CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Baby Elaina`s Remains Found in Box?

Aired September 6, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. What are believed to be the remains of missing Baby Elaina, have been found, stuffed into a computer box, of all things. Acting on new information, cops found the box behind bags of trash in the rafters of the garage of the very home where she was last seen alive.

Tonight, as the autopsy to confirm the child`s identity and determine cause of death gets underway, cops hint at a vast conspiracy to keep the death of this child a total secret.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found what we believe may be Baby Elaina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A heart-wrenching ending to a wild three months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) him before I get you. Because I`m coming for you today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immature, human skeletal remains.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a box, in a garage, behind the family`s home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s now sitting in a jail cell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a lot of deception taking place.

TERRY STEINFURTH JR., ELAINA`S FATHER: I got to find my daughter, one way or another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to bring justice to Elaina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yank her, grab her around, smack her in the mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does a 1-year-old girl just vanish?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This innocent baby girl vanished three long months ago.

The mystery began when Baby Elaina`s biological dad came to pick her up in a custody exchange. Mommy gives him the older daughter but refuses to hand over little Elaina. She says she doesn`t want to wake the sleeping baby. Then she says she`s afraid if she gives him the child, she`ll never see her again.

After two hours of fighting between mom and dad and mom`s on again, off again boyfriend, who she`s living with, mom agrees to go get the child. A minute later, she comes out running out of the house, screaming the baby`s gone.

Mom, Angela, was arrested on child endangerment charges, then later accused of obstruction of justice. Her on again, off again boyfriend, Steven King, is also behind bars tonight.

Then finally today, cops announced a gruesome discovery inside the garage of the very home where this child went missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a result of that search warrant, we recovered immature human skeletal remains.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who put the baby there? What happened to her? Will murder charges be forthcoming? And if so, against whom? The breakthrough has only intensified the mystery.

Now police are hinting at a conspiracy of silence and deception that could involve several people. Who are they referring to?

This investigation reaching a climax, as Baby Elaina`s heartbroken father tries to grapple with this new discovery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. STEINFURTH: I still kept hope, but at this point, you know, it`s hard to be optimistic right now.

Just trying to hold it together. I don`t know how good you really can do right now. Irate. Angry don`t even begin to cover it. Don`t even begin to cover it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course he`s angry. Where is her -- his child? Found in a box. Of course he`s angry.

Tonight, we have an amazing panel in the Lion`s Den. But first straight out to Angie Gonzalez, reporter for WNWO. You are in Ohio where all this is going down. It seems like cops are implying that a lot of people could have known about this or be in some way involved.

ANGIE GONZALEZ, REPORTER, WNWO (via phone): The preliminary autopsy results that you spoke about earlier from the Lucas County coroner saying that the immature skeletal remains are so immature that at this time they are unable to determine the exact sex of the remains. They say that they are going to depend on DNA testing, and that should be available early next week.

They also say the matter of death is not going to be officially ruled on until all parts of the autopsy are in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say this: Unless, and I pray this is the case, that there`s some massive mistake, and these are not human bones, that there`s bones of an animal -- and that kind of thing has happened in the past.

But in all probability, the cops themselves acknowledge it`s probably the bones of this precious angel. Look at that innocent face. What happened to her? Who did what, when and for what reason?

Earlier today, investigators flat out said there may be a whole bunch of people in this neighborhood who are somehow involved in Baby Elaina`s disappearance, even keeping secrets. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do the things we need to do to make sure the people that are responsible for this help out. We had a lot of deception taking place, being told to us by a variety of sources in this community. And because of that, we took the investigation where we felt we needed to take it. We`re going to bring those responsible to justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den, where we have a very special guest tonight. An exclusive with Mary Schiewe, the aunt of the missing child, who is now believed to be confirmed dead. They believe it`s her remains found in this box, and it really hurts me and makes me sick to have to say that, the autopsy underway. We should know for sure, but unless it`s some kind of really massive mistake, like animal bones or something like that, the chances are very, very good that this poor child was left, her remains left in a box, a computer box.

