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Cops Search for Somer Thompson`s Killer; Hulk Hogan Pens Tell-All

Aired October 22, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, heartbreaking developments in the search for Somer Thompson. Her little body was found dumped in a Georgia landfill. She was only 7 years old, guilty of nothing more than walking home from school. Now, she`s dead: her body thrown away like a piece of trash. These attacks are terrorizing our nation. Women are afraid to go out at night. Parents fear for their children`s lives. What`s it going to take to change our blood-drenched culture?

And Hulk Hogan hits rock bottom. Shocking new insight into the secret life of the wrestling super star. The former reality star has written a new tell-all book, and "The New York Daily News" says Hogan considered suicide after he broke up with his wife. Meanwhile, Hogan allegedly called his ex-wife an abusive alcoholic, claiming she once threatened to beat her own son with a wine bottle. We`ll have the head-spinning details.

Also, hundreds of tips pouring in as family members desperately search for beautiful Morgan Harrington. The Virginia Tech student vanished during a crowded rock concert on a college campus. Her cell phone and purse found abandoned right outside the stadium. Still, no sign of this young woman. So why have cops called off the air and ground searches? We`ll take a look.

Plus, drugs, sex, and corruption. New court papers pull back the curtain on Bernie Madoff`s toxic secrets. The billion-dollar con man accused of using stolen money to buy cocaine, hookers, and strippers. And that`s just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the drugs and women allegedly bought for his office.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A horrifying, gut-wrenching discovery. Our worst fears confirmed. The frantic search for 7-year-old Somer Thompson comes to a heart-breaking end. Investigators digging through truckloads of trash in a landfill spot two tiny legs. Poor little Somer Thompson`s body dumped like garbage. They identified her through her dental records.

Tonight, a mother in mourning speaks out in anger. She vows to fight for justice for her child.


DIENA THOMPSON, SOMER`S MOTHER: You didn`t take her from just me. You took her from my family. You took her from all of these people. And you don`t do this to a little baby and put my baby in the trash like she`s nothing.

Watch out, we`re coming. We`re going to get you.

Maybe there`s a whole lot more good in the world than there is bad, but that one bad apple has just spoiled a whole lot of people`s lives.

I never thought in my -- in all of my life that I would ever have to do this. Even know anybody. I don`t want to see another parent feel empty.

I will not sleep until this person is found.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a brave woman. But Somer`s devastated mom cannot do this alone. We, you and me, all of us as a society, really have to start doing something. This community is living in fear. There`s a child killer on the loose. What is being done to stop this person from striking again?

Now the sheriff is not releasing any information about how Somer died or if she had been sexually abused.


SHERIFF RICK BESELER, CLAY COUNTY, GEORGIA: We have a suspect out there somewhere who`s watching this broadcast right now. And I don`t want to tell that suspect what we`re doing. But I will tell him this: we`re coming to get him. And we`re going to find who did this, and we`re going to bring that person to justice.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are chilling clues tonight. Two weeks ago, somebody tried to lure a little girl into a car just one block away from where Somer disappeared. Could these two cases be connected? If cops knew about the first case, did they warn parents in the neighborhood about it? If not, why not?

And tonight, we are learning information about an abandoned house in the neighborhood. Somer`s friends say they saw her there. Cops are pouring over that vacant, fire-damaged home right now as we speak. Could that house hold a clue?

You know, after little Somer disappeared, cops questioned almost all of the sex offenders in the area. There were at least 100 living right in Somer`s neighborhood. That sounds crazy to me. Now, last we heard, they had still not found five of them. Why not?

A hunch led cops to a Georgia landfill where garbage from Somer`s Florida neighborhood is taken. Cops say they have more than 400 leads they are working on as we speak. My big issue: what are we doing about this crisis of violence against children? We have to stop letting violent predators terrorize us, all of us: children, parents, people who have friends with children. We`re all terrified. This travesty has to be a wake-up call for all of us to say enough.

To quote Somer`s mom at the news conference, this is not acceptable.

I want to hear from you about what you should -- what you think we should do. I mean, maybe we need to march on Washington, people. Something has got to happen here. This is out of control.

Straight out to my outstanding expert panel: former FBI federal agent in charge, Don Clark; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Dr. Dale Archer, psychiatrist; and joining us on the phone, Tiffany Griffith, reporter for WOKV Radio.

Tiffany, what is the latest in terms of the investigation in defining who did this?

