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Breaking: Stepmom Arrested; Is Dad`s Computer Search The Smoking Gun?; Missing Boy Reappears in Father`s Basement

Aired June 26, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could not have won the case, I could not have gotten the death penalty without forensic science.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have had a long career, and it was one of the highlights of my career.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Escalating mystery in the bizarre case of a boy who goes missing for eleven days and then, like a

magic act, suddenly reappears inside the very home from which he vanished. The home scoured repeatedly by cops and FBI, even dogs during their frantic

eleven-day search.

Tonight we are just learning the cops have just questioned the 12-year-old Charlie Botheull about how and why he ended up hiding behind boxes, a

dresser and a large heavy barrel inside his family`s basement.

How did this little boy manage to elude the world, disappear and then suddenly reappear, despite everyone under the sun looking for him? Trained

professionals? Did he use the secret passageway, just like the one we`re showing you here, hidden in the basement that connects to other units? And

the big question: did he have help from an adult? And if so, why?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. Thanks so much for joining me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this is probably one of the most bizarre cases I`ve ever covered in my career.

NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: We are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charlie was last seen at his dad`s house here on Nicolet Place. His stepmom said they had an argument over chores. Then he

pretended to use the bathroom and left.

BOTHEULL: I thought my son was dead!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a stunning twist, the moment little Charlie was found our own Nancy Grace was interviewing the missing boy`s dad. Listen to

Nancy break the news to the dad that his son is alive.


GRACE: Charlie, we`re getting reports that your son has been found in your basement. Sir? Mr. Botheull, are you...


GRACE: Yes. We are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement.


GRACE: Yes. That`s what -- can you hand me that wire very quickly? Yes. We`re getting that right now from -- yes. How could your son be alive in

your basement?

BOTHEULL: Um, um -- (EXPLETIVE DELETED) -- I -- I have -- I have no idea. I...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: His shock is understandable. Cops and the FBI scoured Charlie`s father`s town house, including the basement, the whole

neighborhood, searching, digging for any clues, even bringing in cadaver dogs. They found nothing. And then suddenly, voila, yesterday a

mysterious tip led the cops to check that basement one more time and guess what? They found the missing boy barricaded inside, reportedly wearing the

same clothing as when he vanished with all kinds of the food and soda. OK? A little clubhouse down there.

Now we`re learning there is a secret passageway connecting that basement maintenance room to the rest of -- connected townhouses in this

giantbuilding. You know the kind of townhouses that they had.

Cops say the tunnel seems irrelevant to their investigation. But our affiliate, WXYZ, is claiming tonight that the uncle of Charlie`s stepmom --

and he lives with his stepmom -- was only three the doors away inside that same building.

I`m taking your calls. What do you think? How the hell did he disappear and then reappear? Why? Was an adult involved? 1-877-586-7297. Call me.

We have a fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel ready to face off.

But first, straight out to HLN law-enforcement analyst Mike Brooks. You`ve been digging on this story. We`ve got new information just coming in about

where little Charlie is right now and about potential -- potential -- investigation into allegations of child abuse or something of that nature?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW-ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jane, apparently, he has left the hospital. Law enforcement has spoken with him, with some

psychologists. They spoke with him today. They`re going to go back and speak with him a little bit more tomorrow. But he is with his biological

mom. Not his stepmom but his biological mom.

And Detroit police are saying that they are not ruling out possible child abuse charges. So I think we still have a little bit more investigation to


But keep in mind, Jane, when they went back to that apartment, when the father was on Nancy`s, the police had a search warrant. They heard a

search warrant to come back into that house. They had the stepmom leave. And that`s where they went in and found the young boy. So what led them to

that apartment? That`s the question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And of course that father, the stepmother, the mom and the little boy invited on our show any time. We want to get all sides

of the story.

Now, Charlie`s dad really appeared to be desperate to find the boy. He was walking the neighborhood, handing out fliers.

Some people, however, raised eyebrows when reports came in -- and they are reports -- that his polygraph came back inconclusive. And his wife, the

stepmother reportedly the last person to see the boy before he disappeared, reportedly refused to take a polygraph at all.


