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Predator Convinces Mothers to Abuse Children; Was Missing Girl Kept in Attic?; Wife`s Tale of Terror; Drunk Parenting

Aired October 18, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight a sexual Svengali preying on women and their innocent young children. Cops say this monster manipulated mothers into sexually assaulting their own children, performing unspeakable acts on their kids, all in front of a Web cam? Tonight, how did he cast these women under his sickening spell?

And horrifying new details in the hunt for little Zahra Baker. Was this precious child kept locked in the attic like a prisoner? The landlord says the closet walls were covered in footprints. Tonight, Zahra`s father is finally confronted.

Also, ISSUES goes inside the terrors of domestic violence. Tonight I`ll talk one-on-one with a survivor of unimaginable abuse. Her husband doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. We`ll hear her shocking story.

Plus, parenting under the influence. Cops say a dad was so boozed up and blacked out he forgot his son was inside his car. Tonight, we`ll tell you what happened to this poor little boy.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, mind-blowing allegations about a sexual Svengali, convincing mothers to molest their own children online via Web cam. This sicko allegedly preys on single mothers and then talks them into doing unspeakable things with their own children. As horrible as that is, what kind of mother agrees to sexually abuse her own child?

Federal agents say Steven Demink is a used car salesman, of all things, as well as a child pornographer. Cops say he used a fake name, Dalton St. Claire, which to me sounds really fake, and pretended to be a shrink, as well.

A federal judge described this monster as a danger to children everywhere, a cyber predator of the very worst kind. The feds say they found hundreds of child porn pictures and videos on his computer. But it`s how he allegedly got them that will really turn your stomach.

Federal agents say Demink also pretended to be not only a shrink but the father of a teenage girl to lure these mothers into trusting him. Then he allegedly convinces them to molest their own children. And when the kids resist, Demink allegedly bribes them with trips and Sony PlayStations.

How many moms were manipulated by this sexual Svengali? How did he do it? Why did they do it? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, but we begin with staff writer Teresa Baldos with "The Detroit Free Press."

Teresa, you were there when this suspect appeared in court. Tell us what happened.

TERESA BALDOS, "THE DETROIT FREE PRESS": Yes. That day in court, basically, the feds were arguing against releasing him. And basically, they stood up and told the judge that this guy is way too dangerous to be released into society.

They explained how the case started in Ohio -- Idaho, excuse me. A mother who had been arrested for molesting her 5-year-old son told agents in Idaho that she did so at the behest of one Dalton St. Claire, who turned out to be Steven Demink in Michigan. That got the feds here on alert, and they went to his house in September and searched his house and found a whole lot of evidence to support their claim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to tell you, Demink allegedly targeted Web sites devoted to single mothers, which may also include some desperate mothers, obviously, and he portrayed himself as a father of 14-year-old girl, as well as a psychologist.

He allegedly befriended the moms and instructed them. In at least one case, it was purportedly to, quote unquote, "help" the mother with a troubled child.

His advice allegedly began by telling the moms, "Oh, cuddle your children." Then it escalated to nudity. And then eventually the mothers would somehow be convinced to perform sex -- sexual acts on their own children, some live via Web cam.

One woman reportedly e-mailed this guy photos of herself molesting her 14-year-old son as well as her 10-year-old daughter.

So this brings me to my big issue. What on earth? How could a mother do this to her own children? I don`t care whether you`re lonely, you`re desperate, you`ve got a kid who`s troubled. Sex addiction specialist, Alex Katehakis, we`re delighted to have you here with us tonight. Please explain how a woman could be convinced to sexually abuse her own child.

ALEX KATEHAKIS, SEX ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Jane, this has to be a woman who`s really as sick as this man is. And these women are often desperate and vulnerable, especially if they`re single mothers. If they`re struggling financially, they`re hoping for some man that`s going to come and rescue them, and they end up doing these despicable things with their children.

And women, all single women watching this program should know that pedophiles find women that have children. They`re not interested in them. They`re interested in having sex with their children.

