, well, she picked it up about 4:00. When did that ever come out? He never said that before, that I call her, told her I was going to leave the credit card in the mailbox, come and get it, and she apparently came and got it around 4:00 or so that day. How come that never came out?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I get your point. You`re saying that these are -- I never heard any of this stuff either. We had him on the show right after she disappeared.

Here`s my big issue. Who was the last person to see Julie Ann Gonzalez? We`ve been hearing since the very beginning that George was the last person to see Julie.

But now last night his attorney said, huh-uh, that`s not the case.


PATRICK FAGERBERG, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE DE LA CRUZ: She was seen by the neighbor Jesse who`s known her for a long time at 2:30 that afternoon at his house and then later that evening late in the evening, the late- night clerk at the Walgreens where she left her car, he saw her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sandra, your reaction to that.

SOTO: My reaction to that is he doesn`t know that for sure. It`s still under -- being investigated. The person that showed up at the Walgreens, I saw the video footage, it was not my daughter.

We -- we are trying to find out who it was. They showed me the footage of the Walgreens, of the person that walked in at that time. And it was not my daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We want to have you back --

SOTO: So I don`t -- I don`t know where he`s getting that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are on a search for the truth.

Thank you, Sandra Soto. Our heart goes out to you.

Casey Anthony, up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, sparks fly as the Casey Anthony defense deposition dramarama escalates. Casey`s dream team has the two lead investigators smack in their cross hairs. Were cops hell-bent on Casey as their only possible suspect?

Here is Casey on the day she was indicted for murder of her daughter Caylee.


CASEY ANTHONY, CHARGED WITH MURDERING HER DAUGHTER: I have been. I mean, it`s just something honestly I have been preparing for from the beginning just because of words that were directly spoken from (INAUDIBLE) -- personnel. They were saying that this -- and what they were planning on doing from the very beginning, from the first day. So they wrote me off within the first couple of hours.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yesterday the defense grilled one of the two top cops, Sergeant John Allen, at issue is secret recordings between John Allen and Casey`s dad George, you see there. Did one of them say something that could blow this case wide open?

Casey`s defense is also planning to question searchers from Texas`s EquuSearch who looked for Caylee back in 2008.

Now, we`re just learning that at least 32 Texas EquuSearch volunteers searched for Caylee body within 50 yards of where she was finally found. The defense claims Caylee`s body was placed at that spot by the killer and it couldn`t have been Casey because they claim she was already behind bars.

Now, Texas EquuSearch said they didn`t find Caylee there only because the entire area was under water at the time, not because Caylee wasn`t there. What does Texas EquuSearch have to say about all of this?

Let`s go to the source, let`s go straight out to director of Texas EquuSearch Tim Miller and his attorney, Mark Nejame.

I`m so delighted that you`re both joining me for this primetime exclusive. Thank you gentlemen.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tim, you fought against your volunteers have to submit to defense questions and depositions. But you came to some kind of a compromise. Do you believe this agreement that the court fashioned is fair, or could it basically jeopardize your organization? If so, how?

MILLER: Well, yes I don`t believe it`s going to jeopardize our organization. I think that with Mark`s help certainly we came up with some type of an agreement.

We`ve got to protect our 4,000-plus searchers. We`re willing to give them all the information they need on the 32 searchers that were in that general area. And now when we reach out to the other searchers, if anybody is watching was on that search, we encourage them to e-mail us.

One quick question for all of them, were you anywhere on Suburban Drive? If it was yes, tell the truth if the area was wet; tell the truth, if the area was dry. We want to make this as quick and painless for us, for the searchers, for the defense. We want this behind us.

The defense has had way over a year with our records being there, open for them to see, and, you know what? It`s time now that they step up the plate, they get the information they need, then we can put this behind us. We`ve got other searches to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`ve got to say, Tim Miller, I was shocked reading that agreement that the court fashioned when it said 32 searchers looked for Caylee within 50 yards of where she was ultimately found. I know you say that the entire area was under water, and that`s why they didn`t find her there, but that`s a lot of searchers to search that one area.

MILLER: Well, Jane, you know what? That was a -- that was a fairly large area when you look at that whole area on Suburban. I mean, we`ve got one real good certified dog handler that searched that area and on her field activity form states that that area was way under water. That her dog did alert.

She felt as though that area need to be re-searched. And you know what? We want the defense to go over all this stuff. You know, the best decision I ever made on any search was -- was two times on Caylee`s search when I suspended the search and said -- you know what -- we can only jeopardize this search if that little baby is underneath the water, a horse steps on it, a four-wheeler drives over it, even a person steps on it, and we`ve got skeletal remains, there`s a chance that it will never be found.

