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Search for Abducted Son Turns International

Aired December 21, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the hunt for a father and his kidnapped son goes international. This little boy was ripped from his school bus by his own dad. Now they`re nowhere to be found. Cops say they may have fled the country. Tonight I`ll talk with the one and only Dog the Bounty Hunter. He has some crucial advice for the boy`s desperate mother. How would the Dog track this guy down and bring him to justice?

And disturbing new developments in the search for Utah missing mother Susan Powell. It`s been more than two weeks. Now a close friend says Susan was contemplating divorce before she vanished. We`ve got all the fast-breaking developments, including her husband`s bizarre behavior at Susan`s vigil. Tonight we`ll talk to Susan Powell`s dad and go inside the investigation.

Plus a Hollywood star drops dead at just 32 years old. Brittany Murphy, the star of "Clueless" fame and "8 Mile" was found dead inside her shower. Her husband didn`t want an autopsy, but the coroner is doing one any way. What led to her tragic death?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the frantic search for a 10-year-old boy snatched off a school bus in October grows more and more desperate. It all went down on gut-wrenching surveillance video.


JEAN PAUL LACOMBE, CENTER OF CUSTODY DISPUTE: Please help me. He`s not my dad. He`s not my dad. I don`t want to live with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. You`re going to have to get off the bus. Come on.

LACOMBE: No, I don`t want to live with him! I want to stay with my mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not going to let him do anything to you.

LACOMBE: No. Please! No, no, no, no, no, no. Someone help me, please! Someone help me, please! Someone help me, please!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In October, San Antonio, Texas, cops forced that child, a terrified Jean Paul Lacombe, off of his school bus and into his father`s car as the child begged them not to. Cops say they were simply following orders.

A Texas judge reportedly says he was tricked into signing an order that gave custody of the boy to his father. That man, Jean-Philippe Lacombe, allegedly gave the judge a legal document, written in Spanish, that the court couldn`t read and didn`t bother translating. The dad claimed that document gave him custody of the boy. But that was a lie. The papers were apparently a warrant for his own arrest in Mexico.

Meanwhile, prosecutors and the U.S. marshals are now hunting for the guy and his 10-year-old son. They suspect they could be in Mexico, or in France.

As for the child`s mother, she is holding on to every single shred of hope.


BERENICE DIAZ, MOTHER: I`m getting the help we need to get close, and I send you a lot of love, so we are getting closer every day that is coming. So don`t cry anymore. Be strong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to hear from that brave mom live tonight, and I`m hoping we can even give her more insight into how authorities can and should track her son`s alleged abductor. That advice is going to come from our very special guest, bounty hunter and star of A&E`s hit show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter," Duane "Dog" Chapman. Dog will share his many real-life brushes with danger and even his own brush with the law.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eat, breathe and live, just to catch Luster. Then Dog`s luck would change.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So much to talk about, and I want to hear from you. Give me a call on this case. What do you think the mom should do: 1-877- 586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic guest: Berenice Diaz, the missing boy`s mother, and her attorney, Miguel Ortiz. We also have Richard Brot, an attorney who specializes in abduction cases. And live from his home state of Hawaii, the one and only, Duane Dog Chapman.

Thank you for joining me, Dog.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dog, there is a mother living in agony, tortured because she doesn`t know where her precious son is. She is right there in studio listening right now. What advice would you give her? What does she need to do to find her boy?

CHAPMAN: Well, you know, one thing about these parents that run off with their kids, when you have a child that is a kidnapper that`s a predator, you need to find the child within a couple days. If you don`t, usually the child is found, you know, harmed. With the -- it`s hard to say this, but sometimes time is on her side when it comes to a parent like this taking.

You know, all the excuses you could ever use: it was the judge`s fault. He should have had an interpreter. A lot of mistakes were made, but you can`t go back on them mistakes. I would be filing -- or financing this hunt with the attorney`s malpractice suit on both sides.

So, you know, you don`t want to think about that. You want to think about where he is. OK, where is he? He`s been to France. He`s been to Mexico. I think that he kind of went to Mexico maybe to throw her off, because this is the second time he`s done that. But what you need to do is keep out pictures of him. Keep the pictures in the media. Keep the pictures door to door, wherever you think he`s at. Start sending pictures to the local sheriff down there.

