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Disabled 10-Year-Old Vanishes; Mass Overdose Mystery at Party

Aired October 11, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast breaking twists and turns in the mysterious disappearance of a 10-year-old deaf girl. Her parents claim Zahra Baker was fast asleep in her bed one minute; gone the next. Now, Zahra`s step-mom is being held on unrelated charges. Does she know what happened to the little girl?

Then out-of-control inebriation. College girls and their friends, at least a dozen in all, OD`ing at a house party. They keel over, and no one bothers to call 911. Cops find a man having sex with his semiconscious girlfriend. What the hell is going on here?

And the desperate hunt for two suspects in the death of Jet Skier David Hartley. Cops now say two brothers may have shot and killed David when he and his wife Tiffany Jet Skied into Mexican waters. For a week doubters questioned Tiffany`s story about a Mexican pirate attack. So with possible suspects now, does she deserve an apology?

Plus, shocking sentencing-day testimony. Eighteen-year-old tough girl Misty Croslin breaks down sobbing uncontrollably, as a hushed courtroom hears her traumatic childhood story, but the tragic truth still couldn`t save her from 25 years behind bars. You`ll see the dramatic courtroom video.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, mounting suspicion and desperation in a race against time. How could a disabled 10-year-old girl simply vanish into thin air? Police say a ransom note they found at the missing girl`s North Carolina home could be a phony.

Little Zahra Baker`s step-mom claims the girl was sound asleep in her bed around 2 a.m. Saturday morning when she last checked on her, but police say Elisa Baker`s story is, quote, "inconsistent." They do not think she is telling the truth. Tonight that step-mom is in jail on a slew of unrelated charges. Zahra`s dad was the one to report her missing Saturday afternoon. Here he is on ABC.


ADAM BAKER, ZAHRA`S FATHER: I came back from looking at a job and started some work in the yard and her mother came out and started screaming that Zahra was missing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police, struggling to put together a time line leading up to Zahra`s disappearance. Could she have been missing for a whole lot longer than three days?


CHIEF TOM ADKINS, HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Having a very difficult time establishing a true time line. Anyone that has seen this girl in the last week, the last month, anything that they feel is important for us to know, we need the public to call us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She was home schooled. That`s part of the problem. Parents can`t go and ask the teachers what happened. They are the teachers.

A battle with bone cancer cost little Zahra her hearing and one of her legs. Police say her prosthetic leg has not been found, but her hearing aids were left in her room. Could that be evidence of foul play?


ADKINS: Very unlikely that she ran away but there is still that possibility. But the hearing aids not being with her is a pretty good indication she did not run away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And in a bizarre twist, firefighters were called to the Bakers` home about nine hours before little Zahra was reported missing. Police say there was a brush fire in the family`s back yard. Could that have anything to do with this child`s disappearance?

Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst.

Mike, a fire and a child goes missing on the same day. Is that a coincidence, do you think?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, it could be, Jane. But what bothers me is that anybody in the house -- did anybody in the house wake up at 5:30 in the morning? And did anybody notice Zahra was not in her room at that time or was she in the room at the time? That`s why law enforcement is having such a tough time putting this time line together, and that`s why they`ve also been out to some of the local businesses to see if there`s any possible, possible surveillance video that may show her out with someone or out by herself.

But, you know, they also thought there might have been a stranger abduction, but apparently, they have some new information that says, "No, we don`t believe it`s a stranger abduction any more."

But so I think they know something. How much they know we don`t know, but I`ll tell you what: it sounded like Chief Adkins of the Hickory, North Carolina, Police Department, was very frustrated.

But the FBI has joined in this investigation, Jane. So, you know, we don`t have a suspect right now. In fact, her stepmother, Elisa Baker, she`s locked up. She was charged with communicating threats, writing worthless checks, larceny, and driving with a revoked driver`s license.

But the father also, Jane, I find that interesting, he apparently has some warrants on him, also, but they`ve decided not to arrest him yet. Most likely, hopefully, the -- maybe he can help them get to the bottom of how this little girl disappeared.

And it is interesting that her hearing aid was not taken with her -- is not with the little girl, but she did take her prosthetic leg.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s all very, very interesting.

BROOKS: Very strange.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this precious child, and her dad and the step-mom met on the Internet.