First of all, Mary Schiewe, I want to offer you my heartfelt -- I don`t want to say condolences, because I guess that`s technically premature, but I`m really sorry you`re going through this hell. And I know it is hell for you and the family.

MARY SCHIEWE, AUNT OF MISSING CHILD (via phone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What has it been like to get this information about human remains found in a box, child`s remains, believed to be that of your niece?

SCHIEWE: It`s heartbreaking. I just don`t understand that almost 3 1/2 months go by, and my niece is in a box in the garage that the house was supposed to be searched.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you saying that you think they should have found this child before? Are you saying that somebody dropped the ball at not finding -- the remains are in the very house where the child disappeared from, in a detached garage next to the house, an area that was searched exhaustively by the police.

SCHIEWE: If the box wasn`t taken back to the house, I believe that they should have found it a while ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this: The whole story that your half-sister, Angela, gave to the police about the child being in the bed and then her -- the father comes in to take the child, and she says, "No, you can`t have the child. The child is napping."

Then after a big argument, she runs out and says the child`s missing. It doesn`t pass the smell test. I`m really sorry to say, Mary. It doesn`t make any sense. It`s a far-fetched story. Children don`t just disappear.

SCHIEWE: It doesn`t make any sense at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what do you think happened? Why are cops saying so many people might be involved? There were a lot of people in the house when this happened.

SCHIEWE: Because there are several people that are in the house on a daily basis, and all of a sudden, the day my niece came up missing, there was nobody there. It don`t make any sense. There -- I mean, there`s other people that know. I guarantee there`s other people that know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you this. Do you think your half- sister, Angela, the mother of the child, was hiding information when she ran out and said my baby`s missing? Do you think something happened to the child many hours or maybe even a day earlier?

Let me give you a timeline and then I want to give you a chance to respond. OK. Here`s a timeline of the hours before Baby Elaina disappeared. June 1 -- that`s the day before -- Elaine and her mom are seen on surveillance video. The mother appears to be rocking the child. June 2, 12 hours before this child officially vanishes, a neighbor says he sees Baby Elaina`s mom, Angela, and her sometimes boyfriend, Steven King, leaving their house in the dead of night around 1 in the morning in a van, returning 15 minutes later. Hmm.

Elaina`s mom claims later that day she wakes up in the morning to find her baby with a black eye and a bump on the nose. She says, "I don`t know how the child got the injuries," but she doesn`t take the child to the doctor.

And then later that afternoon, during a custody argument, the mom claims the child just disappeared from inside the house. Now, her on again, off again boyfriend`s mother, who was also there, says she and her son, Steven, run out of the house desperately looking for the child. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was gone probably about a half an hour, I`d say. Steven and I, both of us went running out the back door, and I was just afraid by some chance that maybe she had gotten out the back door into the pool. I had told Steven to go down the alley. Maybe she had gotten out the gate. He didn`t go running out the back door by himself. He didn`t go running out the back door with a baby. It was him and I looking in the pool and the garage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So that`s the mother of the on again boyfriend of the mother of the missing, now feared dead child, saying basically -- everybody was looking for the child.

But I have to go back to Mary Schiewe. You are the half-sister of the mother of this child, who is -- this half-sister of yours is now behind bars. It would occur to me that possibly something happened to the child in the course of the night, and that`s why maybe they got up in the middle of the night and got in their van and went away for 15 minutes and came back.

And then the next day, they say the child is napping, but in fact, something has already happened to the child.

SCHIEWE: I think that Steven`s mom is full of crap, and I believe that she was hurt Saturday night and she was taken out of that house Sunday morning and she, my sister, was holding in what she knew. She knew that my niece was hurt and that she didn`t seek medical attention for her. She knew that. That`s why she was charged with that child endangerment and obstruction of justice, because she was holding that in. She knew the whole time that my niece was hurt and she didn`t seek help for her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, if I can ask you to stand by for a second. Straight out to the Lion`s Den.

