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Missing Grad Student Found Dead

Aired September 14, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a stomach-churning discovery in the search for a missing Yale student. The very day Annie Le was set to get married, cops found a woman`s body stuffed in a wall, inside a university laboratory. Cops now say this was not a random act.

Meanwhile, another shocker. Reports claim a male student has failed a lie detector test. Could cops be zeroing in on a Yalie as a suspect? And tonight, big issue: has violence against women gotten so out of hand that even an Ivy League campus in New Haven is no haven for women?

And a sex game gone wrong or wrongfully accused? Seismic developments in the Foxy Knoxy murder trial that has become a sensation across Europe. The American student and her Italian boyfriend are accused of stabbing her roommate to death during a kinky sex game. Prosecutors say Knoxy`s DNA is all over the murder weapon, but her American family says this Italian trial is an absolute joke.

Plus, drunk or just looking for attention? Kanye West seen drinking and making a fool of himself at the MTV Video Music Awards. The hip-hop megastar was chugging on a bottle of cognac on the red carpet. Then he got up and ripped Taylor Swift.

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: Taylor, I`m really happy for you, I`m going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s this guy`s deal? Is it time for him to grow up or sober up?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, very sad. We know it`s murder. A grim and horrifying discovery in the case of that missing 24-year-old bride-to-be and Yale graduate student who vanished in a Yale lab building almost a week ago.


ASST. CHIEF PETER REICHARD, NEW HAVEN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Connecticut state police, western district, major crime squad located the remains of a human secreted within a wall inside the building at number 10 Amistad Street.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we know that the body found yesterday inside the basement of that research building at Yale University is indeed that of grad student Annie Le. She has been positively I.D.`ed.

Yesterday was the very day Annie was supposed to get married to her fiance, Jonathan Widawsky. Tonight, cops refused to disclose the cause of death, at least for now. They`re also throwing cold water on published reports of a suspect. Multiple news outlets say that a student who may or may not attend Yale failed a polygraph test and has multiple defensive wounds.

Cops say Annie`s fiance is not a suspect. They also say Annie`s killing was not random, but that she was targeted. Why?

Meantime, more disturbing details coming to light. Bloody clothes removed from above the ceiling tiles, also in the basement, probably belonged to the killer. Only people with approved magnetic cards, I.D. cards like the one I`m holding in my hand, would have access to that lab. Why?

It`s reportedly an area where experimentation on animals is done, a practice so controversial that security is extra high to prevent surreptitious videotaping. Could that be one reason cadaver dogs were not brought in immediately, because the lab animals would have thrown them off their scent?

But the very biggest question tonight: there were 75 security cameras trained outside the Yale research lab, but reportedly none inside. Why not? That doesn`t make sense to me.

The last and only image of Annie Le was from surveillance video of her entering the building. Something doesn`t make sense here, people. Why not have cameras inside a massive building where petite research students like Annie have to roam alone?

And tonight, our big issue. Women as targets of violent crime. Is there no haven, not even Ivy League New Haven? I want to know what you have to say about all this.

First straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Mike Gaynor, retired NYPD detective and president of East Coast Detectives; Michele Suskauer, criminal defense attorney; and Mary Snow, CNN correspondent, who is on the ground, on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Mary, what is the very latest?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, as you said, we do know that the body that was discovered yesterday was Annie Le, but we do not know how she was murdered. And the medical examiner here in New Haven is saying that the cause of death is not being disclosed right now, because they`re trying to, in their words, facilitate the investigation. But this is a temporary move, they say, not to disclose the exact cause of death.

As for the investigation, police are saying they do not believe this was a random act, but they have been adamant throughout the day to say that they do not have any suspects in custody. They say they are interviewing or have interviewed many, many people.

And this afternoon, Jane, the president of Yale University, Richard Levin, talked to students and faculty, giving them a briefing, saying that he believes that -- he told them there was, in his words, an abundance of evidence. He says that he was confident that the culprit would be caught and arrested but that he could not give a time frame for that.

He also said that there was a limited amount of people in that basement where Annie Le`s body was discovered. That, of course, is because of the security at the lab. People have to swipe cards in order to get into the building. And that area in the basement, as you mentioned, though, does not have security cameras, according to a Yale official. But the president of Yale is saying that there`s a limited number of people there and that the names of those people were turned over to the authorities.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Mike Gaynor, it sounds like they are zeroing in on someone. I know we cannot confirm that, but look, these pass cards, it tells you exactly when anybody walked in a door or walked out of a door. Everybody who works in a big office building knows that. It`s even stricter when you`re dealing with a lab facility that involves animal experimentation.

