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Husband Hires Hitman to Murder His Wife; Hannah Anderson Rescued; Pedophile Gets Custody of Six-Year-Old Daughter

Aired August 12, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, breaking news.

A stunning murder-for-hire plot allegedly hatched by a former banking bigwig with a big secret. Cops say the banker even created a hit kit to help a group of thugs execute eloquent wife of 24 years so he could be with the one you are about to see, this hot blond young secretary of his. And not have to pay a lot of alimony according to cops.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. And you will not believe this alleged plot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a housewife that was living with some would think would be a dream lifestyle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Investigators say he was part of a plan to murder his own wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Children just watched their father walk in shackles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Nancy Latham accused her husband, Chris, of an affair and wanting her dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She lived in fear for several month now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is the long married couple in happier days looking like the perfect couple, fillers of the Charleston, South Carolina social set. Parents of two lovely grown daughters. Christopher Latham was earning about, are you sitting down, three-quarters of a million dollar as year as a banking executive. But then, he got into a nasty divorce battle with his wife and moved in with his younger secretary, Wendy Moore. There is the alleged banker. No longer wearing a tuxedo. That`s his mug shot. And he allegedly conspired with his girlfriend/former secretary to recruit an entire team of people to kill his wife.

When cops told Mrs. Latham that her husband was trying have her rubbed out, she and the couple`s two grown daughters, you see them there, what a lovely family, they have to go into hiding for months. Listen to what the wife told the post inquiring.


NANCY LATHAM, WIFE OF SUSPECT: This is a man that I have known and still currently am married to. We have been married for 24 years. And how do you reconcile the idea that this person hired someone to kill you?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think about this ex-banker`s claim that oh, it is all a big misunderstanding? Call me. 1-877-JVM-SAYS. 1-877-58 1-877- 586-7297. I want to hear from you.

Straight out to the lion`s den. Jon Leiberman, investigative reporter. You have been tracking this case. What have you learned about why money is at the heart of this horror show?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Jane, I will tell you. This case is ugly on so many levels. But at the heart of it, it does appear is cash. One reason is because Mrs. Latham claims that if she was, indeed, killed, hired to be killed, by her estranged husband, he would have been able to keep this affair secret. Thereby keeping his $700,000 a year job.

Plus, if she`s no longer in the picture, the thinking goes, he would save tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees because they were going through a contentious divorce and also, on costly alimony payments. At the moment he has to pay $8500 a month to his estranged wife. So money is in large part at the heart of this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, I guess what you are telling me is that the company policy was no hanky-funky between the banking executives and cute young secretaries and so, they were keeping it secretly allegedly purportedly because it would have been a violation of policy, Jon?

LEIBERMAN: Well, absolutely. And had he been fired, he would have lost his pension and everything. Now, as it turned out he was able to negotiate a resignation. But that was before a lot of the more salacious details came out. But as of right now, he is still able to, under this resignation agreement, collect some benefits.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Interesting. I wonder if they sent him to his jail cell.

Now, Brian Silber, criminal defense attorney, I saw you shaking your head. What could you be shaking your head about?

BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, this case is like one of the wild stories that just screams motive. You know, I don`t see how this guy is going to find his way out of this. You know, he has a reason to save his job. He has a reason to save on thousands -- hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys` fees. He has a reason to save money on alimony, on child is port, on his wealth. And he wants to hide his girlfriend?


RENE SANDLER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, what direct evidence? Direct evidence, not statements of others, what direct evidence is there that he conspired to take measures to --

SILBER: I don`t know, maybe the file with all of those pleadings and the woman`s --

LEIBERMAN: Testimony of --

SANDLER: He lived with his girlfriend.

SILBER: Testimony of the guy --

SANDLER: Come on.


I notice that the woman remaining silent is Judy Ho the clinical psychologist because I think she analyzing all of you on the panel. But Judy --

SILBER: God knows we need.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It exclusive prime time exclusive guest. Why is it that the couples look perfect on the outside -- this couple really, they are the stereotypical pillars of the community in this gentile Charleston, South Carolina, social set. The victim, the would-be victim, thank God nothing happened to her, but the wife, she is still totally shocked over her estranged husband`s alleged plan to kill her. First, we are going listen to this from "the Post" and and then I want to hear from you, your analysis.


