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Michigan Mom Vanishes While Working Night Shift

Aired June 14, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, a beautiful young Michigan mom vanishes into thin air, her family desperate to find her. Twenty-five- year-old Jessica Heeringa vanished while working the night shift alone at an Exxon gas station. Was she snatched by somebody who knew her? I will talk to a man who saw her two hours before she was abducted.


SHELLY HEERINGA, JESSICA HEERINGA`S MOTHER: Whoever did this had been in the gas station before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are no security cameras that I`m aware of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn that off, please.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn that off, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): It`s very suspicious why there`s nobody here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you yell or anything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I hollered, "Hey."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They saw a gray or silver minivan leaving that establishment.

S. HEERINGA: Jessie would have helped anybody, and that was probably her downfall.

DAKOTAH QUAIL-DYER, JESSICA HEERINGA`S FIANCE: I told her that she was lost. He asked if she was hurt, and I responded that she was OK. We just don`t know where she is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at her 3-year-old son, her family devastated. Look at this beautiful woman, Jessica Heeringa, engaged to be married. Getting ready to go home at 11 p.m. at night, April 26, a Friday night.

Cops believe she was abducted, possibly targeted by somebody who knew her. She left behind her purse and keys. No money was taken. Cops say a small amount of Jessica`s blood was found behind the convenience store. The only clues, surveillance video showing a silver or gray minivan driving near the gas station. There it is, just zipping by. Cops think Jessica may have been in the car at that time.

Here is a sketch of the suspect. Who is this mystery man? And what does he know? And did he take this woman, whose 3-year-old son is waiting for his mommy to come home?



QUAIL-DYER: She`s somewhere. What did you say, your mom is at somewhere?

Z. HEERINGA: Yes. We can`t find her.

QUAIL-DYER: You can`t find her?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to my exclusive guest, Christian Vanantwerpen, a friend of Jessica Heeringa, who works in the same area, the same kind of complex, and saw her approximately two hours before she vanished.

Christian, thank you so much for joining us exclusively tonight. Tell us, what did you see and hear that made you suspicious the last time you saw Jessica about two hours before she was abducted?

CHRISTIAN VANANTWERPEN, FRIEND OF JESSICA HEERINGA (via phone): Well, I was just getting gas after work, and Jessica was out taking care of the receipt papers at the pumps. And somebody just started having a conversation with her at the pumps while still in the vehicle, and it was a silver minivan. And I thought that was kind of strange, because he didn`t wait to go inside. He just decided to have a conversation with her on the spot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So lay it out for us. Because she`s working alone at this convenience store connected to this gas station. She`s a beautiful young woman, and she is at the pumps. And this guy pulls up in this -- in this silver minivan. Was -- tell us a little bit more.

VANANTWERPEN: Well, he never got out of the vehicle, and he was a couple of bays over. So unfortunately, I didn`t get a really good clean shot of him, but it was just very peculiar to me when the cops came the next day and said that they were looking for a silver minivan. Then I remembered this connection, because it seemed out of place that he was just striking up conversation, never left his vehicle. He didn`t buy gas. He was just there to talk to her at the pumps, almost like he was waiting for her to come outside or something.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you get a sense that Jessica knew him?

VANANTWERPEN: It seemed like it was somebody who had been in there before, that she might have known. He seemed pretty comfortable talking to her. She obviously was dealing with the receipt papers at the time. So she seemed preoccupied and maybe a little annoyed, as well, that somebody was doing this.

And I was driving away so I didn`t think too much of the situation. But it seemed that -- it rang a bell in my mind that something was going on. That didn`t seem quite right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Christian, thank you for your information. Please stand by. We may come back to you, because we want to bring in a famed private investigator to analyze the situation.

Shortly after Jessica vanished, a call came into 911 from a worried gas-station customer who became suspicious, because he pulled into the Exxon and nobody was there. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): I just walked inside, there`s nobody. There`s a car here. There`s another car out front. But it just -- it`s very suspicious why there`s nobody here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): OK. So did you yell or anything? Or...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I hollered, "Hey," and you know, walked around the building. It just -- I don`t know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, here`s the man that police are looking for. He`s described by police as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, six feet tall, wavy hair parted in the middle. He was driving a silver or gray minivan, similar to this Town -- this Chrysler Town & Country.

