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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Gym Shooter Motivated by Hatred for Women?; Autopsy Shows Soccer Mom Drunk, High Before Crash; Who Killed Robert Manwill?; Trail Cold for Missing Women?
Aired August 5, 2009 - 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 (voice-over): Tonight a shooting massacre inside a fitness gym. Cops say a woman-hating gunman walked casually into an aerobics studio and fired at least 36 shots. Three innocent women were executed, nine more injured, before the gunman killed himself.
Now we`re finding out this crazed shooter kept a Web page laying out his destructive plan and blogging about hatred toward women. Was all this because this antisocial loner kept getting rejected by women?
And drugs and alcohol turn a family camping trip into carnage. A seemingly ideal soccer mom, coming home from a nice, wholesome weekend, ends up driving the wrong way on the highway and hitting another car head on. Eight people killed, including her 2-year-old daughter and her 3 little nieces. This perfect mother on the outside was severely drunk and high on marijuana. Was this mom a closet drinker?
Also, a gut-wrenching update in the search for adorable little Robert Manwill. The body found floating in a nearby canal has been tentatively identified as the missing 8-year-old. Now cops are working desperately to try and figure out what happened to his little boy? Is there a killer on the loose?
Plus a grim discovery in the hunt for a missing woman. Cops find bones near the search sight for Tracy Ocasio, missing for more than two months. Tonight we`ll talk to Tracy`s mom and the parents of another young woman who vanished from the same area.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight, an unspeakable massacre in Pittsburgh last night. A lone gunman walked into an aerobics class, turned off the lights, pulled at least three guns out of a duffel bag, and began firing nearly 40 rounds at the women attending the dance class.
After executing three women and injuring nine others, the shooter then turned the gun on himself. The pregnant aerobics instructor gives her chilling account of how she was shot but survived.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It took me a while to process what I was hearing, but I saw people running towards the door, and I hit the floor. Because I was too far away from the door. When I was on the floor, I felt the first bullet on my left shoulder. And then about 30 seconds later, I felt the second in my back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The shooter, 48-year-old George Sodini apparently had it out for women. He said he was tired of being rejected by them, even wrote that he hadn`t had a girlfriend since 1984 and hadn`t had sex since 1990.
After the tragic massacre, investigators found two disturbing discoveries: a note in this gym bag and an online diary, detailing his upcoming murder spree. The die before the shooting he wrote, quote, "I took off today, Monday, and tomorrow to practice my routine and make sure it is well polished. I need to work out every detail. There is only one shot," end quote.
Investigators are working overtime, trying to figure out what would drive this man to kill women he didn`t even know. But they need look no further than his sicko blog, which tells the sorry tale of a lonely, isolated, alienated, angry, sick individual who saw himself as the victim, as killers often do. It is called a victim`s mentality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUPERINTENDENT CHARLES MOFFATTI, ALLEGHENY COUNTY POLICE: There was four handguns he had on his person when the shooting was done. We -- as far as we can determine at this point, he used two of the handguns -- excuse me, three of the handguns. He used two .9 millimeter semiautomatics, and he used a .45 caliber revolver. We believe it is the .45 caliber revolver which he used to take his own life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Such a horrific tragedy, and I want to hear your thoughts.
Straight out to my outstanding expert panel: Pat Brown, criminal profiler and CEO of Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency; David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney; Bradford Cohen, criminal defense attorney; Tom Ruskin, former NYPD detective and president of CMP Protective and Investigative Group; and Judy Kuriansky, a.k.a. Doctor Judy, clinical psychologist.
But first, Jeanne Meserve, CNN homeland security correspondent. Jeanne, what is the very latest?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first we have a statement from the family of George Sodini. It says, "Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. And we pray for the full recovery of the survivors."
Of course, a lot of attention being paid to this blog that you mentioned. It indicates that George Sodini started thinking about this back in November of 2008 and that in January he came to this health club with the intension of carrying out mass murder, but in his words, he chickened out. He went home.
And then he went through rehearsals, as you mentioned. Police are now trying to pin together a timeline of what happened yesterday. They`re saying they think he came here to this health club at 11 a.m. yesterday morning. Then he came back in the evening after 7 p.m., but he left and apparently made a phone call. Police say they are trying to track down who exactly he called before he went back into that health club at about 8:56 - - 7:56.
He went into the aerobics room here. He opened up his gym bag, flipped off the lights, took out a .9 millimeter. He emptied that .9 millimeter gun, put it down and picked up a second, got partway through that magazine. And then, for reasons unknown to the police, he stopped firing. Then he pulled out a .45, and he shot himself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently, he was using -- Jeanne, he was using 30- round ammo clips that were illegal before the assault weapons ban was lifted in 2004. And those ammo clips allow you to kill a lot of people very quickly, right?
