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Ohio Family Tragedy: Bodies Found; Bug Expert Could Factor into Casey Anthony Trial

Aired November 18, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast-breaking news. The worst-case scenario we all dreaded. Three people all found dead including a 10-year-old boy, his mom, and a female family friend. Is there a connection between these murders and the suspect who cops say kidnapped the family`s sole survivor in this terrifying case?

And explosive claims from a key witness in the Casey Anthony case reveal a critical time line of when little Caylee`s body was dumped. Could this shoot down Casey`s defense that she was already behind bars when her daughter`s body was put in the woods? The answer will shock you.

Plus chilling developments in the case of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. The jawbone discovered on an Aruba beach is not only human but prosecutors now say it`s from a young woman. Natalee`s dental records rushed to the Netherlands to try to find a match. Could we finally learn the truth about Natalee?

Then, inside the volatile private life of Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva. You will believe what Oksana`s saying now. Did Mel really control, isolate, and abuse her?

ISSUES starts now.



SHERIFF DAVID BARBER, KNOX COUNTY, OHIO: We have discovered and recovered the remains of Kody Maynard, Stephanie Sprang, and Tina Herrman. The discovery of these bodies was as a result of information provided by Matthew Hoffman. The bodies were located in a wooded area inside of garbage bags in a hollow tree.



Fast-breaking news. Just a short time ago, the most dreaded announcement possible for the families, the innocent families, of two missing women and a young boy in Ohio. As you`ve just heard the sheriff say, the bodies of 42-year-old Tina Herrman, her 10-year-old son, Kody, and Tina`s friend, Stephanie Sprang, were with found in garbage bags stuffed inside a hollow tree about 20 miles away from their home. Cops implied they already have the man responsible for this horrific crime.


BARBER: There`s nothing to indicate through the investigation that there`s anyone except Matthew Hoffman. The discovery of these bodies was as a result of information provided by Matthew Hoffman.

One thing we know for sure is he`s had experience as a tree trimmer. The other thing we know for sure is where we recovered the bodies was a tree.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why aren`t they charging him with triple murder tonight?

Neighbors paint a portrait of 30-year-old Matthew Hoffman as a real weirdo, this guy right here. But were there signs that he was capable of such incomprehensible evil? And it is incomprehensible to me.

Let`s pause for one second and just talk about how incomprehensible it is to have to talk about three innocent people turning up dead, stuffed in garbage bags inside a hollowed-out tree. It`s sickness. It`s evil. We`ll investigate all of this coming up.

Meanwhile, there is, if you can call it that, one bright spot. Tina Herrman`s 13-year-old daughter Sarah survived. There she is right there. But not without living through her own hellish nightmare. Cops found Sarah on Sunday, five days after Hoffman allegedly kidnapped her, bound and gagged in the basement of the sicko`s home.

We are taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Tanisha Mallett, the reporter from WBNS-TV in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. You`ve been tracking this hideous story from the very start. Tanisha, you were at the major news conference today where this terrible announcement was made. Bring us the very latest.

TANISHA MALLETT, WBNS-TV REPORTER: Well, in addition to some of the things that you said, the other thing that we learned today, which was very heartbreaking for not just the crews but everybody in the community, was that the sheriff did confirm that the 13-year-old girl was in the home and present when the other three were murdered. He could not say whether or not she witnessed it, but she was aware that it had gone on.

And prior to making this discovery, the sheriff had given us an indication of what the three who were missing were wearing on Wednesday to see if anyone could jog their memory of the last time they had saw them. Sheriff ALSO confirmed that when they found the bodies they were all wearing the same outfits THAT they had on that Wednesday, which leads everyone to believe that they were killed that Wednesday, the first day they were missing, and that Sarah was taken to that home and held captive until she was rescued ON Sunday morning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, attorney, why did they not announce they were charging him with murder? I mean, why is it that sometimes people are charged with murder immediately and other times, as in this case, law enforcement is very cryptic and says, "We`re going to present a case to the grand jury, and we can`t comment on this or that. He`s only charged with kidnapping. I mean, they basically imply that he did it. They say that he gave them the information that led them to the tree and he`s a tree trimmer.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I throw back the question to you. Why are you so anxious to not let the process take its nice time? They`ve got him on kidnapping. Let`s wait. They don`t want to be accused of rushing to judgment. Prosecutors are getting their case together to present before a grand jury, which is their obligation. There`s no disadvantage whatsoever if they simply wait and let the process run its course. There`s no disadvantage, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I asked you, though, is why is it sometimes the case, as in this case, and other times they hold a news conference and they say, "We found the dead bodies. We are charging this person with murder. They -- they led us to the body"?

