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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Three Brothers Vanish

Aired November 29, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, explosive developments in the frantic search for three missing Michigan boys believed to be in grave ding danger. Their dad claimed he handed them over to a mystery woman before attempting suicide. But now cops say that`s a big fat lie. So what happened to his three adorable little sons? Could it have anything to do with his divorce from the boys` mother? And why is he allegedly asking God for forgiveness?

Then, a gut-wrenching setback in the hunt for a stunning teen who vanished two months ago. This man was the last person to see Paige Johnson. Cops thought the blood in his car might belong to Paige, but it turns out it was the blood of an unknown woman. Who? We`ll talk to Paige`s devastated sister tonight.

Plus, Casey Anthony`s back in court, and this time her high-powered team of expert witnesses are in the hot seat. Prosecutors want to know how much money famed forensic scientist Henry Lee and other experts are making to testify on Casey`s behalf. Are prosecutors looking for ammunition?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF LARRY WEEKS, MORENCI, MICHIGAN, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Any time you have children this old that are not with a caring loved one, I think you have to assume they`re in some kind of jeopardy. They`re not with their loved ones so I`m very concerned about their welfare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a desperate race against the clock to find three little boys who are feared to be in horrible danger or worse. The brothers spent Thanksgiving with their dad as part of a court-ordered visitation. And now tonight they are missing, three adorable boys.

Dad is a long-haul truck driver. Cops are focusing in like a laser on a particular stretch of road. Could the boys have been dumped in an act of revenge?

The mother of the three boys, Tanya Skelton, is divorcing the boys` dad. In fact, I`ve got the divorce papers right here in my hand. It`s a nasty, nasty divorce: restraining orders, the whole nine yards.

She reported them missing after she came to pick up her kids, and they were nowhere to be found. The father, John Skelton, told cops he gave his three sons to a female friend so he could commit suicide, which he conveniently failed to accomplish. Tonight, cops say that dad flat-out lied about this mystery woman, who may not even exist.

Cell phone pings from the dad`s cell phone have searchers racing to a campground in Ohio. But when they got there, they found absolutely nothing. And now the search is being called off so cops can regroup. What does it all mean?

The dad`s mother, the grandmother of these boys, made a desperate plea on "Good Morning America" for the boys` safe return. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROXANN SKELTON, GRANDMOTHER: Whether her name`s Joanne Taylor or Mary Poppins, it doesn`t matter to me. All I know is this child -- is that these children are with her. I know this. And if she can`t bring them home, if she feels for some reason she can`t do it, drop them off at a safety house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But is she making an appeal to somebody who doesn`t even exist?

Take a good look at these precious children, Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner Skelton. These angelic boys out there somewhere tonight. It`s unbelievable. I can`t even comprehend this, looking at these precious children.

They were last seen playing in the backyard of their father`s house Thanksgiving day. Then missing the next day. What the hell happened to these boys? And did their parents` nasty divorce have anything to do with it?

Give me a call, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Straight out to reporter Mara MacDonald from WDIV-TV. Mara, what is the very latest?

MARA MACDONALD, REPORTER, WDIV-TV: Jane, we`re in the command center of the research and rescue effort for these three boys. All the searchers have come back in from a day that, quite frankly, been fruitless. You can see on their faces. They`re tired; they`re grim, and what no one out here wants to say is what everybody is thinking, which is this is going to end horribly.

What we know: they have spent the majority of the day across the state line in Ohio searching a campground, as well, as an 18-mile stretch of road that leads up to the Ohio turnpike. Why? Because there was a cell-phone ping from father John Skelton`s phone. That`s why they are concentrating on that area.

And the biggest news of the day comes from the police chief here in Morenci, Michigan. He says that the story that that father, John Skelton, has been telling this entire time, that he handed his three boys over to a woman that he had had some sort of online relationship with, is nothing but a lie. This woman probably doesn`t even exist. So that is where things stand at this hour. Search resumes at 8 a.m.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, what does it tell you that they called off the search to regroup? And if, in fact, this guy is claiming that he had a relationship with this Joanne Taylor online, couldn`t one check at his computer determine whether or not he actually was in communication with a Joanne Taylor and whether she`s fiction or not?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Make no mistake about it, Jane. They know whether she`s real or not. They know whether he`s had any kind of online relationship with anyone named anything. Forget if her name is Joanne or if she, you know -- I don`t know.

