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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Police Searching Lake for Missing 5-Year-Old; Teens Family Apologizes for Assault on Josie Ratley

Aired April 14, 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, closing in on the truth. Fast-breaking developments in the desperate search for Haleigh Cummings. Why did cops make a midnight trip to question Misty`s cousin, Joe? And why does Joe claim he`s being used? The plot thickens as rescue workers pull a mysterious ice cooler out of the murky water.

And a 15-year-old girl fights for her life. Josie Ratley was viciously punched in the face and stomped on the head, allegedly because of a text message. Now, a month later, she`s finally sitting up, but could she be scarred for life? Tonight, why is the suspect`s family giving excuses for this brutal attack?

Also, stunning new twists in the return-to-sender scandal. A 7-year- old was put on a plane back to Russia because his adopted mom says she couldn`t handle his temper tantrums. Now, stunning new developments. Reports say this woman was trying to adopt other children. Was she seeking an upgrade? Tonight, we`ll talk to outraged adoptive parents.

Plus, Kate Gosselin fires back. Jon called her an absentee mother, too busy "Dancing with the Stars." She jet sets coast to coast over week, but tonight Kate claims she`s not choosing fame over her kids. Is Jon slamming working mothers? Is this all about the money?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fast-breaking news as we speak. It is day two of the frantic -- and I mean frantic -- underwater search for missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. Tonight, investigators bring Misty Croslin -- that`s right, Misty Croslin, the last person to see little Haleigh alive -- in handcuffs to the search site where they are presumably looking for Haleigh`s body.

There she is. Look carefully. You`ll see Misty right there. She was brought down to the dock. You can see the detectives also gesturing, quite wildly. Investigators furiously scouring the banks of the St. Johns River just two miles away, two miles now, we`re learning, from the trailer park where little Haleigh disappeared, focusing their attention on this dock, bringing in cadaver dogs, bringing in dive teams and underwater sonar devices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON CUMMINGS, HALEIGH`S FATHER: Please, if you have my daughter, bring her home, please. All I want is Haleigh. Baby, if you`re watching, you know you`ll always be daddy`s little girl. I love you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will this case end in tragedy? Brand-new pictures of searchers hauling a large blue container out of the water. What is inside that container? There it is. Is it connected to this case?

And Misty Croslin, the last person to see little Haleigh, is yanked from her jail cell and grilled by investigators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MISTY CROSLIN, EX-WIFE OF RON CUMMINGS: They`re not going to put me away for something I didn`t do, and I didn`t have anything to do with Haleigh, and if I knew who did, I would have told. I`ve told them everything that I can tell them. They need to leave me alone about this. This -- why I am in jail has nothing to do with Haleigh.

LISA CROSLIN, MISTY`S MOTHER: That`s right.

M. CROSLIN: My (EXPLETIVE DELETED) leave me alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Has that all changed?

New reports claim Misty is not the one who tipped them off. Investigative journalist Art Harris tells HLN it was Misty`s brother, Tommy Croslin, who finally cracked. What could he have told investigators that led them to this particular spot on the river?

Plus, detectives jet to Tennessee for an urgent midnight meeting with Croslin Cousin Joe Overstreet. Was Cousin Joe inside this trailer the night little Haleigh vanished? Misty insists she was sleeping and woke up to find Haleigh gone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. CROSLIN: I got up to use the bathroom, but I didn`t make it to the bathroom. I seen the kitchen light on and I walked in the kitchen and the back door is wide open. I mean, I didn`t notice about Haleigh then until I seen the back door open, and then I go in her room and she`s gone. And that`s all I know. Is when I woke up -- when I went to sleep she was there, and then when I woke up, she was gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is Misty now changing her story? Investigative journalist Art Harris reports Misty and her brother are now both pointing the finger at their cousin,

Joe. Joe claims he`s totally innocent. His attorney says Joe is worried that, quote, "He`ll be used by people in Florida whose stories keep changing," end quote. We know who he`s talking about.

Tons of new developments tonight. I want to hear from you. What are your theories? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic panel, all experts, the top experts on little Haleigh`s disappearance. First to Jean Casarez, correspondent with "In Session" on TruTV.

You, Jean, spoke to Cousin Joe`s attorney. What is the very latest?