MESERVE: That`s right. But he did not use all the ammunition he had with him. Police said he had more than 100 rounds with him. They think he only fired about 36. So why did he stop? Nobody knows the answer to that.
The blog, however, is giving a lot of clues as to why he did this. As you mentioned, a lot of anger and frustration towards women, also towards his family. He talked about his mother domineering. He said his brother was a bully. He said his father was virtually absent from his life. This was a man who was carrying a lot around with him all the time. And it`s something that`s going to be very carefully examined by the investigators.
And one thing they`re doing, Jane, is very interesting. They`re using forensic analysis to try and figure out who might have looked at this blog before yesterday, who might have had clues as to this man`s frame of mind. Who perhaps could have alerted authorities but didn`t alert authorities to what he had in his mind.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, it is such a disturbing, disturbing story. And especially because he didn`t know any of these women. That`s the really scary part. He wasn`t even targeting anybody. He just hated women in general. He thought they had rejected him.
Tonight the world is asking who was George Sodini? The 48-year-old who gunned down three women and injured nine more before taking his own life worked for a decade as a systems analyst in the finance department of a local law firm. He was a gym member, and he worked out, lifting weights. He looks like an average guy. He looks pretty good in this photo.
But listen to what neighbors said about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He kept to himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have any conversation with him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never, never. In passing, I`d say hello and that was it. You know, just being a neighbor. You know? But he didn`t reply back. Just didn`t socialize at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was kind of a reclusive person. So I`m not sure that I would pick up on him looking troubled. I kind of always thought he was a little, you know, different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Definitely something off about this guy socially. But he looked pretty normal on the surface.
Pat Brown, you`re the profiler. We tend to stereotype what a killer or a psycho should look like, how they should behave. Some people have actually expressed surprise that, hey, this fit, relatively clean-cut guy is a mass killer.
Is it time to finally through out these stereotypes and realize, guess what? There`s no particular look or resume for a demented, dangerous killer?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: You`ve got it right, Jane. I mean, after all, babies are just born. They`re not born, necessarily, to look like psychopaths or anything else.
This boy probably did have, when he was young, some kind of dysfunctional family life. So I`ll buy that part of his blog to some extent, although he`s probably lying a great deal about the family, as well. But he probably had some dysfunction which turned him into a psychopath at a pretty young age.
And he`s not a psychotic. Some people are saying, "Oh, my God, he`s psychotic." No, he knew exactly what he was doing. He`s a classic psychopath who blames everybody else and thinks he`s entitled to whatever he wants. And when he doesn`t get it, even if it`s totally unrealistic, then he`s got that grandiose thinking, like, "I should have all the cheerleaders in the world," then he gets angry, because "Why didn`t I get it and somebody else did?"
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Dr. Judy Kuriansky, he also had a victim mentality. Nobody is to blame. Everybody`s to blame but him. OK, he is not to blame. He hates everybody. You know, no girlfriend, no sex. He`s a loner. He`s a loser. He says, "I know nothing will change, no matter how hard I try and what goals I set." And he`s also grandiose: "Thirty million women rejected me over an 18- to 25-year period." Thirty million - - he`s -- oh, my God, this is so sick -- Dr. Judy.
JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. No question about that. Actually, what`s important here is the fact that he killed himself, too. This is a suicide-murder besides those people who go on rampages, as we know, Jane, many times, who shoot lots of people in McDonald`s, in the post office, in schools. This guy had hatred towards himself, too, which is very important.
I think in a lot of situations, he called his family a bully, a bully brother, an absent father and a domineering mother. Sometimes that can be a very explosive kind of family background.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Judy, you`re the sex therapist. The fact that he hadn`t had sex for 20 years is pathetic, but it`s also dangerous. I mean, there`s frustration that you`re talking about right here.
KURIANSKY: Well, there`s a lot of frustration. And if you want to take this to a really deep psychodynamic level...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I do.
KURIANSKY: ... then guns are often that kind of a sexual acting out, because a gun is like a sex organ. And when men are extremely frustrating and frustrated, they can end up taking all that aggression out with a gun.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying it`s psychologically significant -- And Tom Ruskin, weigh in on this -- that he brought four guns, and it was overkill, in a sense. I mean, he had -- he didn`t even use up all the rounds that he had. And this could have been four phallic symbols.
Ten seconds Tom.
