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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Is Ex-Boyfriend at Center of Missing Mom Case?; Double-Fatal Crash Seen on Dash Cam

Aired April 24, 2014 - 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, stunning breaking news. Brand- new evidence in the case of the beautiful mom cops say was snatched during her nightshift at a Michigan gas station. Now, reports that a scorned ex- boyfriend might have been, quote, "suspect No. 1."

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know if you`ve heard about the kidnapping at the Exxon station.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole family feels that she`s still alive and hopefully waiting for her chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just hope she`s OK and that she`ll come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jessica Heeringa was abducted almost a year ago while working alone during a nightshift at a gas station. Cops just released these brand-new photos of the scene.

Now, you can see Jessica left behind her jacket, her purse, and her wallet with $420 in cash inside. She also left the trash can right next to the backdoor like she was planning to take it outside when she left for the night. Cops say they still do not have a suspect, but they`ve got dozens of persons of interest.

Now, listen to this. Two witnesses, the store`s manager and her husband, say they were out motorcycle riding when they spotted the mystery man in a silver van pull up behind this convenience store, turn off his headlights, fiddle with the hatchback door and then drive away right around the time Jessica vanished. This manager said she thought Jessica might have been stealing, so she watched the minivan with a close eye.

But as the mystery man drove off, she saw no sign of Jessica. However, she did provide a description of that suspect.

But here`s the new shocker. Local affiliate WOOD says that very witness/manager has a 40-year-old brother who dated Jessica a few months before she vanished. And that he was upset because Jessica turned down his offer for them to live together. He`d even gotten an apartment.

Plus our affiliate claims one of his family`s vehicles is a silver minivan that matches the suspect vehicle description.

Now, that man`s dad says, well, his son has an alibi. They were on a fishing trip together.

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

We have a fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel ready to thrash it out. But first straight out to reporter for a local station, WDBF, Lee Van Ameyde. Lee, what is the very latest?

LEE VAN AMEYDE, REPORTER, WDBF: Well, the very latest is that the Norton Shores Police Department is finally saying something. For about a year -- it will be a year on Saturday since Jessica disappeared -- they have been basically tight-lipped.

Initially, they reported the silver van that you talked about, seen on surveillance video leaving the gas station. They also talked about a drop of blood behind the gas station. That was it.

All of the other things that are talked about today we independently confirmed throughout the last year, one of which you just mentioned that the clerk, the dayside manager, her brother actually had a relationship with Jessica while she was also living with her fiance. So he was definitely one of the suspects.

What we`re finding out today in six pages of a timeline -- you mentioned the two photographs -- is that it basically -- the new information that we have tonight is that somebody saw the silver minivan behind the gas station. Somebody got out of that minivan, opened up the back of it, rearranged something, quickly closed it, jumped into the car and then left the scene. And the people that saw that were actually the station manager and her husband.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And again, this station manager`s brother, who we`re not naming, but according to local reports, his family`s like, yes, they were -- the cops were harassing this brother of the manager/witness and that they kept calling him in and questioning him.

Now, I don`t know who this is. Who is -- we just saw a picture of a man with a beard with Jessica. And that`s the fiance, who is different than the ex-boyfriend. OK? So there`s a fiance, this guy with the beard who we`ve had on our show before, and then there`s this other guy that she dated and she dumped.

Now, just stand by, Lee, because we don`t want you to go anywhere. But let`s go through the timeline.

4:35, Jessica starts her shift at the gas station convenience store. A few hours later, Jessica`s boyfriend arrives to talk about their relationship. She seems upset.

A female friend then visits Jessica. She notices a man in a silver minivan being especially friendly with Jessica outside the gas pumps.

10:55 a customer enters, sees nothing wrong, business as usual. Jessica`s there. But then, about five minutes later the store manager and her husband ride by on their motorcycles. They see the suspicious minivan parked with the lights off behind the store, and they pull over and watch till he drives away.

Minutes later several surveillance videos -- and we`re going to show you these videos -- show the minivan driving down a nearby road.

And that what happens is about 11:10, a customer arrives, sees nobody in the store, calls 911. Cops arrive 15 minutes later.

