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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Acid Attack Victim Speaks; Missing Mom`s Items Found
Aired September 2, 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 a disturbing new discovery in the war on women. Emily Grace vanished from New York more than a month ago. Tonight her dress, her keys and her credit card have all been found abandoned in Florida. Is this a woman on the run or something far more sinister?
And a horrifying attack leaves a woman scarred for life. This beautiful young woman had acid thrown in her face by a complete stranger right in the middle of the street. Tonight this poor victim speaks out as cops search for her sick and twisted attacker.
Also, a beautiful teenager walking back from school never makes it home. Now a killer is on the loose. It`s been more than a month since Norma Lopez was found brutally murdered in Southern California. Tonight, a possible break in the case. Cops raided a home near the crime scene. But have they found the killer?
Plus, a suicide attempt takes a bizarre twist. A young man trying to end his life jumps 40 floors from a Manhattan high rise. Amazingly, he landed on a car and survived. But get this: now the owner of the car is furious, and she wants answers.
ISSUES starts now.
DIAZ: I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Outrage and an incredible story of survival. The victim of a vicious crime is speaking out just days after her brutal attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETHANY STORRO, ACID ATTACK VICTIM: I have my ups and downs, you know. I think about what happened and I get frustrated and ask why, of course all the typical questions, why did this happen to me? And then I`m OK. I`m fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: This is an unbelievable story. It sounded like an average routine day when out of the blue someone approached 28-year-old Bethany Storro as she was getting something out of her car in Vancouver, Washington. She heard a woman ask her, "Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?" Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?
Storro`s family said that she declined the drink, saying she was going to Starbucks. That`s when the attacker tossed acid in her face, causing her to drop to the ground in what is being described as the most extreme pain of her life.
She was hospitalized shortly after and is recovering from severe burns. Now this brave woman is fighting back, asking anyone with information on the unknown suspect to come forward.
Give us a call right now. We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. We want to know what you think of the story and if you have any leads in this story.
Joining me right now on our panel Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychologist. I was so impressed with this victim. Her incredible courage. How will this help her defeat this difficult road ahead?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, whenever a tragic act like this happens, you have psychological victims and you have psychological survivors. She clearly has the mindset of a survivor.
And I think the key here at this point going forward is she is going to need to find a way to take a stand against this kind of senseless violence. You need to take your pain and grief and suffering and turn that into a positive. And based on what I`m hearing from her right now, I think she`s well on the way.
DIAZ: I`ll be honest with you. When I saw this video this morning, I had to turn away, because it is so -- it`s so hard to look at her in the bandages. But when you get to know this story, you can`t look away from her because it is such a powerful story. This is a painful memory that will likely haunt this unbelievably strong woman for the rest of her life.
She said that she can hear bubbling and that her skin was sizzling when the acid hit her face. The acid burned holes in her shirt in an instant.
Listen to what Storro had to say about the attacker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: I`ve never, ever seen this girl in my entire life, and I don`t know if she`s seen me walking around and -- because when I first saw her, she had this weirdness about her, like jealousy, rage. She just had this weird, you know, thing about her. So I would ask her -- like everybody else wants to know -- why? You know, I -- I -- somebody that I have no enemies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: That`s what everyone wants to know. Why? Casey Jordan, criminologist and former criminal profiler, just try and put us in the mindset of this attacker. Why would see do this? What would be her motivation?
STORRO: Well, it`s extremely unusual that you have this sort of acid in the face incident with the perpetrator being a female. We do see this sort of thing in African and Caribbean cultures, usually disgruntled husbands left by their wives who want to show them who is boss, as a retaliatory measure. But stranger to stranger, it`s very unusual. Woman- to-woman it`s relatively unusual since she doesn`t know this woman.
And I think the emphasis would be on the word "pretty." When she said, "Hey, pretty girl, want to drink this?" There had to be something that was attractive about the victim, about Bethany that really irked this woman. I think we`re going to find, if we find who the perpetrator is, that she`s mentally ill, maybe even schizophrenic.
DIAZ: Well, yesterday Storro, Bethany Storro, underwent surgery. Here`s what she had to say about the procedure and about her recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: Right now I`m just healing. And you can`t -- they can`t just look at me and go, this is what it`s going to be, you know what I mean? So it`s like they`re telling me that`s why they did this, because it would heal faster instead of just waiting to let it all come off itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: This type of attack can cause such severe trauma. And this victim doesn`t even know what kind of physical repercussions there will be. Clinical psychologist Dr. Dale, what is she going to need to do to get through this emotionally?