TIFFANY GRIFFITH REPORTER, WOKV (via phone): We`ve been hearing some more interesting details about that home located at 1080 Gano Avenue. We`re hearing that across the street from this house is actually a park. And in that park, a bag of evidence was actually taken from the restroom. We don`t know what`s inside of that bag of evidence.

Obviously, as the investigation continues, we`ll ask some more questions and try and find out if that has anything to do with Somer`s disappearance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, cops, we`re asking why didn`t they do this? Why didn`t they do that? But we have to say that they, in fact, did a very good job in solving this case in terms of finding this little girl`s body and identifying her very quickly.

She went missing Monday, Don Clark, and it`s Thursday. And they`ve really made tremendous headway, although tragic headway. They deserve kudos for an idea they had to go and intercept the trash trucks that come from this neighborhood. Tell us about that, Don.

DON CLARK, FORMER FBI FEDERAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Jane, they`ve done a tremendous job. This is what creative law enforcement is all about. It`s not some of the old things that may have worked and may not have worked. Be as innovative -- innovative as you possibly can.

But what they really did was, instead of waiting until the major garbage truck comes and gets everything and they take it all to one area and then you go there and try to search it, they changed that. And this detective, Frousseau (ph), I got his name, was, and he`s part of the task force with the FBI and the other counties, but he`s the one that said, "Hey, I`m going to go and follow the truck to their pickups. And I`m going to look at every one that they pick up first before it gets and put in that whole pile. And that`s why that, at least, we`ve been able to find this little girl`s body, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s try to sort out the information. As you just heard, we`re hearing brand-new information. An abandoned house in Somer`s neighborhood. And the question is, could it be a possible crime scene?

Listen to this.


MARY JUSTINO, CLAYTON COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: The home at 1080 Gano is the location of a home that is vacant. There was a house fire there a few months ago. The owners of the home do not live there. And it was vacant. And we do not know, obviously, how this ties into, you know, the crime scene, per se, but since it is the last known area where Somer was seen, we have obtained permission from the homeowner to go in and process it through FDLE`s crime lab.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa, they`ve got a mobile crime lab there going over that house in total detail. What does it tell you about this crime?

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGEL: Well, it tells me that that might have been a place in which pedophile sexual assaulters or some deviants of society was squatting.

And Jane, with the recent foreclosure problem in America, there are a lot of neighborhoods that are plagued with these empty buildings that are not secured that people break into and squat in. Sometimes they`re homeless. Sometimes they`re druggies. And sometimes they`re criminals and perverts and predators.

And you pointed out on that map, 100 or more sexual predators that we know of that are listed on the Florida state rolls and are on the computer that live within the immediate area where that young 7-year-old girl was snatched up. Over 100 sexual predators. That`s mind-boggling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, let`s go -- Curtis, let`s go over this in detail. There are 161 convicted sex offenders living within a five-mile radius of little Somer`s home. One sixty-one.

Of that number, 16 are classified as serious predators. Now, that usually means that person was convicted of a first-degree felony sex offense, many times involving the molestation of children. These are the really dangerous ones, but they`re lumped in with the others. So it`s really hard to focus on them.

Now here`s some more shocking stats. In nearby Jacksonville, the ratio of residents to sex offenders is about 486 citizens to one sex offender. Does anybody on our panel, anybody on our panel, want to guess how many registered sex offenders there are, all told, in Florida? Take a -- take a guess, anybody?

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: I know there`s about 500,000 in the United States.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I didn`t ask you that question. Don Clark?

CLARK: I would say probably 100,000. And I say that based on the fact that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, 63,201 sex offenders registered in Florida. Now that blew my mind, that that apparently is par for the course, Dr. Dale, around the country. Why -- are we a nation of perverts? Why do we have so many sex offenders in America?

ARCHER: You know, it`s really shocking to me, because I can think back when I was young, as a child. And we used to go play in an abandoned house, and we never once worried about someone coming and taking us away.

My, how times have changed over the last 30 or 40 years. It`s absolutely shocking now that you can not let your kids out of your sight or do anything by themselves without having to fear that something like this can go wrong. So I -- I agree...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My question is why are there so many? What is causing this increase in perversion?

ARCHER: Well, I think, Jane, if you look at the increase of crimes across the board, that they`ve skyrocketed across America in every category. So of course, when you take something like this, which we know has a four times greater recidivism rate than any other felony, then of course, as the crime rate goes up, this is going to quadruple because these people do not get well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on this tragic story in a moment. We are also taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. I want to hear what you think: how are we going to solve this? 1-877-586-7297. Call me.

