CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Bodies Found Could be Abducted Girl, Kidnapper; Camera Caught Missing Family Leaving Home; Lindsay Lohan Near Death?

Aired March 29, 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, a stunning new twist in the desperate search for a beautiful family of four that vanished three months ago. Now neighbors claim they have video of the McStays leaving their home the very same night they disappeared. So were they abducted, or did they simply run away? And why?

An addict nation, out of control. We`ll go inside Lindsay Lohan`s apparent downward spiral. The Hollywood starlet has been in and out of rehab. Tonight, shocking new reports. Friends saying if Lindsay doesn`t get help soon, she could die.

Also, the war on women takes a gruesome turn. An 18-year-old girl brutally murdered, her body found burning under a bridge. Tonight, cops are using the Internet to track down her killer. Could a cultish Web site linked to vampires provide crucial clues?

Plus, a mother demands justice. Somer Thompson abducted, raped, killed while walking home from school. Cops have been applauded for catching this alleged killer, but could this horrifying murder have been prevented?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All those stories in just a moment. But first, fast- breaking news just in to ISSUES.

A very tragic new development in the case of missing 7-year-old Aja Johnson. Police have now found two bodies in a rural area of Norman, Oklahoma, 17 miles south of Oklahoma City. The bodies were found near an abandoned car that belongs to Aja`s mother. Police believe the car was being driven by Lester Hobbs, the man suspected of kidnapping little Aja and murdering her mother. Police believe those may be the bodies of 7- year-old Aja and Hobbs. One body was reportedly found inside the vehicle. The other one was found nearby.

Little Aja, as you may recall, has been missing since January. And we are going to keep you updated with the latest developments as they come in tonight.

Straight out to HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks.

Mike, what is the very latest?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jane, I just got off the phone with Jessica Brown, who`s with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. She says investigators are on the scene. And agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations are going to the scene.

But she does confirm that this is, as she called it, the car that they have been looking for, for quite some time that Lester Hobbs was last seen in.

She says they`re also in the process of obtaining search warrants. They want to make sure that they don`t -- that they cross all their "T`s" and dot all their "I`s." So you know, there`s no hurry. Go ahead and get a search warrant for this car and possibly for other locations.

She would not confirm to me about the two bodies, but, of course, your fine staff has confirmed that. So we`re waiting to hear more from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on whether or not, you know, this could be the body of little Aja and possibly Mr. Hobbs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But certainly, it looks like that. All evidence would point to that.

BROOKS: Right. Because they haven`t seen the car at all. And, you know, law enforcement would have expected it to pop up somewhere, because it is fairly unique. And they have not heard anything or seen the car for quite some time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist, I can`t even begin to imagine what this beautiful little child might have gone through in the last days and months of her life if, in fact, this is Aja.

This very violent man, Lester Hobbs, had threatened to kill Aja`s mom, his estranged wife, with a hammer. And it appears that he carried that threat out and actually used a hammer to kill his estranged wife. And it`s very possible, according to authorities, that little Aja was on the sofa next to him, witnessing all of this brutality, only to be later abducted by this man, and they have been missing for quite some time now.

Gosh, I can`t even imagine, Dale, what this poor child has gone through.

ARCHER: Yes. I mean, I think this is all of our worst nightmares. I mean, you always want to hold out hope. Of course, when the murder occurred, then we thought, OK, Aja has probably been kidnapped, probably by Lester. But of course, you always hope that at some point she turns up, that it`s not going to be a homicide on top of it. Obviously, we don`t know that.

But again, our worst fear as a parent and just as a concerned citizen thinking that -- what the little girl went through, and obviously, we`re still going to hope for the best that maybe this is not her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, Mike Brooks, agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation had painted a picture of this man as somebody who could subsist on very little, who was a self-taught mechanic, who knew how to hide and move at night. And it turns out he wasn`t very far from where they disappeared, and they had been searching that area and they hadn`t found him.

BROOKS: No, they hadn`t. You know, don`t know the movements of him. Don`t know any timeline of what he has been doing since then. But for this, all of a sudden, to be discovered, Jane, and for this car not to have been seen by law enforcement or anyone else who was looking for this car, this white vehicle for quite some time, you know, it does point that it most likely could be.

