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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Police Ask Public for Leads in Kyron`s Disappearance; `Idol` Winner Recovering From Sleeping Pill Overdose
Aired August 11, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, breaking news in the desperate search for little Kyron Horman. Do police have evidence that Kyron is still alive? Cops hone in on the family`s truck. Who saw it, when and where, on the day of Kyron`s disappearance? Witnesses say there was someone inside that vehicle with Terri Horman the day Kyron vanished from his school. Why cops are expressing optimism they`re going to solve this case.
And an affair to forget. "American Idol" winner and Grammy nominee Fantasia recovering after overdosing on sleeping pills. After being hit with a lawsuit from someone`s disgruntled wife, Fantasia admits she carried on an affair with a married man. You`ll hear the dramatic 911 call as Fantasia`s manager frantically begs for help from police.
Plus, she was arrested and released in the dead of night, after failing to pay a tab at a swanky Malibu restaurant. The disappearance of Mitrice Richardson has sparked a long-running war of words between her parents and cops. Human remains have now been found in Malibu. Could this be Mitrice? We`ll talk to her frantic father.
And we`ll hear what that kooky flight attendant is saying now.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news as cops on the Kyron Horman case make an aggressive -- and I mean aggressive -- push for more information from the public.
Hours ago, police held a dramatic news conference where they revealed they do not have any evidence that 7-year-old Kyron is dead. So is the child alive and secretly stashed somewhere, as his mother believes?
Cops are pleading for witnesses to come forward, anyone who saw the Horman family`s white pickup truck at Kyron`s school on June 4, the day little Kyron vanished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN JASON GATES, MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON, SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: We need independent witness information that is subject to no suggestion. So in other words, we want somebody to come forward and tell us what they actually saw as opposed to what they think they saw.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kyron`s stepmother, Terri Horman, was driving that white pickup and watching Kyron on the day the little boy vanished. That`s her a few years ago.
This has come under the white-hot spotlight of scrutiny. Portland cops handing out flyers with photos of Terri and her best friend, DeDe Spicher, and that white truck, asking did anybody see these women in that truck the day Kyron vanished? There`s DeDe.
Remember, witnesses claim DeDe disappeared from her job for hours on that day. Meanwhile, what do police know that they`re not telling us? We`ll have more from that fascinating news conference in moments.
And I`m taking your calls on this one, your theories: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. But we begin with Jessica Morkert, reporter with KOIN-TV on the ground in Portland, right by Kyron`s school.
Jessica, what is the very latest?
JESSICA MORKERT, REPORTER, KOIN-TV: Basically, Jane, what we`ve learned today is that these flyers went out to the people in the Skyline community. And as you mentioned, they have pictures of Kaine Horman`s truck, the same truck that Terri Horman dropped off Kyron here at the school on June 4.
The sheriff`s office basically is circulating these flyers with these pictures, two separate pictures here at the school. They also have photos of two Fred Meyers here in the metro area that they believe that that truck was at. They`re asking for witnesses to come forward with any information, if you have seen that truck at any of the Fred Meyer locations.
And they also want to know if anybody actually parked their car, whoever did park their car in the south parking lot here at Skyline elementary. If you did park your car here, then they want you to contact them immediately with the make, the color of your car and if you`ve seen this truck here at Skyline Elementary.
And they did not mention anything today, Jane, about Terri Horman or DeDe Spicher. This press conference was solely based on information about this truck here, and witnesses, any witnesses who can come forward.
But we do know that searchers were out here in the area over the weekend. The search really intensified this weekend. And we know that authorities handed out flyers here with DeDe Spicher`s picture on it, and Terri Horman`s picture on it...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
MORKERT: ... to people here in the community, asking if they had seen anything -- anything about this truck or anybody else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Balloons! Wow. Look at all those balloons behind you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you step aside for one second so we can see and describe what`s going on behind you there?
MORKERT: This is the massive Wall of Hope -- well, right now this is a pretty massive Wall of Hope that we have that`s been growing really since about June 4. And I`ve been here for a number of different live shots.
And people just keep on coming and keep on dropping off balloons, ribbons, any message for Kyron, little teddy bears. And we know that Kyron`s family, that his mom and his dad actually come here to the Wall of Hope. They pick up some of these stuffed animals, and they place them in Kyron`s room. And they plan to compile an album of all the nice things that this community has done here for Kyron, keeping him -- keeping him and the search very active.
And over the weekend, there were also a handful of red balloons, not just a handful, rather, probably hundreds of red balloons that were released here from the school in Kyron`s name. Red is his favorite color. So they had a big balloon launch, releasing balloons, and we expect that this wall will probably grow even more now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you for that explanation.
