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New Developments in Isabel Celis Mystery

Aired September 18, 2012 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, new information in the mysterious disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis, who vanished from her bedroom five months ago. An extraordinary new video has posted on her Facebook Page. We`re going to talk to somebody who helped make that movie and to a reporter in Tucson who has been covering the case from the start. And I`ve got hundreds of pages of police documents we`re going to analyze. Is this precious child still alive?


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, a slew of new developments in the disappearance of little Isabel Celis. The Tucson girl mysteriously vanished from her bedroom five months ago without a trace. Now, her parents mark Isabel`s seventh birthday without her as a movie about the little girl goes viral.

Plus, hundreds of pages of police documents reveal a boot print outside the home, a mystery liquid and much more. We`re taking your calls.

Plus, score one for the royals in their head-to-head war with that French gossip magazine over those topless pics of Prince William`s wife, Kate Middleton. A judge orders the mag to step down, but is it already too late to stop the world from seeing Kate semi-nude with the future king? Tonight, we`ll debate it. And how many of those photos are there anyway?

SERGIO CELIS, ISABEL`S FATHER: We love you. And we miss you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isabel was last seen in this home by her parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have been interviewed extensively.

S. CELIS: We are cooperating to the fullest extent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re labeling it as suspicious circumstances and possible abduction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New details about what may have happened that Saturday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember briefly waking up and hearing male voices outside my bedroom window.

BECKY CELIS, ISABEL`S MOTHER: We are here today to play -- to plea.

S. CELIS: And we will never give up. We will never give up looking for you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a never-before-seen glimpse inside the home of missing Isabel Celis.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. This adorable 6-year-old vanished five long months ago. She disappeared without a trace from her Tucson, Arizona, bedroom all while the family was, well, they say sleeping inside. Her mom, her father and two brothers.

Police say the case is nowhere near being cold. Is it possible they`re getting closer to finding out what happened to Isabel?

Here`s the photo her family put on their Facebook Page called "Find Isa." The family wrote hope continues inside their home as they paint Isabel`s room just as she wanted, pink and purple polka dots.

And we found this incredible YouTube video from the same Facebook Page. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, dear Lord, bring Isabel home. Amen.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a moment, an exclusive interview with the family friend who made that movie.

Isabel Celis was reported missing five months ago. Here`s how it all went down.

Isabel`s dad said the family came home late on April 20 after a baseball game. And he says he fell asleep in the living room after putting Isa to bed in a room close by. But he says he woke up and moved to his own bed at 5 a.m.

Isabel`s mom left for work at 7 a.m. But she says she did not check on Isa.

That same morning, April 21, Dad says he discovered Isabel missing. Here is the first 911 call.


S. CELIS: I need to report a missing child. I believe she was abducted from my house.


S. CELIS: Six years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it your daughter?

S. CELIS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think she was abducted?

S. CELIS: I have no idea. We woke up this morning, I went to go get her for her baseball game and she`s gone. I...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right away dad Sergio Celis tells police he believes his little girl`s been abducted.

What do you think happened to Isabel? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.

Straight out to investigative reporter, HLN contributor Jon Lieberman. Jon, I am holding hundreds of police documents in my hand. Tucson Police Department supplemental narrative, et cetera, you have studied these hundreds of pages. What are the bombshells you found?

JON LIEBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. In these almost 600 pages of documents, Jane, what stuck out to me as the bombshells are the potential physical evidence, the pieces of evidence that police found at the scene in and around Isabel`s home.

Let me go through a few of them with you. No. 1, footprints in the alley south of the home. Very important. Shoe impressions on the top of an electrical box directly behind the family home. What appears to be blood on the floor of little Isabel`s bedroom.

And then from inside a car that was parked right outside of the home, a white hat and a vinyl shower curtain with dark red/brown or brown stains. Obviously, police believe this is blood. And also a positive Luminol reason on the driver`s seat -- the front seat -- the front driver`s seat of the car. Obviously, Luminol identifies traces of blood.

So it`s these pieces of physical evidence that are extremely important in this investigation. And we know that this was all sent to the lab for DNA workups on all of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but this happened several months ago. We have to know, for example, the blood, what was the result of that test? Is it Isabel`s blood found in her bedroom? Or is it somebody else`s? We`re not getting any information.

