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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Mother, Toddler Murder, Police Seek Roommate; Cable Worker Accused of Rape

Aired February 16, 2011 - 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, fast-breaking developments in the case of a 25-year-old mother and her 2-year-old son murdered and stuffed in a trash bin in Massachusetts. Authorities say they were both bludgeoned to death. Now, a man who lived in the same building as the victims is charged with lying to cops. What does he know? I`ll talk to this family`s neighbor, live, tonight.

Plus, a psycho cable guy? A 14-year-old girl says an intruder raped and threatened her life in the middle of the night. In a terrifying twist, cops say the man, who installed cable in the home two days earlier, is the attacker. It could happen to anyone. So how do we protect ourselves in our own homes?

And an earth-shattering follow-up to a story we brought you just yesterday. A father and his young adopted son found sick and dazed along the side of the highway with a dead body in their trunk. Now cops say the dad`s admitting the dead child is the twin sister of the 10-year-old boy. Did the dad abuse his kids? And was anyone looking out for these adopted children?

Then, an astonishing turn of events. First, Amanda Knox is convicted of murder in Italy. Now, Foxy Knoxy`s mom and dad are indicted, accused of libeling the Italian police. Is there a personal witch hunt against this American family underway?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIMOTHY CRUZ, PLYMOUTH COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Police officers arrived and found what appeared to be the body of a young woman located inside of a Dumpster. In the Dumpster was also an additional body of her toddler son. We do not believe that this is a random act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a horrific discovery triggers a frantic international manhunt. Who murdered a young mom and her 2-year-old son and tossed their bodies in a Dumpster?

Now, police got a 911 call Sunday night about a body sticking out of a trash bin. They found 25-year-old Maria Palaguachi-Cela and her adorable 2-year-old son in a Dumpster right behind their apartment.

Now, this mother and son were last seen on Thursday. Autopsies revealed both the young mom and her toddler son had been -- look at this young boy, look at this baby -- bludgeoned to death. How sick is that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is just -- how could someone do that, to a mother and child? It`s just unconscionable. And I hope they catch them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But will they catch them? Tonight, investigators are hunting for the victim`s allegedly violent roommate, known as Luis Guaman. He`s got a long list of outstanding warrants.

Police say he fled back to Ecuador around the time the bodies were discovered. Guaman has a very long rap sheet. And look at this. Look at all that stuff on his arm. A long list of aliases. Is this guy the killer?

In a very bizarre twist, a man who lives in the same building has just been charged with misleading police. Now, they say this guy, Aparicio de la Cruz, told them that the roommate, Guaman, was headed to New York City when he knew that Guaman was actually fleeing to Ecuador.

He also told them that Guaman and the murdered mom had a nasty fight the other night and that he never saw the mom, whose name is Maria, again. So since he lied once, can that story about the fight be believed? Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Now I want to go straight out to Denise Agnello, who is the victims` neighbor.

Denise, thank you for joining us. This is such a terrible story. I understand that you had seen this mother and her beautiful little toddler son about the neighborhood. What did you know -- what do you know about this family, Denise?

DENISE AGNELLO, VICTIMS` NEIGHBOR: Just that they were very nice. They seemed very nice. They kept to themselves. They went in and out all the time, and they didn`t seem to bother anybody.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now...

AGNELLO: So, it`s sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... did she have any kind of boyfriend? Because what we`re hearing is, at least this guy who`s been charged with lying to police says, "Oh, Maria had a fight with the roommate." What do you know about that?

AGNELLO: I don`t know much about the fight with the roommate. I do know she had a boyfriend. They went in and out together. He was the little boy`s father. I`ve never seen them fight.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aha.

AGNELLO: So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, I guess what I`m hearing here, Timothy Cruz, Plymouth County district attorney, is possibility of her having two suitors. She has this estranged boyfriend, who is the father of the child, but she also, at least if this guy who was charged with lying to police can be believed -- and that`s a big question, can he? -- may have also had some kind of relationship with the guy who fled the country, who was the roommate. Tell us about that.

TIMOTHY CRUZ, PLYMOUTH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY (via phone): Right, it appears that the individual, Luis Guaman, was one of the roommates who resided in that apartment on Warren Ave. and Brosnan (Ph). And Guaman is the individual whom right now we are trying to find him for the purpose of questioning.

