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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Husband of Missing Woman to Move to Another State

Aired January 4, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, mind-blowing developments in the desperate search for Susan Powell. The Utah mom has been missing for a month. Now there`s reports her husband is picking up and moving the kids out of state? What? He`s the only person of interest in this case. But instead of finding his wife, he`s moving to Washington? Is this guy running from police?

And a horrifying discovery on Christmas day. A beautiful little girl found dumped in the woods. Now cops have arrested a registered sex offender and charged him with kidnapping. Why not murder? This guy had dated the little girl`s aunt. Why was he out of prison and around little kids?

Plus, Charlie Sheen`s wife wants to work things out. Are you kidding me? Brooke Mueller accused Sheen of threatening her life and holding a knife to her neck. So why the sudden change of heart and why give this guy another chance?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a flurry of new developments in the Susan Powell case. The Utah mom has been missing four -- four -- long weeks. And now her husband, Josh, reportedly plans to move out of the state.

NBC News is reporting that Josh is taking their two young kids and moving to Washington state in the next few days. Why not stay in Utah and help search for your wife, dude?

Here`s Josh, just days after she disappeared.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: 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: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Josh claims the night Susan vanished he was camping in the freezing desert with their two young sons, and he forgot what day it was. For some reason, family and friends are having a hard time believing his story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHELBY GIFFORD, FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: The fact that Joshua has been named a person of interest in this case deeply saddens the family. But it is not a surprise, given the events and his reactions to them in the past week. We know that Susan is an excellent mother and would not have tolerated her children being taken out of the home after midnight to go camping in dangerously cold conditions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Susan`s family has launched a huge -- and I mean huge -- media blitz on Twitter, on Facebook and on YouTube. They posted this video that includes Susan`s childhood photos. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is heart wrenching.

I want to hear your take on this case. What`s your theory? Why is she missing? Where is she? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom; former criminal investigator John Lucic; clinical psychologist Dr. Dale Archer. And we`re also delighted to have tonight Judge Larry Seidlin, who of course, gained national fame after Anna Nicole Smith`s death. As you may recall, Judge Seidlin presided over the body custody hearing.

Thanks for joining us tonight, Judge.

And also joining me, investigative reporter Michelle Sigona of MichelleSigona.com. But we begin with Susan Powell`s best friend, Kiirsi Hellewell.

Thanks for joining us. I know this has got to be tough. You are a true and loyal friend. I`ve got to tell you that. You have leveraged a slew of social networking sites and the power of the online community and used of all these different resources to try to find your missing friend. Tell us how it works and how the folks at home can get involved with this.

KIIRSI HELLEWELL, FRIEND OF SUSAN POWELL: Well, we got this idea about a week ago, and we`ve been working feverishly on it ever since. And as far as I know, I don`t think that any criminal investigation or at least missing person`s case has ever used social networking like this before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good for you.

HELLEWELL: So we`ve kind of been pioneering, figuring out as we go along. We`re all just volunteers. We have our own families and our own jobs, so it`s been all-nighters and working hard. And we`re basically just asking everybody to please send an e-mail to five of their friends. Just five friends. If they want to send it to more, that`s great.

Include links to Susan`s YouTube channel, to her Facebook page, to her Twitter page. Just put it on your blogs, put it on podcasts, BlipTV, anything you can do to get her picture all over the country and every computer monitor in America.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what, is it just "find Susan," or what is the actual link? What should they type in?

HELLEWELL: If you want to see the Facebook page, which has over 300 news clips and articles, videos, discussions, statements from Susan`s family, you just go to Facebook and you type in "friends and family of Susan Powell."

If you want to follow her Twitter, it`s FindSusan. It`s @FindSusan. And YouTube is YouTube.com/SusanPowellSearch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re raising a fascinating prospect. And the question is, can hundreds of people communicating on these social networking sites give police the lead they need? As we`ve been telling you, Susan`s family has taken this approach in the hopes it could jog somebody`s memory. Somebody out there knows something.

Here is another clip of their YouTube slideshow. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Susan in happier times, and, of course, this is the woman we`re looking for. And her friends, her very true friend, Kiirsi Hellewell, is here tonight to tell us about the social networking site that she started to find her dear friend.

Kiirsi, what`s the best tip you`ve gotten so far to come out of all this work on the Internet? And if you`ve gotten any new leads, have you given them to cops?

