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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
"Playboy" Model Murdered, Burned, Left in Dumpster; Aspiring Model Mows Down Joggers in Apparent Drug-Fueled Haze
Aired January 7, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, murder in Miami. A gorgeous "Playboy" model killed, torched, and thrown in a Dumpster. Her body so badly burned, cops needed dental records to identify her charred remains. Police say she fought with her boyfriend the very night she vanished. We`ll dissect every angle in this latest battle in the war on women.
And addict nation, out of control. A wannabe model on an apparent pill-popping bender is accused of blacking out behind the wheel and mowing down a pedestrian. Now that man is fighting for his life. How many people have to be maimed or even killed before we realize America is in the throes of a prescription drug crisis?
Also, Bob Barker battles on the high seas. The game show legend has joined the whale wars. Tonight, we`re going to talk to Bob Barker live about his fight to save these beautiful creatures. It`s now taken an ugly turn. Tonight, Bob describes for us the violent attack in dangerous ocean waters.
Plus, another bizarre chapter in the tragic death of Hollywood heiress Casey Johnson. Tila Tequila bids farewell to her lover in a heated video message on Twitter. The attention-seeking reality star has some harsh words for Casey`s friends and family. Now they`re firing back and Tila says, it`s war!
ISSUES starts now!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, was a beautiful, young model sleeping with the enemy? The body of 26-year-old Paula Sladewski was found inside a Miami Dumpster on New Year`s Day. Police say she was burned beyond recognition.
The focus is now on her boyfriend, 34-year-old Kevin Klym. He reported Paula missing Friday, and police now call him a person of interest.
CBS News posted these pictures of the couple. There is allegedly a frightening history of violence between them. Klym was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting Paula. Her stepdad even says Paula feared for her life. Those chilling details in just a moment.
Police say the couple spent New Year`s Eve at a Miami nightclub. They reportedly got into a huge argument, and Klym was kicked out of the club. He says he never saw Paula after that, and he insists he had absolutely nothing to do with her death.
Paula`s family is understandably reeling from this devastating news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY FARRIS, VICTIM`S SISTER: She did not deserve to die in this way. We can`t even give her an open casket. We can`t even see her again. I can`t see myself going back to work. I can`t -- I can`t see myself living a normal life until I know whoever did this is -- pays for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we are going to talk to that devastated sister tomorrow in the hopes that something we say will help police crack this case.
And I want to take your calls on this. Is this a prime example of the war on women? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Now straight out to my fantastic expert panel: criminal defense attorney, Bradford Cohen, who is very plugged into the Miami nightclub scene, because he is a club investor. We`re also going to talk to psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Reef Kareem about the scene in Miami. And we`re delighted to have Judge David Young of the "Judge David Young Show." And we begin with Lieutenant Neal Cuevas, a spokesman for the North Miami Police Department.
Officer Cuevas, thanks for joining us, I know you must be very busy, because you are trying to solve this horrific case. How was the body of this beautiful model discovered, and what exactly condition when he she in?
LIEUTENANT NEAL CUEVAS, SPOKESMAN, NORTH MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, we were first alerted to the body by someone who happened to notice that the Dumpster was on fire. That person contacted the fire department. When they extinguished the flames, they discovered the body within the Dumpster.
It was in horrific condition. It was unrecognizable. We cannot tell if it was male, female, or whether -- or what race the body was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, do you think she -- I understand you think she was killed before she was set on fire?
CUEVAS: We believe that, yes, she was murdered prior to her body being set ablaze.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, in other words, being set on fire was an attempt to make it more difficult to identify her. And you ultimately identified her through her dental records.
Now, somebody had to have seen something, between the club and the spot were Paula was discovered. This is a densely-populated area.
The couple partied at Club Space in downtown Miami, but Paula`s body was found in North Miami, which is about ten miles away from the club. That`s about a 15-minute drive. Police say Paula, as you just heard, appeared to be dead before her body was set on fire.
So my question to you, Lieutenant, have you been able to pinpoint a murder scene? Did the fire destroy key forensic evidence that could tell you how she died, how she was murdered?
CUEVAS: Well, naturally, the fire will destroy a lot of forensic evidence, and that`s probably what the murderer was trying to accomplish.