Elisa Baker arrested yesterday about 20 hours after her husband reported Zahra missing. She`s accused, as you heard from Mike Brooks, of writing several bad checks, accused of making threats, stealing from her job, failure to return rental property, failure to appear in court, and driving without a license.

Adam Baker, the dad, was asked on ABC whether he believes his wife was involved in his daughter`s disappearance.

Listen to him.


ADAM BAKER, FATHER OF ZAHRA: I wouldn`t like to think so, but from what I`ve heard so far, it could be possible. I didn`t talk to her very much when I called the police. I think just about every officer in Hickory came to the house. And I haven`t -- I haven`t really seen my wife since then. I just hope I can get my daughter back. I miss her so much.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Police say they found a ransom note at the home, but they are questioning the validity of that ransom note.

Pat Brown, what is your take as a criminal profiler?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Jane, this looks like a squirrelly set of parents. Looks like the worst cover up and staged crime scene I`ve ever seen.

The thing that bothers me the most is the girl was last seen at 2:30 in the morning. I think that`s a bit of truth. I think that is true. I think that`s when she was last seen.

But here is what I don`t understand. This wasn`t reported until 2:30 in the afternoon. That`s when they noticed she was missing. They didn`t pay any attention to her when the fire was there. They didn`t pay any attention to her when the firefighters were there. She apparently never showed up for breakfast. She never showed up for lunch. I mean, who doesn`t check on their 10-year-old daughter until 2 p.m. in the afternoon? The girl has been sleeping what, 12, 14, 15, 18 hours?


Now, a charity gave Zahra a new hearing aid back in May. HLN affiliate WCNC actually interviewed Zahra and her step-mom at the event. Check this out.


ELISA BAKER, STEP-MOM: She is determined. She wants to go to college. She can hear now. It`s been a blessing.

ZAHRA BAKER, MISSING GIRL: Without them -- I can actually hear more than without my hearing aids.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the precious child who is now missing. And police say they`re on a desperate search for her, that they`re running out of time.

Got to ask you, Karen Desoto, when I read some wire copy late this afternoon that said, some friends of the stepmother were skeptical of her, because she claimed to write songs for an "American Idol" finalist. They said they stopped believing her and called her a liar.

And then they said, the step-mom said she hurt her hand when she was trying to spank Zahra and instead hit her prosthetic leg. That`s when the alarm bells went off.

KAREN DESOTO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think alarm bells are going out in all sorts of things surrounding this step-mom.

Again, first of all, let`s talk about the fact that the -- her own husband thinks that she could be involved. Right there you don`t even have to go to the friends. If your husband is saying, "You know what? There`s a possibility that, you know, maybe there`s something not right there," well odds are, you know, the detectives are going to circle the wagon at that point, because obviously, she has no credibility.

And we haven`t even gotten to the larceny and the bad checks and everything else. I mean, it really -- it doesn`t look good as far as her character and her credibility.

Now, of course, you don`t want to say just because a lot of defense attorneys will say, "Hey, just because somebody does bad checks doesn`t mean that they`re going to murder their stepchild."

However, that`s not necessarily true, because even in a criminal case, evidence of larceny, and also fraud, does come in. So you know what? Character, credibility, that is a very big point that you do look to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Clearly, very fishy here, very fishy, but we have to say the police are not naming this woman as a suspect. She`s behind bars tonight on these unrelated charges.

Doug, Florida, your question or thoughts sir?

CALLER: Yes. This is, I guess, for all of you guys. The question is, it seems like this case is getting weirder and weirder, sadly. Why -- they say the guy has two warrants. I know in Florida if you have a warrant the cops have to take you in, no matter what. I`m not saying as in -- to do it...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a very good question. Mike Brooks, why is the dad running around doing TV interviews if there`s warrants for him?

BROOKS: Well, depends on what the warrants are for. If there`s no danger to the community. If he`s -- if they`re not for any violent crimes, they can decide, since he is a possible victim, because his little girl is missing, that maybe they want to keep him out. Maybe somebody to have -- there could be some investigative techniques they`re using that they don`t want to give up, give away right now.

So, you know, it`s their discretion. They don`t have to lock him up right now, but most likely they will after all of this is resolved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think they should be looking into this family.