BOTHEULL: Declined to take the lie detector with the Detroit Police because of the way the lieutenant treated me and my family. The agent

said, "Well, OK, what about with the FBI?"

And I said, "Yes, absolutely," because I didn`t do anything to my son and I believe my son is going to be found safe and alive, and I want him home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Eric Lawrence, "Detroit Free Press." You`ve been all over this story. I understand -- let`s set up why he walked off the

Saturday night before last.

Apparently, what I`ve read is he had chores. He didn`t do all his chores. His dad, I believe, was not at home. His stepmom said, "You haven`t done

your chores," and he walked out anyway.

And then the dad says the stepmom said, well, she didn`t o argue with the boy. She just said, "OK." OK, you didn`t do your chores and you`re going

out on Saturday night. What do you know?

ERIC LAWRENCE, "DETROIT FREE PRESS" (voice-over): Well, Dad was at his office. He works as a registered nurse. He has a company in another -- in

an adjoining suburb to the city of Detroit. And he said he was at work doing some -- doing some work before Father`s Day so he could spend the day

with the kids. And he got the call from his wife saying that Charlie had taken off.

So he came home. And he started calling for Detroit police. He wasn`t happy with the response he got from the police. So took three times --

three different call to get them out. And when they did finally come out, they started the search. And the elder Charlie Botheull went out with the

boy`s biological mom.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this question. You`re talking about the search. I`m talking about what might have led to the little boy, a 12-year

storming out on Saturday night. When I was 12 I couldn`t walk out on Saturday night and go anywhere I wanted to. And you know, if he didn`t do

his chores, is it possible that there was an argument?

LAWRENCE: Well, there`s -- according to the attorney, the family`s attorney, there had been some -- apparently been some tension about -- the

boy was apparently upset about some discussions that he might be -- he could face potentially going to a military academy. The family was talking

about moving out of the city into one of the suburbs, maybe sending him to school there. If he didn`t do well in school he might have to go to a

military academy. And apparently he was upset about that. That`s according to the attorney.

So I don`t know if that played into that, but that`s something that they mentioned.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And one other thing: what about this PVC pipe? We`ve been trying to get a picture of PVC pipe. I think most of us know what it is.

It`s white pipe that they use for plumbing purposes. What`s the story with the PVC pipe that cops found? Where did they find, and why do they think

it`s a piece of evidence?

LAWRENCE: Well, they haven`t said where they found it. They just said it is at a different location. There was some blood that was found on some

clothing and the trunk of the dad`s car. But it`s not clear that that was -- they were still waiting on test results to determine, you know, where

that came from. We`ve heard some different things about what the pipe might have been used for.


LAWRENCE: They`re clear about it was part of the investigation. There have been some reports that maybe he had used it to discipline the boy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we cannot independently confirm that.

This dad has been through hell. And if he had absolutely nothing do with this, you know, he`s being tortured further. But it`s a mystery. It`s a

mystery. People are asking questions, and that is all we`re doing.

And if you`re watching, call in, because we want to be fair. People on social media are questioning whether his dad might have had something to do

with the disappearance. The dad is furious over those allegations, and he broke down sobbing as reporters kind of grilled him after the kid was

found. Watch this.


BOTHEULL: Any information that I knew that he was in there somehow is absurd. Literally. I couldn`t find him. You know, if the FBI couldn`t

find him and the Detroit police couldn`t find him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did find him.

BOTHEULL: They did finally yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was deeper concern perhaps about a homicide.

BOTHEULL: Yes, man, you broke my heart with that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me about your range of emotions based on what the police were...

BOTHEULL: I thought my son was dead, man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen your son yet?

BOTHEULL: No, I haven`t. I want...


BOTHEULL: No, I don`t. No, I don`t. My wife she left. They wouldn`t let her in the house. But I want to see my son.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way what we`re learning today, Charlie`s father is not allowed to have contact with his son while the investigation

continues, according to a police sergeant. But he says this is standard operating procedure in cases like this.

Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. Facebook, here`s Emily: "Maybe he ran away, became scared, came back. Got scared to tell his dad, so he hid.