Coming up, shocking developments in the Bernie Madoff case. How drugs and strippers may have played a role in his money stealing empire. And masseuses. Oh, it`s a wild story.

But first, our worst fears confirmed. Somer Thompson, a beautiful little girl, found dead. Taken from us so early, so horrific. Her mom, her life is shattered.






THOMPSON: This predator, this sick -- I don`t know what I`m allowed to say -- but this sick man, person, whatever -- he`s not a man, he`s not a person -- was waiting. He had been waiting. And that was the perfect opportunity. There was no one else around. That`s the only thing I can think. And he probably told her, "I`m going to take you to your mommy."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The mother of the dead child, speaking out in a highly-emotional news conference this afternoon, saying she`s not going to sleep until she gets justice for her murdered daughter.

My big issue tonight: what now? Of course, we need stricter laws punishing sex offenders who are hunting our children like prey. We have to stand with this mother and seek justice, all of us together. I don`t know exactly what. Maybe we`ve got to march on Washington, but we do have to say in her words, this is not acceptable anymore. And everything has to change.

The phone lines lighting up, understandably.

Nancy in Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Yes, ma`am. Hi, Jane.


CALLER: First, my heart goes out to this family. It`s just awful. It`s just been too many, too many lately. But did I understand right from the other night, listening, that these children have to walk one mile home from school?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiffany Griffin -- Griffith, reporter, what do you know?

GRIFFITH: Well, that`s absolutely correct. We know that prior to this incident, it wasn`t that unusual. A lot of folks who`d grown up in this neighborhood said you could walk a mile from the school to get to your home, and it wasn`t a big deal. I mean, people looked out for each other in this neighborhood, but clearly, something went wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and we want to bring in Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some."

I want to ask you about the whole landfill issue, Wendy. They found this little girl in a landfill. A law enforcement officer had a brilliant stroke, and he decided, "Let`s intercept the trucks coming from this neighborhood," and sure enough, that`s where they found this precious child, in the garbage.

Now, they`re going through all the garbage around where they found the body, trying to come up with evidence. But it`s hundreds of tons. How the heck can they find evidence? How can they decide that a chewing gum wrapper has important DNA and this one doesn`t? It seems like a crazy task to me.

WENDY MURPHY, AUTHOR, "AND JUSTICE FOR SOME": Well, I don`t know if it`s crazy. I know it will be tedious, sort of a classic needle in a haystack, literally. You know, good for that cop who had the sense to do that before mountains of trash were dumped on top of that child.

And you know, Jane, I heard your outrage. This mountain of trash where this child`s body was dumped is a metaphor for how disrespected children are in this country in our legal system. And I am beyond angry. I`m so sick of being on this show and saying yet another child ends up dead. A little girl in a swamp or a ditch or a mountain of trash.

I`ve heard you say, let`s walk on Washington. We need better laws. Let me tell you this. Florida has good laws. Jessica Lunsford`s dad did a good job getting tough laws passed there. It isn`t about putting the laws on the books. It`s about bringing the power of the law to bear on these monsters. You can make it look good as a law maker. But if you don`t throw these guys in jail, guess what? The hundreds or thousands of them around the country live in our neighborhoods when they should be behind bars. That`s the problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this, and I want to get everybody to weigh in. Here`s what I think is wrong with our criminal justice system.

First of all, it is a criminal making factory. You have kids, especially kids who are not born rich. They`re born poor, in urban areas, who are almost preprogrammed to go into some kind of juvenile system and then into the legal system. And those kids are not all violent criminals. And y et, they`re kind of funneled into this system where the real violent criminals, the ones we really need to apprehend and keep under lock and key, the sexual predators, somehow, they`re all over the country living in thatched huts in clusters and I don`t know what.

So why don`t we stop turning these prisons, Curtis Sliwa, into criminal making factories and funneling all these young kids in just because they have the misfortune of being born poor and in a minority neighborhood? And why don`t we start focusing on the sickos out there that we actually have identified? Half the time the parole officers don`t even know what`s up with them. Look at Phillip Garrido. The parole officer was clueless about the fact that he was holding a woman there.

CLARK: Joan -- Jane...

SLIWA: You see, Jane, we have deluded ourselves into thinking that technology and our ability to track these predators outside of prison will save the day. We have global positioning systems as ankle bracelets. They have to report, as you mentioned, to a parole officer. There`s a sexual registry now in which you can track them in your neighborhood.

