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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Cops Search Dumpster Near Haleigh`s Home

Aired February 26, 2009 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Breaking news tonight. Out of Florida, in the desperate search for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings, at this very moment as we speak, authorities are searching through a construction Dumpster. You`re looking at the live picture right now. Close to Haleigh`s Satsuma home, after a cadaver dog hit on this particular location.

This stunning development as investigators today took the search back to the scene of the crime, Haleigh`s home. Numerous officers plus seven cadaver dogs searched panels under neighborhood homes.

We`ve also learned that late this afternoon, Ron went back to the very trailer home where his little daughter disappeared to talk to investigators inside the trailer. Let`s go straight to the scene of this search.

Joining me by phone is our producer on the ground, Amy Doyle. What exactly are we looking at there? We have a live picture of a Dumpster and numerous people around it.

What is going on, Amy?

AMY DOYLE, CNN HEADLINE NEWS PRODUCER: Well, Jane, basically for the past two hours, investigators have been searching this Dumpster. They constructed the lights so they had better night vision. They are now -- they put out blue tarps about an hour ago. They are now taking piece by piece, trash, possible evidence, whatever, laying it out on -- laying it out on the tarps in front of them and sifting through it.

This has been by far the busiest day in the last week here, beginning with the cadaver search this morning. Investigators have been on scene all day long. We were tipped off by the captain at Putnam. He confirmed that this came in from a hit off of the cadaver dog today.

They are not saying whether it is human remains or animal remains, but there was a hit in this exact location. As of right now, we are standing by for any information coming out of the Putnam County sheriff`s office. Police are searching through this construction Dumpster and seeing what they can sift through.

So right now we are waiting in a holding pattern, trying to find out any more information at this time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wanted to ask you about the families.

DOYLE: Yes. Both families are alerted and aware, as we are, that they are searching here. I did speak with Crystal Sheffield, mother of 5- year-old Haleigh Cummings, about five minutes ago. She says she was aware of this investigation. She said that they have gotten -- they have not called her with any information or any sign that they have found anything at this location as of yet. But she is on stand-by, waiting at any moment for any information that the sheriff`s office can give her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy, I understand that the sheriff`s office wanted her DNA sample today. Did they get it? And is it possible that they wanted that DNA sample to match up with DNA that they have located there in the Dumpster or believe they will locate?

DOYLE: She did leave the grounds today around 1:30 this afternoon to go and give a DNA sample. When I talked to Putnam`s captain, Dick Shawlin (ph), he said this is routine, that Ron Cummings, the father of 5-year-old Haleigh, also gave his DNA at the beginning of this investigation. That this is routine. She did offer it willingly. And that it`s just taken a couple of weeks to get her in the office to give that DNA sample.

They have not concluded whether that DNA sample is linked to anything new in this investigation as far as this current search is concerned.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why did they decide to come back here today and search around the home? They said that they weren`t going to do ground searches. They were only going to follow specific leads. Now, at first they had said this wasn`t a search that was based on a lead, but we`ve seen reports that possibly it was a tip-off from a neighbor. What do you know?

DOYLE: All I know from the captain, he said they have not confirmed that this was a tip. They are here directly in result to the cadaver dog finding something here of importance to the investigation. They said as soon as the cadaver dogs made a hit, they put together a team to come down to the ground and search this construction Dumpster.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you are looking at it there. Teams working. Now, their process at this point, I assume, Amy, is going to be removing everything they don`t think is relevant from that Dumpster. Apparently, they`re bringing in another Dumpster to put next to it to put the irrelevant material in a second Dumpster and then find -- who knows what they`re going to find.

But obviously, they are looking for something that could be very tragic in terms of a find. We hope that that is not the case. We pray that this is a false positive and that this cadaver dog didn`t hit on little Haleigh.

But obviously, this is a huge, huge development in the case. And you can just see by the number of people there that this is something that is extraordinarily significant.

What, Amy, is the mood there right now? It must be quite somber.

DOYLE: It is extremely somber. Both camps are retreating to be with their family members at this time. Not one family member is out here on site at the search. They are reconvening with their family. It is very somber.

I was just up with Crystal Sheffield. She`s got a lot -- a huge support system there. I`m assuming Ron Cummings does, as well. There`s probably about 20 to 25 people gathered up at the mother`s camp right now, all praying. They`re starting to light the vigil candles. Everybody is hoping that this is a false positive lead.