From there, what we`re trying to do is locate anybody that might have seen Paula between the hours of 7 a.m. Sunday and the hour that she was discovered in the Dumpster, which would have been 9 p.m. in the evening that same day. We`re hoping someone might have seen her and come forward.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This makes -- you know, look at it. There`s the Dumpster. Is that a metaphor for our war on women, that this gorgeous, gorgeous girl, only 26 years old, with her entire life ahead of her -- look at that beautiful young woman. Twenty-six years old, found in a Dumpster, burned beyond recognition. They can`t have an open casket. And when are we going to stop treating this as business as usual?
Judge David Young, you`re a former Miami-Dade County judge. This happens all the time. When are we, as a culture, going to stand up and say enough?
DAVID YOUNG, HOST, "JUDGE DAVID YOUNG SHOW": Well, we have to do it and do it quickly, because what happened to this girl, Jane, was an absolute atrocity. And the person who did it knew what they were doing. It was calculated. It was planned, and whoever did this crime should be brought to justice and should get the death penalty here in the state of Florida.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Twenty-six-year-old Paula and her boyfriend got into a nasty argument about a month ago. The boyfriend, Kevin Klym, was allegedly arrested after breaking her nose. Paula`s mom says she can`t understand why her daughter didn`t leave this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT WATKINS, SLADEWSKI`S MOTHER: I don`t know what he had on her. I don`t know what it was that she wouldn`t leave. You know? "I love him." I mean, the day that he broke her nose, he went to jail, and she bonded him out. So it was -- I don`t know. I can`t explain it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In an interview with FOXnews.com, Paula`s stepdad said Paula texted her ex-boyfriend, quote, "He`s trying to kill me," apparently referring to Klym.
Now, the question I have, is the couple`s violent history, is that not enough, Lieutenant Cuevas, to make him a suspect at this point? He is considered a person of interest?
CUEVAS: That`s correct. Up until this point, he has been cooperating with investigators. He has been answering their questions. At this point, he`s just classified as a person of interest. And quite naturally, that would be his classification. He is the last person that knew her, to have seen her alive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, once again, he has said, through his attorney, that he is devastated, that he had nothing to do with this, that he left her, took a taxi back to the hotel, and he says -- last question to Lieutenant Cuevas, for the moment -- he says that he`s willing to take a polygraph to prove his innocence. Are you going to give him that polygraph?
CUEVAS: Well, that`s part of the investigation, and that`s going to be something that the investigators will have to determine.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bradford Cohen -- yes, I`m sorry to interrupt you, Lieutenant, but Bradford Cohen, should he take a polygraph and set that issue to rest? Because if it turns out he`s not responsible, boy, there`s a whole cast of characters -- I mean, all of South Beach, that you could start looking at.
BRADFORD COHEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s a very tricky situation when you`re a criminal defense attorney, whether or not you let your client take a polygraph. That`s always the question, because they`re generally not willing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re willing to do it. They`re saying that they`re willing to do it.
COHEN: Listen, if he`s willing to do it, then I don`t see why not give him the polygraph, see what happens. You know, the polygraphs are extremely accurate, even though they`re not admitted into evidence. They`re not as scientific into evidence. That`s the problem with the polygraph.
But if he`s willing to take it, absolutely, to at least eliminate him in certain instances and follow up on his story that he took a taxi back to the hotel, certainly, I would, if I was the police officer in this case, obviously, I would want to get as much as information as possible.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brad, you know -- you know the Miami...
YOUNG: Jane, I`m sorry. I`m sorry. A former defense attorney without prior polygraphing his client is going to have his client take a polygraph test? What, are you stoned? That`s absolutely outrageous.
COHEN: No, I didn`t say -- you`re misinterpreting what I said. I didn`t say I would want him to take a polygraph. I said, in this case, if I was the police officer, I would want him to take a polygraph. So no, certainly, I`m not stoned, but maybe you are, because you`re not listening to what I said.
YOUNG: Hey, Jane...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hold on. Speaking of stoned, let`s go to the addiction specialist.
DR. REEF KAREEM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes, thanks.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re not stoned, Dr. Reef Kareem, weigh in here.
KAREEM: It sounds like I need to do some couples and relationship therapy with your two other guests at this point. But no. You know, the biggest predictor of violence is a history of violence.