But, again, it`s speculation on our part right now. We`ll have to wait for confirmation from law enforcement.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, CNN legal analyst, what breaks my heart about this case is that the estranged wife who was killed had initially sought a protective order against that man, Lester Hobbs, because he had threatened her and her daughter`s and vowed to kill her if she left him. An emergency order was granted, but the case was later dismissed. Why? Because she did not appear in court, and neither did Lester Hobbs.

So the lesson is that do not ever come in contact with somebody who`s threatened you or your children. Despite all that, she met up with him at his relatives` home and shortly thereafter, this woman was dead.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Victims of domestic violence have to see the legal proceedings through. We`re all very tired of hearing about these cases where a woman calls the police and then, after a few weeks, she changes her mind and she wants everything dropped.

And the other important lesson here if, indeed, these are the bodies, as we suspect, of the victim, is that a man who is violent against his girlfriend or wife will also be violent against a child. Many women believe "he`s only violent against me. He`s never going to harm my child." That is illogical. If you can`t control yourself around your girlfriend or your wife, you can`t control yourself around a child. Children are difficult to deal with. Somebody who`s got those kind of anger issues and acts out in violence is going to eventually harm the child. That`s an important lesson, I think, from this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Mike Brooks, quickly, we heard that he allegedly killed his estranged wife with a hammer, then took off with little Aja. And the reports were initially, if you recall, that he hated this child. That he...

BROOKS: Exactly. No, I was going to point that fact out. He didn`t even want the child around. That he -- he hated the child, hated being around the child. And, you know, then he goes ahead and takes the child. It just -- you know, it`s just not looking good right now. But, you know, you always hold out hope, Jane. But it`s not looking good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to stay on top of this story. As new developments come in, we`ll bring you the very latest this evening, as well as a complete analysis of this horrific case tomorrow here on ISSUES.

Back in 60 seconds with the McStay family, which disappeared from California. Shocking, stunning new developments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, mind-blowing, brand-new video of the family of four who mysteriously vanished two months ago from their California home. Tonight we ask, are the McStays alive?

A neighbor`s surveillance camera reportedly caught Joseph and Summer McStay and their two young children leaving their house together on Thursday, February 4, the very night they disappeared. Joseph`s brother says the video shows the foursome getting into their white Isuzu Trooper and driving away at exactly 7:47 p.m. Four days later, their car is found abandoned at a mall within walking distance of the Mexican border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MCSTAY, JOSEPH MCSTAY`S BROTHER: I originally thought that someone was holding them against their will. But there`s been no ransom. So -- and, you know, for him to just up and run and not tell anybody, it would have to be something pretty heavy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Investigators searched through hours and hours of surveillance video of the border, and they think they have spotted the McStays. They cannot be certain that it`s them. And Joey`s brother is doubtful.

However, in a shocking new twist, police say other family members say they recognize Summer`s white jacket crossing the border. Police say they could still be alive. A lieutenant working the case tells local reporters, quote, "If the family met with tragedy, I just have a feeling we would have known that by now," end quote.

I want to hear from you. What is your theory on what happened to the McStays? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer; CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom; HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks. But we begin with Leslie Berestein from the "San Diego Union- Tribune."

Leslie, thanks for joining us. You`ve been tracking this story from the start. Why are we just hearing about this neighbor`s video now, almost two months after the disappearance?

LESLIE BERESTEIN, "SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE": Investigators actually had seen it. Mike McStay, who I was speaking to a few days ago, mentioned it. And we began talking about this video, and I began asking him, what did you see?

Now, the video itself -- and I`ve been trying to have it released to me. I`ve not gotten a hold of it yet, but he`s seen it and investigators have been it. It was taken by a surveillance camera mounted onto a neighbor`s house. It does not show -- because of the angle, you can`t see people getting into the car, but it shows a vehicle -- the cops say it`s hard to make out just what the vehicle is -- leaving the driveway at 7:47 p.m.

Now, according to Mike McStay, the videotape ran until midnight that night. At that point, it ended. And it did not give any indication of any vehicle returning back to the driveway. These people had young children. So it`s very unusual. And everybody thinks it`s -- I have one more thing to say. Brand new. Just got this just before I drove in.

Sheriff`s department has gone through the computer records, the family`s computer records, and they have just announced that they found some e-mails. They won`t specify to whom they were sent, but they found some e-mails that they sent out in late January inquiring about passports for children to travel to Mexico.