There are red flags. Not sure where to hang those red flags."

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, I`m thinking the father is crying because he saw an insurance check someplace, and he knows it`s not

going to show up now. You know, I`m going out on a limb here, but come on, a secret thing in the basement with the tunnels.

The guy does not come across as the credible father who was worried about his kid. He was putting on a show and the kid was going to disappear at

some point and somebody was going to cash in somehow. That`s how it strikes me, and they got caught. And that`s good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, Simone Bienne, we`ve been saying this over and over. Do not sit there and analyze somebody`s tears and say, "Well, he`s -- it`s

phony or not phony." We don`t know. We don`t know how people react.

The one thing we know is that there is no predictable reaction. That there`s a whole range of emotions that people have to -- especially to a

freaky, bizarre, crazy situation like this. The cops say they`ve never -- the mayor of Detroit -- excuse me, the police chief of Detroit said, "I

have never seen anything like this."

SIMONE BIENNE, BEHAVIORAL EXPERT: Yes, we don`t know how people act. However, we do know that psychopaths -- I`m going to use that word again --

do know how to put on the tears.

And looking at Nancy Grace`s interview, what we`re looking at is there was a lot of pausing, again, a nice delay tactic.

Jane, your point, if this father is innocent, this is the cruelest story in the world for him. However, I`ve got to agree with Wendy, this is smelling

rather fishy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Adam Swickle, you`re a criminal defense attorney.

ADAM SWICKLE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, where are you getting this information from? You`re all making things up that have no basis in the


This could easily be a child who didn`t like what was going on in the house and ran away and hid. I`d love to see what this child has to say. But to

call him a psychopath and to say there`s insurance money? I mean, where are people getting their facts from? It`s just all made up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those aren`t facts. Those are speculation, and they stated it as speculation. We have no independent confirmation of any of


SWICKLE: I know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a mystery. But how the hell does a child with the FBI, cops and everybody else, including his dad, with fliers, walk out a

place and then suddenly reappear inside the very place that cops and the FBI searched four times, once with cadaver dogs, barricaded behind a whole

bunch of stuff, including reportedly, a large dresser and a giant barrel, when he`s 12 years old. Did an adult help him? If so...

SWICKLE: Certainly. It`s certainly bizarre.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If so for what reason? These are valid questions.

SWICKLE: There`s no -- there`s no information that that`s even taken place.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shannon. Shannon.

SWICKLE: Many times if someone doesn`t want to be found they`re not going to be found.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the phone lines. Shannon. I can`t see exactly where you`re from. But what do you have to say. Michigan.


CALLER: Yes. I watched the Nancy Grace interview last night and with the father. And I can`t help but think that that was the worst reaction, the

fakest reaction from someone whose son`s been missing. And I think it`s just a big scam.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, on the other side, we`re going talk to a forensic psychologist about the fact that this boy was reportedly being

homeschooled by his dad. Now, there`s great homeschooling, but it`s sometimes -- and I talked to Dr. Phil about this, when kids get to be in

puberty, around 12, they start to resent it. So could that be a factor?

What about the relationship with the stepmother, the chores, the fact that he said, "I`m not doing my chores" and stormed out Saturday before last at

night. What 12-year-old gets to just walk out of the house?

And then there`s the PVC pipe. What about that?

Stay right there. We`re just getting started on this.

And of course, at the top of the hour, Nancy`s got it all. Charlie`s father, the little boy`s father, returns to talk to Nancy Grace. You don`t

want to miss that. That`s in just a couple of minutes. But we`ll have more on the other side. New details coming in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would hope that the father, who`s now doing a show on Nancy Grace, that someone would interrupt the show and advise him that we -

- the location you just left, your home, your son was downstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn`t need to.

GRACE: Charlie, we are getting reports that your son has been found in your basement.




BOTHEULL: I thought my son was dead, man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen your son yet?

BOTHEULL: No I haven`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he is?

