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Doctor Charged with Multiple Counts of Abuse; Charlie Sheen, Wife in Rehab

Aired February 23, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, unthinkable horror from inside a doctor`s office. It could be the worst case of pediatrician pedophilia in American history. A sicko doctor has been charged with 471 sex crime, all against children. Cops said this doctor preyed on his young patients from inside his office, colorfully decorated to lure in kids. How did this go on for so long? And why were numerous complaints ignored? We`ll have all the horrifying details.

And shocking new insight into Charlie Sheen`s toxic marriage. New reports say his wife has left rehab, claiming her privacy was violated. Brooke Mueller accused Sheen of threatening her life on Christmas morning. So where is she now? And why did Child Protective Services stop by the family`s house? Tonight we`ll talk to Brooke Mueller`s attorney.

Also, new twists and turns in that California mystery. A family of four vanishes without a trace. Now, friends and family fear the worst. The house, the family pets, all completely abandoned. The only clue: the family car found parked near the Mexican border. What happened to this beautiful family? Why does the brother feel they were kidnapped?

Plus, disturbing new details and hope emerge in the desperate search for "Growing Pains" star Andrew Koenig. TMZ now reports he emptied out his California apartment so he could start a new life in Vancouver. Andrew hasn`t been seen in almost two weeks. Now his parents reveal a scary letter they recently got from their son. Is he still alive?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beyond sick. Unspeakable depravity. A pediatrician indicted for sexually assaulting 103 of his child patients, one as young as 3 months old. The case against former Dr. Earl Bradley is described as quite possibly the worst child sexual abuse case by a pediatrician in American history.

Listen to this litany of nauseating allegations. Cops say he held toddlers upside down and yelled at them while committing depraved sex acts. Investigators say they have 13 hours of sickening video of then doctor Bradley taping himself while molesting his tiny victims. The videos were apparently shot in his Bay-Bee`s pediatrics practice in Lewes, Delaware.

Dr. Bradley allegedly bonded with the children by decorating his office quarters with Pinocchio and Little Mermaid scenes.

According to court documents, the six foot, 225-pound Bradley allegedly had a, quote, "violently enraged expression on his face," end quote, as he yelled to a 2-year-old patient to perform sexual acts on him. The investigating officer said that video was, quote, "one of the most violent and brutal attacks on a child of any age," end quote, that he had ever seen.

In one video, police say a 2- or 3-year-old girl is seen screaming and trying to run away.

One distraught parent reacted today on CBS.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were children being molested probably on a daily basis in that office. He said he was checking her for a bladder infection, and he actually inserted fingers inside of her. And it was very quick. And I didn`t question it because I trusted him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a violation. What a betrayal. Imagine the parents tonight, what they`re going through.

There are 471 counts in this massive indictment. Prosecutors say these cases go all the way back to 1998, but get this: the investigation was spurred only recently in December, just a couple of months ago when a 2-year-old toddler told her mom that Dr. Bradley had touched her genitals and, quote, "hurt her."

Earl Bradley`s lawyer says the, quote, "real battleground" will be his client`s mental state. Oh, really?

ISSUES reached out to that attorney but did not hear back before air.

What do you at home think of this sinister sicko? I want to hear from parents. And why did it take so long to catch this monster? I am going to tell you about all the many warnings, clear-cut red flags that were totally ignored. Call me: 1-877 JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Dr. Kathleen London, certified family practice physician; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for "The Inside"; Judge Lynn Toler, the presiding judge on the hit syndicated show, "Divorce Court"; and Michelle Sigona, investigative reporter and founder of

Michelle, this is such a sickening story, it`s hard to even recite this litany of depravity. The floor manager holding his head like this while I`m talking because it`s so upsetting. I -- I have to ask you what the latest is, but it`s almost like we`re afraid to know.

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I tell you, as the weeks go on, this gets worse and worse, Jane. Originally, back in December, Dr. Bradley was only charged with 29 counts, and now as you mentioned, there`s more than 400 counts of sexual abuse charge against him that he`s facing at this time. There`s 103 victims.

Now, I spoke with a sergeant from the Delaware State Police a couple of times today, and he told me that his fear is that there are more victims, because Dr. Bradley also practiced in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida. So victims could span all up and down the East Coast.