But that doesn`t keep them from striking again. The only thing that strikes them -- keeps them from striking again is keeping them in jail. Give them three hots and a cot. Try to figure out why all the furniture is upstairs and rearranged in the wrong rooms. But keep them in J-A-I-L. Don`t put them on own release. It doesn`t work.

CLARK: Jane -- Jane, I also think, though, that what we`ve got do, is we`ve done this in the past with law enforcement. We go down one road for so long, and we think that`s the way it`s supposed to go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to leave it right there.

CLARK: No -- but change in your priorities.


Coming up, the latest in the search for another victim of crime: beautiful missing Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. When is this going to end?

Then there`s jaw-dropping new insight into wrestling legend Hulk Hogan`s life. He says that he almost took his own life. That`s coming up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, shocking news. Wrestling and reality star Hulk Hogan attempting suicide? That`s the dramatic admission he makes in his new book, "My Life Outside the Ring."

The former wrestler describes the night in December 2007 when he almost took his life. The recently-divorced father of two says after downing a combination of Xanax and rum -- wow -- he reached for a loaded gun and had his finger on the trigger when a surprise phone call saved his life.

Here with the very latest is the fabulous co-host of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," Brooke Anderson.

Brooke, first of all, welcome back and congrats on your beautiful new baby.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What an amazing accomplishment. It`s great to have you back, though.

OK. Let`s talk about Hulk. What led the Hulk to this breaking point, and what does he have to say about his ex?

ANDERSON: It was basically a downward spiral for Hulk Hogan, Jane. He said he was despondent after the breakup with his wife, Linda Hogan. They were married for 23 years. He reportedly said he pleaded with her not to go file for divorce, because they were dealing with that horrible accident involving their son Nick. You know, Nick driving like a maniac, had the car accident, lost control of his dad`s car, leaving his friend, John Graziano, brain damaged.

But Linda did file for divorce. We know that now. And Hulk Hogan is letting loose on her, saying that she was an abusive alcoholic and that, at one point, she threatened to beat their son with a wine bottle. He says that her unpredictable behavior was not chronicled on their reality show, because nobody wanted to see that sort of ugliness.

Linda Hogan did tell us this about what Hulk Hogan is saying, quote, "My family has always been and will always be the most important thing in the world to me. My ex-husband`s serial infidelities forced me to take the route that I have taken. Breaking -- breaking our family apart was the last thing I ever wanted."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is so ugly all the way around. Now, who was the one on the other end of that phone that made that phone call just in the nick of time? Tell us about that.

ANDERSON: Interestingly, Hulk Hogan says that it was his co-star and boxer Laila Ali, who made the call when he had his finger on the trigger, really seriously considering taking his own life. Laila Ali has says that, yes, from time to time she did call Hulk Hogan to offer him some words of encouragement. She`s calling the timing of that phone call divine intervention.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, it all went -- it crossed a line when that accident occurred.

Hulk says his depression was partially because of the stress from his son Nick`s car wreck, which was so awful. He writes, quote, "I finally saw Nick, my only son, folded up like an accordion, with his head down by the gas pedal. The noise of the engines. Sirens. A saw. Paramedics pulling John from the passenger`s seat, so much blood."

But of course, the John he`s referring to is John Graziano, the passenger. And that poor guy, I mean, he`s really got something to feel bad about. He has been left with permanent brain damage, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Yes, he has. And his family is now suing the Hogan family for millions of dollars to cover John Graziano`s medical bills. He`s 24 years old now. He`s an Iraq war veteran. He`s now at home after two years in the hospital.

His family is hopeful, though, and they say that he is getting better. He`s making sounds, facial expressions, and they do hope that he makes more progress.

Nick, by the way, spent five month in jail for reckless driving.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Another reality show family just spiraling into who knows what. Brooke, thank you so much.

A devastating twist in the Morgan Harrington case. She is the Virginia Tech student who disappeared at a rock concert. We`re going to ask why the investigation is suddenly at a standstill, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hundreds of tips pouring in as family members search for beautiful Morgan Harrington. The Virginia Tech student vanished during a crowded rock concert on Saturday. There`s still no sign of this young woman. So why have cops called off the air and ground searches?

Plus, drugs, sex, and corruption: new court papers pull back the curtain on Bernie Madoff`s toxic secrets. The billion-dollar con man is accused of using stolen money to buy cocaine, hookers and strippers. And that`s just the tip of the iceberg.