EIGLARSH: I don`t know. They know the answer. I don`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I have another question. Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator. This girl is found in the basement of this sicko`s home bound and gagged. She was there for five days.

Now, you heard the news conference. They said that they believe that this girl was also in the home, her family home, when this horror of three people being murdered, her mother, kid brother and family friend, occurred. But yet, for days, cops were with saying they were still hopeful that this family was alive. Presumably, that means that she did not tell them that they witnessed the murder.

I`m not understanding that. Was she kept in a separate part of the house perhaps and not able to hear what was going on in this home?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was littered with beer cans and filled with blood?

KARDIAN: Quite often we`ll see law enforcement will not reveal the information that they have, and that is specifically because the predator, the perpetrator, will have certain information that they want to be able to extract from him.

She is a material witness. She heard and/or saw something. She`s going to be a big part of this case, and she`s going to be a big part of convicting him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Tanisha Mallett, I`m not necessarily buying that in the sense that they went public, the cops, and said for a couple of days, "Hey, we still are hopeful that this family is alive" after they had rescued that girl. So I don`t think they would have said that if she had told them, "Hey..."



MALLETT: They said they were hopeful, but I noticed on Monday they began to start saying, "We`ve got to face the reality that we may have an outcome that we don`t expect." And I noticed as the days went on, they started to push that side of what could happen, a lot more than being hopeful. In fact, yesterday was the most dire that they had ever been since this whole ordeal began.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, one of the most chilling aspects to this case is the nightmare the 13-year-old Sarah suffered through. Listen to this from the sheriff.


BARBER: I asked Larry Maynard to convey to Sarah, to tell her that she was my hero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it safe to say this all happened in the Herrman home, the murders?

BARBER: I would say yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sarah was there when the murders occurred?

BARBER: She was home. What -- what she saw, I can`t speak to that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Well, that`s what we`ve been talking about.

By the way, Sarah, the girl you`re looking at there, is with her father and her stepmother, and they were the ones who were originally told. And you`ve got to wonder, how do you tell a 13-year-old girl who`s just endured a five-day-long kidnapping that, oh, their mother and brother have been discovered dead, stuffed in a garbage bag inside a tree, Dr. Reef Karim?

DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST: Wow, yes, that`s -- that`s horrific. I hope that immediately there`s professional help involved in doing that.

The -- it`s not just the -- the loss and the sudden loss. It`s the way that it happened. I mean, it`s -- it`s just such a tragic story.

For kids like this, you idealize your parents, and your family, and to suddenly lose them so tragically, it can be life-altering for indefinitely. And I really hope she gets that professional help.

In looking at a person that would do this kind of thing, you immediately think of sociopathy. You think there`s somebody that -- you can`t immediately tell this, but people that torture animals, people that have no value. They don`t value human life. As that goes on...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you what. I`m going to get to that absolutely in a second, because we want to talk about some of the warning signs that this guy exhibited.

Wendy, Connecticut, quick thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. How are you?


CALLER: Yes. I have several questions. OK. First off, is he -- does he have a criminal background?


CALLER: More importantly, is he a sexual predator?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very good questions. And guess what? On the other side of the break, we are going to answer those questions and more. We`re just getting started on this horror.

It almost leaves me speechless. I cannot believe that a little 10- year-old boy and his mother and a family friend are dead. For what? 1- 877-JVM-SAYS.

Also, a key witness in the Casey Anthony case says he knows when Caylee`s body was dumped in the woods. Is it good news for the defense or a disaster? Stay right here to find out.

Plus, more on this hideous, incomprehensible discovery of three dead in Ohio. The bodies of three people. You`re looking at them, this young boy, this woman, this woman. Why?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My friend dated him, and she just broke up with him like two weeks ago. He had choked her, and she had marks on her from where he had choked her.