ARCHER: Well, the most important thing, of course, is hope, No. 1. And then No. 2, as strange as it may sound, you really have to forgive the perpetrator of the crime. You don`t forgive them for themselves. You forgive for you, because at this point what happened in the past is in the past. You have to look to the future.
But, again, the individuals who do the best are the ones that take a stand for something bigger than they are.
ARCHER: Clearly, we`ve had numerous cases here of senseless violence, from people being set on fire to beatings, that are taking place, with senseless people on the ground being kicked over and over. And the senseless violence in America has absolutely gotten out of hand. I would say, if she were my patient, to make a difference and take a stand against this violence, try to help others.
DIAZ: Yes, you know, Dr. Dale makes a great point about forgiveness. You might say to yourself, "What, forgiveness? I would never forgive this person." We`ll hear in a second Bethany is already talking about forgiving this person.
First we`ll got to Kay. Kay is on the phone from California. Kay, what are your thoughts on this amazing story?
CALLER: Well, I was just wondering, Carlos, where in the world would someone get such a dangerous product? That`s not easily accessible.
DIAZ: Mike Brooks joining us now. Mike, a great question. I mean, if this acid was so lethal, how can someone just put it in a cup and throw it in someone`s face?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW-ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Caller, she can go to a hardware store and buy anything, a toilet bowl cleaner, something to unclog your drain. That is basically acid. And you can also get it at a chemical store. I mean, it`s not -- you can get this stuff if you know where -- what you`re looking for, and where you`re looking for.
But I`ll tell you what. This is a serious felony. This woman, if she`s found -- and I hope there`s some surveillance video somewhere around one of those stores, Carlos. This woman could be charged with aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, the acid, and possibly attempted murder.
DIAZ: The thing is, the ironic thing is where do you have find this acid, you have to be sick enough to have the idea of, "Hey, let me get some acid and throw it in somebody`s face." Not that anyone is dumb enough to take a drink off the street off of some stranger. But she offered -- she wanted her to drink it first. She said, "Drink this." And luckily Bethany said no. Then she tosses it right in her face.
Here`s the craziest thing. A random decision to buy sunglasses, that`s the saving grace here of this 28-year-old victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: I don`t really normally wear sunglasses. I just don`t like them or anything. And for some reason, I had this feeling I need to go buy sunglasses. So I finally found a pair that I liked a week before. I said I`m going to go get this in case they go away. So I went and bought them. And not 20 minutes before the acid was thrown in my face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes before the acid gets thrown in her face, a person who doesn`t normally buy sunglasses decides to go buy sunglasses. Jayne Weintraub, do you believe in divine intervention? Are we seeing that here?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do believe that it was not just coincidence, but that`s a personal belief.
What I really think is this is a clear manifestation of, as Jane would say, a war on women. Even though you said it`s unusual it`s a woman perpetrator, it is the simple, evil, hatred of a woman on a woman. And it`s the pretty comment that makes me say that. But this is the war on women and it`s a wake-up call. Don`t be alone.
It doesn`t matter if -- the suspect in this case is a woman. Doesn`t matter. It`s still a war on women.
WEINTRAUB: And even though it is unusual in this case, he said that there`s a woman perpetrator. It is the sinful evil hatred of a woman on a woman. And it`s the "pretty" comment that makes me say that. Like, this is the war on women. And it`s a wakeup call: don`t be alone.
DIAZ: It doesn`t matter -- and you know, the suspect in this case is a woman. It doesn`t matter. It`s still a war on women. This person is strong, beautiful inside and out, and it is -- it is despicable and disgusting.
Stacey Honowitz, real quick, I want to talk to you very quickly. The sunglasses will help her identify this person, because she got a look at her before all this went down. Quickly, yes.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Yes, absolutely. And I think that the problem -- not the problem but I think the frustration for the victim in this case is my God, please find her so I can have my day in court and say she`s the one that did that to me. So hopefully, with the camera and the fact that she was wearing glasses if they find her she could I.D. them and there could be a prosecution.
DIAZ: Everybody stay right where you`re at, because more on this awful acid attack in broad daylight. Why would anybody do this? And you`re not going to believe the reaction from the girl who got acid thrown in her face. She`s actually going to forgive this person.
We`re taking your phone calls right now on this one: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, a woman vanishes from New York. Now cops in Florida have found her dress, her credit cards and her keys. So how did they get where they`re at right now, and where is Emily Grace?
Plus, a young woman scarred for life. Tonight she shows her face and breaks her silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: I could start to feel a burning through my blouse, like burning through a second layer of my skin. And that`s when I dropped down and started -- my heart was pounding so fast. And then there was a moment when it just stopped, and I was about to faint. And that`s when I thought, I`ve got to control myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: I can`t allow what she did to me wreck my life, you know. That`s not fair. I can`t like not doing the things I love to do and let her wreck my life. But right now I`m -- I`m scared, and I`m emotional right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell. Today, acid-burn victim Bethany Storro showed such strength and seemed to be in surprisingly good spirits. She fought back tears at points but was optimistic, joking and even laughing. It`s amazing to see someone in such a positive place just days after this horrific experience.
Criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub, if a woman like Bethany is on the witness stand, how in the world is a lawyer going to defend the suspect in this case?
WEINTRAUB: Well, it depends on what evidence there is. I mean, lawyers don`t make those things up, Carlos. Lawyers work with the truth and what their client tells them in the surrounding circumstances. So it would depend on what evidence, if any, there is that could be cross- examined.
DIAZ: Casey Jordan, you`re a criminal profiler. Get us in the head of this person. What kind of person walks up to somebody on the street and in broad daylight just tosses incredibly harsh acid in somebody`s face?
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: If it`s a genuine stranger incident, then I go back to what I said earlier. I`m very certain this woman is going to have some sort of mental illness.
The answer is a deranged person. Somebody who might hear voices in their head. Perhaps she has delusions. Something about Bethany pushed a trigger on her. But she came with acid. Somebody was going to get that acid in their face, and I just wonder if Bethany was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
DIAZ: Stacey Honowitz, could you say that`s premeditated, then? Because she walked up with the acid in her hand.
HONOWITZ: Yes, she had a thought process. The problem in this case, and Jayne will probably agree with me, is if they`ve got a case like this the first thing they would do is have somebody like her evaluated for a mental illness. So then you wrestle with that idea she`s so mentally ill that she couldn`t premeditate somebody, that she couldn`t form that thought pattern. And I think that`s the kind of issues you`d be wrestling with in a case like this?
DIAZ: Jayne, do you agree? Do you go after the -- you know, the suspect as crazy?
WEINTRAUB: If the person is evaluated and if there is a diagnosis to be made, of course. I mean, the problem here is that -- what I think Stacey is trying to say is the court system really isn`t even equipped to deal with it. It`s not a matter of cross-examining this person. It`s a matter of what do we do with this person?
DIAZ: Well, you talk about a range of emotions. Listen to this clip where Bethany goes from being choked up to actually joking around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: I have an amazing family and friends that love me, and I`m blessed, you know. I`m trying to stay positive. And I`m a happy person. And I like making others laugh, because I`m just hilarious. I mean, hello.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: Strong person. And so many things, Mike Brooks, go into this case. I mean, here`s a woman, she just moved to the area. She was getting out of a divorce. All these things, you know, that she`s trying to kind of put her life back together, and then this happens.
BROOKS: She is just an unbelievable woman. Talking about forgiveness. A sense of humor. And everything that she`s been through, the top stressors in her life, and to have this happen?
I tell you what. This woman can go -- can get through anything. But I hope -- I hope that they find the woman who`s responsible for this and bring her to justice. I think that someone had to have seen the woman maybe walking away, running away, walking around. They`re going to take a look back a couple of days and see if there was someone in that vicinity and, hopefully, get a composite and get it out to the public.
WEINTRAUB: And let`s hope it`s an isolated instance.
BROOKS: You`re right about that, Jayne.
DIAZ: And this person`s out there right now. There was a good Samaritan who said he saw the person but, you know, had the choice of following the suspect or helping Bethany. He chose to help Bethany.
Let`s go to Oregon right now. Nancy is in Oregon.
Nancy, what are your thoughts?
CALLER: I was just wondering, since this lady just had put sunglasses on, if there was a possibility that this was a mistaken identity attack?
DIAZ: I mean -- but is there someone else who deserves acid thrown in their face? Nancy, it`s a great question. But Dr. Dale Archer, I mean, can you -- could that be possibly what`s entering this person`s mind, that maybe she thought it was somebody else?
ARCHER: No, I don`t think so. Again, I think you have two possibilities here. One, that this was a random, sick act and well this woman could have had schizophrenia or some type of psychiatric condition.
I was involved in one case, where actually they were -- it was part of a gang initiation ritual where you had to pick something horrible to do to another person to be accepted into the gang. So I`m not so quick to think it`s just mental illness. There could be something else going on out there that we just have no idea about.
DIAZ: Well, Bethany said it would be a miracle if her attacker were to come forward and admit to throwing acid in her face. Just as remarkable, what Bethany says she would do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORRO: You know, in time, I`m going to forgive her. Because if I don`t, then it`s hard to move on with my life. So that`s the biggest thing that came to me last night. It really is the biggest weapon for me to have, is to forgive her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: OK. We have 20 seconds. A show of hands. Who on the panel can say with a straight face that they would forgive someone who threw acid in their face? Show of hands.
