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Mansion Mystery: 2 Deaths in 2 Days

Aired July 19, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, two deaths two days apart at a pharmaceutical tycoon`s multimillion-dollar mansion. First, his 6-year-old sons dies after an apparent fall down the stairs. Then, two days later, his girlfriend is found dead, naked, bound and hanging from a balcony. What on earth is going on here?

Plus, is Casey Anthony back in Florida? And a new shocker in the case. Did a key witness for the prosecution make a huge mistake on the witness stand?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many times was that site visited?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the history, 84 times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did prosecutors know they got it all wrong? And did they fail to correct it during the trial?

Then should parents of extremely obese children lose custody? That`s what a prominent doctor is now saying. We`ll debate it, and we`ll take your calls.

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The family members are still in total shock about what happened in this mansion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This could be a homicide or a suicide.

SHERIFF`S CAPTAIN TIM CURRAN, SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The victim`s hands and feet were bound, and she was completely nude. There was a rope suspending her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nude body blurred out on the grounds of the rear courtyard with evidence of bindings on her wrists and ankles and a rope trailing away from the body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scene was pretty suspicious. We are not ready to determine whether it was a suicide or a criminal act -- criminal act.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Tonight, a grisly mansion mystery. This is such a mystery. A pharmaceutical mogul`s $12 million beachfront estate is the scene of not one but two bizarre and mysterious deaths, and they happened just two days apart.

First, multimillionaire Jonah Shacknai`s 6-year-old son, Max, fell down the stairs at his father`s historic 27-room San Diego mansion. As if that weren`t strange enough, just two days after that child`s fall, while young Max was in a coma about to die, his wealthy father`s 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, was found dead at the very same mansion. The mogul`s brother found Rebecca hanging naked from a second-story balcony. There`s her body blurred out. This is actual footage of her body in the courtyard before police arrived. And you can see, we highlighted the rope that was trailing behind her. Check this out.


CURRAN: The victim`s hands and feet were bound, and she was completely nude. The condition of the victim at the scene showed suspicious circumstances that initiated the response from the Coronado Police Department investigators and, in turn, the sheriff`s homicide detail.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Suspicious is an understatement. In fact, reports are her hands were bound behind her back. How does somebody commit suicide that way?

Jonah was not home when his girlfriend was found. She was reportedly looking after the 6-year-old, Max, when the child fell. Did she feel guilty? Could someone have sought vengeance on the child`s death? Here`s cops.


CURRAN: On Monday, a child was injured in the home and was transported to the hospital for treatment. Are they connected? There`s nothing to indicate that those two incidents are connected.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Wow. That`s a bizarre coincidence, there`s no connection.

Tonight, we`re asking with so many unanswered question, how can police possibly know for sure that they`re not connected? How does a 6-year-old take a deadly spill down a flight of stairs? And how exactly did Rebecca die? Could she have tied up her owns hands and feet and then hanged herself? Was her death maybe staged to look like a suicide? Give me a holler if you have a theory or thought, question: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Sergeant Roy Frank from the San Diego County Sheriff`s Department.

Sheriff, thanks so much for joining us. I want to cut to the chase here. Does Jonah Shacknai have an alibi for the hours leading up to Rebecca`s being discovered hanging there, naked from a noose?

SERGEANT ROY FRANK, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT (via phone): I can tell you that it is early in the investigation, but what we do know is that Jonah was in San Diego at the time of the incident. We are investigating the case, speaking to witnesses, family members, and anybody that may have been in the neighborhood.

At this point in time, I can tell you that everybody has been cooperative, and we don`t believe that to change.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when you say that Jonah, who I presume we`re looking at here, who is the mogul who has this incredibly successful pharmaceutical company, and he has this mansion. I believe there`s 27 rooms in this mansion. It`s a very, very exclusive area. In fact, we`re going to show you some video. It`s right near the beach, and it`s -- it`s got amazing furnishings. It`s really an historic mansion, built in 1908. And again, this area is extremely exclusive, right on the beach. And some incredible furnishings.