TOM RUSKIN, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Very quickly, it`s exactly as the doctor was saying. This is the typical psychokiller, who goes in and is trying to retaliate against his whole life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. It`s stomach-churning.
More on this dreadful shooting and this killer`s very disturbing diary. Were warning signs missed? Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297. Sound off, please.
Then, a tragic end to the search for missing 8-year-old Robert Manwill. A body tentatively identified as the little boy`s. Now cops are on the hunt for the killer, and there are new clues. But first a man storms into a Pittsburgh fitness center and gunned down three innocent women he didn`t even know.
Here`s the police superintendent describing the gunman`s arsenal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOFFATTI: He shot at least 36 times. He had clips of ammunition that held 30 rounds, which prior to 2004 was illegal to possess. When the assault rifle ban was lifted, they also became legal to have. He had two extra lines in his -- excuse me, two extra clips in this bag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was right inside the room where it all took place. I seen everybody running. I took off my headphones at that moment, and I kept hearing shot after shot repeatedly. And that`s when I realized there was a gun -- gun going off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A witness to last night`s massacre in Pittsburgh talks about the moment he realized a killer was on the loose. Forty-eight- year-old George Sodini took several guns to a nearby gym, entered an aerobics class, where he shut off the lights and then shot up to 40 rounds, killing a bunch of women he didn`t know, injuring a bunch more. He then turns the gun on himself.
Tonight three women are dead and a whole bunch are in the hospital, just in shock and in injury.
Back with my expert panel. Bradford Cohen, if you look at this blog it is just mind-boggling. It`s just a litany of dysfunction. He also has job worries. Quote, "I predict I won`t survive the next layoff." Quote, "I know I will never enjoy life." You know, these quotes go on and on.
BRADFORD COHEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. I mean...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He calls his dad a useless sperm donor. He calls his brother a useless bully. So there`s sort of this generic rage, but the biggest rage is directed at women.
COHEN: Yes, I mean, you can tell -- I mean, this guy was not on the norm. I mean, obviously the important thing is...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You think? You think?
COHEN: I mean, everything points to such crazy -- and it`s always weird when these cases come up. Every next-door neighbor says, "Yes, he was really quiet. He kept to himself. Real recluse." I mean, you see that time and time again.
What I -- what I think is interesting is what Pat the profiler said, is that, you know, you really can`t tell in terms of what someone looks. And as a defense attorney, that`s what we fight every day. You don`t know how many prosecutors come up to me and say, "Your guy kind of looks like a drug dealer."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brad, you`re the defense attorney. Do these women who were injured and the families of the dead have a lawsuit, and if so, against whom?
COHEN: It`s definitely -- it`s something that they should consider. And it`s probably against L.A. Fitness for some sort of lack of security. He went there once before, and he was fully armed. I don`t know, in terms of what kind of security they have, if there is that kind of appropriate security that`s in place. But I`m sure, believe me, with civil attorneys around, there`s definitely going to be someone who`s going to be filing a civil lawsuit.
DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know what the bottom line is, Jane? What are we going to do to prevent this in the future? You know, there needs -- we need to spend more money as a society on mental disease and defects. This is something very serious.
I`ve -- you know, almost all of my criminal cases involve a mental disease or defect. And I also want to comment. You know, you can say, forget about family dysfunction. OK, who doesn`t have a dysfunctional family in this world? All right?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not raising my hand.
SCHWARTZ: OK. It was 20 years -- a 49-year-old man. He went 20 years without sex. That was the -- that was the basis of his problem. That would cause any man to go completely bonkers.
BROWN: First of all, that`s a -- that`s a lie.
SCHWARTZ: That`s a lie?
BROWN: I think we`re talking about -- yes. This is a psychopath who is a pathological liar.
SCHWARTZ: I don`t deny that.
BROWN: If you look at -- if you look at his blame log, what you`ll see is that he can`t even keep his dates straight as to when he didn`t have sex and when he did. He even said some woman had his child somewhere in the...
SCHWARTZ: I said his problems was with women. All I`m saying is...
BROWN: His problem was that he could have chosen to have sex with...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, David Schwartz, it sounds like you`re blaming women for rejecting him.
SCHWARTZ: No, I`m not. No, I`m not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe he should have looked at himself...
SCHWARTZ: No, no, that`s not what I`m doing. No, no, no.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... and find out why he thinks that women are rejecting me?
SCHWARTZ: I`m saying how do we prevent this? There needed to be an intervention. OK? Yes, he`s psychotic. And of course...
BROWN: No, he isn`t. He`s psychopathic, and we can`t fix him.