OK. Let`s get back to what the cops were talking about today. HLN affiliate KATU-TV got a hold of several e-mails in which Terri Horman, the stepmother, lays out her timeline for the day Kyron vanished. She`s the one who was watching the child and is the focus of the spotlight, even though she`s not considered a suspect.
Now, she says, quote, "I have a receipt showing I was checking out at Fred Meyer seven miles away at 9:12. I went to another FM" -- Fred Meyers -- "looking for meds for Kitty" -- that`s her daughter -- "they didn`t have at the first FM. Then I was trying to get Kitty to sleep in the truck for a few minutes, but no go, so off to the gym at 11:20."
So at today`s news conference, police were very specific, asking witnesses, did you see her at those two supermarkets? And they`ve also been studying surveillance video.
Clearly -- Pat Brown, you`re the criminal profiler -- they`re trying to figure out, is this woman telling the truth about what she did, or was she doing something different entirely, perhaps untoward to Kyron?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, that`s absolutely true, but also, the question is, maybe she`s telling half the truth, which is very common in this kind of situation if you`re guilty. She could have been purchasing certain meds to make her daughter sleepy, but she could have also been giving those meds to Kyron if she did something to him. In other words, to knock him out and then do something to him. So it might be half the truth; it might not be. That`s what they have to figure out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Bruce McCain, you`re with -- were with the sheriff`s office investigating this very case. I mean, Pat Brown says it. The best way to lie is to weave the truth in with the lie. So isn`t it possible that Terri did do all these things, but maybe she did a couple of other things at the same time, or right before or right after?
BRUCE MCCAIN, FORMER CAPTAIN, MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Well, Jane, it`s obvious, even though they did not mention Terri and DeDe by name, you`re absolutely right. We talked about those e-mails on your program yesterday. And the other key piece that came out today was they also wanted to know, after the Fred Meyer visits, did they see that truck on several roads after the hour of 10 a.m.
Notice yesterday, we broke on your story, on your show here, the fact that DeDe Spicher, her absence actually went back to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. So it`s clear today that they were looking at Terri and DeDe, although they didn`t mention her by name. This is directly related to those e-mails. There`s no doubt about it.
And right now, Terri Horman seems to be very adept at bringing people close to her, telling them just a little bit of information, but never the whole thing. That`s really what has frustrated investigators at this point, because it seems like dozens of people have little bits of information, but nobody has the whole story.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue tonight. Conspiracy theory? KGW`s reporting sources say three or possibly even more of step- mom Terri`s friends bought pre-paid cell phones in the days after the missing boy`s dad moved out of the marital home. KGW claims some of Terri`s friends used fake names to buy these hard-to-trace cell phones, because they felt their regular phones were being tapped. KGW claims DeDe Spicher bought a phone and that someone else bought a phone for Terri.
So I`ve got to say, Drew Findling, you`re the criminal defense attorney. If there`s any truth to any of this, it`s like some grand conspiracy and why the heck would other people get involved in Terri`s domestic drama?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, it just doesn`t make any sense whatsoever. Of course, the flip side you can think is that her friends feel that Terri`s being victimized, and they`re doing this to somehow preserve her innocence.
I think what really makes this difference, it almost likens itself to a federal investigation in that they`re using a grand jury as a body of investigation, investigatory body. And we`re not knowing what`s going on behind the walls of that grand jury. But I think it`s catalyzing what we`re seeing right now in the way -- the movement of the investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Levi Page, once again, why would all these friends get involved in her drama-rama? And buy cell phones on the theory that their phones might be tapped? I don`t get it.
LEVI PAGE, BLOGGER: Have you ever heard the saying, "birds of a feather flock together"? Maybe these are people who just don`t care about what the evidence points to in this case.
We have Terri Horman lying to police about her whereabouts that day. She failed two polygraphs, walked out of the third polygraph.
And four days after Kyron vanished, what was she doing? She was sending nude photographs to herself -- to a man by the name of Michael Cooke, a high school friend of her husband, Kaine Horman, soon to be ex- husband.
This blows Casey Anthony out of the water. At least Casey Anthony could keep her clothes on.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jessica Morkert, we want to thank you, reporter for KOIN in Portland. Very quickly, what do you make of this conspiracy theory involving all these friends buying cell phones?