Unfortunately, however, Guaman has left our country under another name, under a different passport, and he left approximately 2 1/2 hours after the bodies were discovered on Sunday evening. So he had left Boston, Massachusetts, had gone to JFK airport in New York City, and flew out of New York to Ecuador, which we believe is where he`s from, and was gone before we even knew who we were looking for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the reason you charged this other guy who lives in the building with misleading cops is that, if he had told them where he was really headed, you might have been able to catch him. Before this guy here we`re looking at, got charged, he lives in the building. And you`re saying he lied to you, because he told you this guy was headed to New York City. But technically if he went to JFK, wasn`t he indeed headed to New York City?

CRUZ: Correct. He certainly -- the individual who was charged, Aparicio de la Cruz, he was telling the investigators that he went to New York instead of Ecuador. Somehow, we found out from another party that he also knew that the individual had purchased a ticket to go to Ecuador. He kept telling the investigators that the individual was in New York on that same day.

So he certainly was misleading to the investigators, which is why he was charged today, Fiorenzi (ph) De La Cruz, or Aparicio De la Cruz, and is currently held on $50,000 cash bail in Brockton, Mass.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, the victims` neighbor, again, the man you just looked at. Look at these beautiful, beautiful people. This mom, the young mom, 25, and her toddler son, an adorable little boy, dead tonight. And their neighbor has been charged with lying to cops about where the murdered mom`s roommate, Luis Guaman, had run off to.

Now, this neighbor did provide investigators with a possible scenario for the murders. Here`s what he told cops. Let`s listen again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS FLANAGAN, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Luis Guaman had had an argument with Maria Palaguachi, and in the course of the argument, which took place within a closed room, the defendant before you indicated he had overheard Maria Palaguachi advise Luis Guaman that she did not love him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Mike Brooks, my question to you, HLN law enforcement analyst, if he lied to cops about where this guy was going, saying he was going into the city when, in fact, he was going to catch a flight to Ecuador, and he did, and fled, how can we believe his story that, oh, the murdered woman had a fight with this guy who fled, because she had some kind of love relationship with him and said, "I don`t love you."

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, he`s charged now. So, you know, what has he got to lose? Absolutely nothing. So did he -- did he tell the truth? It sounded like he did provide what could be, possibly, what law -- what the D.A.`s office believes could be a motive for what happened.

But, no, he should have been charged. I think Mr. Cruz is absolutely right, because you know, he did. He put them off the -- off the scent, as you will, while he was able to get to Ecuador. And now, you know, where`s he going? Is he going to be in Keno (ph)? Is he going to be in Galapagos? Nobody knows. It`s easy to get lost in Ecuador, that`s for -- that`s for sure. We`ve had cases in D.C., people went to Ecuador, never saw them again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the D.A. says the roommate, who we`re talking about here, who fled to Ecuador, Luis Guaman, has outstanding warrants for assault, battery, kidnapping with malice, and assault and assault with a dangerous weapon. The list goes on and on.

In fact, in one case, this guy is accused of beating up a woman and threatening to kill her and her child, fascinating given what happened here. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Guaman had resided in the apartment but had taken his belongings and left the apartment sometime over the weekend prior to the victims being discovered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to go back to Timothy Cruz again, Plymouth County district attorney. You`re on the phone. Speak up, if you could, sir.

CRUZ: Sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, did this Guaman character have tickets to Ecuador? When did he get the tickets, which would indicate, obviously, premeditation? And are you saying that he killed this beautiful little child and his mother? And are you going to extradite him? Are you going to charge him and extradite him?

CRUZ: Well, certainly -- obviously, our goal is to get whoever hurt this little boy and his mother as soon as possible. Right now we want Guaman for questioning, but that`s not the only avenue we`re relying on. We`re still continuing to do our forensics and other work right now so that we can make sure that we get the right person at the right time.

I will tell you, however, we`ve already reached out to our State Department. We`ve already reached out to the Department of Justice. We`re working with the FBI. And we`re going to make sure that we do everything we need to do to make sure that the person that did this heinous crime accountable for actions...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But do you believe that this guy who fled to Ecuador did it?

CRUZ: Well, that`s the question that we`re going to hopefully be able to resolve very shortly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It seems pretty obvious that -- it would seem pretty obvious that...

CRUZ: There is no extradition treaty with Ecuador.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ooh! That`s a problem, Jeff Brown.