But I just want to ask you, Sergeant, when you say that, at the time of the incident, he was somewhere else at the hospital, where his child, Max, was in a coma and would ultimately die, do you mean at the time the body was discovered or do you mean like 24 hours previous to that?

FRANK: Well, what I can tell you this is that when Adam called the police department in Coronado and reported the incident, when the officers arrived on scene, the only two people that were home at that time would have been Rebecca and Adam. And...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Adam is the brother -- Adam is the brother of the mogul who owns the mansion. Just -- I just want to clarify. Go ahead, Sergeant.

FRANK: That`s correct. So after they -- they obviously started medical aid, officers also checked the mansion for anybody else inside the household. We do know that Rebecca and Adam were the only ones home at the time the call came in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, that`s at the time the call came in. But obviously, whatever happened to her happened a long time before that.

Now, I understand an autopsy was completed. Do you know the cause of death? Do you know the time of death?

FRANK: We do -- we do know that the autopsy was completed, that that autopsy is sealed right now because it`s an ongoing investigation. What I can tell you, it is pending toxicology and investigative work, as well.

We are at the beginning stages, but I can tell you that we`ve conducted numerous interviews in this case. We`ve got an investigator from the Coronado Police Department, from the California Department of Justice, and the sheriff`s homicide detail working on the case. We also are processing evidence that we may have gleaned from the scene during the search warrant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think that the boy falling down the stairs is an accident? That`s a quick one, because we have a lot of other guests. I just wanted to ask you that one quickly, Sergeant.

FRANK: The Coronado Police Department is investigating the case involving Max, and we are working hand in hand, obviously. But any time we have a death such as Rebecca`s, we`re always going to look into victimology and look into what occurred days before, weeks before, and even months before.

So as far as Max`s incident, if it`s associated with the case, we can`t say that right now, but we are definitely looking into it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you so much, Sergeant. I know you`re bus, and I do hope you solve this one. This is a real mystery.

Jon Lieberman, host of "True Facts with Jon Lieberman," what do you know?

JON LIEBERMAN, HOST, "TRUE FACTS WITH JON LIEBERMAN": Well, what a bizarre case. And I`ll tell you what has been revealed today in these police reports is a background of domestic violence allegations between Jonah and his ex-wife, the parents of Max, the little boy, of course, who presumably fell down the stairs.

In the reports, you know, we see that she alleged at one time that he failed to pull his dog off of her when it hit her and that he elbowed her in the chest and then she tried to choke him while drunk and high on pills and that she once broke his finger.

So no charges were ever filed, but as the sergeant said, when they start to look into the backgrounds of everybody and victimology and everything, this is just -- these facts that I just told you about, they could be irrelevant to this investigation, but it does help police sort of paint a picture of everybody involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right, Casey Jordan, criminologist, how do you commit suicide with your hands bound behind your back, first of all?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: It would be extremely rare and relatively difficult but absolutely not impossible. The trick is to bind the feet first, then bind the hands in front of you, and then put your hands through -- put your feet through the loop you`ve made with your bound hands, put them behind your back. But the noose already has to be around your neck. And then you have to hop over to the balcony and throw yourself overboard. It`s pretty unlikely in this case, which is why I think police are being very careful.

Believe it or not, the biggest thing people are saying, Jane, is that no woman would ever hang herself nude.


JORDAN: And actually, the literature disagrees with that in some respect. It`s far more rare for women than for men, and usually, it is done in autoasphyxia erotic situations. We don`t see any of that here. There`s an element of humiliation to this if somebody else did it and a sexual component, as well.

So the police have a lot to contend with in trying to put the pieces together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mauri, Idaho, your question or thought, Laurie?

CALLER: Well, one, did the child have a nanny or was there anybody else in the house? But after you talked about the mom, the ex-wife, I`m thinking, gee whiz, do you think she could be taking retribution for the issue with the child earlier in the week?

Because unless this young lady was half Houdini, an acrobat and a contortionist, I just don`t see, looking at the scene, how she could have done all that preparation and still managed to get over the top and hang herself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, we want to say that nobody`s been named a suspect in this case, and obviously, two people are mourning the death of a precious child, and that is Jonah Shacknai, who is the mogul in question, who owns the mansion, as well. And that his girlfriend also is dead. And his ex-wife mourning the death of her son that she had with Jonah. Complicated story.