BROOKS: Not happening.
DIAZ: That`s what I`m saying. This person is a better person.
ARCHER: I may be the only one.
BROOKS: Absolutely. You`re a lot better person than I am. That`s for sure.
DIAZ: Dr. Dale, you`re a heck of a person. All right?
ARCHER: You`ve got to do it for yourself. You forgive for yourself.
DIAZ: Thank you so much to my fantastic panel. What a story! The war on women continues and takes a bizarre twist. And it`s just terrible.
Emily Grace vanished in New York City. Now her personal items have been found more than 1,000 miles away. Was she abducted or did she run away?
DIAZ: I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Tonight new but frightening clues in the disappearance of a New Jersey mom who vanished after a night out in Manhattan. Forty-five-year-old Emily Grace disappeared one month ago after seeing a show with friends in Manhattan. Now we`re finding out she flew to Ft. Lauderdale the next day and cleaned out her checking account. And then, just a few days ago, some of her belongings were found on a golf course including -- get this -- her checkbook, her credit cards and the clothing she was last seen wearing in New York city.
Is Emily Grace the victim of foul play, or did she just want to escape?
Staff writer Katie Colaneri with "The Jersey Journal."
Katie, what is the very latest?
KATIE COLANERI, STAFF WRITER, "THE JERSEY JOURNAL": The latest that we do know is that she was last seen on August 1 in Manhattan by friends. They believe that she spent the night at the Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd. Authorities have now said they think she flew to Florida the following day, where she checked into a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.
And as the introduction said she took a significant amount of cash out of her checking account in a bank in Ft. Lauderdale -- sorry, Orlando. She was caught on surveillance tape there.
And last Tuesday her bag of belongings were found by maintenance workers at a golf course 20 miles away from Ft. Lauderdale in Celebration, Florida.
DIAZ: Celebration is like a community that was made by Disney. I mean, this is not some slum. I mean...
DIAZ: So she`s not, you know -- you know, in some remote location. The location of...
COLANERI: Well, investigators did add that that doesn`t necessarily mean that Grace was in celebration.
COLANERI: They`re not coming to any conclusions at this time.
DIAZ: Well, the location of Emily`s belongings were about 200 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale in Celebration, Florida, near Disney World. Here`s what the golf course workers found: a black duffel bag with a checkbook, two credit cards, keys, personal paperwork, and the clothes she was last seen wearing in New York at the concert. The items were wet and weathered so they could have been there for a long time.
Katie Colaneri, any indication that she dumped these items herself?
COLANERI: Unfortunately, investigators were not able to come to any conclusion about that.
DIAZ: OK. Family and friends set up a Facebook page right now. A group called "Find Emily Grace." There are about 1,300 members. I mean, people really are behind this cause. The page points out that there is still no evidence that suggests that Emily has been harmed in any way. Everyone just wants to find her and bring her home.
ISSUES spoke to a good friend of Emily`s who said that Emily has many people who love her and support her, no matter what. They are praying for her to come home.
Casey Jordan, all of these comments say things like, you know, call if you`re in trouble. Call if you`re scared. We`re here for you. She is well loved. It sounds like people know what she`s going through is difficult. Does that help in any way that so many people love Casey?
JORDAN: Yes. You`ve got to understand that the family is not telling the media to really cover this as a foul play thing. It looks like she has disappeared of her own volition, especially since she cleaned out her own account. You don`t know if she`s in some sort of financial trouble. You don`t if something bad happened in her love life or work life. You don`t know if she`s had a nervous breakdown of sorts. And what they want her to know is whatever you`re running from, if that`s indeed what`s happened, please know we`ll understand and contact us. They just want to know that she`s safe.
DIAZ: Casey, great point. Thank you so much. Thank you both to my fantastic guests.
Norma Lopez vanished while walking hope from school. Five days later, she was found brutally murdered. Tonight ISSUES joins the desperate search for her killer.
DIAZ: Beautiful teenager walking back from school never makes it home. Now a killer is on the loose. It`s been more than a month since Norma Lopez was found brutally murdered in southern California. Tonight a possible break in the case: cops raided a home near the crime scene, but have they found the killer?
Plus, a suicide attempt takes a bizarre twist. A young man trying to end his life jumps 40 floors from a Manhattan high rise. Amazingly, he landed on a car and survived. But get this. Now the owner of the car is furious and she wants answers.