Now, there`s an abundance of evidence, according to the head honcho over at Yale, and the cops are saying it`s not a random act. They`re also not acting like there`s a mystery killer on the loose, telling everybody to be careful. To me, that says they`re getting closer. They`re zeroing in on somebody.

MIKE GAYNOR, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Yes, Jane, I would have to agree. I think they know who the culprit is in this particular case, but they`re very tight-lipped about everything so far.

It seems that every rumor that was mentioned, though, in the last few days, came to be. And in this particular case, I think they will announce an arrest in the next couple of days.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, you know a sick irony about this case is that Annie Le wrote an article about having street smarts and staying safe, but Annie was the victim of a targeted murder that no amount of street smarts could have prevented.

She`s not alone. We all remember last year. Beautiful Anne Pressly, the anchor woman from Little Rock, Arkansas was raped and murdered sleeping in her own home in the middle of the night. Twenty-nine-year-old Curtis Vance will go on trial in November.

This past summer, the body of a 46-year-old cleaning woman working in a New York City high-rise office building, she was found bludgeoned and stuffed into an air-conditioning shaft. The suspect, a 25-year-old man who worked in the same building, has pleaded not guilty.

So tonight`s big issue, people, and I want to hear from you about it, the sad part about Annie Le`s murder is that we can assume -- let`s be real here -- it was committed by a man. There is an epidemic of crime against women in our society.

And I`m going to go to Brenda Wade, the clinical psychologist. This is like a psychological burka that we`re all wearing as woman. And I`m sick and tired of hearing that women have to modify their behavior in order to stay safe. This woman wrote an article about it. She`s murdered. It`s time that we look at the behavior of violent male criminals.

BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, I couldn`t agree with you more. And I do think that unfortunately, we have taken the approach that women should protect themselves and that that is the answer, that every woman should take self-defense. And I`m not saying we shouldn`t. But I do think we need a campaign. Just like we had Mothers Against Drunk Driving, we need women against violence toward women. So we have a WVW, social media, social campaign that says we will not tolerate this kind of treatment of women.

And you know, it was Winston Churchill who said the real measure to any culture is the state of the women in that culture.


WADE: And we need to really step up here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, this is a form of sexism. I dare say that, if the roles were reversed and women were killing men at the rate that men are currently killing women, there would be an uproar, and both houses of Congress and the White House and the Supreme Court would all be involved in putting us on Prozac and locking us up. But we accept male violence as business as usual.

And the first step to solving a problem is to envision the solution. But we`re so brainwashed, we can`t even envision the solution, which would be a peaceful society where women aren`t targeted. Instead, we tell women it`s their fault, and they have to be careful. And even when they`re in their own homes, they`re attacked. So it doesn`t make any sense.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`ll tell you something, Jane. This beautiful young girl went to the laboratory 10 in the morning, in the middle of the morning. That`s what`s so frustrating. There`s safety in numbers. I`m not so sure if it`s a woman issue, Jane. It`s a student issue.


WEINTRAUB: It`s a student issue. Look at the campuses. Look at Columbine. Look at the University of Virginia. I`ve got a son in an Ivy League school. I`m petrified tonight as I sit here.

But let me tell you something. They`re being very smart, close to the vest, not revealing the manner of death. And you know why that is. Because if they ever get a confession out of somebody, they don`t want somebody to say it`s a false confession. They don`t want to give any information that can be parroted back to them.



SUSKAUER: No, I agree. And you know what? Yale has really -- I mean, other than the fact that they didn`t have cameras in the lab, they had -- look how many cameras they had all over. They`re using these pass cards. They`re really trying to do as much security as they possibly can.

WEINTRAUB: Anybody could come in as the person`s going out with the pass card. That`s the problem with the pass card.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ll tell you what else is the problem. Why no cameras on the inside of the building?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They don`t want anybody to see the lab experiments going on? Because they should have cameras on the inside.


SUSKAUER: And you know what...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s no cameras on the inside.

SUSKAUER: You know what...

GAYNOR: Jane, people don`t want Big Brother watching. That`s the reason they don`t have cameras on the inside.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have more on this heart-breaking story in moments, and we`re talking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Coming up, the latest twist in the Foxy Knoxy murder case. The American girl on trial in Italy. What the defense has to say about stunning new DNA evidence.

Then, Yale students, faculties, alumni all in shock. Meantime, our hearts go out to Annie`s fiance and her family. Such a horror. What can we do to stop the war on women?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve known him since he was a little tiny boy. One of the sweetest kids in the world.