On the other side of the break, we`re going to talk to somebody who saw the victim on the day she died. Stay with us. We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Two mysterious deaths at one millionaire`s mansion. What`s the likelihood?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We think of ourselves as this sleepy little town, you know, like Pleasantville, so it`s quite a shock.




CURRAN: Right now, everyone we`ve talked to so far is considered to being considered a witness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nude body blurred out on the grounds of the rear courtyard, with evidence of bindings on her wrists and ankles, and a rope trailing away from the body.

CURRAN: Adam Shacknai informed us that he cut her down when he found her.

The hands were bound behind the back, and the feet were bound. They did not appear to be bound together. You used the term hog-tied. That did not appear to be the case.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about Rebecca Zahau. She was the girlfriend of the mogul pharmaceutical CEO who owned this 27-room mansion. There she is. She was found hanging from a balcony naked and bound two days after the mogul`s son falls down a flight of stairs and ultimately dies. What`s the likelihood of any of that happening?

Ted Greenberg, we`re delighted to have you on tonight. You`re the owner of Camp Diggity Dog, and you saw Rebecca on the day she died?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us -- tell us everything. Tell us what you know.

GREENBERG: Sure. Rebecca called Camp Diggity Dog on Monday to tell us that she needed her dog picked up from her home and boarded at Camp Diggity Dog for a few days. She told us that her child had been in a horrible accident and that she needed to get to the hospital.

So I spoke to her about five times, actually, on Monday. And we needed to get some vaccinations for her dog before we could board her dog. So on Tuesday morning I was preparing to come get her dog when she called me at about 8:15 in the morning to ask if I could come over at that point. I headed over to Coronado. I got there around 8:45 in the morning. Spent about 15 minutes with her.

She took me upstairs in the mansion. We filled out some paperwork. She had to get a different computer to attach to the printer. Took me downstairs to get the dog food. Inquired about the dog food and what we needed. Told me a little bit about the mansion and how she lived there in the summertime and had somebody else stay in the guest house over the winter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this. Did she seem distraught? She was apparently watching little Max when she fell down the stairs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she say anything that would indicate she was suicidal that she took responsibility, that she felt it was her fault that this child fell down the stairs?

GREENBERG: No, she really didn`t. She was very, very quiet. I would say very upset. But definitely not distraught or anything that would indicate she would have been suicidal. She did ask about the cost of us faking the dog to the veterinarian to the vaccination. So that alone would indicate that, you know, if you`re going to commit suicide, why would you even care about the cost? But no, nothing to indicate that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she indicate that there was anything else going on, that she was in fear for her life? That she had another explanation for the fall, that -- did she tell you about the fall? Did she tell you about how this child fell?

GREENBERG: She didn`t go into any specifics. She did mention the accident both over the phone and when I was at the mansion, but she did not go into any specifics. She did mention that she had a daughter that was injured, as well, and couldn`t take her to the hospital, I believe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What? That same day? That same day or...

GREENBERG: On Monday. On Monday, I thought she told me that there was a daughter that could not get her to the hospital because the daughter had been in an accident. So I assumed it was a car accident. I didn`t know that it was a staircase fall.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa. Whoa. You`re saying that she said that there was somebody else involved in some accident on that day, on Monday, a week from yesterday?

GREENBERG: That`s what I believe. I`m not 100 percent sure. She was crying at the time. It was a little bit hard to hear everything, but I had thought that she had mentioned a daughter, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Wow. I`ve got to go back to Jon Lieberman. Does -- did she have a daughter?