And also, 80 percent of all women who chat online and get online on a Web site, end up meeting men in person. That`s a very frightening statistic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, God, this is so sick. I don`t care how much money, if you were a billionaire, how could -- I think part of it, honestly, Mike Brooks, has to do with the fact that he pretended to be a psychologist.

And he had this phony name, Dalton St. Claire, and so he`s psychobabbling and basically practicing without a license and saying, "Well, you know, your child needs affection." I can just hear it. "Your child needs affection, so cuddle your child. Well, you know, it`s natural to be naked. Take the clothes off and cuddle with your child."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think, Mike? Do you think I`m right about this?

BROOKS: No, I think you`re right on target, Jane. It`s a progression that we see all the time. And but, you know, people are so trusting.

What it comes down, I think, a lot of times people want something for nothing. They go, "Wow, I`m getting free advice. I`m getting -- I`m getting free therapy here."

You know, but still, I`m sorry, a woman with -- or any parent with any common sense that would do this kind of thing on a social network via a Web cam, Jane. I mean...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Debra Opri, family law attorney.

DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Jane, listen, common sense. We go to the basics of education. These are parents. There`s right and there`s wrong.

BROOKS: Right.

OPRI: And anyone who relies upon anyone telling them to do something instinctively that is wrong, it`s wrong. These parents have problems. This is child endangerment, child abuse, and they should be prosecuted just like this Mr. Dalton St. Claire. They are basically exposing their children to danger, and they`re the tools of the endangerment.

And education is No. 1. It`s -- you know how easy it is to get a liquor license? You know, it`s not. But to have children today and to take them home and abuse them, and this is just an excuse. It`s disgusting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you. And I think that people who have psychological problems should not have kids.

But what we`re seeing is a lot of people who have psychological problems and emotional problems and financial problems have kids. And then they`re desperate, and they do something really awful that harms the kids. If you`re that messed up, don`t have them in the first place!

OPRI: Or lose them. Take them away.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or don`t have them in the first place if you`re going to be that messed up.

OPRI: ... education.

BROOKS: Give them to somebody who really wants them.

OPRI: Goes to education again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janet, California. Janet, California, your question or comment.

CALLER: Hi, Jane Velez, I just love, love, love your show.


CALLER: I am simply outraged they have men like this, walking around, trying to convince women to have sexual -- it just really makes me mad, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s disgusting.

CALLER: It is -- ooh.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alex, you`re the director of a center for healthy sex, and you`re an addiction specialist. What do you make of my theory that he would -- first of all, somebody who calls himself a doctor has a lot of authority. Doctors do tell people to take off their clothes, and people take off their clothes where they wouldn`t take it off for anybody else. So he`s coming across as a doctor, allegedly.

He`s telling them, well, you need to embrace your child and have affection for your child and, you know, nudity is natural, and then somewhere, a line is crossed into truly sick sexual behavior. Do you think that his pretending to be a psychologist gave him that extra sense of authority for these women?

KATEHAKIS: Well, yes, I think it did. I think he preyed upon these women. But the thing is, professional therapy, psychology never includes nudity or any kind of sexual contact whatsoever. It`s against the law.

So this guy is a perpetrator of the first order, a predator, is extremely sick. And I agree with the woman who`s the attorney who was speaking that parents have to act like parents, not like children, and they have to use their good judgment. It`s their job to protect children.

And I`m also in agreement with you, that people shouldn`t have children if they don`t want to take the time, effort and energy to nurture them, to care for them, to put their attention on them. These women were clearly more interested in their own well-being, and trying to get a man is what I make of this. And it`s unfortunate, because the children suffer, and this -- this deranged individual keeps running his sickness over and over again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and you know what? This is the really sad part. They could have gotten this guy in 2003, because he showed up on a watch list of child porn subscribers in 2003.

KATEHAKIS: Wow, wow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is it now? 2010, seven years.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We could have saved...