The point is, he lied. OK? He lied about his own children, all of them. Which means he either feels really bad, because he did a terrible thing, or he`s trying to cover up what someone else did. Either way, that guy knows the truth. He`s not telling. And his three children are either dead or at risk. At risk.

And why -- you know, why did they call off the search? My hope is, I hope, and I bet this isn`t true, because I don`t think this guy has much of a conscience, my hope is that he finally said, "No, let me tell you the real deal." That`s why they called off the search. That`s why I hope they called off the search.

I`m sad to say that I think what he did was probably not to give them away, sell them even, which is a possibility -- maybe the guy was desperate for money -- but that, in fact, he did something horrible. The divorce was reportedly ugly. Parents sometimes do this when they`re vindictive. I`m sorry to say it`s not the first case I`ve heard of. I hope that`s not how this case ends, Jane. And my heart is broken for these kids already, no matter what.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I pray, I pray -- look at these angels. I pray they`re found alive. But cops say the boys` father made up a story about handing the boys to a woman named Joanne Taylor. And again, cops have blown that theory right out of the water. Listen to what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can confirm that there`s no established relationship between he and a person that he described to us as Joanne Taylor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean she doesn`t exist?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we`ve received a number of tips into the tip line from citizens that have done research on the Internet. You can find a number of Joanne Taylors out there, so to say that a Joanne Taylor doesn`t exist would be negligent. What I`m saying is a reported relationship between Mr. Skelton and Joanne Taylor does not exist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some of these cases have commonalities. We all remember Casey Anthony initially told investigators that her daughter, Caylee, was taken by a nanny named Zanny. Of course, cops believe Zanny does not exist. And by the way, we`re going to have an update on this case in just a moment.

Got go to Dr. Dale Archer. This man is now sequestered in a mental hospital. He said he tried to commit suicide, but, of course, conveniently, he only broke his ankle. What do you make of this story about, "I handed three precious children to a woman who may not exist"?

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, obviously, we look first at the divorce. And divorce is a common cause of depression, and when you get depressed in a scenario like that, you start thinking that life is not worth living.

And you also think, "You know what? My kids would be better off with me than with my ex. And the only way they`re going to be with me is if I kill them first and then I kill myself."

And I will tell you, Jane, that I have been involved in cases like this, and I fear for the worst. I really do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I`ve got to tell you this: there was a foreshadowing. The dad took the boys to Florida. The mom, Tanya Skelton, reportedly was concerned about her husband`s behavior, because two months ago, he allegedly took these boys to Florida where his parents live without telling her. The mother. OK?

Now, we are very pleased to have with us tonight Kathye Herrera, who is a spokeswoman for the mother`s family.

Kathye, what is this mother going through tonight? What does she think happened to her three sons?

KATHYE HERRERA, SPOKESWOMAN FOR MOTHER`S FAMILY (via phone): Well, all I can say is that she is hoping and praying that they`re safe and that they`re fed and taken care of in this ice cold weather and that someone who has them is loving them, because she misses her babies and she wants to be with them and love them.

And unfortunately, sometimes I think things are being focused on everything but the one thing that these three little boys need to come home, and -- and it`s a lot of sensationalism and a lot of things that don`t have anything to do with that one fact. That`s what the family wants to push.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kathye, I certainly hope you`re right. I hope that these children are safe and sound.

And I understand that the mother of these children, even though she was going through a divorce from the father, who was the last person to see them before they disappeared, who claims to have given them to a mystery woman who may not exist doesn`t believe that this dad has the capacity to hurt the children. Tell us about that.

HERRERA: I don`t believe I have heard that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that was in news reports. So you`re saying that perhaps she is concerned, given the fact that he took -- took off with them once before and took them to Florida without permission?