RICHARD C. LEVIN, YALE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I met earlier this evening with Annie`s family, with her fiance and his family, and I conveyed to them all the deeply-felt support of the entire Yale University community.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That comment from Yale University president about the murder of Annie Le. The school offering a very bland and paltry reward of $10,000 to anyone with information on the case. You`d think Ivy League Yale could afford more than ten grand on a case of this magnitude. Phone lines lighting up.

May, Connecticut, your question or thought? May?



CALLER: Hi. I first would like to offer my condolences to the young lady`s family and hope that they get through OK.

But my comment is regarding the reports that we were getting about the crime in our city. Our mayor has put a lot of money into building up our police department, and I think it`s a little bit unfair...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you in New Haven?

CALLER: Yes, I`m a resident of New Haven, Connecticut.


CALLER: In that area, there are charter schools. There are a lot of construction things that Yale is doing. And it`s a mixed kind of business culture over there.

But I felt all along that it had to be somebody inside of the lab, because it is -- Yale`s buildings, everything, they`re all very secure, you know.

WEINTRAUB: This is a deliberate hit, for sure. I mean, they didn`t even take her cell phone or her purse or her wallet. This was a deliberate killing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, actually, according to the chairman of the department where Annie Le worked and studied, Annie did not feel safe. Listen to what another researcher has to say in the wake of Annie`s murder.


YAN HUA, RESEARCH SCIENTIST AT YALE: I`m not afraid at all before this. But then, since the bloody clothing was found, and I feel it`s really scary. When I walk, I just feel like it can happen to me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So she`s not alone. Sally, a reader of the New Haven register, made this comment on their Web site. Quote, "These huge, unpopulated buildings the institutions have built are dangerous. Even with key cards, if someone does you wrong, murder`s the only option for covering one`s tracks."

Again, we`re back to the issue of building security. It`s apparent that these buildings are simply not designed with safety in mind. They`re monstrous buildings, and I don`t care how many security cameras you have on the outside, Mary Snow, is there any explanation for why they didn`t have security cameras on the inside of the building, in the labs?

SNOW: No, I asked the Yale official about that, about whether or not there were cameras inside the building that the officials were monitoring. And he wasn`t 100 percent sure but then said he did not believe there were any, but didn`t have an explanation as for why that is.

And you know, we spoke to other medical researchers who seem to back that claim up, that they did not feel that there were any security cameras in those lab research areas.

So that is one of the concerns that we did hear some of the students express today. And some even said, you know, they work very long hours. They work weekends. They work at times when not a lot of people are around.

WEINTRAUB: But they always have escort services available, even, you know, especially at the Ivy League schools. They all have these phones where you can call up and ask for somebody to come and escort you from building to building. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) campuses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re proving my point, Jayne. It doesn`t matter how much we do to protect women; they are still being killed.

Again, the Tennessee anchor woman is a perfect example. She`s sleeping in her home, and they break in and they kill her. The fact is that we`ve got an epidemic of violence against women.

Jayne Weintraub, I know you don`t think it`s directed at women, but the stats show that women are victims of these kinds of crimes far more often than they are the perpetrators of these kinds of crimes.

GAYNOR: Jane -- Jane? You got a point.

SUSKAUER: You can`t blame -- is this Yale University`s fault or is this the individual`s fault? I mean, where are we pointing the finger?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s our society`s fault. Why don`t we march on the capitol and say we demand that safety for our female population is priority No. 1. Until we can envision...

GAYNOR: Safety of our female population is priority No. 1. I have to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, it`s not.

GAYNOR: It certainly is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Garrido getting released 40 years early.


GAYNOR: I can understand -- I can understand why you feel the way you do, and it`s certainly true that women are victims and so are men. We just had one young fellow allegedly kill five members of his own family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m saying that the perpetrators are not...


GAYNOR: More men kill than women.

WEINTRAUB: You know what, Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you one thing, Brenda Wade. There is a promo for a movie that`s out right now, a slasher movie that focuses on slashing female college students. We can`t play it on this show, because it`s that graphic. And it would be disrespectful to the family that has lost their precious child. But that`s an example of what needs to change.

WADE: It is an example. And Jane, I don`t think there`s anyone who could make a credible argument for saying that we don`t live in a culture that is patriarchical [SIC].


WADE: Look at who`s in charge, who runs the country, how we respond to women`s feelings and things that are considered feminine.

