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Husband of Missing Woman Named Person of Interest

Aired December 16, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast-breaking developments in the desperate search for the missing Utah mother. Cops now say foul play is suspected, and they`re calling her husband a person of interest. Tonight, shocking insight into the couple`s alleged marital problems. We`ll talk to one of Susan`s closest friends. She was one of the last people to see Susan alive. What really happened that night?

And underfed and overcrowded. At least 20,000 animals rescued from an exotic pet dealer in Texas. This could be the biggest animal rescue in U.S. history. So what`s next for these poor animals and the people accused of exploiting them? We`ll tell you how you can help.

Plus, add a new chapter to the Tiger Woods sex scandal. Sources have now told "People" magazine, Tiger`s wife Elin is hitting the road. Tonight we`ll talk to a woman who knows firsthand about cheating husbands and Hollywood sex scandals.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, disturbing new developments in the case of the missing Utah mom. Police now suspect foul play in Susan Powell`s disappearance. They are now treating it as a criminal investigation.

And tonight, police call her husband, Josh, a person of interest. He has hired a prominent defense attorney. Josh met with investigators last night and gave them a DNA sample.

Still, even after that interview, police said they were frustrated by his, quote, "unusual lack of cooperation," end quote.

Josh says the night Susan vanished he took their two young boys camping, around midnight, in the freezing cold. He claims to have no clue as to what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any idea where she could be?

JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: No. She -- she would leave during the day, and -- but she`s never left overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does she have any enemies that you can think of?

POWELL: I don`t -- I can`t think of anyone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are also getting new details about the Powells` marriage. One friend calls Josh, quote, "very, very controlling." And now we`re learning back in 2007 he filed for bankruptcy and listed his debt at a whopping $200,000. How much strain was this couple under?

I want to hear your take on all of this. Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-2987.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Mike Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and criminal prosecutor; Pat Brown, renowned criminal profiler; Dan Hill, facial coding expert. Want to hear from you tonight, Dan. And Michelle Sigona, investigative reporter with

But first, I am very pleased to welcome Susan Powell`s very good friend, Jovanna Owings.

Jovanna, thank you for coming on the show. I know this has to be extraordinarily excruciating for you at this moment in time, because I understand you attended church with Susan and often babysat her children. You actually joined Susan and Josh at their home for a pancake dinner the very night she vanished?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me what happened when you were there that Sunday night. Could I say that you`re the last person, aside from Josh and the children, to see your friend, Susan, alive?

OWINGS: As far as I know, I was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened that night?

OWINGS: Actually, it was a very calm evening. We were working on a crocheting project together, her and I, and we were having a very calm evening, good conversation, nice dinner. Conversation back and forth, not only her and I, but Josh and the children. And it was very, very nice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she at one point said she was tired, and I`ve heard also ill. Straighten that out for us. She wanted to go take a nap at about 5 p.m. What happened?

OWINGS: She actually was tired. She was not ill. She was tired. And which is -- you know, normal. It had been a long week, and she had worked Saturday. So it was -- it was quite normal to be a little bit tired. And it was about 4 p.m. So she wanted to take just a little bit of a nap on Sunday afternoon, because she would be going to work again Monday morning. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So wait a second. You discussed at the dinner table that, "Hey, it`s Sunday night. You`ve got to go to work Monday"?

OWINGS: Yes. But well, we didn`t discuss that she was going to work Monday. I just knew that she had to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the reason I ask you is that the man you`re looking at right there, her husband, says he got confused about the dates. That why he didn`t show up to work on Monday.

So presumably, if he was confused about what day it was, and he`s saying he left to go camping after midnight, the confusion would have had to have started when he went to go camping after midnight, given that he had to be at work the next morning.

So if it was discussed at the dinner table that, "Hey, I`m tired. I`m going to take a nap, because I`ve got to go to work tomorrow," that would counteract his explanation that he was so confused, he didn`t even know that it was Sunday.

OWINGS: When -- when I was there, we were aware that it was Sunday.


OWINGS: After I left, I had no idea what happened, in his mind or in anything else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What did -- what did he say he was going to do?

OWINGS: He said he was going to take the boys sledding. That`s all I know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this is really fascinating. Because somebody, a neighbor, saw his car return at approximately 8:30 that night. And yet he`s asking us to believe that after he takes his boys sledding, and then the car returns home at 8:30 that night, then after midnight, on that same night, he`s going off with his two young sons, ages 2 and 4, on a camping trip. Sunday night into Monday, when he has to be at work Monday morning.