Now here`s something we do know. One neighbor recalled hearing her dogs bark like crazy in the early morning hours on the day that Isabel vanished. Were they alerting to some kind of disturbance? Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday I woke up. My dogs were going crazy. Their dogs were going nuts. And I remember briefly waking up and hearing male voices outside my bedroom window. But it was light outside. I didn`t really think anything of it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to Kevin Keen, a reporter with KGUN out of Tucson, Arizona. You`ve been covering this from the very start. I understand that there have been more than 2,000 leads that police are pursuing. But what do we know? Have they confirmed anything for us?

KEVIN KEEN, REPORTER, KGUN: Well, as in the first early days of this investigation it`s been difficult to get a lot of detail about what investigators have, the information that they have and how they are pursuing it, who they`ve talked to.

But we do know that this day, I just checked today, that there are still two detectives full-time working on this case and no other case. And if new leads come in, they`re not afraid to bring on more detectives. So they are actively investigating.

And also the FBI is still a partner in this case. They came in early on to share some expertise. And I know that they`re still in contact with Tucson Police Department as they continue to investigate this missing person, this abduction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was it about the screen, if I remember?

KEEN: Can you say that one more time?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The screen on the window. What was it about the screen on the window of the little girl`s bedroom?

KEEN: That from an early on we had many questions about and didn`t get many answers about. Those documents that you may have some indication of the interest there that I don`t have too many specific details about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to get back to that in a little bit. Because the missing screen, if in fact there was a missing screen, would immediately point to the possibility of a stranger abduction, which we have seen. So that`s key. We`re going to get to that.

Now, in her 911 call, Isabel`s mother was hysterical when police asked if she searched her daughter`s bedroom. Listen to this. This is Becky.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You looked everywhere? Under the bed?

B. CELIS: Yes, I looked everywhere. The windows out of our house. Somebody took the window out of our house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re almost there, ma`am, OK? Where is your husband and your kids?

B. CELIS: They`re outside waiting for the cops.


B. CELIS: Oh, my God.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So that kind of answered the question, took the window out of our house. Obviously, there was some tampering or removal of part of a window or the screen that led the family to say immediately it was an abduction.

I want to go out to Octavio Corrales, we want to play some of your amazing video you`ve made along with your friends, the Flight Team. Friends and family of Isabel. People in the neighborhood who care.

You work, I understand, with Becky, the missing child`s mother. You hear her hysterical on that 911 call. I understand she`s a nurse. Is she back at work? And how is she faring, Octavio?

OCTAVIO CORRALES, FAMILY FRIEND (via phone): She is back at work. And under the conditions and circumstances, I think she`s doing very well. You know, she has a lot of people, co-workers around her that love her and support her, so we give her that support.

And, you know, she shares her stories of Isabel with us on a daily basis. And, you know, her remodeling the room. And she asked us, you know, what we think. And, you know, which allows us to help her decorate it herself. She`s doing very well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does she have any theories about what happened to her daughter?

CORRALES: We really -- we really don`t discuss any of that. We just have -- all have the hope that she`s going to come home safely soon. So we just keep a positive note on that. And we really don`t discuss with her anything that has to do with how it could have happened, who could have done it. We don`t -- we don`t bring that up with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she doesn`t bring it up either?

CORRALES: No. No, she doesn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Staying pretty mum on that. All right, Octavio. Excellent video. Hang in there. We`re going to take a very brief break.

On the other side we`re going to analyze with a team of investigators. And we`ve got more new information. Stay right there.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): We got to get Isabel home safe why are we waiting? We ain`t got no time to waste tell me where do we go from here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A truly extraordinary new video by the Flight Team that is designed to raise funds to continue the investigation into finding missing Isabel Celis as she`s been missing for several months. And this is really just hitting big time now. In fact, if you go to, you`re going to be able to buy it. It goes on iTunes on Monday. So this is -- this is new.

Octavio, you were involved in this video. Was it the frustration of the fact that the case really wasn`t getting there month after month after month that inspired you to say, hey, let`s do something. I mean, I see hundreds of people involved in this.

