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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Girls Vanish During Bike Ride

Aired July 16, 2012 - 19:00   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to bring in Jane Velez-Mitchell. And Jane, you`re going to talk to the mother of Lyric, one of the little girls there, the 10-year-old, and also both kids` aunts. What do you want to talk to them about?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Well, we have more and more family members who are joining us, because this is a desperate race against time. And these family members want to do everything they can to get any information out there.

We are going to try to solve this issue of what they were wearing at the time these two girls went bike riding. I also have questions about how were the bikes left? Were they on a kickstand? Did they look like they were left there deliberately, or were they scattered on the ground?

And also about one of the bags -- the bag that little Elizabeth had, being 20 feet away. Does the other child have a cell phone, too? Did she leave with a bag? There are so many unanswered questions.

We want to do everything we can to help this family. Our heart goes out to them. And we want to be of service.

Tonight we are talking exclusively with Lyric Morrissey`s mother, father, and brother, and both of the girls` aunts as we try to help these families and this community find these precious, innocent 8- and 10-year- old girls.

What has happened in our nation? Are we at a point now where two girls can`t even go out for a summertime bike ride?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, a terrifying mystery as two young girls vanish into thin air. The 8- and 10-year-old cousins went for a bike ride and never came back. Their bikes and a small purse found abandoned. More than a thousand neighbors search all weekend for the two children and don`t find a thing. Could they have been abducted? Can`t children even ride their bikes anymore?

Plus, 120 of George Zimmerman`s jailhouse calls just released, and an interview with mystery witness No. 9, who makes bold allegations that George Zimmerman molested her, starting when he was just 8. Is the release of this information going to deprive him of a fair trial? Will the jury ever hear this claim? We`ll tell you why the defense is outraged. And we`ll talk to the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family for their take on this stunning development. It`s gotten so bad Zimmerman`s defense wants a new judge. I`m taking your calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a completely baffling case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Perplexing and frankly terrifying mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of people are helping in the search for Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their bikes were found, but there`s no sign of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After an entire weekend of searching, they have very few, if any, clues.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two young girls, 8 and 10, going for a bike ride on a Friday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just like they vanished. Into nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like they just vanished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last place that I can tell you is where they were at is when grandma seen them at 12:15.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Family members do fear that someone abducted the cousins, but so far investigators have found nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got a few leads on them, but so far nothing is standing out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far, searchers have come up empty. What happened to the girls?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

A terrifying mystery grips an Iowa community. What happened to two young girls who went for a bike ride together, using the buddy system, on a Friday afternoon, and simply vanished without a trace?

Members of their family join me tonight in a primetime exclusive. We want to find these girls.

Eight-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook are cousins and good friends. Left their homes Friday shortly after 12 noon on their bikes. When they didn`t come back, their grandmother reported them missing that afternoon at around 3 p.m.

Cops moved into action. Just about one hour later, both of the girls` bikes were discovered on a dirt path next to Meyers Lake. Now just 20 feet away from the bike they found little Elizabeth`s purse and cell phone. Remember, she`s 8 years old.

Police dragged the lake over the weekend, but they found absolutely nothing. Right now, as we`re speaking to you, they are draining the entire lake, which is the size of five acres, a process that could take as long as three days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF DEPUTY RICK ABBEN, BLACK HAWK COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: Today the process has begun to drain Meyers Lake. There are grates in the lake with screens on them so the lake can be drained and nothing of any size will be allowed to get through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The girls` grandmother was the last to see these two girls, ages 8 and 10, Friday when they left on their bikes. That`s what kids do. That`s what kids do in the summertime. And they were smart enough to go together, the buddy system.

She says they take this trip all the time. They`ve taken it thousands of times, she said, with no problem. So far investigators are totally baffled and perplexed by their disappearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t have any indications of any foul play. No one has come in saying, "Hey, we saw a person in the area" or anything like that.

We`ve got a few leads that have come in, but nothing that`s panning out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re taking your calls on this mystery: 1-877-JVM- SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my very special, exclusive guests, the missing 10- year-old`s parents, Misty and Daniel Morrissey.

Thank you so much for joining us. We cannot imagine the torture that this has to be for you, and we want to help find your daughter. We know this is a race against time.

Misty, where were you, and how did you get the news that your 10-year- old daughter, Lyric, had vanished, along with her 8-year-old cousin and friend?