OPRI: The system.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... so many children by simply prosecuting him seven years ago, Mike Brooks.

BROOKS: I don`t know how he fell through the cracks. It shouldn`t have happened. That`s for sure. You can`t make any excuses when it comes to that. That`s for -- that`s for damn sure, Jane. Because this is a predator of the first degree.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you, fantastic panel. Unbelievable. We`ll stay on top of that one.

Coming up, an amazing story of survival. I`m going to talk to a woman one-on-one about -- well, she was set on fire by her ex-husband.

But first, more details on the hunt for Zahra Baker. Was she held captive in an attic? We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.


ADAM BAKER, ZAHRA`S FATHER: I appreciate everyone doing what they`re doing. I just hope they keep looking (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This morning the Hickory police investigators are out in teams looking at leads and trying to develop what happened or what Zahra`s life looked like prior to her disappearance.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We would all like to know. Tonight, more disturbing revelations about exactly what Zahra Baker`s life looked like prior to her disappearance. This as Zahra`s father is confronted on camera by a TV news reporter.

Was life hell for little Zahra? Managers at an apartment complex where the family lived last year say they think Zahra was kept in the attic. They claimed they went to investigate a smell in the home and found a missing closet door and footprints on the closet walls.

Meantime, witnesses are shedding new right light on the time line of this little girl`s disappears. Employees at a furniture store in Hickory, North Carolina, say they recall seeing Zahra and her step-mom there on September 25, two weeks before she was reported missing by her father. I think that`s the last sighting.

As for her dad, Adam, some are starting to wonder now what did he know and when exactly did he know it? Adam was there Friday when cops and cadaver dogs searched for clues inside and outside the family home.

They took away a mattress and other evidence, but they wouldn`t say what exactly they were looking for. The dad, Adam Baker, however, was talking to the media. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam, did you have any involvement in her disappearance?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More from the dad in just a moment. But is it significant or not that he chose to end the interview after that particular question? And why didn`t he call cops sooner than October 9?

Adam Baker has not been named a person of interest by Hickory police. Cops, by the way, tell ISSUES they have no comment.

What do you think about this case? 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, John Miller, editor of the "Hickory Daily Record," joins me by phone.

John, what is the very latest in this case?

JOHN MILLER, EDITOR, "HICKORY DAILY RECORD" (via phone): The very latest is that there was another search our in Caldwell County, which is in metro Hickory today of a previous residence of Elisa Baker. She lived there in 2006 and 2007. It`s part of a sweep by the investigators to look at every residence that the Bakers lived in within the last three, or four, or five years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike -- go ahead.

MILLER: Nothing turned up. The officials had nothing to say other than saying they are following up on every tip, they have more than 200 over the last week, systematic awfully on every tip.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, why would it be significant to go to homes where she lived previously, if she disappeared from this home? What`s the significance there?

BROOKS: Well, I would want to speak to people who lived around them to find out what kind of family dynamic there was going on.

But, Jane, this was -- this tip from the furniture store in Hickory, this was the first -- the only sighting that they have had for almost a month.

But what still bothers me is this father. All right, he said that he had -- he worked a weird shift. And he had only -- he had last seen the little girl on Thursday before she was reported missing on Saturday. I`m not buying that story, though, Jane. I`m not buying this story whatsoever from him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what does Zahra`s dad, Adam -- let me play another sound bite from Zahra`s father, Adam, about -- vis-a-vis his wife`s possible involvement in Zahra`s disappearance. She is behind bars on charges -- unrelated charges that stem from things like allegedly writing bad checks.

His opinion about his wife, the girl`s step-mom, seemed to change slightly since his first interview on ABC. Watch this carefully.


BAKER: I wouldn`t like to think so, but what I`ve heard so far, it could be possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think happened to Zahra?

BAKER: I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think your wife might have had some involvement in all of it?