The desperate search for Morgan Harrington has reached a critical point. Police have called off ground and air searches for the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student. Why?

Here on ISSUES we talk about the "War on Women". We want it to stop. A good first step would be to find Morgan Harrington. If you know anything at all, do not let one more minute pass. Please contact the authorities.

Morgan`s parents, Dan and Jill Harrington, were just on "Prime News" with Mike Galanos, and they said their daughter desperately needs our help. Here is their plea.


DAN HARRINGTON, FATHER OF MORGAN HARRINGTON: How does someone just disappear? What is the likelihood of a person crossing the path of someone who would take someone? I believe Morgan has been taken.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dan Harrington`s co-workers are trying to help. They have pooled money for a $100,000 reward.

Back with my amazing panel and joining us, Rob Graham, a news director for WINA in Charlottesville. Rob, her parents think she was taken. What are you hearing from investigators because I`m sort of perplexed at this point the total lack of any apparent leads?

ROB GRAHAM, NEWS DIRECTOR, WINA, CHARLOTTESVILLE: There are no leads at this time that are being released to the public, Jane. State police are keeping the investigation under wraps at this time as far as details.

There has been a resumption of the ground search and that resumed today. There were dozens of officers working from a command post about a quarter mile from the arena from which Morgan disappeared. And the ground search was rather intensive today, including some unknown areas of rough terrain.

After some search of ground and air on Monday and Tuesday, there was a break on Wednesday, and then that ground search resumed again today. And state police would only say that it was a matter of just following whatever tips they had in the investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s all very well and good, but what if somebody put her in a car and is hundreds of miles away right now, and the key to that would be the surveillance tapes?

Now this investigation, again, appears to be at a standstill. Police are making somewhat cryptic statements. Listen to this.


LT. JOE RADER, VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: At this point, we have no reliable information whatsoever that criminal misconduct has occurred. Circumstantially, we have to be very concerned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know what he`s talking about. How could they not have evidence that a crime has occurred? Of course, a crime has occurred. This girl is missing. She`s probably been abducted.

Why haven`t the surveillance tapes helped?

Take a look at this burglary that was caught on tape at a JC Penney in California. Obviously if you have good surveillance tape, it`s like a movie. You could spot who these people are.

Why can`t Virginia police get any clues from the surveillance tape? We know the arena had surveillance tape.

Don Clark, something is just not coming together here. And I don`t get it.

DON CLARK, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I understand your feelings, and I feel like there`s something that has to be done here. But I have to tell you, from what I`ve heard about this activity out there, it`s really unreasonable here to believe that, well, that absolutely a crime has taken place.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, it has.

CLARK: No, you can`t say that. You can`t say that one has taken place. There are a lot of circumstances. Yes, the surveillance cameras should be taken a look at for sure. I`m sure they probably did that the first time. They`ve looked at the cell phone.

But look at the other circumstances. Jane, I don`t recall too many young ladies going to the rest room without taking a group with them. So let`s assume that she did that by herself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I go to the restroom all the time without taking a group with me. I don`t need to have a babysitter when I go to the rest room.

Wendy Murphy?


WENDY MURPHY, AUTHOR, "AND JUSTICE FOR SOME": That`s like my grandfather`s era, women go to the bathroom together. Also, let`s -- am I wrong? I thought I read that they found some of her property in a parking lot?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.

MURPHY: Let`s say, worst case scenario from the perspective of no crime or best, depending on your perspective, that they saw her get in to a car. Let`s say they saw her get into a car. You cannot say that`s not a crime.

I think saying there`s no crime here or even hinting is so disrespectful because we have got people on alert.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. You with the beret, the red beret.

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: This was not an outdoor concert. Bathrooms are inside. She left the facility. And you leave a concert and go outside, generally to do things you can`t do inside. That`s why people leave a concert. And then she couldn`t get inside.


MURPHY: So what? That doesn`t mean a crime didn`t occur.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Seriously, people, one at a time.

SLIWA: I`m not saying that. But understand, it wasn`t for a bathroom. Bathrooms are on the inside of the concert venue, not the outside.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. I`m going to jump in here.

This reminds me of the Natalee Holloway case because we have a disconnect; this girl, Morgan, who is missing, doesn`t seem like a partier. She`s always talking to her parents.

Natalee Holloway was the same way. She was a good girl. She was an innocent girl, a little naive. She goes to a bar in Aruba, meets someone, they pass -- suddenly, she leaves a car with three other men and she`s never seen again.