MISTY MORRISSEY, MOTHER OF LYRIC: I was at work. I work at Casey`s Gas Station, was getting off of work. My mom called and said -- she is about four blocks away. She said, "You know what? I can`t find the kids. They`ve been riding their bikes. If you just want to come here and help me find them, that would be great." So it was kind of really casual. Maybe they just rode a little too long. Maybe found a friend and were playing a little too long outside.

So I rode right -- I drove right down there. That`s how I found out that they, you know, were gone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to understand the position of the bikes, because I think this is absolutely crucial.

Now the girls` bikes were discovered at about 4 p.m., just an hour after they were reported missing. And 8-year-old Elizabeth`s purse and her cell phone were also found about 20 feet away from the bikes.

But they say that they didn`t find any clues along with the bikes. Now, I want to ask you, and maybe your husband Daniel knows, did the bikes look like they were placed there deliberately by the girls? For example, were they on the kickstands? Or were they scattered on the dirt road, as if they had been dumped there -- Daniel?

DANIEL MORRISSEY, FATHER OF LYRIC: When I got there, it was around 5 p.m. And they already roped off the whole area, and they weren`t allowing anybody back there. I have no idea what the bikes` positions were.

I believe the direction they said was going west on the trail. So like, they were going to probably continue in the same direction. They just stopped, it seemed like.

I don`t know -- I didn`t know that the purse was 20 feet away or anything like that.

Honestly, we haven`t received hardly any information about any of this or any updates to any degree. We`ve just been sitting, waiting, walking, looking, talking to people.

It`s just been a nightmare, this -- it`s been a challenge to continue to -- to hold everything together and to continue to just keep believing and praying and trusting God that He`s got -- He`s got this. And either way, the way anything goes. He`s big enough to -- to sustain us in this time, and we`re just going to trust in Him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We know, and we cover these stories all the time. So we know it`s absolutely standard operating procedure that authorities have to -- it`s protocol -- examine the families first and then eliminate them and proceed. So I understand that you, Misty, have gone and taken a polygraph. What can you tell me about -- have you, as well, Daniel? How did that work to get that out of the way?

M. MORRISSEY: Yes. Yes, absolutely. We -- I did a polygraph this morning. Dan has yet to do his. He`ll do his later. Several of our other family members did theirs yesterday. We were in extensive interviews yesterday from 12 afternoon until about 11 p.m. -- 10 p.m., 11 p.m. last night.

So we were kept away from the search. We were kept away from a lot of the family members. We were in individual rooms. So there was a lot of stress yesterday and this morning, just being away from everybody that we love and trying to get as much information as we could on our backgrounds, on our family, on our friends, on any information that we thought might be pertinent or they thought might be pertinent to the case.

So absolutely we`ve been involved in that, and yes, that`s been hard and very stressful, but we know that it`s a very necessary measure that they need to take to rule out anybody that`s close by. So absolutely we`ve been involved in that the last couple of days.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve shown incredible courage to be able to keep it together to talk like this in this incredibly stressful time. And I can`t even imagine what it must be like inside for you to go through this.

But I just want you to know that our thoughts are with you, and we want to do everything we can. We want to job somebody`s memory. We`re talking to you, hoping that somebody in your community says, "Oh, my gosh." Either "I saw them" or "I know something." Somebody said something. Somebody is acting strange. Somebody in your community suddenly leaves to take an unplanned vacation. Somebody who lives in the neighborhood.

Daniel, I want to ask you, do you have any -- is there anybody who might have a motive to hurt the girls? Is there anything that would indicate that somebody might want to do something? Any enemies?

D. MORRISSEY: Absolutely not. Those girls are just beautiful, you know. They`re -- they`re loving and full of just life. And they`re just a joy to be around. I haven`t found anybody that would not want to be around them. So absolutely not. No enemies, no nothing like that.

It`s just baffling to try to figure out the pieces to the puzzle. Looking at it, it doesn`t make any sense. I don`t know. It`s just, are we going to get answers? I`m not sure.

I`m impressed with how the FBI and DCI have been handling the case and taking it very seriously. It`s -- it`s a nightmare. But just how people have volunteered and put their time and the whole community coming together and everybody is just -- it`s weighed on their hearts. And...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Misty, can I ask you quickly, do you -- can you update us on a description of the clothing that the children were wearing?