HELLEWELL: Well, we just started this morning at 8 a.m., so it`s only been going nine hours, but we`ve already got 7,000 new people that have joined the Facebook group.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow.

HELLEWELL: They`re commenting on the page so fast that we can`t keep up with reading them, and so we`ve had to hire, well, volunteer extra monitor -- administrators to be able to monitor the comments. And we have actually gotten a couple of tips, and I`ve called the detectives and forwarded them to them immediately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you give us a hint?

HELLEWELL: No, I can`t. Sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have one last question to ask you. Josh Powell, Susan`s husband, who is a person of interest, rented a rent-a-car after they confiscated his car to test it, and drove several hundred mimes.

Now, have the cops given you a picture of that rent-a-car? Because I would think if you want to jog people`s memory and figure out where the heck he was going, posting the photo of that car might be a good lead. Somebody might have said, oh, I saw that car driving, whatever, 400 miles from his home.

HELLEWELL: I agree with you, but when I asked them about releasing that information, they said that they didn`t want it released. But you can see it in some of the videos that have been taken that first week. It`s visible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to thank you, Kiirsi, once again. Susan`s lucky to have a friend as true as you. And you know who your real friends are when something really bad happens, and I just -- cross my fingers and hope that you`re successful. Thank you, Kiirsi.

HELLEWELL: Thank you so much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, and come back soon.

Now, for the rest of my panel, I want to give you my big issue. Josh is reportedly moving from Utah to Washington state. Is this his exit strategy? I mean, this raises a lot of legal questions. Why leave while your wife is missing? Police apparently couldn`t get Josh to cooperate when he was still in Salt Lake City. This has obviously, Lisa Bloom, got to make it harder for cops to keep tabs on him, to monitor him.

Just two days after Susan vanished, Josh rented a car, as we`ve been discussing, drove hundreds of miles. The car didn`t have GPS, so police don`t know, they say, exactly where it went. I would think cops, you know, would really want to stay on top of this guy to see what he`s doing.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Look. Josh`s behavior after her disappearance was highly suspicious. This story that he took the kids camping after midnight on a freezing cold school night is preposterous. Then all he`s wanted to do is get out of dodge, apparently.

And when you contrast that to Kiirsi, who you just interviewed, Jane, a true friend, a loving friend who wants only to find her friend, you know, this is the kind of behavior we would expect a loving husband to be engaging in. My gosh, maybe I can use social networking. Maybe I can knock on every door in town. Maybe I can be in the police detective`s office every day. That`s what you would expect of a husband who really cares.

Somebody who just wants to hightail it and get out of town, that is very suspicious behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer -- by the way we reached out repeatedly to Josh`s attorney, and he, the attorney and Josh himself, have an open invitation to appear on this show any time to tell their side of the story. We want to be fair. We want their side. We`ve been asking for their side.

But hypothetically, Dr. Dale Archer, there`s that old song about the criminal always returning to the scene of the crime. So when I hear that somebody rented a car and drove several hundred mimes for no apparent reason, I think of that old cliche. Any thoughts?

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I`m right there with you, Jane. That`s the exact first thing that I thought, as well. Where in the world do you go in Utah for several hundred miles in 24 hours? I mean, he only had the car for a day. So I certainly think that`s suspicious, along with the fact that he`s leaving that suspicious, the camping story is ludicrous. I mean, this guy is just one bad story after another.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Larry Seidlin, you`ve been following all this. Weigh in.

LARRY SEIDLIN, JUDGE: This behavior by the husband, Josh, is just very strange. He takes two little children, a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, at midnight, at 12:30 in the morning, and he takes them into the freezing weather to go camping.

And where is he now? Why isn`t he searching the streets and roads for his wife? It doesn`t add up. It`s unreasonable, and no jury would buy this fact pattern.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why haven`t they named him a suspect? Why is he a person of interest, Judge?

SEIDLIN: Because what the police do, they go slow. They let them twist in the wind. Time is on the police side. They`re going to -- they want to line up all their ducks, and then when they file those charges against him, they want to have them perfectly correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but what if he leaves the state? I wonder. We`re going to talk more about that in a second. We`re going to hear from Michelle Sigona who has been digging up lots of stuff on this case.

Stay right where you are. We`re all over the search for Susan Powell. Is her husband really leaving town? If your spouse was missing for a whole month, would you move out of state with the kids? We`re taking your calms on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7197.