So it`s not that you have to be a bad girl, Don -- excuse me, Dr. Dale Archer.


CLARK: Let me just say this real quickly. I know the Natalee Holloway case upside down, and that one was a circumstance where a bad person actually may have killed her. And a lot of evidence points in that direction.

In this case, I`m just saying I don`t see the evidence at this point that there has been a crime.

MURPHY: She`s gone. She`s gone.

CLARK: She`s 22 years old.


DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: They found her purse and cell phone in the parking lot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. I have to stop you.

Dr. Dale archer, my point is that everybody is assuming just because she`s this good student and she talked to her parents and she doesn`t seem to have any kind of a drug problem, that she wouldn`t go outside of the arena. That that`s something only a bad girl would do. Nonsense.

That was my point with the Natalee Holloway case. She may have met someone who said, come on out. We`re going to have a tailgating party in the parking lot. She goes out the parking lot, next thing you know she`s thrown in a van -- because it`s usually a van -- that is the abduction vehicle of choice. And that could happen.

And that`s why I`m so frustrated when cops say, "We don`t have anything from the surveillance video." Dr. Dale Archer.


ARCHER: Right. I totally agree with you Jane. And I think that the situation is that they found her purse and her cell phone outside. And she could have gone back into the concert had she had her ticket which she forgot because she called her friends and said "I forgot my ticket, I`m out here. I`ll find my own way home."

I completely agree with you that there had to be a crime that took place. She didn`t just disappear into thin air.

MURPHY: Can I just say, I don`t care if she left the concert to buy drugs, strip naked, and do cartwheels.

ARCHER: Of course.

MURPHY: It doesn`t matter.

ARCHER: Right. It doesn`t matter.

MURPHY: She`s a human being. And we still have to treat this like a crime because she`s gone. Her stuff is in the parking lot. How do you not call that a suspicious criminal act?

When you tell the public not to pay attention because it may not be a crime...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, you have had your say. Now it`s Curtis.

Curtis, what should the FBI be doing right now? We`ve only got 30 seconds.

SLIWA: Obviously, following up and letting us know if there is surveillance tape or not. That would answer a lot of questions.

But I must say, this is a strange case. I wouldn`t be so quick to be judgmental against the cops here. There may be something personal going up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not judgmental against the cops at all. All I`m saying is it`s more of a societal thing. Isn`t it time with a precious life now in danger that every single one of these stadiums and every single university has state of the art surveillance video so we don`t have to have a situation like this where the cops say, "We have these surveillance videos but they don`t show us everything."

They should show us everything that happened. If she`s milling about for an hour outside the stadium, we should have that on video and we should see exactly what she was doing. I say put a camera on every street corner and every road in America if it`s going to save someone`s life, ok, because we did it for terrorism. This is domestic terrorism. To me, this is more of a threat.

Ok, everyone. Let`s think about what it`s going to take to put an end to these tragic stories once and for all. We need to participate, all of us, in finding solutions. I know my action-oriented viewers will want to help somebody they love who could be in trouble.

In my book, "I Want" I talk about my destructive addiction to alcohol; how I struggled to overcome it and got sober 14 years ago. I proceeded to battle other addictions: sugar, food, workaholism, co-dependency.

My story could help you or somebody you know who is battling an addiction or a compulsive behavior. And violence is an addiction, too, I might point out.

You can order "I Want" online on It`s also in book stores.

Again, thanks to my outstanding panel.

Coming up, a firsthand look at the highly anticipated Michael Jackson movie. You heard it right. You don`t want to miss it.

Then Bernie Madoff, the drug kingpin? I thought he was a scam artist. Apparently there is a wild story contained in a lawsuit about drugs and strippers and you won`t believe some of this stuff.

I`m going to be taking your calls on Bernie Madoff; 1-877-JVM-SAYS. 1-877-586-7297.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want recovery. We want action, and I don`t want to really make it a personal thing because I want to protect my family.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s meet today`s winner, iReporter Jane Taylor Hardy from Park City, Utah. Take it away, Jane.


JANE TAYLOR HARDY, IREPORTER: My three addictions of choice were workaholism, sugar, and deeply co-dependent relationships. What I realized was that I was doing what many addicts do, reaching from the outside to fill a void that I had within.

This is one of the many locations where Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held. And through the 12-step process and through many other programs, I learned to be present with the pain instead of trying to avoid it.