BARBER: As the sheriff of this county for the past 18 years, I have never experienced a case this big, this serious, and this tragic. And in my entire law enforcement career, I have never experienced something like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is probably the saddest day in Knox County history that I can remember. You know, as elated as we were Sunday morning when Sarah was rescued, I think the tragedy today is just devastating.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the worst possible news for the Ohio families of Stephanie Sprang, Tina Herrman and her 13-year-old [SIC] son, Kody, their bodies found stuffed inside plastic bags, stuffed inside a hollowed-out tree.

Cops have their sights on one man and one man alone, 30-year-old Matthew Hoffman.

And tonight, the question is why. Why would someone, this guy right here -- this is the one they`re looking at; this is the one that cops say led them to that tree, and he is a tree trimmer.

He also has a history, a very troubling history, of violence. He did eight years in prison, because he committed a robbery, and then he set fire to an apartment complex to cover up the robbery and burned the place down. He had just gotten off supervised parole last month.

Another warning that we can`t let those parolees just roam loose, because now we`ve got three dead bodies in Ohio. When are we going to learn, if somebody is crazy enough to set an apartment complex on fire with gallons of gasoline, we`ve got to watch them for the rest of their lives? Preferably, they should remain behind bars.

Lisa, Ohio, your question or thought.

CALLER: Yes. My comment, actually, is I live in Ohio, and I`ve been listening to this all week. And your panel has suggested on multiple occasions that we need to be vigilant and call in to the authorities when we see things that are strange. And I truly believe that.

But oftentimes, I have found that the police don`t take it seriously, and what are we supposed to do in cases like this?

EIGLARSH: Well, Jane, it`s not the police.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you.

EIGLARSH: It`s not necessarily the police. There are these documents we have to pay attention to called the Constitution. You can`t just go up to someone, strip them of their liberty, because maybe they had some problems in the past.


EIGLARSH: Or because we think that their behavior is bizarre. That`s not enough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say this. It`s beyond bizarre. OK? I`m going to give you a litany right here. Hoffman`s mother describes him as a loner. Neighbors paint a portrait of a total weirdo.

Listen to these two clips. The first is from ABC`s "Good Morning, America." Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was killing the squirrels, because he doesn`t -- he doesn`t grocery shop. And he would actually kill the squirrels and eat them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a weirdo. I mean, he really was a weirdo. Like he sat in the trees. If you look back there in the tree, there`s a hammock where he would with sit and watch people. He`s just different.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So here`s my big issue. Is Matthew Hoffman on a trajectory of terror? Hear me out, Mark Eiglarsh.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve already heard about the burglary and the arson. Now, we also heard that he shot squirrels in his backyard and ate them. We also heard that he threatened to hit an 8-year-old neighbor. And we also heard that he choked a girlfriend, but apparently, that was never reported to law enforcement.

So now what do you have to say, Mark?

EIGLARSH: I have to say that what should law enforcement do? What should they -- what could they have arrested him for prior to this discovery?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Choking the girlfriend?

EIGLARSH: Now wait a second. You just said that the girlfriend didn`t report it. The girlfriend didn`t report it. So?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this woman is saying sometimes...

EIGLARSH: What should law enforcement do?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The woman saying sometimes when -- the woman who had called said sometimes when we report things to police, they don`t -- unless it`s something horrible like a murder, we don`t -- they don`t do much about it. And so our system has to become less reactive and more proactive.

EIGLARSH: So let`s -- let`s blame law enforcement...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And actually get to these people. I`m not blaming law enforcement. I`m saying it`s a cultural condition of being reactive as opposed to proactive. But I want to bring in Dr. Reef Karim.

You talked about the animal issue. And this guy shot squirrels in his backyard and ate them and also set a lot of fires. What does that tell you?

KARIM: If you look at -- if you look at the historical patterns amongst people that would do something like this, whether they`re serial killers or specific incidents, you look at developmental history.

And these people don`t just, like, all of a sudden snap into these kinds of people that would do this. There`s a progression over time. It usually starts out with like something called a conduct disorder when they`re growing up developmentally. People that set fire to random things, they kill animals, they torture animals. They develop this lack of value for human beings and for life itself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to...