However, you know, Crystal said that she`s just waiting, standing by her phone for any kind of tip that the sheriff`s department can give her. Although at this time, she knows as much as we do, Jane. She`s sitting there desperately wanting to know if this has anything to do with the disappearance of her daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Teresa Neves, Ronald`s mom, said she had asked authorities numerous times to search this area and was reportedly told that they had. So why didn`t this come up sooner? Did they search this area but without cadaver dogs?

DOYLE: Well, all we know right now, Jane, is that the cadaver dogs today directly linked to this search that we are seeing right this minute. They started. Investigators were on scene around 5 p.m. They set up the whole scene. They blocked it off, brought in the lights, brought in the tarp, brought in the gloves, and have been picking through piece by piece for the last two hours of anything that`s remotely significant. Trash, trash bags. They are rummaging through whatever they possibly can to see if anything is leading to any tips in Haleigh`s disappearance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy, stand by.

Now I want to turn the conversation over to my panel. Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator; Debbie Magids, psychologist; plus Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; and Scott Johnson, reporter with WJXT.

Scott, the question I think that would be an everybody`s mind is, one, are these cadaver dogs human specific or do they just hit on remains that could be human remains or animal remains? Do you know anything specific about these particular cadaver dogs?

SCOTT JOHNSON, REPORTER, WJXT: I have been looking into that. We have heard from one of the people who had a dog out here -- I don`t know if it`s a specific dog that found this, but that person did tell us that these are human-specific cadaver dogs.

But I`ve also heard two stories here. A different person with the investigating agency out here says the dog could have noticed an animal. So it`s really something that we haven`t gotten a clear, concise answer on yet. Could the dog have noticed an animal? Could it have noticed human remains? Could it have noticed a used bandage? That was another thing that was speculated.

So a lot of questions out here as we sit and watch, as you were saying. It`s gone on for around two hours now, as we try and determine what exactly this dog noticed. They say there`s definitely something here, and they will probably be here throughout the night until they found something. We just don`t know what it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Scott, we`re about 17 days into this search.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have they searched that area before? And if they did, did they use dogs?

JOHNSON: I don`t know if they used dogs. They have definitely searched that area before. Dogs have been out here earlier in the investigation. They brought them back out today, because they say that is standard procedure. It wasn`t on any leads. And then this came up.

I don`t know if they took -- went into this Dumpster specifically, but they have been around this area all over in past days. So if this was something that would have been put in the Dumpster recently or not, we can only speculate. Police will eventually have to answer that question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, Scott, let`s just get, before we go to the rest of our panel, the big picture here. Because this was one of numerous developments. They brought Misty, the girlfriend, who was the last adult to see little Haleigh before her disappearance, in for more questioning. They`ve talked to Ron.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They sought a DNA sample from Haleigh`s mom.

JOHNSON: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There was a convergence. There was a convergence of activity. So what do you think they knew before they got this hit?

JOHNSON: We don`t know. But it was interesting to see so many things going on. But a lot of these things that I`ve been told prior to the dog - - what the dog noticed were standard protocol. The mom going in for the DNA test is standard. They say they just hadn`t gotten around to bringing her in yet.

They did talk to Ronald Cummings earlier today, investigators did. We don`t know what that conversation consisted of.

But a lot of the things that have gone on up until the dog finding this, I`m told, have been standard protocol. Before this, they said, "We don`t really have any new leads for you." So this has been the first concrete thing I`ve seen in days. We`ll have to wait and see how it pans out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator, we`ve been hearing for days now everyone`s a suspect. They haven`t eliminated anyone as a suspect. We also wondered whether this could be a stranger abduction. What does all of this tell you, not necessarily in terms of an individual, but where this investigation is headed?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Well, Jane, based upon the statistical data that we have, we know that less than one half of 1 percent of actual childhood abductions are non-custodial. So that would indicate that it`s someone that knows the child.

With regard to the dogs hitting on that Dumpster, I spent a number of days at 9/11, as did many thousands of other police officers, behind the cadaver dogs. And my conversations that I had with those dog handlers were very vivid in the nature of that, and they are human remains specific. They are trained to detect human remains and to -- to detect disguises by someone that may be trying to hide the element of a body.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, certainly, we hope and pray that this is a false positive. We all want little Haleigh to come home alive. And there have been examples of false positives.

But, Jayne Weintraub, you`ve done so many cases, and you`re so experienced. You look at this. You think also of little Caylee Anthony, found right near her family home. It seems that there`s a certain predictability or pattern to these cases as they unfold.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you`re absolutely right, Jane. There are.

No. 1, the fact that the dad gave the DNA last week also tells you it is protocol to have DNA. Why? God forbid. It`s called in case there`s an identification of remains that are unidenfiable.