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION": That`s right. His name is Sean Serego (ph). He`s a noted defense attorney in Nashville, Tennessee. He confirmed with me that Florida Department of Law Enforcement flew late in the day yesterday to Tennessee. They did have that midnight meeting. It was an interview lasting about an hour, relatively short, with Joe, that is, Cousin Joe.

They have flown back now to Florida, but Cousin Joe has come forward today saying, "I had nothing to do with this. I did not cause the disappearance of little Haleigh."

And I think, Jane, it`s so significant what you showed at the top of this show, a figure resembling Misty Croslin on that dock with law enforcement in handcuffs. They didn`t bring Cousin Joe to the dock. They didn`t bring Tommy, Jane. They brought Misty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. The sheriff`s office gathered Haleigh`s entire family for an emotional meeting yesterday. Haleigh`s dad, Ron, who is behind bars. He was just moved to the office. Mom, Crystal, her grandparents, and her great grandmother all there. First Coast news reports many of them were in tears. The question is, why? What were they told?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD, HALEIGH`S MOTHER: Haleigh, if you`re out there, Mommy loves you and your daddy loves you, and we miss you. And we`ll be right here waiting for you to come home. Please, whoever has her, bring her home. Please. We need her. Me and her daddy both need her. Please, just bring her back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Art Harris, you are reporting that Haleigh`s mom, Crystal Sheffield, left the jail weeping and saying, quote, "Joe killed my baby," end quote. Now, if the sheriff`s indicated Cousin Joe is responsible, why didn`t police arrest him after they flew to Tennessee last night and grilled him until midnight?

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Jane, that`s a great question. It`s because they don`t have probable cause to arrest Joe. Right now they`ve got information and claims and stories from Misty Croslin and her brother, Tommy, who just flunked his own private polygraph last week. And my sources are telling me at ArtHarris.com that Tommy`s, you know, Tommy`s polygraph led him to say, "You know what? I lied. I was there. I was with Joe when he took Haleigh`s body to the river."

So that is what sparked investigators to take Misty back out of her jail cell today, down to the river to see if she can tell them anything that would confirm Tommy`s story, because right now, you`ve got, as Joe`s story -- Joe`s cousin and lawyer in Tennessee has said, you`ve got two people who have not told the truth in the past, pointing the finger at their cousin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue...

HARRIS: So right now...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to get to it, and I`ll come right back to you. Family scapegoat? Could Misty and Tommy be pointing the finger at Cousin Joe, just to take the heat off themselves?

HARRIS: Jane, let me tell you right now...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on one second.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... say nothing to hurt you, Misty.

M. CROSLIN: I`m not, Daddy. It`s nothing against me. I`m telling you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your brother told me to tell you...

M. CROSLIN: Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your brother told me to tell you he loves you.

M. CROSLIN: I love him too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to get your brother out, too.

M. CROSLIN: Well, worry about me first, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, and what about Ron? How does he play into this? His mom spoke out this morning on NBC`s "Today Show."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s difficult, you know. I mean, anytime they call you in and tell you that they`re going to be doing such a search, you know, it`s -- it`s hard for us. We always hold out hope that Haleigh`s alive. And, you know, for Ronald, it`s twice as hard, because he has to go back, and he has to deal with this by himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Cousin Joe says emphatically he had nothing to do with little Haleigh`s disappearance, and he feels targeted. And Art Harris reported that Misty failed a polygraph when questioned about this new claim that Joe took Haleigh, so Mike Brooks, why is this credible?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Another news flash: Misty failed another polygraph. You know, just give her another one. She`ll fail that one, too.

But, you know, did you listen to what Teresa Neves, Ron`s mom, says? She called this "such a search," Jane, and Ronald has to be by himself. So what does that tell you? It doesn`t sound like they`re looking for evidence. It looks like they were looking for a body.

And I think, and I have to agree, it`s very significant that Misty Croslin is down there with investigators.

Now, is there a possibility that Tommy could have been down there also, and we didn`t notice it yesterday? Because, Jane, they are looking for something and they are emphatic about it, or else they would not have searched all night long, using side scan sonar radar.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just would love to know what those detectives are asking her right there on the dock.

BROOKS: You and me, both.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Misty, point to us. Tell us where." Is that the question?