HERRERA: Taking the children, and he didn`t need permission because he was their father at the time, now that she has custody. And so it`s a whole different situation. And mother, their relationship and what happened, that`s -- I don`t think has to be discussed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let me bring in Mara MacDonald, reporter, WDIV. Tell me about pings, possible sightings of his car?

MACDONALD: Jane, what we`re hearing, at least from sources within the investigation, is that a ping came from his cell phone across the border. We`re in Michigan, into Ohio, maybe 15 miles away from where we are right now.

They are searching an 18-mile stretch of road. They searched a campground today, which is around where this ping from that cell phone came in.

What we have learned -- and there is one witness who has seen these children, Thanksgiving day in the afternoon, say, around between 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon. After that, there is no outside corroborating witness who says anything.

So police are taking a look at that time line, from Thursday to Friday evening. They have a ping from his cell phone between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Friday in that general area along Kunkle, Holiday, those areas of Ohio. That`s what they`re taking a look at. That`s where they`ve had volunteer firefighters as well as FBI agents out all day going through the ditches and wooded areas.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.?

MACDONALD: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is anyone out in the middle of nowhere between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.?

MACDONALD: Your guess is as good as mine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, everybody, stay right where you are. We`re taking your calls on this. I know. Christine in North Carolina, stay there. We`ll get to you in a moment on the other side of the break.

Also, beautiful Paige Johnson vanished two long months ago. Just when we think there might be a break in the case, it gets so much more complicated, after investigators find the blood of another mystery woman in the car of the man who last saw Paige.

Plus, more on this desperate, desperate hunt for three adorable, precious boys, missing in Michigan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEEKS: I can assure you I feel your pain. The fact is at this point I cannot tell the community there`s a specific location where they should be searching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEEKS: If you had seen the boys any time between Thursday, Thanksgiving day, around 5 p.m. on through Friday afternoon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three darling boys missing after a court-ordered visitation with their dad for Thanksgiving. The boys` parents going through a very bitter divorce. The dad says he gave the boys to a friend named Joanne so he could go commit suicide. But cops say they`re not even sure that Joanne exists and there was no relationship between Joanne and this father. Cops are now working on the theory that he may have dumped the boys somewhere. Let us pray that these precious children are OK, someway, somehow.

Christine, North Carolina, your question or thought.

CALLER: Good evening, Jane. I would like to say that that -- the fact that this was a court-ordered visitation is ridiculous. When you said at the beginning of the show, we have to stop the violence against children, judges have to look at restraining orders, obvious signs of violence and displays of violence by these fathers, and they should not get to see their children.

When are the children`s rights going to be the ones that are important? I find it ridiculous. How many cases across the country of fathers murdering their children to get back at the women leaving them do we have to have before it stops?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, first of all, he hasn`t even been described as a suspect. He is in a mental ward right now, and cops are talking to him.

But the caller is making a valid point. A couple of months ago he reportedly took these kids down to Florida, even though he had the legal right, because they weren`t divorced yet. It should set off warning bells to the court system.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the first thing I`d like to know is whether any of the domestic violence allegation involved any abuse in front of the children.

If, in fact, it did not, and he was otherwise deemed a very good role model to the kids, it`s impossible for anyone to foresee that the acts of domestic violence against the mom, which did not occur allegedly in front of the kids, somehow would lead to him doing something this horrible, this tragic to those children. And I don`t know that this could have been prevented based on those facts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s this dad who told the cops he handed over his kids to some woman so he would be free to commit suicide. And he ends up with merely a broken ankle, and now he`s locked up in a mental ward. This is fascinating. Let`s take a closer look at this dad, John Skelton. He`s going through this divorce. His wife has custody of the kids.

Did he feel, perhaps, that he would never see his kids again, so he made up the story about handing over the kids to a friend? And then let`s look at this message on what`s supposed to be his Facebook page. Quote, "I love my wife very much. My God and Tanya" -- that`s the wife`s name -- "forgive me."

So Casey Jordan, criminologist, why is he asking for forgiveness? That is the scariest.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: I think because -- it is. And it`s because he feels like he has done something wrong. And I don`t think that what he did wrong was give them to an imaginary woman.

