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Designer Killed in Exclusive Hotel Room; News Anchor Beaten to Death

Aired December 31, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, stunning twists and turns in a celebrity killing in one of Manhattan`s most exclusive private clubs.

Famed fashion designer, Sylvie Cachay found dead in the bathtub of her chic hotel room in Soho. Prosecutors say her boyfriend couldn`t accept their breakup. Nicholas Brooks is now charged with attempted murder. But, the surveillance video tell a different story?

Beautiful TV anchorwoman viciously raped and beaten to death sleeping in her own bed. The horrific murder of Ann Pressly sent shock waves across the country and put the spotlight on the war on women. Nearly every bone in her face completely shattered by the savage killer. Does his sentence fit the unimaginable crime?

Then the swimsuit model`s body found stuffed inside a suitcase, her reality TV star ex-husband commits suicide after police named him the prime suspect. Was his violent past with women a warning sign ignored?

And the agonizing year long search for Richardson ends in terrible tragedy. She was arrest for not paying a small tab at a chic Malibu restaurant. Witnesses said she was acting strange so why did cops release her in the middle of the night without a cell phone, money or a car? Could her death have been prevented? Was she murdered? ISSUES starts now!

SYLVIA CACHAY, VICTIM`S MOTHER: I just want justice done, but nothing will bring back my baby girl.


MITCHELL: The dead woman`s mother speaking out. Tonight the war on women invades a chic, exclusive, New York Hotel. The bruised body of a beautiful young fashion designer found dead, floating in an overflowing bathtub.

Police Sylvie Cachay was strangled, bitten and had injuries to her scalp. Her lip was cut. Her mouth damaged. Her boyfriend charged with attempted murder. Wait a second, she is dead. Why is he charged with attempted murder?

Just one of the mysteries we will devil into right now. Suspect Nicholas Brooks, the son of Oscar Winning composer, Joseph Brooks, famous for that song "You Light Up My Life" but the Oscar winner has been accused of serial rape.

Why are the father/son both in trouble with the law in two separate cases? Police say the night before she died, she and 24-year-old Nicholas Brooks checked into the exclusive Soho house together.

His attorney says when his client left, this guy right here, to go boozing that night, the victim was perfectly fine. Listen to this.


JEFFREY HOFFMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My client did not kill the victim. I don`t know whether anyone killed the victim or how the death occurred.


MITCHELL: Good question. "The New York Post" reports, Sylvie was so drugged up on Xanax when she arrived a concierge had to walk her to her room. That could be a factor.

Sylvie`s family and friends say she was in the process of breaking up with that dude and he could not accept the breakup. The victim`s mom believes Nicholas killed her designer daughter.


CACHAY: Sylvie always wanted to help people always. She felt she could change him. I think so, yes.


MITCHELL: Was she strangled or did she drowned in the tub or might she have even overdosed? The autopsy inconclusive. What is your take? Call me, 1-877-jvm-says, straight out to Michael Musto, "Night Life" columnist for the "Village Voice." Michael, tell us about this exclusive Soho house and what are the latest in this case?

MICHAEL MUSTO, COLUMNIST, VILLAGE VOICE: Well, Soho house is based on a British original version of this place. It`s a private membership club/hotel and it`s very chi-chi, Jane. I always feel like I am from the wrong side of the tracks to hang out there, but I do anyway.

I go to special events because they have screening rooms, they have a dining room, and they have a spa, and it`s very tony and very sedate and British in feeling. This really has ruffled feathers obviously there. This is the most shocking thing that ever happened in a place like this.

MITCHELL: Isn`t there a famous -- isn`t there a famous like swimming pool at the top of this hotel where everybody gathers? And all the beautiful people gather at the top of this swimming pool on the top of the Soho house?

MUSTO: That is possible. I know they have that at the standard hotel. In this case, sadly enough it was a bathtub where the up and coming designer found her end and Nicholas has been charged as you say with attempted murder, and strangulation, but they say that the cause of death is not known yet because the toxicology results have to come in.

That`s pretty bizarre. I would say the bruises all over the woman have a lot to do with the cause of her death wouldn`t you? All signs are definitely pointing to Nick unless you count the ice delivery man who I think was the only other person the surveillance camera caught going into her room in that time period.

MITCHELL: Well, the "New York Post" reports the couple left the victim`s apartment after Nicholas lit a candle catching Sylvie`s hair and her bed on fire. That`s that right there. So they leave the house because of the smell and they check into the exclusive Soho House currently, after midnight, around 12:30 Thursday morning.