KAREEM: So there`s a reason he`s a person of interest at this point in time. Also, on the South Beach scene, you`ve got a lot of alcohol; you`ve got a lot of coke. It`s going to disinhibit people. The frontal lobe, the areas of our brain that tell us, don`t do that, don`t do this, are gone during that period of time when you`re using.
Also, if you`ve got this codependent pathological relationship already preset, I`m just as surprised as you she wasn`t able to leave him. So there`s something there. And that`s why he`s a person of interest in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And there`s a long history of women who have been, for a variety of reasons, unable to leave abusive relationships. It`s a part -- it`s a component of the war on women.
Everyone, stay right where you are. The war on women hits Miami. Who killed this stunning model?
We are taking your calls on this. I want to hear your theories, your thoughts, how do we stop it? 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Let`s try to be part of the solution here. Plus, a woman accused of popping pills, then blacking out behind the wheel. Wake with up, America! Prescription drug abuse is officially out of control. Is anything being done by our government to stop it?
But first, a family desperately searching for answers. A gorgeous young woman, innocent, full of life, murdered. Her body dumped, set on fire. Who killed this gorgeous 26-year-old "Playboy" model?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FARRIS: My sister was 26 years old. She was full of life. She was beautiful, she cared about everybody. I spent Christmas with her, and it will be the last Christmas I ever get to see her again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATKINS: I lost my baby, and she was only 26 years old. And I`m just so mad that somebody out there knows something, that my little girl left with somebody. I`m just so angry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re all angry, but imagine what that mother is going through tonight. Her beautiful daughter brutally murdered last week. Paula Sladewski`s body set on fire and burned beyond recognition.
And we`re asking tonight, did her violent relationship with her boyfriend end in murder? He is considered a person of interest, but he has said he had nothing to do with it and offered to take a polygraph. And we`ve reached out to his attorney. We have not heard back.
Phone lines lighting up.
Pamela, California, your question or thought?
CALLER: My thought is, I agree with you, that these women that are being killed or, you know, they disappear from the people that are supposed to love them and be protecting them, and you hear about it constantly.
And you can`t -- you know, you can`t even defend yourself if you`re living with somebody, because they`ll take you both away. And when you`re in a situation like that, I think your mind isn`t thinking clearly, or you don`t have the financial resources, or you have nowhere else to go. So...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you. It`s called learned helplessness. And it`s part of, really, when they put up the power and control wheel of how domestic abuse happens, and it puts the women in a situation where, psychologically, even though she could physically run out, she doesn`t feel psychologically capable of running out.
But here`s my big issue: was Paula a beautiful target? It`s very tragic, but in our very violence-prone culture, it seems like very cute, sexy women often need to be extra vigilant about their safety. Did Paula`s good looks make her more vulnerable to attack?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATKINS: Look at how beautiful she was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a beautiful girl. She did not deserve the horrible death that she got.
WATKINS: No. It`s hard to look at these now. You know, because all I do is cry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Dr. Reef, we see these pretty young women as victims of murder and associated violence all the time. It seems to me we`ve got to a point in our society that to be cute is to have almost a target painted on your back. Is that because our culture turns out so much sexually-charged violence? Have we melded sexuality with violence in this sick culture?
KAREEM: Yes, sexuality is definitely linked with violence. And if you`re a beautiful person, especially a beautiful woman, most people are like, oh, wow, it`s great, you`re beautiful, you have no problems in life.
No, you are going to get a lot of unwarranted attention. And some of that attention can be violent and can have sexual undertones or overtones. And if people just have a naivete that everyone is good in society and people aren`t trying to take advantage of you, you can be in a lot of trouble. And I think we`re seeing more and more beautiful women that are trusting people and getting involved in relationships with people that they shouldn`t.
And then I`m so glad you used the term "learned helplessness," because it really is true. It is absolutely almost like a psychological brainwashing that occurs when you`re in a bad relationship with somebody, where you become helpless, because you don`t realize you can even get out of the relationship, it`s so bad.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, again, the victim`s boyfriend, Kevin Klym, says after being kicked out of the club, he went home for the night, but the victim`s mom has a lot of questions for him. Listen to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATKINS: And then I just called him, and I was choking and I was just so upset. And I just wanted -- I wanted -- I just asked him, "Kevin, I just need to know one thing. Why would you leave my little girl in that club all by herself? Why would you do that? Why didn`t you wait outside? I just need to know, why, why did you leave my baby?"