BROOKS: Oh, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s been transient. She was home schooled. The stepmother allegedly, according to a number of people, had a bad temper. And also, possibly, money troubles, if you think that, well, writing bad checks, you know, she`s accused of writing bad checks.

BROOKS: Larceny, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fantastic panel.

We are taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. The hunt on for two brothers who may be the gunmen who shot Jet Skier David Hartley. His wife has been saying all along they were attacked by Mexican pirates. Who are these suspects, and will everyone believe this young woman now? We will talk to Tiffany live, next, about her reaction to the naming of two suspects in this case.

Plus, sheer chaos at a small-town house party. A dozen people OD`ing. You will not believe this story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It scares me. Honestly, it scares me to ever go out anywhere. I mean, like, if they drug you, you don`t know what`s going to happen.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything was going fine. The music was playing. People were having fun. And then all of a sudden all the girls were puking everywhere. Girls were outside, like, on their backs, and people were so drunk they didn`t know what to do.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, shocking new details about the mass overdose of 11 young women, all college freshmen, at an off-campus party. It was a real war on women. When somebody laced their punch with a mystery drug, making them violently ill and defenseless. Was the goal to make them easy targets for young men prowling for a good time, so to speak?

Cops say a freshman boy threw the party at a home belonging to his parents, 30 miles away from the Central Washington University campus. This rager really got raging when somebody sent out a mass text message saying, "Hey, come to the party." So a whole bunch of uninvited party came to the party, and then somebody spiked the punch with a potent drug.

Listen to this from the "CBS Early Show."


RYAN BLAKEMORE, ATTENDED PARTY: Girls were just laying on the floor and, like, grabbing us, trying to, like, help them up, like you need to get up, like, off the ground.

DAN MCMILLAN, ATTENDED PARTY: It was almost like they were zombies. They were just passed out. Like, they couldn`t really function.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t be grinning, guys, about this. This is serious stuff.

When cops arrived at the house, they found the students passed out everywhere, one guy even allegedly having sex with a barely conscious girl. Eleven out of the 12 people rushed to the hospital were females. Somebody wanted to get them drunk and take advantage of them. And it appears at least one guy did.

I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. We begin with CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands.

Ted, you just returned from Central Washington University where these students attended school. Paint a picture of the horrific scene inside this party house. I understand cops even had to bust down the door?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The police got wind of this, because there was a report of an unconscious girl in a Safeway grocery store parking lot. They went. They found this girl who was in big trouble. They immediately got her to a hospital, and they asked her friends what happened here. That traced them back to this house.

They went to the house, banged on the door. Nobody would answer the door, so they broke in. And the police chief that we talked to in Cle Elum leading this investigation said it is a good thing they did. They literally believe that, if this would have left -- been left for another hour or two, some of these girls could have been in real trouble.

The last of the girls was released from the hospital yesterday. The investigation now in full swing. They`re doing a couple things right now.

First, they`re re-interviewing everybody at the party. They took names and numbers. That was about it during the chaos at the party. And they have sent urine and blood samples off to the state crime lab from these victims to figure out exactly what it was they were given.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Victoria Taft, you`re in Portland, Oregon. You covered this story on your radio show. Nobody called 911.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There were something like 40 more people inside this party house, girls passing out left and right, getting sick. Nobody calls 911?

TAFT: Well, gee, Jane, I can`t imagine why. They wanted the girls to have drugs so they could have their way with them. I mean, this isn`t just -- this isn`t boys will be boys. This is rapists will be rapists. It was planned, premeditated.

It angers me as a mother and a friend to a mother whose daughter this happened to, not in this situation but in others -- in another situation. I can tell you, I am ready to go with a baseball bat and go at these kids. I`m just -- of course, I wouldn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand. I want to make a distinction, though, all the young men at the party are not necessarily the bad guys here.

TAFT: That is true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It could have been one individual or two who --we don`t know who they are, who spiked these drinks. And in fact, the cops said this was a normal party, that this was a normal party and everybody was just having a good time until people started dropping like flies.

Now, my question is, how are cops going to track the troublemaker who brought the drugs to the party? The students were so out of it. How are they going to remember anything? Listen to this.


