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Task Force to Search for Kyron Horman; Pastor Accused of Affair, Murders; Father of Missing Mother Speaks Out

Aired September 15, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a stunning arrest as the world learns the deadly secrets of a Pennsylvania pastor. Police say a popular reverend is linked to three mysterious deaths, including his two former wives. Tonight, how did sex and a suicide inside his church lead to a murder charge against this man of the cloth?

And a deadly twist in the desperate search for Susan Powell. She vanished nine months ago. Now, a new body has been discovered in Wyoming. Could it be Susan? Tonight, I`ll talk one-on-one with her devastated father.

Also, the war on women rips through Austin. A Young mom vanishes. Her estranged husband is now being called a person of interest. He was the last person to see her alive, and he was found with her debit card. Tonight, I`ll talk to this Young man`s lawyer as he tries to set the record straight.

Plus, a primetime ISSUES exclusive. Troubled superstar Lindsay Lohan`s pill-prescribing doctors are now under investigation. Tonight I`ll talk live with Lindsay`s father, Michael. Why does he say these doctors are feeding his daughter`s addiction?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, fast-breaking news in the Kyron Horman case. The sheriff investigating little Kyron`s disappearance speaking right now at a last-minute news conference.

Kyron vanished from his school three months ago. His stepmother, Terri Horman, remains under that cloud of suspicion. But she has never been named a suspect.

Let us go right now to the announcement that they are establishing a task force, a special task force to try to ramp up this investigation into what happened to this child. Let`s listen in.

SHERIFF DAN STATON, MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: That`s the comment I meant. That we fit this with detectives that are supported by other agencies. That we have a certain number of our own investigators that are dedicated to this investigation. And that we are now looking at target areas, target courses in the course of this investigation.

It`s no longer as broad as it was originally. We`ve developed enough, we`ve closed enough doors in the course of this investigation, to bring it down to a scale that we can target specific elements that we need to bring a successful conclusion to this.

So a task force concept, one, is fiscally responsible. We are dedicating specific types of resources and only a specific number. It no longer has to be as broad as it was originally. And it`s going to help support the conclusion towards this investigation. That was the comment I`ve made. That was the business plan that I`ve looked at.

Back on Friday, I had a full briefing from not only the D.A.`s office, but from our investigators. I now have a clear understanding of what the scope and where this investigation is at to date. And this, I believe, is a sound process for this investigation.

I`ve got, right now the resources within the Multnomah County Sheriff`s Office that have been dedicated to it and have been -- it`s been a great number of personnel assigned.

Our investigations, the commitment we have to the community, has suffered because of what has been dedicated and how we`ve worked this investigation fluidly. And it`s reached the point now that I`ve got to release these investigators back to their normal tasks. I`ve got to release those that have been dedicated from our patrol division back to their tasks. We`ve got to pick up business in what is expected of us by the community.

A task force is the only concept that can be utilized. We`ve got resources. We`re continuing the investigation. The investigation is moving in a very successful fashion. And it is moving in a direction that I would expect. And now we can start targeting those areas that we really need to concentrate on to bring it to its conclusion.

Does anybody have any questions?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Officers, the sheriff actually there, from the county investigating the disappearance of Kyron Horman, announcing the creation of a task force that could include the FBI. But also saying that, essentially, he has to take some of the officers in his unit back to their regular function, because there are other things happening in that community that need to be addressed.

I want to go straight to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst.

Give us the analysis of this. Is this ramping up the investigation or scaling it back?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Victoria Taft -- Victoria Taft, is this ramping up the investigation or is this scaling it back? Is this good news for finding Kyron or is it bad news?

VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He`s trying to make it sound like it`s good news. And I hope he`s right. I hope this is a more efficient way in which to find the child. I hope that they bring more pressure to bear on the investigation and chase down all the leads that they have. He seems to indicate they`ve winnowed it down.

That being said, he clearly has his eye on the, quote unquote, "business plan" to which he just referred. And he means to say that this is costing Multnomah County too much money. They want to share the pain in terms of the money that will be spent -- spread over all sorts of different agencies, and that`s what they`re doing here.

This is a concern about money. This is a county that is in debt -- that`s in, you know, very difficult financial times. They`re floating bonds for libraries and all sorts of things they`re already supposed to be paying for. This has set them back. It`s about a half a million dollars so far.

BROOKS: Victoria, I mean, I think Victoria`s absolutely right, Jane. And I think it also has to do with case management. It also has to do with resources. So yes, you`re going to get state -- state resources, other counties, the FBI.