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, the first problem here is that they have to have probable cause to believe he committed the crime. Regard -- now, I know he fled...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t you think fleeing, don`t you think running away and going to Ecuador is probable cause?

BROWN: Flight alone -- no, flight alone will not give you probable cause to commit a murder in this case. It`s suspicious. We probably think he did it. He certainly should be the No. 1 target, but flight alone isn`t going to be enough to give you probable cause. They`re going to need some forensic evidence or they`re going to need that eyewitness to step forward to help them be able to get probable cause.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Teresa, Washington, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Yes. Where`s the father in all this?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, very good question. Now, my understanding is that the dad was this trucker who was off working, and he came back when he couldn`t reach his girlfriend. It`s a common-law marriage. And he became worried about this little boy, his son, and the woman, this woman you`re looking at here, and he came back. Has he been cleared, Timothy Cruz, D.A.? The dad?

CRUZ: We don`t believe that the father of the little boy and the common-law husband is responsible for the deaths. He was in Virginia doing work, trying to make money to try to support his family. And he came back later on, and he was questioned thoroughly by the police upon his arrival back. He is not a suspect in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, thank you very much, D.A. Cruz, as well as Denise Agnello and the rest of our panel.

All right, we`re taking calls on this next story, as well, and that`s 1-877-JVM-SAYS. This story is a humdinger. It`s a horror. A family lets a cable guy into their homes, and two days after he installs some cable, their 14-year-old daughter claims the same man breaks in and rapes her in the middle of the night. This could happen to anybody. How do we protect ourselves from people we don`t know coming into our house to do work and then they allegedly come back and commit horrific crimes? That`s next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE TORRES, ACCUSED OF RAPE: I was doing Comcast sales at the time. And I was going door to door. And I guess they got my information from the business card. And, uh, that`s where they got my information from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Uh, yes, I guess so.

My new book, "Addict Nation" available online now. Check out addictnation.org, or go online to Amazon or wherever books are sold. Read it and find out who might be manipulating you into addictive, self- destructive behavior.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your bond was set at $250,000.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a family`s worst nightmare. A Houston family lets a Comcast cable guy into their home to install their TVs, and then cops say two days later, he`s back uninvited in the dead of night.

Jose Torres allegedly broke into this innocent family`s home with one thing on his mind. Cops say he wanted to rape the family`s 14-year-old daughter, and it was a brutal attack. Torres allegedly knew exactly where the girl`s room was. Cops say he`d cased the place carefully the last time he was inside, that he held a screwdriver and a knife to this girl`s throat, allegedly raping her in her own bed while her family slept just a few feet away. Cops say he told her if she dared to scream, he would kill her and her entire family.

Now, police could not get a DNA sample from the rape kit, but the victim identified her attacker as the cable guy who had been "in our house just two days before." And get this: this guy actually left his business card at the house.

A local station spoke to this alleged monster, and he claims he is totally innocent. They got him on the phone. Listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TORRES: I was doing Comcast sales at the time. And I was going door to door. And I guess they got my information from the business card. And, uh, that`s where they got my information from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He left a business card! Wow. That blows my mind. It leaves me in two different directions at the same time. We`ll get to that in a second.

Straight out to KTRH News Radio reporter, Joe Gomez.

Joe, what is the very latest?

JOE GOMEZ, REPORTER, KTRH NEWS RADIO: You know, Jane, this is a nightmare situation. A family lets a stranger into their home like the cable guy, and the person turns out to be a monster.

Police say 32-year-old Jose Torres worked as a contractor for Comcast. He installed cable over the summer of last year. He went to a home where a 14-year-old girl lived. He installed cable there, you know, surveyed out the home, knew the ins and outs of it, presumably.

A few days later, he comes back in the middle of the night, breaks in through the back door, makes a beeline for this little angel`s bedroom, where he proceeds at knifepoint to do the unspeakable to this little 14- year-old girl, sexually assaults her. Tells her that if she screams or tells anybody about it, he`ll come back and he`ll kill not only her, but her entire family.

Fast forward to the present day. This girl`s living with these nightmares, and she finally comes forward to police. They`ve arrested 32- year-old Jose Torres. He maintains that he`s innocent; it`s a case of maintain identity. But that little girl knows the man who did these horrible actions to her, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, serial killer Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK serial killer, which stands for bind, torture, and kill, guess what? This sicko worked installing alarm systems in people`s homes. And he cased the houses as he installed the alarm systems, which scares the wits out of anybody with an alarm system. My God.