LATHAM: It was difficult to see him walk in shackles because, again, going through this situation that`s almost surreal. You can tell yourself that even though you suspect he is involved, well, he hasn`t been arrested so maybe he hasn`t. You know, you can almost compartmentalize those peelings. But to know that he`s arrested, the U.S. attorney`s office must have what they need to warrant an arrest.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this so-called perfect family.

Dr. Judy, how can they look so perfect on the outside and have all of this stuff going on behind closed doors?

DOCTOR JUDY HO, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well Jane, these types of high- powered couples, they are very centered on self-presentation. Their presentation to the world. And, in fact, that`s probably one of the motives for why he would hatch a plot like this. Because he is trying to protect his wealth, his reputation, who he is in the community, who he is at work. And oftentimes these couples, you know, they have to present themselves to the public as everything is great but when they go home, that`s where everything is falling apart. And so I`m sure that the wife right now is in disbelief.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. I don`t want to mix the two of them up. I mean, she is the victim and he is the alleged conspirator who was ring leading this cloud. We have a very special primetime exclusive guest with us tonight.

O`Neill Cannon, the -- the would-be victim. This lady`s father luckily, the police told her about this plot and she went into hiding with her two adult daughters and she`s fine tonight. So I`m happy to be able to report that, sir.

But Mr. Cannon, tell us your reaction, when you heard about this extraordinary plot which is something out of a movie, honestly, it reminds me of some of these thrillers, what was your reaction when you heard about it, sir?

O`NEIL CANNON, NANCY LATHAM`S FATHER (via phone): It was very hard to believe. I couldn`t believe it to start with. I felt that -- you know, he had nothing to do with it. I thought -- the girl, the girlfriend. After they did all the investigations and all of this stuff, it is hard for me to believe had a somebody would want to kill his wife and children. I just can`t believe that. You know. I got two lovely granddaughters. And I just -- they are my life. I just can`t see anybody trying to take their life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How has it impacted the two adult daughters? Your daughter, Nancy Latham, seems very strong. And there she is. She seems like a resolute woman that can handle anything. But these two adult daughters of hers and this alleged daughter, there you see the family going into court and the two younger women there, the daughters, I mean, how are they reacting to the fact that their dad, according to cops, wanted to run out their mom?

CANNON: It is very hard on the children. They didn`t want to leave -- granddaughter come home and they all had to stay together. One couldn`t go anywhere without all three going. They all had to go together and it was a hardship on them. They didn`t have any freedom. And they just -- it feels like for two months, they all have been locked up the same way. Didn`t have any freedom whatsoever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so happy that these women, even though they are traumatized are OK. Because, unfortunately, having done this job for quite a while, sometimes these plots become real.

And I want to go to Matt Yelverton, the attorney for Nancy Latham out of Charleston, South Carolina.

This is a shocker. Was there any sense that this man who is one of the pillars of the community until this happened was capable of something like this? I mean, he -- look at him. He looks like the banking executive he was. Making three-quarters of a million dollars. People trusted him with their money.

MATT YELVERTON, NANCY LATHAM`S ATTORNEY: Jane, there was no history to suggest that Mr. Latham would be involved in this type of conspiracy. I will say that having handled some higher-end divorces in my career that I`m rarely surprised by the steps people will take to preserve their assets or they would consider their entitle -- what they are entitled to. While he didn`t have a history of this, I`m not surprised that this happened given my experience.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Well, I`m shocked. Never shocks me when people are accused of doing what they get involved with.

David, Washington, your question or thought? David Washington?

DAVID, CALLER, WASHINGTON: Yes. I would just -- was thinking that in this day and age, divorces, people that have been married 20,25 years, statistics say that they are skyrocketing. But what an extreme to take it to? I mean if you are a guy making three-quarters after million dollar as year, you could have gone the legal route. I mean, you know, more of -- morally very questionable to fall in love with your secretary after 24 years of marriage to someone. But I mean, why do something that might put you in jail for life? Why go to such an extreme and instead of just taking the legal route --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at her. That could be the reason why. He has a very cute secretary. I mean -- that`s her mug shot. And she looks pretty good in the mug shot. So, imagine she cleans up very nicely.

And unfortunately, sometimes men don`t think up here, if you know what I mean. They are thinking with another part of their anatomy.