MORKERT: That`s a tough one to say, really. I have talked to a handful of Terri Horman`s friends and acquaintances. And, you know, it could be that theory that a lot of them may be just -- were friends of hers, that when you`re a friend of somebody you come to their aid immediately, no matter what happens, no matter what the questions are.
But I think a lot of people knowing that this is a very serious investigation still wouldn`t cross the line. So it`s definitely hard to say. A handful of friends, I know their homes have been searched. I`m sure that they wouldn`t have wanted to have their homes subjected to a search in the first place. But you know, you never know with these situations. We know that Terri Horman right now is not a suspect or a person of interest, and neither is DeDe Spicher.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a good thing to point out.
Thanks again, Jessica, for a great report. Thank you.
Hang in there, panel. More on the current investigation in moments.
And we`re taking your calls on this. They`re stacking up: 1-877-JVM- SAYS.
Also ahead, the nightmare escalates for a missing woman`s family. Could human remains found in Malibu belong to Mitrice Richardson?
But first, cops put the squeeze on Terri Horman and her friend DeDe. Do these two women hold the key to finding little Kyron?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know if Terri is hiding something? Were you with her on June 4?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN JASON GATES, MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: The investigation is most certainly productive. It`s just one of those cases that just isn`t going to fall into our lap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops dancing around a lot of specifics. But one thing they said for sure: they want anyone who has seen the Horman family`s white pickup truck on the day that little Kyron vanished to come forward, and they named four different locations. The school, two supermarkets and another rural area about five miles away from the school where they want to make sure anybody who eyeballed this woman -- she doesn`t look like that anymore, that`s her a couple years ago -- but this woman in the pickup truck. Call police.
Gloria in Massachusetts, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. Thank you for taking my call.
I have both a question and a comment. I`ve been watching this since the beginning, and at the very beginning they had a picture of the little boy in the classroom with a man off to the side somewhere. Do they know who that man is, and have they questioned him?
And my comment is I, too, don`t believe he`s dead. I believe he`s being cast from person to person to person. And the step-mom, her friend, and that man know where he is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, let me just say this. The photo you`re looking at right there, that blurred boy, that`s Terri Horman`s 16-year-old son. And Terri, who`s the redhead, reportedly was furious that her husband, soon-to-be ex-husband, who`s right over there with the beard, was trying to throw the teenage son of Terri out of the house.
Now, this happened a while ago, Bruce McCain, that Terri was supposedly fighting with her husband about the fact that the husband wanted to throw her teenage son out of the house. And aren`t there witnesses going before the grand jury, probably testifying about that?
MCCAIN: There very well may be, Jane. We talked about this yesterday. That`s the one relationship in this blended family that has never really been exposed much.
We talked yesterday about the fact how Kaine has been very candid and open about his own marital infidelity, his relationship with Terri and Desiree. And yet, he`s never said a word about this conflict with James, nor has James, obviously, still a minor, not given any kind of statement either. That very well may be a key to this, because it would offer at least a flimsy and a very, very thin motive to harm Kyron. But right now there`s no motive to harm Kyron that we can see.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think that`s such a flimsy motive, I`ve got to say. And I`ve got to bring Drew Findling in on this. OK? By the way, that -- that woman you see there, that`s the biological mother with her ex- husband. These are the two who had Kaine. And when Desiree, that woman there, was pregnant with Kyron, the guy you`re seeing there, her husband. was having an affair with Terri. So there`s that whole level of enmeshment and intrigue.
But Drew Findling, I don`t think it`s insignificant at all that the husband wanted to throw Terri`s teenage son out of the house. And did, apparently. He did leave.
FINDLING: Well, listen, if you know, you`re defending the case, that definitely presents itself as a possible motive, and that is kind of getting back at her soon-to-be ex-husband. And that is something you have to deal with.
And I think that`s why I brought it up a few minutes ago, was just brought up, is that, from the prosecution`s standpoint, it`s the beauty of hiding behind a grand jury.
They are clearly, Jane -- we brought up that issue of motive. Motive is a problem here. But we don`t see what`s going on in front of that grand jury. And you can rest assured they are -- they are bringing up questions to develop a motive with that grand jury. They only need five of the seven grand jurors to get an indictment in that jurisdiction. Only five and there`s an indictment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did cops bury -- go ahead. Go ahead.
MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: No, I was going to say, what was interesting about today`s press conference today, Jane, was that it was an investigative request. It was a request for looking specifically for independent witness information in that area.
You have to remember, they`ve already passed out these questionnaires to every single person at that school two times so far. And now they`re asking for every single parent, staff, visitor that morning, if you were in that parking lot, specifically on the areas where that truck has been placed, the white Ford pickup truck, to call the hotline and to give your car description, your information, your tag number.