The whole idea that he says he attempted suicide, we don`t even know if that`s accurate, he was decompensating on Thanksgiving day. It`s a tough day, a family day. He wasn`t living the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving life. And whatever happened to him that day, he got through Thursday, but something overnight, who knows? Maybe -- maybe the memories -- there could be drugs and alcohol involved. We don`t know.

But his mother, who insists he`s not a monster, should go to that psych ward and talk to him and tell him to tell the truth. It`s your best chance of getting the actual truth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Panel, hold tight. By the way, Casey Anthony back in court. But more on this in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEEKS: Any time you have children this old that are not with a caring loved one, I think you have to assume they`re in some kind of jeopardy. They`re not with their loved ones, so I`m very concerned about their welfare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, this is such a heart-wrenching case. The mother of these three missing boys, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton, she reported them missing. They were gone when she arrived at her estranged husband`s home to pick them up after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Today, in our research, we discovered that, back in 1998 Tanya Skelton, the mom, was charged with two sexual offenses: having sex with a minor and sexual contact with a minor. The boy was 14, and she served at least a year in jail.

Now, I`m very reluctant to bring this up, Wendy Murphy, because this woman is going through hell right now. But we`re doing it because, A, it came up in these legal papers, the divorce papers. And we just have to ask the question, does it have any legal relevance at this point?

MURPHY: Well, you know, who knows? I don`t -- I can`t connect the dots at this point.

But you know, look, she`s a registered sex offender, and she wrapped all that up before she birthed any of these children.

On the other hand, she was in her mid-30s at the time she was doing those nasty things to an adolescent child. You have to wonder whether there`s just something about this family`s relationships and who they hang with and what they`re doing.

I don`t blame her. There`s no reason to blame her. But, you know, what else was going on in the lives of those children that they`ve got a father who, you know -- to me what`s weird about this case is, if the father had a sex offense history, I`d have all kinds of theories about what he might have done with these boys. But he`s the one without any kind of history.

And then, if he takes these children and he`s dumping them on the side of the road, begging forgiveness, if he hated his wife because she was divorcing him, wouldn`t he write a note? Instead of saying, "Please forgive me," wouldn`t he write, "And that`s what you get, you be-otch for, you know, dumping me and taking my children away from me."

It doesn`t make sense to me, Jane. None of this fits any picture of any case I can connect it to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, maybe that`s good news. Maybe then these kids are OK somewhere. Maybe -- he took them to his parents once in Florida, so who knows? He`s a long-haul truck driver.

Linda, Missouri, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Yes, I`m here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Well, my thought is that Mark is absolutely wrong, because when you have parents who have problems -- I don`t care whether it`s mother against father, father against mother, and it happens all the time -- these kids are in danger.

And our court system is not paying any attention. They`re not listening. And they are not protecting any of the kids. My grandkids, we`ve been fighting for them for over ten years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I`ve got to go to my big issue. And that is, you know, this is a nasty divorce. Dr. Dale Archer, divorce always seems to be a danger zone, a time when these horrific kinds of things seem to happen. Why?

ARCHER: It`s definitely a danger zone, because it`s high stress. And you look at this family, and clearly this is a dysfunctional family. You have the mom, who was a sex offender. You have the dad, who has psychiatric issues. You put all that together, you throw in a high-stress divorce in there, and the guy clearly got depressed. And then the question is, what did he do at that point?

And I do want to respond also and say that, you know, I`m not saying that definitely -- that something bad has happened to these kids. You hope for the best, but you prepare for the worst.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. Nancy Grace will have much more on this heart-wrenching case at the top of the hour, right here on HLN.

Up next, new clues in the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful teen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a couple of things picked up that we just wanted to check on to make sure that maybe they weren`t connected to anything specifically. * (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a couple of things picked up that we just wanted to check on to make sure that maybe they weren`t connected to anything specifically. But anything connected directly to this case it would be hard for me to tell you until those get examined in a lab.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a breaking news: stunning new clues in the mysterious disappearance of beautiful 17-year-old Paige Johnson. The teenage mom who has a 2-year-old daughter has been missing for more than a month now.