A lot of times in Mexico, small towns have a lot of other things going on, and they don`t, say, watch television. So you need to start sending mug shots to the places of the baby and a copy of his arrest warrant for the husband wherever you think he could be. You can actually sit at home, get on your computer, your e-mails, your faxes, and just start bombarding places with, "I think my husband`s down here. Would you please look around?"

But usually, it takes a few days to be able to, where he settles down. The little boy sounds like he is going to be very vocal and talk to a friend or talk to someone he meets and say, "Hey, would you get a hold of my mother?" I think that`s what will happen, is the little boy will let slip where he`s at, trying to find the mother.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you were down there, successfully looking for Andrew Luster, the cosmetics heir who fled to Mexico after being convicted in absentia of a whole bunch of sex crimes. You caught him. So you know what you`re talking about, Dog, because you are the bounty hunter, down there tracking this guy.

And I remember that you -- we watched you day after day, and you got closer and closer. And you just finally narrowed it and found out where he was.

Tonight`s big issue: where in the world could this father/son pair be? The possibilities span three continents. Cops believe they could be in Mexico City. Why? Because Jean-Philippe Lacombe is a Mexican citizen and because Berenice has said that she holds her son`s passport.

Mexico is also just a car ride away. There have been some reports, in fact, that the father`s car was seen crossing the border into Mexico. Berenice also says they she spotted them, however, at the San Antonio Airport after the abduction. Were they flying to France? The boy`s father also has French citizenship. Or could they even be headed to Russia? Berenice says her ex-husband is now married to a Russian woman.

Dog, the mom is right here. What question would you like to ask the mom, Berenice, to get a handle on what direction to go?

CHAPMAN: Well, I heard the father had a lot of money. Does he use credit cards? How does he travel, usually?


DIAZ: Right now I don`t know how he -- I haven`t seen him for a while. So I don`t know if he`s using credit cards or only, you know, cash.

CHAPMAN: And do you have a picture of his new wife? Do you have her name and her picture?

DIAZ: I have his complete -- her complete name, but I don`t have a picture. I don`t have a picture of her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think you just raised something really good, Dog, because if we get a picture of that woman, that could give us a lead, too. But go ahead.

CHAPMAN: Well, a lot of times, exactly right. If we -- if we have a fugitive that, say, leaves with his girlfriend and you can`t find the fugitive, he`s too elusive, then we start looking for the girlfriend.

So right now, I would start looking for this new wife. Get her picture out there. She probably doesn`t want this kind of heat on her.

But let me say something about the Mexican citizens. I did arrest Andrew Luster for 86 counts of rape. We were rearrested later, five years later, because of that. When the Mexico court saw what he did, they dropped charges against my family.

Mexico is very high on children and life. If -- you know, the Mexican government has a warrant for this guy for kidnapping, they will do everything under their power. This is not like a drug dealer or a cartel member. Mexico has very high morality, the country. When you go to snatching babies, they don`t like that.

So I would -- I would absolutely get, you know, the warrant copy of it, get a picture of his alleged wife. We can track him through credit cards. I`ll try -- I`ll go home right now and tell Beth. We`ll try to help you out a little bit tracking him.


CHAPMAN: Because, you know, I don`t think he`s paying cash with all that different that different -- you`re very welcome. With all that different currency right now all over, he`s hitting different countries. I think he`s using a couple cards or maybe his new wife`s cards.

But like I`m telling you, that little boy has got half of you in him, and he`s going to go to someone and say, "Please call my mom." Do not let the phone that you -- your son knows the number, be occupied all the time. Keep that line like a hot red phone if you were calling the President Obama. Keep that phone blank until that baby calls. I guarantee you that baby`s going to call you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I don`t understand, Berenice, is that your son was snatched in October. Here we are in December. What are the authorities doing to help you?

DIAZ: Now they are doing an investigation. You know, they are trying to track him, as well, but until two weeks ago...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But why did -- why did they wait so long? I mean, it was -- right after this horrific incident, it was just a phone call for them to realize that this guy was a kidnapper -- he had kidnapped your child once before -- and to get on his tail. And yet, it seems we`re like just -- only when the media got on it do we hear that there`s any action.

MIGUEL ORTIZ, BERENICE DIAZ`S ATTORNEY: Let me -- let me answer that for her.


ORTIZ: Because one of the problems that we have encountered, once she came to our office, we -- we directed her to go to the law enforcement agencies, and everybody directed this to be a civil matter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A civil matter? It`s a kidnapping!