Everybody, stay right where you are. So much more on -- oh, the plot is thickening by the minute. We`re taking your calls, as well: 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, Josie Ratley nearly beaten to death, allegedly because of a text message. Tonight, new information on her painful recovery. New photos. Will this beautiful teenager ever be the same?

But first, Haleigh`s disappearance has captivated the nation. Are we finally going to find out what happened to Haleigh, any minute now?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. CROSLIN: I will prove to the world that I didn`t have nothing to do with it.

L. CROSLIN: Exactly.

M. CROSLIN: And everybody can kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And I`m going to get on TV, and I`m going to tell them all to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. CROSLIN: As soon as they find out what happened to Haleigh, everything will be different.

L. CROSLIN: I know.

M. CROSLIN: I can`t believe they still believe...

L. CROSLIN: I know, I know, it`s crazy.

M. CROSLIN: It`s ridiculous, and they`ve got my bond set so high just because of that. And that`s not fair. That has nothing to do with this.

L. CROSLIN: I know, but that`s exactly what it is.

M. CROSLIN: What do they think, I`m going to break? There`s nothing to break me on, so they need to leave me alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fast-breaking news in little Haleigh Cummings` disappearance. Boy, things are changing by the minute.

We have just learned, and we have this video just in, that Misty herself has been taken out of jail in handcuffs and taken to the scene of the search, which is just two miles from where little Haleigh disappeared. You see her there in blue. She`s got her hands like this, surrounded by detectives who are grilling her and asking her tough questions. If only we had a microphone down there to hear what those questions are.

We are also learning that Tommy, her brother, who`s also behind bars on the same drug conspiracy charge, has also been taken to that very location Sunday and Monday.

All right. Richard, Massachusetts, your question or thought, sir.

CALLER: Yes. As far as I remember, the St. Johns River is a tidal river. Maybe Art Harris knows more about it than that. So that whatever they threw in, in that spot, could be moved up and down, going with the tide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, excellent point. Art Harris?

HARRIS: I can tell you, Jane, it`s a great question. And one of the sources that I have, familiar with the divers, say it`s very treacherous, very swift currents. And whatever is there could have been not only moved, but could have fallen prey to alligators, other predatory animals, but also could be buried very deeply under the mud and silt. That`s what they`re hauling up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Art -- Art, tell us, what is the theory? You saw the letter Misty wrote. Just give us the quick version of her latest story.

HARRIS: Misty wrote to relatives saying that Joe came to the house that night, looking to steal one of Ronald`s guns. Couldn`t find it, had been mad at Ronald, so took Haleigh instead. Misty said Tommy left, and Joe went with the body to dispose of it, whatever he did.

Now, right now we know that Misty was lying to protect Tommy. Tommy has flunked a poly and said that he was there, and that he was with Joe. Joe took the body and showed investigators where he dumped the body at the dock. That`s what they`re looking for. Now they`re bringing Misty back to see if she can add anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s absolutely fascinating stuff. There`s something doesn`t add up to me about it, Mike Eiglarsh. It all seems too convenient. And I wonder, is there any possibility that -- I know they moved Misty from one facility to another, another jailhouse facility -- that Misty and Tommy colluded, somehow got -- communicated with each other and came up with this story?

MIKE EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. Keep all possibilities open when it comes to these people, with the level of credibility that they`re at.

But I agree with Mike Brooks, my bald, passionate law-enforcement friend, when he said before the break that the most significant thing is Misty`s on the dock. What this means is that, prior to coming to the dock, she spoke at length with law enforcement. And if we can speculate further, she couldn`t stay in the cell to do what she needed to do. They allowed them to take that risk, to take a prisoner who`s facing decades in prison on a drug trafficking case, and bring her to the scene. This, to me, is the most significant piece of evidence so far.

BROOKS: And highly unusual, Jane. You don`t see that very often, where you take -- get somebody out of jail and bring them out to a scene. It doesn`t happen very often.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But if she didn`t actually go with them, in this story line -- we have no idea if it`s fantasy or not -- but if she didn`t actually go with them to dump the body, why would they need her there unless there`s yet another version of the story?

EIGLARSH: That`s possible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, they say in every lie, there`s a piece of truth. And I wonder if they started out with the story that was in the letter that Art Harris got, and then as they began to grill them and she failed the polygraph, yet another story unfolded.