Stay right there. We are just getting started because there are alleged co-conspirators and there is even -- according to cops, a hit kit. And we are going to tell you what was in the hit kit and what a handwriting analyst said about who put it together. Stay right there. More on the other side.


LATHAM: This is a man that I have known and still currently married to, we have been married for 24 years. And how do you reconcile the idea that this person hired someone to kill you?




LATHAM: Seeing the man that I lived with and loved for so long come in shackles was -- it was heartbreaking. It was absolutely unbelievably heartbreaking.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that elegant woman, cops say she is the intended victim. And here is one of the alleged co-conspirators. The girlfriend of that woman`s husband.

Now, let me tell you about all of the cast and characters because it is a wild cast of characters. It is like out of a movie. The former bank of America executive, the alleged ring leader in the plot, and he allegedly enlists this woman, his secretary at one point/girlfriend in this plot to kill his wife, Nancy Latham.

And so, let`s go over to some of the other suspects. There is the ringleader, the former banking executive. There is the blonde lady is his secretary allegedly and slash, girlfriend. And she was married to the guy next to her at one point, Samuel. He was also named a suspect. He committed suicide in jail and had gone out with another woman named Rachel and she, along with her cellmate, Russell Wilkinson, they are all suspects.

Now, straight out to the lion`s den.

How dumb do you have to be to allegedly involve this many people and think it is not going to get out, it is not going to spill out? My God, Brian Silver, you are laughing. I don`t think it is funny.

SILBER: Listen, it is astonishing how the plethora of evidence in this case is going to unfold. Mark my words, one after the other, they are all going to turn on each other. And that`s exactly how a prosecutor builds a case under circumstances like these. No one is going to hold their ground. They are all going to cave in and spill the beans. And it is going the result in conviction after conviction after conviction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rene, you are shaking your head. He is making perfect sense.

SANDLER: Well, he is making perfect sense because that`s what criminals do. Criminals are dumb, number one. Number two, where you have more than one person charged, the case turns on what they have to say which is inherently unreliable. Typically, when someone speaks after being charged with a crime and others are charged, it is because they are offered immunity, of reduction in charges, and there`s some taint or bias associated --

LEIBERMAN: Convicted for that all the time.

SANDLER: In this case --

SILBER: Single case in our government without people flipping on each other. There is no trafficking case, for example, without a confidential inform an. You know as well --

SANDLER: And there is no direct evidence here.

LEIBERMAN: These people are going down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How did they find out about this?

LEIBERMAN: Well, that`s what I was --

SANDLER: After a traffic stop.

LEIBERMAN: They found out about it randomly during a traffic stop when they find a gun in the bag and the suspect apparently was going to buy heroin in a part of this town and he flips like that and starts talking about this elaborate plot. Another thing is --


SILBER: There`s -- one of the suspects is dead.

SANDLER: In an effort to get rid of the charge.

LEIBERMAN: Hanged himself in jail. So, one of the potential flippers in this case is out of the mix. But one other quick thing, Jane, we should point out, this murder for hire plot was not in its infancy. I mean, money had already exchanged hands. This hit package --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to get to that.

SILBER: That`s a very good point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to show you hit package because this is truly out of a movie. And I want to get Dr. Judy`s reacts to this.

The hit package included, and we got some graphics to illustrate this. Photos of Nancy. Her daily schedule, maps of her home and he left to go with a girlfriend, some island, some resort island off the coast of South Carolina, but she kept the big mansion. Divorce hearing documents and other personal information about her family. And handwriting expert testified just today that he believes banker Christopher Latham wrote an address that was found inside the hit package.

So, I want to bring in Dr. Judy Ho. Here is a man who has to be smart, this guy. He was a banking executive making three-quarters of a million dollar as year. You can`t be completely moronic. But yet, he involves all these people allegedly and he puts together a hit that`s probably the best evidence against him according to prosecutors. Why?

HO: Jane, I think this is a case where his profession and full experience is working against him because for him to be a success as he is, he probably spent tons of time learning strategies and bringing in teamwork, having people work under him. And so, he is taking all this experience to hatch the murder plot but he is taking the same exact error and making sure everything is thought out, involving all of these people on his team and now it is going to be his downfall. I mean, this is how we are going to find out that he was behind everything and we are going to start from day one where he started planning this from the beginning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you. This is not a home equity loan and you are getting some kind of mortgage consultant involved to -- this is a murder-for-hire plot according to cops. You do not involve all these people especially people who have drug problems and people who are all interconnected through relationships. What a nightmare. Let`s go to the phone lines.