LIEBERMAN: Well, here`s what we know. Max`s older sister or somebody we believe to be Max`s older sister, a 13- or 14-year-old, it appears was the one who called 911 after Max fell down the stairs, not Rachel [SIC]. So I believe that what the gentleman is referring to is probably that little 13- or 14-year-old in the home at the time of the fall. Because that girl was at home during the fall.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I have to bring in another aspect. And now let`s talk about the child`s fall again. Again, Rebecca, the woman who was later found hanging from the balcony, was the only one reportedly watching the child when he fell. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A child had fallen from the stairs and was not breathing and did not have a pulse. We have no information that would lead us to believe that this is anything other than a tragic accident with the child.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, this kind of reminds me, Darren Kavinoky. There`s another case. Mike Peterson, the novelist, he said that his wife fell down the stairs. She had blunt force trauma and ultimately it turned out that he was convicted of murder. Now I`m not saying that this wasn`t an accident. I`m not saying that whatsoever. This -- at this point, I think the police are still investigating, but your thoughts?

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, obviously, it`s a horrible tragedy, and -- and your observations are correct. What we don`t want to get lost here is the loss of this -- of this poor child.

And at the same time, what a bizarre set of circumstances that anybody that hears about this is matching up in their head and saying, these have to be connected in some way. And, you know, when we get into this question of -- of whether or not it was after suicide, there`s certainly facts that cut both ways. But it doesn`t take much to concoct some manner in which these two cases are connected.


Is Casey back in Orlando? We`re going to have that and more on this mystery next.



CURRAN: We understand that the victim was a house guest here. The manner of death appears to be somewhat of a violent nature. We`re starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Fascinating developments.

Ted Greenberg, owner of Camp Diggity Dogs. You saw the victim, Rebecca. You saw her the -- after the child fell, and she was trying to arrange. What day was that again?

GREENBERG: That was on Tuesday morning I met her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, so a week ago.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she was trying to arrange you taking the dog so she could go to the hospital, but she never ended up going to the hospital. Tell me what you said you found very strange about that.

GREENBERG: Well, like you said, she made it clear that she wanted the dog out and be -- be boarded by Camp Diggity Dogs so that she could go to the hospital to be with her son, but as it turns out, like you said, she was at home. So what was the purpose of getting the dog out of the house?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that wasn`t her son. That was the son of her boyfriend, the pharmaceutical mogul who...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now, he apparently picked up the dog later, and you spoke to him, Jonah, on the phone?

GREENBERG: Right. Jonah actually did not pick up the dog himself, but he had somebody pick him up. Jonah called me on Saturday morning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what did he say? Tell me about that.

GREENBERG: He was in tears. Really, really upset but also really thankful, thankful that we had helped -- helped him out. But just wanted to have somebody come and get the dog. And I wanted to make sure that it was Jonah, indeed, on the phone picking up the dogs. So we spoke for about two or three minutes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying you spoke to Jonah the day before she was found? The child falls down the stairs on Monday. Right?



GREENBERG: No, I`m sorry. I spoke to Jonah the following Saturday. After his girlfriend had passed away.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And after his...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And after his girlfriend had passed away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So his son and his girlfriend passed away, and he called you to get his girlfriend`s dog, which I can understand.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m an animal lover. People care for their animals in crisis, in types of pain and suffering. What do you think that says about him? I mean, to me, that -- it`s very interesting that he did that.

GREENBERG: Yes. I mean, I guess he was really upset. His girlfriend had just passed away, his child probably had passed away at that point and, you know, I guess his dog was one thing he was thinking about. So I guess it says a little bit about how people feel about their dogs. But I felt horrible for him. And...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What did he say to you?

GREENBERG: Wasn`t a lot -- he just said that he wanted to have a friend or associate of his pick up the dog. And I asked him for Rebecca`s phone number just to be sure that it was him. I asked him how he was, and he said he was doing terribly, but he thanked us for what we had done. And that the dogs had been part of the child`s life for a short time. And that was about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you saw -- when you went up to the mansion, right...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... to help Rebecca, you saw something, right?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And OK. This -- did you find whatever you saw significant?

GREENBERG: What are you speaking of exactly?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You said you saw another woman?

GREENBERG: When I left. When I was leaving the house...