BOTHEULL: No, I don`t. No, I don`t. My wife, she left. They wouldn`t let her in the house. But I want to see my son.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`ve got major breaking news right now. CNN has just learned that this report, initially through Twitter, the stepmom

has just been arrested. This boy`s stepmom has just been arrested. She was picked up on a probation violation on a weapons charge. Authorities

say it`s unrelated to this particular case but HLN law-enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, weigh in on this.

BROOKS: Well, you know, maybe that`s a good reason why she didn`t want to take a polygraph, Jane, and that`s why she refused.

But you know what`s interesting? Now they`ve got her, so now they can -- they`re going to have her in custody. So she`s basically a captive

audience that probably is going to face a little bit more questioning on exactly what happened.

Because Jane, when the father came on Nancy`s show last night, he left the house. He came to the show. The stepmom was still there. Law enforcement

came in and served that search warrant and found the little boy.

So I still want to know what kind of information they had that led them to the apartment with that search warrant, and the stepmom was there? So I

guarantee you she knows more than what we`re hearing and what she`s saying to police.

But now she`s under arrest. So I`m sure they`ll be speaking to her a little bit longer unless she lawyers up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Again, breaking news. We are just learning through CNN, which first heard of this through Twitter, that the stepmom has been

arrested, picked up on a probation violation related to a weapons charge.

Dr. Judy Ho, forensic psychologist. What we know is that the little boy stormed -- walked off, walked into the night not last Saturday, but the

Saturday night before. And the reports were that he hadn`t done his chores. And the dad says, well, the mom didn`t argue with him but just

said, "OK." Which I find a little odd. How do you let a 12-year-old march out into the night, especially if he hasn`t done his chores?

The question, obviously, was there an argument? Was there an argument? And did mom say -- stepmom, "I`ll show you. You think you`re going to walk

out on Saturday night without doing your chores? I got something else again."

DR. JUDY HO, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: That`s right, Jane. There are so many holes in this story. And at minimum I think the child abuse allegation has

to be really seriously looked into.

There`s no way that this has unfolded the way that the parents are reporting.

And I want to address the polygraph results, as well. I know the father took a polygraph, and it was inconclusive. Now polygraph tests are not

really all the way accurate. There`s a lot of misconceptions about how accurate they are.

But usually, they`re used to scare people who are telling lies to basically be afraid and start telling the truth. But as far as the scientific

knowledge about polygraphs, you know, that`s very inconclusive in itself.

Now, when you get an inconclusive test, what that means is that you responded to all the questions on the test in the same way, whether they

were questions like "What day is today," "Thursday," to questions like "Do you know what happened to your son?"

This person basically responded in the same exact way. He wasn`t more nervous or less nervous on any of these questions. Now, that is a very

questionable finding, too. Why was the test inconclusive? Why didn`t he have more of an emotional differentiation when they were talking about his

son? And so that suggests that there`s something really eerie going on, something very suspicious about what the father knew and what he was trying

to hide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And please weigh in, join the conversation on Facebook or give me a call. Sabrina: "This is bizarre. To take the search

to the basement with dogs and there`s no sign of him. And then with a tip, all of a sudden he`s there with food and stuff. Something doesn`t sound

right with the situation."

You think? Yes. And now the stepmom has been arrested.

Tanisha, New Jersey, what you got to say? Tanisha?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. This is Tanisha from New Jersey, from Patterson, New Jersey. I just want to say I love your show.


CALLER: I wanted to say that the stepmom does raise flags for me. Like she didn`t want to take a polygraph. There might have been abuse and

neglect in the home. I`m going through a similar situation right now with my 14-year-old daughter. The stepmom calls my daughter all types of "B`s."

The father is not doing anything about it. Sanctions is in -- is in place. They`re not doing anything about it.

The stepmom definitely raised a red flag for me. And now she`s arrested. And Jane, things got to be done. Because this can`t keep happening to our

children. It can`t keep happening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look at him. He`s a beautiful, handsome young man, and he`s been found. So that`s the good news.