Could a violent -- and I mean violent -- ex-con who Paige thought was a friend know what happened to this bubbly yet somewhat troubled teenager? Very pretty young girl. Do drops of what seemed to be dried blood found in his kitchen and car, 22-year-old Jacob Bumpus -- this guy right here -- was the last person seen with Paige. But detectives say he flat-out refuses to cooperate in the investigation. Why?

Phone records show these two talked all the time, but on the day Paige was reported missing, all contact came to a screeching halt. Cops searched this guy`s apartment. They found a pair of latex gloves in the sink right next to what looked like drops of blood.

Tonight, police have tested that red substance and found that basically it is not blood. But they did find human blood in one of the two cars Jacob drove.

And tonight, they are saying it doesn`t belong to Paige. The blood in the car belongs to a mystery woman. So who is that mystery woman? This is so confounding because we have almost two cases that have occurred from here.

Police have also searched a massive ten-acre state park. You can see how enormous the state park is. Jacob was in this park when he sent a text message at 4:18 in the morning the day Paige went missing.

Once again, there seems to be a theme in this show tonight. Why is this guy out in the middle of nowhere at 4:18 in the morning? Unless he`s camping.

For some reason, police are flat-out refusing to call this man a suspect. Or even a person of interest in the case. Why? Now, they did arrest him last month for possession of deadly weapon, drinking alcohol, and smoking pot, and lying to his parole officers about where he worked. So parole violations allegedly.

But the big question tonight, where is Paige Johnson? I have got to begin with Paige`s sister Brittany Haywood. Brittany thank you so much for being here tonight. I know you are going through hell right now. We want to do everything we can to help find your precious sister. And that`s why we`re going to ask you these questions.

BRITTANY HAYWOOD, PAIGE JOHNSON`S SISTER: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are your theories about what might have happened to your sister that night?

HAYWOOD: Honestly, I have no idea. I would like to know. I`m just baffled by the whole thing and really confused.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, police have searched two cars that belong to Jacob`s mother and brother that he borrowed and drove. They did find a small amount of blood in the front passenger`s seat of one of those cars, the car owned by Jacob`s brother, but it didn`t match Paige`s DNA. That blood belongs to an unidentified woman. Investigators basically have to find out now who is that unidentified woman. So they`ve almost got two cases on their hands.

Let me get back to you, Brittany. What was the relationship between your sister and this guy, Jacob Bumpus? Were they boyfriend and girlfriend? And what was the last time that you saw your sister?

HAYWOOD: No, they were not boyfriend and girlfriend. They were just friends. And I had seen my sister the day before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So they were friends. She also had another boyfriend? Or an actual boyfriend? As opposed to this guy?

HAYWOOD: Yes. Her boyfriend is Ronnie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So they were just friends, this guy Jacob is the last person known to have seen Paige. Here`s what scares me. Paige sent a text on the morning that she disappeared just after midnight, 12:12 on September 23rd. She posted a message to a friend, quote, "Girl I need to talk to you immediately." That`s the last time that she`s heard from.

Do you have any idea, Brittany, what her concerns were that she said to a friend, "Girl I`ve got to talk to you immediately," and that`s the last we hear of her?

HAYWOOD: Actually, she said that to me. And when I seen it the next day, I just took it as normal conversation between her and I. Just -- like it was just something she would say to me. I don`t know what she needed to talk to me about, but --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she might have been in big danger. Now, just a few hours later, about four hours later, at 4:18 a.m., this Jacob, who is the last person to have seen her allegedly sends a text message from East Fork State Park, ok in the middle of the night, 4:18, predawn.

Last question to you before we get more into this case; Brittany, do you have any idea, have you heard from law enforcement, who he texted, what he said and why on earth he was in the middle of a state park at 4:18 in the morning?

HAYWOOD: I have no idea.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Here`s my big issue. Danger deja vu. The last man seen with Paige Johnson, this guy, has a long record of violence. In 2007 he committed robbery two times. He attacked a friend and stole his money after threatening him with a knife. Three days before that he robbed a convenience store, smashing an elderly clerk`s ankle to pieces in the process.

But guess what? He was able to plead guilty to lesser theft charges and then sentenced to eight years in jail. But guess what. He was paroled early, after less than three years behind bars.