KARDIAN: Yes, Jane...

WEINTRAUB: I hate to say that, but that`s why they ask for it, No. 1.

No. 2, you`ll notice in this case, unlike in the Casey Anthony case, the police have kept everything very close to the vest. We don`t know if there were hair fibers left on the bed. We don`t know if there were fingerprints on the entry. We don`t know if there were footprints on the outside in the mudded area. We don`t know, because it hasn`t been released.

All we can really hope and pray is that it`s an Elizabeth Smart case. She will come safely home. And that`s what we`ll have.

Perhaps the Dumpster hit -- I agree with Steve. It`s usually just live remains hit, but it could be blood on a skin coming off that was bandaged up in an Ace bandage and a gauze piece. Something like that. But it is definitely human blood that the dog is smelling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re absolutely right. It could be that maybe this child injured herself on the way out and, somehow, that ended up in the Dumpster. Let`s hope.

Everybody, hang tight. Lots of stunning developments to analyze. We will have much more on this breaking news. Cops frantically searching a Dumpster near little Haleigh`s home after cadaver dogs hit on that Dumpster. You`re looking at a live shot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight. Cops search a Dumpster near Haleigh Cummings` home. You`ve been looking at live pictures of the work they are doing right now. I am back with my panel.

And I am also here with a very extraordinary guest, Marie Griffis, Haleigh`s maternal grandmother.

Marie, thank you for joining us. I know this is an extraordinarily difficult time for you. And I just want you to know that our hearts go out to you and your entire family. Our prayers are that this is a false positive and that little Haleigh is OK.

What were you told? I understand the family got some phone calls. Tell us all about that.

MARIE GRIFFIS, HALEIGH`S GRANDMOTHER: My husband had called me. He said he saw it on the news that the cadaver dogs were -- hit on a Dumpster. And it`s showing it right here on HLN right now, that they`ve got all the garbage dug out on the ground. And it`s just -- I don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you get any calls from authorities?

GRIFFIS: No. I haven`t heard from authorities in over a week. They haven`t said -- they haven`t contacted us and said anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Because we had gotten reports, published reports, that the families had received phone calls from authorities. But perhaps the phone calls were from other people who had just heard this watching the news.

Your daughter, the mother of Haleigh, was asked to give a DNA sample today. I`m just curious as to the timing of that. Did that -- did you...

KARDIAN: I`m still here, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... was that scheduled or was that something that might have been because they found something and they wanted to have DNA available to possibly do some kind of match?

GRIFFIS: I don`t really know. Crystal had a doctor`s appointment at 2 today. And they still hadn`t showed up to pick her up or come by and get the sample. So they went to the doctor`s office where she was and retrieved the sample.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marie, do you think this was just a random search that didn`t come from a tip or any inside information on the part of investigators, and they just happened to hit this Dumpster today where the cadaver dog got a positive hit? Or do you think they knew something that drove them back to that trailer?

GRIFFIS: I think as far as using the cadaver dogs that they maybe just -- it`s been over two weeks now since she went missing. I think they just brought the cadaver dogs back in so that they could just check out the area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re pretty...

GRIFFIS: In case there was something...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re pretty familiar with this area. Have they searched this area where this Dumpster is before? And how far is it from the trailer, your understanding?

GRIFFIS: Well, from what I understand, it`s right back here where the command center was at one time. I`m not for sure. I haven`t climbed up and looked yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I heard something like two-tenths of a mile away from the trailer where little Haleigh disappeared.

GRIFFIS: Huh. Where is the Dumpster at? Yes. Yes. Oh, OK. It`s over by the marina. They`re telling me it`s over by the marina down here. It`s not far from the trailer, if you cut through these yards and stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marie, I know your family is involved now in just huddling together and praying. Tell us how you are doing right now emotionally. What are you doing to stay strong emotionally?

GRIFFIS: Praying. Relying on God to give me the strength that I need. Because without him, I wouldn`t -- I wouldn`t be able to stand and go through this. And -- and the faith that I feel knowing that God has laid it on my heart that Haleigh is fine and...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I pray and hope that you`re right.

GRIFFIS: Yes. I just -- I mean, all I can do is rely on God to return her home to us. And I feel like, you know, that`s what he`s letting me know is that he`s -- he`s sending her back. It`s just going to be in his time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marie, I want to thank you so much for joining us. And again, our hearts go out to you. And stay strong. Thank you very much, Marie.

Let`s get back to my panel. Debbie Magids, psychologist, what is this family going through right now? I can`t even comprehend.