Now, so many people have questioned Josh`s camping story. He says, he and the boys, ages 2 and 4, left around midnight in sub-freezing weather, and then they went camping and slept in their van. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What time did you go camping, would you say?

POWELL: You know, I got off to a pretty late start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine-ish, something like that?

POWELL: No, it was later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you guys camp?

POWELL: We went down south to the -- to some trails down there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you mean like Moab area?

POWELL: No, no. We actually just went down to the -- the Pony Express.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pony Express Trail?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there campgrounds down there?

POWELL: Yes, I guess they would be (ph). But I guess I`d better go.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Pat Brown, criminal profiler, authorities are saying that he`s being uncooperative, which his attorney disputes. But the reason they`re saying that is that they`re claiming that he`s not telling them specifically where he went camping.

And this area, the Pony Express Trail, is an area of thousands of miles, and they`d like him to narrow it down. Now, the other thing I can tell you is we did a little Google search, and we found that the closest point that intersects between his home and the Pony Express is at least 96 miles away.

So he`s not only asking us to believe that he took his kids camping, Sunday night after midnight when he has to be at work the next day, but he`s saying the closest that he could have gone, if he went where he said he`s going, is 96 miles away in sub-freezing temperatures.

Your thoughts, Pat Brown.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Yes, Jane. I mean, this is a totally unbelievable story. And that`s what the police are dealing with. They`re saying, "Look, Josh, we know this doesn`t make sense. You don`t even seem to be able to speak very clearly." If you were telling the truth, you`d be able to tell me without all this hesitation that -- what we heard when he was trying to tell us exactly "where I was going." We wouldn`t hear that. We would hear him say, "Well, this is why I did it. I asked my wife, she said no problem. We decided to do it." Why we went south, why we went to this place, exactly where we went, he would have these answers.

He doesn`t have them, because my guess is, it`s simply not true. He may have left after midnight. He may have left at 3 in the morning, 6 in the morning. We don`t know. He may have left for some other reason. And he may have taken -- if he did something to Susan, her body somewhere, but he`s sure not going to tell the police exactly where, I`m sure. He did go that direction. You know, her body is not going to be where he says that he went. Let me put it that way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dan Hill -- Dan Hill, you are a facial coding expert. In other words, you look at people talking. You look at their eye movements, their hand movements. You have looked at this man. He has spoken extensively with the media. What do you make of him?

DAN HILL, FACIAL CODING EXPERT: Well, there`s the perfect crime and then there`s the perfectly stupid crime, which is what we have here.

I mean, he has a flimsy alibi; has inconsistent emotional expressions. Sometimes, yes, he`s showing sadness. The eyes are lowered; the eyebrows are pulled together; corners of the mouth are down. But at other times, he shows disgust. The upper lip is flaring. Sadness is empathetic. It`s about loss and separation. Disgust is about rejection. The two don`t go together. His story doesn`t go together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let`s see. We`re looking at...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait, wait. Hold on one second.

EIGLARSH: The guy needs a defense here, you know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. OK, Mark. Absolutely. I don`t want to convict him. You know, he`s not a suspect. He`s a person of interest at this appointment.

EIGLARSH: Oh, come on. Person of interest, suspect, beggar, roadside entrepreneur? Call it what you said. It`s all the same thing. You know, this guy who`s apparently not cooperating with police, is doing so on advice of counsel. That doesn`t necessarily make him guilty.

I have no idea if he`s guilty or not. But you know how many times law enforcement says, "Oh, your client is not cooperating"? No, my client is doing what I tell him to do, and that is, until they say, "Get out of here. You`re not a suspect," then it is his obligation to keep his mouth shut, which he should have done before he gave this interview.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on Susan Powell and the couple`s alleged marital problems in just a moment. We`re also taking your calls on this. I want to hear your theories: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Also, what`s next for Tiger Woods? Sources tell "People" magazine that Elin is hitting the road. Has she finally had enough?

Susan Powell vanished more than a week ago. Why are cops now calling her husband a person of interest?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just came from the service -- the prayer service for Susan. And I had the chance to sit behind Josh through the whole service, and I can tell you that the pain he feels is real. I could feel it.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn`t you call in sick?