CHRIS UNGER, CWU FRESHMAN: We were saying, "Don`t drink out of the red cups. Don`t drink out of the red cups." And I know, I had saw someone drink out of the red cup. I took one sip of it. I immediately threw up without a single drink. And that`s how powerful it was.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Borba, why do you think 11 out of the 12 victims were female, if it was just this nondescript red cup that was being passed around?

MICHELLE BORBA, AUTHOR, "THE BIG BOOK OF PARENTING SOLUTIONS" : Well, the first thing is, metabolism. If that boy also was able to drink it, you know, it instantly went through him, as well.

But here`s the key in life on this one, is that this is one of those Wakeup Calls 101. Every parent sit down with your daughter and have the talk. You talk sex. You talk drinking. Now you talk the date rape talk.

And how you do that is one rule and one rule only: do not drink out of an open container. Watch your drink, because this is multiplying on college campuses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Everybody stay right where you are. Major developments in the border lake shooting. After much speculation, cops name...



CHIEF SCOTT FERGUSON, CLE ELUM-ROSLYN POLICE DEPARTMENT: As they made entry they found numerous people, predominantly females, in various states of consciousness throughout the house, laying [SIC] on the ground, laying [SIC] on the floor.

Individuals actually fled the house upon the officers` arrival, and we found, even found three individuals that were several blocks down from the party that also needed to be transported.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An off-campus party gets totally -- and I mean totally -- out of control when somebody slips a mystery drug into the punch. The college freshmen, most of them young women, didn`t know what hit them. They keeled over left and right. The drug-left punch -- -laced punch left them completely defenseless, making them prime targets for anybody looking for a good time. Was that the plan all along?

Mara, Indiana, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane, thank you for taking my call.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you for calling.

CALLER: I just have one comment. I don`t think this is necessarily a war on women issue, but I think it`s a wonderful opportunity for us parents to educate our daughters that you don`t go to parties at strange people`s places. You don`t drink from strange people, just like we tell our kids not to take candy from strangers. We have to tell our big kids not to take things from strangers either, because unfortunately, the world is a dangerous place, whether we like it or not.


CALLER: And we need to teach our girls to be safe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something. Take a look at this. Just come on camera to me for a second. This is my issues eco-canister, which we developed for environmental reasons, but guess what? I walk around with it all the time. And I do not pick up anybody`s drink whatsoever anywhere.

And I`ll tell you, it`s a great way to do it, because then you know, I know what`s in this. And I`m going to keep my hand on it. And that`s what I think kids should do when they`re out there.

Ted Rowlands, how do we know that these young women were not sexually assaulted, as well?

ROWLANDS: Well, we don`t know that the one wasn`t sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. And that is something that is being investigated.

The other ones, however, I think according to the police chief, who I talked to for hours, really were so intoxicated they collapsed in different forms around this house. And when the cops got there, there wouldn`t have been an opportunity for them to be assaulted.

There was one case the cops said was actually the most disturbing. They went in, found in a room a gentleman having sex with a semiconscious woman. They detained that individual for a number of hours. It was determined that the two had a dating relationship before the party, but they are still investigating that. And if that young man didn`t have consent, you -- I mean, the fact that this woman was basically almost unconscious has them still investigating that obviously, and the D.A. has to make the final decision.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ted, I`ve got to say, you`ve just raised my big issue. What? Come on.

ROWLANDS: Well, that`s what...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Isn`t that rape? Yes. I mean hypothetically speaking, I don`t care whether you`re a girlfriend, whether you`re married, what have you. But when an individual is not capable of consent, and you proceed to have sex with them anyway, I`m talking hypothetically, Mike Brooks, isn`t that rape?

Brooks: Yes. But the question is...

ROWLANDS: Was he aware -- was he aware that she was in this condition? Was he in that same condition?

BROOKS: Right.

ROWLANDS: Other questions could come out of here. But, clearly, they are looking into it, and this is getting a lot of attention.

BROOKS: The big thing is, Jane, who was the person that first started telling everyone, "Don`t drink out of the red cup"? That is the person that needs to be identified, and that -- that could lead you back to who might be responsible for this.