BAKER: I don`t know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Mark Eiglarsh, he goes from saying, "Maybe my wife`s involved" to now, "I don`t know." What do you think?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that, first of all, when a kid goes missing, we all know, let`s look to the people who are closest to the child. Statistically, that`s where you`re going to get a hit.

Secondly, there were reports from family members that the child continued to report to school with bruises on her, and apparently, it was explained away that, because of the prosthetic leg, she kept falling down. But family members didn`t buy it. I`m not buying it either. And people out there need to look and see whether kids are showing up bruised.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, guess what? Elisa -- that`s the step-mom`s -- attorney was asked about the story where people claimed this girl that you`re looking at may have been kept in a closet or an attic. Here`s what he had to say, Debra Opri.

"The lady is saying that they were keeping Zahra in the attic, and they thought it was squirrels. That lady has squirrels in her head. And she has no business saying things that were untrue. Someone else says she kept the child in a locked room and only allowed the child to come out five minutes a day. Those people reporting this should have their media credentials revoked."

Your thoughts, Debra Opri?

OPRI: Well, first, getting back to why they`re gathering all this evidence of the prior residences, they want a pattern of conduct by the parents.

And as far as these media credentials being pulled, you know, the reporters do their job. They have a report. They put information out there. You know, First Amendment. If they wanted to later retract something, that`s fine, these people. But when you go into...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stay right there. More and we`re also getting ready for a prime-time exclusive from Nancy Grace.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam, did you have any involvement in her disappearance?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Zahra`s father denying he had anything to do with his daughter`s disappearance. Here is more from the same dad and a TV reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you`ve got to go. Just what can you tell us about Zahra? Why is she so special?

BAKER: The way she smiled. Nothing ever upset her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Even when she was being beaten? That`s what a lot of people, even relatives, claim was happening to this child.

Mark Eiglarsh, should the dad take a polygraph? Because I`m wondering if she was being beaten regularly. And if she was missing for two weeks before she was reported by him to be missing, wouldn`t he have to know about all that?

EIGLARSH: Probably. If you`re asking me as his attorney I say, no, stay away from that machine. It doesn`t work. It`s like a toaster you set on light, and it comes out burnt.

If you`re asking me as a human being, I`d love to get him in there. Maybe they can crack him, and he`ll open up and stop protecting people, if he knows anything. Or maybe open up to his involvement, again, if he was involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle in Nebraska, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Where is Zahra`s birth mother? And if she is not in the scene, then is that why there`s a stepmother?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. Let me tell you, she`s in Australia, I believe, right, John Miller? And she has nothing to do with her daughter`s life, correct?

MILLER: That`s right. That`s right. She`s been, I think, in the news, but she has not contacted anybody that we know of. And primarily, it was her grandmother and other relatives that were raising Zahra along with her dad in Australia. But we haven`t heard from the birth mother.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Adding to the outrage and mystery, there are claims that Zahra`s stepmother, Elisa Baker, who is behind bars on other charges, was also dealing drugs. Listen to this from Thursday`s ISSUES.


TARA SERVATIUS, HOST, "THE TARA SERVATIUS SHOW": More members of the family knew she was dealing drugs. They also knew that, when somebody didn`t pay her for the drugs, she would, quote, "put a posse together" and go after these people with a gun, with violence. And yet, family members say they still returned her to the home, knowing all of this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Miller, what do you know about the alleged drug dealing by this step-mom, that`s now the focus of this investigation?

MILLER: We have not talked with anyone with any direct knowledge about any drug dealing with her or her husband. What we have found is that she did, along with Adam Baker, have some financial difficulties. Primarily the bad check writing was for to get money for groceries. Most of those bad checks were written at grocery stores. But we haven`t heard any allegations about drug dealing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Tammy, Arizona, your question or thought.

CALLER: Yes. I`m wondering if the police have contacted DFS regarding the family contacting DFS and if they have ever went to the home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. And Mike Brooks, I believe that DFS was contacted, but I know that there was -- that question was posed to her lawyer. And she said -- the lawyer for this woman here said whatever investigation was done there was never anything substantiated regarding child abuse. What are your thoughts, Mike, final seconds?