Now, let`s go into the Lion`s Den. Lisa Lockwood, one of the nation`s top investigators, author of "Undercover Angel," I want to hold up here a square in my hand. This is the amount of blood that authorities found right outside the backdoor on the concrete below, and they tested it. And they determined that, indeed, it was Jessica`s blood.

So you dovetail that with the guy in the minivan first showing up making nice with her, then coming back later and parking in the back, turning off his lights and then lickety-split fiddling with the back of his hatchback. Do the math.

LISA LOCKWOOD, INVESTIGATOR/AUTHOR: Certainly not a good sign, having blood on the scene.

The way that store was set up, as well, leaving her money behind, her purse behind, her jacket behind. The garbage can was set by the door. She wasn`t expecting anybody. The door was shut when the witnesses said that we didn`t see anybody. The door was shut. We saw somebody rearranging something in the trunk of the vehicle, and off they went. Unfortunately, they didn`t get a license plate.

But what police were able to do, and we`re not sure if they did it at that time, is put out what`s called a state police emergency radio network transmission, saying we`re looking for this silver Town and Country vehicle. We don`t know the tag, but we do have a description of the driver. At the very least, that would have been very -- that would have been extremely helpful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, look, Brian Silber, this new information to me is truly shocking. Again as Lee reported, we`ve been waiting for information for a year. And now we found out that the woman who helped police make that sketch, the woman who saw the van and who provided the suspect description, happens to be the manager of the store. Coincidence No. 1, OK? She happens to be going by on her motorcycle with her husband right around the time of this abduction.

Now we`re learning that her brother dated the woman who was abducted and that he was -- he was dumped by her. He had gotten an apartment, and that authorities had reportedly considered that a motive.

Now, the cops aren`t talking to us, but in other published reports -- and again, this is the fiance and not the guy we`re talking about. This is a different guy. But in published reports, the police say, "Well, he was somebody we were focused on, but now he is not so much a focus of the investigation."

What do you make of all the co-ink-ee-dinks, by the way: that this witness happens to be driving by, that she happens to be the manager of the store, that she happens to spot the suspicious vehicle. That it turns out that her brother happens to have dated the woman who was abducted. Her brother happened to have dated the woman who was abducted. Their brother happened to have a family car, or the family has a car that matches the description that`s also a silver minivan?

BRIAN SILBER, ATTORNEY: Jane, let me tell you something. As a trial lawyer, I don`t believe in coincidence. That is nonsense. There`s definitely smoke in this case.

But the question is, where`s that big clue going to lie that`s going to lead to an arrest? And frankly, without a body, without a sign of struggle, without more forensic evidence, it doesn`t seem like there`s a break in the case that`s going to take us there.

But here`s what bothers me most. You know, if I was an investigator, I would have gone after the digital forensic evidence. And that`s something that I think would have been a big deal in this case. Wouldn`t you like to know whose cell phones were pinging in the vicinity of this gas station? Wouldn`t that have told us something? What if it was this ex- boyfriend`s cell phone pinging there? Wouldn`t that be really too coincidental for us?

You know, I -- you know, in my line of work, I see a failure to investigate all the time. And I use it to defend my clients. In this case, a failure tore investigate is probably resulting in a lack of arrest. And I think it`s a big issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Sierra Elizabeth, wouldn`t there be a way to check the alibi? Maybe that`s why authorities are saying he`s really not the focus of the investigation.

They say nobody`s been cleared, that they have numerous persons of interest, which pretty much means nothing at the end of the day. It`s not really a legal term. It`s more of a phrase that`s sort of developed over the years.

But you`d think this guy`s fishing. He just so happens to be the brother of the manager who saw the suspicious vehicle. He just so happens, by wild coincidence, to be living in a family that happens to have a vehicle that matches that suspect description. A, don`t you think his sister would have recognized him if he was in that minivan since she`s the one who spotted the suspicious vehicle?

SIERRA ELIZABETH, ATTORNEY: Jane, I don`t even think we would be in in situation if there was a step taken before all this happened.