But the mystery of how he disappeared with the whole world -- FBI, cadaver dogs, everything -- searching frantically for 11 days, and then he shows up

inside the basement, the very home where he disappeared from. And cops point out Charlie was barricaded behind boxes, a large giant barrel, which

would be almost impossible for a small boy to move on his own. And there`s reports of a dresser, too. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that someone didn`t know that Charlie was there. But I can`t say definitively.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. Police are stressing, well, she was picked up on an unrelated charge. In other words, this is

unrelated to this disappearance and reappearance.

MURPHY: Well, of course, that`s what they`re saying but, you know, it`s a little coincidental, the timing of the pickup on the violation.

Look, they want to get her alone. They want to get him -- get her away from him, the big actor, and they want to use them against each other.

Remember, when this story first broke, they told different stories about the last time they saw the kid. This story stank from day one, whether

they`re in cahoots or not. And if they are...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What? Let me ask you -- let me ask you this. Whoa.

MURPHY: Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s say hypothetically -- and this is just a hypothetical -- that the stepmother was somehow involved. Why? Why make a

child disappear and then suddenly reappear in a basement with soda and other snacks behind a dresser and a bunch of boxes?

MURPHY: Well, look, let me speculate here. And let me say that, when there is cahoots going on, they have to get one to turn on the other. So I

hope that`s part of what we`re watching unfold as a strategy.

What could they be doing? Rank speculation. OK? If this family is looking for cash, the disappearance of a child produces these online

donation sites sometimes. Maybe they have an insurance policy on the kid. If they made him disappear -- wink, wink -- behind that big heavy barrel...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I think? If -- if the stepmom`s involved, she did something to scare the boy, maybe scare him, you know, like,

"You`re going to study." Remember you just heard from the "Detroit Free Press" that they were reportedly threatening to send him to military

school. Maybe she thought, "I`ll do something even more severe to teach you a lesson."

Then when the whole story became a national story, she`s like, "Oops. Oh, boy, I better undo this." I`m not saying that happened, but I think that -

- that there`s a possibility that it`s somebody trying to undo something that they initially decided was a good idea that turned into a nightmare.

Join the discussion right now on our Facebook page. Facebook. Jane Velez- Mitchell, Facebook. Just Google my name, and it comes right up. We have behind-the-scenes pictures, exclusive content, guests and of course, a

whole lot more.

We`re just getting started. Remember: Nancy Grace has an interview with the dad at the top of the hour. That`s just a little while away. And

we`ve got more. Stay right there.


BOTHEULL: I`m glad my son is found.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you would never have abused him?

Would you have ever have hurt Charlie?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You never hurt Charlie?





GRACE: Charlie, we`re getting reports that your son has been found in your basement. Sir?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And now that man, the father of the boy who vanished and then reappeared, is going to be interviewed on Nancy.

You know, we`re just learning moments ago that his wife, the little boy`s stepmom, has been arrested, although cops say it`s unrelated charges. It`s

a big co-ink-ee-dink.

Simone Bienne, behavior expert, you know, police say they`re not ruling out child abuse. Then they said just a little while ago they finally

interviewed the little boy. And now viola, they arrest the mom, the stepmom. Not the mom, the stepmom.

BIENNE: This little kid, I`m sorry, would have been terribly frightened. Your point earlier, Jane, about why does a kid walk out of a house on a

Saturday night at 12? Because he`s absolutely terrified. We have an in- built system within us to protect ourselves. This is what this little boy did. He would have been incredibly frightened.

And quite frankly, let`s say with the stepmom there are thousands of stepmoms across America doing an excellent job. I do not trust this woman.

In my gut the fact she didn`t take a lie detector test is absolutely compelling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And by the way, police not ruling out child abuse. They go on to say they would not comment on whether there were any

signs of physical abuse. Come on, Adam Swickle.

SWICKLE: I mean, Jane, this is very much like a situation of a child who doesn`t like what`s going on at home and decided to leave. It happens all

the time that children run away from home and then come back. All of this speculation, all of this searching, all of this is assumption.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me, do you really think a child knew when the FBI was going to be there? The FBI was there at least four times.

SWICKLE: No, but he also showed -- he also showed up with food. He also showed up with food and drinks. If somebody is looking for insurance

money, if somebody`s trying to abuse their child, they don`t put him somewhere and give him food.