And he couldn`t answer me. He said he doesn`t know. And that he was sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lieutenant Cuevas, this club was packed for New Year`s Eve. Did witnesses notice anything? Is there videotape of her leaving? What do you know?
CUEVAS: We did obtain some videotape from the club itself. Unfortunately, it`s of very poor quality, it`s very grainy, and it`s hard to make out what we need to make out to determine whether or not she was still in the club and if she left with anyone.
We are still reaching out to anyone that might have seen them in the club. We`re trying to identify employees, as well, and bring them in and question them as to what it is that they saw.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we urge anyone out there who`s watching this and who knows anything, even if you think it`s irrelevant, give Lieutenant Cuevas, North Miami police spokesman, a call. Call the police department and tell them what you know.
Sharon, Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: My thought is, I was a woman of domestic violence myself, and I think the war on women needs to change with the women and with our laws. We need to change the law that, if you`re the woman in the domestic violence situation, she should have never been able to bail him out. The law needs to be changed where that woman cannot bail you out of jail. I even think that women...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent. Ma`am, that`s an excellent point. I want to get Judge David Young`s reaction to that. She bailed him out after she broke her nose.
YOUNG: You know, that`s shocking, but it`s consistent with those who are suffering from battered women syndrome.
I always maintained in my court, what I really wanted to see happen, is that once the complaint has been filed, they should videotape the victim and then keep that on file. Because so many time victims are members of this class think they need to be abused and they will recant their testimony. And just what happened here, the same thing that happened with Charlie Sheen, the man walks, even though he committed this horrible, horrible act.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fantastic panel, thank you so much.
Coming up next, our very special guest, television icon, legendary game show host, Bob Barker. He is fighting to safe the whales, spending millions on an anti-whaling ship. Bob is here to tell you about yesterday`s dramatic battle with whalers on the high seas. You won`t believe it.
Plus, cops say a wannabe model hopped up on prescription meds mows down a pedestrian. Now that man is fighting for his life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is yet another example of why our nation`s biggest drug problem is turning out to be legal prescription pills. A beautiful model in an apparent drug-fueled haze smashes her car into two joggers, mowing them down. Now one, a young special ed teacher, is in critical condition, and may not survive. The parents at his school are furious and shocked. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s been very helpful. He`s very patient. He takes care of his kids, and he`s -- I can`t believe it. I`m just so upset. I`ve got to go talk to the teacher now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gypsy Porfirio allegedly told cops, "I can`t believe I hit someone. I blacked out at the wheel."
Cops say the model admitted to downing a toxic cocktail of prescription meds including Xanax, Ambien, and Percocet before hopping behind the wheel. Prosecutors say investigators also found 60 pain and anti-anxiety meds hidden in the model`s pants and boots. Her explanation for that one? Her lawyer says they`re all prescribed to her.
She sobbed uncontrollably in court, crying, "I`m sorry," during her arraignment.
Straight out to my guest, addiction specialist, Dr. Reef Kareem.
Doctor, put this horror story in the context of our national crisis with prescription drug abuse.
KAREEM: Well, Jane, as you and I have talked many times, we`re in a prescription pill epidemic. And people need to take this seriously.
And as you said, how many deaths is it going to take before we wake up and institute some further laws that are more stringent on this prescription pill problem?
In regards to sedative hypnotics, that`s mostly what we`re talking about here. Those are called benzodiazepines. And there were more than 82 million prescription written by doctors in 2007 for these drugs.
Now, these drugs are generally good drugs. They`re used for insomnia when you can`t sleep, and they`re used for anxiety. But more and more people are abusing them for non-medical reasons. And a lot of them are getting them just from their friends and their family.
Now, in regards to this case, you`ve got this woman who was popping Ambien. Ambien is a sleeping medication, and she was popping it during the day to get off on it, for whatever reason, apparently, before she gets in a car.