HARRIS: Nancy, I can tell you -- Jane, I can tell you that they were hoping that Misty would pass this last secret police polygraph on February 26, but she flunked miserably, because she has diverged from her story. And she has told several pieces of different stories. And they`re hoping one of those shreds will match something that Tommy has said. So that is what they`re trying to find out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Linda in Washington, D.C., your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane, thanks for taking my call.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks for calling.

CALLER: Two quick questions. Did they take Tommy out to the scene at the river? And also, I know he flunked an earlier polygraph. Are they going to give him another one, just asking him, specifically, about the business with Joe, and not any other questions?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what`s interesting is, Art Harris, you`ve reported that they took Tommy there Sunday night and Monday night. So that`s a yes.

But what I find absolutely fascinating, Jean Casarez, is that Tim Miller told us here on ISSUES last night that Ron Cummings, Haleigh`s dad, told him that Joe liked to fish at this exact spot.

CASAREZ: That`s right. And he`s a credible person, Tim Miller, the head of EquuSearch, of course. The issue is, all of the things we`re hearing, we have to cipher through these polygraphs that they all have failed. Something they believe was so credible to bring out all of these sources and law enforcement agencies. It`s costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if it is a fishing expedition, based on fantasy, they`re going to be mad.

Fantastic panel, thank you so much.

International outrage. A woman sent her adopted son back to Russia, saying he had a bad temper. Tonight, disturbing new developments. Was she trying to adopt another child?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are continuing to monitor that situation you`re looking at right there, at the dock two miles away from where little Haleigh disappeared. You are looking at video of Misty Croslin, the last person to see that child before she disappeared, surrounded by detectives who are grilling her. We are monitoring that situation, and we`ll bring you developments as soon as they come in.

And tonight, we also have a promising update in a girl`s slow and painstaking awakening from a coma. Here is a picture of 15-year-old Josie Ratley and her mom, taken just today. This is a new picture. Josie was beaten nearly to death at a Florida bus stop for weeks ago. As you can see, she`s finally awake. She`s sitting up, but so far, she cannot utter a word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK FREEDMAN, RATLEY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Josie has experienced a traumatic brain injury, and the area of her brain that has been most damaged is to the area that includes her ability to communicate. Josie cannot speak. Josie cannot walk. Josie will require extensive and long- term rehabilitative care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A 15-year-old boy allegedly stomped on Josie`s head over and over with steel-toed boots. You`re going to hear his family`s apology in just a moment.

As for her progress, doctors say Josie has some limited movement, and she is finally reacting to people in the room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DAVID LASKO, BROWARD GENERAL MEDICAL CENTER: She even responds to commands physically. She does seem to recognize individuals, and she`s more comfortable with individuals. Sometimes you can tell by her vital signs. Sometimes you can tell by the response on her face: certain individuals relax her more on upset her more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to "Miami Herald" reporter, Diana Moskovitz.

Diana, what is the very latest?

DIANA MOSKOVITZ, REPORTER, "MIAMI HERALD": Well, the very latest is we have a bit of progress, but still a long way to go. On the one hand, doctors are happy with the progress that she has made so far, but as you said before, a long way to go. She still cannot speak. She still has to relearn how to swallow. She still cannot walk. Even when she`s in a wheelchair, she has to have people on both sides of her. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So sad.

Last year the 15-year-old suspect found his older brother`s body hanging from a tree. Police say he targeted Josie after she sent a text message about his brother`s suicide. Here is the suspect`s step-dad on NBC`s "Today Show."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you like to be 15 and find your only brother hanging in a tree? So I think the impact, you know, kind of -- kind of hit him hard. And he was questioned about it and, you know, he talked to me a little bit about it and, you know, he dealt it with it day by day.

He would like to apologize to Josie and her family. He`s real remorseful about it. He wishes that -- one of the things he said to me on Friday was, he wishes that he can turn back the hands of time to the day before his brother died, and he thinks that none of this would have happened.

(END VIDE CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Diana, I understand that this boy didn`t get counseling after this trauma?