Now, I reached Mike McStay just before I got here. He found, again, you know, his words were "It doesn`t make sense to me" because they hadn`t advised family members that they were going to be doing anything like this. And again, as you know, the house was left in a state where it did not look like they were preparing for a trip. There was perishable food left out. But to this date, police continue to think they left of their own volition. Family members are very skeptical about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a total mystery.

Now, we`re also getting brand-new details on the last phone call made by Joseph McStay, the dad. He reportedly called his business associate on Thursday, February 4, at 8:37 p.m., just one hour after the family was spotted on camera leaving their home. That phone call lasted one minute, and it was the very last activity from either of the family`s two cell phones.

So I have to wonder, Mike Brooks, the key, I would think, would be what did they talk about? What might have triggered a change of plans? Or was this actually something that was carefully orchestrated?

BROOKS: You know, that`s a great question, Jane. Because a one- minute call, a lot of times it`s someone just leaving a message.

Now, one thing that kind of bothers me a little bit. This car disappeared at 7:47, but it was found in this mall parking lot four days later. Now, apparently, this mall tows cars every evening that`s left there. So where were they for those four days before they parked the car there? That is -- you know, the timeline is just not adding up to me here, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Friends say the biggest clue the family intended to return is that they left their two beloved dogs outside with no food or water. Summer`s friends say she`d never do this. Take a look at this video the McStays posted on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH MCSTAY, MISSING WITH FAMILY: Get up. Get your puppy. Look at the little bear. Big bear, 150 pounds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, look, Summer clearly loved her pets, Lisa Bloom. And we`re also hearing details that authorities found trays of paint and rollers in the house because they were renovating and had been painting earlier that day. Now, I don`t -- I can`t get my mind around why somebody would be painting a kitchen if they were planning on leaving, unless they wanted to create the appearance that they weren`t planning on leaving.

BLOOM: Jane, this sounds like foul play to me. It`s very hard for people to disappear in this day and age. No cell-phone pings, no money taken out of their bank accounts, I mean, no electronic records of them doing anything after a few days after their disappearance. I mean, that`s almost impossible.

Let`s say they did take off to Mexico on their own. What are they doing? Something where they`re earning cash, and they`re paying cash for everything? With two young children? Unfortunately, this really sounds to me like something terrible happened to them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So we`ve got a disagreement here. Was it an intentional disappearance or were they abducted, and is something terrible going on?

Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re tracking down this beautiful family, and we`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Plus, we`ve all seen the party photos, but is Lindsay Lohan flirting with death? We`ll take a look at her alleged downward spiral. Why friends say if she doesn`t get help, she could die.

But first, a family of four vanishes into thin air. What happened to the McStays?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a beautiful, wonderful mother, wife, daughter. I love her. I want my family home safe. I want them to come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

J. MCSTAY: Go, Shelby, go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a video from YouTube. The McStay family loved posting videos of themselves on YouTube. Boy, this is just a puzzle.

Audrey, Rhode Island, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Well, you know, I`m starting to think that maybe the authorities may act like they`re dumbfounded because with them disappearing the way they have, Mexico being involved, he apparently purchases stuff from here or there. I wonder if it may be some kind of a witness protection case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, that`s fascinating.

Leslie, here`s what I don`t understand. If they were going across the border for legitimate reasons, why not drive across? That`s what most people do. Why park your car right on the other side of the border and walk across? I mean, do we know anything about their finances? We know that Joe McStay had declared bankruptcy at one point in his past, but apparently, he had gotten back on his feet.

BERESTEIN: Several years ago. That was related to a business that he had with his brother, in fact. They had gotten sued. And they lost something close to $100,000, something to that end a long time ago. It`s been about six or seven years.

And according to his brother, he had gotten back on his feet. He qualified for a home loan. He just bought a new house, the house that they were living in. So he had gotten out of that quite some time ago. And he was doing well. He had some good contracts with his business. So as far as finances is concerned...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he have business in Mexico? I`ve heard various reports, conflicting.

BERESTEIN: I`ve asked about that. A friend of his said that he did travel to Mexico occasionally for business. His brother said, no, the last time he traveled there was actually in 2003, and it was for vacation and he went solo to a surf camp.

His wife was not keen on travel to Mexico. Over a dinner conversation with some friends last year, in fact, the subject of vacationing in Mexico came up, and she had expressed concerns about safety right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but then why get the passports or seek information on the passports?

