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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Hoarder Found Dead Under Clutter; Young Woman Disappears After Argument

Aired August 31, 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)

CARLOS DIAZ, HOST (voice-over): Tonight a gruesome discovery rips through Las Vegas. A hoarder who vanished four months ago has been found dead. Her corpse was buried underneath piles of junk inside her home. How could anyone keep this much stuff inside their home? Tonight we`ll go inside the mind of a hoarder.

And a beautiful young woman vanishes in Texas. Candiace Terry has been missing for three weeks. Tonight ISSUES joins the desperate search. What happened to Candiace? I`ll talk one-on-one with her devastated mother as the family hunts for answers.

Horrifying new twists and turns in the family trip from hell. A woman claims her 4-year-old grandson found a used condom inside their hotel room, and he put it in his mouth. Tonight doctors now say he has been infected with an STD. Can this little guy ever lead a normal life?

Out of rehab and back into the spotlight. Lindsay Lohan breaks her silence. The Hollywood diva says she has changed her ways, and now she wants her career back. Haven`t we heard this before? Shouldn`t she get her life back in order before worrying about work?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DIAZ: I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Tonight a gruesome discovery deep inside the home of a Las Vegas couple. The body of a 67-year-old woman missing since April is found buried amid five tons of clutter. Bill James says he knew he found his dead wife when he spotted her shoes sticking out from the clutter in a tiny back room. Cops say they used dogs to search the house three times in the past four months but came up empty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER BILL CASSELL, DETROIT METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: If our dogs can`t alert on something in that environment, that tells you the tremendous difficulty they were facing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: Friends of Billie Jean James describe her as a compulsive hoarder. Cops say there was so much garbage, there was bags full of rotting food, stacks and piles of clothing, and animal odors in the house. And get this: the couple had actually built a second home just to hold all of her stuff.

Las Vegas police say this is the first time they have ever heard of a death in their jurisdiction possibly caused by hoarding.

Meantime, ISSUES reached out to Billie Jean`s husband, who told us he believes his wife`s memory has been vilified. We`ll get to what else he`s saying now, coming up.

So do you think hoarding is a deadly addiction? And is there a growing epidemic?

Out to my fantastic expert panel. I want to begin with Anita Roman, reporter for HLN affiliate KNSV in Las Vegas.

Anita, what is the very latest on this tragic and horrifying story?

ANITA ROMAN, REPORTER, KNSV: The very latest, Carlos, a week ago the body was found on Wednesday. The coroner I.D.`d it positively as Billie Jean James a little over four months after she was first reported missing.

On April 22, Bill James, Billie Jean James` husband, reported Billie missing. Everybody thought she just vanished. There was a vast search in the desert surrounding her home. Police dogs, as you reported, went through the home, sniffing for any type of evidence. There were missing persons posters everywhere. And no sign of Billie Jean.

And last week on Wednesday we received word from metro police through a press release that Bill James did, in fact, find a body, human remains inside of his home.

We went out to the scene. I spoke with Bill himself, who told me that he was incredibly distraught. He didn`t want to give me a lot of details, but he did say that he found Billie Jean.

Later on in the afternoon, I spoke with a 7-year-old neighbor, McKenna, who was inside the home with Bill. She says her neighbor was working, cleaning out the home, when the two of them came across the human remains. She said Bill was very scared, very frightened and asked her to leave.

DIAZ: Anita, so there`s this huge hunt, there`s this huge search, if you will, for Billie Jean. It goes on for months. And the entire time, she`s in the home, dead inside the house?

ROMAN: We know that it was definitely her who was in the home. We don`t know at what point she was deceased, because this is still an ongoing investigation. So metro police are still looking into everything.

The coroner`s office has not positively given us a cause of death. So we`re waiting on that before we jump to any type of conclusions or know anything more about the case. But it does appear that she may have actually been in the home the entire time.

DIAZ: Anita, great job.