KARIM: And -- and part of our human condition is to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to leave it there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I agree with you. We`ve got a serious problem here, and the coverage continues on "NANCY GRACE." She`s going to have the latest details on this fast-developing story coming up 8 Eastern.

Everybody, up next, a jawbone, Aruba.



CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY`S MOTHER: There`s something wrong. I found my daughter`s car today, and it smells like there`s been a dead body in the damn car!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, insects don`t lie. It bears repeating: insects don`t lie. That`s the damning conclusion of a top forensic witness, who could undermine Casey Anthony`s entire defense.

HLN affiliate WESH-TV got an exclusive preview of key evidence in the prosecution`s case against Casey. A famous forensic entomologist, which means bug expert, Dr. Neil Haskell (ph), says coffin flies were feeding on decomposition inside the trunk of Casey`s car, and he found a strong decompositional odor in the drunk.

Remember, Casey`s dad, George, said he smelled that unmistakable odor, as well. Listen.


GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY`S FATHER: I got within three feet of my daughter`s car, and the worst odor that you could possibly smell in this -- in this world, and I`ve smelled that odor before. It smelled like a decomposed body.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The bug expert says he used a formula to estimate when with Caylee`s body was dumped in the woods near her grandparents` home.

Casey`s mom, Cindy, called cops on July 15 -- you heard at the top -- to complain her daughter`s car smelled like her dead body, and her granddaughter was missing. So if there were with coffin flies in Casey`s car way back then, doesn`t it mean a dead body had been in that car? Now, will the defense call it junk science?

Jose Baez told ISSUES tonight, quote, "This is why you need a trial, because it`s the defense`s position that the entomologist actually helps prove Casey Anthony`s innocence. Trial by media simply does not work," end quote.

Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, who do you think will win the battle of bugs and why?

LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: The prosecution will, because the bugs don`t lie. I`ve had experience with these things since I was in the - - in North Africa during the Congo rebellion. And they used those bugs to measure how long somebody had been dead in the jungle.

They`re now using them here all over the world. And it puts that dead body there in the latter part of June or the first part of July. And those bugs ain`t going to lie, and the entomologist knows what he`s talking about. And Jose Baez also knows that he`s dead in the water on that issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I was going to ask you why you were in the Congo for rebellion, but I don`t think I`m going to go there.

PADILLA: I was in the U.N. at the time, and we were supporting the troops.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Months after the bug expert says Caylee was already in her final resting place, Casey insisted to police that she felt her daughter Caylee was still alive. Listen to this from October 2008.


CASEY ANTHONY, CHARGED WITH DAUGHTER`S MURDER: I still have that feeling, that presence. I know that she`s alive, whether you have a bucket-load of evidence downstairs that contradicts that and says otherwise or all you have is speculation. Or -- or nothing at all.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Caylee`s body was found in December of 2008 in a wooded area just a quarter mile from her grandparents` home. This is the very same area where a friend of Casey`s said she and Casey used to bury their dead pets when they were kids.

Leonard, will that contention come up at Casey`s trial?

PADILLA: Well, I think -- I think Kia Marie (ph) is going to be a very important witness, because she was a friend of Casey`s. They know each other from way back. And she knows about the burying of pets and things of that nature.

And I believe that the day that George opened up the trunk, she panicked, slammed it down, went down around the corner, and dumped the body. Because that was on the 24th of June.

After the 27th, the car was parked at the check-cashing situation, and there was no body in it when it went from there to the tow yard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Thank you.

A prosecutor says the jawbone discovered in Aruba belongs to a young woman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chilling developments in the case of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. The jawbone discovered on an Aruban beach is not only human but prosecutors now say it`s from a young woman. Natalee`s dental records rushed to the Netherlands to try to find a match. Could we finally learn the truth about Natalee?

Then, inside the volatile private life of Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva: you will not believe what Oksana is saying now. Did Mel really control, isolate and abuse her?


BETH TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY`S MOTHER: If it was an accident. Tell me. You know, I don`t know. I don`t know, but I`m here.