Plus, a really sad story: an 11-year-old girl, beautiful child, found dead on Christmas morning. Now cops have arrested her aunt`s ex-boyfriend. Why has he not been charged with murder?

But first, desperately family -- desperate family members refusing to give up on Susan Powell. Her search is now going viral. You just heard from one of her best friends. But the question is, can Twitter and Facebook actually help bring this woman home?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HELLEWELL: We feel like instead of trying to round up 2,000 people to knock on doors in the city, we`d rather contact 2 million. And if there`s 2 million eyes looking for her, that`s a so much better chance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 the day and thought, we`ll come back Sunday.

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

POWELL: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Josh Powell, trying to explain why he did not call in sick to work the day after his wife went missing. He says he simply forgot what day it was, that it was Monday, and he had taken his boys camping in freezing temperatures the night before.

Josh also cannot, or will not lead police to the camp site that they allegedly went to visit. Still cops are only calling Josh a person of interest.

Phone lines lighting up on this one, a lot of theories.

Bryce in Louisiana, your question or thought? Hey, Bryce?

CALLER: Yes, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What`s your question or thought, sir?

CALLER: My thoughts are -- is that why would he even -- not even look like he is even in any kind of concern or anything about his wife? Like, his wife is missing. He`s not even crying over his wife. And why are the police even just letting him leave the state? That`s what I want to know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think those are great questions.

Michelle Sigona, what are cops going to do about this reported vanishing act?

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, at this particular point there`s not really much that they can do, if they still only classify him as a person of interest and don`t have tangible evidence to move forward to charging him as a suspect in her disappearance.

So Josh can go to Washington. He`s in Washington right now. He`s been there since before the holidays with both of his children. That is where he`s from. And he may want to, in fact, move there to be able to get away from the pressure and the media and everything surrounding this. This could be his own way of dealing with it.

I mean, again, Josh is not a suspect, unfortunately, in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, John Lucic, you`re the former criminal investigator. What do cops do about this? Can they -- is there any way they can stop him from leaving the state?

JOHN LUCIC, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: No, obviously not, because he`s already gone. I mean, the cops` hands are tied until they have something to move forward.

But this media blitz that the family is doing is going to be very, very crucial, because now you have Josh in a new environment. You have him out there where his guard is going to be down.

Let`s not forget it was Drew Peterson`s neighbors who actually taped his conversations and handed them over to the police, which helped with the investigation. Maybe someone will see all these blitzes, the neighbors will know who this guy is before he even gets there, and they`ll engage this guy in conversations that may help the investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but it`s still puzzling that they`re not calling him a suspect. Let`s recap and review. A year before she vanished, Susan told friends, reportedly, that she feared what Josh might do if she left him.

"The Salt Lake Tribune" is reporting Susan told friends that she felt Josh might kidnap their kids or try to ruin her financially. Here`s how another friend described the Powells` marriage on NBC`s "Today Show."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MARINI, FRIEND OF SUSAN POWELL: Josh was very controlling. He controlled everything in their marriage, from the money that Susan spent to what groceries she could buy, what she could eat. There was a lot of fighting and belittling on his part, and it just reduced her to a very different -- a very unhappy and different person than she was when we first met her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, not all bad husbands obviously are killers, but some feel, hey, there`s got to be enough circumstantial evidence at this point to move forward and name him a suspect. Why do police continue to describe him only as a person of interest?

BLOOM: Well, there`s not a big difference from the police point of view between calling somebody a suspect and calling somebody a person of interest. There is a big difference once somebody gets charged, because then time deadlines start passing and police have to come forward with evidence.

While he`s free, I can guarantee you they`ve got a GPS on his car. They`re taping all of his phone calls. They`re following him very closely. They`re hoping to get more evidence.

But I have another issue. Why is he allowed to have custody of these kids? I mean, put aside the disappearance of his wife for just a moment. Any father who takes two little babies out into the middle of the desert on a freezing cold winter night, on a school night, and then doesn`t know what day it is the next day is, in my view, not a fit father.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I have to say, I`m confused as to why cops didn`t trail him when he rented that car. They had confiscated his car to test it. His story about camping in the middle of the night in sub- freezing temperature with two young kids didn`t hold water. And so why did they let him rent a car and drive several hundred miles without tailing him at that time? I don`t get it. Maybe they did, and they`re just not saying.

Debbie, Washington, your question or thought.