Now, think about this. Ambien and Xanax and these other medications that she was taking, first off, when they`re combined, they cause all sorts of problems, but each one of them individually causes something psychomotor slowing, which means poor coordination, problems with falling asleep, problems with dexterity.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Reef, I`ll tell you something. Many years ago, before I got sober, 15 years ago, but long before that, I took an Ambien on a trip from Fiji to Los Angeles. And I took it, and I went like this, and the next thing I know, they were tapping my shoulder. The plane was empty, and I was the last person in Los Angeles to get off the plane. And then I didn`t know what a radish was when I went to have lunch because I was so dazed and confused. That`s one Ambien.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Never touched it again.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But how can you take an Ambien and get behind the wheel? Is that madness?
KAREEM: It`s called tolerance, Jane. Obviously -- look, if an Ambien is going to throw me in a fetal position for, like, ten hours the first time that I take it, then for me to be able to drive on that medication, it`s going to require someone to take that medication over and over and over again, so your body is used to it, so it doesn`t have that same kind of effect on you later.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. Well, we`ll be back on this subject soon. Thank you, Dr. Reef.
Breaking story on the high seas. We`re going to talk to the legendary Bob Barker about his war with the whalers, $5 million worth.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bob Barker battles on the high seas; the game show legend has joined the whale wars. Tonight, we`re going to talk to Bob Barker live about his fight to save these beautiful creatures. It`s now taken an ugly turn. Tonight, Bob describes for us the violent attack in dangerous ocean waters.
Another bizarre chapter in the tragic death of Hollywood heiress, Casey Johnson: Tila Tequila bids farewell to her lover in a heated video message on Twitter. The attention-seeking reality star has some harsh words for Casey`s friends and family. Now, they`re firing back and Tila says, "It`s war."
But first, breaking news on the high seas: the war over whaling erupts into a giant game of battleship. A small boat patrolling the waters to defend marine life is smashed in half. And game show legend, Bob Barker, is at the center of this breaking news story. Bob`s boat was on hand to rescue the entire crew, save their lives, and they caught the whole thing on tape.
Now, Bob generously donated $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Organization towards this boat you`re looking at, and towards fighting the horrific murder of whales. I am so delighted and honored to welcome the one and only Bob Barker to our show ISSUES.
Bob, hats off to you for fighting for our animals and we`re so glad to have you here, sir. What happened yesterday?
BOB BARKER, FORMER HOST, "THE PRICE IS RIGHT": Well, thank you very much, Jane. It is a pleasure to be with you.
And as I understand it, the Sea Shepherd boat was at rest. It was not actually moving. And the Japanese ship apparently, intentionally, struck it, rammed it, and almost -- just almost cut it in two. And the six crew members were thrown into the sea, and they did a mayday and the Japanese ignored that.
They just left them there, and this water, of course, was in the Antarctic, it`s freezingly cold, and they were not going to be able to survive for very long. But the new ship, the "Bob Barker," was nearby and the "Bob Barker" went in and they picked them up. And five of them are fine. One may have a couple of cracked ribs, but they were very fortunate to get out of that water as quickly as they did.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this wild video. I mean, these people -- ok, they`re saying they didn`t attack the little boat. Well, we`ve got some video to show you. The Institution of Cetacean Research, which is a Japanese government-linked body that carries out this whale hunts under research provided this video, they say, is of the collision.
As you can see, it is filmed from the whaler`s ship. Both sides agree there was a collision. But a spokesman for that institute says the video shows the Sea Shepherd`s speedboat moving towards their ship.
However, we`ve got some other video shot from farther away that tells a different story. Because it appears, take a look at this, ok, it appears that the whalers swerve toward the smaller boat, the anti-whaling boat, and it appears -- there it is, look at them, headed right toward that little anti-whaling speedboat.
Now, Bob, I think it looks right there like it was intentionally sideswiped by that big Japanese vessel. I don`t have any doubt about that. You see it coming right at them.
BARKER: Now, this is the first time I`ve seen this particular shot. And this is the one that I was told about. I was told that they had one shot that would convince you that the Japanese deliberately rammed the other boat.
Now, those earlier shots might not have -- they were taken before the ramming even took place, probably.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. I mean, that was -- it`s funny how, you know, they wanted to use the video to prove one thing, but this video, it seems very clear to me that that big Japanese vessel went after that little boat.
Now, mind you, there are six human beings on board. They happen to be against whaling, but the Japanese "research" vessel was so pro- whaling, I guess they were willing to risk the lives and actually endanger the lives of six human beings so they could carry out this slaughter of animals.
To me, that is absolutely astounding. And it says everything you need to know about their value system, Bob.