I never ever regret that. I`m very proud of that decision, I`m proud of the 4,200 plus searchers. We`re going to protect them. We`re going to give the defense what they want. And -- and let`s put this behind us --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me -- let me ask you this. It seems to be getting pretty ugly between Texas EquuSearch and Casey Anthony`s defense team.

The attorney right next to you, a fine attorney, Mark Nejame had this to say about Jose Baez, quote, "I believe your partner", referring to Jose Baez, "is not only a liar but incompetent. I`m going to say this in light of what he said to me. He made up complete and total fabrications."

What is this all about? I understand it`s about some kind of e-mail that Cindy Anthony wrote to Jose Baez?

NEJAME: Well, we`ve -- we`ve been frustrated endlessly with some of the spin now that we`ve seen coming out of this. This is part of the reason we entered into the stipulation.

The reality as it is -- is we released these 32 names approximately a year ago. They were -- they were available in our office for pickup. They were never picked up by her defense team, who then consisted of Mr. Baez.

And we had at my office hand-deliver the 32 searchers. In fact, the truth be told, there`s more than 32 people because there were multiple searchers that were on each one of the documents.

So we knew, from -- from these very searchers that the area had been under water -- from Tim, from aerial photography and other things. And to have the spin that all of a sudden that we were not allowing them to review anything was complete, total, utter nonsense and we had enough of it.

So we have had these documents for a year. We do not want the defense being able to use it as a basis of appeal that they were not allowed to talk to any witnesses. And so we simply said, come get them. They didn`t get them, we hand delivered them, and so now we set up an area, a way so that they all -- anybody can be called, there`s going to be a monitor, a judge overseeing it. Texas EquuSearch is going to be present in the room. And nobody will be --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re still -- let`s await this trial.

And it is getting ugly. It`s getting personal.

On the other side of the break, we`re going to talk conspiracy theories with Tim Miller.



ANTHONY: I still have that feeling, that presence, I know that she`s alive. Whether you have a bucketload of evidence downstairs that contradicts that and says otherwise, or all you have is speculation or nothing at all.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m back with my very special guest, Tim Miller, director of Texas EquuSearch and his attorney Mark Nejame. They`re here in an ISSUES exclusive, talking about the search for Caylee Anthony and the bitter back and forth between Texas EquuSearch and Casey`s defense team.

And we have Mary in Ohio with a question for our exclusive guests. Mary what`s your question, ma`am?

MARY, OHIO (via telephone): my question is, way back when Casey`s brother testified, made that rambling speech at the baby`s funeral --


MARY: I did what you did -- I did what you asked me CMA. I did what you asked me. I think she asked him to move that body from where it was back to where they searched the first time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, thank you, good question. He hasn`t been charged with anything. That poor guy has been through hell -- that brother, Lee. Tim, what do you make of it?

MILLER: Just knowing what I know about the case, what I feel about the case. I feel as though Caylee`s body was there before Caylee was reported missing. Unfortunately, it was a cold case before it was a missing person`s case. And I think investigators have done a good job.

You know, I believe all this stuff is going to come out at the hearing. And we just want to give everybody the opportunity to get what they need from us for the hearing. And we want this behind us, and we want to move on to other things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, let`s talk conspiracy theories here. The defense claims Caylee`s remains where dropped in the swampy area after Casey was jailed. That`s what they`re claiming.

There`s a related conspiracy theory that points to Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found the body eventually, but also reported the body back in the summer. Now, bounty hunter, Leonard Padilla, who was the one who first bonded Casey out of jail, says, you know, there might be something to this conspiracy theory.

Listen to this.


LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: He knew where he could find the body. There was no guess work in his mind. Kronk was not just an innocent meter reader that was walking along the road, decided to relieve himself and stumbled on to the bag. He knew exactly where he was going.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Mark Nejame, what do you make of this claim that this -- cops call him a Good Samaritan, but he`s going to be at the center of some conspiracy theory where they`re going to claim that he knew where the body was. Who knows what they`re going to claim?

NEJAME: Well, it`s my opinion that Leonard Padilla has not been right about hardly one thing in this entire case. He had everybody looking in a river and has made one mistake after another in my opinion as it relates to his assessment of the case.

I`ve met with Mr. Kronk. I gave him $5,000 when he made the report, was then given to him by the sheriff`s department for the reward. I was not going to do that until I was fully satisfied that the man had come across this -- the child and her remains because he had a hunch and he played it out.

I`m completely convinced that Mr. Kronk was nothing but a Good Samaritan who went out there, followed his instincts and found this child. Thank God he did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have to leave it right there. Thank you so much, Tim and Mark. Come back soon. Love having you as guests.

A mom arrested for allegedly videotaping her two-year-old little girl smoking pot. Cops say it was all caught on tape.

Nancy Grace has that amazing story next.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.