Here`s my big issue tonight. Are police keeping missing pieces of this puzzle close to the vest? I happen to think they know a heck of a lot more about this case than they`re saying, Lisa Bloom. That`s my gut.

BLOOM: Hmm. Well, I don`t know why you think that. It seems to me this family crossed the border, probably on foot because there are often long, long lines by car, so people will just park their car and walk across. You know, people do that.

Once they got into Mexico, you know, God knows what happened to them. I hope they`re well there. But as I said, I think that`s very unlikely. There is a lot of drug violence, a lot of homicides going on right now in Mexico, right across the border.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It doesn`t seem to be possible that they would just take off and leave on an innocent...

BROOKS: I thought it was interesting, though, the law (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

(CROSSTALK)

BROOKS: ... tragedy in the U.S. Didn`t say anything about Mexico.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, it`s a mystery. We want to solve it. We hope they come back OK.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Another teen set on fire and murdered. Lots of tips coming in. Could it be linked to a vampire Web site?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lindsay Lohan spiraling out of control? TMZ reports Lindsay`s friends say she is going to die. Lindsay was just spotted stumbling out of a nightclub after what looked like a night of very hard partying. Right there. Look at her.

But Lindsay denied she was wasted, tweeting this excuse: "Only I would get pushed into a large, sharp plant by crazy paparazzi."

Lindsay has been in rehab three times, but she`s constantly hitting the clubs. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold up until I tell you. OK? Hold up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindsay, my battery pack is going out!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to move her up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to move. You need to move. Just start moving a little bit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. TMZ reports the troubled starlet even has the LAPD worried. Officers who know Lindsay tell TMZ they wanted to put her on a 5150 hold. That`s when you keep somebody for 72 hours because you fear they might harm themselves.

All right. Lindsay was also spotted with white powder leaking out of her shoe?

Straight out to my fantastic guest, "E!" news director Ken Baker.

Ken, dare I ask, what is the very latest?

KEN BAKER, NEWS DIRECTOR, "E!": Well, the latest is that Lindsay, like you said, is denying any -- anything was wrong with her, that she`s been on any drugs or anything like that, but her father isn`t buying it. Her father is actually expected to hold a press conference tomorrow in Long Island, near his home. And he`s expected to kind of talk about this and basically make some accusations.

Now, we don`t know exactly what he`s going to stay, but I can tell you what Michael Lohan, her father, has said in the past, which is basically that she has a problem, that she needs help, that she has a lot of people around her who are enablers, and that she definitely is someone who could use being taken into custody.

Now, for the record, Lindsay denies that. She says her father is wacko and that she would be a lot better off if her father wasn`t out there spouting all of this.

Now, the truth may -- may be somewhere in between. We`re not sure. But what I can tell you, also, is this, Jane. Don`t forget: Lindsay Lohan actually is under a court-ordered counseling program stemming from an arrest that she had a couple of years back. She still has to regularly check in with the court on that. So she is under some sort of care. Is she in a rehab? No, she`s not. And she isn`t going regular, I can tell you that. She goes out a lot more than she does -- to clubs than she does to some facility.

But also, Jane, you and I, it seems like just yesterday -- it was really three or four years ago -- we were almost having this same conversation with Lindsay Lohan. She was acting erratically. She was falling asleep in cars. She had all this drama going on in her life.

And it seems like it`s never-ending and now what`s happened last night, it`s been happening over the last week or so. People are really getting concerned. And I think that they do have reason to be concerned. People love her. They care about her. And what they`re seeing is someone who doesn`t seem healthy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to say that we are going to be all over that news conference tomorrow, if and when it happens, with Michael Lohan, Lindsay`s father. We`ll stay on top of this.

And final thoughts. She does not have a good relationship with her dad, correct?

Yes. The two have been feuding. Her father has been in public, in the media, trying to get her help through the media. I`m told she doesn`t want to talk to him. Now, at times they have had conversations. They`re kind of -- communication does come in and out. But right now, I`m told they really don`t have a relationship. And I know that`s something that`s very hurtful to Michael.

And we see with Lindsay that she is very hurt by the current situation with her family. And a lot of people think that`s the root of the problem in the first place. I`m not a psychologist. I can`t tell you that, but it`s all very sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it is. And you know, it`s also potentially dangerous. Remember, she went on that high-speed chase on the Pacific Coast Highway, and other people would be in jail.