A couple of hours later, hotel guests start complaining, hey, water is leaking from the couple`s fifth floor suite. Now, the suspect, Nick, leaves the hotel to go drinking at about 2:15 in the morning. At 2:49 a.m., hotel employees responding to the water gushing find Sylvie`s body in this overflowing tub.

Get this, at 3:30 in the morning, the young suspect returns to the hotel room, and that`s where cops took him in. Now, what his attorney is saying, if you kill somebody you don`t come back to the scene of the crime. So his attorney is saying that`s proof of his innocence that he sauntered back into the hotel room after she was found dead.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that sure is a factor that I would consider, isn`t it one that you would think about? Why would he come back? Obviously to him he didn`t know she was dead and it does seem a rather bizarre, seems very conclusive to me the cause of death is not strangulation. Because if it was strangulation there would be a condition in the eye, a very particular thing that anybody can see in the eye that knows anything about a homicide.

So number one, it is not from strangulation. It`s certainly not from the neck compression that they want you to think it is. It is not. Number two there were bite marks. Well that might have been from her own biting of her hand. It could have been from anything.

MITCHELL: Please. Come on.

WEINTRAUB: Could be during a sexual act. We don`t know.

MITCHELL: Her neck was bruised.

WEINTRAUB: She had Zanex in her. Jane, we don`t know. There`s a bottle of empty pills.

MITCHELL: Wait. Bite marks, OK. Bruising on the neck, injuries consistent with neck compression, bloodshot eyes, internal hemorrhaging, a cut lip, scalp injuries. I mean, come on. Dr. Dale Archer, does that sound like, I don`t know what that sounds like, but it certainly doesn`t sound accidental to me.

DR. DALE ARCHER: No, it doesn`t sound accidental. Remember this is a smart guy we are dealing with here. So he may have been smart enough to say the best thing I can do to take suspicion off of me is to go back to the hotel. I don`t think that just because he went back that proves that this guy is innocent.

MITCHELL: Brooks` college buddies say he was a druggy, binge drinker, throwing money around to win friends. Classmates claim he was a slacker trust fund kid with a seemingly never ending supply of coke and booze.

The assistant D.A. says Nicholas, this guy here, has a violent history and rocky relationship with his own family. Prosecutors say he had a fight with an unknown woman last Christmas. Nicholas allegedly pushed her to the ground and told her, quote, "you will be dead within 48 hours," end quote.

Prosecutors say police were called to the scene, but no arrests were made. Why the heck not. Prosecutors say he is currently unemployed. Addiction expert, Howard Samuels, founder of the Hills Treatment Center, what do you make of this suspect?

HOWARD SAMUELS, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Well, obviously, you know this suspect has a history of drug and alcohol dependence and/or abuse so for somebody like this to be involved in a crime like this, it`s not unusual.

Whenever you have horrific crimes like this, somebody is always usually involved with drugs like the victim being high on Zanex and coming in and being in a bathtub. I mean, it`s just, goes hand in hand with, with drug abuse. It`s just very sad.

MITCHELL: So you are saying that it could be a drug overdose. I mean, that`s the whole issue here. Is it possible that he roughed her up and despite having roughed her up and maybe strangling her she was alive when he left and then because she had Zanex she ended up in the pool, in the tub, and then, ODs or drowns in the tub? I mean, at that point --


MITCHELL: Could he --

SAMUELS: Very possible, Jane. Zanex is a very dangerous drug. When you abuse it, you pass out. I mean, you are like drunk in itself especially if you are drinking alcohol with Zanex, a very dangerous combination. So this woman definitely could have drowned because she ODed with Zanex.

MITCHELL: So that`s why his charged with attempted murder. Tonight, Jimmy, Rhode Island, your question or thought, sir.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. How are you doing tonight?

MITCHELL: I`m doing good. How are you doing?

CALLER: I`m doing good. I have a comment or question.


CALLER: The comment, the Zanex medication she took, because they said, she couldn`t remember where her room was or anything like that, and - - would that cause her to be -- like hallucinate a little bit, if she can`t remember anything, and -- was the boyfriend tested for any of the drugs too? If he had the Zanex in his system, who knows what he could have done?

MITCHELL: Well, Janie, according to all sorts of published reports, his friends say he was, describe him in published reports as a druggy and drinker. Now there was a bottle of prescription pills found in the room. Your thoughts on that?