Like Jane says, we`re only as sick as our secrets. That`s why I`m so passionate about sharing my story of addiction.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jane, way to go. Well done for sharing your amazing story. You`ll be getting an autographed copy of my New York Times best- selling book "I Want," plus a chance to visit New York City and visit me on the set of ISSUES. And if you get here, I promise you a very good time. Way to go, congratulations on your recovery.

Shocking new details into Bernie Madoff`s lavish party life allegedly fueled by drugs and sex.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

A rare and behind the scenes look at Michael Jackson, the performer; the mystery surrounding Michael`s death may be unsolved, but his highly anticipated feature film hits the big screen next week.

Do you have your tickets? You don`t have to wait. ISSUES has a sneak peek. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael, do you like this, first of all?

MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: Yes, that`s a cool move.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just spreads out too much at the end.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some say he wasn`t prepared for his 50-concert extravaganza. Will the movie prove them wrong? It looks pretty darn good right there.

What about those who aren`t ready to see the late king of pop on the big screen just yet? In a recent interview, Jackson`s mother, Katherine, said she cannot bear to look at it, not this soon at least, but maybe one day.

The films director answered some of that criticism this morning on the "Today Show." Kenny Ortega said he`s proud of what they accomplished. Of course, he is. This movie is going to be huge; a money maker. Money we can only hope goes straight to Michael`s three kids.

That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Scandalous and shocking new accusations from investors swindled by Bernie Madoff; was Bernie a cocaine kingpin?

"The New York Daily News" reports a brand new lawsuit seeking restitution from Madoff alleges his investment firm was a virtual animal house with a cocaine pipeline. The lawsuit says Bernie hosted drug-fueled parties complete with topless cocktail waitresses clad in nothing but g- strings.

Investors say Bernie used their money to keep the cocaine flowing. This is wild stuff. I mean, this guy is 70-something. So much so that the Madoff headquarters were nicknamed the North Pole -- get it.

The suit reportedly says Bernie used the scam to bankroll a lavish lifestyle filled with partying and drugs and escorts and hookers and strippers. He even reportedly kept a list of his preferred female masseuses in a little black book.

Just when we thought we had heard the worst of Bernie Madoff, here comes this next shocker. We already knew he had a mistress. Listen to what she told us right here on ISSUES.


SHERYL WEINSTEIN, BERNIE MADOFF`S FORMER MISTRESS: We had a love affair for about a year and a half. I think Ruth -- I don`t know -- I think Ruth chose to look away. I think he was an equal opportunity destroyer. Nobody, nobody was safe from him.

MURPHY: I just want to thank you for putting in the part about his small penis.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Leave it to Wendy Murphy. Way to go, Wendy.

Also tonight, inside Bernie Madoff`s life behind bars. From the lap of luxury to sharing pizza with a child molester; you will not believe new reports about Bernie`s lockup.

Back to my expert panel; also, joining us on the phone, we`re delighted to have the author of "Madoff`s Other Secret Love: Money, Bernie and Me;" we welcome back Sheryl Weinstein who had an affair with Bernie Madoff and "New York Daily News" reporter Jose Martinez.

Jose, have we covered it all or what else could we possibly learn about this guy?

JOSE MARTINEZ, REPORTER, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: At least we don`t learn much more about his undersized, allegedly undersized manhood in this lawsuit. But there were plenty of salacious tidbits that came out of this 272-page lawsuit that was filed just the other day in Manhattan Supreme Court.

You find out that the office was allegedly known as the North Pole because there was so much cocaine flowing into the place. And there were details, salacious details about women wearing nothing but g-strings and employees having wild romps with each other and all types of crazy places including Mr. Madoff`s couch.

Exotic, I don`t know, but that`s what the lawsuit said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jose, can I jump in and ask you this question?

I never really bought the whole idea that his family was totally unaware. That he was this innocent-looking senior citizen, and they had no idea that he was pulling off this biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of mankind.

Now we know that two of his sons worked in the office. We know that Ruth, his wife, often went to the office and at one point worked for him. Now that we`re hearing about cocaine and allegations of sex parties, what does that say about their knowledge or lack there of?

MARTINEZ: The sons are defendants in this lawsuit which was filed by one of Mr. Madoff`s victims, a fellow who had invested with him. It alleges that the sons as well as well as other corporate defendants which included KPMG and JPMorgan Chase and the Bank of New York, were aware of some of the shenanigans that were going on.