DEBBIE MAGIDS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, it`s probably the most intolerable pain one can experience. You know, when a parent has a child and they experience every pain that child has when they`re missing. There`s no closure. You don`t know what`s happening. You don`t know if your child is suffering. The grief is unbelievable.

And this family is actually doing it right. They`re relying on community. They`re relying on prayer, higher power, to get them through the pain because it really is indescribable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is. Scott Johnson, take us through the day, because there was such a momentous day in terms of a lot of developments. Was it coincidence, do you think, or is there a pattern here that shows that police knew something?

JOHNSON: I can only speculate, but this is the first thing that seems concrete to me. There had been things earlier in the day, such as Crystal Sheffield, the mother, giving a DNA test, which I am told was standard protocol.

They brought out the cadaver dogs earlier in the day. I`m told they were brought out just as another routine check. I do want to point out something I wasn`t sure of earlier. The cadaver dogs have checked this Dumpster before, and they didn`t find anything. So this is a first. They`re back here, and they did find something this time. We only don`t know what that is.

Another thing that came up earlier today was Ronald Cummings, the father, was talking to investigators at the home. We don`t know what that conversation consisted of at this point. Investigators haven`t let that out. But there are a lot of questions about things that went on throughout the day that seem like they were routine checks. This is their first concrete thing to happen that we`ve seen in a while in this investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Scott, thank you so much. Everyone, stay right there. More breaking news in the search for Haleigh Cummings.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight as cops search a Dumpster. You are looking at a live picture of that search near Haleigh Cummings` home. I am back with my panel.

Steve Kardian, how do they go through this Dumpster to find important evidence without destroying something in the process? You see all of these people around this Dumpster. This has got to be very, very detailed and careful work, right?

KARDIAN: Yes, Jane. They`re going to go through, they`re looking specifically for anything that might pop out at them such as the decomposition of a body or a body part. They`re going to secure that evidence as evidence. They`re going to retain anything and everything. They`re going to take it to a secure location, in all likelihood, go through that again and again forensically and look for any additional evidence that may be present.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do you account for the fact that cadaver dogs were there before and didn`t hit?

KARDIAN: That`s a hard one, Jane. It`s possible the body wasn`t there. Take a look at the Casey/Caylee Anthony case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We don`t know it`s a body yet. And let`s hope. So let`s be careful.

KARDIAN: Right, yes. But take a look at the Casey/Caylee Anthony case and how many times that the body had been moved. So it`s possible that it hadn`t been there prior to today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, in the Caylee Anthony case, we don`t necessarily know that the body had been moved once it got to the scene of the remains. We know that many people had gone there, visited there, called about that location and tried to get the authorities down there to look at that location, including meter reader Roy Kronk. And they never quite got there to find the remains, so Roy Kronk went back several months later and found them himself, which is just -- it`s a stunning, stunning turn of events. And of course, all of this is happening, I think, just about 70 miles away from that tragedy, which is -- is truly extraordinary.

Jane Weintraub, what happens now in terms of what this sheriff`s department says? Are we going to have a long wait as they analyze tiny little pieces of DNA to see if there`s anything here? Or will they undoubtedly have some kind of a news conference and say, "Hey, here`s what we know"?

WEINTRAUB: I hope they don`t, because I think if they have a news conference, it will be saying that they found something that we don`t want to hear about and that it`s part of a body. I hope that they keep going and that they keep finding, you know, more clues, and they return her safely.

What do I really think will happen? They will not say a word. I don`t think that they will release anything. They haven`t yet. They`ve kept it very close to the vest. And they`re avoiding all the pitfalls we saw in Caylee Anthony`s investigation. I do not think they`re going to get up there and say, "We haven`t seen this" or "we haven`t seen that." And I think it would be a mistake to do that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jayne, we`re looking at a live picture of more than half a dozen, almost a dozen people standing around, obviously investigators talking and huddling. What are they talking about right now, would you gather?

WEINTRAUB: I would gather that they`re thinking, where else would something have been thrown away? Where else could a specific specimen -- I, personally, believe, based on my experience that they have a tip, that they have a reason to have gone back with the cadaver dogs again. You don`t go back with cadaver dogs within three days for no reason. You go back there because something was said to you.

And either they found something that they haven`t told us about yet from the house of identification means, or maybe it`s within a very tight perimeter. But they heard something, and now they`re trying to figure out, should they try to talk to somebody again, go re-interview somebody? Or should they just shut it down, bring back what they have, start the lab work?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s interesting. As you were talking, a very, very heated conversation was happening. And of course, we can`t listen in, but you`re very experienced, Jayne. Thank you.