JORAN VAN DER SLOOT, ACCUSED OF MURDERING NATALEE HOLLOWAY: I hope you can understand also it`s very hard for me to talk to you. It`s really not easy. I`m really doing my best to -- I know you have a very good heart.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That stunning video you just saw was of Natalee Holloway`s mom confronting Joran Van Der Sloot exclusively obtained by HLN`s Nancy Grace.

Tonight, fast-breaking news out of Aruba: an Aruban prosecutor reportedly confirms the jawbone found on the island is human and that it belongs to a young woman; DNA testing currently being performed on that bone. That`s right, as we speak a bone found by tourists on a stretch of beach, the one you`re looking at right there.

We could know as early next week if it belongs to missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway. Five long years after Natalee mysteriously vanished will we finally have hard evidence about what happened to this beautiful young woman?

Van Der Sloot, the Dutchman, long suspected of killing Natalee is now locked up in a Peruvian prison accused of murdering another lovely young woman.

Tonight, Natalee`s mom confronts Joran Van Der Sloot behind bars. How courageous? And he admits he made terrible decisions. More of the stunning video which was obtained -- again exclusively -- exclusively by Nancy Grace; check this out.


TWITTIN: Yes, I want to know what happened and I want to move on, Joran. I want to move on. You know, I want to move on in my life. And I cannot close the book and I feel as if we`ve lost your father, we`ve lost another young girl.

Joran you don`t need to lose your life here in prison and be sitting here when you`re 60 years of age and insisting to me that you don`t know what happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, she is so kind and reasonable despite everything. It`s astounding.

We`re taking your calls on this, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel; we begin with Jean Casarez, who is live in Aruba tonight. She has just landed. Jean, what is the very latest?

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Well, you know, Jane, everybody on this island is aware of what is happening right now. And everyone is waiting to see what The Hague Forensic Institute is going to say in regard to this partial jawbone with a tooth. And it`s amazing how Aruba has just focused itself on this and they have not forgotten the Natalee Holloway case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you that. How are the people of Aruba reacting to this because obviously this case has affected this island more than any other case probably in the island`s history?

CASAREZ: Yes. They have a lot of emotions and they go all different ways, Jane. But for this issue, they don`t know what to think. They don`t know. They know that forensic investigators here in Aruba say that it is the jawbone of a Caucasian female, younger versus older.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. That makes them believe that it is and possibly could be that of Natalee Holloway. But they also know that Aruban officials are deferring to The Hague and what they say will be the definitive analysis.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When do you think we`ll find out one way or another?

CASAREZ: You know, we hear everything from tomorrow to early next week. I think everybody is taking it day by day, but everybody thinks it`s sooner rather than later that we`ll be able to know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator, it`s apparently a jawbone with one molar. It`s been there for five years either in the water or the beach but certainly exposed to the elements. Can dental experts make a match with one molar and can DNA be provided from a bone that has been in the elements for five-plus years?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Yes, it can, Jane. And the good thing is that if the molar is intact into the bone, although the sea water is corrosive, the sand is corrosive, inside the tooth, it`s protected by enamel, of course. Inside the tooth is what they refer to as pulp, that`s the live matter, that`s the nerve, that`s the blood. They will be able to extract DNA from the pulp that is contained in the tooth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you really think that pulp is going to exist after five years? In other words, can`t a tooth also be stripped down?

KARDIAN: As long as the enamel is still intact -- remember, the teeth -- teeth can endure a lot. They go through a lot in the mouth, a lot of chemical changes. So it`s stronger than bone, if you will. So, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, when with Beth Twitty confronted Joran in a Peruvian prison, he wouldn`t give her any answers, but he did promise to write her a letter.

Listen to this from HLN`s Nancy Grace.


VAN DER SLOOT: I know that for a fact and I don`t know if you would mind just giving me some -- I really have been thinking a lot -- just giving me some time to think and I promise you even if you give me your address I will write you.


VAN DER SLOOT: I really promise you I will. It`s just not something that`s easy or something like that. But I really do promise you I will write you. I owe you at least that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boy, Beth Holloway has a lot more self-control than I would have being next to that guy. I can`t imagine how she managed to remain as calm and really as well-behaved, almost compassionate, soft- spoken as she did. My hat`s off to her.