But when I spoke with the lawyer, he cut to the chase with me and he said I know what people are going to be talking about. They`re going to be talking about the strippers. They`re going to be talking about the cocaine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right and you`re right that`s what we`re talking about.

Sheryl Weinstein you had an affair with Bernie Madoff, did you know anything about drug use on his part?

SHERYL WEINSTEIN (via telephone): The only thing I knew about drug use and it`s not from firsthand knowledge and I write about it in my book is that he shared with me that his wife Ruth smoked marijuana and that she got it from one of the employees at the office.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you never saw him snorting coke?

WEINSTEIN: No, no. And I don`t know what decade this probably took place but I haven`t read the 200-page document.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well but then again you never saw him ripping people off and he ripped a lot of people off for billions of dollars.

WEINSTEIN: No I never saw that either. You`re right, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it doesn`t mean if you didn`t see it, it didn`t happen. And that`s the thing about this guy you don`t know which way; a lot of smoke and mirrors.

All right, more on Bernie Madoff and the drug lifestyle, alleged, after the break.



ALEXANDRA PENNEY, MADOFF VICTIM: Two people have committed suicide because of this man. You know at some point I started thinking, you know he`s like -- not like -- he is a terrorist. I`ve heard that term, economic terrorist. Why -- why aren`t we sort of indicting him on those terms too?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was one of the many victims Bernie Madoff ripped off.

Tonight, shocking new lawsuit alleges Bernie blue money on cocaine strippers and sex parties.

Back to my expert panel: Curtis Sliwa, you`ve been listening to this. You know that his two sons worked with him. And his wife sometimes worked. They`ve said, "We had no idea he was doing any of this." But if he`s having these wild parties, wouldn`t they have caught on to dad`s a little bit of a pervert if this is true.

SLIWA: Jane, I`m shocked. The pigs on Wall Street would be going to strip clubs using hookers and -- sniffing cocaine. That`s what they do all the time. They were even during it during the recession and Bernie Madoff was the biggest pig of all. And his sons are the little piglets...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s not insult pigs here. Let`s not insult pigs, pigs don`t do coke and have topless dancers. They`re just living their lives.

Ok, Madoff`s life is a huge jump from a multimillion-dollar New York penthouse with skyline views, summer homes, complete with yacht and a spa to the bottom -- but there is the before picture. There`s the fancy stuff. The great house he had in the Hamptons.

And now we`re going to switch to the not so fancy stuff. This is today. Take a look at this bunk.

Jose Martinez, "Daily News" has been on top of this story. What`s going on with Madoff behind bars? Who`s he hanging out with? I hear sex offenders. I hear organized crime.

MARTINEZ: It`s a long way from the Upper East Side, Jane, of Manhattan, to where he is now in North Carolina. And the information gathered in this lawsuit came from an attorney who met with Mr. Madoff for four hours; said that he`s now bunking with a fellow, a 21-year-old, who is serving time for a drug offense. And that he spends his evenings walking around the track all by his lonesome and that some of his meals are prepared by a sex offender, which includes pizza.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I actually heard though that he got into a fist fight with somebody and was sort of earning his cred behind bars by being a little bit macho. Did you hear anything about that, Jose?

MARTINEZ: Well, that was one of the reports that`s come out, but it`s -- there`s been several reports that have come out about his time in prison. The details revealed here are new in this lawsuit.

But, yes, Mr. Cotchett, the lawyer who interviewed him said that he was rather buff and in shape, so who knows maybe he`s tuned up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy, Wendy Murphy, he`s such a complex, bizarre individual because when we first saw him we thought he looks like everybody`s grandfather...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now we`re hearing about cocaine use -- alleged, sex parties, a black book with masseuses, topless dancers but in the meantime the whole family is like, we didn`t know anything.

MURPHY: We didn`t know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we don`t have any idea that anything is going on...

MURPHY: You know it`s so funny. If you look up cokehead sex fiend in the dictionary you would not see a picture of Bernie Madoff. I was surprised but I was also a little pleased because I think that people enjoy in a schadenfreude the sort of way watching all kinds of suffering happening to this man.

But you know what`s interesting -- let me be the resident lawyer for a second. I thought as I was reading this story why is this relevant? And here`s why it`s relevant, this guy it had a fiduciary duty of care as did the folks who worked with him. That means they had to be super prudent in how they were handling so much money on behalf of people.


MURPHY: And you know what...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...let me say one other thing. If we`re going to throw poor people in jail for doing drugs and he did drugs, why isn`t he charged with drug charges? Should he be? You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.