CALLER: My thought is that what do you think we could do here in Washington? I`m really close, about 30 miles away. And like any parent, watching what`s going on right here, I don`t think he is a fit father either. I don`t think those kids belong with him. They belong with the grandparents.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. Well, Let`s bring Judge Larry Seidlin in. I mean, what should the powers that be do about this? This guy has got these two young sons and now he`s taking off for another state.

SEIDLIN: I served as a juvenile judge most of my 28 years on the bench. His actions by taking two young children into a cold mountain area is reasons for abuse and neglect. The state should be immediately moving to have a hearing, an emergency hearing, and saying that this man is neglecting and abusing his children.

Should he be the one now as the guardian of these two children? I think a full-fledged hearing should be happening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is an excellent idea.

All right. Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on Josh Powell`s bizarre behavior.

Plus, such a sad story: an 11-year-old girl found dead Christmas morning. Now cops are pointing the finger at her aunt`s boyfriend, or ex- boyfriend. This guy is a registered sex offender. So why was he allowed around all those kids?

But first, Josh Powell`s behavior, suspicious from the beginning. Now there`s reports he`s leaving town.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: She wasn`t not feeling well; she was feeling well. She just went to bed.

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

POWELL: No, she went to bed that night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: Any help to try to find her would -- would be appreciated. So we really -- that`s all -- we just -- I mean, she`s somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know there was quite a huge effort out in the west desert looking for any sign of her. Is that where you were camping?

POWELL: I just have to go get my boys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When police first entered the Powells` home after Susan vanished, they found something really, really strange. Two fans drying a large wet stain on the living room carpet.

Police say they`re awaiting test results to find out exactly what that spot contains.

Michelle Sigona, why the long wait? Why don`t we know what`s in that damn spot at this point?

SIGONA: Well, because there have been, actually, five search warrants executed: three on the house, one for Josh`s DNA, and one on inside the minivan. As you know, the information inside those search warrants has been sealed from the public because investigators may have what they need inside of them, and they are building their case at this point. That`s why they`re being overly cautious.

And just as you mentioned earlier, investigators have come out and said, "We don`t know where Josh Powell went in that rental car." But maybe they do know, and maybe they are keeping that back. And maybe this is just a way for them to build this case without actually having Susan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very interesting. Josephine, Texas, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Yes. I believe that they did go camping, and I think I know why they went camping.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why?

CALLER: To dispose of his wife`s body. That`s why.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Once again, we invite Josh and his attorney on. We have actually called them repeatedly trying to get their side of the story. We want to be fair here.

But John Lucic, that`s what some people are at least thinking in their minds.

LUCIC: Yes -- no, it`s a thought, but I can`t believe he`s going to take a body out there with two kids and actually try and dig in the frozen ground. Remember, going camping is a big event, especially in the cold with two young children. Trying to keep track of them and trying to take a body out and then them not see it, and then dig in the frozen ground? It just doesn`t make sense to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what`s the point, then, of having this story unless he did go camping, and if so, what happened to the wife?

LUCIC: Unless his theory is that he was out of the house when his wife was abducted, and he wasn`t around when his wife wasn`t abducted. That`s the only thing I can think of that`s going through this guy`s mind.

There`s no doubt. You know, Jane, cops never like to tilt their -- tip their hand about what they have. And they would never call this guy a suspect until they had a lot of real -- because it causes him to flee.

You know, at one point in time the cops came out and said, "This guy is not acting like an innocent guy," and it was shortly after that that he took off.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Now Michelle Sigona, this idea that he was out camping when somebody went in and abducted her. What, her purse was there. Was there any sign of forced entry?

SIGONA: Not that we know of. And what had happened was, her family got suspicious. She didn`t show up for work. He didn`t show up for work. The children weren`t dropped off at day care. The family notified police.

Police entered the home to check welfare. They realized no one was inside. They backed out, got a search warrant, went back in, and that`s where the investigation started.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, final thought on this one?

BLOOM: My question is did anybody talk to these kids to confirm whether they went camping or not? They`re little but at least they could say yes or no. I wonder if he didn`t take the kids, disposed of the body and came up with the camping story to cover his tracks.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, he is not a suspect. He`s a person of interest. We`d love to hear his side of the story. I believe they did talk to the kids, but again, you know, a child who`s 4 or 2 may not know whether we drove a half mile or 200 miles.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Coming up, an 11-year-old found dead on Christmas. Why was this man, a sex offender who once dated her aunt, around?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a horrifying discovery on Christmas day: a beautiful little girl found dumped in the woods. Now cops have arrested a registered sex offender and charged him with kidnapping, but why not murder?