Jane, I wrote a book about this. I have done extensive research on this topic. I wrote a book called "Power Choices." And real power is when we can look at one another as truly equal. So those things that are considered feminine, feelings, needs, those kinds of things, are elevated to the same level as what we consider masculine traits, which are intellect, aggression, those kinds of things. The feminine quality of trying to make peace and be restorative is diminished.

We have work to do. We have a lot of work to do. To make sure that...

GAYNOR: That all sounds very nice.

WADE: ... women are treated as equal citizens.

GAYNOR: It sounds wonderful. However, it`s not going to work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... realize that there is a problem on this magnitude and that it is a gender issue to a great degree.

More on the horror at Yale in a moment.

And little Haleigh Cummings still missing. The crime problem so bad, today is Missing Children`s Day in Florida. Can you believe that? But will the attention on missing kids get us any closer to finding Haleigh or the many other missing kids in Florida? We`ll examine it.



BOB BECKER, ANNIE`S HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER: Annie is vivacious, outgoing, smart. She`s brilliant. Science-oriented, clearly somebody that -- I mean, if you listen to the people at Yale that are talking about her, she was going to be a breakthrough scientist and have an impact.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about this horror surrounding the murder of 24-year-old bride to be and grad student, Annie Le.

Tonight`s big issue, women as prey, victims of violent crime. I am personally so sick of hearing people warn women "watch out." They`re attacked, we`re attacked, in homes, in high-security labs. Why don`t we focus more on modifying the behavior of violent men?

And I`m talking big picture as a culture. We have glamorized male violence. We have equated it with sexuality. It`s happening in the movies and on television and all over the place. And we have to look at that, because it`s haunting us as a society.

Phone lines lighting up.

Alice in Pennsylvania, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Yes, Jane. I have a question and a thought. My -- my problem with this whole thing, I just heard the lady from Connecticut. I live in Pittsburgh. Both of my sons went to college, huge colleges. It`s very easy to get into a dorm or any building within a college, even with a security or magnetic pass, because I don`t know if they saw her go in with a pass or not. But I have been in to colleges with my sons. And the kids open the doors and hold them open, and they just say, "Thanks," and you just walk right in.

Is it a possibility that somebody maybe just held the door open for her, and she got in without the pass?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure. Well, she had a pass. It`s the question is she went in, but she never came out.

Now, Mike Gaynor, they say that they know everybody who was in there, and they have videotape. So in a sense, if they have video of everybody who`s gone into that building, somewhere in that videotape, they likely have the murderer.

GAYNOR: No doubt. Certainly, as the last caller just said, someone could have snuck in behind someone that was holding the door open. But there`s very, very strong likelihood that they -- they have a picture of everyone that walked into that building and most people that walked out, unfortunately...

WEINTRAUB: They`ve got the bloody clothes. They`re going to have DNA.

GAYNOR: They have -- they have a ton of evidence to work with. I`m sure they`re just dotting every "I" and crossing every "T." They`re preparing this case for trial as we speak.

The cops are doing everything right over there. They have the aid of the FBI for the forensic lab. They`re going to be looking for hair fibers and blood match-ups and everything else, and they`ll find it. It`s there, because whoever dastardly act didn`t have a chance to get rid of the evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Michele Suskauer...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the clothes that -- the bloody clothes that were found in the ceiling are not of the victim`s, according to published reports. That would mean they would probably be of the killer, so if you could match that bloody clothes...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... with the picture of somebody walking in with those clothes...

SUSKAUER: There it is. And DNA, DNA of the victim that`s found on the clothes. I mean, then you have the whole picture.

And if somebody was -- I mean, obviously, if it wasn`t him or, I mean, we`re assuming it`s a male. If it was -- if it was him that walked in with a pass or someone held the door open, Yale is the one who provided that evidence to make this case because of all those cameras. No, they didn`t have the cameras inside, but the cameras outside are going to help seal this person`s fate, hopefully.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t understand why they don`t have cameras on the inside. It doesn`t make any sense. To have 75 cameras outside of a building and no cameras...

GAYNOR: People don`t like to work behind cameras.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They can have security video. Laboratory experimentation, I think that is the answer. You nailed it.

Thank you, outstanding panel.

An American student studying abroad accused of a gruesome murder nearly two years ago. The latest jaw-dropper in the Foxy Knoxy case, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A sex game gone wrong or wrongfully accused? Seismic developments in the Foxy Knoxy murder trial. The American student and her Italian boyfriend are accused of stabbing her roommate to death during a kinky sex game but her family says this Italian trial is a joke.