BARKER: It certainly does.
And, it is interesting that this happened almost immediately upon site. It happened in the first or second day that they were on the scene.
Now, this goes on -- this campaign goes on for weeks, and of course, the degree of irritation among the Japanese increases with each passing day.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, the whole world is against this, except for the Japanese and two other countries, I think it`s Norway and Iceland. I mean, everybody else in the world is saying, "Stop this slaughter."
BARKER: That`s right. Now, I started to say that the degree of irritation will increase and it might happen later in the campaign. But for it to happen immediately, something as violent as this is really disturbing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Captain Paul Watson, another one of my heroes, along with Bob Barker, is president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He`s also famous for being one of the cofounders of Green Peace. Animal Planet has a series documents Captain Paul Watson and his crew`s voyages and it`s called "Whale Wars".
These guys are known for their direct action, tactics like throwing stink bombs on the whaler ships to prevent them from carrying out their dirty work. But those are biodegradable, non-lethal, non-toxic stink bombs. Bob, how did you get involved with Sea Shepherd and end up giving them $5 million for this amazing ship?
BARKER: Well, a friend of mine had been very much impressed with Paul Watson over at Pier Deveers (ph). Nancy Burnett is the name. She has an organization called United Activists for Animal Rights. And she said, I would like to have you meet Paul Watson and talk with him.
So she arranged a meeting and I chatted with him for several minutes and I was very much impressed with him. And he said that he had -- in the past said that if he had $5 million, he could put the Japanese whaling fleet out of business. And I said, "Well, I believe you could. I think you have the skill to do it. And I have the $5 million, so let`s get it on."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love it.
BARKER: And that`s what we`re doing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a wonderful story. I love it.
You know, this battle to save the whales has been going on for so long. Way back in 1986, the International Whaling Commission enacted a moratorium on all commercial whaling, but since then, the Sea Shepherds claim that more than 25,000 whales have been brutally killed. Now, it`s allegedly for research and commercial use. I don`t buy the research nonsense. And even if it was research, research and science shouldn`t be blanket terms to allow all sorts of horrific violence and slaughter.
Bob, what kind of trouble are these whales in today as a species and what can the folks at home do to help?
BARKER: Well, first of all, I think that the entire world is pointing its finger of scorn at the idea that this is research. They take as many as 1,200 whales in a season and they`re not going to use all of them for research.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Follow the money. That`s what I say.
BARKER: That`s exactly right.
Well, all animal exploitation, or mistreatment, if you examine it carefully, you always find it`s based on greed. And this is no different.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely.
BARKER: Now, this is their sixth campaign -- the sixth campaign the Sea Shepherd has made. And in the first five, they were able to save 300, 400, 500 whales.
Now, if -- they have them on the ropes, they have the whalers on the ropes, so far as finances are concerned. They`re in serious trouble. And Paul hopes to deliver a knockout punch this sixth year. He may not do it, but he`s going to really give it a shot.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to jump in, only because I want to use the last remaining seconds that I have to tell folks at home, go to seashepherd.org, you can see it right there, make sure you spell "shepherd" right because I tried to look it up on the Internet earlier and I didn`t spell it right -- seashepherd.org.
Right there you can hit donate, and you may not have $5 million the way Bob Barker did, but you can be a part of this battle to save the whales, and really by extension, save all of us, because they are crucial to the ecosystem. And anyway, they`re gentle, intelligent, sensitive creatures that don`t need to be slaughtered like this.
The whole world has said, "No, Japan, stop it." You think, just the last couple of seconds, Bob, do you think that we can stop it together?
BARKER: Absolutely. Paul said that he thought that it is possible to bankrupt these whalers, and once that`s done, the Norwegians do some whaling, but otherwise, there are no nations doing it. And if we can bring it to a close this season, it will be just absolutely wonderful.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: From your mouth to God`s ear, let`s hope it happens. Bob Barker, I want to thank you so much for everything you do for the animals and thanks for being on.
BARKER: Thank you for having me as your guest and I`ve enjoyed every moment with you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right back at you sir. Thank you.