POWELL: I was somehow thinking that it was Sunday. I didn`t go to church, and I -- I just missed a day, and we`ll go, come back Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you got confused on what day it was.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just got his days mixed up. That`s why Josh Powell says he didn`t show up for work and didn`t call in sick the day after his wife disappeared.

Listen to what he told a different reporter.


POWELL: We just miss her, and we want her back, and -- and I love her, and my boys love her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are they doing?

POWELL: They`re doing OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea what happened to her?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eunice, New York, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, I think this guy is Scott Peterson Jr. I think he absolutely killed his wife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, OK. We have to be careful, because in this country, you`re innocent until proven guilty. And I want to say that we invite Josh Powell and his attorney on at any time to give their side of the story. He is not a suspect.

But I want to go back to Dan Hill. Look at this while he`s talking. In terms of his eye movements, what do you make of his eye movements as he`s doing these interviews when he`s asked tough questions?

HILL: Well, someone who`s a hardened liar will quite honestly look at you and stare you down, because they`re emboldened, and they think they`re going to tough it out. Someone who`s not as good at this, not as accustomed to doing this, will in fact, look away. That`s a way of being sheepish, embarrassed, trying to hide and that`s what I think we have here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. Should we follow the money in this case? Friends of the Powells who told reporters they sometimes argued about money. Here`s what Susan`s dad told me on Monday`s ISSUES.


CHUCK COX, SUSAN POWELL`S FATHER: Some of the problems were relied to -- to financial situations in their life, but they had both -- Josh had recently got a steady employment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Michelle Sigona, now we`re learning in 2007 Josh Powell filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. What do you know?

SIGONA: According to those reports, and also to investigators, apparently he was a couple 100,000 dollars in debt. That`s why he filed bankruptcy. But recently, he did get a job in the computer industry as a software specialist.

And also, Susan, she works at the Wells Fargo bank as a stock broker, in this particular case.

Now, having said that, one of the investigators had told me earlier today the assistant police chief believes that there`s enough circumstantial evidence in this case to indicate that Susan did not, in fact, walk out of that house on her own, and that`s why they do suspect, possibly, foul play in this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Diane, Utah, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Hi, this is Diane. I watch your show every night. I follow you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m so glad. What`s your question?

CALLER: It`s more of a comment. I live in Ogden, Utah, and I was LDS at one point. I`ve since left church. And in this state, I have noticed so much discrepancy between the religion and different races. And different religious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does that have to do with -- I mean, I understand that -- this doesn`t really have anything to do with race.

But Giovanna Owings -- of Jovanna Owings, you`re a friend of Susan Powell`s. You are at the same church. Is it an LDS church? And if so, did religion have anything to do with the friction in the household, do you think?

OWINGS: Yes, it is an LDS church, and no, as far as I know, there wasn`t friction because of the religion. I believe he was LDS, as well. Just maybe his level of activity might have been...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they have -- did they talk about money? Was there any sense of friction between them? I mean, when a couple is having problems, and you were there in the house, babysitting, and crocheting with her, and seeing them interact. Did they look like they were having problems?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they seem madly in love, or did they seem kind of like lukewarm, or did they seem hostile?

OWINGS: No. There was -- there was no indication of any friction or problems, other than normal, gee, things needed to get done, and maybe they didn`t get done on whoever`s schedule. I mean, just normal stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So there wasn`t sniping or hostility.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can usually pick it up. I hate to go to homes where the couples are arguing, because there`s an unpleasantness there that you can kind of almost feel.

Now, it`s funny that you say you didn`t detect it, because one of Susan`s friends gave some disturbing details about her perspective on this marriage. Rachel Marini told "The Salt Lake Tribune" that Josh was, quote, "very, very controlling" and that Susan had lots of people tell her to end it, meaning the marriage. Rachel also said that, over the past year, Susan had started standing up for herself.

So gee, Pat Brown, what do you make of it? Because we`re hearing some very conflicting stories here.

BROWN: Right. Well, if he was controlling, and that is one of the No. 1 reasons women get killed in marriages, is because they do have that controlling husband, a very narcissistic sort who believes that he has to have everything his way, or he -- or somehow you`re attacking him and you`re lowering his manliness or something like that.

So the -- as the women in a kind of marriage like this, they either have to kowtow to everything. And basically it`s an emotionally abusive marriage or a physically abusive marriage. But once you start standing up for yourself, that makes them mad. And sometimes it can end up in...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Sigona, DNA samples, a planned news conference by the family tomorrow. We only have a few seconds.