Wendy Walsh, it would appear this child is dead. They have not confirmed the remains, but it`s a child`s remains in the same house where this child vanished. You`re hearing all of this. I mean, it`s a big mess. What do you make of it?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, you know, who knows? Because nobody seems to be telling the truth, and nobody is talking.

I`m most interested to know what`s going on with this mother. I mean, she was arrested from the beginning, and instead of saying, "Let`s be working hard to find my child," she was busy trying to defend herself.

I think that something clearly happened to this child, whether it happened the day before. Now that I hear there was a swimming pool on the premises, I`m wondering if even an accident might have happened and then they decided to disguise the remains because they were afraid.

Or it could have been the injuries. Remember, there were bruises. She didn`t get medical attention for these bruises. This kid could have had a concussion and died in her sleep. We really don`t know, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I don`t think you generally get black eyes from falling in the pool, but I could be wrong. You don`t know.

On the other side, we`re just getting started. Are the remains Baby Elaina? Cops think so. But who is responsible for her death? Will somebody be charged with murder? Why were the remains in a box? The police searched that area and didn`t find them.

So many questions, stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. STEINFURTH: I`m not going to say she was directly responsible for anything. But my daughter was in her care at the time that this happened, and the police are handling it the way they feel they need to. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

GRAPHIC: Don`t talk to anybody in jail about the case.

ANGELA STEINFURTH, ELAINA`S MOTHER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

GRAPHIC: OK. I just want to go home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

GRAPHIC: You`re not going home tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the mother, Angela, the mother of the missing child who is now feared found dead. The remains of the child bound in a box from the very house from which the child disappeared, in a detached garage adjacent to that house.

Straight out to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist, one of the nation`s best. How do they determine, in fact, if this is baby Elaina, given that the child disappeared three months ago? It`s the summertime, the remains were found in a box.

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via phone): Well, indeed. When a person dies, under dry conditions, they could mummify. But apparently, that`s not what happened here. There was complete decomposition down to skeletal remains.

And the way to identify the body with not very much question is through mitochondrial DNA analysis. Doing a sample of the long bones of the remains and compare the mitochondrial profile to that of the mother, because maternal relatives share the same exact genetics.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Dr. Kobi -- Dr. Kobi, I want to ask you about determining manner and cause of death if there`s skeletal remains. How do you do that?

KOBILINSKY: Yes, you beat me to the punch. That`s exactly what I was coming to. The skeletal remains may be very, very difficult to determine the cause of death. There may have been blunt trauma, for example. That would be revealed in injury to the bones. Something like a stabbing or a shooting can sometimes be determined. But something likes asphyxiation may or may not be revealed on an autopsy. This is not a simple case.

And the manner of death, obviously, it seems like a homicide, but the possibility is an accident and a cover-up. The circumstances that surround the finding of the body are certainly very, very suspicious and would lead one to think it`s a homicide. But I think that is in the hands of the medical examiner right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, doctor.

You`re saying it`s very little doubt it`s human remains. So that`s an important aspect of it, because sometimes they make a mistake and sometimes it is animal bones.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, but most importantly, former prosecutor, is this going to be a case of too little too late? That they found the remains of this child, let`s say they determined that yes, it is baby Elaina in a couple of hours or in days. But it`s too late to determine how she died.

HOLLY HUGHES, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It is, Jane. And I`m having flashbacks. I hate to say it, but I`m having flashbacks to the Casey Anthony case. Because what did we see at trial? The same thing. You had skeletal remains, no way to determine cause of death and a pool in the backyard. Right? Are they taking a page out of that playbook? Is that why all of a sudden, we`re hearing this story, that he ran out back to search the pool.

And we`re all going to ask the same question: Then why not call the police immediately? Why not try to revive that baby? If it was a drowning, there`s no soft tissue. There`s no lungs or organ left to determine that`s what it was. So it`s going to be very hard. We`re looking at a circumstantial evidence case, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vince Velazquez, homicide detective, the day the child vanished, we now have confirmed that the mother admits the child had a black eye and a bloody nose. She claims that she woke up and spotted her child that way, which doesn`t make very much sense.