Next, Tila Tequila adds another bizarre chapter to the Casey Johnson death. The reality TV star had some pretty harsh words for Casey`s friends and family. So is she telling the truth or just looking for attention? We`re taking your calls on this one, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, a 5-year-old girl saves her father`s life. You have got to hear this amazing 911 call.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SAVANNAH: He looks like he`s real shaky. I am real shaky too.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Socialites at war: you will not believe all the drama surrounding the mysterious death of Hollywood heiress, Casey Johnson. It`s Hilton versus Tequila in the battle over Casey`s two tiny pooches.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
A teensy tiny hero: you`re looking at 5-year-old Savannah. She saved her dad`s life. When her father collapsed, the little girl got on the phone with the 911 operator and clearly gave him all the information, including addresses that he needed.
Savannah stayed calm the entire time and even managed to comfort her father. You`ve got to listen to this.
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911 OPERATOR: Every time I`ve listened to it, it`s amazing, because she`s just a little person.
Keep him awake, ok.
SAVANNAH: ok. He really needs oxygen.
911 OPERATOR: He really needs oxygen?
SAVANNAH: Yes, real bad. He looks like he`s real shaky. I am real shaky too.
911 OPERATOR: They should be getting there any minute.
SAVANNAH: Ok. Like, how many minutes?
911 OPERATOR: Probably only a couple.
SAVANNAH: Ok. You have to stay awake? It`s ok, dad. It`s ok.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a sweet, brave little girl. I am happy to report, Savannah`s dad is ok tonight and he`s actually going back to work.
With so much negativity in this world and we cover too much of it here on ISSUES because that`s what we`ve got to do, we`ve got to come up with solutions, it`s really nice to have this kind of a happy ending story. Way to go, Savannah. You rock.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Meantime, it`s an all-out war in the wake of Casey Johnson`s death. In New York, Casey`s family prepares to bury the tragic socialite. In Los Angeles, things are far from somber. Yesterday, a battle nearly broke out over Casey`s two little dogs.
TMZ caught Casey`s friends, Nikki Hilton and Bijou Phillips descending upon the home of Casey`s fiance, Tila Tequila, as they loaded up the pooches a toy poodle and a Yorkie into their SUV. What did Tequila do? She reportedly called the cops on them and here`s why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel about the fact that Nicky has taken the dogs?
TILA TEQUILA, CASEY JOHNSON`S FORMER FIANCE: I just hope that they don`t put the dogs out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you believe that they would put the dogs to sleep?
TEQUILA: Yes and they promised me that they wouldn`t, so hopefully they`re not. That`s why I gave them back the dogs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A spokesman for the Johnson family said there are no plans to do that at all. They`re going to take care of those dogs. And what about Casey`s adopted daughter? Is Tila going to make a play for custody of baby Ava?
This is what she tweeted. "In favor of my fiance, Casey Nguyen and Ava Nguyen," that`s Tila`s real last name. Meanwhile, Tila who announced her engagement to Casey on UStream.com has spread across the Internet, at RadarOnline sending a message to Casey in the great beyond?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEQUILA: Casey, I just want to say that I love you so much and I miss you so much and that`s all that matters. There`s so much chaos going on right now without you here and I just wish you were here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chaos, as in sparking a vicious war of words on Twitter and her own blog, Tila`s HotSpot.com. Boy, the name-calling so bad that a lawyer for Casey`s ex-girlfriend, Jasmine Leonard, is threatening to take legal action. I guess when somebody calls your client a prostitute, the "B" word, drug addict, and con-artist, you might want to put a stop to that kind of slanderous commentary.
Sadly, there is a lot more venom being spewed on the web in the wake of this tragedy. You know, I`m taking your calls on all of this. Is this the way to mourn somebody`s passing? 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877- 586-7297.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: boy, do we need you tonight, Dr. Reef Kareem, psychiatrist and addiction specialist; and we`re delighted to have Michael Lewittes, founder of GossipCop.com; as well as my buddy, Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for the "Insider" and of course our very own voice of reason.
I understand, Darren, you`ve filed a report for the "Insider" from in front of Tila Tequila`s home. Yikes.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us what the scene was out there, dare I ask.
KAVINOKY: Well, I`ve been to her home, and it was quiet from the street, which is obviously quite different than what we`re seeing is going on behind those closed doors.
The story today is, as you mentioned, about those dogs. And it had been reported that Tila was suggesting that some folks, including Nikki Hilton, were going to put those dogs down so that they could be buried alongside Casey Johnson.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please.