Now, this guy killed 10 people. He is now serving 10 consecutive life sentences.

I want to go to Susan in Missouri, because she`s just called and said this same thing happened to her. Susan, tell us about it.

CALLER: Hi, I live in Missouri, and a few years ago I was actually getting ready to sell my house and move out of state. The gas company came in and condemned my furnace, so I had to have a new furnace. And as it turns out, the guy who installed my furnace decided that I was, I guess, a perfect victim, and he attacked me in my home. Took about an hour of fighting him before he left my house. He tried to rape me.

And I did what everybody says you`re supposed to do. I called the police, I filed a report. They had the guy`s picture before I even got to the station.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My God. Well, ma`am, I`m so happy that you are OK.

I got to go to Jeff Brown for one second here. The business card, can it can cut both ways?

BROWN: Yes. The business card can show that he was in the momentum. If they found prints or anything like that, he can say, "Look, I was in the home. I`m not arguing that I was never there." So the business card can cut both ways.

This is going to be a tough case. It`s going to hinge on this girl`s credibility and her testimony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve just got to wonder why anybody who was planning on moving -- coming back and attacking would leave their business card. It boggles my mind.

Oh, boy. Wild story up next. You won`t believe it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE ASHLEY MOODY, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA, CIRCUIT COURT: ... is charged with two counts of murder in the first degree. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor, the defense waives formal reading and enters a plea of "not guilty" to each count.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a mother pleased not guilty to the most unthinkable crime imaginable, the massacre of her two children, her own flesh and blood.

Investigators say Julie Schenecker, this woman right here, in orange, confessed to shooting her two teenagers twice in the head. She said the reason she did it was, quote, "they were mouthy." That`s right, mouthy. They mouthed off. Don`t teenagers always do that?

Julie looked completely subdued in court today, which is a huge change from the first time we saw her. Remember this? Here she is after she was arrested. Here`s this video of her shaking violently. It had us asking, wow, does she have a drug problem?

We may have been on to something. "People" magazine now reporting two different antidepressants, a sleep aid, and a stimulant were found in her home. Is a secret addiction behind these murders?

Straight out to Steve Summers, reporter for News Talk 820 WWBA in Tampa.

Steve, what do you know?

STEVE SUMMERS, REPORTER, NEWS TALK 820 WWBA: Well, the latest on this, Jane, is during her courtroom appearance today, she`s going to be retaining her public defenders, because apparently, even though this woman has $200,000 in assets, these are not -- this is not a poor couple, Julie Schenecker and her husband, Parker. Apparently, they`re not going to be using those assets unless they have to later on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What?

SUMMERS: What`s interesting here is a "not guilty" plea after -- this after they found two letters in Julie Schenecker`s house, as you might remember. One outlined the plan that she had to kill her children. It was right there in writing. And then, once she committed these murders, another letter outlining and detailing what she did, and she confessed these crimes to the cops.

So after all that today, we have a "not guilty" plea. Standard issue as far as courtroom activity goes. But, boy, doesn`t it bring up the notion that maybe this is going to be an insanity defense at some point?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And is her husband divorcing her, I would hope?

SUMMERS: We don`t know. He`s been in the background. Apparently, Parker Schenecker -- this is the U.S. Army colonel who was serving overseas when all of this horror unfolded in his house here in Tampa. He has been sort of in the background. Apparently, he`s dealing with this tragedy in the way that he feels he has to do that. There are going to be some funds set up, some scholarships, that sort of thing. We don`t have a lot of details on that yet. But he was not in the courtroom today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait a second. Why don`t they want to use -- if he`s not breaking up with her, why doesn`t he want to use the $200,000 to defend her? I mean, listen, she killed their children, but she also killed his children.

SUMMERS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He killed their children. Why would anybody stick with somebody who has allegedly confessed, even though as you say, she`s pleaded not guilty?

SUMMERS: Well, of course, this is only three weeks out from the murders. There could still be a shock factor involved in this. And of course, he`s got an attorney.

But let me tell you what the judge told the defense lawyers today. They`ve got $200,000 in assets. Will any of this money go to her defense? It could. Because if she -- we do know that her lawyers are interviewing neighbors and relatives, and they`re getting psychiatrists on their payroll, which indicates maybe we might have this -- this insanity -- insanity defense coming.