WEINTRAUB: My thoughts are is that it is an accidental overdose by her and she might have hit her head in the bathtub that`s what I really think. It is not a strangulation, Jane. The bruises we don`t know how they happened.

We certainly don`t know if they were hard enough to have caused even a break or any other kind of asphyxiation that would have caused her death. He is not charged with her death. They don`t have a cause of death.

MITCHELL: Well, you are raising prospect this family will be denied justice even if she was the victim of somebody who tried to kill her because she was high and therefore they could never say for sure whether somebody actually did her in or if she did herself in? I don`t know if I buy that.

WEINTRAUB: Jane, I don`t know that the family.

MITCHELL: We have got a lot more to talk about. Let`s all think about it panel. A designer murdered in Manhattan. This woman was an up- and-coming designer.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a beautiful person. I didn`t know the lady. Other than, actually, I met her one time at a restaurant. She was so personable that, you know, she was everybody`s friend.


MITCHELL: Tonight, ISSUES shines a spotlight on the escalating war on women. Is no place safe? We ought to feel secure in our own homes. The murder of Ann Pressly in 2008 proves the war on women has no boundaries.

The 26-year-old TV anchorwoman was inside her home in little rock, asleep in her bed when she was raped and beaten beyond recognition. Her killer, Curtis Vance, broke every bone in her face. There was blood on the ceiling. Vance beat Ann so viciously she suffered a massive stroke.

She fled the scene and tragically Ann`s own mother was the one to find her lying in a pool of blood. Ann never recovered.


PAMELA SMITH, KATV REPORTER: Our hearts are heavy here at KATV tonight after learning that our own Ann Pressly died earlier this evening from injuries she suffered during a brutal attack in her home this week.


MITCHELL: It took a jury less than two hours to convict Vance. He will spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole the he had never met Anne. He may have seen her on TV, but police think he simply saw her in the neighborhood, stalked her and waited for his chance to attack.

It shows the pure brutality and pervasiveness, again, this was the case that sparked what we here at ISSUES call the war on women. It was one of the very first stories that we covered after our show debuted.

And certainly it sent shock waves through my body because I was a local anchorwoman for many years. So I really related to this Anne Pressly. Straight to the expert panel, psychologist, Cooper Lawrence, it takes a monster to do what this guy did. And I think, do you, it shows a real hatred for women?

COOPER LAWRENCE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely shows a hatred for women. It also shows that this person probably had prior violent behavior and people in his life and family did nothing about his violent acts because this doesn`t happen out of nowhere.

This guy must have had a history of something, yet nobody in his life, nobody ebb his family either tried to get him help, warn people, you know, we see these things and think they happen a vacuum, but they rarely, rarely do.

MITCHELL: Yes, well, his mother actually told jurors that she was an abusive mother who had a number of crack-fueled run-ins with the law and she worked as a prostitute to earn money for drugs, and snapped at Vance, once threw him against a wall when he messed up a babysitting.

LAWRENCE: And you wonder why he hates women. That explains why he hates women, right there in a nutshell.

MITCHELL: All right, Jeff Brown, saying, exactly, go ahead.

JEFF BROWN: Yes, I mean, this was an abusive woman. She was drug addicted. She was a prostitute. She was not fit to be raising this boy, it`s no wonder he turned out this way. I am not saying she is all to blame. If we are going to be playing the blame game here, this mother, woman, takes some responsibility for creating this monster.

MITCHELL: Pressly`s mom always gave her daughter a 3:00 a.m. wake-up call. Anne was the morning news anchor at KATV in Little Rock, but on the morning of October 20, 2008, her mom didn`t get an answer so she quickly drove to Pressly`s house and that`s when she found this beautiful girl in bed in a pool of blood, her face smashed, this, the mom couldn`t even identify her own daughter. OK? She described what she saw on the "Today" show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found my daughter beyond recognition with every bone in her face broken. Her nose broken, her jaw pulverized so badly that the bone had come out of it. I actually thought her throat had possibly been cut, but that was possibly the first knockout punch, her entire skull had numerous fractures from which she suffered a massive stroke.


MITCHELL: John Lucich, why life in prison?

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: My question, also, Jane. I agree with you. This guy should be executed without a doubt. This guy has also been implicated in another rape in his hometown according to the DNA evidence. When does it stop?