SIGONA: Well, Josh did, in fact, go with his lawyer yesterday. He did submit to that DNA sample. He will only answer general questions, according to the assistant police chief. He will not go into any detail about Susan`s enemies, about people that she knew or anything that would help advance this investigation. That`s why investigators are saying that he is hindering this process.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the family is going to hold a news conference tomorrow. Her family, right?

SIGONA: This is what we`re hearing. Of course, that`s always subject to change, but that`s something that we will be able to dissect tomorrow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there.

Everyone, stay right there. We`re all over this investigation into the desperate search for Susan Powell. We`re going to continue to discuss it. Cops now calling the husband a person of interest. What is next in this investigation?


POWELL: We just miss her, and we want her back, and -- and I love her, and my boys love her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are they doing?

POWELL: They`re doing OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea what happened to her?




POWELL: She wasn`t not feeling well. She was feeling well.


POWELL: She just went to bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 5-ish, is that what we heard? We heard 5. I don`t know if that`s true. You would know better than we would.

POWELL: No, she went to bed that night.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Josh Powell`s husband says he has no clue where his wife could be. She vanished more than a week ago from her Salt Lake City home.

Her dad says there`s no way that she would leave and not tell anyone. Here he is on the CBS "Early Show."


COX: There is no reason for her to take off. There was no indication of that. And she would never leave those children.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Sigona, I understand they had one vehicle. Have they seized that vehicle to analyze it?

SIGONA: That`s something that investigators are looking into right now. I can tell you initially when they went into their home on Monday, Jane, and verified that the family was not there, they backed out, obtained a search warrant, and went back in. They were able to seize some evidence during that particular time period.

Having said that, as they moved forward in this investigation, and with Josh being a person of interest in this case, we`re going to learn more, and especially if that -- if their family does have a press conference tomorrow, and police do decide that they want to release more information.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police have now gotten DNA samples from Josh Powell and several other family members. Police still have not commented on the wet stain they found in the Powells` living room carpet. When police burst into the home, too fans were blowing on the wet stain.

If Susan`s DNA is in that stain, Pat Brown, can`t she -- can`t it be argued that, well, she lived there, so of course, her DNA is going to be there. Or can investigators show, perhaps, and this is a hypothetical, that if there was an unusual amount of DNA in the form of blood, that there was something untoward?

BROWN: Exactly. It`s going to depend on what kind of DNA we`re talking about. Are we talking about lots of little blood -- blood spots all over the place? Are we talking about a guy trying to bleach things out? There`s going to -- yes, they`re going to find a lot in that stain, and if it doesn`t look like she could have been shaving her legs in the living room, then they don`t -- he`s going to have a problem with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, let me get this straight again. Going back to Michelle Sigona. His attorney says they are cooperating. They talked to police just last night. But the police are complaining, saying that he`s not giving them the answers that they want about where he went.

SIGONA: That is correct. The assistant police chief told me a few hours ago that, yes, Josh and his attorney have been in their office. He has answered general questions about Susan. Her jewelry, maybe what she was wearing, things of that nature.

But the specifics that they need to get down to, and I was specifically told this, that he would not answer questions if his wife had enemies or about her personal relationship, things like that that would help them start to piece this puzzle together and effectively go out and track down some of these leads, track down some of these people.

I can tell you that detectives were on the ground today, throughout the neighborhood, knocking door to door, trying to find friends and family members, anyone that saw anything, or has any information that can help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Mark Eiglarsh, what do you make of it? You`re the defense attorney. How do you explain that, after reportedly taking the kids sledding, then he says he went camping, and the closest location that matches with his description is 96 miles away?

EIGLARSH: I can`t explain it. And one obvious inference that everybody is making is that he`s guilty. However, all I`m suggesting is, we don`t have all of the evidence, and it`s just possible that he`s not guilty.

What is he doing inside the office of the police department? Being very careful. Because innocent people...


EIGLARSH: ... have been railroaded, based on statements. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We don`t even know what happened to her. Let`s hope and pray, maybe she walks in the door and shows up alive!

EIGLARSH: Amen, Jane. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Twenty thousand animals seized. We`re going to tell you this horrific story, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Underfed and overcrowded; at least 20,000 animals rescued from an exotic pet dealer in Texas. It could be the biggest animal rescue in U.S. history. What`s next for these poor animals? And how can you help?