We need those families to come forward tonight. Please do not be embarrassed. If there have been incidences that you can be able to report to authorities, so we can move forward and see -- and get these folks some help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I`m going to go straight to my big issue tonight. Why in the heck did this take so very long? I`m going to begin with Delaware attorney general and son of the vice president, Beau Biden, who held an emotional news conference yesterday.


BEAU BIDEN, DELAWARE ATTORNEY GENERAL: These were crimes committed against the most vulnerable among us, those without voices. And they were crimes committed by someone with whom an entire community and parents had placed their trust.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why so long? One doctor called him a pedophile.

Dr. Bradley, former Dr. Bradley -- they`ve taken away his medical license, thank God. His own sister, who was once his office manager, tried to warn the Medical Society of Delaware. Published reports say the president of that society at the time talked to the alleged pedophile doctor and concluded it`s a family matter.

In other words, this sicko probably told them something like, "Oh, I had a fight with my sister, or my sister is imagining things," and they decided to take his word for it because he wears that green outfit, or a white coat.

The sister also told detectives that parents had complained to her about improper touching. Nobody listened.

Judge Toler, why didn`t somebody interview all these parents? Why didn`t they take action to stop this -- there`s no words to describe this individual -- a long time ago?

JUDGE LYNN TOLER, "DIVORCE COURT": I think that one of the problems that we have in this society is we have a certain level of people like doctors and other professionals, especially doctors, that we -- we simply - - we trust in and we believe in. And I think when you have him on one side and a mother on the other side, we don`t quite get heard and have that respect. And then he has that society around him of brethren doctors that also believe in the inequality.

And I think that when you have -- just because he`s a pedophile doesn`t mean he`s not smart, and he knew what he was doing and he was working the edges. And there`s a thin line between what`s appropriate -- you know, you can`t tell. And I think that he was smart and he worked the system. And I don`t think they listen to -- to mothers and nonprofessionals the way they listen to professionals.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Kathleen London, where were the nurses? I mean...

DR. KATHLEEN LONDON, FAMILY PRACTITIONER: I want to know where the medical board was. That`s a state, you know, institution. And I know in Massachusetts, where I practice, anyone could put a complaint in, and it is automatically looked at and investigated and a physician is required to respond. And then the board takes from it there and decides how far it needs to be investigated.

So where is the Delaware board in this?

And, you know, as to whether, you know, certain members of society are trusted more than others, well, sociopaths, exactly, know how to work the system. He -- clearly, he was filming this. He knew how to separate children from their parents. So he knew what he was doing.


LONDON: He`s sociopath.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and Darren Kavinoky, his M.O. should have been a real red flag. He went out of his way to bond with the children. Ice cream, candy, toys. A doctor doesn`t need to give toys, candy and ice cream to a child.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, but that`s one of the problems here. And of course, that`s what makes this betrayal so -- so indescribably horrific. Butt it`s exactly those kinds of bonding activities that would separate a great doctor from a merely good doctor.

If this was just a legitimate doctor that was just taking actions to try to make his young patients more comfortable, there`s nothing in the world wrong with that, but it`s the betrayal of trust that the judge alluded to at the beginning that makes this so very horrific.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He had a playground outside the house. You could see it there. The house where he had his practice. He had a playground. It was -- it was flypaper for children. Look at that. Sick. Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick.

Everybody stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on what is the worst child cases of pedophilia -- one of the worst cases of child pedophilia by a pediatrician in U.S. history. We are also taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Also, a cloud of mystery hangs over Southern California. An entire family vanishes without a trace. They`ve been missing for more than two weeks. Family members now fear the worst but have no idea what happened.

But first, a pediatrician allegedly playing -- preying on his young patients. Cops say he molested more than 100 children. Some of them are as young as 3 months old. How did it go on and on for years and years and years? We have more red flags that we`re going to tell you about after the break. You won`t believe what was ignored. You won`t believe what a judge refused to do.


WENDY MURPHY, NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL OF LAW: My first reaction was thanks a lot to the United States Supreme Court for overturning the death penalty for child rapists. And I don`t even believe in the death penalty, but I kind of want to believe in it today, if you know what I mean.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, so many parents who had children who went to see this sicko doctor are now worried, worried sick, and don`t know what to do. We don`t even know how far back this goes, because he also practiced in a slew of other states: Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey. I mean, there could be victims all over the country, for all we know.