CORRALES: Well, the project really came together a few days after I heard that Isabel went missing. It was just something that I felt needed to be done. And my part of the community in helping bring her home. The song came about with some friends of mine. And we wanted to bring more awareness. And we wanted to put -- I basically wanted to put a soul to just to the face on a poster. I didn`t just want to be a missing person, a missing child.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I jump in? How did Becky react? And because people are wondering why aren`t the parents talking? I mean, just the other day -- we`ll get to this -- we did a story on a missing girl and she was found, thank God. I would be talking until I was blue in the face, anybody who would listen. People are wondering why don`t they speak up? Why don`t they do interviews?

CORRALES: They are doing interviews. And Becky and her family are out. And they do a lot of events around town. They do anything that`s happening with the community. They`re there at the booth. She`s vocal. She`s speaking to the public. She`s out doing, you know, what she can to help find Isabel.

And part of this song -- this whole point of this song is just getting it out there and keeping the message out there to keep looking and keep searching for her. But Becky is very active in speaking about Isabel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Octavio, I want to thank you for an extraordinary video and for getting involved. This is what people should do, is get involved when you have a family in crisis, when you have a missing child. My hat`s off to you and the entire Flight Team. And keep us posted.

Now, let`s listen to the dad, the father, Sergio, as he made that initial 911 call. Remember, he has just discovered his little girl is missing. Listen to this.



S. CELIS: She had just left for work. I just called her and I told her to get her butt home. (LAUGHTER)


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, listen to him four days later as he publicly pleads for his daughter`s return.


S. CELIS: Tell us your demands. Tell us what you want. We will do anything for her. We are looking -- we are looking for you, Isa. We love you. And we miss you so much.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor. You`ve been listening as we`ve gotten all this information. What do you make of the status and the state of this investigation?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: All right. Well, let`s start with the dad. Look I`ve been relieved of the burden of judgment. So I don`t want to point the finger at him.

But you couple the call that he made plus 911, and I don`t know, Jane. I once had my bike stolen. And I had the same affect when I called in to the police. I mean, his daughter was taken. I would sound a bit more like the mother.

Now, again, I`m not a psychology major. I don`t know about certain cultures, certain people. Maybe there`s something to do with that, and that`s why he`s not screaming and he`s not crazy.

But I`ll tell you this: most law enforcement would keep their eye on him, because statistically, usually, it`s not somebody from the outside. Usually, there`s somebody on the inside involved. I`m not saying he did anything.

From the documents I read, Jane, there`s absolutely nothing in my opinion that advances where this child is and who might be responsible for her disappearance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Lieberman, you want to get in there?

LIEBERMAN: Well, to Mark`s point, what I want to say, what`s even more important is that the police have not ruled out the dad. And this is extremely important. Generally, very early on in an investigation, police will publicly say, "We have ruled out the parents." And they have not done that in this case. And I think Mark will tell you that is extremely significant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, on the other side of the break we are going to -- go ahead, Mark.

EIGLARSH: Well, it just means -- again, he could be completely innocent. I`m a defense lawyer. I know that they could just be keeping it open, because you just never know. But certainly, somebody believes that there`s reason to keep that conclusion still there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to say that nobody has been named a person of interest or a suspect in this case. And there`s more information we have on the dad. And so we`re going to -- he`s a dental -- I understand he`s a dental technician and he also sings opera. We`re going to get to more of that on the other side.

And Lisa, Ontario, hang in there. We`re going to get to you on the other side. Stay right there.



B. CELIS: It`s tough, because we`re already under a lot of stress, because we don`t have Isa here. So to have more thrown on us, but we`re strong. And we`re -- we`ll be OK. We`ll survive it. We just want her back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s been five long months. There is the mother of this beautiful missing child who turned seven just a few days ago. Where is Isabel Celis, who vanished inside her bedroom five months ago?

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Lisa, Ontario, thank you for your patience. Your question or thought, Lisa?

CALLER: Well, hello there, Jane.


CALLER: Like I usually say, thank you for helping the victims and their family and these terrible crimes.