ORTIZ: And that`s what -- that`s what I believe it was from the beginning. And it wasn`t until after the people from KABB here, the local reporters got a hold of the case and we got the video from the bus that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank God for the media. Thank God for the media.

Boy, this is a shocker. We`re going to hear from an attorney who knows all about extradition issues. Coming up next, stay right where you are. We have more with Dog, more from this mom who`s missing her child. This international manhunt continues.

We`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, was Susan Powell contemplating a divorce just days before she vanished? Her friends say she wanted out of her controlling marriage. What affect could this have on Susan`s case and her husband? We will talk to Susan`s father live and go inside the investigation.

But first, a little boy ripped from his school, kidnapped by his own dad. Now the hunt is on for Jean Lacombe and his 10-year-old son.


DIAZ: I don`t know where he is. He can be anywhere. Anywhere. He`s a Mexican citizen, he`s a French citizen. He`s married to a Russian woman, so I don`t know.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you thought of hiring a bounty hunter? I mean, I think, really, mad Dog Chapman and what are these other high-profile bounty hunters, Curtis Sliwa, shouldn`t they get involved? I mean, we`ve got to find this guy.

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: There`s no question they would have the opportunity to do that.

DIAZ (via phone): I need all the help that I need. That I can get. Sorry, I need all the help I can get.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Help, and dog gone it, we made it happen. Dog joins us live from Hawaii tonight.

And just a little recap and review, Dog made international fame when he tracked down Andrew Luster in Mexico. And now we`re going to get his help in this case, of this little boy who was abducted from a bus stop with the help of police in Texas.

OK. Texas police facilitated this kidnapping by dragging this poor kid off the bus when his father presented -- presented phony documents to law enforcement and to the court saying, "Hey, I`ve got custody of this kid."

It turned out he didn`t have custody. He was lying. He was holding up documents that were written in Spanish that actually said, "You`re wanted for arrest in Mexico." Now they could be anywhere, and we`re going to solve this case.

Harold, in Delaware, your question or thought, sir?

CALLER: Yes, the cops should know what`s going on with the papers, and they should let Dog Duane Chapman come in and find the little boy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I think Dog should get involved, and he said he`s going to help this mom. And we appreciate him coming here to talk about all this.

Let`s watch this harrowing video of the 10-year-old boy being forced off the bus by cops. I`d love to get your reaction, Dog, on the other side to this.


JEAN PAUL LACOMBE, CENTER OF CUSTODY DISPUTE: Please help me. He`s not my dad. He`s not my dad. I don`t want to live with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. You`re going to have to get off the bus. Come on.

LACOMBE: No, I don`t want to live with him! I want to stay with my mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not going to let him do anything to you.

LACOMBE: No. Please! No, no, no, no, no, no. Someone help me, please! Someone help me, please! Someone help me, please!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Here`s my second big issue. There needs to be an investigation, Dog, into how this all went down. This guy came into town. He hired a couple of lawyers who have been exonerated of any wrongdoing, but there were reports that they were paid a lot of money. They go to the court.

They hand this phony document to the judge. The judge issues an order. The cops go there and drag this poor kid off the bus. He was lying on the ground, begging them not to be put in his father`s hands, and they completely ignored him, even though he said, "My father hits me."

Dog, your reaction?

CHAPMAN: Well, you know, two reactions. You have to realize the cops had a warrant in their hand. It`s like, how many times have we heard someone has been arrested falsely? That`s exactly what it was kind of like. When the cop has a warrant, he`s bound, swore. He has to do his civil duty, which is take the baby into custody.

Go back to the lawyers that perpetrated the scam on the court, and -- and throw them in jail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they`ve been exonerated. Here`s what I don`t get.

CHAPMAN: How could they be?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And maybe Ronald Brot could weigh in on this. Apparently, there`s been an investigation, and those attorneys have been exonerated of any wrongdoing, and they`ve hired their own attorney. And the judge is also saying, "Oh, I did nothing wrong."

CHAPMAN: Well, the judge made a mistake, but it`s hard to get a judge to say that. The judge made a mistake. You know, I`ve been through the Mexican courts and the American courts with different documents coming. There`s a big gold seal when it comes from Mexico.

Then, even though my judge, Judge Kern here in the United States, got the copy of the order, he wanted to see one. He wanted to talk to someone in Mexico. It took a couple days to verify these documents.