Angela, Missouri. Your question or thought, Angela?

ANGELA CALLER, MISSOURI: Look Jane, I just find it so shocking that this man has four people involved in this conspiracy to murder his wife. And I`m just curious, are the police saying what they know about the details? I mean, what was the plan exactly to carry this out?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen. I know that certainly the attorney for Nancy Latham does want to reveal the details because they don`t want to ruin the case, OK? But I want to ask O`Neil Cannon and this is a primetime exclusive once again. You are the father of the intended victim. This was your son-in-law. This is your son-in-law still. How did Nancy find out? How did your daughter find out that her estranged husband was plotting to kill her? Allegedly.

CANNON: Well, I think Nancy found this out -- they found a note in the car when they sought this guy for traffic. And the note says kill Nancy Latham and the family if necessary, is what the moat said. So this is what Nancy was telling me. And from that point, the only thing, as far as I know, is concrete, I can`t -- you know, I`m not speculating, I don`t want to speculate on anything. But Chris had girlfriends all along, I think, in the bank, you know. He had for quite a while. And I think he was planning on this years, years ago before he told her at the lake -- he no longer wanted to be married. I think that he had a girlfriend. Did everything else together. I never saw any indication of that. But evidently talking with people at the bank he was in charge he would go to these parties and all this kind of stuff. (INAUDIBLE).

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are saying some very shocking things. And we want to get to more of it the other side. You are saying he had many girlfriends, in your opinion. And also, this alleged -- the note said kill Nancy and the family?

We are going to try to reconfirm that on the other side because that makes this plot if that`s true, I mean, even more sinister. Diabolical. Stay right there.

And later, we are going to have this dramatic rescue of Hannah Anderson. Did she know her captor killed her mother and brother? What did Jim DiMaggio, who is now dead, tell her? Why did she run with him? She is a victim. She is a survivor. We are so happy she is alive. But what did this monster tell her? Because she did not know, according to authorities, that her mother had been killed and her kid brother had been killed until she was rescued by authorities.

Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She lived in fear for several months now. She is a housewife that was living with -- what some would think was a dream lifestyle. Out of nowhere she was confronted with the fact that not is only her husband allegedly engaged in an fair, he`s also -- will has been a plot to kill her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the talk of Charleston, South Carolina. And these two individuals, the in the end tended victim, according to police, and her husband, the suspect, the alleged ringleader of the conspiracy to kill her, they are the Creme de la Creme of social Charleston, South Carolina. I mean, they were the it couple. Now, everybody can agree that the Lathams` divorce was ugly. Mrs. Latham said she`s glad her husband`s alleged plot against was broken up before she was physically attack.


LATHAM: It is not by any means celebratory. It certainly is not celebratory for my children. It has to be heartbreaking for them. And if it is heartbreaking for my children, it is heartbreaking for me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The two girls you see there, they begged the judge keep my dad in jail. He is dangerous, they said. Look at this woman. This is the girlfriend who was the alleged co-conspirator. She is also been arrested. But now, we are hearing stunning new information and we are breaking this right here on this show from the intended victim, Nancy Latham`s dad, O`Neil Cannon, a prime time exclusive interview.

Mr. Cannon, you are saying that it is your impression he had many girlfriends and he wanted to be out of the marriage a long time ago. And this is for to get into because many women find themselves in he is situations and they trust and think well, my husband would never do something like that. And so tell us what you know about his proclivities and how he had, in your opinion, you are saying he had affairs before the cute blond young secretary that he ended up living with, reportedly.

CANNON: Well, the only thing is I know, ma`am, this is hearsay. I talked with people at the bank and all so forth, they said he would go to parties and he would have a girl or someone with him, that he would be with a girl and this kind of stuff, so. And that`s what the people told me. That`s the only -- you know, that`s the only information that I have. I don`t have anything. I didn`t check it out. I didn`t follow it up. But all I have to do is go by what people said. Well, I told her (INAUDIBLE). Well, he was at a party the other night and they were having a blast. He had a friend with him. So, I suspect him being in a role that he`s in, that he could have plenty of women if he wanted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And often it is the wife who is the last to know. It is an old song, but it is true. Often the wife, trusting, having children with somebody, they don`t suspect because it is beyond their comprehension. But one look at this secretary and you can let your imagination do the rest of the work.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Walter, Florida. Your question or thought, Walter, Florida?