SCHWARTZ: ... it`s not -- it`s not the fault of women.
RUSKIN: You`re forgetting that this man went into a health club, shut off...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
KURIANSKY: No question that in this -- in this whole time of health care...
KURIANSKY: ... we need to pay more attention to mental health care here. And there`s another important issue that`s very psychological that has to do with bystanders. Because there have been real-life bystanders who stand by when people get murdered and don`t want to get involved. And now it`s turned to the Internet and the responsibility that people have to notice what people are blogging about. And who are they going to report to? That`s what we need to pay attention to now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Investigators found a note left my George Sodini at the gym. Listen to what was in it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOFFATTI: He basically says that -- he complains about he`s never spent a weekend with a girl. He`s never vacationed with a girl. He never lived with the women. He`s maybe had sex a few times in his life, and he goes on like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeanne Meserve, there`s controversy about this blog, but I had read somewhere that it was posted shortly before the killings, which means that this was a toxic secret that he sort of revealed too late for anybody to do much about it -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: You know, I still think they`re doing the forensics to find out exactly when it was posted. I will tell you that Abbi Tatton of CNN did some nosing around on this Web site. She says that he was on it as recently as 6:10 yesterday night. So he was noodling around with this right before he came here.
Also, on the mental health issue, we don`t know anything about this guy`s mental health. We don`t know if he`s ever had any treatment. That`s one of those things investigators are looking at. We don`t have the answers yet.
KURIANSKY: But this way of putting this on the Internet is like a cry for help in some distorted way. And I think those are the things that we need to pay attention to.
BROWN: That is not a cry for help. That`s his -- that`s his manifesto when he`s going out with his big blaze. He`s a psychopath.
KURIANSKY: He didn`t...
SCHWARTZ: We need more -- the insurance companies also...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`re going to -- we`re going to have more. Guess what? Outstanding panel. Stay right there.
We`re going to bring you back in just a moment for more on the shooting massacre. I think he just wanted attention.
First, a picture-perfect soccer mom hiding another toxic secret. She was drunk when eight people, including herself, died.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, another stereotype shattered. This one about alcohol and who abuses it. Profound sadness turns to outrage as we learn that a soccer mom was severely drunk and high when she plowed her minivan into another SUV. Going the wrong way, she was.
The crash killed eight people, four of them kids. Behind the wheel, a 36-year-old cable company executive, embarking on a road trip with her own two children and three young nieces. The results of her autopsy: jaw- dropping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJOR WILLIAM T. CAREY, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: Diane Shuler had a blood alcohol content of .19 percent. Diane Shuler had approximately 6 grams of alcohol in her stomach. Diane Shuler had a high level of THC, tetra hydra -- tetra hydro cannabinol in her blood. THC is the active ingredient contained in marijuana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Point one nine percent. That`s equal to 10 drinks. Plus, the 5-foot-2 36-year-old had 6 grams of undigested booze in her belly. And, as you heard, cops say she smoked pot, possibly as recently as 15 minutes before this horrific smash-up. Oh my gosh.
With me now, Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist and addiction specialist. Take a look at this. The screaming headlines in both the "New York Post" and the "Daily News" both say the exact same thing: "How Could She?" Police found a broken bottle of vodka in the wreckage. She reportedly began drinking only once she started the trip.
Dr. Reef Karim, is this the sign of a closet drinker, a closet act?
REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST/ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Oh, absolutely. First off, how tragic. This is the ultimate in tragedy. To take on the responsibility of these kids and yet be drunk and be high? It`s called dope driving, essentially, as well as being intoxicated at the same time.
Alcohol and pot have synergistic effects, which means, you know, with pot you get distorted perceptions. You get -- you get kind of a problem with learning. There are definitely cognitive problems.
And with alcohol, I mean, it`s a central nervous system depressant. Everything from impaired risk taking to problems with dexterity to problems with reaction time. And many, many other things.
Now, here`s another factor to this story. She was at 0.19, but based on what I read, as far as how much she was drinking, she had ten shots. There was a big Absolut bottle in the car. She probably should have been over 0.19, which means that`s why you saw all of this alcohol that was still not processed yet by her liver.
So perhaps she has a really high tolerance for alcohol, which means that she may have been drinking a long time and for many, many years. Who knows?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s interesting is the mom`s husband told police she occasionally smoked pot and was, quote, "a social drinker."
Now, I`m a recovering alcoholic myself. I know there`s different types of alcoholics. Some people, myself for example, when I was drinking, I did it outside in bars, night clubs, parties, et cetera.