BROOKS: No. That`s -- you`re absolutely right. And DFS was asked for comment. Of course, they never, never, ever comment on any past cases or any ongoing cases, Jane. But that still doesn`t bode well to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fantastic panel.

Coming up, soaked with gasoline and set on fire. I`m going to talk face-to-face with a victim of horrific domestic violence.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: ISSUES goes inside the terrors of domestic violence. Tonight I`ll talk one-on-one with a survivor of unimaginable abuse; her husband doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. We`ll hear her shocking story.

Parenting under the influence: cops say a dad was so boozed up and blacked out he forgot his son was inside his car. Tonight we`ll tell you what happened to this poor little boy.

In tonight`s domestic violence spotlight, we are on the front line in the war on women. One in four women abused, stalked and harassed every single day by the men who claim to love them.

I am so thrilled to welcome a very special guest in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Yvette Cade is a heroic abuse survivor. In fact, she is one of my personal heroes.

In 2005 her ex-husband went to her job and set her on fire. Surveillance cameras captured the horrific attack. Before we roll the video, we want to warn you it`s disturbing, ok?

That`s Roger Hargrave you`re about to see in the red cap -- the red hat, striped shirt. He walks behind the counter where Yvette is sitting and douses her with gasoline that he put inside a soda bottle. Now Hargrave chased Yvette outside the store and then threw a lit match on her.


YVETTE CADE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM: I turned and he says, I love you, and he began dumping liquid over my head. I had no idea that it was gasoline. I know for a fact that I just felt the flame, and it was just like so hot. I felt the flesh dripping.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This all happened right in front of customers and co- workers at the T-Mobile store where she worked. Listen to the 911 call.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lay down, lay down. She`s on fire. She`s on fire. Lay down, lay down.

911 OPERATOR: What?


911 OPERATOR: They set her on fire?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even the operator cannot believe it. Yvette suffered severe burns over 60 percent of her body. Look how beautiful she is in that graduation photo.

Her ex is serving life in prison, but he is not the only one who victimized her. Weeks before the attack, a judge ignored her pleas for her own safety and lifted the protective order against her husband. Then he simply retired to avoid any further punishment.

You`re going to hear his shocking comments in court in a moment, but first it`s an honor to welcome Yvette Cade. And guess what? You look fantastic. You look gorgeous.

CADE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Congratulations on that. You look great. You not only survived an unthinkable attack, but you have become a crusader for other victims of domestic violence. I want you to take us back to that nightmarish ordeal and tell us what haunts you about that day, what keeps coming up about that horrific day?

October 10th of 2005, early morning hours, Roger Hargrave had called and he was -- he called me 14 times. It`s in the trial record. I didn`t want to speak to him, and I was very adamant about that.

But I picked up the phone several times because I had to go to work that next morning. He was leaving messages of how he wanted to have sex with me and he said in that phone call that he wanted to fry me like Crisco Grease (ph). So I had called the police, and they came out that morning.

During that conversation, he stated that if I had called the police that he was going to go all out. And he did just that. Unbeknownst to me, when I called the police, they came out, took the report. I thought it was kind of odd that they weren`t going to issue a warrant for him to be arrested based upon what I had told them.

Yes. They should have gone and picked him up immediately when he said he wanted to turn you into Crisco or whatever he said. That`s obviously a threat. It`s unbelievable. This is one of the reasons we`re doing this week, all this week, stories of survivors of domestic violence, because we want to send a message to the criminal justice system that that won`t fly anymore, right, Yvette?

CADE: Absolutely. The judge dropped a protective order unbeknownst to me. I didn`t find that out until I was in the hospital and my family had set out in search for the truth to come out because they had known that I did not and would not lift up that protective order because I knew my life was in jeopardy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me get to that. I want to jump in here because I want our viewers to understand that very important aspect of the story. Just three weeks before you were attacked and set on fire, a judge lifted Yvette`s protective order against her ex-husband.