Vinny Parco, private investigator, what do you make of it?

VINNY PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, this gentleman that stopped there, he could have just been asking for directions and got -- just got friendly and came back later to abduct her. We don`t know who these people are that she`s involved with. I mean, she could be -- she could have had an affair. Her husband or boyfriend maybe hired someone. You just don`t know.

You have to interview all their friends, all their people that were around them, neighbors, to see if there`s any suspicious people in the area. The police, they have computer databases that could detect if there`s a pattern of rapists or predators in the area.

This guy who stopped for the car could be an innocent bystander, just came by for directions. But is a person of interest. He should be followed or interviewed at best.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we have to say that we`ve talked to the fiance. He was on our show briefly. We want to have him back. And he is not in any way, shape or form involved in this, according to authorities. That he was looking forward to marry this beautiful young woman and is absolutely devastated.

Now, we`re going to check out this surveillance video. It shows a silver minivan believed to be connected to her disappearance. Cops say Jessica`s purse and keys found inside the store, and a small amount of her blood was found at the scene behind the store. Cops are hopeful that perhaps she`s alive.

David Begnaud, host of "Newsbreaker" on Ora TV, what I don`t understand is how do they have a description? There was no surveillance cameras. And all they have is this gentleman who we have with us who says he didn`t get a good look at him. So how do they have a description at this point?

DAVID BEGNAUD, HOST, ORA TV`S "NEWSBREAKER": Jane, here`s the interesting thing. There`s a gas station adjacent to the one where Jessica was working, and it was an attendant in that gas station who apparently saw this minivan, saw her outside.

And here is a very interesting quote of what he told local media officials: quote, "The man in the minivan had this attitude that he wanted to have a conversation with her, and then conduct business."

Here`s the good news. There was a body found in the local lake. It is not Jessica`s. Police believe she is still alive. They, too, are holding on for hope. As you mentioned, there is blood at the scene, at the gas station, but no apparent sign of struggle, and the cash in the cash register was still there. Nothing was missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, I guess everybody is focusing in on this minivan, but when you say it`s caught on surveillance tape, I mean, it`s pathetic. It`s a -- it`s a blur.

You know, cops say to their knowledge, there were no surveillance cameras at this Exxon where Jessica was kidnapped. Our affiliate tried to speak with the owner about it, but he wasn`t very willing to talk.

Check this out, and then we`re going to analyze it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn that off on my property, or I`m going to sue you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s not going to turn it off. Do you have a concern for your missing employee?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have asked you repeatedly to put up surveillance cameras. That would have helped her. Why hasn`t that happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That has never happened. You need to leave my property, please. Everything I`ve done, I`ve cooperated with the police. Have a nice day.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That owner of that convenience store, invited on our show any time.

The surveillance video of the minivan isn`t from the Exxon. It`s from another building nearby. If they`d had cameras at the Exxon, we very may well may have had a suspect by now, because there was blood found in the area, her blood, and she`s vanished, and she vanished from there. She didn`t just disappear into thin air. Police believe somebody took her.

I want to go briefly to Wendy Murphy. And then we have the -- we have Dakotah and -- Wendy, hold on a second, because we have Dakotah Quail-Dyer, Jessica Heeringa`s fiance, with us tonight. And thank you, Dakotah, so much for joining us exclusively to talk about this. Dakotah, can you hear me?

QUAIL-DYER (via phone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dakotah -- yes. Thank you so much for joining us. Our heart goes out to you, our hearts go out to you. We know this is hellish for you right now, and we want to help.

So please tell us, did she, your fiance, Jessica, have anybody who was bothering her, stalking her, a customer who kept hanging around? Did she ever say anything?

QUAIL-DYER: Not to the aspect of someone so much bothering her. There was people that hung out, out there that were friends of hers. I`m not quite sure who everybody was. It was a work environment. So I`m not quite clear. But she never stressed anything about a specific person or nothing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, this is -- had to have been torment for you. Can you tell us what you and Jessica`s family, what you`re all going through right now?

QUAIL-DYER: Words can`t even describe what we`re going through. It`s a nightmare. But it`s only a very small percent of what Jessica is going through, and that`s my focus. And that`s what keeps me going through every day, just trying to make sure she`s OK, and comes back home safely, really.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have the police said anything to you about this silver minivan or -- we can show the suspect again -- this -- let`s see, white male, 30 to 40 years old, hair parted in the middle, nondescript. I mean, where exactly did they get that description from, and have they gotten any leads?