VINCE VELAZQUEZ, HOMICIDE DETECTIVE> No, it doesn`t make sense at all. The fact that she even told somebody that is beyond me. I can`t understand why she would even allow, if that`s not even true, to make that up.

One point I want to make clear, when the boyfriend showed up -- I`m sorry, when the father of the baby showed up to pick up the baby and the mother said the baby was napping, and all of a sudden, the boyfriend got up to fight him, I think that was staged. It looks like it was something that they decided at the last minute, like he cannot come in the house and tried to stop with him by having a fight with him and get him angry so he would leave. This looks like, to me, a conspiracy between the mother and the boyfriend, and perhaps his mother, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s just say that nobody has been charged in connection with this child`s death. But there are obstruction of justice charges against the mother and the boyfriend.

Stay right there. We`ll have more on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want her home in one piece. I want to know that she`s OK. It`s very hard not having her around. My other daughter is going insane without her sister. They need to be together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quiet. Let him open up his mouth, and he`ll go to jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, just keep it down. You`re being recorded, everything you say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him away from me. I`ve got a restraining order against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a restraining order on him!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing after the other. You already got a restraining order for terroristic threats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drama and a feud between the two families. The family of the child`s father, the family of the missing and now feared dead child`s mother. So did this child become a pawn in that battle? There are numerous arts that mom Angela was rough and possibly abusive with her kid, Elaina, and her 4-year-old daughter, for that matter. Baby Elaina`s dad, T.J., says that`s one of the reasons he and Angela separated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. STEINFURTH: She yelled at them, cursed at them. She would snatch my oldest daughter by her arm and, like, yank her, drag her around, smack her in the mouth. Just things that I don`t agree with. That`s not how you correct children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: T.J. claims he`d seen bruises on Baby Elaina just days before she disappeared, and Child Protective Services visited the Steinfurth home last year when the couple was still together, but they were having problems.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Now that we have found remains that we believe are Baby Elaina, Areva Martin, was this a disaster waiting to happen? Should we have seen the red flags?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I think so, Jane. We see so many of these cases where there`s abuse in the home by parents, and social services come out, and they do what they call an investigation, but then months later there`s a dead child. So the ball was dropped somewhere with respect to this child.

We hear the dad talking about the mom being abusive, but the child goes back to being in the care of the mom.

And you know, no matter whether this was an accident at the swimming pool, or the child got away, some crime was committed here. A 1-year-old child doesn`t leave a bed without there being some adult activity involved in it. A 1-year-old child doesn`t end up dead and in a box unless some adults have sine responsibility. So I`m just hoping that the police can put together a case to get these people to start telling the truth, because justice needs to be done for this little girl. This is horrific.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary -- Mary Schiewe, you are the aunt of the baby who is now feared dead. But you`re also the half-sister of her mom. What about these claims of abuse made by the child`s father?

SCHIEWE: I -- I never seen it. If it did happen, she should have known better to ever let that happen in front of me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you never saw bruises or bumps? Or anything...

SCHIEWE: I`ve seen bruises. I`ve seen bruises.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, what were the explanations offered for those bruises?

SCHIEWE: She fell or it was always she`s clumsy. That was -- that was her way of telling me, you know, I don`t know where the bruises came from.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary, was there an issue with this precious child? Was she in any way, shape or form disabled at all?

SCHIEWE: No, no way. She was perfectly fine. There was nothing wrong with her. She had problems with her feet when she was first born, and that was taken care of through therapy. She was perfectly fine. There was nothing wrong with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So even though we`re hearing these reports from the baby`s father, as well as there`s other published reports of other people saying that they heard your half-sister yelling and being crude and cursing at the kids, you`re saying she never acted that way in front of you?