Phone lines lighting up. George, Virginia, your question or thought, sir?

CALLER: Yes, ma`am. I worked as the sheriff in a Virginia jail. A gentleman like this usually gets protective custody, P.C., housing, because they can`t go out in the general population. What I`m wondering is if the defense team is going to mount something like an insanity. You know, it will only work for a few very limited type of cases.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. George, you can bet they`re going to do that.

Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney, his attorney has already said the real battleground is going to be his mental state. You know, he knew it was wrong because he hid it. So he had the knowledge that it was wrong, because he hid it very cleverly.

LONDON: And he ran a practice.

KAVINOKY: But hang on. If the reported facts are true, namely that these crimes were captured on videotape, then there is no place else for his defense lawyer to go but to focus on his mental state.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How about quit? How about quit and walk away?

KAVINOKY: No, no, no, no. You see, this is exactly my point, Jane, that those participants in the justice system can`t afford the luxury of the outrage and the passion that you can. Their job is to do justice and...


KAVINOKY: That even means for the judge and prosecutor -- no, not whatever. Their job is to administer this justice dispassionately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something. I`m going to jump in, Darren. Where was their -- where was their dispassionate view when people were coming out of the woodworks, saying this guy was a sicko. A parent from Dr. Bradley`s community spoke out on the CBS "Early Show." Let`s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost everybody knows somebody that yes, their kid goes there. I look at her when she`s laying there sleeping. I`m just thinking, "The poor girl," you know, just praying she`s not one of them, because she`s so sweet. You know? Because she`s my little baby.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There ARE so many outrageous revelations. Five years ago, Dr. Bradley was accused of excessively kissing a 3-year-old girl. Prosecutors reportedly failed to file offensive touching charges against him.

Then two years ago, three parents told cops this doctor conducted inappropriate vaginal exams, but a superior court judge would not authorize a search warrant. Had this judge authorized a search warrant of the doctor`s home and office, they probably would have found hours and hours of videotape of him raping children, and they would have prevented many of the rapes that were still to come.

Now, I want to know, who is this judge? Why is his name not being revealed? And Judge Toler, how in the heck could he possibly have said no search warrant?

TOLER: We don`t know what was in the -- in the request for the search warrant. If it was just something -- it was something that the parents said, then they would -- they did -- they had no evidence that there was something visual to be seen, to be looked at. Then there wasn`t anything to search for.

I don`t know what the judge actually saw and I don`t know how it was presented to him. But when you have a search warrant, you have to have something specific that you`re looking for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How about three young kids saying, "He touched me in a funny place, in my privacy zone, in my danger zone"?

TOLER: That`s not going to give you -- that`s not going to get you a search warrant to go in and look at his office, because that has to go to some -- a board or something that -- where you can talk to them but not look.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you what.

LONDON: Where was the board?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They should have started interviewing all the parents who had children who went to this doctor, and they would have found a pattern very quickly.

Ronnie, Maryland, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Yes. my question is this: I have two sons. I never let them out of my sight when I took them to the doctors. Movies, you name it. And I -- a child being sick, and they`re going to be apprehensive going to the doctors to begin with, what parent does not stay with their child?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very good question. Dr. Kathleen London?

LONDON: You know, the only time we separate parents from their children is when we`re concerned that they`re being abused by the parents. And in those cases, we wouldn`t be alone with them. Or, you know, adolescent children when we`re asking delicate questions about either their sexuality or drug use.

So I agree. I can`t understand that. But you have to understand that these parents trusted this doctor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beyond that, Dr. London, and I`m going to go to Michelle Sigona on this. He had a whole system to separate them, using candy and saying, "I`m going to take them to another room."

SIGONA: Blaming the victim isn`t -- to me, blaming the victim...


SIGONA: What we can do in this -- in this particular situation is educate the public and say, "You know what? These parents actually thought that he was a trustworthy person, someone that they could trust their children with."

And the fact of the matter is that he had this place set up like a playground, like -- like a Disney World in Delaware for that matter, that he could pull these children into the other room and to molest them within a very short -- allegedly molest them within a very short period of time and give the children back. And of course, they may have been crying or whatever the case may be, but parents just think that that`s normal.