A frantic hunt on for two suspects in the murder of a Jet Skier. Tiffany Hartley, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The desperate hunt for two suspects in the death of jet skier, David Hartley. Cops now say two brothers may have shot and killed David when he and his wife Tiffany jet skied into Mexican waters.

For a week doubters questioned Tiffany`s story about a Mexican pirate attack. So with possible suspects now, does she deserve an apology?

Plus, shocking sentencing day testimony: 18-year-old tough girl Misty Croslin breaks down sobbing uncontrollably as a hushed courtroom hears her traumatic childhood story. But the tragic truth still couldn`t save her from 25 years behind bars. You`ll see the dramatic courtroom video.

Tonight: bombshell developments in the deadly border shooting of an American jet skier; a man hunt now under way for two brothers in the death of David Hartley. Authorities say these suspects are members of a Mexican drug cartel wanted in a rash of violent crimes.

Tiffany Hartley says she and her husband were sprayed with gun fire September 30th as they jet skied on Falcon Lake. She says David was shot in the head.

What does Tiffany think about the man hunt for two suspects? She joins me live right now.

Tiffany -- forced to leave David`s body behind. Police have not been able to recover his body or even his jet ski. The couple was captured on this police dash cam video on their way to the lake that day. You`ll see it right there. There it is. This footage was captured just three hours before the shooting.


TROOPER JOHNNY HERNANDEZ, TEXAS DEPT. OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The trailer had expired registration so we pulled it over and made contact with David Hartley. He advised he was coming from McAllen, Texas on his way to Falcon Lake to enjoy the day over there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will David`s family ever be able to bring him home? I am thrilled to welcome back Tiffany Hartley. Tiffany, I know you must be exhausted given your relentless battle for justice in your husband`s case. I want to thank you so much for taking the time tonight.

What was your first, initial reaction to the news that Mexican police have named two suspects in your husband`s murder?

TIFFANY HARTLEY, WIFE OF DAVID HARTLEY: Well, they named the suspects but at the same time, you know, we were just like, ok. Well maybe this is the chance that they`re going to tell us where David is and David`s going to be able to come home. But then we were also kind of hearing that, no, we don`t have suspects.

You know, really, ultimately, we just want David. We just want them to tell us where he is or show us where he is or bring him over to the states so we can have him back. And then, you know, the Mexico authorities can deal with, you know, finding who did it. You know, there are three boats so out of the three how do they know which one actually shot at us or at David?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mexican authorities are saying, Tiffany, the two suspects are members of Mexico`s Zeta drug cartel.

Police say these brothers have aliases. They`re calling them El 27 and El 31. We don`t have the photos. Certainly it would be tough to get pictures of known cartel members. But, Tiffany has anybody shown you photos of these suspects and said, hey, are these the guys who shot at you?

HARTLEY: No. They haven`t. But then, I don`t know if I can really identify anybody just because I was more focused on the gun pointing at me than I was at their faces. I don`t know if I could identify them or not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue, Tiffany. Do you feel that you`re owed an apology at this point? I mean, from day one there were people who questioned your story and doubted whether you were telling the truth or may have had even some people speculated could you have had something to do with it?

Now that police are searching for suspects, do you think it`s time for all these skeptics to say, hey, I`m sorry.

HARTLEY: Well, especially the Mexico authorities, they know the cartel. They know what they do. They know them better than we do, YOU know. For them to question my story, you know, seems kind of silly I guess just because they know how they act and they know what they do and they don`t really care about anybody and if they shoot anybody. So it seems, you know, it`s hard to believe that they wouldn`t believe me in the beginning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And just to get, put this issue to bed once and for all, you`ve said, and I believed you from the very start, and I`ve said that very emphatically, but you`ve said, hey, you know, I`ll consider taking a polygraph if it puts all the doubters to rest. Do you stand by that as well tonight?

HARTLEY: Well, yes. I mean, Sheriff Sigi, he doesn`t believe I need to. I mean because my story and -- plus also the Mexican authorities, they know the cartel and what they do.

I mean, I said it`s an option and, you know, it still is an option possibly. I still don`t feel I have to do that but if that`s what it`s going to take then maybe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I understand. It`s sort of a point of pride for you like you`re the victim here. Why are you being, you know, grilled? Is that pretty much your philosophy?