They are going over this timeline. They are making it air tight. They want to know people that were on the Springville Road, Skyline, Germantown, Newberry roads in that particular area, at the Fred Meyer at 9 a.m. and again at another Fred Meyer at 10 a.m. They are looking to fill in this timeline, very appropriately and very quickly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ll tell you one thing. At least one witness has reportedly told cops she saw another adult waiting in Terri`s truck while Terri was with Kyron at the school. So that is extremely significant, Pat Brown.
BROWN: Well, not entirely. The problem here, Jane, is at this point, people start giving these reports, there`s no way to verify there`s any truth in any of them. People see white trucks, they think it`s Terri`s truck. They see somebody, they think it was in Terri`s truck. The only thing that`s going to really help, if they see Terri`s truck in an isolated location is where you can go dig for a body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we`re staying on top of it. You know there`s going to be more here on ISSUES on this saga. I hope the child is alive. Thank you, fantastic panel.
Next, an "American Idol" superstar O.D.s. Inside Fantasia`s apparent suicide.
Plus, a tiny body found in Arizona. We`re going to bring you the latest.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A child`s body found near the Beaver Creek Campground in Arizona believed to be missing 2-year-old Sylar Newton. The skeletal remains found less than two miles away from where little Sylar disappeared over a month ago. A chilling twist: the AP reports authorities say someone tried to hide this body.
The little boy ended up in a small creek. Police believe the body washed up there after a recent flash flood.
Plus, shocking reports Sylar`s biological mom has allegedly given birth now to four children she`s adopted out or given away. Remember, she lent little Sylar to her friend Christina. The boy was camping with his new mom, Christina, when he went missing. What could this bizarre information mean to the case?
What police believe to be Sylar`s body was found by a relative of his who has been searching the area. We are talking exclusively tonight to this relative.
Donnie Newton, thank you for joining us. You`re a distant cousin of Sylar`s. You actually found the remains. Please describe your thoughts and feelings as you discovered the remains of what cops believe is your distant cousin.
DONNIE NEWTON, COUSIN OF SYLAR`S (via phone): Well, it was pretty heartbreaking. And you know, I`ve been looking for -- ever since, well, the day after he disappeared. I didn`t know about it the first day. But - - and I`ve walked many, many miles out there, and plotted a lot of miles and drove a lot of miles.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think it was an accident, or do you think it was foul play? That`s what the police think: it was foul play.
NEWTON: I would be speculating. But it looks not good to me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Doesn`t look good, all right. Well, Sylar apparently spent half a year with his biological mom, Charity Newton, and the other half with the custodial mom, Christina Priem.
And tonight, shocking new reports Charity, the bio mom, allegedly had four children, including Sylar, and gave them all away. Biological mom also allegedly got into a bitter fight with Christina`s sister over the custody of one of her children.
Donnie, what do you know about this custody battle? Was the fight over Sylar?
NEWTON: I absolutely know nothing about any of that. I`ve never met either one of them or the child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why would this young lady keep having babies and giving them away? That`s highly dysfunctional and irresponsible, in my opinion.
NEWTON: I wouldn`t want to speculate on that. I don`t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, you`re a relative. Have you talked to her mom? Because her mom, you know, seems like a really decent person. And she said her daughter was troubled. But have you ever talked to little Sylar`s grandmother about this?
NEWTON: No, I have not talked to any of them about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was the reaction in the campground amongst the others when you found these skeletal remains?
NEWTON: At the campground?
NEWTON: There wasn`t anybody around there. I was away from the campground a couple miles. I was alone. I called it in. And they all came to me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, I`ve got to say, you accomplished, sir, what teams of searchers could not accomplish. And that is finding this child. And I know that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... you`re a hero for doing that.
NEWTON: No, I`m no a hero. But I think he could have been buried up there. You know, he may have washed up, not been visible when they were searching that area.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, apparently, a flood sort of released the body. Thank you. And we`re so sorry for your loss.
"American Idol" winner Fantasia in the hospital from an O.D. The harrowing 911 call.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An affair to forget: "American Idol" winner and Grammy nominee Fantasia recovering after overdosing on sleeping pills. After being hit with a lawsuit from someone`s disgruntled wife, Fantasia admits she carried on an affair with a married man.
You`ll hear the dramatic 911 call as Fantasia`s manager frantically begs for help from police.