And it sounds like he`s coming -- they`re coming down to a conclusion on this. So that`s why I think they`ve had hopefully a task force...


BROOKS: ... this whole time, you know. But what does this mean? We still don`t know for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you had to say -- your gut is good -- is this good news for finding Kyron or bad news, what would you say, Mike?

BROOKS: I think it`s good news for bringing this to some kind of conclusion. Whether it is going to be good news for finding Kyron, we still can`t really say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to stay on top of this -- one last comment. Go ahead.

TAFT: Thanks, Jane, I appreciate it.

The parents of Kyron Horman, Desiree Young and Kaine Horman, did not know that they were scaling back this investigation. Nor did they understand that there was going to be any change in the investigation. They found out from a reporter from Channel 12 in Portland while they were waiting to come back from Chicago after taping "The Oprah Winfrey Show." So they didn`t even know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s a little disturbing, Victoria.

TAFT: It is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`d think that they would call -- since the police have been accused of using the parents as a mouthpiece and leaking all sorts of incriminating information about Terri Horman to the media through the parents, you`d think they`d at least let them know, "Hey, we`re going to hold a news conference, and we`re going to announce a change in the investigation," Victoria.

TAFT: You know, you talk -- you talk about case management. That`s what Mike referred to. What about message management? This is a sheriff. This is only the second time we`ve seen him during this investigation. He`s not spoken to the media. He doesn`t exactly have a lot of experience doing that, and I think that showed today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is Terri Horman, the redhead you see right there, who is not named a suspect or a person of interest. But she`s clearly, clearly the focus of the investigation.

Last question, Victoria Taft, before we move on to more breaking news. When are the biological parents of missing Kyron Horman going to appear on Oprah? They taped it already?

TAFT: Yes. They taped it today, as I understand it, and it will be on tomorrow. It`s destined for tomorrow, Thursday.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we`re going to bring you the very latest on little Kyron, missing Kyron`s parents appearing on "Oprah" tomorrow. So tune into that here on ISSUES. You will hear exactly what the parents have to say.

And again, breaking news, the sheriff`s office announcing that they are now creating a task force. But at the same time they`re reassigning a lot of the officers who have been focused exclusively on finding this child back to their regular assignments.

Now, to more breaking news tonight. Chilling, and I mean chilling 911 calls in the horrific Petit family rape/murder trial going on in Connecticut. These 911 calls have just been released a little while ago.

Listen as the bank manager discreetly calls cops for help after terrified mom, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, is forced by her captors to go into the bank and, with her hands trembling, forced to withdraw $15,000 to hand over to these monsters who are holding her two daughters and her husband hostage back at their family home.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house. She says they are being very nice. They have their faces covered. She is petrified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she still in the bank?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Her husband and family...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. They`re tied up, she said. She`s taking $15,000 out of her credit line. They told her they wouldn`t hurt anybody if she got back there with the money. She believes that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How horrifying. Cops say these two paroled convicts -- one`s a crack addict, they`re both drug addicts -- sexually assaulted and strangled mom Jennifer, and sexually assaulted the Petits` 11-year-old daughter. They`re also charged with tying both Petit girls to their beds and setting the entire family home on fire. The girls died of smoke inhalation. The wife also was strangled.

Dr. Petit, the father, was the only one who got out alive, but he was beaten very badly. He courageously testified just yesterday.

Now, today cops were grilled by the defense team over the police response to the 911 call from the bank you just heard. Specifically, a 33- minute delay was raised.

Mike Brooks, what do you know about this reported delay?

BROOKS: Well, of course, keep in mind, it`s the defense, Jane. So what else do they have? Not much.

But I`m going to tell you, from the time that you heard that woman on the 911 call, and then you -- it`s relayed to the officers who go to the neighborhood. They set up a perimeter, because now keep in mind, they`re dealing with a possible hostage situation. And the woman said that everything has been OK; there has been no violence.

So law enforcement goes in. You want to set up a perimeter before you make any kind of call into that house.

Because as we also heard, when these two monsters, as you`re calling them, run out of that house, there was an officer right there. And he said they were at a full run.