So parents out there, do not leave your children alone if you were in a doctor`s office. We will take this time right now, Jane, to be able to educate them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve only got a couple of seconds. But I want to show a map. CNN has a map of pediatricians accused of sexually abusing their tiny patients. What the heck is going on in this country? I mean, it`s like from profession to profession, the pedophilia is jumping.

OK. We`re going to stay on top of this story. Fantastic panel, have you back very soon to file -- follow this case.

A mother, father, two young sons vanish. Haven`t been seen since February 4. It is a complete and total mystery.

And Charlie Sheen back in rehab? You won`t believe this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A late-breaking development on the Charlie Sheen front. Charlie`s rep tells HLN`s "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" that he is now in rehab and will take some time off from his hit TV show "Two and a Half Men." So why did Charlie just recently tell TMZ everything is fine and dandy?

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing, Charlie?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is everything with Brooke, man?

SHEEN: Everything is great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations on the baby, dude.

SHEEN: Thank you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, Charlie`s wife Brooke claiming a major security breach at a Malibu rehab facility where she was undergoing treatment for substance abuse. Sources tell TMZ someone from the staff at the Canyon leaked a patient admissions document to the media. Brooke`s lawyer now says he is going to sue.

The Canyon did not return our call for comment, but we`d be happy to have them on any time to tell their side.

Joining me now for an ISSUES exclusive, famed attorney Yale Galanter.

Yale, so great to see you again.

Many of you know Yale for his representation of O.J. Simpson, of course. He is also Brooke Mueller`s attorney.

Yale, what is Brooke specifically upset about that she might sue over?

YALE GALANTER, BROOKE MUELLER`S ATTORNEY (via phone): She`s upset because she went into the Canyon rehabilitation facility with the full confidence that her issues would be taken care of and she would be treated medically, and they violated the privacy that any patient would have when they go in for medical help.

And one of the employees there actually took her admission notes and tried to sell them to various media outlets. And we`re very upset about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She left that rehab. Is she in another rehab at this moment in time?

GALANTER: She`s in a private facility where she is continuing her rehabilitation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, it`s very bizarre that both a husband and wife are in rehab at the same time, but that appears to be the case here. They`re in separate rehabs, but they`re both undergoing treatment for substance abuse. What do you make of the fact that Charlie has checked himself in.

GALANTER: I cannot speak on behalf of Charlie, because I do not represent him. I will say this. I wish Charlie the best.

I know that Brooke has consistently said that she`s trying to make things work. I know that Brooke made her decision because she wants to be the best person she can be. She wants to be the best mother she can be. And she felt that it was in her best interests to take care of whatever issue she had. And that`s why she has been continuing her treatment since the December 25 incident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I know as a recovering alcoholic myself, is that when two addicts team up, that`s when things really get cuckoo. Because a lot of times an addict or alcoholic will choose somebody who is a normie to kind of counterbalance them and keep them in check. But if you`ve got two people with substance abuse problems together, that`s a problem.

By the way, who is taking care of the children?

GALANTER: Well, I`m not going to -- I will tell you that the children are being very well cared for. I don`t want to speak specifically where the children are or who is taking care of them just for security reasons.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this has got to be so difficult for the greater family. What`s your observation on all of this? I mean, are they going to pull out of it and stay together, do you think?

GALANTER: Well, I will tell you that they`re both very dedicated parents. They`re both very committed to each other. I know that Brooke is doing everything that she can possibly do to be the best parent she can. And, you know, I`ve said this publicly before, time will tell.


GALANTER: And obviously, one other thing, the odds...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, we`ve got to leave it there, Yale. But we`d love to have you back real soon.

And sobriety is the best way to be a good parent.

A California family vanishes without a trace. Authorities are baffled.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: New twists and turns in that California mystery. A family of four vanishes without a trace, nowhere to be found. Now friends and family fear the worst. What happened to this beautiful family?

Plus, disturbing new details and hope emerge in the desperate search for "Growing Pains" star Andrew Koenig. Is he still alive? If so, where is he?

A family of four mysteriously vanishes from their California home without a trace. Tonight police are baffled, calling this case an absolute mystery.

Summer and Joseph McStay and their kids, three-year-old Joseph and four-year-old Gianni have been missing for almost three weeks. Summer`s mom begged from their safe return.