Plus, drunk or just looking for attention? Kanye West seen chugging a bottle of cognac on the red carpet at the VMA, then he got up and ripped Taylor Swift. What`s up with this guy? Is it time for him to grow up or sober up?

DNA bomb shells coming in the Italian murder trial of beautiful American student Amanda Knox. Will critical pieces of key evidence prove Foxy Knoxy, as she`s called, and her boyfriend, killed her roommate during a drug-fueled sex romp?

Knox has become a tabloid sensation and let`s face it, a sex symbol across Europe since her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, was murdered back in 2007. The student`s body was found half naked in her room. Police say she had been sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed.

Prosecutors say Knox`s DNA is on the knife used to slash Kercher`s throat. They also claim that they found DNA from Knox`s boyfriend on the victim`s bloody bra.

Still, Amanda`s father insists there is no DNA evidence against his daughter. Listen to what he said on the CBS "Early Show."


CURT KNOX, AMANDA KNOX`S FATHER: Within the room in which Meredith lost her life, it`s literally -- there`s no speck of Amanda in that room. No hair follicle, no fingerprint, no blood, no DNA anywhere.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito -- or Sollecito they say in Italy -- claim they were at his house the night of the murder. They say they watched a movie, smoked pot, had sex and went to bed.

A third defendant, Rudi Guede, was convicted of Kercher`s murder a year ago and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Can Knox and her boyfriend avoid the same fate?

Let me welcome back my expert panel, defense attorney Michelle Suskauer. First of all, the trial just resumed, Michelle, after a two- month long summer vacation.

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Isn`t that nice? What a nice vacation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s crazy. This is one of the reasons that this American family of the defendant is saying that this is a kangaroo court, a joke.

SUSKAUER: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How can anybody keep track of evidence over a trial that has occurred occasionally once every couple of weeks with a two-month vacation over seven months?

SUSKAUER: You can`t. You can`t. There is no way that you can listen -- there is no way that it -- that you can pay attention, that you can remember all these intricate details about this entire evening and all of the evidence that has come in and the evidence that`s being argued against. You can`t.


SUSKAUER: No. No. That`s why we don`t conduct our trials like that here.


Well, obviously, but you know --

I don`t care whether you`re on mars, Jayne Weintraub, you don`t go on two-month vacation during the middle of a trial and expect the eight jurors, that`s how many they have over there, to remember the details of DNA evidence or anything else.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, it`s almost as if they`re not seeking the truth or justice at all and only a conviction, no matter what. The DNA would be compelling evidence.

The defense wanted 60 days to be able to review and reexamine and analyze the DNA in order to demonstrate that she should be exonerated. And yet that was denied this morning by the judges in Italy. That is what puzzles me. They take these breaks; they don`t even sit every day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Prosecutors say Knox`s story about the night of the murder has changed. She claims police pressured her into making conflicting statements by berating her and knocking her on the head. You can see Knox demonstrating that here.

Listen to how she explained her interrogation.


AMANDA KNOX, ACCUSED OF MURDER: And therefore, I wanted to say that I was confused and that I could not know, but at the same time, I knew I had to sign these statements. Therefore, I said ok, very well, I have stated these things but I am confused.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she actually at one point hits herself on the head to demonstrate what they allegedly did to her. So what is it, are Knox`s conflicting stories the result of police coercion or, Mike Gaynor, do you think that the prosecution has a case and this woman is involved in this kinky murder?

MIKE GAYNOR, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: You know what I think the prosecution has a case and she wouldn`t be in there so long if they didn`t feel that way. However, the way...

WEINTRAUB: Oh, please.

GAYNOR: The way they run the case -- I`m sure the prosecution feels they have the right people involved in this case. It sure looks good that they happen to live in the same place; they did say they found DNA on the murder weapon.

WEINTRAUB: They don`t even know if that`s the murder weapon, Mike. That specific knife, according to the reports this morning, would not even have caused certain of the wounds.

GAYNOR: You might even make a case her DNA belongs anywhere in that house as well. So there`s going to be arguments made either way.

WEINTRAUB: Mike, women don`t do murders by stabbing. You know that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. Thank you. You`re proving my point again, Jayne Weintraub.

GAYNOR: Women do murder in every conceivable way. We can start with Lizzie Borden.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have to go back to Lizzie Borden?

GAYNOR: Well, I`ll give you a list of women killers Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The list is a handful compared to the number of men.

GAYNOR: More men are killed by men...