GREENBERG: ... with the dog.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break, we`re extending this. We`re extending this. On the other side of the break, we`re going to answer this mystery and get the analysts` response.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Family members are still in total shock about what happened in this mansion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This could be a homicide or a suicide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The victim`s hands and feet were bound and she was completely nude. There was a rope suspending her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nude body blurred out on the grounds of the rear courtyard with evidence of bindings in the wrists and ankles and a rope trailing away from the body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scene was pretty suspicious. We are not ready to determine whether it was a suicide or a criminal act.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are talking about an extraordinary story and we`re bringing you some breaking news. It`s occurring in this area of San Diego; very, very exclusive area. We`re talking about a 27-room mansion. And we can show you that this is a very luxurious mansion. And there`s a pharmaceutical mogul who owns the mansion.

Tragically, his son fell down the stairs and died a week ago yesterday. And the person who was there watching the child was his girlfriend Rebecca. You see her there. And there`s the boyfriend, Jonah and the son. And two days after the boy falls down the stairs and ultimately will die, she`s found naked hanging from a balcony. Her hands tied behind her back and her feet bound.

Now, Casey Jordan, we just heard from Ted Greenberg who is the owner of Camp Diggity Dogs (ph). He saw the victim the day she died. And says she was upset but she wanted to board her dog because she was going to the hospital to see Jonah`s son and she was all broken up that, obviously, he was very ill and he would ultimately die.

But she doesn`t go to the hospital. She remains apparently, or is found at the mansion two days later, swinging from that balcony by a rope, her hands tied behind her back.

And then this gentleman from Camp Diggity Dogs says that this past weekend, he gets a call from Jonah, the pharmaceutical mogul to pick up the dog. And he`s also grief stricken. What do you make of it?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: There`s a bunch of different scenarios that you can come up with and they`re all speculation. But keep in mind that Rebecca had apparently quit her job so she could actually spend more time being with Max. Keep in mind, this is not her son. This is the son of Jonah and his ex-wife Dina. And apparently that was the divorce, it was very acrimonious. And there`s all these allegations of domestic abuse and their breakup and that sort of thing.

I can envision that perhaps she planned on going to the hospital but maybe Max`s mother was there and did not want Rebecca around. So it may be absolutely an innocuous explanation of why she did not go to the hospital. Perhaps she wasn`t welcome there at this time of crisis.

But the bottom line is --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what about the woman? He says as he`s leave, he sees a woman approaching -- another woman.

JORDAN: I mean that`s juicy. We have no idea what that is. But of course, I`m sure he`s told all of these details to the police and they`re looking into it.

I guarantee you the police know way more than we know at this point and I can also assure you the details will come out eventually.


JORDAN: This is fascinating. But I`ve got to tell you, the suicide scenario, very slim to none.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I`ve doubts about the accident, about suicide, I have doubts about everything but I don`t know anything.

Thank you, Casey.

I must say that the multi-millionaire, Jonah Shacknai, and his ex-wife say they`re very pained that the reports of domestic violence in their marriage which ended three years ago had come up, and they say that that is not reflective of the totality of their marriage.

And that they thought the release of the spousal abuse reports as they`re grieving their son`s loss pained them greatly. And they point out no charges were ever filed despite those reported claims of violence on both sides.

So we want to be fair.

Now we`re moving on to another controversy, another breaking story. Casey Anthony. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This appears to be a result of a search for chloroform.

LINDA DRANE-BURDICK, PROSECUTOR:\chloroform; were you on that Web site 84 times?

CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: I was on it several times.

DRANE-BURDICK: Were you on that Web site 84 times? Did you do 84 searches for the effects of chlorophyll on your animals?; how many times was that site visited?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the history, 84 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were looking for chloroform and they got it. And this report comes out showing the sci-spot one time.

CINDY ANTHONY: I didn`t do 84 searches of anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight out of Orlando. Could this be Casey Anthony running from a private jet at the Orlando executive airport? WFTV reports, this woman got off the very same plane that Casey flew out of the morning she was released from jail. The woman is running with two people and has a blanket thrown over her head. Is it her?

Casey`s defense attorney says no, it is not her. Listen to this.


JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: That is not her. That I can confirm. I will not say anything further as to her whereabouts, but I can absolutely 100 percent tell you that is not her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think it`s her. Give me a call, 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

Straight out to WFTV reporter, Kathy Belich; Kathy thank you for joining us tonight. Tell us about this video; this woman running from the private jet. We`re confused. Is it Casey or not?

KATHY BELICH, REPORTER, WFTV: Well it looks like Casey certainly. I mean you can see from the video, you can`t see her face because she`s covering it. She`s wearing Levi`s, which is what Casey was wearing, skinny jean Levi`s when she left the Orange County Jail.

Certainly that was -- she got out of her former attorney Todd Macaluso`s plane here at Orlando Executive Airport. The same plane we were told she got on, on Saturday night.

And, you know, all due respect to Mr. Baez, he`s lied to us before. So who knows? I know he wants to protect her. That can be one reason. What he told me, he texted me and said this was a game of sorts that Macaluso was having fun with us -- the former attorney who owns that plane. But that doesn`t make any sense. If they were doing that to mislead us, why would they then admit to it, instead of just leaving us to believe that was her. None of it makes really any sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kathy, quickly, why would he do this? What`s the point of -- well, I could see why you would get her out of town, but why bring her back? What is she going to do in Orlando that she couldn`t do somewhere else? Hide.

BELICH: I really don`t know. I mean maybe it`s just a matter of her feeling more comfortable here because she -- this is home to her. Maybe Baez feels more comfortable with her here because he knows this area and can control her comings and goings a little better than he can in a community where he`s not so familiar. We know that he really wants to keep a tight rein on her, that`s for sure. So, who knows?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Ok. Stand by. Thank you so much for that report. And we`ll get your input on other breaking news that involves a truly pivotal moment in the Casey Anthony trial. Check this out. Listen to this.

You`ll hear it in a second, I think. Ok, you won`t hear it in a second. But it`s something we`ve heard a million times.

Cindy Anthony grilled by prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick about all those Google searches for the word "chloroform" on the Anthony home computer. But what if I told you that chloroform wasn`t searched 84 times -- that it was only searched one time? One time.

Now a "New York Times" article says software designer John Bradley is now reveals that it`s not the case. That shortly after he testified, he realized that his data was wrong, that the word "chloroform" was searched only once. And he says he tried to let the prosecution know that, but Bradley said nobody from the prosecution team got back to him. The prosecution says uh-uh, that`s not true. So we`re going to have the rest of their response in a moment.

But first out to HLN legal contributor and former Casey Anthony defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden. What do you make --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- good evening -- what do you make of this brouhaha now where this former prosecution expert computer forensic witness is saying, "Oh, my gosh, I said something wrong on the witness stand. And then, I realized it was wrong and I tried to correct it and the prosecution did not respond to me", in a way that he feels was appropriate.

KENNEY-BADEN: Well, look, he said -- in the article, he said he called them, he told them. No one would -- he wanted them to correct it and then no one would respond to him. He left messages with Linda Drane Burdick`s assistant.

Look, this is outrageous Jane. No matter what you think about the verdict. I mean there are people in jail because of prosecutorial misconduct in this country. And this is not the last of it.

If I were any of these law enforcement officers, boy, I would be hiring a criminal lawyer right now and I would be marching into the state`s attorney general`s office or the fed`s office and I`d be like giving my guts out to try to get a deal. Because this, if it`s true, could lead to some kind of indictable offenses; it is really outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the state attorney`s response, "Mr. Bradley never told prosecutors that the searches or the dates and times of the searches were inaccurate. We`re dismayed at the suggestion made by the defense that prosecutors will withhold exculpatory material. Court records show the defense was completely aware of the issues utilizing these facts at trial."

So basically, Linda, they`re saying that hey, it came out, they told the defense about it, the defense used it.

KENNEY-BADEN: No, no, no, no. The defense argued, if you recall, that`s their word, that they had lied about it because the one report said one search. And remember, when Mr. Bradley was cross examined by Jose Baez he said did you know about this report with one search? And there was an objection by the prosecution. He wouldn`t let him talk about it.

It is going to go further Jane. Mark my words. This is not finished yet.