Some people hide it. They hide it even from their own family. And that`s why maybe you want to do it on the road trip, because there`s no other adult around to see you.
KARIM: Yes. Think about this. Yes, I totally agree with you. But you`re on a road trip with a bunch of kids. And you`re driving with your offspring and your family`s offspring. And yet, you`re still drinking till you`re intoxicated and smoking pot. Which basically means to me, this individual had a much higher -- they are more interested in the alcohol and the drugs than they were in the kid.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. Doctor, will you please come back soon? Great analysis. What a sad story.
You know, millions of people across America are grappling with addition. I`m one of them. In my new book, "I Want," I reveal personal details of my battle with alcoholism. You can preorder your copy at CNN.com/Jane. It`s called "I Want."
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: A gut-wrenching update in the search for adorable little Robert Manwill. The body found floating in a nearby canal has been tentatively identified as the missing 8-year-old. Now cops are desperately trying to figure, is there a killer on the loose?
And a grim discovery in the hunt for a missing woman: cops find bones near the search site for Tracy Ocasio. Coming up, we`ll talk to Tracy`s mom and the parents of another young woman who vanished from the same area.
Breaking news tonight, a massacre in a Pittsburgh gym leaves three women dead and many more injured. Forty-eight-year-old George Sodini entered an aerobics class last night, turned off the lights and then shot up the room before turning the gun on himself.
The pregnant aerobics instructor gives her chilling account of getting shot and thankfully surviving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It took me a while to process what I was hearing. But I saw people running towards the door and I hit the floor because I was too far away from the door.
When I was on the floor, I felt the first bullet on my left shoulder. And then about 30 seconds later, I felt the second in my back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sodini reportedly kept an online diary in which he complained that he hadn`t had a girlfriend since 1984 and he hadn`t had sex since 1990. That`s 20 years.
He also used the diary to detail his upcoming shooting spree; a lot to get to.
I`m back with Pat Brown, criminal profiler and CEO of Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency; David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney; and Tom Ruskin, former NYPD detective and president of CNP Protective and Investigative Group.
This story is just absolutely incomprehensible. The phone lines are lighting up.
Erica, California; your question or thought, ma`am.
ERICA, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes actually, I have a question and a comment. I haven`t heard anybody mention anything about steroids in the whole road rage thing. And also, I haven`t had sex in seven years but that doesn`t mean I`m going to go out and kill anybody.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a very honest statement and I appreciate you being candid and talking about that.
I think part of this problem, Pat Brown, is that there is so much shame surrounding sex in our society that it`s very hard for people who do have a problem like this. A guy like this who can`t seem to get a relationship going who does seem to have certain character traits that turn off women and have them run away.
It is very hard for him to seek help without feeling humiliated and perhaps even more, ridiculed.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I would agree with you Jane, if I believed that this was actually necessarily true.
But the part about getting help; again psychopaths do not seek help because they don`t think they need any because it`s everybody else`s fault. You cannot help them. They wont -- they will lie to their therapists and that won`t go anywhere.
What we need to do is work with children who are small. To teach them that they`re not entitled to everything that -- the selfishness that they`re being brought up with where they just get everything they want and think they can have everything.
No. You have to bring up children to realize that you have to earn things and that sometimes it takes time. You have to wait for things. And this guy apparently didn`t grow up with that, so he thinks that he should get what he wants and he`s is not willing to do the work.
In other words, he could probably get a lady in his life if he treated them nicely. If he stopped looking for a cheerleader type of 20-year-old instead of perhaps a nice 50-year-old librarian, a little overweight, who he was sweet to. He could have somebody in his life. But he has chosen not to do that.
DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, it does take an intervention. I have had plenty of cases where there have been psychopaths who have had this intervention.
This guy went 49 years without killing anyone. There needs to be an intervention; it does take a village sometimes. And I guarantee you the writing was on the wall. If you sent Tom Ruskin out there to that gym to do an investigation, I guarantee you in five minutes he would find people that would come out and say that the writing was on the wall in this particular case.
TOM RUSKIN, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Right. Listen...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marvella, Ohio, go ahead.
MARVELLA, OHIO (via telephone): I just wonder how this person got into the gym with a bag full of weapons if metal detectors have been in place. This whole tragedy never would have happened.
V-M: Well, listen, David Schwartz we can`t shut down every single one of our institutions. After Virginia Tech everybody started talking about security on campuses. What are we going to do -- make every person who goes into any kind of institution go through a medal detector because we are such a violent society that this guy could get his hands on four guns with 30-round ammo clips no problem?