Let`s talk about the fact that this store does not have any surveillance video or cameras in it. That`s a big problem. Cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, White Plains, New York, they have laws or pending legislation that requires stores that are have potential for high crimes like stores that sell alcohol, stores that are open from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., to have surveillance cameras. If we had these cameras we would have been able to get clues that we`re now asking for through witnesses that were far away from the crime that happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you. I think there should be a law that every convenience store, especially if someone is working alone. It`s a beautiful young woman, working alone at night at a convenience store. That`s a recipe for disaster right there. Should have, by law, surveillance cameras. We would have it solved like that. It would never have happened, because people would be aware that there`s surveillance cameras. Better not try something. Inside the store, behind the store in, front of the store, all over the place. They`re cheap now.

Stay right there. We`re just getting started. We want to hear what you have to say. And on the other side, we`re going to talk to a good friend of the abducted woman who happened to have been there talking to her just hours, just a couple of hours before she varnished. Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be a man. Return this lovely young lady to us. Return her to her son, who misses her terribly. And give us a reason to celebrate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know if you`ve heard about the kidnapping at the Exxon station.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The whole family feels that she`s still alive and hopefully waiting for her chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just hoping she`s OK and that she`ll come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is Jessica Heeringa? She`s a beautiful young woman who was working at a convenience store in Michigan a year ago. And vanished.

And tonight, we have on the line Christian Van Antwerpen. And I hope I pronounced your name correctly.

Christian, you saw Jessica just two hours before she went missing. We`re hearing all these stories of a boyfriend came to visit her. That`s according to the police press release. I assume -- but they always say never assume -- that we`re talking about her fiance. And that`s the picture of the guy with the beard here. And that he stopped by at about 7:30 that night. They talked about their relationship and, according to a customer, she seemed upset.

Here, by the way, is the boyfriend talking about what he tells their son, because he`s the father of their son, about where mommy is. So listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told him that she was lost, and he instantly asked if she was hurt. And I explained that she was OK. We just don`t know where she is. She got lost on the way home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, cops have not named him a suspect or a person interest of, but they haven`t cleared anyone either.

Christian, then there`s the question of this ex-boyfriend, who is not the fiance and the father of their child. But this ex-boyfriend she had dated briefly and then dropped him, even though he wanted her to move in. And that his father says that they were treating him like suspect No. 1 for a time. Do you know either of these two people?

CHRISTIAN VAN ANTWERPEN, FRIEND OF JESSICA HEERINGA (via phone): I don`t. Unfortunately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So you were there a couple of hours before. How did she seem?

VAN ANTWERPEN: She seemed fine. It didn`t seem like she had any kind of fight or seemed concerned like everybody had said, but then that might have been enough time between when supposedly her fiance was there and when I was there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So she`s having a completely normal night. She has friends that pop by. A boyfriend, the father of her child. She`s got another friend, I think it might have been a female friend, who stopped by or maybe it was you who visited.

VAN ANTWERPEN: Yes, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she`s got $420 in cash in her wallet. Why so much money? Do you have any idea?

VAN ANTWERPEN: No, I don`t. That seems kind you have strange to me except, you know, working in retail environment, you see that all the time. You just really wouldn`t even think of anything like that.

I guess the thing that kind of concerns me a little bit more about all this, kind of hearing all these stories going back and forth, is there were dummy cameras in there. If I remember correctly, they just weren`t activated. So somebody had to know those weren`t activated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that`s a fascinating thing that you mentioned, Christian. And I want to bring in Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, author of "Till Death Do Us Part."

The idea that there are cameras there and somebody would have to know a lot about that business or maybe about Jessica to be aware that those were dummy cameras and they weren`t recording anything.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, that is disturbing, and it would also be disturbing to know if those cameras were working at some point and then just not when Jessica was working.

I mean, listen, the truth of the matter is, are there stranger abductions? Yes. Does it happen frequently? No. We know it`s very rare. And so you really are always safer when you`re investigating these kinds of cases to look at the people who are involved in this woman`s life.