Wow, this is a fiery development. I`ve got to say, this case never ceases to just leave me stunned. Thank you so much Linda Kenney-Baden and Kathy Belich.

Next, should parents of extremely obese children lose custody of them? Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS; we are debating it, 1-877-586-7297.



MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re trying to end childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born this day grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Childhood obesity is at epidemic levels. You just heard it. First Lady Michelle Obama wants kids to exercise more, but it`s going to take more than that to solve this crisis.

Now a new article is claiming that overweight children should be taken away from their parents. Some say obesity is child abuse and this is causing a firestorm of debate all around the country.

Two prominent pediatric doctors are writing in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" that in extreme cases of obesity, the government should step in and remove the obese children from the home. And their logic is very simple -- just like starving children is against the law, then overfeeding children should also be against the law. They say it`s like any other form of child abuse and kids need to be protected.

Here`s one of the authors, Dr. David Ludwig on "Good Morning America" explaining why he thinks this is absolutely necessary. Check it out.


DR. DAVID LUDWIG, CHILDREN`S HOSPITAL, BOSTON: State intervention is no guarantee of a good outcome. But to do nothing is also not an answer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people disagree with these doctors but you have to check out the stats; they are frightening. They are horrifying.

17 percent, almost 20 percent of all children and teens in the United States are obese. That`s 12.5 million youngsters. Nearly one out of every five kids is extremely overweight; those numbers are going up every year. According to the CDC, obesity rates have tripled since 1980.

But what we`re talking about tonight and we`re asking tonight, we want your calls, so call us; is taking kids away from their parents the answer? 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Is it child abuse to overfeed your children? Or is the problem more about what you`re feeding them.

All right. We have some people here who disagree. They`re going to agree to disagree. We`re going to have a healthy debate.

I`m going to start with Sandy Schaffer, New York chapter of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. Why do I think you might disagree with this idea of taking kids away?

SANDY SCHAFFER, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TO ADVANCE FAT ACCEPTANCE: You`re going from looking at a child that`s fat and assuming they`re unhealthy and going straight to taking them away from their parents and putting them in a system that`s already overcrowded and overworked. And these children may come from loving, happy families and may or may not be healthy. You don`t know.

And the other thing is if you want to look at behavioral changes and make behavioral changes that are good for all children, then that`s the way to go. But once you make it weight-based, it`s like weight profiling. How heavy is too heavy?

You`re going to panic parents. You`re going to panic children. They`re destroying their families. And even the children they`re put with, you`re going to panic them because if they don`t lose weight. So there`s nothing good that can come out of this except traumatizing and demonizing children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me tell you that there are many things that happen to kids that are awful as a result of being obese. They develop Type 2 diabetes quite often. They develop high blood pressure. They develop high cholesterol. They develop breathing problems. They develop liver problems. They can develop sleep apnea. And of course perhaps the most serious aspect is the psychological and self-esteem issues that they can develop.

Dr. Neal Barnard, you were the author of "21-Day Weight Loss Kick Start"; you`re a health advocate and you`ve been so for years. We need to do something about this obesity crisis.

It is getting worse and I disagree respectfully with Sandy Schaffer. I don`t see it as a lifestyle choice. I feel that feeding a child until the child becomes obese is akin to giving the child alcohol or drugs -- Dr. Neal Barnard.

DR. NEAL BARNARD, AUTHOR, "21-DAY WEIGHT LOSS KICK START": Taking the child away from the home is really something that`s reserved only for the most extreme cases, but there are cases where that occurs.

There are really two criteria. The first criteria is the child has to be massively overweight to the point of the very serious health problems; I`m talking about the 12-year-old child who has developed Type 2 diabetes and you`re thinking of gastric bypass surgery. You`re in a very dangerous situation.

And the second criteria is that the parents either through drugs, alcohol or chaos in the home are not able to get the situation on a better path. There was a case in South Carolina --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Go ahead.

BARNARD: No. Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to show some of these kids. There`s some very, very -- I would say, sad cases.

Check out this young man. He`s obese. He`s 14 apparently and 400 pounds. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of his weight, he has gained diabetes and he has a high blood pressure.