I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell. Are police closing in on a teen`s killer? Seventeen-year-old Norma Lopez was abducted and murdered in July. She was snatched as she walked from her high school to a friend`s house. Five days later her body was found in a remote field in Riverside, California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. JOE BORJA, RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: There`s indications of a possible struggle that may have occurred. At this point we`ve contacted all of her friends, all of her family members and everybody in the area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: Well, their investigation brought them to this home, just blocks from where Norma`s body was found. Twenty-five-year-old Lazarus Tasby (ph) lives there with his mom and stepdad. Tasby was a teacher`s aide at Norma`s high school for two years. They seized this green SUV that neighbors say he Tasby normally drives. It matches the description of the SUV seen speeding away from where Norma was kidnapped.
Tasby wasn`t there when cops searched the home. Police have made no arrests and they have not named any suspects and they won`t say how Norma was killed.
So are they close to taking a killer off the streets? We`re taking your phone calls on this one. 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Out to my fantastic panel -- I want to start with John Asbury, reporter for the Press Enterprise. John, what do you know about this former teacher`s aide Lazarus Tasby? Did he and Norma know each other?
JOHN ASBURY, REPORTER, THE PRESS ENTERPRISE: Well, the police have not given any detail on how they came to find this house. They have not named anyone as a suspect in the homicide. While Tasby worked at the school, school officials say that they don`t have evidence that Norma and Tasby knew each other. Norma`s family was not aware of the search. They were not aware of Lazarus Tasby or his family.
DIAZ: Well, Lazarus Tasby was arrested in October for solicitation of prostitution. He pleaded not guilty a day after his home was raided. His stepdad`s attorney held a news conference right on their driveway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILES CLARK, ATTORNEY FOR ERIC MUSWASWA: No one in this home or in the family is responsible for Norma Lopez`s death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: John Asbury, any idea why Tasby left Valley View High last November? Was it because of the solicitation for prostitution?
ASBURY: Well, the district said that those matters were confidential. But given the timing, he resigned about two weeks after his arrest, citing personal reasons.
DIAZ: All right. Well, the raid of Lazarus Tasby`s home was a pretty bizarre scene. His stepdad, Eric Muswaswa, said he was tased and broke his ankle during a scuffle with police. They arrested him for obstruction and resisting an officer.
Here`s what his attorney said happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARK: The officers knocked on the door. My client opened the door. He indicated, yes, may I help you? The officers burst into the house at that point. My client asked, stop, what this is about?
One of the officers told him that he did in fact have a search warrant. My client asked to see the search warrant. However, the officers would not allow him to see the search warrant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: All right. I`m going to go Mike Brooks before I go to anybody else. Mike if somebody says, we have a search warrant -- I mean --
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Get out of the way and let them in. That`s the bottom line.
DIAZ: There you go.
Yes. Because basically that`s what it sounds like here. He was persistent about wanting a search warrant. They tased him, got him down and then stepped on his ankle and broke his ankle.
BROOKS: That`s what it sounds like. But you know, that`s a side issue. The main issue here what did they get out of that house, Carlos? They seized that green Mercury Montero because that fit the description. So they seized that.
It`s going to be important. It could come down to forensics. What kind of forensics did they find inside that car? What other kind of forensics did they find in that house? I`m sure they took his computer, all his personal papers and they`re going to go through this with a fine- toothed comb to see if there`s any relationship between the victim and Tasby.
Could there be? Possibly? But this seems like this is the biggest break in the case so far.
DIAZ: John Asbury, do you know if police have interviewed sex offenders in the area?
ASBURY: Yes. They`ve interviewed just about every registered sex offender in Moreno Valley and have ruled out just about everyone as suspect. They said given Norma`s past they haven`t found anybody to raise a suspicion who might have known her so they`re treating it as a stranger abduction.
DIAZ: All right. Police won`t reveal the cause of death. Norma`s body was found in an isolated field on the east side of Moreno Valley. They had already found her purse along her walking route from school. She had taken a popular path that was a shortcut to her friend`s house. Cops say there were signs of a struggle there.
Casey Jordan, if there was a struggle, isn`t there likely to be a lot of physical evidence, blood, DNA under Norma`s fingernails?
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Yes. And that`s probably why they wanted to get into the house. We know they not only took the SUV, but they took a few items from Lazarus Tasby`s bedroom.
And I`m sure that they`re looking for something that would have his DNA. It`s very possible that there is DNA evidence, all kinds of evidence.
What I respect about this case is how close to the vest the cops are holding what they know. They`re protecting the integrity of the case so that when they get their suspect, make an arrest, they can have a good trial and make sure there are no little "get out of jail" free cards based on improper due process.
DIAZ: Casey Jordan, do you agree? Is that why police are taking their time with this?
JORDAN: Yes. I don`t think there`s anything wrong with that. I think the police know a lot more about what`s going on than what we know. But this is very encouraging because they`re finally acting on the evidence that they have.