Plus Charlie Sheen`s wife wants to work things out. Are you kidding me? Brooke Mueller accused Sheen of threatening her life and holding a knife to her neck. So why the sudden change of heart? And why give this guy another chance?

Just in to ISSUES, some disturbing news. You know that Florida boy who was doused in alcohol and set on fire? Sad to say he is back in the hospital. Michael Brewer was having trouble breathing and doctors say he is now in serious condition. The 15-year-old suffered burns on 65 percent of his body.

Cops say a group of young teens set him on fire back in October. This is such a sad story.

This handsome young man was just released December 22nd for Christmas. It looked like he was on the road to recovery. His mom even called it her Christmas miracle. We`re going to keep you posted on this story, as soon as we get any more information on this very sad case.

In the meantime, let`s all keep our fingers crossed. Let`s pray this brave young man gets well enough to leave the hospital again.

Sadness mixed with outrage in the wake of an 11-year-old girl found dead on Christmas day, of all things. Cops are focusing on a registered sex offender with a rap sheet. Sarah Haley Foxwell`s body was discovered just three days after she was reportedly last seen by her little sister. The news, totally devastating to her Delaware neighbors.

SHERIFF MIKE LEWIS, WICOMICO COUNTY, MARYLAND: At approximately 4:00 p.m. this afternoon a ground search crew in the area of Melson Road just west of Hampton Court (ph) located the body of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell.

30-year-old Thomas Leggs Jr. has now been charged with kidnapping and burglary. He is behind bars with no bond. While Leggs is the focus of the investigation, the sheriff tells ISSUES they are not rushing to hit him with a murder rap until they have all the evidence, including DNA.

It pains me to report that Leggs is a registered sex offender in two states, Maryland and Delaware. In Delaware he`s listed as high risk. Police say he was the last person seen with this precious child.

Sarah and her kid sister live with their aunt. This suspect was reportedly the aunt`s ex-boyfriend.

Unfortunately this kind of development has become way too predictable. How many times have we seen this pattern before? How many times do we have to say these things over and over again? Cops say a, quote, "juvenile witness", reportedly Sarah`s 6-year-old sister saw Sarah leave their bedroom with, quote, "Tommy", allegedly Thomas Leggs.

Sarah`s aunt meanwhile told cops the child`s toothbrush was missing. A green toothbrush was found in a truck that police say Leggs admitted to driving. They also found a lollipop.

This makes me sick to my stomach.

Straight to amazing my panel of guests: back with John Lucic, Dr. Dale Archer, plus we are again delighted to have with us Judge Larry Seidlin. He of course presided over the dramatic Anna Nicole Smith body custody case, and as you remember, he became quite emotionally involved in that case.

But first straight out to Michelle Sigona of michellesigona.com; Michelle, you`ve been doing some digging all day. What is the very latest on this very sad case?

MICHELLE SIGONA, MICHELLESIGONA.COM: Well, I spoke with Sheriff Lewis earlier today and this case is ruled a homicide. And there are multiple causes of death surrounding Sarah and her murder, but those particular -- all of those details are not being released yet.

The grand injury does meet two times a month and later on this month more charges may come about in addition to the abduction and burglary charges.

On the evening that Sarah went missing -- I should say the early morning hours -- her grandfather was home at the time. Her legal guardian, her aunt, was not home.

And Sarah`s 6-year-old sister who shares a room with her woke up to hear Thomas, allegedly in the room talking with Sarah, then at some point they disappeared. She was then reported missing later on that morning, and within two hours Wicomico County sheriff`s officers had him in custody and charged within two hours of Sarah`s disappearance.

On a side note, Leggs was only required to check in with Wicomico County Sheriff`s office two times a year. He had just checked in, in early December, but the sheriff`s deputies had gone out to his residence seven times within 2009 and found him living in an 8 by 4 shed on his parents` property. Also living at the property was his sister and their -- her three children, which now a separate investigation is underway to see if those children have been harmed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s a registered sex offender. What is he doing with kids? The sheriff didn`t hold -- ok. Who -- yes, I need help here. Judge Larry Seidlin, jump in.