MOSKOVITZ: That -- that may be true. We`re still deciphering all the facts. But clearly this happened in October. People have sort of anecdotally wondered aloud about what, if any, kind of treatment he had. Everyone seems to agree that it deeply affected him. I mean, obviously, this is his older brother, and that loss, afterwards, he was never quite the same.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I talked to his attorney, and his attorney said that he did not get counseling; because the school offered it, and he said that he didn`t need it. So there`s a lesson learned there.

Diana, thank you so much.

An adopted boy, returned like a cheap suit. How could anyone do this to a 7-year-old boy? And there`s a new development. Has she tried to adopt again?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are monitoring a situation at a dock only two miles away from where little Haleigh Cummings disappeared 14 months ago. You are looking at video of the last person to see little Haleigh, Misty Croslin Cummings, there in a blue jail suit, handcuffed, surrounded by detectives who are grilling her, undoubtedly saying, "Where is she, where is she?"

All of this stemming from explosive new developments in this case in which there is a new story line that points to Misty`s cousin, Joe Overstreet, in Tennessee. Investigators flew to Tennessee last night and interviewed Joe until midnight, but they did not arrest him.

And he says he is absolutely innocent and he feels targeted by the people in Florida who keep changing their story, which doesn`t take much deductive reasoning to think he`s talking about Misty and her brother, Tommy, and perhaps others.

They`re looking in the water. We will bring you any developments as they come in.

Meantime, shock and outrage builds over a mother who literally returned her 7-year-old adopted son to Russia. And while this woman was making plans to abandon him, she was allegedly, according to new published reports, trying to adopt another child.

Seven-year-old Artyom (ph) flew all the way to Russia alone. Russian adoption officials didn`t even know he was coming. He`d been adopted by a nurse named Torry Hansen in Tennessee last year. She gave him the name Justin.

Now we`re hearing that Justin never went to school and that few people knew him or his family. Torry Hansen claims Justin was violent and she was afraid for her family`s safety, but instead of calling for help, she called a travel agency.

Dr. Phil sounded off on "AC360".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TV HOST: Listen, you call it what you want, that`s just abandonment, in my opinion. If you adopt a child, that`s your child. That`s your responsibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little Justin turns 8 on Friday and we`re told three families have come forward to adopt him, but this woman`s outrageous decision threatens future Russian adoptions by Americans.

All right. I am so delighted to introduce Dwight and Alex Griffith. Dwight adopted Alex from Russia when Alex was 11 months old. And I would like to welcome him to our broadcast. What is your reaction to this monstrosity?

DWIGHT GRIFFITH: Go ahead, Alex.

ALEX GRIFFITH, ADOPTED AT 11-MONTHS-OLD: It was very -- it made me really, really angry, to figure out that they sent this poor 7-year-old back after, like after everything I`ve done to help the international relations between U.S. and Russia, and succeeded at it, because day by day, building a playground over in Russia this past summer.

We had Russians coming up to us saying how much their perception has changed, how they thought we were evil to the children that were adopted. And now they realize that we`re actually raising them to be good, responsible people and not to forget their birth names.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What absolutely gets me is that this woman had the child for just six months. The boy was raised by an alcoholic mother who abandoned him. He was sent to an orphanage in a half-abandoned mining town and beaten with a broom handle. And Dwight, this woman gives him six months to adjust?

D. GRIFFITH, ADOPTED SON FROM RUSSIA: Well, adoption is forever. The word adopt means to take as your own, and there are no givebacks. Same as if you would give birth to a child and the child doesn`t, as it gets older, doesn`t behave or acts out in ways you don`t like, you don`t take the child and drop them off.

Adoption is forever, and this is a very rare case, but it is not the situation for the vast majority of adoptions, which you have families being built, both domestically and internationally, where there`s care and love and support and growth within those families.

This is a rare situation. It happened, in this case in an adoption, but these cases also happen with biological families, where people leave babies at doorsteps or in trash cans. And it`s a shame it has happened, but it is not representative of what is going on out there in the real world.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The adoptive mother, get this, reportedly switched adoption agencies when she was warned not to bring another adopted child into her home right away. She was apparently trying to adopt a second child from another Russian orphanage.