Ken, thank you so much.

Gut-wrenching teen violence out of control. Is there a vampire connection to this latest case?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The war on women takes a gruesome turn. An 18-year- old girl brutally murdered. Her body found burning under a bridge. Tonight, cops are using the Internet to track down her killer. Could a cultish Web site linked to vampires provide crucial clues?

Plus, a mother demands justice. Somer Thompson abducted, raped, killed while walking home from school. Cops have been applauded for catching this alleged killer, but could this horrifying murder have been prevented?

Tonight, a sickening new trend hits a new level of depravity. A teenage girl`s body found burned and unrecognizable along a popular hiking trail. 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor was reported missing last week when she didn`t show up for a babysitting job. Police have not revealed whether she was still alive when her body was set on fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JO-ANNE LANDOLT, VICTIM`S AUNT: Someone else`s evilness has spread now to everyone else, you know, that knew Kim, that even didn`t know Kim.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the dead girl`s aunt. Imagine what she`s going through.

Just last week, we were horrified to hear about a 19-year-old female burned in Florida. Set on fire. That girl is in critical condition. Police have no suspects in that case.

Another Florida teen, Michael Brewer, also suffered horrific burns, as we all know, allegedly at the hands of his classmates.

Police have no suspects yet in Kimberly`s despite interviewing literally hundreds of people. Published reports say detectives seized Kim`s computer.

Now, this is where it gets a little -- she recently posted ominous messages on her Facebook page and on the site vampirefreaks.com. We have to ask, is there any connection?

I want to welcome back Lisa Bloom, Dr. Dale Archer, also joining me, Perry Aftab, Internet privacy and security lawyer and executive director of wiredsafety.org. But we begin with Katie Derosa, reporter for "The Times Colonist" in Vancouver.

Katie, what is the very latest with the investigation into Kimberly Proctor`s death?

KATIE DEROSA, REPORTER, "THE TIMES COLONIST: Hi, Jane. Actually, we`re in Victoria, BC. Kimberly`s body was found just outside of Victoria in a community called Langford. It`s a small, rural community. It`s really shocked the community, this brutal crime.

And the latest right now is police are refusing to say if they have any suspects. But there`s still no arrests. So the killer is still - - still yet to be apprehended by police. I think the community is still in shock and really, really hoping that someone is caught very soon.

Kimberly`s father says she spent a whole lot of time online, on vampirefreaks.com. She referred to herself as, quote, "Dead Kitty Cat", end quote.

Here`s part of her biography. Quote, "I`ve been bullied a lot. I`m actually scared of teenage girls. I never know which ones are going to bully me because a lot of the time the people who picked on me were girls I`d never seen before."

On her Facebook page, Kim wrote this about a recent ex-boyfriend. Quote, "I had to leave the guy because he was psycho. I had to dump him because he turned out to be a psycho with really bad anger issues."

Perry Aftab, is it just coincidence that she posted these harsh words about this mystery guy in the days before her murder? And she also admitted she had never met him in person because he lives too far away. I mean obviously, that is a cyber and/or phone relationship.

PERRY AFTAB, EXEC DIRECTOR, WIREDSAFETY.ORG: It is. And as you know, Jane, there are lots of things out there you don`t know about the people you`re talking to online. You share a lot about your emotions and your vulnerability.

This also isn`t the first time vampirefreaks has been in the news in connection with a murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I know that.

But let me ask you, Katie, very quickly. Have they found this boyfriend that she referred to? Have they talked to this boyfriend?

DEROSA: Police are not saying who their suspects are or where their suspects are. So we still have no idea where this guy was. Some of the people that she was friends with on vampirefreaks.com were from places across the United States and -- and places across Canada.

So it`s really unclear as to who this -- this guy was or if he was, you know -- where he was exactly. Friends did say that they were concerned about a relationship that she was having with someone, but they even knew very little about this guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok.

DEROSA: Only saying that they thought he was older, but didn`t know how old and, again, weren`t able to provide any information about where she was or how long they`d been seeing each other.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I get you. He`s a mystery man.

This isn`t the first time that vampirefreaks.com, as you just heard, has been linked to a crime. Twenty-five-year-old Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage in 2006 in a Montreal college. This is the picture he posted on vampirefrfreaks.com, with a knife. Take a look at that.