Jayne Weintraub, if it turns out that this jawbone is that of Natalee Holloway`s, given that this guy is already charged with another killing in Peru, what`s going to happen here? Does he face trial there and then get shipped to Aruba? What happens?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Peru is going to try him first for the murder. And I think they -- and basically they have it on videotape. They have her blood on his shirt within hours of her death in the casino.

But as far as Natalee Holloway is concerned, even if there`s an identification -- and I hope for Beth`s sake that there is. And I understand as a mother that she wants closure, it`s not proof of anything Jane. It`s only proof that she`s dead. It`s not proof that Joran Van Der Sloot had any connection to it. They didn`t even have enough evidence to hold him there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I disagree with that 100 percent. I mean --

WEINTRAUB: They let him go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s face it. Jean Casarez, we all remember -- we`ve all been covering this for a long time. He was the last person to see her. He left Carlos and Charlie`s with her. He told numerous stories, but he was the last person to see her. And so I think if they found this bone and it turns out to be Natalee`s, I personally believe that that is enough you to file charges, Jean.


CASAREZ: Numerous stories that you have said all have a common denominator, that Natalee Holloway`s body was put in water. But the very last interview he did was Dutch Television while he was in Castro-Castro, he said all of that was lies, that he just said it because he wanted to get money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But still, I mean, he was the last person to see her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He hooked up with her.

CASAREZ: That`s right. And prosecutors have said the reason they have not brought charges is they had nothing to corroborate forensically speaking his stories with. Well, if this would be her jawbone, now they do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue --

WEINTRAUB: Jane, we don`t know if he`s the last person to see her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t know anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean do we know the sun is going to come up tomorrow?




KARDIAN: He`s behind bars in Peru. He`s not going anywhere. And I think this is going to be found out to be her DNA, her bone. They have time to go back and retrace and re-dig and go into the pond and look for more evidence and hopefully build a case against him over time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true. I mean, if they find a jawbone, maybe now that they have an area to pinpoint they can find more of her remains.

Nancy in Virginia, thanks for your patience; your question or thought, ma`am.

NANCY, VIRGINIA (via telephone): Yes. Hi Jane. Thank you for taking my call.

I have a real tough time having the Netherlands test the DNA of Natalee`s tooth. You know, Aruba and the Netherlands have done nothing but protect Joran for the last five years. Can they be trusted to accurately and honestly tell us the truth?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my understanding is that the FBI sent the dental records to the Netherlands. And I honestly believe that the Netherlands and Aruba would like to solve this once with and for all so that everybody could move on.

I`ve got to get to my big issue very quickly here tonight. Joran told Natalee`s mother that he is an addict. And he said, Dr. Reef Karim that everything that he did was because he was addicted to gambling. He also has a history of drinking as well as doing drugs. Do you think, Dr. Reef Karim, that the addiction -- it certainly doesn`t excuse -- might explain his behavior?

DR. REEF KARIM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: If you`re talking about his behavior as in murdering someone, no, not at all. And in regards to addiction, we know that you can actively be using a substance or being engaged in a behavior like gambling addiction.

Then there`s the concept of the dry drunk or the concept of the person who`s not actively doing the behavior but still has all the signs of being an addict like manipulation and lying and cheating and deceit and doing all of that kind of stuff. Yes, you can have brain changes because you`re an addict, but all addicts don`t kill people.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course not.

KARIM: All addicts don`t run around and break the law nonstop.


KARIM: So no I don`t consider that an excuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- but sometimes people do horrible things that they wouldn`t do if they weren`t doing drugs and drinking a lot and gambling.

Straight ahead a very ugly case of he said, she said. Oksana Grigorieva tells all in her first public interview about her very vicious custody battle of Mel Gibson. Are these the poster children for abusive relationships?

I want you to sound off on this. Give me a call your analysis of their relationship, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Let`s have a group therapy session about Mel and Oksana. Are other women around --



OKSANA GRIGORIEVA, MEL GIBSON`S EX-GIRLFRIEND: I forgave him in a couple of weeks time after the first, you know, severe beating that, you know, he struck me twice with a fist. And then he was choking me and while I was holding Lucia and not protecting myself. And my son witnessed everything --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, riveting insight into the relationship between Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Oksana gave Larry King a tell-all interview. It aired last night. She claimed Gibson hit her, choked her and waved a gun at her.