Appearing on "AC360", Dr. Phil said the obvious; this woman had plenty of other options.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MCGRAW: You don`t adopt children on a trial basis. And if things aren`t going right, you get help. You use the resources. You go to professional psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors. You don`t put them on an airplane and send them halfway around the world when they`re minors like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sue Gainor, You`re the national chair of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoptions. The agency who placed Justin has said, hey, if this mother would have just contacted us when the problems began, we would are worked with her. We would have even, worst-case scenario, arranged alternative placement, but we would have done it in a humane way.

I think this mother has a mental problem, not the kid.

SUE GAINOR, FAMILIES FOR RUSSIAN AND UKRAINIAN ADOPTION: Well, it appears the mother may not have been prepared for some of the adjustment that children face, particularly older children when they join the family. For them, it`s a very frightening experience, there are language barriers, there are new sights and sounds and smells and it can be extremely frightening for the child.

So, yes, had the mother contacted the adoption agency, had she contacted her community for support, had she contacted the state, had she contacted our organization, she could have been helped through what appears to have been a crisis. And hopefully the result wouldn`t have been to put the child on the plane.

It`s unfortunate and tragic that it got to this point, without her having sought help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s absolutely tragic, because there`s been a ripple effect. The Russian president has called this a monstrous deed. The Russian foreign minister is calling for all adoptions from Americans of Russian children to be stopped.

That could affect almost 2,000 prospective parents a year. I mean, this is an -- it just -- I just think it`s so cruel. It`s -- that`s what gets me.

I cried when I saw this little boy getting on that bus, Dwight, not knowing that he was being thrown away like a cheap suit. And the psychological problems that this kid has already endured and now it`s going to get so much worse. It just breaks my heart.

GAINOR: Yes, it is tragic, that she took this step without having reached out for support, and that now this child who was traumatized in his early years by his birth country and his birth parents and now will experience another trauma and has experienced that trauma, is really horribly tragic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dwight, you wanted to say?

D. GRIFFITH: Yes, imagine -- I realized this when I flew home with Alex back in 1994, that a child grows up, in this case, a child was adopted at 6 or 7 years old. And he spent his entire life around Russian people, speaking Russian, certain sounds, certain tastes, certain smells, and all of a sudden, he`s put on an airplane and sent across to the United States.

And that`s a traumatic experience, when you`re removed from everything you know and the security of everything you know and put in with a new environment. And then to have that happen again, just within six months, I can`t imagine what this boy is going through right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to say something.

I just heard today, Mike Huckabee, who ran for president, as we all know, a former governor, has just gone on the record as saying that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt because, quote, "children are not puppies," end quote.

I was so incredibly hurt and just astounded by that statement, because it hurts the children. You know, I looked it up. UNICEF says there are 147 million children who are orphaned in this world, right now, while we`re having this conversation. And a lot of those children have been abandoned by their biological mother and father. Millions of kids desperately need a good home.

And anything that is going to stand in the way of solving this crisis, whether it`s a wing nut who thinks that she can return her child back to Russia or somebody who is making a very cold comment, I think it really hurts adoption. Martha, Illinois, your question or thought, ma`am?

MARTHA, ILLINOIS (via telephone): Yes. I`m an adoptive parent. I`m also a child welfare specialist.

I have parents today who adopt from foreign countries. They`re not prepared sometimes for these children that come to their homes. They are not prepared for children with behavioral issues.

This mother, what she did was deplorable and disgusting, and inexcusable. However, was this mother prepared for these issues when this child came into her home? Was she aware this child had these behavioral problems? She clearly was not prepared.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Sue Gainor, the mom said she thought she was getting a, quote, "healthy child", whatever that is, and she found out that she was getting a troubled child, whatever that is.

Is there a condition in Russia that these orphanages are so severe and just cold that they break a child`s spirit? Because we`ve heard other complaints that other children from Russian orphanages have had serious problems.

GAINOR: Well, the orphanage quality varies greatly across Russia, as it does across all countries. Children who arrive in the orphanage at birth often are not held, are not spoken to, are not stimulated, because there are many, many children and limited resources and not a lot of caregivers. So institutionalization for infants is a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say, Russia isn`t a third-world country and Russia also needs to clean up its act and start giving these kids more love in the orphanages and more human contact.

D. GRIFFITH: Let me say, I was just in Russia last year, in orphanages, when we went back to build a playground.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Quickly, we`re out of time.

D. GRIFFITH: And I would disagree with that, in the sense that I thought the people of Russia cared very well for their children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I stand corrected. Thank you, fantastic guests.