And the fact that Tasby worked at the high school where Lopez went to school -- I know I`ve heard that they didn`t know each other. But that doesn`t mean that he didn`t know of her. And because the crime scene was very close in proximity to the house where he lived, the fact that he did work at the school, the fact that he has been arrested for soliciting a prostitute, all of these things add up. And what we know in criminology to make this person --
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They don`t add up to probable cause, Casey. And you know better than that. I mean there is no probable cause here.
JORDAN: There`s probably cause to do a search --
BROOKS: There was enough to get an arrest warrant, Jayne.
DIAZ: Let Jayne speak. Jayne, what do you have to say? Keep going.
JORDAN: Jayne --
WEINTRAUB: If there were probable cause, there would have been an arrest. That`s number one. Number two is --
JORDAN: They had probable cause to search his house.
WEINTRAUB: Can I finish my sentence?
DIAZ: Let Jayne finish. What do you have to say?
WEINTRAUB: They did not have probable cause for anything except the van. And Casey is halfway right. Yes, they did take other things because while it`s in plain view it`s something -- since they`re eyed -- they`re allowed to do that. But this is nothing more than -- at this point -- putting a circle peg in a square and that`s all there is.
JORDAN: No, it`s not. No, it`s not.
WEINTRAUB: The fact that he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute -- let`s throw that out now. Then of course he`s the one that took the 17- year-old. That`s ridiculous. What they need --
JORDAN: That`s not what I said. I`m telling you in criminal behavior --
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: This is how they form an investigation. This is how you form a case. This is how you make a case. You have a series of circumstances. You link those circumstances together. You find evidence. You have probable cause. You make an arrest.
Now, no one is saying anything right now because --
WEINTRAUB: But that`s not what happened.
HONOWITZ: Well, wait Jayne. We don`t know what the evidence is. The cops are keeping it so close to the vest.
WEINTRAUB: Well, we know that they broke his ankle. They it`s tasered him. And they didn`t want to show him the warrant --
DIAZ: I need a gavel --
DIAZ: All right. Now, hold up. Let`s go to the phone lines. And as I said before, Jane took her gavels on vacation with her. They`re very dear to her.
Jose in California. Jose, what are your thoughts about this?
JOSE, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes. My comments would be -- the relationship between the student and teacher. A lot of times other students know that there might be something going on. So a lot of times the authorities might be able to question everybody that was in the classroom at the time that the substitute was instructing Ms. Lopez.
Perhaps they saw them together during a break time. Perhaps they saw them exchanging certain types of comments to each other. I would focus a lot about what the students know about how Ms. Lopez would behave around this instructor.
DIAZ: Jose --
HONOWITZ: 100 percent right.
DIAZ: Hold on. Hold on. Jose, great point.
Dr. Brenda Wade, I want to go to you. Do you start at the school? Is that your main focus? And work out from there?
DR. BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, I would certainly want to know what the relationships are. But, Carlos, a case like this, I just can`t help saying that what we need more than anything is an educational program on how to keep our teenage girls safe.
We cover these stories all the time. And I would give almost anything if I knew we had a program where teens would buddy with each other; that there would never be a time when a girl would leave a school alone to go to a friend`s house. There would never be a time when parents aren`t monitoring where their kids are.
Whatever those relationships are, we all need to take it very seriously that we keep our teens safe. It is so critical.
HONOWITZ: Carlos, can I say one thing about what the caller said?
DIAZ: Sure go ahead in 30 seconds. Go ahead.
HONOWITZ: You know I prosecuted a lot of cases or I`ve prosecuted a couple of cases where teachers have been involved with students. And he`s 100 percent right. Lots of times it`s the parents that are the last people to know what their child is doing in school. It is the other students that see slight things going on, things that maybe the average Joe wouldn`t see.
And maybe they really do -- that`s what they`re doing. They`ve investigated whether or not there was any kind of relationship. And I`m not saying there was. But if there`s more here than met the eye, that -- if behind the scenes this girl might have known this teacher more than they`re leading on.
DIAZ: All right, everyone stay where you`re right now. Somebody get me a gavel. We`re going to have much more on this family`s desperate search for justice coming up in a matter of seconds.
Plus, two years old and addicted to cigarettes -- how do you convince a toddler he needs to kick this deadly habit?
Coming up: a killer on the loose in California; who killed Norma Lopez? We`re taking your phone calls. Come on. Call us right now, 1-877- JVM-SAYS. We want to hear from you, 1-877-586-7297.
DIAZ: Norma Lopez was brutally murdered on her way home from school. Tonight have cops finally found her killer? That`s next.