Over, you know, and that`s -- this, over a child. The judge made the mistake. But this could help us. I mean, this kind of obligates the cops to do their duty. You know, get out there and help find this little boy.

And one thing, again, I see the little boy as very vocal. This little boy needs to get -- we need to start saying for him to call his mother. I mean, it`s going to be...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you. Ronald, what do you make of this whole legal -- I think there needs to be an investigation. I don`t buy this whole thing about, "Oh, I made a mistake." They could have brought in a translator. They could have made a single phone call to find out that this guy had tried to -- had actually kidnapped his son once before.

RICHARD BROT, ATTORNEY SPECIALIZING IN ABDUCTION: Just think about what they`re saying, Jane. The lawyers are saying, "We followed our client."

The judge is saying, "We followed the lawyer."

The sheriffs are saying, "We followed the judge."

Everyone wants to be a follower. No one wants to be a leader. No one wants to take responsibility for causing a parent`s worst nightmare. You put your child on a school bus, kiss him good-bye, and you never see him again. Maybe not for a year. Maybe not for two years. And maybe never.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does she have a civil action against the powers that be in this principality, this locality in Texas?

BROT: In all -- in all likelihood, she doesn`t. Her concern today is not who to sue. Her concern is how does she find her child?

Remember, she`s been through this once already. Her husband, when they got divorced in 2005, Jean Philippe got custody of the child and took -- abducted him. And the child was gone for two years.


BROT: She came to the United States for protection. What protection did they give him?


BROT: Everyone needs to take responsibility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are -- we are going to come back in a second on the other side and talk to you about the hell you`ve been through.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stay right there.

The international manhunt continues. We`re going to find this kid.


LACOMBE: I want to stay with my mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not going to let him do anything to you.

LACOMBE: No. Please! No, no, no, no, no, no. Someone help me, please! Someone help me, please! Someone help me, please!




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is he not your dad?

LACOMBE: Because he hits me a lot of times. I don`t want to live with him. I want to live with my mother, please!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was little Jean Paul, pleading to be kept away from his allegedly abusive father right before he was snatched away. Now, listen to the constable`s explanation about why it happened.


CHIEF CONSTABLE MARK VOJVODICH, BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS: I absolutely agree with people`s outrage, and they`re so concerned. The problem I have, though, is unless you`ve actually had to physically go out in the field and take a child from one parent or the other at the order of the court, you absolutely do not have any idea what it`s really like.

It is tough on the children. It`s tough on the parents. It`s tough on the officers. The only person really we`re concerned with in this particular case, in most of these cases, is the child. It`s because the parents have not been able to resolve their problems in an adult fashion that they wind up in court anyway.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. A little problem with that explanation. The kid said, "My dad hit me." He said it very clearly, and they were obliged to call Child Protective Services when a youngster says he is being physically abused. So there is a big problem with this case.

Now, I want to get Duane back with mom, Berenice, and try to figure something out. Mom, you say you still have this little boy`s passport. OK?

DIAZ: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you also say, though, that you went to the airport, San Antonio Airport, and you saw your ex talking to somebody at a counter, but he said, "Oh, I`m just pricing -- I`m just pricing tickets," which is nonsense, because he`s a millionaire. You don`t price tickets when you`re a millionaire.

You saw the little boy there. This was the day after the bus incident, and you still couldn`t get your son, because he said, if I go with you, what will happen?

DIAZ: If -- I said, Jean Paul, "Let`s go," because I grabbed him. I said, "Let`s go."

And he said, "No, Mom, because if I leave my dad, he will kill you." So he`s so scared. He`s so threatened. So that`s why I`m so scared about it. Because he -- he`s abusive, not only physically. He`s abusive psychological, verbal to him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he had kidnapped him once before and that`s why the child is on medication, because he developed a nervous disorder. Right?

DIAZ: Yes. He has posttraumatic disorder because he was kidnapped once before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this. You heard Dog`s discussions. Do you have the money, do you have the resources to start putting all this into action? The faxing and the sending the photos and tracking down the wife and what she looks like?

DIAZ: No, I don`t have the money to do it. I -- two years ago I had to do it by myself. So going again to these, I`m not economically wealthy. I don`t have the money to. But what can I -- I have the -- I have the -- I have a very bad copy picture of the wife, and I have some information of her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, good. Well, that`s new. We`ve got new information there, Dog. She`s got a copy of a picture of the wife, the Russian wife.