WALTER, CALLER, FLORIDA: Hi, Jane. How are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fine. Thank you.

WALTER: At the beginning of the show, you mentioned something about this being a perfect family. When are you going to realize there is no such thing as a perfect family? And not only that, someone in your stuff saying how successful he is. Success has nothing to do with stupidity. The man was stupid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to say that I agree with you 100 percent. And I was being facetious. In other words, when I say they look like the perfect couple, it is the image that is projected. And I have written about this in several books about how when someone projects, when someone feels very intent on projecting an image of perfection often it is a smoke screen to hide something on the other side. Because if you are comfortable with who you are you realize you are fallible and human and things get messed up. So you are not so interested and invested in creating a perfect crime.

I agree with you, sir. You are absolutely right.

On the other side, the mysteries behind the man hunted, the dramatic rescue of Hannah Anderson. I`m going to talk to her grandfather right here next in an extraordinary interview right on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: 16-year-old Hannah Anderson recuperating from a hellish experience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is definitely going to need our support through all of this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We came in finding her, so happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Her father now with her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way it ended up for Hannah and Jim, it`s fitting.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspect is deceased.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suspect, James Lee DiMaggio, was shot and killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 16-year-old Hannah Anderson recuperating from a hellish experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a possibility that he had an undue infatuation with Hannah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrifying week on the run with her captor, James DiMaggio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said that he had a crush on her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s safe. Hannah is safe.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight jaw-dropping revelations about the madman police say murdered a mother and her son, kidnapped her 16-year-old daughter. As the nation celebrates Hannah Anderson`s rescue we are hearing chilling new parallels between suspect -- now dead suspect -- Jim DiMaggio`s crimes and his father`s very dark past.

DiMaggio gunned down in a dramatic rescue mission in the Idaho wilderness. Hannah, the object of his obsession, the 16-year-old, rescued, we are so happy to say. DiMaggio`s own dad, by the way, committed a similar kidnapping 25 years ago. That girl was just 16. He was 35. And he told her he was in love with her. Sound familiar? The victim, now a grown woman, spoke anonymously to our affiliate KFMB.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, ALLEGED VICTIM OF DIMAGGIO`S FATHER: He told me he had only stuck around because he was in love with me. He wanted to take me away, give me a better life. I asked him not to kill us and he said "Don`t worry, you won`t feel a thing." I don`t believe you are born this way but really -- to follow such a path as your father?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Like father, like son -- can you believe that. Seven years after allegedly holding that girl at gunpoint, the elder DiMaggio killed himself.

The day his son, Jim DiMaggio, allegedly murdered his family friend, Christina Anderson, and eight-year-old Ethan, -- seen here -- was 18 years after his father disappeared and right before he committed suicide. Coincidence?

His friend does not think so.

ANDREW SPANSWICK, JIM DIMAGGIO`S FRIEND: There might be a possible link between the anniversary date of his father`s disappearance and eventual suicide and the date of the burning of the house.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So many unanswered questions. How did this whole nightmare get set in motion?

Want to go straight out to Jon Lieberman. You have been investigating this.

Listen, we are thrilled that this beautiful young woman is alive and back with her family. But we are wondering questions like -- why was she completely unaware that her mother had been killed by this sicko family friend, that her kid brother had been killed by this sicko family friend? That this nut job had set fire to his house near San Diego with the mother and the kid brother inside and then taking her? How was he able to take her without her realizing that this horror had occurred?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Jane -- I mean you just laid it out. These are all questions that investigators are trying to get to the bottom of by getting debriefed by Hannah and anybody else who may have seen the two, the eyewitnesses, the people on horseback who eventually called in and got this girl home alive. These are all of the questions that they are wondering what happened to Hannah in that frightful, horrible week that she was held captive? They believe she was held captive at one point at gunpoint. That`s how bad this situation got.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It is interesting because when the horseback riders approached she looked scared but she didn`t say, you know, "Help me, I`m being kidnapped", which leaves me to wonder did he create some fake story to get her out of there, kills her mother, kills her did brother, sets his own house on fire -- remember, he was going to lose his house so he was -- it was convergence of factors for him and takes her off and keeps her in some crazy fantasy life.