Casey Jordan, criminologist, how many times do we have to hear the same thing happening before we start changing how we deal with people who are capable of violence? Why doesn`t a sentence of eight years mean eight years? Why does it mean less than three years?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, because our prisons are absolutely overflowing, and the fact of the matter is, more money should probably be spent on assessing the very specific details of criminals and the specifics of their crimes in the past.

This guy looks in retrospect like a pressure cooker. Each one of his crimes escalated in violence as well as severity. And it`s absolutely conceivable that he could have actually ratcheted up to assaulting or harming Paige. And that`s why he`s the number one suspect right now, and I`ve --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re not even calling him a suspect.

JORDAN: Well, but that`s just technical.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: they`re not calling him a person of interest even.

JORDAN: That`s strategy to keep him close. They`re trying to earn his cooperation. The minute they call him a suspect, he has no reason to speak to them. If he just stays in jail on his parole violations, maybe, maybe, maybe he will start to talk.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well --

JORDAN: It`s worth a try. That`s why they don`t name him as a suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I have to jump in and, Jayne Weintraub, I don`t buy this nonsense prisons are overflowing. They`re overflowing a lot of time with people who have not committed violent crimes because it`s so easy to get somebody for a drug offense, for selling drugs.

And yet the very people that jails were intended, prisons were with intended for, violent people who break the ankles of elderly clerks instead of getting eight years, they`re released after just a couple of years. And guess what happens? What we`re talking about now.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But by the same token Jane -- first of all, prisons are incredibly overcrowded and there aren`t enough spaces and there aren`t enough people to maintain the jails properly. That`s number one.

But number two the bigger issue here is, you have somebody on parole that I think is being held, you don`t call him a suspect or person of interest because it`s a matter of semantics. But clearly he is a suspect.

Jane, there was paint -- it wasn`t blood. It was paint. That`s why he probably had latex gloves. And the reason that he`s being held as a suspect right now is because of his past, not because of any evidence.

That`s not what our Constitution says. Our constitution says that you have to have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and that this person committed it before we take away their liberty. Here this guy is thrown in jail just because he was on parole and for no other reason. He probably was trying to find her at 4:18 in the morning. That`s what I think.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you kidding me? Oh, my God.

WEINTRAUB: No, I think that he was really friends with her.

He called her friend. He says that the parents are looking for her. The police are now looking for her. I wouldn`t be surprised if he was trying to find her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go back to Brittany Haywood on this. Do you think perhaps he is a person who, while have a history of violence, was genuinely a good friend with hers, had no romantic relationship with her and had absolutely no reason to hurt her and was trying somehow at 4:00 in the morning in a state park to look for her?

HAYWOOD: No. There is no way he was looking for her at 4:00 in the morning. He has everything to do with this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why do you say that?

HAYWOOD: I just know it. Why would you run when being questioned? There`s no reason to run. There`s no reason to lie.

WEINTRAUB: Because he`s on parole.

HAYWOOD: The cell phone towers --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Brittany.

HAYWOOD: Well --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brittany, go ahead.

HAYWOOD: He lied about dropping her off in Covington. He never was even in Covington.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the last time she was seen he claims he dropped her off in Covington, and you`re saying -- where did you hear he wasn`t even in Covington?

HAYWOOD: From the pings from the cell phone tower.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The cops told you he wasn`t in Covington?

HAYWOOD: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. All right. By the way, his attorney is invited on any time to give his side of the story. Again, we`re not psychics. We don`t know what happened.

But let`s go to a psychic; psychic investigator, Shellee Hale who has been in contact with Paige`s family. What do you make of this case in terms of what you`ve been able to extract from the family about this young lady. She`s only 17 but she reportedly drank alcohol with this Jacob on several occasions. And -- and I have to say, not to embarrass the family, but just because we want to get to the heart of it. She also smoked marijuana.

Your thoughts?

SHELLEE HALE, PSYCHIC HELPING MISSING GIRL`S FAMILY: Well, you know, there`s a lot of finger pointing going on right now, and I just really want to support Brittany and try to bring awareness around anybody out there who might have seen something or heard something, maybe has been scared to come forward up to this point. We -- we really would like to have them come forward and talk to Covington police department and give a statement.