CHAPMAN: Yes. We should put that picture up. Again, we need to look for the wife.

And listen, the lawyers that -- they have a document that is written in Spanish that says, "You`re going to be arrested." Did the lawyers that represented her or the husband speak Spanish? Now, they may be cleared of criminal, but if that`s not malpractice, I don`t know what is. So you go to the lawyers...

BROT: Regardless of whether they speak -- regardless of whether they speak Spanish.

CHAPMAN: Exactly.

BROT: It`s in Texas. It`s San Antonio, Texas.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang in. We are going to get back to this. We`re not letting it go. We are going to be back with more. We`re going to find this kid for this mom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, disturbing new developments in the search for missing Utah mother Susan Powell. Now a close friend says Susan was contemplating...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, disturbing new developments in the search for missing Utah mother Susan Powell. Now a close friend says Susan was contemplating a divorce before she vanished. And we`ll analyze her husband`s bizarre behavior at a vigil for her. We`ve got all the fast- breaking details.

Plus, a Hollywood star drops dead at just 32 years old. Brittany Murphy was found dead inside her shower, and an autopsy is being done. What led to her tragic death?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This dynamic trio who have caught countless criminals on the run now find themselves...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is Duane Dog Chapman. We have him here live on ISSUES tonight. He is helping us find this poor 10-year-old boy who was dragged off of a bus in Texas by constables operating on the authority of a judge who handed the child over to the father, who did not have custody and who in fact kidnapped this child once before.

The mother had spent two years trying to get the child back when this man kidnapped the child back in 2005. She got the child, decided to move to the United States to be safe, and, voila, this guy comes in and kidnaps the child again but this time with a twist. Getting a judge`s help in Texas, because the judge didn`t bother to check it out.

Duane, here`s the thing. If the mom has the passport, is there any chance that he`s in Mexico, in France or Russia? Or is it more likely that this guy took the son to Mexico, a car ride across the border? And if so, Mexico`s a really big place. I lived there my junior year in college, it`s massive. How do you narrow it down?

DUANE "DOG" CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: Well, the passport, first of all, you know, it`s almost as easy to get a passport, a fake one, as it is to get a fake driver`s license. With a child it`s a little more difficult. So, you know, the passport thing really doesn`t mean -- he probably is -- if he was for sure seen entering Mexico, you would think, in the Mexico City area, that he would lay low for the holidays.

You know, the holidays are huge in Mexico same as there in America. I think he`s going somewhere where he could lay low until after the holidays when things start dying down. And then I guarantee you he`s going back to where he was the two years before, that`s comfortable to him, and the boy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s France, right? That`s Nice, France? I think that`s France.

CHAPMAN: I would think so, France, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this, though, Dog. I think that because this guy is a millionaire and he`s apparently a trust fund baby, used to living in the lap of luxury, he`s going to have a hard time laying low in some rugged skanky little tiny hotel somewhere down in Mexico. I think this guy likes luxury, and I think that we should look in Mexico, but look for some kind of luxury, right?

Because Berenice, you were married to this guy. He doesn`t seem like the kind of guy that wants to rough it, if you know what I mean, Berenice.

BERENICE DIAZ, MOTHER OF KIDNAPPED BOY: No, he likes luxury. He likes to have -- to spend money. So, yes, for sure he`s going to spend money in some way. I don`t know by credit card or I don`t know by cash. But he likes good life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Richard Brot, you`re the attorney who specializes in these cases. We`re kind of piecing the puzzle together. Dog`s helping us. What about the coordination between the U.S. authorities and the Mexican authorities to try to put the noose around this guy?

BROT: Well, you perhaps can get the cooperation -- I know that our manhunter thinks that good things will happen if Mexico can find him. Frankly I`m not so sure.

We have an extradition treaty with Mexico, but that same treaty provides that they`re not required to extradite their own nationals. I`m not sure if Jean Philippe is French or if he`s Mexican. I know that -- I represent two different mothers who had children abducted a year and a half ago. We traced them down to Mexico. The FBI traced them into Mexico. Interpol was looking for them, and they haven`t been seen since.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boy, you know, this is just such a mess. But I want to ask mom, will you come on tomorrow and bring the picture of the Russian wife so that we can put that on the air and help narrow this case? Will you come back and show us this picture of this woman that he married?