QUAIL-DYER: The minivan, I know they`ve narrowed it down to like a 2004 to 2007 Chrysler Town & Country, in between those years. I`m not sure quite clearly where the sketch came from. I thought it was a couple of different people, but I keep hearing different things. I`m not so clear on that. But other than that, police haven`t really told me too much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she have any kind of business? Because we heard from a reporter just now that -- that this person, this individual in this minivan may have wanted to discuss some kind of business with her. This is -- obviously we`re piecing together little pieces of what may be nothing. But did she have any kind of a, you know, did she do network marketing? Did she have any kind of, like, selling things on the side or anything like that?

QUAIL-DYER: No, not at all. She just worked and that was about it. That`s the first I`ve heard anything about -- anything like that, though.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, this is people trying to put together something that makes no sense, and they`re hearing things or seeing things. And it`s all speculation at this point.

QUAIL-DYER: To those people that are speculating, the best thing I can tell you is to call the police if you have kind of any information, even if you think it`s just nothing. Anything helps. You know?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Absolutely. And then did you plan to get married?

QUAIL-DYER: That was still up in the air. You know, we were trying to get financially set and wanted our own house before that happened. And you know, we had plans, but nothing was set in stone. But we both knew we weren`t going anywhere. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Dakotah, again, my heart goes out to you and Jessica`s mom, and to her child, her 3-year-old. I pray that this is helpful to finding her and bringing her home safely.

We have more on the other side, as we analyze this case with a former prosecutor and a private eye. Stay right there.


Z. HEERINGA: My mom`s at somewhere.

QUAIL-DYER: She`s somewhere. What did you say, your mom is at somewhere?

Z. HEERINGA: Yes. We can`t find her.

QUAIL-DYER: You can`t find her?




S. HEERINGA: He said that he likes to hire the young, pretty girls because it brings in more customers. I just wish he would have had security cameras and -- or some kind of security in place. If not cameras, something. He only had, like, $3,000 worth of drive-offs on gas, so he didn`t think it was worth putting in a $5,000 security system.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police asked the owner of the store. The person who answered said no to answering any questions. They`re invited on any time. We all know that security systems, security cameras can get images of something when it`s going wrong. I mean, how many of these videos do we have to see? For years, we`ve seen these convenience-store videos where the technology gets better and better. The video gets sharper and sharper.

And you can see whatever is going on in these convenience stores and get images of the cars, whether they`re going through the store or parked outside the store. You can get images of robbers. You can get images of people who are attacking the convenience-store clerks.

We invite the owner of this establishment on any time. We have absolutely no indication that he has done anything, aside from -- let me show you what I did with my producer, Rich Dool. We have a security system that we accessed, and here I am. OK?

Now, you can zoom in. Let`s assume that our fabulous producer, who`s a law-abiding citizen, actually was a criminal for a second. You can zoom in on his face and then, with a little tweaking, you would be able to get a crystal-clear image of whoever that person is, and we wouldn`t be talking about sketches. We would be actually looking for an individual that we could define, in terms of height, weight, everything else. That, David, is why video is so effective.

BEGNAUD: Jane, surveillance cameras are the best thing ever. But as you were just mentioning a moment ago, we can`t blame the gas-station owner for something that was done wrong here.

Should he have had surveillance cameras? Absolutely. And I think the guy is acting defensive. You saw how he was...


BEGNAUD: ... with that reporter before the commercial break.

But what is absolutely critical to note here is that there is no reason to believe this was random at all. The police have gone on record saying they believe she was abducted -- they believe she was abducted by someone she knew. So who is it that she knows that has anything to do with a Chrysler Town & Country? You start there -- we assume police have -- and then you back up.

They have a task force that they`ve set up, Jane, to deal specifically with this case. We`re going to go almost two months from the day that she was allegedly abducted, and they have dramatically scaled back that task force.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Vinny Parco, private investigator, final thought.