SCHWARTZ: I don`t think that is realistic in a free society to have metal detectors in every place possible. We need to be aware of our surroundings. We need to understand as a society and we need to prevent this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tom, I want to give you the last word.
RUSKIN: We`re also going to see, as this investigation unveils itself that this guy had other signs. People could have seen a warning sign. There are other outbursts that he`s had in his life. I bet you dollars it does. This is a man who went into a gym, shot off the lights and hunted down his prey and didn`t even look at them at the time he was shooting them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`ll tell you something. It is very hard to help people who don`t want to help themselves. It`s very hard to help people after they get to a certain age where they`re set is intractable.
I want to thank my fantastic panel, please come back soon.
Turning now to a heart-breaking development in the search for adorable Robert Manwill: just moments ago the coroner revealed that dental records confirm that the body found floating in a nearby canal is that of the 8- year-old boy.
So now begins a terrifying chapter; who killed Robert Manwill?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEPUTY CHIEF JIM KERNS, BOISE POLICE DEPT: Finding Robert will not be the end but just the beginning of an entirely new investigation. Our priority remains finding answers for Robert`s family and this community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So is this new investigation a murder investigation? The coroner`s report does not suggest a cause of death and lists the place of death as unknown. Why is so much about this adorable little boy`s disappearance a mystery? Like when was he last seen alive?
We know he was reported missing just after 10:00 p.m. The cops backed off early reports that family members saw Robert between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Now the "Idaho Statesman" reports a 7-year-old female playmate of Robert`s may have seen him the night he vanished. She says they played on the apartment complex swing set together. He went home first, then she did; the time about 7:30 p.m.
So if Robert was home at 7:30 p.m., what happened between then and when he was reported missing at 10:00 p.m.? Cops had already said Robert may be the victim of a tragic event. Do they know something and are simply not telling?
Straight to my expert panel: still with us, Tom Ruskin, former New York City Police detective investigator and president of CNP Protective Investigative Group; and joining us, Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; and on the phone, Dave Burnett, reporter KIDO AM 580 in Boise.
Dave, what is the very latest?
DAVE BURNETT, REPORTER, KIDO AM 580, BOISE: Well, the very latest is, as a matter of fact, I`m currently on my way to police headquarters. A press conference has been scheduled about a half hour ago. It`s going to take place in 25 minutes. They are saying a significant update is coming at 6:00 Mountain Time to let us know more about Robert Manwill and the case and the investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what do we know Dave about where the mom was? Because I`m reading from the "Idaho Statesman" that this little girl says, "I was playing with Robert and I went home and I went home."
But then I`m also hearing reports that the mom`s boyfriend, who has a rap sheet says, "Well, there was this heavy-set couple in the hot tub. And they kept inviting Robert to a party. And he kept asking me if I could go." This is from a neighbor. What do you know about that can of worms?
BURNETT: All I can tell you is that when the initial report came out that Robert was missing, police said that there was testimony that he was upset that he couldn`t go to a party and that maybe he left for the party. Our very first press briefing we had after that initial night, Deputy Chief Kerns came out and said, no, that story is not accurate. That story was recanted by the police department on the second day.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, what that says to me, Tom Ruskin, is if in fact that was the story, that the mom`s boyfriend is telling a neighbor and cops are saying the story is not true, well connect the dots. But I don`t want to convict anybody certainly.
RUSKIN: Right. You`d have to take a closer look at the boyfriend`s story and the other evidence. Remember, one of the friends of the family`s car was stolen. The police hound dog targeted that car which led police to search the back of his yard.
We don`t know where this case is going to go yet especially since the coroner couldn`t determine the cause of death. So we don`t know if it is accidental and we don`t know if it`s a homicide as of yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now for seven days cops said there was no evidence of foul play. Then cops searched Robert`s mother`s apartment for hours. The next day they changed their assessment of the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERNS: The evidence we`ve uncovered shows that there are suspicious circumstances regarding Robert`s disappearance. But again -- I`m sorry, Robert may be injured, but again, Robert is still missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And of course, tragically, now we know, Dr. Dale Archer, that he is in fact dead; that beautiful, innocent child.
What do you make of the mom`s behavior not showing up at the news conferences; the last several ones?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it is very suspect and I`m concerned about it. I mean, I think that the number of cases that you have covered along this genre over the last several months, every single parent is out there begging, pleading, saying, "Please help me find my baby. Help me get my son back."
She did none of that. That`s very atypical and it`s concerning.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course she does have this history and we don`t know -- she`s not a suspect in this case at this point. We don`t know what the announcement`s going to be in a little while. But right this second, she`s not a suspect. We know she has this history of having fractured the skull of her infant son and another boy.