So did they do the right thing? From looking at the timeline, I think for the situation at hand, and the information that they had, I think it sounded like it was reasonable on setting up a perimeter. Because what if -- and you can "what if" all day long -- but what if these two monsters had come out with guns to the head of these women, if they had seen police outside? It could have exacerbated the situation on what they knew so far.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, here`s another clip of the 911 call from the bank manager. Listen to this composure as she describes this unbelievably surreal scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say anything about weapons or anything like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said -- she said that -- no, I don`t know. She said they`ve been very nice. And she knows they`ll leave after they get the money. I`m trying to look and see where she`s gone. She went outside -- I don`t -- I see her walking now. She`s walking -- she`s getting in a car. It looks like a gray SUV. They pulled up. Now they`re pulling out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, somebody else is driving. She said they drove her here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Captors drove her to the bank?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is absolutely extraordinary about this case is that that woman, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, was gentile, well-mannered and gracious, even as her life turned into a living nightmare. That is what`s so amazing. This family, as well as her husband, the doctor, Dr. Petit, testifying yesterday, showing incredible grace and composure. Boy, they are an inspiration to all of us.

That poor woman that you`re looking at right there, minutes after she withdrew that money, was raped and strangled by the man who is now on trial. And I say it that way, because he is not contesting the facts of this case. So sick.

Up next, were cops blinded by a pastor`s collar? We`re taking your calls on this outrageous story: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, a dead body has been found in Wyoming. Could this be the missing mother, Susan Powell? I will talk to her devastated father.

But first, sex, suicide and the church. Is a pastor an adulterer and a murder? There he is. He`s been arrested.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re fully prepared to be able to surrender Mr. Schirmer. We anticipated they were investigating him, and we`d have to face these accusations. And we`re fully prepared to do so.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, stunning allegations as a pastor, a man of the cloth, is suspected of killing two of his wives. Cops say he might have gotten away with it, too, if there hadn`t been a suicide inside his church office.

The victim? His secretary`s husband, despondent because cops say his wife was having an affair with the pastor.

The Reverend Arthur Schirmer has been described as both a fine Christian but also a womanizing ladies` man. If prosecutors are right, he could also be called the Black Widower.

The pastor didn`t say a whole lot after his first court appearance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Schirmer, do you have anything to say about the crash that day? Do you want to say anything about what happened that day, Mr. Schirmer?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police now allege Schirmer severely beat his wife, Betty Jean, in 2008 and then staged a car accident to cover that murder up. So why did it take years to come to that conclusion? Paramedics had said all along her injuries were way too severe for that minor car accident, where the air bags didn`t even deploy.

Even parishioners were suspicious, especially after the church`s secretary`s husband broke into Schirmer`s office and then shot and killed himself in that office. That finally got the attention of cops, who say they then determined the pastor was having sex with his secretary. That inspired them to reexamine the deaths of his wives.

Turns out years early -- years earlier, the pastor`s first wife died after supposedly falling down the stairs.

Could this reverend be responsible for this trail of death? And most important, did the reverend avoid prosecution up until now because of that -- those vestments?

I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Straight out to my fantastic expert panel.

We begin with Dan Gaffney, talk radio host, WGMD 92.7 News Radio.

Dan, what is the very latest on this twisted tale?

DAN GAFFNEY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, first of all, don`t you hope this isn`t true. Not only for the community and his relatives and the family, but for all the parishioners that ever went to church with this man, and for the community at large, that doesn`t need to see a Christian behaving in a non-Christian way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what if it is true, Dan?


GAFFNEY: ... biggest concern is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What if it is true?

GAFFNEY: Well, if it is true, he needs to be punished to the -- if it is true, Jane, he needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. And I wouldn`t be surprised if it was a good parishioner, a good Christian in that church that gave the police information, if it`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, right now, Schirmer is only charged with the death of his second wife, Betty Jean. When reporters tried to talk to him outside the courthouse, the pastor silently mouthed the word "no" when asked if he was guilty.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Schirmer, do you have anything to say about the crash that day? Do you want to say anything about what happened that day, Mr. Schirmer?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Andrew Scott, crime court reporter for "The Pocono Record," what do you know about this twisted case?

ANDREW SCOTT, CRIME COURT REPORTER (via phone): Well, right now, we`re awaiting a preliminary hearing in district court to see if that`s going to be sufficient evidence to send the case on to trial.

Basically, we have unanswered questions ourselves about this case. And I hope to meet with some police detectives tomorrow to talk more about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to jump in here, because I want to go to Dr. Allen Lipman. Very briefly, why would a priest...

DR. ALLEN LIPMAN: How are you, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... a reverend do this if he did it, quickly?

LIPMAN: Well, because behind every...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would do it for the same reason anybody else would do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let him answer it.