PARCO: You know, there`s a lot of possibilities. One, this could be somebody she really knew intimately. Maybe she was looking for a way out of -- out of this marriage that she`s going to -- intended. You don`t know. You know, these kind of cases, anything could happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anything could happen, but right now we have a fiance who is devastated, sobbing, crying. And I don`t want to even put that in the -- although cops have to -- they have to consider everything, in terms of, yes, maybe there was somebody else, another love interest. They have to do that. That is their job. You know, politically correct, it doesn`t solve crimes. But there`s no indication of that whatsoever.

And I know this family is devastated. I know the fiance is absolutely devastated. They want to know where this young woman went, who took her. And we pray that she`s found alive. That`s priority No. 1.

Up next, more of our exclusive interview with a close childhood friend of Jodi Arias, who says she`s being punished for nothing.


PATTI WOMACK, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF JODI ARIAS: You never know what -- I never expected this, you know? I mean, you could never tell.



WOMACK: I have so many good memories with her. It`s hard. It`s hard to know that somebody could ever take somebody`s life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jodi Arias will face down the death penalty once again. But her attorneys are asking a judge to delay the retrial on the life-or-death phase until 2014, saying they need more time to gather witnesses to testify on Jodi`s behalf.

Remember, nobody testified on Jodi`s behalf the last time around except Jodi in the penalty phase.

Last night I spoke exclusively to a woman who was supposed to testify on Jodi`s behalf, her childhood friend, Patti. Listen to Patti explain why she decided not to testify and how she feels about Jodi Arias now that she`s been convicted of murder.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Patti, tell us, what happened that made you not want to testify?

WOMACK (via phone): Well, I was in fear of my life, my safety of my child`s life. The people who followed the Jodi Arias case aggressively were intimidating and made me scared. They posted my name on all kinds of support sites, Internet sites. They posted my address, my home address, the description of what my house looks like, with a map.

And there`s been so many cruel things to me. Hacking into my Facebook. Stealing pictures of me and my daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you still sometimes afraid for your life?

WOMACK: I`m really worried, and I`m sad that the jury didn`t find -- come up with a verdict, because I`m worried that, you know, this is all going to start over again.

In no way do I support what Jodi did. You know, I find it horrifying. As soon as I found out that, you know, she really did take somebody -- take Travis`s life, I just -- my heart was broken for Jodi`s family, and Travis`s family. It`s just -- it`s a horrible thing. And I do not condone it. I do not support what she did. And I do not support Jodi.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutor Martinez mentions drugs. You want to set the record straight. This is your opportunity to do so, Patti.

WOMACK: Well, I have never had a drug problem. I`ve never been convicted of any drugs, arrests. And, you know, I -- for Juan to say that about me, it actually not only disappointed me.

Here he is telling what seems like the whole entire world that I`m this drug addict, and I`m not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Patti says she did not testify on Jodi`s behalf in the penalty phase, because she does not support what Jodi does. She condemns it. She condemns the horrible, brutal killing of Travis Alexander.

All she was saying was that she happened to know Jodi when she was a kid in grade school and at the time in grade school she thought Jodi was a wonderful girl at that time. So she says, "Please, leave me alone. I`m a mother, and I`m afraid."

So I think she`s got a point there. She`s done nothing wrong. Jodi Arias has destroyed many, many, many lives at this point.

Coming up next, the Zimmerman re-enactment tape. We`ll watch it and debate it.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SHOT TRAYVON MARTIN: That`s when I started screaming for help. I started screaming help, help. That is when he grabbed me. I tried to sit up, and he grabbed me by the head and tried to slam my head down. My body was on the grass. My head was on the cement.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The jurors were originally told that maybe yes, maybe no. But now they know they are going to be sequestered two to four weeks.




ZIMMERMAN: I just felt like something was off.

We`ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there`s a real suspicious guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him dead. The person is dead laying on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George is a real person. He`s not whatever images people flash across the screen.

CROWD: I am Trayvon Martin.

SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: The heart has no color. It`s not black, it`s not white -- it`s red.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, fast breaking developments in the George Zimmerman case. Zimmerman`s father has just published a controversial e-book defending his son. Plus we are now learning that the jury will be sequestered for up to four weeks during this trial.

Did George Zimmerman murder unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin or did he kill Trayvon in self-defense? That is the crucial question. This jury will be whittled down from 500 to only six jurors with four alternates. They will decide whether George Zimmerman pursued Trayvon Martin as he walked home from a convenience store in the rain. The teenager only had Skittles and a softdrink in his hand, and then shot him. Or as Zimmerman insists that he fired the shot in self-defense after Trayvon attacked him.