BLANCHE ARANDA, MOTHER OF SUMMER MCSTAY: Just a beautiful, wonderful mother, wife, daughter. I love her, and I want my family home safe. I want them to come home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The McStays were last seen February 4th. Their car was found four days later abandoned in a parking lot just two blocks away from the Mexican border. Joey`s brother fears the worst. He believes the family was kidnapped.

Could Joey McStay described as a loving family man have unwittingly gotten tied up in something like perhaps drug smuggling? He owned his own business, building and installing these beautiful, interior water fountains. His father says he sometimes got supplies from Mexico. He says his son was in Tijuana as recently as December.

Now take a look at this precious baby. A video the family posted on YouTube.

The sheriff`s office says there is nothing -- nothing, nothing -- to indicate this family was tied up in drugs or connected to gangs or any criminality whatsoever. We want to be clear about that.

But their car was found in San Isidro, an area of the Mexican border known for heavy drug smuggling. Investigators searched the family home, top to bottom and found chilling clues. Food that should have been refrigerated left on the counter. And the two precious family dogs were left alone outside with no food or water.

Friends say Summer called the dogs her children and would never ever leave them like that. Take a look at this video from YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here Bubba. He`s playing. He`s never played ever. I`ve had Bear for seven years and he`s never once played.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: No way she`s going to leave that pet by himself without food or water with another little dog there. No way.

What happened to this beautiful family? Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: and joining me by phone, the Lt. Dennis Brugos from the San Diego sheriff`s office. Lieutenant, what is the very latest?

LT. DENNIS BRUGOS, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF`S OFFICE (via telephone): Well, right now we`ve asked for investigator to come from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children. Actually we`re in a meeting with them right now. They`re going to be helping with the investigation.

We just got more search warrants for bank statements, phone records. And we continue to speak with neighbors, business associates and family, as well as reviewing these surveillance videos going into Mexico.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I have to ask you this question. This is totally hypothesis on my part. But I wonder if they could have unwittingly gotten involved in something that they had no idea they were involved in, which is unwittingly, but ok, he goes down to Mexico to get these smaller fountains that he ships out and that`s part of his business. We know at the San Isidro border that they are smuggling drugs ever more creative ways, for example, sticking it in furniture, sticking them in toys.

Is it possible that he bought some fountains from somebody who stuck something untoward inside them like drugs and then went to go pick them up at his house?

BRUGOS: Well, I would say that nothing is impossible, but there`s nothing that we`ve uncovered that would necessarily support that as being what happened. You know, you talk to some people and they say that the family never did go to Mexico. And then you talk to other family members and friends and say that Joseph as part of his business did actually do business in Mexico.

But really at this point, I hate to speculate --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about, let`s say, find out what the company is that manufacturers those smaller fountains and contact that company or see if that particular company has a history of funny business.

BRUGOS: We are trying to find out what businesses he`s dealt with in Mexico. We do have two of our detectives who are liaison officers in Mexico and they work there everyday. They are working with the authorities in Mexico to try and uncover anything we can with respect to any business dealings Joseph may have had in Mexico or family just going down there for vacations or anything like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And I`m not suggesting that they`re involved, but people have been known to slip something in somebody`s package and the person who`s getting that package may not even know that there`s anything in there. It`s happened.

The McStays moved to the San Diego area a few months ago. We have to also ask this question, again, only because we`re trying to solve the complete and total mystery of where this family disappeared. Was there any friction perhaps over that move?

They posted a video of them driving into their new neighborhood on YouTube. And if you listen carefully, you can hear the mom Summer saying, "I can`t do this," and "this place is ugly." Here it is from YouTube.



JOSEPH MCSTAY, MISSING FATHER: What? This is beautiful.

S. MCSTAY: This is ugly.

J. MCSTAY: You`ve got to be kidding me? This is beautiful.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You know what? I`m told that you can hear her say it`s ugly. I couldn`t hear it myself. But maybe -- yes, I`m told by my producer, she did say it was ugly.

Michelle Sigona, do you have any idea if there was any kind of friction at all over this move?

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, you know that`s something that a point that`s been raised by some folks, and family members have come out to say no, there has not been any problems. And of course, I`m sure as time progresses, hopefully with you airing this, Jane, that investigators will be able to close in and find this family and what happened to them.