And so I would be most interested in the ex-boyfriend, what people around her thought in terms of her relationship with him. Was she afraid of him? Was the sister who actually saw the silver car, was she concerned that her brother was up to no good?

And we have to remember, too, even though it happens more frequently with women in homicide cases and intimate partner homicide, in some cases, men can hire other people to abduct and murder a woman that they`re angry with, if in fact, this happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Simone Bienne, behavior expert, Brian Silber says he doesn`t believe in coincidences. There`s a lot of coincidences here.

BIENNE: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So this woman`s going about her business at the convenience store. Her manager happens to drive by with her husband. That`s No. 1.

Happens to see this suspicious minivan behind the store, has some kind of theory that maybe Jessica is stealing something, so she watches, observes closely enough to help police do that description, that sketch of the suspect.

And then we find out a year later, oh, her brother had dated Jessica and has, in the family, a minivan that matches that description. There`s another coincidence.

And then his father, I guess the witness and the brother`s father, say "Oh, well, we were on a fishing trip." I mean, there`s a lot of intrigue there.

BIENNE: Yes, there is. And I mean, I may be wrong, but when you`re on a fishing trip, aren`t you just out where there are no cameras, where there is nothing to trace you or track you?

And also, exactly what we were talking about earlier. When you are abducted, it does tend to be within the inner circle. And if you look at - - look at how many men were involved in her life that could be potential suspects, who could have a reason to have revenge on her, who couldn`t let go of her, this sounds like kind of a bit of a love obsession. Fatal attraction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to say this man, the fiance, has been on our show, and he`s been very, very cooperative and open. And although nobody`s been eliminated, we certainly don`t want to point to him as a suspect either.

OK, coming up next -- and by the way, we`ll stay on top of this. I want -- this is a wild mystery, and I want to get to the bottom of it.

A wrong-way crash, next, kills an innocent young man. His parents are up in arms, saying a state trooper could have prevented his death with a simple warning. And it`s extraordinary video we`re going to show you on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would like the question answered, why our son was allowed to get on the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know why. We want to know why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A chaotic scene, a fast-moving scene, evolving (ph) danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would like the question answered, why our son was allowed to get on the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know why. We want to know why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police dash cam doesn`t capture the impact itself, just the flying debris as a full-speed wrong-way driver smashes head on with a car driven by Jaryd Ford. Ford died along with the wrong-way driver, 29-year-old Jeremy Smeltzer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wish the outcome had been different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, new developments in a deadly wrong-way crash in Michigan. Two people were killed in this horrific head-on collision, and now newly-released video has some questioning whether cops failed to protect one of the innocent victims, one of the drivers.

We`ve got to warn you: this video is disturbing. Dash cam video shows what happened moments before this wreck.

Twenty-one-year-old Jaryd Ford was the good guy. He was killed by wrong-way driver Jeremy Smeltzer, who also died. Jaryd`s parents say their son`s car pulled over on the side of the road because a trooper was going by with lights flashing, but instead of warning Jaryd to stay put, that trooper just drives by and races ahead, searching for the wrong-way driver without telling Jaryd anything like, "Hey, there`s a guy driving the wrong way down the freeway.

So after the cop passes, Jaryd gets back out on the road. Moments later, the wrong-way driver`s barreling towards him. The trooper manages to pull over to the right shoulder. But Jaryd pulls over to the left, and he can`t get out of the way of the wrong-way driver. So Jaryd is hit head- on. Both cars burst into flame, and Jaryd dies right at the scene.

Now his family tells our affiliate, WOOD, they`re furious and want answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like the question answered why our son was allowed to get on the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know why. We want to know why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Silber, criminal defense attorney, could this crash have been prevented by cops if the cop is racing past somebody, who`s pulled over because his lights are flashing and the siren`s going? Why not pull over for a second and say, "Hey, stay there. There`s a wrong-way driver. You don`t want to get back on the road"?