M. MORRISSEY: OK, I can tell you what I know. I know that it`s a little disturbing, and it`s kind of frustrating for us as a family, as well, because you don`t notice sometimes what did your kid throw on that morning and what did they take off in?

I left for work at 8:30 that morning, and so Lyric was still in her pajamas. She was in a bright green shirt. Sometimes she tends to wear that same pajama outfit, you know, with my mother over to my sister, Heather`s. I know for sure she had on her purple flip-flops. And that`s the only shoe that has -- is missing from the home. So we know that for sure. There are about...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, tell me that. What was that? What?

M. MORRISSEY: My understanding...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, tell me that. Spell it out. Describe what was missing.

M. MORRISSEY: What was missing is her purple flip-flops. They`re just maybe a Wal-Mart brand. They`re flats. They`re purple. They`re about a size 9. We believe that they have the diamonds across the top that go over the foot. They are a size 9. It`s the only shoe that`s missing for Lyric right now.

As far as clothing, I woke up and seen her in her green -- a bright green shirt. After she left, I`m not sure what she wore.

Elizabeth, my understanding, has on her white T-shirt, her black high tops with pink on them. So that`s kind of the description that we have right now.

Again, Heather and I both, you know, kind of left for the morning to go about some business that we needed to take care of. And the girls tend be very -- a little bit more independent. So if they got ready on my own and maybe my mom was cleaning or taking care of the dog. She may not have seen that they changed or what they changed into.

So I know it`s as frustrating, probably, for people who are out searching as it is for us to not have it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you taken you -- have you taken your own dogs out? I don`t know if this is scientific, but I know that my dogs know where I am, like, practically when I`m two blocks away. Have you taken your own dogs out to see maybe if they react to anything?

M. MORRISSEY: We don`t have any animals of our own for Lyric, OK?

We have two dogs -- well, we actually have four dogs at Heather`s house. Two small dogs, two large dogs, and to my knowledge we haven`t taken any of them out. I`m not sure if we need permission to do that, but we haven`t -- I don`t think that`s been a suggestion yet.

I know they have the K-9 units out. They have some other dogs out. They`ve taken plenty of property to use for the smell. Clothing, shoes, with trained professional dogs. So we really trust that, you know, that they`re using the appropriate measures in that respect.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBEN: I have nothing on their clothing description at all. We asked the parents, you know, to look through their clothing, that type of thing, maybe, to help us find out what they were possibly wearing, but they`re unable to tell us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is 10-year-old Lyric Cook and her 8-year-old cousin, Elizabeth Collins? These precious, precious, innocents. Did something that`s the most all-American thing you can do in the summertime. They got on their bikes together, and they went for a bike ride. We`re talking Iowa. We`re talking two-hour drive outside Des Moines, an hour drive outside Cedar Rapids.

These girls were just living the life we should all live, and they vanished into thin air.

Now we`re learning a little bit from the older girl`s mom that she may have been wearing purple flip-flops, size 9. And then the younger girl may have been wearing a white T-shirt with black high tops. But this is just speculation.

The moms were busy doing their everyday activities. One is at work. And the grandma was watching them. But she was possibly cleaning up when they took off on their bikes. Nothing wrong with that. We -- what kind of a country have we gotten to where two girls using the buddy system cannot go biking?

I want to go to Tammy Brousseau. Hopefully, I`m pronouncing your name right.

TAMMY BROUSSEAU, AUNT: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are the aunt -- and you`re the sister of Misty, and you`re the aunt of these two girls. I understand that you taught Lyric what to do if anybody ever tried to grab her. Tell us about that.

BROUSSEAU: Absolutely. I have taught my girls -- for fear of this exact situation ever happening, I have taught my daughter, who is 11, and she`s very close to Lyric, the 10-year-old, Misty`s daughter.

I have taught her, if someone approaches you and they`ve got their hand on you, drop your body to the ground. Kick, fight, scream, do everything you can in your will to stop them from getting you into a vehicle, because once they`ve gotten you into a vehicle, you know the chances of your survival decrease.

And Lyric was very, very on top of this. She`s very aware of it. So it`s very baffling to understand how someone got off with a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old at the same time. Because it`s as though they disappeared into thin air in broad daylight.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does it seem -- do you believe that they were taken by a stranger?