We are staying on top of this. New details flooding in on this desperate search in the Dumpster. We`re going to be back with the very latest from the scene in just moments.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are looking at a live picture of a desperate search through a dumpster only two-tenths of a mile from where little Haleigh Cummings lived and where she was abducted from about 17 days ago. A cadaver dog has hit on this dumpster. We all hope and pray that it`s a false positive and that Haleigh is ok somewhere. But obviously from the teams of investigators who have converged on the scene, we know that something extremely momentous has happened.

Amy Doyle, you are our producer on the ground. You`ve been walking around talking to people. What have you learned in the last few minutes?

AMY DOYLE, HLN PRODUCER: In the last few minutes, no family members have still come down here. There`s hustle and bustle as far as news camera crews, helicopters have just arrived on scene. What has been -- what is interesting to notice is I am standing right here in front of this fence.

And I can see the family -- the Ronald Cummings family tent -- and it`s about one football field away from the house where Haleigh was allegedly abducted. I could walk there in about 60 seconds each direction so it`s smack dab in the middle of this investigation.

So investigators have been driving up and down; we`ve seen some sheriff vehicles. But nobody is commenting to the media at this time. Right now it`s being a little bit louder because all the helicopters are starting to come in. This is just the latest developments (INAUDIBLE) Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy, give us a time line. Because we`re trying to understand how everything was connected today; talking to Misty, talking to Ron. Give us a time line of the key developments throughout the day and what time they occurred.

DOYLE: Absolutely, Jane.

And I was on scene this morning about 10:00 a.m. Around 1:00, Crystal Sheffield was at the family tent. Investigators have been here all day long. This is the first day all week that we`ve seen so much activity.

They`ve been driving in and out of the scene. Around 4:30 this afternoon, I noticed investigators talking to Ronald Cummings out in front of his family tent. At that time, they drove down to the taped-off crime scene. Where moments later, Ronald followed in his truck and met up with investigators at the scene.

Two detectives or two investigators walked into the house at the scene of the crime. Misty was with him. She stayed in the car, remained there. An unidentified man was also in the vehicle with Ronald and Misty. That was about 4:30. They would not comment to the media at that time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And when did the cadaver dogs hit information come out? In other words were they talking to Ron before the cadaver dog hit or after?

DOYLE: Before; about 30 minutes before we noticed some activity behind this fence. Now, Jane, as you can see, this fence, I mean, it is a ten-foot-tall fence. So some investigators got behind that fence before we even noticed that there was any activity.

By the time we got here, though, there were six to eight investigators on scene, taking photographs before they even remotely touched a thing; photographing the entire scene from start to finish, top to bottom, inside, around the ground. At that point is when they first laid down the blue tarp, put on the gloves and started picking through it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you could see the fence at the bottom of the screen. Because at first when you said fence, I wasn`t sure what you were talking about. But you actually see the fencing at the bottom of the scene.

So you`re saying that on this side of the fence is where the tents are that the families have set up and right on the other side of the fence is where this dumpster is. This is extraordinary that it`s all happening in such a close proximity.

DOYLE: Correct. The only way that the actual camera crews can get the shot is to be on top of their vehicles at this time. This fence is extremely tall.

So the activity that we first noticed bustling around was around 5:00 p.m. How long they were actually behind the fence before anybody actually saw, we don`t know at this time.

But there were no sheriff`s vehicles parked in front of the fence at the time when they first started searching.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Amy.

Steve, what do investigators do next? Do they start looking in the area further out? But they`ve already done that. I`m perplexed as to what their next step is going to be.

STEVE KARDIAN, FMR. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Well, Jane, they -- the crime scene, the immediate crime scene, is there in the dumpster and it`s going to work outward from there.

And just to clarify something, by all the activity, it may be indicative that they did receive a tip, but it also wouldn`t be uncommon for them to come back, you know, days after this event, more than two weeks, and have this be a recovery search for Haleigh.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So are we going to have to wait weeks for some kind of DNA testing if they find something that looks suspicious or looks like an article of children`s clothing?

KARDIAN: It`ll take at least that long to obtain DNA evidence and samples from the forensic experts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, your guess, and just a yes or no answer, do you think they have a theory as to how this case went down? And I don`t want to hear you`re theory but do you think they`re operating on a theory at this point?

KARDIAN: I believe that they are.


Steve, I agree with you. Thank you so much. And we`re going to check in with Amy in a little bit.

I want to turn now to the legal wrangling going on just about 70 miles away in Orlando, Florida tonight, as Casey Anthony sits behind bars right now, charged with murdering her daughter.