These people are going to come in my house and take my child and sign me over as unfit. I don`t know how you feel about that, but I do think very highly of that. It`s not right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So obviously the mother is obese and the son is obese. He`s 14 and 400 pounds. I think that`s a problem. I think I believe that that is child abuse respectfully. We`re going to hear from psychologist Wendy Walsh on the other side of the break.

Stay right there.



ADELA MARTINEZ, MOTHER OF OBESE CHILD: We have seen some progress. It just hasn`t been real fast.

If they were in line, they would have to put her at the back because it was just so hard for her to keep up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That child was 3 years old and weighed 124 pounds. She was taken away from her parents. And foster care apparently didn`t solve her problems but she was only in foster care supposedly two-and-a- half months. At age 8, she weighed more than 200 pounds according to published reports.

Wendy Walsh, you`re a psychologist with and also a mother. Weigh in here -- pun intended.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, I got to start by saying these medical doctors do mean well but they`re not thinking about mental health. Plenty of these children are eating because they have anxiety and depression. You give them a giant attachment injury on top of that, Jane, that isn`t going to solve their anxiety and depression.

I think it needs to be a family intervention. I think that`s the most important thing. Where there is an obese kid there is likely an obese adult. And there needs to be some kind of in-home family intervention that is a little more complicated, a little harder for the government to do. But snagging a kid out of a home is never right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got to do something. So here`s what upsets me. The government is saying we`re going to take your kids away from you if you`re obese.

Well, guess what -- the government is part of the problem. American agribusiness gets huge subsidies from the government which allows for the production of super cheap, super fattening foods. This is why we have a fast food nation. High fructose corn syrup is one example.

Fast food would cost a heck of a lot more if we didn`t have this giant agribusiness being subsidized by the government. Dr. Neal Barnard.

BARNARD: Absolutely right. And unfortunately the American public has been confused and really hoodwinked. They think, the whole problem must be that can of soda, which has all of 140 calories, but what they don`t realize is that when they`re going to Burger King and having a fish sandwich, it has 700 calories, the Whopper has 850 calories and they`re blaming that soda.

Don`t get me wrong. The soda is junk food, but that`s not the reason Americans are obese today. So it starts -- the first step is not taking the kids out of the family. The first step is educating the parents that it is that cheese dripping all over their pizza that is ending up fattening their thighs. That`s what we have to deal with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. First of all, this is across- the-board American culture. So this is not about any one company. This is American culture. Just drive through America and the number of fast food outlets versus fruits and vegetable stands, come on.

Sandy Schaffer, are you saying that you don`t think being obese is a problem? I`m not sure I understand what you`re saying.

SCHAFFER: I`m saying -- I`m saying that it may or may not be a problem. It really -- it really depends. Eating fast food and eating junk food and doing all of that is unhealthy no matter what size you are.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, wait a second -- wait, when you`re eating healthy, you don`t become obese. And when you eat fast food, you can.


SCHAFFER: Not necessarily. That`s not true. I eat the same as my sister and she`s not fat and I`m fat. It is not -- it is not an all or nothing issue. And --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t buy it.

SCHAFFER: And you can be healthy and be fat. I just think that you can have a health in every size kind of point of view and make behavioral changes to make everybody happy. You gave a (INAUDIBLE) -- she has a genetic defect.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Food addiction is a real problem and there is a program for it. It is called Overeaters Anonymous. That`s another thing we haven`t gotten into. There is a program for overeating.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I suggest everybody rescue a dog from the pound. You never know when you`re going to need him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is my feel good story of the night. I just had to show you this and share it with you, because there`s so much violence out there, and there is one little hero, Paco, the rescue Chihuahua. Paco saved the day when two armed robbers, which you see here in this YouTube clip, burst into his human companion`s store and get this -- guess who chased them out? This little 6-pound Paco.

These guys are armed and dangerous. Look who is chasing them out. All right. He`s nipping at their heels and chased them all the way down the street. Paco is a hero. He wasn`t afraid of masked gunmen. He wanted to protect his master. And I just love this. You`ve got to check it out. That`s why they call them man`s best friend.