You know --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got you. We`re not going to let this case go.

Casey Anthony up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, Casey Anthony`s day in court.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

The "Survivor" producer accused of killing his wife while they vacationed at a -- in an exclusive Cancun resort, well he was back in an L.A. courtroom today. This time Bruce Beresford-Redman said he should be let out of jail to roam free while he fights extradition. Prosecutors said you, my friend, are a flight risk.

Thankfully the judge denied his request for bail. It has been nearly nine months since his wife Monica was murdered in Mexico. How much longer does her family have to wait until justice is served? I say this dude has been free long enough; send him back to Mexico pronto.

And that`s tonight`s "Top of the Block".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASEY ANTHONY, CAYLEE ANTHONY`S MOTHER: Two days ago.

CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: Ok. Is there anything there?

CASEY ANTHONY: Mom. I`m sorry, I love you guys, I miss you.

CINDY ANTHONY: All right, sweetheart. Here`s dad.

CASEY ANTHONY: No. I`m going to hang up. I just want to walk away right now because please don`t, I`m frustrated and I`m angry and I don`t want to be angry. This is the first time I`ve truly, truly been angry this entire time. But I`m so beyond frustrated with -- with all of this. But I can`t even swallow right now. It hurts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Casey Anthony makes yet another appearance in court as her murder trial looms. The defense and the prosecution battle it out over expert witnesses. The prosecution wants to know if the defense is wining and dining their experts. They want to know what they`re getting paid, where they`re eating, where they`re staying.

Why do they want to know all that? Is the prosecution concerned that sweet perks could sway the experts` testimony in favor of the defense?

But hold on. I mean, these experts are hired by the defense. What do they expect? They`re defense experts. The no-nonsense judge well, quickly put the fight to rest. He ruled the prosecution will only get the cold hard facts that these expert witnesses have dug up. If they want to know where these experts are being taken out to dinner, he says, hey, ask them yourselves when you depose them.

The judge also made a very shocking announcement. DNA testing on the shorts little Caylee was wearing the night she was murdered. Plus a laundry bag -- crucial laundry bag found in the woods near her body. DNA testing on those items will be complete in 45 days. What will those DNA tests prove?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, we begin with Mark Eiglarsh. First of all, I`m wondering, this poor child`s body was found in December 2008. Why are we still waiting 45 days for the DNA test results on clothing that was found with her to come in? And what could --

(CROSSTALK)

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I -- go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- what could happen? What -- what -- what`s the significance of the shorts?

EIGLARSH: The direct answer is I don`t know. What I do know, having handled similar cases like this, is that discovery is ongoing. One piece of evidence leads to another leads to another, and the prosecutor has an ongoing obligation to provide discovery and so does the defense. So sometimes it could be six months, a year, year and a half, two years when stuff is still being done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I -- I just don`t get it. But I want to understand the significance, the DNA testing on Caylee`s shorts and a laundry bag found near the crime scene, which by the way was extremely similar to laundry bags found at the Anthony home, is being done out of state.

Now, Casey, of course, insists that she is innocent. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASEY ANTHONY: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So Jayne Weintraub, if the tests show that DNA on either the laundry bag or the shorts doesn`t belong to either Casey or Caylee, could the defense then make an argument that somebody other than Casey was involved in this poor child`s murder and put the baby in the woods?

WEINTRAUB: Exactly. So you do understand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I do.

(CROSSTALK)

WEINTRAUB: That`s precisely --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I didn`t understand -- hello, Jayne Weintraub, what I didn`t understand is why it takes so long for the DNA tests to be done, considering that the child`s body was found in December of 2008 and we are now in two days approaching December 2010. That`s what I didn`t understand.

WEINTRAUB: Then I misunderstood you, Jane. The reason is because now the defense has also been granted the right by Judge Perry to have the DNA tests conducted by an out-of-state research lab. And that research lab is now going to take 45 days is my understanding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. What is the significance?