The big issue tonight, is hoarding a deadly addiction? Watch this YouTube clip from A&E`s popular reality show "Hoarders."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woke up tomorrow and everything was gone, I would probably freak out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can live with Bill, but I can`t live with this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the first pieces control the damage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So after she broke her arm, did you clear off the stairs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not really. If I throw it away, then I`m going to immediately need it as soon as I throw it away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really felt like we were never going to get anywhere with this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At one point, though, do you just say enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m feeling anger. I`m not going to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: By the way, "Hoarders" returns for a third season on A&E, coming up this Monday, at Labor Day. Clinical psychologist Robin Zasio, you appear on the show, "Hoarders." Tell us about the parents. What processes them to have so many possessions?

ROBIN ZASIO, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Hoarding is driven by anxiety, where this have this excessive need to acquire things. They have a very difficult time processing information, organizing things. Oftentimes, there can be OCD issues, depression and other anxiety disorders that lead to this condition.

Ultimately, what happens is they develop so many possessions in the house that they can`t let go of them, and they don`t know where to start in terms of learning how to begin to let go or to clean up their environment.

DIAZ: Have you -- Robin, have you ever heard of hoarding actually killing someone?

ZASIO: Well, there`s not many cases that are known about it. We do have the case in 1947 where there was the Collier brothers. And we believe that they might have been literally buried alive by their stuff.

DIAZ: Unbelievable.

Police say the couple`s home was so packed that a visual search was nearly impossible. They even brought in dogs used to find bodies at Ground Zero but to no avail.

ZASIO: This is very...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASSELL: Some of our officers had to take their gun belts off when they moved through the house. There`s no air movement. There`s nothing to bring that odor out to the dog`s nose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: We`re joined now by Officer Bill Cassell from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. What more can you tell us about the progress of this investigation?

CASSELL (via phone): As Anita said, the coroner`s office has positively identified the remains as those of Billie Jean James. Based on that, our missing persons case is now closed. As soon as the coroner`s office gives us a cause and manner of death, we will make a determination if any subsequent investigations need to be opened.

DIAZ: Officer Cassell, I know it`s an ongoing investigation, but is there any talk that possibly Billie Jean didn`t die in the home, that possibly she was moved into the home at a later time after her death and then piled -- and then these belongings piled on top of her?

CASSELL: You know, at this point, we have absolutely no indication that that was the case.

DIAZ: So right now, what the general consensus is that she was buried by this pile of junk that she had in the house, and that`s what caused her demise?

CASSELL: Well, the coroner will have to give us the exact cause and manner of death based on the physical findings inside of that house. There is not any evidence that the body was moved following her death.

DIAZ: Mike Brooks...

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: There`s probably too much stuff to move.

DIAZ: Mike Brooks, you have seen it all. Is this something that even you have not seen before?

BROOKS: I`ve seen houses where there`s literally a little path to walk around inside the house. But this sounds like something like I`ve never seen before.

You heard what Bill Cassell said, that they -- that officers had to take their gun belts off because it was so narrow they couldn`t -- they couldn`t get through the house with their Sam Brown and all their gear -- their Sam brown belts on. They had to take them off to get through the junk.

You know, hoarding, is that just -- now we have a name for junk collectors. I think that`s what it is. But -- but, no, I`ve never heard of anyone, Carlos, dying as a result of collecting junk.

DIAZ: Mike, hold on one second. Nicole, hang tough. Robin, you as well and Anita, as well. I want to thank Officer Bill Cassell for joining us.

When we come back, you`re not going to believe what the husband is saying now. Coming up in just a second.

But first a beautiful young woman storms out of her home, and she hasn`t been seen since. Tonight I`ll talk to her desperate family.

Of course, you can imagine being buried under your own junk. Coming up, did hoarding literally cause this woman in Las Vegas`s death?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASSELL: If our dogs can`t alert on something in that environment, that tells you the tremendous difficulty they were facing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENNA WELZ, NEIGHBOR: It was really messy, almost up to the ceiling. She was probably getting some stuff out, and probably everything fell on top of her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: A young girl speaking out after her neighbor`s body is discovered buried in a heap of clutter in the woman`s own home.

I`m Carlos Diaz, in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Billie Jean James went missing at the end of April. Cops searched her home three times with dogs and came up empty. It wasn`t until Billie`s husband saw her shoes sticking out from a pile that the mystery was solved.