My two points I have to make, or comments are, No. 1, when the father called 911 or the police division in the area, how come his voice is not in distress? No. 1.

And No. 2, I remember one call that you led us here months ago, at one point he was laughing during the call. That`s my other point, please.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you make an important point that there was -- I think when he said he told his wife, who was working at the hospital, to get her butt home. And he kind of chuckled. And a lot of people, I think we just played that, actually, jumped at that and said, "Oh, my gosh, would you have that reaction?"

Now, Levi Page, crime blogger extraordinaire of "The Levi Page Show," at one point the police chief said, quote, "A voluntary agreement had been reached between Child Protective Services and the parents to restrict access, voluntarily, for Sergio, the dad, to get some space and distance away from the two older children, those two boys."

That has since ended. They`re together. These two go hither and yon together. What are your thoughts, given that police have not named any suspects?

LEVI PAGE, CRIME BLOGGER: I think it`s very strange, Jane. And I think that that tells us that there`s some deep secrets in this family.

We know for a fact that Child Protective Services was at the home and investigating this family before Isabel vanished in December. So I think that this family has some secrets that we don`t know about. And I think it would be interesting to know what exactly those are. That might be why the family`s remaining quiet, because they have something to hide.

And also, Jane, regarding the window that you were talking about, according to the father, he told the police that one of his sons went outside and found the window -- the screen of the window laying on the ground outside. So that clears that up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I don`t have any independent confirmation that Department of Children and Families visited this home prior to the disappearance of Isabel. You`re telling us that. But I cannot independently confirm that.

And I would like to go to some more callers, because they`re lining up all over the place. And a lot of people are wondering, well.

But I have to tell you, you can never really judge somebody by their reaction, because people go into shock. And they also go into denial. And quite often, that denial makes them behave in a certain way that they wouldn`t otherwise.

So it seems sort of obvious like, oh, he`s not hysterical like the mother is. Therefore, he might have something to do with it. But men often react that way psychologically. OK.

More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a parent`s worst nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were in tears while they were praying. They looked very, very sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis was gone, missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was checked on this morning at about 8 a.m. when her father went in to wake her up so that they could start their day. Found that she was not in her room at that point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The window was pushed open.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have bloodhounds that are checking the area, as well, to pick up any scent of the girl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isabel`s parents were questioned all night long. We asked the police chief if they`d been ruled out as suspects in the disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family has been cooperating with us. They`re currently with detectives at this point. But we`re not ruling out anything in this investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s just not a possibility. If you knew this family, these two have -- they`ve been married -- they`ve been together since they were teenagers. There`s no separating...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is little Isabel Celis? She`s been missing for five long months. And now a new video has just been created in order to fund an investigation into her disappearance. Check it out. It`s extraordinary.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, dear Lord, bring Isabel home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Sitting outside with a flashlight I keep having flashbacks of last night. The whole neighborhood searching for this young girl. We`re all waiting for the truth as it uncurls. I see the media broken heart families, see them come together for a tragedy. And see it gives me hope to see that people care.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the family of the missing girl has just released a photo -- this photo of them painting Isabel`s room -- polka dots.

Criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh, we have almost 600 pages here, Tucson Police Department supplemental narrative et cetera, there`s all sorts of things. You see there was some spilled fluid, there were fresh shoe prints, there was a rug, there`s apparent bloodstains in Isabel`s bedroom. Police seized a vinyl shower curtain, a white hat.

I mean, the list goes on and on. But how do we get a cohesive picture from those puzzle pieces because a lot of it could be meaningless? I could go outside wherever we are and find a rug just in the alley back there and some liquid. It would mean nothing.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not to minimize anybody`s hope, but that pretty much was my response going through every single page. And I started with optimism. I go, great, I`ll spend the time going through a hundred or so documents and I`m filled with enthusiasm to find out, ok, where might she be, what clues do they have?

And Jane, every single item that was removed, every piece of evidence to me was innocuous. As a defense lawyer, as a human being -- anyone with common sense I was going, "Oh, really, they found a rug in an alleyway? There`s footprints outside of a house?" None of that to me suggests that there was any true leads and any suspects waiting to be caught and any indication of where this girl might be unfortunately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go out to the phone lines. Christina, British Columbia, your question or thought, Christina.