Plus, she was arrested and released in the dead of night after failing to pay a tab at a swanky Malibu restaurant. The disappearance of Mitrice Richardson has sparked a long-running war of words between her parents and cops. Human remains have now been found in Malibu. Could this be Mitrice? We`ll talk to her frantic father.
"American Idol" winner Fantasia recovering in the hospital tonight after an OD; it`s a huge downward spiral since her amazing performance on the hit Fox reality show six years ago.
Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(FANTASIA BARRINO SINGING ON "AMERICAN IDOL")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, what a voice. Fantasia wowed the country in Season Three, and even beat Jennifer Hudson who went on to win an Oscar.
But tonight conflicting reports, did Fantasia Barrino try to commit suicide or was it an accidental OD? New tonight -- the dramatic 911 phone call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Is she awake?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slowly losing consciousness.
911 OPERATOR: Ok. Right now, is she awake?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halfway, yes.
911 OPERATOR: Is she breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This overdose came days after a woman accused Fantasia of having an affair with her husband. Fantasia`s boyfriend is in the middle of getting a divorce and his estranged wife claims Fantasia broke up the marriage. What the heck is going on here?
Out to my fantastic panel: April Woodard, correspondent and host for BET -- and there she is; along with Hollywood producer/director Duncan Roy.
But first to Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ; Mike, what do we know about this OD?
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, you know, Jane, one of the things that was being discussed, like you said, is whether or not she actually tried to kill herself or whether this was an accidental OD. We know now from the 911 tape that her manager says she, quote, "took a bottle of aspirin and now she`s losing consciousness".
So I think it`s obvious now that Fantasia, going through all the stuff she was going through, with all the stuff you talked about in that marriage with her boyfriend now, it seems that she did try to take her own life. Luckily she`s alive.
We`re told she`s stable, getting out of the hospital today. But interesting coming up that the fact that, you know, she actually got to that point in her life where she would take an entire bottle of aspirin along with some sleep aid. And end up in this position.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I would say, weren`t there sleeping pills allegedly involved because usually people don`t keel over from aspirin? Usually it`s a little something more than that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What were you going to say Duncan?
DUNCAN ROY, PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Yes. I`m saying if you`re serious about killing yourself, you throw yourself under a train, you don`t take a bottle of aspirin. You know, I mean what worries me here is the fact that she`s not the best-looking girl in the world. She`s met this cute guy, he`s come into her life, and it feels a bit dodgy to me.
I think, you know, you`ve got a situation maybe where she`s being set up. That`s what occurred to me the first thing that occurred to me, she`s met this cute guy. He hasn`t told her about his wife and there`s this weird law in South Carolina where the wife can sue the woman in the affair. I mean, it sounds really weird to me.
Because you know what, he could have done a great deal better than her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s another part of this, though. And here`s that old story so many of us women have heard from guys. I think every single woman has heard this at one point or another. "Yes, I`m married, but we`re separated, we live apart. My wife and I have an arrangement."
Sound familiar, women out there? Did Fantasia fall victim to one of the oldest lines in the book? I believe it`s easy to see why this guy Antoine Cook (ph) would want to be with Fantasia. She reportedly met him while he was working at a cell phone store.
She`s a star. She reportedly took him on luxurious, expensive vacations. Fantasia said she thought he was separated and that he gave her the impression he lived apart from his wife. She says she just fell in love.
ROY: Yes, she gave him the impression that she had loads of money as well, when in fact Simon Cowell like saved her from bankruptcy and her house was in foreclosure. So I mean, you know, there are a lot of lies flying around here.
She had two dodgy albums after the success of, you know, her original success. And the next album apparently isn`t that great either. So I mean, you know, life hasn`t really delivered for her so far.
But you know what, again, if you`re serious about killing yourself, you throw yourself under a train. That sounds like a cry for help. Or, you know, and if an album comes out --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you know of what you speak? Have you thought about that stuff?
ROY: Have I thought about killing myself?
ROY: Well, I --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good, ok.
ROY: Just slightly.
APRIL WOODARD, CORRESPONDENT, BET: You know, let me jump in, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Yes.
WOODARD: Let me jump in. First of all, yes, she`s not a beauty queen, the most beautiful woman in the world, but she is very talented. The guy is not that hot to begin with anyway. I just want to set that record straight first and foremost for all the women out there. And she has the money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s got a pretty good upper body.
WOODARD: Ok. Whatever -- his face is mud.
But anyway, she has money and she did have money, even if you file for bankruptcy, you still have money. He`s looking at this life, you know, I`m going to have this wonderful life. I`m going to be able to travel with her, go places I`ve never seen, other than, you know, the phone store, looking at phone numbers and giving people phones.