If we take a look at every time we see kids get killed, women get killed, and crime grow, it is a failure of the government at every level. This definitely should not have happened to this young lady. It is going to continue to happen until the government steps up and starts executing these guys.

MITCHELL: Yes, as you say, Anne was not Vance`s first victim. Cops didn`t know that. The DNA Vance left behind at Anne Pressly`s house turned out a match to another rape. The victim, a teacher attacked seven months earlier in Mariana, Arkansas. But they could have had the DNA evidence a lot earlier and that brings me to a big issue here, reactive justice.

The first woman raped in April. Pressly, months later in October, it was only after Anne Pressly was attacked that the first victim`s DNA evidence finally came back. Stacy Honowitz, if they take rape more seriously and process that DNA more quickly, couldn`t it -- couldn`t they have arrested this guy before he would have had a chance to attack Anne Pressly. I blame the system for not doing these DNA tests more rapidly.

STACY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Listen, it is not only just a matter of getting it done quickly. Now we have the combined index, national index for cold cases where if you find DNA, not always, because you get DNA off the victim at one point doesn`t mean you have something to match it to.

That`s what happened probably in this case. They had DNA from the first case. Then when this case happened it was a cold hit and it matched, but, yes, you are right. Certainly the system, it has to be sped up and now we do have this combined index which certainly is helpful in cases such as this.

MITCHELL: Well, I have a lot more to talk about when it comes to this DNA and why cops did not process the first rape, the DNA from that more quickly. This happens all the time. OK. We are just getting started on this sickening Anne Pressly case.

And we`re also going to talk about the tragic story of Richardson with a sparking cheer outraged. Cops released her in the middle of the night, without money, phone, transportation almost a year later her remains were found. Did the people who actually are supposed to take care of us betray her? Plus a reality star flees. You won`t believe the result in this case.



DAVID BAZZEL, PRESSLY`S FRIEND: Today was justice for Anne. It`s taken a year. No one is more grateful than parents and all of us as friends.


MITCHELL: Beautiful news anchor Anne Pressly came face to face with a monster on the night of October 20th, 2008. His name is Curtis Vance. He stalked her, broke into her home and attacked her, raped her and beat her to death in her own bed. He is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole. John, Minnesota, your question/thought, sir?

CALLER: Personally thank you, Jane, for bringing the issue up on the violence that has been going on. As somebody that travels quite a bit for my job, and not only I see news where I am at but in other parts of the country. So it is not, the issue of violence, violence, you are right, on women is just, it`s like -- it`s like somebody opened up the floodgate.

And that we have such a violent society that is allowing this. I don`t understand it. I was brought up, I guess, as a peace-loving person and it just amazes me it has been able to get this far. Somehow, it is happening. I don`t understand it.

MITCHELL: I agree with you, John. What, Jeff Brown?

BROWN: It`s not true. The crime rates, violent crime rates, murder rates, all crime rates are lowest they have been in over 20 years. This is the lowest year we have had going back to at least 1990 and into the 80s.

The crime rates are not going up the they`re going down. Violent crime is going down. All of these cases are going down. It`s not escalating, it`s not worse out there we just have media. Everybody can see it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yet we see all these, we see all these kids being abducted and being killed, women being killed on a regular basis. Flooding all over the newspapers.

BROWN: That`s because we are covering these stories.

MITCHELL: Hold on, Stacy Honowitz. Yes, overall crime rates are down since they were, outrageous in the 90s. But there are still, I think one murder of a woman in America is one too many. But every day -- every day you pick up the paper, you see at least one or two murders of women.

I don`t think we can say, especially if you are a relative of that person who has been murder that we don`t have a problem the of course we have a problem and we have got a problem of intimate partner violence and stranger violence against women.

There is a war on women in the country and I think it has a lot to do with a, how the media glamorizes a sexually charged violence against women, Stacy Honowitz.

HONOWITZ: I don`t know if it glamorizes it. Certainly it is brought more to the forefront now. But I think what needs to be done is people need to see that other people are getting punished.

Lots of time in the court, Jeff will tell you, in domestic violence cases hate to say it not trying to blame the victim. So many times they will walk in the court room and say, I don`t want to prosecute. I don`t want to go forward I love him. There needs to be some education to women.

MITCHELL: I want you to hear the -- the suspect, the man who did it. Listen to him. We have a four-second sound bite. I want to play it for you.


CURTIS VANCE: It`s a corrupted system, that`s what it is.