But first, some good news in tonight`s "Top of the Block."
The infamous smoking toddler has kicked his habit. Remember this little guy? He`s 2 years old. He lives in Indonesia and he was smoking more than two packs a day. That`s 40 heaters every single day. He became a YouTube sensation.
But check this out. He checked into rehab and apparently he is now nicotine free although there is concern that he could get back in the temptation and spark right back up.
Here`s an idea to the mom and dad in this situation. I don`t know, keep him away from the smokes. I mean, he`s 2 years old. He can`t exactly jump in the car and go to the liquor store and order a pack of Lucky Strikes.
Come on trade in the butt and plug in a binky. He`ll thank you for it later. He`s a kid. He can barely walk.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block".
I`m Carlos Diaz in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Are police closing in on a teen`s killer? I want to get back to the search for Norma Lopez`s killer. The 17-year-old was abducted and murdered in July walking home from school to a friend`s house.
Police haven`t named any suspects but on Tuesday they raided the home of a former teacher`s aide. Was Lazarus Tasby`s car the one seen speeding away from where Norma was kidnapped?
Let`s go right back out to Mike Brooks. Mike what is the most important thing for this guy Lazarus Tasby?
BROOKS: Well, investigators are holding their cards very close to the vest like one of our guests said. And I think that`s a great thing but one of the things I hope they recovered while they were in that house is his cell phone.
Is he able to account for where he was when she disappeared on July 15th? If they had his cell phone they can also go back and subpoena his cell phone -- cell phone records and find out where he was by cell phone pings. Was he in that area? Was he possibly nearby where she was recovered?
DIAZ: Investigators have told Norma`s family they believe multiple suspects may be involved in her murder and that they were likely strangers to her. Norma`s sister also thinks she was abducted and murdered by a stranger, but their dad is convinced Norma knew her killer.
Casey Jordan, what`s your take on that?
JORDAN: This sort of daytime attack, 10:00 a.m., in the morning, in an open field is very high risk and it`s the sort of thing that normally does happen to a victim by somebody that they would know or who has been stalking them.
But in this particular case, it`s so high risk, you wonder if somebody was laying in wait and it was a stranger attack. The particular circumstances of this case I would go 50/50 on. There`s a lot that`s unusual about it.
DIAZ: Fabulous guests. You guys are awesome. To my panel, thank you so much.
Tonight shifting gears, a flashy muscle car saves a man`s life. Twenty-two-year-old Tom MaGill tried to commit suicide, throwing himself off a Manhattan high rise. He fell 40 stories, plunging at 100 miles an hour toward his death.
But a red hot Dodge Charger cushioned his fall. The jumper, an aspiring actor, landed feet first on the car and miraculously survived. Forty stories and he survived; he is now in stable condition. All the guy has got is two broken legs. He told investigators, I want to die.
Thankfully this young man has now gotten a second chance to get the help he needs.
Most people are calling it a miracle. But one person is furious, the car`s owner. She says, "That car was my baby. This guy is an idiot." What? The car saved his life.
Straight out to my fantastic guests: Mickey Cucchiella, he is from 98 Rock in Baltimore. And Mickey you`ve seen some pretty amazing things in your life. I`ve got to ask you, what is wrong with the woman who owns this car?
MICKEY CUCCHIELLA, MORNING HOST, WIYY-FM: I don`t know, Carlos. I mean, the funniest thing to me about the whole story is you would think this lady would be thrilled that her car is responsible for a miracle yet she is going to sweat this for a windshield and maybe some body work.
DIAZ: And -- and --
CUCCHIELLA: I don`t -- I don`t understand it.
DIAZ: Well the -- and the woman is now coming forward telling "Inside Edition" she wishes nothing but the best for the young man who landed on her car but she and her husband promised -- they`re not going to sue the guy for jumping on her car.
I mean, Mickey, she`s got a big heart I guess.
CUCCHIELLA: Yes, that`s very nice of her not to sue a suicidal man and that -- that fell 40 feet, I mean 40 stories, mind you. The only thing that would have made this story better is when he hit the back seat, tap the driver real fast and say, you know, Fifth and Broadway, please. That`s the only thing that could have made this story -- look, I don`t want to see anyone, you know, suicidal.
CUCCHIELLA: That`s a very sad state that guy is in obviously. And like you said, he`ll get the help he needs.
But let`s be honest. When -- when this kind of miracle happens to someone -- and I don`t use the word miracle often. But when it does happen, you`ve got to kind of stand in awe of it and not sue the guy for a windshield.