MURPHY: Walk away. Adam.

SWICKLE: Jane...

MURPHY: They told him to go hide in the basement obviously.

SWICKLE: Who told you that? Who told you that?

MURPHY: Oh, please, a little common sense.

SWICKLE: Who told you that? That`s not common sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: it`s all speculation.

SWICKLE: Wait till the boy tells the story. That`s not common sense. That`s speculation, and that`s dangerous...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy Ho, weigh in.

SWICKLE: ... when you speculate and say these things about these people.

MURPHY: If it walks like a duck.

SWICKLE: Oh, please. That is absolutely absurd if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, really?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, enough. Let Dr. Judy Ho...

SWICKLE: Please.

HO: OK listen. There are so many facts in this case that point to child abuse. That is why they are being investigated. Why do you think a child

runs away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re investigated for murder.

HO: Listen to me speak. I listened to you speak. There are so many incidences of the child abuse here. Are you saying that this is not

something we need to consider when this family, the stepmom has a criminal history and the father is being totally evasive in this whole discussion

and there is all of this evidence here? We have to look at that. There are so many children --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- did not arrest the dad. OK. They brought in the stepmother. There may be a complete distinction between father and

stepmother. We can`t lump them together and the remember --

All right, we`ll stay on top of this. Nancy has got it at the top of the hour with the dad on the other side. The father left his toddler in a

boiling hot. Breaking news you won`t believe what cops say they found in a Google search.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harris returned to the SUV at lunchtime, opened the driver side door and placed something inside. He then closed the door and

walked off. The temperature outside hit 88 degrees that afternoon. The temperature inside the SUV potentially exceeded 130 degrees. Cooper was

likely already dead.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left him in the back of his SUV while he went to work. His 22-month-old son was dead probably long before he tried to resuscitate


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opened the back door, pulled his child out and laid him on the concrete, tried to resuscitate him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leaving him inside the hot SUV for seven long hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems like a rush to judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like this is impossible to have been intentional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will be entering a plea of not guilty at this time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight, we learn of a possible smoking gun in a torturous death of an Atlanta Toddler who died in his dad`s hot car.

A source with knowledge of the investigation says, there were searches on the dad`s computer for how long it takes for an animal to die in a hot car.

Little Cooper Harris died during seven hellish hours inside his dad`s sweltering SUV last week. Could that computer evidence sink dad`s claim

that he simply forgot that he left his sun baking in his car on a very hot day after taking little Cooper to (inaudible) last Wednesday morning.

The 33-year-old web designer, Justin Harris drove to work, left the boy strapped in his rear-facing child car seat and went into his office. Then

around lunchtime he walked out, opened the driver side door and put something on the seat. Cooper remained trapped inside either dead or


Hours later, dad started to drive home only to screech into a very crowded parking lot, grab his son out of the car and scream what have I done? Now

a source with knowledge of the investigation tells our own Nancy Grace, police seized computers from dad`s Home Depot office and found a search for

quote, "how long does it take for animal to die in a hot car."

Dad`s pleaded not guilty, but cops insist this is not a case of the simple negligence. Straight out to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst. We

heard these reports, but now it`s reportable. My gosh, is that Google search the smoking gun?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think it is going to be another key piece of evidence in this because there is so much other

evidence of his actions that day, Jane. But, you know, I mean, this wasn`t his work computer or home computer. I`m sure they seized both to see

exactly what was going on along with his cell phone.

But Jane when he went out there at lunchtime to check on whatever he was going to do, the little boy was strapped in the car. If you went out at

11:00 it was 86. At noon, 88.1. Then when he got into go wherever he was going to go at the end of his workday, are you going to tell me that you

could not smell that baby?

We had a forensic pathologist on the case today and he was saying that there was a possibility that the body could have started to decompose being

in that heat, 130 to 140 degrees for 7 hours.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me bring in Martin Savidge, CNN correspondent. You drove all around this area, retracing the dad`s steps from the house to

Chick-Fil-A where he had breakfast and the parking lot. You were in the same climate just a couple days later essentially. How hot was it as you

drove around? What did you learn from that trip?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the biggest thing you realize in that trip, Jane, is that the story that the father tells about how he

apparently became absentminded and that he left his child behind in the car and didn`t realize until 7 hours later is hard to believe.