Family and friends describe her as a compulsive hoarder, and cops think it`s quite possible that Billie Jean`s hoarding compulsion is what killed her.

Let`s go out to Nicole Debord, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. Nicole, have you ever heard -- can you actually bring up charges against the husband for hoarding, which caused the death of Billie Jean?

NICOLE DEBORD, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not that I`m aware of. I think that, certainly, what will happen next is that they will get an autopsy result back to determine if, in fact, the cause of death was a natural one; for example, either by suffocation or by having her be buried under this pile of junk. And assuming it was natural causes, I would only guess that probably that will conclude this case.

DIAZ: Well, Billie Jean`s husband says he`d rather people remember his wife, seen here in "The Las Vegas Sun" as an avid hiker rather than a compulsive collector saying, quote, "What people are saying is very disrespectful to her," end quote.

Bill James says the amount of clutter found in the home they shared has been exaggerated and that the story has been sensationalized.

Chet Buchanan, morning show host from KCLU in Las Vegas, here`s the crazy thing. This guy, the husband, now seems angry people are criticizing the couple`s lifestyle and making fun of him. It`s kind of ironic, isn`t it, Chet?

CHET BUCHANAN, MORNING SHOW HOST, KCLU (via phone): Well, it sure is. And nobody wants to be insensitive here but also, Bob Coy (ph), who`s a friend of mine who`s vice president (ph) of public services, also estimated they took five tons of trash out of that tiny room that she, that Billie Jean called her rabbit hole. So if he`s saying it`s being exaggerated, I don`t know. Five tons sounds like an awful lot to me.

And you really -- you can`t have it both ways. You can`t -- you can`t get on the news every night, and you can`t put up a $10,000 reward and have nine digital billboards around town and use the police helicopter with the -- you know, the infrared searching and then say, "Oh, well, now that it`s not turned out the way that we wanted it to, you can`t talk about it." Nobody wants to be insensitive and nobody wants to be rude, but...

DIAZ: Right. So Chet, what you`re saying is there was basically a massive search for this woman over the last few months?

BUCHANAN: It`s all we heard about for the first three or four weeks after she had first disappeared. It`s terrible that it`s turned out this way, but what a lot of people thought initially was that she had just possibly wandered into the desert. So there were hundreds of around, searching and looking for her. You couldn`t turn around without seeing the story.

DIAZ: Mike Brooks, why couldn`t the dogs, who were finding bodies at Ground Zero during 9/11, why couldn`t these dogs find her during three searches?

BROOKS: Well, if everything was packed so tight within that house, 10,000 pounds -- 10,000 pounds in that room, if it was packed so tight and there was no air movement with all of the rotting food, and everything else, animal sense, they`re not going to be able to get a good human scent to find her. They`ve been there -- they were in there three times. Because there`s no air circulation moving about at all.

So that sounds like the reason to me, because Bill Cassell, he himself was a former K-9 handler.

DIAZ: Robin Zasio, you know, this house sounds like it`s unlivable. I mean, it`s like -- there`s no way two people could actually exist in this home with all the junk and the stench. Is this what you find with hoarders? They just can`t let things go?

ZASIO: So the irony is, this is very, very common. We are constantly finding dead animals beneath the hoard. I think what we`re going to see is that we`re going to find more cases where people are buried behind the hoard.

Hoarding is a very, very common condition. And fortunately, through the show "Hoarders," it`s coming out in the public. And one of the things that we do see is that people deny the severity. They justify their stuff. And because they`ve been habituated to it, meaning they`ve gotten used to it, they don`t see it in the same way the rest of us see it.

DIAZ: Yes, Robin, I`ve watched your show on A&E. I mean, it is disturbing to see these people. And they seem relatively normal. They just -- I mean, hoarding to them is just a lifestyle.

Anita Roman, you talked to Bill James. Did he seem like a normal individual or was he a little off?

ROMAN: No, he did. He was a very nice man who was very distraught over his missing wife. I interviewed him for the first time about a week after his wife went missing. He was very eager to talk to us, very eager to get anyone`s help to get any information to find her, and never made any mention of anything that was happening inside.