SCHIEWE: She does -- she does have a smart mouth and I`m not saying I`ve never heard her. I`m not defending her in any way. But hitting-wise, she would know way better than to do that in front of me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I thank you for standing by. We`re going to take a short break. We`re just getting started. The question, was this child murdered? Are the remains that of this child? Who is going to be charged? Will justice happen for baby Elaina?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. STEINFURTH: Snatched my oldest daughter by her arm, yank her, drag her around, smack her in the mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn`t go running out the back door by himself or running out with a baby. It was him and I looking in the pool and in the garage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her and her boyfriend were fighting because of the way he was treating my children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep him away from me. I have a restraining order against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a restraining order on him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They searched here I think a total of four or five times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I overheard her staying stuff to other people that Elaina had a black eye, a broken nose and a lump on her head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She would snatch my oldest daughter by her arm, yank her, drag her around, smack her in the mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn`t go running out the back door by himself. He didn`t go running out the back door with a baby. It was him and I looking in the pool and the garage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news. The remains of a child believed to be Baby Elaina just found, feet from where many vigils were held over three months to pray for the child`s return. The cops searched this home several times, including the detached garage where the remains were found just yesterday. And that has a lot of people irritated and wondering how could cops have missed these remains?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn`t drop the ball, number one. Number two, this investigation is ongoing exactly (ph). We can`t get into all these various details right now.

The main thing you have to remember -- there are two things. Number one, we wanted to find the body -- we wanted to find that baby, which we did. Number two, we want to bring justice for Elaina which means that we`re going to continue through our investigation and do the things we need to do to make sure the people that are responsible for this are held accountable. We`re not going to get into all these -- how many times we checked here, how many times we checked that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here are pictures from inside the home. The family claims the cops tore it apart. The cops say, hey it was a complete mess to begin with to the point that cops couldn`t let their own cadaver dogs inside because there was just too much junk.

So two possible scenarios: either those remains were there the entire time and the police really did drop the ball, or somebody deviously moved the body around after they searched.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den" -- let`s ask our experts. Holly Hughes, former prosecutor, why did it take three months to find a body inside the very property where the child vanished?

HOLLY HUGHES, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well Jane, I think you just hit the nail on the head. This baby was in a computer box. You can move that around very easily, very simply. They`ve searched this residence four or five times. I would assume they searched the out-building, that detached garage where those remains were found yesterday.

So it`s likely that the baby wasn`t there and they figured hey after four or five searches, we`re in the clear, we can now stash those remains up there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When Elaina first went missing, many people pointed the finger at her mom, Angela. Here is the mom right before her arrest. Listen and we`ll analyze.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA STEINFURTH, MOTHER OF BABY ELAINA: I`ve been shaking for the last three days and I just want my baby home. She has problems and they`re going to get (inaudible) can do it for her. I need all the support I can get to bring her home -- anything to keep me comfortable and from losing my mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychologist, Wendy Walsh, here she is saying we need that baby home, what do you think -- lying?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. What she`s talking about is herself here. She needs the support, she needs anything to make herself feel comfortable, to keep from losing her mind. Did she say "I`m worried where my baby is tonight? She could be cold. She could be hungry. If she`s with you and you`ve stolen her, please know she needs this, or she needs that. Please take care of my baby."

No, no, no. This wasn`t even about the baby. It`s "Please help me stop losing my mind, please. I`m having a rough day."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very much crying for herself.

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Jane, Jane --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead. Go ahead.

MARTIN: I just want to add to what Wendy said. And I don`t want to bash that aunt, but I`m sitting here listening to the aunt and again I`m not hearing the kind of empathy that you would expect to hear. She was so casual about the abuse that she says she did with this -- the cursing, the yelling at this one-year-old child. That`s not normal parenting behavior.

And if you`re watching someone parent like that, someone intervene. Someone step in. This mom probably needed to have supervised visits with this child. It doesn`t appear she was fit or capable of parenting these kids and now we have this one-year-old that`s dead.

WELSH: Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

WALSH: Jane, this is Wendy. More than the mother, I`m concerned about this new boyfriend --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes, we`re going to get to that.

WALSH: -- because, you know, the statistics tell the truth. A child, one of the most dangerous places for a child to live in America is in a home with a non-biologically-related male -- 11 times the rate of sexual abuse --

M1: Absolutely.