Now, his name, the judge, is Richard Palumbo (ph). Listen to Yvette pleading with him in court.


CADE: He`s still contacting. He`s intimidating my daughter. And he`s vandalizing other people`s properties. I want an immediate and absolute divorce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`d like to be 6`5" but that`s not what we do here. You have to go to divorce court for that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. His whole thing about, oh, I`d like to be 6`5, he essentially sounds like he`s dismissing you even though you`re expressing terror and it turns out very justifiable terror. Yvette?

CADE: You know I couldn`t believe that he was actually saying those things to me because I went there, one, for help from the justice system to protect myself legally, and it`s like I was being denied help from the justice system. There are several cases that he had against him prior to that, and thank God that my case that he was disbarred from being a judge. But he still can practice law in which I don`t think he should be able to do so this day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You bring me to my big issue. Is this a sexist judge and are there more like him out there? There appears to be a pattern of disturbing behavior that looks a whole lot like male chauvinism.

In another domestic abuse case this judge referred to victims as quote, "buses that come along every ten minutes". I will say that Judge Palumbo (ph) was accused of violating judicial standards.

What ended up happening? I mean, did you file suit or did you take any kind of action against this judge?

CADE: Judges have immunity so there`s nothing that I could do against the judge. He filed a letter, 14-page letter, saying that it was a clerical error, but clearly that was not the case because there`s the recording itself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And if the judge wants to come out of retirement and defend himself and come on the show, he is welcome. We would love to ask him some questions. Robin, North Carolina, your question or thought.

ROBIN, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Hi, Jane. Thank you so much for having me. I just want to let you and Yvette know I have followed her case from Oprah Winfrey, every show that she has been on because I can so relate.

I was probably just a day or week short of what she went through. I went through 15 years of this, and I have to tell you it is so depending on the judge, the attorney, the police, everybody I went through. The judge seeing black and blue pictures, hospital records, my children seeing everything unfortunately, and the attorney it depends on how much they can pay. Money talks, BS walks in my case. So he had the highest powered attorney he could have in our town. And he --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to say that I really appreciate you sharing your story because, again, one out of every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That`s why the crusade that you`re on, Yvette, is so vitally important. That`s why you`re my hero.

I want to get back to your relationship with your ex-husband who thankfully is now I believe in jail for life for attempted murder?

CADE: Yes. He can parole in 15 years because I didn`t die. Right now he`s just continuing to wreak havoc in my life. He petitioned for post-conviction relief. Even behind bars he can send me letters. He torments me through the judicial system. September 15th I was supposed to go to court so he could -- he wanted to prove that his attorney did not effectively --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Represent him.

CADE: -- counsel him, represent him.

And my thing is, is the tape is there, but I guess the law has to uphold the abuser as well, and I think -- I think that`s, quite honestly, an awful feeling for me to have to continue to go through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he keeps terrorizing you -- in other words, he keeps terrorizing you and you`re afraid of what`s going to happen when he may get out in 15 years. Is that right?

CADE: Yes. He wrote a letter to my psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins. He wrote a letter, he wants to do research -- be a part of research for mind-body research and he said that the most terrible that has happened to me in the hospital was that I had MRSA. Now, I had MRSA in the hospital this past December. I can`t understand why and how he would know --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s so scary.

CADE: -- that I had MRSA.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yvette, I`ve got to tell you we`re out of time, but I want you to come back. I want you to be part of our regular panel. We`re not going to let him get paroled.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The woman who admitted bullying a terminally ill child is now behind bars. The neighbors say Jennifer Petcoff drove a car painted like a coffin outside this little girl`s house. She also posted pictures on Facebook showing this little girl in the arms of the Grim Reaper.

Well, now this twisted woman is under arrest for assault. She is accused of trying to run down a neighbor with her car. I guess what goes around comes around. She`s going to be behind bars perhaps for Halloween.