DIAZ: Yes, yes, of course. The one that I have.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, if you`re not going to get the help you need, we`ll do it here on ISSUES, and we`re going to just break this case down.

DIAZ: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re not going to stop until we find your son.

BROT: Jane, it`s so important to do this -- it`s so important to do this before they get to Russia. We have no extradition treaty with Russia, and Russia is not a member of the Hague Convention on international child abduction. We must find that child before he`s taken to Russia.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. It`s just a horror story. I can`t imagine this is happening in the good old U.S. of A.

All right. Thank you fantastic panel. Dog, hang in, we need your help on another case as well.

And mom, you`re coming back tomorrow with that picture of that Russia lady and we`re going to try to find your son.

A stunning new development in the search for missing Utah mom Susan Powell: before she went missing was the young mother thinking about divorcing her husband? Her close friend says yes. She describes Susan`s marriage as unhappy and her husband Josh as controlling. Listen to this from NBC`s "The Today Show".


RACHEL MARINI, FRIEND OF SUSAN AND JOSH POWELL: Over the eight years it got progressively worse and Josh became more and more controlling, and it was harder for her to remain herself and remain the happy person that she was.

He controlled everything in their marriage, from the money that Susan spent to what groceries she could buy, what she could eat.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Plus, more bizarre behavior from Susan`s husband, Josh. He traveled, get this, 900 miles with his 4-year-old son to be at a vigil for his wife. But once he got there, there he barely spoke to her family.

Now he`s reportedly taking his sons to spend the holidays with his family. Neighbors are shocked Josh would leave the state while his wife is still missing. Police are still calling Josh a person of interest.

Now they`re paying close attention to this interview Josh did with a local TV station. Listen, as he explains why he did not show up for work the day Susan went missing.


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

JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: I was somehow thinking that it was Sunday. It`s like I didn`t go to church, and I -- I just missed a day and thought, we`ll go, we`ll come back Sunday.

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



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: also joining us tonight, "Dog the bounty hunter", a.k.a. Duane "Dog" Chapman as well as Chuck Cox, Susan Powell`s father.

Mr. Cox, thank you so much for joining us today. I honestly cannot imagine what you`re going through as this drags on and your precious daughter remains missing.

Given all these new developments we`re hearing about a friend saying in published reports that your daughter was contemplating divorce, can you give us your reaction to that? You`ve spoken in the past about troubles, but did she ever express to you that she was contemplating divorce?

CHUCK COX, FATHER OF MISSING WOMAN: No, she hadn`t divulged that to me. It`s surprising to me. The last time I talked to her, things were getting better between them. That`s what she was telling me, anyway.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, what about this behavior of your son-in-law at the vigil? The reports are he drove 900 miles from Utah to Washington State to attend the vigil. And then he gets there and then according to numerous published reports, he`s behaving oddly. He doesn`t acknowledge you.

Tell us about what happened at the vigil, sir.

COX: Well, we had the vigil. It started at the appointed time, and after the vigil had concluded, we had a closing prayer, and I`d been talking to reporters for a few minutes. I was taken a little bit away from where we had the family standing, under a -- I heard someone say that he had just arrived.

And then I noticed it. I stood back while he was being interviewed, it looked like a brother or relative of his was being interviewed and they were just in a circle there for a few minutes. I don`t know. It`s kind of a cocoon of umbrellas. I could see my grandson there.

I wanted to go forward, but they were being interviewed and they were being -- kind of standing in a huddled group together and I just didn`t feel right interrupting whatever they were doing at the time. But he never spoke to me. I -- at the vigil. And like I say, he arrived after it was over, basically.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why would a father take his kids out in the middle of his night to go camping in the snow, in sub freezing weather? And what mother would be ok with that?

Susan`s friends say there is no way Susan would have allowed it. Listen to this from NBC`s "The Today Show".


MARINI: His story just doesn`t add up. And so I think it was only a matter of time before it came to this. If Susan -- if he had told Susan, "Hey, I`m going to take the boys out camping," and, you know, it`s 10 degrees out, it`s a blizzard, and we have school the next day, she would have said no way, and she wouldn`t have let him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, now we add to that reports that a friend says she was considering divorce, and that he was becoming increasingly controlling. What say you?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`d say the prosecutors and law enforcement clearly believe that he`s more than just a person of interest. Clearly they deem him a suspect, and they`re gathering evidence behind the scenes to build their case.