Plus, add a new chapter to the Tiger Woods sex scandal. Sources have now told People magazine, Tiger`s wife Elin is hitting the road. Tonight we`ll talk to a woman who knows first-hand about cheating husbands and Hollywood`s sex scandal.

Thanks to an undercover investigation by PETA, there was a raid on a warehouse of death this week in Arlington, Texas, up to 30,000 animals kept in horrendous conditions at U.S. Global Exotics, a company that sells exotic animals. Thousands were saved, but many, many animals were found dead.


MAURA DAVIES, SPCA: What`s been the most troubling to see is what looked like hundreds of deceased iguanas. I stopped counting at 200. But they`re animals that are lacking everything that is natural to them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Like air, and water.

This business has been open for three years. It is licensed by the USDA, proving once again, that agency is totally 100 percent incompetent when it comes to animal welfare.

Other businesses in the neighborhood complained about animals escaping. Nothing was done. How could something like this go on for so long?

Here at ISSUES, we talk solutions. So we`re going to talk about how you can help save these and other animals.

Joining me now: Dave Salami (SIC), a zoologist and Animal Planet big cat expert. Dave Salmoni thank you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are you doing, dude?

SALMONI: Very good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The conditions here were sickening. The investigation lasted seven months. It turned up animals allegedly swimming in pools with other dead animals. Iguanas, allegedly boxed for shipment, but never shipped; left to die, slow deaths in tiny little boxes. Imagine hundreds of iguanas in tiny little boxes, left to die slow deaths from dehydration. You deal with animals.

Explain the death, of the suffering these creatures experienced, assuming these allegations are true.

SALMONI: You know, this type of handling of animals, especially in the exotic pet trade, is pretty common. These people are disgusting. They don`t -- they think of these animals as commodities. And if they die, it really doesn`t hurt them at all. Water costs money, food costs money, housing and property costs money, and that takes away from their bottom line. So it`s very common, and it`s disgusting. They`re the worst kind of people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A seven-month PETA investigation uncovered this warehouse of death. We tried to get a PETA spokesperson, but they`re not commenting on this time except to issue a statement. They told us, "tens of thousands of animals have long languished in deplorable conditions at U.S. Global Exotics."

You know, most local pet shops buy their animals from places like this. So the lesson I think, Dave, is people who buy animals should never patronize stores that sell them, they should adopt animals that need homes from shelters.

SALMONI: I think that`s a great lesson. I mean, I think there is a world that we live in at the moment where the laws are difficult, and people are trying to figure out how to manage this problem. And it happens, everything from puppies all the way up to this exotic animal trade.

First of all, exotic animals really shouldn`t be purchased by anyone who loves animals, because most of these animals are stolen from the wild anyway. So there is no nice way, even if they`re given the proper treatment when they are captive. These guys are caught in the wild. So that`s one thing you should think about if you love animals.

And the other thing is, like I say, if you`re going to buy a dog or cat or a domesticated animal, you really do have to do your research. There are people out there that love their animals and treat them well, and you can do the same.

But the best win-win situation for the animal and for people who love animals really is adopting an animal that is in a rough situation and needs our help. And you give them a nice home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, because if you buy animals, you are contributing to the profit motive. And any time you see animal abuse, I always say, follow the money. Once again -- go ahead.

SALMONI: This happens a lot in the exotic pet trade. What people will do is, they`ll take an animal, put it in poor situations and they`ll find an animal-lover say look how bad this animal is being treated. Please save it.

That person thinks they`re doing the animal a favor by buying it and taking it out of the situation. All that means is another animal is going to be caught in the wild, and put in that exact same position.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. Now once again, this raid happened at U.S. Global Exotics in Arlington, Texas. And we want to tell you that it wasn`t just snakes. You can see the animals there involved. We`re talking chinchillas, wallabies, iguanas, turtles apparently, allegedly swimming among dead turtles.

Let me tell you, this is the video that you`re watching that is extremely disturbing that is an example of how incompetent the USDA is; the USDA falling asleep on the job.

This video we`re showing you is very disturbing, and this was a hallmark investigation back in 2006, the largest beef recall in history, in U.S. history. Had to be ordered, because the USDA was asleep at the wheel, and they didn`t se this horrific abuse of cows, because downed animals aren`t supposed to be put in the food chain, downed cows, and the USDA asleep at the wheel, and you could see the workers using forklifts to try to get these animals on their feet -- just a horrific situation.