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDED OVER ANNA NICOLE SMITH CASE: Jane, these sex offenders have a high recidivism rate. We have to keep them on a shorter string. We, as a society, have to decide how many parole officers we want out there, how many probation officers. They`re overworked. So we have to keep an eye on these sex offenders. We should be checking on where they are at all times. And they`re out...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How many cases have we covered where the parole officer or the probation officer goes right to the door and knocked on the door, doesn`t realize there`s a bunch of kids in the backyard? We all know about that case, where there were kids living for years, and a suspect was raping a woman repeatedly for decades and the parole and probation officers didn`t figure it out.

Now the sheriff didn`t hold back in the wake of this truly grim, heart-wrenching discovery. Here`s what he had to say on, of all things, Christmas day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: If there`s ever been a case that screams for the death penalty, it`s this one. But we are obviously going to have to work for the next several hours well into tomorrow processing this crime scene. We`re going to give this victim all the dignity and all the respect that she deserves.

But we`re going to slow down; we`re going to methodically process this crime scene so we leave no stone unturned tonight. We`re going to recover every single piece of evidence that is needed to successfully put this man behind bars. We know he`s the one who did it, and he`s going to pay the price.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leggs is a registered sex offender in two states. In Maryland he`s listed as a child sex offender; in Delaware his risk level is listed as "high". In Delaware in 2001 he was convicted of raping a victim who was 16 or 17. He also had several assault convictions.

Ok, Dr. Dale Archer, these kids were living with their aunt. Where is mom and dad? Where are social services? Where is anybody looking out for these young children, ages 6 and 11 with this creepola (ph) in their midst?

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: It`s the same old story, Jane. I think the message to all women out there is very simple. If you start dating a guy, go online to your sexual offender registry in your state and you can find out exactly whether they`re on that or not. And if so, what tier they are, one, two or three.

If he was checking in every six months, it means he was a tier two, which is middle of the road in terms of potential recidivism. But given that, once every six months is just not enough to be able to keep track of these individuals.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, when police are parents themselves, and the victim is a child and it`s all happening at Christmas, you know the hunt for this killer will be relentless.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: As a parent of a 14-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son, this really hits home and hits me deeply. And I promise you, we will do everything in our power see this man never, ever sees a day of light again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Lucic, we have to completely revamp our criminal justice system. We`re locking up more people than any other country in the world and yet we`re not stopping these people.

How about taking some of the money that we spend, the billions, housing and feeding a bunch of people who are basically fast tracking to the criminal justice system and spending it on, not only prevention, but getting more parole officers, getting more probation officers, really keeping track of people like this who, as the judge said, have this hugely high recidivism rate, almost a ticking time bomb?

JOHN LUCIC, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. But my way to do things is even cutting costs; just give them the death penalty, end of story. You can`t stop these guys from hurting little children. It happens time and time again.

Take a look at Jaycee Dugard. Cops and the parole officer went out and saw this guy living on the property with people, with these little kids, and did nothing.

On and on, government has failed time and time again. We need tougher laws, we need tougher penalties. I say put them to death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well yes. I say let`s kill and lock up everybody but we`re not solving the problem of catching these people before. I want to save lives.

LUCIC: But they won`t do it again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to save lives before they get -- yes, but it`s a cycle. We`ve got to intervene earlier. That`s my point.

LUCIC: There`s no cycle. They`re dead, they`re gone, they`re done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that`s the individual. I`m talking about the societal cycle.

Coming up, my holiday travel nightmare; I almost didn`t make it here, people, after a day`s delay. I`ll tell you all about my crazy flight.

Also Brooke Mueller accuses husband Charlie Sheen of holding a knife to her throat. Now she wants to work things out and make up. We`re going to give you the latest details on that one.

And I want to hear from you about this. What do you think about first, 911 call, now kissy, kissy let`s make up and forget all about it. 1-877-JVM-SAYS. 1-877-586-7297. What do you think about this?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BROOKE MUELLER, WIFE OF CHARLIE SHEEN: My husband had me -- with a knife. I`m scared for my life and he threatened me.

911 OPERATOR: Ok. Are you guys separated right now?

MUELLER: Yes, right now we have people that are separating us. But I have to file the report or else...

911 OPERATOR: Are there other people there? Does he still have the knife?

MUELLER: Yes, he still does...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A new twist in the Charlie Sheen soap opera; the Hollywood bad boy allegedly threatened his wife with a knife, but now she wants to get back together and snuggle. That`s next.

But first, tonight`s "Top of the Block".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just have to tell you about my hell flight from L.A. to New York after a fabulous vacation. I left at about 1:15 p.m. yesterday from Los Angeles and landed in New York City today at about 2:15 p.m. Yes, that`s about 24 hours to get across the country.