I will say that my photographer and I stepped inside what I believe was the garage when he was downloading some pictures of Billie Jean for us to use in our story. And that`s when I first noticed the clutter. And you`ve mentioned the path carved out. That`s exactly what I saw. It was floor-to-ceiling stacks of stuff and a small path carved out, what looked to be a path to the inside of the home.

DIAZ: But Anita, was this couple -- were they a happy couple? Were they living together at the time? Because we mentioned there was another house that they were purchasing for her stuff. Were they living separate? I mean, you know, were they seeing each other through this mess?

ROMAN: They were married for 40 years and, according to all of the friends, they were very happily married. They were very much in love.

In fact, the very next day, April 23, the day after Billie Jean went missing, they were supposed to take a service trip to Hawaii. So the couple was very much together, very active. You mentioned hiking. They did a lot of outdoor stuff together. It didn`t seem, and it didn`t appear that there were any problems between the couple. Again, that`s according to the friends.

DIAZ: Anita, great job. Thank you so much and thank you so much to my fantastic panel. What an unusual story with that.

Tonight, by the way, a family trip takes a horrifying turn. What did a little boy find inside a hotel room that will change his life forever?

Plus, I`ll go one-on-one with a heartbroken mother as she desperately searches for her beautiful daughter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DIAZ: I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

In tonight`s "Spotlight," a mother`s frantic search for her daughter who has been missing for nearly a month. Twenty-four-year-old Candiace Terry went missing August 6. Her mom says she left home angry after getting the news the family was moving to California.

Texas organized a search on August 17 but did not find anything. There have been two possible sightings.

Candiace`s mom has put up flyers, searched shelters and neighborhood parks. Now she`s worried something terrible has happened to her daughter. Let`s help find this young woman.

Straight out to my special guest, Candiace`s mother Connie Davis. We`re also joined by Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement official.

Now Connie, thanks so much for joining us. We are so sorry to hear what you`re going through. Houston police told us they`ve had two possible sightings of Candiace on August 17 and August 26. Do these sightings somehow give you more hope?

CONNIE DAVIS, MOTHER: Yes. Yes.

DIAZ: Now, what -- what are your thoughts right now? Do you -- do you think that your daughter is some place other than Houston, some place other than the Texas area? Or do you think that possibly she`s gone with some friends someplace?

DAVIS: I`m not sure where she is. I didn`t hear anything about the sightings that the police are talking about. No one told me. I know of one. That was on August 6.

DIAZ: You seem very distraught and, of course, you should be. Describe your emotional state over the last month.

DAVIS: Helpless. You know, it`s horrible when your daughter goes missing or your child. So, yes, I just need help finding her and safely.

DIAZ: Before we bring Mike Brooks in, I want to ask you, how would you describe your relationship with your 24-year-old daughter Candiace?

DAVIS: We have a good relationship.

DIAZ: Because, you know, she -- you announced that the family was moving to California. That`s when there were problems. Why did she not want to move to California?

DAVIS: Well, she was comfortable here. And we -- it was just a discussion. It wasn`t set in stone. It was just a discussion. And -- and then she went for a walk, and I haven`t seen her. So...

BROOKS: Connie, did she take her cell phone with her when she left or any other personal belongings? Maybe a bank card at all to possibly trace if there has been any activity on that, on either the cell phone or possibly a bank card?

DAVIS: No.

BROOKS: What about any friends and associates that are in the area that she may have gone to see since she was a little bit upset about her moving? Has law enforcement said anything about that at all?

DAVIS: We`ve talked to her friends, and no one`s seen her. I haven`t really talked to law enforcement that much. They`re difficult to get a hold of.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DIAZ: Horrifying new twists and turns in the family trip from hell. A woman claims her 4-year-old grandson found a used condom inside their hotel room and he put it in his mouth. Tonight doctors now say he has been infected with an STD. Can this little guy ever lead a normal life?

Out of rehab and back into the spotlight. Lindsay Lohan breaks her silence. The Hollywood diva says she has changed her ways and now she wants her career back. Haven`t we heard this before? Shouldn`t she get her life back in order before worrying about work?

I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

I want to warn you, you may find this next story very disturbing. The family of a 4-year-old boy says he contracted an STD inside a filthy Atlanta hotel room a month ago. It`s a heartbreaking update to a story we brought you last week. We`ve learned the boy tested positive for oral herpes -- oral herpes.