LIPMAN: Dan -- Dan, the fact that someone wears a frock or a collar or for that matter anything else, does not prevent someone from being a murderous psychopath. And you know, when we look at the forensic evidence...


GAFFNEY: ... trying to say.

LIPMAN: Dan -- Dan...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leave it right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stunning new developments and more heartbreak for a devastated family desperately searching for their daughter. Yesterday, Wyoming police found the remains of a woman who generally matched that of missing Susan Powell. Dental records unfortunately now show that was a false alarm in the search for the 28-year-old mother who vanished nine months ago from her Utah home.

Cops don`t know where Susan went to. It seems every unidentified body is found, they notify her family, and that sends them on an emotional roller coaster.

Joining me now, Susan`s devoted father, Chuck Cox.

Thank you for being here, sir. I think this has happened to you, what, eight or nine times since your precious daughter disappeared, these false alarms? What does it do to you emotionally?

CHUCK COX, SUSAN`S FATHER: Well, you just kind of hold your breath. At this point, you hold your breath once you hear about something like that. And you just wait to see if it comes true or not, or if it`s actually her. And you hope that it`s not. But you also hope that maybe this is a resolution to the case. So you do have that roller coaster, the up-and-down you spoke of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s very conflicted, I`m sure. Because you don`t want your daughter to be dead, obviously, your precious daughter. But you also want closure. You want to find out what happened. It`s -- it`s sort of these two conflicting emotions I would think.

Now, Susan`s husband, Josh, has been named the only person of interest in the investigation. He claims that he took their 3- and 4-year-old sons camping in below-zero -- or below-freezing conditions in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. And when they came back, his wife was gone.

Let`s listen to him for a second.


JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND: Any help to try to find her would be appreciated. So it really -- that`s all -- we just -- she`s somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know there was quite a huge effort out in the west desert looking for any sign of her. Is that where you were camping?

POWELL: I just have to go get my boys.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Mr. Cox, you`re the missing woman`s father. You see those tears there. Are those crocodile tears, in your opinion?

COX: If he was interested in finding her, he`d be helping us. He would be talking to the police. I -- he`s not believable to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, he moved out of the state soon after your daughter disappeared, 800 miles away. And now he`s living with his parents. He reportedly won`t let you see your grandchildren. What`s going on with that, and how has that impacted you emotionally?

COX: It`s very hard. It`s hard to understand why, what the problem is. Obviously we have not -- we`ve tried to protect him and tried to defend him. And keep an open mind until the facts are in. And now why we`re not allowed to -- to see the grandchildren is beyond us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, his story really doesn`t make a lot of sense. That in the middle of the night on a Sunday night, he decides to go camping in a snowstorm with his two young children. Forgets that it`s Sunday night. Fails to show up at work on Monday morning. And then says, "Ooh, I lost track of the days." When a person had dinner with him that night said he was well aware it was Sunday.

I mean, I understand trying to keep an open mind. But really?

COX: Really. I just -- I don`t understand why he won`t come forward if he -- if he claims he`s innocent. He should have no problem talking with the police and telling his side of the story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, sir, our hearts go out to you. We do hope that your daughter is found, and we`ll stay on top of this case.

COX: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, we`re going to go inside the desperate search for Julie Ann Gonzalez.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, ISSUES searches for answers in a missing mom mystery. Julie Ann Gonzalez vanished into thin air six months ago. Her estranged husband, George de la Cruz was the very last person to see her.

Julie was at his Austin home the day she disappeared. Police now suspect she was killed and they`re focusing squarely on George. They have named him a person of interest. They told us he`s no longer cooperating with this investigation.

George`s attorney joins me tonight. He wants to set the record straight.

Did the blood and tissue samples collected from his house come from Julie? Why was he buying things with his estranged wife`s debit card after she disappeared?

George insists he has no clue what happened to Julie. He was a guest on ISSUES back in April.


GEORGE DE LA CRUZ, JULIE ANN GONZALEZ`S ESTRANGED HUSBAND: I understand they suspect me because I was the last person. Like I said, if anyone sees -- of course I`m going to be a suspect. And like I said, I`ll be willing to do anything. Lie detector, they can search my house, tear it apart if they do. They can do that. They can actually put police to track me down anywhere.

Like I said I have nothing to hide. I`m here. I`m not running away. I`m trying to help.



I want to welcome back George`s attorney, Patrick Fagerberg; Patrick, thank you for rejoining us here on ISSUES. The last time you were on ISSUES you acknowledged that George did in fact use Julie`s debit card the day she vanished. How do you explain that?