HARTLEY: Well, I -- I guess I`ve always, you know, from the beginning of us getting in the media, I mean you`re going to have the people who are going to doubt you. But people, even in, you know, other than the border towns, they don`t understand what`s going on in our borders. They don`t understand and they don`t know unless they`re actually living down here so until they actually have an idea and a realization of what is happening here, you know, our story is part of that. I mean, the cartel had shot my husband and this border needs to be secured.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you afraid for your own safety at this point, given that the two suspects are alleged drug cartel members and you`ve been so vocal, Tiffany?

HARTLEY: No. I`m not afraid. I mean, I`ve -- I didn`t get shot that day. I mean, God`s protecting me and I do believe he is still protecting me and I don`t believe that I am in any danger.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Governor Rick Perry of Texas says that you`re very frustrated over the lack of any kind of a call from anybody in the federal government. Who -- are you frustrated, who would you like to see call you, and what do you want from the feds?

HARTLEY: I just want the communication to be open. You know, from anybody in the White House, just address the situation, address what`s going on down here. I mean, if they don`t call me that`s one thing but I just wish they would address what`s going on and address the border issues. You know, I just think they need to start focusing on what`s going on, on our border across the river versus across the ocean.

And I truly believe everything that`s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, I support all of it. But we also need to take an eye and turn it towards what`s going on across the river -- what`s going on there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Would you be willing, if they find these suspects, would you be willing Tiffany to go to Mexico and ID them and even testify against them?

HARTLEY: I don`t know if I would want to go to Mexico. I think that is a risk that would be taken that maybe isn`t needed. If they could send pictures and let me identify them that way versus me going to Mexico, I just don`t know if that`s a smart choice right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I totally understand that decision. Will Ripley, reporter KRGV, you`ve been covering this from the start. What do you know about them kind of back sliding and saying yes there are two suspects we`re looking for? Well, maybe not. What`s that?

WILL RIPLEY, REPORTER, KRGV: Well, there was a lot of confusion over the weekend because Mexican investigators released this information. You asked earlier if there were photos of the suspects. There are not any known photos of these two brothers. All that we have are these government documents which actually contain tax information and license information. That`s it.

So Mexican investigators released this to the media but they never bothered to call U.S. authorities so U.S. authorities had no way to confirm the information until today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. That`s absolutely fascinating. Now, we have a caller, Dan, in Ohio, your question or thoughts, sir?

DAN, OHIO (via telephone): Yes. I know it might be totally out of line, but has anybody asked the question, because of the drug cartel down there, if it might have been a drug deal gone bad?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, I don`t think anybody has raised that whatsoever.

I want to go back to Tiffany and ask you a question, Tiffany, about your day. We got this, after I spoke to you on Thursday, on Friday the video surfaced of you and your husband going down to the lake and there was video of you stopped. They were checking your license on the trailer, some minor little thing. They didn`t even give you a ticket.

Here is the video right here. And yet it did completely verify your story that you were down there with your husband that day. Some people were wondering whether your husband was even there and this obviously was proof and vindication for you.

And some people have wondered so I`m just asking you why you didn`t -- did you mention that initially? Because we didn`t hear about it and it would have really clarified so much. Any reason why you didn`t mention that initially?

HARTLEY: Actually, the day of the incident they had asked me at the sheriff`s office if I had stopped anywhere on our way, if we, you know, if we went in anywhere. And I did remember that we were pulled over. I couldn`t remember what town it was.

And then also of course the Subway with border patrol. I told them we stopped there. But I didn`t even think about border patrol being there but they verified that story that that, yes, we did go to Subway, and my husband was there with me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to say, I applaud you and admire you so much for just being so up front and doing so much to try to find justice for your husband. And I just want to say that my heart goes out to you and our condolences, our condolences and I hope you come back again and we`re going to stay on top of your story and do everything we can to get justice for you and your family.

HARTLEY: Thank you. He -- he would do the same thing for me, so I -- I`m going to fight for him just like he would do for me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m sure. Thank you so much, Tiffany.

HARTLEY: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re not letting this story go, people.

Moving on, Misty Croslin sobs uncontrollably in court. What made this tough teen finally crack? And is it a breakthrough for the case? 1-877- JVM-SAYS.