But as you know, as time goes on, just like in the Susan Powell case, for instance, you find out a little bit more about the family history, a little bit more about the marriage, a little bit more about the children. And sort of the dynamics that go on inside of this. So that`s something I`m sure that investigators are looking into. And as time progresses --


SIGONA: Her friends and his friends will come out and say --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. If you have seen this family, we really urge you to call the San Diego County Sheriff`s office. We`re going to give you the phone number, it`s right there on your screen, 858-565-5200. We have the number up on the screen again.

Now the youngest son Gianni has a distinctive strawberry birthmark on his forehead that you can see in these photos. So that`s all a very telling sign.

I mean Lieutenant, this is crazy. How can a family of four just disappear into thin air especially with two young children without being spotted anywhere? Now, what are you getting off of ATM, cell phone pings? I understand their cell phones went dead, what? When?

BRUGOS: Well, about a day after this, about a day after the 4th -- somewhere around the 5th or 6th. Actually there`s no activity at all either with bank statements, cell phones or anything else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, do you have any theories? I mean this -- we`re asking these questions not because -- we`re not trying to point the finger. This is a beautiful family. We`re trying to explore anything to try to find them and it doesn`t make sense.

Let`s say they were -- ok, it appears because the dogs and the food that they either left in a hurry or they were kidnapped. You would think that somebody in the neighborhood, Darren Kavinoky, would have seen something, like somebody, two suspicious people or three suspicious people or one person hustling a family out.

DARREN KAVINOKY, LEGAL ANALYST, THE INSIDER: You would hope so, unless this was a family that wanted to get off the grid. And of course, there`s no evidence to suggest that. Unfortunately, all the signs do point to some kind of foul play.

But it`s exactly this kind of detailed investigative work that you`re promoting work, listening carefully to that YouTube video, for example. It`s such a great example. It`s the little things that oftentimes turn cases.

Sadly, no one on your expert panel has a crystal ball. So it`s only digging into those nitty-gritty details that will ultimately bring us to the answer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lieutenant Brugos, have you checked out their financial situation?

BRUGOS: Yes, we have.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are they cool? Is everything fine?

BRUGOS: Well, at this point, it seems to be, but we`re digging deeper. And we`ll continue to do that. You know, and it goes back to what you`re saying. By all outwardly appearances, and this would be quite out of character for this family just to disappear.

And there`s absolutely nothing in their backgrounds of either Joseph or his wife that would suggest that their lifestyle would put them in what we would consider some type of a high-risk situation where they night be involved in any type of criminal activity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It just doesn`t make any sense. You`ve checked the boarder, right? Have you checked the videotape crossing the border?

BRUGOS: We`re checking those right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And so nothing has come up so far of a family. And you`ve checked the hospitals in Mexico and the morgues, and everywhere?

BRUGOS: The morgues, the hospitals, the airports, bus stations, taxi drivers in Mexico. And it`s been going on since we got involved in this case on the 15th.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you remember this other similar case we covered. Two men tied up 3-year-old Bryant Rodriguez`s family and kidnapped him from his California home. Originally cops thought the two men were possibly part of the Mexican mafia. They thought Bryant`s grandfather owed them drug money.

Bryant was miraculously found alive and safe in Mexico and there`s the little baby. He used to have long hair. When they found him in Mexico, he had his hair cut, but he was found, like roaming the streets of Mexico.

Police never really found out for sure if the kidnappers knew somebody in Bryant`s family. But it`s kind of -- there`s some parallels.

I mean the entire family didn`t disappear in this case, but one member of the family did. Judge Toler, any thoughts?

JUDGE TOLER, PRESIDING OVER DIVORCE COURT: None really. When you have absolutely not -- I mean, you have things to go on, you have avenues, but, the whole spectrum of possibility still remains. And the only thing you can do at this juncture is investigate everything and make sure that people see those people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And keep the picture out there.

TOLER: So if someone sees any one of them, they can call authorities.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. We`ve got to leave it right there, fantastic panel. Thank you so much.

New hope tonight in the desperate search for Andrew Koenig; friends say he cleaned out his apartment in California and moved to Vancouver for a fresh start. Could this new information help find him?

We are taking your calls on this; 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.