WEINTRAUB: The -- the significance is that if it`s not Casey`s and if it is someone else`s and that is, for example, where the child was found in that laundry bag, remember there was a search warrant that actually was part of this, to get that laundry bag, it would show that either, A, it`s not from Casey`s family, maybe it`s from somebody else that`s near that house, near the woods, maybe it will show who really did kill her or really did have possession of that child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leonard Padilla, bounty hunter, you want to weigh in on this in?

LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: Sure, it`s twofold, twofold. They`ve already mentioned the one issue and that is somebody else`s DNA. Number two, can they establish DNA that belongs to a third party that`s nowhere near that part of the country? In other words the body was moved after she was in custody -- that`s what they`ve been looking for.

They would love to have somebody`s DNA on there that was not anywhere near Orlando at that time. But that`s not going to happen. It`s going to be her and her family`s DNA on that bag.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I see you`re wearing a scarf tonight. No sun glasses but a scarf -- always fascinating.

Everybody, stay right where you are. More on this case in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: Can you tell me a little bit what`s going on?

CASEY ANTHONY: My daughter`s been missing for the last 31 days.

911 OPERATOR: And you know who has her?

CASEY ANTHONY: I know who has her. I tried to contact her. I actually received a phone call today now from a number that is no longer in service. I did get to speak to my daughter for a moment, about a minute.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My big issue tonight, money wars. The prosecution in the Casey Anthony case battled today to find out if the defense took their expert witnesses to fancy dinners. If they did, so what? I mean they`re chosen for the sole reason that they agree with a certain side. They investigate the evidence. Like for example, this duct tape found on Caylee`s body. They form their expert opinion.

If that`s what the defense wants to hear, then they bring them onboard.

Mark Eiglarsh, I`m wondering if prosecution which says it`s concerned also about the tax dollars is really trying to poison the defense pool which is made up of taxpayers by trying to insinuate the expert witnesses are being paid a whole you know what load of money.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s possible, but the prosecution is doing what prosecutors and even defense lawyers do, and that is exploring possible bias, motive, interests. They`re entitled to it. They`re entitled to those items that they can use possibly on cross- examination to show that they`re not giving an unbiased opinion, that they`ve been paid. That they`ve been given favors, that they have reasons to side with the defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I hear Leonard Padilla shaking his head. I`ve never understood the whole notion of expert witnesses who in some cases are being paid a whole lot of money.

PADILLA: Well, you just heard it from Mike. He`s an expert in that area because he`s done a lot of defense. He`s probably hired experts. No expert, I don`t know of any expert that`s going to toss his reputation down the drain over one case. He`s not going to do that.

But as far as experts, yes, they do get chummy with the defense. They get chummy with the prosecution. Now, you have an expert on one side, you have an expert on the other side. And then if that doesn`t get the job done, they`ll bring in backup expert to show expertise on the experts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to ask this question. Jayne Weintraub, the judge basically approved the prosecution`s request for the defense expert witness` notes, photos and videos generated during their work. And Jose Baez reportedly said that his expert witnesses have not created any written reports.

How on earth could a forensic scientist investigate this case at this point and not have any written notes?

WEINTRAUB: Well, he didn`t say he didn`t have written notes. What he said was he didn`t have a written report. And that also is a semantic issue that is in the rules.

The reason for that, Jane, in Florida it`s very unique. We have discovery rules that are unique. One of those rules is if there`s a defense expert or prosecution expert, if there`s a report it has to be turned over to the other side. If there is no report, this does not have to be turned over.

However, as you well know in Florida, you have this deposition procedure and they will be able to be asked all of it. What`s shocking is to turn over notes of the guy who`s looking at something and makes his own personal notes. That`s his work product. That was a shocking ruling by Judge Perry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: well, I know we have people who are experts in hair banding and experts in bugs and experts in all sorts of minutia. The idea that they don`t have reports at this stage, I know you find it all very reasonable. I think it`s a little cuckoo.

Thank you, expert panel.

We`re very happy the one and only Dr. Drew is joining the HLN primetime line up in 2011. You`re going to be able to see his new show right here in the spring. So happy he`s joining the team. And the new season of "Celebrity Rehab" with Joy Behar -- he`s going it be talking about that tonight.

END