CHRISTINA, BRITISH COLUMBIA (via telephone): Hi. Thank you for taking my call.


CHRISTINA: I`m also suspicious of the father. There`s video camera. And I know people react differently in times of trauma. But he just sounds very phony also when he`s asking for help and we`ll never give up looking for you.

My question is, I have never heard if anybody confirmed him coming home the night before with the little girl? I understand the mother did not check on her daughter before work in the morning. But who was there the night before when they came home late?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my understanding. They have two older boys. I think one is a teen and we don`t know exactly the age of the other, but they`re older than Isabel. And they`ve gone to a baseball game of one of the boys I think. And then they came home and the mother braided the daughter`s hair, got her ready for bed, put her to bed. She went to bed.

Dad was supposedly watching a baseball game on television. May have DVR`d it and fell asleep, he says. He fell asleep around 10:30 after the daughter was put to bed in a room right on the other side of the wall. Then he says he wakes up at 5:00 in the morning -- so from 10:30, he wakes up 5:00 in the morning and he goes back to his own bed. Then the mother wakes up at 7:00, goes to work and then after that she doesn`t check because she`s going to work as a nurse. She`s leaving early in the morning. Then after that the dad wakes up and says he notices his daughter is missing.

Now, when Isabel`s father called 911, the operator grilled him; are there any issues going on in the family? Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you`re both natural parents of the child?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So no stepparents? Any problems with any grandparent?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s not having any family issues, anything like that?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I want to go to my producer Selin Darkalstanian; she`s at our Los Angeles bureau. We sent her to Tucson twice. So she is very well-acquainted with this story.

What`s with the family today? Because we know at one point Department of Children and Families said to the dad "Do not have contact with the sons". But that`s changed. Tell us about that.

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, HLN PRODUCEWR: Right. Originally when she first went missing the dad was told by Child Protective Services to stay away. He was living in a separate residence away from the mom and the two sons, Isabel`s brothers. But today, they`re all living back at the house together; life is somewhat back to normal. They walked down the street to their grandparents` house, remember.

All the neighbors I talked to today say that they walk up and down the street as a family to the grandma`s, they come back. They go to work. But one of the neighbors did tell me that ever since this incident occurred they keep to themselves. They don`t really socialize with the other neighbors. They don`t really talk to everyone else anymore; they kind of keep to themselves. And they just go and come and the neighbors kind of stay away from them and that`s just the way it is.

So whatever happened, the dad is allowed to be back with the Celis family now. So something happened that he`s allowed to be back in that family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman, this is where there`s a disconnect -- their friend, Octavio, who put together this fabulous video along with some other friends, the Flight Team, he says she`s out there all the time. She`s willing to talk to anybody. We`ve been trying to get her to come on this show. And we would love to have her on.

Now we`re hearing they kind of keep to themselves, but they`re together. They`re together. The husband and the wife, the parents of this girl, are together.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, you hit the nail on the head. And this is why police are not releasing more of what they have. Because I`m telling you they are using what they have to either contradict or corroborate the family`s statements. They are looking hard at this family -- make no mistake about that, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I got to tell you, there was another bizarre twist to all this. Two young sisters, we`re talking young kids in this very area, got into a whole lot of hot water recently because they called 911 three different times pretending to be the missing Isabel. More than 25 officers responded to the calls. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what is the emergency?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what is your emergency?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, not only did this upset the family of the missing child tremendously, but remember police have spent huge amounts, I think well over a million dollars on this investigation, and they had to spend more because of these pranks.

Levi Page, that is absolutely extraordinary. And I don`t know if the parents ended up being fined, but what a horrible twist.

LEVI PAGE, CRIME BLOGGER: Well, I do know that those two that were involved in that were sent to a juvenile detention center. They were released. So they are facing consequences for what they did. And they deserve to because this is a very high profile case. This is a missing child who could have possibly been abducted, possibly killed. Foul play could be involved here.