WALSH: -- physical abuse and emotional abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well I want to give --

WALSH: Plus if he uses drugs or alcohol.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very good points. And there he is, right there. That`s Steven King. All right -- and he and his attorney are invited on any time. He`s behind bars right now charged with obstruction of justice but he has attorneys so they`re invited on.

Mary Scheiwe, you`re the aunt of the missing child -- the half sister of her mother. I want to give you a chance to respond to what our experts just said.

MARY SCHWEIWE, AUNT OF BABY ELAINA: About what part?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they said they felt that your response to the mother`s verbal -- apparent verbal abuse of the children was less than appropriate.

SCHEIWE: Less than appropriate, because if it happened in front of me I wouldn`t have let it happened because it`s never happened in front of me. Maybe I`ve seen her grab her arm a couple of times and yank her towards her, she`s doing something but her like beating the crap out of her has never, ever happened in front of me, ever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And you established that. And I`m not trying to put you on the spot. I appreciate you joining us. I want to give you - -

SCHEIWE: No, I understand. I would never let that happen to my niece, ever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you did acknowledge --

SCHEIWE: (inaudible) when she came over here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you another question. Why did she end up at this boyfriend`s house? We`re going to play a sound bite in a second where somebody criticizes the boyfriend and said it`s actually the biological father said that they were concerned about her being with this boyfriend with the kids. Why did she go to the boyfriend`s house? Apparently what she and the father agreed on is that she would go to her own father`s house, a real adult`s house.

SCHEIWE: She was supposed to stay at my house that night. She was texting me and my dad and she was supposed to stay at my house that night. We don`t know why she ended up over there. I mean we couldn`t force her to stay here. She`s grown. She does what she wants. But she was supposed to -- from my understanding, her last text message to me was that she was going to be at my house. Now, the last text message from my dad and her was that she went back over to that house.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying she`s an adult, she can do what she wants, but I had heard reports that she wanted to be able to go to the boyfriend`s house for a couple of reasons. She had had a fight with the boyfriend and she wanted to make up with him. She had fought with his mother, she wanted to make up with her and also that they allowed her to smoke which apparently your dad didn`t?

SCHEIWE: I don`t know make up. I never heard that she wanted to make up with him. And I don`t know why she would want to anyways. And no, my dad doesn`t allow smoking in the house. That`s why he has a hole in his neck from smoking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So she did smoke.

SCHEIWE: She doesn`t like my dad`s rules -- that`s what it was. My daddy had rules because there`s kids are going to be in the house and obviously you respect it. You don`t run in all hours of the night. She didn`t like it and she never has when she lived here.

She didn`t like being here. That`s all there was to it. We don`t know, the girls will have a (inaudible). But she didn`t like my dad`s rules. That`s what it was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, psychologist, what do you make of it?

WALSH: Well, this girl is a little rebellious and my concern with this mother is that her relationship with her boyfriend was more important to her than the safety of her children, than the relationship she was going to have to protect her children.

You know, little babies are given to us for a reason. It`s our job to protect them. Even if it was an accident, was she neglectful to these children to potentially participate in this accident in this way?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, on the other side, we`re going to take a look at the boyfriend -- on again, off again boyfriend -- Steven King. What is his role, if any?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn`t know where the baby`s at or who took the baby. Personally from what I viewed of her, I don`t think she`s shown any emotion of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby was injured at one point. She was aware of it, and did not seek medical attention for the baby.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. This poor child is believed to have been found dead in a box. The autopsy to confirm that is occurring today. So we should know for sure. But it certainly looks that way tragically. The box was found in the very home, the very property where this child disappeared.

Now, we have an exclusive interview tonight with Mary Scheiwe, the aunt of this child, and the half sister of the child`s mother.

Some of our panelists have suggested that you didn`t respond enough to whatever you saw, and I know you`re very upset about that. I heard that from my producers. I want to give you a chance to set the record straight, Mary Scheiwe.