MITCHELL: Yes, so -- final, Cooper Lawrence, 10 seconds. He is blaming the system?

LAWRENCE: Well, the system did fail by giving a crack-addicted prostitute mother a child to raise.

MITCHELL: Well, we have to do something about that. We really do. Up next, a story of obsession and violence. A wanted man on the run.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Swimsuit model Jasmine Fiore`s body found stuffed inside a suitcase. Her reality TV star ex-husband commits suicide after police named him the prime suspect. Was his violent past with women a warning sign ignored?

Plus, the agonizing search for Mitrice Richardson ends in tragedy. She was arrested for not paying a very small tab, less than $89 at a chic Malibu restaurant. Witnesses said she was acting very strangely. So, why did cops release her in the dead of night without a cell phone, without money, without her car? Could her death have been prevented? And was it murder?

ISSUES starts now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was partially open, I lifted it up one time, and saw skin but I wasn`t sure so I lifted it up again. Then when I saw the birthmark or the marks on the body and everything, I verified that it was a body. I immediately called 911.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the war on women claims another victim when a beautiful, ambitious bikini model is brutally murdered. The badly mutilated body of 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore found by a building manager stuffed into a suitcase and discarded in a trash bin. Jasmine`s fingers and teeth had been pulled out.

Cops pinned Jasmine`s murder on Ryan Jenkins, her husband of just a couple of months -- this guy in this mug shot from a previous arrest. ABC News reports a witness with the couple at a San Diego hotel says they had, quote, "a blowout fight before the grisly killing".

Cops say after dumping Jasmine`s body, Jenkins took off and headed north for his native Canada. Meantime, as a frantic manhunt got under way, a fury erupted over Jenkins role on reality TV. How did this sicko get cast onto shows?

Here he is on VH1`S "Megan Wants a Millionaire".


RYAN JENKINS, REALITY TV STAR: I`m with Megan alone was enough to let her get in touch with my deeper side and redeem myself for, you know, some of the silly things I said at dinner.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We will never hear from Jenkins again because he killed himself. That`s right -- committed suicide just a week after allegedly murdering Jasmine. Jenkins` body found hanging in a motel room closet in Vancouver.

Cops also discovered a suicide note on his computer. And get this, nearly a year after this vicious murder/suicide there are still some who feel Jenkins is innocent.

Straight out to former prosecutor Robin Sax; Robin, of all the hideous, graphic details in this murder, her teeth and her fingers being cut off and pulled out, what does that tell you about the person who committed this?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: The person who committed this crime had more than just a disgusting disregard for life. But this was a vile human being who wanted to inflict every sort of pain and even disgrace this body even after she was killed. It shows that it was very meticulously planned and someone who has a history of deep psychological problems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, two days after Ryan Jenkins committed suicide, his grief-stricken mother spoke out to ABC`s "Good Morning America". Listen to this.


NADA JENKINS, RYAN JENKINS` MOTHER: My son is innocent. And I think he panicked. I`m just, I`m dead -- I`m dead inside. I`m devastated. I love him. He`s my only child.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Meantime, almost a year after the hideous murder and subsequent suicide, Ryan Jenkins` father, Dan, also told a Canadian newspaper that he believed his son was innocent. Dan said his son was a victim because he hanged himself as a frightened fugitive who felt he had no other options.

Cooper Lawrence, psychologist, are these parents in denial, unable to comprehend that their son is capable of hideous violence?

COOPER LAWRENCE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Of course they`re in denial. And you know what? How dare they? Because that`s the problem right there, because you get people like that who don`t know who their child really is. And they pretend that everything is fine, there`s nothing wrong with my kid. My kid would never do this.

Well, a recent Canadian study looked at the profile of somebody that murder/suicides, this person fits it so perfectly the study could have been about him specifically.


LAWRENCE: The parents knew what they had and they`re in complete denial. And they should be ashamed of themselves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How does this study fit him so perfectly? Why? Because he`s a narcissist who goes on reality TV?

LAWRENCE: Exactly. It describes a narcissist who gets himself in trouble, who`s very jealous, who kills the person who`s the target of their jealousy and then turns the gun on himself or kills himself later on when he realizes what he had done. All you had to do was have a little bit of an intervention.

Believe me, this is not something -- again another story that didn`t happen in a vacuum. These parents knew what they had for a son. And to sit there and say that he is innocent, they`re still in unbelievable denial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s called the "my dog doesn`t have fleas" syndrome, I think, the last time I checked.