ARCHER: That is horrendous, because of the fact she was convicted of child abuse. And so Child Protective Services in this case should make it a point not only to take the child that was abused away but any other child as well. So the fact that she was even watching this child is a big problem in and of itself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Dave Burnett, do you get a sense that people are saying in that neighborhood -- just a yes or no answer -- that the Child Services just dropped the ball here?
BURNETT: Well, it is a concern and that is one of the topics being discussed here locally in Idaho. What was with Child Services not taking some action before this?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to go. Thank you to my fantastic guests.
Chris Brown in court today; he`s yet to be sentenced. The judge pushed back the date. What the heck is up?
And what happened to Tracy Ocasio. She vanished more than two months ago. We`re going to talk to her mom and the parents of another missing girl.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Twenty-seven-year-old Tracy Ocasio has been missing since May. Investigators have searched every road under every rock no sign of her. Her parents share their story tonight with us on ISSUES in just a moment.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: bizarre developments in the Chris Brown/Rihanna assault case. Brown was supposed to be sentenced today but in another unexpected twist -- or maybe we should expect it by now -- it has been postponed to August 27th.
Apparently authorities in California and in Brown`s home state of Virginia need time -- more time to iron out the details of his punishment. Why? Why is it taking him so long?
Brown is expected to get 5 years probation and about 1,400 hours in labor oriented service but no jail time. Some believe he is getting off too easy. You think?
And then there is Rihanna, the woman who Brown punched, choked, even threatened to kill. Well, get this, she asked the court to loosen restrictions that keep him away from her.
Let me get this straight, Brown beat Rihanna up and the courts allow him within arm`s distance of her. Here is a reminder of what she looked like after a text message on Brown`s phone from an old girlfriend, which apparently sparked the beat down.
Brown pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing in June to felony assault. He issued an apology at his Web site July 20th. He had said repeatedly, he told Rihanna he was sorry for the attack. He called his own conduct inexcusable and pledged to do better.
Time will tell if he is a man of his word. We certainly hope so. That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Now to two families facing parallel tragedies it seems right out of a horror movie; both families desperate to know what happened to their beautiful daughters and having to comb the same area around Orlando looking for their children`s remains. I`m talking about 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse and 27-year-old Tracy Ocasio.
Jennifer vanished in 2006 possibly abducted from her condominium complex. Tracy disappeared after leaving an Orlando bar just two months. A search crew looking for Tracy today found bones but police believe they are from a dead animal.
Much of the focus of the Ocasio investigation has been on 28-year-old James Hataway. He is not charged in the case. Police say he is a person of interest.
Here is surveillance footage of the Hataway and Ocasio leaving the Tap Room sports bar together. Hataway claims he had nothing to do with Tracy`s disappearance. That she simply gave him a ride home that night.
However, it is not the first time Hataway has been under suspicious. He is currently jailed in another case; accused of attacking a woman, who -- get this -- gave him a ride home from a bar.
Listen to that woman`s bone-chilling account of the alleged assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came up behind me. He started slamming my head down on the sidewalk and I started screaming. And then he took his hands and put both fingers in front my mouth and tried to snap my neck again. And I`m screaming, "Somebody please help me. He`s going to kill me." Two people walked outside, thank God, and saved my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is absolutely terrifying. To listen to that, it`s unbelievable. It is a horrific tale. And my guests sadly have heard it all before.
I want to welcome them now. I`m very privileged and honored to have Tracy`s mother Liz Ocasio and also privileged and honored to have Jennifer Kesse`s parents, Drew and Joyce Kesse.
The three of you are really my heroes. What you`ve gone through is completely unimaginable. I can`t imagine how you are functioning. But yet you have the courage and the strength to go out there day after day, week after week, month after month, looking for your loved ones.
Tracy, when you hear that young woman`s story of what happened to her allegedly when she gave this guy a ride home, what runs through you?
LIZ OCASIO, TRACY OCASIO`S MOTHER: I think the same thing probably happened to my daughter. Something happens, he snaps and he just attacks a woman and then he has to figure out what to do to get rid of her. I think that is probably what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you pleased with the pace of this investigation. If you are saying it is that cut and dry and it`s that clear-cut, it has been a while now. What is your assessment of the police investigation?
OCASIO: The police are doing all that they can really. When you think of the state of Florida and all the vegetation and the animals that live here, I think what he said he was going to do, I think he really can make people disappear. And I`m afraid that may be what happened because he said that before.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, James Hataway is not charged in either of these cases. He maintains Tracy Ocasio dropped him off that fateful night and that he has no clue what happened to her.