Now, let`s -- for a minute let`s forget that these people are famous ok. Just for one minute. This is a woman who is shouting from the rooftops that her ex-boyfriend who just happens to be Mel Gibson abused her.

So why are people -- you know, some people are really skeptical. She`s having a hard time convincing some skeptics that this really happened? Why? Under normal circumstances, wouldn`t that be proof enough? RadarOnline posted this photo of Oksana with her front teeth chipped. Look at that.

Now she claims Mel Gibson did this to her last January during a fight in front of her 13-year-old son and their one-year-old daughter. And who could forget the phone calls Oksana recorded? She says the male voice is Mel Gibson, but that still has not been confirmed by HLN. ISSUES got this recording from RadarOnline. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You go out in public, and it`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) embarrassment to me. You look like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in heat. And if you get raped by a pack of (EXPLETIVE DELETED), it will be your fault. All right? Because you provoked it, you a provocatively dressed all the time with your fake (EXPLETIVE DELETED), you feel you have to show off.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Never confirmed or denied those recordings.

But tonight we`re going to go inside their relationship and ask the question, is Oksana a classic victim of domestic abuse? And is the very same thing happening to women all over this country?

I want to hear from you, call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, we begin with TMZ assignment manager Mike Walters. They have been all over the story. Mike, it sounds like the custody battle over their daughter is going back to court on Monday. What have you got? What`s the latest?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well Jane, Mel Gibson did not want Oksana to go on television at all or talk to anybody in the media about their custody battle. And guess what? Judge Gordon who is on this case with them at the courthouse also didn`t want it. And guess what? She did it anyways.

Mel Gibson and his attorneys are going to court on Monday to try to take custody of Lucia their daughter from him. Why? Because she did what they all told her not to do and talked on camera to Larry King and this is not ok with them. And I`ll tell you what, one of the things you were talking about, Mel Gibson has a very powerful PR team and very powerful legal team. That`s one of the reasons in the public realm they think Oksana is a bad person.

Well, guess what? Let`s hope that Judge Gordon doesn`t feel the same way. They`re going to try to take custody away from Oksana Monday morning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: For -- for doing a TV show? I`m sorry. I don`t think that`s fair. But let me ask you --



VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- another question, speaking of fairness. What happened to the criminal investigation into this alleged beating? I mean, wouldn`t the average Joe, if -- if the wife said, hey, he beat me and provided purported phone conversations, wouldn`t cops have done something by now?

WALTERS: Well Jane, here`s the most important thing. We just broke a story on a few days ago. Mel Gibson admitted to slapping her in the face. Now, I know he`s saying he didn`t punch her which she claims. But you know what, he said, I slapped her across the face. Guess what, Jane? That`s battery and that is criminal and he probably if it goes that way might be charged with a crime.

But they have this extortion thing with Oksana that they`re also looking at. They`re going take both cases and charge them both at the same time or not charge either one of them or vice versa. But he admitted to slapping her, Jane. I think it`s a very important thing in this case. It`s very important.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, or -- or it could be, forget about it, it`s Hollywood. Remember that line from "Chinatown". Forget about it Jake, it`s Chinatown. Well, this is Hollywood.

WALTERS: Yes. That could happen, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly.

Now, Oksana told Larry King that she taped her phone conversations allegedly with Mel because she feared for her life. Listen to this recording from RadarOnline.


GRIGORIEVA: This is a batterer who`s been controlling me for quite a while. I stopped seeing my friends. I financially became completely independent on him. He`s losing control. I left him. And this is the anger and outrage.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- hasn`t confirmed that the male voice on those recorded phone calls is really Mel Gibson. Brenda Clubine, you served 26 years in prison for killing your extremely abusive husband. What is your take when you hear Mel Gibson purportedly -- again, he hasn`t said it`s him, but he hasn`t denied it either -- but when you hear that tape, what`s your take on their relationship?