LAWRENCE: As they`re scratching, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly.

Jeff Brown, I do want to say this. There are some lessons to be learned here. The victim, Jasmine Fiore, met Ryan Jenkins in Las Vegas and they apparently hit it off because they got married at a quickie funeral parlor two days later -- bad idea.

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, bad idea. We need to have I think like a longer waiting period if you`re going to do that, just like we do for handguns.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Especially in Vegas.

BROWN: But you know, this is -- especially in Vegas. Nothing good actually happens out of Vegas and I hope Vegas doesn`t get mad at me for that.

But the problem that we have here though is that I think a lot of parents are in denial. I see that time and time again when I have parents that I`ll meet beforehand who are all against crime and they want criminals to be locked up. And then it`s their kid and they can`t believe that their little Johnny was capable of doing this and how dare they put their kid in jail. I hear this all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And so much for the theory that --

SAX: It happens in the classroom, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- if you`re a member of the underclass and the previous story, his mother was a crack addict who had been a prostitute -- this is a millionaire. This guy is on a show because he is in a million- dollar category -- minimum. And he comes from a very upper-crust, you might say, family, which proves to me that we cannot ever go to stereotypes or fall back on stereotypes when it comes to criminal behavior. All human beings are capable of very sinister acts.

And Ryan Jenkins I believe revealed his dark, sinister side to his neighbors. Listen to what this neighbor had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve definitely seen him around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ever talk to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I talked to him in the elevator. He was really nice. He seemed really nice. Like all done-up. But I just like don`t suspect him to be like, you know, part of that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I guess he did have two sides to him.

I`ve got to ask you this, John Lucich. There he is, charming, debonair, coming off as this sort of dapper millionaire, but a couple of -- very shortly after they got married, he was accused of hitting Jasmine Fiore, accused of domestic battery. What do you make of that? That was a warning bell.

JOHN LUCICH, VETERAN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. And you`re going to see a lot of warning bells.

This guy is the typical Ted Bundy, who looks good, sounds great, and he`s a killer. There`s no doubt about it.

And when you take a look at what he did: he cut her fingers off, gouged out her teeth because he didn`t want the body to be identified. If it wasn`t for the fact that she had serial numbers on her breast implants, we might never have known that this was the girl that they were looking for and that would have been a sad state of affairs. Too bad this guy didn`t commit suicide before he killed this young lady.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That was one of the other very shocking aspects of this case that was revealed. Because the killer, presumably this guy, didn`t want anybody to identify the person he had killed, who he stuffed into a suitcase, cut off her fingers and pulled out her teeth -- thought, well, then they can`t identify her.

But they did find her breast implants had ID numbers on them. Most people don`t know that, that there are ID numbers on breast implants that are unique ID numbers. And that is how they identified Jasmine Fiore.

Her heartbroken mother appeared on NBC`s "Today" just days after her daughter was brutally slain. In this clip from, she pretty much nails what the war on women is all about.


LISA LEPORT, MOTHER OF JASMINE FIORE: It brings some closure to what`s been going on. I mean, we don`t have to worry about looking for him anymore or being worried that he`s a threat to any other women.

This man was a professional con man, you know. He targeted women, I believe. He wanted to be something that he wasn`t.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown, I know you don`t think we have a problem, but I do believe we have a problem, particularly with intimate partner violence in this country. And this is a perfect example of it. This girl was sleeping with the enemy.

BROWN: Yes, she was. And I mean this is a problem that we do have in the fact that sometimes I don`t think the spouses or the significant others know each other well enough. But you know this guy here, to say that he`s Ted Bundy -- you know, Ted Bundy came from Florida, I`m familiar with the case.

Ted Bundy was absolutely insane. You talk to that guy for more than 30 minutes you knew he was insane. This type of killer here though is a little bit more harder to put your finger on because on the reality show and everything else he seemed rather normal. These are the ones that really scare you because you really don`t know who you`re dealing with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And not everybody --


BROWN: He mutilated her body.


BROWN: Yes, but Ted Bundy was a serial killer.

LUCICH: This guy mutilated somebody`s body.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Neither one are -- both of them are very scary individuals.

Leave it right there. Sorry panel but thank you so much.

A desperate family`s outrage and heartbreak; Mitrice Richardson vanished after cops released her in the dead of night without her purse, no money, no phone, no car. They had taken her car.