MISTY CROSLIN, RON CUMMINGS` FORMER WIFE: I will prove to the world that I didn`t have nothing to do with it.


M. CROSLIN: -- everybody can kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and I`m going to get on TV and I`m going to tell them all (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.

L. CROSLIN: That`s right. I don`t blame you at all. I mean, they -- they need, they`ll give you a nationwide apology.




M. CROSLIN: I will prove to the world that I didn`t have nothing to do with it.

L. CROSLIN: Exactly.

M. CROSLIN: -- everybody can kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and I`m going to get on TV and I`m going to tell them all (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.

L. CROSLIN: That`s right. I don`t blame you at all. I mean, they -- they need, they`ll give you a nationwide apology.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight gut-wrenching emotion and tearful testimony in a Florida courtroom as Misty Croslin gets sent to the slammer for at least 25 years.

Back in August Misty pleaded no contest to drug trafficking charges, but Friday no amount of pleading, begging and crying would save her from spending the next quarter century behind bars.

Misty said she was sorry for getting into prescription drug dealing and claimed that things spiraled out of control after 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings vanished. Misty, of course, was baby-sitting for Haleigh when the little girl went missing a year and a half ago. How much does Misty know about what really happened that night?

She has told a slew of stories but none has led cops to Haleigh. Will the prospect of an even longer prison term put pressure on Misty to crack before her next court hearing? Misty broke down when her mother took the stand. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the best, how would you rate yourself as a mother to those children?

L. CROSLIN: Not a good one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe a two or three? Do you know what PTA stands for?

L. CROSLIN: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever participate in anything at the schools?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. What do you think of this dramatic development? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Straight out to my fantastic panel; we begin with Art Harris, investigative reporter.

All right. We go from this tough girl to a girl who is sobbing uncontrollably in court looking at a quarter of a century behind bars. But that was sentenced on one count. Art, it wasn`t on all of the counts. Now they can really put the squeeze on her between now and her next hearing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lay it out for us. What are they going to do?

HARRIS: She -- she`s got eight days, Jane, to decide what if anything else she is going to say since I last was on your show and reported she has told law enforcement that Tommy took Haleigh out of the trailer. She has changed her story yet again and says she was sleeping and that she believes Tommy unlocked the trailer once earlier in the night and came back later to get Haleigh or let somebody else in. She is a little vague.

So now they`ve got eight days. She has eight days to come up with something. And that is what they`re leaning on. I can tell you that one of my sources at law enforcement in the car on the way to one of the hearings said, Misty, just take us to the body. She said I don`t know where the body is.

But they think she does. She knows more than she is telling, Jane, and -- and that is the strategy, to keep the pressure on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My, has this girl changed. I mean, she went from being a skinny, skinny girl who looked like she was 12 when she was 17 to now look at her at 18. It`s an unbelievable transformation. And I don`t think for the better, tragically.

Here is my big issue. Break down or breakthrough? Is Misty getting a sense finally of the gravity of her situation, that basically her whole life is being destroyed? Misty`s initial defiance seemed like a point of pride -- nobody is going to break me. Has she now surrendered to the truth of her predicament and will she break through and finally tell the truth?

Levi Page, what do you think?

LEVI PAGE, CRIME BLOGGER & INTERNET RADIO HOST: We can only hope that Misty Croslin will crack and tell exactly what happened to Haleigh Cummings because her story never added up from the very beginning of this case. She`s failed multiple polygraphs, she`s failed the layer voice analysis, hypnosis revealed that she was hiding something. She knows what happened but I got to tell you I think that she was -- one of the low -- lower on the totem poles in this case because I think what they`re trying to do, they`ve always said she is the key. They did not say she is the main one.

And who would she be covering for? Hum. Maybe it`s Ronald Cummings, the statutory rapist who likes underage girls so he can control them. And he got a plea deal and I think what they were going to do with that plea deal is get Misty nervous. What`s Ronald saying now, Misty? Maybe you better rat him out before it`s too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Levi, there is no evidence for that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes let me just say this. Let me just say this --

PAGE: Yes there is evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ron`s -- Ron`s attorney is always invited on the show to tell his side of the story.