And in addition to that, I think the ex-wife said, hey, ka-ching, I can cash in on this affair. We were going to break up anyway.
ROY: I totally agree.
WOODARD: Here`s my opportunity.
WOODARD: This doesn`t happen in every state of America. I think it`s North Carolina and Virginia where you can actually sue the mistress and get her bucks. So I think that there`s a little bit more to what`s going on.
Plus, Fantasia has been through a lot. She was illiterate. She had a tough life coming up. She had humble beginnings. And to me, you know, a man, I just don`t see it, killing yourself over a bottle of aspirin for this guy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike, I see that look in your eyes that tells me since we`ve worked many years together, you have something to say.
WALTERS: You know, I just don`t know what how they look has to do with anything. The reality is Fantasia had a really horrible situation. Her manager said, look, she`s going through this horrible time. This woman said that she cheated. Fantasia was said to have not known all about the fact that he was still with his wife. That he even had a place he lived in.
I don`t know what the relevancy is of what they look like. All I`m saying is this woman was found in her closet, she downed a bottle of aspirin and sleep medication. She`s got some issues. I hope she gets help.
And the reality is, I think you`re right that she might be at rock bottom at this point but she`s stable. She`s coming out of it. Let`s hope that she actually gets healthy and gets away from this. She has a lot of talent and I hope she comes back.
ROY: Yes. Let`s hope --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rachel, Texas, your question or thought?
RACHEL, TEXAS (via telephone): I just wanted to say that everybody`s kind of making jokes about the whole situation with Fantasia. I don`t think it`s very funny at all because maybe she is going through a tough time with everybody, you know, bashing her and talking about her and saying she`s cheating.
It`s not a funny situation at all. She just tried to commit suicide, or maybe.
But anyhow, the wife could have been trying to cash in on this. To me that`s the way it looks because I mean no other state does that. He could have lied to Fantasia about the whole situation. Who are we to say? We don`t really know the whole situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ma`am, we said that. We said that that`s the oldest line in the book. Fantasia`s manager said she is not responsible for the deterioration of that marriage.
Now, I have to say, Hollywood, and you all know this, you`re all in Hollywood, in that metaphorical sense. It`s littered with former "American Idol" contestants and dozens of other reality stars.
If somebody`s there on the phone please hang up.
It`s the rare Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson or Carrie Underwood who turned their 15 minutes into more than, you know, 16 minutes. Most of these reality stars, I`ve got to tell you, I lived in L.A. for 18 years. Every time I ran out to get a cup of coffee, I ran into another reality star.
ROY: They`re all over the place.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re all over the place. Exactly, Duncan. And they do get desperate. Because you give them a taste of what it`s like to be famous and then you take it away. It doesn`t seem fair.
Fantasia`s got, what, an album, a memoir. She`s been on Broadway in "The Color Purple". She even has her own reality show.
ROY: Look, she`s the real deal. She`s got an amazing voice. She might not be the best looking girl in the world but she`s got an amazing voice and other artists take it very seriously. But she`s made some really appalling career choices about the people that she`s produced music with.
I mean, you know, the last two albums were not great. That`s sad because she`s got this great facility, which is her voice.
So, you know, I think the problem is, she`s got to start surrounding herself with good people who are going to make that voice, like shine. That`s my point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Here`s my big issue. Life is no fairy tale. And Fantasia is the first one to say that. She wrote a memoir entitled "Life is No Fairy Tale". After "American Idol", we learned all about her really tough road. She was raped in 9th grade. The rapist rape was never punished. She dropped out of high school, gave birth as an unwed mother and as you mentioned, April, was functionally illiterate.
So we have to really have some compassion for this young lady and just admiration for achieving everything she has.
ROY: I agree.
WOODARD: She`s absolutely come a long way. The other thing to keep in mind, too, some of the critics are saying that her album`s coming out in two weeks. That also in addition to that, she`s got her reality show, which is re-launching in September. So there are the cynics that are saying that, there may be something to, you know, this incident.
ROY: I`m one of them.
WOODARD: I`m not saying it. I`m just presenting the news as it is reported to me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, tell me what -- you`re saying -- what are you saying?
WOODARD: Some people are saying this is a publicity stunt.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you mean that`s -- and we are talking about it, aren`t we? Oh, boy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
WOODARD: I didn`t say it. I just brought it to you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Forget about it, Jake, it`s Hollywood.