SILBER: Well, frankly, Jane, you know, the police are given a lot of deference in how they execute their duties, and sure, anything`s possible. We just as easily could say he should have pulled over and spoken to someone. But then if an accident was caused for that we`d be saying, "Why did he pull over instead of going out and looking for the guy driving the wrong way?" You know, when it comes to police liability cases, it`s different.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? I`m sorry. No, no, no, no, no. I`ve got to say, Simone Bienne, this is basic common sense. You`re barreling to reach the wrong-way driver. What are you going to do when you get there? The idea is to get people out of the way.

I don`t know if you`ve ever had the experience of having a wrong-way driver pass you, but I have. I was on the 405 coming back from a ski trip at 4 in the morning, and a wrong-way driver passed me. It was one of the most terrifying things that I have ever seen. So the answer isn`t to get to that person. The answer is to get everybody out of harm`s way.

BIENNE: Yes, and you`ve got to ask questions: was the trooper, was he concentrating? Did he have a lapse? Was he trying to preserve his own life? But we don`t know what police protocol is. And if we had that answer, then maybe this guy was actually following out his line of duty. Because maybe he saw danger ahead of killing more people than saving one life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know. You guys are all -- go ahead.

ELIZABETH: Listen. Jane, I think there`s a hybrid position here. Look, you have a police trooper who is clearly responding to a highly intense situation. He needs to go and figure out what to do and get on the freeway.

We need to have another police officer who`s there with him at the on- ramp and blocking everyone else from getting on. There needs to be two ways of communication here. And that`s how you prevent this situation.

SILBER: Listen, I completely disagree. I`m sorry. Listen, when you`re a police officer on the roadway dealing with a life-threatening situation, it`s a very variable environment. And these cops got to be given the -- excuse me, the opportunity to act in the moment.

And until you walk in that officer`s shoes, you can`t criticize what he`s doing unless it`s blatant, unless it`s obvious. In this case, the possibility.

(CROSSTALK)

ELIZABETH: That`s why you have both. That`s why you have both.

BIENNE: I think too.

SILBER: He had the responsibility of stopping this guy, and That`s what he went to do. He chased him down. That`s exactly what a police officer is supposed to do. Are you telling me if there was 12 cars on the side of the road he should stop and block one, two, three, four? I don`t believe that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, here`s -- you talked about here`s an alternative. Yes, another trooper did warn another driver not to get back on the road. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay right there for a second. There`s a car coming the wrong way on the highway. So just stay here. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So right there, cops told our affiliate, WOOD, that driver was warned because he was already pulled over in a traffic stop. But they didn`t warn the other drivers, because their No. 1 priority was getting to the wrong-way driver as quickly as possible.

Sierra Elizabeth, should that have been the No. 1 priority?

ELIZABETH: I think it has to be the No. 1 thing, Jane. I think you do have to have someone that responds to the incident and gets on that freeway.

But like I said before, you can have another person who`s on the on- ramp preventing other people from getting hurt. I mean, I don`t think it`s that difficult to have two people there and to remedy the situation.

SILBER: We don`t know if that was even possible at that moment.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Simone -- Simone, what are you trying to say?

BIENNE: Well, I just think it`s really easy for us to be wise with hindsight. And yes, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.

SILBER: I agree.

BIENNE: One life. It`s tragic. It`s awful that one life was, you know, could have been avoided. But look at the fact of road traffic accidents. Couldn`t most of them be avoided? It is horrendous.

This police guy tried to do his best. That`s what I believe.

SILBER: I agree.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sounds like he was trying to be...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the graphic. We`ll just put up what the Michigan State Police said, that one individual is solely and completely responsible, and that person is the wrong-way driver who caused the crash. They say this incident was a dynamic unfolding situation. It was under two minutes from the time troopers were notified to the time of the crash.

So yes, I know we can`t, Lisa Lockwood, investigator, second-guess everything police do but I`ve seen many police chases where they very slowly and passively follow people for 10, sometimes even 100 miles. So it`s not like they always go right up to them. They often follow at a discreet distance, depending on the situation.

LISA LOCKWOOD, INVESTIGATOR: Yes, because public safety is number one. Listen, I`ve been involved in pursuits. I know exactly what it`s like to be in those shoes. You do have tunnel vision but public safety is number one.