And I`ve got to tell you, we have got some excellent news on a young woman who vanished in Florida. She`s been found.

An amazing 911 call.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news: day two of the frantic underwater search for missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings.

Tonight, investigators, just a little while ago, they brought Misty Croslin herself, the last person to see little Haleigh alive, in handcuffs from the jail to the search site. There she is in a blue jumpsuit, surrounded by detectives who were grilling her. They are presumably looking for Haleigh`s body.

That is an amazing search going on. It`s been going on for two days now.

What are they asking her? They also reportedly brought her brother, Tommy Croslin, there yesterday and Sunday.

Investigators furiously scouring the banks of this river just two miles away from the trailer where little Haleigh disappeared. They are focusing their attention on this dock, with cadaver dogs, dive teams, underwater sonar devices.

We are all over this story. We continue to give you the very latest. If anything comes in, we will bring it to you immediately.

From tragedy to some good news about a missing little girl. Monday, we told you about an 11-year-old girl who vanished in Florida. She was missing for four days.

I`m very thrilled, joyful to report little Nadia Bloom has been found alive and well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES KING, FOUND NADIA BLOOM: Yes. Nadia, would you like to talk to the policeman who`s been trying to find you?

NADIA BLOOM, MISSING GIRL: Ok.

KING: Ok, baby. I`m going to put you on speakerphone. Hold on just a second. Let me see if I can get this thing working, baby.

BLOOM: Hi. This is Nadia and I`m the girl who got lost.

KING: The Lord told me where to find her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little Nadia found in the middle of the gator- infested swamp. She suffers from Asperger`s syndrome and her sister thinks she wandered into the woods to make a nature video.

Cops and trained rescue workers spent countless hours tracking Nadia, but in the end, it was a church member armed only with his Bible who was able to do the job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It`s definitely a miracle. I mean, I didn`t know where she was. The only person who knew where she was, was God. And so I asked him and he led me directly to her, straight -- well, as straight as you can go through the swamp.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amazingly, Nadia survived four days without food or water and she suffered only from a couple of bug bites and dehydration.

You know, so many children vanish, we cover it all the time here on ISSUES and tragically they end up dead. It is so wonderful to be able to report a successful search and rescue. Let`s hope we can all do this more often.

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

Are Jon and Kate Gosselin`s eight kids in crisis? The dueling divorcees have recently aired some of their dirtiest laundry in public.

Tonight, I`m going to get exclusive reaction from Jon`s camp to Kate`s appearance on NBC`s "Today Show". Does Jon think Kate`s "Dancing with the Stars" jet-set lifestyle is justified?

Meanwhile, a breaking development out of Pennsylvania. The state labor department rules this will be no charges against the producers of "Jon & Kate plus 8", but they also say the show did not have the necessary permits. Naughty, naughty, naughty.

Last spring the state launched a full-blown investigation into whether the show had violated child labor laws. It is still a mystery who filed that complaint. Could it have been Kate`s brother and sister-in-law? Listen to this shocking claim made at a hearing just hours ago. TMZ has the goods.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN KREIDER, KATE GOSSELIN`S BROTHER: A very vivid example comes to mind. The children were told it was Christmas morning. It was so the camera crew could get the genuine reaction of the children. It wasn`t until after, until later that they were told that it was not Christmas morning, they just did it for the show.

Can you imagine how confused eight little kids were that morning?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They did it for the show? That sounds like little Falcon. All right. Thanks to TMZ for that jaw-dropper.

Jon tweeted after the hearing and said the allegations made by Kate`s brother, quote, "have not been my experience at all during the production", end quote. No comment from Kate`s camp tonight.

I want to hear your comments. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic panel: Vikki Ziegler, family law attorney and CEO of divorcedating.com; Amy Palmer, senior editor of "In Touch Weekly"; and I`m joined exclusively by Jon Gosselin`s attorney, Anthony List.

Mr. List thanks so much for joining. I understand Jon watched Kate on the "Today Show" this morning. What was his reaction?

ANTHONY LIST, ATTORNEY FOR JON GOSSELIN: He thought she did very well. Evidently she said something Jane, that was apologetic towards Jon.