Months later her body is discovered in Malibu Canyon. Did they fail to help a woman who was in the middle of a mental breakdown?

I will talk to Mitrice`s devastated mother, next.


LATICE SUTTON, MITRICE RICHARDSON`S MOTHER: It is most unfortunate that today I`ve had to learn through the media that there are preliminary findings that those bones in Malibu are of a female.




SUTTON: I`m so sorry. I`m just -- I`m looking at the life of my baby flash before my eyes. My future is gone. That`s -- oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A desperate, frustrating year-long search for a beautiful young woman ends in heartbreak in a remote canyon in southern California. But the family of Mitrice Richardson is still outraged over so many unanswered questions.

The 23-year-old beauty`s remains were discovered in August, not far from where she vanished in September of last year. Let me tell you, her death could have and should have been prevented. ISSUES has tracked this case from the very beginning.


SUTTON: I believe she is still alive, and I will not give up hope that she is alive until we have her safe in our arms.

We want our daughter found. We feel that there`s not been enough efforts to locate her. All we want is our daughter home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mitrice was released from a sheriff`s station in the dead of night with no purse, no phone, no ride, in a very remote area -- Lost Hills sheriff`s station. It`s ironic that was the name of the sheriff`s station, Lost Hills.

We don`t know yet how Mitrice died, but whatever the cause Mitrice`s parents say the sheriff`s department is to blame.

The night Mitrice vanished she was unable to pay an $89 bill at a very chic Malibu restaurant. Cops say they found a small amount of marijuana in her car. They arrested her, they impounded her car.

Witnesses at the restaurant say Mitrice was acting flat-out crazy, speaking in tongues, claiming she was from Mars; that she was there to avenge Michael Jackson`s death.

So why do officers say she was perfectly calm and coherent? The restaurant patrons have no reason to lie.

Mitrice`s mom joins me now. Latice, once again, as always, our deepest condolences, we want to keep this story alive because we want you to find justice for your daughter Mitrice.

SUTTON: Thank you so much, Jane. I -- I -- I appreciate you dearly, and yes, I am going to keep fighting until I find justice for my daughter. It is an outrage that I cannot even grieve my daughter`s death because I am constantly investigating, trying to find out who the murderers are of my daughter because the homicide detectives are not doing anything on her case.

So I am prepared to move forward in a press briefing sometime next week to produce the evidence that I have been giving to the sheriffs, giving to the coroners to -- that that just screams how Mitrice was -- was murdered and no one is acting upon it. And I am going to keep pushing until they act on it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we don`t know the cause of death. They found her in a ravine. We don`t know the cause of death. Probably because her body was there for so long and most of the evidence would have disintegrated and it`s simply bones.


SUTTON: There --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now I`m reading the report. Go ahead.

SUTTON: There was -- there -- there was evidence at the scene that has not been analyzed or tested for anything. So, how they can definitively state that they don`t know the cause of death when there was evidence all over her body that was not even analyzed -- unacceptable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now I have read a report and we don`t have any independent confirmation of this at all that Mitrice`s clothing was found 100 yards away from her remains? Is there any --


SUTTON: That is correct. Mitrice was nude. Mitrice was naked. She was placed there. She was nude. Her clothes were -- they were scattered, going away from her body. My -- my daughter was nude. They still have not found her tennis shoes or her shirt. They did recover her pants, a belt, and a bra. That is --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you`re saying they were not with the remains.

SUTTON: They were not. Mitrice was naked.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that is very disturbing to me. And here`s another disturbing aspect of this case. During a scheduled search, actually you, Latice and other searchers came across this pornographic mural depicting African-American women in very, very triple X-rated poses. And I know that you Latice believe this was connected to Mitrice`s death.

Robin Sax, there was also an abandoned pot farm near where her remains were found. To me, this is all very creepy and sinister. Why are cops saying basically they don`t know the cause of death? Why wouldn`t they say hey, this looks like a homicide?

SAX: It`s absolutely outrageous how this case has been handled from the beginning and all the way until right now. There are so many unanswered questions and it is ludicrous not to think that it`s cops investigation 101 to look at where the clothes were in relation to where the body was, to look at that mural.

There are all sorts of valuable pieces of information and very telling pieces of information and yet the police just want to throw up their hands and say, we don`t know what happened.