They called out the location where that vehicle was going and all they needed to do was have a trooper who was actually behind him and there was a trooper behind him to be able to follow him and call it out at a low rate of speed. That police officer who did pass that vehicle put himself at risk, as well. He could have very well have been the person who died in that situation.

So yes, we have tunnel vision. No question about it. Would it have been ideal to pull that vehicle over and say listen, get to the side as we try to corner this vehicle and get it stopped? Yes it would have been the best scenario.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Cops say this young boy suffered abuse at the hands of his mother and stepdad for years before he was finally killed allegedly by his own mother. Why wasn`t anybody listening to his courageous bids for help? This kid put his own life on the line to try to get some help. And you will not believe the response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Omaree was killed in December allegedly kicked to death by his mother, Cynthia Varela-Casaus. Lapel video shows Varela- Casaus and the boy`s stepdad Steve Casaus giving police all kinds of excuses about the verbal abuse that 911 operators reported to the APD.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two more Albuquerque police officers have been suspended for their handling of the Omaree Varela case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State versus Steven Casaus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now last month Steve Casaus was arrested on drug charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Casaus had been on the run since March 24th. Last month Casaus begged a judge for mercy saying he had been through a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last December, Omaree Varela was killed in his home. Omaree`s stepfather Steve Casaus was home at the time.

STEVE CASAUS, STEPFATHER OF OMAREE VARELA: I never hated nobody like you in my life.

You know that Omaree? I hate you more than I hated anybody in my whole life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, gut wrenching new developments in the beating death of this precious little nine-year-old boy who has become the poster chide for our country`s failed Child Protective Services. Little Omaree Varela tried desperately and courageously to save himself from years of abuse but nobody in power was listening.

Police say his mom beat and stomped him to death in December. He had bite marks and burns and some of them were in the various stages of healing.

But the question tonight is the mother the only one involved? Omaree`s stepfather finally behind bars tonight but not on charges related to the child`s death. Why not? The nation was horrified when we heard the 911 call that little Omaree, the little boy, secretly made last summer in a bid to save his life. He recorded his own mother and stepdad berating and bullying him mercilessly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Albuquerque 911 operator 2590, where is your emergency?

CASAUS: You make everybody sick around you Omaree -- everybody. You make me and your mom (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Come on (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

CYNTHIA VARELA-CASAUS, MOTHER OF OMAREE VARELA: He didn`t do it on purpose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s a new development. Stepdad Steve Casaus was busted this week selling meth to an undercover cop. He had $17,000 in cash and a gun on him. He and his wife could literally fill a photo album with their mugshots. Yet these career criminals had no problem BS-ing their way out of trouble when police responded to that horrible 911 call which by the cops failed to listen to even though the dispatcher instructed them to listen to the 911 call that the child secretly made before responding. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we got a call here. We heard that there`s been yelling going on.

VARELA-CASAUS: Here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

VARELA-CASAUS: We just barely drove up like five minutes ago. We just came from Wendy`s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know who`s calling.

VARELA-CASAUS: No, they were just fighting --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we see the kid? Can we talk to him?

CASAUS: Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys aren`t having any issues?

VARELA-CASAUS: The phone. Baby, did you take mom`s phone? Where`s my phone Stevie?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Officers were called to this home at least three separate times. Omaree had nine referrals to Child Protective Services and yet nobody did anything to prevent this poor child`s murder.

At first, Omaree`s stepdad told police oh, he wasn`t home when the boy died. Later investigators discovered that that was a lie. At the very least, he heard the deadly beating allegedly inflicted by the mother.

I want to go to Roberta Morales a friend of Omaree`s mother. Tell us your theory because right now it`s the mother who is charged with this child`s death. It`s the mother who cops said at first lied and said, oh, my little toddler is the one who kicked him and that that was why he died. And then eventually, she admitted that she knocked him into a dresser, stomped on him and kicked him in the abdomen, Roberta.

ROBERTA MORALES, FRIEND (via telephone): My theory on this is, I don`t condone Cynthia`s actions in any shape or form -- I would like to put that out there. I do believe Cynthia may be a victim in this case as you can see the charges that be coming up against Stephen and his past. Maybe she was scared. Who`s to say he`s gang affiliated still no excuse.