I didn`t see the show and Jon was, needless to say, pleased with that. He just said that he would love to hear that from her in person. You know, he`s rooting for her, believe it or not, in a number of activities that she`s undertaken, including "Dancing with the Stars".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t understand if he`s rooting for her, why are they in this battle? What exactly does Jon want?

LIST: He wants the children to be taken care of. He wants them to lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle. He apparently believes --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does he want primary custody?

LIST: He wants whatever the experts deem would be in the best interests of the children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What has he filed for?

LIST: Well, the children -- he`s trying for an evaluation. There`s never been an evaluation of these children and there are many experts out there who could really help with this situation.

And if the experts were to say, for example, that the children are in a healthy lifestyle with the lifestyle of their mother, you know, Jon would -- would go along with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

LIST: If, on the other hand, the experts would say that they`re better off with their father --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sure he`d love that too.

LIST: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back with more in a moment. Mr. List, hang in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon`s attorney, Anthony List, called Kate an absentee mom because of her bi-coastal gig on "Dancing with the Stars." Kate also spent time in New York plugging her new book on NBC`s "Today Show".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE GOSSELIN, REALITY TV STAR: I have to work. I have to provide for them. And it`s a struggle that every working mom, especially single moms, go through. And I`m really feeling it now. And it`s really hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what about that absentee mom comment? Isn`t that harsh? And it brings me to my big issue.

Amy Palmer, are working moms being dissed by team Jon? Kate says hey, she`s doing ABC`s "Dancing with the Stars" to make ends meet. Is this sexism to say that she`s an absentee mom because she`s doing this?

AMY PALMER, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Yes.

LIST: It doesn`t have anything to do with sexism, Jane. What this is all about is, in reality what time does Kate really spend with the children?

She sounds very convincing when she`s answering questions about that. She certainly seems to be able to star as a drama queen. I don`t know about her dancing.

But that`s not the issue. The issue is whether or not she is being candid in telling you or anyone else that talks to her about this about the amount of time she`s spending with these children.

PALMER: Yes, but can I just interrupt?

LIST: It would be virtually be impossible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let Amy jump in.

PALMER: Ok.

First of all, there are 10 million single moms in the United States, and most of them don`t have eight kids. But if you break it down like this, they were getting paid between $22,000 and $25,000 an episode from TLC. Ok?

Now that paycheck is gone. Jon, you know, put the kibosh on the show. How is Kate supposed to support her kids?

"Dancing with the Stars" pays about $125,000 for them to go on it initially, and then they keep getting money the more weeks that they`re on it.

So this is just another stream of income for her to provide for her family. Jon Gosselin doesn`t have a job.

VIKKI ZIEGLER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Vikki.

ZIEGLER: All right. The bottom line is this, a change in custody, that`s exactly what Jon is asking for. I have the complaint in front of me.

There is no way a judge is going to change custody at this point only four or five months after the parties agreed to this custodial designation unless it`s in the best interests of these children for some reason for Jon to take care of them.

Number two, "Dancing with the Stars" is going to be over in a few weeks. Then what? Where is the argument?

The only argument I really see for Jon is that if -- if Kate is not allowing him to parent these children on a weekly basis based upon their prior agreement he may get some more parenting time.

I think this really at the end of the day is about child support, a review of child support because this complaint requests for a fair amount of child support to be awarded by the judge.

So that`s what I think the court is going --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

ZIEGLER: -- to be looking at and focusing on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anthony List, your response?

LIST: I don`t think it`s about child support at all. I think it`s about what is in the best interests of the children. I hear the comments about the number of mothers that are working. We`re not complaining about the fact that she`s working.

But look at kind of job she has. And by the way, she`s made over $200,000 so far with "Dancing with the Stars" and God only knows what she`s making with these various talk shows that seem to consume the rest of the week. You see her on morning, noon, and night, she`s on all different hours, and she obviously is getting paid for that. She deserves to be paid for it --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

ZIEGLER: But there`s eight children. How many children do they have? Eight children.

LIST: Yes, they have -- they eight children. And you know, a lot of children can survive very comfortably on less than that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well --

LIST: The question is, are they without a primary parent --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- the lesson is if you`re going to have eight kids there`s going to be complications like this. So maybe that`s the lesson of the day.

Thank you panel.

You`re watching ISSUES.

END