Who was the real aggressor? Tonight, we are analyzing George Zimmerman`s re-enactment video. Check it out.


ZIMMERMAN: They said, "Where are you?" And I could not remember the name of the street, because I don`t live on this street.


ZIMMERMAN: (inaudible) this circle -- it goes in a circle.


ZIMMERMAN: I said, I don`t know. Then I thought to get out and look for a street sign.


ZIMMERMAN: So I got out of my car and I started walking.


ZIMMERMAN: I was still on the phone with 911 emergency, and I started walking. I actually walked all the way to the street. And I was going to give them this address, and they said, "Well he`s not there, do you still want a police officer?" And I said "yes". They said, "Do you still want a police officer?" And I said "yes".

They said, "Are you following him" -- oh, I`m sorry, back there, they said "Are you following him?" And I said yes, because I was in the area. They said, "We don`t need you to do that." I said "Ok." That`s when I walked straight through here to get the address so that I could meet the police officer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s debate it with our expert panel, and remember, Trayvon Martin is not here to tell his side of the story because he was killed that night. Did George Zimmerman turn around when cops told him to or did he keep following Trayvon on the pretense of looking for an address to give to the cops so that he could meet up with them? You`ve heard the tape.

Let`s start with Rolonda Watts, host of "Sundays with Rolonda" on BlogTalk Radio. What do you think?


I hear it out of his mouth, yes, I`m following him. And as you look at the tape, you see him going further and further away from his car. Yes, it appears to me that he was following Trayvon, that he did not stay put as the dispatcher clearly told him to do. And that`s where his mindset was. He was going to find this guy. That`s the way it comes across to me.

EVANGELINE GOMEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, if you look at the tape, the one thing you see is that he has a pure self-defense claim. The operator specifically told him on two instances, can you tell us where he is? Can you go out and find the address? This guy was not somebody who was out hunting him down. Mr. Martin was not being profiled.

He did -- he being George Zimmerman did as he was instructed by the non-emergency line operator. And when the non-emergency line operator told him to go back, don`t follow him. Go back, we`ve already dispatched an officer, that`s exactly what he did.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m scratching my head, because I`m not sure. I`ve listened to that several times now, and it seems like they say, to me, and I could be wrong, are you following him? Yes. You don`t need to do that. But then he proceeds to say, so I continued walking to find an address.

GOMEZ: and he turned around.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is the walking to find an address the same thing as continuing to follow him, Wendy Murphy?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. Yes, I think he did continue to follow him and look for an address. And I do think that he profiled him, and I think he was hoping to keep an eye on him so that when the cop got there he would be able to say he went right here. He went over there.

So what? You can`t slam a man`s head on a cement sidewalk because he`s looking at you. And even if you feel racially offended, which I`m sure Trayvon did, you can`t beat the hell out of the guy. That`s not allowed. And if you do, if you do, that man has a right under Florida law to shoot you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Rolonda, I would like to give you an opportunity to respond to that.

WATTS: Well, I`m -- listen, I don`t care if he was feeling threatened. He had no right to shoot that young boy. The boy was unarmed. He had nothing in his hands but Skittles. And as you listen to the tape with the confrontation and him on top of me and me on top of him, it gets very confusing and very sketchy.

I also see as he`s pointing out that he`s getting closer and closer to Trayvon. If he had a gun, why did he have to shoot him? Couldn`t he have just shown it to him and talk to him? I mean I just don`t think -- I think it`s the fact that he was shot --

MURPHY: His head was being slammed on cement.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think we`re getting ahead of ourselves. My question was --

MURPHY: Trayvon Martin had no injuries.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My question was, when a cop says stand down, you don`t need to follow him, is it a rationalization --

MURPHY: He didn`t say stand down.


WATTS: If he felt that threatened, then he should have turned around and gone back to his truck where he said the police were on his way --

MURPHY: With his head being slammed on the cement, he couldn`t.

WATTS: -- long before it got to that. VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on one second. What I`m saying is --

MURPHY: That`s not the issue.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, to me he didn`t have to continue finding an address. Let me just say this, I`m not debating this really, I`m just trying to clarify it. If the police say you don`t need to do that, and he really doesn`t need to find an address in the dark in order for them to meet up with him, because he`d already talked about we could meet -- there`s the clubhouse which he had passed. So he could have gotten in his car and met them at the clubhouse or near the clubhouse, it just seems a little maybe possibly disingenuous to be saying I need to continue walking in the dark looking for an address.