My focus is on him. Stephen Casaus, from day one CYFD and the police, and the people of the nation and Albuquerque, et cetera, they ought to realize that when those kids were taken into custody that the siblings specifically stated their parents with an "s".

Stephen changed his story that he was at the house. Of course, he`s going to change his story because he knows I`m on his butt. Ok. He`s been at that house. How come he`s not arrested yet on them charges? Let`s forget the charges of what he has right now.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait. Let me ask you a question, Roberta. You`re a friend of this mother. Hold on a second. The mother --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this question Roberta. I got to play tough cop with you here. The mother has a long history of methamphetamine use reportedly. Drug addicts, especially meth users, Roberta, can do really horrible things. It becomes essentially the vehicle for robbing you of your morality, of your compassion, of your empathy, of your kindness. You`re a monster when you`re on meth, Roberta, and she was.

MORALES: And you`re right. But see, I know her in a different way. I`ve had contact with her. And as far as addiction is concerned, I`ve been through every addiction there is and has and will be on earth. Does that make me a monster? But I know what I`m doing when I was doing it and I know how to keep myself in the clear.

My focus is on Stephen. He was never in the limelight from the day one. He had the audacity to tell a judge he`s been through hell since the death. He was never -- his face was never spoken. How come he wasn`t there that night? His suburban is parked in the street.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. All right. I hear what you`re say and I want to bring in Simone Bienne, behavior expert. They could both be monsters. It`s not an either or situation. The mother even though she has pleaded not guilty has allegedly confessed to knocking him into a dresser and stomping on the child and he had all sorts of injuries in various stages from healing.

SIMONE BIENNE, BEHAVIOR EXPERT: Jane, not a question of they could be both monsters. I`m sorry. Even if it is addiction, they are monsters because to repeatedly abuse a nine-year-old little boy who tries to save his own life, for goodness sake and to harm him, to kill him with your own body? That is absolutely sadistic beyond belief. And actually, Jane, I`m sorry, it actually makes me want to cry. This is a horrendous story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, do you think that the mother could be covering up for this man, the stepfather who is caught on tape saying how much he hates the kid?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Absolutely, absolutely. We see it very often. And this does not excuse the mother. But she could be saying to herself, listen, my husband means so much to me, I don`t want to lose him so I will do anything to protect him and make sure that he stays in my life.

Let`s face it. This mother`s judgment is wrong. Who would choose a man who would be so hateful towards their child -- somebody whose judgment is not good and somebody who may not have liked the idea of having a child in the first place?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A drug addict. A drug addict.

LUDWIG: That`s true, as well. That`s true as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I believe if you have CPS in your life, you need to be subjected to random drug testing and if they find out that you`re high, you lose your kids. Parental parole -- that`s what we need in this country.

There could be major fallout from a brawl between the stars of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" -- one of the biggest reality shows on TV. There was a knockdown, dragout and now we`re hearing oh, fallout, blowback. We`ll tell you on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a slut from the 90s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do not have the right to talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait a minute now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, no, no. No, no, no, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can a family of four really go trash free? Jane`s Green team challenged the Kinnerman family of Atlanta to do just that. See how they`re doing in this zero waste challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAIDAH KINNERMAN: We`re on to our second phase of waste free. We got our compost going.

DENECKO KINNERMAN: The recycling was a problem at first. We had four or five boxes of cereal on top of the refrigerator. Now we go buy in bulk. Take our container, fill it up. They weigh it.

S. KINNERMAN: When I took my container to buy meat to one of the grocery stores they had an issue with it. They just said they didn`t want their meat area contaminated. Everything had to be sterile. What I started doing was just kind of changing where I shopped. We`re just not buying as much pre-packaged stuff or processed foods. So, you know, more money is in my pocket and the kids are eating better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere.

KENYA MOORE, REALITY STAR: I`ve just been assaulted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star has been arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kenya violated her over and over and over again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shut up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do not have the right it talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait a minute now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just like that wildcard.