The good news, I made a couple of hundred new friends, as we all took off only to learn that we had to divert to Chicago because the toilets on the plane had filled up.

Then we learned that there was a mechanical problem and we`d have to spend the night in Chicago. Then when we arrived at the Chicago airport, as ordered at 6:00 this morning, we were told they couldn`t find one member of their flight crew.

Again, me and my fellow hostages -- I mean, passengers -- affectionately dubbed this "hell flight". To pass the time I actually interviewed some of them on my cell phone camera. Take a look at this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is all pretty unbelievable we we`re grounded here because the toilets like overflowed and the pilot just doesn`t show up today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today we get here and they tell us the first -- the pilot, the first guy and officer is nowhere to be found. And so it fascinates me because he possibly -- where did he go? He went to a crack house?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just kidding, just kidding. Look. Bleep happens, right? Jet Blue apologized profusely and they gave us one of this -- this is a voucher for a future round-trip flight, plus they promised all of us a refund of our "hell flight" ticket.

Jet Blue folks say they sincerely regret the convenience and I believe them. They`re nice people. Really, they are. But add this to the overall dramarama and the super long lines of security in the wake of that Christmas terror attempt involving another airline and I think I can officially say air travel in general sucks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I say that on television? Oops, I guess I just did. Oh, well. That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Did Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen threaten his wife with a switchblade and then try to choke her? She says he did. But now a shocking new twists Charlie`s wife Brooke also says, "I want you back, darling."

The couple got into an alcohol-fueled argument on Christmas day and it quickly turned, allegedly, violent. Brooke made this terrified 911 call.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MUELLER: My husband had me -- with a knife -- and I`m scared for my life and he threatened me.

911 OPERATOR: Ok are you guys separated right now?

MUELLER: Yes, right now we have people that are separating us, but I have to file the report or else...

911 OPERATOR: Are there people there? Does he still have the knife?

MUELLER: Yes, he still does...

911 OPERATOR: What`s your name?

MUELLER: Brooke.

911 OPERATOR: And what`s your husband`s name?

MUELLER: Charlie Sheen.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We got our hands on the police report. Brooke told cops the actor tried to strangle her. She showed the red marks on her neck.

Cops also found a four-inch knife stashed in Charlie`s travel bag. Charlie denied attacking his with a knife but he did admit they got into a slapping match.

Sheen was booked for second-degree assault, menacing and criminal mischief but now Brooke is asking a judge that -- change the restraining order, please, against my husband. Why? So we can move back together and snuggle.

Both Charlie and Brooke have allegedly battled drugs as well as alcohol. She`s been arrested for cocaine possession and DUI, but I ask, are they also addicted to drama?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel and I`ve got to start with Lisa Bloom on this one.

You`ve seen it all. What do you make of this cookie restraining order light or protective order light?

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well first of all, let`s be clear about what did happened, because there was corroborating evidence in the police report. There are red marks on Brooke`s neck exactly where you would expect to find them. Because she says he held her down with one hand and put a knife to her throat with the other hand and threatened her life.

There was the knife found in his bag in the unlocked, in the open position. Why would you put a knife in your bag in the unlocked position unless you had just recently used it or immediately threw in into the bag? He also had threatened the life of allegedly of his first wife Denise Richards.

So in my view, this is a dangerous guy. She married him though, knowing about his history, presumably. It`s very hard for me to understand why anybody would do that.

Having said that, they have two young kids, they have decided to reconcile, they`ve decided this is just one bad nights in the words of her attorney, Yale Galanter. But I don`t like it, Jane, I`m with you I don`t like it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and I think could alcohol possibly play a role here?

Dr. Dale Archer, apparently -- according to TMZ anyway -- she was legally drunk at the time of the 911 call. I think she registered a 0.13. Charlie apparently registered a 0.04, which is not much alcohol, but as a recovering alcoholic myself, I can tell you one sip is too many.

Now, he`s reportedly been to rehab two times for drug and alcohol abuse. So that means you are not supposed to even -- I don`t even drink mouth wash because it has alcohol in it and I know it can trigger bizarre alcoholic behavior.

ARCHER: Well, he`s admitted to being treated for cocaine abuse and he`s admitted to being treated for alcohol dependence. But the deal is, is that the two may be related but he has a separate problem and that is spousal abuse.