That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can`t say he was gone today. We have to say he was gone since last night. I mean, that`s a long time for a 3-year-old.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An amber alert issued yesterday after a 3-year-old`s allegedly boozed-up and blacked-out dad lost him. Dylan Kurihara was last seen leaving a wedding with his dad at 9:30 Saturday night. Look at this adorable child. Joe Kurihara was arrested about an hour later for public intoxication. He was walking alone at the time.

So cops weren`t with even aware that he was supposed to be in charge of a child at that time and in fact was. It wasn`t until Dylan`s frantic mom called cops that the child was reported missing. Daddy dearest then told cops that he didn`t recall being with the little boy. He was too drunk to remember where he left his car.

Wow. Thanks to one of the volunteers searching for him, adorable Dylan was found in his father`s car in a Pasadena parking lot 25 hours later. Twenty-five hours this kid`s in a car in a parking lot. Here`s what the Good Samaritan told the CBS "Early Show" today.


ROWDY METZGER, FOUND DYLAN KURIHARA: I was a little afraid when I walked up to the car because I didn`t know what I would find. And I saw there was a car seat. It was very dark. I tapped on the window and he woke up. I knew he was sleeping. And I checked the door. The door was open. I opened the door I called out his name. He was a little startled.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank God for that guy.

Joining me now, Rachel Kim, KCAL/KCBS reporter from my alma mater. What`s the latest on Dylan and his father?


We understand right now 3-year-old Dylan Kurihara is in child protective custody. As for his dad Joe Kurihara, well, he`s still behind bars, hasn`t made bail yet. And he`s now facing child endangerment charges as well as child neglect charges. And the case has been turned over to the district attorney`s office at this point.

But I`ll tell you what, this story really generating a lot of outrage, and a lot of just shock from our community last night as we were covering it. But fortunately, it all ended with little Dylan being safe and sound.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s a happy ending. Now, did you say that the child`s in protective custody?

KIM: Yes, he is right now. I`m not sure exactly where the mother comes in at this point. We`re not sure if she has any custody of the little boy. But she was in contact with authorities last night during the search, staying at the hotel where all the wedding guests were. As you may recall or I`ll let you know that they were attending a wedding Saturday night.

At 9:30, Dylan left that wedding with his father. And when they got to the parking structure, the parking attendant noticed that Joe Kurihara, the father, was extremely intoxicated, even though he noticed that, he did apparently, police say, let Dylan leave with his father in the car. At that point, that is where no one could find him about an hour later.

At this point, we don`t know how the mother figures into this, but she has been cooperating with authorities, I`m told, by Pasadena police.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s why I was saying. If she`s in -- if the child is in protective custody, then you have to wonder, why isn`t the child with the mom?

KIM: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The child goes to the party with the father and the mother. Is there a problem in this family? We don`t have the answer to it.

But I will say this, Danny Bonaduce, radio talk show host, we just got this in moments ago. Dad has two recent arrests, two misdemeanors, one for October 14th and one for August 10th.

So we don`t know what kind of charges, unspecified misdemeanor charges, but this guy has been in trouble recently. What does it tell you, Danny Bonaduce?

DANNY BONADUCE, ACTOR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, 94.1 WYSP: Well, it tells me that your last girl -- the last guest I followed that story was tragic, her husband set on fire, is right. When you get caught up in the legal system and you don`t have the backing or the attorney or the experience, you can just get lost. This person could have been dismissed easily.

So what it tells me is that we`ve got a man who should have already been in jail and this trauma would have never happened to Dylan. That would have never happened had he been incarcerated as he should have been one DUI ago or whatever it was. I hate it when I hear he was out on parole after recently committing murder and only served four years.

Why wasn`t this man --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes let`s not call this guy a murderer, because luckily --

BONADUCE: No, no, I was saying. In general, people do get out of jail and you think, well, how did he only serve ten years for that? Well, that`s the way the judicial system works, unless somebody like you says, I`m going to keep this case alive. And I heard you say that and I appreciated that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I said that about the last case because no way I want to see that woman`s husband, ex, get out in 15 years.