SCHEIWE: I was there. I`m just mad about what that lady said that my response to Kylie and Elaina`s abuse wasn`t right. She doesn`t live in that house.

He knew way more than what I did. He`s seen it everyday more than what I did. I only got to see my nieces when they weren`t being held over my head, when I wasn`t being a supposedly bad person, when it was on their time for me to see my nieces. I will do anything for them girls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me give -- yes, I will say this, and I don`t know who exactly said it in our panel -- possibly Areva. I mean sometimes extended family members cannot control the situation. They`re powerless. Have you ever tried to get a relative to do what you want them to do? Ha. Good luck with that.

SCHEIWE: Yes, I mean she has (inaudible) her own. Obviously, us telling her not to go back over to the house because she still went over there when she had a perfectly good place that she was offered to stay with both of the girls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And namely your house.

Ok, Areva I want to give you a chance --

SCHEIWE: It was my house -- it is my house.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes, exactly.

MARTIN: And I started my statement -- Jane, I started my statement by saying I wasn`t trying to bash the aunt and I`m still not trying to bash the aunt. I know how horrible this situation is for every one.

But all too often in these cases there are people in the family, friends, people who are close up on these situations that see things and they ignore them. This is just a wakeup call for everyone who is watch thing story, if they see parents who are in trouble like this family obviously was, that sometimes getting involved can make a difference and can save a life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Mary, you want to respond?

SCHEIWE: Well, in this case, getting involved in a hostile (ph) situation because she don`t listen to anything that anybody says because every since them girls were born, we tried telling her things and telling her things and she does not listen. Nothing mattered. It wasn`t about what we had to say. It didn`t matter at that point, never.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think it`s possible that something happened to this child -- a beating, some kind of abuse that left her with a black eye and bloody nose and then the child died and she lied.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHEIWE: -- it`s not an accident. There is no accident. That word needs to be taken out because that was not an accident. They knew what they did to my niece, whether it was over drugs, over a fight, it was not an accident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re mentioning drugs now. Does your sister have a drug problem?

SCHEIWE: I`m not sure -- for sure about her, but I can guarantee 100 percent Steven had a drug problem. I can see -- I know people that sold drugs to him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well again, I cannot -- I cannot confirm or deny that. I have no knowledge of that, and if Steven`s attorney wants to come -- there`s Steven, the on again, off again boyfriend of the mother of the child who disappeared and the child disappeared from his family home -- his mother`s home. I don`t know for sure whether or not he has a drug problem.

But you`re hearing it from the sister of the mother of the child who disappeared and is now feared dead. I heard somebody sort of howling with sadness -- Wendy Walsh.

WALSH: Yes, it`s just heartbreaking to think there could potentially have been a drug user in the house, who is a large full-grown man, who is not biologically-related to the kids and they have no biological interest. And on top of it all, could have been out of his mind high. It breaks my heart. A child should never be exposed to that kind of environment ever, ever, ever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holly Hughes, former prosecutor, what do cops do now?

HUGHES: Well, Jane, they`re going to continue to try and break somebody down. That`s why when you heard the police chief talking earlier he said a lot of deception, a lot of people leading us the wrong way, which tells me somebody, and more than one somebody, knows what went down there.

Now that the remains have been discovered, this isn`t just about child endangerment, this isn`t an obstruction charge. People are looking at facing murder one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We are going to stay on top of this case. We want justice for Baby Elaina. And we will fight for it.

Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey Rico, here`s our Pet of the Day, send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane.

Let`s see who we got today. Binky -- your cousin Binky, look at him. He`s small but he`s biggy. All right. And then we have Cooper and Jackpot. I feel like I`ve hit the jackpot. What a fabulous pair. Oh, and Ashland, you are fash-land. Oh, my gosh, Jordan, you`re just classic, classic, classic dog -- perfection.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, guess what, little Rico? Great news for animals with eyes and hearts just like you -- tonight thousands of animals rescued from certain death and flown across the country to start a new life in freedom. A California group called The Animal Place rescued 3,000 egg- laying hens who were about to be killed at a commercial egg farm. Rescuers say these hens are what egg industry calls spent hens and they`re routinely killed even though they`re just two years old.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARJI BEACH, ANIMAL PLACE: In California there is no slaughterhouse that will take these hens. They`re considered spent when they`re only two years old. And egg farmers have to pay people to come to their property, gas the birds and then dump those birds into landfills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now you`re looking at file video of a typical factory farm. Critics say most hens spend their entire lives crammed into small cages unable to spread their wings. Many never see the outside world, never set foot on grass.