BROUSSEAU: Absolutely. Absolutely. I feel in my heart that there are a lot of pedophiles that live in that area. Myers Lake is not a very large lake. It has the bike trail that runs around it.

When my mother and I, the grandmother who was babysitting, when my mother and I went on our search for them, and this was at about a quarter to 3 -- and keep in mind the last they were seen was at 11:30 a.m., when they told mom they were going on the bike ride. So that is the last time they were for sure seen. And now, it`s going on to -- it`s getting close to being a quarter to 3.

We stop at Meyers Lake. I said, "Mom, drive me to Meyer Lake." I had Elizabeth`s older brother who`s 12, Kelly (ph), with us. And I just jumped out and started asking random strangers, "Have you seen two little girls?" Gave them the description, the colors of the bikes, and possibly what they were wearing.

And one man stepped forward and said, "Yes, I seen them going east on the bike trail at about 2:30." Now, whether he`s telling the truth or not, they do have this man`s name. You know, I don`t know. Whether he`s a person of interest, I don`t know.

But the girls` bike did trail around and ended up on the south side of the lake by the interstate, which would be 380, I-380.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABBEN: An Amber Alert was not issued for two reasons. One, we do not have a person of interest that has been identified, and secondly, we did not have a vehicle description to put out. So an Amber Alert does not apply in this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where are 10-year-old Lyric Cook and her 8-year-old cousin and friend Elizabeth Collins? They went for a bike ride around noon on Friday. They haven`t been seen since.

We`re talking with their frantic family. We`re trying to do everything we can. If anybody knows anything, if you`ve seen anything, anything suspicious or if anybody is acting strangely in or around that area. This is a small town, about a two hour`s drive outside Des Moines, an hour`s drive outside Cedar Rapids.

And I want to go back to Tammy Brousseau. You`re the aunt of the missing girls. You said that you went two the area where they ultimately found the bikes. Did you see the bikes? Did you find them?

BROUSSEAU: I did not find them. As I was saying, a man, who I approached and started asking questions, said he had seen the girls going east on the bike trail. It`s a small lake. It wraps around on the south side of the lake.

With my sister Heather, the mother of Elizabeth Collins, the 8-year- old, she called the police at 2 p.m. By 3 p.m., Evansdale police were there, and the deputies from Waterloo were all swarming the place. They went on -- they drove their vehicles right onto the bike trail. We watched them go to the site. They found the bicycles. They contacted us and said, "We have -- we have the bicycles. We have Elizabeth`s purse and no girls."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does Lyric have a cell phone? Does Lyric have a cell phone?

M. MORRISSEY: Lyric did not have a cell phone with her. She has one, but did not have it with her.

BROUSSEAU: She had one, but not with her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a completely baffling case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Perplexing and, frankly, terrifying mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of people are helping in the search for Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their bikes were found, but there`s no sign of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After an entire weekend of searching, they have very few, if any, clues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins? We`re trying to help find them with the family of really both girls because they`re cousins. But Lyric Cook`s mom is with us as well as her sister, the aunt of both the girls, Tammy Russo.

Tammy, I want to get back to you. Do you have any thoughts with anybody in the area -- and I`ll ask this of Misty as well -- acting strangely? Was there -- have you seen any strange people, people driving around in vans, any sense that this is -- any foreshadowing whatsoever?

TAMMY RUSSO, AUNT OF MISSING GIRLS: Absolutely not. There was nothing that seemed terribly out of the ordinary. There was a little boy fishing, and he had been there a long time. I asked him as well, when I first approached and started asking random people. I said, "Did you see two little girls on a bicycle? He said "No". I said, "How long have you been here?" He said, "A long time."

So when I told you a man said that he had seen them going east on the bike trial, whether that was true or not, yes, they have his name, they know who he is. But it appears what he said was true because like I said the lake wraps around and the bikes were found on the south side. And that`s where the girls --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in because I want to ask Misty a question. Do you think your daughter or Elizabeth would want to go in that lake and go swimming?

MISTY MORRISSEY, MOTHER OF LYRIC CDOOK: You know, I think that -- I think the ride to the lake is quite a long distance for the both of them. If they decided to take that journey and --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How far? How far?

MORRISSEY: -- they made it to the lake -- a mile, mile and a half.

RUSSO: Yes.