You don`t play around with these types of investigations and make prank phone calls like that. And it`s sad that they did that and wasted resources of the community, of the police officers. They want to find out who took her or who killed her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you fantastic panel. We are staying on top of this.

And, Becky or Sergio, we would love to have either or all of you -- both of you on, or family members. We want to keep your daughter`s face out there so we can solve this terrible mystery.

And now it`s time for your "Shocking Video of the Day". It`s the ride of the century. You could see why. I`m talking thousands of motorcyclists. And look what they`re doing? This is unbelievable. They rode through St. Louis. But see, they`re on one wheel.

The first time I saw this I said I`m losing my eyesight. I think I`m seeing things. But, no, they are on one wheel. Do not try this at home or outside the home. Police ended up making 19 arrests and writing 63 tickets. You`re not supposed to do this on the freeway.

Oh, by the way, they got three guns as well.

Nancy Grace coming up 8:00 p.m. Eastern; Nance, what are you working on?

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: On the radar tracking crime and justice, Ohio, mother of three, Helen Vanst (ph) gunned down execution style over $100, her pocketbook and a 13-inch TV. Fast forward, Jane, the thug that murders mommy just before Christmas now says he`s too obese for the death penalty - - too fat for justice.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now your "Viral Video of the Day". Heroic firefighters in Oregon spent six hours rescuing a kitten stuck in an underground pipe. Oh, yes -- got him out.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A French court has ordered the magazine that published those topless photos of Duchess Kate to hand the pictures over to the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve effectively closed this one down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The palace says the shots appear to be genuine and are a quote, "grotesque invasion of privacy".

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Kate, who is with her husband on a private holiday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A criminal prosecution looks like it`s underway.

QUEST: This is the red line.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Score one for the royal family. A French magazine told, "Hand over those photos of a topless Kate Middleton." "Closer" magazine, France published the controversial photos just days ago creating a fire storm and they showed the definitely not dowdy Duchess, sunbathing topless while on vacation at a private chateau in France with her husband Prince William.

The royal family isn`t stopping at a lawsuit they`re now pushing for criminal charges; a preliminary -- (AUDIO GAP) -- the editor and unnamed photographer. TMZ is now reporting there are as many as 200 -- yes I said 200 -- photos of the topless duchess. Is this just the tip of the iceberg? And as more details leak out, the world is asking is it invasion of privacy or maybe unfair cracking down on the photogs.

The ladies of ABC`s "The View" debated that today --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where they were. That`s how far away they were.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": -- is like so big that it doesn`t matter where they are. Now that to me that`s offensive for somebody to say you should have expected this to happen. You can`t see me.

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": When you are royalty, you have to be extra careful.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well said, Barbara Walters. All right. We`re going to debate it tonight and have a little fun doing it and take your calls. On one side, Janice Min, editorial director of "Hollywood Reporter" and author of "How to Look Hot in a Minivan" -- I want to know how to look hot in a minivan, by the way. Hope it`s an electric vehicle.

Here`s the thing, on the other side (AUDIO GAP) Eiglarsh. Let`s see Mark. Get ready to rumble people. All right.

Is it fair -- I`m going to start with you, Janice, for the courts to crack down on this unnamed photographer, this French magazine? Or is it a violation of free speech and a violation of journalistic freedoms? Take it away

JANICE MIN, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: In America it`s a whole set of different rules. In France it has one of the strictest set of laws involving privacy. It is up to them to prosecute this as they wish. But listen the fine today was $2,500. I can`t actually think of a case that has been successfully (AUDIO GAP) in France that I`m aware of. Maybe my partner here knows of such a thing.

But I mean, we`re trying to -- I think that one of the things here, yes, it is in terrible taste but it`s very hard to criminalize bad taste. And that`s probably what this is going to come down to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh.

EIGLARSH: Jane, I have no idea what she just said, candidly. I`m not sure what side of the issue she`s on. It was wonderfully said, but I`m not sure what side she`s taking. I`ll tell you what my position is. Personally, I don`t support these rags. I personally think it`s distasteful and sleazy.

That being said I would defend their right to do what they did in this instance. If they were trespassing, I say go directly to jail. No, you trespassed. And they clearly invaded on her right to privacy.