In my opinion, Dave, the USDA should not be in charge of animal welfare. It`s the fox guarding the hen house. They`re really about the promotion of industry. So they`re supposed to be protecting these animals, but they`re more interested, actually, in promoting the businesses that exploit animals. And I don`t think the USDA should be in charge of any of this anymore. They`re fired, as far as I`m concerned.

SALMONI: My background isn`t in the legal side of it, but I can tell you that someone who works within this industry and deals with this stuff on a daily basis, there really does need to be a situation in the laws that support the people who do it well, support the people that are treating our animals properly, and really takes away people like this that are just, you know, raping the system, and doing disgusting things to animals.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Once again, if this company wants to come on and talk; we called them, they didn`t answer today. And the USDA, come on, I`m ready to talk to you about this. I will debate you right now. This is outrageous.

And remember, these creatures can`t talk for themselves. If you`re outraged, you can join me by calling for criminal charges.

Up next, a hearing is scheduled for Friday, but that`s only to determine if the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the North Texas Humane Society is going to get custody of these animals.

When is the hearing for criminal prosecution, is what I want to know. I mean, that`s the kicker. The city of Arlington has up to two years to decide if they want to file criminal charges. Two days is too long.

You can call Arlington city officials, and I`m going to give you the number to call Arlington city officials; 1-817-459-6777. That`s 1-817-459- 6777, and tell them you want to see a criminal prosecution, you know -- we can`t be experiencing selective indignation here, ok?

Michael Vick? He went away for animal abuse. We have got to do it across the board here. What do you think, Dave?

SALMONI: Yes, I mean, that`s a great example. I mean, I feel like, oh, Michael Vick has been thought of as a great football player now, everyone has forgotten that he`s probably one of the worst animal abusers of our time.

You know, and you`ve got these people who probably might go out of business for a little bit. Someone`s insurance company is going to take care of it, and they`ll be back in a couple of weeks.

I really do think that we have to have a longer memory than oh, well, you know, we put you in jail, or, you know, you`ve got your business taken away. You really do have to stop these people and make it impossible for these people to abuse animals in the way they`re doing it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t even know if this business is going to shut down. They said the business was shut down for one day. So I don`t understand what`s going to happen tomorrow.

I mean, if this company is going to tomorrow begin doing the same -- apparently, according to the published reports, and, again, I invite US Global Exotics to come on our show and give their side of the story. But they had six to eight workers, according to published reports, dealing with all these tens of thousands of animals.

Ten seconds, Dave, your final thought on this.

SALMONI: Yes, I think, it needs to be regulated a lot more. I think these types of places need to have people that are in charge of the animals` welfare, that aren`t employed by this company and going into every one of these businesses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Dave. Come back soon. Love you.

SALMONI: Thanks for having me.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Hey, it`s Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. If you can...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember, Tiger`s infamous voice mail from "US Weekly", so what is next for Tiger and his wife? And guess what, we`re taking your calls on this. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Call me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Check that source, ok? I want to be sure that information is good.

You know, here at ISSUES, it gets hectic during the day. I like to have a cup of tea to keep my energy up. And when I do, as you can see, I don`t need to use one of these paper cups, uh-uh, because I`ve got an alternative. I`ve got a reusable cup. You can go through five or ten of these throughout the course of a day without even thinking.

So make the switch. It`s up to us to save the planet.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, and that`s your "Green Alert".



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here on ISSUES we take a lot about famous people like, hmmm, let`s see: Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger; stories about addiction that end in tragedy. I`m happy to say, not all addicts are famous, and not all of our stories end with a press conference at the coroner`s office.

In my book, "I Want", I go into detail about how I got sober. In fact, many, many people are winning the battle of addiction. So we asked you at home to tell us your stories of recovery. And guess what, they came in by the thousands, one more inspiring than the next. In the end, we could only choose two of our favorites.

I am thrilled tonight to introduce you to our first grand prize winner, Lisa Henderson. She is here with us tonight all the way from Atlanta. I am so very happy to meet you, Lisa.

Now, let`s go on the way-back machine. Here`s a picture that you sent us of you partying it up in the `80s. And you admit very candidly, you abused alcohol, you abused cocaine.

You have now been sober for more than 23 years. Congrats for winning our "Overcoming Addiction Contest".

So I want to ask you a question. How is your life different today than it was back when you were abusing drugs and alcohol?

LISA HENDERSON, GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Well, Jane, I want to say thanks, too, for having me here. It`s just wonderful to be here.