And of course, even though she`s got public defenders, which will cost her nothing, these psychiatrists are going to cost money. And they`re going to demand to be paid. And that`s going to have to come out of the Schenecker bank accounts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think it`s not insanity, it`s stimulants and sleep aids.

Nancy Grace has a lot more on this story coming up at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Follow-up to a story we brought you just yesterday. A father and his young adopted son found sick and dazed along the side of the highway with a dead body in their trunk. Now cops say the dad`s admitting the dead child is the twin sister of the 10-year-old boy. Did the dad abuse his kids? And was anyone looking out for these adopted children?

Then, an astonishing turn of events: first, Amanda Knox is committed of murder in Italy. Now Foxy Knoxy`s mom and dad are indicted, accused of libeling the Italian police. Is there a personal witch hunt against this American family underway?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have had a prior history with the family, yes. I can`t characterize the nature of those investigations, but we have had prior involvement with the family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many callouts --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several times, we`ve been out to the home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recently?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the course of their foster relationship and since adoption.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why didn`t you do anything about it? Tonight, disgusting developments; the horrific case of a father and his adopted son found soaked head to toe in acid in the front seat of their pickup truck. And guess what -- a body, in a bag, in the back of same pickup truck.

Cops have now ID`d the body and it`s the boy`s twin sister. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Somebody called the child abuse hotline on the man in the truck, George Barahona, and his wife Carmen, just last week, claiming they were abusing their adopted 10-year-old twins, allegedly tying their feet with duct tape all day, only freeing them to eat and forcing the little girl to live in the bathroom. But did social workers remove the kids? Of course not. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you speak with both the children on that day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Either of the children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw them. She kind of like, pushed them to --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But wouldn`t that make you suspicious that something was going on?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Suspicious? Who, me? Huh?

This all started on Monday morning when cops found George Barahona`s pest control truck on the side of the road. He and his 10-year-old adopted son were overcome by fumes and covered with some sort of acid. Cops then rushed to the Barahona home and they removed two other children who were there.

Now, just today a judge placed those kids back in foster care. So I want to know, who was looking out for those kids all along? Because certainly, social workers had to know there were problems and did nothing. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to our John Zarrella, live in Miami; John, this story is just spiraling out of control from the pest control truck to these new abuse allegations. Dare I ask, what is the very latest here?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Jane, and it gets worse. Here`s something that will make your head spin on top of that. It comes out in the hearing today that there is a blood relative aunt in Houston who tried to adopt the twins back a couple of years ago before they were adopted by the Barahona`s. But the court said, no, the twins have bonded with their adoptive parents, who were foster parents at the time. So, no, you, the blood relative, are not going to be allowed to adopt them.

On top of that, there was a guardian ad litem, who, of course, as you know, visits these children once a month, who before the adoption also went to the court and said look, I have concerns about this adoption process going through. And a hearing was ordered, experts testified, who allegedly talked to these two children, the twins, and came back and said, no, everything is fine, you don`t have to worry. We`ll allow this adoption to go through.

So when you talk about the possibility of the system letting these children down along the way, we`re beginning to see a pattern emerge here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. And I never understand why people who abuse kids want to adopt them. Why -- except for money. Obviously, you get money if you`re a foster parent. And of course, the kids probably said nothing when they were asked because they were terrified that they would be tied up and hung upside down, or God only knows what, if they complained.

Now, let`s go back, February 10th, a call comes in to the child abuse hotline claiming George and Carmen Barahona are allegedly abusing their 10- year-old twins. Ok, keeping them tied up and forcing this little girl to live in a bathroom.

A social worker from the Department of Family and Children Services in Florida visits the house the next day, but reportedly does not speak to the kids. And in fact, admits to seeing, eyeballing only two of them. Listen to this in court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you first went to the home, the very first time with the mother, did you speak with both the children on that day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you speak to either of the children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw them. She kind of like pushed them to --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But wouldn`t that make you suspicious that something was going on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but, your honor, she wouldn`t -- they were not going to talk to me --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, then you could go to meet them at school or somewhere else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Well, it was Friday evening at 9:00. Ok. I intended to go on Monday to speak to them --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we don`t do investigations on the weekends?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, she was going to go back on Monday to take a look at the kids. Guess what, by Monday, one child was dead and another was covered with acid, which brings me to my big issue.

I am so sick and tired of these excuses by these social workers. This is unforgivable. You get a call alleging abuse against a child, you visit the home and you do not demand to see all the kids, because the mother is resistant?