A defamation suit against her is creating a firestorm of controversy. A judge`s ruling gives the attorney for her parents George and Cindy 20 days to prove they are two emotionally distressed to be deposed by attorneys for Zenaida Gonzales, her name of course, forever linked with the infamous Zanny the nanny, the woman Casey insists took Caylee.

Then there is Casey`s brother Lee Anthony, he is set to face a grilling by the Gonzalez camp tomorrow morning. His attorney says Lee has nothing to hide and will be there.

But if the media is there, will that still apply? Zenaida`s lawyers told me there is not much that he can do about it.


JOHN MORGAN, ATTORNEY FOR ZENAIDA GONZALEZ: Well, I can`t stop the media from coming. What I would recommend that they do is to get a protective order from the court to stop the media from coming.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, the thing is he can do something about it. I`m going to tell you what that is in just a moment.

Meantime, the criminal case against Casey may not be quite the slam dunk prosecutors would have us believe it is. The "Orlando Sentinel" reports it`s still a dog fight to sort through all of this.

My expert panel: William Sheaffer (ph), a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for WF-TV in Orlando; investigative reporter, Leslie Snadowsky; and Jonathan Kasen, Casey Anthony`s civil attorney.

Jonathan, some people say this defamation suit against your client, Casey, should be moved to after her criminal trial. Why has there been no legal ruling on that issue yet?

JONATHAN KASEN, CASEY ANTHONY`S CIVIL ATTORNEY: Well, good evening, Jane. Good to see you again or good to speak to you again.


KASEN: We had filed a motion probably two months ago, a motion to either stay or defer the civil matter until the resolution of the criminal case. Judge Gonzalez, for whatever the reason, or it should be Judge Rodriguez I apologize -- for whatever the reason denied the request and allowed the lawyers for Zenaida Gonzales to submit written questions in lieu of a deposition.

So I`m not entirely sure why the judge ruled in the way that he did. It seems to me pretty obvious that she can`t answer questions during the pendency (ph) of a criminal investigation and a subsequent trial.

William Sheaffer, you`re a legal analyst. Now, the attorney for Zenaida Gonzales says I can`t stop the media from showing up. Nonsense. As a reporter who has tried to get in to depositions, I`ve had those depositions locations moved on me three times in one day so that they could avoid me getting the shot of the person going in for that deposition.

Couldn`t he just make it a secret location?

WILLIAM SHEAFFER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure they could make it a secret location and under Florida law, however, the press does have the right to be present at the deposition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s -- that`s fascinating to me. So they can just march in with their cameras and roll videotape while Lee is being interrogated?

SHEAFFER: Absolutely. Again, under Florida Law, they have the right to do that and that`s what all the legal wrangling is about now. And that`s the basis upon which George and Cindy Anthony have said, look, this is too emotional of an experience for us. And, therefore, since the media is going to be there, we shouldn`t be required to, in fact, attend this deposition at this time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Jonathan Kasen, if Lee doesn`t show up because the media is there or if he sees the media and turn on a seals and leaves, which what his attorney says he`s going to do just that, could he be held in contempt?

KASEN: Interesting question. He could be if in fact the judge felt that he was doing something to subvert justice. If the situation where -- if he goes there and feels that he is going there simple to be put up as a sacrificial lamb for Mr. Morgan`s deposition then he has some legal grounds on which to argue to the judge that hey, I was there, I made a good faith basis to be there, a good faith effort to show up, answer questions, and they turned it into a media circus.

I would also add that it`s not entirely accurate that the media just showed up. Mr. Morgan reached out to a number of avenues in the media and asked them to show up. I know that because three different reporters called me and said, "Mr. Morgan is inviting us to the depositions. Do you have a comment on that?"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the Anthonys got a reprieve yesterday as we`ve been saying, when the judge gave them almost three weeks to turn over evidence showing they`re two distraught to be grilled under oath.

Here`s what the attorney for Zenaida Gonzalez said after that emergency hearing.


KEITH MITNIK, ATTORY FOR ZENAIDA FERNANDEZ-GONZALEZ: We`re going to get these depositions. People are going to have to go under oath. I don`t know why no one wants to go under oath. But we`re going to get them under oath. I`d love it tomorrow but its coming. It`s coming.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, listen to what Cindy and George`s lawyer had to say about all of this. Take a listen.


BRAD CONWAY, ANTHONY FAMILY ATTORNEY: They will answer the questions they need to I think at the right time. And certainly under the right circumstances, that was the main goal here is to avoid a circus.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Leslie Snadowsky, it`s more like postponing a circus.