Back in `96 he beat unconscious his girlfriend at the time and she ended up suing him for that and he threatened her saying, "I will kill you if you tell anyone." Then Denise Richards, he did the same to her.

So this is a guy with multiple problems and we know that with somebody who`s prone to violence, alcohol can lower the resistance to that violence, and I think he is a ticking time bomb at this point. And I think that she is crazy. I will tell you, Brooke Mueller, do not go back to him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, by the way, we`ve reached out to attorneys on both sides. We always want to be fair, so Charlie Sheen, if you have a totally different story you want to come on and tell it, you come right here and we will devote an entire hour to you, all right?

My big issue tonight: is this couple addicted to drama? Dramarama? Brooke accused her husband of attacking her and now she wants him back and wants to move in and cuddle with him. And she`s apparently shutting out her family. Brooke`s mom tells E Online she won`t listen to advice. In a dysfunctional relationship both people need treatment.

Cops say Brooke was drunk when she made the 911 call. She may be a double winner in recovery terminology.

So I want you all to think about this. Are we dealing with co- dependency? Are we dealing with battered women syndrome? Are we dealing with a whole host of things and substance abuse? We`re going to tackle all of that.

We`ll be coming right back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: We love each other and want to hang out until we die. Doesn`t that sound romantic? Yes. Hang out until we die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say about that Brooke? What is it like being with this guy? Going to marry Charlie Sheen?

SHEEN: She doesn`t have words for...

MUELLER: I don`t. It`s too much.

SHEEN: ... for such a feeling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang out until we die -- possibly a poor choice of words. That was Charlie Sheen and his wife, Brooke in happier times. Today we`re talking about their violent alcohol-fueled argument on Christmas day.

Brand new tonight, Brooke wants to get back together with Charlie and move back in despite her terrified 911 call.

Barbie, Michigan, your question or thought, ma`am?

BARBIE, MICHIGAN (via telephone): I just want to know if she paid him off like the Tiger Woods thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`ve got an interesting point there.

Lisa Bloom, could money be a factor in any of this?

BLOOM: Absolutely. There are some tabloid rumors about that. We can`t confirm it, but what we`re seeing increasingly, Jane, is wives being paid to stay in a relationship. You know, it used to be when there`s a divorce maybe they get the big payoff. Now they`re getting paid to stay, especially when the husband has some misdeed like adultery or domestic violence.

I don`t like it. I don`t like it at all. I mean, look, either you have a good marriage and you stay and you work it out. Or it`s not working out and you should go. I don`t see taking an amount of money to stay with someone who`s abusing you. And I certainly hope that that`s not what`s happening here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have a whole potpourri of problems here Judge Larry Seidlin. We`ve have possibly alcohol abuse; people with substance abuse problems who were using. You have got a history of domestic violence. You have -- let`s see -- what else do we have? Oh, co- dependency?

This is a real mish mosh (ph).

Isn`t it true that often on holidays -- this happened Christmas morning, that really ramps up the stress and the drama in a relationship like this?

SEIDLIN: Well, I had an opportunity -- I spoke to Yale Galanter, who represents Brooke. And I called him up a couple hours ago and I said, look, on my own dime I`ll fly out and I`ll talk to both parties and try to mediate all this. He say, "Judge, I appreciate this, but I`m working on it. They want to get back together again."

Unfortunately Sheen has many problems and he needs deep counseling. And he`s going to work his way through it. He has a pattern or a history of other incidents that are very similar to what took place with Brooke.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result which is why people are wondering why does she want to reconcile?

Police say the argument started when Brooke asked for a divorce. Her lawyer now says that she has changed her mind. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YALE GALANTER, ATTORNEY FOR BROOKE MUELLER: It`s a private matter between Brooke and Charlie. I know that they want to reconcile. They want to try and work on their marriage. They have two beautiful babies that they`re trying to raise.

I`m hoping that everything works out for them and they have a really good future for themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer, is this a dangerous idea getting back together with a protective order light?

ARCHER: Yes. It`s a very dangerous idea. And I do want to point out when we lump all of these different diagnoses together that 76 percent of a man battering a woman occurs with no alcohol or no drugs involved.

This is absolutely a separate condition. The alcohol and drugs may have played a role but they are not necessary for this to occur. This is dangerous. It`s very dangerous for Brooke Mueller now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is a cautionary tale.

Thank you fabulous panel for joining me tonight.

We`re going to stay on top of that story and all of them.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.

END