Listen to his grandmother describe this horrifying scenario.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMEN JONES, GRANDMOTHER: I ran out the bathroom and my grandson had a condom in his mouth. I mean his tongue was in the condom. He was trying to blow it up and it still had, you know, what appeared to be semen in the condom. I wanted to take the condom and to have it tested.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: Thankfully an HIV test came back negative. As for the herpes the family says he`s already had multiple blister breakouts inside of his mouth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: When the cold sores were active, he wanted to give me a kiss especially in the hospital. And I said, "No, sweetie, not in the mouth. You can`t kiss mommy." He`s like, "Mommy, you don`t love me anymore." So it was very, very, very hurtful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: We`ve reached out several times to the company that managed the hotel at the time. They have not gotten back to us. The boy`s grandmother Carmen Jones joins me now.

Carmen, the first question -- and I see you wiping away tears. This is a very, very emotional story. And of course your attorney Tom Jones is right there as well. But Carmen, how is your grandson doing?

C. JONES: He is -- he`s very strong. And he`s doing really good right now. The -- he doesn`t have any outbreaks right now, so at the moment he`s doing really good.

But we don`t know what tomorrow brings. We don`t know these outbursts -- outbreaks can come at any time. And -- but at the moment, he`s fine. But he still has a lot of testing to do. He has a doctor`s appointment later this week and has to be retested in six months. So it`s --

DIAZ: It`s got to be tough.

C. JONES: It`s very.

DIAZ: I understand, Carmen, how tough it can be. Of course you don`t want to relive that night. But it`s a story that a lot of people have been talking about.

What were your first thoughts when you walked into the bathroom and saw your grandson with a condom in his mouth?

C. JONES: Shock and disbelief. I had -- I had heard my cousin -- my cousin was there with me, my cousin Melissa. And she was in the room with the boys and I heard her scream. And I ran out the bathroom and there my grandson was -- had a condom down his throat -- his tongue in the condom. I immediately took it from him.

It was just shocking. It was just total disbelief. I`m scared. And immediately I contacted the front desk and asked for management to come to the room.

DIAZ: And how does it make you feel now when your grandson says things to you like, "You don`t love me anymore," when he`s trying to kiss you?

C. JONES: It`s still very, very -- it`s very difficult, because, you know, he`s my grandson, but he`s been with me since he was born. And to hear any child, especially my grandson, to say that I don`t love him because I don`t -- couldn`t kiss him, words cannot describe the pain. There --

DIAZ: Does he understand what`s going on?

C. JONES: I don`t -- he says, you know, he -- he says he took in a -- you know, what he thought was a balloon but now it`s something else. But medically, I don`t think he really is clear of what he`s been facing and what he`s, you know, going to be facing in the future.

DIAZ: You know, I`ve seen you talk about this on a few different occasions and you`ve been very strong in talking about this. Are you gaining strength knowing that you have to be strong for this 4-year-old little boy?

C. JONES: You know, I try -- you know, I`m trying to be strong for -- yes, for my grandson, for the entire family. It`s -- but there are times when it`s just really hard. But, yes, I put on a very strong face and especially for him so that he doesn`t see that it`s really very hurtful and it`s very scary. I don`t know what the future holds for him.

And -- but he sees a brave face. But I think it`s taking -- you know, there`s -- I`m -- my blood pressure has been up; migraine headaches lately -- I don`t suffer with headaches. So it`s internalizing what`s going on. It`s internalizing with me.

DIAZ: And just to clarify, I mean, you are his grandmother but he refers to you as mommy. Where are his parents? Where are his mom and dad?

C. JONES: They`re at home. His -- my son has custody of him and they live with me. And his mother is a very big part of his life as well.

DIAZ: And what happened with the family to cause that -- why does your son have custody and why is the situation the way it is now?

C. JONES: Well, my son has custody -- you know, they -- they`re young parents and at the time, my son was in a better -- as far as working and, you know, living with me and I was there to help as far as the financial support. But his mother is a very big part of his life as well.

DIAZ: And what does his mom think about all this?