Critics say chickens routinely have their beaks cut off soon after birth -- a process called debeaking. They also suffer from osteoporosis. They can`t move. After about two years of this miserable life they`re gassed to death and dumped into landfills. Critics claim this is standard operating practice.

But these kind citizens decided to make a difference. 3,000 hens spared from death by gassing will now find new homes, humane homes at shelters in California and all over the country. Guess what -- more than a thousand hens were flown from the West Coast across the country to New York State where they were placed in shelters and sanctuaries.

Straight out to Bruce Friedrich of Farm Sanctuary -- Bruce, your wonderful organization took in about 700 of these hens. First of all, what do you know about what these hens have been through?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH, FARM SANCTUARY: Well, like 95 percent of hens, according to the industry, Jane -- 95 percent of hens are confined in the conditions that you just showed. They`re call battery cages. The cages are about 18 by 20 inches and they cram -- an industry averages more than five hens in each of these cages. A hen has a wing span of 30 to 32 inches so not one hen can spread even one wing for her entire life.

Just like you would if you were unable to move for two years, the animals` muscles and bones waste away from lack of use. By the time they`re depopulated, by the time they`re ripped out of these cages and gassed, a third of the animals will suffer new bone breaks during that process because their muscles and bones are so thoroughly deteriorated.

So psychologically they go insane in these conditions. Physiologically, the abuse is really beyond any of worst imaginings.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is just for eggs -- correct?

FRIEDRICH: This is for eggs and it takes about 34 hours in one of these cages to produce just one egg and then this is how 95 percent of egg- laying hens are treated according to the industry. It`s worth noting that chickens are individuals just like dogs and cats are individuals. In fact on tests of cognitive and behavioral sophistication, chickens outperform dogs and cats.

No more acceptable to do this to a chicken than it would be to do it to a dog or a cat. And yet because it`s standard agricultural practice, it`s legal. It would be cruelty to animals if these were dogs or cats -- if these were protected animals but because they`re egg-laying hens, really just anything goes, including the level of abuse that you just showed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, what you can do, how you can get involved with Farm Sanctuary or other groups. Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEACH: In California there is no slaughterhouse that will take these hens. These are hens from the egg industry. We know what we`re doing is good work. We know we`re saving lives and that`s what matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll take about 100 from this barn; we took 500 from the other barn; about 200 from each of the other barns -- it`s really a coming together of compassion-minded people that are trying to do some good in this world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hundreds of people from a whole bunch of different animal groups getting together to save 3,000 hens that were set to be gassed. Now, before these hens were rescued, they were just unnamed statistics stuck in a factory farm. Last year in America, nearly 93 billion eggs were laid by hens including well five billion in California alone.

You know, the average American eats about 250 eggs a year. So what would you say Bruce to Americans who want to change things? I know that there`s a big battle right now over this King amendment that seeks to wipe out any small protections for factory farm animals.

FRIEDRICH: Yes, the King amendment is absolutely loathsome and it`s remarkable that it`s coming from Steve King, a guy who purports to be a state`s rights kind of guy. And here he`s going to vacate literally dozens of state laws in this race to the bottom if the King amendment passes. People who want to get involved and say "no" to the vacation of law to protect animals, to protect the environment, to protect workers -- it`s just, it`s absolutely a hideous amendment.

People can find out more about it at farmsanctuary.org. And for people whose hearts strings --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got to leave it right there but that`s a good place. Go to farmsanctuary.org.

Nancy is next.

FRIEDRICH: Thank you.

END