ROY: I`ll say. I think it`s a big publicity stunt. I`m sorry, it`s just like how desperate -- if you`re desperate, you do desperate things. You don`t take a bottle of aspirin. You know, however like dumb she might be, she must realize that aspirin isn`t going to kill her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we`re happy that she`s doing well. I think she`s just about to be released from the hospital any minute now. Thank you, fantastic panel.
ROY: Yes. Good for her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next, the latest from the JetBlue flight attendant whose dramatic exit from his job has turned him into a cult hero.
And after almost a year of searching, is the family of Mitrice Richardson any closer to finding out what happened to their daughter? Mitrice`s frantic father joins us.
We are taking your calls as stunning new developments: remains have been found. Are those remains Mitrice?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LATICE SUTTON, MITRICE RICHARDSON`S MOTHER: Something is wrong with her. She seems to be in some type of crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Has a missing Malibu woman been found? That`s next.
But "Top of the Block" tonight.
From flight attendant to overnight sensation, everybody in America is talking about Steven Slater, the infamous JetBlue flight attendant who very dramatically quit and slid his way to freedom on a chute after a confrontation with a, quote, "malicious passenger".
Slater`s dramatic exit has made him a cult hero to so many. Is a reality show starring this former flight attendant in our future? I might watch that one.
Slater posted bail Tuesday night and is now a free man until trial. Reporters caught up with him as he was leaving jail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to lose your job?
STEVEN SLATER, FORMER JETBLUE FLIGHT ATTENDANT: More than likely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me about rude passengers. Talk about that.
SLATER: There`s a lot of wonderful people out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at that smile. He seems to be enjoying his 15 minutes even if it lands him in jail for seven years.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block".
Switching gears in a big way. Pure hell -- that`s what Mitrice Richardson`s family has been through these past 11 months, desperately trying to find their daughter. Now they`re waiting to hear if remains found earlier this week are Mitrice`s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WHITMORE, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPT: We have discovered a human skull and we`ve discovered some bones. There`s no apparent skin or clothing or whatever. It looks like it may, in fact, have been there for quite a while.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The question is, is it Mitrice? The teacher was arrested in September when she couldn`t pay her $89 tab at a swanky Malibu restaurant. The then 24-year-old seemed mentally unstable, speaking in apparent gibberish. She went missing shortly after she was released from a Los Angeles sheriff`s station in the dead of night, without her cell phone, money or transportation because they had confiscated her car. Just a few hours later a resident reported the last credible sighting of Mitrice.
And now, just two miles from that last sighting, bones have been found in a remote area of Malibu canyon.
Joining me now, Mitrice`s heartbroken, devastated, frantic father -- Mr. Richardson, we`ve been following your saga and I cannot imagine what you`re going through. First of all, how are you holding up? What is your reaction to this big news?
MICHAEL RICHARDSON, MITRICE RICHARDSON`S FATHER: Well, first of all, Jane, thank you for keeping her story on your show often. And as far as how I`m doing, I`m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. I`m still remaining hopeful, positive, prayerful, and meditating.
Until they can give me a definitive answer about it, Mitrice is still needing for us to search for her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there is a possibility that this might be another person, perhaps a man who went missing near this area six years ago.
Pam Perryman (ph) was also at the scene. She says her husband, an avid hiker, disappeared in that vicinity and she believes that this could be him.
Now, just yesterday, Mitrice`s mom, Latice Sutton, who`s been critical of law enforcement, held a news conference, and she had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUTTON: It is most unfortunate that today I`ve had to learn through the media that there are preliminary findings that those bones in Malibu are of a female.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Carla Hall, you`re a "Los Angeles Times" reporter. The L.A. coroner wouldn`t even confirm the gender of these remains. What do we know about the bones and the other evidence and where it was found?
CARLA HALL, REPORTER, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, our sources say that the bones are those of a female. And they say that clothes found near the remains are clothes that -- that are somewhat -- definitely a woman`s clothing and it includes Levi`s, which as her mother has said, she was wearing that night. So we know -- that`s about all we know for sure right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that`s certainly not promising, to find Mitrice alive, if what you`re saying pans out, Carla.
HALL: There`s some compelling reasons to think that this might be Mitrice; mainly the fact that the location of the remains is about two miles, as you said, from where she was credibly seen that day. The fact that the remains are probably those of a woman and that there are clothes near the scene that might have been -- that look like clothes she might have worn. So there are reasons to wonder if it is her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: If this is Mitrice, it totally flies in the face of the police investigation over the past few weeks. There have been close to 100 sightings of her in Las Vegas.