PATRICK FAGERBERG, LAWYER FOR GEORGE DE LA CRUZ: Well, first of all, let me explain what happened that day.


FAGERBERG: Hour by hour, if you would allow me to do that. I think it will all make sense.


FAGERBERG: And thanks for having me back.


FAGERBERG: He wakes up in the morning. His older sister takes his two younger sisters to school. She comes back at about 8:45. He then takes his older sister to school, comes back home and prepares Leyla for Julie Ann Gonzalez to pick her up.

Julie Ann Gonzalez shows up at about 10:45, 11:00, and at that point decides not to take Leyla and asked George if he could keep her for the weekend and she would pick her up sometime later.

George says, "That`s fine. What`s wrong?" She says, "I have things to do." George then asks Julie Ann, "Would you go to Wal-mart and buy some diapers and wet wipes, because I don`t have it. I`m broke." She says, "I don`t have time, but take my credit card, or debit card and I will get it from you later in the afternoon." George says, "Fine."

George prepares Leyla. He walks outside. He sees his neighbor across the street. This is about 11:00, 11:15. He goes over and chitchats with Joe for about an hour.

So now we`re about 12:15. He goes to Wal-mart, kind of window shops, buys a few things, buys the shampoo, buys the wet wipes, buys a video card for himself.


FAGERBERG: There`s a video on his way out where he`s putting Leyla in the shopping cart. He takes her to the McDonald`s in the Wal-mart, buys her lunch at 2:23 -- that`s when the purchase was made -- then leaves there, goes to pick up his 7 and 9-year-old sister from school at 2:45.

He picks them up. They see that Leyla had had McDonald`s and they wanted to eat as well. So he takes them to McDonald`s and there was a purchase at 2:54 with Julie Ann`s debit card.

He goes home; he either gets a call or receives a call from Julie Ann at 3:00, and she says, hey, can I come get my credit card? I`ll be there at 4:00. He says 4:00 won`t work, because I have to pick up my older sister from work at 4:00. He says I will leave the credit card in the mail with the receipt. She said that`s fine.

He leaves about 3:45, goes to pick Liliana (ph) the 17-year-old, comes home at 4:30. His mom comes home at 5:30. They hang out. He goes to Best Buy with Leyla and a cousin. Comes back at 8:00 --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, look, you know, you could probably spend an hour doing this. We do have a time limit. I think you`ve made a point. I think you`ve made a point. You`re saying he has an air-tight alibi, ok? I understand that.

FAGERBERG: Correct. And one other --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand what you`re saying.

FAGERBERG: And one other thing Jane. I`m sorry to interrupt -- let me enter one other thing. He was not the last person to see her. She was seen by the neighbor, Jesse, who has known her for a long time, at 2:30 that afternoon at his house.

And then later that evening, late in the evening, the late-night clerk at the Wal-greens where she left her car, he saw her. So he was not the last person to see her. Go ahead, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why do you think cops have named him a person of interest?

FAGERBERG: He`s a person of interest because he`s obviously close to her, obviously, the explanation with the credit card. The -- he`s the closest person to her. And that`s where you always look. A good police agency looks close --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops are saying he`s not cooperating anymore.

FAGERBERG: That`s not correct. As a matter of fact, like I said last time, I spent three hours with the detectives. I called the detective today. Any questions they have, I have been answering and trying to help them solve this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about him? What about him talking to them?

FAGERBERG: He is absolutely cooperating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When was the last time he talked to the cops?

FAGERBERG: The last time -- the last time I left a message --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, the last time he did.

FAGERBERG: Again, Jane, anybody who is a defense attorney would not allow their client to talk to the police. If they did so, they should not have a bar license.


FAGERBERG: So it has nothing to do with him not wanting to talk, it is me saying I will provide any information you want.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand. I want to give you a chance to clear the air on other key points.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Investigators say they searched George`s house and an affiliate, a CBS affiliate is also reporting that a search warrant shows they collected droplets of blood, human tissue, hair and fibers and that there were signs of an altercation. What do you say to that?

FAGERBERG: No. That`s incorrect. Because if you look at the search warrant, what the search warrant is looking for on any homicide case, they`re looking for blood droplets, they`re looking for tissue. That`s what they`re looking for. They didn`t find any of that.

The return on the search warrant is what`s interesting. They found an old gym card that obviously she had lived there for six months. They found an old gym pass there, and then -- and that`s it. And then the card that he bought at Wal-mart earlier that day.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying they did not find any blood or tissue in his house?