C. JONES: She`s very hurt. They`re both -- both parents are very upset. You know, at the hotel, at the situation, you know, understandably, they are hurt. They are hurt by, you know, some of the things that they may read that are -- insensitive people because, you know, it is happening.

I mean, it is their child and it`s happening to them as well. And there are a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of future uncertainties for, you know, our grandson medically and so understandably, they`re really -- they`re very hurt.

DIAZ: I`ll bring in Tom Jones, the attorney who is there. Tom, have you heard anything from the management at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in downtown Atlanta or the parent company?

TOM JONES, ATTORNEY FOR CARMEN JONESW: We have not. Very shortly after this occurred, I did have a conversation with the director of operations who was the person that came to the room after the problem was disclosed. But other than that short conversation, there has been no contact.

DIAZ: What would you say if the hotel comes to you and says, well, how can you prove that this 4-year-old contracted herpes from this condom? How do we know that he didn`t have herpes before the condom? What would you say if the hotel comes back and challenges you on that?

T. JONES: Well, I think the circumstances speak for themselves. I can`t imagine a family, particularly a lady like I have sitting with me now, to do anything like that. I would also say that there is a history with this facility and that their track record as related to hotel cleanliness, as we now find out, is not good.

DIAZ: Carmen -- and I know this has been very trying for you. Later that day, after the -- after you woke up and found the condom in your grandson`s mouth, later that day he developed a fever and sores in his mouth. Immediately, did you think, oh, my gosh, my grandson has an STD?

C. JONES: Well, I have to go back to when the incident happened, when I pulled the condom out of his mouth and I called the manager. The manager did come to the room. And he -- you know, the manager does not deny that he saw the condom. And I asked him to bring, you know, mouthwash and things like that to disinfect his mouth. I told -- I was very -- I really -- I told the manager that I really wanted to take the condom because I wanted to have it tested.

And he was adamant about it. He said it was hotel policy that they take the condom and that he was going to do a follow up an incident report.

But I repeatedly asked him if I could take the condom with me. And he would not let me take it. And even at checkout, I asked him to please make sure that they find out who`s on the other end of that condom, just in case some medical -- my grandson has some kind of medical problems from it. And he reassured me that he would. But --

DIAZ: Well, Carmen, I understand how difficult this must be for you. I want to say thank you so much for joining us. I want to thank your attorney Tom Jones --

C. JONES: Thank you.

DIAZ: -- for joining us as well.

T. JONES: Thank you.

C. JONES: Thank you for having me.

DIAZ: Our thoughts and prayers go out to your 4-year-old grandson.

C. JONES: Thank you.

DIAZ: Thank you so much.

Coming up, chaos at the zoo. A 2-year-old girl faces off with an angry tiger and survives.

Plus, Lindsay Lohan swears off the partying claiming that`s all behind her. Why would we believe her now? Why would we believe anything that she`s saying now?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DIAZ: I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Lindsay Lohan out of rehab and -- surprise, surprise -- she claims she`s a new person. Cool. Does anybody believe her? That`s coming up next.

But first "Top of the Block".

A 2-year-old girl goes face to face with a 500-pound tiger and lives to tell about it. This enormous beast jumped over a 14-foot fence. He escaped the exhibit and was roaming around the Jungle Island Zoo in Miami, Florida. That`s when 2-year-old Dianita Barratt got an up close and personal look at this dangerous tiger.

Here she is on NBC`s "Today" show.

Dianita ran ahead of her mom and when mom turned the corner, there was her tiny little daughter ten feet away from a wild tiger. Luckily, as you can see, the tiger didn`t attack any humans and mom was able to calmly move her daughter away from danger.

The zoo calls this a freak accident and Dianita`s mom isn`t risking it. She says she will not be renewing her season pass at the zoo. Good call, mom.

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

Tonight Lindsay Lohan tells all in an explosive new interview. Lilo opens up about drugs, money and Hollywood. Just one week before Lindsay was thrown behind bars, the troubled starlet sat down with "Vanity Fair" for the article "From It Girl to Jail Bird."