WALTER KOENIG, ANDREW KOENIG`S FATHER: He`s been depressed, he`s been depressed. You know, he`s trying to get ahead in this business and he`s been working at it for a long time.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fast breaking developments tonight in the disappearance of "Growing Pains" actor Andrew Koenig. His parents are meeting with Vancouver police tonight to talk about their missing son. No one has seen or heard from Andrew since February 14.

Andrew is a friend of mine and a former colleague of mine and I am thrilled to say that possible sightings have been pouring in since our broadcast about him being missing last night. Vancouver police say they are tracking Andrew`s cell phone and ATM use and they are hopeful that he is alive.


ANDREW KOENIG, ACTOR: I`ve been thinking about making some big, big changes in my life. Don`t you have a feeling that just getting by is getting old?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Andrew played the character Boner on the 1980s ABC sitcom "Growing Pains" something he really doesn`t like to talk about very much. His parents and his friends say he was suffering from severe depression when he flew from Los Angeles to Vancouver earlier this month.

Andrew`s emotional dad spoke to KABC in Los Angeles.


KOENIG: He went up there to see his friends. He has some very close friends up there and Vancouver is the place that he really felt most comfortable.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Andrew is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He`s a very sensitive soul who cares about all living things. Listen to him talk about the importance of planting living trees for Christmas on Veg TV.


A. KOENIG: Growing up we used to get live trees and my mom would get live trees. And they weren`t huge trees. They were only like four or five feet tall, but the nice thing was we planted them and for years, they would grow and continue to be live trees.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ reporting that Andrew cleared out his apartment before he left Venice, California and that he told friends he wanted to start over in Vancouver.

Radar Online reporting he gave 30 days` notice and moved out of his apartment February 4th. All signs that he might just be lying low in Vancouver right now. Let`s hope so.

Welcome fantastic panel. Judge Lyn Toler, presiding over divorce court; Lance Miccio is back with us, he is a good friend of Andrew Koenig`s and had some very interesting insights for us. But we begin with Mike Walters, assignment manager from TMZ.

Mike, what is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, TMZ.COM ASSIGNMENT MANAGER: Well, Jane, the parents are about to land here in the next few minutes in Vancouver to help authorities kind of zero in on maybe what possibly he could have done the days leading up to him missing.

Now, I`m told that basically today -- there`s a letter that the parents got from him that was kind of a little depressing is the word they used. And they want to zero in -- authorities are very good at this, they want to look at exactly what he wrote to see if any of it has anything to do with where he possibly is now.

We`re told that he moved everything out of the apartment here in Venice and he told his friends he was moving to Vancouver, that`s where he wanted to be. And you heard his dad say that`s a place he felt comfortable. So possibly he could be still near there.

Now, some of the sightings, right near where he was seen last on Valentine`s Day. So the hope is that the parents can work with the cops and they can figure out exactly who he might be talking to. The last they heard from him was on the 16th. There were some text messages sent to his phone, but they really want to zero in on what`s possibly in the letter, or talking to the parents they can figure out where he might be in Vancouver.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, it`s clear to see the toll Andrew`s disappearance is taking on his father Walter in this interview with KABC Television.


W. KOENIG: He`s been depressed. He`s been depressed. You know, he`s trying to get ahead in this business and he works -- he`s been working at it a long time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And with the dad as famous as Walter Koenig, it would be a tall order. His dad played the famous character Chekov on "Star Trek" produced by DesiLu Productions but Andrew`s friend Lance told us last night that in a town that`s well known for nepotism, Andrew had no desire to cling to his dad`s coat tails. Listen.


LANCE MICCIO, FRIEND OF ANDREW KOENIG: He didn`t like being introduced as Chekov`s son or Boner. You know, he stated to that quite clearly to me, I was at a film event with one of the films we did and I introduced him as -- and he said to me look, don`t ever do that again to me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, Lance is with us again. You`re a good friend of Andrew`s. And he did some things before he left that kind of concerned you, specifically about his personal items. He brought them to your house. Tell us about that.

MICCIO: Yes. Well, he brought a few things, returned them to me while I was away. But, you know, there could be an explanation for this. I talked to a mutual friend of ours and he told me that Andrew had planned to go back to Vancouver to start fresh.

So, I mean, although he dropped stuff off for me I wasn`t there to receive it. And although this made me nervous when I found out that he was missing, I`m more hopeful now that, you know, he`s just laying low. I mean, that`s something that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But can I ask you a question Lance, why would he get the return flight? Because the whole alarm bells went off when he didn`t make that flight and didn`t return back as supposedly he had this ticket.