MORRISSEY: You know. If they decided to make that journey, which I probably don`t put past a lot of kids to go ahead and do --

RUSSO: We`ve been swimming a lot lately.

MORRISSEY: I think that my daughter, you know, I can speak for my daughter, that yes, she might want to get into that lake.

RUSSO: But we feel they would have took their shoes off, their flip- flops.

MORRISSEY: Yes.

RUSSO: Those would have been left sitting on the shore.

MORRISSEY: On the side -- yes, on the shore.

I mean, we`ve been swimming at a lake all summer for the last five weeks. I`ve been off work. We`ve been swimming and spending time together. I think she`s very comfortable with a lake setting. If it came down to, would she swim? Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they are draining that lake. We pray that your children, 10-year-old Lyric and 8-year-old Elizabeth are found. We want to do everything we can. That`s why we`re bringing in right now. And please keep us updated if you hear anything from police.

But we`re bringing in a team of experts right now. Pat Brown, criminal profiler. You`ve been listening to all this. Your thoughts?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, they`re obviously doing the right thing. They`re draining the lakes. That would eliminate an accident. They`re talking to the family and making sure they got all the information from them and can eliminate them. That`s the good things.

And then I think they have to look at two other possibilities -- the idea of somebody watching the girls. That happens a lot and people do not realize it. When we say, was there anybody creepy out there? We don`t see the creepy guy because he does blend in. He sees the girls go by.

I would be curious to know how often the girls do go out on their bicycles. How often they take a similar route so someone might follow them. And I would also be interested to know what access somebody has to that lake area when they`re going by with the bicycles?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kera Mashek, reporter, KWWL, do you know if the bikes were screwed on the ground or if they were neatly placed? And what about the bags, 20 feet away?

KERA MASHEK, REPORTER, KWWL: We have been told that the bikes were laying very neatly, just like any child that might get off their bike and go for a walk. They were just sitting right there along the lake side like any other ordinary day, nothing really awry with that. And the purse was also just kind of sat down -- not like it was thrown around or that they would, you know, been involved in a struggle of any kind.

The interstate is fairly close, though. So certainly, they could have wandered into that very easily as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman, investigator, HLN contributor -- 241 registered sex offenders in this area? What?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. And that`s what -- that`s what our investigation found today, Jane. And that`s something I wanted to point out.

We have some other new information too. But yes, police have ruled out the registered sex offenders in that specific area, but what we found is when you go ten miles from this small town in diameter, you see 241 registered sex offenders.

Also, as the reporter just said, you have I-380 that connects Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, which is a concern of investigators as well. We have learned police are processing those two bikes and that purse. They`re looking for any stranger DNA. They`re also looking for any stranger fingerprints.

We`ve also learned as of right now police haven`t found any signs of struggle. They found nothing to indicate a struggle. So the question remains, did they leave with somebody that they know, or were they abducted by a stranger, perhaps by a registered sex offender, or did they go swimming in this waterway?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marc Klaas, founder, Klaas Foundation, child advocate -- I`m also interested in this man who seems to have seen him. What should police do?

MARC KLAAS, FOUNDER, KLAAS FOUNDATION: Well, I don`t think you want to condemn people that are trying to give you evidence for a missing child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right.

KLAAS: I think the police are doing everything they can do. The most likely scenarios were that the girls are in the lake. They possibly wandered off some place -- it`s a pretty remote area and are unable to get back, or that there was some kind of a snatch and grab. That would have been a highly difficult maneuver to pull off on two children that know how to respond to somebody trying to take them, unless, of course, they knew the individual who did it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We hope and pray that these two little girls are found ok. If you know anything, call police immediately.

Tonight, shocking video of the day. An unbelievable car chase -- take a look at this. Cops chase a stolen vehicle at more than 90 miles an hour for 12 minutes. It was all caught on dash cam. It finally ended when a car hit -- literally hit a bus full of people. And both vehicles slammed into -- take a look at it. There is -- whoa. Both vehicles are slammed into the building and the suspects try to get out and run.

Cops had to -- well, can you believe it that they pulled a 2-year-old from the car?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Human dominos in Japan -- your viral video of the day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re getting new evidence now released by prosecutors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New FBI reports released just a few hours ago.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, CHARGED WITH TRAYVON MARTIN`S MURDER: He said, "You got a problem?" And I turned around. I said, "No, I don`t have a problem, man."

SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: This is not about a black and white thing. This is about a right and wrong thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question that a lot of people asking here, what role, if any, did race play in the case?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somehow, Mr. Martin, because he`s wearing a hoodie is a criminal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman`s attorney meanwhile says he cannot get a fail trial because the judge in this case is biased.

Former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing Trayvon Martin wants Judge Kenneth Lester to step down from the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, new ugly allegations emerge in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. A new witness steps forward and accuses shooter, the volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman of racism and of a decade of sexual abuse.

George Zimmerman, currently out of jail in a safe house awaiting trial after gunning down unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. Cops interview scores of witnesses including one woman who lashed out against the shooter with disturbing new claims. Defense attorney, Mark O`Meara, says this is George Zimmerman`s own cousin.

The police audio of this mystery witness called Witness Number Nine was just released. And what she has to say is shocking. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

WITNESS NUMBER 9: It started when I was six. He`s about almost two years older than I am. He would reach under the blankets and try to do things. I would try to push him off but he was bigger and stronger and older. It was in front of everybody. And I don`t know how I didn`t say anything, but I just didn`t know any better.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s reemphasize what this mystery Witness Number Nine has said is that Zimmerman was just eight years old when she claims he began touching her inappropriately. She says it continued until he was 17. We will not be naming Witness Number Nine. We have reached out to her for comment and we`re told that nobody in her family would be speaking to the media.

Zimmerman`s defense team fought tooth and nails to keep this evidence from being released, arguing right up until the very moment it was made public.

Now that it`s out Zimmerman`s attorney Mark O`Meara says, quote, "This statement is not relevant to this." He also says it will not be admissible in the trial. Instead it should not have been made public because this claim is likely to lead to widespread hostile publicity against George Zimmerman that could substantially impair his fair trial rights, obviously.

Zimmerman has already been the target of nationwide public hostility. There were nationwide marches and protests calling for his arrest.

Does this change your opinion of George Zimmerman? Call me 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Natalie Jackson, we are delighted to have her. She`s the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family. Natalie thank you for being here.

What`s your reaction to this claim of mystery Witness Number Nine who claims George Zimmerman touched her inappropriately starting when he was 8 years old. A lot of people are saying it`s irrelevant. It`s prejudicial and he was only 8 when it started allegedly.

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: Well, I have to tell you Jane, our defense team, we have known about this witness for a while. We decided not to talk about her because we felt that it was her story to tell and it was, you know, out of respect for her privacy.

What a lot of people have forgotten is that this witness made a phone call to the police department two days after the shooting. This was before any media got involved. This was before she knew that this case would be on a public and such a large national and global scale. She was just trying to do the right thing.

My heart really goes out to her because I don`t think she meant for this to become a public incident. And I don`t think she meant for her life to be examined or George`s life to be examined. She was just trying to give the police information on what she knew about George Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Natalie, I was asking you -- first of all. We don`t know who she is. I don`t know how much her life has been disrupted. But for those who say this should never have been released. It`s irrelevant. It`s highly prejudicial. And how can you blame somebody for something that allegedly happened -- started when they were 8?

JACKSON: It will be relevant. I believe the prosecutor has inferred in this case that she`ll be used as a rebuttal witness. That means that if there`s any testimony from George Zimmerman`s side or from the defense side that he -- he doesn`t have racial tendencies or he is not a violent person, I believe that`s why they disclosed her.

Because she called -- the first statement from her that was released was the statement that she made just to inform the police department to look further into this because she believes that race may have played a part in it. And, you know, she`s known him for a very, very long time. So I think that -- like I said --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney, your thoughts on relevance and the prejudicial nature, if so.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Once again, I find myself thoroughly disagreeing with Miss Jackson. Not because I want to be argumentative but I completely disagree. There`s no legal relevance whatsoever to this alleged -- these allegations that took place when he was a child. I have no idea if it`s true or not. But that has nothing to do with a shooting case.

Now as it relates to her alleges of racism, what she`s alleging is his family, they`re all racist, and she gives an explanation of why she believes the mother is a racist. And maybe the mother is. I have no idea. But when asked what specific words flowed from George Zimmerman`s lips to cause you to conclude that he was a racist, she couldn`t give anything specific.