And Dr. Dale Archer, I`ve got to ask you, are you surprised? Because the guy -- the -- the -- her husband was driving the car, and he pulled out some rosary beads and said, hey, look -- he had God on his side. It`s a miracle. Are you surprised the wife is so infuriated?
DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, yes. I don`t use the word miracle very often either but I don`t know what else you call this. I mean, this was 400 feet straight down. I think the boyfriend or the husband of the woman was very, very realistic.
But she was saying, yes, every time I let him use my car, this is what happens. He always messes it up. So not only is she mad at -- she -- she`s not only mad at the --
DIAZ: I`m not going to let you borrow the keys anymore if you let guys fall on the car, right?
DIAZ: I saw the "Dark Knight".
You know, it could happen.
ARCHER: She`s mad at everybody.
Regina from Tennessee, we`re going to get to you in a second. Guys, everybody hold on.
It`s an unbelievable suicide story. What side are you on: the woman who is ticked off that her car is totaled or the fact that this guy survived a 40-story fall? We`ll get back to your phone calls after this.
DIAZ: A man jumps off of a Manhattan high-rise and miraculously the guy survives. He jumped off of a 40-story building and survives. How? He landed on the trunk of this Dodge Charger. He is now in stable condition with two broken legs and a blood clot. That`s it.
I have to go back to my panel real quick; Mickey Cucchiella from 98 Rock in Baltimore, also Dr. Dale Archer. Listen guys, I really like my car. I really like my car. If someone landed on my car, I might be like this woman who owns this car. I might be ticked off.
Mickey, what kind of car do you drive?
CUCCHIELLA: I have to be honest with you, Carlos. I just wish I would have parked my car there. I mean, my car -- I would be thrilled if someone landed on my car and I had to get a new car. I`ll be honest with you.
DIAZ: Well, you know, Dr. Dale Archer, what goes through a person`s mind when their first reaction to a person`s life being saved is I`m ticked off about it.
ARCHER: Yes. Well, that is typical of today`s "me first, I come before anybody else, I want what I want when I want it" society. She didn`t think about the fact, you know, my car saved somebody`s life. Instead she thinks, oh, my God, I got the insurance claim, I have to go out shopping for a new car -- all the hassle, on and on and on. It is about her. It has nothing to do with thinking about anybody else. Unfortunately, very, very classic.
DIAZ: And if I worked for Dodge, I`m putting together a commercial right now. Our cars will save you from a (INAUDIBLE) collision and if someone jumps off a building.
Regina, Tennessee; thanks for holding so long, Regina. What are your thoughts in this whole thing?
REGINA, TENNESSE (via telephone): Well, I think that you are coming down hard on the woman. You don`t know what her economic situation is. How much that car meant -- might have meant to her. It might have been a gift from somebody who is gone now.
I`m going to tell you right here and now, though, if somebody ruined my car, I`d be walking because I couldn`t make up that $500 deductible.
DIAZ: I think we are going to have to hold this guy accountable. I`m going to this guy and saying, I`m not going to sue you, but you are going to take care of my deductible.
I mean Regina, I agree with you, by the way. When I heard Dodge Charger -- I`m like, was it a classic Dodge Charger? Because if it`s a classic, yes. It is a new Dodge Charger.
That Dodge --
DIAZ: I mean it`s not -- you can replace that in a heartbeat you know. It`s not a classic --
CUCCHIELLA: Carlos, the thing that amazes me --
DIAZ: Mickey, go ahead.
CUCCHIELLA: The thing that amazes me, the guy tried to commit suicide. He didn`t try to hurt her car. It is not like he was 40 stories in the air and said, "There`s her car. Now`s my chance, she parked where I wanted her to park. I`ve been waiting for months. She`s in the perfect spot. Here I go."
It is just unfortunate. This man -- like here is the sad part, had he owned a gun, he would have shot himself.
CUCCHIELLA: Had he had a bunch of sleeping pills or whatever, he would have done that. The guy tried -- this story is sad on many levels. The guy tried to kill himself and failed. That is the saddest part.
DIAZ: Here`s the craziest thing that no one`s talking about. The guy --
ARCHER: Well, no, that is not the saddest part.
DIAZ: Hold on. The guy is a struggling actor. I think we found his calling. He is a stunt man now. That is what he needs to be doing. Talk about a resume. What can you do? I can ride horseback.
CUCCHIELLA: He is like the new McGyver.
DIAZ: Yes, I can jump out of a 40-story building and land on a car, I`m ok.
Mickey, Dale, you guys were awesome. Thank you so much.
CUCCHIELLA: Carlos, thank you.
DIAZ: Thanks to my fabulous panel for joining me tonight.
A babysitter is accused of killing a 2-year-old during a sleepover. Unbelievable story. Nancy Grace has the latest next.
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