The social worker told the court that the mom, oh, she didn`t want to show us the kids. Well, guess what? Here`s the mom, Carmen Barahona, at the custody hearing today. I`m sorry, but the social worker should have brought in the cavalry, demanded to see these kids.

Mike Brooks.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Makes me want to puke. I`ll tell you what, that social worker, once the mother said -- became a little combative, I`m sorry, you, you step outside and you get on your radio, get on your cell phone, and you call law enforcement. That`s what she`s there for. She`s there to protect those children and make sure that she sees those children.

A similar case like this, but nobody lost their life, you know, the Garridos. Oh, yes, they showed up at the house but they didn`t do their job. This woman should be fired and she should never be a social worker for any, any organization ever again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, when social workers --

BROOKS: Giving the judge, oh well, she kind of like -- no, I`m not buying that story at all, she should be gone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now, when social workers finally spoke to the other two kids in the Barahona household, they found out what was happening to the twins. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His siblings would be kept in the bathroom; that they would have their hands and ankles bound, that in particular, his sister did. That she sometimes would have to sit in the bathtub all day. That she would hop around. But, again, that they were taken apart so that she could eat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal, criminal defense attorney, the doctors treating the surviving twin, the 10-year-old boy, aside from acid burns -- oh, my gosh, the probable cause affidavit says that they found injuries on him, old injuries; a fractured clavicle, fractured arms, scarring to the buttocks, lower abdomen.

So the Florida Department of Children and Family Services is now launching a full review of the case.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, take it away, J. Wyndal.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s always after the fact. I mean this is another sad story of social workers not doing their job. I`ve had -- I don`t know how many cases dealing with situations such as this. They had the opportunity to intervene.

These social workers don`t come without authority. They can take children directly out of the house at the moment they realize that there`s something wrong. When someone`s telling you that you can`t see the children who you came to investigate, that lets you know right then and there that you need to either call the police or go in and get those children as you`re required to do by law.

Anytime a child is in peril, you have authority as a social worker to go get that child and put them in a safe haven. And she failed to do that. It`s sad. Another sad story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s so sick. So sick it breaks my heart.

Carol, Florida your question or thought, ma`am?

CAROL, FLORIDA (via telephone): Hi. I just want to let you know that how angry I am that someone dropped the ball in this case. My husband and I have adopted a sibling group of four out of the foster system here in Florida.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: God bless you.

CAROL: We are in Escambia County. Now, we`ve gone through extensive background checks, FBI fingerprinting, home studies in which, you know, the state has come out, into our home, and talked to us individually, to our biological children individually, and then separately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and carol, I can`t go too far into it, but I understand your point. It seems like the cases that shouldn`t be investigated, they go over with a fine tooth comb and put them through the ringer, and the cases that are staring you in the face, like, there`s something wrong here, there`s something wrong here, they turn the other way.

John Zarrella, is it possible when this social worker showed up at this the house and didn`t do anything, that the child who was found dead in the back of the pickup truck was already dead?

ZARRELLA: Yes, it`s very unclear, Jane, at this particular point in time, how she died or when she died or where she died, for that matter. She might well have been dead already.

But one thing to point out, after that hearing was over today in circuit court, we talked with the district director in Miami-Dade who said -- who was pressed by our producer Kim Siegel, so did you just drop the ball and not continue to look into this on Saturday and Sunday? And we were told, oh, we absolutely continued this investigation, but could not say what they did over the weekend.

BROOKS: They did absolutely nothing, John. I`m telling you. If that was the case, law enforcement should have been notified.

ZARRELLA: Right.

BROOKS: Zero.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it`s just -- our bureaucracies have become bloated and they are ineffective.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s realize that we`ve got something wrong with our system in this country that this -- I mean, come on. This child has broken bones all over the place --

BROOKS: He`s a human punching bag.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they didn`t see this? And they let them be foster parents and then adopt all these kids when there was a real flesh- and-blood relative out there? This is outrageous.

We`re not letting this go, Department of Children and Family Services. You better do your nice little investigation. We`re going to stay on top. We want to see what you find.

Thank you, fabulous panel.