And furthermore she was asked did you see him act out in any manner to suggest that he was a racist? No. She can`t give any example. So once again I find this witness to be not credible, not usable, completely irrelevant.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: We asked you, our viewers, for pictures of your pets and here -- ah, look at little Boo. If you want to send one in, hlntv.com/Jane. Riley, you`re fabulous. Let`s see, Skip. Nice flowers Skip.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re currently doing an investigation into the cause of his death, there`s a security hold that`s going to be placed on the case. All we can confirm is that he has passed away, and we`ll be doing an autopsy in the next couple of days and the cause of death will probably be pending toxicology, (inaudible) pathology and further testing.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`re talking about George Zimmerman and we wanted to play a clip, because there`s this new witness, mystery Witness Number Nine who claims that George Zimmerman and his whole family had kind of a racist attitude. We`ll play a clip -- and it`s about 21 seconds -- and then we`ll get Natalie Jackson`s reaction to that.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

WITNESS NUMBER 9: I was afraid that he may have done something because the kid was black. Because growing up, they`ve always made -- him and his family have always made statements that they don`t like black people if they don`t act like white people.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Natalie Jackson, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, this kind of dovetails with a former colleague who was Arab- American who said that George Zimmerman impersonated him as a terrorist character. Your thoughts?

JACKSON: Well, my thoughts on this is I want to go back to whether or not she is admissible into this case. This is about George Zimmerman`s mentality. She could be called as a rebuttal witness -- I`ll still stand by that. Now, he can decide what part of her testimony she can talk about.

A judge may rule that what she says about any accusations and molestations irrelevant and may allow other testimony in about what she says about the racial ideologies he had. My thoughts in it is that it`s going to depend on how the door is opened, how she is brought in. The state has listed her as a witness in this case and they have indicated that they will use her as a rebuttal witness.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Quickly, Mark Eiglarsh.

EIGLARSH: Yes. Anything or anyone could be listed as a rebuttal witness, it doesn`t mean that they have anything of value to say. They have to prove that this was ill will, hatred, or spite which is what caused Zimmerman to act. And I don`t see it so far.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to take you on a fabulous new adventure that could change your life.

KATHY FRESTON, AUTHOR, "THE LEAN": Here is the secret that`s going to blow your mind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Part of my adventure to slimness.

FRESTON: I don`t want you to be miserable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Small changes to your diet that will radically improve your health and lower your weight. It`s not a diet.

TOM HOLLAND, FITNESS EXPERT: A couple of minutes a day, you`re going to make changes. It`s going to really work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I could feel it already, and this is kind of fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On our adventure to slim, most of us swear off sweets all together. We`re trying to get healthy, lose weight but are we suffering for absolutely no reason. What if I told you that eating chocolate can actually be good for you?

I`m smiling now, our healthy living coach Kathy Freston, author of "The Lean" joins me now. Kathy, best selling health guru, you`re telling me we can have chocolate and still lose weight? Look, I`m smiling.

FRESTON: I know and I love to be the bearer of great news.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How? How is this possible?

FRESTON: Here`s the thing, chocolate is loaded with flavinoids. Flavinoids increase the elasticity in your blood vessels so that is good for increasing the circulation to your heart and to your brain. It also has iron in it which oxygenates your blood. And it has chromium, so that balances out your blood sugar, which is really important when you`re trying to lose weight.

And here`s the really interesting thing about chocolate, it has a naturally-occurring chemical called PEA. That`s the chemical that your body produces when you`re falling in love. And you know when you`re falling in love, you`re just so happy, all those endorphins are firing and you just have no appetite. That`s what chocolate does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But all chocolate is not created equal. I know there`s healthier chocolate that`s not loaded with sugar or dairy. Tell us about that.

FRESTON: Absolutely. When you`re looking for chocolate, look for at least 70 percent cocoa in your chocolate and that means it`s going to be bittersweet, so you want to avoid chocolate that`s got a lot of sugar in it and you want to get it with no dairy in it. And that is the stuff that`s going to help you get really healthy and lose weight. Two or three squares a day and you take it -- have it like right around that hunger pang time of maybe mid afternoon and that satisfies your sweet cravings. So you`re going to go to something really healthy instead of going to the cookies or the candy or the cakes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love it, I`m so happy, I`m going to get my dark chocolate and you can check out some of the recipes on my Web site, Jane.

END