We have to leave because something -- making up a story, essentially. I think there is a very good possibility of that.

Now Hannah had told friends that this monster -- Jim DiMaggio, this family friend, handyman and longtime family friend -- had a crush on her and -- it creeped her out big time. Listen to one friend who was with Hannah and DiMaggio when he professed his affection.

Remember, he is a grown man. She is 16 years old. And she`s the daughter of his longtime friends.


MARISSA CHAVEZ, FRIEND OF HANNAH ANDERSON: We were driving home and he just said that he had a crush on her. And we both kind of just, you know, didn`t really look at each other and want to make a big deal about it. Then he said "Don`t think I`m weird or creepy, Uncle Jim. I just want you to know that if you were my age, I would date you."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Creepy Uncle Jim. Hannah told a few friends it but never told her parents.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den" -- We are going start with Judy Ho, clinical psychologist. Isn`t it classic that if an older man, whose family friend, does something inappropriate, it is really not normal for the kids to immediately run and tell their parents. They try to protect the parents from that information, unfortunately.

HO: Absolutely, Jane. This is a guy who has had a long history of trust in relationship with the entire family. She probably thought `Even if I told my mom some complaints about Uncle Jim, that -- they wouldn`t believe me, you know. This is the person we grew up with. This is the person that they love." You know, who knows? Parents might even chastise her for making up a rumor.

And so I think sometimes kids are afraid of the repercussions of actually coming clean with some of this stuff. That`s why I think parents have to really educate their children early that if anything comes up that they have to go to them immediately or there has to be somebody else they can go to, a teacher, a professional, a counselor -- somebody else that they can talk to about this who can help talk to the parents.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: yes. They -- she did talk to her friends. Her friends said that she revealed to them -- this beautiful young lady, 16 years old, recuperating tonight somewhere near her family, surrounded by her surviving family -- that this guy, this man you see right there had a crush on her. And he had revealed that he had a crush on her. And she was very uncomfortable over that.

This guy, who -- really is a monster, took advantage of the fact that Hannah`s dad had gone to Tennessee to do some work and so the dad had thought, "Well, we`re going to leave my family in the care of this man. He`s going to help out." And he, the predator that he is -- was, he is now dead -- took advantage of that situation to destroy the family and to kidnap the 16-year-old girl.

And we are just so happy that some horseback riders here in the woods found them, called -- one was a former law enforcement the horseback rider said something is wrong. They come back, they see the Amber Alert. The Amber Alert worked. They call police. Next thing you know, hundreds of police descending on the area. They find his car. And then they find him and she is separated from him a little bit. They whisk her away to safety. He fires a shot. And they kill him.

We need to study the criminal mind. What made him do that? That`s why I have just written this new book about the Jodi Arias case. It hits next Tuesday. It is called "Exposed: The secret life of Jodi Arias". A portion of the net profits go to charity. You can pre-order it now online or go to


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What enraged me about this case was that there`s only one person left to tell the story and that`s Jodi Arias. And through her lies and through her manipulation, she basically assassinated this man a second time -- assassinating his character the second time around, accusing him of something so outrageous, so outlandish without really any basis and it was horrifying.

She painted him as a pedophile. I can tell you as a journalist he`s not a pedophile. He was not a pedophile. It is all made up. But she was allowed to get on the witness stand with Travis Alexander`s grieving siblings sitting just a few feet away from her and spew this garbage about him.

It was infuriating and it actually enraged the nation. Jodi Arias tried to make Travis Alexander the person on trial. She tried to make herself the victim. In this book we outline precisely why Travis is the victim and she is the villain. It is really her demonic behavior in trying to turn him into the monster that makes her the true monster.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Elizondo (ph) who was convicted for raping his other daughter six years ago in California when she was (inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If her mom says anything to her at all about, you know, "I`m trying to get you home or I`m working on it," then Dad cuts the Skype visit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I spent all of my money on attorneys and I ended up, you know, I -- don`t have -- I lost my car and everything. And so they --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we are not sure what`s happening in California while she has been asleep or, you know, not really knowing what was going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope come back. Hope you come back. Miss you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everyone`s blood boiling. Outrage coast to coast as a convicted sex offender gets full custody of a six-year-old daughter. This man pleaded no contest to raping his stepdaughter when she was just six years old. And what does a judge do with this guy when he gets out of the slammer? Gives him full custody of another child -- his own daughter, Sarah, who was the same age as his victim was? What the heck was this judge thinking?