It`s a lot different. That picture, I don`t even remember the party or it being taken. I had a lot of blackouts. So I have whole vacations, years I don`t remember. So I would say my life is different now because I`m fully present, and I`m not always trying to obliterate my feelings.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you were a blackout drinker, which is what I was, too.

Yes. From the very -- the first time I ever drank, I had a blackout.


You know, sobriety is a wonderful thing, and I`m so happy we`re here to celebrate it together and inspire people.

You have also created a series of CDs to help parents keep their kids from destroying their lives through addiction. Tell us about that.

HENDERSON: Well, I felt like we were missing things as parents that was what was really going on. So I talked directly to the teens, and found out where they`re getting the booze. How they`re getting the booze. How early they`re drinking. How parents can spot the warning signs, and then how as parents we can actually intervene and get the kids some help and treatment before they go as long as I did or you did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it`s the -- my dog doesn`t have fleas syndrome. Parents are very reluctant to admit when their kid has a drug or alcohol problem, because they don`t want to believe it. But the point is to get out of denial and to get the help right away.

I am so proud of you. 23 years sober; pretty amazing stuff. And I pray and I`ll make it one day at a time to 15 in April.

To celebrate your amazing story of recovery tonight, we`re going to go to one of my favorite vegan restaurants right here in New York City, and, by the way, we`re going to celebrate your birthday.

Now if you know --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Happy birthday, my dear.

If you know somebody at home struggling with addiction, to drugs, or alcohol, check out my book. My book, "I Want", might be, in fact, a smart holiday gift; it`s my story of recovery.

And, by the way, if you`re in Philadelphia Saturday, come to my reading at Giovanni`s Room`s book store, right there in Philly. I`m going to be doing a book signing. For details, you can visit my page, I hope to see you there.

There is a way out, if you have a problem.

Here`s a question. Has Elin Woods finally reached her breaking point? "People" magazine report sources close to the Swedish model say Elin is out of there. The sources say she is leaving Tiger; she is going to be gone before the New Year.

As the laundry list of women claiming to be Tiger`s mistresses keeps on growing, sources tell "People" magazine, Elin has made up her mind. There is nothing to think about, he is never going to change. Elin flashed a bare hand at the paparazzi; she`s no longer sporting the diamond rock and gold wedding band she usually wears, also known as a house on a finger. It`s that expensive.

Also, moving trucks were reportedly spotted at Tiger`s Florida mansion. TMZ reports Elin directed movers as they packed up artwork. HLN has not been independently able to confirm any of this.

Now, paparazzi tried to get an answer out of Elin herself. She remained tight-lipped. Take a look at that interaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you still love Tiger, Elin?

Will you ever forgive him? Are you going to divorce him, Elin? What do you think of his 14 mistresses? What would you say to them?

ELIN WOODS, TIGER WOODS` WIFE: How about something nice, like, "How are you holding up?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you holding up, Elin?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, guys, leave her alone. She is the victim here. Geez.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. Tonight, a very special guest joins us; Mary Jo Eustace has been in Elin`s shoes. Her husband cheated on her with the very famous Tori Spelling. We`re going to get her perspective in a moment.

Also joining us noted sex therapist, Alex Katahakas (ph); and "Extra" correspondent, Carlos Diaz.

Carlos, it`s hard to keep up these days. What is the very latest?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Well, the very latest is you have "The New York Post", "People" Magazine, TMZ all reporting that this marriage is over. And let me just say right now, the best thing for Tiger Woods is for this marriage to be over. Because every time he goes to a golf tournament next year when he comes back -- and I`m saying when, not if -- he`s going to be asked, how are you holding up, how is Elin holding up, how are the kids holding up, how is the marriage doing?

Tiger needs to cut his losses and for anyone out there who says that I`m being insensitive about this whole thing, this marriage was a sham to begin with. Tiger was never faithful. He has no idea how to be a husband, no idea at all. So there`s just no idea to carry on with this sham of a marriage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think getting honest is the key, and if that`s what it means to get honest is to end a marriage that is not working, then that`s a good solution.

Our very special guest tonight, Mary Jo Eustace; she has been in Elin`s shoes. She is going to share her insight into what it`s like to be in the center of a celebrity cheating scandal. Mary Jo`s husband, Dean, was co-starring in a movie with Tori Spelling and she says he cheated on Mary Jo with Tori. And then he actually divorced Mary Jo and is now married to Tori Spelling.