SUSKAUER: You know what, the reason why they want Amanda Knox and her boyfriend convicted is because it`s a sexier story that way. Instead of just the guy that has already pled guilty that`s going to be serving 30 years.

GAYNOR: You`re saying the authorities arbitrarily picked somebody up because they want a conviction? That could be true. I just don`t believe it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very bizarre, according to prosecutors, she did a cartwheel and a split in one of the rooms at the police station and did all sorts of kind of juvenile things. Brenda Wade, why would she do something like that?

BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, I`ve been puzzling the same thing, Jane. The best I can come up with is either she does have some sort of emotional disorder that`s yet to be brought forward, or she was high. There`s clearly inappropriate behavior.

WEINTRAUB: Or it wasn`t true.

WADE: Clearly.

SUSKAUER: Or it`s a lie. That`s exactly right.

GAYNOR: Innocent people don`t do too much gymnastics when they`re being held in a police station.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think she might just be a goofy --

GAYNOR: They don`t -- they just don`t take it so lightly...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A glorified teenager. I know when I was in college, I was very goofy. Not that I would ever be involved, thank God, in anything like this.

GAYNOR: You wouldn`t be goofy if you were inside a police station accused of a crime.

WADE: But Jane, even if you were goofy -- the truth is even if you`re a goofy person you wouldn`t under these circumstances expect that kind of behavior. There`s something that`s off here that doesn`t add up.

WEINTRAUB: It doesn`t make you a murderer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have to leave it right there because we`re turning now to our "Spotlight" story.

The countless children missing in America: Haleigh Cummings has become the face of this crisis. The 6-year-old snatched from her bed inside her family`s Florida home last February. The tragic case started with this 911 call from her dad, Ron Cummings.



911 OPERATOR: Ok sir, let me talk to your wife. Let me get some information from here.

CUMMINGS: I need somebody to get here.

911 OPERATOR: Can I talk to her?

CUMMINGS: How the (BLEEP) can you let my daughter be stolen (BLEEP)?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Haleigh one of thousands of missing children, so many. Florida has declared today Missing Children`s Day to shine a light on the problem.

You know that there are 50,000 children reported missing in Florida every year. That`s outrageous. What does it say about our society that so many children are preyed upon? And as we know too well from doing this show, it`s not just children that are targets.

I want to welcome back psychologist Brenda Wade and also, my very special guest and one of my heroes, Drew Kesse.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew, great to se you. I can never imagine what you are going through. Your daughter, Jennifer, disappeared in January of 2006. She was 24 and please, let`s use this day, Missing Children`s Day, to take the opportunity to dive into your case of your missing child.

KESSE: Sure. Jennifer, as you said, since January 24th, 2006, was abducted, we believe going to work in the morning. Simply doing what she would normally do, being a productive citizen in our society, and someone took it upon themselves to take her.

That`s next week, it is three years and eight months, and it was probably the hardest, unfortunately, we have been to three Florida Missing Children`s Days ceremonies and this one was extremely difficult today. It was very hard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can imagine. We hope that something we say here might do something to help solve your perplexing case.

The case of your daughter, Jennifer Kesse, has been very closely linked with Tracy Ocasio, that 27-year-old who disappeared in May from a bar just a stone`s throw from where your daughter vanished. Ocasio was last seen with a man by the name of James Hataway, a very shady character who claims he gave her a ride home or she gave him a ride home, but that he never saw her again.

Listen to this guy.




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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did she say to you? Where was she going? Did she say anything to you about where she was going?

HATAWAY: No, nothing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hataway has been eyed in both cases but not charged. Drew, do you think Hataway was involved in your daughter`s disappearance?

KESSE: It`s really tough to say. There`s a lot of coincidence. There`s five or six coincidences within the two. Police still have him on the radar but I don`t -- I don`t think so. In the long run...


KESSE: Yes, I just have to be honest, I don`t think so. However, I think that he is a person that has probably done a lot more than what we may find with Tracy Ocasio.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, Drew is so brave but...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... can you describe from a psychological standpoint the hell that he and his wife are going through?

WADE: You know, my heart goes out to Drew and his family. I can`t imagine anything worse than having a child disappear. And the key thing here is to every day, make it one day at a time, "I`m going to get through this day and in this day be as productive as I can be, be as compassionate as I can be and stay persistently focused on the goal that if there`s any stone left unturned, I`ll turn it over..."

OCASIO: Absolutely.

WADE: ..."in order to find my child." But I do want to say something about the missing children. I think that we...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re just out of time. So five seconds.

WADE: Yes -- we need to do something about the way our society is so focused on the material and not on the common good of one another.