Now, a jaw-dropping twist: first, Amanda Knox convicted of murder in Italy, now her mom and dad indicted. They`re being attacked. What? Call me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Do you remember? Do you remember? And then, boom, on the head.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, one of the most bizarre twists in the very riveting case of Amanda Knox, who`s become known as Foxy Knoxy in the Italian media. Now, she is the willowy, beautiful -- let`s call her that - - beautiful American student sentenced to more than a quarter century in an Italian prison for murdering her roommate, according to Italian authorities. This roommate was found dead, half-naked with her throat slashed.

Amanda`s parents, who were in the United States, are helping her appeal her conviction in Italy. But now the parents are facing a major legal battle of their own. Are you sitting down? Ok, I guess they can do this in Italy.

Amanda`s mom and dad have now been indicted themselves for libeling the Italian cops, allegedly. Police in Perugia, Italy, where Amanda was tried, are furious at Amanda`s parents for comments the parents made to a British newspaper in 2008 and 2009.

Now, whatever happened to freedom of speech? I don`t know where that figures in all of this. But the parents did accuse the cops of mistreating Amanda during a nine-hour interrogation in which she was given, quote, "no food, no water, and no official interpreter". They said she was abused physically and verbally, including getting "hit in the back of the head by a police officer with an open hand at least twice", end quote.

If you think this libel case is outrageous, and I do, get this, the attorney for the cops, same guy who represented the family of the murdered roommate -- got to think about that a couple of times to let it sink in.

Meantime, CNN`s Drew Griffin got exclusive reaction from Amanda`s mother. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA KNOX`S MOTHER: It`s all about truth and justice and we have done nothing wrong. I mean, Amanda`s allowed to defend herself; Amanda`s allowed to tell her story. And she`s been saying it hundreds of time since she was arrested. And when we get asked what did Amanda tell you, we tell the truth. Here`s what Amanda said. And that`s why we`re being charged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If mama and papa Knox are found guilty, they face 6 months to 3 years in an Italian prison, plus a fine. So is this a witch hunt that has become personal or should these folks face justice Italian style?

Give me a call, 1-877-586-7297. Straight out to my good buddy, Travis Mayfield, reporter with como.com; Travis, what is the very latest?

TRAVIS MAYFIELD, REPORTER, COMO.COM: Well, Jane, actually we just got this written statement from the parents of Amanda Knox, and we`ve been going over it. And, you know, basically they`re saying these charges aren`t a surprise to them. They knew they were coming. They didn`t expect anything different.

And in fact, I find the last part of their statement most interesting. They say their focus is unchanged. They remain wholeheartedly with their daughter, her appeal overturning her wrongful conviction and bringing her home. So it sounds like to me, they`re basically brushing this off and saying our goal is still to get Amanda back here to Seattle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, police in Perugia, Italy, are upset. They don`t like what Amanda`s parents said about how the cops in Italy treated Amanda. They object to what the parents said about threats to Amanda. Quote, I guess this is what the parents claim the Perugian police said to Amanda, "If you ask for a lawyer, things are get worse for you. If you don`t give us some explanation for what happened, you`re going to jail for a very, very long time."

Anne Bremner, attorney for Friends of Amanda Knox, whatever happened to freedom of speech? I mean, my gosh, I hope the Italian cops don`t come after me.

ANNE BREMNER: I know. And I`m not going anywhere near Italy in light of my role in all of this and what I`ve said and what I`ve repeated. But there isn`t -- you don`t have that in Italy. Free speech here we take for granted. In Italy, if you supposedly libel somebody, then it`s criminal and civil.

And here, she was talking in her own defense. And her parents repeated what she said. That would be likewise privilege in the U.S., you know, protected court speech. But of course, it`s not in Italy. And she`s indicted for it, just like her parents.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J.Wyndal, what should the family do here? I mean, obviously, if they don`t go back to Italy, I don`t think they can be extradited, like if they`re found guilty in Italy for making these comments to a newspaper a couple of years ago. They can`t be brought to Italy for justice, can they?

GORDON: Jane, I do not feel sorry for Amanda Knox, I`m sorry to tell you. Wasn`t she the same girl who got popped in the head two times by the police and then said the Congolese man (ph) was responsible for this incident. It was like, pop, mama mia, pop, the mumba did it.

I don`t feel sorry for her, and she`s brought this on her family. Her family`s believing her, but she`s a known liar. This Congolese man ended up doing some time in jail as a result of her saying that he was responsible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. They`re fighting words.