Well now, the child`s mom fighting ferociously to get her little girl back despite losing her life savings in this fierce legal battle.


LISA KNIGHT, SARAH`S MOTHER: I spent all of my money on attorneys and I ended up, you know, I -- I don`t have -- I lost my car and everything. And -- so they -- used that against me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little Sarah`s devastated mother joins me now along with Sarah`s cousin. Thank you both ladies. You are in Oklahoma. And your daughter is with her convicted pedophile dad in California.

So tell us about the emotional toll this is taking on you and your daughter being reduced to talking to your daughter on Skype the way I`m talking to you now for just a couple of minutes every week and how she cries, I heard, when you talk to her. Tell us about this, Lisa.

KNIGHT: Well, there`s times when I`m talking to her on Skype and she -- looks really sad and she will put her head down and -- that part is really hard because it is like -- you know, I don`t know what to say to her. One time I told her I was going to -- you know, try to get her back and he -- he actually cut the Skype off. So -- it is just been difficult.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy Coomer (ph) -- you are -- Jody -- Jody, you are Lisa Knight`s cousin. And -- have you witnessed any of these Skype conversations and is there any way that you could describe what this little girl is going through because she has been pulled away from her mom, the woman next to you, and she -- she with -- her dad -- is he essentially a man she didn`t know until this -- this decision by this judge?

JODY COOMER, LISA KNIGHT`S FRIEND: He`s come a few times a year for visitation and he would come and -- you know, bring her presents and take her for a couple of hours. While supervised he would take her for a couple of hours someplace and then he was gone again. That`s the type of relationship until last year and the same judge ordered that she should have to start going to California and the first visit was for 30 days. You know. He made her sleep in his bed the whole time during that -- that was, you know, wrong. So when mom told him that -- you know, she can`t be sleeping in your bed he tosses her in the other room with -- you know, with his son. And now he -- actually told -- asked him what -- what do you do at night when she cries? I just throw the dog in there with her.

She looks at us like, you know, I`m not allowed to be, you know, on the Skype. If I walked in the room he will cut it off. I just stand at a distance and I can watch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Ok. Phone calls lining up. We have more information for you. Stay right there.

More on the other side. Are you outraged?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to Charlie -- wow. A girl named Charlie I think because that`s a wonderful dress you`ve got on. Diablo Girl -- she says "I`m a person too". And I belong right here on Pet of the Day. Ally says "Stand guard and protect my family. Nobody gets past me. Look at my eagle eye. And Dixie says, "Well, who are you looking at. I`m just having fun here in the yard. Deal with it."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If her mom says anything to her at all about, you know, "I`m trying to get you home or I`m working on it," then Dad cuts the Skype visit. We`re not sure what is happening in California while she`s been asleep or not really knowing what was going on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got to tell you that we`ve gotten a letter from this man, the attorney for this man, the father and he says essentially, "I would caution all who hear this matter not to pass judgment unless they have reviewed all of the evidence presented to the court and the ruling was in the best interest of the child. He is providing a stable home."

I want to get the reaction of the mother who`s fighting for this child, Lisa Knight. He is essentially implying that there is more to this story and he is somehow, despite his conviction, a better father than you are a mother. I would like to give you an opportunity to respond to that.

KNIGHT: Do you understand?

COOMER: She wants to know. He says he`s a better father than are you a mother.

KNIGHT: Oh, he has no idea what to do with Sarah. I don`t -- it doesn`t make any sense to me at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jody, do you want to jump in on that?

COOMER: Well, he -- I know he`s claiming he`s made a stable home for her. However, he was arrested right after he got to California because his license tag was covered up or some nonsense while he pulled him over and he got arrested for having ammunition in his truck. And you know, you can Google Earth his house and just from the outside, you would think it was condemned, you know, and inside isn`t much better.

So I would just beg to differ that mom doesn`t, you know, doesn`t have a decent place for her to live. The evidence showed that the DHS, the Department of Human Services --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, I know this is difficult for you. I know you are crying right now. And I know that this is hell. You want to be with your daughter. We will stay on top of this case. I promise you. We`re not going to let it go.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy Grace has more on the convicted sex offender getting custody of this child and Nancy Grace is up next.