Now, there was a huge controversy over one lead, a high school friend who brought Mitrice to her winter formal years ago said he saw her at the bar of the Rio Casino and Hotel and actually approached her and tried to talk to her. Mitrice`s mom has been adamant about those sightings not being her.
Let`s hear from the mom and then we`ll get your reaction. All right.
All right. You know what, I can tell you -- we don`t have that sound bite -- but the mother did say she didn`t buy it. She didn`t think that her daughter was in Las Vegas and she kind of implied that the police were trying to make it look like oh, yes there she is in Las Vegas so that they didn`t have to really, you know, be in the hot spotlight over how they handled her disappearance. Carla?
HALL: Well, I think that they had to follow it up. This is a man who had known her as a teenager. Yes, he hadn`t seen her in a long time but he seemed to truly feel that he saw her that night at the Rio Hotel.
He looked at her; he went up to this woman. He said "Hi Mitrice". The woman looked at him. She didn`t say she was Mitrice but she didn`t say anything and she walked away. How could the police not follow that up? It would have been irresponsible not to.
I think what happened was they got there and then they started asking around and other people said, oh, we`ve seen a woman who looks like the photo on the flyer that you`re passing out. It could be that both the woman that the teenage friend saw in the hotel as well as the woman that these other people in Las Vegas are seeing is someone who just looks like Mitrice.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, everybody stay right where you are --
RICHARDSON: Carla, I need to ask you a question.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right on the other side. We`re going to go break. And then on the other side, sir, we`ll take your question.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I got to tell you, Mr. Richardson, we`re talking about your daughter. You recently filed a lawsuit based on civil rights violations in connection with your daughter`s disappearance. You allege that L.A. County sheriff`s deputies were negligent for releasing Mitrice in the middle of the night without a car, without a cell phone, without a purse, without holding her because she was obviously, in your opinion, exhibiting signs of mental illness.
RICHARDSON: That`s correct.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What were you hoping this lawsuit might do?
RICHARDSON: We still need some answers and some information of why did no one follow all the policies that are listed in their procedure. And they are not being forthcoming with a lot of information we need to get some answers.
So in a lawsuit it just says suppress all evidence and maybe some of the questions that I`ve had that they`ve had shut down and said they can`t answer and they won`t release at this time -- they will finally produce to us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You wanted to ask a question of Carla Hall, a "Los Angeles Times" reporter. Go ahead.
RICHARDSON: Right. Carla, you know, we`re good friends and everything like that now over this tragic situation, but what people don`t know, Jane, is I was in Las Vegas in January of this year. I reported a sighting of my daughter not just based on the way she looked but this girl had a similar walk and body movement to the point I jumped out of a car on a busy street almost getting hit.
When I turned that information in to the sheriffs who are investigating they didn`t really follow up on it. Six months later they then decided to take this young man`s -- and I`m glad they did -- information and follow up on it.
A lot of people, you know, really think it`s Mitrice. We had a lot of look-a-likes out here but I spent five days in Las Vegas last week and there`s not a lot of people that look like Mitrice.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was your question to Carla, though?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was your question to Carla? You said you wanted to ask her a question.
RICHARDSON: My question is, if these other people think they`ve seen her, what is your credibility of me as the biological father of my own daughter thinking I saw her?
HALL: Well, Michael, I think that -- I do believe you think you saw her. I believe that her teenage friend, her friend who knew her as a teenager believes he saw her. I don`t doubt that either of you think that you saw her which is why I think that the police should follow it up. I`m just not sure that it really was her and I`m not even sure, Michael, that you`re absolutely sure it was her. You, yourself, told me that --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in here. I know what you mean. I want to jump in with John Lucich because there was a very troubling mural that we`re going to show you very briefly depicting pornographic images of a woman that looks very much like Mitrice and even has the same kind of hair. And it was on the very route where people were searching for her. To me this adds a whole sinister component that goes way beyond a missing person, John.
JOHN LUCICH, FORMER INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. Women are abducted and sold into -- as sex slaves and a lot of other things. What the family`s got to keep in mind when law enforcement`s investigating is that number one, they are sensitive to the fact that every sighting is going raise their hopes. When they take a look at these bones before they release anything about it they want to make sure whether it is Mitrice or isn`t Mitrice because they don`t want to start generating those false hopes again.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have to leave it right there. We`re going to have Mitrice`s dad back tomorrow.
This is a breaking story.
Thank you, fabulous panel.
Don`t miss my friend Nancy Grace here on ISSUES tomorrow. We`re going to talk about her brand new book. And, of course, we`re going to get the very latest on those twins. We love you Nancy.