BRENDA CLUBINE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR: You know it makes me sick to my stomach. First I want to say that we need to support Oksana. We need to empower her as someone who was terrified. I know what it`s like. I know what it`s like to be afraid. I know what it`s like to get the nerve and the courage that it takes to contact the authorities.

When are we going to start holding abusers accountable and stop blaming the victim? That is our societal problem. And just because someone`s a celebrity somehow that -- it makes it ok and it`s just pushed under the carpet?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, do you buy it? Because some people are actually skeptical. They say, oh she`s being accused of being a gold digger. I mean, you`ve gone through it, do you -- do you buy what she`s saying?

CLUBINE: I absolutely buy what she`s saying because I know that just hearing that phone call made me sick to my stomach. Seeing the look on her face, she shows fear. She has it in her eyes. She`s a woman that needs our support, each one of us.

Yes, people are going to say she`s a gold digger. But those are people that live in that world and want to support that kind of behavior. And that needs to stop --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have to leave it there for a second but we have more on the other side of the break. We`re taking your calls.

Are they going to take her child away because she did a TV show?



GRIGORIEVA: This is a highly publicized case, domestic violence case. And if I`m silent about domestic violence, can you imagine how many other women and children that do suffer at the hand of a perpetrator and they have no chance to come here, being kindly invited by you and speak about this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mel Gibson`s ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, goes on "LARRY KING LIVE" to tell the world what her relationship with Mel Gibson was really like. She claims he hit her, choked her and waved a gun at her.

And here`s the photo from RadarOnline that she says proves the seriousness of her injuries. Look at those teeth. There are reports that her enamel -- not enamel, but you know what I`m talking about -- got knocked off. What do they call those -- help me somebody -- all right, veneers, veneers. Thank you in the studio.

Lyn, California, your question or thought.

LYN, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes. I just wanted to say I do not believe her story. It has changed every time she talks about it, you know, whether they`re stopping her on the street or she`s doing the "People" interview, it is -- her story has changed.

I was in an abusive relationship. And my boyfriend he choked me. It made my eyes red; my eyes were bloodshot for several days.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m sorry to jump in, Lyn but you just saw that picture from RadarOnline.

Jayne Weintraub, I don`t have the context of that photo. For all I know it was taken ten years ago. I can`t judge it. I don`t want to cast aspersions on it or praise it. It is what it is, Jayne Weintraub.

WEINTRAUB: Yes, it is what it is. We don`t know anything about it. The problem is that she was so busy recording him, she wasn`t dialing 911 for the police.

The problem, of course, that she has is, you know, you asked if she was going to lose custody of her child because she went on TV? No, that`s not why. She might lose custody of her child because she had utter disregard for the judge`s instruction not to go on TV.

And it doesn`t matter what the judge said. As a mother, you`re going to take a chance of speaking out a week before the hearing? I don`t get that, and I don`t get the lawyer who brought her on to be honest with you. If she was to be a --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I believe it`s a free country. If somebody wants to go on television to tell their story, I feel that we have a constitutional right to do so. And maybe she feels that she`s dealing with such intense power in Hollywood, Mel Gibson, who said he owned Malibu, that she needs to get her story out there. I`m not sure I necessarily buy that.

Now, despite Mel Gibson`s issues with alcohol in the past, Oksana told Larry King she never saw Mel drinking. Listen to this.


KING: You say you don`t see him drink. He says he`s a confirmed alcoholic.

GRIGORIEVA: Well, he was then but then he became AA and he had a sponsor and he went to a 12-step program. But I believe he never finished it. So that`s the problem. There`s anger issues, there`s alcoholic issues, there`s some other issues that he`s not aware of. And I think his disease is progressing, it`s getting worse.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue: is Mel Gibson what they call a dry drunk? Dr. Reef Karim will weigh-in.

KARIM: The concept with dry drunk is you`re not finished in your recovery; your recovery work is not done. It`s not even remotely done. You`re not entering a program with the motivation and the vigor that you need.

So what ends up happening, is all those resentments, your baggage, your emotional baggage, your anger, your anxiety, all that stuff is still floating around. And you may not be drinking, but you haven`t done the work that you need to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s still got the alcoholic mentality.