I can suggest to you that there`s three possibilities. He`s guilty, as most of your viewers already deem him to be. He`s thoroughly innocent, or something in the middle, where he might have done something, and he`s trying to cover that behavior up and he`s not doing a good job of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we have to say he has not been charged with anything and he is not officially being considered a suspect. He`s been labeled person of interest.

Coming up, much more on the search for Susan Powell.

Also Tiger Woods sets sail. Reports he`s boarded his private yacht. Where is he headed and who is he with?

Plus Brittany Murphy found dead inside her bathroom. The Hollywood star was only 32 years old. What led to her tragic and sudden death?

We`re taking your calls on all of this; 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297. I want to know what you think.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about the Susan Powell case. And she is missing. She`s been missing since December 6th, Sunday.

Do we have a quick comment from "Dog" on this?

CHAPMAN: Well, thank you very much. You know, let me tell you this. Now, I`ve chased and captured killers; of all the crimes, the killers are the stupidest, the dumbest.

You see, this guy, what did you do? You forgot it was Sunday. Wait a minute. You watched football on that Sunday, what did you do the next Sunday? That`s how dumb they are. They came up with, you know, I thought it was Sunday, and it was Monday. Come on, man. You`ve got to have a better excuse than that.

People look like they`re trying to chase rocket scientists. These guys, the Scott Peterson guys that kill their wives like this, they leave clues all over. You know what I mean?

EIGLARSH: I guess "dog" doesn`t believe in the presumption of innocence. I guess somehow that goes out the window.

CHAPMAN: We live in America, listen, I do, you know, this is a new era, bro. You do this kind of stuff, this is where sodium pentothal, methamphetamine needs to come in to play and...


EIGLARSH: Well, I don`t disagree with you...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on, hold on, hold on...

CHAPMAN: ... shoot him up with some truth serum.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I`m bringing out the gavel for the first time tonight.

Again, this husband has not been charged with anything, he is not even considered a suspect, according to police, but he has been behaving very, very strangely.

I want to go back, and, of course, thank you, "Dog", for your comments. And I appreciate your help on the other case.

CHAPMAN: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go back to Chuck Cox, Susan Powell`s father, and ask you: originally when you were on the show, you said basically you didn`t really want to discuss your son-in-law because you -- you were trying to be, I guess, loyal, and you felt that, hey, I just don`t want to get into it.

But now you`ve been publicly expressing some doubts. Tell us how you`ve shifted a little bit, and why.

COX: Well, it`s been two weeks. The shock, if he did -- if my son- in-law`s wife is missing, I can understand he might be under pressure. All of a sudden, everything`s against him.

Now, it`s been two weeks. He now has competent legal counsel, and he`s back with his father and his -- the local family. So I`m looking for answers. I want to find my daughter, and I -- I`m looking for a viable story. Something that police can verify from my son-in-law.

And I`m waiting for that. And time`s running out. I want the help he can provide to find my daughter, Susan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A Utah court has issued a subpoena to three Salt Lake TV stations. They want the original video of interviews reporters did with Josh Powell after his wife went missing.

Here`s a clip from one of those interviews that we`re going to analyze.


POWELL: A lot of times I just go camping with my boys. You know, not anything big. I just go overnight, and we do (INAUDIBLE) and stuff like that. And so I just went with the boys, was planning to do some (INAUDIBLE) in the morning. Then when we got home, well, on the way home, I found out that people were worried about us and we were missing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve Kardian, you`re the criminal investigator -- very, very hesitant as he speaks. Why do you think prosecutors and law enforcement want to take a very good look, not just at the clips that aired, but the entire raw tape?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Jane, they want to look at him. And we saw him on that video, and he`s searching for his words almost as though he was making up the story as he went along. He seemed confused.

Law enforcement is going to have to take a look at him months, months prior to this. See everywhere he goes. They`re going to look at his computer. They`re going to look at his credit card records. They`re going to look at his easy pass records. And they`re going to have to find and pinpoint where in fact he was that evening that she disappeared.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I don`t get is, in this day and age of videotape, you would think, Mark Eiglarsh, given that he says he drove, and he was seen actually leaving the house and then coming back, that at some point there`d be a video of him either getting gas, or driving on a street. I mean, it`s amazing to me that we still have not gotten to that point in this day in age.