On Friday here on ISSUES, Art Harris, you stated that Misty is now pointing the finger at her brother Tommy but Chelsea Croslin said that`s not true and you guys got into a heated debate. Let`s recap.


HARRIS: Two weeks ago I reported at Art that she did give up some information she had never revealed before. Whether it`s true or not --


HARRIS: -- she said her brother Tommy was the one who took Haleigh from the trailer.

CHELSEA CROSLIN, MISTY CROSLIN`S COUSIN: That`s a lie, Art. She never said that.

HARRIS: She said --

C. CROSLIN: Law enforcement told us all we did it, Art Harris. Law enforcement told us all we did it.

HARRIS: That`s right.

C. CROSLIN: They say everything and anything they can to get you to try and say whatever you want. They tried to tell me I did it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I -- I think, Art, that what you`re saying makes sense on one level. It`s far more logical for Misty to cover up for her brother Tommy as opposed to covering up for let`s say Cousin Joe, who she`s also implicated.

HARRIS: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Misty has repeatedly claimed Tommy was just acting as an assistant to Cousin Joe. But could she now be sort of inching toward the truth?

HARRIS: That`s right, Jane. And in fact that`s what law enforcement is entertaining that there are so many combinations possible here: Misty and Tommy; Misty and Ron; Misty, Tommy and Ron; Misty, Tommy, Chelsea and Timmy. I mean they don`t know who could have helped clean this mess up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side of the break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anything significant happen to you in the 7th grade that caused you to miss school?

M. CROSLIN: I was raped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you ever raped otherwise? How many other different people?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A shocking, heart-wrenching, emotional testimony from Misty Croslin when she took the stand this past Friday. Misty was trying to get the judge to go easy on her, but it didn`t work. She got socked with a harsh 25 year sentence and there she is crying -- crying.

And there`s more to come, more sentencing. In just about a week -- look at her. We`re very honored to have Chelsea Croslin, Misty Croslin`s sister-in-law joining us tonight as we see now the video of this girl, 18 years old, seeing her life really destroyed. What is going on in your heart, as somebody who cares for her?

C. CROSLIN: It`s just -- it`s so hard for us, because for one, she`s just been sentenced to the 25, she has many more charges to come. We know she`s going to get a lot more time than that.

Misty as being a first time offender, never having any interaction with police, we know this is a squeeze on her for Haleigh but it`s way too harsh for what she has done.

Nobody -- there`s somebody in Putnam County that was caught with 200 pills and they got sentenced to five years just recently. I was researching people in Putnam County and I found that out. That`s ridiculous for Misty to get so long in jail. It`s so hard because we`re just losing her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re right, Chelsea, I think they`re trying to put the squeeze on her. She has something like eight days to say something before her next hearing. What would you tell Misty right now, you have eight days Misty, what would you tell her to do?

C. CROSLIN: If I can get into a room with Misty where me and Misty could sit down and I could talk, I believe that I could get whatever it was out of her. I believe that she would tell me what she was hiding, because she does only have eight days and she knows she`s about to lose her whole life.

I believe I could use my daughter as lenience (ph) toward her, because of Misty`s bond with her. And I don`t know -- I can try just as much as anybody else has. But if I could get in with her, and I could talk with her, and try to tell her to tell the truth, face to face. I might make a difference. On the phone, she told me, I want to tell you but I can`t -- she knows she`s recorded.

So that`s -- I think I could get it out of her, I just -- I can`t get to her. Unfortunately I`m unstable financially with my family enough as it is, I can`t go back to Florida right now over the next eight days.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Art Harris says that she`s now implicating her brother Tommy. You disagree with that, why do you disagree with that?

C. CROSLIN: Because Art Harris is full of crap. Misty`s never once said that Tommy`s the one who did anything to Haleigh. If anything, Misty has said her brother was there that night; her brother did take Haleigh out of the house with Joe. But never said she took her out of the house herself. Misty on her phone call the other night with me told me the whole Joe and Tommy story was a lie when I was yelling at her. She said they keep making me say it. I don`t know who they are. I don`t know if it`s another twist and turn for her story.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we must state that Joe is not being called a suspect.

HARRIS: Jane I can tell you that she`s let Joe off the hook but she says --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time. We`re going to stay on top of this one, you know that.

HARRIS: -- she says Tommy knows everything.