WADE: I think that`s the key.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We hope you find your daughter, Drew.

KESSE: Thank you Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come back soon.

KESSE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, Phillip Garrido, the convicted sex offender accused of kidnapping and raping Jaycee Dugard finally behind bars for good? We don`t know.

Then, Kanye`s disrespectful behavior last night: we`re going to dive into it. Look at him drinking.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kanye West, no stranger to controversy. So why is his latest rant leaving such a bad taste in everyone`s mouth? We`ll talk about it.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Jaw dropping developments in the Jaycee Dugard case: is Jaycee the woman who was kidnapped, raped and held captive for 18 long years ready to break her silence on national TV? Several media reports say Jaycee is set to appear on Oprah sometime this December.

We reached out to Oprah`s people. Their response is "We have nothing confirmed at this time," end quote. They didn`t knock it down. They didn`t deny the report. Sounds to me like this might actually happen.

Is this young woman who lived through all those years in hell really prepared to go on Oprah?

Also breaking today, a judge has set Phillip Garrido`s bail at $30 million. However, Garrido is on a parole hold because he allegedly committed the crime while on parole, so even if he could raise the money, which would shock us all, he has zero chance of getting out of jail, this time. Unfortunately, he got out of prison 40 years early the last time.

And that`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Everybody`s talking about this one. Kanye West known for his angry rants and public outbursts but this time, he truly outdid himself, in a very bad way. At the MTV Video Music Awards, his target was country music sweetheart, Taylor Swift.

Tonight we`re asking, is alcohol to blame? Kanye was spotted apparently chug-a-lugging from a bottle of Hennessy. Yes, there he is, gulping down the old Hennessy on the Red Carpet before the show. Once inside, he reportedly drank some more. Then he burst on to the stage during the teenager`s acceptance speech for best female video. Watch this.


KANYE WEST, RAPPER: Now, Taylor, I`m really happy for you, I`m going to let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time, one of the best videos of all time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Poor -- poor Beyonce and poor Taylor. What a cad.

This was Taylor`s first time at the VMAs. She was shell-shocked. Reports are an MTV head honcho then asked the rapper to leave.

So what prompted this meltdown? Is this another star ruining his career by getting wasted or is this just a very clever publicity stunt? After all, Kanye West is a guest on the premier of Jay Leno`s NBC talk show tonight.

Straight out to my fabulous expert panel: Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist and addiction specialist, exactly what we need tonight; Brenda Wade, psychologist; and the one and only A.J. Hammer, host of HLN`s "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT."

A.J., try to make sense of this cookie behavior for us. Was it alcohol talking? Was it Kanye or cognac?

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, listen, it was Kanye being Conway, sadly. He`s shown this kind of behavior before. Back in 2007, he was up for a whole bunch of MTV VMAs, didn`t win any and threatened to never return to the VMAs. That would have been his best bet.

Now, you`re showing the shot of him drinking from that bottle. We have video, you`ll see on "Showbiz Tonight" of him walking the Red Carpet, passing it off to other people. We don`t know what`s in the bottle.

He had blamed (ph) another experience where he jumped up on stage just like he did last night, he did it at the MTV Europe Awards a couple years ago and grabbed the mike and later told a reporter that it was because of alcohol that he behaved that way.

Quite frankly, we don`t know if that was the case. What we do know about Kanye West is this is typical of this kind of self-indulgent megalomaniacal, if that`s even how you say it, just narcissistic behavior. I mean, he really has always shown in the past that it`s all about Kanye.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or it could be about alcohol abuse. Now, you just mentioned the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards. Listen to that outburst.


WEST: This video cost a million dollars, fans. I have Pam Anderson. I am jumping across canyons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you`re going to have to share.

WEST: Hey, if I don`t win, the award show loses credibility.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Dr. Reef, he blamed that time on alcohol, drunkenly telling an MTV reporter he had too much sippy-sippy and he planned to have a little more sippy-sippy. I mean, this is not funny. I think he might have a very serious drinking problem.

DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST AND ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes. I mean, Jane, this is obviously either a narcissistic performer who gets off on drama, chaos and conflict or it was staged or as you said, there`s an alcohol problem here.

The million dollar question everybody asks is, are a sober man`s words -- a drunken man`s thoughts, a sober man`s words. Is alcohol a truth serum? Is it? A lot of people ask me that question.