KAVINOKY: Obviously, those reports are denied. But the big news was the large "Beware of Dog" sign in front of Tila`s home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you know, a couple of things occurred to me. First of all, I think -- I read a report that a source close to the family said, they don`t want to deal with this woman. They`d rather deal with the devil. They want her out, of their lives.
And, of course, there is a funeral coming up. What if this woman were to try -- this Tila Tequila were to try to crash the funeral of her fiance?
KAVINOKY: Well, my sources are telling me that this funeral is going to be a very intimate gathering. I can`t imagine that Tila would be welcomed. But far be it for me to pass judgment on how people grieve. And we`re really seeing that this is, obviously a tragic situation and one in which people are acting out in all sorts of ways that others are finding to be most troubling and difficult...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you think?
KAVINOKY: ... its really, really sad.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tila Tequila`s homepage blog -- now we`re going from Twitter to blog -- Tilashotspot.com is boiling over with anger towards Casey`s family, but she still has nothing but loving words for Casey herself.
Michael Lewittes, you`ve been watching this train wreck. You know, this is a tragic story. This woman died a tragic death. She was troubled. We have compassion for her. It`s a cautionary tale.
Her family reportedly tried to get her in and out of rehab. What the heck is going on with this Twitter battle?
MICHAEL LEWITTES, FOUNDER, GOSSIPCOP.COM: You know, there`s no way to stop Tila Tequila. And unfortunately she just keeps ranting. If you check her Twitter feed it`s like every minute there`s another rant. And it happens to be full of complete nonsense. It`s in the midst of saying let`s respect my privacy. She`s really being...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back with more in a moment. Hang in there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nikki you got the dog?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nikki, can you say anything why you`re here right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us why it was important to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a dog, too?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say why it`s important to get the dogs back?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ, always on the scene. So unbelievably tragic, Casey Johnson`s untimely death at age 30. She leaves behind grieving family, friends and two precious pups. Although I swear I read her tweeting about a pit bull at some point. And nobody seems to be able to find that pit bull. I don`t know if that pit bull exists but I seem to remember reading that she might have had a pit bull as well.
Joy in Tennessee, your question or thought, ma`am?
JOY, TENNESSEE (via telephone): Hi Jane. I`m so excited to get to talk to you. I`m in recovery myself; twelve years. I can`t wait till (INAUDIBLE) years. That will be so exciting.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Congratulations on your sobriety.
JOY: Well, thank you. My comment is that I just can`t imagine that someone who is a fiance, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, it doesn`t matter. But to lose your fiance, would you not just be devastated to like the point of -- I mean, just not even being able to function? Much less get on Twitter and be twittering every five minutes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Reef Karim, our caller makes such an incredible point.
DR. REEF KARIM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes, it`s a great point. When we think of grieving, we think of a range of emotions like denial, anger, sadness; you know, things that your caller was saying. However, that`s the natural process of grieving.
Many people fight that natural process especially in their disbelief or their denial phase. And they`ll do all sorts of things to act out or kind of distract themselves from the reality that`s put in front of them. I think we`re seeing a lot of this here. And it`s just getting worse and worse and worse with regards to the drama that these girls are creating to have them not look at what really happened, which is the passing of this woman.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And let`s look at the late Casey Johnson and Tila Tequila together, announcing their engagement on UStream.com.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEQUILA: Yay. My baby takes care of me.
CASEY JOHNSON, TILA TEQUILA`S FIANCE: Ms. Tila Johnson.
TEQUILA: No, no, no. Ms. Tequila-Johnson. No, Ms. Johnson- Tequila.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Lewittes, what do you know about Tila Tequila hinting that she might even try to seek custody of 3-year-old Ava which is the child that Casey adopted from Kazakhstan that was taken by her mother because Casey`s mother feared what was happening in the house?
LEWITTES: You know this is just another attention seeking thing on the part of Tila Tequila. I understand people grieve in different ways, but it seems every minute she`s just trying to get as much publicity as possible.
She has no claim to this child. She didn`t adopt the child. She`s not related to the child and, in fact, I think it`s a little questionable about her engage.
Let`s look at the facts here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh well, you know what, anybody can be engaged. I don`t hold that against her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time.
LEWITTES: They hadn`t seen each other in six days.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ISSUES on HLN.