When we come back, we`re going to talk about an issue that I certainly know about and I think Danny does as well and that is blackout drinking. When you do not remember what the heck happened. It`s like you were there, but you`re not really there. And that`s a sign of alcoholism.

Everybody, stay right where you are. This is a happy ending, but it`s a cautionary tale. Dude, where`s my kid? That`s the title of this story.



CHIEF PHILLIP SANCHEZ, PASADENA POLICE: The great news here is that Dylan was in his car seat, he was asleep at the time that we found him. He`s in good shape.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue, blackout drinker. There is a large group of people who experience blackouts when they drink. I know, because, unfortunately, I was one of them. And I say that as a recovering alcoholic with more than 15 years of sobriety.

You`re there, but you don`t know you`re there. There`s a gap of time when you have no recollection of where you were, who you were with, what you were doing, how you got to where you are. And then suddenly you sober up and then you have memory in flashes.

Danny Bonaduce, you`re a former drug user, you battled alcoholism. Isn`t this a sign of being an alcoholic?

BONADUCE: Absolutely. I agree with you, completely. It takes a battery of tests to get a driver`s license, but anyone can procreate. I think on a case-by-case basis, and you may find this a little bit extreme, but on a case-by-case basis, I would say a court ruling of sterilization is not beyond belief.

A child was left in a car for 25 hours because this man -- I`ve gone into a bar -- I`ll admit it, Jane, you know this about me. I`ve gone into a bar and come out going, where did I park my car. But not once have I wondered, I wonder where I parked my children. At some point, a judge has to say, you no longer have the responsibility to breed. You are not going to bring in other children to neglect.

And for a small example, thank God it`s not that bad, I have the name Jane, as a matter of fact, coincidentally, tattooed on my leg. It`s been there for the last 20 years. I don`t know who she is or where I met her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe it was me and maybe we were both in a blackout. Who knows?

BONADUCE: Maybe we were both in a blackout and had a wonderful night, but the fact is, blackouts are real.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I see Debra Opri gritting her teeth. She`s not happy about these sterilization suggestions.

OPRI: Listen, listen. We have people who need education. Why can`t we, in addition to an English Lit course in high school, have parenting, domestic duties, child abuse, so that when those people get out of high school, they know what two and two is?

This child was lucky. He was left in a car for 25 hours with an open door. He`s lucky somebody didn`t abscond with him. But getting back --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something, Debra, I just want to tell you one thing. And I`m not proud to be an expert on this subject, but you can take parenting classes up the wazoo -- I`m not a parent of a biological child, but if you`re an alcoholic, you`re going to drink to excess and you`re going to black out. So if you`re an alcoholic and you have a child, the chance of you doing something dangerous is extremely high.

OPRI: I agree. I agree. Before warning, so if this person says, look, I`ve got a drinking problem, he shouldn`t have custody of that child. And if the mother says, you can go ahead and take the child and she knows he has a drinking problem, then she`s got the problem. But education --

BONADUCE: At what age would you start that education?

OPRI: Second punishment. Sterilization, I think is a little extreme, Danny.

BONADUCE: At what age would you start that education?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Rachel Kim --


BONADUCE: You know who`s never going to learn? Amber, the little girl that the amber alert is named after. She`s never going to get that education, because she was kidnapped and murdered. How do you teach that child anything, our next generation, letting them --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring Rachel for a second. Trying to be polite here, ok.

OPRI: We need to start somewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Rachel, you know what I find fascinating about this, this is not that unusual. You`ve been a reporter, you are a reporter, there are many, many stories of people losing their pets, their children when they`re drunk, right?

KIM: Oh, I agree, Jane, absolutely not unusual, unfortunately. We were so shocked as reporters during the press conference yesterday. You know, we asked the police, what does the father last recall about where he left his child and he said, well, somewhere near in Pasadena.