GORDON: I don`t feel sorry for her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have the reaction after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Some people hear the crowds applauding the verdict, yelling out "assassin". Many people are looking at that police van as it left tonight and telling very directly Amanda Knox and her family what they felt about the verdict.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Has this become some kind of war between Italy and the United States? Amanda Knox convicted in 2009 in the slaying of her roommate who was found half dead -- or found dead, rather, half naked with her throat slashed in their Italian home -- the one they shared together.

Now her parents -- Amanda`s parents are in the hot seat. They`re charged with libel for trash talking Italian police. But is Amanda`s mom quaking in her boots? Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELLAS: I don`t know how seriously I take it. Only because our focus is so much on Amanda and what`s happening with her appeal, that this is just kind of a side thing, one more hoop that we have to go through. One more thing -- it`s like, really? What else do you want to try to get us with?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Anne Bremner, you`re the attorney for the friend of Amanda Knox. Now, you just heard J. Wyndal, the criminal defense attorney, basically call Amanda a liar and say she tried to push all of this onto somebody who is already serving time, a drifter from the Ivory Coast by the name of Rudy Guede -- I`m not sure if I`m pronouncing his last name -- he was tried separately and is serving a 16-year prison sentence already.

BREMNER: You know, I mean this is a case where there`s no blood, no (INAUDIBLE) fibers, no hair, no fingerprints, no evidence of Amanda Knox. They bring that up first and they call her a liar -- used the L word. She`s looking at independent review right now, Jane, as you know, the forensic evidence for the first time, because there`s reasonable doubt on appeal and we`re going to know those results here shortly in May.

So who is calling who a liar in this? And the fact of the matter is, when she was interrogated for nine hours overnight, we got rid of bare light bulbs swinging in the wind in interrogations back in the `50s and `60s with Miranda.

She`s coerced, she doesn`t have an interpreter, it`s not recorded, she doesn`t have a lawyer. And she says there`s physical force used. We don`t indict people for presenting their own defense.

And when her parents repeated that defense, when they`ve been through the ringer for three years in this case defending their daughter who they believe to be innocent -- who we believe to be innocent and they`re looking at their own criminal sanctions and they`re still going to be back in Italy seeing her every chance they can to help her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you that question, J. Wyndal.

GORDON: Yes. Isn`t she a convicted killer? Why are we molly- coddling this convicted killer?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, there`s two different issues here. We`re talking about the Italian authorities apparently having some sort of vendetta against her parents. I mean, obviously her parents want to visit Amanda Knox in Italy behind bars. And if they get convicted for something, that`s going to -- could preclude them from going to Italy. Therefore, the daughter is doubly punished as well as the parents. They`ll never get to see each other again.

GORDON: You`re in Italy. Govern yourself accordingly. If you`re going to shoot off at the mouth against authority in Italy, you better know what the law is. I just don`t understand. Help me. I just don`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Anne, I want to give you a chance to respond.

BREMNER: Yes, this is the same prosecutor who threatened to indict the "West Seattle Herald" for libel. It doesn`t have a national or international section. There`s a real problem with this prosecutor, abuse of office, and abuse in this case and now with the parents.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And this prosecutor is also under investigation for funny dealings and a whole bunch of things.

BREMNER: He`s convicted, he`s looking at 16 -- yes, go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead. Now tell us about the prosecutor.

GORDON: I just think we`re on very dangerous ground when we start criticizing other people`s judicial systems or justice systems abroad. We have enough problems with our system.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`m in favor of -- I am in favor freedom of speech --

GORDON: I am, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and God forbid that nobody can talk about their daughter and say hey, I think that this was not fair justice.

Thanks panel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Charlie Sheen just won`t quit. He called in to "The Dan Patrick Show" for round two this morning. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Never been drunk, never been high on the set once, but would show up having not slept much. Doing the network run for national director, Jamie (INAUDIBLE) -- huge shout-out, best guy alive. To move my mark a little bit so I can be next to a piece of furniture or a table.

DAN PATRICK, RADIO HOST: So you could lean on it?

SHEEN: Yes, so I wouldn`t fall over.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh boy. What`s so funny about that? Charlie also offered advice to Lindsay Lohan saying she should work on her impulse control. Really?

Charlie, you`re trying to do damage control but you`re just creating more damage. The more you talk, the more it becomes glaringly obvious to me you have a serious problem. You need to lean on something? Lean on rehab and recovery. Admit it, your life`s unmanageable. Hit bottom already.

Nancy Grace is up next.

END