On his profile, he referred to himself as, quote, "angel of death", end quote. Police say Gill killed one person at Dawson College before killing himself.

We contacted vampirefreaks.com to get their response. We haven`t heard back. They have an open invitation to appear on this show and tell us about their site.

Lisa Bloom, we see so many crimes, though, that involve young women talking to people that they think they`re having a relationship with online and it turns out those people are really not their friends and they don`t really know a whole lot about who they really are.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that`s true. But, you know, millions of teenagers right now are enamored of vampires. The "Twilight" movies are best-sellers, the "Twilight" books. I mean there`s a lot of television shows around vampires. So this doesn`t necessarily mean it`s connected with her killing.

But I do notice, Jane, that you`re calling this culture of violence. I think that`s important because part of the allure of vampirefreaks is the violence. That`s why we see the man with the knife posting it on that page because he`s titillated by the violence.

I think, you know, the message we have to get out there is that violence is not sexy. Violence is not alluring. God forbid this happens to some other girl. It`s bad enough it happened to this one girl. I don`t know if it`s connected or not.

And, by the way, the last thing I wanted to say about the burning of the body is killers typically do that to destroy evidence. They could also do it when she was alive to torture her.

I`m concerned about the bullying remarks that she posted on Facebook. Perhaps it was this gang of bullies that was after her that ultimately did her in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And because her body was so badly burned, they`re still trying to determine the cause of death and that of course hampers the investigation. You know police, as you just mentioned, do not know whether Kim`s murder was random or if she was specifically targeted. Police had this warning, however, for residents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CPL. DARREN LAGAN, ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE: We cannot say with certainty that the public is safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim was last seen wearing a sweatshirt with the number 13 on it. And the trail where her body was found is busy with hikers and joggers. It`s just 20 feet from the road.

But, Dr. Dale Archer, setting somebody on fire, as Lisa just mentioned, is so sadistic and personal. Do you think that indicates that the killer is somebody that Kim knew?

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, what really concerns me is that copycat crimes are real. And this is the third one we`ve heard about in the last few weeks. So I think that the Internet has good aspects, obviously, but the bad aspect is when something like this breaks and people read about it, all of a sudden it becomes, "Oh, yes, that`s something that I`m going to try."

So as horrific as this is, I really think that this is related to the fact that this is now becoming an en vogue thing to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, God forbid.

ARCHER: It`s scary. It`s scary, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Perry Aftab, I`ve got to ask you about the whole vampire Goth thing. That obviously is a metaphor for some darker aspect of our personalities that can lead to something dangerous sometimes.

AFTAB: Well, it can. But you need to understand that this site existed long before the current vampire craze. A lot of Goths are very peaceful, although they wear things that look a little creepy as far as we`re concerned.

But a lot of people who are looking to be edgy, looking to be out, looking to outlie issues are going to sites like that as opposed to the rest that are more mainstream. So they`re going to find more people who might be riskier who are also hanging out there.

ARCHER: I want to jump in and comment on that. I think the big problem here is that you said that she thought of this guy as having a relationship with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he --

ARCHER: She doesn`t even know him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly.

ARCHER: That`s hugely important. You don`t know somebody until you`ve met them.

BLOOM: That`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Thank you, wonderful panel. We`ll stay on top of that story.

Elin, she`s weathered the storm after multiple mistresses came forward claiming to have had affairs with tiger. What will Elin do now that the Masters is on the horizon? You won`t believe the latest.

Plus, could Somer Thompson`s death have been prevented? Shocking new details coming out about how her alleged killer was basically benefiting from the slow wheels of justice.

I want to hear from you. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER: Right now I think it`s fair that he get the death penalty. But I can`t say that I will stay feeling that way, you know, when the trial comes around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hunting for justice. We will hear from Somer Thompson`s mom. That`s next.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

So it looks like Elin Woods just might be the first woman to ever tell Tiger Woods no. "People" magazine says Elin has turned down Tiger`s request, he begged her. And she will not be following him to the Masters Golf Tournament this year.

Sources say Elin is headed home to Sweden while Tiger tees it up in Augusta, Georgia. But don`t worry about Tiger being lonely the circus will be in town to keep him company.

Get this, alleged mistress Joslyn James will be performing at an Atlanta strip club called "The Pink Pony" on the very same days as the Masters. Not too far away. Atlanta is just a short trip away from Augusta.