MOORE: She hit me in my head and was fighting me.

If you want to label me a villain, I`ll take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight stunning new developments in the explosive "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion beat-down. Everybody`s talking about this nasty brawl landed Porsha Williams in the slammer facing a criminal battery charge. Tonight rumor has it Bravo might fire her from their most popular and highest rated "Housewives" franchise even though she takes a heck of a good mugshot.

Porsha lost her temper when castmate Kenya Moore brought sex toys and a bullhorn taunting Porsha about her ex-hubby. Look at this. Porsha finally had enough and grabbed Kenya by the hair and dragged her to the floor. Watch it for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s saying that you cheated on Cordell.

PORSHA WILLIAMS, REALITY STAR: Listen, you are not going to keep on talking about my character like you know what you`re talking about. You`re a slut from the 90s and you sitting up here telling me --

MOORE: You are a dumb ho, shut up.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no. No. No. No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ouch.

The biggest star of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" Nene Leakes says she`s got Porsha`s back. She says if Bravo`s going to fire her, they should fire Kenya, too. Listen to this from "The Arsenio Hall Show".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NENE LEAKES, REALITY STAR: No, it`s not fair to fire Porsha. Actually I didn`t feel it was fair to ask her to leave the reunion. I thought if she left -- I felt they both needed to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the "Lion`s Den". Jasmine Simpkins, entertainment reporter -- is this just public shaming for publicity?

JASMINE SIMPKINS, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: You know what, Jane, I think that the franchise is trying to save face. They`ve had violence before. If you go back to even season one, (inaudible), her infamous fight with Kim Zolciak (ph) and you had Kim and Nene get into an altercation on that tour bus which was actually very hilarious.

I think Andy is saying, you know what, enough is enough. We have to set a better example for young girls who are watching the show. Nevertheless, I have to agree with Nene. If you`re going to kick one off, you have to kick the other off because I think Porsha was just as much to blame for this fight as Kenya was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you a question. Should Porsha apologize? Because Andy Cohen has asked her to apologize, and so far she hasn`t. Robbie Ludwig, psychotherapist, that would be ultra-humiliating for her, but should she do it?

LUDWIG: I love that idea. Why not see if you can keep these two popular people on the show, but have them figure out what got them to misbehave so badly. What got them to give in to their anger in a violent way, and see if you can help them work through that? So that the viewers can see that the people on the show are actually growing as people. I know that`s not the point of the show, and maybe less interesting, but I think it would make for fascinating television.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Simone Bienne, a group therapy session -- Andy Cohen`s the psychiatrist and yes -- and bring your boxing gloves as these two thrash it out. Maybe a (inaudible) wrestling contest.

BIENNE: This is reality TV for goodness sake. I`m wondering whether she`s actually not apologizing because the cameras aren`t rolling. Wait until you get there, and then you can do it in front of the millions who watch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love it.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me do -- I`m going to do my imitation of how it`s going to happen. When you`re not really crying and you want to pretend you`re crying, you go like this. You cover your face and it looks like you`re crying. I think that`s how it`s going to happen.

Stay right there, more on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: While Porsha and Kenya fight it out, Nene Leakes is a cast member on "Dancing with the Stars". She`s made appearances on shows like "Glee" and other big shows.

So Jasmine Simpkins, has she come out the big winner in all this?

SIMPKINS: Has Nene come out the big winner in this? You know, I think that Nene has continued to make sure that she stays the staple of this franchise. I wouldn`t be surprised if Nene was back there with Andy instigating the whole thing.

I think though I`m going to have to agree with her. If there`s one person we can probably get rid of this season, it`s Cynthia. She has been absolutely dry, they need to snap her peach ASAP. Maybe bring back Sherrie or bring back Marlowe. I think those two girls have a little bit more fight than she does. I mean her husband outshines her this season. So I think that Nene if she gets to have a say, I think I`m going to go with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Proving the point though that those who are boring are committing the worst sin of all. Pull somebody`s hair, kick somebody, just don`t be a dud.

And VCR us, by the way.

Nancy next.

END