And there`s no easy answer, because on one side of it, you are dis- inhibited when you`re drunk. You are -- you have more impulsivity when you`re drunk. But -- so you`re more likely to say things that you`re actually thinking deep down inside but on the other side of it you`re more emotionally reactive, meaning whatever you`re feeling at that time will become more heightened.

If you`re secretly angry or really rageful at somebody, it will come out more. If you`re more sad, it will come out more. So it`s a really difficult question to ask, but we look at repetition. And man, he`s got a history of the sippy-sippy here. So from that standpoint alone, I definitely think this is something to look into.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I certainly think that this should be his bottom. If he has an alcohol problem, this is a bottom. It`s incomprehensible humiliation for him, not Taylor Swift.

Tonight, Kanye West slugging Hennessey and acting badly: it seems like every night here on ISSUES we cover an alcohol or drug-related story. The good news, it`s national recovery month; a good time to get sober people.

Now, there I am -- there I am chanting and having fun with 10,000 other sober people at A&E`s recovery rally this weekend. I told my story - - take a look at all the people who were there. It was jam-packed. And I signed my new recovery memoir and then we al marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, proved you could have more fun sober than wasted.

In my new autobiography "I Want," I described how I hit bottom 14 years ago and haven`t had a drink since. Now, if you want to check out my book, go to and go to the order section. It`s also in bookstores.

If you`re battling booze, this is what you need to read. It can help you out.



TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I was standing on stage and I was really excited because I had won the award and then I was really excited because Kanye West was on the stage and then I -- then I wasn`t so excited anymore after that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor, are there any hard feelings towards him?

SWIFT: I don`t know. I`ve never met him, so -- I had a great night tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did anyone give you support backstage?

SWIFT: Yes, I`ve been getting so many (INAUDIBLE) and everybody`s been really nice. So I`ve had a really, really fun night. It`s been interesting, definitely, definitely an interesting night. Thank you everybody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Taylor Swift, all of her reaction to Kanye West grabbing the mike out of her hands while she was giving her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. She`s pretty classy. She handled it very, very well. Very cool.

A.J. Hammer, now, another halfhearted apology combined with a joke from Kanye. Quote, "I feel like Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents" when he messed up everything and Robert De Niro asked him to leave." What kind of cockamamie apology is that?

A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": It`s not a very good one. And here`s a case where once again, his ego is going to get in the way of his talent. And I think this time, he crossed a line.

What we`re seeing now, coming out of Hollywood, Jane, today is unprecedented in the level of reaction and stars reaching out as they can now do on their blogs and on Twitter. Just going after Kanye, saying, what a jerk he was.

And it`s amazing that this story has blown up as big -- I mean this is everywhere today. And I think it`s because it`s such an emotional story, because he took the spotlight away from this young girl who really deserved it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael, Florida, your question or thought, sir? Michael? Oh, Michael, are you there? I`m going to sing if you`re not. Ok.

WADE: Well, Jane, in the meantime, I would really like to say that there is, clearly, a narcissistic streak as wide as the Mississippi River in Kanye`s personality. And there is a pattern.

And you know that we diagnose addictions by looking at the pattern. There`s a correlation. Bad behavior, he`s drinking. As far as I`m concerned, you need to send him a copy of your new book. Maybe it will help him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to send him a copy of my book, because defiance, Dr. Reef Karim, is a hallmark of addiction: acting out, being terminally unique, saying the rules that apply to everyone else do not apply to me. Those are the hallmarks of addiction. And this guy is exhibiting all those hallmarks in spades.

WADE: Yes, absolutely.

REEF KARIM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes, oppositional behavior and defiance and denial are definitely hallmark characteristics here.

You know, another factor here is a lot of the times, addicts know exactly how they operate. And if somebody has a strong axis (ph) too, which is a personality disorder, say narcissism in this case, and it`s just overwhelming them, a lot of people will drink to take the edge off their personality, to take the edge off the anxiety and it ends up backfiring in the end. Because they think they`re relieving anxiety in the short-term, but they`re actually worsening their personality disorder in the end.

This may be the case here. We`ll see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen A.J., you`re deep in Hollywood. Do you see people chug-a-lugging cognac like that ever?

HAMMER: It certainly does happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the red carpet?

HAMMER: Right, he was on a red carpet putting on a show. So if there was really cognac in that bottle, as we`re saying on our show tonight, shame on him. This was just -- it`s a terrible example to make. And remember, his mom died not that long ago and he wanted to do her proud. I don`t think he`s doing her proud at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A.J. and "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" will have the latest on the Kanye meltdown at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thank you, fabulous panel for joining us tonight. Remember, click on and order my new book.