The point is what is the criteria for not showing up at a deposition? Do you have any idea now that you`ve researched this? Can people just say, you know, I`m depressed and distraught and I`m not going to show up because it would be too much? Put me through the emotional ringer.

LESLIE SNADOWSKY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, it sounds that way for Brad Conway. And that`s what he successfully argued and the judge said, ok. I`ll give you 20 days to prove it and the Anthony`s have to come in with essentially a doctor`s note excusing them from the depositions or something that proves that they`re seeking psychological counseling.

And as you mentioned, Lee Anthony -- he`s all set to go tomorrow. But again, one media outlet did reported that if the media shows up for that deposition, Thomas Luka, his attorney, is going to take him and say we`re walking and not do the deposition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. It`s such a dramatic case. And tomorrow is going to be a huge day. We`re going to have to see how it unfolds.

Jonathan, William, and Leslie, thank you so much.

And we will have an update on the search of that dumpster near Haleigh Cummings` home right after the break.

There, you are looking at a live picture. Cops have been searching that dumpster since a cadaver dog hit on it earlier today. This case is just experiencing stunning developments tonight. And we`re going to tell you all them.

Don`t go away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are looking at live pictures from Satsuma, Florida. The search of a dumpster less than a mile away from the home where little Haleigh Cummings disappeared more than two weeks ago. This search entering a crucial phase; it was prompted by an alert given by a cadaver dog just a few hours ago.

I want to check in once again with our producer on the ground, Amy Doyle. Amy, I understand they`ve brought in another dumpster. Tell us about that.

AMY DOYLE, HLN PRODUCER: Correct, Jane. I just climbed on top of a vehicle so I could get a better bird`s eye-view. It appeared to be an empty dumpster. The same size as the construction dumpster they have been searching through. No material has been brought in or put in that as of yet. We`re still waiting.

Right now what you cannot see off camera, to the right about 50 feet over there, there is a clump of investigators just sitting around talking. I can only imagine what they`re talking about at this time.

The new material has been brought in. One thing that`s extremely crucial, Theresa Nevus, the paternal grandmother of little Haleigh Cummings, has just alerted us that the families have been told to stay at their respective places and to not come down here with all of the mayhem going on right now. So they`re sitting right now watching all of this break and are not supposed to be down here. They were told by police authorities they would update them. But they are staying at their camp at this time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marie Griffiths, Crystal -- the mother of little Haleigh`s mother -- so Haleigh`s grandmother told us that she did not get a call from law enforcement telling her or the family about this particular development. But we`d also heard reports that the family did get phone calls informing them of this development. How do you -- how do you -- deal with this discrepancy?


DOYLE: Moments ago, Theresa Nevus did alert us that they were told to stay at their respective places right now and to not come down here with all of the activity that is going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think when they brought Ron in to the trailer they were telling him about this? Or was it too early? Was the cadaver dog hit after they were talking to Ron? I understand you said it was, but it just seems like there`s too much coincidence.

There`s too much that happened today. Re-interviewing misty, bringing Ron to the trailer, getting the DNA sample, doing the ground search, and all of this happening in the same area; they`ve talked to Ron many times. They didn`t talk to him in the trailer before.

DOYLE: Jane, I have not witnessed them talking to Ron in the trailer before today. Although I have been here a week, that`s the first time I`ve seen that happen. Although I have seen investigators briefing Ron Cummings and his family on a daily basis; they seem to have a very good relationship as far as maintaining updates.

When I spoke to the lead investigator, John Merchant (ph) he told me that he`s been giving daily updates to Ronald Cummings -- both sides of the families -- but making sure that everybody is up to speed on where they are in the investigation as of date.

Now, with the fence so tall, those investigators could have been here earlier and nobody paid attention because they were guarded by this fence. Nobody was alerted because there was sheriff`s people out here. What might have happened is they were on the other side of the fence. Of course, the media has been kept on the other side of the fence.

But they could have been investigating --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy, we`re going to check in with you once again a little bit later, but you can see a heated discussion going on right now; a lot of huddling with the investigators. Very significant talk, I am sure.

Amy, thank you so much.

We will be keeping a very close eye on this search; we`re going to bring you any news as it breaks.

Now to the latest from Nadya Suleman: tonight, octo-mom fighting back, but Dr. Phil pulled no punches during part two of his interview with this mother of 14.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, "DR. PHIL SHOW": Do you acknowledge that that choice was wrong?


DR. PHIL: Ok. I mean, that`s huge for me. I think it`s huge for people in America.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Today also marks the deadline for octo-mom to accept a generous offer from the Angels in Waiting Foundation. The California- based group offered the mother of 14 free housing, counseling, medical services for at least six months.