Because authorities are saying that he was with his child that morning just minutes before they were having breakfast at the restaurant. He was

interacting with the child strapping that little boy into the safety seat. The drive from that restaurant to where he works is we clocked it at 6/10

of a mile, less than 5 minutes.

How in that time in that distance do you forget you have your own son in the backseat? That`s what stands out when you retrace those steps.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is another fascinating thing that we have confirmed. The dad used to be a 911 dispatcher for police for several years in his

hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama before he moved to Georgia. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, what would we have learned being a police dispatcher

that might have informed his behavior when he goes into that parking lot in the crowding shopping center and starts screaming what have I done? What

have I done?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I`ll tell you one thing he learned how to make a scene look real. I`m sure he heard lots of screaming people

on the 911 call and he knew how to say the things that he had heard time and time again as the 911 dispatcher. But let me say one thing. I`m

reading a little more in the story than maybe everybody else.

The report today said that when he went out at lunchtime he opened had driver side door. They didn`t say whether it was the front or the back,

could have been the back and put something in. They didn`t say it wasn`t the kid. I`m wondering whether they have video of him putting the dead

child in the car because that child could have died in as quick as three or four hours, three to four hours you get rigor mortis.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, some people said it looked like the child was in the throes of rigor mortis when the boy`s body was pulled out. But this

man is pleaded not guilty and deserves his day in court. I`m going to go over that criminal warrant. I don`t know if you can detus on the other

side why witnesses said his story didn`t add up right from the moment he was screaming because he was talking about? I`ll tell you on the other



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evidence shows Justin Ross Harris knew his 22 month old son was in his sweltering SUV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he forgot to drop his son off at day care. Is he a distracted dad or a calculated killer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cause of death is consistent with hyperthermia and the investigative information suggest the manner of death is homicide.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just screamed "what have I done loudly?" Obviously it was a bit dramatic. Hands in the air looking up towards the

sky. And then he would do the whole thing again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dad`s behaviour after he pulled little Cooper`s body out of the car could come back to haunt him. According to another witness,

Harris said the baby had just started choking, but the baby didn`t looked like he`d been choking. It looked like he has been sweating and had been

in a swimming pool. His hair was all wet.

Veronica Waters, reporter at WSB in Atlanta. This choking thing, that dovetails with first responders who said his story didn`t make sense.

VERONICA WATERS, REPORTER, WSB RADIO: Yes, Jane, and I think that is what set the alarm bells off from the investigators right from the beginning.

He said his kid was choking and the man was like, look, it`s clear this little boy had not been choking. He was wet and sweaty. And when he put

him on the concrete, his legs were frozen as if he was still sitting in a car seat. It was obvious that little Cooper had been dead for quite some


And it`s statements like this and the confirmation of the Google search about how long does it take an animal to die in a hot car. That has the

internet tide turning against Justin Ross Harris. Today that petition that we saw that had more than 11,000 signatures has now been shut


Because the organizers say new facts have come to life. Let`s shut this down. And the trickle of the donations is now just that. A trickle.

There were some 22,000 some odd dollars raised today. People are putting the brakes on the support for the Harris` right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Tammy says the computer search reminds me of the Casey Anthony. If he did indeed do the computer search, it was on his computer.

We don`t know who did it. Remember Casey Anthony`s, her mother took the stand and said no she didn`t search, I searched and I did for innocent

reasons. And she was acquitted.

ADAM SWICKLE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And we know the result of Casey Anthony. I`ll tell you what bothers me about this case, what bothers me is

the criminalization of behavior that should not be criminalized. And what makes it worse in this particular case is the state is now trying to charge

him with a crime in order to go through the back door, this felony murder.

What that is going to allow them to do is go through the back door and try to prove a crime, which they otherwise don`t have enough evidence to charge

him with. This isn`t intentional. This a pure accident --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Simone, I`ll give you the last word quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can it be an accident? You do not leave a child. Enough already. You to not leave a child.