The club`s Web site is advertising this event, asking will Tiger come see her at the Pony and will they start sexting again? You know, I really hope for everyone`s sake Tiger has finally taken that cell phone and thrown it into a sand trap and buried it.

And that is tonight`s "Top of the Block".

Well, switching gears to a heart-wrenching story. Words from Somer Thompson`s mom who is struggling to deal with the horrific murder of her 7- year-old daughter. The most shocking information we have uncovered that shows the suspect, Jarrod Harrell, was left free to roam the streets despite cops being handed evidence on a silver platter that he had loads of alleged child porn.

Somer`s mom today said her family is doing better now that there has been an arrest. You`ll recall Somer`s aunt fainted right in the middle of Friday`s news conference. It was too much for her to hear how Somer died by asphyxiation.

Somer was snatched last October while walking home from school in Orange Park in Florida. Her body found two days later in a Georgia landfill.

Her daughter`s alleged killer is behind bars tonight and Diena Thompson told NBC`s "Today Show" that for now she hopes that Jarrod Harrell gets the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: It closes one chapter and opens another one. But it`s still -- it`s still excruciating. I mean, the pain will maybe get a little bit more bearable, but it`s never going to go away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But at the time of Somer`s death, Harrell could have been in jail. That`s right. He could have been in jail for alleged possession of child porn. If only he had been arrested. His roommates turned him in two months before little Somer was killed.

Would Somer still be alive if the case had been handled differently?

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

Now, back to my fantastic panel, plus we are very honored to have two parents who understand exactly what Somer`s family is going through.

Erin Runnion is with us. Her precious 5-year-daughter, Samantha, was abducted and killed in 2002. And we`re also delighted to have Mark Klaas with us. His beautiful precious daughter Paulie was abducted and murdered when she was only 12 years old, kidnapped from own slumber party.

Mark, let`s begin with you. What is your reaction to this information that the roommates of this suspect handed cops a computer filled with the suspect`s alleged child porn and graphic, graphic stuff and yet they did not act on it? This was two months before little Somer was abducted and murdered.

MARK KLAAS, FOUNDER OF THE "KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION": Well, in fact, Jane, they didn`t even arrest the guy for six months. And as I understand it, the images that were on the computer and in fact, they were more than images. Some were even movies where the most graphic and horrible nature that you could imagine.

Now, it`s another example of law enforcement falling down on the job when it comes to sexual predators. They knew who this guy was. They know that somebody that collects massive amounts of child porn can easily - - can easily evolve into a hard-core abuser.

And in fact, that`s what happened in this case. They should have acted more quickly. Somer would be alive if they had.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. Under their noses, Jarrod Harrell was literally under the noses of local cops when Somer disappeared. In a massive neighborhood search, police checked out his house and police dogs were even in his backyard. Now, does the celebration over Harrell`s arrest mask the real story that he should never have been on the streets? Here is Somer`s mom on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: I`d like to take this opportunity to say to Jarrod Harrell, we got you and you aren`t getting away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: While Somer`s family is understandably applauding authorities for making the arrest and the homicide department did a good job, I do believe there are some huge problems with this case. And it is a fair question to ask, did Somer have to die?

Let`s recap the details. Harrell`s roommates turned him in for child porn two months before Somer died.

Ok, here`s why he wasn`t in jail. According to First Coast News, the computer was turned over to the Jacksonville sheriff`s office on August 10th. When they realized they didn`t have jurisdiction, they then gave the computer to the Clay County sheriff`s office on August 13th. The computer didn`t arrive at the Attorney General`s Cyber Crime Unit until September 25th.

Forensic testing didn`t start until October 9th. Somer disappeared ten days later. Forensic testing was finished November 10th. And they determined, yes, indeed, child porn was found on Harrell`s computer. But by that time, Somer was dead. He wasn`t arrested on the child porn charges until February 11th in Mississippi.

Erin Runnion, what are your thoughts on this development?

ERIN RUNNION, DAUGHTER SAMANTHA MURDERED IN 2002: Well, I think, you know, folks need to write to their legislators. We`ve got to fund the crime labs. The average wait for a computer forensics is six months. That`s how long it takes. And it`s ridiculous, but that`s why people are out and preying on our kids because it takes that long to go through these computers.