That`s all I`m asking. Let me give Anahita --

MURPHY: Correct, but you still can`t slam his head on the cement. You`re correct, Jane, but you still can`t slam the guy`s head on cement.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anahita Sedaghatfar.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Wait, let`s -- this is like "The View". Anahita, come on.

ANAHITA SEDAGHATFAR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I quite frankly don`t know how everyone is here making all of these conclusions and all of these assumptions. I mean you`re making -- everyone on the panel is making a lot of huge leaps here. And I think until all of the evidence comes out, more facts come out, we can`t say. You know so far, all we have to go by is what George Zimmerman --

MURPHY: Yes, we can.


SEDAGHATFAR: -- is telling us. And until we have a reason to not believe him, we have to believe him. We have to look at the forensics and --

WATTS: I think there are lots of reasons not to believe him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to talk about that on the other side. More of that on the other side -- healthy debate here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As far as facts, I don`t know if there`s really any out there other than unfortunately Trayvon lost his life.

I think he was just defending himself.

I still don`t know how the scuffle started or anything like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally the discussion would come up in school and teachers would immediately shut that down.




ZIMMERMAN: He saw -- I feel like he saw it, he looked at it and he said, you`re going to die (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He reached for it. He reached -- like I felt his arm going down to my side. And I grabbed it and I just grabbed my firearm and shot him one time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An analysis, but we don`t know what the other side of the story is, because Trayvon Martin is dead. Let`s go to the phone lines. Amy, Arkansas, your question or thought, Amy?

AMY, ARKANSAS (via telephone): Yes. I believe this is between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. I believe this was a self-defense case on both sides. But I believe that the brunt of the guilt is with George Zimmerman.


AMY: Remember we talked about fight or flight in the Jodi Arias case. When George Zimmerman got out of that truck, when he saw Trayvon Martin and got out of that truck, he was in fight mode. By his own words, Trayvon Martin was in flight, he was fleeing from him. And George Zimmerman continued to go after Trayvon. Even after he was given a direct order by the 911 operator, do not follow him. So when the confrontation happened --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Amy, I think you`re making a good point. I want to bring in our panel. Let`s start with Evangeline Gomez.

GOMEZ: Based on the video I saw, I wouldn`t say that was the case at all. Why was Trayvon Martin hiding in the patio of one of those townhouses as George Zimmerman was walking away and going back to his car? That`s when Trayvon Martin came out of nowhere, according to the video, and said do you have a problem with me? And confronted him, went into his personal space. So if you`re not looking for problems, you would hide on the patio and wait until the person is gone and walk away. No he decided to confront George Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Evangeline, you`re saying according to the tape. It`s George Zimmerman`s re-enactment tape though, Rolonda Watts. We`re hearing one side of the story essentially.

WATTS: Absolutely, absolutely you`re hearing one side of the story because Trayvon isn`t around to defend himself. I do think Amy`s point is brilliant. You are right. I think there was both a self-defense thing.

But if Trayvon did say, do you have a problem with me -- after all, the kid had been followed all throughout the complex, do you have a problem with me, I think that`s a legitimate question. The answer should have been "I`m just wanting to know who you are." It could have been a confrontation verbally. The kid didn`t have to be shot. A child is dead.

GOMEZ: He hit him. He hit him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`m going to give --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- the very polite Anahita the final word.

SEDAGHATFAR: Yes, I think your caller did make some excellent points, Jane. I think at the end of the day, it`s really going to come down to who the jurors believe was the aggressor in this case. And again, it`s going to turn on that 911 tape. Who those jurors believe was the individual screaming out for help. If the jurors believe that that was George Zimmerman screaming out for help, then they have to acquit him. If they believe it was Trayvon Martin then it likely would not --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ladies, I`m sorry, we have a limited amount of time. But I promise you, you will all be back to debate some more. We are all over this story and we will continue to be all over this story throughout the trial. Thank you.