MICCIO: I understand that, but maybe he wanted to stay in Canada, you know, for a while. You`re allowed to stay for three months before you have to return. So maybe, you know, he decided that he wanted to stay.

I mean, I`m very hopeful for Andrew`s safe return. He`s a great, talented guy who cares about everything and everybody. So you know I`m hoping for the best and the things that I heard recently were encouraging.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, why wouldn`t he call? Why wouldn`t he call his parents and say, "Hey, I`m ok." Because I know Andrew is a very caring person and I am hoping you`re right.

MICCIO: Think about Vancouver. Vancouver also is, think about being up in the mountains with your cell phone. You know? That`s a possibility. Something we can`t rule out that he`s off the grid maybe, and his cell phone`s dead. And that`s just it.

Of course, we`ve heard that people have seen him. So I know his parents are hopeful. I know they`re worried, as we all are. But I`m hoping for the best.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I hope that he`s -- I think he`s the kind of guy who might want to go off and meditate somewhere and let`s hope he`s meditating and having a sojourn.

Got a lot, lot more information for you. Stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on the desperate search for Andrew.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I used to have trees, like most of us; A giant, real tree. Cut it down, take it into the house. Then my consciousness got raised about the entire issue and I really couldn`t enjoy having a tree that was killed just for Christmas in my home for Christmas.

ANDREW KOENIG, ACTOR: Growing up, we used to get live trees, we`ll get live trees. They weren`t huge trees. They were only like four or five feet tall but the nice thing was, we planted them. And for years there was --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was shot actually in my apartment back in the early 2000s. Andrew and I worked on this veg TV show which is still in existence out there. We had a lot in common because we`re both vegans, we`re both animal activists, we`re both environmentalists.

And I could tell you that this is one sensitive guy who really feels the pain of the helpless and the voiceless; whether it`s children, whether it`s animals. He cares. And I don`t think he had a big denial mechanism. He was not a tough guy. He is a sensitive, caring soul and that`s my big issue tonight. Sometimes, it feels like this world is especially cruel to sensitive souls who are caring.

Here`s a recent photo of Andrew from the Facebook fan page his friends have started for him. And here he is on his dad`s personal Web site, Again, Andrew`s an environmentalist, a vegan, an animal activist. He cares about the suffering of the helpless.

And a lot of people who are sensitive suffer because they are ridiculed for caring so much. so again, we are all praying that he`s ok. That he is in Vancouver on a sojourn, hopefully in some coffee shop playing the guitar, having a cup of tea. I know he didn`t drink coffee.

Phone lines lighting up and we`ve got one from Canada. Stacy, Ottawa, your question or thought.

STACY, OTTAWA (via telephone): Hi, Jane. I was just wondering if it`s possible that he might have just gotten swept up with the Olympic Games that are going on there right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. Lance, what do you think?

MICCIO: If he was involved, it would be probably doing a peaceful protest against the Chinese involvement and Burma. He was arrested for protesting the float at the Rose Bowl parade. That`s something that occurred to me when he went to Vancouver would be to a peaceful protest. So, you know, that`s possible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you. That is definitely what Andrew would do. I don`t think he would participate in the games without really analyzing it from a political perspective.

Judge Toler, here`s another reason why I`m very hopeful about Andrew. Andrew took very good care of his body. I never saw him drink anything but water and we were on sets where there were a lot of things. He`s a vegan so he eats fruits and vegetables. I don`t see a person who he cares that much about his body, turning around and harming his body. I just don`t.

TOLER: And I`m hoping that`s not the case but I think we would be remiss if we talked about the story and didn`t get to the larger issue. When you have family and friends who express depressed ideas, don`t just disregard it especially when it is accompanied by a change in action.

Hopefully, he`s just fine, but it is an opportunity for us to remember that depression is a very serious thing and when you have family, that is your first best defense from bad things happening to sensitive good people. Because we don`t really pay attention when someone says I`m depressed.


Thank you, panel. And I know this is seen in Canada; ISSUES is seen in Canada.

Andrew, if you`re watching, we love you, you`re an amazing guy. The world needs you. We need more men like Andrew Koenig.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.