FAGERBERG: No, absolutely not. They were looking for it, but they didn`t find it. If you read the return on the warrant, the search warrant says, yes, we are looking for this. Obviously on a homicide, that`s what you`re looking for. But they didn`t find any.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen I think you`ve made a good case for your client. One last thing, give us one last thing because we`re out of time.

FAGERBERG: Ok. Jane, I just want to say, I understand that Miss Soto is going through a hard time because --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the mother of the missing woman.

FAGERBERG: What I`m trying -- yes -- what I`m trying to do is bring these families together. We have a young daughter that lost her mom, or her mom is missing and our family wants the Soto family to be involved with their daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I hear you.

FAGERBERG: But as long as they believe that my client had something to do with her disappearance, that can`t happen. I`m doing my best efforts to get these families back together. And again, there`s misinformation out there all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve been given quite a few --

FAGERBERG: Yes. Again, that my client --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve been given the opportunity to clear the air.

FAGERBERG: I have just one more point that`s bothering me, if you don`t mind.


FAGERBERG: At one point you said that after Julie went missing, that my client moved in to her place. That`s not true. Julie Ann lived with my client`s mom for about six months. She moved out. My client has been living with his mom for two years. That`s another misinformation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you`ve cleared the air. And I`m really glad you did.


FAGERBERG: And when you have experts on here, I wish they who look at the facts. And apparently nobody wants the truth. They just want to come on here and --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re a very good defense attorney, and if I`m in trouble, I`m calling you, my friend. Thank you so much.

FAGERBERG: I hope you`re not in trouble, but you can call me.

Patrick Fagerberg -- all right thank you. Attorney for George de la Cruz.

FAGERBERG: Thank you Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, sir.

All right. We`re going to get analysis now from our two experts standing by. Debra Opri, family law attorney, what do you make of it?

DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, you know, he has cooperated. He took a lie detector test. He was out there. The lawyer`s on your show tonight. I do not think this lawyer should be talking as to what he`s talking about. I do not think the police should be putting things out there.

I think this is one of those runaway cases where no charges are filed, and the attorney is giving his best efforts to protect his client. But I really think he should not be talking and giving a timeline like this, because he`s going to box his client in.

Do I think this Mr. De la Cruz did the crime? I really do not. I think the police might have made up their minds already, and they`re pursuing any evidence they can to lock him in. I just don`t think the attorney should be on the show doing this. I don`t think Mr. De la Cruz should be speaking anymore. But Jane, I do believe, I do believe that this young man may in fact be innocent. It`s a forensic case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Alan Lipman, psychiatrist, your analysis of this case.

DR. ALAN LIPMAN, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, I`m struck by the fact that in a public forum, Mr. De la Cruz was willing to say, take my place apart. And the fact that he is willing to say that, to give such powerful evidence of cooperation, really does make me wonder whether Debra is right about this, whether there is a kind of pre-conclusionary (ph) state on the part of the police.

Now look, we don`t have all the facts they do, and obviously that question is always active. But I am wondering whether this is someone who is being found guilty in the absence of facts.

Although I think Debra is right, that it was a mistake to lay out this much information because obviously when they do begin to work with the police, this can really become a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know about that, because he`s taken a lot of heat in public. He went on Dr. Phil and did a polygraph, which he fails, because he says, well, I was doing my best -- yes, no he said -- he said --

LIPMAN: Well -- well, but Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I -- I felt bad that she disappeared. But -- but -- at a certain point you have to stand up for somebody. So I don`t -- I don`t fault the attorney for speaking up. He`s citing facts in the record.

LIPMAN: Well, I -- I agree with you.

Opri: Well, you`re the host of the show. I just think as a lawyer it`s not a good idea.


LIPMAN: Look, you know as well -- you know as well -- Jane you know as I do, that of course, it is the job of an attorney to give a vigorous defense.

However, number one, you also know as well as I do that polygraph --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh we don`t have time for another --

LIPMAN: -- is evidence is not admissible in -- in most courts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true and where could be forensics. Don`t you agree?

LIPMAN: And secondly, he laid out too much evidence. He could have defended --

OPRI: Exactly.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fabulous panel. I`ve got to leave it right there.

Lindsay Lohan`s dad, Michael Lohan, up next. Up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve been getting fabulous responses about how you at home are working to save the environment. This, from Patricia: she says, she`s cutting back on the use of plastics and she was doing it long before the stores were selling reusable totes.