Listen to Hataway proclaiming his innocence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES HATAWAY, PERSON OF INTEREST: I`m innocent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened the last night with her?
HATAWAY: She left. I hung out with my father.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you guys do that night?
HATAWAY: We just hung out, she gave me a ride home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now let`s talk about the other case involving the Kesses. Jennifer Kesse is missing; her parents desperate to find her. Take a look at this. You see James Hataway on the left and you see this surveillance footage of a man at Jennifer Kesse`s apartment the day she disappeared.
Now, Drew Kesse, your goal I presume is to find out if this was one and the same person.
DREW KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE`S FATHER: Yes. We would like to know. Actually, we do have pictures of Mr. Hataway three years ago right next to the picture of the person by the fence. He does have the same hair cut three years ago. But, you know, you have to let the investigation go through its paces, and, you know, DNA has been given up by Mr. Hataway is my understanding. And he did fail a polygraph is my understanding.
It will take the time that it does take. Unfortunately we`re not watching an hour-long TV show here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about what happened today, Drew, in terms of these bones? I know it`s got to be disturbing.
KESSE: It`s happened to us before. I have to be honest with you. You know, the ride that you go on when that happens, it`s -- I don`t know. It chills you to your core.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew, we`re going to be right back in one second.
Hang in there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever feel like you were in danger?
JODI WHITE, JAMES HATAWAY`S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: Of course, yes; definitely a couple of times. Like I said, the odd hours of meeting him, you know, in the middle of the night. There have been a few times that I would have friends of mine that I would call to contact them to let them know I was meeting up with him.
It freaks me out to think about it. He would jokingly choke me and stuff and ha-ha, funny. And it really wasn`t funny, but, you know, with my personality I just kind of took it as like he`s joking.
This is a joke. I`m still alive. Nothing happened. And I -- I pretty much am thankful now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s pretty much horrifying. Jokingly choke me. That was James Hataway`s ex-girlfriend describing some of his disturbing behavior.
Now back to my very special guests, Liz Ocasio and Drew and Joyce Kesse. My heroes, really. Your strength is absolutely an inspiration.
I`d like to get your reaction, Joyce, to the logistics and geography of all this. Let`s take a look at three of the locations linked to these cases. You`ve got Jennifer Kesse`s Orlando condo complex where she was last seen. That`s not far from the Tap Room, the sports bar where Tracy Ocasio was seen leaving with James Hataway.
Then you`ve got Hataway`s home in nearby Okoe. He was living with his father when Tracy disappeared. What do you make of this triangle here that seems very, very...
JOYCE KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE`S MOTHER: Coincidental?
J. KESSE: Well, what`s really more interesting, Jane, is the fact that Jen actually had worked in Okoe for four years. And she lived in Metro West in a condominium complex right next to the Tap Room.
J. KESSE: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get back to what Drew said. I thought it was pretty significant. You said -- and it took me a while to process this -- that you have a photo of James Hataway near the scene of where this mystery guy that is the suspect who dropped off your daughter`s car after she went missing is?
D. KESSE: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go back to that photo, too, as you talk about this.
D. KESSE: Actually I don`t know if I`m allowed to mention it. You can Google image and it will come up under James Hataway. And it`s before he started being catted (ph) all up. He has the cut; seems to be the right size. He looks totally different than what`s on the screen right now where in what you`d been showing -- just totally different.
He had a full head of hair three years ago. And when you put the picture right next to that one of walking across the fence, it is chilling.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You say -- but how can you tell it looks like him if this guy is wearing a cap and you`re saying the other one has a full head of hair.
D. KESSE: You look at the back of the head and the cut. Again, you don`t have to see a face of a person to be able to associate it with them. Face is only one part of a person`s entire body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, how do you assess the police investigation at this point? Are police pulling all these strings together?
This guy is not a suspect. He`s a person of interest in Tracy`s disappearance. He`s not listed in your case at all, right?
D. KESSE: No. Police have spoken with the authorities in Okoe about Mr. Hataway. Unfortunately there are a lot of people down the line. There`s a lot of people that are going to be talking to Mr. Hataway before the Orlando police talked to him about Jennifer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to say this for legal reason. We would like to have Hataway`s attorney on if he`d like to set the record straight and talk about this case.
And we want to have all of you all of you back again. You`re my heroes.
OCASIO: We thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We hope you find your loved ones.
You are watched ISSUES on HLN.