But on the positive side, Florida did pass DNA Arrestee Legislation so when they did arrest him, they took his DNA and that`s how it was matched to the DNA found on Somer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Lisa Bloom, I have to say that to me this is reactive justice.

BLOOM: It is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In other words, we put -- we`re going to pour millions of taxpayer into prosecuting this case, to collecting the evidence --

BLOOM: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- to setting up the trial, to all of -- all the intricacies of a criminal case. And yet we don`t have the money to fund the Cyber Crimes Unit so that they can do a test quickly? And it doesn`t - -

BLOOM: Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- take them six months.

BLOOM: -- shame on local law enforcement, but shame on all of us. Because Erin is absolutely right. The crime labs are under-funded. And that`s the responsibility of all of us as citizens.

But the other problem is that we don`t take so-called low-level crimes against children seriously.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right.

BLOOM: Possession of child pornography, somebody who flashes a child, somebody who nearly quote, unquote, "fondles a child". Those should be taken very, very seriously because those are precursors to predators. Predators always escalate their behavior.

If we start taking child porn seriously and making that a priority and locking up guys who merely quote, unquote "possess child porn" --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely.

BLOOM: -- we`re going to save a lot of children from this fate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s proactive, not reactive.

BLOOM: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s prevention, not just prosecution. Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on Somer`s tragic death. Marc Klaas, Erin Runnion, and your calls in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF RICK BESELER, CLAY COUNTY: Mr. Harrell had not come onto anyone`s radar screen as far as someone who might commit a crime like this. The things that he was accused of early on, you know, don`t necessarily be -- or are not necessarily a precursor to this type of event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Seriously? How could the suspect in Somer Thompson`s murder, Jarred Harrell, not be on the radar of law enforcement when his roommates had handed him on a silver platter to the sheriff`s department a computer allegedly chockfull of the kind of child porn -- I`m looking at the affidavit right now -- so graphic we cannot read it to you. But it involves nudity. It involves young girls. It involves provocative positions.

Scott, Arkansas, your question or thought, sir.

SCOTT, ARKANSAS (via telephone): I`m just thinking that you all are exactly right. This thing should never have taken as long as it did. The kind of people that I know would have been through that thing in less than a month.

And my sympathies go out to Somer`s family. And it`s just absolutely ludicrous that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, sir. And I think you`ve made an excellent point.

Marc Klaas, here`s what I don`t understand. Ok. They needed to get a search warrant to search the computer. But what crime lab -- this isn`t DNA. It`s a computer. You turn it on. You look at it. You see it. And that`s all you need to see, is one or two images. This is not like testing DNA. Why should that take six months?

KLAAS: I think that that`s a wonderful question, Jane. And you`re absolutely correct about that.

And I think really what we have is a couple of things going on. Number one, the sheriff says that, you know, that knowing what we knew he didn`t rise to the threshold, which begs the question how many more creeps are in that neighborhood that do rise to the threshold. And exactly what`s with this chain of evidence that it takes three months to get into a computer to begin with?

And I think it really comes down to deferred responsibility. Nobody wants to take responsibility for the fact this girl`s life could have been saved if they had simply worked and moved in a timely manner, which they didn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erin Runnion, you cannot take credit for a crime that is not committed. I think that`s part of the problem. In other words, there is drama and, you know, a certain amount of excitement in searching for a killer. But in going through the dull work of getting a search warrant and going through all this computer stuff and then going to the guy`s house and taking him, that`s not as dramatic.

And I think that sometimes there`s a certain lethargy there because you can`t take credit for a crime that is never committed. Your thoughts.

RUNNION: Well, and we have far too many guys on the -- in the field, too many officers -- far too few who are trained on computer crimes. It`s like 3,000 ICAC officers, Internet Crimes against Children, officers out there, and there are over a million individual computers that have been documented trading and uploading this kind of filth.

KLAAS: That`s amazing.

RUNNION: It is. It`s disgusting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s unbelievable.

BLOOM: And Jane, if I --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

BLOOM: If I could just -- let`s also remember that all of the children who are in that child pornography are also victims, including toddlers that apparently were on this guy`s computer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re not going to let this story go. Thank you fantastic panel for joining me tonight.

And we`re also going to bring you the very latest in the missing Asia Johnson case tomorrow here on ISSUES. Has her body been found? Police are holding a press conference momentarily. We`ll have the answer.

END