Up next, a woman who is so famous, she`s considered, well, the patron saint of the chimps, and we`re all going to get together and help the chimps with Jane Goodall on the other side. How you can get involved. They can`t speak for themselves. Next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight Rico, our "Animals Investigation Unit" is talking about a huge step forward for chimpanzees around the world. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a new proposal that would protect thousands of chimpanzees currently held in captivity.

I`m going to break it down for you. Chimps are under attack. Right now government distinguishes between chimps in the wild and chimps held in captivity, used in laboratories, for example, and movies. Under the Endangered Species Act wild chimps are protected and considered endangered but those captive chimps in laboratories, they`re on their own, few protections for them.

Now because of this captive chimps are often exploited in commercials or movies or kept as pets which is dangerous, not to mention the hundreds of chimpanzees who are right now as we speak languishing in research laboratories in these horrible cells all around the United States.

If passed this proposal could save thousands of these intelligent, sensitive creatures from testing and torture. The U.S. government is starting to see the light but they need your help to make this law.

I am honored, deeply honored to have with me tonight a very special guest, Dr. Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. messenger of peace. The world`s most famous chimpanzee advocate. May I call you Jane? One Jane to another?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us what this proposal could mean for chimps everywhere.

GOODALL: Well, one of the big problems is that because the captive chimps were not considered in the endangered listing, people see them in advertisements and they see them in circuses and they just don`t believe they`re endangered. And by including the captive chimps in the endangered species it means people are going to start thinking differently and they will not be able to be exploited or harmed or harassed or any of these other things -- I forget the exact wording of the regulation.

So this is the proposal and the most important thing is that that proposal is realized and that`s going to be within the next 60 days when people like everybody listening, can write in and say that they really, really support and want this piece of legislation to happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where do they write? Should they write to their congress member or should they write to their senator or should they write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency? Where do they write?

I believe they write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency. I believe that will be posted on the Internet. They could write to the Jane Goodall Institute which also has a Web site. They could probably write to you and you would pass it on, right?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. Well, we`re going to obviously let everybody know that this is very important. These chimps cannot speak for themselves. Go to, follow the links. They will tell you exactly what to do.

And you know this shift in consciousness is not just about chimps. There are thousands of other primates around the world being held in captivity for testing. And a lot of times it`s for the latest cosmetic or some food item.

You see monkeys here huddling together in terror. They are scared. They have been grabbed from the wild and put in captivity. Look at these animals. Look how scared and lonely and tortured they are.

Why when we know Jane, that there are so many, Dr. Jane Goodall you are a doctor, we are now working on the molecular and sub molecular level. We don`t need to be torturing our cousins in this manner. Do you see a shift that people are realizing that this is not necessary when we`re dealing with protons and neutrons that can be studied in a laboratory?

GOODALL: Well, you know, what I think is what the chimps have taught us is that we`re so biologically like them. I would say the biggest difference is this explosive development of our intellect and that intellect has led as you say to the most extraordinary scientific breakthroughs. And they`re already out there. There are so many alternatives to using chimpanzees and indeed other animals that turn out to be cheaper and more effective.

And if we, you know, if we have a different mind-set, if we say to ourselves, ok, we admit that what we`re doing to these animals from their perspective is torture, so can`t we get together and admit that this is so and use our brains collectively, the medical people, to find more ways until no animals are needed in medical research?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: From your mouth to God`s ear as they say, Dr. Jane Goodall. We`re going to take a brief break and be back.

Please viewers, stay us. Bear witness. You can make a difference. You can change lives. You can make life not a living hell for these animals if we all band together and do something. Stay right there. Join us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are honored to have Dr. Jane Goodall with us tonight, speaking to us from Europe by the way. Her amazing Web site, Go there -- Learn more about how you can help these animals at this crucial juncture. Final thoughts -- Dr. Goodall.

GOODALL: Well, we still have a lot of work to do if we retire all the chimpanzees from medical research which we must. We have to retire them into sanctuaries. And sanctuaries don`t grow on trees. So we have to really put our hearts where your words are and help and contribute and write letters and support to raise money and do everything we can because they deserve it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you love animals the way Jane Goodall does, it`s not about owning a chimp. You can`t own these creatures. They are God`s creatures.

It`s about helping them. You can help them by going to and getting involved. They can`t speak for themselves. Little Rico here can`t, your pet at home can`t and these chimps can`t. Thank you Dr. Goodall.

GOODALL: Thank you too. Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy Grace is next.