But if they were on a public road, this isn`t the `80s anymore. We`re all aware (AUDIO GAP) can go as far as 800 yards, eight football fields. When she released the royal puppies, she had to have thought that there may be someone to photograph those things.


MIN: I think what`s complicated here, is listen, let`s say she were not a public figure, if there were some person, I`m assuming it would be a no-brainer, if there was some person who was at home in her backyard in her apartment or house and some guy came up with a camera and took photos of you topless, that person is being charged with something, correct? And it`s that these lines are very murky where since her status as a public figure actually let someone conduct --

EIGLARSH: Objection. Irrelevant because we`re not dealing with a private citizen; we`re dealing with probably one of the most recognized international royal family members. And, again, when she chose to do what she did, it is clearly reasonably foreseeable that there will be some parasite out there ready to photograph it. Let me just say this I looked at the photograph --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More debate on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But we`ve got to make room for our kooky video of the day. U.S. sailors getting down, Gangnam style -- Check it out. From DoubleBond Productions the latest parody of Korean rapper -- you know what his name is. This is I love this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for our "Pets of the Day", send us your pics at Enzo, fabulous. Jackson and Alice -- what a team. We love you. And Super Spike -- what an outfit. My gosh. Love it. Let`s see who this is -- Patches. You`re so sweet. Ziggy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to be able to see what you`re seeing in your view finder live on our screens. Let`s see how close you can get to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so this is a shot from where I am. And obviously we`ve cropped in slightly as well. You can see that from this distance you can get really a good shot, you know, from over half a mile away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holy tamale, I didn`t even know that. That those -- wow, those cameras can now capture over half a mile away. So it`s very possible that this unnamed photographer was on public property.

Boy, everybody is talking about this. Let`s go to the phone lines. Blair, Texas, your questions or thought? Blair?

BLAIR, TEXAS (via telephone): Jane, I am a major, major fan of yours.


BLAIR: Thank you so much for taking my call on this topic. My question is how in the world did the paparazzi ever get near the Duke and Duchess, and why in the world would they ever be allowed to get near them to take photos in the first place?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s a good point. What happened to their security team? You just had the Prince Harry scandal where apparently they lit up some girls in Vegas. And somebody had a camera. And the security team dropped the ball. Now I think the security team for William and Kate dropped the ball.

Here`s another issue entirely. In Europe, women go topless in public at the beaches, ok. Some women in the U.S. recently protested to have the same right. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Indecent exposure law just specifies areola. It doesn`t say male or female. But yet men walk on the street topless all the time. So we want the same rights.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And get this, Kate and William visiting the Solomon Islands just recently had an interaction with a bunch of women -- we`re going to show it to you in a second -- who were topless because that`s their native indigenous outfit. And nobody said a word. And it was like so what, there were topless women as they were not only dancing but interacting.

So I have to ask, Janice Min, editorial director of "Hollywood Reporter" is there a feminist issue here? I mean are we making a big deal about her breasts when we`re ignoring other people`s breasts? Is this unfair?

MIN: You know, listen, in Europe it`s a whole different standard. You know. There`s a paper in London that has a topless woman on page 3 every single day. You know, you go to the beach in Europe and women are walking around without tops on. It`s a very different standard than we have here. It`s just that British royals don`t around without their tops on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I think --

EIGLARSH: Apparently they do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently they do. And you have the last word on that subject and my opinion on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you heard? By 2030 more than half of all Americans could be obese. That`s in a just released health report. Already two-thirds of us are overweight or obese. So basically a lot of people who are nearly overweight will become obese in the next decade or so.

In my book, "Addict Nation" I write about what I see as our government hypocrisy. The federal government has basically created this obesity crisis with massive agricultural subsidies that allow the fast food industry to churn out a lot of cheap, fattening food. Critics claim most agriculture subsidies benefit meat and dairy production as opposed to fruits and healthy vegetables, other than corn that turns into corn syrup.

Meanwhile, the health costs from all this, from the fat-laden meats in our shake and cheese burger culture, we`re talking obesity and we`re also talking heart disease. We`re talking diabetes. The government is responsible. It`s a scam.

Nancy`s next.