So Mary Jo is the author of the fabulous book, "Divorce Sucks"; one of my favorite titles.

Mary Jo, take us inside the mind of a betrayed wife who is in a celebrity situation. What`s Elin going through mentally and emotionally right now? What are her thoughts, desires and fears?

EUSTACE: Well, I would hate to speak for her but the very weird thing about it is we`re all finding out about Tiger`s transgressions and so is she probably. And as these lovely women go on television giving detail after detail, after minutia of the affair, you know, her private life is completely public.

And it`s absolutely horrifying because it`s a very weird situation. Something terrible is happening to your family yet in the outside world your life is being rewritten in the media and it`s very objectifying. And you`re so...


EUSTACE: ... disconnected from it. And you can`t even grieve about your marriage.


EUSTACE: You don`t even have that opportunity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are going to have more right after the break. Listen to this.



SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: He`s insulated and no one -- if Charles -- if Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan can`t get...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, that`s insulation.

LEE: ... to him...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you have like he`s number...

LEE: ... and those are his boys...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have his number, right?

CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA ANALYST, TNT: Oh he`s changed his number.

LEE: If Charles and Michael who can`t get to him. I don`t -- these other people are making bad moves.


BARKLEY: I think when you have these fires in your life as I call them, you need to talk to somebody else who is famous who have been through things in their life. I don`t think you can talk about it to your family and friends because you`re family and friends they`re not famous.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And with all due respect, the fabulous program coming up this Sunday on HLN. Check it out.

My big ISSUE tonight what is Tiger`s next move? The New York Daily News reports Tiger is thinking about getting away with his buddies. Now, these are possibly the same gentlemen who actually maybe facilitated some of his alleged liaisons.

If these rumors are true, this is a bad idea. To use recovery terminology you don`t go off with your co-dependents, apologies to the enablers. In addiction we call these people lesser companions. These are the people who co-sign bad behavior and rationalize it for you and tell you you`re ok and you don`t have a problem.

Alex Katahakas (ph), you`re a sex addiction specialist. Do you think that Tiger has a problem with sex addiction?

IAN KERNER (SIC), SEX THERAPIST: Well, I think that Tiger definitely has a problem and whether we call it sex addiction or a hyper sexual behavior, he`s in trouble. And he`s displaying all of the earmarks of someone who does have that problem.

For example, he proceeded in spite of detrimental consequences to his wife, children and family. It`s likely that`s he`s highly impulsive. We don`t know if he`s built a tolerance for these behaviors but he`s certainly been secretive and shaming and likely abusive in some ways emotionally to all of the women involved in this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, again, if all this is true, we have not heard details from Tiger except to acknowledge infidelity transgressions. But nevertheless, if all of it is true, Alex, I got to tell you a lot of people don`t buy sex addiction. They buy alcoholism and drug addiction but basically they`ve got other words that we won`t repeat here on TV to describe this behavior and sex addiction isn`t one of them.

ALEX KATAHAKAS, SEX THERAPIST: Right. Because they think that sex addiction gets people off the hook for being responsible for their behaviors and that`s not the case. People that engage in these behaviors do it because they can`t stop doing it and he had the perfect platform to do it.

He`s intelligent so he can create these liaisons in ways where he`s not found out. He`s handsome so he has women throwing at him and he`s got accessibility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s got power and money.

KATAKAS: Right, he`s got power...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: CARLOS, but here -- do you buy the sex addiction? You`re a guy. Do you buy it?

CARLOS DIAZ: You know the difference between sex addiction and alcoholism and drug addiction is this. If and I`m this is just in my un- expert opinion, if he gets divorced then what he`s doing is not wrong in any way. He`s just going out and dating girls.

I mean, if you`re an alcoholic, you have to stop being an alcoholic. You`ve to stop drinking. If you`re addicted to drugs, you need to stop doing drugs...


DIAZ: If he gets divorce then he can go have sex with whoever he wants, correct?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary Jo, doesn`t the celebrity culture encourage this?

EUSTACE: Well, I think it`s the accessibility. You made a really good point at the beginning about these people who facilitate the behavior. And if you are talking about betrayal and old fronts for the wife, I mean, imagine how she feels about her husband and imagine how she feels about the people who hung out with him. The people who helped him acquire this litany of women. And the interesting thing is, he is a smart guy but...

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

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN. Thank you panel.