A fresh faced Lohan admits, "I`m irresponsible", and vows, "I`ll quit the clubs and make a comeback". Lindsay says, "I`m not making excuses", but is this interview just more delusional and denial coming from Lin- sanity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I know that I was ordered to go once a week and I wasn`t missing the classes just to hang out or do anything like that. I was working mostly. In Morocco the trip I was working with children. It wasn`t a vacation. It wasn`t some sort of a joke. And I respect you. I`ve been taking it seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: Now that Lindsay is a free woman she`s clocked 13 days behind bars and will the hard partying really change? This is her second time in jail. She`s already been in rehab four times -- four times.

During the interview, one of Lindsay`s infamous blond hair extensions fell out and Lohan sadly joked, "I`m literally falling apart." The actress admits she obsesses over the tabloids and looked up to Britney Spears thinking I want to be like that.

Really? Has Lindsay`s desperate quest for fame destroyed her? Straight out to my fantastic expert panel; I want to begin with senior editor for "In Touch" magazine Kim Serafin. Kim, are you believing Lindsay Lohan?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": You know you`re right, I mean, she has said certain things like this in the past in other interviews but there weren`t other repercussions in the past, you know.

Last time she spent, what, 23 minutes in jail. This time it was a lot longer in jail. This time her career is probably at the lowest point it`s been at.

She does sound very mature. She sounds more mature than we`ve seen her. She does say she was irresponsible and she says she had no structure in her life. I think people definitely identify with that.

On the other hand, the excuse about, well, I couldn`t make my class because I had to pay for my food and apartment may not ring as true. But she certainly does seem mature and as you mentioned this was done before the rehab in jail. So assuming she learned even more in the rehab.

DIAZ: Well, yes. And Lindsay say she`s a changed woman but she was only out of rehab for a week when she was pulled over for speeding running through a stop sign and get this. Lindsay was speeding right over to the Chateau Marmon (ph) a notorious Hollywood hot spot where celebs party hard.

She tells "Vanity Fair" magazine she`s dabbled in drugs because, quote, "I was young and curious and thought it was like, ok, because other people were doing it and then other people put it in front of me." Well, that`s awesome.

Dr. Tara Fields, if she wants to get better she has to give up this party hardy lifestyle.

DR. TARA FIELDS, FAMILY THERAPIST: Well, she needs to do a lot more than that, 13 days in treatment is bupkis. You are talking about someone who has a supporting cast of enablers. You know, no addict can continue using the way she has been getting into trouble unless there are people to support her and we know who those two main people are.

And she has some serious wounds to deal with. She has a self-esteem issue where her sense of self comes from working to be able to say that I have to go back to work because I have bills to pay. I do interventions with people and the critical time is at the end when we say we`ve got a plane ticket, we`re going to get you to treatment and they go who is going to take care of the dog, who is going to pay the bills. It doesn`t matter.

DIAZ: I want to bring in --

FIELDS: That`s --

DIAZ: -- I want to bring in -- let`s bring in Chet Buchanan, who is a Las Vegas radio host. Chet, you host the morning show there in Las Vegas, KLUC. You`ve been out -- you`ve been out and you`ve seen Lindsay out in the nightclubs in Las Vegas. We`ve heard this all before. Do you expect to see Lindsay back in Las Vegas partying any time soon?

CHET BUCHANAN, LAS VEGAS RADIO HOST, 98.5 FM: Oh, absolutely. And you said it best, Carlos. The interview with "Vanity Fair" happened before she went to jail. What did she do the minute she got out of jail? Right back to Chateau Marmon.

I`ve talked to a friend of mine today, Lindsay today could get between $50,000 or $100,000 to come out here and party for a week in a Las Vegas nightclub and I expect she`ll do it soon because she has to go back to work. Oh, no, she has to go and host nightclubs.

Well, -- I don`t mean -- again, I don`t mean to be insensitive --

DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Oh come on you guys no shaming, no shaming. She really believes that.

(CROSS TALKING)

DIAZ: Ok. Now wait, wait who`s talking, who`s talking -- who`s defending Lindsay?

OPRI: Carlos I`m going to be the odd, I`m going to be the odd girl out here.

DIAZ: Debra, hold on. You can be the odd girl after the break. Everyone stay right where you`re at.