She says she will not buy those wasteful plastic water bottles which only contribute to landfills and the need for petroleum.

Bravo Patricia, thank you for doing your part to get rid of these. And your ISSUES eco-canister is in the mail.

Do you have a green improvement? Send it to Let`s all be part of the solution. Let`s all go green.

Tonight, stunning new reports, the Medical Board of California may be investigating doctors who prescribed a slew of prescription pills to Lindsay Lohan. And Michael Lohan, her dad goes on a manhunt scouring the streets of L.A. for one doctor who he believes helped Lindsay cover up a massive drug scandal.

Did Li-lo OD after a night of hard partying at Hollywood hotspot Chateau Marmont? Michael believes the troubled starlet went on an out-of- control drug bender that left her desperately clinging to life. Lindsay said it never happened.

But her dad says Lindsay was near death after popping a slew of prescription pills. He claims the doctor who supplied her with the drugs rushed to the hotel and revived her and then flushed her stash down the toilet.

Tonight Michael`s desperate for answers. He wants Lindsay`s enablers to pay. He joins us right now on ISSUES.

Plus, is the party really over for the Lindster (ph)? The actress vows she will make a major comeback. Her first step -- a surprise appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Check her out.



CHELSEA HANDLER, TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, Lindsay. Have you been drinking?


HANDLER: Really, then why is your ankle bracelet going off?

LOHAN: Oh that just means that my table`s ready at the Cheesecake Factory.

Wake up Handler. Pull it together, you`re late. Do you think anyone wants to work with a drunk? Take it from me, they don`t.

HANDLER: Ok, ok. You turned your life around. Maybe I can, too.

LOHAN: That`s the spirit, kid. Now, go get them.

HANDLER: Thanks, freckles.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She -- that was pretty funny, you`ve got to admit. She`s cracking jokes about being a drunk. But is Lindsay Lohan finally clean and sober?

We`re going to go to her dad to find out. Straight out to my fantastic guests: Michael Lohan, who is joined by his fabulous attorney, Lisa Bloom.

Michael and Lisa, I`m so glad to have you here tonight. Michael, I have to start with you. What are you hoping to accomplish and do you believe your daughter is now clean and sober?

MICHAEL LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S FATHER: Well, based on the footage we just saw, and what I have been hearing, I 100 percent believe that she`s clean and sober, and I`m -- I`m happy to say as a father, seeing her in her little appearance on the VMAs that that`s the Lindsay that was in the "Parent Trap, and in "Freaky Friday", and "Mean Girls".

My daughter is back. I believe that. And I think "SNL" is giving her a great opportunity. And you know I just -- as long as she stays focused on what she`s doing now, only good things are going to come. God bless her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now she -- she was in jail for two weeks and then she checked out of that medical facility at the hospital after only 21, or 22 days.

Now, usually you go into rehab for 29 days. How was she able to make this miraculous change when previous stints in rehab didn`t seem to work and she didn`t even stay the full 29 days?

M. LOHAN: Well, you know, I think Lisa can help us answer that question. Because it`s a -- that`s more of a legal question than it is a - -

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I mean, no but you`re in recovery, I`m in recovery. I`m a recovering alcoholic. You are in recovery as well is my understanding. I`m not -- I mean, you`ve expressed that publicly --

M. LOHAN: Yes, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that you`re -- that you`re a sober person. And I congratulate you. But how --

M. LOHAN: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- how did she get it this time when she didn`t get it so many times before? That`s what I`m asking you as a dad.

M. LOHAN: Because I -- being in the position she was in, in the UCLA ward that she was in, she was taken off the prescription drugs. Whereas in the past, in the rehabs she went to, they either let her stay on the drugs she was on or gave her more drugs than she was on.

And that`s what this whole battle was about. It`s not only the rehabs that gave her the drugs that she was -- that pre-existed, but the doctors that wrote them in the first place, that had no right writing them. She was never ADD or bipolar. UCLA said that. There was no reason whatsoever for Lindsay to ever be on a prescription medication.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m looking at the probation report, and I`ll throw this to Lisa Bloom. It was horrifying. It said here the court should note the defendant takes the following prescription drugs: Nexium, Zoloft, Trazodone, Adderall and sometimes Dilaudid for dental pain -- Dilaudid has been compared to heroin by some people. And it goes on to say that this is not a violation of probation. As these tests were positive for Adderall --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and the pain medication Dilaudid.

In other words, go ahead and take all those drugs, you`re still considered sober by the court. Has that changed, is she finally off all these prescription meds?