As the deadline looms, another group has emerged to help out octo-mom. Just who are these mystery women? We`re going to find out in just a second.

Meanwhile, octo-mom`s quest for a home for her family continues as do her fears that her eight babies won`t be released from the hospital. Is her house up to snuff? You be the judge when we give you a videotaped inside look at octo-mom`s house. And I`m going to be taking your calls in a bit.

But first, my expert panel: Mary Margaret from, back with us; psychologist Debbie Magids; and host of "Showbiz Tonight" A.J. Hammer. Thanks, guys. We`ve had a lot of breaking news tonight so thank you for your patience.

A.J., as all the new video of Nadya Suleman pours in, does she give new meaning to the term overexposed if she has any hopes of making an entertainment deal in the future?

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yes. I mean, this is one of the things that we`re going to be talking about on "Showbiz Tonight." Is it working for her or against her, the fact that she is going on so many shows and talking about what`s going on?

Going on Dr. Phil, it may have been an opportunity for her to set the record straight. But in my mind, Jane, what she really needs to do is spend less time worrying about what other people think of her and maybe more time focusing on what she`s going to do for these eight babies.


Mary Margaret, you were the ones who scooped everybody getting an inside look, videotape look inside the Suleman home. And I watched that video clip on radaronline. And it -- it did seem to me that yes, it was messy, but I wouldn`t say it was slovenly.

And one thing I noticed is that the kids -- there you see one of them -- they seemed very happy. The older children did seem happy and well balanced.

Your thoughts?

MARY MARGARET, RADAR ONLINE: Well, of course, the house is obviously appropriate for the family size that they had before the octuplets. She mentioned that there`s a very large backyard where the kids can roam free and there`s a lot of love in this household.

But again, there`s eight more children and even though it`s not slovenly, at the same time, it is messy. There is chaos, there is disorder and you just can`t bring eight more babies into that household.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Phil made a great point when he said you should never have a child to fill a void within yourself. Given her whole complaint about being an only child, isn`t that precisely what she`s done?

MARY MARGARET: Yes. Exactly -- sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, guess what? I`m going to answer that question myself because we`re just about of time. Yes, that is precisely what she has done.

Stay right there everyone. We`re going to be back in just a minute with more on octo-mom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are looking at a live picture from Satsuma, Florida. It is day 17 since precious little Haleigh Cummings disappeared in the middle of the night from her double wide trailer. And this afternoon, momentous developments as a cadaver dog hit on a dumpster.

You`re looking at the dumpster right there to the left and they`re setting up a new dumpster on the right to take the refuse that is not relevant from the dumpster where the cadaver dog hit and put it in the second dumpster so that they can analyze all of this evidence. The question is, was it really little Haleigh? Or was it a false positive?

The families, both sides of little Haleigh`s family, huddling and praying right now staying away from this area. They were told don`t come down because the emotions are so high at this moment, these investigators have some very grueling, very tough, really unpleasant heart-wrenching work to do right now and they`re very focused. Again, the big question is, is it Haleigh? And we pray that it`s not.

We will stay on top of this story, obviously, and we`ll cover it tomorrow as well here on "ISSUES."

All right. We`re back with the other big news of the day and that is the octo-mom drama.

A.J. Hammer, could next week be a huge week in that when infants reach 35 weeks they can sometimes leave the hospital if they`re healthy enough and they`re reportedly going to hit that 35-week point next week.

HAMMER: Yes. It will be a big week, but everyone is waiting to see what the hospital says because apparently before the hospital is willing to release the infants they want to have a good look inside Nadya Suleman`s home and see if it`s okay. If everything is set; if it`s good and we`ve seen some of those photographs inside the house, it may not be ready.

And Jane, I`m still trying to figure out what kind of a vehicle is she going to get? That`s how Detroit can turn the car industry around. Come up with the right car for the 14 kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think it`s a bus is what she`s looking for.

HAMMER: At least.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary Margaret, in terms of all the videos and the interviews that you`ve done with this family, what strikes you as the most bizarre? We understand that now there`s a new group of women who are offering to help Nadya Suleman, a mystery group from the school?

MARY MARGARET: I think, you know, your first question would strike me as most bizarre and I think we discussed in the past few days and you brought it up, Jane, a day or two ago is the difference between her perceived reality and what actually is reality. In her mind she has enough resources. She`s going to be enterprising enough to accumulate the resources to take care of 14 children on her own when in reality that`s not true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s it. Got to go. Thanks for joining us tonight.