Debra Opri is going to be odd when we come back -- that`s breaking news.

More on this new and improved Lindsay Lohan; is anybody buying it. Apparently Debra Opri is. I can`t wait to hear what she has to say. You`ve got to hear it, too.

Come right back to ISSUES.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOHAN: I wanted to make sure that I would come back here making you happy and the court system and show that I meant everything I promised you. And going more than once a week, I would try to do that because if I knew I had to work the next week, I figured as far as I knew, they were ok with this and it was still in compliance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAZ: Lindsay Lohan is out of lock-up and back in the spotlight. In a stunning new interview with "Vanity Fair", Lohan basically admits she`s been a hot mess but vows to turn it around. We`ve heard all of this before. In fact, the magazine even points out that Lindsay said some of the exact same things like, "I`m not the person anymore. I`m not that person anymore", back in 2007. Is Lindsay in denial?

Let`s go back out to my extra special panel. Of course, we`ve seen all the probation reports. Lindsay is on a slew of prescription drugs. But in this interview, Lindsay see says, "I`ve never abused prescription drugs. I have no desire to. That`s not who I am."

Before I went to break, Debra Opri, family law attorney, you were actually going to take Lindsay`s side on this one. I`m dying to hear what she has to say. Is she changed?

OPRI: Listen, I`ve been in courtrooms for over 20 years, in criminal courtrooms and family courtrooms and I`ve seen young girls like herself. I am a fan of Lindsay Lohan because this is a girl who has played a part for a long time and she played a part and she got paid to go to these parties. She can still do that. She`s just going to be in a very controlled environment and she will do fine.

Robert Downey is out there doing the party circuit. He`s not abusing alcohol, drugs or prescription medications. Lindsay Lohan made one mistake, in my opinion. And she should get out of the denial routine.

FIELDS: It`s too soon.

OPRI: She should get out of the denial routine -- she should get out of the denial routine and stop saying, I don`t abuse alcohol or drugs or anything like that. You don`t get gold stars in this situation. You only get stripes. And I`m not saying -- one last point.

(CROSS TALKING)

DIAZ: Tara Fields -- let Tara in here.

(CROSS TALKING)

OPRI: One last point.

FIELD: No, wait, no.

(CROSS TALKING)

DIAZ: One at a time. One at a time.

OPRI: She shouldn`t start the party circuit right no but she`s got to finish her rehab. She`s got to finish her rehab.

DIAZ: Ok.

FIELD: That`s it. Ok. Here`s the thing. It is too soon. When you talk about Robert Downey Jr., he really worked a program. He got into recovery. Thirteen days. She can`t --

OPRI: And she will too.

FIELD: Wait. No, listen to me. She is not even close to being prepared to acclimating to the real world, much less doing parties and being paid for it.

OPRI: But nobody is saying that.

(CROSS TALKING)

OPRI: Look down the road. Look down the road.

(CROSS TALKING)

BUCHANAN: Why is this time any different than any other time?

DIAZ: One at a time. I want to bring in Chet Buchanan --

FIELDS: And one thing the judge said was --

DIAZ: Tara, hold on. Tara, one second -- hang on.

BUCHANAN: Hang on -- my turn.

DIAZ: I need a gavel. I need it. Where`s the gavel?

OPRI: Carlos, get control. Get control.

DIAZ: Hold on, thank you.

Chet Buchanan, you`re in Las Vegas -- how hard is it to say no to $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 to a club for hanging out for one night?

BUCHANAN: And I think Lindsay has already said it herself. She was like, it was all of these people hanging around. They put it right in front of you and what are you supposed to do?

My question to everyone who`s making so much noise elsewhere on this panel, why is this time so much different than any other time? Like you said, she has to work the program. She has to try harder. But the minute she gets out of jail, she`s off to Chateau Marmon. This makes no sense to me. I don`t know that she`s ready to go yet.

DIAZ: I`m sorry to cut off the panel. I know that you all want to talk. We`ve got to roll. We`ve got to make room for Nancy Grace.

Thank you to my fabulous panel for joining me tonight.

Next, Nancy Grace has a story of a 45-year-old woman who vanished after getting into a cab in New York City.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.

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