SWICKLE: That`s still an accident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there folks.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll be back with more next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little Rico, tonight pigs which have a higher IQ than you do are in danger of being poisoned by our government. Right, our own

government. Right now it`s illegal to poison wild pig in the United States, but the USDA is reportedly trying to change that. Their

controversial Wildlife Services branch reportedly kills up to 30,000 pigs a year hunting and trapping.

Look at these terrified pigs running away from helicopters. These highly intelligent animals that have a higher IQ than dogs have escaped from farms

and are considered pests by some because they eat. Because they eat crops. And the farmers complain they damage our crops.

Wildlife Services is a government agency we`ve done many expose`s on. A lot of critics say it should be disbanded. Paul Shapiro with the Humane

Society of the United States. Paul, why does the government want to poison these animals and aren`t there humane alternatives?

PAUL SHAPIRO, VICE PRESIDENT AT THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: You`re absolutely right. These pig are intelligent, social animals. They

have likes, dislikes, and they don`t want to suffer. As you pointed out, the extermination campaign they`re trying to wage against these pig is

characteristically inhumane.

We have people gleefully taking to helicopters to gun these animals down, sometimes chasing them with dogs to stab them to death. And now they want

to poison them, which has its own set of alternative problems as well.

For example, bears and raccoons can get into the poison bait and end up killing themselves, or even when the targeted pigs themselves might get the

poison, some animals like foxes and bald eagles could then eat the poisoned corpses and die themselves. There are real problems associated with this

extermination campaign, and it really needs to be rethought.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the government response. They told us Wildlife Services scientists and partners are developing evaluation formulations of

sodium nitrate as a toxicant for feral swine to safely and deliver it to feral swine. They`re saying they can develop a poison that will just kill

pig and not dogs and other wildlife. But aren`t there more humane alternatives? Does killing really solve the problem? Kill, kill, kill,

kill, kill on our tax dollars?

SHAPIRO: Jane, you`re absolutely right. There are alternatives. One thing that`s important to keep in mind is that one of the reasons why we

have so many wild pig is because of these captive shooting operations, fenced in enclosures where people come and pay to play. They love to shoot

pigs like fish in a barrel. These pig are bred for this purpose.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and say what we`re looking at here are pig gestation crates, which the Humane Society has been working very hard to

ban. These are torture machines, in my opinion, and according to Humane Society. You can see they live their lives like that. They become

psychotic. Imagine if you did that to a dog you`d be charged with animal cruelty after a few days. So the fact that they`ve escaped to me,

hallelujah, they escaped. Why do we demonize pigs?

SHAPIRO: It is so true, Jane. It`s horrible to demonize these very social, intelligent animals. And as you pointed out, many of the

extermination campaigns against wild pig are being waged at the behest of the agri business industry. And that industry has its own sorted track

record when it comes to abuse of pigs. They take pig who are 500-pound animals and lock them in cages so cramped they can`t even turn around for

essentially years on end.

So whether we`re abusing pigs by keeping them in fenced in pay to play shooting ranches or abusing them by putting them in factory farms, these

types of campaigns against pig really need to be rethought.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the pigs you`re looking at have been rescued and they`re at Farm Sanctuary, another wonderful organization trying to get rid

of pig gestation farms. Killing is not the answer. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little Rico`s mad because I said that pig are smarter than he is have a higher IQ. It`s true. Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of

the United States, they`re highly intelligent animals, aren`t they?

SHAPIRO: Pigs indeed are so smart. Studies show they do better than dogs on IQ tests and pigs are even taught to play computer games in research

labs where scientists give the pig a joystick they control with their own mouths by looking at a computer screen for rewards. These are intelligent

animals who don`t want to suffer.

And they don`t deserve the type of suffering that too often is meted out onto them on factory farms and these horrible captive shooting ranches

which should be shut down because of their inhumanity to animals and because they`re seeding the feral pig population.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. You know, God, nature, however you want to put it, put these creatures on our earth. They deserve

to be respected. "Nancy" is next.