That coupled with the very bizarre circumstances of letting Mitrice just leave the sheriff`s department has every one thinking something smells at the Lost Hills Sheriff`s Department.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. As one official said, if things were done by the book, maybe it`s time to change the book. I hear somebody rumbling back there. Who is it? Probably -- who was rumbling? John?

JOHN LUCICH: No, that wasn`t me, Jane.


LUCICH: But you know that`s what I said before, months ago, they need to take -- an investigation has to be done by the attorney general`s office to see what went wrong. Certainly as a police officer I would have never let that woman out on her own without a cell phone, turn her out without a car, without any cash. That made no sense.

And if a policy has to be changed, that`s where it has to be -- has to go. But a full investigation right through the fact that --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now -- they did an investigation and they found that there was no wrongdoing. But of course a lot of times those internal-style investigations or those government investigations, you can`t always count on them to be completely objective, among the controversies swirling around this whole mystery.

Did police selectively release edited recordings of calls placed by Mitrice`s mom?

ISSUES has taken portions of two of the short clips that cops had made available. Listen to this.


SUTTON: I think the only way I will come to get her tonight is if you guys are going to release her tonight. She definitely has no place -- you know, I mean she`s not from that area and I would hate to wake up to a morning report, lost somewhere with her head chopped off. I guess I would have to come and get her. Oh, my God.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Latice I know they have claimed that maybe you didn`t want to pick her up. What do you make of all that?

SUTTON: That is absolutely untrue. I don`t know where that rumor started -- well, you know what, I do know. It started from the sheriff`s department.

But I called the sheriff`s department to find out about my daughter before she even arrived to the station, and the deputy told me that they were going to release her in the morning. And when I called back to find out her bail amount, she had already been released.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on. More on the other side. More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What one technological advancement do you wish had never been invented?

MITRICE RICHARDSON, BODY RECOVERED IN MALIBU CANYON: Cell phones. Although when you`re stranded, they help contact your family, and the need of a spare tire or just any need of emergency, but they also cause a lot of accidents and they cause a lot of friendships from forming because as soon as people get out of the class, the first thing they want to do is talk on their cell phone.

I just wish that cell phones would be limited to just emergencies only.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. What an eerie clip, considering that Mitrice, a beauty queen, might be alive had she only had a cell phone that night. Mitrice`s arrest, release, disappearance and death sparked a furious war of finger pointing. Why was she released without money and a cell phone?

Here`s what the sheriff had to say about why Mitrice was not jailed overnight and then released either to her mom or at least with cash and a cell phone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, is an $86 defrauding of an inn keeper enough of a crime to take someone to jail. That is the issue.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you see that as the issue, John Lucich?

LUCICH: They took her. They took custody of this woman and brought her to the police department. In order to do that, they have to arrest her. There is no un-arrest form. So I don`t know what this guy is talking about. They took her to jail based on the reports so it doesn`t match what actually happened to this young lady.

Then to take and seize the money and cell phone from this woman and turn her out into the street, might as well have taken her shoes. I don`t understand what they were doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Cooper Lawrence, I think he does raise unintentionally an interesting question. How many of us have gone to a restaurant, all of a sudden oh, we realize I forgot my purse. Have any of us ever been arrested?

LAWRENCE: No. I don`t think so. I`m a little bit offended by the fact that they are saying that there was some sort of psychotic break and she was speaking in tongues as if that has anything to do with it. You know, if this was a suicide -- an apparent suicide -- that would be an explanation but to release that information as a red herring is another way to blame the victim.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no. I think -- with all due respect, I think it`s the other way around. I think they were -- the police were saying she`s perfectly fine, that`s why we did release her as opposed to putting an involuntary hold on her because she could be a danger to herself or others. What the family is saying --

SUTTON: She was not fine, Jane. I saw the photo.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Hold on. Latice, your contention is that should have been --

SUTTON: I saw the video photos.


SUTTON: She should have been taken to the hospital or they should have held her until she can be evaluated. Clearly when she was going through the booking process, I witnessed her hanging from the walls at the sheriff`s station while she was in their custody. There was nothing that was lucid about her while she was in their custody.

The bottom line is they let her out into a remote industrial area and she became a prey to any predator because she had no way to take care of herself while she was in the middle of a mental crisis. They knew this and also, the restaurant owner told them that --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. I do invite the sheriff`s department on any time if they want to tell their side of the story. We want to be fair.

But Latice, we`re not giving up on your daughter and this story.

SUTTON: Thank you. I will be having a press briefing next week.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are watching ISSUES where we fight for women.