BLOOM: First of all, let may say that Michael Lohan.

M. LOHAN: I totally believe so.

BLOOM: -- has been right all along about Lindsay. Four months before that report Michael said the prescription medications were the problem. A lot of people didn`t agree. It turns out that that was exactly the problem as evidenced by the report that you just read.

On behalf of Michael Lohan, I sent a letter to the court around the time that that report was made public saying, please, take judicial notice of the fact that prescription drug abuse is epidemic in this country. Do not have a legal loop hole so that Lindsay can continue to take this stuff, even when she`s in jail because it is damaging to her.

She`s being drug tested but there`s this huge exception for all of these prescription medications. We have to get real about prescription drug abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So is she still on those drugs?

BLOOM: No, Jane. As far as we understand it, when she went to UCLA, they got her off of all of those medications. And again, as Michael has been saying all along, she didn`t need them. There was no valid medical reason.

She`s a healthy young woman. She doesn`t have emotional or psychological problems or medical problems that would justify any of this. Once they took her off all of these medications --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s great news.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now she`s doing much better.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hope so. More with Michael Lohan right after the break.



LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I know that I was ordered to go once a week, and it wasn`t -- you know, 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 and I`ve been taking it seriously.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lindsay Lohan`s dad on the hunt for the doctors who he says overprescribed a dangerous cocktail of pills to his troubled daughter. He joins us tonight on ISSUES. And he says Lindsay has turned a corner and he believes she is clean and sober now, and that`s great news. We certainly all hope so.

So, Michael, what happened at the infamous hotel Chateau Marmont and why are you chasing after this doctor?

MICHAEL LOHAN, FATHER OF LINDSAY LOHAN: Well, it`s not only that, Jane, I don`t want to just focus on the Chateau Marmont because that was only one situation. And most of the credit goes to Lisa, because Lisa`s the one that put me in touch with the Board of Medicine out in California and also with the attorney general`s office --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to accomplish, for those that don`t know the minutia of all of this?

M. LOHAN: I`m sorry. We`re just trying to track down the doctors that wrote Lindsay the prescriptions because it`s obvious now that she didn`t need any of them. And I do realize that there was some pain and there were some things that had to be dealt with that could have been dealt with through counseling.

I`m responsible for a good part of it, because of the situation with my ex-wife and the things that they went through, that the kids went through. And that`s a personal mission for me. I`m part of this and I have to resolve it for my daughter and any other people that we can help that have gone through this or are going through this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael, I`ve got to ask you this question. We`ve seen so many of these horrific cases -- Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Corey Haim --

M. LOHAN: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- all these stars keeling over from prescription drugs, and yet the court didn`t seem to read the paper and know that if she`s taking all these meds prescribed by a doctor, that might be the very thing that`s getting her high. How could they not know that?

M. LOHAN: Thank you, Jane. I`ve been asking this question for the longest time. And so has Lisa. But it`s like -- it`s not resounding in their ears or in the public forum, where it should.

It`s not only Lindsay Lohan and Heath Ledger and Brittany Murphy and Casey Johnson and D.J. AM and Michael Jackson. How about all the other people out there that have kids, that are being affected by these doctors writing prescriptions at a whim. I mean anyone can go -- I can go in and get a prescription and pretty soon I`m going to be doing that in New York with one of Lindsay`s former doctors. And I`m going to see if he writes me a prescription.

But you know what? It`s been a horrible, horrible road. Lindsay`s suffered so much from it. My other kids have. And I just thank God that she`s back and I know now that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this. I`ve got to ask you this, because we`ve seen with Amy Winehouse, you know, she was in rehab, she got special dispensation to sing at the Grammys live from London and then she relapsed.

Here she is now, possibly doing -- your daughter -- "Saturday Night Live", she`s doing this whole thing at the awards. Is it too much too soon? You know when you first get sober, you`ve got to take care of yourself, and you have to protect your serenity and not go into these high- powered situations and these high-pressure situations.

M. LOHAN: Jane, you just said it yourself. You`re in recovery, I am, other people are -- but I truly believe that people handle it differently. I was truly amazed -- truly amazed that they were able to detox and wean Lindsay off the drugs in the hospital as quickly as they did.

But I`m not going to question that. The answer -- the answer`s right in front of us. She was detoxed. She is better. If she chooses to work on projects slowly at the beginning or jumps on them all at once, that`s up to her, but Lisa and I are going to do what we have to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Love you both.