EIGLARSH: That`s correct. He should have thought about these things beforehand. Because if he`s claiming he went to a certain location, that could easily be shown not to be truthful if we have the technology that you`re speaking of.

Unfortunately, we don`t, it hasn`t caught up with us. And unfortunately, we would know right away if he`s lying or not. Other than lying on this which tends to suggest that he is -- I don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A quick question for the father: we`re hearing now as well that the couple was seeing a marriage counselor and that there were money problems. We do know published reports that they had declared bankruptcy or he had, and that there was debt at a certain point a couple of years ago of $200,000. What do you know, sir?

COX: I know they did declare bankruptcy and it was related to a business transaction he had while he was working to expand a real estate business. But it was my understanding that that had all been cleared up and with his current, full-time employment and her employment, the finances were not an issue that I was aware of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sir, I want you know we`re going to stay on this case. We`re going to keep your daughter`s picture out there and we would love you to come back. Hopefully we`ll have a happy ending.

COX: I would love that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you fabulous panel.

Coming up next, we`re going to talk about Brittany Murphy who tragically was found dead, very sudden. She had been ill but there is really no explanation for her sudden death. We`re going to take your calls on this. Weigh in.

What do you think happened? It is a terrible tragedy and we are going to analyze it next.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brittany Murphy singing in "Happy Feet". Tragically a shocking, Hollywood death; this beautiful bubbly actress, Brittany Murphy died suddenly after suffering cardiac arrest. The starlet was just 32 years old.

She got her big break starring opposite Alicia Silverstone as the most quotable character in "Clueless". Listen to this from Paramount Pictures.


BRITTANY MURPHY, ACTRESS: You don`t think that we mesh well? It is a lie and I`m listening to you to begin with. You`re virgin who can`t drive.

Have you shortened it?

ALICIA SILVERSTONE, ACTRESS: That was way harsh, Ty.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fans posted that quote on Facebook and Twitter after hearing about Brittany`s tragic death. The L.A. county coroner ruled Brittany died of natural causes but did the actress have private battles?

TMZ reporting Brittany`s mom found her collapsed in the bathroom. TMZ also reports Brittany had flu-like symptoms before her death and large amounts of prescription medications in her home. "US Weekly" posted this photo on its Web site. It is her last known public appearance. MSNBC reports some magazines decided against running that photo because she looked painfully thin.

TMZ is also reporting Brittany`s husband Simon Monjack told the hospital staff he did not want an autopsy done on his wife but, of course, the autopsy was done anyway by the coroner. Right now, we are being told no sign of foul play, but we`re still awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Straight out to expert panel: radio host Leslie Marshall, psychologist Robi Ludwig and "US Weekly" staff writer and reporter Erica Souter. Erica, what do you know?

ERICA SOUTER, STAFF WRITER & REPORTER, US WEEKLY: Well, there are a couple of things going on. Brittany was, by many accounts, young, relatively healthy. She`s 32 years old. Her father told us she had no history of a heart condition. So the idea of her dying of a heart attack, of course, it raises a lot of questions and red flags.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Robi Ludwig, what do you make of, yes, she had diabetes but that doesn`t kill somebody. Yes, she was painfully thin and yes, she had a flu and reportedly prescription meds?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, you know, it`s not uncommon for someone to have a co-occurring diagnosis of anorexia and depression and on also in an attempt to stay thin, sometimes abuse certain medications. We know that she was using Vicodin according to the reports.

Is it possible she had flu-like symptoms? Of course. But people who are anorexic often feel worthless and self hating in an attempt to try to feel thin, can go overboard. It also sounds like her husband may have difficulty with addiction, too. So perhaps...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we can`t say that.

LUDWIC: Yes, I mean, we don`t know but according to reports...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely not and you know, we have actually reached out to representatives for Brittany and the husband and they are -- obviously, the husband is in mourning and not commenting.

Leslie, I`m going to give you the final thought on this. What do you make of it?

LESLIE MARSHALL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, you know, when somebody is that thin, certainly, it can affect your immune system. And if you are afflicted with a flu, doesn`t have to be H1N1, and then when you add that medication and God knows what knows other medication has been taken, it certainly can be a recipe for disaster -- very thin, very young girl.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank my fantastic panel. Sorry we have a slightly shortened segment because we were trying to find a missing child with the help of Duane "Dog" Chapman.

We`re going to stay on that story tomorrow on HLN.